Pastor Miles asked us to reflect this morning: why do you come to church? Why did you give your life to Jesus Christ?
Are you aiming to just check a box so that you can go to heaven and get your fill in church every now and then, but then just go about your own business and live your own way? Or did you give you life to Christ so that you can grow into the person He created you to be and fulfill the plans He has for you?
If you want to grow and change into the likeness of Christ, the process and journey are worth the ride.
If you want to grow and change into the likeness of Christ, the process and journey are worth the ride. Your next step is getting into a group where you can have accountability and Christian fellowship.
What is a group? These groups can be all different types and styles. They can meet in homes, coffee shops, or on the hiking trail!
A Rock Church Group that is led by an approved leader and consists of at least three people who meet regularly for Encouragement, Scripture, Prayer and Next Steps (ESPN).
E – ENCOURAGE people
S – Share SCRIPTURE
P – PRAY with them
N – What’s their NEXT STEP?
Attend Sunday services
Engage in Bible reading and prayer
Attend the LIFE Class
Help others go through the Next Step process.
Here at the Rock, our goal is that 100% of you would be in that process. Church is not designed to be enough for your spiritual walk. Aligning with God, surrendering your burdens and decisions, and serving Him are “every day” things that require the support of other believers.
1. God designed us for relationships. Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18 / Genesis 2:18
In Genesis 1, as God created each element of our world, He pronounced each one “good.” But when He created Adam, He deemed it “not good” that Adam was all alone.
And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Genesis 2:18
God created man in His image, to have relationship with Him and with each other. We were designed to walk together with other people and admonish, teach, and encourage one another. We sometimes want our own little space, our own secrets, our own version of the Bible, but we were not created to live this way. We were designed not only to have relationship with God, but with other trustworthy people who can love us, care for us, and help us to grow in the knowledge of God.
2. Groups are the biblical model for the church. Acts 5:42 / Acts 20:20
And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ. Acts 5:42
For today’s purposes, the “temple” is our church, and “in every house” means our small groups. But these don’t have to occur in houses. They can be in an office before the work day begins, in a coffee shop, or while climbing a mountain! The important thing is that you are in relationships that focus on growing spiritually, learning God’s word, praying together, and being accountable to one another.
how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, Acts 20:20
3. God transforms our lives in the context of encouraging and accountable community. Hebrews 3:12-13
Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:12-13
Just as you can’t blame your personal trainer for a lack of weight loss when you refuse to change your diet or do your workouts, there is no one responsible for your spiritual growth other than you. It would be impossible for Pastor Miles to teach you everything you need to know in order about walking with Christ! If you want be accountable, grow, and be what God calls you to be, then you must take ownership and responsibility for getting into a group. Be persistent. Call again. Email again. Don’t give up.
Do you have any sin in your life that you know you need to eliminate? Just showing up at church will not help you to do that. You need a trustworthy, accountable friendship in which someone can ask you: did you yell at your wife today? Did you watch pornography today? Did you spend time with God today? Did you lie today? If you don’t have accountability, it’s like grading your own test paper. You’ll get an A every time because you have recreated your own Christianity.
Athletes who reach the highest level in their sport do not achieve this alone. They have a coach - sometimes many coaches - who push them and challenge them to reshape their habits and training. So who is in your life to challenge you? If you just want to have things your own way and aren’t willing to change, then you haven’t really given your life to Christ.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Matthew 7:21
4. Groups create a relational environment for growth and ministry. Hebrews 10:24-25
The gospel is not about information, but a person. When you ask Christ to be your Savior, you are not only agreeing to facts, but establishing a relationship with Jesus.
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25
To love God is to obey God, even though you don’t always understand or agree with everything He says. Who in your life is thinking about how to “stir you up” to obey God?
In a study of heart transplant recipients, it was discovered that healthy, life-giving relationships were crucial to the recipients’ ability to make the necessary lifestyle changes in order to properly care for their new hearts. Eight out of ten people who were in accountable relationships were able to make the necessary changes, while out of the people who did not have accountable, life-giving relationships, only one in ten was able to change.
When you realize the command and call that Jesus has for you in your life, you’ll likely need to make changes in your inner circle of friends. Walking with God is not going to coincide with walking a path of doing drugs and chasing the opposite sex! This doesn’t mean that you kick your current friends to the curb, but it is likely that you’ll need to distance yourself from their influence in your life. God’s relationship with you should trump all others. Putting Him first will allow you to grow and change, be a light in the world, and minister to others..
So today’s challenge is to take ownership of your own spiritual growth.
Sign up for life class today! Pursue accountable relationships. Get in a group where you can trust others and grow into the person God calls you to be.
If you’ve never given your life to God, then allow Him be number one; really surrender your life to Him with commitment to follow Him.