Three Foundational Principles of Discipleship

Colossians 1:16-17 “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers:  all things were created by him, and for him:  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”

There is nothing that was created without God’s hand.  When you study the origin of all things; all of it dates back to God.  God is the origin of everything.  The key to believing the Bible is believing the first verse in the Bible – “In the beginning God…”  Matter of fact, if you want a great understanding of the word “origin” then it could be just as well that we use “God” in its place.

The reason many of our young people are falling out of Church today is because they are not getting their facts straight.  We have built an educational system that emphasizes evolution as more “fact” than “theory”.  While at the same time we have created a spiritual system that emphasizes Biblical “history”, Biblical “accounts” as nothing more than a “story”.  Bottom line…We go to school to hear the “facts” about our origin and we go to church to hear “fairy tales” about our origin.  There are three foundational principles that Christians must begin to bring back into the structure of its discipleship in order to see a radical change in our future.

  1.  God Created All Things:  The things in heaven, earth, visible, invisible, thrones, dominions, principalities and powers were all created by God.  God created us and everything around us.  It is not just a fairy tale; it is a God given fact found throughout the Bible that God created everything.
  2.  God Claims All Things:  All things were created by God, but at the same time, all things were created for God.  This principle helps us remove the selfish mindset that many of us have toward our possessions.  While God has allowed us the authority to rule over these things, He still reminds us that these things were created for His good pleasure.  If it is not for His glory then it is all in vain.
  3.  God Controls All Things:  We quote it often, but I am afraid we rarely believe it.  Everything is in God’s control.  Sure, man has a free will but the things created by God are the things controlled by God.  The movement of the earth, the storms, the stars in their sockets, the sun and its orbit, and everything else though of is under the control of God.  So before we go giving Satan more credit than He deserves we must remember that God is ultimately in control. Personally, I would rather give God the glory than give Satan the credit. 

Today’s Challenge:  This is more of a life-long challenge than a “today-only” challenge.  We must begin to lay these three foundational principles in the backdrop of all our discipleship if we are to save this next generation.

The Spirit of Wisdom

Ephesians 1:16-17 “Cease not to give thanks for you making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:”

 

Two of the most important things Christians need today lies within confines of this text.  Paul prayed that the Church at Ephesus operate with two vital attributes:

  1. The Spirit of Wisdom
  2. The Knowledge of God

 

Those that follow Christ are in constant pursuit of the “spirit of wisdom” and the “knowledge of God”.   This also narrows down the ones that are truly following the Lord.  I am very afraid that we live a world that truly has very little knowledge of God.  The more I learn about God the more I tremble in His presence.  The key to gaining wisdom is to consume ourselves in God’s Word.  Some would say that wisdom comes with experience.  I would have to say that much wisdom comes from experience, but also wisdom comes through knowledge.  The more God reveals about Himself to us the wiser we become.  The depths of God’s character are endless.  I pray that the presence and the pursuit of God drive us to our knees requesting the spirit of wisdom.  I can’t help but think of the old hymn “I want to know more about my Lord.” We must ask God to reveal himself to us.

 

Today’s Challenge:  Ask God to reveal something about himself that you never knew before.  Pursue the spirit of wisdom and the knowledge of God.

Victory Principles

1 Corinthians 15:57-58 “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

Anything done for the Lord is not wasted time.  My hope with this article will be to encourage the believer and local church member about their proper place in the ministry of God.  This verse is a charge from a preacher to the local church that encourages of several things:

  • It reminds the Church where their Victory
  • It reminds the Church how to keep the Victory
  • It reminds the Church how to maintain the Victory

The victory of a church is not found in a position, it is found in the person of Jesus Christ.  God gives us the victory through Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ is who you must rest upon in all things.

The key to maintaining victory lies within vs. 58.

  • Be Stedfast – settled and seated.  The problem with so many people is that they are not settled on anything.  They question everything.  When God shows you something, or tells you something you must allow that to settle you.
  • Be Unmoveable – means unshakeable.  When we are unsettle on what we believe we become susceptible to being shaken by circumstances and people.  There are people out there that want to shake you up.  Just remember when you get shaken you usually spew and that is always a big mess.
  • Always Abounding – means to stay engaged.  Stay engaged in the work of the Lord.  Don’t let situations or circumstances  keep you from being engaged in Kingdom activity.

Remember the way a person maintains victory is when they realize that what they do for God is never in vain.  Working and serving God is always a work that pays tremendous dividends.

Today’s Challenge:  Don’t allow the situations, circumstances, or people around you prevent you from being what God intends for you to be.

Church Member vs. Club Member

1 Corinthians 12:27 “No ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.”

There seems to be a mix up between what it mean to be a “Church Member”.  I want to come and say it…

Church Membership is totally different from Club Membership!

We have developed this mentality that we can treat the local Church like an everyday organization.  Over the years I have encountered a mentality that because the dues are being paid then there is a sense of entitlement.  The mindset on American Christianity is “What can you do for me.

Today we are reminded that the Church is a body not a business.  It is an organism and not an organization.  We are the Body of Christ and each of us has a particular function.  Just because we make financial contributions to our local church does not mean we are performing the work of the ministry.

I seriously tremble at the thought of what is going to happen at the Judgment Seat to the majority of American Christians.  We are to do the work of Christ.  We have all been given a specific task and a designated duty.  Do It!  Do it because you just love the Lord!  Don’t do it because it will bring you more perks in the next business meeting.

Today’s Challenge:  Remind yourself that you are not a part of a social club.  You are a member of the Body of Christ!

The Natural vs. The Spiritual

1 Corinthians 2:14 “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God:  for they are foolishness unto him:  neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

Reading this verse makes me giggle a little.  This verse basically explains the difference between the natural person, and the spiritual person.  The common everyday person looks at the operation of Christianity and thinks it is the strangest thing in the world.   The reason is simple.  Christians operate with the mind of Christ rather than the mind of the world.  Well, at least they are supposed to operate that way.  What are some traits that Christians do that seem strange to the world?

  • They Love people that are unlovable:  The natural person will only love when that same love is returned.  Christians love those that are the hardest to love.
  • They Work even if they do not make money:  This blows the mind of any natural thinker.  The natural person can only see what is happening today.  The Christian can see the eternal investment.  They serve just because they love Jesus.
  • They go to ChurchThe natural thinkers are those that go when it is convenient.  Give them a trip to the lake, an unclean yard, or any other excuse and you will not find them in God’s House.  However; the Christian makes Church a priority.  This makes no sense to the natural person.
  • They give 10% of their income away to God:  This is really confusing to those that think on a natural level.  They think it is ridiculous to give that much of their hard earned money away.  The Christian sees their money as God’s money and figures it to be a great bargain that God would give us all His money and then only ask for a 10% of it back.  To the Christian is seems like a great deal.

To the Christian, don’t worry when this world does not understand you.  It is because they don’t understand God. We think differently because God operates differently.

To the Natural Thinker, understand that God does do things logically.  Therefore, Christians are not going to operate logically.  They will do things that don’t make sense.  Leave them alone, they are doing what they think is right.

Today’s Challenge:  Don’t get frustrated with the world’s view of your actions.  Just realize they don’t know God.

People We Should Avoid

Romans 16:17 “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.”

The Lord definitely emphasizes the important of unity.  God instructs us to identify the people that cause divisions and offences among the Church and then avoid them.  We are given a warning that there will be folks that will preach and proclaim a doctrine that is contrary to that which we have learned.  However; the problem with today’s society is that they don’t have any doctrine.  The concern that I have is the fact that people will follow anything these days without holding the trend up to the Scriptures.  The Doctrine we hold is what keeps us stable as well as unified.

Every Christian must understand that we are going to encounter people that have different beliefs.  I will go as far as to say no person completely agrees about everything.  So the question arises on where to draw the line?  Well the line is drawn when you can honestly say this person is headed down a path that will cause me harm, and could possibly cost me my life, testimony or purity.  When you identify these people, we must avoid them.

God does command us to avoid people.  Here is a list of people you should avoid:

1.      Avoid People that Gossip:  They will cause division quickly
2.      Avoid People that want to Argue:  A person that desires to argue all the time are more interested in pursuing conflict than harmony.
3.      Avoid People that Bring you down:  If some is always bring you down then avoid them.
4.      Avoid People that refuse to Agree to DisagreeIt is okay to disagree, but if you can’t get past your disagreement then it could cause major division. 

Today’s Challenge:  Identify people in your life that must be avoided.