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."

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

1st Lesson = Discipleship according to God’s own heart.


Introduction to the Discipleship according to the Heart of God.  

Introduction: Second Timothy 2:15 says, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth." Based on this verse, we encourage you to complete each assignment before progressing to the next lesson. Let us be diligent before the Lord as we study His Word. Amen?

Jeremiah 3:15“And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.”  (KJV)

Objectives of this Lesson.
1 You should have a clear idea of what the Bible refers to as discipleship.
2 Evaluate where you are at, when it comes to discipleship in your own life.

What is Discipleship??

I do not know what you were expecting on this subject; but I want to introduce you to something we are all aware of; yet most people do not live according to it. I believe it is high time for all of us who claim to be God’s children, to return to the Word of God, to search for what Jesus told us to do. Many call themselves born again Christians, yet how many of them follow Jesus as He taught the twelve whom he appointed his apostles? He told His followers: "Follow me, I will make you fishers of men." 

The dictionary tells us that discipleship is: ‘If you are someone's disciple, you are influenced by their teachings and try to follow their example. = 'You are a follower.'

Jesus called the twelve to follow him.

Matthew 16:24 “Then Jesus said to his disciples, Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

Please read: Matthew 4:19 “Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 16:24 “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”

Journal nº1:  Did you ever visualize yourself in the kingdom of God as someone fishing human beings and bringing them into the God’s kingdom? Have you already fished someone into the kingdom of God so far? If not, what would be your excuse for it? Did you ever have to deny yourself to take up your cross and follow Jesus?

In this lesson we are going to examine by reading God’s Word that we can learn how Jesus chose each one of those that He called to follow him; and He also trained them. He asked them to go in all the world and make disciples.

Through God’s Word we are being trained by the Holy Spirit to do the same. But, how many of us follow the ‘whole command’? We ought to agree that currently the vast majority of those who call themselves God’s children are far from the kind of ministry, which JESUS taught the twelve disciples to do. Jesus never said that He would train the leadership and the rest of the flock should only faithfully sit in the pews each Sunday just to hear the Word of God... gathering mostly for the fellowship; thinking that this is all it takes to make them a good Christian.’ Jesus trains every believer to do the duty of a disciple maker. Every one of us is called to do the same mission that the twelve were doing.

Jesus gave the command to all his followers; the disciples and all the others that were with Him, to go and make disciples and this we read in Mathew 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. And in Mark 16:15-20 we find the same command. Verse 20 says: “Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied itSo if we take a look at these passages that we mentioned, Jesus said:

Follow me, I will make you fishers of men. This means that Jesus expects to see you following Him, His teaching and His commands. He will make you a good fisherman, you do not need to think: ‘Well I am not qualified to do it, how should I be like the twelve disciples?’ Jesus makes us fishers of men, even though we feel awkward about it.

Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” We need to make a decision, whether or not we want to be the Lord’s disciple, and based on that there is a requirement; deny yourself, meaning you do not live anymore as you think it is right and proper; but live the way Jesus commands it. Take up the cross means, accept everything that goes with it. And follow the instructions to the ‘t’ as commanded by the Lord Himself.

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. ó The command is go and make disciples of all nations. And this is how you do it: Teach them the Word of God as Jesus taught us, that there is no salvation other than the one Jesus preached. We have 3 verses that make this point very clear.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
1 Timothy 2:5 (NKJV)”For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,
Acts 4:12 (NKJV)12 "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Jesus trained His followers-who He nominated APOSTLES, in theory and in practice at the same time. Luke 6:13 “When daylight came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also designated as apostles”.

Strong's Concordance defines apostolos as a messenger, one sent on a mission, an apostle. Original Word: ἀπόστολος, ου, ὁ. Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine. Transliteration: apostolos. Phonetic Spelling: (ap-os'-tol-os).    Definition: an apostle, a messenger, an envoy, a delegate. One commissioned by another to represent him in some way, especially a man sent out by Jesus Christ Himself to preach the Gospel; an apostle.

Jesus called them to follow Him, and they did. Jesus said I will make you fisher of men, which makes it clear that they needed to be trained and transformed by the Lord Jesus in order for them to be a disciple. For this to happen 3 things are necessary: deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Jesus.

As we study Scriptures we can see that the disciples all were transformed and they did as Jesus had commanded them. You and I are called to do the same as the disciples needed to do, because we are followers of Jesus through their obedience. If they would have not been faithful to the Lord’s command, you and I would have never heard of it. And Jesus trains us the same way with His Word and through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in us.

Jesus was sad when he went to the synagogue and saw the lives of those who claimed to be leaders of his people, but who lived merely by appearance; and their spiritual life was actually empty. Politically they were living correct. In front of people they acted as if they kept the whole law, showing of to be spotless. But, Jesus saw their heart. Jesus knew they were not living according to what He commanded them through the Law of Moses. Read Exodus chapter 19 to chapter 40. Humanly speaking it is impossible to live perfectly correct keeping all the laws. Only Jesus that was without sin could live perfectly.

Even though the prophet Isaiah already had spoken about disciples as we read in Isaiah 8:16: “Bind up the testimony, Seal the law among my disciples.”  God was speaking through the prophet, to say that His people were supposed to bind up the testimony. The dictionary says to bind up means: “To wrap something or someone in a material”.  Which means: when you go and announce something or someone whom you are making known, you wrap everything up that has to do with it in the message which you are bringing forth. And we do this with our character, conduct and speech. We represent Him by the way we live, speak, and act.

God has always had His disciples, wrapping them up in the work He has for each one of them to do; since the beginning and always taught them to do His work.

Jesus trained His disciples to work alongside with Him, doing the same job as He did. How many can say today: "In our church everyone learns and works alongside with the pastor going after people to fish them for the kingdom of God"?

In the church where you congregate does the vast majority listen only to the powerful messages; or are they also encouraged and taught how to ‘fish souls into the kingdom of God’? ‘To disciple’ according to the dictionary is: "He who receives teaching from someone; one who learns.”

Jesus teaches us and we learn from Him. Therefore, we have no more excuse not to do it. I have several questions for us to ponder about.

Question nº1: Who is to blame if our life is not according to what the Bible teaches?

Question nº2: Do you have a fair excuse for not living your life as Jesus taught you to live it?

Question nº3: What excuse do you have for living your life according to your own understanding instead of obeying the Lord’s command? Make sure the Lord Jesus accepts your excuse. 

Question nº4: Do you believe that Jesus taught the disciples to fish souls for His kingdom?
Or...  did Jesus want everyone just to hear it in theory and believe it? 
Or… did Jesus expect them to practice it as well?
Or… should only the leadership practice the command of making disciples or every Christian?
Or… Where do we find the answer to all these questions? 

The answer is: In God’s Word!

Therefore, what do you think does God expect of you and me? I believe that Jesus expects each of His children to learn the Word, to engage in it, and to teach others; making more disciples. Discipleship after the heart of God is one about whom God declares: with my holy oil I have anointed him. We read this about David that God said: = Psalms 89:20 "I have found David my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him.”

Speaking about discipleship according to the heart of God, we intend to address an issue of utmost importance in our days. We will be studying and meditating on the fact that God looks at our behavior to disciple our neighbor with our lives, conducts and our character. Our acts, gestures and our speech convey the message that is in our hearts. Jesus said very clearly what is in the heart comes out of the mouth… What is in your heart? Do you know?

We have several passages that show us that Jesus called the ones He appointed as His followers. Make a point of keeping these passages in your mind during this course.

Matthew 4:19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”
Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
John 21:19 “Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

You may say in your inner heart, but I am not a leader. Okay, let me ask you some other questions… "How many of the 12 and 500 other followers of Jesus had any idea at the beginning of what they would do after completion of the training with Jesus? After Pentecost? In Matthew 19:28 “Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

Do you have an idea what God is planning to do through you in the near future? I believe that none of them expected to be an apostle who would eventually have their names inscribed on the wall in heaven. In fact none of us knows particularly what the calling is, that God will give us.

We know that Jesus said, 'Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men'. No one receives Jesus in order to be a leader or disciple maker, and so on. We receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior of our lives; because we recognize we are sinners.

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. Matthew 16:24 “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”

Till the next lesson, until then may the Lord bless you beyond comprehension. 

 Discipleship according the heart of God
ISBN NUMBER:  978-0-9881063-2-1
Mrs. Antonina Penner.

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Rev. Billy Graham