“A Clear Mandate – Make Disciples”

Posted: November 24, 2012 in 1 Corinthians, Christian Life

     The “Great Commission” hasn’t changed since the recent election. Christians are still being called upon to make disciples (true believers) of all people groups, baptize (immerse) them, and teach them to observe Christ’s command (Matthew 28:19, 20; John 13:34, 35). To carry this out, we don’t use man’s sword but the sword of the Spirit (the Gospel concerning Christ – 1 Corinthians 15:3-8). It is the power of God unto salvation for Jews and non-Jews (Romans 1:16, 17). We’re all saved the same way – by grace alone, through faith alone, in the Christ of the Scriptures alone.

     Purpose.  God’s primary purpose is to glorify Himself by making Himself known to those whom He created, both human beings and spirit beings (John 17:4; 1 Peter 1:12). How many of God’s attributes can you list? Without knowing them you can’t worship God (John 4:24). The heavens declare the glory of God (Psalm 19:1). From nature we can learn that there is a God who is all powerful (Romans 1:20).

     Atheists.  Those who claim to be atheists are showing themselves to be but fools because they haven’t been everywhere in the universe to disprove God’s existence (Psalm 14:1). If they were honest they would admit that they are really agnostics who aren’t sure if He exists or not. Every believer’s primary purpose should also be to glorify God by making Him know to others (1 Corinthians 10:31; Psalm 34:3). Our walk and our talk should harmonize (James 3).

     Vision.  We all have a world view (i.e. how we look at things). We also become more opinionated about many things as we grow older. We tend to think of ourselves more highly than we should (Romans 12:3; 2 Timothy 3:2). Pride of race, face, and place in life afflict us. We, Christians, like the early Jewish Christians, often hesitate to reach out to those whose languages and/or cultures are different from our own. The Apostle Paul didn’t have to learn another language to reach other ethnic groups for Christ because Greek was the common language. Jesus wants us to see people through His eyes as those for whom He died and many who “are already white for harvest” (1 John 2:2; John 4:35). Every human being is going to spend eternity either in God’s presence or he/she will be separated from him in hell to suffer forever (John 14:1-3; Matthew 25:41, 46). Where will you spend eternity?

     Goals.  The Apostle Paul wanted to have a deeper relationship with Jesus, the God-man, and to have His resurrection power available to him so he could accomplish the work that the Lord had given him to do (Acts 9:15, 16; Philippians 3:10). He also wanted to suffer with and for Christ (not His vicarious suffering), so others could learn about Christ’s offer of salvation to all men and be saved when they trusted in Him as their personal Savior (2 Timothy 2:10; Acts 16:31).

     Involvement.  When you live with someone day and night for three years, you learn a lot about the person. If Jesus had a fault or ever sinned, His disciples would have known about it. But He never sinned (Hebrews 4:15). That is why He could die as our Substitute and pay in full the penalty that we owed to God the Father (Romans 6:23; 1 Peter 3:18). All of Christ’s disciples had sinned and needed to be saved. But some of them were more teachable and willing to change than others (2 Timothy 2:2; Romans 12:2). In what stage of spiritual development are you today – a babe in Christ, a young man, or a believer who has a relative degree of spiritual maturity? Maybe you’re a carnal Christian who hasn’t grown much yet. Would you like to change?

     Opportunities.. Like ships passing in the night, we all seem to have opportunities to share with others what we know about Jesus Christ and what He’s done for us. In order to reach more people, the Apostle Paul tried to be all things to all men so some of them would be saved (1 Corinthians 9:22). He looked for common ground so he could build a bridge into their lives. Yes, he was given opportunities to make plans for the future. Some of our plans are bad plans; others may be good, better, or the best plan (i.e. one that Jesus would make were He in our shoes). Those believers who submit their wills to God’s will and who are willing to be led by the Holy Spirit are the maturing sons of God (Romans 8:14). Do you insist on having your own way or do you want to do God’s will for your life?

     Honesty.  If we’re honest, we’ll all admit that we are prone to the same trials and temptations that others face in life (1 Corinthians 10:13). Being tempted to sin is not the same as engaging in the sin. Sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4). We sin when we act defiantly against God who has placed restrictions on us. Laws and rules are necessary for an orderly society. Yes, legislators make rules that regulate our lives. Any form of government is better than anarchy. Peter succumbed to a temptation from the devil. He denied the Lord three times (Luke 22:61). The Apostle Paul wrote about his struggles with his sin nature (Romans 7:15-25). Anyone who says that he doesn’t have a sin nature, including all Christians, is simply deceiving himself with reference to this Biblical truth (1 John 1:8). At the moment of his salvation a Christian receives a new nature (disposition) from God that is capable of pleasing God when he is filled and walking by means of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:4; Ephesians 5:18; Galatians 5:16, 25). The Apostle John warned Christians not to love this present world system that is passing away (1 John 2:15-17). Sadly, many Christians abuse rather than use the world system (1 Corinthians 7:31). God makes a way for Christians to live victoriously over all three of our spiritual enemies. Are you living victoriously? Would you like spiritual help?

     Support.  Older Christians are told to help younger Christians by bearing their burdens (Galatians 6:2-5; 1 Peter 5:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:11-14). These are the burdens that they didn’t bring on themselves. But sometimes we sin and bring things on ourselves and have to bear the consequences alone. Forgiveness can/will be granted to believers who confess their sins (1 John 1:9), but this doesn’t mean that they won’t have to suffer the natural consequences of their sinful conduct while they live here on earth (Galatians 6:7).

     Individuality.  Each believer has specific things that God wants him to do (Ephesians 2:10; 1 Peter 4:10). God leads us differently in life as exemplified in the lives of Peter and John (Romans 8:14; John 21:18-22). There are many members in the spiritual body of Christ (Romans 12:4, 5; 1 Corinthians 12:12, 20). If you’re a Christian, are you using your spiritual gift for the glory of God and the good of others? Would you like to learn more about spiritual gifts? (Visit our web site: www.kelseypeach.com and go to the “Bible Basics” section). The Apostle Paul didn’t misuse his gift as an apostle and demand that Apollos go to Corinth to minister to those believers (1 Corinthians 16:12). Neither he nor Peter set themselves up as the Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:1-4). Jesus Christ is the One and only Head of the church (Ephesians 1:22) and the only Mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5).

     Perpetuate.  Without one person’s telling another person where to find the “Bread of Life” we’d all be lost and headed for hell. We can/should spread the Gospel of Christ’s death for our sins…and His bodily resurrection with others so they can be saved. Without it people can’t be saved.

     Refresh.  If your purpose in life, your vision, and your goals have become dim, renew your commitment to the Lord and be re-energized by God the Holy Spirit, rely on His strength, and count on Him to supply all your needs to accomplish the task before you (Philippians 2:13, 4:13, 19; Ephesians 3:20).

     Help.  If you would like additional spiritual help, call us at 805-238-3549 or visit our web page: www.kelseypeach.com.  These articles often correspond to our talks on Sundays and some of them can be heard on the Internet.

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