With Jesus in Paradise

With Jesus in Paradise

Daily Reading: (Luke 16:22-24):

“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.”

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores” (Luke 16:19-21).

Did you catch that last part? There was a beggar who was in need. His name is Lazarus (not to be confused with Jesus’ friend who He raised from the dead). I imagine where he slept and had his meals he encountered a lot of stray dogs. Have you ever met a dog before that liked to lick you? While Lazarus was ill-treated by man, the dogs showed kindness to him by licking the wounds on his body to help promote healing and reduce pain.

Jesus does a remarkable job of drawing us into the story of a man who is suffering and another who is extremely wealthy “dressed in purple”, the most expensive dye.

“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried.In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire” (Luke 19:22-24).

No matter how much you have there will be a time when death will come for all of us, except for the Rapture, but even then we are separated from our physical bodies. Jesus shows that the beggar is being carried by the angels whereas the rich man ends up in Hades. What is the message Jesus is trying to send? The message is that the blessings Israel had enjoyed in the Old Covenant are for all people moving into the New Covenant. The reason we know this is because we have to ask what do the two characters represent in this parable? 

The rich man must be Jewish as “he called to him ‘Father Abraham”. Only a Jewish person would have referred to Abraham in this way. The rich man in the story represents the nation of Israel (Luke 16:24). The nation of Israel had enjoyed dining at the table of the Lord’s abundance. Israel had been blessed because of God’s gracious promises to Abraham.

Abraham in his name reveals who he is. Genesis 17:5: “Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a “father of many nations” have I made thee.” Abraham would be the father of many nations or as Paul put it in Romans 4:16, “the father of all who believe.”

Now, Lazarus represents the Gentiles who longed to eat the crumbs from the rich man’s table.This should bring our minds to another story with Jesus and a Gentile Caananite woman. “The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table. Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.”

Like the rich man, the nation of Israel had also received good things from the blessings promised to Abraham but they did not receive Jesus. In the story the rich man doesn’t have a name, why is that? The poor beggar is clearly known and Jesus calls him by his name, Lazarus. The reason Jesus does not say the rich man’s name is because he is one to whom Jesus will say, “Depart from me I never knew you” (Matthew 7:23). The rich man is not lost because he was stingy with his wealth, he’s lost because he doesn’t know Jesus.

Why does Lazarus end up in a good place? Is it just because he is poor and suffered in life? Jesus provides clues as to why Lazarus’ fate is different. What did Lazarus do or say in the parable? Nothing. He did not say or do anything that would tell us why he was carried by angels. However, his name tells us the whole story, Lazarus means “God has helped”.  

Lazarus was found at Abraham’s side, but better yet we will be with Jesus. “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).

Live in the Grace

Live in Grace 

Daily Reading: (Galatians 1:6-7):

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.”

Turning or metatithēmiin the Greek means to fall away or desert something, however, there is a more common usage of this Greek word. I believe Paul is saying that the church in Galatia is transposing (two things, one of which is put in place of the other) the Law in place of grace.

The reason I am so confident in this definition is because of the history of the church in Galatia. Instead of living in God’s grace you have put something else in its place. How is this possible? The church that Paul started had now allowed false teachers to come who were trying to implement the law in place of grace. These teachers were a group of Judaizers—those who sought to make living under the Mosaic Law a requirement of the Christian faith—and they had gained an influence in the Galatian churches. We actually learn about this from Acts 15:1-30.  

This all makes sense when you follow the very next verse in Paul’s letter in Galatians 1:7- “Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the Gospel of Christ” (Galatians 1:7b). Paul says when you turn from the Gospel of grace, Jesus Christ, you are preaching and teaching something that is really no Gospel at all.

The word “pervert” (metastrephō) means to turn around. A perverted gospel is a turned-around gospel. It is a gospel which turns the focus away from Jesus onto something else. If the gospel of grace reveals Christ alone, then a perverted gospel is Christ plus something. Whenever it is Christ plus something else that is how we transpose or place the law in place of grace.

So, this “different gospel” was not Buddhism or Hinduism or Islam that they are trying to get people to convert to, it was an in-house distortion. It was promoted by men who called themselves Christian “brothers” Galatians 2:4, and the purpose is to get other Christians to try to live under the Law.

Now that we have studied what it means to desert the gospel of grace by transposing it for law-based living, let’s focus on what it means to live in the grace of Jesus.

The original manuscripts doesn’t say “live in the grace”, the Greek word for live isn’t present. Galatians 1:6 reads like this: “I am amazed that you are so quickly transposing (the law in place of grace), of the One who has called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel.”

So the big takeaway of the more accurate translation is that grace is your calling.It was God’s grace that called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. So, continue forward in His grace, don’t let anyone deceive you into believing a false gospel that there is something you need to do in order to receive the salvation of the Lord. To preach the gospel of grace is to preach the exceeding riches of God’s unmerited favor revealed to us through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:7). I am amazed Galatians that you would choose anything over than this amazing grace.

Acts of the Flesh

Acts of the Flesh 

Daily Reading: (Galatians 5:16-21):

“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

“Freedom in Christ” is the main point of Galatians chapter five. When we reach verse sixteen we have are introduced into the sub-header: “life by the Spirit”. So we have freedom in Christ expressed through life by the spirit.

Which what Paul is saying is “do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”

“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” The question really becomes, “how are we to walk by the Spirit and what does it mean to walk after the flesh?” Most people actually read this verse the other way around. “Do your best not to fulfill the desires or lust of your flesh, and then you’ll walk in the Spirit.” That is not what Scripture says or teaches us here. The Scripture teaches this not in the negative but in the positive. “walk by the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” As you walk by the Spirit you won’t have to worry about the lust of the flesh.” Our focus has to be on walking in the Spirit. If you are focused on trying not to fulfill the desires of the flesh that is living your life under the Law. And if you live this way you’ll end up walking after the flesh. Walking after the flesh is an attempt to meet any of your needs apart from God.Romans 8:13 tells us this is a disastrous way to live.

So, how do we walk by the spirit or what is walking by the spirit? John Piper says, “It is “being led by the Spirit” and it is “bearing the fruit of the Spirit. You allow the Spirit to control you by keeping your heart happy in God. Or to put it another way, you walk by the Spirit when your heart is resting in the promises of God.” [1]

George Müller learned the secret of walking by the Spirit: meditate on the precious truths of the word of God until your heart is happy in God, resting in his promises.[2]

“Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” You will have victory over temptation and know the guidance of the Lord if you keep your heart happy in God by resting in his promises.

We get a better understanding in the Greek for the word “walk” (peripateō) which means to be led around. This brings us to Psalm 23:3, “He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.” This is what it means to walk by the Spirit.

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God” (Romans 8:14). “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). Habits of the flesh will all fall off as we walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16).

The Spirit of the Lord will move you to a place of rest and refreshment where you cast your cares on Him. Troubles and stresses will come, but walk by the Spirit to the place of lying down in green pastures. Enjoy the feast God prepares for you in the presence of those plaguing enemies that have risen up against you. 

“Let us therefore give diligence to enter into that rest, lest anyone fall after the same example of disobedience.” (Hebrews 4:11 WEB)

 Rest is not inactivity—it is Spirit-directed activity. The opposite of being in God’s rest is being in unbelief.

“For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh.” They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. I wanted to point out that the fight is not between you and the flesh, the fight is between the flesh and the Spirit.

Here is the good news: you are not under the Law any longer because we have freedom in Christ, freedom to live by the Spirit that He has placed inside us. Live as the new creation we have become. Live out of our new God-given nature that reflects His glory. Galatians 5:16 promises victory over the desires of the flesh, not that there won’t be a war, but that the winner of that war will be the Spirit.


[1] John Piper. The War Within: Flesh Versus Spirit. June 19, 1983. https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/the-war-within-flesh-versus-spirit

[2] George Müller. Autobiography 152–154.

Pride is a Grace Killer

Pride

Daily Reading: (1 Peter 5:5-6, James 4:6-7):

“In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”

“But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

“God resists the proud”, we see this over and over again with Jesus’ interaction with the Pharisees. It isn’t that God doesn’t love the Pharisees, but that the resistance provides the opportunity for the proud to be humbled, and to consider a better way in which they might receive grace.

Pride is what will hinder you from receiving the grace that God wants to give you (1 Peter 5:5) because you believe that you don’t need it or will try to work to earn it. God is not impressed with your sacrifice, especially when you are not impressed with His.

“Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble” (1 Peter 3:8).

C.S. Lewis said,“humility isn’t thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” It is being compassionate and loving to one another as Peter wrote.Pride looks at self-efforts, humility says look at what Christ has done for me.

On the Mount of Transfiguration after the voice of God came from heaven and told the three disciples “listen only to My Son” this is what Jesus had to say to them in Matthew 17:7: “Arise and do not be afraid.” What Jesus is telling His disciples is to “allow yourself to be lifted by God.” True humility is when you allow the voice of grace to lift you up (Matthew 17:7, 1 Peter 5:6).  “God shows favor to the humble.” Because the humble are those who have received His Son. And when you are lifted by allowing Jesus’ finished work to do this for you (humility), you realize that you stand on equal ground with Him because you have been given His righteousness. Everything God desires to give us, it is available through Jesus. Pride says, “no thanks, I’m good, I got this.” God opposes this attitude. This shuts down the pipeline of His special grace unto us, the grace that grows us and makes us more and more like His Son.

James writes in 4:6-7: “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” Both men quoted from Proverbs 3:34 to show how important this is.

Leading up to these verses James is going to hammer home the point of how destructive and dangerous pride is. Pride brings with it strife, division, and war. Pride leads to wars and fights, lust, and murder but God gives abundant grace. You can choose to be proud or you can choose to receive abundant grace. The principle of grace is supply, while the principle of the law is demand. The reason pride is a grace killer is that pride will take our focus off of our supply, Jesus Christ, and it will only focus on the demand placed upon us. Our part is just to exercise faith by receiving from God, His supply of grace, and this is living a life of humility that blesses others out of the abundant grace we have received.

The Adventures of Four

Adventures of Four

Daily Reading: (Matthew 17:1):

“After six days Jesus took with Him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.”

Today I want to look at Jesus’ inner circle and what this means for us in our pursuit of disciple making. So out of the 12 there are 3 who had the privilege of being with Jesus in some very special moments where the others did not. Peter, James and John. Every time in Scripture the three are mentioned always in this same order. Their names in this order communicated a message of what Jesus was here to do on earth.

The stone (Peter)—which the Law was written on was supplanted (James) and replaced by God’s grace (John). 

 “After six days Jesus took with Him Peter, James and John…”

Matthew wants to let us know it has been six days since the last recorded detail of Jesus’ life. By doing this we are instantly connected to the past six days and the heaviness of Jesus’ words where He prophesied about His own death and the kind of things the disciples would experience. Jesus is preparing the inner three for more responsibility than the rest. Within the various individuals that you will disciple there will be some who you should spend more time with. Everyone is unique and different and some are going to take on more of a leadership role in the future.

Luke chapter 9 tells us that “Jesus brought them up the mountain to pray.” Luke shows Jesus’ dependence on God the Father. I can not, but He can and He did and in Him and through Him nothing is impossible. This is what the disciples needed to learn because Jesus was soon to ascend to Heaven.  In this time of God’s grace that we live in, we need to place our total dependence on God. The three disciples are taken to prayer because prayer is dependence on God, invoking His power, grace, love, and goodness.

Peter near the end of his life reflects back on this moment in his life and says in 2 Peter 1:16: “but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” What does the Mount of Transfiguration that the three disciples were privy to have to do with me? As you behold the glory of the Lord your life is forever changed. There is power for healing, freedom from addiction, and peace to a troubled soul.

When Jesus transfigured there were two well-known individuals that were there Moses and Elijah. “While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” What did the three disciples need to hear that day? What do disciple-makers need to do for those they are discipling? Bring them to grace. Listen to the voice of grace only. The names of the three testified to what was on display on the mountain that day. The Law was supplanted by God’s grace.

Matthew 17:6 “And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.” When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one” (Matthew 17:6-8). The word “arise” (Matthew 17:7) is in the passive voice. What Jesus is telling His disciples is to “allow yourself to be lifted by God.” And when you are lifted, you realize that you stand on equal ground with Him because you have been given His righteousness. This is our job as disciple-makers to allow people to be lifted by God’s grace. Jesus died to give you His standing. This moment with the three is a beautiful picture of God’s grace.

What About the 9?

We know what was happening with the three who experienced God’s grace on the Mount of Transfiguration but what about the other nine who were not with Jesus at this moment in time?

Matthew 17:14-16: “When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.”

When the crowd saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with awe, and they ran to greet him.They were amazed to find the answer to their problems, not in themselves, but in the Lord” (Mark 9:15). The reason the nine could not drive out the demon is they tried in their own strength. The answer was always in the Lord, it is in His grace that we receive power and authority to drive out demons. It happens in the name of Jesus.

Have you wondered why the disciples were not able to heal this boy because they were successful in other places, driving out demons and “healing people everywhere” (Mark 6:13, Luke 9:6). Their past success puzzled even them when they failed on this occasion: Matthew’s Gospel says – “Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” (Matthew 17:19).

Jesus’ answer to their question why they could not drive out the demon and heal the boy might answer questions you might have about why more people aren’t healed today. The answer is not their faith, but their unbelief.

Natural unbelief is fueled by what we see and hear. We get a bad report, x-ray or scan and believe the worst. We’re now walking by sight rather than faith (2 Corinthians 5:7). Even if we have faith, our unbelief will send us to the Internet looking for reassurance and hope. We may be declaring the promises of God over our situation but at the same time we’re feeding our doubts by focusing on our circumstances. Some translators equate unbelief to having little faith, but Jesus clearly says right after this “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Little faith is not the issue. If little faith can move a mountain, it can surely heal one small boy. It’s not about the size of your faith but whether your faith is handicapped by doubt and unbelief (Matthew 17:21). How do we deal with unbelief? Starve our doubts and fears by feeding on the Word of God and through prayer.

Know Something of Me

Know Something of Me

Daily Reading: (John 1:43-51):

“The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip. When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.” Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” He then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

Philip follows Jesus and then seeks out Nathanael and extends an invitation for him to do the same thing to follow Jesus (John 1:45). The simple thing that Philip does here is discipleship in a nutshell. I spend time with Jesus and then I go out seeking others who I might extend an invitation to follow Jesus.

Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” (John 1:45).

Nathanael, you have got to check this guy out. Come and see and decide for yourself who Jesus is.  Everyone needs to come to a decision for themselves who Jesus is. And really there are only three options. Jesus is either Lord, a liar, or a lunatic.  C.S. Lewis created this trilemma. He said, “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Jesus: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God. Jesus said he had the authority to forgive sins, to have always existed, to intend to come back at the end of time.If He isn’t God’s Son don’t call Him a great moral teacher if these things weren’t true.”[15]

Philip puts it out there for Nathanael, “could Jesus be the Messiah?”

 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.“Come and see,” said Philip. (John 1:46).

Nathanael is skeptical. He had in his mind what the Messiah would be like, where he would come from, and Nazareth didn’t fit the bill.

He made a generalization based on multiple experiences of Nazarenes.  Based on my life experiences can anything good come from there? His view of these people is so negative that he sweeps all of them into this negative stereotype, including Jesus. His reaction is immediate. He is temporarily blinded by his prejudice.

Look at how Philip responds and this is how we should respond when we put out a Gospel invitation and we are rejected. Respond in grace.“Come and see,” said Philip. These words aren’t pushy but continues the invitation forward and allowed Nathanael the opportunity to further investigate, even if it is only to prove himself right and everyone else wrong. So often we want to make it believe first in Jesus and then follow Him, but that is not the way it works. Follow and then believe (John 1:46). As people spend time investigated Jesus for themselves, this is how they can have their spiritual eyes opened by the Holy Spirit to see Him for who He is.

Now let’s see how this goes as Jesus meets a man who is very skeptical about who He is.

“When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit” (John 1:47).

Jesus breaks the ice with a joke that compliments Nathanael.Jesus’ joke is a play on words. “Here comes an Israelite”… Where did the Israelites come from? The line of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The name Jacob means deceiver. Jacob cheated his brother, he deceived his father, and was involved in a shady work relationship with his uncle to try and marry one of his daughters. Jacob even got into a wrestling match with God and God changed his name to Israel which means “struggles with God.” When Jesus said, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” He is literally saying here comes the lineage of deceivers who doesn’t deceive. Nathanael you are a straight-shooter who tells it like it is. Jesus eased the tension and used the moment to make Nathanael feel known.

 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked (John 1:48a). Discipleship flourishes as a result of knowing another person.

Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you” (John 1:48b).

The fig tree was a place of prayer for Israelites. Many scholars believe Nathanael was praying for the coming Messiah. When Jesus says that He saw him under the fig tree Nathanael makes a connection.

Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel” (John 1:49). Jesus you are the one I have been praying for.

Then to conclude the conversation, Jesus started with a joke about the name change of Jacob and then He quotes a dream that Jacob had in Genesis 28:12: “He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.”

Jesus used humor to break the tension that Nathanael would have had in meeting him. The humor was a compliment of Nathanael character and it soften his heart to receive Jesus. The story of Nathanael is a reminder that Jesus sees us in our pain. He sees us in our places of doubt, anger, disappointment, and deepest longing. He knows you better than you know yourself and He loves you. His grace will lift up as it did Nathanael, and upon listening to Jesus’ words your faith will grow. He extends to you the greatest adventure you could ever be a part of to follow Him.

Your Life Calling

Your Life Calling

Daily Reading: (Matthew 28:19):

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 12:2 says “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  

                                                      And

Ephesians 5:17: “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

There is a way to know what God’s will is and it is found in 1 John 5:14.

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (1 John 5:14).

After reading that verse in English you wouldn’t know what God’s Will is but it is clear in the Greek. The Bible tells us one of the reasons we might not have something is because we haven’t asked God (James 4:2). In 1 John it is telling us that we can be confident that if we ask anything that is a part of God’s Will He is going to hear it, which means He is going to respond and give it to you. So, this must mean that we can be confident in knowing what God’s Will is for us all the time, otherwise it would be impossible for us to have any confidence whenever we pray.

The Greek word for “will” (thelēma)-

  1. the purpose of God to bless mankind through Christ,             

                           (and/or)

2. of what God wishes to be done by us.

If we ask anything according to the purpose of God to bless mankind through Christ or if it is that of what God wishes to be done by us…. The answer will be yes. So, if the answer appears to be a no, God must have something better in store for us that He wishes to be done by us. That’s why Paul would write to the Ephesians, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). We give thanks to God in all things when we realize God’s purpose is to bless us in Christ.

But what does this have to do with making disciples? If more believers understood the answer than more and more disciples would be made. Which means that more and more people would be blessed in Christ.

What if I told you that I know exactly what the calling God has on your life is? Would you be excited about it and would you want to move forward into it? How about if you knew that your life calling contains blessings from God.

This is your life calling:

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).

Your calling is to go and make disciples and it is God’s Will for you. So, you don’t have to pray and ask God if He wants you to go and make disciples. A more mature thought would be how is this thing that I am praying for (the new job, the sale of my home, etc…) how can it be used to expand the Kingdom by being a vehicle to make disciples?

“Therefore Go.” Imagine that I set up the Boardgame Monopoly and that you have never played it before and I tell you that it is your turn to go. The word go expresses movement but where are you to go and what are you to do if you don’t know the purpose of the game? “Go and make disciples of all nations,” this would mean everywhere in the world. So, wherever you are, be intentional about disciple making (Matthew 28:19). 

How do we make disciples? “Baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” The word Go “poreuō” is to lead or order one’s life. Make your life centered around disciple making. The way we make disciples is through the message that we have found in 2 Corinthians 5:18-19: “All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: (your message comes in the very next verse).

“that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

Wherever God has placed you, whatever gifting He has given to you, it shall be used to tell others the good news of the Gospel of Jesus that in Christ there is favor with God forever.

Cancel Culture is Contrary to Christianity

Daily Reading: (John 8:3-6):

“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.”  

Today we’ll find that cancel culture is nothing new and it is actually an ancient practice, at its core is contrary to the Spirit of Jesus.

So, what is cancel culture? Webster’s dictionary defines it as: the practice or tendency of engaging in mass canceling as a way of expressing disapproval and exerting social pressure.[1]  In Scripture we will see the ancient practice of engaging in an attempt of mass canceling (someone) by exerting social pressure to do so in John chapter 8.

“At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them.The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.” (John 8:2-4).

Now if there ever was a Biblical moment where someone has been publicly shamed with the intention of permanently canceling someone else this is that moment. Did this woman do something wrong? Absolutely! Should her entire life be over because of it? The crowds think so.

Are things that are called out publicly today about what others have said or done in the past wrong too? Yes! In the same way, the women caught in adultery was also guilty.

“In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” The question for us should be how should we respond as well?

“Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7b). Jesus uses the Law as it’s intended purpose, to expose sin, to show us up that none of us in ourselves was righteous. 

Jesus essentially says, “go ahead, you self-righteous religious leaders and cast the guilty verdict by stoning her if you yourself aren’t guilty of violating the Law too.”

Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

The word “condemnation” in the original Greek means “condemning sentence”. That is exactly what the cancel culture brings- they are after something they can condemn someone else with.

How different would it look like if our desire when someone has messed up would be that they move forward as a changed repentant person of the wrong they did, instead of trying to oversee their destruction? Jesus has a message to the people who just witnessed cancel culture 2,000 years ago” “When Jesus spoke again to the people (the very same people), He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Jesus is the Light that brings the lost out of darkness (John 8:12). 

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). The only reason we are not condemned is that we are in Christ Jesus. Jesus is the only requirement to remove our condemnation. So, Romans 8:1 only means something, when you have done wrong, because that is when the gift of no condemnation matters to you when you should be condemned. God’s desire is for us to not live a lifestyle of sin, “go now and leave your life of sin” The power to do this comes when you first receive the gift of no condemnation.

The only way for people to go and sin no more, wouldn’t this be what you want cancel culture? The only way for people to be empowered in their life, to walk in peace, joy and faith, and to live the abundant life that Jesus came to give us is to understand that there is now no condemnation in Christ. When we understand that God does not condemn us in Christ, it allows us to stop condemning ourselves. And then when we understand that God does not condemn us in Christ, we will stop condemning others.


[1] https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cancel%20culture