This short foundational level course is designed to introduce students to a deeper understanding of what a disciple is, what the qualities of disciples of Jesus Christ are, and how to work to produce disciples based upon the Biblical pattern of Jesus.
I am currently reading I Am Divine So Are You (Ed. Jerry Johnson). It’s abut an LGBTQ perspective derived from Karmic faiths and is interesting to explore.
As a Christian what particularly gripped me early in the book was the description of life within a Karmic faith. The author contrasts Karmic faiths with Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Islam and Christianity),
In this paradigm there is no one to blame for one’s situation in life. we are our own creations. And the choices we make in this life impact out future. While Abrahamic faiths see the world as finite, with a start and finish, the Karmic faiths see the world as without beginning and without end. While Abrahamic faiths subscribe to the doctrine of equality—everyone is equal before the eyes of God—Karmic faiths subscribe to the doctrine of diversity—everyone is unique because of the varying karmic burden. While Abrahamic religions actively reject social inequality through acts of charity, Karmic faiths accept social inequality as part of the larger karmic process that humans can only react to with empathy, but cannot actively control. While Abrahamic faiths seek to change society so it aligns with god’s will, Karmic faiths see society as forever changing, cyclically rising and falling. While Abrahamic faiths yearn for salvation, Karmic faiths yearn for liberation from the cycle of rebirths.
I cannot speak on these matters for Judaism and Islam. But as a Christian I know freedom, liberty from bondage, a power of God, and from God, to set me free from despair and hopelessness. None of that depends upon me but is bought through the work of Jesus Christ upon the cross. I don’t have to yearn for liberation because,
Jesus said, “I tell you most solemnly that anyone who chooses a life of sin is trapped in a dead-end life and is, in fact, a slave. A slave is a transient, who can’t come and go at will. The Son, though, has an established position, the run of the house. So if the Son sets you free, you are free through and through. (Jn 8:34-36)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Cor. 5:17)
In Christ God has provided a salvation that is not earned, a life that is abundant and empowered to live with a future full of potential. Where there is no need to obsess over the potential consequences of each and every failing because forgiveness comes through repentance and the power of the blood of Christ.
Truly Christianity provides access to a great and powerful salvation. Thanks be to God!
One of the great affirmations that Christ made on the cross was,
When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:30)
Reading a commentary on this passage at the Preceptaustin website they offer some insightful comments from CH Spurgeon. In English ‘it is finished’ is three words but in Greek it is only one, Tetelestai. It is best to allow Spurgeon to explain this, one of the greatest affirmations of Scripture, in his own words. He explains this word contains,
“an ocean of meaning in a drop of language, a mere drop. It would need all the other words that ever were spoken, or ever can be spoken, to explain this one word. It is altogether immeasurable. It is high; I cannot attain to it. It is deep; I cannot fathom it. IT IS FINISHED is the most charming note in all of Calvary’s music. The fire has passed upon the Lamb. He has borne the whole of the wrath that was due to His people. This is the royal dish of the feast of love.”
But there is more, Spurgeon goes on,
“What a grand utterance (is “Tetelestai”)! Now are we safe, for salvation is complete. The (sin) debt was now, to the last farthing, all discharged. The atonement and propitiation were made once and for all and forever, by the one offering made in Jesus’ body on the Tree. There was the cup; Hell was in it; the Savior drank it—not a sip and then a pause—not a draught (a single act of drinking) and then a ceasing. He drained it till there is not a dreg left for any of His people. The great ten-thronged whip of the Law was worn out upon His back. There is no lash left with which to smite one for whom Jesus died. The great cannonade (“continuous heavy gunfire”) of God’s justice has exhausted all its ammunition—there is nothing left to be hurled against a child of God (Beloved, do you believe these great benefits are yours in Christ?). Sheathed is thy sword, O Justice! Silenced is thy thunder, O Law! There remains nothing now of all the griefs and pains and agonies which chosen sinners ought to have suffered for their sins, for Christ has endured all for His own beloved (1Th 1:4–note) and IT IS FINISHED. Christ has paid the debt which all the torments of eternity could not have paid. Once again—when He said, “IT IS FINISHED,” Jesus had totally destroyed the power of Satan, of sin and of death. The Champion accepted the challenge to do battle for our soul’s redemption against all our foes. He met Sin. Horrible, terrible, all-but omnipotent Sin nailed Him to the Cross. But in that deed, Christ nailed Sin also to the tree. There they both did hang together—Sin and Sin’s Destroyer. Sin destroyed Christ and by that destruction Christ destroyed Sin.”
The traditional Christian cry at Easter is that “Christ is risen.” He is, and it is finished indeed. Maybe it’s a good time for us to celebrate Easter today?
Many Christians have expressed opinions about Jesse DuPlantis and his believing God for a new $54 million jet airplane. I simply didn’t know what to think, but I did want to remain open to God and his voice in thinking about it.
Then I read an article about the situation by John Burton and he offered a helpful personal experience. Burton recalls a time when he had been speaking with the Lord about his senior pastor who had a considerably higher salary than his own at that time and he was discussing with the Lord the disparity in their salaries. As he was pondering he believed God spoke to him.This is the story in Burton’s own words,
Many years ago, I was the youth pastor of one of the wealthiest churches in the nation. My wife and I were earning $24,000 a year, and the rumor was my senior pastor was earning well over $100,000. He was also given a new Cadillac every couple of years, and he lived in a beautiful home. One day, I was pondering whether my pastor really needed such a high income. I wasn’t complaining in the least. I was simply wondering. God heard my not-so-private thoughts and initiated a dialogue with me, though at first I didn’t realize it was him.
“So, would $40,000 a year be sufficient for your pastor?”
That’s the question that dropped into my mind. My silent reply was something like, “Well, no. He’s been faithful in ministry for years. He’s surely worthy of more than that.”
“How about $50,000?”
“No, that’s still too low. I appreciate all he has done and he certainly can earn more.”
“$75,000?” At this point, I was keenly aware that I was in a fearful conversation with God. I didn’t even answer that final question. He didn’t wait for a response. What he said next struck me and has impacted my finances and my ministry ever since.
“Don’t you ever again presume I should consult you when I decide how to financially resource and bless one of my children. The moment you make a judgment on another’s finances is the moment your finances will come under judgment. When you embrace lack and limits for another, you will not find success breaking through lack and limits in your own life. If you affirm lack for another, you will experience lack yourself.”
I’ve never questioned another’s financial situation again. I bless those who are financially blessed, period.
My flesh might want to judge the situation of Jesse DuPlantis, my heart knows I need to remain quietly before the Lord and stand back from judging him or any other brother. Thank you for your wise counsel John Burton.
I’ve been reading through the Old Testament historical books recently. To me they are a mixture of intensely interesting and mind numbingly challenging. You can make up your own mind which parts belong in each of those categories.
As I read I did wonder about the cost of all the gold that went into the Temple of Solomon (pictured below as shown in the ESV Study Bible) and the artefacts within, what would it be worth in todays markets? I am, not surprisingly, the first person to wonder about such things. One website gave a valuation of $157,080,000,000 in gold, and silver valued at $21,780,000,000—a total of nearly $179 billion. According to Wikipedia the GDP of Kazakhstan is around that amount and it ranks 56th in the table of global nations annual GDP.
Another said this,
Added together, the gold and silver used along in Solomon’s Temple was worth $216,603,576,000. This does not include all the precious metals, bronze, iron, ivory or cedar wood used in the temple.
No matter which valuation you choose to use it appears that building the Temple was a feat of great extravagance.
Or maybe that should read, a feat of heartfelt worship and adoration. Maybe such information lends itself to asking what the “cost” of my worship has been today?
I recently read these questions on The Gospel Coalition blog where it was suggested that they are appropriate for all Bible college students to know the answer to. In contemporary society I would suggest that they are questions all believers in Christ need to have thought carefully about, and hopefully have some coherent form of answer to.
1. Did Jesus literally rise from the dead?
2. How was the Bible formed?
3. Is every word of Scripture authoritative?
4. What is marriage?
5. Why does the Bible prohibit eating shellfish?
6. Where does gender come from?
If you are puzzled by how you might answer a first port of call might be the link shared above where there are references to other articles giving fuller consideration of each.
We need to be disciples of Jesus before we do anything. A simple challenge to be and make disciples, showing that one life can be vital when surrendered into the hands of the Living God.