“Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship.”
Romans 12 is a beautiful picture of church culture. It’s a picture of God’s people living together, and knowing Jesus together. It’s a picture and reality that flows from the first 11 chapters of Romans, where Paul has shown the depth and truth of the Gospel – ‘the mercies of God.’
In light of the mercies of God, Paul calls believers to live as sacrifices. Practically, this is a call to die to self, and live to Jesus.
When we commit to membership in Hope Community Church Barlanark, we make this promise:
“We will make disciples:
⁃ By helping each other become more like Jesus as we love one another, confess our sins to one another and challenge, encourage, build up and serve one another.
⁃ (John 13:1-20, Romans 12:9-21, 1 These 5:11 Heb 3:13, 10:24-25, James 5:16)”
HCCB :: 'How We Will Live'
As a church, we are committed to helping each other die to self, and live to Jesus.
“People need to become Christians and people need to be taught how to think and feel and act as a Christian. That is, a disciple, a follower of Jesus, one who embraces him as Lord and Saviour and Treasure.”
We don’t think, feel, or act on our own. We do that together, in relationships.
There are four key relationships that we all have:
Self -> God
Self -> Self
Self -> Others
Self -> World
This is one way we can help each other think about what it means to know and live for Jesus, and so in discipleship, we can consider how we respond, in grace and love, to each of these relationships.
We’ve made accountability cards that have questions designed to help us reflect on each of these areas. In 121s, the questions are not for fuelling finger pointing, or to make us feel guilty, but to help us think about how we live out faith in Jesus.
We fundamentally believe that the Gospel changes every part of our lives, so let’s walk alongside each other, and help each other to turn to Jesus in faith and repentance in every part.
As with all of life, there are always complexities, and the four relationships will relate to each other, and overlap, and so it may be hard to understand one area without considering another. These questions are designed to equip us to examine ourselves and our hearts, so that we might be better equipped to deal with all that the Lord brings us through in our lives.
‘Taste and see that the LORD is good.
How happy is the person who takes refuge in him!’
The relationship which is of first importance is our relationship with God. We are made to know, enjoy, and glorify God forever. Our relationship with Jesus is not a purely intellectual exercise, it is about living in the experiential reality of all we have in him, and walking each day with him. Therefore, our greatest need is to know Jesus, and be restored to a right relationship with God through him, in the power of the Spirit.
Questions to ask:
- Am I spending meaningful time reading the bible and praying to enjoy Jesus?
- What am I treasuring more than Jesus?
- What am I learning about Jesus and what it means to live for him?
- Do we trust God is who he says he is in the Bible?
- How might I be doubting God?
“…you were bought at a price. So glorify God with your body.”
1 Corinthians 6:20
Though made in God’s image, we have been ruined by sin, and so need to be made new in Jesus. Through the Gospel, we find that Jesus has died to purchase us as his own. We are now in Him, and we have all the benefits of being in him – life, peace, hope, security, purpose and much more. As his possession then, we seek to honour him with all we are, as saints, sufferers, and sinners.
Questions to ask:
- What sinful thoughts or behaviours do I need to confess or repent of?
- What fruit of the Spirit do I need to be praying for and pursuing?
- Am I seeking to die to self and live to Jesus?
- Am I confessing sin, with the assurance that it has been dealt with on the cross?
- Am I growing in living for Jesus?
Jesus answered, “The most important is Listen, Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is, Love your neighbour as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.”
We are made for relationship with other people, to know, love and encourage. Relationships with others expose our hearts, either as we move towards others or as we move away from them. Wherever there are sinful people, there will be challenges in relationships. In Christ, our relationships with others can be transformed, both with believers in our churches, and with those who don’t yet believe.
Questions to ask:
- Am I spending meaningful time with my family/church/friends and sharing and enjoying Jesus together?
- What relationships do I find difficult and how can I grow in love for others?
- What relationships can I thank God for?
- Am I spending time praying for friends who don’t know Jesus and am I pursuing opportunities to share Jesus?
- Do my relationships reflect something of the grace of Jesus?
- Who are the people around me, and how can I share the love of Jesus with them?
“I know how to make do with little, and I know how to make do with a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through him who strengthens me.”
By God’s good providence, we have been given all that we have. Each day we face the circumstances we are in with the resources God has given us. We serve Jesus by trusting him with what we have and working to use it for his glory. These truths may be difficult to accept, or understand, but knowing that God is sovereign will help us to understand what our responsibilities are as we respond. With God’s word, we can help each other reframe situations that we might see them more as God sees them.
Questions to ask:
- What situations are you in that cause you joy / worry / grief / difficulty / peace?
- How does knowing Jesus change how you think about your circumstances?
- How can you better use what God has given you? (Money / time / gifts / circumstances)