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Three Things to Remember During Discipleship

Three Things to Remember During Discipleship

The Bible makes it clear that we are to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone, everywhere. But we cannot stop there. When Jesus gave us the Great Commission in Matt. 28 He said:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” Matt. 28:19-20 (ESV).

It is interesting that Jesus ends with verse 20. In other words, the Great Commission does not end with giving someone the Gospel. Instead it continues into discipleship.

Christ then ends the Gospel of Matthew with the essential part of disciple making, the presence of God. Titus 2 stresses the responsibility that older Christians have to teach and disciple younger Christians and gives us a basic outline of the discipleship process. As you read this passage and begin to disciple others, here are three things to remember.

1. We must teach the Gospel and sound doctrine (Titus 2:1).

Today there are too many of us who do not share the complete Gospel and/or teach everything in the Bible. If we truly believe what the Bible teaches, and that the Bible is the infallible and perfect Word of God, then we must teach it in its entirety. It can be easy to side step the hard issues and controversial topics, but we need to address them.

2. We must set ourselves apart from the world (Titus 2:2).

So many times we can fit the part of a Christian when we need to, and then turn around and act like we have never stepped foot in a church. We tend to fit in with our surroundings. What good does it do for us to be two-faced and inconsistent? We need to be practicing the things we preach. Eventually our inconsistencies will catch up to us and we will lose our testimony.

3. We must address the hard issues (Titus 2:11-14).

We have a lot of people in our churches who have secret sin in their lives. We have got to engage people about the dangers of sin, and we need to begin to move out the bondage of lust and idolatry and into freedom in Christ Jesus.

Remember that discipline is a command that Christ gave us. It can be hard and intimidating at times, but it is a needed and necessary part of the Christian life.

The Primary Responsibility of Every Christian

The Primary Responsibility of Every Christian

A lot of us have grown up in church, and I think that most Christians understand there is some responsibility that goes along with being Christian. Things like tithing, being in church, spending time in prayer, reading and learning the Scriptures, etc.

But I also think there is one responsibility that stands out from the others. Now, I want to be clear, this does not by any means replace the others or make it okay to back off any other responsibility.

What is our primary responsibly?

Matt. 28:19-20 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” 

So basically, as Christians, our primary responsibility is to take the Gospel to everyone, everywhere. This does not mean that we all have to be pastors or missionaries, but it does mean that we all have been commanded to share the Gospel wherever we are.

In Rom. 10, Paul shares his passion to see non-believers come to know Jesus Christ as their savior. In verses 14 through 17, Paul gives some insight and explains just how important sharing your faith really is.

Paul tells us that faith only comes by hearing the Gospel. Hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ is essential to salvation. This means that the lost cannot know Jesus as their savior without hearing the Gospel. And they cannot hear the Gospel unless a Christian goes and tells them.

Why? Because you can’t believe in someone or something that you have never heard. And these people, the lost, will never hear the Good News unless we, as Christians, intentionally go and share our faith.

Every day we have friends, family, coworkers, and classmates who need to know Jesus and without the Gospel they will die and go to Hell.

So now, what are you going to do? Be bold enough to share the Gospel of Christ to the people around you? Or will you sit back and let them parish?

Make the most of your influence

Make the most of your influence

Do you know that you have influence?  If you call yourself a Christian, you have set yourself apart from the world.  Therefore, anyone who claims Christianity has influence.  But really it’s not a matter of if you have influence; it’s a matter of how you use your influence.  As Christians there is a standard of living set for us.  Throughout the Bible we see stories and example of how we should and shouldn’t live our lives, and as we all know, “actions speak louder than words.”

Second Chronicles 17 tell the story of Jehoshaphat and his reign over the land of Judah.  He was the King, and he definitely had influence.  Chapter 17 shows us how Jehoshaphat lived and the principals he lived by, making the most of his influence.  Can the same be said of you?

Verse 1, Strengthen yourself.  You must learn how to study and apply the Word of God to your life, job, family, marriage, relationships, struggles, etc. before you can have a positive influence on others.  How can you be light in a dark world if you don’t apply God’s Word to your life?

Verse 2, Always be ready for battle.  Notice the Bible doesn’t tell us that Judah is under attack, but Jehoshaphat still has his guard up.  It’s a lot easier to defend yourself if your defense is up before an attack comes.  This is why we train troops even when we aren’t in a time of war.  For example, whether you struggle with internet pornography or not, go ahead and put parental controls on your computer and phone.  That way you’ll be much less likely to run into a problem.

Verse 3, Learn from the best.  Don’t listen to just anyone. Go back a couple chapters and read about Jehoshaphat’s dad, Asa.  Jehoshaphat isn’t following his example for good reason.  Instead he looks to the early way of his relative King David, before David got into a bunch of sin.  Before you follow the advice of someone or follow their lead, do your homework and make sure he or she is someone you really need to be following.

Verse 4, Don’t let the world control your heart.  Jehoshaphat didn’t follow the practices of Israel or the world around him.  He was focused on God and the things of God.  Set yourself apart from your friends at school or work.  Romans 10:1-2 says, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Luke 16:15 says, “And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.”  Following the world will get you nowhere!

Verse 5, Let the scope of your influence come from the Lord.  Jehoshaphat wasn’t concerned about was following the world, making everyone happy or living like a celebrity. Jehoshaphat simply followed God.  And because of that, God blessed him abundantly.

Verses 7-9, Use your position and resources to spread the Gospel.  Jehoshaphat didn’t stop with his kingdom – he wanted everyone to hear about the Lord!  The most important thing we can do is share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others!  Jehoshaphat didn’t use his wealth on himself but used it to send out missionaries.

How do you live? And what does your influence look like?  Are you mission-minded? These principles can be applied at work, school, in your community and anywhere else you might be.  Jehoshaphat set a great example for us. Now take it, and use your influence to reach the world for Christ!

How to Honor and Glorify God in the Workplace

How to Honor and Glorify God in the Workplace

Growing up in the church, I remember hearing things like, “go to work for Jesus!” I never really understood what that meant, but like most us, I jotted it down in my notebook and nodded my head, agreeing with the statement.

But what does it really mean?  Can you bring glory to God today stocking shelves, mowing yards, or trying to earn your commission?  If you are like me, maybe you are thinking, “how can someone glorify God at work or go to work for Jesus unless they work in a church?”  Well, I believe that there are at least seven ways (there are probably more) you can glorify God at work, every day.

1.     Be dependable.  This is twofold. First, depend on God.  Depend on Him to give you a job, provide for you, and to show you purpose for your life. (Proverbs 3:5-6)  Second, be someone who your co-workers and employers can depend on.

2.     Be aware of your relationships and the way you communicate with others.  There are several scriptures you can point to here.  We are to respect and submit to those who God has put over us. (Romans 13:1-7)  How do you communicate to your boss?  Respectfully or rudely?  And how do you communicate with your co-workers?  Do you use language that sets you apart as a Christian? In addition, how are you perceived?  To be blunt, are you a flirt or inappropriate? Don’t be!

3.    Be honest and have integrity. The 8th commandment says “You shall not steal.” (Exodus 20:15)  This includes more than just money or property. Don’t take advantage of a break or steal time.  Don’t use company resources for personal gain.  Just be fair and do the right thing.

4.     Be a loving person. This could be included with number 2, but I want to emphasize love.  Christ shows His love in many ways: His patience, mercy, grace, service…and this could go on.  Are you demonstrating a Christ-like love to those around you?  Ideas to help you do this: Help your co-workers, always be willing to come in early and go the extra mile, be understanding when someone makes a mistake and care about the needs of others.

5.     Have a purpose. Why do you work?  Is it just to earn money to blow on the weekends?  Do you realize that while you are at work you are earning the money that you will put in the offering plate, that will go on to do things like support missions, feed the hungry, and plant churches through the Cooperative Program?  What an honor to be a part of what God is doing just by cleaning tables or flipping burgers.

6.     Be thankful! The job you have is what God is using to give you food on your table, a roof over your head, and ever go see a movie on the weekends or buy new clothes.  Give thanks for what the Lord has given you!

The most important thing you can do is:

7.     Be missional! Share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with those around you! God has put you in your position for a reason!

What love are you showing this Valentine’s Day?

What love are you showing this Valentine’s Day?

Here we are in the month of love and if you have not already bought flowers or chocolates for your Valentine… you should quit reading now and go buy some! Otherwise, read on.

During the month of February there is a lot of emphasis on love. This Valentine’s Day might be a good time to think about the love we should have for those around us who have not come to know Jesus Christ and His redemptive work on the cross, not just our sweethearts back home. Most of us have friends or family members who need Jesus and the Gospel and there is nothing more loving than sharing the truth with them.

I am sure most of us have read the story of the paralytic man that Jesus healed. This may seem like an odd story to relate to Valentine’s Day, but it is a perfect example of love.

And when [Jesus] returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that He was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And He was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to Him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”Mark 2:1-5 (ESV)

Imagine going to your pastor’s house to hear him preach and seeing four guys drag a paralyzed man up onto the roof. They begin to pull shingles off and remove boards until they put a big hole in the roof of your pastor’s house.  I know I would probably think these guys were nuts. Think about the comments these men would have heard as they tried to help their friend. You know people must have laughed at them. It’s not like you can nonchalantly drag a paralyzed guy onto the roof while a big crowd of people are standing there watching. I’m sure it was a sight to see.

But these men knew one thing; their friend was crippled and Jesus could heal him. Unlike most of us, these men were willing to do whatever it took to get their friend before Christ Jesus. Jesus recognized that these men had faith and He blessed them for that. Is this the same kind of love we have for those people in our lives that are lost?

Take some time this month to do the most loving this you can possibly do, share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the lost.