“…So Obadiah went to tell Ahab that Elijah had come, and Ahab went out to meet Elijah. When Ahab saw him, he exclaimed, “So, is it really you, you troublemaker of Israel?”
“I have made no trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “You and your family are the troublemakers, for you have refused to obey the commands of the Lord and have worshiped the images of Baal instead.Now summon all Israel to join me at Mount Carmel, along with the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah who are supported by Jezebel.”
So Ahab summoned all the people of Israel and the prophets to Mount Carmel. Then Elijah stood in front of them and said, “How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!” But the people were completely silent…”
1 Kings 18
Here is the test of our faith.
Here is the awesome display and testimony of God.
Here is the challenge and examination of our ability to believe.
This is God, burning from heaven the doubts and disbelief of the majority. The popular crowd popularly believes not. I mean, “how un-cool to believe in God!” and yet God cares not about “cool” or popularity or politically correct but He is burning hot with faith and belief in Himself needing no one to believe. He IS whether we want to believe it or not.
And here is one man, Elijah, who has heard the Word of God and believes it. But He doesn’t just sit on it like most do. He acts upon it. He is moved by it and He is moving others and challenging them. The truth has become like a burning fire, wasting away doubt and spewing over in great fullness, the faith that is always present when the word of God is personally activated through belief. One grows weary of holding it in like that prophet Jeremiah. He challenges all the false prophets to see and prove who the real God is. And when His turn comes to cry out to His God, Elijah does so with great convincing faith and authority.
He asks with boldness and confidence.
He asks for the seemingly impossible.
He asks for a request that to most would seem ridiculous.
He calls down fire from heaven!
Because the word of God had come to this man, and he had welcomed it. The Word of God had become in him, a burning fire! God had asked of a man to call down fire – to display the power and amazing strength of the only Lord. God wanted to get the glory. God wants to display His power – to gain the victory, but where are the Elijah’s?
Where are those who believe that God can, when none else could?
Where are those who are willing to be outnumbered, yet on God’s side?
No man stands alone when he stands with God! Why can’t more of us believe this?
What would happen if the seeker-friendly, comfort-ease, western culture, have-everything-but-everything-is-still-not-enough Christians would throw off their comfort-guards and embrace in humility, the beauty of holiness – standing out for the Lord? Being separate from “worldliness,” yet involved in God glorifying works.
Where are those who are willing to embrace the truth of His Word, and suffer a little for the sake of eternal gain. What if we threw out our timid, afraid-to-trust-His-promises prayer lives and instead entered boldly before His throne-room of grace?
What if we asked because He has told us to ask?
What if we seek because He tells us – seek!
What if we came desperately, steadfastly, and unwaveringly knocking? Pounding! Desperate to see Gods glory revealed!?
What if we started to ask God for what seems impossible?
Will we ask Him to burn up the false idols?!
Will we be willing to lay our idols down?
To restore the nation!?
To breath life into this “lazy-boy” church!
To pour the water of His Spirit upon our lives and churches – drenching us until we drown!
Let us come… Being filled and overcome by His presence until we beg, “No More!” Until we glimpse so much glory that it scares us! Until we are gasping for breath. Flooded by His presence!
There, we shall lay, with no response except that of being prostrate on our belly, face full of carpet and heart full of His radiant light and life.
We must not back down or be intimidated until His fire falls from heaven! Until His glory is revealed! Praying and agonizing until revival comes to ourselves and to those stumbling in the shadows! God is waiting for a desperate people – sick of doing things their own way, in their own strength, He wants us to cry out to Him with prayers like that of Elijah:
“O Lord, God… let it be known… that you are God…Answer me, o Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.”
The Word made flesh has given us His Word made text, and He simply asks us to read, hear and apply His heart and promises for us found in Scripture. So, in this chapter I want to briefly encourage your confidence and dependance upon the written Word of God. You will need this strength for ministry, and it cannot be found anywhere else but in the presence of God as you sit at His feet, receiving from His Word.
I feel it necessary to spend a good amount of time talking about the Bible itself. It is necessary as believers and as ministers in Jesus Christ’s ministry, that we understand the God whom we worship and that we come to know His heart toward us as best as possible. His heart, His direction, and His guidance for our lives and for the entire earth and universe are found in the Scriptures. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to our spiritual and physical lives that we think rightly about the God of the Word.
Do You Still Believe In The Bible?
If the reliability of the Scriptures are up for debate in your mind and heart, then so are all of its doctrines, precepts, directives, commandments, prophecies and promises. As ministers in the Lord we need to be confidant in who we are serving. If you cannot place faith in His written Word as a reliable source for knowing Jesus Christ who is Lord of the universe, then you are without knowledge of How you and others must be saved. If you don’t trust His Word, then you cannot trust your salvation – it is now up for debate along with every other doctrine that effects you now and in eternity, including doctrines like salvation, redemption, justification, the trinity, the love, justice, mercy, grace and judgment of God, worship, and how God wants to be worshiped. All of which and many more are very important doctrines to the health and well-being of the believer.
1 John 2:2 says, speaking of Christ, that “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” If His Word is up for debate in your mind, then so is this – That Christ’s death pleased God in dying for your sins to save you from hell. If you don’t trust His word, than you cannot trust that this is true, therefore you either don’t care about your salvation and knowing God or you’re uncertain about your salvation. Pretty important right? The Word of God.
Duh! Were “Church” People!
I recognize that by this point some of you might be thinking, “why are you including this in a book on ministry? Of course we believe in the infallible Word of God, thats why we are in ministry!” I hope this is your response, but I feel that this chapter is necessary because many ministries and ministers are departing from the truth and are now teaching doctrines of demons, having abandoned all absolutes along with the promises of God. Many churches do not teach the Bible anymore. Therefore those assisting in these ministries no longer read, trust in or find their strength in His Word! We must not be these sort of ministers or ministries. We are men and women of God and we are men and women of the truth. His truth is found in the Bible – the Word of God.
“So Why Do We Need The Word Of God? ”
Lets look at a few reasons.
2 Timothy 3:15-17 says,
“And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures,which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
First of all, the Scriptures, that is your Bible, are Holy because they are inspired by God. God is responsible for what is recorded and written in the Scriptures. They are His words, He has wrought them and He keeps and protects them. They are “hieros”, that is, sacred or holy. They are inspired by God.
Speaking of the scriptures and prophecy, Peter tells us that “…men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:21)
God’s words are necessary and essential. In fact, of His own words, the Lord reveals to us through the psalmist:
“…You have exalted above all things your name and your word.” (Psalm 138:2)
It has been said that no man is greater than his word. If you cannot trust what someone says, then you cannot trust that person. Simply put, if I make promises to you about myself that do not come true or are untrue then you really don’t know me and would actually be better off not knowing me because I would have revealed to you by my lies and broken promises, that I am not who I say I am and that I cannot be trusted. I have revealed to you that I am a liar by my inability to fulfill my word. I may be a liar but God is no liar. In fact, He cannot lie. The reliability of the scriptures testify to the reliability of our God. Our God has given and kept many great promises. To prove Himself, His faithfulness and just to simply bless us, He has written His promises down, as if to say, “you can take these to the bank! I am good and will be good to my word and all of my promises. You have seen it and will continue to see my promises fulfilled.”
The Word of God is a necessity, because it is Holy and divinely inspired by the God of the universe.
Now, I will take some time in presenting you with a bit of evidence, though I am not so interested in defending the Bible or Gods existence as God Himself does not seem very interested in this either. God exists whether anyone believes in Him or not. But, it can be helpful and encouraging to us all, so here we go…
Holy and Inspired
The word Bible comes from the Greek word ‘biblos’ meaning ‘book.’ It is The Book. In the Bible, we have the embodiment of a divine revelation. It is a written work of history centered around one man, Jesus Christ. Now, let me briefly present you with…
5 proofs that present the Bible as the very Word of God:
1. The Character of the Bible.
Written by 40 some authors over a period of about 1600 years and yet the Bible is one book. It has one doctrinal system, one moral standard, one plan of salvation, and one program of the ages. The Bible is in harmony with itself. It does not contradict itself but compliments itself.
2. The Indestructibility Of The Bible. Henry Clarence Thiessen says this about the indestructibility of the Bible: “When we recall that only a very small percentage of books survive more than a quarter of a century, that a much smaller percentage last for a century, and that only a very small number live a thousand years, we at once realize that the Bible is a unique book.”
When looking at the history of the Bibles indestructibility, we must also look at the circumstances through which the Bible has survived. The Bible has been the most adored and praised book as well as the object of more persecution and opposition than any other book in History. For example, before Constantine, Rome, at one point, thought that they had exterminated the Christian religion. Diocletian, by a royal edict in 303 A.D. demanded that every copy of the Bible be destroyed by fire. He killed so many Christians and destroyed so many Bibles, sending Christians into hiding, that he actually thought that he had put an end to the Bible. He inscribed a medal that said, “the Christian religion is destroyed and the worship of the gods restored.” A few years later Constantine came to the throne, making Christianity the state religion. Man cannot thwart the purpose and plan of God, not even through evil or persecution. This is one example among many throughout history. Many stories of persecution and triumph are still being written among our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world today – in Asia, the middle east, and elsewhere.
Know this, that God is still preserving His Word. We have hundreds of manuscript copies of the Bible that predate the birth of Christ. These including detailed prophesies about Jesus Christ, His life, death, and resurrection. Among such manuscripts lies one of the greatest discoveries in modern times: We know them as the Dead Sea Scrolls. Here’s what happened and how God preserved His Word:
In 1947, a young boy wandered into a cave in Qumran (north and west of the dead Sea in Israel). He was looking for some lost sheep, belonging to his father, but instead of finding sheep, the boy stumbled upon ancient coins and a series of pots filled with ancient scrolls; the old testament scriptures. These findings of Isaiah’s writings alone dated back to 100 B.C. The scrolls had been hidden in these caves 2000 years ago and amazingly, they represented every book of the old testament minus the book of Esther.
History has made it obvious to us that God is able to watch over and preserve His word from corruption. This is a true to life miracle. But not surprising, as our God is a God of miracles!
3. The Influence Of The Bible.
Throughout history, the Bible has influenced the arts, literature, architecture, and music. The Bible has influenced the laws of the nations as well as influencing great social reforms and is constantly debated over, defended, or scrutinized in our courthouses to this day.
Thiessen says: “Where is there a book in all the world that even remotely compares with it in its beneficent influence upon mankind?” He called the Bible: “…The revelation of God to needy humanity.”
4. Fulfilled Prophesy. We read earlier in 2 Peter, that men who were “… moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” There is no other viable explanation for the supernatural knowledge witnessed in Bible prophesy, given through man, recorded in the Bible. In it, we see many impressive and detailed prophesies concerning the nation of Israel. Prophesies concerning gentile nations were also fulfilled. God is declaring to us, through scripture, that He is all-knowing. He does not simply give us a record book of past events, but confidently declares to us things to come – future events; Bible prophesy – divine revelation.
5. The Claims Of The Bible Itself.
The Bible claims to be the only infallible revelation on earth in written form given to man. In it contains the only plan for the eternal salvation of man.
The Old Testament itself claims to be the Word of God, with its some 3,800 statement like: “thus says the Lord, now the
Lord spoke, He was commanded to write in a book what the Lord had told him, The Lord said, The Word which came to…, The Word of the Lord came expressly to…etc”
The New Testament writers declared the message of God. Paul makes statements in 1 Corinthians (14:37), 1 Thessalonians (2:13), and Galatians (1:8) declaring that the things he wrote were the commandments of God, that what he preached we were to receive as the very word of God, and that the salvation of men depended upon faith in the very doctrines which Paul taught. John taught in 1 John (5:10) that his testimony was Gods testimony. Peter taught that the commands of God were spoken through the holy prophets and through the apostles (2 Peter 3:2). And Christ revealed that if you have heard or seen Him than you have heard and seen God (1 John 1:2, John 14:9).
All of this, and we have not even scratched the surface of archeological discoveries supported by the Bible and in favor of the Bibles accuracy. No other religious text compares. We don’t have time to talk about the Bibles scientific accuracy – including it’s references to the sun, the shape of the earth, and the suspension of the earth and stars. We could talk about the countless martyrs for Christ, including the willingness of Jesus’ disciples to suffer, but for the sake of time, these 5 points will have to do.
So, our first point of why we need the Word of God according to our text in 2 Timothy was, because they are holy and inspired by God. We can see throughout our worlds history, that His hand is upon them, guiding, protecting, and inspiring them. ” Let me share some other Biblical reasons about why I love the Word of God and why it is needed in pastoral ministry, ministry in general and in our personal lives.
Because the words of God are profitable.
I love the Bible because the words of God are profitable.
We gain from His Word! Ill say it again. We get to gain insight, wisdom, direction, encouragement and many more wonderful things for our life, and they are all delivered to us straight from the God who created the universe and the God who gave you life. That’s why the word of God is profitable for our whole lives! Because God knows best. He knows all of humanity and creation from the inside out – that is, things inside and outside, physical, emotional and psychological. He is in control of all things near or far – into the galaxies and universe. There is no area in your life that He is not in the position to touch, heal, change, or help. He is God, and His word is living, life giving and full of endless power!
Hebrews 4:12 says of the Word of God, that it “is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” We are lost without Gods revelation of Himself to man!
But how do we profit from these words from God?
And what are they profitable for?
Doctrine, Reproof, Correction, Instruction In Righteousness
Well, our text says:
for doctrine [that is teaching],
for reproof [that is, conviction or testing],
for correction [that is, literally to restore to an upright state, to correct your life and character. To make you right.], ” for instruction in righteousness:” The Greek here for our word instruction is: paideia (pi-da-uh) meaning that the Word of God is everything for your growing up in life for the Lord. ”
You cannot and will not grow or mature in Christ if you are lacking the proper nutrition that comes to your soul only by the word of God – interpreted and given proper application by the Spirit of God. It corrects your mistakes and curbs your passions. It increases virtue. This is Paideia – instruction. And this is all for righteousness. That is, for right living before our God. For living a life that is pleasing to Him, for Him, and for His glory. ” Do you understand that the Word of God is essential to your right living for God in Christ? Willing obedience to Gods direction for your life and submission to His instruction will create in you a pure heart – making you a minister filled with personal character. Not just a Christ associated christian but a Christ experienced christian, leader, follower and servant.
Warning To The Phonies
But shame on the pastors, leaders and so-called servants of Jesus who are not rightly dividing the Word of God. Especially to those who are forsaking the Bible all-together! They are leading their congregations down the wrong path and have no clue how to live for God. They are simply and Biblically, bad pastors – ignorant of the power of God.
The Pastor who forsakes the Word of God has forsaken his calling and is no pastor at all but is a wayward – a prodigal, desperately needing to come home. ”
For these pastors and heretics we desperately pray:
“Lord, grab their hearts and set them aright with Your Word that their congregations would be able to worship You in Spirit and in truth!”
“God, help us as servants of You and as servants to Your bride, not to forsake Your promises, but to cling to Your words for our life, ministry, worldview, help, counsel and personal nourishment.”
As assistants in ministry, the Word is our guide. We give the bride of Christ the Words of Christ and nothing else. Your opinion doesn’t really matter in the end. Stick to the Word of God.
The Word of God is power to the believer. It is Spiritual. The Word of God is not a burdensome law. It is not legalism or rules. The Word of God is not a religion! It is safety. It is a glimpse into the very heart of God who rules the universe! It is for your heart, your life, your spirit, and for eternity.
The Word of God is life giving, life changing, miracle working, alive, and true – there is nothing false in it! It is perfect, empowering, encouraging, up-lifting, healing, it speaks to us, guides us, directs us, gives wisdom, judges the thoughts and intents of our heart. It is purity in an imperfect world. It is to be treasured. It is historically accurate, and it is just and right when everything else is wrong!
And do not forget, the Word of God is for you!
Treasure your Savior and treasure His promises. Don’t allow satan to keep you from your Bible. Open it up, be familiar with it, read it, write in it, memorize it – not because you have to, but because He loves you. Guard your time with Jesus. In doing this, you will be and become a spiritual leader to your fellow ministers and to the fathers precious bride of Christ – The Church.
Briefly, if you don’t read the Bible with your wife, then start today. You are to wash her in the Word. If you don’t read with your family, start today. It is your responsibility as a man of God to love and raise your kids in the Lord. Show your family what it is to be a man of God. I didn’t say to preach and pastor them, but to love, disciple and point them to Jesus always.
Take some time right now to pray for your life, family, and ministry.
Check out Jeremiah’s FREE Book in its entirety HERE!
Check out Jeremiah’s FREE Book in its entirety HERE!
The following is a chapter in progress from a book in progress being written by J.N.Wheels
The Necessity of Discipleship
Every minister of Christ is a servant, and a pastor or elder (same thing) is a willing and submitted pastor under the authority of a pastor with vision that is further reaching than his own. That pastor is Jesus. I cannot stress this enough – Jesus has the vision for His Bride (the Church) and it is found in Scripture. Every vision, plan and purpose should be brought into comparison, filtered, thought and re-thought through the lens of the Book of God, The Bible. We are fulfilling His vision for the world around us. As long as we realize this than we can serve together for God’s glory. Man does not have a worthwhile vision apart from the work and direction from God through His Word alone. There is no vision except for the mission of God given to us in His Son, Jesus Christ. Each one of us has been placed in the “body” to help fulfill the vision of Christ.
And what is that vision?
Luke 2:49, 4:43, 24:46-49
We are all fulfilling the great commission of God to reach the lost world that we all live in, and in doing so, we are being conformed into the image of Christ. God placed His Son on the cross with the purpose to save. His justice, anger, and wrath were finally settled upon the body and soul of the one and only perfect man – Jesus Christ. God’s mission is to be known and glorified by saving men and women through the message and power of the good news of Gods Son, that is through the preaching and proclaiming of the Gospel. God’s mission is our mission. And let it be said, there is no mission without compassion. His work is not a job but a personal compassionate mission.
How is God accomplishing this mission?
Through the proclaiming of the “Good News” about Jesus Christ, people are believing, repenting, and being saved. God is saving people as His Spirit draws people to Himself. How He desires to save is through other saved people sharing their true to Gods Word experience about their own salvation and Gods goodness. We preach, people hear, God saves. Is that a recipe? No, it is simply Gods direction for us as believers. The important thing to remember is that Salvation is the work of God, not man or mans techniques, oratory skills…etc God is Savior and salvation belongs to Him. Praise our Lord, that He saves! Now what?
Ok, now we are saved. What for?
In short, For Gods good pleasure. Im still not quite sure why He saw fit to save undeserving sinners and I feel more and more undeserving as the days pass, but for some unknown purpose, He has seen fit in His incredible Love and grace to Rescue us by His own blood, though He did not have to. And in rescuing us, He is also committing to invest in us, making us His disciples – His followers and students. He is making us like His Son. Likeness to Christ is the goal of true discipleship.
Discipleship was the focus and mission of Jesus. He spent His public ministry years surrounding himself specifically with twelve men. These men were His investment here on earth that would affect every generation to come, until Christ returns in the flesh once again. Jesus taught them with His Words and with His life. Not one without the other. We could consider them His apprentices. They shared in His every day life and as a result, they knew Him, His ways, and in knowing Jesus, they were knowing God! As the redeemed of the Lord, we have also become a part of this tight-knit group of disciples. He has invited us into His life, to share in His love and to learn His ways – Gods heart.
This is discipleship. They hung around Jesus, and as a result, they knew God better. They were experiencing their God by experiencing the life and ways of Jesus. Discipleship and disciple-making is the call to the saved.
Are we willing to become disciples?
Disciples are hard core. They left their families and lively-hoods to become more like their savior. They walked away from everything that they once called their “lives” in order to make Jesus their life. Comfort and ease were forsaken in order to gain heaven and relationship to Jesus. Worldly treasures had to be forsaken in order to become a disciple of Jesus. Nothing could be nearer to the heart of a disciple than Jesus. Jesus Himself became the treasure of those who followed Him. If you were not willing to give up everything to follow Jesus, then you were not a follower of Jesus. It was heaven-bound with Jesus or hell-bound with yourself and your earthly treasures. Even family needed to be considered rubbish compared to knowing Christ. Disciples were not “fooling-around.” They wanted and needed Jesus. If it was death for Jesus, then to the grave they went. For disciples, Church was living with and for Jesus, not in and out of a building on Sunday morning. Being a Christian was not owning a bible, but living the Bible, becoming a living letter for the whole world to read. Christ following was not a fish or a bumper-sticker on your fender but His name engraved upon your heart.
Christians, we have a problem.
If you read the Bible and take Gods words serious, than it is not hard to recognize that God is calling us all to a serious and deeply personal commitment. A commitment to Him and His ways and a commitment to one another. But if we are honest with ourselves first and then honest about what we see as we take a quick glance at the “church” around us, we must conclude that we have some problems.
Too many of us “Western” Christians live as though God owes us our salvation. So, now that we have received our salvation (or are deceived in thinking we have it), we, much like retirement, now deserve to chill-out, relax, and take up space in the “church” and the universe, do much of nothing, eat, sleep and then repeat, and all to the glory of ourselves. This is self-idolatry.
Lazy “Christians” become idolaters, idolizing themselves, their routines, their lifestyles, their comfort, their commitment (or lack there of) and so on. They can conveniently come and go at the risk of nothing. Self-preservation and zero risks become the norm of the majority “christian” in America.
Most men, especially, do nothing, while very few do most everything. This has been my experience and I would challenge anyone who thinks otherwise. The laborers are few, says Jesus. We have to pray for men and women who are willing to sweat for the sake of Gospel-furthering discipleship. Those few who are willing to disciple must pray hard and work effectively, living biblically towards the goal of being catalysts in their churches in an effort to make disciples who will go on to be disciple-makers.
I think there are “problem-children” in our churches…
I think we need to be more bold and less apologetic in our discipleship when it comes to completing and passing on this vision. We need to clearly explain to the men and women that are receiving from Christ, the local church, and from their teachers and leaders that they are being invested in for the purpose of making further disciples and progress in spreading what they are now taking in – the Gospel!
We cannot continue to tell people that they may come as they are and stay as they were. If you come to Jesus, He brings a sword, causing division between the life we are living and the sacrificial life He requires us to accept. He makes a line in the sand – For Me or against Me. My way or the hell-way. These are not harsh terms, these are Gods terms. You cannot continue to serve yourself and follow God. As leaders we must preach and teach Christ’s Gospel, lovingly requiring people to align themselves with the Words of Christ. Christianity is not for the consumer. What im saying is this, if people under our oversight do not understand that selfish unbiblical living is sin and not christianity, than we have failed the Gospel message and we are not leading them heaven-word. The old must go.
Unfortunately, our “its-ok-to-be-obese” culture is also creating “its-ok-to-be-obese-Christians” who are always learning, but never making use of the knowledge they have obtained. You could simply call these Christians, “fat-Christians.” They eat at the table, but never share their food. No-one is getting invited to dine with them. Bible study after bible study yet no results as far as impacting the world around them. Fat-Christians will not spread the Gospel because they are lazy and selfish and might not be Christians at all. As leaders, we need to make a steady and bold effort in prayer and action to reach and envision these unfortunate and delusional church goers. Christ died for them, yet they have not understood fully what this personally means for their lives and the lives of others. Unless they are moved by the Spirit to wake-up, they may never enter heaven to be with Christ at all. We need a movement of Christians and especially Christ-loving leaders who will intercede in prayer for their local churches and for themselves that they and their entire congregation would realize and answer the call of Christ upon our lives to be and make disciples. Jesus wants us to move when He gives direction: “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:15,16) “Go and make disciples… teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.” (Matthew 28:19,20) “If you want to be My disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison – your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters – yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be My disciple. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. But don’t begin until you count the cost… You cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.” (Luke 14:26-33) I hope you and I don’t just skip over The Words of God found here. I am sure of this one thing: Our God says what He means, and He means what He says. “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” (verse 35) You and I need to frequently examine and re-examine our lives in light of scripture.
Questions Worth Asking Ourselves:
Do our lives look more and more like the life that Christ requires of us?
Are we living lives that look scripturally heaven-bound? Or hell-bound?
Are we disciples? And are we disciple-makers?
This may be sobering, but I would rather be sober, living in reality, than delusional and on my way toward a Christ-less eternity.
Can’t you see the need for living and fulfilling and spreading the mission of God as active disciples of Jesus?
So what might this life-style look like?
First let me simply say this: Your life will look sacrificial. Christ sacrificed His life in order to save your life. Now we are required to repent of selfish living and to live sacrificially – giving our entire will over to His will. Christ died to save. Repentance is our response in realizing His saving grace toward us. We forsake who we have been (selfish sinners) and we live now for Him by Grace. Jesus requires that we leave the old selfish nature and follow Him in making Him our new nature. If we do not submit to this plan than we are not disciples of Jesus. Disciples and Disciple-makers are self-less and giving like Jesus.
Your life will be relational and missional like the life of Jesus. Jesus was surrounded by people, and some of those people were closer to Him and more frequently with Him in close relationship than others. In order for us to fulfill our mission with Christ we must be on mission in our homes, churches, and workplaces with an emphasis on building relationships towards a prayerful eternal investment. Simply put, we want people to be saved! We are to live out the Gospel with and in front of the world and church, drawing men and women to our Master, Savior and Friend, Jesus. Im not saying that you need to be “preachy” every time you spend time with non-believers but I am saying that we must hang out with non-believers with the intention of genuinely getting to know them, showing interest and true care for them and their personal lives, all with the purpose to introduce them to Jesus. I might be given the opportunity to share the Gospel with them or I might invite them to hang out with myself and some Christian friends where one of my friends share the Gospel with them. Or I might invite them to church with me where someone else lovingly shares Jesus with them. That is why we need to be involved in non-believing relationships and genuine Christian fellowship. Both relationships are important. This way, the body is most effective in living for Jesus and using the individual gifts that God has given each one of us to do great-commission work and glorify God.
In simplicity, your call to serve Him in your local community will help fulfill three things.
1.Win people to Christ by living-out, preaching and or reaching the lost with the clear biblical message of the Gospel. We are to reach the world around us. That world is your immediate context (Home, work, family, friends, neighbors…etc). We do this through relationship building. Jesus was relational. He showed up where people were and lived for God, lighting up the world around Him. He lived in community with those around Him, loving and living for the glory of God. As people watch, experience and join in on your life, they won’t be able to help experiencing the life of Jesus in you. Go win the world!
2.Disciple the saved in Jesus so that they grow up to be healthy and mature Christians who are contagiously enjoying their Gods salvation and fellowship with one another. The ultimate goal in Discipleship is not that Christians share their faith but that they know their savior and who it is they are sharing, becoming Christ-like and Christ-minded, glorifying their God. If we are successful in this than we wont have to twist arms to get the church to speak publicly the name of Jesus. Evangelism will simply be the fruit of becoming like Jesus. If you are being an example of this, those around you who you share your life with (discipleship), won’t be able to resist catching this vision. It should be as natural as breathing and unstoppable because it is who we are. Our identity is truly found in Jesus. We are saved and cannot be anything else. Our Goal as servants in the church is to train others to know that “to live is Christ.”
3.Send others out into the world to do the same. We are all on mission with Jesus wherever he has placed us. We want to be used to help others catch this vision and send them on Gods mission wherever Jesus calls or places them in this world.
Questions worth pondering:
What might Gods mission look like in your fellowship?
Are you a disciple?
What Does a Disciple look like? Act like?
Are you willing to make disciples?
How can you make disciples graciously and lovingly?
Leaders cannot be found… they have abandoned the people!
The protective walls are collapsing and cries of death are ringing out from all around!
Panic is in the streets and within the walls and despair is pouring from the rooftops…
The enemy is at the gate; victory is in his hand!
Imagine yourself, please, in the midst of this city… but you are invisible. You are simply an onlooker – a spy. Imagine that your people are dying in your presence. Imagine that your family members are being taken captive. Abused. Raped. Tortured. Murdered. Now imagine, that as of yet, none of these things have happened. But they will. They are in process. In-route.
“O God! can’t you prevent these horrors from taking place?” you might ask yourself and yet the only response is… “yes… but I won’t.”
And so there you are in despair with those you love… but you are weeping for them.
Because none of them are seeking after God.
No one calls out to Him!
No one prays to their Maker!
There is not a single humble soul in the city who will fall to their face and acknowledge that: “God!!! WE NEED YOU NOW!” “HELP US WE PRAY!”
This scene is straight out of the life of the prophet Isaiah. This is what he sees from God. And when he sees it, panic sets in, and his heart becomes broken and then like wax. No composure is found for the prophet. His people are dead while they live and he is dying in heart for them. “Leave me alone to weep; don’t try to comfort me. Let me cry for my people as I watch them being destroyed.” (Isaiah 22)
Disaster is upon the world that rejects their maker. Those who reject Jesus are in the city, and the enemy is coming for them to destroy their lives. With justice and righteousness God must destroy both them and the enemy. They have made their decision and they will never be forgiven. They have willingly rejected their Maker – their God, and He will strive with them no longer. Blasphemy! Blasphemy of the Spirit is committed in the streets! And we are witnesses to such things all around our city block!
Cry you christian! Weep! Be not consoled… Your families are dead in the streets! Blood is on our hands lest we do something! Your friends and neighbors are dying! And their friends and neighbors are taking their last breath!
What will you do?
What must I do!?
Christian, does it break your heart that your city is full with many who have not yet found their joy in Jesus? Does it bring you to tears that you are sitting next to dead men at the bus stops and in your office? And God forbid, even in our churches!
“God! there are people in this city that do not worship You, will not worship You! Do something O God! SAVE THEM! PLEASE, WE CRY!”
We can do something. We must do something. Let God soften your heart as you seek Him. Let His heart be in you. Pray O christian, PRAY! “God, please use me… I am a vessel for You. For Your glory.” Are you praying yet? “God save my family, save my neighbors, save my friends, save my city! Open my mouth that I might proclaim Your beauty! Your Gospel!” “Make me bold with power that comes from You alone. Grace, come be treasured within me. Give me what I long for but have no strength to complete. Spirit be alive and free and expressed in and through me!” “Make Yourself known to this lost people!”
My prayer today is that my heart might surely break for those within my influence and in my city, and on my facebook that don’t know Jesus… and that I might do something to reach them, starting today by getting on my knees in prayer, making intercession for their eternal lives, that they might be saved. Will you please reach this world with me? We are in this together. We are in Christ, with Christ, for Christ.
Believer, I assure you that God will do these things within you and through you. But we must pray. Prayer is not the secret to transforming God’s heart but our own heart’s. God will change us as we humble ourselves and ask for the truly miraculous. The miracle will be our obedience in walking where He has already prepared the way. The miracle in our prayer will be our obedience to His boldness already supplied to us in preaching and proclaiming the Good News about Jesus Christ. This is what we want, but we must pray that it’s fruit would be continually produced from our lives to the next.
We are the prophets and priests of our day with the message that saves and sets free. The leaders in Isaiah’s vision fled from the people and they themselves, perished. We cannot be like them. We love God too much. We love people too much. We were ourselves, once lost. We care too much for those lost people around us. We cannot run! We must instead run into the thick of the battle in the Power of God, with His Sword ready in hand and defeat the enemy as we take our stand in the midst of a hurting and dying people; we will preach destruction upon the enemy as we preach salvation and life and the Gospel to those who are eager to be made alive! We are vessels of Honor proclaiming to Gods elect: “Be Saved!”
This is our calling and God’s good purpose: to use us fools for His glory. To use the once lost in redeeming the now lost. To find many as the many found obey His Great Commission. His purposes will be accomplished. Christian, join in the battle and find your great joy as you walk with your God in the saving mission of the Gospel of Grace. We are priests to our people, proclaiming: “Repent, and Be Saved!” In doing this, we are like Jesus.
Here is a very simple tool to help you study the Bible. All of these elements are used in teaching and studying the Bible effectively. Below the image is a link to download the PDF of this document so that you can reference, share or print this document. Enjoy and I hope and pray that this helps you to more accurately, “rightly divide the Word of Truth” and share what you are learning with others.
“I want more than I have. I want to see You in Your holiness. I want my filth burned away; replaced with Your Spirit and Presence and Life and Word!”
“I just want a glimpse of Your glory…please Father, give this to me but only for a moment and I shall be happy forever.”
“We are not discontent, but we are satisfied only in You, and yet we are hungry for more because we know that only You have more to give.”
Have you ever been here, in this place? In a place of longing that goes beyond human words or understanding? I mean, you have your God and you love your Savior but you are desperate for more? Maybe you really want to see your city reached with the Gospel? So there you are: you know you are saved and you know that God does the saving but you are not satisfied that there are people surrounding you who are lost and headed for hell, so you pray.
I’m not talking about those “Thank You God for these scrambled eggs” type of prayers, I’m talking desperation type of prayers. I’m talking Jacob wrestling with God, “I wont let You go until you bless me!” type of prayers! “God help us! People are dying! We need You to intervene!” “Act oh God! Do not be silent!” I’m talking about revival praying. We-seriously-believe prayers. We-really-need-the-living-God prayers.
I’m here in this place now in my life for many reasons and my greatest want at the moment is to be in, sence, feel, and abide in the presence of God. I’m not satisfied with statuesque christianity: praying for my food (whatever that means), stopping by church once or twice a week (or month for some), doing my “devos”, and on and on, this boring robotic routine can continue habitually into an eventual, hopeful eternity. Becoming a religious person is not on my list of aspirations, I want to experience the presence and power that comes from closeness to my Jesus… my God… the one who loves me and has saved me.
I’m encouraging you and me and a lost world to enter the joy of the Lord! Come and get more of your God. We must seek Him in our prayer closets and worship Him there with all of our beings. There we must find Him and be found by Him. Not in our church buildings, but in our private world. In our heart and mind and in our bedrooms and in our workplaces. This is fellowship with our God. This kind of Christianity cannot be escaped! This is the kind of christian experience that is exciting and romantic! This is when we finally realize that God is our lover and He is pursuing us in our going to sleep and in our waking up. He is wooing us into His presence. This is the excitement about walking with Jesus that once realized, causes us to shut down the computer and phone and television and escape to a private place; alone with our God. We want more and so we go in search for more. We bow on our knees or we lock ourselves inside and there we share our hearts as we gain His heart. We simply talk to Him about all that is in ourselves. Like the marriage bed, nothing is off-limits; we are explored by Him. We sit with His Word and we ask and beg Him to make it come to life in reality and power within our bodies and minds and heart and emotion. We are experiencing transformation when we are experiencing Him.
I love this. That we want more than we could ever handle. No one can look upon the glory of God and yet we hunt after it and drool for it with a burning hearts desire.
Are you being transformed?
Are you desiring your God?
If you say yes, than good. Run harder after Him. He will always satisfy you.
If you say no, then may I remind you that though you do not pursue Him, Your God who loves you is Pursuing you relentlessly. He wants you to experience His light and life and His Joy. He is but an arms-reach away.
“…nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Romans 8:39