Jan 22, 2021
To know God better. The better we know God, the better we can follow Him.
The Bible is the only book which is totally reliable and without error- unlike philosophies written by men.
What Bible study will do for us:
- It will make you a strong Christian- 1 John 2:14 (The young men strong because Word of God was in them.)
- It assures of salvation.1 John 5:13
- It will give confidence in prayer- John 15:7, 1 John 5:14,15
- it will cleanse us from sin.-John 17:17
- It will give you joy.-John 15:11
- it will produce peace in your life. Luke 11: 28
- It will guide you in making important decisions in life- direction and wisdom for daily living- Ps. 119:105
- It will help you share your faith with others.-1 Peter 3:15
- It will guarantee your success and make you more fruitful in your life. Joshua 1:8, Ps 1:1-3
- It will transform our lives. The Bible is the tool the Holy Spirit uses to transform our lives and make us more like Christ
- It will protect us from false teaching. By knowing the truths of the Bible, we will be able recognize false teaching when we see it.
Jan 22, 2021
After we’ve been a Christian for a while, it is easy to get in a rut. Our work and personal lives tend to get more complicated and more distractions come our way. After a while, it seems we are spending a lot of time just putting out fires and trying to cope with life on a daily basis. Our Bible reading and prayer life starts to slide without our realizing it and we find ourselves trying to cope with life through our own wisdom and ingenuity. That’s when things can snowball and life can really end up a mess.
When you realize this is happening in your own life and life seems to have more questions than answers, that’s when you need to step back and take a good look at what you are doing. How are you trying to handle everyday life with all it’s tasks and responsibilities? This is especially important in our high tech world with all its gadgets and distractions. We find ourselves overwhelmed with things we feel need to be done with little time to do them. That is when you need to start trying to simplify your life again. Step back for a while and re-evaluate things. Do you really need to answer all those emails and phone calls? Are all those tasks you think you need to do really that important?
Someone once wrote a little booklet entitled, “The Tyranny of the Urgent”. The author’s premise was that many times we have things which seem urgent to do, yet in reality, they are unimportant. We need to sort through things and do what is really important, not just what seems urgent at the time.
One of the best ways to get rid of the unimportant and get our priorities straight is simply to set aside a little time each day to read and meditate on scripture. If you do this over a period of time, I think you will find a lot of things will fall into place where they should be. You will be able to sift through you responsibilities easier and eliminate those things which really don’t have to be done.
Get Back to Basics
You have to decide what is really important in your life. There are several steps you can take to simplify your life and do what is really necessary without wasting a lot of time doing the unimportant. Here are several steps you can take.
1. Reading the Bible and meditating on it on a regular basis has a way of automatically washing the clutter out of your mind.
2. Praying on a regular basis will help calm you mind and help you focus on what is really essential.
3. Witnessing, passing out tracts, or in some way ministering to and helping others is the main purpose to which God called you. No matter what occupation God has called you to, He wants you in this field for certain reasons which have to do with your spiritual development and ministry to others. This is your primary purpose in life…not just making money to pay the bills. Once you realize your job is just the means to this end, your work life will take on a different dimension.
Take Time to Analyze
Take some time over the next few days, to have a good look at your daily life. Try to identify the areas which are important and which are unimportant. Start practicing the above three steps and in a short time, I think you will see a major difference not only in what you accomplish, but also in your attitude toward your life in general. These three steps are the basis for building a solid Christian lifestyle and accomplishing what God has for you to do.
Jan 22, 2021
Years ago, one of my earlier mentors told me, “Everyone should have a Paul and a Timothy”. What he meant was that every Christian at different times in their lives should be being discipled by an older Christian and also discipling a younger Christian themselves. Discipling a younger Christian does not necessarily mean someone younger in age, but one less mature in their development as a Christian. There are many younger Christians around who would love for someone more experienced in the Christian life to come alongside them and help them grow to spiritual maturity.
It doesn’t take a college or seminary degree or special training. And as someone who has been a growing Christian for years, you have a lot of knowledge and wisdom to impart to a younger Christian. You’ve learned how to have a devotional time reading and studying the Bible. You’ve spent hours in prayer and have seen answers to those prayers. You’ve made mistakes and have learned at least somewhat how to avoid the pitfalls. You have been through discouraging times and found that God was there taking care of you all along. That type of knowledge and experience is just what a younger Christian needs to grow and mature in his or her walk with Jesus Christ. Our own church is blessed with a group of older Christians who can disciple and mentor a younger person, whether it is a new convert just starting out or someone who has been a Christian for years, but has always had problems knowing just how to go about growing in Christ. I personally know what it is like to flounder around like a fish on a beach in my Christian life until some dear older Christian came alongside me to help point the way.
Some people have the mistaken idea that you just win people to Christ and invite them to attend church. Somehow we think having them sit through years of listening to sermons and Bible studies will be all that it takes to develop a robust Christian life. It doesn’t work that way, however.
What is Disciplemaking Anyway?
Let’s start with a definition. This one is mine, although you can probably find a better one somewhere else. Disciplemaking or discipling is a process of bringing a new or immature Christian to the point where he can grow on his or her own in the Christian life towards full maturity in Jesus Christ.
What Does It Involve?
It might be better to give some examples to show the process of making disciples. Some people think discipling someone involves having a weekly Bible study with the person they are discipling. This may be part of the process, but not necessarily. For instance, a new convert may need a weekly study on such things as:
- How to read and study the Bible.
- The importance of prayer and how to do it.
- How to deal with sin in their life.
- How to share the gospel with someone else.
- And many other related things necessary to grow in the Christian life.
However, a weekly Bible study format is not always what is needed.
Discipling another person involves literally building your life into theirs. Not in the sense where you are building a duplicate version of yourself. Your purpose is to help them grow into the image of Christ. It means sharing your life with them as you teach them and help them grow. It involves being there for them when they need you. It means sharing your victories as well as your defeats, your failures, and your trials and to help them avoid the pitfalls you found in life. It means encouraging them and rejoicing with them in their successes. This involves teaching them the Biblical principles needed to successfully live the Christian life. The whole purpose is to help them learn to grow into the likeness of Jesus Christ.
That’s the way Jesus taught His own disciples. They lived with him for three and a half years. He taught them, admonished them, and they saw how he reacted to various situations they came across in life during His ministry on earth. Much of His teaching was on the spot application of principles for situations they ran across in daily life.
Different Styles and Different Formats for Different Needs
Not everyone teaches the same way. Nor does everyone learn the same way. Some people learn best in a structured format such as a Bible Study. Some learn best sitting in a restaurant over a cup of coffee receiving on the spot encouragement and Biblical instruction on how to apply a Biblical principle to whatever problem they are facing. Some forms of discipling will take the form of hands on experience such as taking a person out and showing them how to share the gospel with others.
This is the Real Purpose of the Church
The Great Commission in Matthew literally says, “Going into the world, make disciples”. That is why the church exists on earth and that is the way our church can grow.
Imagine this: What if our church became known in our community as the church which creates and nurtures disciples and helps Christians grow by one on one instruction in the Christian life? Personally I think that kind of reputation would cause a lot of growth in our church.
What to Do
If you are an older Christian, look around for someone who seems to want to grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ. Develop a relationship with them. Spend time with them. Invite them over to your house to get acquainted. Let them know you are there for them whenever and for whatever reason there is.
If you are a younger Christian who would like to be more successful in your Christian living and have a closer walk with God, find someone in your church whom you think could help. Pull them aside and ask them if they would be willing to spend some time meeting regularly with you to help you learn and grow. Don’t be shy. There people in our church who would love to be able to spend time with you and help you develop in your Christian life.
Jan 22, 2021
Christianity is not a religion. It is a relationship. Many people call themselves Christians these days, but that does not make it so. These people believe that simply following the moral teachings of Christ is what makes them a Christian. Nothing could be farther from the truth. For example, suppose I went down to the Army surplus store and bought a soldier’s uniform. I could dress up in fatigues, helment, carry a rifle and act the part, and call myself a soldier. Would that make me one? Of course not. I have to become a soldier by signing up with a recruiter. Many people act the same way when talking about Christianity. They believe that if they try their best to live a good life according to the teachings of Christianity, that automatically makes them a Christian.
Acts 11:26 tells us that the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. The disciples were believers. They believed that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and died to pay for the sins of the world. Jesus Himself said in John 3, that a person has to be born again in order to even see the Kingdom of Heaven. It is not our actions which make us a Christian, but whether we believe that Jesus died for our sins.
In Corinthians 15, the apostle Paul tells us it is this believing the Gospel (good news about Jesus) that saves us:
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
It is when we believe in the Christ as our Savior that we are born again- this time into God’s family. Thus Christianity is a relationship we have to God through our faith in Jesus Christ as the payment for our sins. I John 5:1 tells us that whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God. The word “Christ” is simply the Greek word which is the translation for the Hebrew word “Messiah” which means “the annointed one”. Jesus was annointed by God the Father to be the satisfaction for the payment of the sins of the entire world.
The Bible teaches in numerous passages that trying to work your way to Heaven based on living a moral life is doomed to failure. Sadly many people will stand before God at the final judgement hoping to get into Heaven based on their good works in life, only to hear God’s response:
On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Matt 7: 22, 23).
With the exception of Christianity, all other religions in the world have one thing in common. That is the belief that people have to work to gain Heaven. (For whatever type of Heaven a particular religion teaches.) Christianity is different from all the rest in that good works will not get you to Heaven or even help you get into Heaven.
In Christianity, all the work necessary to gain our entrance into Heaven has already been done by Jesus Christ. We simply accept that to come into full possession of it. D.L. Moody, the great evangelist of the 19th century was talking to a train engineer one day. The engineer was a religious man from a different religion. Moody told him:
There is not much difference between your religion and mine…just two little letters.
The train engineer looked at him and asked for an explanation.
Moody replied, “You spell your religion ‘do’. In other words, you believe if you do enough you’ll go to Heaven. My religion, on the other hand, is spelled “done”. Christ has done all that is necessary for me to go to Heaven.”
And there is all the difference in the world in those two little letters.
Jan 22, 2021
Sometimes Christians say they can’t forgive themselves for something they have done. If you ask them if God has forgiven them, they will say, “Yes, but I have a hard time forgiving myself.” What they don’t realize is that they are basically saying they have a higher standard of holiness than God Himself !
When a person accepts Christ as their Savior, all their sins, past, present, and future are forgiven and wiped away. When we sin, those sins are already forgiven. But sinning as a Christian breaks the fellowship we have with God. We don’t feel right in God’s presence because we have unconfessed (unacknowledged) sin. We can also lose the joy of our salvation, but not salvation itself. Confession of those sins restores the fellowship we have with God.
God’s holiness is infinite; beyond what we as humans can conceive. Yet because of the payment Jesus made for our sins, God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) can forgive us our sins and we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ Himself. And in forgiving us, God remains just as righteous and just as ever.
When we say that God has forgiven us for our sins, yet say we cannot forgive ourselves, in essence, what we are saying is that we have a higher standard of holiness to which we hold ourselves than God does. Do you see how wrong this is?
So if you are a Christian, forgive yourself. God already has.