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Discipleship or Salvation? 091412
Sometimes people have the tendency to see things as being either/or. By this I mean that we all tend to see things as being clearly one way or another, taken to a radical extent. We, maybe, want politicians to be either conservative or liberal, but we can’t imagine a politican who describes themselves as ‘an interesting mix of liberal, conservative, libertarian, socialist or Tea Party ’ positions.
In a similar fashion, churches, and Christian believers sometimes learn and grow into a faith that is one-sided. It is either a faith built upon discipleship, and becoming a disciple of Jesus, or a faith built upon the belief ad faith in salvation of the sinner.
One could criticize either drastic and extreme direction or position, and many people have criticized each position. But one can never live in a radical extreme; a position one ‘takes’ is never a complete description of who we are as Christians or who we are as human beings.
Find a balance, dear ones. Can we commit ourselves to discipleship, and yet rejoice in our personal salvation?
Pray for peace in Libya, in Egypt, in Yemen, in all the world and especially in the Middle East, and may we also find peace in the USA.
Prayer List: Peace Mennonite Church keeps a prayer list for those in need. If you need prayer, or want to e-mail our pastor, e-mail billd @ peacemennonitechurch.net (Take out the extra spaces to use this e-mail—the spaces confuse spam generators).
Pray with us!
We are praying as a church, and attempting to follow the centuries’ old tradition of praying with other Christians three times a day. We are following the prayer liturgy at www.commonprayer.net
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The Message (MSG)
116 1-6 I love God because he listened to me,
listened as I begged for mercy.
He listened so intently
as I laid out my case before him.
Death stared me in the face,
hell was hard on my heels.
Up against it, I didn’t know which way to turn;
then I called out to God for help:
“Please, God!” I cried out.
“Save my life!”
God is gracious—it is he who makes things right,
our most compassionate God.
God takes the side of the helpless;
when I was at the end of my rope, he saved me.
7-8 I said to myself, “Relax and rest.
God has showered you with blessings.
Soul, you’ve been rescued from death;
Eye, you’ve been rescued from tears;
And you, Foot, were kept from stumbling.”
9-11 I’m striding in the presence of God,
alive in the land of the living!
I stayed faithful, though bedeviled,
and despite a ton of bad luck,
Despite giving up on the human race,
saying, “They’re all liars and cheats.”
The Message (MSG)
15-16 She lowered them down out a window with a rope because her house was on the city wall to the outside. She told them, “Run for the hills so your pursuers won’t find you. Hide out for three days and give your pursuers time to return. Then get on your way.”
17-20 The men told her, “In order to keep this oath you made us swear, here is what you must do: Hang this red rope out the window through which you let us down and gather your entire family with you in your house—father, mother, brothers, and sisters. Anyone who goes out the doors of your house into the street and is killed, it’s his own fault—we aren’t responsible. But for everyone within the house we take full responsibility. If anyone lays a hand on one of them, it’s our fault. But if you tell anyone of our business here, the oath you made us swear is canceled—we’re no longer responsible.”
21 She said, “If that’s what you say, that’s the way it is,” and sent them off. They left and she hung the red rope out the window.
22 They headed for the hills and stayed there for three days until the pursuers had returned. The pursuers had looked high and low but found nothing.
23-24 The men headed back. They came down out of the hills, crossed the river, and returned to Joshua son of Nun and reported all their experiences. They told Joshua, “Yes! God has given the whole country to us. Everybody there is in a state of panic because of us.”
The Message (MSG)
Faith in Action
14-17 Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?
18 I can already hear one of you agreeing by saying, “Sounds good. You take care of the faith department, I’ll handle the works department.”
Not so fast. You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works. Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove.
19-20 Do I hear you professing to believe in the one and only God, but then observe you complacently sitting back as if you had done something wonderful? That’s just great. Demons do that, but what good does it do them? Use your heads! Do you suppose for a minute that you can cut faith and works in two and not end up with a corpse on your hands?
21-24 Wasn’t our ancestor Abraham “made right with God by works” when he placed his son Isaac on the sacrificial altar? Isn’t it obvious that faith and works are yoked partners, that faith expresses itself in works? That the works are “works of faith”? The full meaning of “believe” in the Scripture sentence, “Abraham believed God and was set right with God,” includes his action. It’s that mesh of believing and acting that got Abraham named “God’s friend.” Is it not evident that a person is made right with God not by a barren faith but by faith fruitful in works?
25-26 The same with Rahab, the Jericho harlot. Wasn’t her action in hiding God’s spies and helping them escape—that seamless unity of believing and doing—what counted with God? The very moment you separate body and spirit, you end up with a corpse. Separate faith and works and you get the same thing: a corpse.
The Message (MSG)
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson
Related articles are referenced without endorsement.
- The Complexity of Christianity (calltoprayerministries.wordpress.com)
- Who Can Be A Disciple Maker…Why Should We be Disciple Makers? (mudpreacher.org)
- Spiritual Blessings and the Cost of Discipleship (stgregoryschurch.typepad.com)
- The Approval of a Disciple Maker…How is your “mettle”? (mudpreacher.org)
- Theological Foundations (heraldmagazine.wordpress.com)
- Holy Discontent (staceylacik.com)
- Gotta Serve Somebody — A Lectionary Reflection (bobcornwall.com)
- What Do You Think of Church in America? (marcjmartin.wordpress.com)
- Quasi- proverbs of the faith Part I: Discipleship vs. Relationship (rosegoldstreets.wordpress.com)
- What is the church? (goodnewsnow.wordpress.com)