John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."







Friday, April 13, 2018

8th Lesson = Discipleship according to God's own heart

Learn to be an imitator of Christ as Paul was.




1. 8th Lesson = Learn to be an imitator of Christ as Paul was.

Our Objective is to learn to be an imitator of Christ as Paul was.
Phillipians 1:6: “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
Phillipians 2:13: “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”
Starting this lesson I just want to point something out that really makes my heart to be joyful and it really touches me the fact that Jesus is the Author and the one that completes the good work in us… He never leaves us nor forsakes us.  “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5b (NKJV)
And it reminds me of another passage in Deuteronomy where God speaks with Moses. Let’s check it out.
Deuteronomy 31:6-8(NKJV) 6 Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”7 Then Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the LORD has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to inherit it. 8 And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”
Jesus trained and promised the same blessing to the disciples, the Body of Christ. He trains us, He equips us and He gave us the indwelling presence of His Spirit to abide in us. Jesus prepared everything for the Church, as already indicated in the Word of God, and every disciple is included in this.

The Twelve Apostles

“12 Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. 13 And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles.” Luke 6:12-13.

I love to research this in the Bible to find answers to my questions. God trained the ones He made leaders in the Old Testament and He does the same in the New Testament.

I have seen in my walk with the Lord that the Bible gives us the answer in all our inquiries. Praise the Lord, He never leaves us without answers, even though so many times it seems that God does not answer us. But does He really not answer, or did we not learn to listen to Him?

Now we have to learn how to apply these Biblical principles so that we can form the discipleship in each local church. Every child of God inquires about the Christian life, yes. And how can we see the rules and guidelines in biblical discipleship? Are we all obliged to observe them? How about the fact that the Bible says: I am free once I am saved.

Biblical discipleship has its traits of character, and Jesus Christ is the perfect example of this. A disciple according to the heart of God is one that reflects Jesus. How could we conceptualize discipleship according to the heart of God?
The apostle Paul invites us to be imitators of him, just as he is an imitator of Jesus Christ. A quick answer to this would be: Let's do everything according to God's will and not our way. This is basically all we need to know. I believe that a wholehearted disciple is described as one who has the goal to be according to God's own heart.

The first thing we need to do is: to learn the Word of God, and from there choose to practice it wholeheartedly. We see that this is exactly what the disciples did. They walked with Jesus for three years, they received power from on high; and then they went to do the work Jesus entrusted them to do. Jesus trained them and Jesus ordained them calling them His apostles. Jesus gave them the authority to go and do the same work that Jesus had done up to that time.

Question nº2: Are you ready to proceed and practice what you have learned, and make disciples?


The second thing we need to do, is to live according to how we were ordained and honored by the Lord Jesus. Jesus chose twelve disciples. What does it mean to be ordained?
The dictionary says that ‘When someone is ordained, they are made a member of the clergy in a religious ceremony.’ Based on this description we can clearly say that all those that followed Jesus, were ordained by him, to be a member of His clergy. Amen, praise God.
Dictionary also says that ‘The clergy are the official leaders of the religious activities of a particular group of believers.’ Jesus said ‘Follow me and I will make you fisher of men’. Jesus ordained them to do the work He had chosen for them to do. It was based on the testimony of the disciples that the church of Jesus Christ was founded here on earth.
What was their character trait? I believe that when Jesus chose them, they were ordinary people just like you and I. However, once they started to follow Jesus, gradually they were transformed into His image and His likeness.
In the beginning, when God created the human being, He created them in His own image and likeness… is this correct?

-   Human being chose to follow the serpents’ suggestion, sin entered into the humans’ nature and we lost the likeness of our Creator.
-   Christ Jesus restored it on the cross and He works in us the willing and the fulfilling.

Dictionary says that Fulfilment is: ‘a feeling of satisfaction that you get from doing or achieving something, especially something useful’.  Remember our confidence comes from that fact that Jesus started the good work in us, and Jesus will complete it. Jesus sews the love in us and He is the one that will work in you and in me to want to do it His way and that we do it as well; to fulfill His good purpose.  Jesus works in us the fact that we want to achieve and we will be able to do so, according to His will.
Phillipians 1:6: “6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Phillipians 2:13: “13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”
Third thing we need to do is: Learn to be an imitator of Christ as Paul was.
For this we will strive that we may honor the one who called us to serve him here on this earth as His ambassadors. Dictionary says that Imitator is: “An imitator is someone who copies what someone else does, or copies the way they speak or behave.”
I believe that copying the Lord’s way is not exactly what happens in us, I believe that Jesus works in us the fact that we do want to become transformed into His likeness; and therefore we develop the conduct of a true disciple as we allow Him to work in us His character and His likeness. I want to stand as a righteous disciple alongside with Him. I want to rule as we have been instituted by God. The Lord Jesus teaches us to follow the Principles that we must engage into, and also act under the code of conduct that God establishes in which we must lead. I want to be conformed to the heart of our God. God calls, enables and empowers each one of us. Hallelujah!!!
Question nº1: How do you see the discipleship and leadership you know in the church according to the study above?

Question nº2: Are the leaders in your church imitators of Christ as the apostle Paul teaches us?


Homework = Scripture memory:
Be sure to commit this passage to memory before moving on to the next lesson. , Then, practice reciting it repeatedly throughout this course.
Phillipians 1:6: “6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
Phillipians 2:13: “13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”

Personal goal:  Make a commitment with the Lord. My suggestion is to ask Him to make of you a Disciple according to His own heart.


Blessings on to you all. 
Antonina Penner.


A. PENNER PUBLISHING.
 Discipleship according the heart of God

ISBN NUMBER:  978-0-9881063-2-1

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

7th Lesson: Discipleship according to God's own heart.

Whose servant are we??





Objectives?  

1- Who is truly our master?
2- God has called you to make a difference in this world.
3- We were called Ambassadors of the Heavenly Kingdom, therefore let us honor our Lord Jesus; by doing so. 

I would like to encourage all of us to exercise influence over our neighbor, and this influence may or may not succeed. Likewise, this influence can be positive or negative. Many times, we do not realize the fact that there is someone watching us, copying our actions, gestures, thoughts; trying to construct their way of conduct based on what they observed in us. Many people in David’s time watched his behavior. What did they see? A man after God’s own heart. 

There are many leaders in this world, and somehow each of us is a leader for someone who is in touch with us at some time. "If someone follows our example, for this person we serve as leader, for the fact that they adapted what they saw in us." Even our relatives and friends, neighbors who always live with us; are we influential to them as well? Certainly. In the future, they might comment to others what the conviviality (living together with you) meant to them.

Question nº2: Do you remember an occasion where someone came to thank you for the example you have been for them?

We ought to evaluate our entire conduct according to the heart of God in our life. We can only lead others on the ‘Way’, which is ‘Jesus’, if we are on that ‘way’ in the first place. 
A human being always reflects who is in charge of his heart. What and whom do we follow? It might be philosophies, thoughts, desires, or people who have influenced us. When we look up to someone like our hero, we usually follow in the footsteps of that character. 
Who commands your heart, do you know? 
Who is the master of your life? 
Is the master of your life your own ego? 
Based on what do you make your decisions? 
Who or what gives the final word in your actions and decisions?

The Word of God tells us in Romans 6:16-18: "Do you not know that to whom you are presented as servants to obey Him, you are servants to Him whom you obey, or from sin to death, or obedience to righteousness? But thanks be to God, having been servants of sin, you have obeyed from the heart the form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And being freed from sin you became servants of righteousness." 

Let us make a difference in this world. We are called to be the light of this world and the salt of the world. Matthew 5:14-16 (NKJV) “14 You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

True or false: It makes a difference in this world if we are the light of this world and let it shine before men, that they may see it and glorify the Father in heaven. 
God calls us to become servants of righteousness, and that is how our light shines; by obeying God. Most people do not even realize who actually gives the last word inside of them. According to the teachings in psychology, we always have the conduct according to whom and what we follow. 

Ask yourself: ‘Has your light been shining lately’?



Adam and Eve believed that they followed completely what their Creator had said. But, one day only, they went after a suggestion given to them and used their own understanding after that. What was the result of the fact that one day only they followed that simple suggestion? The verse we just quoted from Romans tells us that: Once we were made servants of righteousness, it shows us that Jesus Christ is Lord in our life. Only Jesus makes us servants of righteousness; therefore we reflect it as such. We want to have a course or a route in our lifestyle that is worth observing. Our aim and goal should be to "reflect the heart of God, just as Jesus reflected His Father who is in heaven." 

Journal nº3: Look in the mirror (God’s Word) … whom do you see in the mirror? Describe please and be honest about it. We ought to reflect whom if we serve the Lord Jesus?


This reminds me of the passage in 2 Corinthians 5:20: “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” "Ambassadors for whom? And we will surely lead our followers according to whom we follow.

The Bible tells us that God is love, and whoever is in love is in God, and God in him. We want to lead each one to reach the stature of the person who acts integrally in leadership according to the heart of God, in such a way that in this sense we reach Gods’ expectation. 
Perhaps you will come to reason with me saying, oh, but I am no political leader and not a king like David. Neither am I any leader in the local church and nowhere else. Therefore, this subject is not for me. I want to leave a little challenge for you, if the above describtion is as you think about the subject. Read the lessons, and if after reading them you will continue to think in the same way, then may God bless you in your walk, so that He can assert you as He did with David; 
"Behold ________________________, a person after my own heart." (Put your name in the blank).
I believe, however, that the Holy Spirit will convince you that He has called you to make a difference on this earth to lead when Jesus said, "As My Father has sent Me, I send you." With this sending, Jesus gave the leadership here on earth to His Church, and He leads us to do our work, through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit; therefore… You and I are included in this command. 

We have this promise in the Word of God, Jer. 3:15. "And I will give you pastors according to my heart, who shall feed you with knowledge and understanding." 
This word is given to us through the prophet Jeremiah; at a time when God's people had completely departed from God. I believe that God is carrying out the training by the Holy Spirit in each one of us who receive Jesus as Lord and Savior of our lives. Jesus chose the twelve apostles, these were the first who were according to the heart of God in the age of grace; Glory to God for this. I want to be faithful, as David and the apostles were. 

Yes, we are humans and make mistakes; but God helps us through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit to make it right again with Him. I want to be one of the shepherds after the heart of God, and to feed with wisdom and knowledge those whom God brings to Jesus through me. I want to be a daughter according to the heart of God in my walk, and I desire the same for you.


Homework = Scripture memory: 
Be sure to commit this passage to memory before moving on to the next lesson. , Then, practice reciting it repeatedly throughout this course. Jeremiah 17:10 (NKJV) “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.”     Matthew 12:30 (NKJV) “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.”  
Personal goal:  Make a commitment with the Lord. My suggestion is to ask Him to make of you a Disciple according to His own heart.



Blessings on to you all. 
Antonina Penner.


A. PENNER PUBLISHING.
 Discipleship according the heart of God
ISBN NUMBER:  978-0-9881063-2-1

Friday, March 16, 2018

6th Lesson: Discipleship according to God's own heart.

Evaluating our entire conduct according to the heart of God.

Are we Vessels for Honor or for dishonor?  We have an option to make it right.






Objectives:
1 We ought to examine ourselves, according to the Word of God.
Are we vessels for honor or for dishonor?
2 How can I become a vessel of honor again?
How can I know if I am qualified to lead someone to Christ?
3 God has called you to make a difference in this world.


Vessels for Honor or for dishonor.
Each and every one of us needs to learn to trust in the Lord with all our heart, and lean not on our own understanding. In all our ways acknowledging our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave His life in order that we can live and by doing so, He directs our paths. Not one single person is a good leader because of what the person is in itself. We are a good leader if we are a vessel for noble purposes in God’s hands as the Apostle Paul explains to Timothy.
2 Timothy 2:20 “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor.”

Now to the Romans the apostle Paul addresses it like this: Romans 9:21 (NKJV) “Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?”

We need to realize and understand that we are clay in the potters’ hand. But, it depends on how we behave, act and live that will describe what kind of vessel we are. Jeremiah describes something very similar to this. God sent the prophet to the potters’ house, and asked him to watch him as he was making the vessels.

Jeremiah 18:1-6:  ‘The Potter and the Clay’
“The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: 2 “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.” 3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. 4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. 5 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: 6 “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord.”
We can have this confidence that once we came to the Lord Jesus to receive Him as Lord and Savior, He does not only have the power to change us from sinners to saints as you already have studied; but also from a lump of clay, that was for dishonor into a vessel for honor. Hallelujah, Amen!!!
Honoring God means we do it as He commanded it. And that settles it!! We learn on constant bases with our Lord and Savior. The Holy Spirit that dwells in us always teaches us. So, we are equipped to do the good work. Amen, praise the Almighty God and our Lord Jesus.
Discipleship is the fact that we exercise influence over our neighbors and with all whom we get in contact with; and this influence may or may not achieve its success. Similarly, our influence can be positive or negative. Often we do not realize the fact that there is someone watching us by copying our actions, gestures, thoughts; seeking to build their behavior or conduct based on what they observe in us. Let us put it this way, if I am a vessel for dishonor then I do not achieve it to be a good influence. But, a vessel for honor will achieve a good influence on the person that is with us.
There are many leaders in this world, and somehow each of us, is a leader to someone who is living with us at some time in our life. "If someone follows our example, for this person we serve as a leader at that particular moment". Are we an influence to our family and friends, neighbors who always live with us? Certainly. In the future they might comment with others what living with us meant for them.
So, is the end result going to show that we were a good disciple maker or not?
Journal nº 3:  Have you ever watched a pastor or a leader in church and made your remarks about him or her?  Was the person a good influence for you or not?  What would you tell that person that needs to be changed and based on what?


According to your answer to journal above look at yourself in the mirror (God’s Word) how does it reflect you? What does the neighbor see in you?

Jeremiah 17:10 (NKJV) “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.”
2 Corinthians 13:5 (NKJV) “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.”

The above verses show us a pattern how we are an influence on our neighbors, because it reflects the fruit of our doings, as stated in the verse.
God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah and through Paul to His people:
- “I, the Lord, search the heart.
- I test the mind.
- To give every person according to his ways.
- According to the fruit of his doings.”
-  “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith.
-  Test yourselves.
-  Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless indeed you are disqualified.”

Scripture tells us to examine ourselves as to whether we are in the faith. It challenges us to test ourselves. God gives us according to our ways and according to the fruit of our doings. We have no excuse for not receiving different than what God has given us. We receive according to what we do…
As we have studied so far, in the first three lessons; we can know who is qualified to lead others to Jesus by the following:
- If you examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith or not,
- Testing yourselves, you will be able to know if Jesus Christ is in you or not.
- Do you not know yourselves?
- You know whether you invited Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and you know if you are in fellowship with Him… And if not then…
-   — unless indeed you are disqualified.

This is how I understand the above verse.
A disciple seeks Jesus with all his heart and with all his soul. Actions, conduct and speech need to be all lined up with the Word of God. We as Christians can say the verse in Deuteronomy 4:29 this way:  “But from the day when I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I decided to seek the Lord my God, and I find Him every time I seek Him with all my heart and with all my soul.”
-  We need to serve with a loyal heart and a willing mind.
-  Know the God of your father.
-  Serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind.
-  The Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts.
-  If I seek Him, I will be find Jesus… always.
-  But if I forsake Him, He will cast me off forever.
-  When I will call upon Jesus and go and pray to Him, He will listen to me.
-  If I will seek Jesus, I will find Him, when I search for Jesus with all my heart.

People that live around us and with us see it if we truly walk with the Lord. That this will be the pattern as described in the above verses, and they will get a hunger and a desire to have the same. If God and His love is in us, it will be evidenced and people around us will see it. So, are we then willing to lead our neighbor to the Lord as well? If we bring someone to know Jesus and his Word; for this person we are a leader, because we were used to show him how to get to the salvation in Christ Jesus.

True fellowship with Jesus and the body of Christ. In 1 John 1:6-8 (NKJV) we read that: “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”  As it is stated in this verse, all of us need to walk in the light and have fellowship with Jesus and walk in the light, because Jesus is the light.

To many people that call themselves Christians do not realize the fact that is described in this passage. Let’s evaluate ourselves according to this passage. Choose one of the three, which one describes you. Be honest before God.
-  If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
-  But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
-  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

Take a stand: (Now remember, this is what Jesus said)
-  Either we are for Jesus or against Him.
-  Either we gather with Him or we spoil.
-  So… am I for Him and gather with Him, or am I against Him and spoil… There is not such thing as being for Him, yet spoiling…

Task nº1:  In your next prayer please try the following:

Pray:  “Lord do I say that I have fellowship with You? Help me practice it. Have you seen me walk in darkness or am I truly walking in the light with you? Lord Jesus, I do not want to lie, but I want to practice the truth. Help me Lord to walk in the light as You are in the light, so that I can have fellowship with You and other fellow believers, and that your blood Lord Jesus Christ might cleanse me from all my sins.  If I say that I have no sin, I deceive myself, and the truth is not in me. I do not want to be against you dear Lord, but with you; so that I can gather with you. I want to walk in the light with you. I do not want to spoil and be a hindrance to others. Thank you Lord. Amen.


Read Matthew 12:30 (NKJV) “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.”  In our life with Jesus, there are only 2 options… either you are a disciple that follows Him and lives according to the calling He gives us; or we are against Him, meaning His opponent.

I honestly want to learn to practice to live according to what the Bible teaches us, so that I truly can evaluate my conduct according to the same.
How many people have received the same description in the Bible, which David won? The minority. Many served God, but not everyone gained this remark about his leadership and ministry, as David did. There was a special reason why the anointing of God was upon David, who grew in his journey and his way of acting according to God’s heart. He was a human being, and he made mistakes like you and I do; but, every time God confronted him, he humbled himself and made it right with God. I encourage you to read the Psalms that David wrote and evaluate it how he longed to be a man after God’s heart.


Homework = Scripture memory:
Be sure to commit this passage to memory before moving on to the next lesson. , Then, practice reciting it repeatedly throughout this course. Jeremiah 17:10 (NKJV) “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.”     Matthew 12:30 (NKJV) “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.”
Personal goal:  Make a commitment with the Lord. My suggestion is to ask Him to make of you a Disciple according to His own heart.


Blessings on to you all. 
Antonina Penner.


A. PENNER PUBLISHING.
 Discipleship according the heart of God
ISBN NUMBER:  978-0-9881063-2-1

Rev. Billy Graham