“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.  But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it – he will be blessed in what he does.”

(James 1:22-25)

 

   John Wesley, the great disciple-maker of England, had large meetings, but he made sure people came together in small interactive gatherings called classes.  Wesley saw greater benefit in these interactive groups than in the passive meetings.  He explained, “I have found by experience that one of these [believers] has learned more from one hour’s close discourse than ten years’ public preaching!”

   What happened in both those first-century Christian homes and eighteenth-century English homes?  Hebrews 10:24-25 gives us a clue.  It says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds.  Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the day approaching.”

   In his book The Significance of the Synoptic Miracles, theologian James Kallas, speaking of the ministry of Jesus with his disciples, explains, “Thus, in the demon-controlled world there were small islands.  There were small places where the power of God recreating the world was already manifest.  In this sense and only in this sense could the kingdom of God be considered ‘present.’  The kingdom comes through a localized expression through ‘islands’ of Jesus’ disciples.

   Discipleship releases the power of God among the people of God.  It is also the new way God’s presence breaks into a setting.  God’s reign in a community can be established through the disciples of the kingdom.  While discipleship in spectator Christianity is mainly for personal need, in relational Christianity it manifests a supernatural eruption of God’s kingdom.”

  Many small group opportunities will begin in September. If you are not currently involved in a Sunday school class or other small group for discipleship, why not join one soon?  If there isn’t a group that meets your current schedule or interest, then why not start a new one?  There is always room for more “islands of discipleship.”           -Pastor Chad