Episode 227

Disciple Up # 227
7 Letters to 7 Churches
By Louie Marsh, 9-8-2021

This is just about the only part of Revelation I will teach on. I’m not quite as bad as Martin Luther about this though.

He put both Revelation and the book of James into the appendix of his New Testament translation into German. He called the book of James, “a right strawy epistle.” And of Revelation he said that “Apostles ought not to write like that.”

I love the book of James and would not presume to tell an Apostle how to write. However, most of the book does leave me pretty cold. But not these 7 little letters.

False view of them as ages of church history. This was around when Luther lived because he accepted it, at least in part. When it really began, I don’t know.

Episode 222

Disciple Up # 222
Facing Our Failure (Thanks COVID!)
By Louie Marsh, 8-4-2021

Intro. I’ve been thinking about COVID’s impact on us in a different way lately. Then hearing that my dear friend Naomi’s Dad died of it yesterday and that she is down with COVID (please pray for her) shifted my thinking once again.

Setting the Stage:

COVID didn’t appear in a vacuum. It came at a time when the church in the United States and the entire Western World was in a huge and growing decline.

https://comparecamp.com/church-attendance-statistics/

US Church Attendance Statistics

The US religious landscape continues to change at an accelerated pace. On the one hand, the number of devout Christians who belong to the older generations continues to decline. On the other hand, younger Americans tend to prioritize things other than religion. Thus, this trend is expected to persist further.

  • In the last 10 years, the number of Americans who report they attend church services around once or twice a month declined by 7%
  • Conversely, the number of American Christians who report they attend church services less frequently has increased by 7%
  • In 2009, those who attend church services around once or twice a month exceeded those who attend church services only occasionally or not at all
  • On the contrary, those numbers are inverted today: 54% of Americans nowadays say they attend church services a few times a year compared to those who attend at least monthly (45%)
  • From 55% in 1965, mass attendance decreased to 23% in 2017
  • Between 2010 and 2017, US Catholics have lost 800 parishes
  • In 2010, 21.3% of the US population were Catholics. In 2017, 21% of the American population, only registering a slight loss and zero growth
  • In 2018, among those aged 21–29, 36% of Protestants and 25% of Catholics went to church weekly
  • When the first wave of church abuse charges emerged in the mid-1990s, religious attendance in the US considerably plummeted

The Most Common COVID Impacts

Giving. Some churches I know of, including my own, have seen giving go up. I know of many others who’ve experienced a drop – some quite large. I know of very few whose giving has been untouched by this.

Attendance – down – WAY DOWN! People got used to not coming to church and either don’t at all or only very sporadically.

Conclusions:

 COVID has only accelerated a process that has been underway for decades. With or without COVID church in the West is shrinking and will continue to do so. COVID has exposed a problem that we already had but weren’t really aware of just how big it is.

This Means: The church in the West has failed to carry out our Lord’s command to go and make disciples.

Which means – I’m a failure too.

COVID should be forcing the church and those of us in the Ministry to face our failure – but I’m afraid it isn’t.

The Haunting of Failure (2015)

 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/the-haunting-of-ministry-failure/

 

Please Get In Touch!

Email – louie@discipleup.org

 


Check out the Disciple Up Facebook page:

My books – 

Episode 221

 Disciple Up # 221
Dangerous Christian Music
By Louie Marsh, 7-28-2021

Main Article Quoted from:

https://redstate.com/brandon_morse/2021/07/26/modern-christian-music-isnt-just-bad-its-dangerous-n416613

https://www.lyrics.com/lyric/30558297/Gaither+Vocal+Band/Pass+Me+Not%2C+O+Gentle+Savior

Pass me not, O gentle Savior
Hear my humble cry
While on others Thou art calling
Do not pass me by

Savior, Savior
Hear my humble cry
While on others Thou art calling
Do not pass me by

Bruce Cockburn – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ly1fKZa_lQ&t=489s

The Kind of Dangerous We Need:

“1Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” 4So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people that they had acquired in Haran, and they set out to go to the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan, 6Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him. 8From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the LORD and called upon the name of the LORD. 9And Abram journeyed on, still going toward the Negeb.” (Genesis 12:1–9, ESV)

“1After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”” (Genesis 22:1–2, ESV)

“16And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 18He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” 21Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

22When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

23And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. 24Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 25When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 27Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” 28Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19:16–29, ESV)

Please Get In Touch!

Email – louie@discipleup.org

 


Check out the Disciple Up Facebook page:

My books – 

Episode 217

Disciple Up # 217
Should We All Be Iconoclasts?
By Louie Marsh, 6-30-2021

icon·​o·​clast | \ ī-ˈkä-nə-ˌklast  \

Definition of iconoclast

1: a person who attacks settled beliefs or institutions

2: a person who destroys religious images or opposes their veneration

Synonyms: bohemian, boho, counterculturist, deviant, enfant terrible, free spirit, heretic, individualist, lone ranger, lone wolf, loner, maverick, nonconformer, nonconformist

Antonyms: conformer, conformist

For the Meaning of Iconoclast, Break It Down

Iconoclast is a word that often shows up on vocabulary lists and College Board tests. How will you remember the meaning of this vocabulary-boosting term? If you already know the word icon, you’re halfway there. An icon is a picture that represents something. The most common icons today are those little images on our computers and smartphones that represent a program or function, but in the still-recent past, the most common icons were religious images. Icon comes from the Greek eikōn, which is from eikenai, meaning “to resemble.” Iconoclast comes to us by way of Medieval Latin from Middle Greek eikonoklastēs, which joins eikōn with a form of the word klan, meaning “to break.” Iconoclast literally means “image destroyer.”

First Known Use of iconoclast in English 1641, as an icon destroyer.

Article on this: https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/neil-seeman/iconoclast-genius_b_4116396.html

https://www.christianitytoday.com/history/issues/issue-88/great-iconoclast.html

Joy asked Lewis to autograph her copy of his book, The Great Divorce. He wrote, “There are three images in my mind which I must continually forsake and replace by better ones: the false image of God, the false image of my neighbours, and the false image of myself. C. S. Lewis 30 December 1952 (from an unwritten chapter on Iconoclasm).”

Lewis was saying that spiritual growth is iconoclastic because it constantly breaks our idols and replaces them with something better.

Iconoclast in Church History:

https://www.catholic.com/encyclopedia/iconoclasm

 

Iconoclasm (Eikonoklasmos, “Image-breaking”) is the name of the heresy that in the eighth and ninth centuries disturbed the peace of the Eastern Church, caused the last of the many breaches with Rome that prepared the way for the schism of Photius, and was echoed on a smaller scale in the Frankish kingdom in the West. The story in the East is divided into two separate persecutions of the Catholics, at the end of each of which stands the figure of an image-worshipping Empress (Irene and Theodora).

Luther & the Iconoclasts: https://lutheranreformation.org/history/luther-and-the-iconoclasts/

Was Jesus an Iconoclast?

 13The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. 15And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” 18So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” 19Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.” (John 2:13–22, ESV)

1On a Sabbath, while he was going through the grainfields, his disciples plucked and ate some heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands. 2But some of the Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath?” 3And Jesus answered them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: 4how he entered the house of God and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those with him?” 5And he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”” (Luke 6:1–5, ESV)

 What About the apostles?

9For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,” (1 Thessalonians 1:9, ESV)

16Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. 17So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. 18Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, “What does this babbler wish to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. 19And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.” 21Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new. 22So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. 23For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.” (Acts 17:16–25, ESV)

15We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; 16yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. 17But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! 18For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” (Galatians 2:15–21, ESV)

  • What happens when you tear something down without a plan to replace with something better?

What needs to be smashed today?

 What are the idols (icons) in the church today that to be challenged and removed?

Remember I’m speaking largely metaphorically, not about physical idols.

 Some say the denominations, like the Southern Baptists for example, need to deal with issues of racism in their history more and are even introducing parts of Critical Race Theory to do so?

 Is it even possible to follow Jesus and not be an iconoclast to one degree or another?

 What idols in our culture need confronting?

 CRT? PC speech and action codes? Gender issues? Sexual morality in general?

Please Get In Touch!

Email – louie@discipleup.org

 


Check out the Disciple Up Facebook page:

My books – 

 

Episode 215

Disciple Up # 215
Words Mean Things
By Louie Marsh, 6-16-2021

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, for whom Lewis Carroll was a pseudonym, was an Oxford-educated mathematician and logician, an early pioneer of photography, and an archetypal English Eccentric. Below is perhaps my favorite passage by Carroll a passage without which the Humpty Dumpty Theory of Language would still be called the Cratylus Theory of Language.

“I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory’,” Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t- till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!'”

“But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’,” Alice objected.

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean- neither more nor less.”

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master-that’s all.”

Alice was too much puzzled to say anything; so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. “They’ve a temper some of them- particularly verbs: they’re the proudest- adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs- however, I can manage the whole lot of them! Impenetrability! That’s what I say!”

Through the Looking Glass, Ch. VI

Intro:  I first heard the late Rush Limbaugh say this – Words Mean Things. I have leaned that there is a movement, part of the general PC panic in our country, that uses this phrase as it’s title. However just to be very clear here – I am using it in the same way that Limbaugh did. Words have specific meanings and if we want to communicate clearly and preserve rational conversation in our culture (thus preserving the culture as well) we must honor and abide by these meanings.

Episode 8 of Disciple Up – Karma.

33“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. 34You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. 36I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, 37for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”” (Matthew 12:33–37, ESV)

21“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. 23So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you,” (Matthew 5:21–23, ESV)

2Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 3Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.” (Luke 12:2–3, ESV)

31Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” (Matthew 12:31–32, ESV)

43“For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, 44for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:43–45, ESV)

29Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:29–32, ESV)

11whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:11, ESV)

Other Important News:

 https://www.christianpost.com/news/city-pays-35k-to-christian-ministry-for-canceling-event-over-speakers-biblically-based-views.html

 https://www.christianpost.com/news/chinese-authorities-forcibly-detain-pastor-wife-by-chaining-door.html

Please Get In Touch!

Email – louie@discipleup.org

 


Check out the Disciple Up Facebook page:

My books – 

 

Episode 214

Disciple Up # 214
Remember … The Importance of Memory
By Louie Marsh, 6-9-2021

We must remember the Lord:

Deuteronomy 6:12 ESV: Then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

Isaiah 46:9 ESV: Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me,

Ecclesiastes 12:1 ESV: Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”

We Must Remember the great things He has done:

Deuteronomy 8:2 ESV: And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.

Psalm 77:11 ESV: I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.

Psalm 143:5 ESV: I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands.

Psalm 119:55 ESV: I remember your name in the night, O Lord, and keep your law.

God remembers us:

Isaiah 49:15-16 ESV: “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.

John 14:26 ESV: But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

We should remember God’s people:

1 Corinthians 11:2 ESV: Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you.

Acts 20:35 ESV: In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

We Must Remember our sin:

Revelation 2:5 ESV: Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.

Ezekiel 36:31 (ESV): Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominations

Remember Jesus sacrifice:

1 Corinthians 11:24 ESV: And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

Luke 22:19 ESV: And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

Please Get In Touch!

Email – louie@discipleup.org

 


Check out the Disciple Up Facebook page:

My books – 

 

Episode 212

Disciple Up # 212
I’m a Christian NOT a Victim!
By Louie Marsh, 5-26-2021

Intro. Picking up where yesterday’s sermon ends, the URL for it is below.

https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/christschurchontheriver/06_The_Gospel_of_John_1-7_Do_I_Want_to_Get_Well.mp3

I’m going to do some recapping of the early parts and then get into the main point here.

1) Do I REALLY WANT to get well?

  One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.  When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” John 5:5-6 (NIV)

This may be the most profound question in the entire Bible. If it’s not then it’s certainly one of the most important and profound.

It seems like such a silly question to ask. Surely a man who had been disabled for that many years would love to be healed.

But the truth is, that many of us grow so accustomed to being sick or needy and the attention that it brings them that I’m not really sure that they want things to be any different.

Christ’s question to all of us this morning is “Do you want to get well?”

Some of us here today face serious physical illness. But many of us are not physically ill but have allowed other things to ruin our lives. Whether that’s alcohol abuse, drug abuse, sexual sin, pornography, greed, people pleasing, fear, etc. We all have to answer this question – Do I really want to get well, or have I become comfortable in my dysfunction and sin?

I have to move beyond just wanting the pain and discomfort to end. What Jesus wants to know is do I want to be well? Do I want to start down the road to becoming like Christ, the real road to recovery.

 Is THAT what I want? Or do I just want a little relief from my pain?

2) SOME SIGNS I’M NOT SERIOUS ABOUT GETTING WELL.

  • I practice BLAME SHIFTING

 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” John 5:7 (ESV)

12  The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13  Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Genesis 3:12-13 (ESV)

  • I make EXCUSES.
    • I have NO TALENT OR ABILITY.

 But Moses pleaded with the LORD, “O Lord, I’m just not a good speaker. I never have been, and I’m not now, even after you have spoken to me. I’m clumsy with words.” Exodus 4:10 (NLT)

    • It’s TO HARD/DON’T KNOW HOW.

 Then I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” Jeremiah 1:6 (ESV)

    • I’m too BUSY.

 21  Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” Matthew 8:21 (ESV)

  • I use the GOD DODGE.

12  And the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, “The LORD is with you, O mighty man of valor.” 13  And Gideon said to him, “Please, sir, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.” Judges 6:12-13 (ESV)

  • I play the VICTIM  (FEEL SORRY FOR MYSELF.)

 And he prayed to the LORD and said, “O LORD, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.  Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” Jonah 4:2-3 (ESV)

Thinking Biblically about suffering, rejection and all kinds of pain will require a major shift in our perspective.

38So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; 39but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” So they took his advice, 40and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. 42And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.” (Acts 5:38–42, ESV)

18For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” (Romans 8:18–25, ESV)

7But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12So death is at work in us, but life in you.

 16So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:7–12, 16-18, ESV)

21For to THIS you have been called, because Christ also SUFFERED for you, leaving you an example, so that you might FOLLOW IN HIS STEPS. 22He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:21–25, ESV)

31What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:31–39, ESV)

Please Get In Touch!

Email – louie@discipleup.org

 


Check out the Disciple Up Facebook page:

My books – 

Episode 211

Disciple Up # 211
What Is a Disciple?
By Louie Marsh, 5-19-2021

Intro.:

The Hebrew View of Discipleship:

Jesus began his first year of ministry by doing several things at once. He was traveling, teaching, performing what the Apostle John called “signs,” which are better known as miracles, and in the midst of all that he was recruiting an inner circle to follow him.

This recruitment was not unusual nor did it make Jesus stand out from other Rabbis. In fact it was something that almost all of them did and continued to do long past the first century A.D.

The Hebrew term for what it means to be a disciple is shimush chachamim. In context of the time, this means a “servant of the rabbis.” Serving is essentially the first stage of discipleship. You serve your rabbi as you learn how to follow the Word of God like he does. The object of discipleship is to follow, emulate, copy, duplicate, and replicate your rabbi, all while serving him.

According to the Babylonian Talmud, a disciple would carry the rabbi’s baggage, prepare his food to his liking, and provide him with money for his needs. A disciple could not contradict his rabbi in public or rule against his rabbi in matters of the Torah. A disciple was obligated to protect his rabbi. As you can see from this Jesus gave his disciples extraordinary latitude in allowing them to debate with him. Here’s two examples:

27Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” 28So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29“Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 30They went out of the town and were coming to him. 31Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?”” (John 4:27–33, ESV)

32But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him.” (Mark 9:32, ESV)

We have a fascinating text that demonstrates what it means to be a disciple: “But Jehoshaphat said, ‘Is there no prophet of the LORD here, that we may inquire of the LORD by him?’ So one of the servants of the king of Israel answered and said, ‘Elisha the son of Shaphat is here, who poured water on the hands of Elijah’ (2 Kings. 3:11 NKJV). The prophet Elisha’s greatness is demonstrated by describing him as a disciple of Elijah the prophet. And the greatness of his discipleship is that he had the privilege to help Elijah wash his hands.

In turn, the duties of the rabbi are first of all to teach Torah. He would train his disciples to emulate him and even surpass himself in knowledge and practice of the Torah. The rabbi was obligated to protect his disciples from heresy and from sin. For this reason, the rabbi has the privilege to reprimand his disciples and judge their action.

These instructions are taken very seriously by the Jewish community from the first century A.D. and in some circles even up to this very day.

For Jews the issue of disciples is one of the most important issues for the preservation of Judaism and of the Jews themselves. Discipleship creates a chain and a continuum that insures that the next generations will continue to be related to and influenced by the Torah that God gave Israel at Mount Sinai. Without disciples of Moses and then Joshua and then the prophets, there would be no Judaism today.

DISCIPLE – Greek Word and usage

(1) Usually a substantive (μαθητής, mathētés, “a learner,” from manthánō, “to learn”;

Latin discipulus, “a scholar”):

The word is found in the Bible only in the Gospels and Acts. But it is good Greek, in use from Herodotus down, and always means the pupil of someone, in contrast to the master or teacher

In all cases it implies that the person not only accepts the views of the teacher, but that he is also in practice an adherent. A disciple is a “follower,” someone who adheres completely to the teachings of another, making them his rule of life and conduct.

The word has several applications. In the widest sense it refers to those who accept the teachings of anyone, not only in belief but in life. Thus the disciples of John the Baptist (Matthew 9:14; Luke 7:18; John 3:25); also of the Pharisees (Matthew 22:16; Mark 2:18; Luke 5:33); of Moses (John 9:28).

But its most common use is to designate the adherents of Jesus. (a) In the widest sense (Matthew 10:42; Luke 6:17; John 6:66, and often). It is the only name for Christ’s followers in the Gospels. But (b) especially the Twelve Apostles, even when they are called simply the disciples (Matthew 10:1; Matthew 11:1; Matthew 12:1, et al.).

In the Acts, after the death and ascension of Jesus, disciples are those who confess Him as the Messiah, Christians (Acts 6:1-2, 7; Acts 9:36 (feminine, mathétria); Acts 11:26, “The disciples were called Christians”). Even half-instructed believers who had been baptized only with the baptism of John are disciples (Acts 19:1-4).

Early Christians referred to the faith as “The Way.” This is found often in the book of Acts, here’s a few examples:

2and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.” (Acts 9:2, ESV)

23About that time there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way.” (Acts 19:23, ESV)

14But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets,” (Acts 24:14, ESV)

22But Felix, having a rather accurate knowledge of the Way, put them off, saying, “When Lysias the tribune comes down, I will decide your case.”” (Acts 24:22, ESV)

This term appeared to die out in favor of a new term that was given to the church as opposed to the one they apparently chose for themselves.  And that is the word Christian.

Jesus used the term disciple but never Christian. The first instance of the word Christian is found in the book of Acts: “The disciples were first called Christians in Antioch” (Acts 11:26). Most Bible scholars agree that it is unlikely that the believers themselves thought up the name “Christians.” The early church had other names for themselves, such as “disciples” (Acts 13:5220:121:4) and “saints” (Romans 1:71 Corinthians 16:1Ephesians 1:1) and “brothers” (1 Corinthians 1:91 Peter 3:8).

The name “Christian,” meaning “belonging to Christ,” appears to have been invented by those outside of the church. It was most likely meant as a derogatory term. Only two other times does the word appear in the New Testament (Acts 26:281 Peter 4:16). The idea that the term Christian was originally a pejorative finds some support in 1 Peter 4:16: “However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.”

Please Get In Touch!

Email – louie@discipleup.org

 


Check out the Disciple Up Facebook page:

My books – 

Episode 209

Disciple Up # 209
Wrestling with Scripture
By Louie Marsh, 5-5-2021

 Intro. Excerpts from the article I’m discussing today, with a link to it below. Also some links to John Stott’s books are below as well. 

John Stott Would Want Us to Stop, Study, and Struggle

JOHN W. YATES III

APRIL 26, 2021

It was a bitterly cold January afternoon and rain was pinging sideways off the windows when John Stott emerged from his study. It was teatime, and a large pot was brewing on the small counter of the kitchenette of The Hermitage, Uncle John’s cozy living quarters in one of the old farm buildings at the Hookses, his rural retreat in Wales.

“Oh JY,” John said to me, wearily, rubbing his temples, “I have a terrible case of PIM.” His acronym stood for pain in the mind. It was his way of describing what it felt like to wrestle over a difficult writing project or a seemingly intractable problem, and it was a phrase I knew well after 18 months working as John’s study assistant.

Over tea, we discussed the progress he had made that day and the state of my research on the chapter he would tackle the following day. We also indulged in shortbread cookies (which were known to be an effective treatment for PIM). As he rose to return to work, he patted down the white tufts of hair he had disturbed at his temples and said.

“JY, there are certain tasks which cannot be done without acute pain in the mind. They are rarely fun, but always worthwhile.”

Another favorite acronym of John’s was BBC. He took delight in explaining that this did not stand for the British Broadcasting Corporation, but rather for balanced biblical Christianity. John was not afraid of taking an unpopular stance if Scripture required it. But he never rushed into an opinion. In his quest for a balanced and biblical Christianity, he worked tirelessly to understand every perspective on a topic before coming to a carefully considered judgment rooted in Scripture.

In an age of sound bites and Twitter feeds, many Christian leaders are so busy trying to keep up with current events that few of us take time to stop, to study, and to struggle for the sake of teaching God’s people. All too often, we take a side and stick to it without the discipline of listening or questioning our instincts. The thin veneer of our discipleship is showing cracks as a result.

In this complex and constantly changing world, we do not need more commentary. We need more pain in the mind. John was willing to endure this pain, not just in the quiet of his study, but also in the company of others. He understood that the work of preaching and teaching requires the steadfast suffering of careful thinking.

John Yates is the rector of Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. He served as John Stott’s study assistant from 1996 to 1999

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2021/april-web-only/john-stott-100-pain-in-mind-balanced-biblical-christianity.html

Some Books By John Stott

The Cross of Christ:

https://www.amazon.com/Cross-Christ-John-Stott/dp/083083320X/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=John+Stott&qid=1620083222&sr=8-2

The Message of the Sermon on the Mount:

https://www.amazon.com/Message-Sermon-Mount-Bible-Speaks/dp/0830824235/ref=sr_1_10?dchild=1&keywords=John+Stott&qid=1620083268&sr=8-10

Your Mind Matters:

https://www.amazon.com/Your-Mind-Matters-Christian-Classics/dp/0830834087/ref=sr_1_18?dchild=1&keywords=John+Stott&qid=1620083268&sr=8-18

Between Two Worlds: (excellent book on how to preach)

https://www.amazon.com/Between-Two-Worlds-John-Stott/dp/0802875521/ref=sr_1_13?dchild=1&keywords=John+Stott&qid=1620083268&sr=8-13