Part 3 in the series of personal discipleship, Life to Life groups. Learn how to help others grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ as you, yourselves, are strengthened in your own walk with God.
Life to Life GroupsMentor - Model - Example - Teach - Parent
Growing One AnotherMuch of what new/immature believers understand about theChristian walk is what he should or should not be doing. This placesthe emphasis on the external and plants the seeds of “faith throughworks” early in his heart.“But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faithwithout deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.” James 2:18A new/immature believer needs to be taught that external behavior isimportant, but that God’s purpose is that we adopt HIS BIBLICALPRINCIPLES inwardly, allowing relationship between God and manto become the focus.
Making Decisions SpiritualWhere in the Bible do you ﬁnd instructions on how to make theright decisions about what car to drive, what house to live in, orwhat is your perfect weight?Is it okay to drink alcohol, smoke, neglect your family, invest inthe stock market, play the lottery, excessive work or wasting oftime?Often, many members of the Body of Christ will make thesedecisions very much like the worldly... with logic and reasoning.
Externally FocusedIf a new/immature believer continues focusing on outward andexternal behaviors, rather that on Biblical Principles, there is ahigh probability that he will grow towards being a “Self-Dependent” and “Worldly-Minded” Christian, practicingexternal behaviors that are acceptable to his Christian peers,while at the same time pursing worldly goals of possessions,pleasures, power and popularity (as long as they do not offendhis Christian peers).
Self-Dependent and Carnality The Bible shows us the contrast between “spiritual believers” and “self-dependent, carnal believers.” Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
Disposition or BehaviorWhat we do expresses who we are.King David was described by God as a “man after God’s ownheart,” a spiritual man. But all of us would agree that hisbehavior was ungodly when he committed adultery andmurdered Uriah.King Saul’s disposition of his heart was characterized by “self-dependence.” He consistently “leaned on his own humanunderstanding,” rather than walk by faith in God’s leading.
The Apostle Paul Conﬂicted“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered inthe province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure,so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death.But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises thedead.” 1 Cor. 1:8-92 Cor 12:7, “even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So tokeep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my ﬂesh, a messenger fromSatan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.” NLTIt is important to note that Spiritual believers do not always trust God in everysituation, and there are times when “self-dependent” or “carnal” believers call uponthe name of the Lord in times of distress or crisis.
Joshua and Caleb ConﬂictedSent with the twelve as spies to survey the Promised Land. Didall twelve see the same things? Yes, but Joshua and Caleb had a“faithful” disposition of the heart that guided them to trust inGod’s promise. The other ten were trusting in their own humanreasoning that led them to forfeit God’s intended blessings.
Joshua 14:7-8, “I was forty years old when Moses the servant ofthe Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And Ibrought him back a report according to my convictions, but mybrothers who went up with me made the hearts of the peoplemelt with fear. I, however, followed the Lord my Godwholeheartedly.”God says of Caleb in Numbers 14:24, “But because my servantCaleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I willbring him into the land he went to, and his descendants willinherit it.”
The Term “Spiritual”The term spiritual is used to describe those who have chosen toacknowledge God as the One who will best oversee and managetheir lives; who see themselves as “servants” and God as“Master.”The terms “self-dependent” and “carnal” describe those whohave either willfully, or ignorantly not chosen to acknowledgeand accept the authority and Lordship of Christ over their lives.Unfortunately, there are too many “carnal” Christians in theBody of Christ today.
We must use caution...... when applying the terms “spiritual” or “carnal” to “heartattitude (disposition)” rather than to “external behaviors.” If weuse those terms to refer to external behavior, we will promotethe misconception of focusing on external behaviors, rather thanthe Biblical concept of focusing on the “internaltransformation,” from which external behavior is derived.
Romans 12:1-2“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offeryour bodies as living sacriﬁces, holy and pleasing to God—thisis your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer tothe pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing ofyour mind. Then you will be able to test and approve whatGod’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”Proverbs 23:7, “For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he...”Matthew 12:34, “For out of the abundance of the heart themouth speaks.”
Congregational MeetingsCorporate meetings were designed by Christ to EQUIP thesaints (you) so that each of you will in turn spiritually impactthe lives of those with whom you interact.Ephesian 4:11-16, “Now these are the gifts Christ gave to thechurch: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and thepastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’speople to do his work and build up the church, the body ofChrist.
Ephesians 4:11-16This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith andknowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord,measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Then wewill no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed andblown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not beinﬂuenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they soundlike the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing inevery way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body,the church. He makes the whole body ﬁt together perfectly. As eachpart does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so thatthe whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”
Children of... Some will attribute rebellious children of Christian leaders to the attack of the enemy against the parents... and this should be considered and you should pray for their families. But, consider that what the child sees consistently modeled in the home has more impact than what the child is told. If we tell our children how important eternity is, but live as if life on earth holds more importance, what is that going to communicate to the child? We must get “truth” deep into our own hearts so that our lives will express that same truth to our children.
Yes, even the Apostle Paul experienced conﬂict in his heart. It iseasy to portray a consistent spiritual life to those with whomyou are only with for short periods of contact each week, but itis very difﬁcult to hide the real life values and convictions fromchildren who are continually watching and imitating.
The Bible as a ManualIf a computer illiterate person were simply handed a computermanual and left to their own devices, he may or may notsucceed. Would you prefer to be given a computer manual tolearn on your own, or to have someone take the time topersonally explain the computer manual to you through thebeginning phases of learning and answer any questions youhave?Sure, the manual has all the knowledge you’ll need and it ispresented clearly, but...
If you were to give a set of blue prints to a novice and tell him togo and build a house with a foundation. How do you think hewould do? Sure, some people excel in life, but most beneﬁt frominstruction.Titus 2 tells the older Christians to be available to the younger inthe process of discipling.Titus 1:9 tells us to hold ﬁrmly to the trustworthy message as itwas taught, so you can encourage others by sound doctrine andrefute those who oppose it.
We Need One AnotherEph 4:32, Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgivingeach other, just as in Christ God forgave you...Jn 13:34, Love one another as I have loved you...Col. 3:13, Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievancesyou may have against one another.Rom. 12:10, Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honorone another above yourselves.
1 Thess. 5:11, Encourage one another and build each other up...1 Peter 5:14, Greet one another with a kiss of (brotherly) love...Heb. 10:24, Spur one another on towards love and good deeds...Eph. 5:21, Submit to one another out of reverence to the Lord...Heb 10:25, And don’t neglect assembling yourselves together...We need each other. We help each other. This is God’s plan.