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Explaining Biblical Themes :
Called To Be Disciples Of Jesus

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Called To Be Disciples Of Jesus 

Suggestions for how we can become a Church Without Walls, while still working in and from our building . 

The Cycle of Grace
Our belief about what God is like is the basic belief from which all our other thinking about how we as individual Christians working together as a congregation can be Christ's Church in a rapidly changing world.  

A Theology of Grace
We believe our God is gracious and that he wants us to be to each other as he is to us. God loves us, is merciful and forgiving, accepts us as we are, imperfect, wilful human beings who more often choose our own way rather than his. As we live in the grace of God so we should try to live out his grace in our dealings with each other.  

In the Gospels and Letters of the New Testament we find expressed two possible ways of responding to the grace of god - trying to win God's favour by doing good works or accepting we are loved and forgiven because we believe that in Jesus we see our gracious God and that he is as Son of God our Lord and Saviour. 

Discipleship and the Cycle of Grace
Jesus calls us to learn from him and to follow him to be his disciples. Jesus became aware at his baptism that he was God's beloved Son and accepted by his heavenly Father; that the Spirit of God would sustain him and give him strength; that his work of preaching the Good News of the coming of God's Kingdom would give meaning or significance to his life that this would lead to the achievement of the salvation of mankind however costly to himself. Jesus lived in the grace of God and he lived out that grace in all his teaching and healing work.  

cycle of grace

Illustrating the two Approaches of Works and Grace It is possible to illustrate the two approaches of doing good works or accepting the grace of God by moving around the four quadrants of a circle in two directions - in a "doing" or "working" direction - A Cycle of Works - or in a "graceful" direction - A Cycle of Grace. This model of explaining these two ways of living has been borrowed from the clinical psychologist Dr Fank Lake.  

Jesus moved through the Cycle of Grace and so achieved the purpose to which God called him - telling and showing mankind the forgiving grace of God; the way of salvation. 

As individuals and congregations we more often live in the direction of works expending our energies in achieving in order to have a sense of meaning and importance, hoping to have the strength to sustain the effort to be accepted as worthy members of society or of the Church as a whole. Life becomes a constant struggle to achieve. 

If we live in the opposite direction accepting that we are loved by God; believing that we are sustained and strengthened by his Spirit and that we are of importance to our heavenly Father then we will fulfil our calling to love each other as he loves us - to be gracious to each other as he is gracious to us. 

We should not be surprised to learn that the members of the Special Commission anent Review and Reform whose Report is now better known as The Church Without Walls Report, were tempted to call the Report simply" Follow Me". 

More about Discipleship
A fuller consideration of the meaning of discipleship in to-day's world is to be found in the booklet entitled "Following Jesus To-day" by the Rev Peter Neilson in the series "Church Without Walls", price 50p which can be ordered from The Church bookstall or Wesley Owen in George Street.  

More information about the "Church Without Walls" report, can be found HERE 

Chjristian Education Commitee, 2002


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