Posts Tagged ‘Disciples

05
Apr
16

Who Is The Greatest?

Jesus tells His disciples that He is going to die.  So naturally, they start arguing about which of them is Jesus’ favorite.  I can just hear them saying, “That’s nice, Jesus, but hold on.  We’re having a discussion over here.”  They totally missed the importance of what Jesus said because they were more worried about their self-importance.  Then they say to Jesus that someone was driving out demons in Jesus’ name and they tried to stop him because he wasn’t one of the 12 disciples.  Again, they totally missed it!
How often do we do this in Christ’s church?  We’ll put our own desires/comforts/preferences above what truly matters.  Why?  Because we’re self-centered, self-seeking, selfish people!  We want what we want and we want it NOW!  What if I told you that if we were to do as Jesus said and make ourselves the least, then Christ will exalt us to be the greatest?  But that should not even be our goal.  Our goal should be to do whatever it takes to reach people who don’t know Jesus and to honor and exalt Christ in everything we do.
Jesus didn’t die so we could be “the greatest.”  Jesus didn’t die so we could have a burger joint faith (I want it MY way!).  Jesus came to seek and to save the lost and He did that by dying on the cross for our sins.  We should be willing to bend over backwards to do whatever it takes to reach those for whom Jesus died.  But too often we’ll throw religious temper tantrums until we get our way.  No one wins!  People get hurt.  Churches get hurt.  The lost don’t find their way to Jesus and they die in their sins.  I shudder to think of standing before God and hearing Him say, “What were you doing?  I gave you ONE job!  Make disciples!  What did you do?  You made it all about yourself!”  Perish the thought!  I want to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25: 21, NIV)!  What do you want to hear when you stand at the judgment seat?  “I’m so glad you fought to get your way.”  “I’m so pleased that you spent your time and energy to make sure you were comfortable.”  “Thank you for honoring me by splitting that church.”  If you believe that you are a mature Christian, then you should be able to lay aside personal preferences and desires for the sake of those who don’t know Christ.  If not, then why did Jesus die?
PRAYER:  Father in Heaven, forgive me when I get in Your way.  Help me to remember that life is about knowing You and making You known to others.  Thank You for saving me and loving me.  Amen.

Luke 9:43-50 (NIV)

Jesus Predicts His Death a Second Time

While everyone was marveling at all that Jesus did, he said to his disciples, 44 “Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.” 45 But they did not understand what this meant. It was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.

46 An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. 47 Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. 48 Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.”

49 “Master,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.”

50 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”

11
Sep
14

Who Is The Greatest?

In John’s account of the Last Supper, we read of Jesus’ humble act of washing His disciples’ feet:

 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. – John 13:3-5 (NIV)

This was the job of the lowest servant in the house.  This was a dirty, disgusting job.  It was a task that none of the other disciples were willing to do.  So the Creator of the universe had undertaken in order to His disciples an example of service and sacrifice.  Yet according to Luke’s Gospel, this act of humility was lost on them.
On the night before Jesus was crucified, His disciples began to argue with one another about which one of them was Jesus’ favorite.  Who was the most important?  Who was the greatest among them?  They just didn’t get it!  Following Jesus is not about being great!  It’s about serving others in love.  It is not an opportunity to satisfy an ego!  It is about humbly loving others and reflecting Christ to a lost world.  The disciples were so caught up in their dreams of power and glory that they missed Jesus’ humility and service.
We can do the same thing, you know.  When we think that our preferences and our desires are more important than anyone else’s, we are just like the disciples.  We are full of pride and self-centeredness and we forget that our lives are to be lived as servants of Jesus.  What did Jesus come to do?  To seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10).  When we lose that Jesus mission to selfish pride and arrogance, He cannot be pleased.  We have to deny ourselves and take up that cross every day, especially in the church.  What we do in our churches has to have one focus: making disciples.  That means that everything we do has to be about helping people follow Jesus.  Every dollar that is spent has to go toward that mission.  Every second that is spent serving Jesus has to go toward that mission.  Whether you are investigating the claims of Christianity or are a new follower of Jesus or have been walking with Him for decades, the goal and purpose of the church is to help you follow Him better each day until we get to our heavenly home.  And we should be willing to do just about everything in our power (short of watering down the Gospel and violating God’s Word) to help people follow Jesus.
Luke 22:24-30 (NIV)
24 A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.28 You are those who have stood by me in my trials. 29 And I confer on you a kingdom,just as my Father conferred one on me, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
28
Jul
14

Not Ready For It

Do you ever wonder why you can’t understand something right away?  Do you ever get frustrated when things that are plain to others don’t come easy for you?  It is like someone has placed a veil over your eyes and you just can’t figure out what everyone else has understood for a while.
In Luke 18:31-34, Jesus clearly explained to His disciples what was going to happen to Him.  He spelled it out event by event what was going to happen and they just didn’t get it.  Why?  How could they have not understood something that He made so plain and clear?  It was hidden from them.

The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about. – Luke 18:34 (NIV)

Could it be that the thing you’re just not getting isn’t for you yet?  There is a time when you will understand, but now is not that time.  When it comes to discerning God’s will and plan for your life, perhaps He hasn’t revealed it to you yet because the time isn’t right for you to understand it.  Your level of spiritual or emotional maturity isn’t right for you to handle the full weight of what God has for you.  I think that the key to spiritual growth is patience and work.  You must be patient for the growth process to continue.  You must also work to grow as a believer.  You have to put in the time and effort to read God’s Word.  You have to put in the time to pray and listen to God.  You have to spend time with fellow believers in Christ to encourage and exhort one another.  You have to put in the effort it takes to mature in your faith.  How can you handle the meatier portions of God’s plan for you if you’re still drinking spiritual milk?
God will reveal His plan for your life when He knows you’re ready to handle it.  Until then, be patient.  God’s not finished with you yet.  Continue to do the things it takes to grow and mature as a follower of Jesus and God will bring understanding to your heart, soul and mind when the time is right.

Luke 18:31-34 (NIV)

31 Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. 32 He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him;33 they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.”

34 The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.

10
Jul
14

What Is Your Duty?

When it comes to duty and responsibility as Christians, we may feel like we’re going above and beyond.  We may think that we deserve to take a break and kick back and relax with Jesus.  Jesus says that this is not the case.  He tells a little story in Luke 17:7-10 about our duty as His followers.
A servant who does his job faithfully is not rewarded until he has done the entire job.  He goes out and does his job in the fields and then, when he comes home, he is expected to fulfill his duties before he is allowed to rest.
As Christians, we have a duty to our Master.  We are called to faithfully carry out the commission Christ has given to us to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20).  This is the bare minimum that He expects us to do!  We get so caught up in our jobs, our families, our hobbies, our leisure and our lives that we forget that Jesus has given us a job to fulfill.  We cannot afford to rest for even a moment.  There are so many who will believe and repent and be baptized!  Are we doing our duty or are we neglecting our commission?
There will come a day when we will see Jesus and He will reward us.  Until then, let it be said of us that we have done our duty.
Luke 17:7-10 (NIV)
7 “Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’?8 Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? 9 Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? 10 So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’”
13
Apr
14

Purpose Despite Doubt

Today’s message from Griffith First Christian Church in Griffith, Indiana.

04
Apr
14

Who Is The Greatest?

Jesus tells His disciples that He is going to die.  So naturally, they start arguing about which of them is Jesus’ favorite.  I can just hear them saying, “That’s nice, Jesus, but hold on.  We’re having a discussion over here.”  They totally missed the importance of what Jesus said because they were more worried about their self-importance.  Then they say to Jesus that someone was driving out demons in Jesus’ name and they tried to stop him because he wasn’t one of the 12 disciples.  Again, they totally missed it!
How often do we do this in Christ’s church?  We’ll put our own desires/comforts/preferences above what truly matters.  Why?  Because we’re self-centered, self-seeking, selfish people!  We want what we want and we want it NOW!  What if I told you that if we were to do as Jesus said and make ourselves the least, then Christ will exalt us to be the greatest?  But that should not even be our goal.  Our goal should be to do whatever it takes to reach people who don’t know Jesus and to honor and exalt Christ in everything we do.
Jesus didn’t die so we could be “the greatest.”  Jesus didn’t die so we could have a burger joint faith (I want it MY way!).  Jesus came to seek and to save the lost and He did that by dying on the cross for our sins.  We should be willing to bend over backwards to do whatever it takes to reach those for whom Jesus died.  But too often we’ll throw religious temper tantrums until we get our way.  No one wins!  People get hurt.  Churches get hurt.  The lost don’t find their way to Jesus and they die in their sins.  I shudder to think of standing before God and hearing Him say, “What were you doing?  I gave you ONE job!  Make disciples!  What did you do?  You made it all about yourself!”  Perish the thought!  I want to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25: 21, NIV)!  What do you want to hear when you stand at the judgment seat?  “I’m so glad you fought to get your way.”  “I’m so pleased that you spent your time and energy to make sure you were comfortable.”  “Thank you for honoring me by splitting that church.”  If you believe that you are a mature Christian, then you should be able to lay aside personal preferences and desires for the sake of those who don’t know Christ.  If not, then why did Jesus die?

Luke 9:43-50 (NIV)

Jesus Predicts His Death a Second Time

While everyone was marveling at all that Jesus did, he said to his disciples, 44 “Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.” 45 But they did not understand what this meant. It was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.

46 An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. 47 Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. 48 Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.”

49 “Master,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.”

50 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”

02
Apr
14

Listen and Obey

One of the most amazing things to me about the story of The Transfiguration is that Peter (and presumably James and John) were able to recognize Elijah and Moses.  I wonder if it was something Jesus told them or if it was revealed to them by God.  Luke does not give us that detail.  They came to Jesus while He was praying.  Eight days prior to this event, Jesus had told His disciples that He was going to die and then rise again.  He knew that His time was coming soon and as He prayed on the mountain, His appearance was changed and Elijah and Moses showed up to strengthen Him.  Then a cloud descended upon Jesus, Peter, James, John, Elijah and Moses.  A voice from the cloud spoke and said:

This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him. – Luke 9:35 (NIV)

God the Father audibly spoke and confirmed that Jesus was His Son, chosen by the Father to do His will and the disciples should listen to Him.
Jesus is still the Son of God, reigning in power and glory.  He reigns on Heaven’s throne surrounded by countless worshiping angels.  He is still the chosen one.  Chosen from before time began to suffer and die for all humanity.  He rose from the dead on the third day and is coming back again!  We would still do well to listen to Him.  John 6:63b (NIV) says:

The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.

Jesus’ words are full of life and we must listen and obey Him.

Luke 9:28-36 (NIV)

The Transfiguration

28 About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. 29 As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. 30 Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. 31 They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. 32 Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. 33 As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.)

34 While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” 36 When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves and did not tell anyone at that time what they had seen.




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