VIDEO The Method of Missions – The great commission: “Make disciples”

The Method of Missions

Jesus Christ did not say, “Go and save souls” (the salvation of souls is the supernatural work of God), but He said, “Go…make disciples of all the nations….” Yet you cannot make disciples unless you are a disciple yourself. When the disciples returned from their first mission, they were filled with joy because even the demons were subject to them. But Jesus said, in effect, “Don’t rejoice in successful service— the great secret of joy is that you have the right relationship with Me” (see Luke 10:17-20). The missionary’s great essential is remaining true to the call of God, and realizing that his one and only purpose is to disciple men and women to Jesus. Remember that there is a passion for souls that does not come from God, but from our desire to make converts to our point of view.

The challenge to the missionary does not come from the fact that people are difficult to bring to salvation, that backsliders are difficult to reclaim, or that there is a barrier of callous indifference. No, the challenge comes from the perspective of the missionary’s own personal relationship with Jesus Christ— “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” (Matthew 9:28). Our Lord unwaveringly asks us that question, and it confronts us in every individual situation we encounter. The one great challenge to us is— do I know my risen Lord? Do I know the power of His indwelling Spirit? Am I wise enough in God’s sight, but foolish enough according to the wisdom of the world, to trust in what Jesus Christ has said? Or am I abandoning the great supernatural position of limitless confidence in Christ Jesus, which is really God’s only call for a missionary? If I follow any other method, I depart altogether from the methods prescribed by our Lord— “All authority has been given to Me….Go therefore…” (Matthew 28:18-19).

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

“When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” We all have faith in good principles, in good management, in good common sense, but who amongst us has faith in Jesus Christ? Physical courage is grand, moral courage is grander, but the man who trusts Jesus Christ in the face of the terrific problems of life is worth a whole crowd of heroes.  The Highest Good, 544 R


The great commission: “Make disciples”

Questions at Christmas

“But what about you?” [Jesus] asked. “Who do you say I am?” Matthew 16:15

Well before the calendar flips to December, Christmas cheer begins to bubble up in our northern town. A medical office drapes its trees and shrubs in close-fitting strings of lights, each a different color, illuminating a breathtaking nighttime landscape. Another business decorates its building to look like an enormous, extravagantly wrapped Christmas present. It’s difficult to turn anywhere without seeing evidence of Christmas spirit—or at least seasonal marketing.

Some people love these lavish displays. Others take a more cynical view. But the crucial question isn’t how others observe Christmas. Rather, we each need to consider what the celebration means to us.

A little more than thirty years after His birth, Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” (Matthew 16:13). They gave responses others had given: John the Baptist, Elijah, maybe another prophet. Then Jesus made it personal: “Who do you say I am?” (v. 15). Peter replied, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (v. 16).

Many will celebrate Christmas without a thought about who the Baby really is. As we interact with them, we can help them consider these crucial questions: Is Christmas just a heartwarming story about a baby born in a stable? Or did our Creator visit His creation and become one of us?

Father in heaven, may our Christmas celebrations this year, whether lavish or small, honor the Messiah who came to redeem His creation.

For more on the life of Christ, see christianuniversity.org/NT111.

Who do you say Jesus is?

By Tim Gustafson 

INSIGHT

Who was Matthew, the writer of the gospel by the same name? Matthew (also known as Levi) was one of Jesus’s twelve disciples. Prior to Jesus’s call, Matthew served as a despised tax collector (9:9). Tax collectors were particularly loathed because they exacted taxes from their own people, the Jews, to pay the Romans (the oppressive rulers of Israel). And they often collected far more than required. Matthew wrote his gospel primarily to the Jews to prove that Jesus is the Messiah (Savior), the eternal King. We see Matthew’s emphasis clearly in today’s passage. When Jesus asked His disciples about His identity, Peter declared, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (16:15–16). Alyson Kieda

Alyson Kieda

The Gift of Exhortation

Romans 12:3-8

The church is filled with people who have different passions and interests. Christ designed His body to function this way by supplying various spiritual gifts by which His work is accomplished. Yet sometimes these differences can lead to misunderstandings because we each see through the lens of our own gift.

Exhortation is one of those spiritual gifts that can be misconstrued. People with this gifting may use strong words to urge fellow believers toward spiritual maturity. Sometimes this involves identifying foundational problems like pride, selfishness, or a desire for control and prescribing corrective steps based on biblical principles. Other times, exhortation may include an explanation of the blessings of obeying the Lord as well as warnings about the consequences of disobedience.

You may have noticed this gift is often given to pastors who regularly exhort God’s people from the pulpit, but there are also individuals in the congregation who may have this spiritual gift. As Christians, we need to hear the truth about ourselves and how we are living, yet sometimes we may be resistant. Perhaps we think the exhorter has oversimplified our situation or is trying to “help” God out. Or maybe the way in which the advice is given strikes us as overconfident. At other times, we may question how Scripture is applied or doubt the genuineness of the one who exhorts us.

Although we should always compare what we hear with God’s Word, we must not reject correction simply because we don’t want to hear it. Wisdom comes with careful consideration of counsel as we hold firmly to the Word.

Not Giving, how about Sowing

“But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully, shall reap also bountifully.” (2 Corinthians 9:6) 

As John Calvin pointed out long ago in expounding this key passage, “We are not giving, but sowing” when we contribute of our financial means to the work of the Lord, for it miraculously is considered by the Lord of the harvest as seed sown in the soil of the hearts of men.

And it is a rule of the harvest that, other things being equal, the more seed planted, the more harvested. He who is deficient with his seed must necessarily anticipate a meager crop.

Of course, a bountiful harvest presupposes not only an abundance of seed, but also good soil, properly prepared, watered, and cultivated. It is no good simply to give money to anyone or any cause, any more than it is good simply to throw a seed on a rocky slope or city street or weed-infested yard. One is responsible to give where God’s Word is honored—not just to give, but to give responsibly.

Furthermore, even though an abundant harvest is promised, the motive in giving is also vital. The harvest is souls—not gold! “God loveth a cheerful giver”—not a conditional giver (v. 7). “He that giveth, let him do it with simplicity” (Romans 12:8). Often God does bring financial blessing to a Christian who has proved faithful in the grace of giving, but this is so he can give still more and thus lay up still more treasure in heaven. “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required” (Luke 12:48). “Therefore,” as Paul said, “. . . see that ye abound in this grace also” (2 Corinthians 8:7).

And as we give, we must never forget that Christ has given more: “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor” (2 Corinthians 8:9). HMM

If ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye

1 Peter 3

1 Peter 3:1-6

A woman’s sphere is her home, her sceptre is love, her crown jewels are domestic virtues. She is most graceful who is most gracious, and she is best arrayed who is clothed with holiness.

1 Peter 3:7

Tender love and affectionate honour must be rendered to the queen of the little kingdom of home, through whom God blesses the household so much.

1 Peter 3:8, 9

We cannot wash off dirt with dirt, or cure evil by evil; let us not try to do so. If we are indeed believers, we are blessed, and we are yet to be more blessed, therefore let us bless others.

1 Peter 3:10-17

Yet we hear persons say, “I would not mind being blamed if I deserved it,” which is very absurd, since it is the deserving of blame which ought to trouble us far more than the rebuke.

1 Peter 3:18-20

This passage nobody understands, though some think they do. It is for our good to be made to feel that we do not know everything. The point which is clear is that as Jesus suffered though innocent, we also must be willing to suffer at the hands of the ungodly.

1 Peter 3:21, 22

Noah’s deliverance in the ark, and our baptism, are figures of salvation. Both represent a living burial, a passage from the old world into the new, by death and resurrection. Was our baptism the answer of a good conscience toward God?

 

Inured to poverty and pain,

A suffering life my Master led;

The Son of God, the Son of man,

He had not where to lay his head.

 

Since he is intimately nigh,

Who, who shall violate my rest?

Sin, earth, and hell, I now defy;

I lean upon my Saviour’s breast.

 

Have You Been Confused About Worship?

For ye are the temple of the living God. (2 Corinthians 6:16)

To really know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord is to love and worship Him!

As God’s people, we are so often confused that we could be known as God’s poor, stumbling, bumbling people, for we are most prone to think of worship as something we do when we go to church on Sunday!

We call it God’s house. We have dedicated it to Him. So, we continue with the confused idea that it must be the only place where we can worship Him.

We come to the Lord’s house, made of brick and stone and wood. We are used to hearing the call to worship: “The Lord is in His holy temple—let us kneel before Him!” This is on Sunday and in church—very nice!

But on Monday, as we go about our different duties, are we aware of the continuing Presence of God? The Lord desires still to be in His holy temple, wherever we are; for each of us is a temple in whom dwells the Holy Spirit of God!

 

Covered And Protected

“He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” Ps. 91:4

A condescending simile indeed! Just as a hen protects her brood and allows them to nestle under her wings, so will the Lord defend His people, and permit them to hide away in Him. Have we not seen the little chicks peeping out from under the mother’s feathers? Have we not heard their little cry of contented joy? In this way let us shelter ourselves in our God, and feel overflowing peace in knowing that He is guarding us.

While the Lord covers us we trust. It would be strange if we did not. How can we distrust when Jehovah Himself becomes house and home, refuge and rest to us?

This done, we go out to war in His name and enjoy the same guardian care. We need shield and buckler, and when we implicitly trust God, even as the chick trusts the hen, we find His truth arming us from head to foot. The Lord cannot lie; He must be faithful to His people; His promise must stand. This sure truth is all the shield we need. Behind it we defy the fiery darts of the enemy.

 

%d bloggers like this: