Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Church Covenant Series: Part 5 of 11

Paragraph five in the JPBC membership covenant reads as follows:

We will live as disciples of Jesus Christ – redeemed sinners in a sinful world. We will be loving, just, and truthful at home, at work, at school, and wherever we go. We will not conform to this world’s self-seeking, self-deceiving ways, but we will instead seek the straight and difficult path spoken of by our Lord, bearing faithful witness to God’s unfailing love.

This statement reminds us that we are to live as committed followers (disciples) of Jesus Christ. "Disciple" might also be translated by the word "student." We are indeed pupils under the tutelage of Christ. Jesus’ call to discipleship is laid out in Luke 9:23: "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me." In the Great Commission Jesus told us to go and make disciples (Matt 28:19-20).

The covenant also reminds us that although Jesus has saved us and called us out of the world, for now we still live in the world. John wrote that we are not to love the world or the things that are in the world (1 John 2:15). Paul said we are to come out and be separate and distinct (2 Corinthians 6:17). Yes, we are physically in the world, but spiritually we are set apart from it. There should be a marked difference in the way a Christian lives his life and the way an unsaved man lives his life.

We are also reminded here that as followers of Christ we are to be true "non-conformists." We are not non-conformists in the way some people try to be—in outlandish dress or behavior—but in the manner Paul describes in Romans 12:2: "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." This non-conformity to worldly ways is to be expressed in every sphere of life.

Jesus has no half-hearted or partial disciples. We are either completely committed to him or we are not committed to him at all. There is no middle ground.

May God grant us grace to live in faithfulness as true disciples of Jesus.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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