Category Archives: Share the Good News

Pray the Lord Sends More Workers for the Harvest

Pray with us that the Lord would send more workers to help bring people to faith in Him through Christ Jesus. Pray that He would draw the workers close to Him so they would bring the full and true gospel and not one which is diluted by man in an attempt to avoid offending someone or trying to please someone. Pray YHWH’s people would “unleash the lion” of the gospel in all its power.

Matthew 9:35-38 

35 Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness.36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.37 He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few.38 So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” 

Pray too that He would develop each of us and help us to be effective workers in the harvest as well. Let us not just rely on others but step up and fill the role ourselves as well.

Pray the Lord would show you where you can start helping with the harvest or begin preparing so you will be ready soon.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Be Strong In The Grace That Is In Yeshua

 

2 Timothy 2 shows us some important guidance that Paul gave to Timothy. In particular some of it applies to pastors or ministers or people who are full time focused on the gospel, but part of it applies to any disciple of Yeshua.

2 Timothy 2:1-13

Be Strong

     1You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 3Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. 5Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules. 6The hard-working farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops. 7Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.

      8Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel, 9for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned. 10For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory.

11It is a trustworthy statement:
For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him;

      12If we endure, we will also reign with Him;
If we deny Him, He also will deny us;

      13If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.

Key points that I draw from Paul:

  • Our strength comes from Yeshua.
  • We are not trying to make converts to Christianity, but disciples who grow in knowledge and can teach others. Conversion is only the very beginning.
  • The analogy to a soldier best fits with a full time focus in ministry. Separate from some of the day to day as a soldier must in order to go fight and win a war. Even those of us who are not fully focused in ministry should seek wisely to separate from many things which are distractions in the normal day to day.
  • The athlete analogy highlights that Yeshua has certain guidelines and instructions he wants us to follow. It is about how we live, not just “what we accomplish”.
  • Visible disciples of Yeshua may face differing levels of hardship and conflict as the world and Satan will come against them.  We are not to avoid it, but rather to endure it.
  • Though a person may be imprisoned, the word of YHWH can not be imprisoned. No chains can hold the power of YHWH when he chooses to move.
  • We are to live and die with Yeshua. We are to remain faithful in all circumstances.
  • If we deny Yeshua, he will also deny us.

Pray and reflect on these points and ask YHWH to help you in your faith and in enduring hardship and living (and dying) with Yeshua.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Guard the Treasure Which Has Been Intrusted to You

It must have been hard for Paul. Not only was he put in prison, but some of those who followed him turned from him. Perhaps they turned from him  because they were uncomfortable that he was in prison. We see Paul strongly urging Timothy to remain true to what he has been taught and to not be ashamed of Paul for being in chains. Christians still today face much persecution around the world. Some studies show they are the most persecuted group globally. We must be willing to put YHWH first, before even the laws of the government. People will come against us. In many countries, and even to an increasing amount in the USA, even the local, state, or national government will try to come against you for living out your faith boldly.

We are encouraged to stand strong and speak truth and live according to the teaching and life of Yeshua. We are to guard the treasure which YHWH has entrusted to us, the knowledge of him and relationship with him, the truth of the gospel… even if it means facing personal persecution such as being put in jail.

7For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.

I admire Paul’s faithful service to Christ. In many ways, he can serve as an example to us all still today.

2 Timothy 1

Timothy Charged to Guard His Trust

      1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life in Christ Jesus,

      2To Timothy, my beloved son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

      3I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day, 4longing to see you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy. 5For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well. 6For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.

      8Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, 9who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, 10but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher. 12For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. 13Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 14Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.

      15You are aware of the fact that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. 16The Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains; 17but when he was in Rome, he eagerly searched for me and found me— 18the Lord grant to him to find mercy from the Lord on that day—and you know very well what services he rendered at Ephesus.

Pray the Lord would help you and other followers of Yeshua to

14Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.

that we would be bold for the Lord, even in the face of persecution.

7For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

The Great Commission – Personal Discipleship Plan

At Hearing From Jesus, we take the commands of our Lord very seriously and that certainly includes The Great Commission. In fact, it is this command that most directly inspires our ministry. We want to obey Jesus and make disciples of all the nations.

Besides being the command of our Lord, it is also a natural desire we have in gratitude to God for His grace and forgiveness and also out of love for other people, who may be headed for eternal separation from God in hell, unless they hear and study the true word of God.

Matthew 28:16-20

16But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. 17When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. 18And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

To learn more about the Great Commission given to us by Jesus Christ, we recommend you study our teaching, The Great Commission – Make Disciples Of All The Nations, before continuing with this teaching on building a personal discipleship plan.

Whether Hearing From Jesus is a primary source for your personal study and growth with the Lord or just another valuable reference site, we have structured our ministry to help you become a disciple, a learner, of Christ and then to prepare to go and make disciples of others. This last point is important… it should not be our goal to do the absolute minimum we can and still get into Heaven. Those who have this attitude are far from the Kingdom of Heaven. Our goal is to grow spiritually to the point that we are feeding ourselves from God’s word and growing in our relationship with God from now until we die. It is a journey that we never finish, but it transforms us along the way to become more like Jesus and less like our old sinful nature. We are to learn well enough to then teach others effectively and help them become disciples as well… so they can , in turn, teach others.

Overwhelming? It can be. So, how do we begin such a task?

Let us begin by studying and then following the example of Jesus Christ. Likewise, we can review how others, like Paul or Moses or Elijah practiced discipleship. In all the examples I just mentioned, these servants of God knew the ultimate authority was God, not a religious authority figure or scholars or traditions. We must seek to develop a personal relationship with God. We must not cling to traditions of men, even if they are taught by religious authority figures. Even the Pope is quite fallible and what he teaches must be tested against the word of God and sadly it often contradicts God’s word. We must test everything against the truth of God’s scripture and seek God in prayer consistently. To be a disciple of Christ we must be willing to put Him first, above and before all other parts of our lives and it will be hard. We must lose our own lives in order to find true life with Jesus.

Matthew 10:34-39

34“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35“For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.

37“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38“And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39“He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.

Jesus did not attend formal schooling or study at seminary. These things may be helpful, but are not necessary and for most of us, not practical. Jesus studied the scriptures rigorously and with devotion since He was as child. So knowledgeable was He, that when He was twelve, He was amazing the scholars and teachers of the law.

Luke 2:46-47

46Then, after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. 47And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers.

If you are coming to know Jesus later in life, do not worry. Use the time God has given you and get started studying (not just reading) the Bible consistently today. God will reveal much to a devoted disciple through His word. Jesus’ disciples certainly did not start studying scripture as children but God used them in a mighty way!

Jesus had a powerful prayer life. Communicating with God to receive God’s instruction through prayer is essential to live as an effective disciple. Jesus did not pray when convenient… when He had time. Jesus stayed up late and got up early. Consistent prayer is essential to staying submitted to God’s will rather than our own. To study more about Jesus’ prayer life, we recommend reading Experiencing Prayer with Jesus, by Henry and Norman Blackaby.

When it was time for His public ministry to begin, Jesus found a small set of disciples, or followers. He had an inner circle in which He invested much time (Peter, James, John) and He had a wider group, but still small, that included all twelve disciples. He invested much time in the twelve, but not as much as He invested in the closer circle of three. Jesus also taught the masses who sought to hear God’s word. He never turned away those who were genuinely seeking the word of God.

We must recognize that Jesus forced no one to be a disciple or to listen to His message. Instead He choose people as disciples who came enthusiastically and willingly. They were eager to learn and not rebelling against God, insisting on clutching onto their traditions or even their personal lives before meeting Jesus.  They were willing to put Jesus as a priority above all other things. They left much behind of what they knew to follow Him. Others whom he invited, such as the rich young ruler introduced in Matthew 19:16, could not put him first and thus chose not to follow him.

Jesus made time for people and demonstrated compassion, but also remained focused on going about doing God’s work. He dealt with mockers appropriately so as not to let them distract Him from getting to those who wanted to hear.  Jesus would reply to those trying to trick Him, but only to provide a teachable moment and an opportunity for them to hear truth and repent, and then He would move on.

In three years He created a team of disciples who could go out and teach others. This is what disciple means… Jesus does not call us to just remain a “baby” in the faith, needing constant care and feeding. Jesus calls us to be disciples who can learn and teach others to learn. Those others then teach more and there is a multiplying effect that has dramatically impacted the world over the last two thousand years… starting from the humble beginnings of a poor carpenter who taught truth and stood up against the established  teachers and scholars of the time and against centuries of traditions of men which were put above the commands of God.

We will briefly comment regarding Moses, Elijah, and Paul but of course you can study and learn more about them by reading the scriptures.

Moses trained judges to be prepared to help meet the needs of the people in order to properly lead such a large number of people. [Exodus 18:17-26]

Elijah invested time to disciple Elisha, who became his successor. [1Kings 19:19-21]

Paul managed his disciples over a wider geography, across many different cities and regions.  He taught to crowds, big and small, on his missionary journeys. However, he clearly had a close circle of disciples with whom he traveled and invested significant time and a wider circle of individuals whom he discipled through occasional visits and more frequently through correspondence (e.g. letters).

So… what do we learn from Jesus and His servants?  What is a practical way to begin?

We must all begin with study of the scripture and prayer. We must develop a strong personal relationship with God.  Do not get in a hurry to be the teacher. Jesus did not start discipling others immediately, he studied from time of child and started with disciples at 30 years old. His disciples spent three years under His instruction and care before going out to disciple others on their own. They maintained a support structure often going out in pairs and coming back to consult with one another.

Most of us need to identify resources and techniques for studying scripture, and possibly find a teacher or disciple who is further on the journey than we are to help lead the way and answer questions. We must learn to feed ourselves with God’s help, still listening to the wise, but testing all they teach against scripture.

When you are ready, start seeking those you can invest time and relationship in to come together to study God’s word with commitment and devotion. Seek your disciples, without giving up or forsaking your relationship with your teacher or with God. Keep feeding yourself and continue on the journey to know, love, and serve God or you will not be effective in leading others. Even if you do not feel comfortable guiding a Bible study on your own, set up a  Bible study anyway. You can use material from our ministry or from other teachers who have already prepared and shared the message of God’s word. Just remember to test everything against the whole of scripture using your own discernment and prayer…  as even good teachers have some doctrine incorrect… and some of it quite significant.

After a time, do not rush it, and staying connected to the disciples you study with… each of you perhaps in pairs can also set up separate small groups to disciple others. Invest in more than just Bible study, but in life activities and support one another. Do not tolerate among your disciples those who would tempt you to sloth or to disregard and rebel against God’s word by rationalizing sin or worldly culture as acceptable. Do not tolerate among your close disciples those that refuse to submit to God and repent of their sin, clinging to their sin nature and refusing to change behaviors to honor God. Follow Jesus’ instructions found in Matthew 18:15-17.

15“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16“But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. 17“If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

Listen, also, to your fellow disciples when they point out to you your sin… for the wise listen to good advice with thanksgiving and become wiser. A fool despises correction.

Stay focused. Consider writing down a plan for your personal discipleship both as a learner and as a teacher. Review periodically, perhaps a few times a year, to evaluate your progress and commitment to this mission. Pray for God’s help frequently… “and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Please reach out to us with questions through our Contact Us  page. Our intent is to teach you and support you in becoming a disciple, not just to give you a word from the scriptures daily… though that is a great start.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Discipine Yourself for the Purpose of Godliness

None of us who follow Christ should allow ourselves to be content to simply get by and do the minimum “required”, but rather seek to transform our lives and be examples to others in godliness. That means we will be different from those around us. We will not blend in. We must be able to demonstrate that our walk ties back to God’s word and God’s Spirit. We will need his help to be sure, but we must also dedicate ourselves to pursuing godliness and being holy and set apart from much of what is around us in society and culture and even in the church where they have mixed or blended with the teachings of the world.

1 Timothy 4:6-16

A Good Minister’s Discipline

     6In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following. 7But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; 8for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 9It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance. 10For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.

      11Prescribe and teach these things. 12Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. 13Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching. 14Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery. 15Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all. 16Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Let Scripture Define the Truth of Who God Is, Not the Teachings of Man

Let us allow scripture to inform us about the character of YHWH rather than our own assumptions and what we have learned from the teaching of man. We know that YHWH is love. For those that study the word, we also know that we do not define how to love his way. All of the law and the prophets are based on loving God and loving one another. These are not my words, but rather the words of Yeshua in Matthew 22.

Matthew 22:36-40

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and [a]foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

This is very different than today’s common view where loving others is taken to mean accepting them as they are in whatever sin they embrace, no matter if they rebel against God or not. That is not the truth revealed in God’s word.

God loves people, but he hates sin and rebellion against him. He is not only love, but also holy and righteous. Sin will carry with it a price. For those of us who accept Christ as savior and repent of our sins to follow him, our price has been paid. For those who reject Christ, there is no other path. Living in a constant state of unforgiven and active rebellion is not pleasing to God. Don’t assume he is ok with it just  because he may be patient in bringing it to an end. He waited hundreds of years before bringing the Israelites into the promised land to punish those living their who rejected and rebelled against him. I would say that is far more patient than any of us. However, ultimately there was a time for judgment.

Joshua 11

Northern Palestine Taken

     1Then it came about, when Jabin king of Hazor heard of it, that he sent to Jobab king of Madon and to the king of Shimron and to the king of Achshaph, 2and to the kings who were of the north in the hill country, and in the Arabah—south of Chinneroth and in the lowland and on the heights of Dor on the west— 3to the Canaanite on the east and on the west, and the Amorite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Jebusite in the hill country, and the Hivite at the foot of Hermon in the land of Mizpeh. 4They came out, they and all their armies with them, as many people as the sand that is on the seashore, with very many horses and chariots. 5So all of these kings having agreed to meet, came and encamped together at the waters of Merom, to fight against Israel.

      6Then the LORD said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid because of them, for tomorrow at this time I will deliver all of them slain before Israel; you shall hamstring their horses and burn their chariots with fire.” 7So Joshua and all the people of war with him came upon them suddenly by the waters of Merom, and attacked them. 8The LORD delivered them into the hand of Israel, so that they defeated them, and pursued them as far as Great Sidon and Misrephoth-maim and the valley of Mizpeh to the east; and they struck them until no survivor was left to them. 9Joshua did to them as the LORD had told him; he hamstrung their horses and burned their chariots with fire.

      10Then Joshua turned back at that time, and captured Hazor and struck its king with the sword; for Hazor formerly was the head of all these kingdoms. 11They struck every person who was in it with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them; there was no one left who breathed. And he burned Hazor with fire. 12Joshua captured all the cities of these kings, and all their kings, and he struck them with the edge of the sword, and utterly destroyed them; just as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded. 13However, Israel did not burn any cities that stood on their mounds, except Hazor alone, which Joshua burned. 14All the spoil of these cities and the cattle, the sons of Israel took as their plunder; but they struck every man with the edge of the sword, until they had destroyed them. They left no one who breathed. 15Just as the LORD had commanded Moses his servant, so Moses commanded Joshua, and so Joshua did; he left nothing undone of all that the LORD had commanded Moses.

      16Thus Joshua took all that land: the hill country and all the Negev, all that land of Goshen, the lowland, the Arabah, the hill country of Israel and its lowland 17from Mount Halak, that rises toward Seir, even as far as Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon at the foot of Mount Hermon. And he captured all their kings and struck them down and put them to death. 18Joshua waged war a long time with all these kings. 19There was not a city which made peace with the sons of Israel except the Hivites living in Gibeon; they took them all in battle. 20For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, to meet Israel in battle in order that he might utterly destroy them, that they might receive no mercy, but that he might destroy them, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.

      21Then Joshua came at that time and cut off the Anakim from the hill country, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab and from all the hill country of Judah and from all the hill country of Israel. Joshua utterly destroyed them with their cities. 22There were no Anakim left in the land of the sons of Israel; only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod some remained. 23So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD had spoken to Moses, and Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. Thus the land had rest from war.

Perhaps the toughest verses for us to absorb are the following:

19There was not a city which made peace with the sons of Israel except the Hivites living in Gibeon; they took them all in battle. 20For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, to meet Israel in battle in order that he might utterly destroy them, that they might receive no mercy, but that he might destroy them, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.

The time for mercy had past. The Lord himself saw to it that he would make sure no other groups came in peace to Joshua, so they could be fully destroyed.

If this makes you uncomfortable, that is ok. But take care to start with an understanding that God is right and just and without error. Take care that he is also unchanging though time in his character.

Now ask him to show you how to process this truth about him in a way that increases your knowledge of his character rather than allowing yourself to just dismiss it and continue to think of him as nothing but a cuddly grandpa in the sky. Sin has serious consequences. If we don’t recognize that it is very offensive to him, we may make poor choices in how we live or encourage others to live. In the right context we must acknowledge that accepting people as they are in sin so as to avoid offending them is actually not loving them. For any of us whose lives have been transformed by Christ, we realize that it changes us in this life and brings more joy and fulfillment in addition to leading us to heaven.   Thus to encourage people to accept sin in their lives rather than repent is like encouraging people to stay in a burning building. True love and concern for them demands that we tell them the truth of God’s word, even if it offends them. Let us each seek to find an effective way to do so and pray for boldness and wisdom in how we approach it.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

The Great Commission – Make Disciples Of All The Nations

God came down to live among us in the person of Yeshua (Hebrew name of Jesus). Both fully man and fully God, He demonstrated a perfect sinless life of devotion and submission to God. He set a fantastic example for us to learn from and replicate. Then He fulfilled the purpose for which He came through His suffering, death, and resurrection… providing a path for those of us who accept Him as Lord to be reconciled with God regarding the punishment of our sins.

After His resurrection, Jesus gave a clear command to His disciples regarding what He wanted them to do. We  should study this command and obey it as well. It not only applies to the disciples, but to all who truly submit to Jesus Christ and therefore commit to do His work and obey His will and honor His kingdom. The command may not be easy to follow, but neither was dying on the cross easy. Jesus’ command should be very important to each of us that declare Him “Lord”.

Matthew 28:16-20

16But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. 17When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. 18And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Those of us who serve Christ have our marching orders, a mission if you will. Jesus did not say… “Live comfortably and according to your own desires. When you feel like it and when it is convenient and easy, please consider telling others about me.” Not at all. Quite the opposite. Jesus commands us to go and make disciples of all the world! Do not think that this was easy for the disciples either, but rather it was a challenging task. Let’s examine the command a little more closely as we begin.

“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”

This statement clearly confirms to us that Jesus has the full authority to speak for God. Jesus’ tone is different now from earlier in His earthly ministry when He consistently said He could do only His Father’s will. He absolutely has authority over us and to refuse to obey His command is to rebel. You either obey or rebel. There is no “comfortable” middle ground where we sort of obey, but not fully.

But what is He asking us to do when He says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.”

“Go”

“Go” certainly seems clear. It is an action very different from “wait”. We should take action to fulfill the request, not wait for people to come to us and ask about Jesus.

“therefore”

“Therefore” refers to the sentence preceding… because Jesus has all authority, He has authority over us and He is commanding us to perform this mission. We either obey or rebel. There is no comfortable and convenient middle ground.

“…and make disciples…”

To make “disciples” is to make “learners”, people who can learn about God and then, once ready, teach others. We are not commanded to make “converts”, who accept Jesus, but then require constant care and feeding (spiritually) from a pastor or other members of the body of Christ. We are to first lead them to conversion and then prepare the new Christians to be able to “feed” themselves (spiritually), growing in their relationship with the Lord for the rest of their lives. This obviously implies that we, too, must learn first how to feed ourselves and become mature Christians, seeking and submitting to God and obeying His word while constantly learning to know Him more intimately.

“…of all the nations…”

Of whom are we to make disciples? Just those like us? Just those nearby or just those far away? No. We are to make disciples of “all the nations”. To accomplish this we will clearly have to work together as the body of Christ, united in one mission… one purpose… each using the gifts and abilities God has given us to fulfill this great commission. Everyone must participate; no one can sit on the sidelines just watching and letting others complete the mission. Notice He does not command us to make disciples of all the people… as many will reject Him and we can not force someone to accept Jesus. But we are to bring the message around the world so all can hear the good news of the gospel.

“…baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit…”

Baptism is important because it represents a public proclamation of submission to God. Jesus commands us to publicly acknowledge Him before others. There is no such thing as a private or secret faith. Such faith is not faith at all.  Many ask if the name of God matters… YES, the name matters. God revealed through Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is very different than other false gods and false representations of God. God revealed through Father, Son, ands Holy Spirit is, by definition, different than even the incorrect Jewish belief that worships the God of the Old Testament (which is correct), but rejects Jesus as God (incorrect). All religions are not equal. Only one is correct. Those who accept Jesus will have eternal life with God, those who follow other gods will be separated from God for eternity in hell… as a result of their own choice to reject Him. If this is a hard teaching and you want to reject it, your argument is not with me, but with God, Himself.

“…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you…”

How can we teach others if we do not first learn ourselves? We must study and seek God consistently and for a lifetime. Do not read the Bible in a year, read it for a lifetime. Focus on understanding and applying rather than just reading a target number of pages in an arbitrary timeline such as a year. Reading scripture was not helpful to the Pharisees and religious leaders as they were not truly applying it correctly. They read it, but did not fully understand and apply it correctly. Truly there was more rejoicing in heaven for the sinners who repented and sought forgiveness in Jesus, despite not knowing the scriptures well, than for all the “learned” and “well read” scholars that refused to submit to God.  That said, when we submit to Jesus, we must take on the serious work of reading scripture and understanding it and applying it in our lives.

Note also that Jesus commands us to obey and teach others to obey “all that I commanded you”. All means all. Those truly submitted to Christ do not get to pick and choose which of His teachings they want to follow and which they reject because they do not like them or understand them or because they are unpopular. Righteousness is unpopular. So is holiness. So was Jesus Christ. Seek to please God rather than men. Obey and teach all that Jesus commanded.

Just for clarity, this includes observing the laws given by God through Moses in the Torah, or first 5 books of the Bible, to the extent they have not been fulfilled by Yeshua. (We should be careful in studying what has been fulfilled and what has not. Yeshua clearly states he did not come to abolish the law.

Matthew 5:17-19

 17“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18“For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19“Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

The earthly ministry of Jesus Christ did not change right and wrong so as to lead us away from following God’s law or “set us free” from God’s law. Rather Jesus constantly lived the example of honoring God’s law including things like honoring Sabbath and celebrating Passover, which have been incorrectly tossed aside by mainstream Christianity today. For more on this subject, read our teaching on Understanding The Law – What Does It Mean For Us Today?

“… and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

It is amazing and at times overwhelming how much significance is contained inside this command from Jesus, commonly called the Great Commission. To obey such a command may seem a daunting or intimidating task. So, too, it must have seemed to the disciples when Jesus first commanded them. That is why Jesus finishes by assuring them that He will be with them throughout this mission and beyond.

We now have the benefit of seeing the successes and failures of God’s people in living out the Great Commission 2000 years later.  While individuals and groups of people often fail, God has none the less used many courageous servants to spread the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ across the world. (For more on the gospel Of Jesus Christ, read our teaching The Message Of The Cross – Salvation.)

But there is much more work to be done. The mission is not complete. Now it is our turn!

How do we begin such a task? Study and follow the example of Jesus Christ. Likewise, we can study how others, like Paul or Moses or Elijah practiced discipleship to share God’s word. We explore this in more detail in our teaching, The Great Commission – Personal Discipleship Plan.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

If You Love Me, Tend My Sheep

Yeshua engages Peter in a very pointed discussion. He repeats it multiple times. It would seem he was really trying to make a point. We should pay attention to it as well. Though this was specifically aimed at Peter, and not even all the disciples there at the time, any time Yeshua correlates “if you love me” to any action, we may want to pay attention as it may have applicability to us as well.

John 21:15-17

The Love Motivation

     15So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” 16He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” 17He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.

Let us seek to help one another in our journey with Yeshua. We should recognize that the primary meaning of this series of questions to Peter is actually about spiritual care and guidance, not physical, but sometimes the physical is essential as well.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Yeshua Died For You. Really Reflect On That.

It is too easy to simply think of Yeshua as being killed for our sin and then we thank him and move on. Let us truly reflect. He went willingly. He was mocked and beaten. He was forced to carry his own cross. The soldiers gambled for his clothes even as he hung on the cross and his disciples and mother looked on. Picture this as the fate that each of us deserved. Imagine you were sentenced to that death, and he stepped in to take your place. Let that sink in.

John 17:16-30

The Crucifixion

     16So he then handed Him over to them to be crucified.

      17They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. 18There they crucified Him, and with Him two other men, one on either side, and Jesus in between. 19Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It was written, “JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” 20Therefore many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin and in Greek. 21So the chief priests of the Jews were saying to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews’; but that He said, ‘I am King of the Jews.’” 22Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”

      23Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier and also the tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece. 24So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be”; this was to fulfill the Scripture: “THEY DIVIDED MY OUTER GARMENTS AMONG THEM, AND FOR MY CLOTHING THEY CAST LOTS.” 25Therefore the soldiers did these things.
But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27Then He said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From that hour the disciple took her into his own household.

      28After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, said, “I am thirsty.” 29A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth. 30Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

Let us be thankful to our Lord for making a way for us to be forgiven and reconciled with him. Let us rejoice in him. Do not cast aside easily such a gift in pursuit of worldly concerns and priorities. The world is as lost today as the Roman soldiers were then who were casting lots for Yeshua’s garments, unaware of who he really was.  Let this motivate us also to tell others about him and to live in a way that gives testimony to him.

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Walk In The Light

Yeshua is the Light. He came to show us how we should live in relationship with the Father. He came to die for our sins so we may be reconciled with the Father. He came in order that the Father’s purpose would be fulfilled. Let us seek to walk in the Light. Seek out and understand what Yeshua taught and how He lived.

Let us pray that the Lord would give each of us and others we pray for eyes to see and a heart that is not hardened, that we may receive the message of truth and not a corrupted version of it.

Let us challenge ourselves that if we truly believe in Him, we do not keep it a secret. May we never love the approval of men more than the approval of the Father. It is a harder thing than we would like to admit. The approval of men is vivid and immediate around us in our lives. The approval of the Father is sometimes not immediately visible, especially if we face persecution. However, pray that He would strengthen you and that you would live for Him and His approval rather than that of man.

John 12:27-50

Jesus Foretells His Death

     27“Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. 28“Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came out of heaven: “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29So the crowd of people who stood by and heard it were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, “An angel has spoken to Him.” 30Jesus answered and said, “This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes. 31“Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. 32“And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” 33But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die. 34The crowd then answered Him, “We have heard out of the Law that the Christ is to remain forever; and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?” 35So Jesus said to them, “For a little while longer the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. 36“While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light.”
These things Jesus spoke, and He went away and hid Himself from them. 37But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him. 38This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet which he spoke: “LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT? AND TO WHOM HAS THE ARM OF THE LORD BEEN REVEALED?” 39For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, 40“HE HAS BLINDED THEIR EYES AND HE HARDENED THEIR HEART, SO THAT THEY WOULD NOT SEE WITH THEIR EYES AND PERCEIVE WITH THEIR HEART, AND BE CONVERTED AND I HEAL THEM.” 41These things Isaiah said because he saw His glory, and he spoke of Him. 42Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; 43for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.

      44And Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me. 45“He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me. 46“I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness. 47“If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48“He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. 49“For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. 50“I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.”

Do not be quick to say to yourself, “I walk in the Light” or “I never seek approval of man over the Father”. Instead, pray for wisdom and clarity. Ask the Lord to show you if there are areas in your life where you are doing so.

If we walk in the Light, then we should be seeking the Light more and more, studying, discerning and continuing to learn and change our behavior and attitudes. Who among us would claim we know the Lord fully? We are walking fully and completely with Him in our lives? If we are not, but we seek to walk in the Light, then we should be continuing to study and learn and change our behavior to be more and more in line with Christ. Our attitudes should be changing. Many have found a “comfortable” lifestyle where they have settled in, complacent to accept that this is the way to live in relation with Christ. We should be continuing to learn and change as our understanding grows.

If we truly seek the approval of the Father over that of man, then we should be continuing to experience some form of confrontation or adversity. If we boldly live for Christ, and there are many who stand against Him, or even stand in His name but are living such that they are clearly far from Him, we should be encountering some conflict. If we are encountering no conflict as we live out our faith, even with other church members, we must ask ourselves if we really are living for Christ boldly as a light or if we are blending in with others around us into the darkness. Are we only hanging out with those who agree with us or are we presenting Christ  and our full understanding of Him to others who do not agree? If we are to make disciples, we must bring the truth of His word to bear even for those who may not seek to hear it. We saw this in Yeshua’s ministry clearly. Some accepted. Some rejected.

With help from the Father, what changes do you need to make in your life to walk closer with our Lord?

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.