Last time I blogged, we talked about Why we needed a Core Disciple Identity. Having a solid CDI is a vital component to living a healthy life. This is crucial because everyone operates their life — from the way you manages stress, make or break relationships, choose a career — based on a core identity. It is how you have answered two fundamental questions: Who am I and why am I here?
You are on a personal, sacred journey and yet desire to be connected with others in the journey. You might have tried to involve yourself in a study or get together with a few others to discuss the Bible or a Christian book. It has no doubt helped. Yet I am under no illusion that you have arrived at a spiritual destination that has made you feel complete.
There are 4 implications of our true Core Disciple Identity (CDI). I’m going to give you 2 of the 4 today, but you can read about this more when my new book, Gospelling Life Together, is released later this fall.
The First Implication, in regards to the relational aspect of your new life: You were made for and adopted into Community. God is a community, as Father, Son and Spirit and has been eternally expressing love. The essence of all Christian discipleship is “Faith expressing itself in love” (Gal. 5:6).
The New Testament uses “one another” 100 times in 94 different verses. We are to be “one-anothering” as disciples of Jesus. For instance, we are to “one another” in love (forgiving, not judging, speaking truth), in humility (preferring, submitting, giving deference to) and in serving (hospitality, washing feet, encouraging). Why? Paul makes the case when he wrote to the disciples in the church at Ephesus. “As deeply loved children, live a life of love (emphasis added), just as Christ also loved us and gave Himself up for us…as a sacrifice (My translation).”
The fact that God in Christ, loved us, gave himself for us, and adopted us as his very own (the gospel as good news), has a resultant reality for his disciple: The new mark of a Christian is love. We are not expected to be co-creators of new worlds or new animals. We are to follow his example of love for others in community.
We are to love all true Christian brothers in a way that the world may observe. This means showing love to our brothers in the midst of our differences — great or small — loving our brothers when it costs us something, loving them even under times of tremendous emotional tension, loving in a way the world can see…. Love — and the unity it attests to — is the mark Christ gave Christians to wear before the world. Only with this mark may the world know that Christians are indeed Christians and that Jesus was sent by the Father” (Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality, 1970, p.35).
The Second Implication is that you are no longer your own. Paul informs us, via his letter to the disciples in Corinth, “You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies” (I Corinthians 6:19).
Before Christ bought you, you were in Adam. He rebelled and brought ruin, alienation and death. You were born into spiritual ruin/alienation/death and were a slave to sin and its desires. You controlled nothing in your destiny. Death was your destiny and there was nothing you could do to stop that fate. God’s curse was upon you.
When Christ came and died on the cross in your place, who you were in Adam died. And when Jesus was raised to life, you were raised too. His resurrection is your resurrection to life. You have now been reconciled to God, and have peace with God because Jesus bought you by his own blood (his death) and has been raised to life. It is all by his grace and grace alone, nothing in what you did or tried to do, no matter how kind your intentions.
Now you are In Christ. You are freed from your enslavement, but you are not your own property to do with as you wish. It is because the Gospel is by sheer grace not by any works of your own means there isn’t anything God can’t ask of you. You belong to Christ, body and soul. Christ is in you. He has clothed you with Himself, removed your personal shame and all it’s destructive results. Because you are bought with His life, death and resurrection, you are free. There is no shame. There is nothing to prove, nothing to fear and nothing to hide. And you are his very own.
This brings us back to Gospelling life together. Gospelling together means we remind one another that Christianity isn’t so much about what we have to do for God, but to remind each other of what God has done to rescue us to himself through Jesus. When we remember, we also turn from our self-righting activities and plans. We instead move, by the fight of faith that it has been done, to follow our new direction of life.
At CMM, we believe every pastor, church planter, ministry leader, and missionary is created to thrive in ministry. We use the C.R.O.S.S. Disciple-making, which involves intentional Gospel conversations with focused discussions about one another’s relational, personal, missional, and spiritual life so that each disciple loves, matures, and reproduces — by the Spirit’s power — the way God intends. It is, at a most basic level,
We suggest getting a C.R.O.S.S. Coach to help walk with you through the challenges you’ve never faced before. A C.R.O.S.S. Coach will help encourage and equip you every step along the way. Learn more at www.cmmnet.org.
Also, please feel free to visit CMM’s website for free church planting materials anytime at http://www.cmmnet.org/free-church-planting-tools.html
Dr. Tom Wood
I've been in the Church Planting business my entire career. I want you to know, you don't have to plant a church alone!