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The TREE OF LIFE weekly teaching summary from THE WEEK ENDING:
November 07, 1999

Tree of Life 11/07/99


Glory in the Lord Jesus Christ

Glory in the Lord Jesus Christ

The Training of the Disciples

The greatness and majesty of God can be marred and can be eclipsed by rules and regulations. The glory and majesty of God's name can be diminished by cheap substitutes. So as we started our study on the training of the disciples, we asked the question, is it ever right to rebel? We looked at the book of Acts chapter 4, a continuation of church history as the people of God face the opportunity to lift up the glory and greatness and majesty of God in the face of legalistic man-made rules and regulations. The Counsel or the Jewish Supreme Court stated there was no way that Jesus was to be preached in the street. Therefore, the men leave and once again hit the streets and speak of Jesus Christ and God's greatness and glory and majesty is lifted up and the official religious men hate it. So they attempted to stomp it out. However, in verses 14-16 multitudes were constantly added to {their number}; We must obey God rather than Men.
Is it all right to rebel? Of course there are times it is right to rebel. The principle is when a man made command directly contradicts a God given truth, defiance is appropriate.
Acts 5:29, "we must obey God rather than man." He is the authority that His people are to follow.
The defiant Christ?
He was the one who drove the moneychangers out of the Temple with a whip JOH 2:13-19. He was the one who stood nose-to-nose, toe-to-toe, against His accusers and critics and never blinked. This is a very different picture of our Lord. However, you have to take Him as He is in all facets. . John 2:15-18 are the types of passages that show a side of our Lord that most believers do not study enough about, the manifestation of His glory, His authority, His zeal, and His power. What happened in the temple was as much a miracle as the changing of water into wine at the marriage feast in Cana. His word was with power and He is the Son of God. He is the Son of God, supreme in authority and power. Remember this authority and power in JOH 8:9 when the Pharisees brought the woman caught in adultery? Do you recall in JOH 18:6 when they arrested Him in the garden? "When therefore He said to them, "I am He," they drew back, and fell to the ground." Do you see Him like that? Or do you just see someone who said, "Whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also." Or, "If anyone wants to sue you, and take your shirt, let him have your coat also." Or, "Whoever shall force you to go one mile, go with him two." He is not only the Savior, He is the Lord! You cannot divide Him, you must take Him as He is, on His terms not yours. Is It Ever Right to Rebel?
Let me temper this discussion of rebellion and defiance with a little balance. Before you enter into defiance or if you should, consider the following carefully:
1. Analyze the issue. That will take discernment.
2. Watch your motive. Sometimes we defy just to cooperate with somebody else or to carry out his or her wish. This will take honesty. Analyzing the issue will take discernment, but determining or watching your motive will take honesty.
3. Pray for wisdom. JAM 1:5. "But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him." When we pray our head gets cleared.
If the apostles hadn't rebelled against the scriptures of the high priests, the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ would have been suppressed and squashed and many decades and maybe even centuries would have been left in darkness. Because they stood against false limits and rebelled against the authorities, their response has become an example to generations of Christians looking for guidance in similar situations. They were defiant, and they rebelled against the authorities. Does it seem sacrilegious to say that Jesus was ever defiant? It certainly flies in the face of our modern images of a pale, meek Jesus. He unflinchingly stood up to powerful rulers, LUK 23:8-12. At the end of His ministry, He went into the temple again and did some shocking things, turning over the tables, chasing people out of the Temple, not allowing anyone to buy or sell in the Temple, MAT 21:12-13; MAR 11:15-17; LUK 19:45-46.

Lessons from The Sabbath

Luke 6:1-11, concerned the Sabbath. It was over this issue that Jesus and His critics fought their most intense battles. The Sabbath was to be set apart as a period when one rests and finds renewal and refreshment, and no one knew it better than Jesus Christ. However, the Sabbath was made for our benefit, we were not made to keep the rules of the Sabbath. It was made for us, we were not made for it. It was to be a reminder of God's grace and love, which He has given to allow man to rest. By the time the Pharisees in Jesus' day inherited this simple commandment, God's merciful principle of rest had grown into a merciless tangle of rules. The legalists had succeeded in squeezing the joy out of God's gift to His people. That is what Christ defies in Luke chapter 6.

What is a disciple?

Are there still disciples today? Did they stop with the dispensation of the hypostatic union? In the Old Testament, the word for disciple is limmuwd meaning those who are instructed: accustomed, learned, and taught, ISA 8:16, ISA 50:4. The word for disciple in the New Testament one that many of you are familiar with which is the Greek noun "mathetes" meaning a learner, a pupil or a disciple, a discipline student of their teacher. In the Bible the word is used most often to refer to a follower of Jesus. The word disciple is sometimes used in a more specific way to indicate the twelve apostles of Jesus, MAT 10:1; 11:1; 20:17. However, in general, apostles refers to a small, inner group of Jesus' followers; disciples refers to a larger group of Jesus' followers, such as the women who stood at Jesus' cross and discovered the empty tomb.
It is not a word used for the followers of Christ only. It implies that the person not only accepts the views of the teacher, but that he is also in practice, an adherent. Now, there is a difference between a disciple in the days of our Lord and a disciple today, but if you believe the Bible then you will believe that disciples are still around today. For example, MAT 28:19-20, includes the great commission to go into all the world and inserted in the great commission are the words "make disciples". Now, this was said after the death, resurrection and the ascension of our Lord. This was after the dispensation of the Hypostatic union and this was counsel to the apostles concerning their mission in the early church.
This whole idea comes from what Jesus did with His twelve. Long before Jesus was engaged in a powerful movement leading him ultimately to crucifixion, long before His name was a household name in all of Jerusalem, He had chosen a hand full of men. He had pulled them up close to Him they were already spending nights together. They were talking early in the morning, sometimes late into the evening. They had fun together, shared life together. He was developing them into the process of becoming apostles. Those who would carry the torch after He was off the earth. Now let's observe Jesus' model and see what is a Disciple.
First of all, notice how He prepared for the choosing of the twelve Luke 6:12. "And it was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray and He spent the whole night in prayer to God," Jesus saw that He had come to the place where He needed to prepare His men for the ministry. He prays all night about it. Perhaps He wasn't sure which ones to select, humanly speaking, and perhaps He had several others from whom to choose and He had to select only a small number. By now, there were hundreds of people who would have given anything for time with Him. To walk with Jesus, to ask Him questions, and to spend nights with Him, and to see Him do His work.
In Mark 3:14, Mark makes a statement that Luke does not bother to mention. "And He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him, and that He might send them out to preach,"
Notice, that they might be with Him so that they might become the mathetes, the learners, and the disciples. Then secondly, that He might send them out, to become apostles.
They spend three and a half years learning and then their lifetime as apostles. Isn't it interesting that in training for the ministry many individuals simply go to a school that is teaching the Bible. Some even get the privilege of a graduate school at a seminary that teaches the minor things of theology, and then they're launched into the ministry. However, so few are really being trained as disciples or given hands-on experience as to what it really means to deal with people and a ministry. The disciples will be given both by our Lord.
Jesus saw it as a necessary internship, as a time of being with His men and then sending them forth. We are now noting the characteristics and traits of each one of these disciples and apostles and how they relate to our spiritual walk. In the next Tree of Life, we will have a profile of each one of the disciples, Peter, Andrew his brother; and James and John; Philip, Bartholomew; and Matthew and Thomas; James {the son} of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot; Judas {the son} of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor."

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