Sermon: Healthy Family – the Call to Discipleship

(Due to technical issues the sound quality of this recording is less clear than usually – our apologies!)

Talk by Ian Jennings at our 10.30am service on Sunday, 26th January 2020.

This sermon is based on Matthew 4.12-23.

Here are the notes from the front page of our news sheet:


Ian Jennings

At St Mary’s we are currently looking at the subject of Building a Healthy Church Family. The early followers of Jesus were quick to respond to his call and to embark upon the adventure of discipleship. The subtitle of Alison Morgan’s latest book is, “the Plural of Disciple is Church.” We are in this together; a community of disciples; sharing in the glorious adventure of following Jesus.

I am very unhappy with the ‘pew fodder’ concept of Church life. Andrew Roberts says we sometimes reduce the adventure of discipleship to ‘turning up, shutting up and paying up.’ That is a dull and deadly vision of church and one that is essentially unhealthy. True discipleship is never dull. As a church we need to be Kingdom-focused, and actively engaged in the service of the King. There is an urgency in this call in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark. The word, ‘immediately’ crops up. Jesus said ‘follow me’ and ‘immediately they left their nets and followed him.’

True disciples do not graduate from arm chairs! Only doing does it! And not doing does not do it! We may feel inadequate and hesitant and inclined to say, ‘I haven’t got what it takes!’ The good news is that God has got what it takes and is ready to empower us with his Spirit. It is true to say, ‘what I give he takes and what he takes he cleanses and what he cleanses he fills and what he fills he uses.’

Let us respond wholeheartedly to the urgent call of discipleship as we move forward into 2020.

“I have grown up believing in God and I believe that being an England international and a lawyer has not just happened by accident. I am a person who has a relationship with God, and it’s a very active one. So whether I’m having my breakfast, driving, stood on the pitch or about to take a penalty, I will be praying, or in my mind speaking to God.”

Eniola Aluko, former professional footballer with 102 caps for England’s women’s team

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