Fundamentals of Christian Growth Part 16

There are so many wrong conceptions about God. The Bible tells us that He is love (1 John 4:8). Religious doctrines that tell us God uses sickness and poverty to teach His children lessons are birthed from a lack of revelation of love.

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.
Proverbs 23:7

We have talked a lot about the need for understanding of Scripture. This is key for our thinking to be straightened out. 

A truth many people miss is that wrong thinking will produce wrong believing. If our minds are not renewed by the Word of God, they will be unable to think correctly.

Jesus described four different types of soil representing men and women’s hearts in Mark 4. We’ve spent some time looking at the first. This represents people who attend service, hear the Word, but never apply their hearts towards understanding what they heard. These are the people positioned for Satan to steal the seed of God’s Word that has been planted in the ground of their hearts.

There is a huge difference between evangelism and discipleship. Our religious systems do not even try to disciple people because they do not understand these differences. The Lord has called us to make disciples. His Church is focused on making converts. We have people pray a prayer and then run off to find someone else to pray another prayer.

Have you ever seen a mother give birth and cast their newborn to fend for itself? She will nurture it and do her best to protect it, won’t she? This is a lesson that the Church needs to learn. We lead people into salvation and then leave them to fend for themselves without spending any time discipling them.

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Matthew 28:19-20

There are a lot of people who have been exposed to the Gospel message. Some are truly born again but many are not. Billy Graham estimated that eighty percent of the people who prayed the prayer of salvation were not actually born again. We don’t know what the actual number is. There are a lot of people who do attend church on a weekly basis though who are not saved and who do not know the Lord.

Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
James 2:19

There is much more to Christianity than just believing that God exists. 

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.
John 8:31

A disciple is one who follows their master closely. How many of us spend time on a daily basis giving careful and considerate thought to God’s Word? If we are not, can we honestly say that we are following Jesus closely?

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
John 8:44

I encourage you to read John 8. We are only looking at a few verses but there is a lot of truth to be drawn from this chapter that applies to our conversation.

Jesus was talking to people who believed in Him (John 8:30). He told them that they were of the devil because they did not abide in the truth. It takes much more than passive acknowledgement of God’s existence. 

A disciple of Jesus will have a heartfelt commitment to Him. They have made Him their Lord. Unfortunately, this does not describe the condition of most Christians hearts. It almost seems as if we believe that being associated with a church and attending service on a regular basis will make us a disciple. I once heard a preacher say that sitting in a church will not make you a Christian any more than sitting in a garage will make you a car. There is a lot of truth in this statement!

The Church has been making converts instead of disciples. Jesus never told us to lead masses of people in a salvation prayer. He told us to go into the world and make disciples. This will require a commitment on our part.

It is very difficult to tell if a person really means what they are saying when they pray a salvation prayer. I may not know if a person truly believes when they pray. If they continue on and begin to seek God with their hearts we will know they do.

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