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Thursday, December 8, 2022

Bonhoeffer's Discipleship: Lesson 17 - The Church of Jesus Christ and Discipleship - The Saints - Part 1


 
What better day to present a lesson on the Saints! Thursdays were the nights I taught recovery ministry and initially launched the Community Freedom Ministry that led to me expanding my blog to the podcast and YouTube channel.  

So I find it oddly appropriate and I am happy to announce that I have completed and uploaded  Lesson 17 of “Bonhoeffer’s Discipleship” : an informal study of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Cost of Discipleship – with Lesson  17  “The Church of Jesus Christ and Discipleship” – The Saints - Part 1   

 

 

Here is a link to the audio podcast: Lesson 17 Podcast

Here is a link to the video on the MT4Christ247 YouTube Channel:  





It is my prayer that this series will encourage people to read Bonhoeffer’s work but more importantly I hope the lessons encourage people to deepen their faith in Christ by pursuing a life of Christian Discipleship. 

God bless you all. 

 

M. T. Clark  



Power Moves from the Weakest of the Weak - Purity 909


Power Moves from the Weakest of the Weak -  Purity 909    

Purity 909 12/08/2022 Purity 909 Podcast

Purity 909 on YouTube:  


 

Good morning,

Today’s photo of a pathway leading to the shores of Lake Ontario and to the Webster Pier, just off camera, to the right, comes to us from yours truly as I captured this scene at Webster Park while on my meandering journey to Buffalo back on November 10th. 

Well, It’s Thursday again and as is my habit I share photos of pathways on Thursdays, originally because that was the night I used to teach at Celebrate Freedom and encourage people to come and “get set free” from whatever “hurts, habits, and hang ups”, but although that recovery ministry is now disbanded, I still encourage people to get on, or to stay on, the path of Christian Discipleship because I have learned that the Lord calls us to allow Him into all the areas of our lives and doesn’t call us to recover, He calls us to be healed and set free from all the things that would keep us in bondage, especially the lies of the enemy and the world system that propagates them.   

I encourage people to stay the course of Christian discipleship, because frankly, I need to hear these encouragements myself!  While I have been set free from many of the things that used to tie me in knots in the past, to the point where I am utterly amazed at the extent of what the Lord has done in my life, I have come to recognize that I am still a work in progress and could easily be a Romans 7 Christian and lament:

Romans 7:19 (NLT2)
19  I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.

My eating habits and spending habits are still areas of my life in which I could say I want to do what is good but don’t!   At Parties or Special occasions I will release the restraints and sabotage my health goals by overeating or choosing to eat foods that I know are laden with sugar or carbohydrates, the elements that help our bodies store fat! (https://healthcare.utah.edu/the-scope/shows.php?shows=0_7frg4jjd) 

Last night, I went to my church’s Christmas holiday party for men, Starpoint Church’s “Men’s Sock Exchange” for the second year in a row and while I brought an appetizer that consisted of only of meat and cheese, pizza and cookies also happened to be on the buffet line and against my better judgement I threw caution to the wind and had some of each, and even took two slices of pizza home to eat before bed!

So back to the drawing board today.  The good news is that other than Christmas Eve at my parents’ house, I don’t have any more holiday parties on the schedule and with this latest failure I am motivated to “correct the course” as I realized that in truth I have been a little mindless in my eating as I have been enjoying mQuest bars, which are nutritionally okay, two and three at a time, and the other night I decided to get in the “holiday spirit” by eating some Planter’s “Brittle Nut Medley” that I had bought for someone as a gift!  DOH! So yeah, we have to be careful to stay aware of what we are doing because our flesh will cause us to slip up and excuse these “little indulgences” until the point where we are living in denial and sabotaging ourselves.  

I confess all of this, because that’s what I do, and with the hopes that I will now repent. I have already brought it to the Lord in prayer and will lean on His strength to try to right the ship.   Because man, I can be disciplined at times, but boy can I be weak at other times.  

But I am not beating myself up about it, I just plan on doing what is right today, and will endeavor to do what is right tomorrow. That’s all we can do, one day at a time, one moment at a time.  And the best way to stay on course is to keep walking and talking with God as we go.  I noticed I didn’t really consult with the Lord in all these instances of failure… how about that.   In all seriousness, I plan on seriously repenting and to start journalling my food intake to try to keep self-aware.  I planned on doing that but the app I used in the past to do that changed and made it “hard”.  I know “lame excuse” but I see the root of my failure, a lack of self-awareness.

Anyway last night, the men’s sock exchange was a fun event. It gives Christian men an opportunity to fellowship, to eat, and to have some fun with the “white elephant gift exchange” game, where the men can choose to keep the gift they receive or “steal” someone else’s gift.  So when you get a gift you don’t know if you are going to keep it, unless it’s a lame gift, in that case you are pretty guaranteed that it’s yours, but you never know, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  

The order of the game is determined by a random draw of numbers, and goes sequentially from 1 to whatever, I think there was 30 people there last night.   A few additional rules for the game include that number 1, the first person to select a gift has the option to steal a gift at the end of the game, because they didn’t have a choice being first,  also in our version it was determined that you could only steal one particular gift 3 times. If something was stolen twice, the third thief would get to keep it as that item was considered “frozen” or “gone”.   Also the person who was “victimized the most, who had been stolen from more times than anyone would also get a “special prize” – which turned out to be gift card to Starbucks.   

Last year, I went home with a pair of Rudoph socks after having stolen a “good pair” of work sock from someone else, getting my just deserts right near the end of the game. So I was a little weary of what to expect and was trying to let go of any expectations of getting anything good and just have fun watching things take place.  

I was even more weary after I saw my number, 11!  I figured there was no way to “win” with 11 because if I got anything good there would be almost 20 thieves who could take it from me!  

Sometimes, these games can be pretty sedate as you can have a crowd who wants to “play fair” but I have noticed that after the first person steals a gift, the stealing increases.  The first few guys just picked presents but number 7 decided to steal a gift, a nice set of hiking socks, from one of the guys that went before him so the “game was a Foot”.  The next couple of guys just picked gifts, but number 10 decided to steal from number 7, the thief had lost his ill gotten gains.   

So it’s my turn, and I can see the opportunity before me.  I could pick a gift and hope for the best, or I could take control of the situation and be assured of my final outcome right here, right now! 

So, I stand up and walk over to number 10 and say: “I’m not getting “zonked” again this year!” and steal the Eddie Bauer, 6 pack of Moisture wicking, odor control, arch support, men’s hiking socks, for myself.  Game recognizes game, and all the men given me a hearty round of applause, for real!  

This is what we call a “power move”. It’s like a prison inmate going up and hitting the biggest baddest dude in the yard on his first day in the penitentiary.  You establish your reputation for being strong or wise by some act that demonstrates “your power”. 

So even though, I was feeling pretty weak with number 11, I seized the day and felt pretty “powerful doing it”! I may not be able to wear these hiking socks until the spring but when I do I can remember this moment and laugh and take a little pride in how I “beat them” at their own game.   

This is a silly example of course, and I know that I am quite weak in many ways, but this little anecdote from last night’s party demonstrates a basica principle of life and Christian discipleship.  The Lord has put us where we are in life, in this time and season, and as we go we will be presented with opportunities and choices of what to do.   And its up to us to:

1.    Be aware – if I wasn’t paying attention to the rules or what was going on I could have missed this opportunity to “get something good”

2.    Remember our pasts and learn from them -  The sting of last year’s “zonk” was at the forefront of my mind and I was trying to avoid a similar outcome

3.    Hope -  Although, with my disappointing number draw,  I was hopeful that “some how and in some way” I’d get something good

4.    Act – although the circumstances fell in my favor, we call that being “blessed” in Christian circles, - I still had to be “bold and courageous” and act.  

And these are  our walking instructions on the path of Christian discipleship. 

Be Aware

Remember Our Pasts, and what we have learned from  the word of God in our pasts, – and learn from It 

Hope – and Pray

Act – DO SOMETHING – When the time is right, Get ‘er done. 

So although we can be weak at times, even us weaklings can pull off a power move on occasion, but I have to remind you just how weak we are and that the best way and the most power we can draw from is found when we follow the Lord. 

So keep walking and talking with God, He will help you in your weakness and when you walk in His ways you can know His awesome power that launches you into a new life of freedom and  victory

 

Unfortunately, I am weak and short on time so I will have to share a Bible verse from the NLT Promise book for men tomorrow..


___________________________________________

As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we continue sharing from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship”, also known as “The Cost of Discipleship”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

The Church of Jesus Christ and Discipleship

Chapter Ten

The Body of Christ, continues

 

The earthly body of Jesus is crucified and dies. In his death the new humanity is also crucified and dies with him. Since Christ had not taken on an individual human being, but rather human ‘form’, sinful flesh, human ‘nature’, all that he bore, therefore, suffers and dies with him. All our infirmities and all our sin he bears to the cross. It is we who are crucified with him and who die with him. True, Christ’s earthly body dies, but only to rise again from death as an incorruptible, transfigured body. It is the same body—the tomb was, indeed, empty!—and yet it is a new body. Jesus thus brings humanity not only into death with him, but also into the resurrection. Thus even in his glorified body he still bears the humanity which he had taken on during his days on earth.

How then do we come to participate in this body of Christ who did all this for us? For this much is certain: there is no community with Jesus Christ other than the community with his body! It is in this body alone that we are accepted and able to find salvation! The way we do gain a share in the community of the body of Christ is through the two sacraments of his body, that is, baptism and the Lord’s Supper. In a very transparent allusion, John the Evangelist reports that from the crucified body of Jesus Christ there issued water and blood, the elements of both sacraments (John 19:34, 35). This testimony is confirmed by Paul when he ties membership in the body of Christ strictly to these two sacraments. The sacraments have their origin and goal in the body of Christ. Sacraments exist only because there is a body of Christ. There they begin and end. The word of proclamation alone is not sufficient to bring us into community with the body of Jesus Christ; the sacrament is necessary too. Baptism incorporates us as members into the unity of the body of Christ. The Lord’s Supper keeps us in this community (κοινωνία) with Christ’s body. Baptism makes us members of the body of Christ. We are “baptized into” Christ (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3); we are “brought into one body by baptism” (1 Cor. 12:13). In our death in baptism, the Holy Spirit thus appropriates to us personally what Christ in his body has gained for the whole of humanity. We receive the community of the body of Christ in the same way the disciples and followers of Jesus received it in the early days, and this means that we are now “with Christ” and “in Christ,” and that “Christ is in us.” Once the body of Christ is properly understood, the meaning of these expressions becomes perfectly clear.

It is true that all human beings as such are “with Christ” as a consequence of the incarnation, since Jesus bears the whole of human nature. His life, death, and resurrection are thus real events which involve all human beings (Rom. 5:18ff.; 1 Cor. 15:22; 2 Cor. 5:14). Nevertheless, Christians are “with Christ” in a special sense. What for the rest of humanity becomes a cause of death is for Christians a gift of grace. In baptism they are assured that they have “died with Christ” (Rom. 6:8; Col. 2:20), are “crucified with him” (Rom. 6:6), “buried with him” (Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:12), and “planted together [with him] in the likeness of his death” (Rom. 6:5), and that they will therefore also live with him (Rom. 6:8; Eph. 2:5; Col. 2:12; 2 Tim. 2:11; 2 Cor. 7:3). The reason that “we are with Christ” is that Christ is Immanuel, “God with us.” Only if we come to know Christ in this way does our “being with Christ” become a gift of grace. We are then “baptized into Christ” (είς), into the community of his suffering. We become ourselves members of this body, and the community of those who are baptized becomes a body which is none other than Christ’s own body. They are thus “in Christ” (έν), and “Christ is in them.” They are no longer “under the law” (Rom. 2:12; 3:19), no longer “in the flesh” (Rom. 7:5; 8:3, 8, 9; 2 Cor. 10:3), no longer “in Adam” (1 Cor. 15:22). With their entire existence and throughout all expressions of their life they are henceforth “in Christ.”

Paul can describe the miracle of Christ’s incarnation in an almost infinite variety of perspectives. Everything we have said thus far may be summed up in the phrase: Christ is “for us,” not only in his word and his attitude toward us, but in his bodily life. Christ stands bodily before God in the place that should be ours. He has stepped into our place. He suffers and dies for us, and is able to do so because he bears our flesh (2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13; 1:4; Titus 2:14; 1 Thess. 5:10, etc.). The body of Jesus Christ is “for us” in the strictest sense of the word—on the cross, in the word, in baptism, and in the Lord’s Supper. All bodily community with Jesus Christ rests on this fact.[1]

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 215–217.

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Overcoming 101 - Saying Goodbye and Getting Over “The Hump” - Purity 908

 


Overcoming 101 - Saying Goodbye and Getting Over “The Hump”  -  Purity 908

Purity 908 12/07/2022 Purity 908 Podcast

Purity 908 on YouTube:



Good morning,

Today’s photo of Bell Mountain from the shores of Chatuge Lake comes to us from a friend who shared this scene from Hiawassee Georgia on social media back on November 27th.   This particular friend’s travels have been highlighted often on the blog and its been a while since I have used any of his “stuff” but I wanted to let them know that “I see you, brother” and to thank him for his generosity in sharing his experiences with his friends.  

Well, it’s Wednesday again and I share our adventurous friend’s photo of Bell Mountain today to visual represent our arrival at the first “hump day” of December and to highlight the enduring quality of friendship and the personal mountains of adversity that we have to face in life on the path of Christian Discipleship.   

In all honesty, I have never personally met the photographer of today’s work. I made his acquaintance on social media a few years ago and have been following him ever since.  His journey, that I can see, has been an epic one.  From our view of his life, we have “seen” him retire and move from his home in Hillsdale in Upstate NY to hop around all over the place, settling for a time in Kentucky, Florida, and now North Carolina. And even though those were the states he has set up “camp” for a while, he has traveled to all the nearby places in between.  The only thing that hasn’t changed is his faithfulness in sharing the things he sees along the way.  If I am ever at a loss for the photo of the day, he is someone I can look to and can usually count on to have something to “use”.  So, thanks Fred, God bless you and your travelling spirit.   

Friends are people we can count right. Friends are people that we have a bond with that can endure separations and time.  As a CFMA, an encourager, for Freedom in Christ Ministries and as a former teacher, and the last director, of Celebrate Freedom my former church’s, now defunct, recovery ministry.  I have made a lot of friends through the years.  I have increasingly and continually found my freedom in Christ through the years  and since 2015, the year I went into recovery, I have been sharing the message of the hope for a new life of peace and abundant joy that is found through faith in Christ alone.

I have encouraged and walked with a lot of people on the path of Christian Discipleship and unfortunately as I keep walking and talking with God I eventually am separated from their company.  As a facilitator of the Freedom in Christ course, I meet new people and walk with them for 12 weeks or so and then have to wish them well as our paths divert.  However, I consider all the people I have known through my old church, and the people I have met through recovery ministry, and the volunteer work I do at Freedom in Christ ministries as my bothers and sisters in Christ, but also as my friends.  While we may have parted company, for whatever reasons, I still consider them to be my friends no matter how long we have been separated. As I leave the people I meet on the path of Christian Discipleship, I leave with the encouragement that they reach out to me to keep in touch or if they need or want to talk.  

With my two household existence, and my secular and ministry work, my availability is something that is hard to pin down on a regular basis, and let’s face it, if you are walking in the Spirit, the Spirit will move you to places you don’t expect! But I always encourage the people I meet along the way to reach out to me periodically or if they are in need because I want to be a friend they can count on.  

We in the body of Christ need each other.  I know how lonely this road of following the Lord can be and I want to be thought of as someone who is faithful to encourage others who decide to pick up their cross and follow the Lord.  

So Monday morning, an old friend from the past reached out to me to confess that he wanted to talk. I was running out the door to work at the time and suggested they just text me or record a voice message to give me a heads up to tell me what was going on and I would respond in kind later.   But they sheepishly replied to never mind and wished me a “Merry Christmas”.   

So as I was driving down the highway, the Holy Spirit indicated to me to reach out and call them.  My new car likes to highjack my phone and I still don’t quite understand how it works. So I reached out and eventually figured out how to speak though my car and learned that my friend had made some bad turns, suffered the consequences of poor decisions, and wanted some advice about what to do.   

Part of my friend’s testimony though revealed to me the root issue of all his problems: his rebellion.  We walked together for a time in the past but we separated because he went against several of his friends’ advice and got involved in a relationship that proved to be toxic. He also hid his relapse in drug and alcohol use.  He has been running ever since and predictably everything has become a huge mess.      

In his statements to me, in asking for help mind you, he was trying to establish his rights and his freedom to “have a beer” at the end of the day and was lamenting over the how he has been misused or wrongly accused  by the state and the other people in his life.  In essence, he was making the claim that he could do what he wanted and that he was a victim of circumstances.  While he was asking for help, he seemed to deny that he was the problem.   

So what do you do? Agree with him and tell him “the world sucks” or “Yeah, you do what you want!” I don’t think so!

I reminded him of how when he was clean and sober, he was thriving in life and I told him flat out that he had to “say goodbye” to the past, say “goodbye” to the beer, and to start following the Lord again.  I told him that there simply is no other way but the Lord’s way and that half measures don’t work. If he wanted true freedom and peace, he had to follow the Lord and do His will.   

Amazingly, he thanked me and said that he knew that he could count on me to “tell it like it is” and he made the decision to start following the Lord again.  

He has texted me over the last couple of days and says he  feels better and he indicates that he is going to change his story from being a cautionary tale to one that tells of a turn around and a new life of victory.   

I sent him a YouTube video of Bethel’s King of My Heart and an encouraging word to let the Lord rule his heart, just this morning.  

It doesn’t cost a thing to send him an encouraging word but I know just how valuable it is to have a friend in your corner when you decide to “climb that mountain” of problems that you have to overcome when you decide to be real with God and follow where He leads.      

I’m not sure what will happen with my friend but I am praying that he stays faithful to seek the Lord and to surrender his will to God.  It’s hard going on this path of Christian Discipleship but if you keep walking and talking with God, you’ll get over that hump and eventually you will leave the darkness of you old life behind as the Lord will fill your life with meaning and purpose that will just happen to lead you on a journey that never ends whose road is paved with peace, love, and joy.  

So turn it around and follow the Lord into all He has for you.  He did it for me and He is faithful and trustworthy to do it for you, too.     

 

  

--------------------------------------------------------

Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

This morning’s meditation verses is:

Isaiah 59:2 (NLT2)
2  It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.

 Today’s verse speaks of the spiritual reality of how our sins disrupt the harmony of our relationship with God. 

As born again believers who have put our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, nothing can separate us from the love of God or break our relationship with Him.   But when we come into a covenant relationship with the Lord through Jesus Christ, there is an expectation that you are going to “walk the walk” as well as “talk the talk” of a Christian disciple.   It is expected that when we come to faith in Jesus Christ that we repent. We are expected to turn from our sinful and selfish ways and to start living our lives according to God’s will and ways.  

So what happens, when we don’t?   Well it feels like God has left us because our sin separates us from fellowship with Him.  we don’t experience His presence or blessing because WE have walked away from Him by sinning.  

One of the principles of prayer is to be “right with God” if we expect to have our requests heard and fulfilled.  Today’s verse indicates our prayers won’t “be heard”, fulfilled, because of our sin.   

But the good news is that God will hear us and be with us the moment we repent. Our fellowship with God is re-established the moment we confess our sins to Him and ask for His help. 

So don’t treat your faith like some game where you can “sin-confess”, “sin-confess”, Instead be faithful to never leave the Lord’s side by turning from sin and walking where He would direct you.     

___________________________________________

As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we continue sharing from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship”, also known as “The Cost of Discipleship”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

The Church of Jesus Christ and Discipleship

Chapter Ten

The Body of Christ

The first disciples lived in the bodily presence of and in community with Jesus. What is the significance of this fact, and in what way does this community still exist for us? Paul states that through baptism we have become members of the body of Christ. This statement sounds very strange and incomprehensible to us, and thus requires a thorough explanation.

It tells us that those who are baptized are still meant to live, even after the Lord’s death and resurrection, in the bodily presence of and community with Jesus. For those who belong to him, Jesus’ departure does not mean a loss but rather a new gift. For the first disciples the bodily community with Jesus did not mean anything different or anything more than what we have today. Indeed, for us this community is even more definite, more complete, and more certain than it was for them, since we live in full community with the bodily presence of the glorified Lord. Our faith must become fully aware of the magnitude of this gift. The body of Jesus Christ is the ground of our faith and the source of its certainty; the body of Jesus Christ is the one and perfect gift through which we receive our salvation; the body of Jesus Christ is our new life. It is in the body of Jesus Christ that we are accepted by God from eternity.

Since Adam’s fall God sent the divine word to sinful humanity, in order to seek and accept us. This is why we have received God’s word, to reconcile our lost humanity with God. God’s word came as promise and as law. For our sake God’s word became weak and lowly. But human beings rejected this word, refusing to be accepted by God. They offered sacrifices; they performed good works which God was supposed to accept in their stead, thereby letting them go free.

Then the miracle of all miracles takes place. The Son of God becomes a human being. The Word became flesh. The One who had dwelled from all eternity in the Father’s glory, the One who was in the form of God, who in the beginning had been the mediator of creation so that the created world can only be known through him and in him, the One who was very God (1 Cor. 8:6; 2 Cor. 8:9; Phil. 2:6ff.; Eph. 1:4; Col. 1:16; John 1:1ff.; Heb. 1:1ff.)—this One takes on humanity and comes to earth. He takes on humanity by taking on human qualities, human ‘nature’, “sinful flesh,” human form (Rom. 8:3; Gal. 4:4; Phil. 2:6ff.). Now it is no longer only through the word of preaching that God accepts humanity, but also in the body of Christ. God’s mercy sends the Son in the flesh, so that in his flesh he may shoulder and carry all of humanity. The Son of God accepts all of humanity in bodily form, the same humanity which in hate of God and pride of the flesh had rejected the incorporeal, invisible word of God. In the body of Jesus Christ humanity is now truly and bodily accepted; it is accepted as it is, out of God’s mercy.

When contemplating this miracle, the early church fathers insisted passionately that while it was necessary to say that God had taken on human nature, it was wrong to say that God had chosen a single, perfect human being with whom God would then unite. God became human. This means God took on the whole of our sick and sinful human nature, the whole of humanity which had fallen away from God. It does not mean, however, that God took on the individual human being Jesus. The entire gospel message can be understood properly only in light of this crucial distinction. The body of Jesus Christ, in which we together with all of humanity are accepted by God, has now become the foundation of our salvation.

The flesh borne by Christ was sinful flesh—yet borne without sin (2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15). Wherever his human body is, there all flesh is being accepted. “Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows.” Only by bearing all our infirmities and sorrows in his own body was Jesus able to heal the infirmities and sorrows of human nature (Matt. 8:15–17). “He was wounded for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities.” He bore our sin, and was therefore able to forgive sin; for in his body our sinful flesh had been “accepted.” This is why Jesus accepted sinners (Luke 15:2): he bore them in his own body. In Jesus the “acceptable (δεκτόν) year of the Lord” had dawned (Luke 4:19).

The incarnate Son of God was thus both an individual self and the new humanity. Whatever he did was at the same time also done on behalf of the new humanity which he bore in his body. He is thus a second Adam, or the “last” Adam (1 Cor. 15:45). For Adam too was both an individual self and at the same time the whole of humanity. Adam also bore the whole of humanity in himself. In him all of humanity has fallen; in “Adam” (which in Hebrew means “human being”), humanity as such has fallen (Rom. 5:19). Christ is the second human being (1 Cor. 15:47) in whom the new humanity is created. He is the “new human being.”

It is only with this perspective in mind that we are able to understand the nature of the bodily community which the disciples enjoyed with Jesus. The bond between Jesus and the disciples who followed him was a bodily bond. This was no accident but a necessary consequence of the incarnation. A prophet and teacher would not need followers, but only students and listeners. But the incarnate Son of God who took on human flesh does need a community of followers [Nachfolgergemeinde] who not only participate in his teaching but also in his body. It is thus in the body of Christ that the disciples have community. They live and suffer in bodily community with Jesus. By being in community with the body of Jesus they are placed under the burden of the cross. For in that body they are all borne and accepted.[1]

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 213–215.


Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Bonhoeffer's Discipleship: Lesson 16 - The Church of Jesus Christ and Discipleship - The Visible Church Community - Part 2

 

As we draw ever closer to Christmas, I am thrilled to be one step closer to completing my goal of finishing the complete series of  "Bonhoeffer's Discipleship before the 25th! 

So, I am happy to announce that I have completed and uploaded  Lesson 16 of “Bonhoeffer’s Discipleship” : an informal study of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Cost of Discipleship – with Lesson  16  “The Church of Jesus Christ and Discipleship” The Visible Church Community – Part 2  

 

 

Here is a link to the audio podcast: Lesson 16 Podcast

Here is a link to the video on the MT4Christ247 YouTube Channel:  



 

 

It is my prayer that this series will encourage people to read Bonhoeffer’s work but more importantly I hope the lessons encourage people to deepen their faith in Christ by pursuing a life of Christian Discipleship. 

God bless you all. 

 

M. T. Clark  

 


Yeah, I’m an idiot but God loves me anyway. - Purity 907


Yeah, I’m an idiot but God loves me anyway. -  Purity 907    

Purity 907 12/06/2022 Purity 907 Podcast

Purity 907 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a pink, blue, and yellow sunset over the Hudson River from the vantage point of Route 9’s overpass on the Rensselaer side of the Dunn Memorial Bridge comes to us from yours truly as I did my best to capture the glory of the moment from my rearview mirror mounted phone as I drove home yesterday evening.  

Well, It’s Tuesday again, and I for one am happy to leave Monday behind because even though I was able to complete all my work yesterday, I had a serious case of the “Mondays” as I made a couple of mistakes that will forever mark the 5th day of December 2022 as a day that will live in infamy.  Okay, I think I should say goodbye to you now because yesterday’s debacle may cause you to decide to look elsewhere for any advice or encouragement for the path of Christian Discipleship but if nothing else my confession this morning will serve as evidence as my intention to live a life of honesty and transparency.  

Yesterday, while at work I locked myself our of my van and had to call my foreman to send some to let me back into it.  

“Hey that’s no big deal, people make mistakes MT. It could happen to anybody.”  

I wasn’t finished.  While at work yesterday, I locked myself out of my van, twice!

What? 

Yup! Twice.   Sure everybody makes mistakes, but when you do it twice in the same day people have to wonder about your mental and emotional well-being! 

So let me assure you I wasn’t depressed or anxious about any on going issues in my life. I wasn’t super busy either. 

In reassessing each instance of stupidity, I now see the common thread that led to my embarrassment. In each case, I put the keys down, once in the ignition & once in the cup holder, in preparations of leaving where I was but in each case I made a quick decision to “do one more thing, really quick” more or less that caused me to leave the vehicle and lock myself out.  I wasn’t really in a hurry, okay. In fact it was because I wanted to be thorough in performing my work that I found myself locked out of my van. 

In the first instance, even though I had been given the “green light” to leave my first job, an install for a business, by one of the staff on hand, I decided to wait until the acting manager showed up to ask where exactly their “new phone” line was supposed to go. 

So when I saw a man who looked like he might be person I was looking for go inside, I called the contact number I had and ended up speaking to him.  Sometimes with business customers, the staff and even management aren’t aware of what is going on with the business’ requests for service and that was the case yesterday.  So when this manager said, “Why don’t you come inside, so we can figure this out?” I complied quickly but left my keys in the ignition! Doh!”  

After finishing inside, I discovered my mistake, called for help, and ended up slinking back inside the business to get out of the cold. I got in undetected and hid/waited in an unoccupied space until my rescuer called to let me know he was outside.  I figured why bother the staff and embarrass myself with sharing my problem and as far as the business customer is concerned, this little drama never happened, so keep that between us, lol!

Anyway later in the day, I had an “easy” trouble – to fix a customers call forwarding.  They needed the calls on a particular line to be forwarded to a new number but it “wasn’t working”.  I had “some trouble” programing the new number at the  central office so I went into my van to call the “Testing center” who can sometimes “fix” over the phone.  And I was only on the phone with them for a minute or so and they told me that they fixed it. They also pointed out that the “trouble” in the CO was due to sequence in which I performed the steps, just something to “remember next time”.

I was ready to close the job and get new work when I started to doubt.  Even though the person on the phone told me the trouble was fixed, I wanted to “make sure” it was fixed.  So one minute, I am about to close the job, and the next I am going into the central office to set up the call forwarding, in the proper sequence, to confirm, for myself, that the problem was indeed fixed.  I figure it would only take a minute. SO I grabbed my “butt set” and frame clip and went to “get er done.”

But I only took a few steps to the door when I realized that my pockets felt a little light.

Oh NO!

Yup, I left the keys in the cup holder of the van and had locked myself out, AGAIN! 

So I called for help, and eventually got back into the van and back to the garage at the end of the day, SO GLAD, that the day was over.  

As you might suspect, there was a full frontal assault of condemnation in each instance, and I credit the Lord for showing me who I am in Christ as the only way I am still not beating myself up this morning.    

When you make a mistake like this, repeatedly, its hard to have any confidence that you are a capable human being.  Your failures show your inadequacy and the enemy is there to accuse and to drive us into fear or depression because of them.  

But luckily, this isn’t my first rodeo with dealing with condemnation and the Lord has shown me the way to overcome. Not surprisingly, the way to peace is to focus on Him rather than us and if we are being condemned by ourselves or the enemy, it doesn’t matter, we can still point to what is true about Him to restore us.  

Yeah, I’m an idiot but God loves me anyway. Thank You God, Thank You Jesus, Thank You Holy Spirit.  

While the world can and will rightfully judge my inadequacies and choose to reject me, the Lord accepts me for who I am, warts and all, failures and all.  

While others may want to distance themselves from me when I mess up, The Lord draws closer to me.  

And while bad things have happened to me, and mostly because of me, and will continue to happen to me, God is working all things together for my good. He has provided for me and given me good things in this life that I don’t deserve and, by God, for reasons I don’t quite understand and don’t want to question, He will continue to lead me into good things in the future, including His eternal kingdom.  

During the processing of yesterday’s trauma, I went to my go to Bible verse to silence the voices of condemnation, if you don’t know it you haven’t been following me for long,

Romans 8:1 (NKJV) says
1  There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

And those words reminded me that there was no condemnation for me, because I am in Christ Jesus. I am forgiven. I am accepted and loved by God.  I am not judged by my performance or lack thereof. Even though I didn’t feel worthy, when I spoke it, I knew it was true.   

In fact, as I received peace and joy over the reminder of who I am in Christ, I laughed and thought: 

“Even though there very well  SHOULD BE condemnation… There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus!

So if you have made same mistake twice in the same day, I’m right there with you, brother!   And it is my prayer that you know who you are in Christ and that you know that regardless of what you do, if you are in Christ you are: 

LOVED

Forgiven

ACCEPTED

SECURE

SIGNIFICANT

And FREE!

I am Including the link (https://www.ficm.org/ministry-materials/free-resources/)  to the free resources page of Freedom in Christ Ministries, where you can download a copy of  “Who I AM in Christ” List from FICM Today in case you don’t know, or you have forgotten who you are in Christ.  

I also wanted to announce that registration for many new courses, including the Freedom In Christ Course, that l Iead on Tuesday nights in 2023, are now open at FICM. The link for that is on the blog as well: https://www.ficm.org/courses/level-1-get-started/ . Just find the course that is right for you and click on the “More Info & To Sign Up” tab to reserve your spot. Space is limited and registration closes on December 17th, so make plans to grow more and to learn more about your faith and yourself in 2023 by signing up today!

While we may always make mistakes this side of heaven, when we are walking and talking with God, we can move past them.  If we fall down, God is always there to pick us up and to encourage us in the way we should go but we won’t receive His joy and peace unless we know who we are in Christ and remember to keep on walking and talking with Him.   

 

  

--------------------------------------------------------

Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

This morning’s meditation verses are:

1 John 3:17-19 (NLT2)
17  If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?
18  Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.
19  Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.

 Today’s verses encourage us to show our love for others by acting.

While money can be a sore subject in faith circles, let me apply a little healthy shame: Most of us have enough money to live well, and there are many in need, so let’s face it we should be compassionate and give, something!

If you are flat broke, I get it. But most of us aren’t and can give something. In fact if you are not giving regularly to your church, to ministries, or to charities, I have to encourage you to do it because verses like today’s verses indicate that a Christian should not be just one who says they care but is someone who actually shows it in action and giving is the easiest way to act.  

Don’t get it twisted, I would rather you serve your church or the community at large in some manner to put your feet on the street in service to the Lord but if you can’t do that I would ask you to show your love for others by giving to the less fortunate in some way.  

I look at my own life and my unwise spending and am literally ashamed at times of how badly I mismanage my life but the money I give to my church, spend on ministry expenses, or donate to charities are the expenses that I can look at and feel good about. It might not be much but at least I give something to someone rather than to myself.  

Today verses tell us to enter into the life of discipleship with action, to DO SOMETHING, to share and to show God’s love in us with other people in our lives.  So let your heart lead you to step out and give or to do something for someone, somewhere, for the glory of the Lord.  

___________________________________________

As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we continue sharing from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship”, also known as “The Cost of Discipleship”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

The Church of Jesus Christ and Discipleship

Chapter Nine

Baptism, concludes

The death of baptism means justification away from sin. In order to be freed from their sin, sinners must die. Whoever has died is justified from sin (Rom. 6:7; Col. 2:20). Sin no longer has any claim on those who are dead; with death the claim has been met and has ceased to exist. Justification from (άπὸ) sin can thus take place only through death. Forgiveness of sin does not mean that the sin is overlooked or forgotten; rather, it means that the sinner is really put to death and thus separated from (άπὸ) sin. However, the only reason the sinner’s death means justification and not condemnation is that this death is suffered in communion [Gemeinschaft] with the death of Christ. Being baptized into the death of Christ is what brings forgiveness of sins and justification and a complete separation from sin. In calling his disciples into the community of the cross, Jesus gave them the gift of justification, of death and forgiveness of sins. The disciple who followed Jesus in the community of the cross received no other gift than the believer who was baptized according to Paul’s teaching.

Although baptism requires a passive role on our human part, it must never be understood as a mechanical process. A look at the relation between baptism and Spirit makes this abundantly clear (Matt. 3:11; Acts 10:47; John 3:5; 1 Cor. 6:11; 12:13). The gift received in baptism is the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is Christ himself dwelling in the hearts of the believers (2 Cor. 3:17; Rom. 8:9–11, 14ff.; Eph. 3:16f.). Those baptized are the house in which the Holy Spirit dwells (οίκεῖ). It is through the Holy Spirit that Jesus Christ remains present with us, and that we are in community with him. The Holy Spirit gives us a true understanding of Christ’s nature (1 Cor. 2:10) and of his will; the Holy Spirit teaches us and reminds us of all that Christ has said to us (John 14:26); the Holy Spirit guides us into all truth (John 16:13), so that we may not be lacking in the knowledge of Christ, and may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God (1 Cor. 2:12; Eph. 1:9). The Holy Spirit does not create uncertainty in us, but certainty and clarity. We are thus enabled to walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16, 18, 25; Rom. 8:1, 4), taking confident steps. After his ascension, Jesus did not withdraw from those who belong to him that measure of certainty which the disciples of Jesus enjoyed during their earthly community with him. By sending the Holy Spirit into the hearts of those who are baptized, the community with Jesus has in fact become so intimate that the certainty of knowing him is not only preserved, but increased and strengthened (Rom. 8:16; John 16:12f.).

In calling the disciples, Jesus demanded a visible act of obedience. To follow Jesus was a public act. In just the same way baptism is a public act, for in baptism we are incorporated into the visible church-community [Gemeinde] of Jesus Christ (Gal. 3:27f.; 1 Cor. 12:13). The break with the world which has taken place in Christ can no longer remain hidden; it must become externally visible through active participation in the life and worship of the church-community. Christians who are actively involved in the church-community take a step out of the world, their work, and family; they visibly stand in the community with Jesus Christ. They take this step on their own as individuals. But they regain what they have given up—brothers, sisters, houses, fields.[20] Those who are baptized live in the visible church-community of Jesus Christ. What that means and entails must be examined in the following two chapters on the “body of Christ” and the “visible church-community.”

Baptism and the receiving of its gift take place only once. No one can be baptized twice with the baptism of Christ.[13] The fact that this gracious act of God is unique and cannot be repeated is what the Letter to the Hebrews is trying to express in that mysterious passage about the impossibility of a second repentance after baptism and conversion (Heb. 6:4ff.). All those who are baptized are participating in Christ’s death. Through his death, they have received their death sentence and have died. And just as Christ died once and for all (Rom. 6:10), and just as there can be no repetition of his sacrifice, so do those who are baptized suffer their death with Christ once and for all. Now they are dead. The daily dying of the Christian is now merely a consequence of the one death that has already taken place in baptism, just as a tree dies whose roots have been cut off. Those who have been baptized live henceforth under the motto: “Consider yourselves dead to sin” (Rom. 6:11). They know themselves only as those who have already died, as those who have already undergone everything that is necessary for salvation. Those who have been baptized draw their life not from a real repetition of Christ’s death, which would have to be accomplished ever anew as an act of grace. Instead, their life springs from looking back again and again, placing their faith in Christ’s death as an act of grace which has already been fully accomplished in their baptism. They live out of the once-and-for-allness of Christ’s death.

The fact that baptism can take place once and only once has important consequences with regard to infant baptism. The question is not whether or not infant baptism is really baptism. But precisely because it is indeed baptism, that baptism that takes place only once and cannot be repeated, infant baptism requires certain restrictions in its use. True, it was certainly not a sign of a healthy church life when, in the second and third centuries, believing Christians postponed their baptism until they reached old age or were already on their deathbeds. But this practice nonetheless speaks of a clear insight into the nature of baptismal grace, an insight which is widely lacking today. With regard to infant baptism this means that the sacrament should be administered only where it is certain that the act of salvation already accomplished once and for all will be repeatedly remembered in faith. And that can only be the case in a living church-community. Infant baptism without the church-community is not only an abuse of the sacrament. It also betrays a reprehensible thoughtlessness in dealing with the children’s spiritual welfare, for baptism can never be repeated.

For those who were called, Jesus’ call was equally unique and unrepeatable. Whoever followed him had died to their previous life. This is why Jesus had to require his disciples to leave all they had. Both the finality of their decision and the complete sufficiency of the gift they received from their Lord needed to be clearly expressed. “But if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored?”[26] It could not be stated any more pointedly than this that Jesus’ gift was offered and received once and once only. Having taken their life from them, he now sought to give them a life that was full and complete. And so he gave them his cross. That was the gift of baptism to the first disciples.[1]

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship



[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 209–212.