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Go and Make Disciples

Often known as the Great Commission the final orders that Jesus gives to His disciples in Matthew 28:19-20 say, “ 19 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, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” These final instructions are not just for those original 12 disciples but contain instructions to all those that follow Christ and a promise that is made to those who follow Christ.

What does it mean to be a disciple of Christ? In Luke 9:23-34, Jesus says, “23 …., “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” Literally to come after Christ is to become His disciple and follow His instructions and examples. Paul writes in Romans 10, “14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?[c] And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” To be a disciple we must deny our selfish desires and we must proclaim the good news of Christ to all we are able.

We are not alone. This is Jesus’ promise in the “Great Commission,” that He is always with us even until the end. We go forth to share the love of Jesus with the power of the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us. We don’t just stop with being a disciple and sharing the love of Jesus, we also make disciples of others. This doesn’t mean a quick prayer somewhere and then we send the person off to let God do His work. We are the hands and feet of God and He uses us to accomplish His will in all things. As disciples, we create disciples of others by building relationships and continuing to share what we have learned and what God has revealed to us.  I love the outlook of Kings Castle ministries in El Salvador. They send teams out every week to ministers to 10’s of thousands of kids every year in partnership with the local churches. Then the following year they resend teams right back to that same area again. The local church keeps contact and works to grow the harvest during the year and every year teams are sent back again to help plant more seeds. 

Jesus said in Matthew 9, “37 … “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” He has called you and saved you, now what will you do for Him? This is our purpose while we are here on earth, “to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” (Westminster Shorter Catechism Question 1) This is something we should want to shout from the rooftops to all that will hear!

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A New Creation

As those who profess to be followers of Christ how do we live our lives? What do we show to those around us? Are we truly reflecting the love and grace that Christ has shown us or are we proclaiming Christ with our mouth while our actions speak to the contrary?

Paul wrote in his second letter to the Corinthians, 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) To be in Christ we must die to our flesh and we must become a new creation in Christ. When Nicodemus came to Jesus by night this concept was puzzling. He asked Jesus in John 3:4, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born? Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” 

This is how we are to be a new creation. It is not a 2nd earthly birth of the flesh but a birth of the Spirit, as God’s spirit comes to walk and live with us. It is important to understand what it says in Titus 3:5, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,” There is nothing we can do in and of ourselves to become this new creation. It is only accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit. What does it look like to be a new creation?

Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 7:17, So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.” If we are a new creation in Christ, then people will be able to see the fruit of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives. This doesn’t mean we won’t have times that we stumble or that we fall flat and fail miserably but even Proverbs says in Proverbs 24:16, 16 for the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.” I can guarantee you that we will all fall and fail at some point but as someone that is a new creation in Christ and that is covered with the righteousness of Christ we don’t stay on the ground in the muddy pit of failure but we rise up and we continue pushing forward to demonstrate the fruits of the spirit given to us in Galatians 5:22-23, 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” 

Let us be known by the fruits of God’s Spirit at work and evident in our lives.

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How to Live a Fulfilled Life

Where is your peace found? Where is your joy found? What do you seek after to find your fulfillment in life? Fulfillment is “the meeting of a requirement or condition” according to Websters. As we walk through life, we seek fulfillment in many aspects but there is only one that can meet our searching with the answers to our questions. 

 When Adam sinned against God back at the beginning of time a chasm was created between God and man. This distance from God would create an emptiness in every life that man would seek to fulfill. This emptiness is sought to be filled by alcohol for some, by drugs for others, by achieving success in their career, by having a successful “picture perfect” family, by trying to be a “good” person, by pornography, or adultery, or by many other things that we turn into idols and place before God. We seek after the American dream of health, wealth, and happiness, yet we still feel empty and lost. We still feel alone and often afraid. The world reaches for and grabs everything they can find to attempt to fill this void but ignore the only God that can give them that fulfillment.

We feel this way because we are trying to replace the eternal with the temporal and fill the emptiness that was left by man’s separation from God with things that will fade and that mean nothing. The only way to find true fulfillment is through the love and saving grace of Jesus Christ. We must fully surrender our lives and all that we have to Him and only then can we find fulfillment. In John 14:6 Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus places us back in a direct relationship with God the Father. Through Him, that chasm is no longer there, and we are restored. We are called to not attempt to achieve temporal goods or success in this world but, 19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21) To find fulfillment and to fill the emptiness we feel is only achievable by laying our heart at the feet of Jesus and allowing Him to have control of every aspect of our life. Jesus tells us in Matthew 16:25, “25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” We must be willing to lose all we have and like Job says God gives and God takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord. This is our distinction between worldly fulfillment and Godly fulfillment. The temporal v the eternal.

If we want to be fulfilled, and reach our highest potential, then we must lay aside anything that separated us from Christ and we must lose our personal wants of our flesh, and our personal desires for our lives, and seek after His perfect will for us. Only by doing this will we find our true lives and find fulfillment. It is in Christ and Him alone that we must trust!

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Tried and Tempted

There is an old saying that people love to share any time someone is going through anything rough in their lives, “God will never give you more than you can bear.” This statement is completely false and is not found anywhere in the Bible, but it is a twisting of Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

This scripture shows us that God will allow us to be tempted but he will always provide a way of escape and we will not be tempted beyond what can be resisted. Instead, we are told throughout scripture many times that we will experience trials as a follower of Christ. Jesus tells us in Matthew 10:22, “22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” And in John 15:18-19, “18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”

We are told we will be hated by the world, but we should rejoice in this because they hated Christ. Those that preach that God just wants you to be happy, and that God wants to make you rich, are teaching a perverted gospel that has nothing to do with Jesus or His followers. This false gospel is worldly and even occultic influences creeping their way into the Church. This is how the truth of the Gospel of Christ is perverted into a false gospel of the American dream that is leading people to hell. Jesus warned about them in Matthew 7:15, “15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” Throughout the New Testament and in other historical texts we read and learn about how the disciples were persecuted for the sake of Christ, and how Christians throughout history have been tortured and killed for the name of Christ. 

What the world doesn’t understand, is that we are not a part of this world. Our home is in an everlasting kingdom ruled by the sovereign God of all creation. Anything that is done to us while on this earth is simply temporal. We must look past the temporal and to the eternal that Christ has promised. 

In Romans 12:2 Paul says, “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.” Again, in James 1:2-4 we are instructed to, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” We will be tested, and we will experience many trials in this life, but it is all temporary and produces lives that look to eternity, steadfast, and lacking in nothing. By being tested we will know what God finds good.