AND YOU SHALL BE MY DISCIPLES – Lesson 6

AND YOU SHALL BE MY DISCIPLES – Lesson #6 

 

    • Be Reconciled

“Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.

 “Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.”   (Matthew 5:23–25).

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

The Truth is presented on several levels in this teaching.  Jesus, using the practice of giving a gift or an offering to God, takes us from a practical spiritual duty to a profound Spiritual application.

We are reminded, here, that sin separates the Christian from God, and it must be dealt with quickly.  Otherwise, anything you have to offer God is tainted by your recognized sin, in this case separation from a brother due to some offense.

Jesus then uses a metaphor of the law to explain what happens in the Spirit and in your soul when sin is unconfessed, and you are unrepentant toward God.  You are handed over to the judge, and you are thrown into prison.

The Apostle Paul reminds us, in Romans 8:6  “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

The Greek language used here for,“mind set”, once again, is a picture of being “swept away, fenced in and locked up”, put into a prison within one’s own mind, soul and spirit, separated from God.

Jesus, Himself, warns us, “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.   “But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.”  Matthew 6:14-15

The penalty is harsh, but the remedy is simple:  “Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way…”

Forgive and be reconciled.  This is what a disciple of Jesus does.  This is what a Christian does.  We cannot deliberately and defiantly harbor ill feelings between a brother or a sister – for the jailer awaits.

Now, it is your turn:

HOW CAN YOU DO IT?  ________________________________________

HOW CAN YOU TEACH IT?  ____________________________________

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

Previous Lesson:  #5, “HONOR GOD”, Matthew 5:17

AND YOU SHALL BE MY DISCIPLES – Lesson 5

AND YOU SHALL BE MY DISCIPLES – Lesson #5 

    • Honor God’s Law

“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” (Matthew 5:17).

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

These Laws and the Prophets were meant to teach and guide the Jewish people in all their thought and conduct to live a life pleasing to God to have success in their affairs.

Then, In one bold and sweeping statement Jesus announces that He is the fulfillment, the revealing and the completion of all the Law and the Prophets spanning their four thousand years of history.

Jesus is saying that His life, ministry and teachings not only explain the Law and the Prophets but completes their meanings and requirements.

The significance of this announcement is that it relegates the Torah and the Prophets as subject to Jesus and His teachings.

“The Torah” is the “Jewish Law”.  The “Torah” is the 5 books of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy). The Jewish tradition is that there are 613 commandments, or mitzvot, in the Torah, (also known as the Law of Moses).  Also known as the “Pentateuch“, which is Greek and means “Five Books”, refers to the Torah, i.e. the 5 Books of Moses.  These Laws and the Prophets teach and guide the Jewish people in all their thought and conduct how to live a life which is pleasing to God and leads to success in their affairs.

Secondly, the “Prophets“, or The Twelve, also called The Twelve Prophets, or The Minor Prophets, the book of the Hebrew Bible which contains the books of 12 minor prophets: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.

These books contain an account of God crating the world and the emergence of human civilization.

The first six books narrate not only the history but the genealogy of the people of Israel to the conquest and settlement of the Promised Land under the terms of God’s covenant with Abraham, whom God promised to make the progenitor of a great nation.

The following seven books continue their story in the Promised Land, the establishment and development of the monarchy and the warnings by the prophets both of impending divine punishment and exile and of Israel’s need to repent.

The last 11 books contain poetry, theology, and some additional history.

Then, in one bold and sweeping statement, Jesus announces that His life, ministry and teachings not only explain the Law and the Prophets but completes their meanings and requirements.

Jesus is the fulfillment of all the Law and the Prophets spanning their, now, four thousand years of history.

So, we now know that we are no longer saved or guided by external things, but, by the Jesus and Holy Spirit who indwells us, as Christians.

Hebrews 8:10

            “I WILL PUT MY LAWS INTO THEIR MINDS,
            AND I WILL WRITE THEM ON THEIR HEARTS.
            AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD,
            AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.”

Now, it is your turn:

HOW CAN I DO IT?  _______________________________________

HOW CAN I TEACH IT?  ___________________________________

Jesus is our One True way to life and life more abundantly.  Just believe, trust and obey.

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

Previous Lesson:  #4, “Let Your Light Shine”, Matthew 5:16

Next Lesson:  #6, “BE RECONCILED”, Matthew 5:23-27

AND YOU SHALL BE MY DISCIPLES – Lesson 4

(You can listen on this podcast audio and read along.  You can stop the audio and follow links in this lesson, then, resume the audio when you are ready)

AND YOU SHALL BE MY DISCIPLES – Lesson #4


    • Let Your Light Shine

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven”.  (Matthew 5:16).

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

SHINE:  Comes from the Greek word, “phos”, which means:

    • To shine or to make manifest one’s thoughts;
    • God is light, and because light has the extremely delicate, subtle, pure, brilliant quality of truth and its knowledge, together with the spiritual purity is associated with it that which is exposed to the view of all, openly, publicly;  reason, mind ;
    • The power of understanding, especially moral and spiritual truth.

Faith is a vital ingredient in our walk with God.  Our obedience demonstrates that faith.  James gives us a great reminder when he says, in James 2 :14-18, “What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him?

“If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?

“Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.  But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”

But are we willing to recognize, that faith without works is useless?

We must remember that it is not our light that shines, but His Light within us, bringing Him glory through our submission and obedience to Him and His Will.

We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.  Ephesians2:10

Now, it is your turn:

HOW CAN YOU DO IT?  _____________________________

HOW CAN YOU TEACH IT?  _________________________

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

Previous Lesson:  #3, “Rejoice in Persecution”, Matthew 5:10-12

Next Lesson:  #5, “Honor God”, Matthew 5:17

AND YOU SHALL BE MY DISCIPLES – Lesson 3

(You can listen on this podcast audio as you read along.  You can stop the audio and follow links in this lesson, then, resume the audio when you are ready)

AND YOU SHALL BE MY DISCIPLES – Lesson #3 

    • Rejoice in persecution

“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.

“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:10–12).

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?  

First, let me define these words, so we can get a clearer understanding.

We are told to Rejoice:  This word means ‘to rejoice, be glad, to rejoice exceedingly, to be well, thrive.’

We are told we will be Persecuted:  This from the Greek word, ‘dioko’, which means ‘to make to run or flee, put to flight, drive away in a hostile manner; to harass, trouble, molest one’.

The word “persecuted” comes from the world “Diakonos” which translates DEACON, which is a servant of God, a minister.

Why and how do you, as a servant of God, rejoice when being harassed or terrorized?  You cannot, and you should not unless something unusual and something exceptional is happening.

What we discover is that Jesus is teaching about your “Sanctification” and He is saying that you will be purged, refined and restored, when you follow Him and are fully surrendered to God and His Will.

Persecution is a necessary and inevitable step.  You are walking in the steps of Jesus, being made into His likeness, doing His Will and His Works.

Now, it is your turn:

HOW CAN YOU DO IT?  ____________________________

HOW CAN YOU TEACH IT?  ________________________

Your reward in heaven is great.  Great, indeed.

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

Next Lesson:  #4, “LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE”  Matthew 5:16

Related reading:

Living in God’s Will

AND YOU SHALL BE MY DISCIPLES – Lesson 2

(You can listen to this podcast as you read along. You can stop the audio to follow links, and then resume the audio)

AND YOU SHALL BE MY DISCIPLES – Lesson #2  

            

 

 

 

 

 

 

    • Follow Me

“And he said unto them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men’” (Matthew 4:19).

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

“Follow Me”, is an imperative statement, a command (not a request). It conveys a sense of urgency, as saying “Now!”. Finally, the idea is to draw near, as looking over Jesus’ shoulder, watching, learning, preparing to imitate Him. You are to be seen with Him and identified as having been with Him.

A disciple of Jesus – A Christian – is identified as having been with Jesus.

He called Peter and Andrew and said, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  Peter and Andrew understood this was an invitation to a close, personal and lasting relationship.   This was not a casual encounter.  This is the Call of God for all to follow Him, and a being yoked with Him is the perfect illustration to describe this new relationship with Jesus.

YOU ARE “THE CALLED” OF JESUS CHRIST

Being yoked with Jesus is freedom from what binds you, what ails you, what plagues you.  Know that Jesus is gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.  His yoke is easy, and His burden is light.  His yoke is a yoke of freedom!

When people see you, are they amazed, and recognize you as having been with Jesus?

Now, it is your turn:

HOW CAN YOU DO IT? _________________________________

HOW CAN YOU TEACH IT? ______________________________

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

The Real Gospel of Christ

Yes, you have to follow Him, for real!

AND YOU SHALL BE MY DISCIPLES – Intro & Lesson 1

(You can listen to this podcast as you read along. You can stop the audio to follow links, and then resume the audio)

“AND YOU SHALL BE MY DISCIPLES”

A Disciple’s Devotional Guide

 Be a disciple of Jesus and become His disciple-maker.

In order to follow Jesus, you really have to follow Him.  Join God in what He is doing.

(This is a 37 part Bible-based guide to following Jesus and being His disciple.)

“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, “Teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  Matthew 28:18-20

I have been a practicing Christian since 1978.  My walk as a Christian has not always been steady nor has it been always “pretty”.  Then, I discovered the ‘secret’ of becoming a disciple of Jesus, and to my dismay, I also discovered it is impossible to do what Jesus commanded – on my own.  But then, so is everything that Jesus commanded.  Impossible, that is, to the natural man or woman.

It is only possible to become a disciple, a true follower of Jesus, by completely surrendering your life to Him and allowing the Holy Spirit to inhabit you, guide you, teach you and provide you with His spiritual gifts.  It is God who does the work through a humbled and surrendered person.

God, alone, is the miracle worker.  We are simply the conduit, simply His vessel.  So, we confess, as the Apostle Peter said:

 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

This began as a personal journey and a Bible study to learn about being a true disciple of Jesus.   I found seventy-two disciplines which mark a disciple of Jesus.   This is not a list to be followed nor is it a formula to be worked.  It is a frank and honest evaluation of what it takes to  follow Jesus – we must honestly and completely submit ourselves to His Will.

It will take effort on the Believer’s part, both of (#1) spiritual discipline and the effort of (#2) practical application.

Please join me, and let’s all pray as we undertake the “impossible” and watch for His Miracle!

“With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”  Mark 10:27

This is a portal leading to “THE DOOR

I encourage the reader to view this as a pamphlet about the supernatural.  The principles contained in the study are from the Bible, the portal into the supernatural realm of God.

The chapters offer simple, practical insights into what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.  But, what one should quickly realize is that it is impossible for the natural mind to perform the tasks and to assume the mindset required.

It is only by complete submission to Christ – mind, body and soul – and by way of a fervent and diligent and search, will one actually have any chance of finding his or her way into the ranks of the true disciples of Jesus.

I would suggest you read and practice the principals in this book, not as one would read an instruction book looking for a magic formula, but rather, read it as a means to remove those things from your life which are obstacles and barriers, obscuring THE DOOR, the PORTAL into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Godspeed.

LESSON #1

AND YOU SHALL BE MY DISCIPLES – Lesson #1

      • Repent

“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17).

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

The greatest pronouncement and call to readiness for all Christians:  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

The hour has arrived.  Final preparations are being made.  Ready yourself for the Heaven’s final assault upon the earth.  Satan is to be defeated and you and I are part of God’s invading force.

This is not a metaphor.  It is not hyperbole.  It is the literal call from God through His Son, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Repent, in the Biblical sense, literally means, “To change one’s mind; to change one’s mind for the better” and it comes from two root words which mean, “Hereafter, have this understanding or perception”.

Repenting is the act of changing your mind which means your mindset, your values, and your worldview is changed.  Some would say you then live by new standards.  But it is much greater than just living by new standards.

A person of sound mind cannot simultaneously think one thing and do another, repentance results in a complete change of mind and direction of one’s life.

Another way of saying this is, “As a man or woman thinks, so are they”.

BOTH A COMMAND AND A PROPHETIC WORD

Interestingly, Jesus, the Son of God, in fact God Himself, said these very words which are recorded in Matthew 4:17.  Remembering, this is both a Command and a prophetic Word from God.

Jesus said this is what we are to do – Repent – in order to become His disciple and to follow Him, and, this is what will happen is we repent.

The disciples echoed and repeated these very words as they continued to do the Works of God, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is now at hand”.

Jesus says for each of us to “repent” as an act of our will and that Repentance will allow the Holy Spirit to come into our bodies, our minds and regenerate our spirits.  We will become One with Him.

Our fleshly desires begin to fade, and our new desires emanate from the Holy Spirit of God.  It is not us producing Spiritual Fruit, it is from The Holy Spirit, and it should pour out of us, liberally.

We begin to desire the Things of God.  We are made new, and we can now walk with certainty, with purpose and power in our New Life.

MANIFESTATION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

Once we “Repent”, our new desires move us to a new way of living, new actions, which are the direct manifestation of the Holy Spirit.

Repentance means it is no long you or I who live, but it is Christ, literally, living in us.

Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me”

If you are living in the sin of doubt or fear,  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

If you are living under the oppression of poverty, sickness, lack or want, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Rise up.  Proclaim the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness, help all who are ill, those suffering with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics; heal them all.  Matthew 4:24

Go and tell others this exceedingly Good News, telling them to “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

HOW MUST YOU DO IT? _____________________________________

HOW MUST YOU TEACH IT? _________________________________

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

PS:  This is not “name-it-and-claim-it” theology.  It is DOING what the Bible says to DO.  Pray, meditate on God’s Word, speak His Word, practice His Word.

You Have to Follow Him For Real

Call to Arms

AND YOU SHALL BE MY DISCIPLES – Lesson 17

  • Ask, Seek, Knock

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  8  “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. (Matthew 7:7–8).

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?  This teaching is, essentially, about prayer.  Jesus is not teaching just how to pray, but, He is commanding His Disciples to pray effectively.

Jesus is teaching about the critical importance or prayer.

He is telling us how we get results!  In contemporary terms (metaphorically), Jesus is saying that prayer, is a search and rescue mission!

At first look, it may seem like praying is making a simple request and presto, like calling a genie from a bottle, we have our answer. Or, glancing about and easily finding that which you are hunting.  Or,  tapping on a door and the gates of prosperity swing wide open to you.

Reading the rest of the verses in context of the Biblical teaching on prayer, we see the seriousness urgency of the matter.

Verse 9.  “Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone?

Verse 10.  “Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he?

Verse 11.  “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!

The Greek word for “Ask” in these verses, “aiteó”, literally means to beg, to call for, to crave, to deeply desire, to require.  It is in the “imperative mood” which expresses a command to the hearer to perform a certain action by the order and authority of the one commanding.  Thus, the word Jesus uses, “Ask”, is not at all an “invitation,” but an absolute command requiring full obedience on the part of all hearers.

It is the same for the Greek word for “Seek”, (zéteó), which means, to seek in order to find out by thinking, meditating, reasoning, to inquire into; to aim at, strive after, to require, to crave, to demand something from someone.  This, too, is in the “imperative”.

To “knock”, (krouó), is also in the imperative and carries the idea of “unfailing”.  This is saying that it is not enough to ask and seek, but you must not fail to knock.

God tells us we must pray fervently to have effectual prayers.

In other words, you must use all resources at your disposal, praying fervently, seeking intensely, knocking persistently, with the purpose of obtaining the thing you seek, keeping in mind that God tells us that His Word will achieve the very thing it is purposed to achieve.

Most importantly, Jesus reminds us that He can only do what He sees the Father already doing, and we, AS HIS DISCIPLES, can be no greater than our Teacher.  It is God, Who accomplishes His Will through His servants, as we pray.

“THE EFFECTIVE PRAYERS OF THE RIGHTEOUS CAN ACCOMPLISH MUCH” James 5:16

 Now, it is your turn:

HOW CAN YOU DO THIS?  _____________________________

HOW CAN YOU TEACH  THIS? __________________________

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

AND YOU SHALL BE MY DISCIPLES – Lesson 16

  • Do Not Cast Pearls before “swine”

​​Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” (Matthew 7:6).

 

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

Jesus has just finished teaching His followers, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged.  For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.”  

“Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye?”   (Matthew 7:1–5).

Now Jesus is telling us to make a judgment on what is Holy, who are the “dogs”, what is a “Pearl” and who or what are the “swine”.

It is important to understand the words and the context being used.

Jesus is NOT SAYING we should never make judgments. He IS SAYING we should not judge people unfairly, but we are to make right judgments. THIS IS IMPORTANT, especially in our world.

I will define terms so we can begin to understand the differences between being judgmental and making righteous judgements.

“Holy” is the word hagios (hag’-ee-os) which refers to the Holy characteristic of God, or being separated to God, who is worthy of veneration.

Its highest application is to God himself, in His purity, majesty and glory.  It is also applied to persons as separated to God’s service and is in regard to Christ, of Christians and in the moral sense of sharing God’s purity, including sacrifices and offerings.

“Pearls” are referred to as a Proverb or a word of Great Value.

A “Dog” is a metaphor for an impudent person.  Someone who shows no respect for another person.

A “Swine” is colloquially, the ultimate symbol of loathing by ancient Jews.  Pigs were considered as symbols of disease, filth and hypocrisy.

We learned, in Lesson #14, that we are not to “judge hypocritically”.  Jesus teaches us that we are not to pronounce judgment on someone, and, that we, as Jesus’ disciples, correct our own attitudes and behaviors.

At the same time, we are told to judge, and “judge righteously”.  That is to say, we are to judge using righteous discernment.  “Do not judge according to appearance, but do judge with righteous judgment.”  John 7:24

Discernment  is the word, dokimazo (dok-im-ad’-zo ) which means to “prove” or to try, to discern and to examine.  To test, examine, prove, scrutinize to see whether a thing is genuine or not, such as metals.  To recognize whether it is genuine after examination, to approve, deem worthy.

Judgment is the word, krino (kree’-no ) which means to determine, to condemn, go to law and to call in question.  It involves esteem.  It is to pronounce an opinion concerning right and wrong.

RECAP:

Disciples of Jesus are not to judge hypocritically.  We are to judge righteously using righteous Discernment.

  • DISCIPLE OF JESUS, are to judge righteously.
  • We are to pray for and use righteous discernment
  • We are to determine (judge) who is worthy of the things of God.
  • We are to determine what is Holy and Pure, His majesty and glory.
  • We are to determine who are the people of God and Christ and in His service.
  • We are to know who is sharing the Truth of God’s purity, including sacrifices and offerings.
  • We are to determine what are the “Pearls” of God, which is a Proverb or The Word of God, which is of Great Value.
  • ​Disciples of Jesus are not to give what is Holy or of Great Value to those who prove to be impudent people full of hate and hypocrisy.

“Do not judge according to appearance, but do judge with righteous judgment.”   John 7:24

Now, it is your turn:

HOW CAN YOU DO THIS?  _________________________________________

HOW CAN YOU TEACH THIS?______________________________________

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

 

SEEK THE KINGDOM OF GOD

AND YOU SHALL BE MY DISCIPLES – Lesson #14

  • Seek God’s Kingdom

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33).

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?   This teaching, once again, is about your state of mind or attitude.  This time, Jesus is specifically teaching about worry.

The word ‘worry’, as used by Jesus, means to be anxious, to be troubled with cares and to seek to promote one’s own interests and to be divided in your mind or to be ‘double minded’.

Worry is similar to doubt, which also mean to be double minded, divided against yourself, torn in your thinking.

Worry and doubt can be stumbling blocks to the Christian, the disciple of Jesus.  They both present an ongoing struggle for our flesh.  So, we are warned and instructed on how to overcome these obstacles.  In face, we must.

1.  This teaching begins in Matthew 6:24“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other.

    • You cannot serve God and wealth.

2.  James warns us that we must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.

  •  “For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”

“THE THREE BIG TAKE AWAYS”

For the Christian – The Disciple of Jesus

I Will Not Serve Two Masters

I Will Ask in Faith Without Any Doubting

I Will Put on The Full Armor of God

MY CONFESSION:

As a disciple of Jesus – A Christian – I will be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.  I will put on the full armor of God, and stand firm against the schemes of the devil.  I will not worry.  I will not doubt.  But if I do, I will pray, believing.

I know I will struggle against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

But, I am able to resist in the evil day, and I stand firm.  I will not worry.  I will not doubt.  But if I do, I will pray, believing.

HAVING GIRDED MY LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod MY FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE, I will stand firm.  I will not worry.  I will not doubt.  But if I do, I will pray, believing.  (Taken from Ephesians 6)

This is what we do as Christians – Disciples of Jesus.

HOW CAN YOU DO IT?___________________________________________

HOW CAN YOU TEACH IT? _______________________________________

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

Further reading about The Kingdom of God:

The Kingdom of Heaven

Heirs of The Kingdom

LAY UP TREASURES

AND YOU SHALL BE MY DISCIPLES – Lesson #13

  • Lay Up Treasures in Heaven

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.

20  “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;

21  for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19–21).

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?   Treasures on earth versus Treasures in heaven?

These words of Jesus, reveal.  They reveal the focus of the mind and heart and tell of your eternal destiny.

Jesus speaks of this “treasure” when He tells us that The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” Matthew 13:44  

The hidden Treasure, The Pearl of Great Price, all point to The Kingdom of Heaven.

Also, Romans 8:6 tells us, “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.”

There is not escaping the reality of this teaching.   

  • Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
  • The Kingdom of Heaven is like a Treasure.  
  • The mind set on the flesh is death.  
  • The mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.

The Apostle Paul helps us finally understand this profound truth in Colossians 3:1-4:

“Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

“Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

“For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

Simply put, this reveals true Christians, the true disciples of Jesus.

This is not something you do out of obligation.  This is something that is revealed about  you, the direction of your life and your eternal destiny .

Ask yourself, “Where am I storing my treasures?” and you’ll discover your destiny.  If you are displeased with what you see, begin now to set your mind on the things of the Spirit.

Now, it is your turn:

HOW CAN YOU DO IT?___________________________________________

HOW CAN YOU TEACH IT? _______________________________________

(I heard a man once say, “If you want to know what you treasure, look at your checkbook ledger.”)

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES

AND YOU SHALL BE MY DISCIPLES – Lesson #12

  • Practice Secret Disciplines

¶  “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.

2  “So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.

3  “But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,

4 ” so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.  (Matthew 6:1–4).

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

This teaching begins with “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.”  

It is easy to see what Jesus is teaching.  In plain terms, if you seek recognition for your good deeds, then that is all you will get.  Recognition.  No one will think of you as any more than someone needing to be recognized.  And, you will have detracted from the good you might have done in seeking to get glory for yourself.

Jesus gives us three examples of how a person satisfies their ego.

(1)  Giving to the poor in order to be noticed for their charity and generous character.

(2)  Praying in order to be noticed for their religious expressions.

(3)  Fasting in order to be noticed for their personal sacrifices and disciplines.

Some might call this type of person a narcissist.  Jesus calls such a person, “a hypocrite”.

So, let’s ask ourselves, do you ever feel like your giving, praying and your fasting goes unanswered or unrewarded?

There is something bigger at work here:  A Spiritual Law.

“Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” Luke 6:38

There are three words, in the Bible…

  • “make”
  • “practicing”, and
  • “give”

And, all three are from the same Greek word, used by Jesus when He said, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

All three words (1) GIVE  (2) PRACTICE (3)  MAKE, come from the exact same Greek word = POIEO ποιέω (poy-eh’-o) which means you fashion something by what it does.  If your intentions are wrong, the outcome will be made in that image.  If your intentions are right, the outcome of your efforts will be in that image.

This Spiritual Law is saying “Give, and it will be given to you in good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  Whether good things or bad things, it will be given back.

If we give, pray, fast or whatever we do out of selfish motives, we will, likewise, have selfishness poured into our laps in good measure until it runs over us.

Matthew 6:4 ” Make your giving in secret; and your Father in Heaven, who sees what is done in secret will reward you in good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be given to you.”

 6  “When you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you in good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be given to you.”

 17  “But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face

18  “so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you in good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be given to you.”

Now, it is your turn:

HOW CAN YOU DO IT? ___________________________________________

HOW CAN YOU TEACH IT?  _______________________________________

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

BE PERFECT

AND YOU SHALL BE MY DISCIPLES – Lesson #11

  • Be Perfect

“For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?

“If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?

“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:46–48).

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

Jesus is calling us to rise above our carnal nature.  Again, humanly, a most difficult if not  impossible task.  Yet Jesus says we must.

He compares how our human nature is to associate (love = AGAPAO = Which is to love, to feel and exhibit esteem and goodwill to a person, to prize and delight in) those with whom we agree and who agree with us.

But, Jesus is telling us IF WE ARE TO BE HIS DISCIPLES we must adopt a ‘view from above’.  We must see the entire picture of humanity as He sees it – from a ‘heavenly perspective’, “as your heavenly Father”.

He tells us we must be PERFECT, just as our heavenly Father is perfect.

PERFECT:  Strong’s concordance #5046 τέλειος teleios tel’-i-os

Brought to its end, finished ; wanting nothing necessary to completeness ; perfect ; that which is perfect; consummate human integrity and virtue, of men; full-grown, adult, of full age, mature.

In colloquial terms, to GROW UP and ACT LIKE JESUS.  Jesus, Who is PERFECT! We are to be full of integrity, virtue, adult, mature, LIKE JESUS.

Possess Integrity:  The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness. The state of being whole and undivided.

Possess Virtue:  Behavior showing high moral standards.  Moral excellence. A virtue is a trait or quality that is deemed to be morally good and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being.

Doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong.

The virtues are temperance, prudence, courage (or fortitude), and justice. Christianity derives the three theological virtues of faith, hope and love (charity) – 1 Corinthians 13.

There is no escape from this.  If we call ourselves “Christian”, a disciple of Jesus, this is what we do.  It gives a new meaning to the phrase…

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

2 Peter 1:5  ¶ Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge,

6  and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness,

7  and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.

8  For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9  For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.

10  Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;

11  for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.

Now, it is your turn:

HOW CAN YOU DO IT?________________________________________

HOW YOU CAN TEACH IT? ____________________________________

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

LOVE YOUR ENEMIES

AND YOU SHALL BE MY DISCIPLES – Lesson #10

  • Love Your Enemies

“v44  “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

v45  so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

v46  “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same??” (Matthew 5:44–46).

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

Once again, Jesus brings a teaching which is counter-intuitive to the human mind.  It is a ‘radical’ departure from the long-standing practice of revenge and retribution.

However, Jesus is teaching from a “God perspective”.  This teaching, when put into practice, will transcend the natural and complete its task by the supernatural Work of God.

Just as Isaiah 55:8-11 says,

      8“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
            Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.

      9“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
            So are My ways higher than your ways
            And My thoughts than your thoughts.

       10“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
            And do not return there without watering the earth
            And making it bear and sprout,
            And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;

      11So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
            It will not return to Me empty,
            Without accomplishing what I desire,
            And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

 Practicing the act of love, as a disciple of Jesus, takes both faith and self-discipline.

Secondly, a closer look at the command to “love your enemy” you will learn that the word “love” used here is AGAPAO = Which is to love, to feel and exhibit esteem and goodwill to a person, to prize and delight in a thing.

From its supposed etymology AGAPAO, (ἀγαπάω) is commonly understood properly to denote love based on esteem ( diligo), as distinct from (amo), or a spontaneous natural affection of emotional and unreasoning.

TO ESTEEM someone is to respect them but does not refer to a feeling an emotional type of live such as “philos” which is a brotherly kind of love nor an “eros” which is an erotic kind of love.

Once applied, we are told that a prophetic and supernatural act is manifest:  “So that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven”

“May Be” – GINOMAI =  Means to become, i.e. to come into existence, begin to be, receive being; to become, i.e. to come to pass, happen; to be made, finished; of miracles, to be performed, wrought.

BY THIS, YOUR REWARD IN HEAVEN IS GREAT

Now, it is your turn:

HOW MUST YOU DO IT? ____________________________________

HOW YOU MUST TEACH IT?  ________________________________

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

PS:  Consider this your “refuge and fortress” your “shield and buckler” as you ‘hide in Him’ and wage this Spiritual war under the cover of our God!  IT IS THE ONLY WAY.

RESIST NOT EVIL

AND YOU SHALL BE MY DISCIPLES – Lesson #9

  • Resist Not Evil – Go the Second Mile

You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’

“But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. “If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. “Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. “Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. (Matthew 5:38–42).

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

Again, a teaching of Jesus seems counterintuitive and can test the soul of even the most dedicate man or woman.  It is difficult to understand – unless you are willing.

At first glance, this teaching sounds as if a disciple of Jesus is to stand idly by while an evil person slaps you about and perpetrates all kinds of evil to you and in your presence.

Some have even dubbed this teaching as “the law of non-resistance”.  It from this teaching that some call themselves “conscientious objectors”.

There are other examples and times when it seems Jesus teaches the contrary, such as, “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” Matthew 7:6  

Or, Jesus’ own example, at times, contradicts the “law of non-resistance”, such as when He turned over tables and whipped the money changers in the Temple.

But, again, context is everything.

FIRST, Jesus is telling us not to entangle ourselves in the affairs of evil men, even when they cast their evil upon us.  Instead, stay focused on Jesus’ Mission while actively responding to evil, by overcoming evil with good.

SECONDLY, God’s Word and methods are an intricate balance of mercy and justice, something we rarely see anymore.  Once you have “paid the debt” of forgiveness and kindness, do not linger.  If an evil person continues in his or her evil ways, “Shake the dust off your sandals”, so to speak, and move on.

James teaches this principal and its practice when he says, 7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”  

A simple example of the law of “spiritual physics” is helpful.  Do this exercise with a friend:

  1.  Stand face-to-face, within an arm’s length from one another.
  2.  Each person should extend their arm until your hands meet halfway between one another.  (AN IMAGINARY LINE IS NOW DRAWN BETWEEN THE TWO PEOPLE.  THE PLACE WHERE YOUR HANDS MEET IS THE “LINE OF AGREEMENT”)
  3.  Each person needs to slowly, at first, apply a forward pressure pushing on the other’s hand palm, as if you are trying to push your opponent away.  We will call this meeting of the palm of your hands the “LINE OF AGREEMENT” and you are metaphorically imposing your will on your opponent.
  4.  Increase the pushing pressure as your opponent pushes back, trying to PUSH THEIR WAY into your space, imposing their will on you.
  5.  One person, suddenly jerk your hand back toward yourself.  This will cause your “opponent” to fall forward and suddenly find themselves ON YOUR SIDE of the “ARGUMENT”

Thus, the principal of “Spiritual Physics:  RESIST NOT EVIL.  

Now, it is your turn:

HOW MUST YOU DO IT? _________________________________________

HOW YOU MUST TEACH IT? _____________________________________

This takes effort on the Believer’s part, both of spiritual disciplines and the effort of practical application.  But in the end, you have become a peacemaker and demonstrated

that you are a Child of God, a disciple of the King.

 Your Brother and Friend,

 Mike Young

KEEP YOUR WORD

AND YOU SHALL BE MY DISCIPLES – Lesson #8

  • Keep Your Word

“Let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil” (Matthew 5:37).

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?  

In order to get a grasp on the meaning of this teaching, we must get the context of what Jesus is saying.  

  1. First of all, Jesus told us in verse Matthew 5:17, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.”

Jesus is teaching “the fulfillment of the law” by comparing what the “ancients were told” and what He now says to us.

This time, Jesus is referring to making of vows, all of which He calls “FALSE VOWS”, which in truth is any vow or prediction you make since you cannot predict or direct your own future.  

Matthew5:33 “Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT MAKE FALSE VOWS, BUT SHALL FULFILL YOUR VOWS TO THE LORD.’ 34“But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is THE CITY OF THE GREAT KING. 36“Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37“But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.”

2. Secondly, Jesus is saying “let your actions do your talking” so you do not fail in your vows, which God considers as sin.  

Besides, when you brag about what you can or will do and fail to do it, you look like a fool and a liar.  This is not the representation a Christian can make as a follower of Jesus.

Read  Deuteronomy23:21 to understand the gravity of an unfulfilled pledge or vow:  “When you make a vow to the LORD your God, you shall not delay to pay it, for it would be sin in you, and the LORD your God will surely require it of you. 22However, if you refrain from vowing, it would not be sin in you. 23“You shall be careful to perform what goes out from your lips, just as you have voluntarily vowed to the LORD your God, what you have promised.

James 4:13 picks up on Jesus teaching and reiterates, “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” 14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 15  Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” 16 But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. 17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

I have read many of the myriad commentaries on this matter and the great majority either lightly regard the context of this teaching or ignore the context all together and delve in to history, culture or the linguistics of the verse.  We should take this teaching at its face value.

If you are required to take an OATH, then make your oath truthful and fulfill that oath.  But, as for vows, just do what you need to do and let the results be your vow.  In other words, if you are a Christian, do what you said you would do, otherwise you are compromised by sin.  Keeping our word is what we do. Period.

Remembering that foul water and fresh water cannot come from the same spring, (James 3:11), neither should you expect the Living Water of God to flow from you if you harbor sin un-repented sin.

Now, it is your turn:

HOW MUST YOU DO IT? __________________________________________

HOW YOU MUST TEACH IT? _______________________________________

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young