Text: 1 John 2:4-6

Text: 1 John 2:4-6 – To know that we are in Christ

4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

Introduction: Each person here in this church has a future destiny, either heaven or hell. The evidence that you’ll be in heaven is if you are a child of God, or in another term, a Sheep of the Good Shepherd Jesus Christ. My question for you today is, “Are you a sheep or a goat?” We will go back to this later.

God’s Will is for us to be like Christ (1 John 2:4-6):

Many think that it is okay to remain a “baby Christian” for their whole lifetime. Spiritual growth by conforming to the likeness of Christ is not an optional extra for Christians. Growth is the evidence of life. If a tree is alive, it grows. If an animal is alive, it grows. If a Christian is spiritually, he or she must grow. If there is an absence of growth, then you are dead. “Being alive means growing, and growing means increasing and advancing.” 2 Corinthians 10:15; Eph 4:15; Col 1:10; 1 Thess 1:3; 1 Peter 2:2.

The way that led to the cross. Believers need not and cannot repeat Christ’s unique saving death, but they can mirror his faith, love, piety, obedience, and self-sacrifice, and this pattern of life will give greater assurance “that we are in him”

God’s Plan is for us to belong in Church Discipleship (Matthew 28:19-20):

The problem today is that churches are busier with church activities and fellowship without any emphasis on disciple-making. Dietrich Bonhoeffer—a Christian martyr during the Nazi period—said that a church without discipleship is problematic; it expresses cheap grace.

Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession.

Discipleship means adherence to Christ and imitating Christ (Ephesians 5:1). Discipleship is not just another department in the church. Everyone is called to disciple someone.  “We treat the church as a welcoming TV show instead of a family that you are a part of.” – JD Greear

Meaning of “Disciple,” Greek translation μαθητεύω (mathéteuó) – 250 times, means to be the student or follower of someone (Christ); to follow his precepts and instruction; to be like the teacher. (Luke 6:40)

What is discipleship? The goal is to lead others to be like Christ. Why? Christ commanded us to go and make disciples. However, our mistake is that we make it “coming” instead of “going” (Matt. 28:19-20). We need to meet where people are. Another mistake is that we professionalize it. We only let church leaders or gifted people do discipleship. How did Paul discipled Timothy (2 Timothy 3:10-11)? How did Jesus disciple the Twelve Apostles? The answer is holistic—heart, mind, physical, and spiritual. In today’s terms, it is called mentoring.

God’s Desire is for us to be part of His Flock, His sheep: John 10:25-27, Sheep illustration:

25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

By doing so, God separates us from the goats (Matthew 25:31-33). Explain why they are being separated.

  • Full of pride
  • Unforgiving and Unrighteous
  • Zero Evangelism
  • Despises Discipleship

Conclusion: Show the Video about Sheep being called by the Shepherd. Go back to the Introduction.


Pastor John Paul Arceno

UCBC New Jersey
August 6, 2023



Text: Colossians 1:24-29

Context: Paul wrote this letter to the Colossian church. Colossae is in the southwest of modern-day Turkey. Paul was writing the letter as a prisoner (house arrest) in Rome. He did not church plant the church in Colossae; it was Epaphras who planted the church there. In Paul’s third missionary journey, he stayed in Ephesus for three years, and it was there that Epaphras (Epaphroditus) heard about the gospel and was discipled by Paul. In return, when Paul was imprisoned, Epaphras assisted him and told him about the updates in Colossae. Though everyone seems to be growing in their church, it is sad that false teaching is creeping into their community and households. Hence, Paul writes a letter to equip them.

  • Verses 24-25 speak about the suffering of Paul every time he proclaims the gospel of Christ.
  • Verses 26-27 The mystery of the gospel is that the Good News is not only for the Jews but also for all people, the Gentiles. Take note that Colossae is outside the region of Israel but most likely has a strong population of Jewish people.

Two Kinds of Revelation:

    • General/ Natural – human conscience, nature/ creation, morality, and common grace
    • Special – the Living Word (Jesus) through the Written Word (Bible) – salvific in nature

Paul’s Dream/ Goal for the Colossian Christians: “perfect/ complete/ mature” (Colossians 4:12)
Paul’s prayer to the church is to “be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him” (1:9-10)

  • Verse 28 It was not enough for Paul to see people make a profession of faith in Christ, as important as this is. Teleios could be translated as “perfect,” but full perfection will be attained only when Christ returns and believers are fully transformed. Until that time, the maturity Christians are to seek stands in contrast with the immaturity of infancy (cf. Eph. 4:14). Paul ministers so that every person will be complete in Christ.
  • Verse 29 Paul struggles—with all his energy—to help Christians grow and mature in Christ.

Three Dreams of UCBC:

  1. UCBC’s growth and maturity in Christ
  2.  Develop mature youth and YAs
  3. Everyone learns how to disciple
  • Verse 7 – “learn” [manthanō] links to “disciple” [mathētēs]; more than merely listening to a simple gospel presentation, Paul makes it clear that the gospel involves systematic instruction in the faith and in how to live as a Christian.

Conclusion: We Have a Dream

We have a dream that one day, we will see everyone forgiving one another.
A day when everyone is busy with discipling over watching movies.
A day of being busy reaching out to others for Christ over busy reaching the American dream.
A day when our kids, our youth, are passionately studying the Word of God over getting exhausted playing games and entertaining themselves.
A day when we can encourage one another, pray for one another, and live out the Christian walk over dealing with some petty issues of disagreements and conflicts.
I pray for this dream that everyone will grow and mature in Christ.


Rev. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
July 30, 2023


References: ESV Study Bible; Photo by Gelgas Airlangga: https://www.pexels.com/photo/shallow-focus-of-sprout-401213/