THINK – Part 3 – Where are you going?

ANYONE GOING DOWN?

The Gallup organization reported In April 2021, that for the first time since they started polling in 1937, fewer than 50% of Americans claim membership is churches, mosques or synagogues. Sociologists have tracked these burgeoning declines for several decades, with attrition that runs from 70% claiming membership in the 1990s, to 50% in 2019, to 47% in 2021 (with no plateau in sight).

In Gallup’s study, these fissures in religious participation seem evident among every American demographic age group, including “traditionalists,” born before 1945, down from 73% to 66%; “Baby Boomers,” dropping from 63% to 58%; Generation X, from 57% to 50%; and “Millennials” from 51% to 35%, as indicated in 2020 studies.

SO, WHAT’S UP?

The Covid-19 outbreak is being blamed for the recent decline in church attendance, but, that is an anomaly.  Here is some information from a George Barna study reporting on five standing reasons people give on why they drop out of church (the comments are my own):

1. The church is irrelevant, the leaders are hypocritical and leaders have experienced too much moral failure

Yes, I know. That’s three reasons in one. But the Barna study groups all three reasons together as one reason.

2. God is missing in the church

People go to church looking for God, but are having difficulty finding him.

This one hurts, but in an age where perception is reality, you can’t ignore this criticism.  The paucity of personal experience with God is disturbing.

3. Legitimate doubt is prohibited

Honestly, I simply agree with this criticism. It is very difficult to have an honest conversation in many churches today.

4.  They’re not finding community

Sometimes expectations are too high; sometimes expectations are unrealistic; sometimes people really don’t want what they say they want; sometimes a church has metastasized into cliques.  This is a tough one – but can be true on many levels. At any rate, this is not acceptable for the Body of Christ.

5.  They’re not connecting with God

It does not amaze me to hear that people come to church seeking God, and they get some good sermons ABOUT GOD or ABOUT THE BIBLE, then they are discouraged when all they get is a religious pep talk, a religious rock concert or a religious lecture ABOUT GOD or ABOUT THE BIBLE.  They aren’t as interested in knowing ABOUT God, as they what they want to KNOW IF GOD CAN DO, IN THEIR LIVES, WHAT PREACHERS SAID HE CAN DO.  They don’t come to church to get stories about the Bible, they want to KNOW IF THE BIBLE can direct their lives,

Or perhaps, this is what is referred to the “Great Apostasy” (a falling away from the faith) of the Last Days, as mentioned in scriptures?

In either case, you and I need to be very careful because Jesus has warned, “See to it that no one misleads you. “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many.”  This can be both individual and institutional deception.

HE SAID WHAT?

So, what was your experience in church this past month?  And, what did your pastor or preacher preach on this past Sunday, and how did he preach on it?  Now, be very honest; was it something ‘about the bible’ or ‘about Jesus’?  Or, was it something the Bible or Jesus said to you and for you to do and, you are doing it?

Just for the ‘fun of it’, let’s compare what you are hearing and seeing in Church versus what Jesus taught and did in ‘churches’ and along His way.

Let’s do a little ‘time travel’ and imagine we can go back in time to when Jesus begins His ministry.  Here’s the scene found in:

Matthew 4;12, “Now when Jesus heard that John had been taken into custody, He withdrew into Galilee; 13 and leaving Nazareth, He came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. Verse 14.  This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet:

Verse 15.  “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—

Verse 16.  “The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great Light,
And those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death,
Upon them a Light dawned.”

Verse 17. From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

The First Disciples

Verse 18. Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Verse 19. And He *said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Verse 20. Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. Verse 21. Going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them. Verse 22. Immediately, they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.”

Calling and making and sending disciples is what Jesus does.  In fact, that is exactly what He told us to be doing.  (see Matthew 28:16-20)  

Did your pastor or preacher say something even remotely like Jesus when He said, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” or when He said, “Go 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 Jesus commanded; and remember, He is with you always, even to the end of the age.”?  Or is this something to be left to the ‘professionals’?  You know, ’you invite your friends, family and neighbors, and he’ll take it from there’.

But, that is not what the Bible says.  It says, YOU GO, and YOU MAKE DISCIPLES, and YOU BAPTIZE THEM.  Is your pastor teaching, training and sending you to DO WHAT JESUS SAID?

Put people on mission and let them run with it.  Let the pastors pastor, the teachers teach, the evangelist evangelize, etc., and watch what happens.

Ministry in Galilee

Matthew 4:23  “Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.”

Notice that Jesus does not just ‘talk a good game’, He leads by example.  In fact, Jesus’ pattern and method of ministry and of making disciples is to ‘Say the Words; Show the Wonders; Send the Worker”, and this is consistent throughout His ministry.

How about your pastor or preacher and ‘church leaders’?  What do they do?  Are they leading by example, then sending YOU to follow Jesus in like manner?  Remember, it’s all about YOU making disciples who, in turn, make disciples.

WHAT ARE THE RESULTS?

Matthew 4:24  “The news about Him spread throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all who were ill, those suffering with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics; and He healed them. Verse 25.  Large crowds followed Him from Galilee and the Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan.”

THE POINT?

The point is that Jesus did not sugar-coat the Gospel Message nor did He devise slick advertising gimmicks to get people to ‘come to church’.  There were no worship teams, no missions budgets, no building programs.  Jesus just told it straight, did what He said, and made disciples who did likewise.

The point is that, even under constant and severe persecution, the early church grew exponentially because the Gospel Message was preached and practiced!

The point is that, THIS IS OUR MODEL and God will provide the increase.

Now, stay tuned for “THINK – Part 4 – THE SERMON?”

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

Previous article:  “THINK – Part 2 – Repent and Live”

(Here is a website link to THE LAST REFORMATION and video links.  These folks started in the Netherlands.  Their methods were too unconventional for the state Lutheran Church, so upon appeal to the government, THE LAST REFORMATION was banned in the Netherlands, and they were granted asylum from religious persecution in the United States in 2019. You may not agree with all you hear or see on this site, but, the results are undeniable.)

NOTE:  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is about JESUS, first, foremost and only.  He has secured a salvation for you to save your soul from perishing in the most horrible way.  He has prepared a place for you as your eternal home, in His Kingdom.  The other things that happen to and through a believer and follower of Jesus, are the blessing and benefits that follow. – Michael Young, Pastor / Teacher, Whitestone Fellowship.

THINK – Part 2 – Repent and live

THINK!  MINDS & THOUGHTS.

*Think, and the God of peace will be with you.

**Think, and you will have abundant life and peace and prosperity.

***Think, and God will reveal His Truths to you.

****Think, and God will give you understanding in everything.

*****Think, and you will be as you are.

In our last article, we discussed psychology and the soul.  This time, let’s take a brief look at what the Bible says about the mind and thoughts.

*Philippians 4:8, says, Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Verse 9. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

**Romans 8:5 tells us,For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. Verse 6.  For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on and peace.”

***Philippians 3:15 , says, “Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.”

****2 Timothy 2:7  tells us to, “Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.”

*****Proverbs 23:7, says, “… For as a man thinks within himself, so he is.”

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT OR RELEVANT?

First, no person, with a sound mind, can think one thing and do another.  You cannot say “today I pray to have success”, or “today I will pray to have friends”, or “today I will serve God”, then act in a contrary manner and expect to receive what you desire nor to achieve what you claim.

Secondly, and most importantly, Matthew 4:17, says, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  This is the greatest pronouncement and call to readiness for all Christians:  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

This is one of the greatest pronouncements and calls to readiness for all Christians:  Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Repent, in the Biblical sense, literally means,

To change one’s mind; – reversing how you think – 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.

Again I say, 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”.

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.”

BOTH A COMMAND AND A PROPHETIC WORD

Interestingly, Jesus, the Son of God, in fact God Himself, said these very words which is 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 longer you, or I who lives, 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, and let us all, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Let’s stop thinking as the world thinks and see things from a heavenly perspective (Colossians 3:2), let’s have the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5), and begin to really live!

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

Previous article:  “THINK – Part 1 -Psychology in the Bible? – The Soul”

Next article: “THINK – Part 3 – Where are you Going?”

KEEPING IT SIMPLE

(Please note, links are used in place of footnotes for references and citations.  Please review each link in order to get the full teaching on these matters.  Also, you can pause the Audio podcast to follow a link and resume the audio when ready.)

John 21:25 tells us that,   “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.”

There are millions and millions of books, articles, commentaries and opinions describing and defining “What is a Christian”, and, how a Christian should think, behave and what they should do.  It can be a bit daunting and confusing, but, it need not be.

The Bible, if read in context of itself and read at face-value (except for the obvious metaphors, idioms and similes) the Truth clearly emerges.

Here is an example of KEEPING IT SIMPLE when asking…

1. What is a Christian?

2. How does a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ, think?

3. How does a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ, behave?

4. What is a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ, to do?

Here are some, out of numerous scripture verses, that may help answer this important, but basic, questions – all without opinions.

1. WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN?

Acts 11:21-26 ” And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a large number who believed turned to the Lord.  The news about them reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas off to Antioch. Then, when he arrived and witnessed the grace of God, he rejoiced and began to encourage them all with a resolute heart to remain true to the Lord; for he was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And considerable numbers were brought to the Lord. And he left for Tarsus to look for Saul;  and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. And for an entire year they [ac]met with the church and taught considerable numbers; and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.”

John 13:34  “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Acts 1:8  “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

John 15:5  “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.”

 

 2. HOW DOES A CHRISTIAN, A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST, THINK?

Philippians 2: “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death [h]on a cross.

 Philippians 2:1  “Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any [a]affection and compassion, make my joy complete [b]by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.  Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;  do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

 

3. HOW DOES A CHRISTIAN, A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST, BEHAVE?

 John 5:19  “Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever [e]the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.

 John 5:30  “I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

John 12:49-50  For I did not speak [s]on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.”

 

4. WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN, A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST, TO DO?

 John14:10  “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you, I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. 12 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.

 MY CONFESSION

(memorize and repeat as your confession, and be strengthened)

 Think.

 Philippians 2: “I will have the attitude in me which is also in Christ Jesus, Who, although existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Philippians 2:1  “Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, I will make His joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose as Jesus. I will do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind I will regard others as more important than myself; I will not merely look out for my own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

 Behave.

 John 5:19  “Therefore as a follower of Jesus, is say, “As the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing, I will do the same; for whatever the Father does, these things the I will also do, in like manner.

 John 5:30  “I can do nothing on my own initiative. As I hear the Holy Spirit, I judge; and my judgment will be just, because I do not seek my own will, but the will of God through the One He sent, that is Jesus.

 John 12:49  “For I will not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Jesus has given me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Jesus has told me.”

 Do.

 John14:10  “I believe that Jesus is in the Father, and the Father is in Him, and He is in me.  The words that I say to you, I will not speak on my own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works through me. Believe it when Jesus says that He is in the Father and the Father is in Him, and He is in me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Jesus, the works that He does, He will also do through me; and greater works than these I will do; because Jesus has gone to the Father. Whatever you ask in Jesus name, that will He do, so that the Father may be glorified.  If you ask Jesus anything in His name, He will do it.

Let’s pray for one another and hold one another up, until that day – may God find us faultless when He comes.

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

More valuable resources at these links:

Knowing and Doing the Will of God.  Do you ever wonder about “The Will of God for your life” or for your life’s circumstances?  It is recognizing and continually doing God’s Will in the course of my life that determines the outcome of His Will for my life

Experiencing God’s Will.  Have you heard this ‘funny definition’ of Insanity: “Doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results.”  I guess it is sort of funny, but because it bears so much practical truth, it’s really not that funny, especially if you are struggling with an issue. Sometimes it seems, the harder we try, the worse it gets. We might have success for a while, but then we slip back into the same old patterns. We try to lose weight, or we try to stop a habit, over and over and over, we keep using the same old methods, and nothing changes, permanently.   The Bible says to “…be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

What We Believe.  Our saving faith in Christ Jesus and our Biblical Christian World View determine how we approach all ares of life. We express our Christian World View through politics, theology, art, sociology, philosophy, ethics, anthropology, the humanities, science, history, law and government. But, in the end, this music video (creed and confession) captures the essence of what we believe.

 

SAVING FAITH and the Demoniac

 

(Please note, links are used in place of footnotes for references and citations.  Please review each link in order to get the full teaching on these matters.  Also, you can pause the Audio podcast to follow a link and resume the audio when ready.)

THE DEMONIAC

Matthew 17:14-20  says, “When Jesus, Peter, James and John his brother came to the crowd, a man came up to Jesus, falling on his knees before Him and saying,  “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is a lunatic and is very ill; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water.  I brought him to Your disciples, and they could not cure him.

” And Jesus answered and said, “You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him here to Me.”  And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was cured at once.

Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not drive it out?”  And He said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.”

This important event gives us a visual of what Spiritual Warfare can look like.

First, this man describes his son as “lunatic” which translates from the Greek word, “seléniazomai”, to be moonstruck; lunatic, to be epileptic (epilepsy being supposed to return and increase with the increase of the moon).  We find out a few verses later, when Jesus heals him, that his symptoms are because this boy has been possessed by a demon.

The disciples had tried to heal the son, but, were unable to drive the demon out of the boy because of ‘the littleness of their faith’.

It is obvious that Jesus is displeased with his disciples, to say the least.  He chastises them, saying, “You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you?”

Note that the word “unbelieving”, translates as, incredulous, without Christian faith; not to be trusted, perfidious; heathen), and the word (“perverted” translates as to distort, misinterpret, corrupt).  A harsh indictment, indeed.

It is both interesting and frightening that although Jesus uses the word “generation”, it is apparent that His angst is directed primarily at His disciples.  It is also interesting that Jesus, knowing His time is short on earth and that He will soon face a humiliating and excruciating death, says “how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you?”, as if to say He would rather be gone than to have to deal with this incredible absence of faith and earthbound, twisted and corrupt understanding of God and His ways.

Jesus concludes His remarks with, “for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.” The phrase “for truly I say to you” (‘say’, from the Greek word ‘lego’) is emphatic.  Jesus was not calmly teaching His disciples as much as He was reproving them and admonishing them to embrace faith in Him, do the impossible and “move some mountains”.

This is not just a story for us to read, to muse over or get excited about.  It was, and is, a message from Jesus to His disciples, both then and now.

His words were spoken prophetically and emphatically (and, in the aorist tense), which means that this is a command and an action which has no regard for the past, present or future, it is an ongoing action; i.e., it was true yesterday, it is true today, and it will always be true!  This means that these words were not just for the disciples or for the people of that generation, His words were for all people of all time.

These Words are for you and for me:  “Have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this or any mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.”

This is how we – you and I – will engage the enemy, Satan and his demons and beasts – with faith the size of a mustard seed.

You and I will silence the ignorance of foolish men, we will pull down strongholds of darkness, we will destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.  We will be ready to punish every disobedience.

We will put armies of the darkness to flight and will destroy the devil’s works of sickness, disease, fear, doubt, calamity, poverty, loneliness.  This is how we cast out demons, vanquish evil from our land and cause the devil and his legions to flee.

He has given us – you and me, as His disciples – authority

  • Over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and
  • To heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness
  • To Heal the sick,
  • To raise the dead,
  • To cleanse the lepers,
  • To cast out demons.

“And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’  Freely you received, freely give. (Matthew 10)

As important as the foregoing message is to us, let’s be mindful that it is not the “MAIN THING”.  The primary message for us is,

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

Jesus Christ was crucified, died, and was buried; He descended to hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

Everything else follows the primacy and the Name of Jesus.

Dear brothers and sisters and friends, let’s please enter into His service and be about doing what He has called, commanded and commissioned us to do.

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

What we Believe

The Last Reformation – The Gospel

(Our location can be found on the Last Reformation map is in Estero, Florida)

EFFECTIVE SPIRITUAL WARFARE – Final Notes & What is Coming Next?

A TUTORIAL ON EFFECTIVE SPIRITUAL WARFARE

Teaching, Training & Commissioning

FINAL NOTES – WHAT IS COMING NEXT?

Jesus’ work, now complete on earth, He gives a final few words of instruction and encouragement, then sets the stage as the Last Days are now well under way.

One lesson His disciples, both then and now, should learn is that, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

“Therefore, (you are to) take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.  Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,  and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.”(Ephesians 6:12-18)

As a fully devoted and completely surrendered disciple of Jesus, you will be imbued with and filled with a power so great and so transformative, that your way of dealing with the matters of this world are, like Jesus, antithetical to this world’s ways.

A Witness, The Holy Spirit & Power

Acts 1:6-11 tells us, So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”  He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority;  

but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

We are reminded, in Psalms 34:15-19, that,

The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry.
The face of the Lord is against evildoers, to cut off the memory of them from the earth.

“The righteous cry, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all.”

Jesus continues to tell us about His indwelling presence in the life of a Disciple. 

Mark 9:21-23 says, ”And He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” And Jesus said to him, “‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.”

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

 Matthew 21:21-22  reminds us, And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen. And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

Jesus tells us in John 15:7-8,  If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples”.

 Here are some of the many Spiritual Blessings of a disciple of Jesus:  a Christian

  1.  ETERNAL LIFE: John3:14“, As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; verse 15. so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.

Verse 16. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. Verse 17. “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. Verse 18. “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

  1.  ABUNDANT LIFE: John10:910. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
  2.  PROSPERITY AND GOOD HEALTH: 3 John 3:2“. “Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.”
  3.  MANIFEST BLESSINGS:
    1. OBEY GOD:  Deuteronomy28:1“Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the LORD your God, being   careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, The LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.
    2. IRRESISTIBLE BLESSINGS:  verse 2.“All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the LORD your God:
    3. OMNIPRESENT BLESSINGS:  verse 3.“Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.
    4. GENERATIONAL BLESSINGS: verse 4. “Blessed shall be the offspring of your body and the produce of your ground and the offspring of your beasts, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock.
    5. NATURAL BLESSING:  verse 5. “ Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.
    6. CONTINUAL BLESSINGS:  verse 6.“Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.
    7. PROTECTIVE BLESSINGS:  verse 7. “The LORD shall cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you; they will come out against you one way and will flee before you seven ways.
    8. OMNISCIENT BLESSINGS:  verse 8. “The LORD will command the blessing upon you in your barns and in all that you put your hand to, and He will bless you in the land which the LORD your God gives you.
    9. HOLY BLESSINGS:  verse 9. “The LORD will establish you as a holy people to Himself, as He swore to you, if you keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in His ways. Verse 10. “So all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they will be afraid of you.
    10. ABUNDANT BLESSINGS:  verse 11. “The LORD will make you abound in prosperity, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your beast and in the produce of your ground, in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers to give you.
    11. ESTABLISHED BLESSINGS:  verse12. “The LORD will open for you His good storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand; and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.
    12. BLESSINGS OF AUTHORITY: verse 13. “The LORD will make you the head and not the tail, and you only will be above, and you will not be underneath, if you listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, which I charge you today, to observe them carefully,

The Ascension

Acts 1:9-11 tells us “And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.  

And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”

 

THE GUIDE

(Click on the image)

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

Here is this entire series in Booklet form:

TUTORIAL ON EFFECTIVE SPIRITUAL WARFARE (digital book)

TUTORIAL ON EFFECTIVE SPIRITUAL WARFARE (Adobe PDF format)

What’s Next?  The Last Days

When does the 7-year Tribulation Begin?

EFFECTIVE SPIRITUAL WARFARE – Ch. 19 – Mission, Focus & Commissioning of a disciple

A TUTORIAL ON EFFECTIVE SPIRITUAL WARFARE

Teaching, Training & Commissioning

Chapter  19

MISSION, FOCUS & COMMISSIONING OF A DISCIPLE

“Instructions for Service”

Becoming a disciple of Jesus is a calling from God. It is a difficult and trying experience, and, at times, bewildering, despite what you might have been told.  It can also be dangerous and expensive.  Dangerous in the sense that it will cost you your life, ether through transformation or through “the fiery trials”, as mentioned in 1 Peter 4:12-14.  Expensive in the sense that it will likely cost you everything you had been beforehand, and, everything you had possessed.

Difficult and dangerous as it may be, this Journey will be exciting, rewarding, full of purpose and power.  It will give you rewards, worth more than you could even imagine to ask for.

The destination will astound you. Thousands upon thousands have gladly paid the price and would do it again.

The Teachings of Jesus, as pointed out earlier, are antithetical to worldly standards, practices and norms.  Jesus was crucified as a sacrifice for our sins.  But, as far as the unbelieving world was concerned, it was for His controversial and counter cultural teachings.

Jesus made it clear that if you choose to follow Him, you will have to pay the price of a disciple, and that cost is high.  Both the religious and secular worlds persecuted Jesus and His followers because of His teachings.  And, they will persecute you, too, if you choose to be His disciple.

A careful and thorough reading of Matthew will give you the teaching you need in order to take the first steps to becoming a disciple of Jesus.  Specifically, chapters three through chapters ten will help you focus on Jesus’ teachings, His Works demonstrated and the commissioning and sending of His disciples.

Matthew 10:1-20 says, Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.

“And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ “

“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.  

“Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts, or a bag for your journey, or even two coats, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support.

“And whatever city or village you enter, inquire who is worthy in it, and stay at his house until you leave that city.

“As you enter the house, give it your greeting. “If the house is worthy, give it your blessing of peace. But if it is not worthy, take back your blessing of peace. “Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet. “Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city.”

Jesus is now, for the first time, giving His disciples His ‘Authority’. As you progress in your training and preparation, He will also give you His Authority. Just remember, it is He Who is doing the work through you.

And, once again, has given His disciples instructions on how they are to proceed.  This is not the conclusion of Jesus’ teaching, but, this is the conclusion of the disciples initial preparation. It will be the same for you and for me.

A Hard Road before Them

Jesus reminds His disciples of the difficulties that await them.  You would be wise to settle your accounts and get ready for what is coming for the true disciple of Jesus.

Jesus reminds and warns His disciples, both then and now, in Matthew 10:16-23, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.

“But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.

“But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. “For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. “You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.

“But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes.”

The Great Commission

Matthew28:16-20 tells us, But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. 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.”

  • The disciples proceeded.
  • The disciples worshiped Jesus.
  • Some disciples were doubtful.
  • Jesus sent them anyway, because He will be with His disciples, including you, even to the end of the age.

If you have any questions, doubts or comments, please let me know.  None of us should embark on this journey alone,  Let’s join together.  The Body of Christ, on Mission with Jesus.

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

Now, go.  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 Jesus has  commanded you.

Please remember to click the blue italicized links in each chapter, in order to get the important details on these Bible teachings)

The Final Episode: “WHAT’S NEXT – AND FINAL NOTES”

(The previous episode can be found at “The Works of Healing – Episode 3)

(Please also notice, you can listen by podcast as you read along.  You can pause the audio in order to click the links for details and references, which are necessary for the entire teaching)

EFFECTIVE SPIRITUAL WARFARE – Ch. 18, Episode 3 – The Works of Healing

A TUTORIAL ON EFFECTIVE SPIRITUAL WARFARE

Teaching, Training & Commissioning

Chapter 18, Episode 3

THE WORKS OF HEALING

Jesus Says the Words; Shows the Wonders; Sends the Workers

Matthew 8:14-17 tells us, “When Jesus came into Peter’s home, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever. He touched her hand, and the fever left her; and she got up and waited on Him. When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill.  

This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: “HE HIMSELF TOOK OUR INFIRMITIES AND CARRIED AWAY OUR DISEASES.”

*Jesus touched her hand, the fever left; It is Jesus Who does the works.

*And she got up and served; Peter’s mother showed her gratitude through service.

*They brought many who were demon-possessed and ill; Jesus cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were ill. Jesus does His works through His disciples. We are to lift Jesus up and people are drawn to Him.

“Jesus, Himself, took our infirmities and carried away our diseases.”

Please read and meditate on these words of Jesus from John chapter 15 as He reiterates our roles as His disciples.

Verse 1. I am the true vine, and My Father is the vine dresser.  

Verse 2. “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.

Verse 3. “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.

Verse 4. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.

Verse 5. “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”

During most of His earthly ministry, Jesus worked through eleven disciples.  Jesus ministry and works could be multiplied by eleven.

There was estimated, in 2010, to be around 800 million Protestant Christians in the world.  Assuming these Christians truly “Abide in Jesus” that means Jesus’ ministry and works could be multiplied by 800 million.

There is no way of knowing how many of those 800 million Protestants, or of the over 1 billion Roman Catholics, or of the 260 million Orthodox Christians or the other 28 million adherents not affiliated with a major denomination are actually “Abiding in Jesus”, but that is not our concern.

Your concern and my concern, is that we, “Abide in Jesus, and He is in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.  Jesus is the vine, we are the branches; he who abides in Jesus and Jesus in him, bears much fruit, for apart from apart from Jesus, you can do nothing.”  

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father.”

John 14:12

More resources on this matter:

Power of One

Then There was One

Please remember to click the blue italicized links in each chapter, in order to get the important details on these Bible teachings)

Please bookmark this page and watch for our next chapter, “The Focus of Discipleship”

(The previous episode can be found at “The Works of Healing – Episode 2”)

(Please also notice, you can listen by podcast as you read along.  You can pause the audio in order to click the links for details and references, which are necessary for the entire teaching)

EFFECTIVE SPIRITUAL WARFARE – Ch. 18, Episode 2 – The Works of Healing

A TUTORIAL ON EFFECTIVE SPIRITUAL WARFARE

Teaching, Training & Commissioning

Chapter 18, Episode 2

THE WORKS OF HEALING

Jesus Says the Words; Shows the Wonders; Sends the Workers

Jesus’ method of teaching His disciples, as we see in the Book of Matthew, is this:

  • First, He teaches with words; next,
  • He demonstrates His teaching with ‘works in action’; then,
  • He sends His disciples to do His Works.

If Jesus had not intended His disciples to make disciples, who in turn, repeated the process, Christianity would have ended with the death of the last Apostle.  But, Jesus, set in motion a process, by which “you shall be His witness, both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” (see Acts 1:8)

A MAN UNDER AUTHORITY

Matthew 8:5-13 tells us, “And when Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, imploring Him, and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented.”

“Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.”  But the centurion said, “Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed.

For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.”

“Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel. “I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” And Jesus said to the centurion, “Go; it shall be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed that very moment.

The Centurion did not make the mistake so many contemporary Christians make.  He did not assume that anything he could do would make any difference.  He humbly submitted himself to the authority of Jesus and made his request known.

Anything we ever do, in and of ourselves, is ‘wood, hay and stubble’.  The Works of Jesus are eternal, built of ‘gold, silver, precious stones’.

We are to be the yielded and still instrument of our Lord. He will do His Works through us as we submit ourselves to Him.

Secondly, there are no obstacles which can impede the Work of God. In this case, distance is no matter of concern.

Finally, it is the certain faith of the Centurion through which Jesus worked.  It was this faith at which Jesus marveled.

We, disciples of Jesus, enter this world of Spiritual warfare under the protection of God, submitted and yielded to the authority of Jesus.  He has prepared His Works ahead of time that we should walk in His works – not our own works.

When we are obedient to His Word, He completes His Works through us.

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

Prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”

Please remember to click the blue italicized links in each chapter, in order to get the important details on these Bible teachings)

Please bookmark this page and watch for our next chapter, The Works of Healing – Episode 3.

(The previous episode can be found at “The Works of Healing – Episode 1”)

(Please also notice, you can listen by podcast as you read along.  You can pause the audio in order to click the links for details and references, which are necessary for the entire teaching)

THIS IS THE WORK OF GOD

This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”  

John 6:29

It is interesting that Jesus commands His disciples (Christians) to do the works that He has done and even greater works than these.  We are to continue in His mission, using His methods and His ways. (John 14:12, Matthew 10:1).

  • This is how we fight this Spiritual war.
  • This is how we overcome by the word of our testimony and by the Blood of the Lamb.
  • This is how we endure to the end.

Most of those chasing around after Jesus, during His earthly ministry, misunderstood what He was saying about His Works, and not much has changed to this day.

For example, a large crowd that had stayed on the far shore, saw that the disciples had taken the only boat, and they realized Jesus had not gone with them.  Several boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the Lord had blessed the bread and the people had eaten. So, when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went across to Capernaum to look for him.  They found him on the other side of the lake and asked, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”

“Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.  “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.”

“Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”   John 6

It can be a bit confusing, but, take heart.  Jesus told us that He has prepared His Works ahead of time so that we, His disciples, would walk in them.  And, He promised us that He will be with us, in His authority, giving us direction and even giving us the words we should use.  (Matthew 28:16-19, Luke 21:15, Luke 12:12)

He prepared the good Works; we just ‘walk in them’.

Many churches are teaching to do your own good works, in your own ways as if to say, “those were things they did THEN. But, these are the things we do NOW.

But, NO!  Man’s ways are failing.  They are failing to engage the enemy .  Our enemies are evil, fear, doubt, hatred, vengeance, lust, poverty, war, disease, sickness and more.

Here are Jesus’ methods and ways, and here is exactly what He has told us to do:

And, Jesus said, And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.  

Here is our methods and ways, just as Jesus has told us:

  • Believe on the One whom He has sent.
  • Jesus will give us the words to speak.  
  • The Bible is the Sword of God.  
  • Jesus has fulfilled the law on our behalf.  
  • We are made to be His witnesses.  
  • When we lift Jesus, people are drawn to Him. Jesus will heal the sick; raise the dead; cleanse the lepers; cast out demons.

Each of us must develop and have our personal plan and intention of making disciples, following Jesus’ model, in His Name.  I pray you will work on yours today!

Again, let’s please remember, it is God Who does these Works through His disciples. We do not accomplish these Works on our own.

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

PS: Do these “Works” of Jesus sound like the 2021 postmodern Church?  It would seem that, many claiming His Name, are so far off His Message, His Methods and His Means, that one has to wonder what He will have to say upon His return?

(Will it be, “‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’;  or, will it be “Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’”)

Imagine with me, if you will, that the world could witness these works being performed on a global scale. Don’t you think it would change how the world thinks and behaves?  It’s our job now, to be obedient and available for Him to do His Works through us, remembering, it is not us who does the Works; it is God Who does them.

EFFECTIVE SPIRITUAL WARFARE – Ch. 18 – The Works of Healing

A TUTORIAL ON EFFECTIVE SPIRITUAL WARFARE

Teaching, Training & Commissioning

Chapter  18

THE WORKS OF HEALING

Says the Words; Shows the Wonders; Sends the Workers

Jesus’ method of teaching His disciples, as we see in the Book of Matthew, is this:

  • First, He teaches with words; next,
  • He demonstrates His teaching with ‘works in action’; then,
  • He sends His disciples to do His Works.

If Jesus had not intended His disciples to make disciples, who in turn, repeated the process, Christianity would have ended with the death of the last Apostle.  But, Jesus, set in motion a process, by which “you shall be His witness, both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” (see Acts 1:8)

JESUS DEMONSTRATES HIS TEACHINGS

Matthew 8:1-4, says, “When Jesus came down from the mountain, large crowds followed Him. Verse 2.  And a leper came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Verse 3.  Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. Verse 4.  And Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go, show yourself to the priest and present the offering that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”

It has now begun.  Jesus, in Matthew 4:19, said, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 

Later, in Matthew 10, “Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.

If you are a disciple of Jesus, you are now with Him, looking closely over His shoulder, watching and learning.  You will learn at His side.  You will be forever identified as having been with Jesus.

We are now, the clay in the Potter’s Hands; as He touches our lives, we are made new, into His image for His purpose.  This is IMPORTANT to grasp.

The words, from Matthew 4:19, in the Greek translations, tell us, not only of the urgency of Jesus’ call, but of how

the state of our lives is to be made well off.  We will fare well and prosper in our soul, by answering His call and following Him.

These words are so descriptive that you must take each definition and consider their impact and importance:

You are entering His Kingdom of “royal power, kingship, dominion, rule. You are being given the right and the authority to serve in His Kingdom; the royal power of Jesus as the triumphant Messiah and the royal power and dignity conferred on Christians in the Messiah’s kingdom.”

The definitions of this word are complimentary:

To serve, to worship, to heal, to cure, to restore to health.  Jesus heals the whole person, body, mind/will/emotions and spirit.  His healing is complete.  We are called to this ministry, we will learn as His disciples, to do His Works.

Again, Jesus heals the body, the mind, the soul and the spirit of all infirmities. There is nothing outside the reach of God, and we are on mission with Jesus.  We cannot stand idly by and watch.  To be His disciple means we join God is what He is already doing.

Jesus called these men to Himself, and He is calling you and me to follow Him, today.

This call has an urgency associated with it.  It is a command in the imperative.  Jesus is saying, “Come, Now!

It is IMPORTANT that we remember Jesus was speaking prophetically then and is speaking prophetically to us, today!  This is our calling and our role as Christians, Disciples of Jesus. He will make you, fashion you into a “fisher of men”!

I encourage you to study the details of this teaching by clicking this link “In the Beginning”.

Study the definitions of the words used, and, apply them to yourself, as you journey into His Kingdom and prepare yourself to be on Mission with Jesus, engaging in this Spiritual War.

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

Prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”

Please remember to click the blue italicized links in each chapter, in order to get the important details on these Bible teachings)

Please bookmark this page and watch for our next chapter, The Focus of Discipleship

(The previous episode can be found at The Two Foundations)

(Please also notice, you can listen by podcast as you read along.  You can pause the audio in order to click the links for details and references, which are necessary for the entire teaching)

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

EFFECTIVE SPIRITUAL WARFARE – Ch. 17 – The Two Foundations

A TUTORIAL ON EFFECTIVE SPIRITUAL WARFARE

Teaching, Training & Commissioning

Chapter  17

THE TWO FOUNDATIONS

Matthew 7:24-29 says, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.

Verse 25. “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.

Verse 26. “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.

Verse 27.“The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”

      Verses 28 and 29. “When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.

It is fitting that within this concluding statement, Jesus tells His disciples, both, then and now, that it is the wise man or woman, who hears His teachings and acts on them.

We must pay close attention.  Jesus has warned His disciples, ahead of time, “the rains, winds and floods are coming” and they will slam against your “house”.  We must act on His Words so that our “house will not fall because it has been founded on the rock”.

Although, this teaching can be applied to “everyone who hears these words of His and acts on them, Jesus said these Words, specifically, to His disciples.

The gravity of this teaching must not slip past us.

Keeping in context of Jesus’ teaching to this point:  As it was in our previous chapters concerning “The Wide and Narrow Gates” inMatthew 7:13“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction;  

Knowing a Tree by its Fruit”, in Matthew 7:19“Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.;

So it is in this chapter, “The Two Foundations”, found in Matthew 7:2425. “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”

Please, beware pastors and teachers: You are held to a stricter accountability.

Please, beware Christians and church leaders: “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Your righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and the Pharisees or you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

This is the concluding statement of ‘teaching-by-the-saying’ of His Word.  Next, Jesus will begin to teach us by demonstrating and performing His Word. We will see the Word of Jesus, in action!

We must pay close attention, because Jesus has told us that, “he who believes in Him, shall do the works He does; and he will do even greater works ; because Jesus has gone to the Father”.  (John 14:12).  The kingdom is now at hand!

Your Brother and Friend

Mike Young

Prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”

Please remember to click the blue italicized links in each chapter, in order to get the important details on these Bible teachings)

Please bookmark this page and watch for our next chapter, Healing of the Multitudes

(The previous episode can be found at “A Tree and its Fruit – False Prophets”)

(Please also notice, you can listen by podcast as you read along.  You can pause the audio in order to click the links for details and references, which are necessary for the entire teaching)

EFFECTIVE SPIRITUAL WARFARE – Ch. 16 – A Tree and its Fruit & False Prophets

A TUTORIAL ON EFFECTIVE SPIRITUAL WARFARE

Teaching, Training & Commissioning

Chapter  16

A TREE AND ITS FRUIT
(False Prophets)

Jesus warns us, in Matthew 7:15-20“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?  “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. “So, then, you will know them by their fruits.

We are drawing ever closer to the time when Jesus will expect you to be a fully functioning and fully devoted follower. This teaching is representative of that, and, comes in two parts.

The first part is a warning and a call for the Christian and disciple to use Spiritual discernment when encountering false prophets.

The second part is also a warning, but, it is to be applied to yourself and to others. It describes the severe consequences reserved for false prophets and deceivers.

PART I.

Verses 15-20 tells us to be on the alert because you will encounter false prophets who take on the appearance and behavior of one of God’s own people. Jesus calls them ‘false prophets’, so we can assume they are using the moniker of pastor, prophet or teacher.

You are being taught and instructed to watch the fruit of the lives, particularly, of those claiming to hold the office of pastor, prophet or teacher or church leader. We, too often, revere and elevate the man in such an office as guiltless, because of his or her position. This can be a deadly mistake.  There comes a time, when a pattern of behavior will disclose the nature and character of the person. (‘their fruit’).  Beware!  A person bearing bad fruit is headed to destruction, and they will take many with them.

(False Prophets, Pulpit Bullies, False Teachers, Apostasy, Heretics)

PART II.

Jesus explains the consequence in store for the false prophet or teacher, in  Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’

Verse 23. “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

A mark of a false prophet is most often accompanied by a pattern of spiritual abuse. Spiritual abuse is a form of emotional and psychological abuse used by pastors,  (false prophets), or church leaders or even by ‘lay people’, to control, coerce, manipulate and exploit others, in a religious context.

This abuse may include, among other methods:

  • manipulation, exploitation, enforced accountability,
  • censorship of decision-making,
  • requirements for secrecy and silence,
  • coercion to conform,
  • inability to ask questions,
  • control through the use of sacred texts or teaching, requirement of obedience to the abuser,
  • the suggestion that the abuser has a ‘divine’ position(i.e., ‘don’t touch God’s anointed’),
  • marginalization and/or isolation as a means of punishment, and
  • superiority and elitism.

Spiritual abuse can have a deeply damaging impact on those who experience it, especially at the hands of a trusted Christian authority figure, such as a pastor.

We are now entering into the heat of Spiritual Warfare, where peoples lives and eternities are at stake. These false prophets must be exposed and abandoned in the Church.

Finally, and most importantly, check yourself on these matters. Make certain you do not possess or practice any of these traits or methods.

It is common for a person to start off right, but, when one is tempted and enticed by his own lust, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.”

Pray. Watch. Submit yourself to Him.

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

(NOTE: If you suspect spiritual abuse is occurring in your church or religious organization, you should separate yourself from the abuse and the abuser, and speak with a superior or to an oversight organization, if there is one.  Be careful not to accuse, but to inquire.

If you have been the subject of Spiritual abuse, again, separate yourself from the abuser and report the pattern of behavior to the church’s headquarters, ask for and get assurances of confidentiality. And seek personal counseling.

Further reading:

CHURCH SCANDAL AND SPIRITUAL ABUSE

A CALLING OR A CULT?

THE FALSE CHURCH EMERGES

Please remember to click the blue italicized links in each chapter, in order to get the important details on these Bible teachings)

Please bookmark this page and watch for our next chapter, “The Two Foundations

(The previous episode can be found at “The Narrow and the Wide Gates”)

(Please also notice, you can listen by podcast as you read along.  You can pause the audio in order to click the links for details and references, which are necessary for the entire teaching)

EFFECTIVE SPIRITUAL WARFARE – Ch. 15 – The Narrow Gate

A TUTORIAL ON EFFECTIVE SPIRITUAL WARFARE

Teaching, Training & Commissioning

Chapter  15

THE NARROW AND THE WIDE GATES

Jesus instructs us, in Matthew 7:13, to “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. Verse 14 goes on to say, “For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

Everything we are learning and training on, as disciples, hinges on this ‘directive’.  A disciple who is making their way on mission with Jesus, will likely will miss their destination and be rendered lost and wandering unless they follow the right path.  In this case, the path is one of Spiritual Warfare and the destination is Eternal life.  This is the mission and calling of being a disciple and an ambassador of Christ.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO YOU?

Jesus is telling us to take the right path, the path which leads to life.  And, to assist us, He reminds us, in John 10:9, that He is that Path and that Gate.

Again, in John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”  

There is no other Path.  There is no other way.  There is only The One Gate.  Not only is this narrow way, which leads to life, clearly mapped out in scriptures, we have Jesus as our personal Guide.  There is never room for deviation for those who hope to successfully arrive at God’s predetermined destination.

There are many pastors, bible teachers, church leaders and Christians, whether through carelessness, ignorance or rebelliousness, think they have found ways around the difficulties of entering by this small and narrow passage way.  And, they lead others down the broad path and through the wide gate which leads to destruction.

How can I tell if I am on the Narrow Path which leads to the Small Gate and to life?  You can find The Way as God reveals Himself, by the Holy Spirit, through the Bible, by prayer, through circumstances and through the church.  Know and depend on these 7 realities:

  1. God is always at work around you. If you are on the right path, you will see where He is at work.

2.  God pursues a continuing love relationship with you that is real
and personal.  He will not leave nor forsake you.  He will always be with you.  You can know you are on the right path if If you are extending that love to others. God and people are the priority – not the path.

3.  God invites you to become involved with Him in His work.

( John 6:29 says, “Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”

(Matthew 10:7-15 says, “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’

8“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.

9“Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts, 10or a bag for your journey, or even two coats, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support.

11“And whatever city or village you enter, inquire who is worthy in it, and stay at his house until you leave that city.

12“As you enter the house, give it your greeting. 13“If the house is worthy, give it your blessing of peace. But if it is not worthy, take back your blessing of peace. 14“Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet. 15“Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city.)

(Matthew 28:19 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”)  If you are doing anything other than what Jesus has already done, or if you are doing more that Jesus has already done, you are not on the right path! Simply join Him in doing what He has already done – that is His Work.

4. God speaks by the Holy Spirit through the Bible, prayer,
circumstances, and the church to reveal Himself, His purposes,
and His ways.  If you are on the right path, you can listen, and you will hear Him; you can read His Word and understand; you can meditate on Him and know Him; you can pray, and He will answer you; you can watch, and you will see Him.

5. God’s invitation for you to work with Him always leads you to a
crisis of belief that requires faith and action.  ACT in faith, doing what He is already doing – or go home.

6. You must make major adjustments in your life to join God in
what He is doing.  Take that leap of faith and join Him, today, in what He is already doing!!

7. You come to know God by experience as you obey Him and He
accomplishes His work through you.

(Taken from “The 7 Realities for Knowing and Experiencing God, by Henry and Richard Blackaby – published by LifeWay Press® Nashville, Tennessee.)

We must be reminded, that the walk and calling of a disciple means to give up your life in order to have the life of Christ.  We may struggle and suffer, but we will overcome the evil that besets us in this life, in order to gain eternal life with God.  Or, we can live this life carelessly and in ease, but, lose our life.

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

Please remember to click the blue italicized links in each chapter, in order to get the important details on these Bible teachings)

Please bookmark this page and watch for our next chapter, A Tree and its Fruit

(The previous episode can be found at “Righteous Judgment”)

(Please also notice, you can listen by podcast as you read along.  You can pause the audio in order to click the links for details and references, which are necessary for the entire teaching)

EFFECTIVE SPIRITUAL WARFARE – Ch. 14 – Righteous Judgment

A TUTORIAL ON EFFECTIVE SPIRITUAL WARFARE

Teaching, Training & Commissioning

Chapter  14

RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT

The previous chapter on “Prayer and the Golden Rule” was the opening volley of the Christian’s offensive in Spiritual Warfare.

Oswald Chambers once said, “A child of God never prays to be made aware of the fact that God answers prayer, because he is so restfully certain that God always answers prayer.” August 21, 2018,

​” We look upon prayer simply as a means of getting things for ourselves, but the biblical purpose of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself.” August 14, 2014

“To say that “prayer changes things” is not as close to the truth as saying, “Prayer changes me, and then I change things.” August 14, 2014

The second phase of our training in Spiritual Warfare is learning to have clear vision and to maintain your innocence before God. This begins with making Right Judgments.

Matthew 7:1-6 says, “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?  “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

The “hypocrite”, according to Bible lexicons and concordances, is an actor, stage player, a dissembler, a pretender and a hypocrite.  A hypocrite is one who simulates, feign or pretends.  One who is vile, shameful, reproachful, full of dishonor, ignominy, and disgrace.

Definitions won’t adequately describe what Jesus is talking about.  Jesus is saying that one’s attitude reveals their character, their heart and their intentions.  The hypocrite is in danger of being lost and perishing.

Read what Jesus says about, and to, hypocrites (I have abbreviated these verses for context.  (You can read the full chapter here: Matthew 23)

Verse 13:  “But WOE to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, you will receive greater condemnation.”

Verse 15:  “WOE to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.”

Verse 27:  “WOE to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”

Verse 29:  “WOE to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?”

Hypocrisy could be described as a deadly form of narcissism, where the practice of claiming to have moral standards or views to which one’s own behavior does not meet.  It is a pretense of morality that cloaks our inability to meet some predetermined moral code.

The word, in the verses cited above, comes from the Greek word,  “hupokrinomai”, which means, to be an actor under an assumed character, a stage-player;  figuratively, to disguise or conceal one’s real nature, motives, or feelings behind a false appearance.

One of the root causes of hypocrisy is fear and low self-esteem. We suffer hypocrisy as an avoidance for looking at our shortcomings and figuring out our part in it.  Hypocrisy  typically stems from a sincere belief that the double-standard we apply to ourselves is justifiable, because we have better intentions, therefore, we are forgiven for our “mistakes”.

We believe our intentions are just, noble and sincere, despite how we act at times.  The Bible, in Jeremiah 17:9, warns us about trusting our ‘heart’ on these matters, when it tells us, “The heart is more deceitful than all else, and is desperately sick. Who can understand it?”

1 John 1:8, tells us that, If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.

In order to find relief from this satanic trap, this disorder, we must admit that we are imperfect beings, created with flaws, who are prone to fail.  1 John 1:9, says that, If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

We must learn to look at our own shortcomings and recognize that every one of us is prone to wrongdoing.  The Bible tells us that we all fall short of God’s Glory and that none of us are righteous, no not anyone!

The person suffering from hypocrisy has a strong desire to be loved and accepted. The fear of personal failure, humility and judgment is so powerful, that the hypocrite uses “double-mindedness” and cognitive dissonance to avoid facing themselves.

Also, at the root of hypocrisy is a desire to be loved and accepted without judgment.   Only God can give that kind of love. And, only the fully devoted follower of Jesus, filled with His Holy Spirit, can also give that kind of love.

Until you “clear your own eye”, rid yourself of hypocrisy and master Righteous Judgment, you cannot possibly be effective nor survive the Spiritual War which rages.

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

Please remember to click the blue italicized links in each chapter, in order to get the important details on these Bible teachings)

Please bookmark this page and watch for our next chapter, THE NARROW AND THE WIDE GATES”

(The previous episode can be found at “Prayer and the Golden Rule”)

(Please also notice, you can listen by podcast as you read along.  You can pause the audio in order to click the links for details and references, which are necessary for the entire teaching)