8 August 2018
In school term 3, our focus at St Michael’s is E for Establish! We want to see people established more deeply in the faith. The Macquarie Dictionary says to ‘establish’ is to ‘set something on a firm or permanent basis’. We want your faith in Jesus to be firm!
What does it mean to be established in the faith? What does Christian maturity look like? The current preaching at 11am is following the best basic Bible study series I know of for helping a new Christian grasp the basics of the Christian life. Here’s the list of its topics:
- The work of Christ on the cross – Saved by God (Romans 5:8-9)
- Grace and Faith alone – Trusting in God (Ephesians 2:8-9)
- The place of good deeds – Living God’s way (Titus 2:11-13)
- The Bible – Listening to God (2 Timothy 3:15-16)
- Prayer – Talking to God (Philippians 4:6-7)
- Church – Meeting with God’s family (Hebrews 10:24-25)
- Evangelism – Meeting the world (Colossians 4:5-6)
Have you ever done these brilliant Bible studies? If not and you want to get such Christian basics straight in your mind and heart, please ask any pastoral staff member to arrange someone to take you through “Just for Starters” (or ask on Sunday via a Connection Card)!
Another way of expressing maturity I heard years ago was “5 G discipleship”. If I remember rightly, it was Grace, Gathering, Group, Gifts, Giving. Do you understand the grace of God in Christ? Do you gather weekly at church with God’s people for corporate worship and teaching? Do you belong to a small group for Bible study, prayer, care and accountability? Do you use your gifts (and time and energy) to serve the church (and wider community)? And do you give generously to gospel work and the relief of need?
That’s also not a bad checklist? And yet there is something not quite right about reducing Christian maturity to a checklist of activities!
When the pastoral staff discussed what establishing people in the faith might look like for us at St Michael’s, the Lord seemed to bring three things to our attention… Union with Christ; capturing your hearts; and overflowing with thankfulness.
Friends, we need to realise how good it is to be united with Christ! Simply by trusting Jesus means you are linked with him forever! By grace, what happens to Jesus will happen to us! You are caught up in his death and resurrection. So many benefits flow to us by that. We are justified (declared not guilty, despite our sins), sanctified (made holy, set apart for his purposes), incorporated into the body of Christ. So Jesus is our head.
And this is a heart matter. Does Christ dwell in your heart through faith? Are we helping each other grasp more and more of the height and depth and breadth of the love of the Jesus who died for you? This is the prayer of Ephesians 3:16-19. Pray it regularly.
Colossians 2:6-7 says part of continuing in Jesus as Lord means overflowing with thankfulness. And so establishing maturity means thankfulness, not grumbling.
Counting your blessings will help contentment in Christ and establish you on a firm foundation!
Warmly in Christ,