Episode 24

Disciple Up # 24
Unity, 9-27-2017
By Louie Marsh

We talked last week about the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. One of the big issues that flows from this historic event is divisions in the church. They didn’t start with the Reformation, but they certainly accelerated because of it. So today I want to talk a little bit about the topic of unity, why it’s important and some overlooked aspects of it.

http://reformingcatholicconfession.com/

http://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2017/september/how-many-churches-in-america-us-nones-nondenominational.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecumenism

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Last_Will_and_Testament_of_The_Springfield_Presbytery

Unity Quotes:

https://www.christianquotes.info/top-quotes/15-powerful-quotes-about-unity/#axzz4tkD2Ife2

One hundred religious persons knit into a unity by careful organization do not constitute a church any more than eleven dead men make a football team. The first requisite is life, always. – A W Tozer

Believers are never told to become one; we already are one and are expected to act like it – Joni Erickson Tada
Unity without the gospel is a worthless unity; it is the very unity of hell. – J C Ryle

Jesus prayed for unity – why?

 20  “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21  that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. John 17:20-21 (NIV)

 It’s essential if we are to reflect God’s nature – unity in truth, and essential if we are to win the world.

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.  Romans 14:19

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  Eph. 4:3

ANY attitude that causes disunity is sin.

Col. 3:15, 1 Cor. 1:10, 2 Tim. 2:14, Pr. 17:14, 2 Cor. 13:11, Phil. 1:27; 2:1-3, Col. 2:2, Phil. 4:2, 1 Peter 3:8, 1 Cor. 14:33, John 13:34-35, 2 Tim. 2:23, Rom. 12:16-18, Col, 3:13-14, Ps. 133:1.

“In Essentials Unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things love.”

It comes from an otherwise undistinguished German Lutheran theologian of the early seventeenth century, Rupertus Meldenius. The phrase occurs in a tract on Christian unity written (circa 1627) during the Thirty Years War (1618–1648), a bloody time in European history in which religious tensions played a significant role.

 Source: http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/essentials-unity-non-essentials-liberty-all-things/

  • In Essential Beliefs – We Have Unity.

There is one body and one Spirit–just as you were called to one hope when you were called–  one Lord, one faith, one baptism;  one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.  Eph. 4:4-6

  • In Non-Essential Beliefs – We Have Liberty.

Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters…Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand…So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God… So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves.  Romans 14:1,4,12,22

  • In All Our Beliefs – We Show Love

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  1 Cor. 13:2

Disciple Up Low Down on Christian Unity

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Episode 23

Show Notes Disciple Up #23
Is the Reformation a 500 Year Old Failure?
By Louie Marsh

Update on Last Week’s Episode – The riots have begun, thanks fake Christian leaders.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2017/august/500-reformation-protestants-catholics-luther-sola-fide-pew.html

After 500 Years, Reformation-Era Divisions Have Lost Much of Their Potency

14 I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” Romans 1:14-17 (ESV)

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10 (ESV)

If We Must Work For Forgiveness Why Did Jesus Die on the Cross?

28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. Matthew 26:28 (ESV)

7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace Ephesians 1:7 (NIV)

GOSPEL & OTHER QUOTES

https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/847789.Timothy_J_Keller

“The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.”
― Timothy J. Keller, The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God

“…We must say to ourselves something like this: ‘Well, when Jesus looked down from the cross, he didn’t think “I am giving myself to you because you are so attractive to me.” No, he was in agony, and he looked down at us – denying him, abandoning him, and betraying him – and in the greatest act of love in history, he STAYED. He said, “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing.” He loved us, not because we were lovely to him, but to make us lovely. That is why I am going to love my spouse.’ Speak to your heart like that, and then fulfill the promises you made on your wedding day.”

“The gospel of justifying faith means that while Christians are, in themselves still sinful and sinning, yet in Christ, in God’s sight, they are accepted and righteous. So we can say that we are more wicked than we ever dared believe, but more loved and accepted in Christ than we ever dared hope — at the very same time. This creates a radical new dynamic for personal growth. It means that the more you see your own flaws and sins, the more precious, electrifying, and amazing God’s grace appears to you. But on the other hand, the more aware you are of God’s grace and acceptance in Christ, the more able you are to drop your denials and self-defenses and admit the true dimensions and character of your sin.”

“The basic premise of religion– that if you live a good life, things will go well for you– is wrong. Jesus was the most morally upright person who ever lived, yet He had a life filled with the experience of poverty, rejection, injustice, and even torture.”

“When you listen and read one thinker, you become a clone… two thinkers, you become confused… ten thinkers, you’ll begin developing your own voice… two or three hundred thinkers, you become wise and develop your voice.”

I Sat Next to Jesus & Other Non-Biblical Sources of Authority

Disciple Up Low Down

Close

Next week – unity in the Body

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Episode 22

Disciple Up #22
Scripture & Out of Control Clergy
By Louie Marsh, 9-13-2017

The Power & Purpose of the Bible

Given as An Objective Source of Truth & Authority

5  Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. 6  Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar. Proverbs 30:5-6 (ESV)

16  For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17  For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” 18  we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 19  And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20  knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21  For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:16-21 (ESV)

God Challenges Us to Study It – Using the Mind He Gave Us.

14  But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15  and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16  All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17  that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:14-17 (ESV)

14  Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. 15  Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 16  But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, 2 Timothy 2:14-16 (ESV)

You Can Only Make the Bible Say Anything If You Either Ignorant, Lazy Or Biased.

 15  And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16  as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. 2 Peter 3:15-16 (ESV)

11  Command and teach these things. 12  Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 13  Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. 14  Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. 15  Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. 16  Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. 1 Timothy 4:11-16 (ESV)

BIBLE QUOTES:
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/bible.html

Over the centuries, and even today, the Bible and Christian theology have helped justify the Crusades, slavery, violence against gays, and the murder of doctors who perform abortions. The words themselves are latent, inert, harmless – until they aren’t. Amy Waldman
The violence in the Bible is appalling. Christopher Hitchens

The Bible looks like it started out as a game of Mad Libs. Bill Maher

The total absence of humor from the Bible is one of the most singular things in all literature. Alfred North Whitehead

If one were to take the bible seriously one would go mad. But to take the bible seriously, one must be already mad. Aleister Crowley

Alcohol may be man’s worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy. Frank Sinatra

However, the Bible is called the Word of God because the whole transcript is an inspired, faithful, and infallible record of what God determined essential for us to know about Himself, the cosmos in which we live, our spiritual allies and adversaries, and our fellow man. Walter Martin

It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand. Mark Twain

Out of Control Clergy

 Condoning Violence

 Being A Pundit Instead of a Pastor (or a Pope)

https://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2017/09/11/pope-francis-says-daca-repeal-not-pro-life-and-refutes-climate-change

The Disciple Up Low Down

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Episode 11

Disciple Up #11
Why Doctrine Is Vital
By Louie Marsh, 6-27-2017

Segment 1: Why Doctrine is important.

What is doctrine anyway? The word just meaning teaching. The way we use doctrine is to describe what the Bible teaches and what Christians believe.

My history with doctrine. As a teenager and a new Christian I thought you didn’t need it. But as I matured I discovered how wrong I was. Today lots of people will say we don’t need it – because that’s a perfect fit with the Spirit of the Age we live in.

No doctrine, no Christian faith. If we don’t have a clear grasp of basic Bible doctrines then we have no real Christian faith. It’s everyone for themselves or as the Bible says 25  In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. Judges 21:25 (ESV). Judges 17:6

17  I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. Romans 16:17 (ESV)

11  And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12  to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13  until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14  so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15  Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16  from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. Ephesians 4:11-16 (ESV)

In the New Testament there was a clearly understood body of teaching (doctrine) that Paul often appeals too.

Note these carefully:

3  As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, 1 Timothy 1:3 (ESV)

10  the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, 1 Timothy 1:10 (ESV)

Segment 2:

Common doctrines denied by almost all cults:

  • The Trinity

There is only one God:

10  “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. Isaiah 43:10 (ESV)

8  Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.” Isaiah 44:8 (ESV)

3  And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. John 17:3 (ESV)

Father, Son & Holy Spirit All Called God:

Father – 11  and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:11 (NIV)

Son 1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1 (NIV)

30  I and the Father are one.” John 10:30 (ESV)

Holy Spirit – 3  But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land?4  While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.” Acts 5:3-4 (ESV)

6  And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. 7  And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them…10  And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. Acts 16:6-7, 10 (ESV)

Then – the 3 persons are the one true God.

  • Identity of Jesus (God in human flesh)

14  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 (ESV)

  • Salvation by Grace

12  Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13  for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13 (ESV)

5  even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6  and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7  so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8  For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9  not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:5-10 (ESV)

20  For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. Romans 3:20 (ESV)

  • Inerrancy of the Bible (extra-Biblical authority)

35  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. Matthew 24:35 (ESV)

14  But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15  and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16  All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17  that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:14-17 (ESV)

The Disciple Up Low Down on the Danger of Doctrine

Closing

 Next week we’ll look at why the cults attack these doctrines and focus on Discipleship & the truth.

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Episode 8

 

Karma’s Not A *itch Because Karma Doesn’t Exist

From all sides you hear about Karma today – why I’m doing this episode – Christians say it too!

What is Karma?

  1. (Hinduism) HinduismBuddhism the principle of retributive justice determining a person’s state of life and the state ofhis or her reincarnations as the effect of past deeds
  2. (Theology) theosophythe doctrine of inevitable consequence
  3. destiny or fate

(in Hinduism and Buddhism) the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences.

Source of above: http://tinyurl.com/y7258mjx

 Popular understanding:

There’s a natural law of karma that vindictive people, who go out of their way to hurt others, will end up broke and alone. Sylvester Stallone

I’m a true believer in karma. You get what you give, whether it’s bad or good. Sandra Bullock

I believe in karma, and I believe if you put out positive vibes to everybody, that’s all you’re going to get back. Kesha

What it really is:

Problems or successes, they all are the results of our own actions. Karma. The philosophy of action is that no one else is the giver of peace or happiness. One’s own karma, one’s own actions are responsible to come to bring either happiness or success or whatever. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Every single unfortunate thing that happens, including, for instance, the murder of my parents, I am responsible for. I am responsible for being the son of two people who got murdered. I didn’t cause their murder. But if I’m suffering because of it, it’s my karma that I have manifested in this lifetime in this particular set of circumstances. Patrick Duffy (Buddhist)

Karma is only in space time and causality. Your real self resides non-locally. Deepak Chopra

Karma brings us ever back to rebirth, binds us to the wheel of births and deaths. Good Karma drags us back as relentlessly as bad, and the chain which is wrought out of our virtues holds as firmly and as closely as that forged from our vices. Annie Besant

Attachment and aversion are the root cause of karma, and karma originates from infatuation. Karma is the root cause of birth and death, and these are said to be the source of misery. None can escape the effect of their own past karma. Mahavira

Karma is inseparably linked to reincarnation – that’s who you “get what’s coming.” Your return isn’t for this life – it’s in the next. YET – you don’t know how you lived so how can you learn from the experience?

There is no grace in Karma, only the wheel of death and rebirth that crushes you and grinds you into nothing eventually (the end goal of Hinduism is to realize individuals don’t exist, we are all part of the divine, like a drop of water realizing it’s just part of the ocean.). 
Source of these quotes: Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/karma.html

 Dr. Walter R. Martin Quotes waltermartin.org

The moment you enlist in the army of God, you personally become a target. You need to remember that if you’re living for and walking with Jesus Christ, the powers of darkness are aligned against you.

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/w/walter_martin.html

Controversy for the sake of controversy is sin. Controversy for the sake of truth is a divine command.

When people say, ‘I believe in Jesus’, look them straight in the eye and ask, ‘Which one?’

Truth by definition is exclusive. If truth were all-inclusive, nothing would be false.

It should be carefully noted that Jesus did not say, “I am one of the equally good ways” or “I am a better way than the others, I am an aspect of truth; I am a fragment of the life.” Instead, His claim was absolute, and allegiance to Him as the Savior of the world, was to take precedence over all the claims of men and religions.

Text without context is pretext.

http://www.azquotes.com/quote/1335719

Is karma Christian? No.

 7  Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8  For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9  And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10  So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. Galatians 6:7-10 (ESV)

Note the differences –

  • A personal God is in control of this and can shorten or extend the time of reaping if he chooses
  • There is forgiveness which can (but doesn’t always) cancel the debt and you don’t reap what you’ve sown.
  • There is grace, forgiveness and love in sowing and reaping, There is only an impersonal  wheel that crushes you in karma.

Reincarnation Is Not True:

 1  As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2  And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3  Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4  We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5  As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” John 9:1-5 (ESV)

 27  And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28  so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. Hebrews 9:27-28 (ESV)

What should disciples do?

21  but test everything; hold fast what is good. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 (ESV)

In the book, Bono: iIn Conversation with Mishka Assayas, Bono commented, “I’d be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge… I’m holding out for grace. I’m holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross…”

Source of Bono quote: http://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/what-s-the-difference-between-grace-and-karma.html

Episode 5

Let’s look at what the New Testament says about God’s will from the perspective of a disciple of Jesus.

Knowing Jesus:

 35  For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.” Mark 3:35 (ESV)

16  So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. 17  If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. John 7:16-17 (ESV)

Circumstances:

21  But on taking leave of them he said, “I will return to you if God wills,” and he set sail from Ephesus. Acts 18:21 (ESV)

10  always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. Romans 1:10 (ESV)

32  so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company. Romans 15:32 (ESV)

5  and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. 2 Corinthians 8:5 (ESV)

Holy Spirit’s Ministry:

 27  And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:27 (ESV)

Cool Quotes:

Martin Luther

http://www.biographyonline.net/spiritual/martin-luther.html

 This IS God’s Will For Me:

2  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2 (ESV)

3  For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 1 Thessalonians 4:3 (ESV)

18  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (ESV)

15  For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 1 Peter 2:15 (ESV)

19  Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. 1 Peter 4:19 (ESV)

17  For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. 1 Peter 3:17 (ESV)

Wrap up

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Episode 4

 

Thinking Biblically

God calls disciples to think Biblically not culturally and not to simply follow my feelings or to go by my instincts. No, God calls all disciples to think clearly, critically (I mean analytically not to be critical of others).

18  “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. Isaiah 1:18 (ESV)

We need to think like God thinks, to see the world as he does and then follow that truth.

People sometimes say, “The god I believe in …”  Perhaps the god you believe in isn’t the real, true and living God. And the only way to know for sure what he thinks is to consult, understand and depend upon the Bible.

C.S.Lewis: “If you do not listen to theology, that will not mean that you have no ideas about God. It will mean that you have a lot of wrong ones!”

To really think Biblically I must to this:  21  but test everything; hold fast what is good. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 (ESV)

Test everything – especially things that make me feel good while sending me off in a slightly different direction in life. This kind of testing, comparing everything to Scripture – needs to become a deeply ingrained habit that the disciple does automatically!

1  Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1 (ESV)

Your Mind Matters by John Stott

An Example of Thinking Biblically

 34  But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35  And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36  “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37  And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38  This is the great and first commandment. 39  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40  On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:34-40 (ESV)

1st Question: Who is my neighbor?

29  But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30  Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31  Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32  So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33  But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34  He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35  And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36  Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37  He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” Luke 10:29-37 (ESV)

2nd Question:  What is the command here?

A: To love my neighbor. This isn’t two commands – it’s ONE. The command is to love my neighbor.

The second part of this is an explanation of HOW we are to love our neighbor. People have always known there are different kind of love. Love my dog, spouse, baseball, various unhealthy sweets etc.

“As yourself” explains that this command is for us to love our neighbor the way we normally LOVE OURSELVES. This selflove is assumed – NOT commanded. This type of self-love, or self-preservation as we’d probably call it, is noted throughout Scripture.

28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, Ephesians 5: 28-29 (ESV)

Conclusion: This command is NOT a command to have high self-esteem. To make it say that is to twist the plain meaning of the text to fit into our modern therapeutic, psychologized world view. A view which did not exist prior to the last century and NEVER existed or was taught in the Bible.

Closing

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Episode 2

The Disciple of Jesus VS Selfism

Being a disciple of Jesus is a radical departure from our culture of selfism. Selfism = believe in yourself, etc.

Will power becomes won’t power very quickly. Will power makes me self-absorbed.

 23  And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23 (ESV)

How does this square with Phil. 2:5-7:   “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,”

But at the same time we’re told that “Where ever you go there you are,” and “You are your biggest problem.” So which is it? According to the greatest leader, thinker and teacher of all time – you need to become selfless!

Jesus says to listen to your doubts when you think I can’t do it, I’m not able. Because they are telling you the truth! You cannot save yourself and you cannot become like Christ by yourself. The main problem all of us face is more than psychological it is spiritual. Problems go beyond what any of us can deal with except God alone.

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. Luke 9:24

AA 1st Step: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol that our lives had become unmanageable. Christianity isn’t self-help – it is self-surrender, self-denial, dying to self and living to God.

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