Philippians 3:17 -- "Brethern, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us."
Paul faced a major problem in the first century. False teachers had slipped into the Church. The apostle warned the Philippians, and us by extension, to recognize the differences between a true man of God and a deceptive teacher or prophet. Without any sense of false humility, Paul declared that both his vision and his spiritual attitude were examples for us to follow. He instructs us in our powers of discernment to look for and observe leaders who exemplify, teach, and equip the church laity in the things Jesus demonstrated in His Own life, ministry, and outreach which include:
1. Embracing the love of God as it flows through us into others.
2. Posessing a passion and vision to carry the gospel of the kingdom to non-believers.
3. Posessing a passion to
The first group Paul identified as "the dogs." In Paul's day one could find dozens of canines eating off the rubbish heaps outside cities, their faces bent downward as they sniffed and rooted out garbage to feed upon.
Luke 18:9 -- "trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt."
Beware when your teacher must frequently tear down others to lift himself up.next warned against the "evil workers." These individuals proclaim Christ, but they do so from envy...strife....selfish ambition rather than from love. For them, building a church is a competitive endeavor, a business. James also underscores this problem, saying. "For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing." (James 3:16)third warning was aimed against the "false circumcision" (Philippians 3:2). The essence of this error was that Christ's atonement was not enough for salvation; you also had to keep the whole system of Mosaic Laws to be saved. Today people continue to import religious obligations into the salvation experience. Paul separates himself from the Mosaic Law, revealing that his quest is to "be found in Christ, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ" (Philippians 3:9). Being "in Christ" our destiny is not just to carry Christ inside of us but to reveal the fullness of His glory to the whole world.
2 Corinthians 4:6,7 -- "For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpasing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves."
We carry a treasure in these earthen vessels. We are responsible for filling the earth, cities, regions and nations with the kingdom of God. Jesus is waiting for us to co-labor with Him to fill the earth with the knowledge of the glory of God.
One of Paul's efforts as an apostle was to build a Gospel of the Kingdom consciousness into the new church believers thereby promoting unity.
Today's Church has similar people, fault-finders, who incessantly and self righteously feed upon the garbage and failures of the human condition. Paul is saying "Beware of those who always have something negative to say and are continually judging or slandering others and the ministry of others."
disciple believers in the church so they can be effective in discipling others.Philippians 3:2 -- "Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision."
Throughout the history of God's dealings with man, He has revealed Himself as a covenant-making God. The Almighty covenanted with Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David; He renewed His Abrahamic covenant
in His call to Isaac and Jacob. Each covenant:
Was linked to their destiny,
b. Initiated a new wave of redemptive power into the world
c. Forever impacted the human condition.
The word covenant means "to fetter" or chain together. Contained within the Lord's covenant with man was His divine intervention, His supernatural wisdom and strategies, and His provisions.
Our salvation has been secured, not only because Jesus died for our sins, but because His death was part of a covenant He had with the Father. The terms of Christ's covenant were such that, if He would live His life blamelessly and offer that holy life upon the cross for sins, everone who looked to the Son of God would be granted forgiveness. The Father would look to Christ's sacrifice and see justice; and sinners would look to Jesus and find Mercy. As maturing disciples we find that Christ's covenant-mission is a pattern Christ calls us to follow.
It is right to pray for the Lord to bless our lives. However, praying for the blessing and provision of God is not the same as covenanting with Him. A covenant is an altar upon which the Lord and His covenant partner give themselves fully to each other. The quality of a covenant relationship with God does not cease once prayers have been answered. For, in covenant love we mature from simply being "believers" to becoming living sacrifices, given to God's highest plans for us.
A covenant with God accomplishes three interconnected goals:
1. It thrusts us beyond "subjective prayer" (prayer made primarily for our personal needs),
2. It brings us into a deeper commitment to God,
3. Out of greater commitment comes greater grace to accomplish God's redemptive work in the world.
Making a covenant with God takes us further into our vision
A covenant with God gives us the power and focus to bring forth that for which we were predestined.(destiny).
Questions to Ask Myself
Am I willing to take the High Road and seek that for which God has predestined me?
Am I willing to covenant with God for the fulfillment of the personal destiny He has presently revealed to me?
I am not designed to drift -- I am designed for destiny.
There is a destiny that God has for me that only I can discover. I can discover it only by detaching from the world and making myself available for the Holy Spirit.
I allow Him to bring me into intimate relationships with others that will thrust me forward into my divine destiny.
My future is not ahead of me -- it lies within me.
(Read Matthew 3:1-11; 4:17-25; Mark 1:8-18 and 1 Corinthians 1:17-24)
18And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19"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."
Nowhere in scripture did Jesus tell us to go and make converts. Jesus told His disciples to teach them to observe all the things He commanded. The words "teaching them to observe all things" literally is the word that is translated "Disciple" throughout the bible. Most versions translates this "go and make disciples". The Lord commanded us to make disciples not converts. Somewhere along the way, the church has changed the emphasis from making disciples to getting people born-again, leaving discipleship to the mature.
1Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; 2this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him." 3Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God
Jesus talked to Nicodemus about the spiritual birth compared to the natural birth, but He never preached to the people about being born-again. By making that the focus, the church is actually lowering its standards leaving people with the misconception that all they need to do is just be born-again and discipleship is optional. That is not what Jesus commanded us to do. When we ask people to receive Jesus as their savior we need to teach them that this is a total commitment of ones life to the Lord. It means becoming a disciple of Jesus.
23Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, observing His signs which He was doing. 24But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, 25and because He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man.
Jesus did not commit Himself unto them although they believed on Him. The word "commit" and "believe" are actually the same word in the Greek here. So you could say they believed on Him, but He did not believe in them! He knew they were not disciples.
"If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."
More correctly these verses say when you continue in the word, then you will know the truth, and the truth you know sets you free. In these verses Jesus was speaking to those who already believed on Him. Jesus knew that only those who became disciples would truly become free.
Compare the following:
Case #1: If you evangelize 1000 people per year for 15 years, you would have 15,000 new believers (assuming they were all genuine converts).
Case #2: If you led one person to the Lord every 6 months and spent the next 6 months teaching that person so they could reproduce themselves – in 1 year there would be 2 new Christians. However, after 12 years, if each continues to reproduce themselves every 6 months there would be no one left on earth to evangelize! Jesus’ method of discipleship would have produced nearly 6 billion disciples in less than 13 years.
Discipleship evangelism works!
30As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him. 31So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him,
The main factors that will lead to a revelation of our
A. Resolving to do the Lord's will as the chief pursuit of our lives.
1. All Christians are called to be "soldiers of the Cross". All soldiers know that they can be called upon to pay the ultimate price for their cause. For this reason, the soldiers of the Cross are called to take up their crosses and commit to die daily to their own interests in order to serve the interests of Christ:
"If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his Cross daily, and follow Me." (Luke 9:23).
"For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it." (Luke 9:23,24)
"You therefore must suffer hardship as a good soldier of Christ Jesus." (2 Timothy 2:3)
"No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier." (2 Timothy 2:4)
"And he died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf." (2 Corinthians 5:15)
B. Beholding the glory of the Lord.
C. Finding and becoming a committed part of the body of Believers we are called to be with.
D. Receiving the ministry of the five equipping ministries listed in Ephesians chapter 4.
destiny in Christ can have the single most powerful impact on our own life after coming to know the Lord and being born again. All Christians are called to be witnesses, but we also have a calling in His Body that is more specific than that.destiny and being prepared for it are the following:
1. Regular one-on-one meetings
2. Keeps us focused on the prize and off of the many opportunities in the Church and elsewhere that will take us away from what God has called us to do -- our destiny.
3. Receiving weekly assignments, will help us grow in knowledge and understanding that will eventually equip us to disciple others and move to higher spiritual attainments.
Being discipled by someone other than the pastor.
F. Engaging in our calling.
Questions to Ask Myself
1. Am I totally sold out to the Lord Jesus Christ?
2. Am I willing to agressively pursue the services of someone in the Body of Christ to
3. Name 3 reasons why I need someone to
disciple me in my Christian walk?disciple me in addition to my participation in church services, sunday school, bible study clases, Christ encounters etc.