The Chosen: A Picture of Real-Life Discipleship to Follow
Purity 471 07/15/2021 Purity 471 Podcast
Today’s photo of the Towpath Trail near Lock 19 of the Historic Erie Canal in Vischer Ferry NY comes to us from a friend who decided to get out and stretch their legs with their daughter one evening back in June. Considering the green peaceful tranquility of the Towpath Trail, it’s no surprise that our friend referred to the as their “happy place”.
Well, it’s Thursday again and as is my habit I just had to share another photo that featured a pathway as I will be teaching a discipleship class tonight at Rock Solid Church in Hudson NY, and I wish to encourage others to pursue a deeper relationship with God by choosing to seek to know Him more by walking on the path of Christian Discipleship.
Unfortunately, I have discovered that there are Christians who genuinely love the Lord but who have some real questions and concerns about their faith that are not addressed in their weekly church services and that their questions remain unanswered as they try to balance living by faith and living in the world. Their desire for understanding is just repressed as they press on with their lives encouraging themselves to “just obey” or to “just do what works” because they don’t have anyone that they feel will be able to explain how to live by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit, or they would be a bother to those they inquire of, or they would ask someone only to receive platitudes or an attitude that would be accusatory and would result in forced service.
The result of this lack of a discipleship platform or relationship is either frustration, with Christians “trying to do everything right” by the sweat of their own brow, or hopelessness, resulting in Christians living much like they did before coming to Christ because they really believe living by faith is only for the “super spiritual saints” who have “real faith”.
Unfortunately, very few Christians know what discipleship is and our world’s dog eat dog attitudes keep us from being vulnerable to one another and asking for help so instead of coming together to encourage one another in our walk and our understanding, we put on masks of Christian wholesomeness once a week and then just do our own thing because we don’t trust one another with the truth of our lives. We don’t know what discipleship looks like, so we just do “us”.
While I have a love/yikes relationship with the show, “The Chosen” I think that one of the things that the show gets right is the complexity of the discipleship relationships between the Apostles. Seasons 1 & 2 of The Chosen have put flesh to the pages of scripture, and developed their own speculative narratives, by presenting a picture of the human frailties of Christ’s disciples. The disciples don’t always get along. They fight. They argue. They insult one another. They struggle to understand what Jesus is trying to teach them and they don’t know where His leadership is leading them.
But they all somehow know that Christ won’t lead them astray and that they really have no choice to follow Him because of who He is, the Messiah. And as much as the Apostles may dislike one another at times, they have one thing in common: Jesus and their desire to follow Him. So after the arguments and disagreements are settled, they encourage one another to keep going, they help one another in their work, and they teach one another what they have learned.
Following the Lord’s will for our lives and loving our neighbors as our selves is not easy, but when we receive the Lord’s love and pursue Him out of love, we reflect His earliest disciple’s lives who surrendered themselves to share their lives and all their knowledge of the Lord with others.
Tonight, I teach about how part of pursuing the Lord involves recognizing the enemy and how the lure of obtaining power and special knowledge can lead people to follow false prophets and fall into darkness. If you are not local, you can catch the class later tonight on the mt4Christ247 podcast.
Instead of following some new age teaching, we need to draw close to one another and to the Lord and choose to only seek the truth comes from His word. For His word is truth and if you know the Truth, the Truth will set you free.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
Mark 12:26-27 (NKJV)
26 But concerning the dead, that they rise, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the burning bush passage, how God spoke to him, saying, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'?
27 He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living. You are therefore greatly mistaken."
Today’s verses are the words of Jesus who assures us that our lives are not extinguished at death and that God knows us personally.
This passage is a part of Jesus’ response to some Sadducees who decided to ask about the continuity of marriage relationships after death. The Sadducees didn’t believe in the resurrection of the dead, so their convoluted question was posed with a spirit of skepticism and was most likely intended to simultaneously trip up Jesus and prove their point.
However, the thing with Jesus is that in the scriptures his answers often confound the one’s asking the questions.
In these verses, Jesus not only confirms that the dead will rise but He also indicates that aspects of our soul, our personal identities, and personalities, will transcend death. What we see on earth as dead and gone is alive and living with God and is awaiting the Day that Christ will lead the resurrected saints to judge and reclaim the earth.
If you’ve read your Bible, you know that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob all have their unique histories, faults, and personalities. By Christ affirming that God claimed that He is the God of these patriarchs of the faith, He was not only acknowledging their spiritual heritage as His people, but He was also telling us that the uniqueness that make each one of us who we are, remains intact and that God knows each of us personally.
By concluding by telling the Sadducees that they are “greatly mistaken”, Jesus confirms that there will be a resurrection of the dead.
So, any atheistic dreams of blinking out of existence are dismissed from Christ Himself.
But we need not fear Jesus’ words for He is the way to life everlasting. He is calling all men to place their faith in Him and as today’s verses show us, God knows us personally and He wants everyone of us to be in that number when the saints go marching in.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, concluding Chapter 7.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $15.00:
The Goal Is to Become the Person God Called You to Be
It should be obvious by now that God's basic goal for your life is character development: becoming the person God wants you to be. Sanctification is God's goal for your life (see 1 Thes. 4:3). Nobody and nothing on planet Earth can keep you from being the person God called you to be. Certainly, a lot of distractions, diversions, disappointments, trials, temptations, and traumas come along to disrupt the process. Every day you will struggle against the world, the flesh, and the devil, each of which are opposed to your success at being God's person.
Paul teaches that the tribulations we face are actually a means of achieving our supreme goal of maturity: "We also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us" (Romans 5:3-5).
James offers similar counsel: "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing" (James 1:2-4).
The word "exult" means heightened joy. To be under tribulation means to be under pressure, and perseverance means to remain under pressure. Persevering through tribulations results in proven character, which is God's goal for us.
Suppose a Christian wife asked for help because her husband had just left her. What kind of hope could you give her? Would you say, "Don't worry, honey, we'll win him back"? That is a legitimate desire, but is a wrong goal that could lead to manipulation and control. Attempts to manipulate him to come back may be the same kind of controlling behavior that caused him to leave in the first place.
It would be better to say, "I will help you work through this crisis (perseverance) to become the person God wants you to be (proven character). If you haven't committed yourself to be the wife and mother God has called you to be, would you now? You can't change him, but you can change yourself, which is the best way to win him back anyway. Even if he doesn't come back, you can come through this crisis with proven character, which is where your hope lies."
She may rightly ask, "What if the problem was 90 percent his?" She doesn't have any control over that. By committing to change herself, she is responsibly dealing with what she can control. Her transformation may be just the motivation her husband needs to change himself and restore the relationship.
Trials and tribulations reveal wrong goals, but they can actually be the catalyst for achieving God's goal for our lives, which is our sanctification—the process of conforming to His image. During these times of pressure, our emotions raise their warning flags, signaling blocked, uncertain, or impossible goals based on our desires instead of God's goal of proven character.
Someone may say, "My marriage is hopeless," and then try to solve the problem by changing partners. If you think your first marriage is hopeless, be aware that second marriages are failing at a far higher rate. Others think their jobs or churches are hopeless. So they change jobs, only to discover their new job or church is just as hopeless. They should hang in there and grow up. Now, there may be legitimate times to change jobs or churches, but if we are just running from our own immaturity, it will follow us wherever we go.
Is there an easier way to being God's person than through enduring tribulations? Believe me: I have been looking for one. I must honestly say, though, that it has been the dark, difficult times of testing in my life that have brought me to where I am today. We need occasional mountaintop experiences, but the fertile soil for growth is always down in the valleys of tribulation, not on the mountaintops.
Paul says, "The goal of our instruction is love" (1 Tim. 1:5). Notice that if you make that your goal, then the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy (instead of depression), peace (instead of anxiety) and patience (instead of anger). The following poem from an unknown author expresses well the message of this chapter:
Change one letter, then I see
That the thwarting of my purpose
Is God's better choice for me.
His appointment must be blessing,
Tho' it may come in disguise,
For the end from the beginning
Open to His wisdom lies.
No good will He withhold,
From denials oft we gather
Treasures of His love untold.
Well He knows each broken purpose
Leads to fuller, deeper trust,
And the end of all His dealings
Proves our God is wise and just.
Lord, I take it, then, as such,
Like clay in the hands of a potter,
Yielding wholly to Thy touch.
My life's plan is Thy molding;
Not one single choice be mine;
Let me answer, unrepining—
"Father, not my will, but Thine."
Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.
God bless you all!
Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” 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.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.
Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship