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Entries in Discipleship (3)

Monday
Nov272017

Discipleship: It’s A Choice 

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

John 8:12, New King James Version

Last summer, some friends and I went on a hike in the dark morning hours before dawn. We wanted to watch the sunrise from the top of the mountain. While we were walking, my friend and I shared a flashlight. When he held the light, I had to choose to follow him—keep his pace, walk in his same path. If I didn’t, I would be left to find my own way in the dark.

In the verse above, Jesus gives us an invitation to follow Him. He gives us the choice of discipleship. We can see Jesus give the same choice to the rich young ruler in Mark chapter ten:

And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” [18] A nd Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. [19] You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” [20] And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” [21] And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” [22] Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

Mark 10:17-22, English Standard Version

Jesus recognized this young man’s heart. He loved him and had compassion for him. Jesus presented this man with the same choice he presents each of us with: the choice to follow Him. The problem is, this choice doesn’t come without sacrifice. Luke 14:33 says, “Any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple” (ESV). Notice that when the young ruler saw that he had to give something up to follow Jesus, he left sorrowful. Andrew describes the situation perfectly: “This guy was willing to make Jesus good. But he wasn’t willing to go as far as to make Jesus God.” Following Jesus means choosing the Gospel above everything else.

Andrew explains, “God has given us the choice. He said you choose life or death, blessing or cursing. . . . You can become a disciple, and you can begin to start living in victory right now. But you have to make that commitment.” And that commitment is laid out clearly by Jesus when He says, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, [32] and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32, ESV).

You see, if our life is a hike through the dark, the Word is like our flashlight, a light to our path (Psalm 119:105). The Word leads us to a place where we can follow Him to greater heights, but we have to choose to stay close. Andrew says, “A disciple is a person who has put their commitment to God above everything else.” We must choose the Gospel above everything—above what we see, what we feel, and above what it costs us.

We must make the choice for discipleship, and when we do, we will know more fully the light of life. Choose discipleship through Andrew’s course Discipleship Evangelism! It is available in CD, DVD, book, and study guide format. To go even further, we are also offering the Destiny Package. Use these teachings to begin your discipleship journey today!

Written by Katie Scruggs

For resources and products or to partner in the U.S., visit www.awmi.net; outside the U.S., visit www.awme.net.

Monday
Nov132017

The Importance of One

“What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? . . . [14] Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”

Matthew 18:12 and 14, New King James Version, emphasis mine

When Jesus walked the earth, He often preached the Gospel of the kingdom to crowds, and most of us probably know of present-day evangelists and disciples of Christ who do the same. But crowds are only important because they are made up of many “ones.” In the Father’s eyes, the value of each individual is beyond calculation.

You can see this truth on more than one occasion in the Scriptures. Jesus took time to go after the “one” as He was directed by the Father: the woman at the well, the Gadarene demoniac, the man at the pool of Bethesda.

Imagine the ripple effect created by His reaching out to one. What was the fruit of His obedience?

Most of us know what happened with the woman at the well. Because Jesus took the time to speak with her one-on-one and meet her need for living water, she spread the news about Him throughout her entire town. Many who heard her testimony believed on Jesus, and many more came to believe He was the Christ after hearing Him for themselves (John 4:39-42).

What about the Gadarene demoniac? After Jesus delivered him, he wanted to remain with Him, but Jesus told him to go home and tell about everything God had done for him. So, he went his way and “proclaimed throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him” (Luke 8:39, NKJV). It’s interesting to note that when Jesus returned to the Gadarene area, the people“ran throughout that whole surrounding region” (Mark 6:55, NKJV) to bring the sick to be healed. They were eager to hear and be healed by Jesus, and this former demoniac’s witness “throughout the whole city” probably played a big part in that.

And then there’s the lame man at the pool of Bethesda who was healed. Scripture doesn’t share much about the fruit from that encounter. Maybe the former lame man went back to the pool regularly to encourage everyone there to seek out Jesus. Based on these previous examples, we can guess that others ended up getting healed. Maybe entire families and towns were impacted by Jesus’s obedience during that encounter. We can only imagine the impact created by Jesus going after this “one.”

Now through December 1, on the Gospel Truth broadcasts, Andrew will be focusing on the fruit of discipleship. Be sure to tune in and hear about how present-day disciples in Kenya and the Congo are “seeking the one” and bringing forth fruit.

On November 15, Andrew shares how Charis graduate Dottie Haymond, a West Virginia country girl now living in Kenya, went after one newborn and rescued the child from certain death. This disciple is taking in “throwaways” and impacting the next generation in Kenya with the love and Word of God.

On November 30, Andrew interviews Mike and Pat Heiser, Charis Bible College graduates also living in Kenya, who have rescued eighteen little “ones” off the street, many trapped in prostitution. These disciples have also graduated nearly 1,000 students from their twenty-six Bible colleges, with more than 200 churches being pastored by their alumni.

On December 1, listen in as Julie Mapatano shares how the Lord led her to start Redeeming Love Ministries in her home country of Congo. She is transforming her nation with God’s love by providing orphaned children with healthy food, proper medical care, sound schooling, and the Word of God.

What difference does “one” make? Tune in to Andrew’s broadcasts on the fruit of discipleship and find out. Never underestimate the impact of reaching out and investing in one!

Written by Sylvia F. Wells

For resources and products or to partner in the U.S., visit www.awmi.net; outside the U.S., visit www.awme.net.

Monday
Jul072014

Observing All Things

How much does the Bible get in the way of what you believe? If you're like most Christians, you believe in Jesus, but you've compartmentalized your faith so that your Bible beliefs have only a little influence over other areas of your life. For many, the Bible doesn't influence what they believe one iota! As long as they claim to believe on Jesus, they think they can believe whatever they want about issues in life and society. That is absolutely wrong! All that this means is they have not been taught to observe all things Jesus commanded:

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, [20a] teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you. Matthew 28:19-20a, New King James Version

You see, a disciple is a person who observes all things Jesus commanded. By and large, the church has not been making disciples. Their goal has basically been "Let's just get people born again and make sure they're headed to heaven. Everything else will work out." This has caused problems. Because the church isn't teaching people to observe all things Jesus commanded, there's a void in society where Christians ought to be taking a stand. When it comes to social, moral issues, a lot of Christians are silent or they oppose what the Bible says. They've professed faith in the Lord, but they aren't disciples. That might sound shocking to you, but look at how Jesus responded to people who only put faith in Him:

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed. John 8:31

It's not enough just to get saved so you won't go to hell. It's not about an insurance policy. You have to continue in Jesus' words if you're going to be His disciple. This ought to be the goal of every single Christian. Yet it's amazing how many don't get this. They think the Bible shouldn't influence what they think about economics, racial issues, marriage, or health. When it comes to hot topics like homosexuality, abortion, and evolution, the church is divided. Most would say, "See, now you've gone to meddling. You just need to stick to preaching the Word and stop getting into politics and social issues." But I am preaching the Word! It's not me who is invading the social, political arena; these things are encroaching on what the Bible has to say. The Word of God has instruction for every one of these areas.

The Word of God has a lot to say about the issues we're facing in society today. If we stay silent, the unbelievers-who don't have a biblical worldview-are going to be the ones establishing all of the policies, determining what we can and can't say, and what we can do and can't do. This is already happening, and many Christians have just accepted this. They've moved away from the words of Jesus. They don't know what the Word of God has to say on all of these things...

To continue reading more of Andrew's thoughts on today's hot-button issues, be sure to check out his latest article, Observing All Things. To make sure you never miss an article in the future, sign up for Andrew's monthly newsletter.