Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Which one is the great commission?

Go therefore and build church buildings in all nations, telling them to come, & leading them in the sinner's prayer. And surely I will be with you at the rapture.
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 keep all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Questions I have received concerning this.
What do you think is a good way to encourage and challenge our brothers and sisters to do so?
Teaching scripture concerning it is good for those who accept and act upon it's validity. But the main way would be to actually make disciples spend time and pour God's truth into our brothers and sisters. To make disciples is to lead them to Christ (if necessary) & teach them to treasure all the things of the person of Christ. The heart of disciple making is to know God loves you and to be His disciple, then anything Christlike God has put in you put into others as the Spirit leads.

What's wrong with planting churches?
In the sense of the goal being to have a church building that people come to, Jesus never commanded it. He commanded us to make disciples, if we aren't doing that we shouldn't be wasting our time doing things He didn't command. Those things aren't as effective for His kingdom as what He did command.

What's wrong with spreading the gospel to other nations? 
Spreading the gospel is included in discipleship. Evangelism is step one in discipleship. Baptism comes right after conversion (see when people are baptised in Acts).
"baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit"

People generally need to be Christians or at least seeking in order for them to be disciples... 
True, someone must be a Christian in order to be a disciple of Christ.
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." -John 8:31-32

Telling people to come to church & leading them in the sinner's prayer often creates false or perpetual baby Christians because no one ever teaches them how God loves them. They just hear sermons and teaching that can be over their head and are primarily one way lectures.

I ask you this,
Which is better?
To plant a church that people come to once a week
To plant God's Word (Jesus) in someone's heart who will go out with God's Word and spread it

Revised 10/31/11& 5/9/14

Friday, October 9, 2009


When Discussing am I doing it to..
  • present truth
  • defend truth
  • clarify truth
  • learn truth
  • correct falsehoods
Does being right or getting my point across mean more to me than helping someone or learning something new or even keeping peace? Here is some related scripture
  • "Jesus died for all, that those who live should no longer live to themselves but to Him who died for them and was raised again." (2 Corinthians 5:15)
  • “Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.” (Romans 15:2)
  • “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:10)
  • "Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works .. encourage one another" (Hebrews 10:24)
  • "Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the good news of Christ." (Philippians 1:27)
  • God said to Job, "Would you indeed annul my justice? Would you declare me guilty so that you might be right?" (Job 40:8)
  • Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. (2 Timothy 2:23-24)
  • Avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. (Titus 3:9)
  • Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. (2 Timothy 2:14)
  • Command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God's work—which is by trust. (1 Timothy 1:3-4)
This is all for Christ and His kingdom. Avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, correct in humility, do not quarrel, be patient, be gentle to all.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

More Than Just Evangelism...

Evangelism isn't the primary job of the assembly. Here are just a few. Notice how they often involve having relationships & intimate relationships with one another.

1 Peter 4:8-11
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

Romans 15:2
“Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.”

Romans 12:15
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”

Romans 12:10
“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

Galatians 5:13
“You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another in love.”

Hebrews 10:24-25
“Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Trust Never Discarded

It is true that once saved always saved but often our idea of salvation is that it is a one time past event. Trust in God is continual. Even in John 3:16 where it says "whosoever believes in Him" the actual tense of the verb (believes/trusts) in the Greek signifies not a one time past belief but a continual, present trust that doesn't end. There is no such thing as "once believed, now lost," or "I used to believe in God."

True continual trust in Christ will produce good works and God is the one who causes you to trust and causes you to produce good works.

Jesus said in John 15:5 "Apart from me you can do nothing."

"Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." -2 Corinthians 1:21

"It is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." -Philippians 2:13

Jesus said "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." -John 6:37

Friday, June 19, 2009

All My Rights Are Reserved by God

I wonder what God thinks of Christians copyrighting His scripture (all rights reserved) and selling it for profit. I also wonder what God thinks of Christians selling sermons or teachings which use his words for the gospel and to edify others.
Should we be withholding the truth for money?

Is not spreading God’s truth to the world more important than making a living off of it?

Let us look at 2 Thessalonians 3 (v7-8)
“For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you.”
Paul is saying how he worked night and day to not be a burden to anyone and he also tells us elsewhere to follow his example (1 Corinthians 11:1). Do you think Paul would have charged the Thessalonians for his letters to them?

If the spiritual is truly worth more than the physical wouldn’t we consider God’s truth to be priceless and give it away to those who need it? Instead we say “I’ve got life changing truth and I’ll give it to you but it’s gonna cost ya!”

In Luke 10 the 72 were spreading God’s word freely. Luke 10:7 says “Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages.”
"Whatever they give you." It doesn’t say to demand a certain amount of food from them before you give them truth. God is our provider. In Luke 10 they didn’t take money with them and they didn’t know when they would run into men of peace (who would give them food), they were trusting God to provide for them as they share His truth.

I’m not saying everything should be free but everything should be more than readily available to be free. Honestly if I post on the web too much scripture from a copyrighted version of the Bible, like the NIV, then I have broken the law for exhibiting God’s word. Does that send up a red flag to you as wrong? It is "all rights reserved" copyrighting that is the real problem. For example, there is a group called "Truth and Freedom Ministries" but I didn't have the "freedom" to share their "truth" on a Christian forum because of their rigid copyright notice. Paying for cost of material is ok. Even putting a notice to credit or not to alter your work can be fine. But to not "allow" me to quote the truth you got from God for the benefit of others is downright stupid. It is like saying "I own this truth, even though God told me it, and you can't share it regardless of the benefit."

I’m going to leave you with this scripture showing that it is ok to make a living from God’s work but perhaps that is not the best way to go about it. I’ll let you decide.

1 Corinthians 9:9-19
“For it is written in the Law of Moses: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” Is it about oxen that God is concerned? Surely he says this for us, doesn’t he? Yes, this was written for us, because when the plowman plows and the thresher threshes, they ought to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest. If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more?
But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ. Don’t you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.

But I have not used any of these rights. And I am not writing this in the hope that you will do such things for me. I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of this boast. Yet when I proclaim the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to proclaim. Woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel! If I proclaim voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me. What then is my reward? Just this: that in proclaiming the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make use of my rights in proclaiming it.
Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.”

Monday, June 8, 2009

Learning Scripture: Perception, Purpose, and Practice

Today's mindset of learning is to get knowledge or retain knowledge. Learners usually think of themselves as containers with space to be filled by information a person or book possesses - the from "jug to mug model." Learners look to be filled with "truth" that may or may not later make some difference to their own life. The learners' goal is to put information into themselves. And our most common method of testing if someone has learned something is by written tests to see if the information can be reproduced in language or words rather than how the information actually affects their lives.

In Jesus' time the goal of a teacher wasn't to impart information, but to impact the life of the hearer, leaving a lasting impression without the benefit of notes or recorders. Whatever didn't make a difference in the hearer's life simply didn't make a difference. We instantly remember what makes a real difference in our life.

Knowledge of scripture shouldn't be held as trivial knowledge which in no way relates to our real day to day lives but being about God and who He is and what He has said in order for us to grow in love in our relationship with Him.
• This is the difference between what is often called "head knowledge" and "heart knowledge"
• Head knowledge is information that doesn't make a change in our life except that it is just more information. With just head knowledge a person can easily become prideful and argumentative.
• Heart knowledge changes our perceptions, beliefs, and character. Those things effect everyday life.
• We must not look at knowledge concerning God as trivial or a static list of memorization. Memorization can be good but knowledge for the sake of knowledge gets you nowhere. Knowledge for the sake of knowing a living God and to grow in a love relationship with Him, that knowledge can take you anywhere.

Jesus says in John 6:63, "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life."
• This is a proper perception of learning God's words
• The Holy Spirit gives life & illumination.
• The flesh is no help at all. Trying to change in our own strength is like being on a tread mill. We get wore out assuming that because we are moving we are progressing.
• Paul says in Philippians 2:13, "It is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose."
• Jesus' words are life
• Jesus says in Matthew 4:4, "Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." Note that Jesus said "every word." God has not stopped speaking to us just because we have the Bible. Illumination involves present interaction from God.
• God is not going to hand a written test to us when we get to heaven and say, "Here you go, you pass this test and you get in." No, God wants us to know Him before we get there.

Jesus is the Word of God
• Revelation 19:13 says, "He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God."
• Jesus says in John 14:6 "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
• If our perception of learning about Jesus is less than this, seeing Him as the way, the truth, and the life our perception is wrong. For years I saw Jesus only as the way and the truth. Then I saw Him as the life, as my life (Colossians 3:3). Seeing Him as life grew my realization of His love for me and grew my love for Him. And the love we share continues to grow & grow to this day.

• As discussed the proper perception of learning scripture concerns a change of heart by God and not a simple addition to the mind.
• God wants to change our heart, our character, our day to day life not by changing what we do on the outside but by changing who we are on the inside.
• Jesus prays to the Father concerning His disciples in John 17:17, "Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth."
• God's words help sanctify us. He can use them to change who we are instead of just what we do.

Our modern purposes of learning are almost purely selfish. We look for a blessing or a benefit and if we find one it stops & stays with us.
• Paul says in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, "All Scripture inspired by God is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
• Teaching, rebuking, & correcting.. none of those can apply to a single person.

So God wants us to not just learn of Him for ourselves but for the sake of others as well?

Let's see what Paul says to Timothy right after what we just read.
• I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: proclaim the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
• God wants us to share His truth so that others may not only come to know Him but come to know Him better.
• How much value do we have in what we know if we are not willing to share it?
• God wants us to teach not for someone to simply learn information but to learn God's love more and more.

First I must point out that Christianity is not about practices to perfect but rather about a perfecting person who is God.
• It isn't about do, it is about who. Not about what we do but about what God has done, is doing, and will do.
• No practice, curriculum, or method can be of any worth without the work of the Holy Spirit
• The Bible is unique in that it is essential to know the author in order to truly understand it.

One important thing to realize is that while the bible is written for you it is not all written to you.
• Paul wrote in Romans 15:4, "For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope."

God doesn't want us to have what He called "the righteousness of the scribes and pharisees' They knew about God in their head but their hearts were far from Him. They tried to obey the law for the sake of obeying the law and impressing men.

So in closing I would just like to reiterate.
• Knowledge of scripture shouldn't be held as trivial knowledge which in no way relates to our real day to day lives.
• Knowledge of scripture should be held as being about God and who He is and what He has said in order for us to grow in love in our relationship with Him.

Friday, March 27, 2009

In Context: "The truth will set you free."

What is often said: "The truth will set you free"

What the Bible actually says:
To the Jews who had trusted him, Jesus said, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." -John 8:31-32

So the truth just doesn't set me free.. I have to know it?

Well what is God's word?
God's word is truth -John 17:17

Well what is truth then?
Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." -John 14:6
So God's word is truth & Jesus is truth!

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. -John 1:1,14
And Jesus is also the Word of God!

So If I continue in God's word/Jesus, then I am truly a disciple of Jesus; and I will know the truth (God's word/Jesus), and the truth (God's word/Jesus) will make me free.

What does that mean though?
Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. -Psalm 37:4
So if my delight in the Lord my desire will be for more of Him.
So then continuing in God's truth allows me to know God more.

Let us look at this again
To the Jews who had trusted him, Jesus said, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." -John 8:31-32

So this was written to those who trusted Jesus. So I can't continue in His word if I don't trust Him & I can't be His true disciple if I don't continue in His word. If I don't trust Him that means I don't trust the truth and if I don't trust the truth which is God's word I will not continue in it & I can't be His true disciple and won't be set free.
It's like a big circle. I can't trust God if I don't know the truth & if I don't know the truth which is God's word then I won't continue in it but if I don't continue in it I won't know the truth.

So those who trust Him will continue in His word & be His true disciples & those are the only ones who are set free.

Free from what?
The wages of sin is death -Romans 6:23
Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed." -John 8:34-36

Ok free from being slaves to sin but how?
He Himself (Jesus) bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. -1 Peter 2:24

But is that it just being free from being a slave to sin?
Now that you have been set free from sin and have become servants to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. -Romans 6:22

In Context: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

What is often said: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"

What the Bible actually says:
"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength." -Paul, from Philippians 4:11-13

I can be content through Christ who strengthens me! =O

See these posts for more:  Contentment and Disappointment, In Context: "Forsake not.." & "I can do all things.." Revisited

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Valuing Truth and The Motivation for Sharing It

Those in man made religion bicker over doctrines that are held only as trivial knowledge. These doctrines do not end up relating to real life or are a burden.

When you talk to someone about God's truth is it out of love for who you are talking to (encouragement, instruction etc.) or is it to selfishly get your point across of what you believe?

The bottom line is if you share love with God and have a real life relationship with Him. If you do then trust Him and the Holy Spirit will lead you to the truth and how to share the truth.