Jani: Hello, everyone, we’re so glad you’re here with us at He Restores My Soul. As you know, we’re going through a series on discipleship, we’ve heard from many of you, thank you for writing in and letting us know your questions or your comments, we really appreciate it. You can always reach us at our website herestoresmysoul.org. And we’re going through as I said, our series on discipleship.
Jani: Today, we want to talk about the three priorities. So if you’re a leader, gather your group around, and listen to the podcast. If you’re listening alone, may the Lord bless you and grow you in your faith and love for him as he restores your soul. But I would encourage those of you who are listening alone, to ask another sister to listen in with you and discuss some of these things together.
Time For Worship
Jani: We’re going to start our groups today, with worship. Now remember, worship is turning our eyes to Jesus thinking about him, praising him, thanking Him for who He is, all of His wonderful works. And in this first part of our discipleship series, we have been focusing on a chorus, a praise chorus, taken from 1 Corinthians 30, Jesus Christ Is Made To Me. And we’ve been thinking about each one of the attributes of Christ that this little chorus talks about.
Jesus Is Made To Us Power And Holiness
Jani: In our last session, we talked about how Jesus is made our righteousness before God. Oh, that was a wonderful thing to think about and discuss. Now we want to take a few minutes to talk through how Jesus Christ is made to us power and holiness. So first of all, let’s think what it means when we sing Jesus Christ is made power to me. What does this mean? Leaders, ask your group members to share verses they know that describe how Jesus is made to us power. Or you can look up and read these verses. I’ll list them here, then you can turn off the podcast and read them together. Psalm 147:5, Isaiah 40:29, 2 Corinthians 12:9, Acts 1:8, Acts 10:38, and Romans 1:16. Now let me read these again before you turn off the podcast. Look up these verses and share them together on Christ’s power. Psalm 147:5, Isaiah 40:29, 2 Corinthians 12:9, Acts 1:8, Acts 10:38, and Romans 1:16. Read these verses together.
Jani: Jesus is power. How wonderful it is to remember that the Lord is abundant in power, and to know that he gives his power to us weak sinners through the Holy Spirit. Somehow, when I am at my weakest, Jesus’s power in my life is the strongest. His power is made perfect in weakness because the strong don’t need him. It’s the weak who turn to him.
Jani: So we can be women who welcome our own weakness as a way to experience the power of Christ. Isn’t that a relief? You know, I feel so weak in this discipleship series. Who ever heard of discipling women through a podcast? I’m used to discipling women around my kitchen table. But I also need to experience what I’m teaching you. God’s power being made perfect in this weak area of my spirit. Oh Jesus Christ is made to me all I need power in my weakness. And he’ll do the same for you.
Jani: Jesus Christ is also made to us holiness. Let’s think about both of those terms today, power and holiness. Holiness, our chorus says for every hour. Now what is holiness? It means to be set apart for God. Holiness implies that a person or thing is taken from common use, and set apart for divine use. It can also be described as consecration and dedication. Genesis 2:3 puts it this way,
“So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it, God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.”Genesis 2:3
Jani: Did you catch that? God finished His work of creation and then he blessed the seventh day and made it holy. Or 2 Timothy 2:21 talks about being set apart as holy, useful, ready for every good work. Being holy means being set apart. Or Ephesians 1:4 says,
“He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.”Ephesians 1:4
Jani: Let’s talk about this for a minute. When holiness is applied to God, it describes his moral excellence, embracing every distinctive attribute of God, and therefore, the outshining of all that God is. I love how John Piper describes God’s holiness in one of his Desiring God interviews. John says this,
“God is separated from all that God is not and is in a class, absolutely, by himself. God, like the most rare diamond in the whole universe, is absolutely unique and infinitely valuable. His Holiness, therefore, most essentially consists in his absolute uniqueness, and therefore the infinite value of his beauty and excellence. He is in a class by himself.”John Piper
Jani: That’s the end of John’s quote about God’s holiness. Now, how does that holiness apply to us? Why should we worship Him for His Holiness? Well, he wants us to share His holiness. Read Hebrews 12:10. Turn to that right now. And listen, as I read it out loud, Hebrews 12:10.
“For they disciplined us for a short time, as it seemed best to them.” [He’s talking about our fathers disciplining us] For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed to best to them, but He [God] disciplines us for good, that we may share His holiness.”Hebrews 12:10
Jani: God wants us to share in His holiness. He is calling us into His Holiness, through the sacrifice of His beloved Son. Turn back to 2 Corinthians 6:17-18. And then we’ll also read 2 Corinthians 7:1. 2 Corinthians 6:17-18 through 2 Corinthians 7:1, listen, follow along as I read it.
“Therefore, go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing, then I will welcome you. And I will be a father to you and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty. Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of the Lord.”2 Corinthians 6:17-18, 2 Corinthians 7:1
Jani: Do you see that word holiness there, as we cleanse ourselves from every defilement, as we turn to the Lord and seek to follow him and welcome Jesus Christ’s power in us. Well, then we’re bringing holiness to completion. Now, surely that can’t mean perfection. But it means working more and more toward it. You see, we’re called to go out from among sinners, and be separate, to be holy. Christ’s power and holiness equals sanctification in the life of a believer. It’s both external and internal. 1 Thessalonians, 4:3 puts it this way,
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification.”1 Thessalonians, 4:3
Jani: That means our holiness, a man named Edmund Clowney puts it this way.
“The life of holiness is the life of faith, in which the believer with a deepening knowledge of his own sin and helplessness apart from Christ, increasingly casts himself upon the Lord, and seeks the power of the Spirit, and the wisdom and comfort of the Bible, to battle against the world, the flesh and the devil.”Edmund Clowney
Jani: You see, when God’s power works in our lives to help us become holy like he is holy, set apart in body and spirit, then we are sanctified. And it is through Jesus, who as 1 Corinthians 1:30 says, became to us wisdom from God, righteousness, and power, our holiness for every hour. Why don’t you pause the podcast and sing through your chorus again. Jesus Christ is made to me, all I need, all I need. Worship Him in your song.
Sharing & Prayer
Jani: Now let’s come back together for sharing and prayer. Galatians 6:2 says,
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”Galatians 6:2
Bearing Each Other’s Burdens Is Obeying The Lord
Jani: What a joy it is that by bearing one another’s burdens, be they joys or sorrows, we’re fulfilling the law of Christ. One of Christ’s laws, so to speak, is that we bear each other’s burdens. Too often, we are ashamed to let another person help us carry our load because we don’t want to be a bother to them.
Jani: But that’s not how the Bible puts it. The Bible says to help one another, to help other Christians obey Christ, by letting them bear our burdens. The Bible commands us to bear one another’s burdens. I love that by sharing our burdens, we’re actually helping others obey the Lord. So share your burdens, and help your sisters obey the Lord Jesus Christ’s command to bear one another’s burdens, share the joys and burdens of your past week.
Jani: Then, spend time praying for each other, or split into groups of two if your group is large, and pray for your partner. Leader pause the podcast right now and encourage your group to obey this command about bearing one another’s burdens and fulfilling the law of Christ.
Jani: Now after this prayer time together, if you haven’t taken a break, I would encourage you to once again pause the podcast and take a five minute break, get a cup of tea, whatever you need, a drink of water and then come back together for our accountability and teaching.
Jani: For accountability, in this lesson, I want you to choose two members to share an insight from their quiet times. Remember, they were to have written down at least one quiet time. Now check in on your members verses for meditation. Does everyone have a verse chosen? Are they posted around their homes? Are they saying their verse at least twice a day? Check in with each other on this.
Jani: Next, has everyone chosen a date for their extended quiet time. Note these in your calendars so that you can pray and discuss what it was like for different members of your group.
Jani: Finally, during accountability, if you haven’t yet finished discussing your book for this first section, do that now. I’m going to be leaving that up to leaders to finish up. We’ll start a second book in a few weeks, but you need to wrap up your first book together. So make sure that that you finished discussing your first book over the next few weeks.
Jani: And then assign to your members for next week. First of all, keep reviewing your verse for meditation and be prepared to share it next week along with your reason for choosing this verse, and how God is using it in your life. Your second assignment is to have five quiet times with the Lord and make sure to write out at least one. Finally, for your third assignment, determine to take one day this coming week for everyone in your group to pray for a certain member, divide up your week and names accordingly. For instance, a Monday, everyone would pray for Ashley. On Tuesday, everyone would pray for Susan, on Wednesday, everyone will pray for Janie, that kind of thing. Those are your three assignments, make sure your group understands them.
Teaching Time: The Three Priorities
Jani: Now we’re going to go into our time of teaching for the next few minutes on the three priorities. I wonder if you remember the three priorities we discussed when your group first started meeting. Remember they’re Jesus, community, and mission. Or another way you could state them are Christ, the body of Christ, and the work of Christ in the world. Now, this is not just something we dreamed up. These three priorities are taught throughout the Bible. And we’re going to look at a few of those places together today. Let’s start in the book of John. Everyone turned to John 15. This whole chapter of John 15 teaches the three priorities. In verses 1-11. You can see priority one, pause the podcast and read verses 1-11 together.
Jani: Jesus is our first priority. And we see that in verses 1-11 of John 15. What does verse four say? Abide in me. What about verse nine? Do you see it again there? Abide in me. Abide means to remain in, to stay in, to continue in. Jesus calls us to remain in Him to put him first to seek him first. He is our first priority.
Jani: And then verses 12-17 show us our second priority community. Pause the podcast and read verses 12-17 out loud together. We define community as our relationship with other believers. Look at verses 12 and 17 again. How does Jesus call us to treat our community? Well look at verse 12.
“This is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you.”John 15:12
Jani: And look at 17.
“These things I command you so that you will love one another.”John 15:17
Jani: Jesus calls us to treat our community with deep love. We’re to love one another.
Jani: And then finally, Jesus talks to us about our mission. Jesus, community, what’s next? Mission. We see mission in verses 18-27. Verse 27 says,
“And you will also bear witness because you have been with me from the beginning.”John 15:27
Jani: We are to bear witness of him to others. Jesus, community, mission, I hope you can see that in John, chapter 15. Now, just two chapters later, we see Jesus show us the three priorities again. As we look at this chapter, John 17, remember that these are Jesus’s last words on earth before he was betrayed, and arrested, turned to John 17. In this high priestly prayer, we see the three priorities. First of all, in verses 1-5, we see Jesus. Read these verses out loud with your group, pause the podcast right now and do that.
Jani: These verses 1-5 are all about knowing God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Our first priority in life is to love and enjoy God and His Son.
Jani: Now community, verses 6-19, pause the podcast and read those verses 6-19. Verse 6 says,
“I have manifested your name to the people who you gave me out of the world.”John 17:6
Jani: He’s talking about his disciples here. Verse 9 says,
“I’m praying for them. I’m not praying for the world. But for those whom You have given me.”John 17:9
Jani: What does Jesus pray for the community of believers? Well, look at verse 15, that God “would keep them from the evil one” or verse 17, that God “would sanctify them in truth that he would set them apart”. Or verse 19. Jesus says, He “consecrates himself for our sake, that we may be sanctified in truth”, the community of believers. Let’s ask ourselves, who has God brought into my life? What church has he called me to? How can I serve the church in the ways we’ve just looked at? Who is my community of believers, that Jesus is calling me to be committed to. Certainly your discipleship group, but out beyond that as well.
Jani: Then finally, in this chapter, Jesus is calling us to mission. Look at verses 20-26. Jesus is talking about the world, he is sending us on mission, read verses 20-26.
Jani: Look at verse 21. And verse 25 again, Jesus is praying that the world may believe that Jesus is God. Look at verse 26, that God’s love may be in them, and Jesus Christ in them. Oh, Lord, please help us make your name known to the world. Do you see the three priorities here, Jesus, community, mission?
Another Supporting Passage
Jani: Let’s take a quick look at one more Bible passage that exemplifies the three priorities. Turn in your Bibles to the book of Colossians. The book of Colossians talks about the three priorities. Here Paul gives them to us. We can see priority one in Colossians 1, I’m going to read Colossians 1:15-20, out loud, listen, as I read,
“He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him, all things were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities, all things were created through Him, and for Him, and He is before all things and in Him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body of the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might have preeminence. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”Colossians 1:15-20
Jani: Do you see that? In all things, may Jesus have the first priority in our lives. May he have the preeminence in our calendar, in our budget, in our words, our schedules our meals or entertainment in our sleeping schedules, in everything. May Jesus be preeminent priority number one.
Jani: And then what about our second priority community. Well look at chapter 3. I’m going to read aloud verses 12-16. Listen, as I read about our second priority, community together Colossians 3:12-16,
“Put on then, as God’s Chosen Ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience, bearing with one another. And if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts to which indeed you were called in one body and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. Teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing songs, and hymns, and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”Colossians 3:12-16
Jani: This is priority two: community. We are to bear with, admonish, forgive, and love one another. And then finally, chapter 4. This chapter discusses community. Well just look at verses 2-6 in chapter 4. Listen as I read them Colossians 4:2-6, follow along as I read,
“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison, that I may make it clear which is how I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you are to answer each person.”Colossians 4:2-6
Jani: When it comes to mission, we’re to devote ourselves to prayer, asking God to open a door for us. Paul encourages us to conduct ourselves wisely toward outsiders, letting our speech be tasteful, seasoned as it were with salt. I love that is your speech toward outsiders salty or boring? Well, as you can see, these three priorities aren’t just something Ray and Janie came up with. We see them again and again in Scripture, I encourage you to look for them as you read your Bibles.
The Discipleship Group In Three Trimesters
Jani: I like to think of our discipleship group, as split up into trimesters. During this first trimester, we’re concentrating on our relationship with Jesus. From there, we will dive more into our relationship with our community of believers, the church and our fellow believers. Then, in our final trimester, we will look at our relationship with the world or our mission. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 say this, and this is my blessing over us all.
“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely. And may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus. He who calls you is faithful, He will surely do it.”1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
Jani: Let me pray over our discipleship groups and bring this podcast to a close. Oh Father, we praise You for Your beauty, for Your Holiness, for your power for your redemption through the blood of Jesus Christ. Thank you for calling us to yourself. And I want to thank you, for each woman listening for her desire to grow closer to you, and those who are meeting in groups for their desire to grow closer in community to each other. Will you fulfill that desire as our relationships deepen with you and with each other? Oh, Lord, meet us in our need. And I pray that you would restore our souls in our earnest desire to know you, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I ask these things in Jesus name, amen.