Read Evans pages 11-13; the Book of Colossians
1. Dr. Evans says that to him it appears that many Christians are still too vague as to what it means to follow Christ. What do you think is the difference between a believer and a follower of Christ?
Measuring our maturity in Christ is something that many people have shied away from. In the forces they have a form of measurement of seniority through their system of ranking officers. In some church denominations they have a system for ranking their clergy, but rarely is there a system for measuring the maturity of the average believer. Even in the Public Service of most governments there is a system of measuring the progress of their employees through a grading system.
2. What did Paul the apostle believe it was possible to do according to Colossians 1:28?
Dr. Evans regards the maturity of the Christian only possible in the context of being a part of a local church. He says that there are four things which believers come to church which help us to learn about Christ.
3. What are the four things that Dr. Evans regards as necessary to knowing Christ in His fullness? (page 12)
He considers that these four areas of discipleship are the things that matter most to Christ in regard to the Christian's discipleship. A believer can not concentrate on just one of these things and excuse themself from the other areas. These four things are integral to the believer's development in Christ.
4. Dr Evans says that the fullness of God was in Christ's human body, and that the fullness of Christ is available to the believer only as they are committed to their local Church, the body of Christ (Col. 2:9-10). Yet, Dr. Evans has a warning for those Christians who think that maturity is automatic if they simply attend their church. What is that warning, and what is his advice? (page 12)
Another great misconception about discipleship is that it can be done apart from the local church. Many Christians seek to become disciples of Christ through individual or small group relationships apart from the dynamic context of a local body of believers.
Some Bible teachers have described the church as a two winged bird. A bird needs two wings to fly. One wing is the celebration worship service where the whole church is together to receive teaching, be instructed, have vision imparted, and dynamically worship together. The other wing is the vital, necessary and community building small group network. Believers need to be a part of the larger congregation, and deeply involved in a small community building group.
5. What does Psalm 68:26 tell us to do?
6. How does Acts 2:46 illustrate the "two wings of the church"?
Dr. Evans warns believers against relying entirely upon a small group for discipleship. He argues convincingly that believers need to be actively involved and committed to a much larger group of believers. Perhaps for smaller churches, there is merit in having ongoing fellowship with other churches through combined meetings. This can be done through regional, state or even national denominational meetings. It can also be done through local churches getting together. This is one of the reasons why a Ministers Fraternal is so valuable, because its the basis for whole congregations working and worshipping together.
7. Dr. Evans lists benefits that are only available from being a part of the wider Body of Christ. He points to Ephesians 1:22-23 as proof that the Body of Christ is not, and can not be considered to be, just a small group of believers. According to Ephesians 2:19-22 what does the Church function as for God, and how is it empowered (1Cor. 3:16)?
Let us agree with Dr. Evans and go on to discover what matters most and then enjoy all the benefits that he mentions. Amen.
© 2001 Andrew Corbett, Legana, Tasmania