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Invitations

… Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. – John 1:38-39 (ESV) At this point, John’s ministry begins to fade and Jesus’ ministry starts to grow. Read the gospels, especially Mark, and you’ll notice Jesus’ following increasing exponentially. One day He’s virtually unknown, and a week later great … [CLICK TO READ MORE]

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First Followers

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! – John 1:29 (ESV) John was busy. His ministry had really taken off. Great crowds were coming to him to be baptized (Luke 3:7), and he had a number of disciples under his teaching. Many had heard John speak of the coming Messiah, and were eagerly hoping for His arrival. Some had actually seen Him and witnessed the extraordinary events at His baptism. But afterwards, nothing was heard or seen of Jesus until over a month … [CLICK TO READ MORE]

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Jesus’ Preparation For Ministry – part 3

And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. … – Luke 4:1-2 (ESV) You would think, having been baptized and filled with the Spirit, Jesus was now ready for His public ministry, but the Holy Spirit took Him out of the spotlight one more time for a final stage of preparation. Jesus was compelled to leave the life-giving Jordan for the barren desert to prove His baptismal commitment. He went alone. As yet, … [CLICK TO READ MORE]

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Jesus’ Preparation For Ministry – part 2

Before Jesus came to be baptized, John proclaimed Him as a mysterious Person: “He who is coming after me is mightier than I … He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” At some point, I imagine John asking, “Lord, You sent me on this mission to prepare Your people for the Messiah. When He arrives, how can I be sure of Him so I can say to the people ‘This is the One I’ve been telling you about’?” And God said: … ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who … [CLICK TO READ MORE]

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Jesus’ Preparation For Ministry – part 1

John’s ministry was flourishing. Great crowds of people were coming to hear him preach and be baptized. His message was meeting with success, for many asked the Big Question of repentance, “What shall we do?” (Luke 3:10-14, Acts 2:37). Upon baptism, some had gone the next step and become disciples of John. Andrew was one, and perhaps Philip and another young man named John. These had recognized their need for a change of heart and life, and they knew they couldn’t do it on their own. But the baptizer was not able to effect the change in his followers, for … [CLICK TO READ MORE]

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Preparing A Way For The Way

Just as with us all, Jesus started out a stranger to His disciples. Many first heard about Him from John the baptist, a man conceived and born for this very purpose. “…he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” – Luke 1:16-17 (ESV) Since the people might not recognize their Lord when He … [CLICK TO READ MORE]

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Hidden Beginnings

…among you stands one you do not know. – John 1:26 (ESV) Before His ministry years, before His baptism and temptation, Jesus was virtually unknown. It had been some time since the strange rumors of the birth of the long-hoped-for Messiah had made the rounds. Supposedly some herdsmen had seen Him lying in a cattle trough. And later, strangely dressed foreigners had come to pay their respects. But that was a long time ago. The excitement had since faded to a memory, and life under gentile subjection went on as usual. To those of Nazareth and the neighboring towns, Jesus … [CLICK TO READ MORE]

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Discipleship – Then and Now – part 6

Content – The Essential Christ By far, the most unique and controversial aspect of Jesus’ teachings is what He said about Himself. The rabbis of Jesus’ day taught the Law and their commentaries of the Law. They didn’t blatantly call themselves authorities, but would defer to great teachers of the past. Jesus, on the other hand, did not teach second-hand doctrine. It was not “Rabbi So-and-so said…” but “I say to you”. After the Sermon on the Mount, the people were astonished, because He taught them with authority (Matthew 7:28-29). But as amazed as the crowds were, what Jesus said … [CLICK TO READ MORE]

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Discipleship – Then and Now – part 5

Content – Heart vs. Head I’ve talked about the teaching setting, the call, and the methodologies of discipleship. But the most important characteristic is the content of what is taught and practiced. There are two themes running through all of what Jesus taught: the fallen nature of the heart of man, and the essentialness and preeminence of Himself. Let’s look at the first of these themes. We Christians tend to focus more on head-knowledge and externals. Good doctrine and actions are essential. But Jesus did not teach dry-facts about God or outward observance of the LawMeaning Jesus did not teach … [CLICK TO READ MORE]

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Discipleship – Then and Now – part 4

Methodology I mentioned earlier that there are some positive differences in discipleship over the last couple thousand years. I tend to be a skeptic, and if I heard someone else say that, I’d probably doubt him. But I do believe it’s true, although with perhaps some reservations. The biggest advantage that we have over most New Testament disciples is the ability to personally study the Bible. For the most part, the early disciples did not have their own copies of the scriptures, and what they did have was not the complete collection like we have today. Most early believers went … [CLICK TO READ MORE]

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