April 25, 2016

Gospel Transformation and Biblical Counselling (2)

In Part 1, we saw that there is a problem with a lot of Christian counselling, which puts SELF at the centre. So how do we dethrone self and put Christ in the centre?

Who are the best people to help?

There are many complicated and varied problems out there in the world right now. In NCC, I have people who want to change gender, sexual issues, abuse, gossip, bitterness, and envy. Is Jesus enough to deal with these problems that we face, or do we need to pass the baton on to ‘specialists’?

Listen to Paul in Romans 15:14:

“I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another.

Demystifying “counselling”the book of Hebrews says:

“Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” (Heb. 3:12–13)

“Encourage one another daily”. How do we do that? The book of Hebrews is a model for this kind of encouraging ministry within the church. Parakaleo means encouragement/exhortation. It has an elastic range of meaning.

What does a ministry of encouragement look like? What is vital to that kind of ministry? The writer encourages his readers by:

(a) Showing them Christ.
(b) Hebrews 1:1–4, picture of the enthroned Christ
(c) Hebrews 2:11, 17, Jesus as our brother, sharing in our humanity
(d) Hebrews 5:8, Christ as our suffering redeemer
(e) Hebrews 2:1–4, 3:7–19, 5:11–14, 6:7–8: strong theme to use sober warnings in Parakaleo.
(f) Hebrews 6:13–20, 8:1–10:18: reminders of the certainty and faithfulness of God’s promises and grace even in the face of a long period of waiting
(g) Hebrews 11:1–12:1: a calling to faith and endurance by giving examples of those who persevere
(h) Hebrews 12:1–12: reminder that suffering is a reality and a part of God’s purposes
(1) End of I Peter 1; Philippians 1:29; Deuteronomy 8

Who is called to do this encouraging and exhorting?
Hebrew 3:12 and 10:23–24: Who is called to do this? “Brothers” refer to everyone, not just the trained professionals.

When is it to happen?
(a) “Daily”
(b) “Today”
(1) We live in the “Last days” and this is a season of opportunity.

Why is this ministry so necessary?
We are easily entrapped by sin, “taken captive.”

How does Paul address the gospel gap in Colossians 3:12–17?
A. Verse 12: The clothing is a host of gospel virtues that are to be incarnated in your life.
B. Take note of verse 16: Paul is addressing the gospel Gap: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. . . .” The word of Christ is the redemptive message of the gospel.

Paul is also addressing the Ministry Gap: “. . . as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom. . . .”

a) “Wisdom” is skill.

Think of one person that was significantly influential in your Christian life. What was it about them that was a help to you?

Student responses:

a) Some of you mentioned people who are in professional leadership capacities. Most of you mentioned people like your spouse, kids, and your friend.
b) Things that shaped and influenced you: Some said there was a teaching component, but most of you talked about simple gospel virtues like patience, humility, sacrificial service.
c) In our daily relationships, it is ordinary people exhibiting extraordinary character qualities that grow in us by the gospel, so that when we do speak, our lives sync up with our words.

We need to remind people that Jesus is enough when it comes to living our daily lives.

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.” (2 Pet. 1:3–9)

Verse 3 tells us that we have everything we need for life and godliness. Peter is reminding us of this, making sure we get it; it’s not just for the future but today also—he uses both words, life and godliness. If it just said life there, we could perhaps think eternal life but, the word godliness brings it smack into the present day—he gives us all we need to live a God-honouring life till glory. So everything that kicks off for us today, God has already given us all we need to deal with it. Verses 8–9, there are people we see in the verse who just aren’t getting the whole grace thing, they have forgotten it basically they aren’t letting it transform them daily.

Therefore, the job of the gospel minister is to challenge:

1. Gravity of sin
2. Centrality of the heart
3. Present ministry of Christ
4. God’s call to constant change & growth
5. Daily repentance and faith

In part 3, we will apply all this stuff to ministry in housing schemes.

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