"And take...the sword of
the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17)
In this issue:
Are We Jesus'
Disciples? (Rick Holt)
Are We Jesus' Disciples?
24) Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If
anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross,
and follow Me.” 25) “For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but
whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it.” We find this passage in
In this context, Jesus was in the district of Caesarea Philippi inquiring of
His disciples “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” (v. 13) Peter had just
responded to Jesus by confessing Him as the Son of God (v. 16). Jesus
replied that He would build His church upon the bedrock (foundational)
confession that Peter had made (v. 18). Jesus gave Peter the keys to the
kingdom (v. 20), then told His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem to
suffer, die and be raised on the third day (v. 21). Peter rebukes Jesus for
what He had said, but Jesus, calling Peter Satan, accuses him of being a
stumbling block because he was not setting his mind on the things of God
(vss. 22-23). It is in this context we read the passage above mentioned.
Have we ever asked ourselves, “Do I have my mind set on the things of God?”
If not--have I become a stumbling block to Jesus, as Peter had? What must I
do to not be a stumbling block? The answer is that we must “set our minds
on” or “savourest” the interests of God, not men. Our will, our affection,
must be set on God, not man. If we have been raised with Christ, there are
new priorities in our lives; we seek the things above. There is a new
mindset; we set our minds on things above, not the earth. There is a new
sustainer; we have died to the world and our lives are hidden with Christ in
God (Col. 3:1-3).
Are we truly His disciples? Matthew 16:24-27 sets forth the blueprint for
being a disciple of Jesus. First, we should “wish” or “will” to come to
Jesus. To “wish” or “will” implies not only willing something, but also
pressing into action. The word is equivalent to purposing, or seeing one’s
desire to its execution. Please consider that it also means that we have a
choice whether to come or not to come to Jesus.
After the “will” to come to Jesus is present, there are three things we are
instructed by Jesus to do to become His disciple, or follower.
First of all, we must DENY OURSELVES. To “deny” suggests declining or
withdrawing from fellowship; refusing or disowning. And what do we deny?
SELF. One good example of denying self is dieting. What good would “willing”
to diet benefit if one would not “deny self” of certain foods, habits of
eating or frequency of eating? There would be no benefit, because, if there
is no denying self of certain foods…there is no losing weight! If we are
going to follow the One who paid the ultimate price of dying on the cross
for our redemption and salvation, we must give up those things that prevent
us from devoting our lives to Christ. Remember, our bodies must be a living
sacrifice, holy and acceptable before God, which is our reasonable service
(Rom. 12:1-2). Look at our worship, singing, praying, giving, attendance,
personal study, work, pleasure, etc.; the list goes on. Are we denying
ourselves the pleasures of life so we can be at every service of this
congregation so we can be an encouragement and strength to each
other? I am not talking about circumstances that are beyond our control;
sometimes we have to work in order to provide for our families; sometimes
sickness prevents us from attending (but ask yourself if the sickness would
prevent you from working). Remember Jesus, kneeling in the garden, agonizing
over the coming cup He would drink, yet resolved to deny self and do the
will of the Father (Matthew 26:42). Have you DENIED self to follow Jesus?
Secondly, we must TAKE UP OUR CROSS. As Jesus endured the cross (Heb. 12:2),
the true disciple of Jesus will take his cross, which is representative of
burdens and afflictions. Remember, this is something the disciple willingly
does because he has made the commitment to do so. Luke 9:23 states that
taking up the cross is a daily occurrence. We all have burdens and
afflictions we carry in this life. These we bear with faith in God, knowing
that all the trials we bear in this life are producing for us an eternal
weight of glory far beyond all comparison (2 Cor. 4:17). Jesus bore our sins
on the cross that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet.
2:24). He is our example and by taking up our cross, we follow in His steps
(1 Pet.2:21). This leads us to our third point.
We must FOLLOW HIM. Luke 14:27 states, “Whoever does not carry his own cross
and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” In 1 Peter 4:1-2, we read,
“Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with
the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from
sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts
of men, but for the will of God.” Our following of Jesus is a fellowship
both inwardly and outwardly. When we committed ourselves to Christ in
baptism, we did so in faith and obedience. We follow Jesus to learn from His
teaching, but also in anticipation (hope) of salvation. Discipleship
involves dedication, daily commitment, sacrifice, and the setting of
priorities (Luke 9:57-62).
Brethren, this congregation is growing, for which we thank God. This growth
is because Christians here have “willed” to lose their lives for Jesus’ sake
(and the gospel). You have made temporal sacrifices in this life in order to
have eternal life for your souls when Jesus returns to take us home. By
continuing to do so, let us press on to heaven.
You can find the
complete outline of this sermon at
Basics of Repentance (1)
1. Repentance must be preached:
a. God’s prophets to Israel – Jer. 3:11-14; Ezek. 14:6;
b. John the baptizer – Matt. 3:1-2.
c. Jesus – Matt. 4:17 (Mk. 1:14-15).
d. 12 disciples sent out by Jesus – Mk. 6:7, 12.
e. Great commission to preach the gospel & salvation – Lk.
f. Day of Pentecost – Acts 2:37-38, 41.
g. Spread of the gospel included it – Acts 3:19; 17:30;
20:21; 26:20; Rev. 2:5.
2. One would hope there to be a clear understanding of repentance among
those who profess Christ, yet it is not always so. - 1 Pet. 1:12
I. WHO MUST REPENT?
A. Sinners – Lk. 5:31-32.
B. Every Sinner – Rom. 3:23 (Acts 17:30).
II. REPENTANCE IS NOT… (2 Cor. 11:3)
A. …Denial or Cover-up of Sin – Gen. 3:8 (4:10); Num. 32:23; Prov. 28:13
(Achan, Josh. 7:20-21).
B. …Just Being Sorry – Matt. 27:3; Mk. 6:26.
C. …Just a Promise to Quit – Lk. 3:8, 10-11.
D. …Just Confessing Sin – cf. 1 Ths. 1:9.
E. …Just Being Afraid – Acts 24:25 (Jas. 2:19).
F. …Just Reformation (stopping) – Rev. 9:20-21.
G. …Prayer – Acts 8:22.
H. …Baptism – Acts 2:38.
I. …Forgetting about Sin – Heb. 6:1. (Isa. 29:15)
III. REPENTANCE IS…
A. …Produced by Godly Sorrow – 2 Cor. 7:9-10 (Psa. 51:17).
B. …A Change of Mind Toward Sin.
C. …That Which Produces a Change in Life – Acts 26:20; 2 Cor. 7:10-11;
D. …Commanded – Lk. 13:3, 5; Acts 17:30.
1. God desires every sinner’s repentance – Ezek. 18:30, 32; 2 Pet. 3:9.
2. Heaven rejoices when one sinner repents – Lk. 15:10.
3. Do not harden you heart – Heb. 3:7-11.
You can find the
complete outline of this sermon at
Difficulties of Repentance (2)
preaching & salvation requires repentance – Lk. 24:46-47.
2. Without it we will perish in our sins – Lk. 13:3, 5.
3. It is not easy to repent!
4. Repentance puts demands upon us – Lk. 3:8, 10.
our sin – Acts 2:37, 41; 1 Jno. 1:8-9.
toward our sin – Mt. 22:28-32.
godly sorrow over our sin – 2 Cor. 7:10.
· Bear fruit
that corresponds – Acts 26:20; 2 Co. 7:11
· Stop sinning – Rev.
OF THE DIFFICULTIES OF REPENTANCE.
Repentance is Far-Sweeping – Col. 3:5-11 (2 Cor. 5:17, all things new); 2
B. Repentance is Deliberate – Jonah 3:1-10; Lk. 11:32; Eph. 4:20-24; Lk.
3:7-8; Jon. 3:1-10
C. Repentance is Emotional – Ezra 9-10.
1. The sin – Ezra 9:1-2, 4, 10-12.
2. The emotion confession of Ezra – 9:3, 6, 13-15; 10:6.
3. The emotion of the people – 10:1.
4. The emotional remedy of repentance – 10:2-4, 9.
5. The sin & its remedy: Confess, do God’s will, separate – 10:10-12.
6. The remedy applied – 10:19, 44.
7. Today: Unlawful marriages (Matt. 19:9-12; Ro. 7:2-3).
8. Any concept of repentance that says, “just be sorry for your sin &
don’t do it again,” but allows you to remain in your sin is not true
repentance! – Rom. 6:1-2; 1 Cor. 6:9-11
D. Repentance is Costly – Lk. 14:28-33 (Ac 19:18-19).
INCENTIVES TO REPENT OF EVERY SIN.
2 Pet. 3:8-10
Forgiveness (remission) of our sins – Acts 2:38; 8:22.
2. Escape God’s wrath against our sin (Jonah 3:10) – Lk. 13:5; Rom. 5:9.
3. An inheritance obtained – Acts 26:18-20.
(Current events in the
light of Scripture)
Joe R. Price
Christians are expected to
treat all men with dignity and honor: “Repay no one evil for evil. Have
regard for good things in the sight of all men” (Rom. 12:17). The events
revealed to the world over the past week of the treatment of Iraqi detainees
at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq disgust right thinking people, regardless
of their nationality or political professions. There is no justification for
the shameful actions that occurred there or for any attempt to rationalize
them. President Bush called these events “a stain on our country’s honor and
our country’s reputation.” He is right. “Righteousness exalts a nation, But
sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34).
The honor and reputation of America and Americans has been damaged by the
actions of a few. It only takes a handful of people to harm the reputation
of many. The apostle Paul was well aware of this and was careful to provide
“honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight
of men” (2 Cor. 8:21).
“Dead flies putrefy the perfumer’s ointment, and cause it to give off a foul
odor; So does a little folly to one respected for wisdom and honor” (Eccl.
10:1). A good name is a great treasure (Prov. 22:1). Yet, it only takes a
moment of reckless, sinful conduct to lose its value and influence.
The word of God teaches us the attributes of character to develop in order
to be people of honor and dignity. Please consider them, and may each of us
increase in and guard these traits so we live honorably and exert a godly
influence on others (1 Pet. 2:11-12).
-The fear of the Lord brings honor: “By humility and the fear of the LORD
are riches and honor and life.” (Prov. 22:4)
-Wisdom brings honor: “Exalt her, and she will promote you; She will bring
you honor, when you embrace her.” (Prov. 4:8)
-Follow righteousness and mercy to obtain honor: “He who follows
righteousness and mercy finds life, righteousness and honor.” (Prov. 21:21)
-The humble in spirit hold on to honor: “A man’s pride will bring him low,
but the humble in spirit will retain honor.” (Prov. 29:23)
-Accepting correction produces honor: “Poverty and shame will come to him
who disdains correction, but he who regards a rebuke will be honored.”