BEING A DISCIPLE OF JESUS CHRIST
Jesus tells us to go and make disciples. In simple terms it means we listen to Jesus and learn from him, then go and tell others what we have heard. A disciple is one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrine of another. I donít want to create and tell you my own doctrine. I want to show you the doctrine of Jesus Christ, what he taught. And because lies are toxic, I also want to rebuke a few doctrines of men, those teachings which are contrary to what Jesus has said.
Let me start with a simple observation:
In the book of Revelation, Jesus writes to 7 churches. Jesus corrects 5 out of the 7 churches for believing, teaching, or doing something wrong. Jesus tells them to repent. For example, to the church in Pergamos, Jesus writes in part:
Revelation 2:14 I have a few things against you, because you have those that hold the doctrine of Balaam Ö 2:15 you also have those that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which I hate. 2:16 Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
Jesus also warned his disciples: Matthew 16:6 Then Jesus said to them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. Ö 16:12 Then they understood how that he bade them to beware of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
Please learn from this history. Men have not changed, nor has Jesus. Men create doctrines which are false and Jesus fights against them with the sword of his mouth Ė his words.
I start here for this reason. If you rely on your church to have taught you perfectly, to have taught you only what is true, the odds they have done so are low. Only 2 in 7 churches didnít need correction. Please do not be simple. A simple person believes what they are told and suffers for it. Be wise. Examine the scriptures and see if what you have been taught is true. You can read and understand the scriptures because you have the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, with you to guide you. Ask Jesus your questions. God himself will teach you.
If you have been told a lie and you believe a lie, it costs you something. False teaching isnít harmless. Satan lies to you in order to steal something which belongs to you. Jesus will give you truth to replace lies. Jesus speaks the truth, always.
What is a disciple?
John 8:31 Then Jesus said to those Jews which believed on him, If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed; 8:32 and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Luke 8:9 his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be? 8:10 And Jesus said, To you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God:
You want to be a disciple given what Jesus said. There are huge rewards. But there is no getting around the fact that being a disciple takes time.
God knows how much time I spend with him. I decided to keep a time log so I would know too. Iíve spent on average three and a half hours with God every day for the last four months. There are peaks and valleys, some days many hours, other days barely any minutes, but the time log is a record of our life together Ė it says we have one. God and I are together.
I suggest you keep a time log and see what it shows. Do you have a life with God? Or do you have a God who is somewhere else above you doing things which you arenít sure what are?
I spend my time reading scripture, asking God questions, and writing down observations. I have the King James Version of the bible on my laptop in two microsoft word documents so I can easily search and highlight and underline as I read. God says often, look up that word in the dictionary. I have Strongís dictionary so I can look up what Greek and Hebrew words mean. I have Websterís dictionary so I can look up what English words mean. I have the interlinear Hebrew Ė Greek Ė English bible so I can see the original scriptures the King James Version was translated from. (I use the 4 volume interlinear bible edited by Jay P. Green, Sr. which has the Strongís number above each word to make the dictionary searches easier). I daily ask God the question: Father, what is on your heart that you most wish I knew today? Then I spend time with God so he can answer my question.
What God has been teaching me is important. Iíll share some things with you which will be helpful, but reading this book wonít take the place of talking with God yourself. What it will likely do is give you some topics of conversation.
Weíve misunderstood Christianity.
I know how jarring that sounds. I am a Christian writing to Christians, finding myself at the very beginning needing to correct a foundational pillar we have commonly believed in. I believe we have heard a lie, a doctrine of men, which has been toxic to us. As a result, we have not heard clearly the good news. We havenít heard the doctrine of Jesus Christ, what he actually said. Would you be willing to read 600 more words so I can show you?
Those who believe in Jesus and have been baptized Ė we have been taught something like this Ė
Jesus has gone into heaven to prepare a place for you in his Fatherís house. Because your sins are forgiven by the blood of Jesus, when you die you will go to heaven and be with Jesus, and then you will live forever. In heaven you will be righteous and without sin, you will be whole and healthy, you will be perfect forever.
Jesus is coming back and will make everything right on earth. Christians all around the world are waiting with anticipation for the day Jesus returns.
What God wants you to do now while you wait is to tell people about Jesus, to preach repentance and baptism for the forgiveness of sins. God wants you to do what is right, to love God and to love your neighbors, to daily read scripture, to give to the church and to the poor. God wants you to fast and to pray, so you ask often, Father, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
In the future in heaven you wonít struggle with sickness and weakness and sin. In the future you will be immortal and righteous and with Jesus. All will be good.
This is what the church believes and teaches, with some variations for how it happens and when. Does that description resonate with what you have heard and believe? I wrote it from memory because that is what I was taught. My teachers were more eloquent than I am and deeply desired to teach me about Jesus. I was baptized in the church which taught me this and it remains my home church.
But there is a problem. That is not the good news. It is a lie, a doctrine of men.
Taking a very deep breath and writing from a humble heart, let me show you the truth.
The doctrine of Jesus Christ
To those who believe in Jesus and have been baptized Ė this is the good news Ė
You died in baptism, you were translated into heaven, and are now immortal and incorruptible. You are righteous, have a good heart, and cannot sin. You are holy and blessed forever. Jesus has sent you from heaven back to earth because Jesus has given you your inheritance.
Your birthright as a child of God is eternal life. Your blessing is to inherit the earth. You have both your birthright and your blessing. You will never physically die. You have inherited the earth and will remain forever upon it. You are no longer a man, you are now a child of God. The Father and the Son are with you. You have receive the kingdom of God on earth.
The thoughts of the righteous are right. The desires of the righteous are only good. What God your Father wants you to do now is to be yourself. You are a good tree which brings forth good fruit. You cannot bring forth evil because you have a good heart. You abide in the word of God because you love it. You speak the truth and show forth righteousness because you hate lies. You love your enemies because you are perfect like your Father. You want people to be free of sin. You want them to know the truth. You want them to live immortal and righteous lives enjoying being with Jesus forever on the earth. You want them to have what you have.
This is the doctrine of Jesus Christ.
Quite a difference, isnít it?
In the doctrine of men, Christians are waiting for good to happen at a future date.
In the doctrine of Jesus Christ, Christians are righteous and immortal and have inherited the earth, and it all happened at baptism. It is finished.
This book is written to show you the doctrine of Jesus Christ and to rebuke the doctrine of men. We will spend most of the book looking at the scriptures together. Iím going to complete this overview first, then begin to unpack everything I just said line by line in the scriptures.
And then shall come the End
Satan has deceived the church and stolen our birthright and our blessing. The lie continues to flow from one generation to generation because the church does not see the lie and has not replaced it with the truth. This did not surprise our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus told us how long it would take for the church to see the truth.
Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then the end shall come.
It is projected that by 2030 the scriptures will have been translated into every language on earth. Everyone who desires to read the word of God, or listen to it on audio, will be able to do so in their own language. The gospel has arrived in every nation, the bible then follows in their own language, the people find Jesus and rejoice. This progression is now happening everywhere.
Jesus is the end. The gospel shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations and then Jesus shall come.
Revelation 21:6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is thirsty of the fountain of the water of life freely.
I testify Jesus has come. I have Jesus. I have the end.
2 John 1:9 Whosoever transgresses, and abides not in the doctrine of Christ, has not God. He that abides in the doctrine of Christ, he has both the Father and the Son.
Jesus comes to each one of us individually when we are baptized and take our first communion. I have the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit. So do you if you abide in the doctrine of Christ. When you spend time with Jesus in the word of God you learn Jesus is with us. He is always with us, to the end of the world.
Matthew 28:19 Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: 28:20 teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Jesus abides in us. We are the body of Jesus Christ. We are members of his body. He is in us and we are in him.
1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and has given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
A simple observation: It is impossible to die if Jesus never leaves us.
James 2:26 tells us the body without the spirit is dead. We cannot die unless the spirit leaves our body. Jesus will never leave us. Therefore we cannot die.
John 14:18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. 14:19 Yet a little while, and the world sees me no more; but you see me: because I live, you shall live also.
God has life in himself. Eternal life is having God with you always. God is dwelling in us, giving us life by his presence with us.
1 John 5:11 And this is the record, that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 5:12 He that has the Son has life; and he that has not the Son of God has not life.
John 5:21 For as the Father raises up the dead, and quickens them; even so the Son quickens whom he will. 5:26 For as the Father has life in himself; so has he given to the Son to have life in himself;
John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never die, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
John 6:47 Truly, Truly, I say unto you, He that believes on me has everlasting life.
Jesus says has, not will have in the future.
BEING A DISCIPLE OF JESUS CHRIST