2013/08/29:Was the Great Commission Only for the Apostles?

2013/08/28: The greatest Commission

"Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.  And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age."  (Matthew 28:19-20)

In Matthew 26:19-20, we find the "marching orders" from Jesus that we know as the Great Commission. There are two things we should remember about it. First, these words are a command. That is why we call it the Great Commission and not the Great Suggestion. Jesus did not say, "Look, if you are in the mood, if it works into your busy schedule, as a personal favor to Me, would you consider going into the world and making disciples?" No. In the original language, this is a command.

Second, these words were not only given to the original eleven disciples. Nor were they exclusively for pastors, evangelists, and missionaries. They are for every follower of Jesus Christ. If we are His disciples, then we are commanded to go and make disciples of others. It doesn't necessarily mean we need to cross the sea. But certainly a good start would be crossing the street to talk to a neighbor.

What does it mean to make disciples? Jesus said, "Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you." Simply put, it means that you demonstrate discipleship for them by the way that you live. And of course, you verbally communicate God's Word.

I want to challenge you today to become a disciple of Jesus Christ - not just a fair-weather follower or simply a churchgoing person.  Would you be His disciple? If so, your life will never be the same.

2013/08/27: Growing Up Like Us?

Observe in Luke 2:40 what clear proof we have that the Lord Jesus was really and truly man as well as God. We read that when Mary and Joseph returned to their own city Nazareth, "the child grew and became strong."

There is, doubtless, much that is deeply mysterious in the Person of the Lord Jesus. How the same Person could be both perfect God and perfect man is a point that necessarily goes beyond our understanding.

One thing, however, is perfectly clear, and we would do well to lay firm hold upon it. Our Lord experienced everything that belongs to man's nature - except only sin. As man He was born an infant. As man He grew from infancy to boyhood. As man He yearly increased in bodily strength and mental power, during His passage from boyhood to adulthood. Of all the sinless conditions of man's body - its feebleness as a child, its growth, its regular progress to maturity - He was in the fullest sense a human being. We must rest satisfied with knowing this. To pry beyond is useless. To know this clearly is of much importance. An absence of settled knowledge of it has led to many wild heresies.

One comforting, practical lesson stands out, something we should never overlook. Our Lord is able to sympathize with humanity in every stage, from the cradle to the grave. He knows by experience the nature and temperament of the child and the youth and the adult. He has stood in their place. He has occupied their position. He knows their hearts. Let us never forget this in dealing with young people concerning their souls. Let us tell them confidently that there is One in heaven at the right hand of God who is exactly suited to be their Friend. He who died on the cross was once a youth Himself and feels a special interest in youth, as well as in adults.

2013-08-27:Many Gifts, One Body?

It is interesting that in the early part of [Ephesians 4], Paul talks about what [believers] have in common and how we should allow nothing to disrupt the unity of the church. Later in this chapter, he talks about what we have as individuals that is unique. He talks about how God will distribute the gifts of the Spirit as He chooses to do so.

One of the wonderful things about a healthy church is its diversity. That in itself is a witness to a divided world. It is a powerful testimony when someone can come into an assembly of believers and see that we have set aside our differences and there is unity.

It doesn’t mean there is uniformity. God can take the same gift and put it in the lives of two people, and it might manifest itself a little bit differently as the Holy Spirit works through human personality.

Ephesians tells us that God has given us these gifts “for the equipping of the saints, for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (4:12, NKJV). Another way to translate this verse is “to equip God’s people for work and His service.”

The word equip in the original language means “to put something back to its original condition.” It is also a phrase that speaks of putting a bone back into place again.

The idea is that we are getting back to God’s original order when we do it this way, when we function as the church ought to function.

It is a wonderful blessing when you start giving out what God has given to you, as you become a part of His purpose for the church.