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Posts Tagged ‘discipleship’

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV)

Many Christians have heard this passage referred to as the Great Commission.  It is filled with the work that Christians must do within this world to go out and make disciples.  It is oftentimes utilize to inspire us to get up and go out to spread the Word.  Yet, let us be careful to take heed of the actions that this passage requires of us.

  • Go. . . We need to see that the Lord calls us to “go” based on His authority that He speaks of in verse 18.  It is logical that we go based on His authority and lordship, but also based on His power, not our own.
  • Make. . . All of our going has an end result in mind.  All of our spreading and sharing should lead to a final objective.  Our objective is to “make disciples of all nations.”  In other words, we need to make disciples everywhere we go.
  • Baptizing. . . Baptism is a symbolic union of the believer with the Savior.  Our baptisms serve as an indication of the increase in unions that occur as we go out and do the work.  Baptizing is a sign of salvation having taken place.
  • Teaching. . . Introducing someone to Christ is only the starting point.  Once someone has accepted Christ as Savior, then he or she must be taught in the way of Christ to live for Christ and to live like Christ.

Remember, we are making disciples of the Lord.  We are not making converts to church but to Christ.  We are not making disciples of our denomination.  We are making disciples and that requires us to take action.

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Then He said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many,  and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’  But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’  And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’  Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ – Luke 14:16-20

The parable reveals how believers can make excuses about what they are not willing to do despite what the Lord is inviting them to participate in with Him.  You see, His “great feast” is by invitation only but of “those who were invited” they all made excuses.

The church resembles the world when we consider the work od the church.  We have more people sitting than serving.  He have more people taking in the Word than those taking action with the Word.  In fact, we don’t accept the world’s 80/20 principle.  In the church, we have adjusted the odds to 90/10, accepting it more as fact rather than a challenge for us to overcome with prayer, fasting, teaching, training, and mentoring.

Jesus spoke of the cost of becoming His disciple throughout this very chapter of Luke (vv. 10-11, 13, 26-27, 33).  He reminds us that our main aim in this life is to live a life of sacrifice for His sake.  We sacrifice by taking a servant’s position, seeking to satisfy others more than ourselves.  As His disciples (followers), we are to serve those who cannot pay us back just as we are debtors to the One who paid a price that we cannot pay back (Luke 14:14).  By doing so, we support others and serve the Lord by reflecting His example and meeting His expectation of us.

Since we have been called by Christ, let us not turn back or create excuses.  For every reason why we won’t or don’t do more, He hung, suffered, bled, endured and died to give us all the reason that we need not to quit or walk away from His calling on our lives.

Don’t dwell in a place of complacency or mediocrity.   Get back on track with the Lord.  Give Him all of you, all that you have to give Him since nothing was held back when He save you and I.

We have been called by the Master.  We have been called and we cannot turn back, not now and not ever.

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Do not merely listen to the word,
and so deceive yourselves.
Do what it says.

– James 1:22 (NIV)

It is probably safe to say that most of want to do what god expects of us.  We can admit that we are at least willing to try.  I think that makes some reasonable sense based on my own experience.

We don’t always do right.

We don’t necessarily do any better.

God expects us to do better.  He 3expects us to do something with His Word.  He doesn’t expect us to just take it in and let it sit within us.  He wants us working on what He has for us to do.  Otherwise, we are headed down the right right track.

Do what God says and you’ll meet His expectation for your obedience every single time.

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Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief.
When You make His soul an offering for sin,
He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.
 – Isaiah 53:10 (NKJV)

God’s people are to live in such a way that their lives please God.  God’s people are to live to please God.

It doesn’t sound like the Christianity that many of us signed up for when we walked down the aisle of our home church and accepted Christ as Lord and Savior in our lives.  It does not resemble the only-believe sermons that echoed in tent revivals throughout Middle America during the times of Progressives prior to the Industrial Revolution of America.  No, it does not even seem to resemble any of the tenets of religious righteousness that seem to make the headlines as the Religious Right.  That doesn’t sound like the normal Christian life that many pastors, evangelists and others have spread throughout the nation and the world about prosperity, being born again, and serving to be saved. No, it doesn’t sound like any of that at all.

However, that is what the Word says.  We are to live in a way that pleases God.  We are to model our lives after the service, sacrifice and suffrage of Jesus Christ.  Isaiah’s “Suffering Savior,”  the “man of sorrows,” presents us with a humble manner of submission that we can see and reflect in our own daily lives.

Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. . .

Sadly, we often interpret God’s pleasure as an image of the Heavenly Father looking down and smiling upon Jesus on the cross.  That sounds far from the accurate interpretation of the matter.  God’s pleasure in the situation is the satisfied debt of sins.  The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross satisfied the debt of sin through the Lamb of God who was “without blemish” (1 Peter 1:19, NKJV).  Therefore, Jesus submitted to God and offered Himself as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.  As John says, He serves as “the propitiation of our sins.” Read Hebrews 2:17 and 1 John 4:10 about His sacrifice for our sins.

He paid a debt that we could never repay on our own.  He had to serve as the propitiation of our sins in order to satisfy the debt that we could never repay ourselves.  As Paul wrote, salvation is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8).  He stepped up and stood in for us, only to sacrifice all and suffer for our sakes.

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

1 John 5:2-4 (NKJV)

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. – Philippians 2:5 (NKJV)

We need to reflect Christ’s sacrificial living.  Paul stated that we should have the mind of Christ.  Peter said that we should suffer just as Christ suffered.  James, the brother of the Lord, said that we should embrace being tested and tried.  We are to live in a manner that satisfies God.  We are to please God.

Our daily lives are to please God.  Let not Christ’s suffering and sacrifice appear to be in vain.  Do not disregard the cost of salvation.  God did not hold back.  He offered His best.  We, too, are called to offer our best.  God offered His best in Jesus Christ.  God expects us to offer our best by following the example of Jesus Christ.

Live to please God.  Live a repentant and revived life.  Live a renewed life as a new creation in Christ Jesus.

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. – Hebrews 11:6 (KJV)

The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy. – Psalm 147:11 (KJV)

“It is the quality of our work which will please God and not the quantity.”
-Mahatma Gandhi (Gandhi quotes)

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 But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.
  -Titus 2:1 (ESV)

There is nothing that comes naturally to us in this new life.  Our rebirth as children of God leads us to enter into a new life with a blank slate.  We are to put off the old man who has lived within us for so long, so that we may put on the new man who is to be developed and nurtured within us as new creations in Christ.

Sometimes it works.  At other times, it just doesn’t work.  We fail when we fail to rely upon the Holy Spirit.  We tend to not mature as steadily when we focus more on what we will get out of it or gain from it rather than simply submitting to the will of the Spirit.  We lose out when we lose sight of the unveiled mysteries that God has revealed to us through His Word and by His Holy Spirit.

Paul admonishes Titus to teach what is “sound doctrine.” In doing so, he shares with Titus how to lead multiple generations in ministry.  He offers a strategy for incorporating the people by empowering his people to teach one another in the Christian life.

Titus is to “exhort and rebuke with all authority”(Titus 2:15 ESV).  He, as the pastor and spiritual leader of the church, is to lead, guide, direct and provide the means for the older men to minister and mentor the younger men as well as the older women to do the same for the younger women.  In essence, according to Paul’s instructions to Titus, everyone has a role to play within the ministry of the church, ministering to each other in unity.

Read Titus 2 in its entirety.  Read through it, then study it.  See what God asks of us as believers when it comes to ministering to one another.  Pray over it.  Subject yourself to pastoral authority for the good of all concerned.  Do not simply go along to get along.  Give of yourself, sharing your experiences and lessons learned.  Let God use you to minister to your brothers and sisters so that the entire body of Christ will be strengthened in “sound doctrine.”

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Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him.- Psalm 115;3 (NIV)

The LORD does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths.
– Psalm 135:6 (NIV)

God can do whatever He wants to do.  In theological terms, it is called His sovereignty.  In other words, He is God and answers to no one except Himself.  He is God alone, answering to no one.

Since God is sovereign, we can be assured that God can also use whomever He decides to use.  He used a stuttering murderer to deliver His people out of Egypt.  He used a young man to serve as His prophet to His people.  He used a shepherd boy to demonstrate how to be a man after God’s own heart.  He used a poor young woman to bring the manifestation of the Messiah into the world.  He used a religious zealot to spread the gospel to Gentiles throughout the world.

He uses whomever He chooses to use.  He can use you, too.  Don’t overlook what God can do and how He can do it to bring Himself glory.

Look at this story below to just how God can use anyone or anything.

21Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab. 22But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the Lord stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. 23When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, she turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat her to get her back on the road.

24Then the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path between two vineyards, with walls on both sides. 25When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it. So he beat her again.

26Then the angel of the Lord moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left. 27When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat her with his staff. 28Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?”

29Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.”

30The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?”

“No,” he said.

31Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown.

32The angel of the Lord asked him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me.c 33The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If she had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared her.”

34Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, “I have sinned. I did not realize you were standing in the road to oppose me. Now if you are displeased, I will go back.”

35The angel of the Lord said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but speak only what I tell you.” So Balaam went with the princes of Balak.

– Numbers 22:21-35 (NIV)

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“More people are coming to Christ now than at any other time in history.” – Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Church

The church has a real responsibility.  It is revealed in the Word of God.  It is real work.  It amounts to the work of people.  People make up the church.  Therefore, the work of the church has plenty to do with the people who come into the church and are touched by the church.

The church has a responsibility to the Lord for how it handles people.  Its ultimate responsibility is to answer to the Lord and His commands of them.  It represents the Lord on this earth.  Its works shed light into the darkness of this world and offers mankind a reason to glorify God the Father in heaven.

The church is called to reach people.  We reach people with people and through people.  We do the work that touches people and impact lives on this side of heaven.

The church is called to receive people.  The Lord adds to the church.  That part is on Him, but we have a responsibility, too.  We are to serve as wise stewards over what He provides for us.  We need to handle what (and who) God gives to us in a manner that blesses God.

“Jesus commanded us to make disciples.” – Ted Haggard

“People need to feel needed.” – Myron Rush

“God has ordained the church as a place of truth.” – Bob Russell

“Ministry is a marathon.” – Rick Warren

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