If you had to take a guess, what would you say is a spiritual discipline that has been incredibly important over the history of the church, and still is very important, but is rarely practiced in our contemporary American church?
It is a discipline that stems from our Faith Church Growth Process.
Our logo symbolizes our Growth Process.
The Growth Process is how we seek to help people grow as disciples of Jesus. It stems from Matthew 7:21-23 where Jesus tells a story about people who looked like really strong disciples on the outside. These people show up at the door of heaven fully expecting to enter in, but he shocks them by saying “Away from me, I never knew you.” We don’t want any of you to be shocked like that! So we look a bit further in the book of Matthew, chapter 16, where Jesus taught what true discipleship is. There he says that we can be his disciples if we do three things: deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow him. We call that crossing the Matthew 7 line, which is that center line in the logo.
See, the reality is that some of us have not crossed the Matthew 7 line. Some of us are convinced that Jesus will welcome us into heaven, but when that day comes, he will actually say “Away from me, I never knew you.” Some of us are staying to the left side of the line. See those boxes on the left side of the line? They represent worship and fellowship. They are both incredibly important elements of our faith, of what it means to be a church family. But we can worship and fellowship in a totally outward way, not having that inner change that Jesus talked about. Jesus did not say that he wants worshipers and fellowshipers. What he said is that he wants disciples.
And to be his disciples, we must deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow him. Our Growth Process is designed to encourage everyone in our church family to cross the Matthew 7 line. We can’t force anyone, of course, and we aren’t going to try. But we do want to encourage everyone in the family of Faith Church to pursue discipleship to Jesus, so our Leadership Team members are going to be contacting every adult in the church family on a regular basis to talk about this. It is that important to us.
What that means is that Jesus taught us that self-denial is critical to being his disciples. How, then, do we deny ourselves?
Self-denial is the lost discipline. Join us tomorrow at Faith Church, as we talk about self-denial in our ongoing summer sermon series on the spiritual disciplines.