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Category Archives: disciple making
“He shall also make restitution for what he has done amiss in the holy thing and shall add a fifth to it and give it to the priest. And the priest shall make atonement for him with the ram of the guilt offering, and he shall be forgiven.”Leviticus 5:16 ESV
“Salvation belongs to the Lord; your blessing be on your people! Selah” Psalm 3:8 ESV
“In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8 ESV
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:1-2 ESV
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3:16 ESV
Selections from M’Cheyne reading plan in YouVersion
One scholar writing on rabbis and their disciples in 1st century BC until the time of Jesus noted that disciples were not made in isolation. To them, the notion of showing up at church once a week with no interactions or questioning about life would be utter nonsense. This text in Proverbs is of the same mind. Be a disciple who is walking with fellow disciples behind the Master, Jesus.
“Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.”Proverbs 18:1 ESV
Jesus did one thing a bit different than the other Jewis Rabbis. He chose all his disciples. In the century or so before his birth, and then among those contemporaneous to Him, you -to use modern language- applied to be a disciple of rabbi so and so. But Jesus chose The Twelve. The were many others who made up the rest of the 70-something in the outter circle and the hundreds or thousands of onlookers and seekers. But the Gospels tell us HE CHOSE the 12.
However you try to intrepret “choosing” He is still choosing as Paul states to his own disciple Timothy:
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,” (2 Timothy 1:8-9 ESV)
When we study the Gospels and get a handle on what it was like to be His disciple and compare that to modern Christianity, well, the norm of today just doesn’t compare.
For too many “Christians,” being a “Christian” is just a little more than an add-on to the rest of their lives. I think we have history to thank for this. There is little desire to learn. Many church services are more about manipulating experience or following the status quo or teaching through the Bible (‘cuz that’s our thing) than learning to be a disciple. For 50+ years in the USA and beyond, small group are to be communities that – well, the stated purposes are myriad, but how many disciples are made? There is the biblical question.
Jesus said to preach the gospel to all nations. He preached! But he called 12 and taught these learners and empowered them and appointed them… to make disciples as they went, just as He did. As he went. It didn’t happen much in synagogue, it usually happened along the road or across a table. Church is part of discipleship as an incubator of converts who become disciples who make disciples. As disciples we need the gathering of the saints, but disciples are seldom made from pulpits.
Paul was a self proclaimed prisoner to the gospel, he was a called, taught, empowered and appointed. We all should be too.
““Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:12-14 ESV)
Are you a disciple of Jesus?
Are you making others into disciples?
When we hold back on being a disciple of Jesus, we are similar to these guys:
“Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.
John 12:42-43 ESV
When I refuse to confess or subtly hide my belief in Jesus, I’m like these guys who wanted to ensure their own honor.
This is a getting rather than giving the glory problem.
When I allow my desire for notoriety or being approved by people to get in the way of my confession of Jesus, I’ve become one of those guys like in the text above.
This is a danger for all of us. Even pastors who pull a punch in a sermon for fear of what people may think, or how it may effect their “experience” may fall into this mindset. This may show a fear of approval or need to fit in. Or worse… The need to control.
Read the Gospels.
Jesus didn’t pull his punches.
Speak the truth about Jesus, no matter the consequences. No matter how the crowd may react.
Research indicates that the Jews in 1st century Palestine had a solid knowledge of the Old Testament. Many had large portions of the Law memorized. Rabbis and their disciple had the entire Law and commentary memorized. Sabbath was a day truly devoted to the study of God’s word. Even today Israel is shut down on the Sabbath. The 1st century Jews took study and obedience seriously.
With this understanding, I’ve been noticing how often the people Jesus interacted with and referred to the law demonstrating a familiarity with it.
Yet in what can be called a dumbed down Christianity, where has the deep knowledge of the Bible gone?
Have we taken the doctrine of Grace Alone to the point where we verge on a do-nothing Christianity that has its whole focus on gathering in a warehouse of converts once a week?
Where are the disciples?
Pastors, if your sermons are feeding heads or touching hearts but you are not making disciples, are you leading biblically?
End once a week dumbed down Christianity.
Each year when my reading plan brings me to it, I love reading about the details the tabernacle in Exodus. This always reminds me of the fact that God cares about us and the details of developing our lives.
In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis put it this way:
Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.
Peter put it this way:
“As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:4-5 ESV)
One of the ways we get built up is suffering – I’ll be preaching about that this Sunday at Christ Community Church in Charlottesville. Another is walking with fellow disciples: regularly, intentionally, vulnerably, asking one another Jesus type questions about life following God.
Are you walking with fellow disciples who can point you to God when times are tough? So that rather than ask “Why me?” We can ask “How will you get glory through this oh God?”