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FACTS OF DISCIPLESHIP: The Disciple and the World
John 17:14-19
September 25, 2023

The solution to these pitfalls is clear: the Word of God. God’s Word must set the agenda for the Church.

As I come to Fact number 4 of the Pastor’s Heart, I charge all leaders to lead their ministries well. Leading well requires the ability to understand the times (1 Chronicles 12:32). In his seminal book, ‘Mentoring Paradigms’, Pastor Edmund Chan suggested four critical concerns confronting the disciple in the post-modernistic era we live in today (Paradigm 24):

“Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)

1. The Crisis of Identity in an Age of Narcissism
The world exudes a narcissistic culture, where many become lovers of self (2 Timothy 3:2). As a result, many misconstrue fulfilment in life for self-indulgence and instant gratification. By doing so, we have lost our core identity as a holy people of God (1 Peter 2:9). The truth is this: the closer we draw to God, the stronger our identity in Him and vice versa.

2. The Crisis of Truth in an Age of Pragmatism
In the postmodern world, what engages the mind is no longer what is true, but rather what works. Ever hear someone say, “If it works for me, it will work for you, too.” Well that statement does not work all the time! The fruit of this statement is that God is cast aside and replaced by the altar of pragmatism.

3. The Crisis of Authority in an Age of Consumerism
Disciples are commanded to deny themselves, take up their cross daily and follow Jesus (Luke 9:23). Consumerism, however, compromises discipleship. Consumerism contains 3 features: 1) it enthrones our rights (“customer is always right”), 2) it exerts our choices (“varieties and options”), and 3) it enlarges our wants (“I must have this!”). But the truth is acquisition does not satisfy one’s appetite, it makes one only hunger for more! And so we hear of Christians who go to church to have their needs met instead of meeting someone’s needs. What results is an unwillingness to submit to authority. In doing so, they compromise discipleship.

4. The Crisis of Spirituality in an Age of Fatigue
Being busy is not a sin. You see, one can be busy yet be rested in spirit. Rather we ought to be concerned about a rushed soul. It is in rushed moments that Christians unconsciously trade intimacy with God for their over-involvement. As a result they risk running on empty and becoming spiritually dry.

The solution to these pitfalls is clear: the Word of God. God’s Word must set the agenda for the Church. In the light of worldly trends and standards, disciples must take their thoughts captive to make it obedient to the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). Where do you stand in the light of these 4 major worldly concerns? What will you do about it?

By Ps Simon Say