Day 4 of GAFCON is one I will remember for the rest of my life. We went to the temple steps for the conference photo – all 1,950 of us. And in the process we sang Amazing Grace, and read Psalm 122. It was an incredibly moving time. as we stood at the temple steps where Jesus would have entered and exited the temple, and probably also the site of 3,000 people being baptised at the day of Pentecost when the Gospel of the risen Jesus was preached.
The context was set with Mike Raiter speaking from the Emmaus Road text in Luke’s Gospel, as the risen Jesus revealed himself to travellers. Their lives were changed when they knew that Jesus had risen from the dead. David Short then spoke and remidned us that the same Gospel is at the heart of Gods strategy for the world today, and it happens through the same method – the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It comes through the rightly ordered church and results in people who are transformed to be disciples of Jesus and live new lives.
Discipleship is important and, as we have seen all week, discipleship can also have a cost. I had the privilege of meeting some American brothers and sisters who, desiring to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ, left The Episcopal Church (TEC) some years ago. Their assembly has already passed a resolution declaring that cohabitation prior to marriage was OK. But it was the consecration of an openly homosexual man to be a bishop that was the final straw. Their bishop told them that [my paraphrase] “the church had written the Scriptures, and that now the church was rewriting the Scriptures!” Being a faithful disciple meant the leaders lost their pension plans, their houses, their children were persecuted, and the list goes on.
Discipleship is Important. And Discipleship has a Cost.