Episode 150

Disciple Up #150
A Christian Response to the Coronavirus
By Louie Marsh, 3-11-2020

Links To Articles:

https://dashhouse.com/whether-one-may-flee-from-a-deadly-ministry/

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/january-web-only/martin-luther-coronavirus-wuhan-chinese-new-year-christians.html

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2020/march/craig-groeschel-lifechurch-quarantined-coronavirus.html

https://banneroftruth.org/us/resources/articles/2020/a-christian-response-to-the-corona-virus/

Things that Should (But Don’t) Go Without Saying:

  • We should be praying for those impacted by this disease
  • We should be doing what we can, either directly by helping, or indirectly by giving, to help those impacted by this disease.
  • We should use our brains and do what is reasonable to take care of ourselves and avoid getting this disease.
  • We should help others stay healthy, if any need that help, and help spread the truth about this disease.

The Real Issue – FEAR!

26  “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27  What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 28  And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29  Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. Matthew 10:26-29 (ESV)

14  For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15  For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16  The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17  and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. Romans 8:14-17 (ESV)

7  for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV)

5  For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6  as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. 1 Peter 3:5-6 (ESV)

14  But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 1 Peter 3:14 (ESV)

18  There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 1 John 4:18 (ESV)

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Episode 148

148 Disciple Up
Hope Against Hope
By Louie Marsh, 2-26-2020

Recent events have caused this phrase to echo through my mind quite often lately.

I hope against hope that a few meager words spoken on a Sunday morning will heal a marriage, mend a troubled mind or motivate someone to respond to the Word of God.

I hope against hope that an hour’s counsel will help someone begin to overcome a life time of running and hiding from their inner monsters.

I hope against hope that this new class or that new program or this new book will finally cause the hearts of the people in my church to catch fire for Christ.

Hope against hope.

In a way I guess you could say this describes what we Ministers do for a living. We are called and paid to hope against hope – and to never stop doing so!

After hearing this echoing around in my mind, I checked and found out some interesting info on what this means and where it comes from on Dictionary.com.

hope against hope

Hope or wish for with little reason or justification, as in I’m hoping against hope that someone will return my wallet. This expression, based on the biblical “Who against hope believed in hope” (Romans 4:18), was first recorded in 1813.

 

Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Here’s verse in the NIV – Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Romans 4:18 (NIV)

The story of Abraham and Sarah is one of the great examples of faith in the Bible, and is often presented that way as it should be. But I want to point out to you that It’s also a prime example of hope as well.

Hope against hope – hope that God will work in spite of most of the evidence pointing to the contrary. Hope that with God’s help tomorrow can be better, a marriage can grow and heal and thrive. Hope that a child can learn and turn from sin back to God.

Hope, hope, hope – and hope is almost always pitted against itself. We hope against hope. God calls us to, in the words of the late, great Mark Heard, “withstand the winds of time,” and the winds of culture, opinion and the devil as well!

And of course we have to hope against the evidence of our eyes as well. Just because things look hopeless doesn’t mean they are! Indeed God “…is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, Ephesians 3:20 (NIV)

I love how Peterson paraphrased this verse in the Message. Read it, and then read it again, letting it sink into your heart.

20  God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. Ephesians 3:20 (MSG)

When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do. And so he was made father of a multitude of peoples. God himself said to him, “You’re going to have a big family, Abraham!” Romans 4:18 (MSG)

That’s hope against hope all right!

It’s deciding not to live on the basis of what I quite correctly know I can’t do – and instead live life based on what God has said He will do!

Wow – what a liberating thought!

Or as we call it in Celebrate Recovery – Principles One & Two

Principle One: Realize I’m not God. I admit I’m powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanageable.

Principle Two: Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him, and that He has the power to help me recover.

So, go ahead, hope against hope today!

May I live today on the basis of what God has said He’ll do – not on the basis of my helplessness!

During his time in a Nazi prison, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote to his friend Eberhard Bethge that he was neither a pessimist (expecting things to get worse) nor an optimist (expecting things to get better). He said that he was living by hope.

Hope! One of three foundational forces—faith, hope, and love—that St. Paul said “remains” when everything else goes belly-up.

 I find Bonhoeffer’s allusion to hope as an alternative to optimism or pessimism to be insightful and inspirational. He has identified a biblical idea that I think sometimes gets lost in the shuffle.

SESSION ONE:

Know the Power of Hope.

 3 Graces to  MOTIVATE ME.

 1) FAITH

We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith… 1 Thes. 1:3a

Work = a job or task

  • Faith BRINGS US INTO SALVATION.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith— Eph. 2:8a

 Faith LOOKS BACK.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

 Faith always PRODUCES ACTION.

As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. James 2:26

2) LOVE

… your labor prompted by love… I Thess. 1:3b

labor = to cut, beat and used of working bread dough

 Love is my response TO GOD’S LOVE FOR ME!

We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19

 Love LOOKS AT THE NOW.

 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 1 John 3:17

  • Love keeps me going THROUGH THE TOUGH TASKS.

 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18

3) HOPE

 and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thes. 1:3c

 Hope keeps me from GIVING UP.

 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4

 Hope LOOKS AHEAD.

 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8:24-25

  • Hope is JUST AS IMPORTANT as faith & Love.

 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)

But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Galatians 5:5-6 (NIV)

because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints– the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel  Colossians 1:4-5 (NIV)

let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:22-24 (NIV)

But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.
1 Thessalonians 5:8 (NIV)

  • How To REMAIN HOPEFUL.

Renew your relationship with God daily

my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon–from Mount Mizar. Psalm 42:6 (NIV)

Why are you discouraged, my soul? Why are you so restless? Put your hope in God, because I will still praise him. He is my savior and my God. Psalm 42:5 (GW)

We encourage you, brothers and sisters, to instruct those who are not living right, cheer up those who are discouraged, help the weak, and be patient with everyone. 1 Thessalonians 5:14 (GW)

David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished. 1 Chronicles 28:20 (NIV)

Maintain Fellowship with Believers

But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, 2 Corinthians 7:6 (NIV)

for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philippians 1:19-21 (NIV)

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Episode 132

Disciple Up #132 Show Notes
Suffering & Keeping the Faith
By Louie Marsh, 10-30-2019

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2019/october/rankin-wilbourne-brian-gregor-cross-before-me-jesus.html

 

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2019/october/tobymac-son-truett-foster-mckeehan-21-dies.html

 

https://www.christianitytoday.com/

Taken from The Cross Before Me: Reimagining the Way to the Good Life by Rankin Wilbourne and Brian Gregor, ©2019. Used by permission of David C Cook.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Ephesians 5: 25-33 (NIV)

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Episode 126

Disciple Up #126
Faith – What It Is & What It Isn’t
By Louie Marsh

Photo used in cover art by Alex Radelich on Unsplash

International Podcast Day live broadcast on YouTube will be on September 30th at 6:00 PM, Arizona Time, which is the same (till the time change) as California Time. Hope you’ll join me then.

An E-Mail Poured In!

 Check out the following Episodes for more information

 Faithfulness – http://discipleup.org/episode-71/

1  Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 (ESV)

WHAT IS FAITH?

Key to this passage is verse 27 –

27  By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. Hebrews 11:27 (NIV)

27  by faith he left Egypt behind, not having been afraid of the wrath of the king, for, as seeing the Invisible One–he endured; Hebrews 11:27 (YLT)

where Moses “saw” what was invisible, that’s faith – apprehending what you cannot perceive by the five senses – it’s a way of looking at your entire universe and life, both visible and invisible and understand that God is present and active there. Like Moses we must hold to this in spite of evidence that seems to say He’s not there.

 

Faith is the ground upon which all real life and wisdom and relationships must be built – otherwise we are like the foolish man who built on the sand. Matt 7:24-27

1  Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 (ESV)

Hebrews 11:1

Faith

Without the article, indicating that it is treated in its abstract conception, and not merely as Christian faith. It is important that the preliminary definition should be clearly understood, since the following examples illustrate it. The key is furnished by v. 27, as seeing him who is invisible. Faith apprehends as a real fact what is not revealed to the senses. It rests on that fact, acts upon it, and is upheld by it in the face of all that seems to contradict it. Faith is a real seeing.

Substance

in describing the nature of the Son as the image or impress of God’s essential being: but in this sense it is applied to faith, which is an act of the moral intelligence directed at an object; or a condition which sustains a certain relation to the object. It cannot be said that faith is substantial being. It apprehends reality: it is that to which the unseen objects of hope become real and substantial. Assurance gives the true idea. It is the firm grasp of faith on unseen fact.

Now faith is (estin de pistis). He has just said that “we are of faith” (Hebrews 10:39), not of apostasy. Now he proceeds in a chapter of great eloquence and passion to illustrate his point by a recital of the heroes of faith whose example should spur them to like loyalty now.

The assurance of things hoped for (elpizomenon hupostasis). Hupostasis is a very common word from Aristotle on and comes from huphistemi (hupo, under, histemi, intransitive), what stands under anything (a building, a contract, a promise). See the philosophical use of it in Hebrews 1:3, the sense of assurance (une assurance certaine, M‚n‚goz) in Hebrews 3:14, that steadiness of mind which holds one firm (2 Cor. 9:4). It is common in the papyri in business documents as the basis or guarantee of transactions. “And as this is the essential meaning in Hebrews 11:1 we venture to suggest the translation ‘Faith is the title-deed of things hoped for'” (Moulton and Milligan, Vocabulary, etc.).

Evidence

conviction… adds to the simple idea of assurance a suggestion of influences operating to produce conviction which carry the force of demonstration. The word often signifies a process of proof or demonstration. So von Soden: “a being convinced. Therefore not a rash, feebly-grounded hypothesis, a dream of hope, the child of a wish.”

The proving of things not seen (pragmaton elegchos ou blepomenon). The only N.T. example of elegchos (except Textus Receptus in 2 Tim. 3:16 for elegmon). Old and common word from elegcho (Matthew 18:15) for “proof” and then for “conviction.” Both uses occur in the papyri and either makes sense here, perhaps “conviction” suiting better though not in the older Greek.  —Word Pictures in the New Testament

Faith is to believe what we do not see, and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe. – Augustine

Hebrews 1:3

3  He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, Hebrews 1:3 (ESV)

Rend the very image (or impress) of his substance The primary sense of ὑπόστασις substance is something which stands underneath; foundation, ground of hope or confidence, and so assurance itself. In a philosophical sense, substantial nature; the real nature of anything which underlies and supports its outward form and properties.  – Word Studies in the New Testament.

4  Otherwise, if some Macedonians come with me and find that you are not ready, we would be humiliated—to say nothing of you—for being so confident. 2 Corinthians 9:4 (ESV)

17  What I am saying with this boastful confidence, I say not as the Lord would but as a fool. 2 Corinthians 11:17 (ESV)

Hebrews 11:2

What is Faith?

1) Faith Is…

Now faith is the title deed of things hoped for, proof of things which are not being seen. For by means of this [namely, faith] the elders had witness borne them. By means of faith we perceive that the material universe and the God-appointed ages of time  were equipped and fitted by God’s word for the purpose  for which they were intended, and it follows therefore that which we see did not come into being out of which is visible. Hebrews 11:1-3 (Wuest’s Expanded Trans.)

  • My Assurance of Stability

 to faith, which is an act of the moral intelligence directed at an object; or a condition which sustains a certain relation to the object. It cannot be said that faith is substantial being. It apprehends reality: it is that to which the unseen objects of hope become real and substantial. Assurance gives the true idea. It is the firm grasp of faith on unseen fact. –  Vincent’s

 My Conviction That The Unseen Is Real.

 to the simple idea of assurance a suggestion of influences operating to produce conviction which carry the force of demonstration. The word often signifies a process of proof or demonstration. So von Soden: “a being convinced. – Vincent’s

Faith is to believe what we do not see, and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe. –Augustine

2) Faith is a way of seeing all of life – vs 3

Ages – eons

 Faith is also a way of viewing all experience since it is the way in which believers see the universe (tous aionas, lit., “the ages,” also rendered “the universe” in 1:2) for what it is—a creation by God. – Bible Background Commentary

 God bore witness to them in the victory of their faith over all obstacles, and their characters and deeds as men of faith were recorded in Scripture.—Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament

3) Faith Means I understand that…

  • There is a GOD WHO CREATED THE UNIVERSE.

Famed atheist sees evidence for God, cites recent discoveries

http://www.sbclife.net/article/1228/famed-atheist-sees-evidence-for-god

 

Antony Flew, a legendary British philosopher and atheist, has changed his mind about the existence of God in light of recent scientific evidence.

Flew — a prolific author has argued against the existence of God and the claims of Christianity for more than 50 years.

Flew said he is now best described as a deist — a person who believes God created the universe but is not actively involved in people’s lives today.

“I don’t believe in the God of any revelatory system, although I am open to that,” Flew. But it seems to me that the case for … [a] God who has the characteristics of power and also intelligence is now much stronger than it ever was before.”

Flew credits his newfound belief in God to arguments from design such as those espoused by the “intelligent design” (ID) movement. “I think that the most impressive arguments for God’s existence are those that are supported by recent scientific discoveries,” Flew said. “… I think the argument to Intelligent Design is enormously stronger than it was when I first met it.”

Although many atheists appeal to naturalistic evolution as a method by which the world could have come into existence apart from God, Charles Darwin himself acknowledged that the process of evolution requires a creator to start the process, Flew said.

“Darwin himself, in the fourteenth chapter of The Origin of Species, pointed out that his whole argument began with a being which already possessed reproductive powers,” Flew said. “This is the creature the evolution of which a truly comprehensive theory of evolution must give some account. Darwin himself was well aware that he had not produced such an account.”

While Flew said he does not believe in a God who is active in the lives of humans, he is “open to” the possibility of divine revelation. He also believes that Christians are intellectually justified in holding to their religion and that the resurrection of Jesus has more evidential support than any other reported miracle in history.

“The evidence for the resurrection is better than that for claimed miracles in any other religion,” Flew said. “It’s outstandingly different in quality and quantity, I think, from the evidence offered for the occurrence of most other supposedly miraculous events.”

Despite his belief in the existence of God, Flew said it is unlikely that he will ever become a Christian. The major evidence against the God of Christianity is the problem of evil, Flew said.

“The problem of evil is a problem … for Christians,” Flew said. “The thesis that the universe was created and is sustained by a Being of infinite power and goodness is flatly incompatible with the occurrence of massive undeniable and undenied evils in that universe.”

Flew also argues that God does not have “any preferences … about or any intentions concerning human behavior or about the eternal destinies of human beings.”

WHERE DOES FAITH COME FROM?

Does God give it to us as a gift, are we unable to believe without this gift?

Or is belief in Christ a choice, aided by the Holy Spirit’s ministry but never-the-less my choice?

Some use this passage to teach faith comes from God.

4  But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 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. Ephesians 2:4-9 (ESV)

And that (kai touto). Neuter, not feminine tautē, and so refers not to pistis (feminine) or to charis (feminine also), but to the act of being saved by grace conditioned on faith on our part. Paul shows that salvation does not have its source (ex humōn, out of you) in men, but from God. Besides, it is God’s gift (dōron) and not the result of our work – Word Pictures in the New Testament.

Not faith, but the salvation.  – Word Studies in the New Testament.

If “this” refers to faith then Paul is also saying faith is by grace and not by works so no one can boast. NOT that Salvation is by grace so that no one can boast.

You CAN’T have it both ways, it must refer to one or the other.

How could God command people to believe if they are unable to do it?

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