Teaching Program September – November 2018: 8 Ways to Become and Stay a ‘Disciple of Jesus’ Unpacking Philippians

Dear Friends

When Jesus gave His marching orders to the Church at the end of Matthew’s Gospel, He told us to ‘go and make disciples of all nations’. Developing disciples – learners, followers, apprentices of Jesus – this was
right at the heart of what He sent His apostles to do. Yet it is easy, in the story of Scripture and the whirl
of modern life, to miss what that actually means. What makes a follower of Jesus? How do we learn
to be like Him? We want to imitate Jesus, and obey what He commanded, but how does that actually
happen? That’s where Paul’s letter to the Philippians can help us.

Philippians is a wonderful letter from which to learn about discipleship. It isn’t written to correct behaviour or doctrine (like many of Paul’s letters), but simply to express friendship, thank the church
in Philippi for a gift, and talk about how Jesus shapes the ordinary Christian life. This makes it a happy letter, and a very practical one. It is a short letter but also includes a wide range of experiences – success and failure, hardship and victory, past and future, abundance and poverty – and considers how to find joy in Jesus in each of them.

No matter how long we have been following Jesus we all still have big L plates on our back. None of us
have got it together, but Christ is bringing us together – in him!

Grace and peace

Geoff Boland