We’re nearing the end of our Apocalypse Series through the book of Revelation. You can find all the resources connected with this series at vcnola.com/apocalypse. Yesterday I preached on the importance of conquering in Jesus! One of the elements I believe that is connected with conquering is “pursuing Jesus’ holiness.” In Revelation 18:4, John hears, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues.” Here the churches in Revelation are challenged to not pursue the sins of the Roman Empire but rather the holiness of Jesus.
The Tool Belt of Sanctification
Think about any project you’ve ever worked on, particularly if you’re building something. People who build things often wear a tool belt. Why? They need direct access to all the tools they might use—hammers, nails, screw driver, tape measure, etc. These are all tools that you might need at your disposal.
Sanctification is similar. Sanctification is the fancy, theological term for the process of becoming holy over the course of your life. And with sanctification, you need many different tools. God uses all kinds of things to make us holy—Bible reading, prayer, worship, giving, serving, accountability, confession, and others are important tools in the tool belt of sanctification. What are tools in your sanctification belt?
Vintage Church’s Discipleship Cone
Vintage Church’s tool belt includes 4 important elements. We call these elements the “Discipleship Cone.” If you take a look at the very top of the cone, you’ll see “gatherings.” This is also the widest part of the cone. We place a lot of emphasis on our weekend worship gatherings because they are important. Apart from the reality that the church has been gathering weekly for nearly 2,000 years, in the gathering we experience music worship, the preaching of the Bible, prayer, communion, giving, serving, community, and more. However, we also recognize that not everything can happen in the gathering, and what does happen occurs at a larger, less intimate level.
Enter Vintage Church’s vGroups. Here we experience more intimate forms of Bible study, prayer, and community. Instead of a group of 200-300, you have a group of 10-20. The know one another, challenge and encourage one another, and pray for one another. Still, this group is mixed gender and so some more personal issues might not be discussed even in this group.
Here’s where Life Groups come in. Life groups are gender-specific groups of 3-5 individuals who meet regularly for the purpose of focused discipleship. Here only men meet with men and only women meet with women. Their time is focused on Bible reading, Scripture memorization, and accountability. With this group being only 3 to 5 individuals there is a greater depth of intimacy, encouragement, and accountability.
Finally there is the self. Spiritual growth must be something fulfilled at the individual level. Are you reading your Bible, praying, fighting sin, pursuing holiness, and other important activities? Here is the most intimate level. It’s just you and you have to process your relationship with the Lord for yourself.
Do you see the importance of each of these tools. Often we try to grow in our faith with only one tool. Imagine building something when you needed nails, a hammer, screwdriver, and tape measure, but you only had nails. You wouldn’t be able to build what you wanted. Our faith is similar. You’re going to limit your spiritual growth if all you do is attend worship gatherings on a Sunday morning. Each level of the discipleship cone is important and builds upon the other. These levels aren’t arbitrary; they’re necessary tools for us to grow in our faith and holiness.
Think about yourself. What level do you participate in on the discipleship cone? What is your next step, and when are going to take that next step? Let’s pursue Jesus’ holiness together!