Why Haven’t I Heard? Pt. 2

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24 ESV)

In The War for American Independence, the colonists rose up and fought against tyranny and for freedom. Their foe was the disciplined, well-equipped and experienced British military, yet the underdog, ragtag militia was victorious. America owes its liberty to the citizen soldier, those who left family and farm to answer the call to battle. It was then and is today: Self-denial and sacrifice are pre-requisites for living a blessed life.

In the previous post we went to the source.  For disciple’s definition, we did not go to a dictionary, a commentary nor did we attend a conference, Instead, we consulted the Bible.

When reading Scripture in context, we discover that “disciple” is closely related in meaning to “soldier.” In the field, sacrifices have to be made by disciples and soldiers alike (ex. Luke 9:57-62). Endurance must be developed by rigorous training. Is this what we learned about discipleship?

Jesus called the disciples to lay down their nets and be fishers of men. Do we agree that discipleship implies “following the Lord” (into battle against his enemy) as well as “learning as we go?” Can a disciple be true to their purpose and remain separated from Jesus’ mission? (1 John 3:8) The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” (NIV)

Discipleship is a means to an end, so what is that end? For Jesus the goal is his glorification (cf. Psalm 110:1). For the disciple, it is knowing that Satan will soon be crushed under their feet (cf. Romans 16:20, Luke 10:18-19).

The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” (Luke 10:17 NIV)

The linkage between Jesus’ purpose and his disciples’ purpose is clear. So we again ask: “How could I not have heard this?” Power over demons, evil spirits in submission to the followers of Jesus, are all these things beyond our reach? Once power over Satan is exercised, who wants to go back to pew sitting?

We realize the good that “the traditional church” has accomplished over the centuries, but good is the enemy of the best. (My Utmost For His Highest, writer Oswald Chambers had a brilliant devotional on this subject.)

This leads to the Bible’s meaning for “church.” In Matthew 16:18, the term is introduced. Since the definition comes from the Son of God, it is as trustworthy as it gets.

Jesus replied,… “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 to 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.” (Matthew 16:17a, 18-19) 

What is missing from the above? Does anything resemble a building used for worship? The absence of a physical building is highly significant. It fits with Jesus’ reply in John 4:19-26. 

In Matthew 16:18, a liberating army makes up the church. The only structure belongs to the enemy. “The gates of Hades” cannot resist the onward push of the church militant.

Does Jesus’ “church” definition suggest an on-going conflict? If not, why the necessity for spiritual armor (Ephesians 6:10-18)? Why then authority to bind and loosen?

In Luke 10 Jesus’ disciples returned with joy (10:17). Since they obeyed, the results were transformational. Here we have the only place in the Bible where we read: Jesus was filled with joy in the Holy Spirit (10:21).

So why is Luke 10:1-21 rarely on the list of sermons? It is likely the teaching does not fit the narrative created to keep people “in church.” Also, Jesus is commanding his disciples to exit the building and enter the harvest field he has prepared (cf. Luke 10:9). For another reason, the Scriptural definition of discipleship and church may be unknown to our leaders.

Understanding discipleship in theoretical terms rather than real terms is like a tiger that never ventured from the zoo. It can still let out a roar, but what good is the roar or the claws or the sharp teeth unless they have on-the-job training?

Why haven’t we heard? Maybe it’s because we haven’t been listening. Now that we know what “disciple” and “church” are about according to Jesus, why not tell others? It could be the beginning of revolution that produces liberty for all.

One Reply to “Why Haven’t I Heard? Pt. 2”

  1. I have been praying for 4 years to have an opportunity to witness to people who knew me When I worked at Bancfroft Neurohealth. I was there for 10 years and worked my way up to program director, but I did not know Jesus as my LORD and SAVIOR. I also did not study Scripture.

    On Tuesday, June 19th, I had a dental cleaning. I was prayed up by my brothers in Christ to have opportunities to share God’s word with my hygienist who is Catholic and loves to talk about God. We spoke for a few minutes and I prayed for her over two situations. She is always gracious and feels God’s presence when we talk.

    Even before I was called back for my appointment, a lady approached me and asked how is was. After a few minutes, I realized that I worked with Keri at Bancroft in the early 2000s. I realized that GOD answered my prayers.

    My response was to give her my testimony and how God was calling me in 2004 and when I was at my lowest in 2007, I asked Jesus to be LORD over every aspect of my life. She was moved and I then shared with her the outreaches our church does and in that I gave the GOSPEL MESSAGE.

    Keri received prayer and it seemed to touch her heart. When she was called into the back for her appointment, she gave me a hug. That was amazing because, she was the type of person who always had a barrier around her where one would not feel comfortable around her.

    Over the last week I had been sharing this testimony to the small groups I lead as an encouragement for others to be ready to share and most importantly to glorify God. I was scheduled for a cleaning on Thursday, June 14th but the appointment while written on a card was never in the computer system. Jesus had lined up June 19th as a divine appointment. So I have been telling others that although God has set times for us, we can disqualify ourselves from those opportunities if we are not walking in faith and obedience to the LORD. I learned a lot from GOD’S answered prayer that day.

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