Lessons in Discipleship (3) دروس في التلمذة

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LID#3- The Wheel Illustration

          This is Dr. Ed Hoskins welcoming you to Lessons in Discipleship, a series designed to help new believers become established in their Christian faith.

In this session we look at living the balanced Christian life.  This is summarized in what is also called the Wheel Illustration. Before we begin, let me tell you a little about myself. I’m a retired physician. I spent 34 years in family medicine and student health.  But I became a Christian 50 years ago. I was helped early in my Christian faith by the Navigators, an international non-denominational Christian organization whose stated goal is “To Know Christ and to Make Him Known.”  I have been on associate staff with that organization since 1980.  Lessons in Discipleship is a compilation of what I learned from the Bible and under the direction of the Navigators during that time.  What I learned then I now pass on to you.  Today’s session is on Living the Balanced Christian Life.  It is summarized in the Wheel Illustration.

This illustration was first developed by the founder of the Navigators, Dawson Trotman, in the early 1920s and 1930s.  It was first  designed as a wheel with three spokes consisting of the Word, Prayer,  and Witnessing with Christ as the central hub.  Dawson Trotman’s desire was to show how to have a well-balanced Christian life.  A fourth spoke was added later which became Fellowship.  Obedience was located in the outer rim where life was lived.  And that’s where the illustration currently is.  There are three parts to any wheel. There’s the hub. That’s the very central part where all the power is concentrated.  Power comes from the motor to the drive shaft, and finally to the axle which causes the tires to rotate.

And then finally we want to get to the outer rim of the wheel. Well, it all starts in the hub. The rim is the outer part where the rubber meets the road. That’s what makes the car actually move along the ground.  But something has to connect the power in the hub to the outer rim/tire. That’s where the spokes come in.  The spokes transmit the power from the central hub to the outer rim, that makes the car go forward.

Incidentally, a wheel that fails to obey the road results in a car crash.  Now we compare all this to living the obedient Christian life.  The hub is the center of any wheel.  In the Christian’s life, Christ must be at the center. He’s our hub – the source of all our spiritual power.  The power of Christ gets transmitted through the four spokes by the Holy Spirit.

If the spokes of a wheel are unequal, the wheel is out of balance and a flat tire results. It doesn’t run smoothly.  Now let’s look at the four spokes. In our illustration there are two vertical spokes. I like to think of those in terms of our vertical relationship to God.  God speaks to us in his Word. And then we speak back to God in Prayer.  It’s a continual relationship.

Now let’s think of the horizontal spokes.  We relate to all people in the world; some are part of God’s kingdom – they are believers in Christ.  Those who don’t know Christ are not believers – they are non-Christians.  When we relate to Christians it is called Fellowship.   When we relate to those who don’t know Christ it is called Witnessing or Evangelism.  That is sharing Biblical truth with them. Here is one good Bible verse for each one of the different areas of our Christian wheel: hub, rim, and four spokes.

Christ the Center (our hub) – II Corinthians 5:17

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

Obedience to Christ (our rim) – John 14:21

“Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.  He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”

The Word (our first vertical spoke) – II Timothy 3:16

“All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”

Prayer (our second vertical spoke) – Philippians 4:6-7

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present  your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Witnessing (our first horizontal spoke) – Romans 1:16

“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.”

Fellowship (our second horizontal spoke) – Hebrews 10:24-25

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.  Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as  you see the Day approaching.”

These are some good verses.  I would encourage all of you to memorize them.  I’ve done it.  And I continue to review them.

Well, this was just a brief presentation today, but let’s summarize what we learned.  There are three parts to any wheel. There’s the hub, the source of power.  For us as Christians the source of our power is Christ.  There is the rim, that’s obedience, where the rubber meets the road, where we live out our Christian life. But what transmits the central power to allow us to be obedient are the four spokes: the Word, Prayer, Witnessing, and Fellowship.  All four spokes need to be balanced and working together to make our Christian life run smoothly.  Everything is empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Well, we will see you next time for another session of Lessons in Discipleship, when we cover getting God’s word into our lives, using the Word Hand illustration.  That wraps up this presentation. Thank you for coming and being a part.  Until next time, keep following Christ. He’s worth it.

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