Needy Disciples Hope in Him – Lent with Bonhoeffer Day 8 – Purity 980
Purity 980 03/02/2023 Purity 980 Podcast
Purity 980 on YouTube:
Today’s photo of winding “country road” disappearing into a dense forest undeath a light blue sky comes to us from Fred Dimmick who shared this scene from a recent drive that presumably took him home on social media back on February 11th.
Well, it’s Thursday again and as is my habit I am sharing Fred’s “country road” as a visual reminder of the path of Christian Discipleship with the encouragement to all who hear or read this message to follow it on “home”. Well, It’s March second and we are one more day closer to spring and after the winding road of February that saw me away from Riverhouse for 23 of the 28 of the short month’s days it’s not surprising that I had a major revelation of God’s goodness when I remembered what it took to get me here yesterday afternoon.
I had actually received a report of troubling if not bad news yesterday stemming from my past and while the news bothered me instead of focusing on the situation that was beyond my control, I “returned to joy” by remembering that even this bad news couldn’t touch my current situation and security that I have in not only my place “Down by the River” but the new life I have because I have made the daily decision to walk in the Spirit, to live out my faith every day on the path of Christian Discipleship.
So one minute, I felt sorrow for the situation and the person who has caused it because they have refused to move on, quite literally, and the next I was overcome with the joy of my salvation, my freedom, my Riverhouse, and the fact that Lord gave me all of it because I decided to faithfully follow Him even when it was hard.
I literally was singing to the Lord and even took a photo of the view from outside my place to document the day I was reminded of all that the Lord has done for me. I’m sharing that photo on the blog if you would like to see it:
So wonderful was the revelation of the fact of God’s love and providence in my life, I spontaneously broke out in song changing the lyrics of Whitney Houston’s “The Greatest Love of All”( https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/whitneyhouston/greatestloveofall.html) to give glory to the Lord:
I decided long ago
Never to walk in anyone's shadows
If I fail, if I succeed
At least I'll live as I believe
No matter what they take from me
They can't take away my dignity
Because the greatest love of all
Is happening to me…
….Learning to love THE LORD
It is the greatest love of all,”
This is what steadies our pace and lifts our spirits as we walk through the valleys and up the hills, and around the bends on this winding path of life and faith. We need to remind ourselves of the love of God and all that He has done for us and to continually bring these things into remembrance so we don’t take our freedom and victory for granted and we realize the new wonderful life we have in Christ didn’t end now that we have been in the faith for awhile. Our new life just keeps going on and although it may be winding at times, it always leads to good things because it is guaranteed to bring us home to the Lord.
I believe that in deciding to draw close to the Lord by doing the 40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer is bearing fruit already.
So let’s keep going down that winding road of Christian Discipleship into Lent with a true 20th century example of a life surrendered to God, as we once again resume our current series of going on the 40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer. We take this path to mark the season of Lent and to draw closer to God in anticipation for the celebration of Easter, knowing that if we take this journey of repentance seriously, the Lord will use it to change us too. You can sign up to get this devotional yourself by going to the Biblegateway link on the blog ((https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/40-Day-Journey-Dietrich-Bonhoeffer/today)) .
“The disciples are needy in every way.
They are simply “poor” (Luke 6:20). They have no security, no property to call their own, no piece of earth they could call their home, no earthly community to which they might fully belong. But they also have neither spiritual power of their own, nor experience or knowledge they can refer to and which could comfort them.
For his sake they have lost all that.
When they followed him, they lost themselves and everything else which could have made them rich.
Now they are so poor, so inexperienced, so foolish that they cannot hope for anything except him who called them.”
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3
Questions to Ponder
- What kinds of poverty are there?
M.T. Clark: Obviously there is financial poverty, not having enough or barely having enough to provide for you basic needs, to just survive. There is also relational poverty where we have isolated ourselves away from others because of pain or distrust and have unwittingly made our lives poor by cutting ourselves and others from the relational resources of love, joy, encouragement, and support we could give to one another. But there is also spiritual poverty that many people suffer from and don’t know it because they have no relationship with the Lord. Bonhoeffer indicates that disciples are poor because they have cut themselves off from materialism and the company of most men because they have decided to follow Christ. However, what is unseen on earth will be seen when we come into Christ’s kingdom and are shown first hand the riches of His love and receive our precious promised inheritance as we will live forever in His presence.
- In the life of faith, what is the point of disciples being poor?
M.T. Clark: The point of disciples being poor is to rely completely on God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit to guide us, strength us, comfort us, and provide for us. The more we surrender our selves to God we experience the unbelievable benefits of being “poor”, like peace, love, joy goodness, patience, self control and the other fruit of the Spirit.
- Bonhoeffer asserts that for Jesus’ sake disciples lose everything. Why would Jesus want that?
M.T, Clark: Why would Jesus want His disciples to lose everything? He would want that so His disciples could be free and to fully experience God’s goodness. When we lose the things of this world we become free of them and the bonds of dependence that come with them and we can truly understand just how much the Lord cares for us. Those of us who have lost possession, relationships, or physical health and walked through trials have a small idea of what it is like to “lose everything” and what peace and joy comes from leaning on the Lord. No matter what we have lost though, we can never claim to have lost everything because if we are in Christ, we still have that, we still have God and quite frankly, we have everything, we have all we need, and all we should ever want.
me, I am poor and needy,
but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
do not delay, O my God. Psalm 40:17
- Reflect on why you would (or would not) consider yourself poor as a disciple of Jesus.
M.T. Clark: I suppose I could consider myself “poor” as a disciple of Christ because of the relationships I have lost and mild persecution I have suffered because of my faith. When you follow Christ, you separated from the world and many people hate you for it and express it in subtle and not so subtle ways. So I have lost things and people because of my faith, but His love makes it worth it all because in truth with Him no one will stand and one day those who rejected Him will see the error of their ways as every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
- Could you imagine yourself as ever seeing poverty as a gift? Why, or why not?
M.T. Clark: Could I imagine seeing poverty as a gift? Oof, although I have seen the joy of the Lord in communities in the mission field that were in abject poverty, the pain and suffering that I have seen because of poverty makes it hard for me to imagine seeing it as a gift. I understand how freeing it would be to loose ourselves of the responsibilities of providing for ourselves, the homeless sure are free, but the costs of the loss of security and the comforts that come from work seem too high a price to pay. Because the Lord has blessed me with the ability to work it is difficult to imagine a situation where poverty would endure. Frankly, I see poverty as not being a part of what God would want for us because He has gifted us with so much in terms of free will and the ability to change our situations, I’m not sure if God would want us to stay in poverty. So I have a problem imagining a situation where I work and remain in poverty. People move and work and I feel that we are challenged to do what we can to flourish to represent the kingdom but that might all be from my western world view. If the Lord wants me in poverty, I guess I would stay there but I imagine He would want us to do what we can to flourish no matter how meager an existence that might be.
Pray for the “rich” that they may have compassion for the “poor.” Pray for the “poor” that they may have compassion for the “rich.”
Lord God Heavenly Father,
I pray that the financially rich” in this world would have compassion for the poor and that you would lead them to help their fellow man to rise out of poverty. I pray for the “poor” who depend on you to have compassion for the rich who only depend upon themselves and are thus cut off from peace with God because they don’t feel they need Jesus. Help us all to see us as you see us and guide us to be surrendered to your will for our lives in a spirit of repentance and love to take the help you have for us and to help others to find it.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Prayer for Today
Lord, help me to lose everything for your sake and so discover all that I have and am in you.
M.T. Clark: In Jesus Name, I pray, Amen.
(40-Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Copyright © 2007 Augsburg Books, imprint of Augsburg Fortress.)
***As we are being provided with Bible verses from the 40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, we will are taking a break from sharing a verse of the day from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”. We plan on resuming that normal installment of the blog following Easter.***
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 A.W. Pink’s “The Sovereignty of God.”
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase A.W. Pink’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 SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD
By ARTHUR W. PINK
SOVEREIGNTY AND HUMAN RESPONSIBILITY
II. How can the sinner be held responsible FOR the doing of what he is UNABLE to do? And how can he be justly condemned for NOT DOING what he COULD NOT do?
Pinks response continues:
But now the question returns, How can God hold the sinner responsible for failing to do what he is unable to do? This necessitates a careful definition of terms. Just what is meant by “unable” and “cannot”?
Now let it be clearly understood that when we speak of the sinner’s inability, we do not mean that if men desired to come to Christ they lack the necessary power to carry out their desire. No; the fact is that the sinner’s inability or absence of power is itself due to lack of willingness to come to Christ, and this lack of willingness is the fruit of a depraved heart. It is of first importance that we distinguish between natural inability and moral and spiritual inability. For example, we read, “But Ahijah could not see; for his eyes were set by reason of his age” (1 Kings 14:4); and again, “The men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them” (Jonah 1:13). In both of these passages the words “could not” refer to natural inability. But when we read, “And when his brethren saw that their father loved him (Joseph) more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him” (Gen. 37:4), it is clearly moral inability that is in view. They did not lack the natural ability to “speak peaceably unto him” for they were not dumb. Why then was it that they “could not speak peaceably unto him”? The answer is given in the same verse: it was because “they hated him.” Again; in 2 Peter 2:14 we read of a certain class of wicked men “having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin.” Here again it is moral inability that is in view. Why is it that these men “cannot cease from sin”? The answer is, Because their eyes were full of adultery. So of Romans 8:8—“They that are in the flesh cannot please God”: here is spiritual inability. Why is it that the natural man “cannot please God”? Because he is “alienated from the life of God” (Eph. 4:18). No man can choose that from which his heart is averse—“O generation of vipers how can ye, being evil, speak good things?” (Matt. 12:34). “No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him” (John 5:44). Here again it is moral and spiritual inability which is before us. Why is it the sinner cannot come to Christ unless he is “drawn”? The answer is, Because his wicked heart loves sin and hates Christ.
We trust we have made it clear that the Scriptures distinguish sharply between natural ability and moral and spiritual inability. Surely all can see the difference between the blindness of Bartimeus, who was ardently desirous of receiving his sight, and the Pharisees, whose eyes were closed “lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted” (Matt. 13:15). But should it be said, “The natural man could come to Christ if he wished to do so we answer, Ah! but in that IF lies the hinge of the whole matter. The inability of the sinner consists of the want of moral power to wish and will so as to actually perform.
What we have contended for above is of first importance. Upon the distinction between the sinner’s natural Ability, and his moral and spiritual Inability rests his Responsibility. The depravity of the human heart does not destroy man’s accountability to God; so far from this being the case the very moral inability of the sinner only serves to increase his guilt. This is easily proven by a reference to the scriptures cited above. We read that Joseph’s brethren “could not speak peaceably unto him,” and why? It was because they “hated” him. But was this moral inability of theirs any excuse? Surely not: in this very moral inability consisted the greatness of their sin. So of those concerning whom it is said, “They cannot cease from sin” (2 Pet. 2:1), and why? Because “their eyes were full of adultery,” but that only made their case worse. It was a real fact that they could not cease from sin, yet this did not excuse them—it only made their sin the greater.
Should some sinner here object, I cannot help being born into this world with a depraved heart and therefore I am not responsible for my moral and spiritual inability which accrue from it, the reply would be, Responsibility and Culpability lie in the indulgence of the depraved propensities, the free indulgence, for God does not force any to sin. Men might pity me but they certainly would not excuse me if I gave vent to a fiery temper and then sought to extenuate myself on the ground of having inherited that temper from my parents. Their own common sense is sufficient to guide their judgment in such a case as this. They would argue I was responsible to restrain my temper. Why then cavil against this same principle in the case supposed above? “Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee thou wicked servant” surely applies here! What would the reader say to a man who had robbed him and who later argued in defence, “I cannot help being a thief, that is my nature”? Surely the reply would be, Then the penitentiary is the proper place for that man. What then shall be said to the one who argues that he cannot help following the bent of his sinful heart? Surely, that the Lake of Fire is where such an one must go. Did ever a murderer plead that he hated his victim so much that he could not go near him without slaying him. Would not that only magnify the enormity of his crime! Then what of the one who loves sin so much that he is at “enmity against God”!
The fact of man’s responsibility is almost universally acknowledged. It is inherent in man’s moral nature. It is not only taught in Scripture but witnessed to by the natural conscience. The basis or ground of human responsibility is human ability. What is implied by this general term “ability” must now be defined. Perhaps a concrete example will be more easily grasped by the average reader than an abstract argument.
Suppose a man owed me $100 and could find plenty of money for his own pleasures but none for me, yet pleaded that he was unable to pay me. What would I say? I would say that the only ability that was lacking was an honest heart. But would it not be an unfair construction of my words if a friend of my dishonest debtor should say I had stated that an honest heart was that which constituted the ability to pay the debt? No; I would reply: the ability of my debtor lies in the power of his hand to write me a check, and this he has, but what is lacking is an honest principle. It is his power to write me a check which makes him responsible to do so, and the fact that he lacks an honest heart does not destroy his accountability.
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 email@example.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.
My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ), 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)
“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”
Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship
 Arthur W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God (Swengel, PA: Bible Truth Depot, 1949), 161–164.