Christ’s Disciples Pay Close Attention To God’s Word

Cultures are defined by what they value. The value of various things shape culture. What we ascribe value to here at MIDTOWN Church guides the way we live. More than anything else we value Christ Jesus, His Body & His Word.

In the opening of this letter, Peter stresses how important it is for every follower of Christ to value the gift of eternity by actively and constantly growing spiritually. And in today’s passage he is going to tell us how valuable our instruction manual for that growth is. In order to grow in Christ we need an objective source of guidance & context. We need Scripture. Left to our own devices we will value what makes us feel good and comfortable. God’s perspective is different, often opposite of ours. But we have to trust Scripture in order to make it the standard for our lives

Always consider Scripture to be the voice of your Creator, and honor the gift of His communication.

Peter is going to make a case for why we should have confidence that Scripture is truly ‘God’s Words’. He is going to remind us that He has seen Christ’s Glory and it aligns with what the prophets of Scripture foretold…and that we should pay close attention to God’s Word

2nd Peter 1:12-21(NLT)

12 Therefore, I will always remind you about these things—even though you already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught.

  • Since entrance into the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ is at stake…
  • ‘I’ is both Peter & The Holy Spirit
  • It is not enough to know God’s will & ways and be practicing them…
  • WE NEED REMINDERS…constant, specific reminders…
  • What are the ‘These Things’ being referenced?

‘These Things’ / 2nd Peter 1:1-11

Having received ‘Biblical / Apostolic / Christ-Given Faith’, we ask for grace & peace to grow in Christ.

By calling us & indwelling us with HIS Spirit, we receive everything we need to live for Christ.

Christ has promised to share eternity and His divine empowerment over sin with His Body so that we may respond by constantly growing as HIS disciples.

As Christ’s Body we are to grow in an intentional ‘Scripture Guided’ way. Any other way is devoid of Christ’s vision for us. We are to devote ourselves to such a lifestyle.

Where might we find details and deeper insights into ‘These Things’???

13 And it is only right that I should keep on reminding you as long as I live. 14 For our Lord Jesus Christ has shown me that I must soon leave this earthly life, 15 so I will work hard to make sure you always remember these things after I am gone.

  • God is saying we need reminders… (When God repeats Himself pay attention)
  • He is going to leave a legacy to Christ’s Church of valuing scripture
  • He is saying he is going to do exactly what God wants to help them & US

16 For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We saw His majestic splendor with our own eyes 17 when He received honor and glory from God the Father. The voice from the majestic glory of God said to Him, “This is My dearly loved Son, who brings Me great joy.”

  • The story he is referencing is found in Matt. 17 / Mark 9 / Luke 9
  • This is the only time on earth He was seen in His total Glory
  • He was not just a good Rabbi, or a great Teacher…He IS God!

18 We ourselves heard that voice from heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain. 19 Because of that experience, we have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets.

  • The ‘Apostolic Wittiness’
  • The writings that have been shown to be ‘God’s Word’ are tied to such witness
  • That experience only made sense when viewed through the lens of the O.T.
  • The prophetic writings and who Jesus is match up

You must pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a lamp shining in a dark place—until the Day dawns, and Christ the Morning Star shines in your hearts.

  • What is your idea of close attention?
  • Does God’s Word get your ‘close attention’?
  • The words of Scripture provide ‘Illumination’
  • This is everything we need to understand what is important until Christ returns

20 Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, 21 or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.

  • Above all that has been mentioned so far and all that will be addressed
  • What makes Scripture ‘Holy Writ’ is that God’s Spirit is the Author (not people)
  • Those prophets and the Apostles wrote exactly what God moved them to write

How Christ’s Body Values Scripture

We value it by ‘paying close attention’. This means constant study and application!

We value it by considering it ‘Essential’ to our lives. Like food, water & air.

We value it by viewing it ‘Holistically’. Using all of Scripture to understand each part.

We value it by considering it ‘God’s Revelation’. It is not of human origin.

We value it by letting it be our Vision & Guidance. Practically applying it.

We value it by recognizing how Christ’s work in our lives aligns with His Word.


Stay humble & teachable regarding Scripture. Don’t think you have it all figured out.

Filter your experience of Christ through the grid of Scripture. Scripture is the standard, not your experience and emotions.

Recognize the importance of ALL Scripture and focus where your knowledge is weak.

Biblical Church Culture

Since we began Midtown Midtown church our goal was to be as biblical as possible Over the past 6 months we have taken a journey to assess how Biblical our culture was, and then make improvements.

Our Vision
We desire to be The body of Jesus Christ, functioning under His Lordship, intentional discipleship, active relationship building, worshiping, serving and giving based on Scripture.

Our Values

Scripture / Family / Prayer / Generosity

Our Cultural Imperatives Based on Scripture
Intentional Discipleship / Family Shepherding / Empowered Prayer

Humble Servanthood / Collective Generosity / Authentic Worship

Gospel Partnerships.

The vision of Midtown Church begins and ends with Jesus the Christ. We believe He is GOD: the resurrected Incarnation, who claimed specifically to fulfill all the old testament scriptures….Christ Jesus defines Biblical Culture.

What did Jesus say HIS followers should focus on?

Intentional Discipleship:

#1 Priority… if we do this well , everything else flow from it!

INTRO: Jesus is addressing those who did not believe He was from the Father…”for unless you believe that I am who I claim to be, you will die in your sins.” “Who are you?” they demanded. I am who I have said I am, sent from The One… Once you have lifted the Son of man on a cross then you will know that I am He and I say only what the Father taught me. And the one who sent me is with me…

Then many who heard him say these things believed in him. So He said to them:

Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” ~ John 8:31-32

  • This standard is only for believers
  • Real deal disciples of Christ are faithful to HIS teaching…(this includes the O.T)
  • You have to do things to be faithful… applying Christ’s teaching to your life
  • This should be the most important thing in our lives as Christians!
  • A life living out Christ’s teaching will lead you to the truth, and true freedom

Application: We must now Christ’s teachings and live them out (practice)

Family Shepherding:

INTRO: Jesus predicts his betrayal & basically identifies Judas as the one who will do it… He speaks of how He is going to glorify the Father & be glorified by the Father… Dear children, I will be with you only a little longer. And as I told the Jewish leaders, you will search for me, but you can’t come where I am going.”

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” ~ Jesus @ John 13:34-35

  • This is directed to ‘Dear Children’ / Disciples…
  • Love (Agape) is understood to be displayed through action (not feeling, deeds)
  • The example Jesus has given and will give them is to love sacrificially
  • Jesus’ followers loving each other as Christ loves us, will prove our allegiance

Application: We are to love and care for each other sacrificially

Empowered Prayer:

INTRO: Jesus that same night…walking through the valley…doing His vine & branches talk…The branches need to stay connected to the vine to produce fruit (kingdom stuff)

But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.” ~ Jesus @ John 15:7-8

  • To remain it is assumed you are already there (disciples)
  • ‘Pray’ basically means to ask… When we direct our requests to God = Prayer
  • Jesus says that constant connection is needed in order to get what you ask for
  • Remain in me = Connection (H.S.) My words remain in you = Bible Application
  • It is the idea that the closer to God we get the more we want what HE wants

Take delight in the Lord, and HE will give you your heart’s desires. ~ Psalm 37:4

  • Producing ‘fruit’ that God desires proves who our master is & brings HIM glory
  • A basic purpose of the New Testament Church is Glorifying God to the max!

Application: Our Prayer life must flow from our intimacy with Christ

Humble Servanthood:

INTRO: Jesus had just predicted how He would die and rise again…Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus with her sons. She knelt respectfully to ask a favor. What is your request?” he asked. She asks: “In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.”

Jesus tells them they don’t know what they ask… yes they will share in His sufferings (as all of His followers will) but the right and left hand thing is not His to decide…When the others heard this they were indignant…

But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” ~ Jesus @ Matthew 20:25-28

  • Among you = among my true followers
  • The World’s Way: Those in charge selfishly oppress those under their authority
  • Jesus’ Way: Those in charge humbly serve those under their authority
  • Jesus says among HIS disciples (The Church) Leader = Servant
  • He Says among HIS disciples (The Church) Top Dog = Slave
  • Being a servant or slave to Christ means that you’re those things to His Body
  • Christ set the example of servanthood going to the cross
  • He gave His life to ransom many..
  • Those of us who have been ransomed are servants and slaves of HIS Body

Application: We are to practice servanthood and aspire to be slaves of Christ

Collective Generosity:

INTRO: Jesus was teaching in the temple courts after arriving to Jerusalem (holy week). Jesus had just talked about how the Jewish Religious leaders were hypocrites… Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins.

Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.” ~ Jesus @ Mark 12:41-44

  • Because Jesus addressed this insight to His disciples it is for the church
  • Our giving to the local church is to be compared with giving to the ‘Temple’
  • Jesus says she gave more! (As God sees it) because of what it cost her
  • Jesus says it’s not the amount but rather the sacrifice made that matters
  • We are to be God dependent in our giving, walking by faith, not sight

Application: Giving to Christ’s body should cost us something

Authentic Worship:

INTRO: Jesus and the disciples are traveling through Samaria (not usually done). Alone sitting by a well, Jesus meets this woman… After Jesus offers her water that will permanently quench her thirst, He asks her to go bring her husband… She says: ‘I have no husband’ (implying that she is a widow). Jesus says: you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You told the truth!” (kind of a backhanded compliment), She says, “you must be a prophet… so tell me what is the deal with worship places? Jesus tells her the problem is not where you worship but what you know about who you worship, and that salvation comes from the Jews… (as in Jesus of Nazareth)

But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” ~ Jesus @ John 4:23-24

  • Jesus says: in the future, starting now… here is what is going to matter…
  • 1st Jesus say: ‘True Worshipers’… that must mean there are ‘untrue worshipers’
  • Jesus says the authenticity of our worship of God / Christ is based on 2 things
  • Understandable Knowledge & Unfathomable Mystery (Spirit & Truth)
  • There are definable, explainable facts about God (Truth)
  • And at the same time God is amorphous, intangible and metaphysical (Spirit)
  • As ‘True Worshipers’ we worship God because His Spirit is indwelling us
  • And because we belief in the truth we have about Him

Application: Our Worship should express what we know and mystery as well

Gospel Partnerships:

INTRO: So when the apostles were with Jesus, (AFTER THE RESURECTION) they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?” He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know…. BUT…

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” ~ Jesus @ Acts 1:8

  • Every person who God brings to ‘Biblical Salvation’ is indwelt with the H. S.
  • One of the things the indwelling Spirit does is to empower our witness
  • To be a witness is to provide information about what you know
  • As Christ’s followers we are to provide information to others about Jesus
  • We do that in our own spheres of influence and help others do it in theirs
  • Jesus says we are to be part of witnessing to who He is everywhere…
  • Jerusalem is where they were = Atlanta (Jerusalem = Atlanta Care Center)
  • Judea is the surrounding area = Georgia (Sumeria = GABN & WDA)
  • Ends of the earth = City of Grace in the D.R. / Stokes Family in Turkey / WDA

Application: We are to support the spread of the Gospel where ever we can

Everything in our church culture flows from the Scriptures, read as Jesus Christ’s followers have read them for 2000 years!