Friday, March 27, 2009

His disciples

Since every disciple strives to be like his master, our calling as a disciple of Jesus Christ is to be like Him in character. What is Jesus like? This is why it is important to read all of the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John) and begin a serious study on the life of Christ. As you study the Master, you will also note that Jesus Himself identifies what He is looking for in a disciple. Remember it is one thing to say "I am a disciple of Christ" and it is another thing for the Lord to say: "Ye are my disciples indeed."

Character traits of a disciple:

1. Matt. 10:24 "The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord." - Humility.

2. Luke 14:26 “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” – Self-sacrifice.

3. John 8:31 "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed" - Perseverance.

4. John 13:35 "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." - Brotherly love.

5. John 14:15 "If ye love me, keep my commandments." - Obedience.

6. John 15:8 "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples." -Fruitfulness.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The yoke of discipleship

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)

Jesus invites a people who were loaded and oppressed with religious ceremonies and formalities to find in Him the rest that they long for. There is an exchange of yokes, an exchange of labor and burdens. Those without Christ carry a heavy load of sin. They are under a hard taskmaster. Whether they know it or not, they have a harder road ahead and if they continue in that path the end of that road is one of eternal misery. When we come to Christ, by faith, we exchange our guilt laden yokes of bondage for His yoke of freedom. A yoke is symbolic of restraint. Christians are given true freedom and joy, but freedom is not liberty to do whatever a person feels like doing, it is freedom to love God and serve Him (see Romans 6:16-17). Christians do not take liberties because of their liberty (see Romans 6:1; 1 Corinthians 8:9). A disciple therefore is one who operates under the yoke that is placed upon Him by Christ.

A disciple is one who gladly takes on the yoke that Christ offers. What is his yoke? I am not so sure, I would say that it is all the duties that accompany the profession of being a Christian; the responsibility of obeying all that Christ commands. Whatever it is, it certainly isn't "burdensome" or "grievous" (1 John 5:3). Jesus says "learn of me" and a disciple is a learner. When Christ said that He is "meek and lowly in heart" He wasn't bragging. He was simply declaring truth about His person. This is humble confidence. In fact, this is a statement that verifies Jesus as Messiah in Zec. 9:9. It is Christ who is the pattern. The example to follow. Once again, a disciple strives to be like his master, and so every disciple of Christ, is called to be like Christ in their very character.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Open House Sunday - March 15 @ 10:30am

Dear Friends,

Everyone is welcome to come in and enjoy our special service this Sunday (March 15) at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Brogue. We have set this Sunday aside for you, your family and friends. We have invited a special Guest speaker (Pastor Aaron Samples), we have a special "linger longer" fellowship in our annex-gym, every guest will receive a special gift, and you can also look forward to a short tour of our facilities, and information about ministries. We would be very honored for you to come out and be our guest this weekend. We are looking forward to seeing you there.

Pastor Bill

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A disciple's spiritual growth (part 2)

Our spiritual growth is brought about by the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. When we got saved, (i.e. justified, born again, or regenerated) we are instantly saved to the uttermost. We are a child of God. You cannot be "more saved" than you presently are. Our Salvation is eternal and perfect. We may not, at certain times behave that way, but in all reality when we got saved, we are indeed saved. Consider these Bible verses: John 5:24; Romans 8:1; 1 John 5:12.

All that the Holy Spirit does in our lives is perfect and cannot be refined. He doesn't produce one level of joy and peace in our lives, and then produces a different kind later, when we "get our act together." We may feel that He is closer to us one day, and farther the next day but based on Scripture we know that He is in us and with us from the point of Salvation and with us in fullness. Consider: John 14:17; Titus 3:5-6. In fact 1 Kings 8:27 declares "heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee..." When you feel as if God is not near, it is most likely due to your sin and/or flesh. It certainly is not because of His omnipresence or immensity. The question is not do you get more of the Holy Spirit but does the Holy Spirit get more of you? Spiritual growth is therefore a question of quantity (how much do I demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit in Gal. 5:22-23 towards myself and towards others, especially in situations where the fleshly response is opposite to the fruit that we ought to bear), rather than quality. You cannot experience fullness of Spiritual growth or maturity in the faith if you are not willing to let the Holy Spirit of God change you. When you consider spiritual growth, remember Philippians 1:6, this is God's work, He is forming Christ-likeness in your very soul. Today is an opportunity to recognize that God is wanting to do a work in you and through you.

Friday, March 6, 2009

A disciple's spiritual growth

"But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen." (2 Peter 3:18)

The Christian life rests on a personal relationship with God. Salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone. From this spiritual life stems the Christian life, which is a life committed to Jesus Christ. The Bible instructs us to "grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." The growth needed is brought about by the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and His work is understood by the teachings of the Bible (God's Holy Word). Like all other "growths," spiritual growth is a progressive increase. Consider some Bible verses in this area of spiritual growth:

1. Our dependency on Christ and His testimony in our lives is to grow. John 3:30 "He must increase, but I must decrease."

2. Our good works (aided by God) are to abound. 2 Cor. 9:8 "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

3. Our knowledge (practical and Biblical) of God is to grow. Col. 1:10 "That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God."

4. Our Christian character is to change and increase. 1 Thess. 3:12 "And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:"

5. Our faith and love is expected to grow. 2 Thess. 1:3 "We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;"

Spiritual growth is expressed in the disciple's everday life. Today is an opportunity to manifest spiritual growth.