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Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

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discipling

The Disciple’s Prayer ~ Part 5

It’s Monday night and onward we go with Don’s great study on the Sermon on the Mount with Part 5 of The Disciple’s Prayer. Blessings and enjoy!

Sitting at the Feet of Yeshua

We continue in our exploration of the Disciple’s prayer, but we will take the petitions out of order to concentrate on the issue of forgiveness.

“Forgive us what we have done wrong, as we too have forgiven those who have wronged us.” Yeshua goes on to say, “For if you forgive others their offenses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others their offenses, your heavenly Father will not forgive yours.”  (Matthew 6:12,14-15) [We’ll come back to verse 13 in my next post.]

God wants us to have a forgiving attitude toward others.  Yeshua often emphasized the importance of forgiveness in His parables (see Matthew 18:21-35).  Verse 12 is a petition for the needs of our souls.

Before we can honestly pray this petition of the Disciple’s Prayer, we must realize that we need to pray it.  Before we can pray this petition, we must have a sense of our own sin.

When we see the reality of sin, we come to see that it is a universal disease in which every person is involved.  This is a petition of the Disciple’s Prayer, which every one of us needs to pray.

Not only do we need to realize that we need to pray this petition of the Disciple’s Prayer; we also need to realize what we are doing when we pray it.  Of all petitions of the Disciple’s Prayer, this is the most frightening.

“Forgive us what we have done wrong, as we too have forgiven those who have wronged us.” The literal meaning is: “Forgive us our sins in proportion to those sins we have forgiven that were committed against us.”  In Matthew 6:14-15, Yeshua says in the plainest possible language that if we forgive others, God will forgive us; but if we refuse to forgive others, God will refuse to forgive us.  It’s quite clear that if we pray this petition with an unhealed heart or an unsettled quarrel in our lives, we are asking God not to forgive us…….Read the rest of the post here: The Disciple’s Prayer ~ Part 5

Forming Relationships with New Christians

Tonight, we continue on with our sharing of Elihu’s great study, BuildingGenNext. We do fail new Christians in our churches in many ways, and here is some great counsel on developing relationships with them. Blessings and enjoy!

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(This article is part of the series “Building GenNext.” You can read the previous post by clicking here.)

The young man sat statue-like in the pew, observing the various chattering knots of people. There were hugs exchanged, hands waving, and smiling faces. Three weeks had elapsed since he was baptized. He was supposed to be “part” of this group now, and yet he still felt like an outsider.

The first week, there had been an outpouring of congratulations, exuberance and introductions. He definitely didn’t know more than a handful of names yet. As the weeks had trickled by, he was just… well… he was just there. The sermons were still excellent, but the preacher assumed that everyone in the audience knew all this stuff. He shook his head with a small chuckle. He still couldn’t find books like—what was it—Habakkuk? Well, it was something like that. The Bible classes were hard to keep up with too. A lot of the discussion was over his head. Maybe his friends at college were right. Maybe this was a joke. It was as if his conversion was the end-goal and now these Christians didn’t care if he was here or gone.

He shifted uneasily in his seat, debating whether he should slip out before services started or if he should stay and worship. His roommates had been planning a day at the beach. They would certainly still be there. He was certain that God wanted Him to worship, but his resolve weakened with the mounting sense of ignorance and isolation……read the rest of the post here: Forming Relationships with New Christians

GenNext: Raising up Christians who know the Lord

All my readers probably know of my affinity for series of various sorts. I like to write posts that are series, as well as read posts that are series. One can get lots of detail on a topic without having to read 10,000 word posts.

Having said that, here is a new series by my friend Elihu that I will be reposting for the next few Saturday nights. Blessings and enjoy!

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STOP! Don’t skip this post—it isn’t just about raising kids!

For the next several weeks, we will be focusing on the importance of equipping children, new Christians, and current Christians to be pivotal members of the body of Christ.

The church is in crisis. The number of people identifying as Christians is dwindling. Pew-warmers seek entertainment, and feel-good messages rather than biblical literacy. Young people are leaving the faith in droves despite targeted “programs.” Church leaders are baffled. 

We are in a battle that’s raged since the birth of Creation. Satan wants us all to reject, ignore, or simply forget God. What will we choose? How will we help those who follow in our footsteps? Are we allies of God in this battle or are we unwittingly aiding the enemy through carelessness?

If we want the church to continue tomorrow, we need to actively train replacements today—and I’m not just referring to our own children. Every Christian should be taught, trained, and strengthened for action—especially when they are new in the faith.

The history of ancient Israel teaches us many lessons. They did a terrible job training their children (and each other). They were supposed to be God’s people, set apart from the world to fulfill his purpose (sound familiar??). The calamitous results of their neglect and apathy should shout at us through the ages, yet we fall into the same traps. Judges 2 tells us of their slow decay (you can read the full text here):

And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel.

And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals.  And they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt.

~ Judges 2.10-12, ESV

The next generation did not know God, so they did evil, and then abandoned the Lord. Do you see the progression?….read the rest of the post here: GenNext: Raising up Christians who know the Lord

What is the difference between a Christian and a disciple?

That is a great question, and Michael at Altruistico does a good job answering it in our continuing reading of his great series on Discipleship

Please, if you have enjoyed this series, head over to Michael’s place and share your thoughts.


 

The terms disciple and Christian are related but not synonymous.

The Greek term for “disciple” in the New Testament is mathetes, which means more than just “student” or “learner.” A disciple is a “follower,” someone who adheres completely to the teachings of another, making them his rule of life and conduct. The Pharisees prided themselves in being disciples of Moses (John 9:28). Jesus’ followers were called “disciples.” Their discipleship began with Jesus’ call and required them to exercise their will in response (Matthew 9:9).

Jesus was quite explicit about the cost of following Him. Discipleship requires a totally committed life: “Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33). Sacrifice is expected: “Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me’” (Matthew 16:24).

Not all of Jesus’ followers were able to make such a commitment. There were many who left Him after a while. “From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him” (John 6:66)…..read the rest of the post here on Altruistico

 

Great Questions In the Bible-Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Taking It To the Church

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Matthew 18:21

Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?

Before we begin we ought to recap quickly where we have been. We have been using the passage above as the center-point, or pivot around which we have built a series of devotions. Specifically, we have been dealing with an issue often referred to as “church discipline.” We have been taking a look at how to deal with a brother or sister who has sinned or fallen short in such a way there is no choice but to intervene in the situation. Here is a quick recap:

It’s not a “gray area.” What is occurring is clearly causing harm to the brother/sister, another person, the church, or the Kingdom in general and its testimony

A private conversation has not helped, as the offender has either denied or rebuffed our efforts to help them get back on path.

Visits by the brother/sister’s friends or perhaps church officers has not helped.

Clearly we have a situation that cannot continue without harm occurring.

What now?

Matthew 18:15-18

Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: Take it to the church. Yes, that is correct, throw the business in question right out there for everybody to know. That seems harsh doesn’t it? Why on earth would we do such a thing?

Well, we are not:

Laying the ground work to kick the no good out.

Hoping the public humiliation will just make them, and the problem, go away.

Make ourselves, and our church look good in the community. “Hey, look what WE do to no good sinners!”

Additionally, we are not throwing our authority as moral policemen around here; in fact, church discipline conducted according to God’s Word  would better be called God’s discipline. Additionally, we are not out to condemn the offender in our midst. Public condemnation is likely to only bring out the worst in a person and humiliate and drive them away.

What is the goal? We have said it before, and we will say it again; the goal is repentance, forgiveness, and restoration. OUR goals with our offending brother or sister are exactly the SAME objectives our Lord has for us as sinners. That’s it, and it’s very, very simple.

At this point, the church, the local assembly of believers should be aggressively and compassionately pursuing the offending brother or sister. We should love, beg, and plead for our loved one to repent and return to us. All of us, the entire church. I make specific mention of the church as a body, because that is who it is. Whether it be a local church of 75 believers or 1000 believers, it is the local body of believers who need to be chasing this brother or sister. It’s not a church committee or disciplinary committee within a church, and it is certainly not some ecclesiastical board or authority outside of the local assembly of believers. It is literally, the church family and body that our wayward brother or sister is part of.

We have loved, we have chased, and we have pursued. Our beloved one has continued still to live in their sin and rebellion. What’s next?

Biblical Manhood

By: Samuel Schabel

From: Treading Paper

Literally every ministry in the history of the Church has had struggles raising up good leadership. Jesus Himself founded His church on twelve highly-flawed men (Ephesians 3:20-21). And with all of our weaknesses and shortcomings we have a great commission to carry out (Matthew 28:18-20).

So with the tough question of, “How do we raise up people, specifically men, to accomplish this task?” You might first ask, “Where do we start?” Many of the men in our church are currently going through a course together called Yokefellows. In this course we can begin our attempt to answer the question in essentially three words: finding, training, and sending.

Finding



Change the culture. The first step to raising up men in the church is finding them. In a culture that has commercialized church and stupefied manhood, many men have simply never been told (let alone had it explained) that they were created to lead. Many come to churches as consumers and to their relationships as passive participants.

Raising up men in the church means reclaiming the Bible’s radically barbaric, countercultural view of manhood. We first have to model, teach, preach, and celebrate a picture of the God-man who sacrificially, patiently, passionately led and laid His life down for His bride.

This will involve the intimidating task of gently but strongly stating and explaining the biblical view of manhood that our culture and many of our churches simply don’t want to hear.

Change your expectations. Church leaders too often are guilty of having unrealistic expectations. God uses different means to nurture His Church, and one of the most surprising means is His use of fallen people (after all, Numbers 22:22-41). If you’re raising up leaders it often means the men you’re looking for aren’t yet in leadership.

If the story of David’s anointing teaches us anything it shows us that our external judgments of leadership are often flawed. Look for men who are teachable instead of impressive (Proverbs 12:1), spiritual and unpretentious rather than notable (John 1:47). Don’t ignore people’s gifting, but don’t overlook people because their gifting isn’t readily apparent. We’re all broken vessels that God uses for His great purposes.

Training



Make the time. The bane of any church leader’s existence is the clock. Between our multiplicity of responsibilities it feels impossible to fit in the time to raise up leadership. Here we are tempted to make a fatal error. Training up men isn’t outside of the work of ministry; it is the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:12-16).

Christ, while ministering at times to thousands, gave surprising priority to training twelve men. In the midst of enormous pressure, He still withdrew to explain His ministry to a few. In addition to being crushed by the clock, we are often duped by our own pride.

Let’s face it. We’re given to a perfectionistic savior complex. We feel that if we don’t do it, it won’t get done right. I certainly struggle with that, to the point of absurdity at times. Part of raising up leaders means being willing to let inexperienced, as yet untested, men take certain leadership roles, and doing so means loosening up a bit on the reins. It also means giving them a little leeway to fail at times or not always do certain tasks exactly how you think they should be done.

Seize the time. The training of leaders will take a plethora of innovative and varying forms. To change the culture you’ll need teaching time. Places to start are incorporating biblical thinking on male leadership into your preaching. Start a men’s Bible study. Meet with a few men weekly for coffee. Join a city Rec league and play some ball together. Whatever works.

In order to understand their role they’ll need to see it in Scripture. But scheduled meetings, while essential, are not enough. This is where creativity is critical. Bring men along. Involve potential leaders in visitation, sermon prep, evangelism, and meetings. Ministry doesn’t happen in a vacuum, it can’t… and so ministry training shouldn’t either.

Sending



Give them a high call. As leaders start to distinguish themselves by their spirituality and teachability, it’s time to start giving them real responsibility. On this point we’re often tempted to be timid, but the Bible is not so. The Bible calls real men to real challenges. Give potential leaders tasks that are large, that they can use their skills to rise to.

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” – Antoine de Saint

Give them the grace to make mistakes, but give them goals that will stretch them and cause them to grow. Provide them with gentle, but honest feedback. Don’t sugar coat the task of ministry. We don’t want to create men who put their hand to the plow and then look back (Luke 9:62). The way is hard, but the reward is amazing.

Pray, Pray, Pray. This should occur before and during the process, but we end with it to keep it fresh on our minds. No process or program will bring spiritual change in the hearts of the men in our ministries; only God can do that. Start and finish your task with prayer. Pray that God would bring you men, give you the wisdom to see it, and then give you the grace to raise them up. The Church is His bride; let’s go to Him in prayer, asking for the Spirit to raise its leaders.

Read the original post here on Treading Paper

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