20 Comments

On the Christian Message

Quotes

Christians proclaim the unthinkable. We believe that God became a man, the man Jesus Christ.God, who cannot suffer and die, becomes a man so that he can do the incomprehensible: the God-man dies.

In his Son Jesus Christ, the God of life and holiness faces the reality of death and sin.

What kind of God are we talking about here? He becomes a man not merely so that we might better understand his teachings, but that he might bring reconciliation. He dies that he might overcome sin and death.

Question for Reflection

  1. Do you see just how scandalous God’s love is for His people?

Resources

Kelly Kapic, God So Loved, He Gave71.

Image

2 Comments

How Do We Make Disciples?

Disciples

A lot of folks think making disciples is a complicated and difficult task. One that requires a lot of training and time. But that is not true. Training is helpful, but you don’t have to have a PHD in Biblical Studies to start making disciples. Jesus didn’t set it up that way. Instead Jesus gave us an easy to follow three-step method to making disciples. What are those steps?

(1) We are to go

In verse 19 of Matthew 28, Jesus says,

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,” (Mt 28:19a)

We aren’t to sit stagnant. We aren’t to just let folks come to us. Instead we are to go. We are to go and find folks to tell the good news.

When Jesus tells us to go, He doesn’t just mean for us to go on a mission trip, or go and be a missionary in another country. Those things are necessary and we should do them, but that is not all of what Jesus means when He tells us to go. Instead He means that we are to make disciples as we are going about our day. So whether we are living Africa, China, or Decatur, we are to make disciples, as we are going about our day.

So the first thing Jesus tells us that we are to do is — Go — to go to our communities and the world with the intention of spreading the gospel and making disciples.

(2) We are to Baptize those who believe the gospel

Look what Jesus says in the remainder of verse 19,

 “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” (Mt 28:19a)

I believe Jesus’ second step to making disciples give us hope, because as we are going, as we are sharing the gospel with others in our life, as we take trips to other countries, people will believe the message we are sharing with them.

When they do that — when they believe — Jesus tells us we are to baptize them.

Now, you have to know that Jesus doesn’t tell us to do that because baptism saves them. Instead, He tells us to baptize because Baptism shows a person’s commitment to God. It shows that they are aligning themselves with Jesus. We don’t baptize folks in order to save them, or to complete the salvation process.

We baptize people because it is an outward expression of an inward reality.

So that is the second thing we are to do — Baptize those who believe the gospel.

(3) We are to teach those who believe the gospel to obey all God’s has commanded in His Word

Look at the beginning of verse 20,

teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”” (Mt 28:20a)

Jesus’ command doesn’t just apply to Pastors. It applies to every disciple, all believers are to teach others to obey all God has commanded in His Word.

Teaching people God’s Word might occur in a formal setting like a church service or a Bible study, or it might occur in some other way. The point being you don’t have to be an official teacher to teach.

You can teach in a number of ways:

  • Most of us have families that we can teach. Again, that doesn’t mean we have to prepare a formal Bible Study. All we really need to do is sit down and read the Bible together, or share what God is teaching us, or share what we read in God’s Word that morning.
  • Participate in a men’s Bible study. My church has one every Friday morning. We meet at IHOP and discuss one chapter in God’s Word.
  • Participate in a Women’s group. We also have a Bible study for women similar to the men’s breakfast, but it is more missions focused. They do missions work in the community.
  • Disciple new believers. This can be done by getting together with a new believer and answering their questions about God’s Word.
  • Joining in on the discussion in Sunday School class, Community Groups, or Bible study.
  • Everyday conversations. Talking to people throughout your day about God’s Word and what you have learned is another good way to make disciples.

As you can see there are a number of ways we can teach and help others grow into fully mature disciples of Jesus, we just need to do it.

So that is the last thing we are to do — teach others to obey all Jesus has commanded.

Question for Reflection

  1. What part of making disciples do you find to be the hardest?

Resource

Image

Post adapted from the sermon: Disciples Make Disciples

Leave a comment

The Gospel and the Christian Life – Part 7

The Gospel and the Christian Life

Over the next several weeks we are going to follow the story line of Scripture from Creation to Jesus’ return in an effort to deepen our understanding of the Gospel and how Christians are to live after they have professed Christ as Lord and Savior. (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6)

Did you know Jesus is coming back?

The story wouldn’t be complete if everything that was destroyed by sin wasn’t made new.

At the return of Jesus Christ, all creation will be restored (Is 65; Daniel 9; Rev 21-22). The world will be recreated and man’s relationship with God will be restored. As well as our relationship with each other will be perfect, and God and man’s relationship with creation will be redeemed and made right as well (Isa. 65).

Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection from the dead accomplished much more than giving us eternal life; it redeems all creation, so that man and creation are able to accomplish their God-given purpose, which is to glorify God (Ps. 86:9; Isa. 60:21; Rom. 11:36; 1 Cor. 6:20; 10:31; Rev. 4:11).

So while Adam and Eve’s rebellion in the garden plunged the world into sin, Jesus Christ will pull it out of sin and restore everything to its original state when He returns. Heaven then isn’t a city in the sky where we float on soft pillowy clouds for all eternity. Instead, heaven will consist of a recreated world where we will all live in perfect harmony with God, each other, and God’s creation.

Reflect

  1. Where in God’s Word does it talk about God’s New Creation (Is 65; Daniel 9; Rev 21-22)? Read those chapters now. As you do, imagine what a perfect world will be like.
  2. Who will be able to enjoy God’s new creation?
  3. What is our God given purpose?
  4. How can you glorify God with your life?

Resources

Image

Some posts’ structure influenced by Big Truths for Young Hearts by Bruce Ware

3 Comments

What is a Disciple?

Disciples

Since the beginning of the year, I have been participating in a discipleship process with Gerry Lewis from the Harvest Baptist Association – Dangerous Pastors. Part of the process was to come up with a definition of a disciples. For the last nine months or so I have been thinking about my definition. What I have come to is that:

A disciple is someone who follows Jesus in loving God, loving others, serving the world, spreading the gospel, and bringing others along to do the same.

I believe Scripture supports this definition. So let’s break that definition down using God’s Word.

A Disciple is Someone Who Follows Jesus in Loving God.

We see evidence that this is what a disciples does in Matthew 22. If you remember, a lawyer, one of the Pharisees, comes to Jesus to test Him.

In verse 36 he says,

““Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” (Mt 22:36)

To which Jesus replies,

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.” (Mt 22:37–38)

So Jesus tells us that a disciple is someone who loves God.

A Disciple is Someone Who Follows Jesus  in Loving Others

The second thing Jesus says to the lawyer who questions Him in chapter 22 is:

You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mt 22:39)

Which is the second greatest commandment. Then He goes on by saying,

On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”” (Mt 22:40)

So according to Jesus, a disciple is someone who not only loves God, but also loves others.

A Disciple is Someone Who Follows Jesus  in Serving the World

In Matthew chapter 20, the mother of the sons of Zebedee come to Jesus asking if her sons could be placed over everyone else in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus responds by telling her He can’t do that because it is up to His Father who gets those seats.

Hearing this, the other disciples get mad at the two brothers for trying to edge them out, for trying to use their mom to get a position they wanted, so a fight ensues among the disciples.

Seeing His disciples fighting, Jesus steps in and says,

You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”” (Mt 20:25–28)

So Jesus tells us a disciple is one who serves, just like He is one who serves, which means it shouldn’t be about us and our comfort. Rather it should be about others and what we can do for them. How we can serve them.

So according to Jesus, a disciple is not only someone who loves God and others, but they are also someone who serves the world.

A Disciple is Someone Who Follows Jesus in Spreading the Gospel

Matthew 28 tells us we are to go and spread the gospel, to bring the good news to our neighbors, to our family, to our friends, to our co-workers, to city, to our state, to our country, and to the nations. Jesus is commanding us, He is commissioning us, to spread the good news just as He has been doing throughout His entire ministry.

So according to Jesus, a disciple is not only someone who loves God and others, serves the world, but they are also someone who spreads the gospel.

A Disciple is Someone Who Follows Jesus in Bringing Others Along

If you think about it, that is what Jesus has been doing throughout His entire ministry. Almost right away, He called Twelve Men to follow Him, and He brought them along on the journey with Him. As He did, He taught them what it meant to Love God, Love Others, Serve the World, and Spread the Gospel.

We are to imitate Jesus. We are to bring others along on the journey with us to help them grow in these areas as we are growing in these areas.

So according to Jesus, a disciple is not only someone who loves God and others, serves the world,  spreads the gospel, but they also bring others along to do the same thing they are doing — Loving God, Loving Others, Serving the World, and Spreading the Gospel.

Question for Reflection

  1. What is your definition of a disciple?

Resources

Image

Leave a comment

Where Do We Find Wisdom?

Consumer Shopping

Man is always searching. Searching for happiness, understanding, knowledge, wisdom. Sadly, for most, their search will never end. That’s because they are looking in the wrong place – the world. You see, the things of this world can’t provide us with ultimate satisfaction, understanding, knowledge, or wisdom.

Job Speaks Up

Thankfully, someone who understands that speaks up and tells us that this world can’t provide what we seek.

““Man puts his hand to the flinty rock and overturns mountains by the roots. He cuts out channels in the rocks, and his eye sees every precious thing. He dams up the streams so that they do not trickle, and the thing that is hidden he brings out to light.” (Job 28:9-11)

Where Do We Find Wisdom?

“But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? Man does not know its worth, and it is not found in the land of the living. The deep says, ‘It is not in me,’ and the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’ It cannot be bought for gold, and silver cannot be weighed as its price. It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir, in precious onyx or sapphire. Gold and glass cannot equal it, nor can it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold. No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal; the price of wisdom is above pearls. The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it, nor can it be valued in pure gold.

“From where, then, does wisdom come? And where is the place of understanding? It is hidden from the eyes of all living and concealed from the birds of the air. Abaddon and Death say, ‘We have heard a rumor of it with our ears.’

“God understands the way to it, and he knows its place. For he looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens. When he gave to the wind its weight and apportioned the waters by measure, when he made a decree for the rain and a way for the lightning of the thunder, then he saw it and declared it; he established it, and searched it out. And he said to man, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.’ ”” (Job 28:12–28)

According to Job, we can’t find wisdom in this world. Wisdom is only found in the Lord. It’s only for those who fear Him and turn from evil.

Question for Reflection

  1. Do you agree with Job that Wisdom is found in the Lord?

Resource

Image

Leave a comment

On God’s Grace

Quotes

Isaac Watts wrote a hymn in which he takes up our Lord’s image of salvation being like a great banquet. Picture yourself coming into a grand banqueting hall where a marvelous feast is spread out for you.

While all our hearts and all our songs
Join to admire the feast
Each of us cry, with thankful hearts, 
“Lord, why was I a guest?”

Does this not amaze you? Lord, why me? Why am I in Christ? Why did you bring me in? Why has your grace laid hold of me?

Why was I made to hear thy voice
And enter while there’s room
When Thousands make a wretched choice
And rather starve than come?

‘Twas the same love that spread the feast
That sweetly drew us in;
Else we had still refused to taste
And perished in our sin

Apart from God’s grace, you would never have come to Christ, and neither would I. Our sinful hearts would have taken us away. We would be outside, like thousands of others, still refusing to come.

So let God’s grace lead you to worship. Once you taste God’s grace, you will spend the rest of your life coming back to this question: ‘Why me?’ The staggering answer is that He loved you simply because He loved you.

Question for Reflection

  1. Does your unworthiness of God’s grace drive you to worship Him?

Resources

Colin Smith, Jonah: Navigating a God-centered Life, 99.

Image

Leave a comment

On Being Apart of God’s Grand Drama

Quotes

The Word of God invites us into the unfolding cosmic drama of which we have always played a part, even without being aware of it.

Our childhood experiences, triumphs, and tragedies are all part of God’s shaping of our lives, which are, more importantly, about the shaping of His story.

When we understand that our lives are not a random collection of experiences but rather a part of God’s grand drama we discover that we are gifted by God, blessed with talents and treasures, not for our own ends, but as resources to contribute to His plan to redeem the world by His Word.

Leaders then begin to recognize the design and purpose inherent in their lives.

Question for Reflection

  1. How have your life experiences shaped the way the Lord uses you today?

Resources

Quoted from Mark Sayers, Facing Leviathan, 70

Image

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 535 other followers

%d bloggers like this: