Scavenger Hunt Challenge, Part 2…

In the previous article, we argued that many churches that claim to teach the Bible are not actually teaching some of the most important spiritual truths that the Bible teaches. The most important of these truths that they are not teaching is that the end goal of the Gospel is that men bring glory to God by being re-conformed to the image of God that they were originally created to be.
 
Scripture teaches:
 
“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
 
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24).
 
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children” (Ephesians 5:1).
 
“You have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (Colossians 3:9-10).
 
We also demonstrated that many great men of the church such as Ignatius, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Clement, Athanasius of Alexandria, Gregory of Nyssa, John Chrysostom, Augustine of Hippo, Basil of Caesarea, John Calvin, John Wesley, A.W. Tozer, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and C.S. Lewis (among others) all argued this same point.
 
We also argued that the goal of men being re-conformed to the image of God is accomplished by men imitating Jesus (who is the perfect image of God) as His disciples; through the supernatural empowerment and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. And again, this is clearly taught in the Bible:
 
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters” (Romans 8:28-29).
 
“Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).
 
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
 
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20).
 
“You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 1:6).
 
“This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did” (1 John 2:5-6).
 
We also argued that there are examples out there that teach these ideas implicitly or in passing, and you may find those; but that there aren’t really any teaching these two ideas explicitly.
 
Our theory is that these two principles answer the ultimate question of “why” we should make disciples of Jesus. Therefore, if we are not teaching these two principles to the members of our churches, then we are telling them to make disciples of Jesus without telling them ultimate “why” they should do so. As a result, they are confused and frustrated as to why it is so important that they should be willing to make drastic changes in their church in order to be and make disciples of Jesus.
 
We didn’t really have anyone take us up on the scavenger hunt challenge, so I thought we might post some of the implicit examples out there just to give an idea of what we are referring to. Notice that none of these examples tells the complete story; but that you can piece it together from putting them all together.
 
“I have uncovered so many areas of my life that still need to be redeemed by God’s grace, so many places where God still needs to remake me into his image. […] If I am willing, Jesus will use schooling at home to make me more like him.”
 
 
“God’s end goal for us isn’t to make us comfortable in the same way that He isn’t promising us a life of physical ease and tranquility. His end goal for us is to become like Him and become sanctified by His word.”
 
 
“Scripture is clear that Christianity is not merely about believing the right things; it’s also about placing faith in and following the right person (Rom. 10:5–13). But to follow him we must know whose image we’re being conformed to (Rom. 8:29). […] If the church is to not only retain its members but also disciple them in everything Jesus commanded (Matt. 28:20), we must invite our members outside of their individual ‘spiritual journeys’ and into the thrilling story of orthodoxy, where God is recreating and consecrating an entire people.”
 
 
“’Be imitators of me as I am of Christ.’ Paul is saying, ‘I’m following Christ and so, follow my lead and we’ll be pressing in to Christ. We’re becoming more and more like Christ.’ And this is how we should live! […] We’re intended to live in such a way that we are pointing people to Christ with our lives. Our live are worthy of imitation. That’s what making disciples is all about. We’re making disciples of Jesus who, when they look at our lives, they’re becoming more like Jesus. When they listen to our words, they’re learning the words of Jesus. That what it means to make disciples.”
 
 
“The process is intended to be repeated and ongoing. It is a lifetime of followership to the ways of Jesus, mimicking his pattern and priorities to make disciples in ordinary rhythms of life. ‘Disciple’ becomes an action, a way of life.”
 
 
“The personal side of the Scriptural Story shows up in how the gospel alters our life story. When we trust in Christ, the new story begins, a narrative in which we are gradually being remade into the image of Jesus. It is a story of becoming like Christ. This is the personal side of the gospel—that Christ died for you and me personally, and that God has promised to make us more and more like our Savior.”
 
 
“Jesus sits on that throne today. I relinquished my life to him. Each day, as I am guided by the Holy Spirit, I am continually reminded it is Christ who rules and not me. Prison gave me the opportunity to grow in Christ and to finally become the person God wanted me to be.”
 
 
“Change may be slow. But God will use our children to make us more like Jesus.”
 
 
“Jesus is the focus. Teaching is the task. Maturity is our goal. God’s Spirit is the life changer. We’re here to do something: to help people make progress toward Christ and to multiply.”
 
 
“The Creator who made us in his image for his glory knows more about what makes us flourish than we do. Obedience is not just about saying no to ourselves. It’s about saying yes to the freedom of living according to God’s good design.”
 
 
“The disciples were first called into a disciple making relationship with Jesus. The Jewish practice of a rabbi selecting disciples was for the purpose of the disciple becoming just like the rabbi…and then to become a rabbi who would then teach other disciples. Become like the Rabbi Jesus first, then take on His mission of making other disciples. […] It sounds simple, but perhaps it was meant to be; Jesus’ full humanity allows us to see that we are to become just like Jesus. He is our model, His mission is to be our mission, His methods are to be our methods.”
 
 
“What can we do to reimagine our life story in a way that emphasizes growth in Christlikeness, not our involvement in political successes or failures, career progression, or entertainment? […] You want the Scriptural Story of the world and the Christlikeness of your character to be at the forefront of your attention.”
 
 
“As Christians, we can find significance in our suffering because we know the story of the world climaxes with the suffering of the Son of God, because we have hope in the future restoration that has been promised upon his return, and because we know that suffering provides an opportunity to grow in Christlikeness.”
 
 
“The gospel alters our life story. When we trust in Christ, the new story begins, a narrative in which we are gradually being remade into the image of Jesus. It is a story of becoming like Christ. This is the personal side of the gospel—that Christ died for you and me personally, and that God has promised to make us more and more like our Savior.”
 
 
“The life of the Christian is based on and modeled after that of Jesus Christ. […] Christ is saying not merely that we should model our lives after his life but that it must be so modeled and will be if we are genuine believers.”
 
 
“Choosing to do a handful of these good things doesn’t make you a disciple of Jesus Christ; knowing Jesus, being the person Jesus calls you to be, and living in obedience to His commands is what makes you a disciple of Christ.”
 
 
“Jesus, the perfect image of God and the perfect human being, shows us that a fully human life must include suffering, and that we can only become the man or woman God intends us to be through suffering. […] Suffering is not just something that happened to Jesus; suffering is integral to who he is. So, if we would come to know him, experientially, we must follow him down the path he walked (Phil. 3:10).”
 
 
“We, the people of God rescued by his Son, who took on flesh and blood like us, are the ones who have the treasured privilege of testifying to this truth and demonstrating it in how we treat every other human being: Every human being, no matter his or her ethnicity, ability, condition, or age, is made in the image of God and should be treated with the dignity that truth demands.”
 
 
“We are called to be imitators of Jesus in everything we do, in every encounter we face, and to every person we are acquainted with. […] Being imitators requires digging into God’s Word and seeking His ways. Think about the problems you face. I realize that my problems usually weren’t actually the problem. Rather, my real problem was the way I was responding to situations apart from engaging what Jesus would do (or did) in my situation. Jesus’ life exhibits constantly how His followers should act and react. […] It’s impossible, Paul seemed to be saying, to be a follower of Christ and not an imitator of Christ. It’s almost like he’s saying, ‘Asking yourself, What would Jesus do during every situation you face.’”
 
 
“After all, the goal is for them, in turn, to be able to do for others what you’re doing for them—walking with them as they become more Christlike and mature in the faith.”
 
 
“God the Father has one primary purpose for the believer’s life: ‘to be conformed to the image of his Son’ (Romans 8:29). It is the will of God to have the Spirit of God use the word of God to make the children of God look like the Son of God. The fruit of the Spirit is the work of sanctification by which God the Father shapes your life into the character of Jesus Christ.”
 
 
“God’s goal is that we would grow in Christlikeness—so that each day we look a little more like Jesus and a little less like ourselves.”
 
 
“Born image-bearers in Adam’s likeness, we bear the image of ‘the man of heaven’ through faith in Christ (15:49). We were like Adam, but by God’s grace, the Spirit is remaking us in the image of Christ (15:49). […] In Adam we’re fully human, but we’re not truly human. In Christ we become truly human, for we’re remade in the image of the true man from one degree of glory to another. […] We say what the Scripture plainly teaches us, and confess these ancient truths: God is not dead; all mankind is the image of God; yet we must be remade by gospel grace in Christ’s image. This doctrine—and no other—reenchants our humanity.”
 
 
“If you’re a Christian, you’re supposed to be a disciple. The longer you follow Jesus, the more your life should look like his. And, as you become more like Jesus, you should bring others along, showing them what it looks like to imitate Jesus. This isn’t optional. It’s not for the Jesus freaks. It’s for everyone who bears the name Christian.”
 
 
“Believing that we experience God in the flesh, incarnate in life, we can acknowledge that God speaks to us through the other. We, therefore, need to listen for God’s voice in the other, who is created in the image of God.”
 
 
 
So, why not simply put it all together and teach it all at once so that people can understand it and therefore act upon it?
 
The end goal of the Gospel is that men bring glory to God by being re-conformed to the image of God that they were originally created to be. The goal of men being re-conformed to the image of God is accomplished by men imitating Jesus (who is the perfect image of God) as His disciples; through the supernatural empowerment and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit.
 
Why is that so hard?
 
Why not just teach straightforward what the Bible teaches straightforward?
 
 
 
For more information on why it is so important to imitate and obey Jesus as His disciple, start here and follow the links the end of each article: