Thursday, August 22, 2013
CHAPTER 3 Lead discussant: Biyi Odeinde • A disciple is simply a learner of Jesus who accepts the teaching of his master, not only in belief but in life. To be a disciple you must accept the views and practices of the teacher and be obedient to his commands. • We learn in order to put practice what we have learned and this attitude is the essence of true discipleship. • When we respond to Christ’s call to discipleship we enter his school and place ourselves under his instructions. • The inward view of discipleship is hearing and believing in God’s word and the word will always set you free but where this is absent, discipleship is nominal and lacks reality. • An impulse decision often lacks the element of intelligent commitment, with the result that when its implications become clearer, the cost proves too great and they fail to “continue in the word of Christ. • The location in which our discipleship is exercised may be for only a short term, but total commitment is involved. • God is not only a sovereign lord who can do as he wills, but also a loving father whose paternity will never clash with his sovereignty. • The outward view of discipleship has to do with our relationship with one another, by loving, caring, and sacrifices that are unimaginable (John 13:34-35) • As a disciple you are meant to share the love of Christ with others and show them a selfless love, forgiving love and sacrificial love. • The authentic badge of the supreme evidence of discipleship is genuine love for one another. • The disciple is recognized by his likeness to Christ in inward character, the way a tree is known by its fruit; fruit is seen when souls are won for Christ, disciple by concerned disciples, and led on to spiritual maturity. • The glorious possibility of “much fruit” lies in our own hands. It is enough for the student to be like his teacher and the servant like master (Matthew 10:25). CHAPTER 4: TEST OF DISCIPLESHIP • Nothing causes so much back-sliding as enlisting disciplines without letting them know what they are taking in hand. • Casualties are no less inevitable in spiritual warfare than in temporal military campaigns, it is not fair to send soldiers into the battle field without first briefing them on what is to be expected. • Discipleship is a whole time job and a whole life job. • Our modern emphases are so experience oriented, and so centred on happiness and warm feelings instead of holiness and hard thinking, that some Christian’s faith is nearer to the Buddhist’s search for peace in the environment than to the message of the cross in history. • There is indeed a cost in loyal discipleship, but there is also assurance of abundant compensation. • When you put God’s interest first your interest would not suffer. • A disciple of God must learn to follow the way of Jesus. A disciple should be able to make a voluntary and unconditional offer of service to the lord with sacrifices that are unconditional because he it is impossible to out-give God. We may lose in material things but never in terms of joy and fulfilment here after. CHAPTER 5: THE DISCIPLES MASTER • Every disciple must have a master to function right, without some central authority; society will disintegrate into chaos and anarchy. Every ship must have a captain, every kingdom must have a king, and every home must have a head if they are to function right. • In whose hand does the final authority rest? For Christians there are only two alternatives. The authority rests in the masters hands. The scripture made us to understand that it is in the hands of the lord that the authorities should rest. • And every disciple should submit to the authorities of his master. A disciple is one who learns of Christ with the purpose of obeying what he or she learns.
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
WEEK 1 Activity Lead discussant: Tope Shaba Introductions, growth group orientation, growth group covenants signing and general introduction to the book; “Spiritual Discipleship”. NOTE: On Sunday of Week 1, kindly get your copy of “Spiritual Discipleship” at The Baptizing Church Abuja Bookstore or any other bookstore close to you. Homework for Week 2 Read the “Introduction, Chapter 1: The Ideal Disciple and Chapter 2: Conditions of Discipleship” Think and prepare your answer to the respective questions in the sections “A Small Group Study Guide for Spiritual Discipleship” Please read all scriptural references in the text. Lessons to Note INTRODUCTION • The initial call of Christ to the men with whom he planned to associate in His purpose of world evangelism was a call to Discipleship (Mark 1-16-17). • This is the true calling and function of the church. • It is the privilege and responsibility of the church to respond in obedience and give the whole gospel to the whole world. • Disciple means “A learner”, it means a pupil who accepts the teaching of Christ not only in belief but also in lifestyle. It means learning with the intent of obedience. • It involves the acceptance of the views and practices of the teacher, a deliberate choice, a definite denial and a determined obedience. • We can start the walk of discipleship within a moment and with just one step, the that first step must be lengthened into a lifelong walk (John 6:66) CHAPTER 1: THE IDEAL DISCIPLE • The Old Testament pronounced only curse on those who failed its demands. New testament, sealed by Christ’s blood does not reduce the demands of the law but imparts the desire and dynamics to fulfill them. • In the beatitudes, Jesus set forth the qualities of the ideal subjects of the Kingdom, directing our attention from mere outward presentation to a higher lifestyle cutting through the popular idea of blessedness and happiness. • Four Passive Personal Qualities Spiritual Inadequacy: To be envied is the man who is conscious of his spiritual bankruptcy and cast back on God and draws on His limitless resources. This leads to spiritual affluence; “Theirs is the kingdom of Heaven” • Spiritual Contrition: No one attains full maturity without the experience of sorrow, sorrow over the slowness of their growth and paucity of their spiritual attainment (apart from any actual sin in their life) The blessedness is in the comfort God gives, not in the mourning itself. • Spiritual Humility: Jesus was meek, but he was not mild, servile and spineless. Meekness, like a domesticated horse, is controlled and directed energy and power. Meekness challenges the world’s standards. The meek not the aggressive inherit the earth. • Spiritual Aspiration: The truly blessed man is he who craves for God himself and not just what he gives. Happiness and true joy is a by-product of Holiness. • Four Active Social Qualities • Compassionate in Spirit: Blessed are the merciful. It is always to the undeserving that mercy is shown; otherwise it will not be mercy but justice. It is possible to have a passion for righteousness and yet lack compassion and mercy for those who have failed to attain it. Pity is sterile but Mercy is an active and distinct Christian grace. Mercy is the reward of itself. • Pure in Heart: The pure in Heart will see God. Purity of Heart begets clearness of vision, clearness to the extent that they see God. It is not a matter of intellect or optics but moral and spiritual affinity. • Conciliatory in Spirit: Not the peace-lovers nor the peace-keepers but the peace-makers are blessed. Like Jesus who us at peace with God at the cost of his own blood, peace is often at the cost of the peacemaker and disciples are to follow in His train. There name will be “Sons of God”. • Unswerving in Loyalty: What was done to the savior will be done to the disciple. Persecution, in the divine compensation it brings, can work blessings. For persecution to bring blessing, it must be for righteousness’ sake, it must have no basis in fact and it must be for Christ sake and arise from our consistent loyalty to him. Must be for Christ sake and arise from our consistent loyalty to him. CHAPTER 2: CONDITIONS OF DISCIPLESHIP • Jesus’ approach to evangelism never concealed the cross of discipleship placing the cost of being his disciple very high. • The words of Winston Churchill, though hard, galvanized a whole nation into superhuman war effort that turned the tide and won the day. • Jesus was looking for men and women of quality and not large number. • Jesus use the illustration in (Luke 14:28,31) • Like a builder, Jesus must be engaged in the building program, and like the king must be engage in desperate battle against the devil and the powers of darkness. • In this building and battling Jesus desires to have associates, disciples who are people of quality who will not turn when the fighting grows fierce. • Jesus proclaimed a call to discipleship, a call to faith and obedience (Mat 7:21). Obedience is evidence of the reality of our repentance and faith. Our obedience does not achieve salvation but is an evidence of it. • Without repentance there can be no regeneration. • Saving grace is more than just understanding the facts about the gospel and mental acquiescing. It is inseparable from repentance, submission, and a supernatural eagerness to obey. • There are 3 indispensable conditions for true discipleship: 1.An Unrivaled Love (Has to do with the Hearts Affection) • Luke 14:25-33, Mat 10:37 • A disciple is a follower of Christ whose love for him transcends all earthly love. • When Christ holds first place in our affection, our capacity to love will be greatly expanded. • A disciple’s love for Christ must transcend self-love. We are not to hold even our lives dear. Love of self is soul destroying, but love of Christ is soul enriching. 2.An Unceasing Cross Bearing (Has to do with Life’s Conduct)) • Luke 14:27, Mat 10:38 • What is the cross Jesus spoke of here, since these were spoken before he went to the cross? • The cross, and crucifixion was not unfamiliar to them as they knew it as an instrument of agonizing suffering and eventual death. • The cross was not imposed on Jesus. It involved sacrifice and suffering, costly renunciation, symbolic of world rejection. Such is the call of a disciple. • It is not a joyless experience. 3.An Unreserved Surrender (has to do with personal possessions) • Luke 14:33 • Jesus meant everything he said here to be literally taken. • Jesus here claims the right of disposal of our possessions as he has given them to us only as trustees and not as owners. • Christ must be given pre-eminence over all earthly possessions. • Our attitude towards our possessions is a clue
Thursday, April 19, 2012
The Nurse hastened in her flight from the palace, all she was concerned about was making sure she escaped with five year old Mephibosheth. She loved him like she would have loved any son she bore. News had come from Jezreel that Saul and Jonathan had been killed in battle. It happened as she made haste to flee, that he fell and became lame. The Nurse knew that she must leave at once with Jonathan’s son- Mephibosheth lest he got killed. She took him to Ziba, who was Saul’s chief servant and he promised her he would take care of him. Mephibosheth grew up in Lo-Debar, his servant Ziba had raised him and taken good care of him. He was lame in both feet and had no had nothing to his name, except his little son- Mica. He lived in constant fear of the day king David will find out he was alive. He had learnt from Ziba how King Saul- Mephibosheth’s grandfather had been a terrible king and had really terrorized David because he saw him as a contender for his throne, despite how loyal David had been to Saul. Amidst David’s trials in the hands of Saul, Jonathan- Mephibosheth father had become covenant friends with David. Eventually Saul and Jonathan had died in battle and David had been crowned king. His Nurse had fled with him at once and brought him to Ziba so that he would not be killed, he dint think he was any better off alive anyways, after all he was lame. He felt miserable and despaired of life; it was due to the kindness of Machir, the son of Ammiel that he was able to eat every day. He had no idea what would become of his life, he no land, no cattle, no gold, no silver, even Ziba his servant was better than him. He was so deep in thought that he dint hear Ziba approach, until he tapped his shoulder. “Master, are you thinking again?” Ziba asked,” I have called your name now more than three times” Mephibosheth couldn’t help but be embarrassed because he knew Ziba knew what he had been thinking about.” Yes Ziba, I was thinking!” “I bring good news” Ziba said enthusiastically “What news could you have that would be good?” “I happened to be in the palace when King David asked if there was anyone left of King Saul’s lineage that he may show the person kindness for Jonathan’s sake” Ziba said “So?” Mephibosheth asked warily. “So, I told him there is- You and he asked to see you immediate… “No way” Mephibosheth dint let Ziba finish his sentence before he interrupted him. He was shaking physically, there was no way he was going to meet King David; it was a plot to kill him and completely wipe out Saul’s lineage. It took a very ling while for Ziba to convince him to go to the palace. Eventually Mephibosheth agreed to go although very much reluctantly. He was quite surprised at David’s warm reception, because he had half expected for his guards to haul him straight to the King’s dungeon. “Mephibosheth” – David spoke his name “Yes sir?” Mephibosheth answered “Don’t be frightened,” said David. “I would like to do something special for you in memory of your father Jonathan. To begin with, I am returning too you all the properties of your grandfather Saul. Furthermore, from now on you will take all meals at my table” Shuffling and stammering, not looking him in the eyes, Mephibosheth said” who am I that you pay attention to a stray dog like me?” He was surprised beyond words could express that David could do this great favour for him. And that was how he moved back to Jerusalem, his son, Ziba and his household along with him and he fed continually from the King’s table.
Shammua, Shaphat, Caleb, Igal, Hoshea, Palti, Gaddir, Gaddiel, Ammiel, Sethur, Nahbi and Geuel walked in groups of two or three, all chatting about their espionage to Canaan. It was their fortieth day away from the camp and they were really exhausted. They were on their way back to Kadesh to meet Moses and the children of Isreal in the Wilderness of Paran. Moses, at the command of the Lord had sent the twelve of them out to spy the land of Canaan, he had picked one man each from each tribe of Israel. He had charged them thus: Observe the land, is it pleasant or harsh? Describe the towns where they live; are they open camps or fortified with walls? And the soil; is it fertile or barren? Are there forests? And try to bring back sample of the produce that grows there” That had been forty days ago, and with that charge they had left. They scouted out the land from the wilderness of Zin as far as Rehob toward Lebo Hamath. They gone through the Negev Desert, through Hebron and they had even passed through the land of the giants; Anak’s descendants. The journey had been tough, eventful and tiring but from Caleb the son of Jephunneh of the tribe of Judah, he knew they could take the land. Caleb and Hoshea walked side by side carrying between them a a pole a cluster of grapes which they had cut down from the valley of Eshcol, some of the other men carried figs while others carried pomegranates. He was so excited at what they had found out about the land of Canaan, all the fruits they carried was just one of the signs that the land God had given them was a good land indeed. He couldn’t wait till they got to camp to tell the people all they had seen and for Moses to give the charge for them to go take the land. He looked over at Hoshea, now names Joshua and they exchanged a knowing smile, “ yes they could take over the land” Just then, six of the other guys passed them and what Caleb heard them saying wiped the smile from his face. The only thing I Saw was that the people who live there are so fierce, their cities are huge and well fortified” one of the men was saying. “Dint you see the giants? That is even worse than any other thing” another said Caleb had to cut in sharply “No! Don’t say that, let us go up and take the land now, we can do it. He couldn’t let them have this kind of inferiority complex, it would only destroy them. “The land we passed through to spy is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land flowing with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the Lord nor fear the people for they are our bread” Caleb all but shouted at them By now, all the twelve men had gathered together and it was obvious that it was only Caleb and Joshua that had a different and positive view of their espionage. The ten were totally in awe of the giants. “We can’t attack those people; they are way stronger than we are” We scouted out the land from one end to another; it is a land that swallows people whole. Everybody we say was huge. We even saw the Nephilim giants and besides them we were like grasshoppers. And despite how much Caleb and Joshua tried to convince them other wise, the men were not persuaded. And by the time they reached the camp, the men had spread the news and filled the Israelites with dread. They all believed they were nothing compared to the Canaanites despite the fact that God was with them and had wrought so many miracles in their presence. Caleb will never forget the after math of what that singular act of inferiority complex had cost them all. Forty years of wandering in the wilderness.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Timothy sat beside Gaius, Tychicus and Trophimus in the Ship as they sailed to troas to go and wait for his Father in the Lord- Apostle Paul. He was still in Philippi with Luke the physician; they would join them at Troas in a few days after the days of unleavened bread. They had left in a hurry because there had been an attempt on Paul’s life in Greece. Since they still had a long journey ahead of them and since he dint have to keep the company of his shipmates, timothy allowed himself to reminisce. “Hear O Israel, the Lord thy God is One” Grandma Lois read to Timothy. She tenderly brushed Tim’s hair as she read the Torah to him, his mother, her daughter was in the kitchen cooking, she was Lois’s only daughter and had returned home with Timothy when his father had been forced to return to Greece t serve his father’s gods. Since their return, Lois had determined to pass on the belief of Yahweh to timothy just as she had done with Eunice, his mother. Lois had been among the early converts and she had lost her husband during the persecution. She had raised Eunice and never remarried and had brought her up in the fear of Yahweh. She sensed that something special about Timothy, at twelve, he was so eager to learn all about Yahweh and he was often awed by the miracles He had performed. She was took great pleasure in telling him all the Bible stories. Perhaps, he would become a rabbi one day. She was so proud of Eunice, despite all she passed through, her faith never wavered. “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you, the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace” that’s how the children of Israel greeted each other. Lois explained to Timothy who was really smiling. “Do you also know that all the first son of Israelites who opened the womb were to be named after God” Lois went on to say. “Really? Grandma?” Timothy asked wide eyed. “Yes my Love, really, that’s why named you Timothy, which means ‘Honoured by God’ “Eunice who was passing bye, chipped in, ruffling Timothy’s hair as she passed. “Mum! Grandma just brushed my hair” Timothy told his mum and doged her hand from further ruffling his hair. “Grandma will brush it again” Eunice said Lois winked at Timothy as she brushed his hair again “So Grandma, I am the male who opened the womb?” Timothy asked “Yes, Timothy, you are. And we dedicated you to the Lord, never waver in the Lord, be strong in Him and in the power of his Might, always love and fear the Lord and never forget your heritage” grandma Lois said tenderly. And that had been the anchor of Timothy’s life; he had kept the faith even after he had left home and moved to Derbe and Lystra. An after a few years, he het Apostle Paul who took an instant liking to him especially after the brethren had spoken well of him. Apostle Paul had had to circumcise him because of his Greek heritage, and he had become his disciple since, doing ministry together along with other brethren. He had come to regard him as his father and Paul referred to him as son. Timothy was brought back from his reverie by the sharp jolt of the ship signifying they were at Troas and had to disembark.
“Ok, ok, hope everything is set?, girls go bath, brother Paul will be here any moment from now” Chloe said, untying her apron. Brother Paul the apostle was finally coming to visit her household and she was so excited. She had only met him twice, the first time was he had first come to Corinth from Athens; she met him through her cousin Priscilla and Aquila, her husband. She had been really awed to meet him in person because she had heard a lot about him especially of his former conduct in Judaism and his role in the death of Brother Stephen. God just never ceased to amaze her. After that, the second and last time she had seen him was when he came to plant the Corinthian church and that was when he had chosen her house as one of the church meeting places. She hadn’t seen him since them but the church had continued to meet in her house once a week. She had become a trusted leader and a source of reliable information for the Apostle Paul. And through her relationship with the Apostle Paul and the Church, she had met other phenomenal women of God, such as Nympha and Lydia, who also had churches meeting in their houses. She couldn’t imagine what her life would have been without those women always encouraging and strengthening her in the Lord. Just last week, she had received a letter through brother Urbanus from brother Paul telling her he would be coming to Corinth and he would make a stop at her house. She had been so excited to hear he was coming, because since she heard of his arrest and incarceration in Rome, she had lost all hope of ever seeing him again, but she later was told that the jailer had dealt fairly with him and had granted him permission to briefly visit his people. Now the day had come, she couldn’t wait to see him, she eagerly looked forward to listening to him and she had a lot to discuss with him also. Joanna and Martha stood shyly behind their mama as she spoke with the white haired man with the kind eyes. “Sister Chloe, you are really doing a good work, may our God the father of our Lord, Jesus Christ continue to bless you”. Apostle Paul prayed. He had had the urge to visit Corinth for a long time to see how the church was doing and also how Sister Chloe had been faring with the church in her house. Although, he had heard good reports from the brethren who came to visit him in Rome. He was really impressed with the work the Lord was doing through Chloe’s house. The church in her house had increased from twenty to seventy five. “Amen,, Brother Paul, Amen” “I hope you have no challenges whatsoever in conducting the church?” he asked gently, knowing how daunting it could be to be a believer, and how much more for one having a church in her house. “now that you asked, there’s one major issue I would like you to address at our church meeting in two days time. The brethren are divided, as some have been saying “we are on Paul’s side” while some others say “we are of Apollo’s” and another say “we are in the Messiah’s group”. Chloe couldn’t understand why the brethren felt they needed to form camps after all “Jesus and only Jesus is the saviour of all men” “Really, is that so?” Paul asked. That could not be allowed among the brethren, division must not be allowed in the church at all. There is only one saviour and that is Jesus. Thank God he baptized only Crispus, Gaius and Stephanas , before people will begin to say he baptized in his own name hence the need for them to join his camp. Besides, his assignment was to preach not baptize. He knew Apollos would not be happy to hear this at all. He looked kindly at Chloe and assured her the matter would be sorted out at the next gathering of the brethren. After a few more words of exultations, he departed from Chloe’s house.
Romans 14:23 “And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith; for whatsoever is not of faith is sin” Romans 14:23 KJV As believers, the Bible must be our ultimate guide. The reference scripture is a very profound one. On one hand, it can convict you and on the other hand, it can damn you. It makes us understand that , even though the Bible may not explicitly categorize some things as sins, yet they become sin to us as believers if our conscience condemns us in such acts. The scripture says that, he that eateth out of faith is damned (emphasis mine), and that whatever we do outside of faith is sin. Now for instance, going to a club or clubbing is not a sin if we go by Bible standards, however if as a believer, you doubt that going to a club is edifying or is not a form of presenting your body as a living sacrifice and yet you go, it has become a sin to you. Even if, every other believer go and it is not counted as sin to them. This can also apply to varied practices as far as our sense of dressing as believers. In other not to be damned in what we do, we must weigh our actions if they comply with our faith. If you don’t think something is right ; even if everyone is doing it, then you shouldn’t do it. The Bible says “the just shall live by faith”, and you are the just. Therefore, if you are not sure, if you notice that you are acting in ways inconsistent with what you believe – some days trying to impose your opinion on others, other days just trying to please them- then you know that you are out of line. If the way you live isn’t consistent with what you believe, then its wrong.