Episode 200

Disciple Up #200
Looking Back To Look Forward
By Louie Marsh, 2-24-2021

Intro – Open, then play the opening of episode #1.

The Value of History – a Christian view of history – watching God and man act, as God slowly works out his plan for the age in spite of our sin and folly.

First Episode Discussion of the word Disciple

DISCIPLE

(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).

42And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”” (Matthew 10:42, ESV)

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).

The disciple of Christ today may be described in the words of Farrar, as “one who believes His doctrines, rests upon His sacrifice, imbibes His spirit, and imitates His example.”

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.”

Thoughts on: Personal Relationship with Jesus Christ

  • What does this mean to me?
  • What does this mean to my listeners?
  • How can I improve on this – how can I communicate this better?

 THE “DISCIPLE UP LOW DOWN” From Ep. 1

The Low Down on the “Christian Ghetto.”

When it comes to engaging culture as a Disciple or followers of Jesus there’s several errors that we see over and over again in church history. You can sum them up in three words – Capitulation, Isolation, Communication.

Capitulation.

This is probably the most common response of the church to culture. It’s common because it’s unconscious. We are so absorbed by our culture that we don’t even see how we are surrendering the Gospel to the culture. You can see this in the church of the south that taught slavery for blacks was God’s will. You can see it in the churches in Germany who supported Hitler. Today we see this in churches that almost automatically accept and seek to advance whatever the cause of the moment is. From women’s lib to ecology all the way to gay marriage it’s most common in theologically liberal churches but can be seen everywhere as well.

Isolation is the exact opposite of Capitulation. This occurred quickly in church history. All the monks and people who fled into the desert to live alone or in a small community are examples of this.  All of the pole sitting monks – like Simon the Stylite (now a saint in the Catholic church) who lived on top of a pole for decades. They were known as Pillar Saints and were deemed holy because they disengaged from their culture as much as possible. Ironically in so doing they created their own culture of asceticism. Links on this in the show notes on Discipleup.org.

Isolation comes in degrees of course. There aren’t many people who can completely disengage and live in a monastery.  But we can create a subculture within our own and that’s exactly what we do. We have Christian versions of just about any business you can think of. From Christian music, books and movies, to Christian stores, people are pressured to only partake of those and shun all the bad stuff the world is putting out.

Steve Taylor captured this brilliantly in his song, “Guilty By Association” on his Meltdown album way back in 1984 – when they still made albums by the way –  when he said…

“Only drink milk from a Christian Cow”… what else can I say to that but halle-moooo-yah! Links to Steve’s music are in the show notes at discipleup.org.

My name for this is the Christian Ghetto. By cutting ourselves off from the culture we make it all but impossible to obey Christ’s commands to “make disciples.” Now you might respond, “Hey if we build it they will come.” I say not only is that unscriptural but it’s been tried for centuries and has failed for centuries as well!

And then there’s communication. This of course is what we’re supposed to be doing. Being in the world but not of it. Engaging our culture, understand and taking part in it when and where we can with a clear conscience. Being light in the ever increasing darkness instead of hiding our light under a basket that’s hidden inside our little Christian Ghetto.

Communication is rare because it’s hard and complicated. We won’t always agree with each other about what we should be doing. How do we show our world that God loves them but does not approve of what they do?

We must engage and engage with them in way that they find meaningful. If that makes us feel uncomfortable then that’s the price we must pay to really love the world that way Jesus does. The incarnation and redemption on the cross was anything but comfortable or acceptable for that matter.

If we really are followers of Jesus then we must be willing to go to any length to, in the words of an old hymn, “Rescue the perishing, care for the dying, Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.”

In the end engaging the culture isn’t about the culture or you and me at all. It’s all about them, those outside of Christ. They are ones we must bring to Jesus. Their souls are what’s at stake. We cannot and will not be able to do that if we choose to remain safe, sound and comfortable in our little Christian Ghettos.

So disciple – are you willing to Disciple Up, what are you willing to do to rescue the perishing?

And that’s my Disciple Up Low Down on the Christian Ghetto. Let me know what you think by e-mailing me at louie@discipleup.org.

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Episode 199

Disciple Up # 199
Mercy, Tolerance & the Loss of Focus
By Louie Marsh, 2-17-2021

 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Matthew 5:7 (ESV)

Synonyms for merciful according to Thesarus.com:

Charitable, compassionate, forgiving, gracious, humane, lenient, beneficent, bleeding heart, indulgent, liberal, softhearted, tenderhearted, tolerant.

To Stay focused I must think MATURELY.

20Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.” (1 Corinthians 14:20, ESV)

8For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. 9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8–9, ESV)

Three Ways Not to Think:

 Tribally

  • Emotionally
  • Faddishly

3) I need to learn how to think 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).

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

Our first impulse should not be to either accept or reject but to test!

Word test here is one of Paul’s favorites. It was used of testing coins or metals in order to see whether they were genuine and of full weight.

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)

  I become merciful through Jesus’ GIFT OF MERCY.

 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Matthew 5:7 (ESV)

God is angry at my sin (so I need mercy) because he’s a God of love, not because he isn’t.

18  Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. Micah 7:18 (NIV)

I don’t want to accept this because I’ll lose control of my life.

 16  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16 (ESV)

You will never feel accepted till you know you are accepted at your worse.

I admit I’m dying for acceptance – unconditional acceptance – that can come only from God.

I give the mercy I received from Jesus but do not deserve to others because I know I don’t deserve it.

4)I FREELY GIVE to others the mercy I receive but do not deserve from Jesus

 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Matthew 5:7 (ESV)

Shyness and bragging are both gone.

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Episode 197

Disciple Up # 197
A Disciple’s Identity Pt. 4: Staying Hungry!
(Plus the Coup In Burma)
By Louie Marsh, 2-3-2021

1)    I seek God’s righteousness NOT MY OWN since I have forsaken self.

 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.  Matthew 5:6 (ESV)

 This is the key stone in the arch of the Beatitudes. A Christian mourns his own righteousness and seeks that which only comes from Jesus. If I have His righteousness then no one else’s matters

21  But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22  the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: Romans 3:21-22 (ESV)

  • What is righteousness? Righteousness = approved; Rightness = accepted
  • I don’t hunger for BLESSINGSbut for righteousness.

We hunger for a righteousness we don’t have. It is not our own.

  • This cannot be part of my character if I’m a moralist.

Moralist – very upright, smug, self-righteous

Christian – meek and moral, humble and at peace with God and others

Moralists can do the first 3 beatitudes but not the 4th.

2)    My hunger is huge – I want ALL GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Accusative case here = whole loaf

Genitive = of  – this mean perfect righteousness not just partial.

21  so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 5:21 (ESV)

30  And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 1 Corinthians 1:30 (ESV)

35  Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. John 6:35 (ESV)

We all sense the truth of this passage before we’re taught to ignore it.

Article Sited:

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2021/january/covid-19-religion-survey-pew-pandemic-strengthened-faith.html

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Episode 193

Disciple Up #193
The Disciple’s Identity Part 3: The Mighty Meek
By Louie Marsh, 1-6-2021

 INTRO: What’s happening, where from here? Etc. 200th episode coming up! I am on Parlor – @discipleup.   Previous Disciple’s Identity – Episodes 185, 188.

 5“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5, ESV)

 Meek Not Weak

The meek (οἱ πραεις [hoi praeis]). Wycliff has it “Blessed be mild men.”

The ancients used the word for outward conduct and towards men. They did not rank it as a virtue anyhow. It was a mild equanimity that was sometimes negative and sometimes positively kind.

But Jesus lifted the word to a nobility never attained before. In fact, the Beatitudes assume a new heart, for the natural man does not find in happiness the qualities mentioned here by Christ.

The English word “meek” has largely lost the fine blend of spiritual poise and strength meant by the Master.

It is the gentleness of strength.  –  Real tough guys don’t act tough, they don’t have too. Special Forces guys I know – Marine Raiders!

Robertson, A. T. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament (Mt 5:5). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.

My strengths are my weaknesses.

The Christian word, on the contrary, describes an inward quality, and that as related primarily to God. The equanimity, mildness, kindness, represented by the classical word, are founded in self-control or in natural disposition. The Christian meekness is based on humility, which is not a natural quality but an outgrowth of a renewed nature. To the pagan the word often implied condescension, to the Christian it implies submission. The Christian quality in its manifestation, reveals all that was best in the heathen virtue—mildness, gentleness, equanimity—but these manifestations toward men are emphasized as outgrowths of a spiritual relation to God. – Vincent, M. R. (1887). Word studies in the New Testament (Vol. 1, p. 37). New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

1) Meekness is great strength under the total control of another.

29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29, ESV)

3Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth.” (Numbers 12:3, ESV)

All of His great strength – the power of God – was under the control of another – the Father!

2) Meekness is the result of confessing our spiritual poverty, mourning it, and receiving in power God’s Kingdom and Comfort.

a, Remember the Spirit is the Comforter.

3) The Meek – I RELY on & LIVE THRU God’s Power alone.

 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5 (ESV)

11  But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace. Psalm 37:11 (ESV)

  • I find God’s Power in the HOLY SPIRIT ALONE.

 And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me;  for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”… But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:4-5; 8 (ESV)

14  And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. Luke 4:14 (ESV)

Inherit the Earth:

By “the earth” (την γην [tēn gēn]) Jesus seems to mean the Land of Promise (Psa. 37:11) though Bruce thinks that it is the whole earth. Can it be the solid earth as opposed to the sea or the air? –

Which brings us to the promise of verse 5 – inherit the earth.

  • Meek get it because we’ll still be here after all those not in the Kingdom are long gone!
  • Meek have the earth now, because they’re the only ones who really know how to enjoy it.

These pre-Christian meanings of the word exhibit two general characteristics:

  1. They express outward conduct merely.
  2. They contemplate relations to men only.

 A huge Theme of the Sermon on the Mount and Jesus Ministry and Christianity in general is going below the surface.

We are always tempted to use only measurable items -outward, things that can be seen – to gauge growth.

Jesus drives straight into the heart.

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.” (Matthew 5:21–22, ESV)

27“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

 Keep the Context of heart in mind

  29If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.” (Matthew 5:27–30, ESV)

34And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. 35So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”” (Matthew 18:34–35, ESV)

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Episode 189

Disciple Up #189
Celebrity Pastors
By Louie Marsh, 12-10-2020

Article Link:

https://www.christianitytoday.com/pastors/2020/december-web-exclusives/celebrity-pastor-entitlement-church-culture-humility.html

Celebrity Definition:

1the state of being celebrated FAME The actress lived a life of celebrity.

2a famous or celebrated person. Many celebrities attended the awards ceremony.

Given that definition the Pope is a celebrity, Billy Graham was the biggest Christian celebrity of the last century, etc.

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Episode 188

Disciple Up # 188
A Disciple’s Identity Pt. 2 – Mourning
By Louie Marsh, 12-2-2020

Intro. First in this series was back in Episode 185. Today we’ll continue with part two.

4“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4, ESV)

  1. I) THE ROCK BOTTOM REALITY
  2. A) Blessed.

1, Can be translated “Happy”, but that is misleading, since happiness is a subjective emotion dependent on circumstances

2, In the Bible blessing is something a greater does for a lesser, it is an objective reality, and it’s given as a gift it’s not earned.

3, Perhaps the best way to think of blessed is the translation “Congratulations.”

a, Jesus is saying that God thinks these things are good, even tho we might disagree!

  1. II) Happy Are the Unhappy?

                     1, This follows on the heels of the 1st Beatitude and can only be understood in light of it.

2, Once we see and confess our spiritual poverty, that isn’t the end of it.

a, We are also called to mourn over it.

b, The extent of sin in our lives should be a cause of great grief to us.

3, In our rush to become “Happy Christians” we usually rush past this and hurt ourselves in several ways…

a, We make light of sin, and never take the time to see how deep it’s hold on us really is.

b, By papering over our weaknesses we set ourselves up for future failure.

c, By belittling sin we also never really understand the true extent of God’s comfort – His Grace.

Those who Mourn – I ADMIT my problem is sin.

 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:4 (ESV)

Problems are spiritual and in the Bible spiritual problems are called sin. Sin is my core problem in life and it impacts everything.

I must admit it’s sin! Like a 4 year old child who refuses to hold his parents hand to cross the street and instead darts out into traffic. The child dies because he refused to admit he needed his parents to control and guide him.

  • Spiritual mourning is REPENTANCE.

10  For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. 2 Corinthians 7:10 (ESV)

  • I can go two ways with this:

o   Focus on SELF – God has forgiven me but I can’t forgive myself.

This is self pity

o   Focus on JESUS – forgiven, lifted up, empowered

 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? Romans 2:4 (ESV)

COMFORTED

A form of the word Jesus used for the Helper or Comforter in John:

16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16–17, ESV)

So we are comforted not by mere words or emotions, but by the presence and ministry of the Spirit of God Himself.

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Episode 185

Disciple Up # 185
A Disciple’s Identity, Pt. 1
By Louie Marsh, 11-11-2020

Intro.

This is coming out on Veteran’s Day – November 11th so Thank You!

1) Jesus tells me what it TAKES & MEANS to be His disciple.

1  Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. Matthew 5:1 (ESV)

In Greek THE mountain – the Sinai of the NT

2) He begins by describing WHO & WHAT real disciples of Jesus are.

2  And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: 3  “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4  “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5  “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 6  “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7  “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. 8  “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9  “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Matthew 5:2-9 (ESV)

A new view of the Beatitudes.

Jesus begins the SOTM by vision casting who and what authentic disciples of him really are. All true disciples already have these characteristics. To one degree or another. No perfectionism here.

The Beatitudes contain:

  • No VERBS
  • In the 3RD PERSON
  • No COMMANDS OR APPLICATION

What are they?

  • They are simply a description of
  • They form a circle

1st Beatitude blessed are ____ theirs IS

2nd – 7thSHALL

8thIS

Is exists now, shall is a promise of something to come at some point in the future

We are in the Kingdom NOW it’s benefits will come to us, but note we are not told when.

  • The last beatitude is repeated as a transition point.

 10  “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11  “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:10-12 (ESV)

3) God’s TRANSFORMATION of me is the real blessing.

Blessed – used 55 times in the NT. Used of outward prosperity and of the gods themselves in the Greek. Yet it’s not the common Greek word for happy which isn’t found in the NT. In the Bible there’s a moral and spiritual dimension added to it.

13  And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!” Revelation 14:13 (ESV)

17  If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. John 13:17 (ESV)

11  in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted. 1 Timothy 1:11 (ESV)

Many scholars translate it as happy. One well know Christian author and Pastor, and former chaplain of the US Senate Lloyd John Ogilvie said it should be translated “Congratulations!”

Test both out –

The glory of the happy God  The glory of the congratulated God

Happy are the poor in spirit – Congratulations you poor in spirit!

4) To really follow Jesus I must ABANDON myself.

3  “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3 (ESV)

Poor = extreme poverty. Think starving people in refugee camp kind of poverty.

  • Discipleship means I push back against our culture’s SELFISM .

34  And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. Mark 8:34-35 (ESV)

A radical departure from our culture of selfism.

Selfism = believe in yourself, etc.

American Culture more than most tells us that life is manageable if only we try hard enough, get educated enough etc. That’s a lie. Thinking will power will get you through is a lie as well. Will power becomes won’t power quick enough.

  • 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)

Cultures mixed message on self – need self-esteem, self-motivation. Everyone sends you all sorts of things saying “you’ve got this,” “Believe in yourself.”  People are urged to “find themselves.”

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.

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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Episode 183

Disciple Up # 183
When God Speaks…Listen!
By Louie Marsh, 10-29-2020

Intro.  Thoughts on last week’s episode – No Place for Repentance? Sad that many leave their hidden sin as their legacy.

There are at least three times in the New Testament when God seems to have been rude to the Apostle Peter.  Three times when God interrupted and silenced Peter to make a point.  What was so important that God decided to act like this?  Let’s find out.

I) The Content of Christianity

 About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.
Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.
Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters–one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.)
While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.”
When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves, and told no one at that time what they had seen. Luke 9:28-36 (NIV)

 A) The Three Figures

1, Moses = the Law

2, Elijah = the prophets

3, Jesus = the New Covenant

  1. B) Peter Vs. God

1, Peter saw all three as equal and valued them that way

2, God set Jesus above them all

16“The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it.” (Luke 16:16, ESV)

The law and the prophets—till John; from then on the kingdom of God is being preached as good news, and everyone is energetically pressing into it[1]

  1. C) Christianity’s Content

1, Christ is superior to all and everything

a, That’s the whole point of the book of Hebrews!

2, To be a Christian is to realize and confess that Jesus outshines and rules over everything!

II) The Foundation of Christianity 16:13-23

 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”  They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.  And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.  I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.
From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”
Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”  Matthew 16:13-23 (NIV)

  1. A) The Divinity of Christ

1, Jesus was either Who He claimed to be – God

a, Or He was a liar or insane!

  1. B) No Compromise!

1, Compromise is a good way to solve problems!

a, But there are some things that you can’t compromise!

2, You cannot compromise on Christ’s identify

a, If we lose this – we lose the entire point and meaning of His life and teachings!

  1. C) Living This Truth

1, Obey Him!!!

a, If He really is God that’s the least we can do!!

2, Don’t argue so much!

a, It’s good to let it all hang out with the Lord.

b, One sign of spiritual growth is when I argue less and trust more!

III) The Sphere of Christianity  Acts 10: 41-48

 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen–by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.  He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead.
All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.
The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles.
For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.”
So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.
Acts 10:41-48 (NIV)

 A) Not An Exclusive Club!

1, Not just for Jews – or the spiritual

2, But for Everybody!

  1. B) God Love Everyone

1, There can be no place for bigotry in the Christian faith!

2, That includes all types of bigotry – racial, cultural, educational, religious, etc.

  1. C) We Are All One In Christ

1, the more we realize this – the quicker the world will be won!

[1] Lenski, R. C. H. (1961). The Interpretation of St. Luke’s Gospel (p. 839). Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House.

 

 

Episode 175

Disciple Up #175
Christian Men – Man Up!
By Louie Marsh, 9-2-2020

Coming Up – Hebrews

75th anniversary of the signing of the surrender accords on the USS Missouri.

Future episodes topics

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/august-web-only/why-women-read-bible-more.html

https://www.google.com/search?q=halee+gray+scott&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS791US791&oq=HALEE+GRAY+SCOTT&aqs=chrome.0.0j46j0.545j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

https://www.amazon.com/Gay-Girl-Good-God-Always/dp/1462751229/?tag=christtoday-20

https://sotb.research.bible/

Please Get In Touch!

Email – louie@discipleup.org

 


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Episode 174

 Disciple Up #174
Stupid Things Christians Say Pt 4
God Helps Those Who Help Themselves
By Louie Marsh, 8-26-2020

Intro.  It looks like I’ll be doing Hebrews, haven’t decided yet but am close.

The phrase “God helps those who help themselves” is a motto that emphasizes the importance of self-initiative and agency. The expression is still famous around the globe and used to inspire people for self-help. The phrase originated in ancient Greece as “the Gods help those who help themselves” and may originally have been proverbial. It is illustrated by two of Aesop’s Fables and a similar sentiment is found in ancient Greek drama. Although it has been commonly attributed to Benjamin Franklin, the modern English wording appears earlier in Algernon Sidney’s work.

 

The phrase is often mistaken as a scriptural quote, though it is not stated verbatim in the Bible. Some Christians have criticized the expression as being contrary to the Bible’s message of God’s grace. A variant of the phrase can also be found in the Quran (13:11).

 

Prevailing views

The belief that this is a phrase that occurs in the Bible, or is even one of the Ten Commandments, is common in the United States. The beliefs of Americans regarding this phrase and the Bible has been studied by Christian demographer and pollster George Barna of The Barna Group. To the statement “The Bible teaches that God helps those who help themselves”; 53% of Americans agree strongly, 22% agree somewhat, 7% disagree somewhat, 14% disagree strongly, and 5% stated they don’t know.

 

Of “born-again” Christians 68% agreed, and 81% of non “born-again” Christians agreed with the statement. In a February 2000 poll, 53% strongly agreed and 22% agreed somewhat that the Bible teaches the phrase. Of the 14 questions asked, this was the least biblical response, according to Barna. A poll in the late 1990s showed the majority (81%) believe the concept is taught by the Bible, another stating 82%.

 

Despite being of non-Biblical origin the phrase topped a poll of the most widely known Bible verses. Seventy-five percent of American teenagers said they believed that it was the central message of the Bible.

 

Barna critiques this as evidence of Americans’ unfamiliarity with the Bible. He said,  It “suggests a spiritual self-reliance inconsistent with Christianity” according to David Kinnaman, vice president of the Barna Research Group. Christian minister Erwin Lutzer argues there is some support for this saying in the Bible (2 Thessalonians 3:10, James 4:8); however, much more often God helps those who cannot help themselves, which is what grace is about (the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican, Ephesians 2:4–5, Romans 4:4–5). The statement is often criticized as espousing a Semi-Pelagian model of salvation, which most Christians denounce as heresy.

 

SemiPelagianism is a Christian theological and soteriological school of thought on salvation. Semipelagian thought stands in contrast to the earlier Pelagian teaching about salvation, the Pelagianism (in which people achieve their own salvation by their own means), which had been dismissed as heresy.

 

The Persians

The sentiment appears in several ancient Greek tragedies. Sophocles, in his Philoctetes (c. 409 BC), wrote, “No good e’er comes of leisure purposeless; And heaven ne’er helps the men who will not act.”

 

Euripides, in the Hippolytus (428 BC), mentions that, “Try first thyself, and after call in God; For to the worker God himself lends aid.” In his Iphigeneia in Tauris, Orestes says, “I think that Fortune watcheth o’er our lives, surer than we. But well said: he who strives will find his gods strive for him equally.”

 

A similar version of this saying “God himself helps those who dare” better translated as “divinity helps those who dare” “audentes deus ipse iuuat” comes from Ovid, Metamorphoses, 10.586. The phrase is spoken by Hippomenes when contemplating whether to enter a foot race against Atalanta for her hand in marriage. If Hippomenes were to lose, however, he would be killed. Hippomenes decides to challenge Atalanta to a race and, with the aid of Venus, Hippomenes was able to win the race.

 

The same concept is found in the fable of Hercules and the Wagoner, first recorded by Babrius in the 1st century AD. In it, a wagon falls into a ravine, or in later versions becomes mired, but when its driver appeals to Hercules for help, he is told to get to work himself. Aesop is also credited with a similar fable about a man who calls on the goddess Athena for help when his ship is wrecked and is advised to try swimming first. It has been conjectured that both stories were created to illustrate an already existing proverb.

 

The French author Jean de La Fontaine also adapted the first of these fables as Le chartier embourbé (Fables VI.18) and draws the moral Aide-toi, le ciel t’aidera (Help yourself and Heaven will help you too). A little earlier, George Herbert had included “Help thyself, and God will help thee” in his proverb collection, Jacula Prudentum (1651). But it was the English political theorist Algernon Sidney who originated the now familiar wording, “God helps those who help themselves”, apparently the first exact rendering of the phrase. Benjamin Franklin later used it in his Poor Richard’s Almanack (1736) and has been widely quoted.

 

Islamic texts

A passage with similar sentiments can be found in the Quran:

Indeed Allah will not change the conditions of a population until they change what is in themselves.  Qur’an 13:11

 

It has a different meaning in that it implies that helping oneself is a prerequisite for expecting the help of God.

 

Trust in God But Tie Your Camel is an Arab proverb with a similar meaning. It is also one of the reported sayings of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. According to Tirmidhi, one day Mohammed noticed a Bedouin leaving his camel without tying it. He asked the Bedouin, “Why don’t you tie down your camel?” The Bedouin answered, “I placed my trust in Allah.” At that, Mohammed said, “Tie your camel and place your trust in Allah.”

 

Other historical uses

The French society Aide-toi, le ciel t’aidera (Help yourself and Heaven will help you too) played an important role in bringing about the July Revolution of 1830 in France.

 

Aide-toi et Dieu t’aidera (Help yourself, and God will help you) was the motto on the ship’s wheel of the famous UK-built Confederate sea raider CSS Alabama, captained by Raphael Semmes during the American Civil War.

 

Prevalence and assessment

The phrase is often quoted to emphasize the importance of taking initiative. There is also a relationship to the Parable of the Faithful Servant, and the Parable of the Ten Virgins, which has a similar eschatological theme: be prepared for the day of reckoning. However, the argument has been made that this is a non-Biblical concept. That’s what it is.

 

Christian Scripture

While the term does not appear verbatim in Christian scriptures, these passages are used to suggest an ethic of reliance on God.

 

Colossians 3:23 – Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.

Deuteronomy 28:8 – The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to.

Proverbs 13:4 – The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.

Proverbs 21:31 – The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord.

Matthew 5:3-4 – God blesses those who realize their need for him; and who mourn will be comforted.

I Timothy 5:8 – If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Reliance upon God is not mentioned but is strongly implied.

 

Conversely, instances where Jesus served or healed someone would be evidence of God helping those who cannot help themselves. (See Mark 6:34; Mark 1:30-31; and Mark 10:46-52.)

 

The Real Issue:

 

Are you talking about Salvation or living life every day?

 

If you’re talking about Salvation then you are completely off of what Scripture says and are expounding a heresy.

 

3  For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” 4  Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5  And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 6  just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: 7  “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; 8  blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” Romans 4:3-8 (ESV)

 

Mormon view – saved by works, and God fills in whatever gaps are left if you’ve done well.

 

“For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.”

2 Nephi 25:23 [Book of Mormon]

 

If you are talking about living life then you may have a kernel of truth.

 

For while life must be lived in the Spirit and by the power of God, we are also called upon to have faith and to take the initiative.

 

Proverbs 6:10-12 – A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.

Proverbs 12:11 – He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment.

Proverbs 12:24 – Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor.

 

Just because I’m working hard doesn’t mean I’m not also trusting God!

 

Paul may say it best here:

 

28  Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29  For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. Colossians 1:28-29 (ESV)

 

But this message is spread throughout the Bible.

 

10  “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 (NASB)

Please Get In Touch!

Email – louie@discipleup.org

 


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