Focus    on Purpose
Focus    on Purpose
If I have faith to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing
Focus    on Purpose
If I have faith to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing
© Focus On Purpose July 2017 - 2018

Making Disciples

 “The Christian life is the discipled life

and the discipling life.”

(Mark Dever)

 

What is Discipleship?

Last week we looked at fruit that glorifies God, and we saw that this fruit has more to do with our taking on the character of God as we abide in Jesus, than bringing in converts. In fact Peter tells us : “ But give reverent honor in your hearts to the Anointed One and treat him as the holy Master of your lives. And if anyone asks about the hope living within you, always be ready to explain your faith with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15-16 The Passion Translation) Jesus does not tell us to make converts, but to make disciples. “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’" (Matthew 28:18-20) A disciple is a “learner, pupil ... one who follows one's teaching” (Thayer's Greek Lexicon).  In the context of the verse from Matthew, a disciple is one who follows the teaching of Jesus. This is not the same as following someone on Twitter or Facebook. In the context of being a disciple, it speaks of applying the teaching of the one you are following, in this case, Jesus. It is literally following after, observing, listening, questioning, engaging in conversation, and applying the learning to your life. As I look at the literal translation of these verses from Matthew, I get a different picture to what I have been led to understand. In my experience, this verse has been used many times to motivate people to be involved in missions. In that motivation, people are told that "Go therefore" is a command. As I look at the Greek word, it appears that Jesus is saying something different. "Go therefore..." The Interlinear Bible translates this as "Having gone..." At this point the disciples hadn't gone anywhere, they were in Galilee (See Matthew 28:16) . According to The Blue Letter Bible, the tense of this Greek word translated as 'Go', is Aorist. According to their definition: “The aorist tense is characterized by its emphasis on punctiliar action; that is, the concept of the verb is considered without regard for past, present, or future time. There is no direct or clear English equivalent for this tense, though it is generally rendered as a simple past tense in most translations. The events described by the aorist tense are classified into a number of categories by grammarians. The most common of these include a view of the action as having begun from a certain point (‘inceptive aorist’), or having ended at a certain point (‘cumulative aorist’), or merely existing at a certain point (‘punctiliar aorist’).” (Blue Letter Bible) The voice is Passive and not Active as the translation suggests. “The passive voice represents the subject as being the recipient of the action. E.g., in the sentence, ‘The boy was hit by the ball,’ the boy receives the action.” (Blue Letter Bible) The word is a participle and not a verb, and it is not a command. As I look at Thayers Greek Lexicon, the Greek word, translated here as "Go",  literally means: “to pursue the journey on which one has entered, continue one's journey”. This Lexicon goes on to say that by a Hebraism, this word also means metaphorically, “to depart from life”, “to follow one, i.e. become his adherent”,  or “to lead or order one's life”. What is the ‘therefore’ relating to? It is pointing to Verse 18 : “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.’” So, when Jesus says “Go therefore…”, could He have been saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. As you have been discipled, disciple the nations…"? I am not suggesting that missionary journeys are wrong. What I am saying is that this is not what Jesus commanded. His command is that we pursue our journey of relationship with Him (abiding in Him), and wherever our path takes us, we are to disciple those with whom we came in contact. In fact Acts 1:8 also speaks into this. Jesus is about to ascend to heaven and just before He goes, He tells His disciples, “… you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, [to which He adds] and even to the remotest part of the world.” (Emphasis and brackets added) The ‘both’ that Jesus refers to in Acts, is Jerusalem, and the rest of Israel, including Samaria. He then adds that they would be witnesses even to the remotest part of the world. Note that the ‘shall be My witnessess…’ is linked to receiving power from the Holy Spirit. Note also that it is not a command, but a statement of fact - you will be a witness. The Greek word for ‘nations,’ speaks of cultures, race, and people in general. Paul was called to travel to different nations, others stayed where they were. Paul reached out to the Gentiles, Peter to the Jews. The emphasis is not on the place, but being witnessess to all people - speaking about what you have seen, heard, experienced, and know. When the disciples received the power of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, no one could stop them from being a witness... Our focus and energy is to be poured into our relationship with God, and the rest of our life flows from there, touching people of any culture, race, or people group with whom we come into contact. What does it mean to disciple? Many an evangelist will tell us this passage from Matthew is a call to "preach the Gospel" to everyone. But how did Jesus go about making disciples? From what I see, it appears that He started by taking the Kingdom to the people in practical and key ways. According to Luke 9:2, having been with Him for a while, Jesus called the twelve to Himself, gave them power and authority over demons, and to heal diseases. He then sent them out to proclaim the Kingdom of God. In verse 6 of Luke 9, we are told the disciples went among the villages “preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.” (NASB)   The Greek word translated as "preaching the gospel," actually means “to bring good news, to announce glad tidings”  (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon).  This came to specifically mean, “to instruct (men) concerning the things that pertain to Christian salvation” (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon). Yet at the time of Luke 9, the disciples did not yet understand “the things that pertain to Christian salvation.” What did Jesus tell the disciples to do?  To “proclaim the Kingdom of God,” not so? (See Luke 9:2)   And what does that mean? Matthew 10:7 elaborates: “And as you go, preach (or proclaim), saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ " What is the "Kingdom" of heaven? According to The Blue Letter Bible, it speaks of: “royal power, kingship, dominion, rule; not to be confused with an actual kingdom but rather the right or authority to rule over a kingdom” So the disciples were to take the message of God's right to rule over all creation, including the powers and principalities, and they were to demonstrate this by casting out demons and healing the sick. Effectively, they were to 'demonstrate' the kingdom through healing and casting out demons, and then to tell the people that what they had just witnessed, was the result of the kingdom of heaven being near. The authority and power that was witnessed was God's power and authority over sickness, death, and demonic bondage. So 'making disciples' does not begin with “If you were to die tonight, do you know that you will go to heaven?" Rather, it begins with a practical demonstration of God’s right to rule over all powers and principalities, and that His dominion is a dominion of love, healing, restoration, and freedom. There will be those who prefer self-rule; let them go. But there will be those who are drawn to God; walk with these. Then, as a parent trains a child, train these people how to "abide in Jesus" and how to "walk in the Spirit". Discipleship is a Journey of Love. I thank God for two special ladies who were brought into my life during a very dark and bewildering time. Each of these women demonstrated God’s involvement in my life, by giving me very personal and powerful prophetic words. They then took my hand and walked the road with me, reminding me of who God is, instructing me in the way of the Spirit, and brining much encouragement and truth. These women have demonstrated what discipling is all about. One of these ladies is from the USA, and her discipling is done long- distance through email. Much of the New Testament consists of discipling letters, but it is nonetheless a journey, a path walked with someone over a period of time. Discipling is like mentoring, and we are never the sole mentor in someone’s life. When the Body of Christ operates as it is called to operate, discipleship becomes a 'Body' function, not an individual function. It is a function of everyone discipling everyone, regardless of spiritual age and experience. Discipleship is not a gifting, it is a way of life in the Body. Discipleship is not a program, but an ongoing service of love to those around us, each one imparting what they have been given to impart. Sometimes this may mean bringing someone into relationship with Jesus, at other times, it may be picking them up out of the dust, or simply encouraging them in the way. Whatever stage the person is in, discipleship is about  bringing truth in the place of a lie, and pointing back to the character of God, to bring stability, peace, joy, and hope, in Christ Jesus.
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Focus    on Purpose
If I have faith to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing
© Focus On Purpose July 2017 - 2018  

Making Disciples

 “The Christian life is the discipled

life and the discipling life.”

(Mark Dever)

 

What is Discipleship?

Last week we looked at fruit that glorifies God, and we saw that this fruit has more to do with our taking on the character of God as we abide in Jesus, than bringing in converts. In fact Peter tells us : “ But give reverent honor in your hearts to the Anointed One and treat him as the holy Master of your lives. And if anyone asks about the hope living within you, always be ready to explain your faith with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15-16 The Passion Translation) Jesus does not tell us to make converts, but to make disciples. “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’" (Matthew 28:18-20) A disciple is a “learner, pupil ... one who follows one's teaching” (Thayer's Greek Lexicon).  In the context of the verse from Matthew, a disciple is one who follows the teaching of Jesus. This is not the same as following someone on Twitter or Facebook. In the context of being a disciple, it speaks of applying the teaching of the one you are following, in this case, Jesus. It is literally following after, observing, listening, questioning, engaging in conversation, and applying the learning to your life. As I look at the literal translation of these verses from Matthew, I get a different picture to what I have been led to understand. In my experience, this verse has been used many times to motivate people to be involved in missions. In that motivation, people are told that "Go therefore" is a command. As I look at the Greek word, it appears that Jesus is saying something different. "Go therefore..." The Interlinear Bible translates this as "Having gone..." At this point the disciples hadn't gone anywhere, they were in Galilee (See Matthew 28:16) . According to The Blue Letter Bible, the tense of this Greek word translated as 'Go', is Aorist. According to their definition: “The aorist tense is characterized by its emphasis on punctiliar action; that is, the concept of the verb is considered without regard for past, present, or future time. There is no direct or clear English equivalent for this tense, though it is generally rendered as a simple past tense in most translations. The events described by the aorist tense are classified into a number of categories by grammarians. The most common of these include a view of the action as having begun from a certain point (‘inceptive aorist’), or having ended at a certain point (‘cumulative aorist’), or merely existing at a certain point (‘punctiliar aorist’).” (Blue Letter Bible) The voice is Passive and not Active as the translation suggests. “The passive voice represents the subject as being the recipient of the action. E.g., in the sentence, ‘The boy was hit by the ball,’ the boy receives the action.” (Blue Letter Bible) The word is a participle and not a verb, and it is not a command. As I look at Thayers Greek Lexicon, the Greek word, translated here as "Go",  literally means: “to pursue the journey on which one has entered, continue one's journey”. This Lexicon goes on to say that by a Hebraism, this word also means metaphorically, “to depart from life”, “to follow one, i.e. become his adherent”,  or “to lead or order one's life”. What is the ‘therefore’ relating to? It is pointing to Verse 18 : “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.’” So, when Jesus says “Go therefore…”, could He have been saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. As you have been discipled, disciple the nations…"? I am not suggesting that missionary journeys are wrong. What I am saying is that this is not what Jesus commanded. His command is that we pursue our journey of relationship with Him (abiding in Him), and wherever our path takes us, we are to disciple those with whom we came in contact. In fact Acts 1:8 also speaks into this. Jesus is about to ascend to heaven and just before He goes, He tells His disciples, “… you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, [to which He adds] and even to the remotest part of the world.” (Emphasis and brackets added) The ‘both’ that Jesus refers to in Acts, is Jerusalem, and the rest of Israel, including Samaria. He then adds that they would be witnesses even to the remotest part of the world. Note that the ‘shall be My witnessess…’ is linked to receiving power from the Holy Spirit. Note also that it is not a command, but a statement of fact - you will be a witness. The Greek word for ‘nations,’ speaks of cultures, race, and people in general. Paul was called to travel to different nations, others stayed where they were. Paul reached out to the Gentiles, Peter to the Jews. The emphasis is not on the place, but being witnessess to all people - speaking about what you have seen, heard, experienced, and know. When the disciples received the power of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, no one could stop them from being a witness... Our focus and energy is to be poured into our relationship with God, and the rest of our life flows from there, touching people of any culture, race, or people group with whom we come into contact. What does it mean to disciple? Many an evangelist will tell us this passage from Matthew is a call to "preach the Gospel" to everyone. But how did Jesus go about making disciples? From what I see, it appears that He started by taking the Kingdom to the people in practical and key ways. According to Luke 9:2, having been with Him for a while, Jesus called the twelve to Himself, gave them power and authority over demons, and to heal diseases. He then sent them out to proclaim the Kingdom of God. In verse 6 of Luke 9, we are told the disciples went among the villages “preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.” (NASB)   The Greek word translated as "preaching the gospel," actually means “to bring good news, to announce glad tidings”  (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon).  This came to specifically mean, “to instruct (men) concerning the things that pertain to Christian salvation” (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon). Yet at the time of Luke 9, the disciples did not yet understand “the things that pertain to Christian salvation.” What did Jesus tell the disciples to do?  To “proclaim the Kingdom of God,” not so? (See Luke 9:2)   And what does that mean? Matthew 10:7 elaborates: “And as you go, preach (or proclaim), saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ " What is the "Kingdom" of heaven? According to The Blue Letter Bible, it speaks of: “royal power, kingship, dominion, rule; not to be confused with an actual kingdom but rather the right or authority to rule over a kingdom” So the disciples were to take the message of God's right to rule over all creation, including the powers and principalities, and they were to demonstrate this by casting out demons and healing the sick. Effectively, they were to 'demonstrate' the kingdom through healing and casting out demons, and then to tell the people that what they had just witnessed, was the result of the kingdom of heaven being near. The authority and power that was witnessed was God's power and authority over sickness, death, and demonic bondage. So 'making disciples' does not begin with “If you were to die tonight, do you know that you will go to heaven?" Rather, it begins with a practical demonstration of God’s right to rule over all powers and principalities, and that His dominion is a dominion of love, healing, restoration, and freedom. There will be those who prefer self-rule; let them go. But there will be those who are drawn to God; walk with these. Then, as a parent trains a child, train these people how to "abide in Jesus" and how to "walk in the Spirit". Discipleship is a Journey of Love. I thank God for two special ladies who were brought into my life during a very dark and bewildering time. Each of these women demonstrated God’s involvement in my life, by giving me very personal and powerful prophetic words. They then took my hand and walked the road with me, reminding me of who God is, instructing me in the way of the Spirit, and brining much encouragement and truth. These women have demonstrated what discipling is all about. One of these ladies is from the USA, and her discipling is done long-distance through email. Much of the New Testament consists of discipling letters, but it is nonetheless a journey, a path walked with someone over a period of time. Discipling is like mentoring, and we are never the sole mentor in someone’s life. When the Body of Christ operates as it is called to operate, discipleship becomes a 'Body' function, not an individual function. It is a function of everyone discipling everyone, regardless of spiritual age and experience. Discipleship is not a gifting, it is a way of life in the Body. Discipleship is not a program, but an ongoing service of love to those around us, each one imparting what they have been given to impart. Sometimes this may mean bringing someone into relationship with Jesus, at other times, it may be picking them up out of the dust, or simply encouraging them in the way. Whatever stage the person is in, discipleship is about  bringing truth in the place of a lie, and pointing back to the character of God, to bring stability, peace, joy, and hope, in Christ Jesus.
Focus    on Purpose
Focus    on Purpose
If I have faith to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing
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