Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Disciple Making the Right Way

Matthew 28:19-20 is often called “the Great Commission”.  In these verses the Risen Christ tells his disciples:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

While English translations can give the impression that the command is to “go” the word translated go is actually a passive participle.  While a little clunky in English, the translation “As you are going…” gives the sense of the Greek –while we move along the Lord’s paths for us we are to be doing something.

The imperative comes next: They are commanded to “make disciples.” this is quite different than making converts.  It meant to teach, coach and mentor people in the ways and thinking of another – in this case: The ways of Jesus Christ!  Discipleship meant more than a transfer of information, it was knowledge demonstrated in the life of the disciple or learner.

This verse is clear – the focus is not on the “going” but the “making of disciples” and there is not one person on earth who is excluded from the potential for Biblical discipleship.  Believer’s today are playing the key roles in this very mission of making Disciples for Jesus.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Loving Evangelism

When separated from his beloved friends in Thessalonica Paul remembered their time together with these words:

“So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our lives, because you had become dear to us.” 1 Thessalonians 2:9

Philippians 2 sights negative motivations with which one may preach Christ: selfish ambition, envy, strife, or in pretense.  However, godly motivation for sharing the gospel is God’s love within the believer.  We are not to be motivated by guilt, or obligation.  Neither are we to be motivated by the desire of putting another notch on our belt.  The correct motivation for sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ is the genuine desire that another person may know the hope, joy, peace, freedom and forgiveness of salvation in Christ.  If this love is motivating us we will, like Paul and his band of ministers, give the gospel with our words and our genuine actions of tender care – desiring that they would ultimately come to know Him. If this love is not currently motivating you to share Christ with others – think more often upon the amazing love which God has poured out upon you in Christ. 

The more you rest in His love for you
The more though you His love will do…

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Heed His Word!

There are books, movies and seminars beyond counting that try to tell us how to live a good life. One saint asked this question in the Bible as recorded in Psalm 119:9 asking:

How can a young man cleanse his way?

The answer is immediately supplied:

            By taking heed according to your Word.

This whole answer is expressed in two simple Hebrew words:

לִשְׁמֹר כִּדְבָרֶֽךָ

Lee-sh’mor ki-dvarecha

The first word combines the word for listen with the prefix lamed which means “to or toward” in Hebrew to listen is to heed or obey – to disobey is not to listen.
The second word is the word for “word” with a prefix that in this case means “according to” and the suffix “cha” makes it a second person possessive.  -that is YOUR word. In this case referring to God’s word.
These two Hebrew words are all the advice we need to find the direction for our every path

Lee-sh’more ki-dvarecha – Heed God’s word!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Restoration Equation

What do I do if I notice my brother or sister in Christ is struggling with sin? Gossip? Judge? Separate?

In Galatians 6:1 we get God’s word on the matter:
     Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass,
     you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness,
     considering yourself lest you also be tempted.
Galatians 6:1 NKJV

The word “overtaken” translates the Greek word προλαμβάνω - taken by surprise.  Your brother has been ambushed by sin!  This verse tells us who should act: The believer who is Spiritual.  That is, the one walking in reliance upon the Holy Spirit as described in Galatians 5:16-26.  The goal is restoration.  This is patiently and supportively leading him to fellowship with Christ.  In a spirit of gentleness.  We think of gentleness when handling a delicate flower.  While we may have the strength to crush the flower, that strength is restrained to preserve it.  Finally, Humility is vital as any believer who takes their eyes off Christ is vulnerable.  This humility guards everyone from further harm.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Friendship is a Special Blessing

Friendship is one of the greatest joys life has to offer.  Ecclesiastes 4 extols the many benefits of friendship:

9Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
10For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
11Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
12Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

That’s right.  Higher productivity, help up when we fall, warmth from the cold and strength against adversaries are all benefits of God’s amazing gift of friendship.  But what makes a great friendship?  Looks, habits, or proximity? Amos hits the nail on the head when he asks:

Can two walk together, unless they are agreed? (Amos 3:3)

Clearly a true eternal friendship is built upon the shared identity of two people who are progressing in their walk with Jesus Christ.  Perhaps that is why Paul equates faith and love for the saints in Ephesians 1:15.  Take a moment today and express your gratitude for the friends who draw you closer to Christ.

...As Christ Forgave You

Ephesians 4:32 gives direction for the body of Christ.

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

 “be” translates the Greek word ginomai and is in the Present tense, middle voice, and imperative mood.  Present tense means that this is for right now.  Middle voice means that the subject is intensely involved in the action and the imperative mood means that this is not optional.

Three things are commanded here:

   To be kind – This is too be benevolent in attitude and action
   To be tenderhearted – the saint in fellowship with Christ will be compassionate
   Forgiving one another – In the Church there will be offenses given – some on purpose and some    unintentionally.  

Believers are not perfect and the instruction here is to be in the regular habit of forgiveness.  A standard is put forth:

“As God in Christ forgave you.”

God’s forgiveness in Christ is perfect and complete.  He took our sins (past, present and future) upon Himself and has permanently, positionally forgiven us at His own expense.

This kind of love is only available to believers from the source – this is not contrived.  We are to abide in Christ and see his kindness, his tenderheartedness and His forgiveness flow forth in our lives.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A Growing Faith

Famed evangelist D.L. Moody once said: “I prayed for faith and thought that some day faith would come down and strike me like lightning. But faith did not seem to come. One day I read in the tenth chapter of Romans, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” I had up to this time closed my Bible and prayed for faith. I now opened my Bible and began to study, and faith has been growing ever since.”

This may sound like a mystical miracle, but the process is simple.  Faith is trust or belief in something.  Faith can be placed in a person, an object or an idea.  God has given us the ability to choose where we will place our faith.  It is easy to trust in an old friend because you know his faithfulness.  It is in the Word of God that we see why God is worthy of our trust and our faith grows naturally.  We see God’s character, His plan, and His power and our natural inclination to trust Him increases. 

If you would see your faith to grow,
It’s to the Bible you must go!