24 April 16
Series - Discipleship - The Life of Being an Apprentice
Biblically Measured/Engaged – Part 1
This is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching in this series is discussed outside the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.
We started a series that will help us define more clearly a key part of our vision, “We will glorify God and make disciples by Responding to the Heart of God and transforming the heart of the City, the Nation and the World”. What does it look like to respond to God’s heart? At Bethel, we have developed 5 key statements that help capture the essence of the heart of discipleship. They are broad enough to be inclusive of the vast scope of teaching in the area of discipleship, and yet they are specific enough to be understood as standalone statements.
• Diligently Seeking God
• Prayerfully Engaged
• Relationally Healthy
• Biblically Measured
• Fully Committed to the Whole Gospel for the Whole World
We are using the metaphor of apprenticeship to describe what it means to follow Jesus. Reflect on your experience(s) of a situation where you were a novice and you had to learn the skills & learn from a more experienced person (perhaps it isn’t even career-related, maybe it was driving… or sports-related!)
Q: What was that experience like for you? What did it teach you?
If we see ourselves as apprentices of Jesus, we need to understand our trade. Read Dallas Willard’s answer below and discuss.
“As Jesus’ disciple, I am his apprentice in kingdom living. I am learning from him how to lead my life in the Kingdom of the Heavens as he would lead my life if he were I. It is my faith in him that led me to become his disciple. My confidence in him simply means that I believe that he is right about everything: that all that he is and says shows what life is at its best, what it was intended by God to be.
“In him was life and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:4)
Being his apprentice is, therefore, not a matter of special “religious” activities, but an orientation and quality of my entire existence. This is what is meant by Jesus when he says that those who do not forsake all cannot be his disciple. (Luke 14:26 & 33) The emphasis is upon the all. There must be nothing held of greater value than Jesus and his kingdom. He must be clearly seen as the most important thing in human life, and being his apprentice as the greatest opportunity any human being ever has.”
Q. What do you think of the metaphor of apprenticeship when describing discipleship? Does it resonate with you? Why or why not?
Q. What gets in the way of living out of this statement fully? “My confidence in him simply means that I believe that he is right about everything… What would it look like for you to PRACTICALLY live out of this? Discuss as a group how you could live this out together.
Q. Do I really believe that being his apprentice is the greatest opportunity any human being ever has? IF that is true for me…and if that is true for you…then wouldn’t you want to spend all the time there was learning about the trade of the kingdom and learning from the expert HIMSELF?? What gets in the way of us really grasping the value of the kingdom PERSONALLY? And what gets in the way of us grasping the value of the kingdom CORPORATELY (as a church?)
To go back to our earlier analogy of apprenticeship: in almost every professional designation, every trade – there is what is generally known as “the handbook” or often also called “the bible.” This “bible” does not refer to the original (that we have here today) but borrows the word to mean “the book of utmost importance”, the “guidelines book.” It is the ABC’s of each trade or profession, if you will. It can include anything from the “philosophy” of the profession, and its code of conduct, including behavioral and legal parameters for what is expected when you enter into, and represent.\ that trade.
In every apprenticeship, there is a handbook – our handbook just also “happens” to be the one that will not only teach us the skill but it will also teach us about the PERSON, about the Master. And so I almost CANNOT think of a more important mark of a disciple, an apprentice of Christ – than to be biblically measured. To hold ourselves to the mirror of the word and ask the question of how we measure up…
Let’s dig deeper on these two points.
1. MEASURED BY THE WORD (HANDBOOK)
“Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105
Q. What gets in the way of believing that the Word of God provides guidance for our steps and direction for our path?
Q. “The right path then, isn’t about the path. What makes it RIGHT is that it is God’s directives that are being followed in the steps. Discuss.”
Q. Brainstorm and read a few verses where God spells out what He wills for his people to do. Give specific examples of how this would “play out” for you.
Q. What areas (“small”) could you use some biblical measurement. Discuss with others as to how they can hold you accountable to grow in this area.
2. MEASURED BY THE WORD (JESUS THE MASTER)
Q. Read Matt 19. Do you identify with the rich young ruler? (Or had seasons in your life where you did?)
Q. Relationship changes everything. Reflect why a relationship with Christ is so essential to being his disciple.
CLOSE IN PRAYER out of Romans 6:17 – asking the Lord to help you be committed & obedient to the standard of teaching.
Amanda Van Halteren
- The Great Omission (2006)
- Renovation of the Heart (2002)
- The Divine Conspiracy (1998)
Thomas a Kempis
- “The Imitation of Christ.”