Jesus develops two metaphors to give us a picture of how his disciples must – by the lives they lead – leave their stamp on the world. He calls us salt and light. This is what I call Kingdom Discipleship. But before I explain what that means, let me ask you some more questions.
* What if we, as Christians, lived as faithful followers of Jesus in every sphere of life?
* What if every member of our church family was involved in Bible studies and small groups – eagerly digging into God’s Word each week and building godly relationships with one another during the week?
* What would happen to our church and community, if our husbands at Southside loved their wives as Christ loves the Church?
* What might happen in Jacksonville if our church family prayed daily – begging God to fill us with his Spirit?
* What if we pleaded with God to give us a single-minded passion, love, and commitment to Christ and his Kingdom?
* What if all of our parents at Southside took seriously our responsibility to raise our children in the training and instruction of the Lord – daily?
* What if all of the folks in our congregation worked with unmatched integrity in their workplaces? That everything they said, did, and thought at work was done to the glory of God?
* How might our community be transformed if everyone here this morning looked for ways to serve their neighbors – asking for nothing in return?
Beloved, I know that we do so much of this already, but can we all agree we have so much farther to go? Jesus has told us plainly that we’re to be salt and light to our world. And we’re going to really take a close look in the next two weeks about what that means.
But today I’m on a recruiting mission. I’m looking for a few good men and women and youth and children – I’m looking for Kingdom Disciples. Now – what’s a Kingdom Disciple? Well, a Kingdom Disciple isn’t simply someone who has a few right beliefs about God, Jesus, salvation, and the Bible. It’s not someone who’s only concerned about his or her personal salvation. It’s not someone who merely attends an occasional worship service or Bible study – or listens to Christian radio stations or says a blessing before lunch at a restaurant or gives to charities.
Those are all good things to be sure. They’re important things. But if that’s what our view of discipleship is, then we have a truncated understanding of what it means to follow Christ – and we limit our abilities to help transform our culture for Christ.
Chuck Colson writes in his book, How Now Shall We Live? –
“Right after signing the contract for this book, and while still plagued by writer’s remorse (was I really convinced that this book needed to be written?), my wife, Patty, and I visited old friends for a weekend and attended their local evangelical church, which is well known for its biblical preaching. I found the message solidly scriptural and well delivered. That is, until the pastor outlined for the congregation his definition of the church’s mission: to prepare for Jesus’ return through prayer, Bible study, worship, fellowship, and witnessing. In that instant, all lingering doubts about whether I should write this book evaporated.
Don’t get me wrong. We need prayer, Bible study, worship, fellowship, and witnessing. But if we focus exclusively on these disciplines – and if in the process we ignore our responsibility to redeem the surrounding culture – our Christianity will remain privatized and marginalized.
Turning our backs on the culture is a betrayal of our biblical mandate and our own heritage because it denies God’s sovereignty over all of life.”
Beloved, a Kingdom Disciple is a follower of Christ who understands that because Jesus is Lord over every sphere of life, our faith is therefore, a total, balanced, and integrated world and life view – and consequently, he or she lives in faithful response to that truth.
Or to put it another way: A Kingdom Disciple is the person who has discovered that to faithfully follow Jesus Christ, he or she must think Christianly before he or she can live Christianly. And the surest sign that he or she isn’t thinking Christianly – is if he or she isn’t living Christianly. In other words – Christianity – our faith – is for every sphere of life. This is what I mean by Kingdom Discipleship.
And in my opinion, it’s only this kind of radical, biblical discipleship that will transform our culture for Christ. This is nothing more and nothing less than what Christ has called us to be in our text this morning.
Now, I don’t want us to get overly hung-up on the term, Kingdom Disciple. But the idea I’m trying to communicate is a very big deal. The term may be new to you, but the idea is old – it’s not original by any means. It’s just biblical, historic, and classical Christianity.
You see, our faith is supposed to permeate every aspect of our existence – as individuals, as husbands and wives, as children and students, as co-workers, and church members and neighbors and citizens and so on. The Dutch theologian, pastor and Prime Minister, Abraham Kuyper put it this way. He said:
There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: “Mine!”
Beloved, what if we lived our lives as though that were true – as though we really believed it with every fiber of our being? Do you? John Wesley and George Whitefield did. It’s been said by many historians that England was well on its way to its own bloody revolution, like France before it, were it not for these men and the gospel they preached and lived.
They preached a gospel that took in the totality of life. John Wesley screamed from the rooftops that Christianity is a social religion. Yes, it absolutely deals with an individual’s personal relationship with Christ. That’s essential. But that personal relationship must bear fruit corporately – socially. The church is a covenant community – not a village of hermits. “Lone Ranger Christianity” is a contradiction in terms. We must be here for one another, and as we are, we can transform a culture.
The revivals of the early Methodists produced not only spiritual revival, but brought forth political, educational, and economic reform in England. Lives were so completely and radically changed by the gospel of Christ that, as I said, a violent revolution was avoided. Beloved, this is our heritage – not only as Christians but also as Methodists.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 28:18 –
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
Paul says in Colossians 1:15-17:
He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Can there be any doubt that these texts, and the countless others like them, teach us that Jesus Christ is the Lord over the entire universe. And if he is, what does that mean to us? What will that truth look like in our lives? How can that truth transform, not only individual lives, but families, churches, workplaces, neighborhoods and communities, a culture, a world? We’ll begin taking a look at that next week as we investigate what the salty salt of Kingdom Discipleship looks like.
Grace and Truth,