Arminian Today

A Jesus-Centered Arminian Blog

Exhorting Disciples to Continue in the Faith

Acts 11:23 (NKJV)

When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.

We all should be doing this to disciples around us.  This is not an issue of perseverance of the saints or eternal security or conditional security, this is simply calling out to our fellow travelers on this path of life to stay focused on Christ, to make Christ our love and focus of worship, to continue in His grace knowing that we don’t deserve His grace but He is merciful toward us and He alone is our hope for heaven.  This call to continue in the faith is telling disciples to walk in the light as Jesus is in the light (1 John 1:7).  This is not a call to “do more” or “work harder” but to simply make sure that Jesus is your passion and that He has not been replaced with the idols in this world or our flesh (1 John 2:15-17; 5:21).

The text above says that Barnabas saw the grace of God.   I have often thought about that.  What did he see?  I have heard various answers.  One guy I knew said that he saw soul winning going on based on verse 21.  I have heard some say that he saw them hating sin and obeying Christ as Lord (Romans 6:11-14).  I have heard even one brother say that Barnabas witnessed their prayer lives and he saw their passion for Jesus in prayer.  The text doesn’t really say.  We simply know that Barnabas saw evidence of God’s grace at work in their lives.  The grace of God obviously then doesn’t lead to continued life of sin (Titus 2:11-12; 1 John 3:6-9).  Jude 4 warns against turning God’s grace into a license for sin.  I heard one cheap grace teacher read that verse and then reply, “Well I don’t need a license.  I sin just fine without one.”  He completely ignored the warning from Jude.

So often a person repents and we let them go.  We have the thinking that if they belong to Jesus, He will keep them.  After all, Jesus is the great shepherd (John 10:14) and He said that He would lose none (John 6:37; 10:27-29) so we need only to point them to Jesus for salvation and God does the rest.  However, as John Piper has said before, discipleship is a community effort.  The Church, as a community of saints, is called to disciple each other and to help each other to stay focused on the Lord Jesus.  Hebrews 3:13-14 and 10:19-25 make it clear that the church is to exhort each other to remain faithful to Christ.  We are not to simply give someone over to Jesus and ignore the examples in Scripture and the passages in Scripture that call us to encourage and exhort each other toward holiness and righteousness.  James 5:16 mentions the healing that comes from confessing our sins to each other.  This comes about through prayer and others helping us to overcome sin and live in Christ Jesus.  We need each other.  We need the Body of Christ.  I need your gifts.  You need mine.  We need each other because we are but flesh and we are so easily tempted to turn away from Christ (2 Corinthians 11:1-4).

May we then encourage some brother or sister today to stay focused on Christ, to remain in His love (Jude 21).  I pray that we call each other to holiness (1 Peter 1:15-16) and I pray that we would exhort each other to abstain from all evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22).  I pray that we would pray for others to be sanctified by the grace of God (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).  I pray that this day would be a day of victory over Satan, over the world, and over the flesh.  We are at war (Ephesians 6:12).  May we never forget that Jesus is worth all (Luke 14:25-35).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

05/14/2013 at 9:39 AM

%d bloggers like this: