READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary | A biblical principle in discipleship is we are made complete in community – you complete me, I complete you. As members of Christ’s body, we belong to each other (Rm 12:4,5). John Wesley believes there is no social holiness unless we belong to a community. It is faith working out in love as we aim for Christian perfection. Small togetherness is experienced through spiritual friends (occasional), Small Groups (regular) and Band (Wesleyan) (Systematic).
Purposes of Discipleship
1. Accountable Growth
To be intentional, there must be accountability and safe space to share, encourage, wrestle with temptations to help one another. We are to keep meeting to spur one another to good works (Heb 10:24). Is your Small Group helping you to be accountable? Are we reading and studying God’s Word more? Praying more? Surrendering to God more? Obeying more? Reaching out more?
2. Authentic Love
The issue is not just care but level of care. Is anyone struggling alone? The early church was powerful because it was counter-cultural and invited people for authentic care.
Four levels of authenticity:
a. Start inside – Can we accept one another as Christ has accepted us?(Rm 15:7)
b. Open door – Show kindness (Eph 4:32) which is much needed in our selfish, self-centred society. True kindness is sacrifice which we offer to God and not expect anything in return (Heb 13:16).
c. Share journey – Burden-carrying (Gal 6:1) through empathy (Rm 12:15), comfort (2 Cor 1:4) and practical help (1 Jn 3:17).
d. Go deep:
- Confession – We need to build relationship to create space to confess to each other (Jas 5:16) and find strength to cope.
- Admonishment (Col 3:16)
- there must be genuine love; we need to speak the truth in love (time, place, manner)
- be ready to be rejected
- choose to love despite rejection
3. Achievable Mission
A war is won by platoons in an army, each platoon being tasked with a specific mission. Jesus’s Great Commission was given to a small group of disciples. The early church started with small groups, practised intentional discipleship and small togetherness and experienced phenomenal growth (Acts 2:42).
There are forces that stop us from small togetherness:
a. Individualism (I don’t need, I can do it alone)
b. Indifference (I don’t care, I want to do it my way)
c. Inconvenience (I don’t want to spend time and resources on this)
It is easy to turn to worship/gather online and think it is enough. There is a biblical purpose and mandate to be part of a small group. May we be intentional in taking the next step and offer God costly discipleship the way Jesus gave of Himself. We have different relationships in life. At what level are we with these groups? Are we progressing in these groups? Our relationships are not about ourselves but for the glory of God (Rm 15:7).
If we want to go deep, go together. Discipleship is about depth, not how far or fast we go. As we go together, may we experience God’s transforming grace in and through us to be a counter-cultural community that will bring about revival.
(Sermon notes by Woo Choi Yin)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS
- What are the three ways in which small-togetherness may be experienced? Which is the way that deeply ministers to you? Why?
- What are the three discipleship purposes which can be accomplished through small-togetherness? Which of the three do you need in this current season of your life? Why?
- Why is it important to be accountable to each other in our discipleship? How does that help us take the next step for our intentional discipleship?
- Which level of authenticity is your small group at? How can you move to the next level? For those not in a small group, this same question can be applied to other communities.
- How does small-togetherness help in achieving the mission of making disciples? Share how this has been your experience in your small group.
- If you are not in a small group, what’s hindering you? Will you surrender this to God and ask him to grant you the grace, conviction and intentionality to seek spiritual friendship in a community?
• If you wish to join a small group, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.