*Disciples of Jesus
*The enemies of truth deleted some 200 words from this article.
Disciples of Jesus Christ are also called Christians, believers, children of God, children of light, citizens of heaven, and many others. In English ‘disciple’and‘disciples’appear in different places. The word ‘disciple’occurs 30 times in the New American Standard Bible (NASB); while the word ‘disciples’occurs 267 times in the New International Version (NIV).
Isa 8:16,“Bind up the testimony and seal up the law among my disciples.”
Note: This Scripture is the first time the word ‘disciples’appears in the Old Testament. Disciple in Hebrew is limmuwd which means a learner, one taught; - it occurs 6 times in the Old Testament. The prophets were the disciples of Jehovah. A prophet also had disciples.
Isa 50:4,“The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of disciples, that I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple.”
Note: Believers must have the ear of a disciple to listen attentively to the Word of God. Believers also must have the tongue of disciples to know how to sustain the weary one with a word. Sustain in Hebrew is `uwth which means to hasten especially to give help, help, succor, aid, assist; - it occurs only once in the Old Testament. Weary in Hebrew is ya`ĕph which means faint, fatigued, tired; - it occurs 4 times in the Old Testament. The power of word, a word of comfort may sustain the weary one as a cup of cold water to the thirsty.
Psa 37:30,“The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, and his tongue talks of justice.”
Preachers who pray so long prayers in public and have the congregation standing a long time do not have wisdom. An old Christian lady told me she could not stand that long while the preacher kept praying a long time.
Mat 5:1,“When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him.”
This Scripture is the first time the word ‘disciples’appears in the New
Testament. Disciple in Greek is mathētēs which means a
learner, pupil, student, follower; - it occurs 269 times in the King James
Rom 8:15,“For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out: Abba! Father!”
Note: The Greek word for adoption is huiothesia which means taking in as a son, the nature and condition of the true disciples in Christ, who by receiving the Spirit of God into their souls become sons of God; - it occurs 5 times in the New Testament.
Eph 1:5,“He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.”
Note: God predestined from eternity that the disciples of Jesus Christ to be adopted as sons according to the kind intention of God’s will. Discipleship is thus elevated to sonship.
Eph 1:7,“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.”
Note: The Greek word for redemption is apolytrōsis which means liberation procured by the payment of a ransom, deliverance effected through the death of Christ from the retributive wrath of God and the merited penalty of sin; - it occurs 10 times in the New Testament.
The Catholic priests cannot forgive your sins, there is no use to confess your sins to them. No one can forgive sins, only God can forgive sins. Through the redemption of Jesus Christ we obtain the forgiveness of sins.
1. What is a disciple.
Mat 10:24,“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master.”
Note: Disciple in Greek is mathētēs which means a pupil, learner, student, follower; - it occurs 269 times in the New Testament (KJV). The relationship between a disciple and teacher is like the relationship between a slave and his master. A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. A disciple of Jesus is a student and a slave of Jesus. In ancient China, the power of a teacher over his disciple was too excessive and oppressive. To be a disciple of Jesus Christ is to accept Christ as the Lord, it is not a human to human relationship.
A disciple is a follower, not the leader. Jesus Christ is the leader, we are His followers. A disciple is a servant, not the master. There are so many ignorant church members, they pray in a way telling God what to do. Christians pray to ask God for mercy and help, seeking God's will in our lives.
Mat 10:25,“It is enough for the disciple that he be like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household!”
Note: Enough in Greek is arketos which means sufficient, it occurs only 3 times in the New Testament. It is enough for the West to claim to be Christian; it is too much to claim God wants them to rule the world. It is enough for Wall Street executives to get high pay for managing their firms into bankruptcy, they demanded bailout or it would be catastrophic to the economy and they used taxpayers’money to give themselves billions in annual bonuses!
Act 9:36,“Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which translated in Greek is called Dorcas); this woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did.”
Note: Dorcas was a disciple; this woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did. It is the norm of a disciple to be abounding with deeds of kindness and charity.
Act 16:1,“Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. And a disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek.”
Note: Timothy was the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. Mixed marriages do not bar anyone from becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Act 21:16,“Some of the disciples from Caesarea also came with us, taking us to Mnason of Cyprus, a disciple of long standing with whom we were to lodge.”
Note: A disciple of long standing deserves more honor.
Jhn 9:28,“They reviled him and said: You are His disciple, but we are disciples of Moses.”
Note: People may revile you for being a disciple of Jesus. Those ignorant people do not know that a disciple of Jesus is much more honorable than a disciple of Moses; for Moses was a servant of Christ.
Mat 20:17,“Now as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside and said to them.”
Note: Jesus took the twelve disciples aside, there were and there are and there will be none like them; because Jesus made them the apostles who rank first in the church. The apostles were also disciples, but not all disciples were apostles.
Gal 1:15,“But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb and called me through His grace.” Paul was called to be an apostle from his mother’s womb. There are no more apostles, and there is no apostolic succession to the apostles. If anyone today claims to be an apostle, he must be a false apostle.
Mar 2:15,“While Jesus was having dinner at Levi's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him.”
Note: Tax collectors (corrupt officials) and sinners may repent and follow Jesus. For Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Sinners can repent and believe in Jesus Christ.
Jhn 3:6,“That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
Note: A disciple of Jesus is born of the Spirit, having the Spirit of Christ in him.
1Jo 4:7，“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”
Note: A disciple of Jesus is a person who is born of God and
knows God. Everyone who loves God also loves one another in Christ.
2. Who can become a disciple.
(A). The Lord calls them.
Mat 10:1,“He called His twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.”
Normally you have to be called to be a disciple.
2Ti 1:9,“He 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 given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.”
God called people to be saved in Christ before time began.
Rom 8:30,“Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”
Don’t worry if you think you are not predestined by God. For Jesus says,
Jhn 6:37,“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.”
No matter how you think you are not worthy, if only you come to Christ, He will not reject you. This is the wonderful grace of God and the love of Christ to whoever comes to Him.
Mat 27:57,“When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus.”
Note: A rich man becomes a disciple of Jesus is rare. A rich man can become a disciple of Jesus if he chooses.
Luk 6:13,“When morning came, He called his disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named apostles.”
Note: Do not confuse disciple with apostle. In the beginning Jesus chose twelve disciples to become the apostles. Apostles were disciples, not all disciples were apostles. Choose in Greek is eklegomai which means to pick out, choosing one out of many, make choice; - it occurs 21 times in the New Testament. Name in Greek is onomazō which means to give name to, call, designate, bear the name of; - it occurs 10 times in the New Testament. Apostle is the highest title that the Lord has given to the twelve only. Today every person can become a disciple of Jesus Christ simply by putting his trust in Jesus as his/her Lord and Savior. There are no more apostles, and there is no succession to the apostles. The Twelve Apostles, Judas lost his and replaced by Paul, are forever established in rank and honor in the Kingdom of God.
Mat 10:2-8,“Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him. These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying: The Kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.”
1Ti 1:1,“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope.”
God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third
teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations,
varieties of tongues.”
Note: Apostles rank first in the church of Jesus Christ.
Mat 19:28,“And Jesus said to them: Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the restoration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
Note: The twelve apostles will sit upon twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel when Jesus Christ returns to reign with the saints.
Rev 21:14,“Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”
Note: The names of the twelve apostles (excluded Judas, included Paul) are forever enshrined in the Holy City, the New Jerusalem. Outside the Twelve, if anyone claims he/she is an apostle, he/she is a false apostle and an enemy of the cross.
Luk 6:20,“Looking at His disciples, He said: Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God.”
Note: This does not mean just because you are poor, the Kingdom of God is yours. There are many poor will go to hell because they reject Christ to be their Lord and Savior. Mat 11:5,“The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the Gospel preached to them.” Those poor who accept the Gospel will be saved.
Jam 2:5,“Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the Kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?”
The poor of this world can be rich in the faith and heirs of the Kingdom of God.
(B). It is hard for the rich to become disciples.
Mat 19:23-26,“And Jesus said to His disciples: Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said: Then who can be saved? And looking at them Jesus said to them: With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Note: Hard in Greek is dyskolōs which means with difficulty; it occurs only 3 times in the New Testament. Not many rich become disciples of Jesus Christ. Do you think people of Wall Street, Washington, and Hollywood want to become disciples of Jesus? They seek money, power and sex of this world; not the Kingdom of heaven.
Mat 13:22,“Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.”
Note: The cares of this world and deceitfulness of riches are great obstacles to being a disciple of Jesus Christ. The Greek word for care is merimna which means worry, distraction, anxiety about things pertaining to this life; - it occurs 6 times in the New Testament. Riches have deceitful influence. For this reason people represented by Wall Street, Washington, and Hollywood are unfruitful in becoming disciples of Jesus Christ.
Forbes ranks the world’s billionaires of 2012. The world belongs to them and they belong to the world. Do you know anyone of them is a true follower of Jesus Christ?
Mat 19:23-24,“And Jesus said to His disciples: Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
Luk 12:21,“So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
A man can be rich toward men, but not rich toward God.
2Cr 8:9,“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.” The children of God are richer than all the world’s billionaires put together because they shall inherit the Kingdom of God.
1Ti 6:17,“Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.” Those billionaires are only rich in this present world; they have nothing in the world to come.
Jam 1:11,“For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away.” The rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away.
Jam 2:5,“Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the Kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?”
The poorest Christians are richer than those billionaires because they are rich in faith and they are heirs of the Kingdom of God. The Bible has a word for those billionaires,
Jam 5:1,“Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you!”
3. What a disciple must do.
(A). Believe in the Lord.
Mar 1:15,“And saying: The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”
Note: To believe in the Gospel is to believe Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins and rose again from the dead for your justification.
Mar 16:16,“He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”
Note: The division between the rich and the poor, the powerful and the weak are not as consequential as the division between believers and unbelievers. In the sight of God there are only two groups of people: believers and unbelievers. Belief in Jesus brings salvation, unbelief brings condemnation.
Jhn 2:11,“This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed His glory, and His disciples put their faith in Him.”
Note: The Greek word for reveal is phaneroō which means to make manifest or visible or known what has been hidden or unknown, to manifest whether by words, or deeds, or in any other way; become known, bring to light, show; - it occurs 49 times in the New Testament. The first requirement of discipleship is to put your faith in Christ. The miracles performed by Jesus reveal His glory. The power and glory of Christ convince the disciples to put their faith in Christ.
Jhn 3:18,“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
Note: Believe in Greek is pisteuō which means to trust in Jesus or God as able to save and aid, place confidence in, have faith in; - it occurs 248 times in the New Testament. There is no other name whereby we can be saved.
Jhn 2:22,“So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture and the Word which Jesus had spoken.”
Note: Faith must examine the evidence; Jesus was raised from the dead. The Christian faith is based on the Scripture and the Word which Jesus had spoken.
Jhn 20:8,“So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed.”
Note: The disciple who saw the empty tomb and believed.
Rom 10:9,“That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Note: You must believe in your heart, not with your mouth or head.
Luk 8:24-25,“The disciples went and woke Him, saying: Master, Master, we're going to drown! He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. Where is your faith? He asked His disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another: Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him.”
The Greek word for faith is pistis which means
conviction of the truth of anything, belief; in the New Testament
of a conviction or belief respecting man's relationship to God and divine
things; a strong conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through whom
we obtain eternal salvation in the Kingdom of God; - it occurs 244 times in the
(B). Come to the Lord.
Mat 5:1,“Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to Him.”
Mat 9:10,“While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and ‘sinners’ came and ate with Him and His disciples.”
Mat 11:28,“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”
Note: The word ‘come’ in Chinese is 來, it has prophetic and historic meaning. 十 means the cross. There was a cross, on the left was a little man, 人, who was a thief. On the right was also a little man, 人, who was also a thief. In the center was a big Man 人.
Thus Jesus was crucified between two thieves; it was an invitation of God to mankind to reconcile with Him. Jesus says: Come, follow Me.
Mar 8:34,“And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them: If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”
Jhn 7:37,“Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying: If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.”
Note: Would you come now to Jesus to drink the water of life?
Luk 18:15,“People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have Him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them.”
Parents, bring your babies to Jesus to have Him touch them. You say Jesus is
not in heaven, can you bring our babies to Jesus to have Him touch them. Yes,
right where you are, by prayer you can do so. Oh, how important to have Jesus
touch your babies when they are so young.
(C). Search for the Lord.
Jhn 6:24,“Once the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus.”
Note: The world is in search of money, power and pleasure as symbolized by Wall Street, Washington, and Hollywood. Are you in search of Jesus? Are you in search of the historical Jesus? The historical Jesus is as it is written in the four Gospels and interpreted by the New Testament, not reconstructed by unbelieving theologians and professors.
Jer 29:13,“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”
Note: The Hebrew word for search is darash which means to resort to, seek, seek with care, enquire, consult, enquire of, seek deity in prayer and worship, learn, study; - it occurs 164 times in the Old Testament. If you search with all your heart, you will find Jesus.
Jhn 6:26,“Jesus answered them and said: Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.”
Note: There are people who seek Jesus for material reasons. 1Cr 15:19, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” Pitiable in Greek is eleeinos which means to be pitied, miserable; - it occurs only twice in the New Testament. There are people in Wall Street, Washington, and Hollywood who profess to be Christians; they are the most miserable, to be pitied because they have hope only in this life. The most miserable of them are those who claimed God wanted them to be president of the United States and those who defrauded billions and billions of dollars.
1Cr 1:21-25,“For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”
Wall Street, Washington, and Hollywood do not know the power and wisdom of
(D). Follow the Lord.
Mat 16:24,“Then Jesus said to His disciples: If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”
Note: The Greek word for follow is akoloutheō which means to join one as a disciple, become or be his disciple, conform to his example; - it occurs 92 times in the New Testament. To follow Jesus is to become His disciple, follow in His steps, and conform to His image.
Luk 9:23,“And He was saying to them all: If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”
Jhn 10:27,“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”
Note: Jesus compares His believers to sheep. The sheep of Jesus hear His voice and follow Him. If you do not follow or listen to Jesus because you are not His sheep.
1Pe 2:21,“For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps.”
Note: To follow in Jesus’steps does not mean to follow His example in performing miracles and wonders. To follow in Jesus’steps means to suffer for Him. If we share His suffering, we will share His glory.
2Ti 3:10-12,“Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
Note: To follow Jesus also means to follow the apostolic teachings. Apostolic teachings are recorded from the Book of Acts to Revelation as inspired and ordered by the Holy Spirit.
On Easter Sunday （April 8, 2012）I met a white couple from Tasmania, Australia, at a church. I told them many American churches have apostatized and some preachers preached the false gospel called prosperity gospel. The American values are money, power and sex. I explained that false preachers preached that if you give money to their church or ministry, God will open up heaven and pour down blessings on you and make you rich – how it is contrary to the teaching of Jesus Christ. You follow Jesus Christ not with a goal of getting rich; if you are rich, give your money to the poor. I also told them, the Crystal Cathedral, the American center of prosperity gospel, has gone bankrupt. The Christian lady asked, “Is it true?” When I reaffirmed, she spontaneously said: “Amen!” It suddenly dawned on me, Christians everywhere, no matter what national or racial background, who believe in the one true faith, who love the Jesus Christ and the Holy Bible as the Word of God, all have common aspirations and same feelings about spiritual things. All condemn heresy and false gospels.
(E). Take up the cross.
Mar 8:33-34，“But when Jesus turned and looked at His disciples, He rebuked Peter. "Get behind me, Satan!" He said. You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men. Then He called the crowd to Him along with His disciples and said: If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.”
Note: Take up in Greek is airō which means to bear, lift up, carry off: - it occurs 102 times in the New Testament.
Mar 15:21,“They pressed into service a passer-by coming from the country, Simon of Cyrene (the father of Alexander and Rufus), to bear His cross.”
Luk 23:26,“When they led Him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, coming in from the country, and placed on him the cross to carry behind Jesus.”
Note: A passer-by Simon of Cyrene, coming from the country, was pressed into service to bear the cross of Jesus. A Christian must willingly bear his cross and follow Jesus.
Luk 14:27,“Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”
Jhn 19:25,“Therefore 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.”
Note: Bearing the cross is more than standing by the cross of Jesus.
Gal 6:12,“Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.”
Note: To bear the cross means to be persecuted for the cross of Christ.
Hbr 12:2,“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
To bear the cross we must fix our eyes on Jesus and endure the cross.
(F). Be on guard.
Luk 12:1,“Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to His disciples, saying: Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”
Note: The Greek word for hypocrisy is hypokrisis which means dissimulation, the acting of a stage player; - it occurs 7 times in the New Testament. The most vicious and malicious kind of hypocrisy in history is white man’s burden. Western powers under the pretext of the commission by God to civilize the world committed the most uncivilized acts of aggression, atrocity and brutality in attacking and occupying other nations. Imperialism, colonialism, capitalism and hegemonism were born to do evil with the pretext of doing good. The US-Taiwan Relations Act is one of these political and military hypocrisies. The hypocrisy of modernist scholars and preachers is to destroy the faith of believers by distorting the Word of God. The false doctrines born out of this hypocrisy include God is love so God would not send anyone to hell; Jesus is a son of God just as we are all sons of God; if you do your best you will go to heaven; God wants you to be prosperous and rich; death penalty is cruel; etc. The hypocrisy of modern liars includes God loves homosexual; it is o.k. to have same sex marriage; greed is good; if the government does not bail out big banks, the economy will be catastrophic; etc.
Mat 7:15,“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”
Note: The Greek word for beware is prosechō which means to give attention to, take heed, be careful of; - it occurs 24 times in the New Testament. False prophets come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. Everything false has contradiction between what appears outside and what is inside. The devil disguises himself as an angle of light. Watch out the dagger in a smile. Not all that glitters is gold.
Luk 12:15,“Then He said to them: Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.”
Note: The Greek word for greed is pleonexia which means covetousness, avarice, greedy desire to have more; - it occurs 10 times in the New Testament. Greed has many forms. Wall Street is for the greed of money, Washington is for the greed of power, and Hollywood is for the greed of sex.
The greedy system of Wall Street and the predatory and greedy system of American healthcare should be overthrown and destroyed for good.
Phl 3:2,“Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision.”
In the sight of God, greedy and evil and filthy people are dogs. False circumcision means the circumcision of the flesh only without the renewal of the spirit. You can be a Jews according to the flesh, but not a child of God according to promise. Those who rely on their own merit or work to be saved is false circumcision.
(G). Redeem the time.
Eph 5:16,“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”
Note: Redeem in Greek is exagorazō which means to make wise and sacred use of every opportunity for doing
good, buy up, buy up for one’s use; - it occurs only 4 times in the New
Testament. To redeem time is to make the most of time. No one has ever achieved
anything worthwhile in this world who has not made the most of his time. Time
is limited, things to do are unlimited. So a wise person will do the most
important thing first. A person who wastes hours in talking on the phone does
not know how to redeem the time.
Why to redeem the time? For time is the stuff that life is made of as a wise man said. If you waste the time, you waste your life.
(H). Open your home to the Lord.
Luk 10:38,“As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to Him.”
Note: Martha, Mary and Lazarus were a wonderful family with parents no more. They managed to open their home to Jesus and His disciples. Do you open your home to the Lord?
Jhn 4:53,“So the father knew that it was at that hour in which Jesus said to him: Your son lives; and he himself believed and his whole household.”
Note: Does your whole household believe in Jesus?
Act 16:31,“They said: Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
How wonderful is the salvation of God. How wonderful is the way of salvation. If God requires man to pay a sum to get saved, all the poor would perish. If God requires to pass an exam to get saved, the uneducated would perish. The basic requirement of God is to believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved. Everyone can believe, the sick, the poor, the uneducated, the helpless, the oppressed, the lost -- all can believe and be saved. This is the good news of God's gift to whoever wants to accept and believe.
Act 16:33,“And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household.”
Act 18:8,“Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, believed in the Lord with all his household, and many of the Corinthians when they heard were believing and being baptized.”
Note: The head of a household is responsible for leading his whole household to believe and be baptized.
Act 21:16,“Some of the disciples from Caesarea accompanied us and brought us to the home of Mnason, where we were to stay. He was a man from Cyprus and one of the early disciples.”
Note: Do you make your home available to the Lord’s servants?
To welcome the servants of Christ into your home is to open your home to the
(I). Give bread to the people.
Mat 14:19-20，“And He directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, He gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.”
Mar 6:41-43,“And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food and broke the loaves and He kept giving them to the disciples to set before them; and He divided up the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up twelve full baskets of the broken pieces, and also of the fish.”
Luk 9:14-17,“About five thousand men were there. But He said to His disciples, "Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each. The disciples did so, and everybody sat down. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to set before the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.”
Note: The feeding of the people illustrates the important truth of the work of disciples in preaching the Gospel of salvation to all peoples.
Jhn 6:51,“I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”
Note: This Scripture means by laying down His life, the Lord Jesus gives life to whoever believes in Him.
1Cr 10:3-4,“All ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.”
For a physical life, man needs to drink water and eat food. To have spiritual
life, you need to eat spiritual food and drink spiritual drink. Jesus is the
Bread of life and the water of life to give you spiritual life and life
(J). Ask for the meaning.
Luk 8:9,“His disciples asked Him what this parable meant.”
Note: When you study the Word of God, ask the Lord for its meaning, ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten you.
Luk 18:31-34,“Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished. For He will be delivered to the Gentiles and will be mocked and insulted and spit upon. They will scourge Him and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again. But they understood none of these things; this saying was hidden from them, and they did not know the things which were spoken.”
Note: The Jews were taught that the Messiah was eternal, such preconception barred the disciples from understanding that the Messiah must suffer shame and death and rise from the dead the third day. To them it was unthinkable that the Messiah must die.
Jhn 11:12-13,“His disciples replied: Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better. Jesus had been speaking of his death, but His disciples thought He meant natural sleep.”
Note: This is a case of misunderstanding what Jesus meant. Death is not a natural sleep. To sleep in Christ means a natural death.
Jhn 2:22,“After he was raised from the dead, His disciples recalled what He had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.”
Note: The Holy Spirit helps us to recall what Jesus had spoken so that we may believe the Scripture. How can you recall if you have not read the words of Jesus written in the Gospels? The Holy Spirit also uses our experience to lead us into all truth. As I look back in my life I can see many effects of divine providence which were not clear when they happened, and I also see what may be deemed misfortunes which turned out to be working for good. One event mysteriously led to another event. The Lord controls whatever comes to pass.
Gen 50:19-20,“Joseph said to them: Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”
The story of Joseph beautifully illustrates the wonderful divine providence. The
Hebrew word for mean is chashab
to think, plan, plot, calculate, invent, make a judgment, imagine,
count, devise, conceive, purpose; - it occurs 124 times in the Old Testament.
The guilty brothers of Joseph devised evil plot against Joseph to harm him, but
God meant it for good to save the house of Jacob from
(K). Do as the Lord directs.
Mat 26:17-19,“On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked: Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover? He replied: Go into the city to a certain man and tell him: The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with My disciples at your house.
So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover.”
Note: There is appointed time for everything. Blessed is the person who does the right thing at the right time. A 17-year old got pregnant out of wedlock before graduating from high school is surely ruining her life timetable, and thus ruining her life. Pregnancy itself is not wrong, it is wrong for a 17-year old out of wedlock; it is wrong because it takes place during the years she should prepare her life for college. Her pregnancy would be beautiful if it takes place after college and she is married to a good man. Direct in Greek is syntassō which means to put in order with or together, to arrange, to prescribe, appoint, instruct; - it occurs only twice in the New Testament. Your life can only be put in good order if you obey direction from the Lord.
2Th 3:5,“May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ.”
Note: Let the Spirit of the Lord direct your heart into the love of God, into all the truth, and into the steadfastness of Christ.
In the early Church there was a great debate at Antioch as to what Gentile （non-Jewish） Christians should do because some false teachers came down from Judea and taught Gentile Christians must be circumcised according to the custom of Moses or they would not be saved. Paul and Barnabas went up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders concerning this issue. A sect of the Pharisees said it was necessary to circumcise them and to direct them to observe the Law of Moses. The apostles and the elders came together to look into this matter. The first council in Jerusalem took place to settle the matter. Peter stood up and said,
Act 15:10-11,“Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.”
Note: There is no distinction as to how a Jewish or Gentile believer is saved. We are all saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
Eph 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” However, there is a distinction as to how a Jewish Christian or a Gentile Christian should conduct himself. James said,
Act 15:19-20,“Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles, but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood.”
The apostles and the brethren who were elders sent a letter to Gentile Christians saying,
Act 15:25-29,“It seemed good to us, having become of one mind, to select men to send to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore we have sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will also report the same things by word of mouth. For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials: that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell.” At that time, the Apostles and Elders proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ by word of mouth. The New Testament was not written yet. The Apostles made it clear Gentile Christians do not need to be circumcised or keep the Sabbath. The ceremonial Law of Moses was no longer required, but the moral law as repeated in the New Testament remains. However, the essentials for all believers whether Jewish or Gentile to observe are to abstain from:
1. eating things sacrificed to
idols and worshiping of idols
2. eating blood
3. eating meat of strangled animals
must be free from eating blood, free from eating food sacrificed to idols and
worship of idols, free from eating food from strangled animals, and free from
committing sexual immorality (including homosexuality and divorce). In other words,
Christians are forbidden to eat blood, food sacrificed to idols or worship of idols,
food from strangled animals, and fornication. Chinese Christians must pay
particular attention because the Chinese custom of eating blood, worshiping
ancestors and idols, and eating food sacrificed to idols. The leader of Taiwan Ma
Ying-jeou has publicly committed idolatry by worshiping idols, I do not know
whether he has stopped doing it or not. No one has the right to claim to be a
Christian and worship idols at the same time just like no woman has the right
to marry two men at the same time. Worshiping idols is a great sin against the
living God. Mr. Ma Ying-jeou must come clean: if Ma Ying-jeou claims to be a
Christian, he cannot worship idols. If he wants to worship idols, he cannot
claim to be a Christian. That is fair. That is religious freedom. There is no hangky-pangky
in being a Christian.
(L). Bear fruit.
Mat 3:8,“Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance.”
Note: It is impossible for a person to repent and bear no fruit. Repentance yields good fruit.
Jhn 15:8,“This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples.”
Note: Christians bear fruit not for self-glory, but for showing to be the disciples of Jesus to the glory of God.
Jhn 15:16,“You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.”
Rom 7:4,“Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.”
Rom 6:22,“But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.”
Gal 5:22-25,“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
Unlike the teaching of prosperity preachers, the fruit has nothing to do with
your giving to them – the more the money, the more the fruit. Disciples bear
fruit to holiness and the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit includes
love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness,
4. The difficulty of being a disciple of Jesus.
(A). Take up the cross.
Mat 16:24,“Then Jesus said to His disciples: If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.”
Note: Deny in Greek is aparneomai which means to forget one's self, lose sight of one's self and one's own interests; - it occurs 13 times in the New Testament. Instead of self-seeking, a disciple of Jesus must deny his own interests. Cross in Greek is stauros which means here not the physical crucifixion which Christ underwent, but that symbolizes bearing persecutions, troubles and distresses; - it occurs 28 times in the New Testament. Follow in Greek is akoloutheō which means to join one as a disciple, become or be his disciple; - it occurs 92 times in the New Testament. To follow Jesus is to become His disciple, His follower.
Luk 14:33,“So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.”
Note: This Scripture applies to the Twelve Disciples only. You do not need to give up all your own possessions in order to become a disciple of Jesus Chris; but you need to make Christ more important than anything else.
Jhn 19:38,“After these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. So he came and took away His body.”
Note: No one can be a secret disciple of Jesus Christ for long. True love cannot be hidden.
Mat 10:32, “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven.” If you do not confess Jesus before men, He will not confess you before the Father who is in heaven. This does not mean during a persecution you go out to trumpet you are a Christian so that you become martyr. This does not mean you deliberately and openly practice your faith in an Islamic country to be persecuted and harmed.
Mat 16:21,“From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”
Note: It was God’s will for Christ to die on the cross for sinners.
Mar 6:48,“He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them.”
Note: The wind of the world is often against Christians. Watch out when the worldly wind is blowing your way.
Mar 3:20,“Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and His disciples were not even able to eat.”
Note: Have you ever engaged in the work of the Lord that you were so busy and not even able to eat?
Luk 14:27,“Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”
There is a cross to bear for every disciple.
(B). Hated by all for Jesus name's sake.
Mar 13:13,“And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”
Note: To be hated in Greek is miseō which means to be detested, to be pursued with hatred; - it occurs 42 times in the New Testament.
Question: Why Christians are hated?
Jhn 15:19-21,“If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.”
Jhn 17:14,“I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”
If the Master is persecuted, the servants will also be persecuted. The world
loves its own. Christians are persecuted not for doing wrong, but for Jesus name’s
sake. Christians do not belong to the world, therefore the world hates them. Christians do not have an easy life in this world because they do not belong to the world. Executives of Wall Street, Washington, and Hollywood enjoy good life in this world because they belong to the world and the world belongs to them.
(C). Suffer shame
Act 5:41,“So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.”
Note: Suffer shame in Greek is atimazō which means to deprive of honor, to be treated with contempt, to be insulted, to be despised; - it occurs 6 times in the New Testament. You should rejoice if you suffer shame for Jesus’name. You must be worried if the world honors you.
Jhn 9:28,“Then they hurled insults at him and said: You are this Fellow's disciple! We are disciples of Moses!”
Note: The hypocritical Pharisees did not know that Moses was only a servant of God. Jesus is the Son of God.
1Ti 4:10,“For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.”
Note: Suffer reproach in Greek is oneidizō which means to be reviled, to be upbraided; - it occurs 10 times in the New Testament. True servants of Christ will labor and suffer in preaching the Gospel of Jesus who is the Savior of all men.
1Pe 3:17,“For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.”
It may seem strange to you, sometimes you have to suffer for doing right. Wall
Street has demonstrated that people who are doing wrong is rewarded with wealth
and power, while millions are losing their jobs and homes. Greedy capitalism
has proven that crooks and criminals become the richest people on earth.
(D). Suffer persecution.
Gal 5:11,“And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased.”
Because Paul preached circumcision was nothing, it cannot save your soul, it was an offense to the Jews who rejected Christ. Regeneration matters. Regeneration is to be born again by the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ.
Phl 1:29,“For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.”
Note: Disciples of Jesus Christ not only believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.
1Th 3:4,“For indeed when we were with you, we kept telling you in advance that we were going to suffer affliction; and so it came to pass, as you know.”
2Ti 2:3,“Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.”
Note: The idea that the servants of Christ must live in luxury is a strange American doctrine, contrary to the teaching of the Bible.
1Pe 3:14,“But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled.”
Note: You are blessed to suffer for righteousness.
Act 8:1,“Now Saul was consenting to his death. At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.”
Gal 6:12,“As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh, these [would] compel you to be circumcised, only that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.”
Note: The enemies of the cross would make sure Christians suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.
2Ti 3:12,“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”
Note: If you have never suffered persecution probably because you do not live godly in Christ Jesus.
Rom 8:17,“And if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.”
This is the certainty of God’s word: If we suffer with Christ, we may also be
glorified with Him.
(G). Suffer according to the will of God.
1Pe 4:19,“Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.”
Note: You should not think it strange that children of God sometime suffer according to the will of God.
1Pe 3:14,“But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you are blessed. And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.”
Note: To suffer for righteousness’sake is to suffer according to the will of God.
1Pe 3:17, “For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”
It is the will of God for disciples to suffer for doing good than for doing
evil. Wall Street, Washington, and Hollywood have
demonstrated that people who are doing evil get money, power and pleasure. Christians
who are doing good suffer.
(E). Suffer tribulation.
1Th 3:4,“For, in fact, we told you before when we were with you that we would suffer tribulation, just as it happened, and you know.”
2Th 1:4,“So that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure.”
Note: To endure persecutions and tribulations is to demonstrate
your patience and faith.
Question: What is it good then to be disciples and suffer?
Rom 8:18,“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
Note: This is contrary to the false gospel preached by prosperity preachers; disciples of Jesus Christ are not going to get rich in this world. Things are not going your way. If you share the sufferings of Christ in this world, you will share the glory of Christ in the world to come
Jam 5:11,“Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord--that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.”
It is not the preachers and church members who enjoy the good life who are blessed;
it is the servants of Christ and true believers who endure sufferings who are
5. The relationship between the Lord and disciples.
Jhn 15:4-5,“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”
Note: Abide in Greek is menō which means to remain, continue to be present, continue to be, not to depart, maintain unbroken relationship; - it occurs 120 times in the New Testament. The relationship between the Lord and the disciples is the relationship between the vine and the branches. The disciples depend on the Lord just as the branches depend on the vine. The disciples cannot be independent just as the branches cannot be separated from the vine.
Act 9:10,“Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision: Ananias. And he said: Here I am, Lord.”
Disciples must be ready whenever and wherever the Lord calls them.
(A). To be instructed by Jesus.
Mat 21:6,“The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them.”
Note: Instruct in Greek is syntassō which means to prescribe, appoint, command, teach; - it occurs only twice in the New Testament. Do as Jesus instructed in the Bible. Jesus instructed the disciples on a number of subjects, only some are selected to illustrate the truth.
Mat 17:10-13,“And His disciples asked Him, saying: Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first? Jesus answered and said to them: Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things. But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands. Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist.”
Note: Remember at the time of Jesus ministry, the New Testament was not written yet. Person-to-person oral instruction was vital to know the truth.
Mat 22:16,“They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. Teacher, they said: we know you are a Man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren't swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are.”
Note: Even the wicked and phony have to admit that Jesus was a Man of integrity and taught the way of God in accordance with the truth.
Act 18:25,“This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus, being acquainted only with the baptism of John.”
Note: Instruct here in Greek is katēcheō which means to teach orally, to inform by word of mouth, to be orally informed; - it occurs 8 times in the New Testament. The word ‘catechism’ is derived from the Greek word.
The oral method of teaching by questions and answers is very effective. Apollos had been instructed in the way of the Lord that he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus. A good teacher teaches accurately; many Chinese students were taught to speak English inaccurately. Good teachers are the great assets of any nation. Parents, it is important to have your children to be instructed in the way of the Lord when they are young. Send them to the Sunday School to learn catechism and characters of the Bible.
Mar 9:31,“Because He was teaching His disciples. He said to them: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill Him, and after three days He will rise.”
Note: The two cardinal doctrines of Christianity are the substitutionary death of Jesus on the cross for sinners and His resurrection from the dead for the justification of all believers.
1Ti 6:18,“Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share.”
Note: The Word of God teaches two main subjects: doctrinal teaching about Jesus Christ and behavioral teaching about Christian conduct. Capitalism teaches people the love of money which is incompatible with Christianity. Imperialism teaches the love of power which is incompatible with the Kingdom of God.
Mat 13:10,“The disciples came to Him and asked: Why do you speak to the people in parables?”
Mat 13:36,“Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said: Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”
Note: Parable is used to present and compare some ordinary thing with extraordinary subject. Parable is most interesting and instructive when it is explained in plain words. Read the marvelous Parable of the Sower, Matthew Chapter 13. Modernists or unbelievers are very presumptuous people, they assume they know better than the Lord and explain what Jesus did not mean. When you study the Bible, do not try to think what you want it to mean. Try to understand what it means as led by the Holy Spirit.
Mar 14:12-14;16,“On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus' disciples asked Him: Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover? So He sent two of His disciples, telling them: Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him.
Say to the owner of the house he enters, The Teacher asks: Where is My guest room, where I may eat the Passover with My disciples? The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.”
Jhn 16:17,“Some of His disciples said to one another: What does He mean by saying: In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see Me, and Because I am going to the Father?”
Note: Pay attention to the words of Jesus. What Jesus says and means are much more important than anything else in the world.
Jhn 2:17,“His disciples remembered that it is written: Zeal for your house will consume me.”
Luk 9:43,“And they were all amazed at the greatness of God. While everyone was marveling at all that Jesus did, He said to His disciples.”
Luk 19:37,“When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen.”
Mar 16:7,“But go, tell His disciples and Peter: He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him, just as He told you.”
Mat 11:1,“After Jesus had finished instructing His twelve disciples, He went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee.”
Mat 17:19,“Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked: Why couldn't we drive it out?”
Jhn 20:20,“After He said this, He showed them His hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.”
Jhn 20:30,“Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not recorded in this book.”
Jhn 12:16,“At first His disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about Him and that they had done these things to Him.”
The divine revelation is progressive, and the understanding of disciples is
also progressive. What an adult knows is quite different from what a child
(B). Have faith.
Mar 4:38-41,“Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke Him and said to Him: Teacher, don't you care if we drown? And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea: Hush, be still. And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. He said to His disciples: Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith? They became very much afraid and said to one another: Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”
Note: Jesus cares if His disciples drown. Have faith, if you are in the same boat with Jesus, you will not drown. Why are you afraid, even the wind and the sea obey Jesus.
Hbr 10:39,“But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.”
The faith firmly established in Jesus does not shrink back, and does not move
away from the hope of the Gospel. If you shrink back to the old way of life, to the love of the world - you shrink back to destruction.
(C). Love Jesus more than anyone.
Luk 14:26,“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”
Note: The Greek word for hate is miseō which means to love less, to postpone in love or esteem, pursue with hatred; - it occurs 42 times in the New Testament. Here the word ‘hate’ is a comparative term. It does not mean the Lord wants you to positively hate your own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters. It simply means you cannot love the Lord less than you love your own father and mother and wife and children and brother and sisters, yes; and even your own life. If you do so, you cannot be a disciple of Jesus. A disciple must love the Lord more than anyone or anything.
Mat 6:24,“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”
If you the love the world, the love of God is not in you. The prosperity gospel preached by Robert Shuller and others teach their followers to love the world (wealth) and God. That is why they failed, the center of prosperity gospel the Crystal Cathedral was bankrupt and sold. There is no prosperity for the followers of prosperity gospel.
(D). Pray to the Lord.
Mat 8:25,“The disciples went and woke him, saying: Lord, save us! We're going to drown!”
Note: The Lord saves. The Lord saves our souls from eternal death. 1Ti 1:15, “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.” Tts 3:5,“He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,” The Lord saves us from many disasters and distresses and troubles while we are on earth.
Mat 15:25-28,“Then she came and worshiped Him, saying: Lord, help me! But He answered and said: It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs. And she said: Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters' table. Then Jesus answered and said to her: O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire. And her daughter was healed from that very hour.”
Note: All unworthy sinners may worship Jesus and say: Lord, help me!
Even little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’table.
Psa 55:16,“As for me, I shall call upon God, and the LORD will save me.”
Note: To pray is to call upon God.
Mar 9:24,“Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears: Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
Note: The Lord can help your unbelief if you are willing.
Mat 9:38,“Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
Note: Evangelization of the world is the main concern of disciples.
Luk 18:1，“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.”
Note: Always pray and not give up.
Act 21:5,“But when our time was up, we left and continued on our way. All the disciples and their wives and children accompanied us out of the city, and there on the beach we knelt to pray.”
Note: What a beautiful picture of the disciples and their wives and children there on the beach knelt to pray together.
Hbr 4:16,“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Note: I have obtained mercy and found grace to help in time of need a million times. If you are a true believer, you can too.
Rom 8:26-27,“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
Even many preachers do not know how to pray because they use prayer to report
to God or preach to God or to audience. It is important to know what to pray
for and how to pray.
(D). Do what the Lord says.
Mat 7:24-29,“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall. And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.”
Note: A wise man does what the Lord says, and a foolish man does not do them.
Luk 6:46,“But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do the things which I say?”
Jhn 8:31,“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said: If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples.”
Note: The Taiwanese leader, Ma Ying-jeou, claims to be a Christian and yet he publicly worships idols. A disciple of Jesus does not worship idols. If you hold to the teaching of Christ, you do not worship idols. If you are a disciple of Jesus, you do not worship idols. If you worship idols, you cannot be a disciple of Jesus. Ma Ying-jeou has sinned against God by worshipping idols. If Mr. Ma is a true Christian, he must repent and give up idolatry. Ma Ying-jeou needs to come clean one way or another. You cannot worship God and idols.
Jhn 13:15,“For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.”
Note: What example? As the Scripture cited above refers to Jesus washing the feet of the disciples. Disciples also need to serve. The following are also examples.
Col 3:13, “Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”
Note: Forgiving is also an example set by Christ.
Eph 5:2,“And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”
Note: Loving the brotherhood smells sweet and good. Hatred stinks.
Rom 15:7,“Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.”
Note: Some white church members do not receive believers of other races. There is no such a thing as Christian racism; there is such a thing that white people who profess to be Christians practice racism, just as some Jewish believers looked down at Gentile believers before. There are some white preachers think they are superior to others.
be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
6. The reaction of disciples to the Lord’s teaching.
Mar 4:34,“He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with His own disciples, He explained everything.”
Note: Explain in Greek is epilyō which means to explain what is obscure and hard to understand, expound; - it occurs only twice in the New Testament. There are obscure and hard to understand passages of the Scriptures, we need the Lord to enlighten us. However, the basic teachings on God and Savior are clear and simple.
Act 8:30-35,“Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said: Do you understand what you are reading? And he said: Well, how could I, unless someone guides me? And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Now the passage of Scripture which he was reading was this: HE was led as a sheep to slaughter; and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so He does not open his mouth. In humiliation His judgment was taken away; who will relate His generation? For His life is removed from the earth. The eunuch answered Philip and said: Please tell me, of whom does the prophet say this? Of himself or of someone else? Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him.”
Note: It is possible that you do not understand what you read in the Bible. The educated Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of Candace, could not understand the Book of Isaiah. Guide in Greek is hodēgeō which means to be a guide, lead on one's way, to guide, to be a guide or a teacher, to give guidance to; - it occurs 5 times in the New Testament. Beginners or young believers need mature Christians to guide them. Personal Bible teacher is a guide to those who want but do not understand the Scriptures.
Mat 7:14,“Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
The Christian way is not the broad way but the narrow way. There are crowds who travel the path of death; there are few who take the way which leads to life.
Act 15:19,“It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.”
Note: Ministers should make the Bible simple for those who are turning to God. No teacher should add anything to the Bible to make it difficult for anyone turning to God.
Jhn 6:54-66,“He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever. These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum. Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said: This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it? But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them: Does this cause you to stumble? What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. But there are some of you who do not believe. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. And He was saying: For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father. As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore.”
Note: The Scriptures cited above are difficult because the physical is interposed with the spiritual, the material symbolized the immaterial. Difficult in Greek is sklēros which means hard, harsh, rough, stiff, stern, rough; - it occurs 6 times in the New Testament. Stumble in Greek is skandalizō which means to put a stumbling block or impediment in the way, upon which another may trip and fall; to offend, to cause to fall away, to cause one displeasure at a thing, to make to offend; - it occurs 30 times in the New Testament. No one should stumble because of difficult passages in the Bible. Some saint has well said, “The difficult passages of the Bible do not trouble me, I am troubled by the Scriptures which I fully understand.” No one should withdraw and go away from the Lord. There is no option; the Lord has the words of eternal life.
Hbr 5:11,“Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.”
Note: To a dull person, it is hard to explain any thing, much more the spiritual things.
2Pe 3:16,“As also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.”
Note: There are some things in the Bible, even Peter confessed, hard to understand, hard to be understood. Distort in Greek is strebloō which means to twist, turn awry, to pervert, of one who wrests or tortures language in a false sense; - it occurs only once in the New Testament.
1Cr 2:14,“ But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
Note: Discern in Greek is anakrinō which means to investigate, examine, enquire into, scrutinize, sift, question, judge, determine; - it occurs 16 times in the New Testament. The things of the Spirit must be spiritually discerned. If you do not have the organ of ear, you will not be able to hear any sound. If you do not have the Holy Spirit, you would not know the things of God. The natural man cannot receive or understand the things of the Spirit, for that reason otherwise intelligent but unbelieving scientists do not know spiritual things or things of God. The natural man is governed by the sensuous nature with its subjection to desire and passion.
Mat 15:12,“Then the disciples came to him and asked: Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”
Note: The teaching of Jesus Christ is not going to please the Pharisees, the children of darkness, or the enemies of the cross. The teaching of
Christ offends unbelievers such as those who believe in evolution, imperialism, capitalism, secularism, and homosexuality, etc.
2Pe 1:20,“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation.”
Note: All false doctrines and heresies came from private interpretation of the Scripture. In addition, our knowledge is limited.
1 Cr 13:12, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now
I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully
known.” Once I met a self-conceited man who argued that he could not believe
God is Self-Existent, something must come from something. The carnal mind
cannot know God. If God comes from something, that something must be greater
than God. There is no one and nothing greater than God. For God is
Self-Existent, eternal, from everlasting to everlasting. Of course, a finite
mind cannot grasp eternity, time without end. Do not presume you know
everything. God is the greatest mystery. Just as an ameba cannot understand
man, so a mortal man cannot understand the eternal God.
7. Disciples are to testify for the Lord.
Jhn 21:24,“This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and wrote these things, and we know that his testimony is true.”
Act 6:1-2，“In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food.
So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said: It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the Word of God in order to wait on tables.”
Note: The ministry of the Word of God refers to the witnessing for Jesus Christ and explanation of the salvation of God to the people. To the Apostles who had been given the commission and mission, there is nothing more important than the ministry of the Word of God.
Jhn 5:39,“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.”
Note: The Scriptures, in particular the New Testament, testify of Jesus. Disciples of Jesus testify of Jesus according to the Scriptures.
Act 10:42-43, “And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”
Note: The disciples testified that it is Christ who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. Through the name of Christ everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.
Act 14:21,“They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch,”
Act 20:24,“But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the Gospel of the grace of God.”
Note: The ministry of the Apostles was to testify to the Gospel of the grace of God. The grace of God is that sinners can be saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
1Pe 5:1,“Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed.”
1Jo 4:14,“We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.”
Note: The Apostles had seen and testified that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.
Act 6:7,“So the Word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.”
Mar 16:20,“Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed His Word by the signs that accompanied it.”
Mat 17:6,“When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified.”
Note: The disciples fell facedown to the ground because they were afraid of the voice of God, the testimony of God for His Son Jesus.
Mat 28:8,“So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell His disciples.”
Note: The empty tomb of Jesus is a joy for believers because Jesus has conquered death forever. The power of resurrection is the motivating force for spreading the good news of Jesus Christ.
Mat 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.”
Make a disciple in Greek is mathēteuō
which means to
teach, instruct, make a follower; - it occurs 4 times in the New Testament. The
purpose of witnessing for the Lord is to make disciples of all nations.
8. The relationship among disciples.
(A). Love one another.
Jhn 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.”
Note: The hallmark of the disciples of Jesus Christ is that they love one another. It is a shame there are so many divisions and conflicts among Christians. Those who believe in false doctrines and false gospels are not the disciples of Jesus Christ. Those who are true disciples of Jesus Christ are beset by jealousy, envy, personality problems and wrong doctrinal emphasis. For example, many white believers speak and act as if they were superior to other believers. Consequently, black believers join black churches, Spanish believers join Spanish churches, and some Chinese believers like to associate with white churches, and some join Chinese churches. Race becomes a factor due to the behavior of racial groups. There is nothing wrong to have white, black and yellow churches; the problem is that race should not be a factor in any church. All disciples are one in Christ, under the Great Shepherd.
Jhn 15:12,“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.
Jhn 15:17,“This I command you, that you love one another.”
Act 11:29,“The disciples, each according to his ability, decided to provide help for the brothers living in Judea.”
Note: Disciples of Jesus Christ should provide help for brothers in need, each according to his ability. The high-pressured tactics used by some ministers to raise funds to enrich themselves or build monuments for themselves is un-Scriptural.
Act 18:23,“After spending some time in Antioch, Paul set out from there and traveled from place to place throughout the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.”
Note: Love can strengthen all disciples.
Act 18:27,“When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. On arriving, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed.”
Note: Brothers need to encourage each other.
Act 9:19,“And after taking some food, he regained his strength. Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus.”
Note: A starving disciple has no strength to serve the Lord.
Jhn 20:4,“The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first.”
Note: You should not be upset when other disciples run ahead faster than you. There is no beauty or popularity contest in the church.
Jhn 18:15-16,“Simon Peter was following Jesus, and so was another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and entered with Jesus into the court of the high priest, but Peter was standing at the door outside. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the doorkeeper, and brought Peter in.”
Do not let your brother standing at the door outside, bring him in. This
incident has many applications for relationship among disciples.
(B). Associate with each other.
Act 9:26，“When he came to Jerusalem, he was trying to associate with the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple.”
Note: Associate in Greek is kollaō which means to join one's self to, cleave to, keep company with; - it occurs 11 times in the New Testament.
Note: After conversion, naturally Paul wanted to associate with other disciples; but his past made people afraid, his past of persecuting Christians caused doubt if he was a disciple.
Rom 12:16,“Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.”
Note: Do not associate with the arrogant and high-minded people whether he is a minister or a church member. There are some preachers who set their minds on high things such as being a master, in fact that is how prosperity gospel was born, and the same was how denominations were created because they want to be masters. This reminds me of a prosperity gospel preacher who always proclaimed his sleek slogans and fancy statements of worldly wisdom.
Act 2:42,“They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
Note: The apostles’teaching is not the teaching of the apostles, it is the teaching of Jesus Christ revealed to the apostles. Fellowship in Greek is koinōnia which means association, community, communion, joint participation, the share which one has in anything, the intimate bond which unites Christians; - it occurs 20 times in the New Testament.
1Jo 1:7,“But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
Note: For a black minister to have sexual intercourse with the young men of his church is not to walk in the Light, but walk in darkness. Homosexual acts and same-sex marriage are deeds of darkness. Doctors and hospital owners who gouge and defraud patients are committing deeds of darkness, yet many of those corrupt doctors and hospital owners flatter themselves to be Christians.
not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness,
but instead even expose them.” Wall Street, Washington
are in the domain of darkness. People in the domain of darkness will go to the
pits of darkness, reserved for judgment.
(C). Help each other.
Act 20:35,“In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said: It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Note: Disciples must help the weak in God’s household and give to the poor.
Rom 16:2,“That you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and that you help her in whatever matter she may have need of you; for she herself has also been a helper of many, and of myself as well.”
Note: Paul recommended Phoebe, a servant of the church.
Phl 4:3,“And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life.”
urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone.”
9. The relationship between the servants of Christ and disciples.
Act 14:22,“Strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. "We must go through many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God," they said.”
The main ministry of the servants of Christ is to strengthen the disciples and
encourage them to remain true to the faith. Strengthen in Greek is epistērizō which means to
render more firm, confirm, establish firmly; - it occurs only 4 times in the
New Testament. A ministry that fails to strengthen the disciples is a failure. Encourage
in Greek is parakaleō which means to address, speak to,
call to, call upon, which may be done in the way of exhortation, entreaty,
comfort, instruction, etc., to admonish, exhort, to console, to strengthen by
consolation, to comfort; - it occurs 109 times in the New Testament. Servants
of Christ encourage disciples to remain true to the faith. A false minister
makes believers his disciples and encourages them to be true to him.
(A). Endure hardship.
2Ti 2:3,“You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”
Note: Endure hardship in Greek is kakopatheō which means to suffer evils or troubles, to be afflicted; - it occurs 4 times in the New Testament. A servant of Christ is a good soldier of Jesus Christ who endures hardship. Those who preach the gospel and live in a luxurious lifestyle are not the servants of Christ. No true servant of Christ becomes a millionaire. No true servant of Christ is rich in the things of the world. No true servant of Christ is honored by the rich and powerful of the world.
Psa 30:5,“For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”
God’s favor lasts a lifetime for all disciples, especially the servants of
(B). Endure persecution.
Mat 13:21,“Yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.”
Mar 4:17,“And they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away.”
Note: Affliction in Greek is thlipsis which means oppression, tribulation, trouble, distress, straits; - it occurs 45 times in the New Testament. Persecution in Greek is diōgmos which means harassment, affliction, oppression; - it occurs 10 times in the New Testament. Affliction or persecution will arise in a disciple’s life; those who have no root will fall away.
1Cr 4:12,“And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure.”
Note: Persecute in Greek is diōkō which means to be mistreated, suffer persecution on account of something, to be harassed; - it occurs 44 times in the New Testament. Endure here in Greek is anechō which means to sustain, to bear, suffer, bear with; - it occurs 15 times in the New Testament.
Rom 8:35,“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”
Note: Persecution and other bad things will not separate disciples or the servants of Christ from the love of Christ.
Mat 5:10-11,“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.”
Servants of Christ will suffer persecution and people will say all kinds of
evil against them falsely for Jesus’sake.
(C). Endure all things.
1Cr 9:12,“If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more? Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the Gospel of Christ.”
Note: Right in Greek is exousia which means he power of authority (influence) and of right (privilege); - it occurs 103 times in the New Testament. The servants of Christ are entitled to some right over disciples, but Paul did not use this right. Endure here in Greek is stegō which means to bear up against, hold out against, bear, forbear; - it occurs only 4 times in the New Testament. Servants of Christ have to endure all things lest they hinder the Gospel of Christ.
Christians on earth are to endure and not to enjoy. If we suffer with Christ, we will glorify with Him.
1Cr 10:13,“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”
Note: Endure here in Greek is hypopherō which means to bear patiently, hold up, put up with; - it occurs 3 times in the New Testament.
2Th 1:4,“Therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure.”
Note: Perseverance and faith enable servants of Christ and disciple to endure persecutions and afflictions.
2Ti 2:10,“Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”
Note: Endure here in Greek is hypomenō which means to bear bravely and calmly ill treatments, persevere under misfortunes and trials; - it occurs 17 times in the New Testament. It is not easy to be a servant of Christ; he needs to endure all things for the sake of the elect. The elect are followers of Christ.
2Ti 4:5,“But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
Note: The American model of the servant of Christ with a successful ministry is being popular, invited to the White House, receiving a Congressional medal, well treated and well respected, well-fed and well-clad, and living well, enjoying the good life – is not the Biblical model of the servant of Christ. To do the work of an evangelist and fulfill the ministry one has to be watchful in all things and endure afflictions.
Hbr 12:7,“It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?”
To endure discipline is to endure chastisement and punishment.
(D) Honor those who work hard at preaching and teaching.
1Ti 5:17,“The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.”
I always think servants of Christ like John Bunyan who was put in prison for
preaching and teaching the Word of God, his family deserved support.
(E). Do not let servant of the Lord get into danger.
Act 19:30,“Paul wanted to appear before the crowd, but the disciples would not let him.”
Note: No one can challenge the mob. The wise thing is to stay away from them.
Mat 10:23,“When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.”
The Bible does not teach that believers are to rush into martyrdom.
10. How to serve the Lord.
(A). Serve God only.
Luk 4:8,“Jesus answered him: It is written, YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY.”
If you want to serve God, you serve God only. Lee Teng-hui and Ma Ying-jeou claim to be Christians and yet they publicly worship idols. The hypocrisy of Lee Teng-hui is well-know, he is using the status of being a Christian to get American political and military support so that he can separate Taiwan from China. Lee Teng-hui is both a betrayer of China and Christ. I do not know about Ma Ying-jeou, probably the same. I publicly challenge Mr. Ma, there is religious freedom. If you want to be a Christian, you cannot worship idols. If you want worship idols, you cannot claim to be a Christians. Something is seriously false with Taiwanese version of Christianity, and something is seriously wrong with Taiwanese preachers who do not dare rebuke Mr. Ma publicly. Something is also seriously wrong with American preachers who dare not preach against the sins of American presidents who have been liars and killers since the end of World War II.
1Sa 7:3,“Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying: If you return to the LORD with all your heart, remove the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your hearts to the LORD and serve Him alone; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.”
Question: What does it mean to serve the Lord?
the LORD, all you His hosts, you who serve Him,
doing His will.”
Note: Serving the Lord does not mean you just go to church, give to the poor, sing praises, pray to God, etc., it means doing His will. The will of God consists of general and special. The general will of God is written in the Bible for all disciples to follow. For example, to be holy. The special will of God you need to seek the Lord at a specific time or place. For example, whether you should marry this man or woman or not.
(B). Serve Him without fear.
Luk 1:74,“To grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear.”
Without fear in Greek is aphobōs which means boldly; it occurs 4 times in the New Testament.
God is more powerful and greater than our enemies, so we do not fear. Jesus
says, Mat 10:28,“Do
not fear those who kill
the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear
Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
(C). Serve God with all your heart and with all your soul.
Deu 10:12,“Now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require from you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”
Deu 11:13,“It shall come about, if you listen obediently to my commandments which I am commanding you today, to love the LORD your God and to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul.”
Heart in Hebrew is lebab which means
inner man, mind, will, soul, understanding, the seat of senses,
affections and emotions; - it occurs 252 times in the Old Testament. Soul in
Hebrew is nephesh which means
the inner being of man, the man himself, self, person or individual;
- it occurs 753 times in the Old Testament.
(D). Serve the Lord with joy and a glad heart.
Deu 28:47,“Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joy and a glad heart, for the abundance of all things.”
Psa 100:2,“Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing.”
Note: Joy in Hebrew is simchah which means mirth, gladness, gaiety, pleasure, rejoicing; - it occurs 94 times in the Old Testament. Gladness in Hebrew is tuwb which means cheerfulness; - it occurs 32 times in the Old Testament. Joyful singing in Hebrew is rĕnanah which means ringing cry, shouting for joy; - it occurs 4 times in the Old Testament.
(E). Serve God in sincerity and truth.
Jos 24:14,“Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.”
Jhn 4:24,“God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Ministers who serve God with monetary motive do not serve God in sincerity and
(F). Serve God with a whole heart and a willing mind.
for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve
Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts,
and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you
find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever.”
(G). Serve God earnestly night and day.
Act 26:7,“The promise to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly serve God night and day. And for this hope, O King, I am being accused by Jews.
Rev 7:15,“For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them.”
To serve God night and day and to serve God day and night mean the same thing.
(H). Serve in newness of the Spirit
Rom 7:6,“But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.”
The oldness means according to the flesh, the newness means according to the
(I). Serve with clear conscience.
2Ti 1:3,“I 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.”
Clear conscience is more precious than any prize or medal or title.
11. The reward of being a disciple.
(A). The disciples will be rewarded.
Mat 5:12,“Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Note: There are false believers who want rewards on earth in this life. Our reward is in heaven.
Mat 6:4，“That your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.”
Note: American foundations and charities violate Jesus’principle. In fact what they are after is a tax-free status, charity is only a pretext.
Mat 10:42,“And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.”
Note: If in the name of a disciple you give to one of little ones even a cup of cold water to drink you shall not lose a reward, how much more if you do good in the name of Christ.
Mat 16:27,“For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.”
Note: Good works are for rewards, not for salvation. For no one’s good deed can earn his salvation. Salvation is a gift of God to all who repent and believe in Jesus Christ. All religions teach you are saved by your own good deeds or merit. The Christian faith teaches you are saved by grace freely through faith in Jesus Christ.
1Cr 3:14,“If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.”
Col 3:24,“Knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”
The reward of inheritance refers to the Kingdom of God.
(B). The disciples were satisfied.
Mat 15:37,“They all ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.”
Mat 5:6,“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
Psa 17:15,“As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.”
Psa 22:26,“The poor shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek Him will praise the LORD. Let your heart live forever!
Psa 36:8,“They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, and You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.”
Psa 65:4,“Blessed is the man You choose, and cause to approach You, that he may dwell in Your courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, of Your holy temple.”
Pro 14:14,“The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways, but a good man will be satisfied from above.”
Note: A true disciple of Jesus knows what it means to be satisfied from above.
Eph 1:3,“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.”
Something is wrong with the minister who preaches material blessings and
disciples who seek other than spiritual blessing.
(C). The disciples were blessed to see and hear.
Luk 10:23，“Then He turned to His disciples and said privately：Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.”
Note: Do you see the glory of Christ. The black political preacher who said he saw the glory on the mountain top was not the glory of Christ, but the glory of political rights and privileges, money and power.
Mat 13:16-17,“But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”
Note: Many prophets and righteous men of the Old Testament desired to see the glory of the Son of God, full of grace and truth, and did not see it; and wanted to hear the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ and did not hear it.
2Cr 4:6,“For it is the God who said: Let light shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”
Note: Let disciples fix their eyes on the face of Christ.
having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you
rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.”
(D). Glorify with Christ.
Rom 8:17,“And if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”
Jud 1:24,“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.”
rejoice in so far as you share Christ's sufferings,
that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed.”
12． Disciples will reign with the Lord.
1Cr 15:25，“For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet.”Note: Reign in Greek is basileuō which means to be king, exercise kingly or royal power, hold sovereign power, rule: - it occurs 21 times in the New Testament. Christians will also reign with Christ in the millennium.
2Ti 2:12,“If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us.”
Rev 5:10,“And have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.”
Rev 11:15,“Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying: The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”
Rev 20:6,“Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.”
Rev 22:5,“There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.”
Note: The Kingdom of God is eternal, can never be overthrown.
behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with
Me, to give to every one according to his work.”
conclusion, there is nothing better or more honorable than to be a disciple of
Jesus Christ, to suffer for Him, and to share His glory for all eternity. Do
you want to be a disciple of Jesus? You may, if you wish. Whoever you are and wherever you are, if you repent of your sins and believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you can be saved and become children of God. Would you do it now? For now is the day of salvation, and now is the acceptable time. Tomorrow may be too late for you!
August 17, 2016
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