Black-WOL-Logo

CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve stepped out in faith and have given your life to Jesus. Jesus always honors faith. Whether you are just entering into a relationship with Jesus or rededicating your life to follow Him, anytime you move closer to Jesus you do the wise and lifegiving thing.

 

Water of Life wants to help you grow in your faith which is why we’ve put this resource together. As you start your journey, you are on the greatest adventure of a lifetime; a journey of Following Jesus.

dan-circle

Senior Pastor

Dan Caroll

The Bible uses a word for someone with a transformed life, a life touched by Jesus. It is a word that is rarely used in our culture today – a disciple. What exactly is a disciple? How does a disciple think, act or even pray? Let’s take a closer look.

 

A disciple literally means a follower or a learner. A disciple is someone who is learning to follow Jesus as their Teacher and Lord in the way that they live, love and care for others. Let’s briefly highlight a few key words.

 

Learning: In Luke 6:40 Jesus said, “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.” Learning to be like Jesus is a life-long journey of following Him. We never “arrive” and complete the journey this side of heaven.

 

Live like Jesus: 1 John 2:5b-6 NLT says, “…That is how we know we are living in Him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.” Our goal is to pattern our lives after Jesus and His life. Jesus is our model for living.

 

Love like Jesus: In John 15:12 Jesus said, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” We don’t love as the world loves; we love as Jesus loved. Jesus is our model for loving.

 

Caring for and serving others: In Mark 10:45 Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus’ life and mission was always to love the Father and to serve others. Jesus is our model for serving.

 

Jesus gave us the example for what it means to be a follower or a disciple. Jesus is our model for living, loving and serving, but what does this actually look like?

 

There are three pictures that create a framework for what it means to be learning to live and love like Jesus while we serve others. Adoption, Abiding, and Ambassador. Let me explain each of these.

 

The Bible says that God adopts us as His own. This is our key to life, living in the Father’s love. The picture of Adoption points “up” to our adoption as sons and daughters of God.

 

The picture of abiding points “in” to how we abide or live in Jesus. The word abide means to stay in or to live in. This is a huge part of our journey with Jesus. We live in Him and depend on His presence, which we know as the Holy Spirit.

 

Finally, the picture of Ambassador points “out” to our call to touch others for God’s kingdom. God touches us and blesses us so we can touch and bless others.

 

Each of these pictures: Adoption, Abiding and Ambassador has a Key Question that. points us back to the heart of discipleship and what it means to follow Jesus.

Receiving God’s Love


Family of God


Ephesians 1:5 NLT says, “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.

The picture of adoption shows our identity; we belong to God. We are children of God and He is crazy about us. Adoption points us “up” to our relationship with our Heavenly Father and His amazing love for us. Adoption reminds us of the goodness of God to save us from our sins and bring us into His family (Ephesians 2:19).

 

Children of God

 

Romans 8:15, 16 NLT says, So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, ‘Abba, Father.’ For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.”

 

The Spirit of God in us helps draw us to worship God as our Good Father. “To worship” means to acknowledge to God His value and worth, to thank Him for who He is and what He has done. Worship is such an important daily practice for a follower of Jesus.


The Holy Spirit will lead us to worship God and see Him as our greatest treasure and our deepest love.


Receive God’s love

 

1 John 4:19 says, “We love because he first loved us.”

 

The foundation of our identity in Christ is that we are absolutely, unconditionally, cherished and loved by God. This is a daily journey with Jesus, which is to draw near to Him and allow Him to love you deeply. One way you can do this is by worshipping him. Take some time by yourself, play some worship music and allow God’s love to shower over you.


The picture of adoption is, we look “up” and are reminded of God’s grace, His gift in us to live out our adoption as His children. Like the needle of a compass that always points to true north, the love of God points us back to the truth of who God is and who we are in Him.


Key Question: “God, how can you be so good?”

 

We don’t change so that God can love us. God loves us and, as a result, we can be changed. What should our response be to all that God has done for us? “God, how can You be so good?”

 

Use this Key Question as a springboard to prayer:

“God, how can you be so good that you would love me when I feel so unloved?”
“God, how can you be so good that you would never leave me?”
“God, how can you be so good to give me what I don’t deserve?”

 

Additional Discipleship Questions:

  • How has God been good to you this week?
  • How have you sensed God’s loving presence?
  • How is being a child of God helping shape your identity?


Putting it into Practice


Read out loud 1 John 4:19, “We love because he first loved us.” Repeat that verse slowly a few times, choosing to believe each word. Let the truth of God’s Word sink deep into your heart. You can make a daily practice out of reading and memorizing God’s Word.


Take a moment and try praying (prayer is just talking to and listening to God). Ask God the Key Question, God, how can you be so good?” Close your eyes for a few minutes and imagine the loving arms of your Heavenly Father, holding you tight.


Continue to imagine receiving God’s love and goodness for you and listen for what He wants to tell you or show you. Afterwards, take a couple of minutes to write down your experience and what you heard.


Summary


Adoption is all about receiving God’s love and it doesn’t just show us who we are, it shows us who God is. Adoption pictures our relationship with God as our Father. Knowing God as our Father is key to our identity in Christ.

Resting in God’s Love


Abiding is a picture of our love relationship with Jesus; it is how we live out our adoption. It points “in” by showing us that through the Holy Spirit, we can have a relationship with Jesus that is intimate and alive.


Abiding helps us shift from striving or working for God (which is religion) to resting with God (which is relationship).

Stay Connected to Jesus

 

John 15:5 says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

 

Jesus invites us to abide in Him, to stay close, stay connected, don’t leave and to remain. This is what Jesus did with his Father (John 5:19). As His disciples we are called to imitate Him in everything we do (1John 2:6). The way we live like Jesus is by staying connected in Him. Abiding in Jesus is the practice of being aware of His presence and resting in His love (John 15:9).

 

The more we abide in Jesus, the more He gives us a compassion for people that compels us to touch and bring others to Him (2 Corinthians 5:14).

 

Listen Closely to Jesus

 

John 10:27 says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

 

Jesus calls Himself “the good shepherd” and calls us His sheep (John 10:14). Jesus promises that His sheep hear His voice. The more time you spend with Jesus and His Word, the more clearly and confidently you will hear Him speak.


We hear Jesus through His Holy Spirit

 

John 16:12-13 says, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

 

The primary way to be with Jesus and be aware of Him is through our connection to the Holy Spirit who is with us forever (John 14:16). So how do you do that? Keep God before your mind and redirect your thoughts to Him throughout the day by asking this key question.

 

Key Question: “Holy Spirit, what are you saying?”

 

This question keeps our relationship with Jesus current, fresh and alive because the Holy Spirit is the spirit of Jesus. Every day we can wake up and ask, “Holy Spirit, what are you saying to me today?” In the everyday grind of life, we can attune our spiritual ears to the voice of our Shepherd, Jesus, and ask “Jesus, what are you saying to me right now?”

 

Use this Key Question as a springboard to prayer:

 

“Holy Spirit, what are you saying/doing in this situation?”
“Holy Spirit, what are you saying to me/us?”
“Holy Spirit, what direction are you leading me/us?”

 

Additional Discipleship Questions:

  • When was the last time you heard God speak to you? What did He say?
  • “Jesus, what are your loving thoughts toward me today?”
  • “God, how are you using my current situation to grow and mature me?”

 

Putting it into Practice

 

Write down on a piece of paper (or your journal) the Key Question, “Holy Spirit, what are you saying?” Take a couple of minutes and try praying (remember, prayer is just talking to and listening to God).

 

Close your eyes and imagine Jesus right there with you. Ask, “Holy Spirit, what are you saying to me?” You might sense a feeling, see a picture or hear a word or phrase. Write down your experience and what you heard. You may want to keep a journal of your times of talking to and listening to God.

 

The Holy Spirit will never tell you anything that contradicts what He’s already said in the Bible, so that’s your test for whether what you hear is from God or not.

 

Don’t worry if you don’t hear anything right away. It’s not about getting it perfect; it’s about believing that you were created to hear Jesus’ voice.

 

Summary

 

 

Adoption is about receiving God’s love and abiding is all about resting in God’s love. We rest in God’s love for us and in the comfort of His continual presence with us.

 

Abiding pictures our relationship with Jesus as our Good Shepherd. He leads and guides us, not only into His love, but into His world to be His ambassadors.

Releasing God’s Love

 

The overarching story of the Bible is the kingdom of God and His desire is to touch people and bring life to the world. The gospel is the story about Jesus, the King of God’s kingdom and how He has come to save us from our sins (Luke 2:10-11)!

 

As followers of Jesus, we bring our lives under the rule and reign of God by surrendering to Him daily – spirit, soul and body, heart, mind and will.


Ambassador points us “out”, as we are sent out by King Jesus to share His life and love with the world and advance His kingdom on earth (Matthew 6:10).

 

Receive to give

 

Matthew 10:5-8 says, “These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: ‘Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message: “The kingdom of heaven has come near.” Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.’”


We are given God’s love through adoption so we can give away God’s love through reaching and touching others. We are called not to be a reservoir but to be like a river. God pours into us so that He can flow through us to touch the world.

 

Kingdom representatives

 

2 Corinthians 5:20-21 NLT says, “So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, ‘Come back to God!’ For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.”

 

The Bible calls every disciple an “ambassador”, a representative. We represent the King and the Kingdom of God on the earth (Luke 17:21) and God wants to use us to bring people to Him.

 

Disciples make Disciples

 

Matthew 28:18-20 says, “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’”


This last command of Jesus is for every disciple or follower to make other disciples who follow and obey Jesus. As we pour into others and live life with others, we share the message of Jesus and help people follow the way of Jesus; this is how we make disciples.


As we live out our identity as ambassadors, we can ask the following key question.


Key Question:Jesus, how am I doing at loving those you have given me to love?”


Use the Key Question as a springboard to prayer:

 

“Jesus, where/who do you want me to serve?”
“Jesus, empower me to love like you love.”

“Jesus, how am I doing at loving my neighbor like you love me?”


Additional Discipleship Questions:

  • Is there any area of your life that you have not yet given control over to Jesus?
  • When was the last time you shared with someone what Jesus has done for you?
  • Who are two or three people who are not yet following Jesus that you can start/continue praying for?

 

Putting it into Practice


Take a moment and try praying (you’ve got the hang of this now). Using the above Key Question, ask “Jesus, how am I doing at loving those you have given me to love?”


Listen to what Jesus might be inviting you to do this week to touch someone else’s life. Write down what you hear Jesus saying, and then do it.

 

Summary


Adoption is about receiving God’s love, Abiding is about resting in God’s love and Ambassador is about releasing God’s love. Every follower of Jesus has the amazing privilege of being Jesus’ representative in the world.


Being an ambassador doesn’t just show us who we are, it shows us who God is; He is our King. This is really important! We’ve got to surrender daily to Jesus and allow Him to rule and reign over us.


As followers of Jesus, God pours into us, heals and uses us so we can touch other people’s lives. Every follower of Jesus is sent out as an ambassador to love people into God’s kingdom.

 

In Conclusion


This is the vision of a disciple – learning to follow Jesus as your Teacher and Lord in the way that you live, love and care for others. A follower of Jesus receives God’s love, rests in God’s love and releases God’s love to the world. Each day is an incredible journey of allowing God to love you as your Father, lead you as your Shepherd and send you as your King.

Receiving God’s love. When you are filled with God’s love you will live out the reality of your adoption – your new identity as a deeply loved child of God.

Resting in God’s love. You live with Jesus by resting in His love and listening    to His voice. As you learn to listen and respond to the Holy Spirit in you, you will become more aware of Jesus’ presence with you.

Releasing God’s love. When you live under the rule and reign of King Jesus, He will send you out to love and care for others like Jesus has loved and cared for you. He will call you to share the story of Jesus with those around you and to make disciples.

May these pictures of Adoption, Abiding and Ambassador help and guide you on your journey as you take your next steps in following Jesus.

Quick Links

Email Newsletter

Admin Office:  14418 Miller Ave Suite K, Fontana, CA 92336   |   909.463.0103   |   info@wateroflifecc.org

© 2020 Water of Life Community Church.