Growing in Christ – Part IV
Now we come to the second horizontal arm of the Disciple’s Cross. Part I of this essay dealt with the center of the cross which is Jesus Christ. A close, personal relationship with Jesus Christ always is the center of a growing Christian’s life. Parts I and II also testified to the importance of prayer and Bible study. Part III examined fellowship with other Christians.
This fourth and final part analyzes evangelism. This activity is different from the others. Parts I through III identified essential activities required for Christian growth. These activities include Abiding in Christ (in the center of the cross), Prayer, Bible Study, and Fellowship with other Christians. Acts 2: 42 refers to these activities
They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. (NAS)
Acts 2:42 does not mention evangelism. But evangelism is so important that it is part of the Disciple’s Cross. Why is evangelism so important? Why do we evangelize?
Part I – The Fear of Death
Death awaits us all.
Need we fear death?
On my office bookshelf, I have a 54-volume set of the Great Books of the Western World. Most of these books now are available on the internet. But in the days before the internet this set of books was a valuable resource to have on hand.
It’s easy to see why some of the authors were included. Books by Plato, Aristotle, Shakespeare, and Milton certainly belong in the set. But I often wondered about the inclusion of other authors. For example, why have a book by this Lucretius fellow? Who in the world was he? What is the importance of his little book On the Nature of Things?
These questions displayed my ignorance at the time. This obscure, almost forgotten author from the late Roman Republic wrote a book that is transforming our world. His book On the Nature of Things was the inspiration for much of the Renaissance and Enlightenment as well as the liberal establishment today. But first his book was lost for more than a thousand years.
The Fellowship of Believers
Now we come to one of the horizontal arms of the Disciple’s Cross. Part I of this series dealt with Jesus Christ, the center of the cross. A close, personal relationship with Jesus Christ always is the center of a growing Christian’s life. Parts I and II also testified to the importance of prayer and Bible study. This post focuses on fellowship.
Growth is a basic activity in a Christian’s life. This life begins when a person receives Jesus Christ as Savior and is reborn as a child of God. According to John 1: 12-13,
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (NAS)
Reading and Studying the Bible
The Bible is God’s word.
Part I of this essay explored the steps taken by brand new Christians who want to grow in Christ. When a person accepts Jesus Christ as Savior, he (or she) begins a new life. The Bible says that person is reborn as a child of God.
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1: 12-13 (NAS)
Part I also examined the changes in a Christian as he grows from a newborn babe to a mature adult. As we continue in Christ we are transformed into His likeness. As the Bible says in II Corinthians 3: 18: