The Costs Have Been Identified and Clarified

There are a number of Scriptures that do more than hint at the fact that if you are following Jesus it will cost you something:

– Idleman, Kyle; Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus; Zondervan; copyright 2011; Grand Rapids, MI; Kindle Edition; page 180

Watching the Early Church Pray for Everything in Joy

Watching the early Church pray for everything for joy:

  1. The Early Christians called on God to exalt His name in the world.  (Matthew 6:9; Psalm 9:2)
  2. The Early Christians called on God to extend His kingdom in the world (Matthew 6:10; Revelations 21:4)
  3. The Early Christians called on God for the fullness of the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13; Ephesians 3:19; Acts 4:31)
  4. The Early Christians called on God to save unbelievers. (Romans 10:1; Matthew 13:44; Luke 15:7)
  5. The Early Christians called on God for healing (James 5:13-15; Acts 8:7)
  6. The Early Christians called on God for strategic wisdom. (James 1:5; Colossians 1:9, 3:16)
  7. The Early Christians called on God for unity and harmony in the ranks (John 17:20-21; Philippians 2:2)
  8. The Early Christians called on God to help them know Him better. (Colossians 1:10; Ephesians 1:17)
  9. The Early Christians called on God to help them comprehend the love of Christ (Ephesians 3:14, 18)
  10. The Early Christians called on God for a deeper sense of assured hope. (Ephesians 1:16, 18, Romans 15:13, 5:2, 12:12)
  11. The Early Christians called on God for strength and endurance (Colossians 1:11, Ephesians 3:16; Nehemiah 8:10)
  12. The Early Christians called on God for their faith to be preserved. (Luke 22:32, 21:36; II Corinthians 1:24; Philippians 1:25)
  13. The Early Christians called on God that they might not fall into temptation.  (Matthew 6:13, 26:41)
  14. The Early Christians called on God to complete their resolves and enable them to do good work. (II Thessalonians 1:11, Colossians 1:10, Acts 20:35)
  15. The Early Christians called on God for forgiveness for their sins. (Matthew 6:12)
  16. The Early Christians called on God for protection from the evil one.

– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; Crossway; Wheaton, Ill.; copyright  2004; p.143-146

Let Me Ask You a Simple Question

Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as the “Helper” or “Comforter”.  Let me ask you a simple question: Why would we need to experience the Comforter if our lives are already comfortable?  It is those who put their lives at risk and suffer for the gospel (Philippians 1:29) who will most often experience His being [close] (Matthew 28:20).  Though this verse is true for all believers (of course God is always with us), if we are never alone or feeling like we need Him, how much do we care or need to know that God is with us?

– Chan, Francis; Forgotten God: Reversing the Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit; David C. Cook Publishers; Colorado Springs, CO; copyright 2009; p. 107

Five Reasons for Theological Unity

Theologically, unity is to be pursued by churches and among churches for five reasons:

  1. Jesus prayed for it often.
  2. As the leadership goes, so goes the rest of the church.
  3. Without unity, spiritual health and growth cannot be maintained because the church gets diverted from Jesus and his mission for them.
  4. Unity is fragile because it is gained slowly and lost quickly, which requires that it never be assumed or taken for granted.
  5. Paul repeatedly commands unity in churches (I Corinthians 13:11; Ephesians 4:3; Philippians 1:27)

– Driscoll, Mark and Gary Breshears, Vintage Church: Timeless Truths and Timely Methods, Crossway Books, Wheaton, IL, 2008, p. 136

The Uniqueness of Paul’s Ministry

Although Paul’s ministry was unique, he calls on the church to join him in taking the cross, imitating him as he imitated Christ (I Thessalonians 1:6; 2:14; I Corinthians 10:33-11:1).  To imitate the apostle is to say with him “To me to live is Christ and to die is gain!” (Philippians 1:21)

– Edmund Clowney, The Church: Contours in Christian Theology, copyright 1988, page 144