Building Faith & Counting Costs: The Cost of Discipleship in a Society that Takes Faith for Granted

 

By David Brown 

buildingfaithpicFor which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? (Luke 14:28)

In his excellent commentary on Luke’s Gospel New Testament scholar David E. Garland wrote: “ Many who come to Christ have no idea in advance what this decision will eventually cost them.”[i] The church, he continued, often makes the problem worse by soft-selling the requirements of discipleship in an effort to keep attendance high and conflict low.[ii] As a pastor I agree with Garland completely. Pastors have sometime emphasized unity within the church body at the expense of unity with Christ.

Continue reading “Building Faith & Counting Costs: The Cost of Discipleship in a Society that Takes Faith for Granted”

15 Quotes from Discipling by Mark Dever

By Evan Knies 

You can purchase Mark Dever’s new book on Discipling here!

1. At the heart of Christianity is God’s desire for a people to display his character (pg. 12).

2. The Christian life is the discipled life and the discipling life (pg. 13).

3. A disciple of Jesus follows in Jesus’s steps, doing as Jesus taught and lived (pg. 14).

4. Christians are people who have real faith in Christ, and who show it by resting their hopes, fears, and lives entirely upon him (pg. 15).

5. Discipling involves transmitting the knowledge of God and his Word through every moment of life (pg. 28).

6. Discipling lasts all week as members meet to talk, pray, encourage, and assist one another in the fight for love and holiness (pg. 37).

7. Discipling is helping someone follow Jesus by doing deliberate spiritual good in his or her life (pg. 47).

8. The gathered local church is responsible to preach the whole counsel of God through those gifted for this purpose. Through baptism it affirms credible professions. Through the Lord’s Supper it declares the Lord’s death and makes the many into one. And through excommunication it removes any whose life unrepentantly contradicts his or her profession (pg. 53).

9. A congregation helps to foster a culture of discipling by being ready to reject the elders whenever the elders reject God’s Word. If discipling means helping others follow Jesus, congregations that tolerate bad teachers are not helping others follow Jesus. Sadly, too many pastors have rejected God’s Word, and too many churches have not recognized their responsibility in this matter (pg. 63).

10. Our doctrine and life attain their shape within the doctrine and life of the community (pg. 67).

11. The local church – this Father designed, Jesus-authorized, and Spirit-gifted body- is far better equipped to undertake the work of discipling believers than simply you and your one friend. Jesus does not promise that you and your one friend will defeat the gates of hell. He promises that the church will do this (pg. 68-69).

12. Discipling is a relationship in which we seek to do spiritual good for someone by initiating, teaching, correcting, modeling, loving, humbling ourselves, counseling, and influencing (pg. 74).

13. Trials are key times in discipling relationships, whether the trial is in the life of the one discipling or the one being discipled (pg. 88).

14. Christian discipleship and discipling involves loving God with our minds (pg. 89).

15. Every would-be leader should learn to recognize fear of man in himself (pg. 104).


Evan Knies is married to Lauren and a student at SBTS.

30 Quotes from “Church in Hard Places” by Mez McConnell and Mike McKinley

Church in Hard Places is available on Amazon (here). It is an excellent new book by Mez McConnell and Mike McKinley. Below are 30 quotes from the Church in Hard Places. 

  1. The one unique thing that a local church has to offer to people mired in poverty is the gospel of Jesus Christ (pg. 28).
  2. The gospel word is the message of God to people who are caught in the complex patterns of personal sin and systematic challenges that comprise poverty (pg. 28).
  3. The church is at the heart of God’s saving plan. His love does not rest on a multitude of isolated individuals, but it calls out and creates a people who can now be called “God’s people” 1 Pet. 2:9-10 (pg. 31).
  4. God has designed the church to be the vehicle that takes his saving message to the world (pg. 31).
  5. Local churches teach the Word of God week in and week out, both to disciple believers and to evangelize believers (pg. 31).
  6. A local church is a community of the reconciled-those reconciled to God and to each other (pg. 31).
  7. A false or even an incomplete gospel is like a sugar pill. It might fool the patient into thinking he will get better, but it doesn’t have the power to cure him (pg. 38).
  8. The gospel is profound and beautiful enough to occupy the most brilliant scholar, but it is also simple enough for a child to understand and believe (pg. 38).
  9. The Bible challenges us to own our sin and take responsibility for the things that we have done (pg. 45).
  10. Poverty, violence, and injustice are real problems at a personal and societal level. But they fare the symptoms of the spiritual disease we all carry around with us. Treating the symptoms is good and noble, but without the gospel cure, the patient will surely die (pg. 52).
  11. True doctrine is life giving and sanctifying; false teaching destroys the soul (pg. 67).
  12. The local church is God’s primary evangelism strategy (pg. 87).
  13. Local churches do local evangelism (pg. 88).
  14. God has chosen the local church, and no other human organization, to be his kingdom representative to the world (pg. 88).
  15. The church is central to the purposes of God and is of benefit to the world around us-even today in our increasingly hostile culture (pg. 88).
  16. A culture that despises any kind of authority needs to see healthy models of leadership and submission. And the best place for people to see this modeled is in the local church (pg. 92).
  17. We cannot transform sinners; we can only teach and persuade them of the truths of the gospel as revealed in the Bible. The rest depends on prayer and the sovereign, electing grace of God’s Holy Spirit (pg. 99-100).
  18. If a church hopes to see people from needy places come to Christ, then they must be sure that those people are welcomed into a full place in the life of the congregation (pg. 125).
  19. Healthy practices of membership and discipline play a crucial role in cultivating and protecting the distinctiveness of a church (pg. 128).
  20. We must be aware of our motivations because they can come back to haunt us if we don’t thin deeply before we engage in any kind of ministry (pg. 139).
  21. People are dying without Christ; that’s the bottom line (pg. 141).
  22. Micromanaging does not equip people or build a team; delegating authority does (pg. 148).
  23. Leaders in established positions can too easily project the sense that only they have the skills and knowledge necessary for leadership (pg. 161).
  24. Churches and institutional leaders need to stop overlooking those who lack professional qualifications or who don’t fit into their social circle (pg. 161).
  25. Our job is not to fix whole cultures, but to share the good news and to disciple those God draws to himself (pg. 166).
  26. Discipleship without deep friendship is merely club membership (pg. 170).
  27. Starbucks sells coffee, Listerine makes mouthwash, and the church holds out the gospel and trains people to obey by doing the work of ministry (pg. 174).
  28. Deeds of mercy can also show the power of the gospel to change us (pg. 174).
  29. Feeding a lazy man simply encourages his sin and enables him to avoid the consequences of his actions (pg. 177).
  30. Mercy ministry needs to be done in the context of relationships and accountability (pg. 179).

Evan Knies is married to Lauren and is a student at SBTS. You can follow him on Twitter @Evan_Knies.