Mt. 21:1-3- Jesus asks His disciples to essentially go steal a donkey. Obedience isn’t the same as agreement. Obedience shouldn’t be conditional upon our understanding. Simple obedience marks the true disciple of Jesus (Jn 3:36) and child of God (1 Jn 5:2). Faith is not static but is active and leads to obedience (Rom. 1:5). It is the litmus test whether one is a follower of Jesus or simply a fan.
Water baptism may not be necessary to salvation, but it is essential to be a disciple of Jesus because it is an expression of repentance and allegiance to Jesus (Acts 2:37). Associating ourselves to the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus is also how we live in victory over sin (Rom 6:1-14). We see the trinity in Jesus’ own baptism where the Father declares his approval of the Son and the Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus.
Going into all the world and proclaiming the gospel is the first step in making disciples (Maybe this can be a “Missions Sunday” emphasis?) Being sent out is to live as missional witnesses into our vocation in the marketplace where we work and in the communities that we live in. Being a faithful witness (strong work ethic, honoring those in authority, joyful attitude) at work bridges the credibility gap that many lazy Christians experience. A Spirit-filled home (Galatians 5) and intentionally loving our neighbors are keys to going where the people are at.
Jesus, our victorious and resurrected King has been given all authority in heaven and earth (1 Cor 15:27; Rom 14:9). This is the basis of discipleship. Christ followers have been commissioned and sent out with spiritual authority to preach, heal the sick, cast out demons (Matt 10:8). Believers are to walk out in God confidence in the spiritual authority in Christ.
How should Christ followers respond to verbal and physical persecution for Christ? Jesus teaches us that we are to rejoice and be glad in suffering for righteousness sake and describes us as blessed. Open your bible to Matthew 5:10-12 and let’s study Jesus’ conclusion of his vision of kingdom living in the Beatitudes.
Did you know Jesus talked more about money & earthly possessions than he did about sex, heaven, and hell combined? God knows our hearts and understands how money can divide our dependency away from him to money. Open your bibles to Matthew 6 and let's find out what it means to have a united heart in order to choose heavenly treasure (vv.19-21), generosity (vv. 22-23) and God over money (v.24).
Familiarity does not necessarily mean understanding. We'll look through the familiar parable of the Good Samaritan and come to terms of understanding Jesus' message of compassion and mercy of our neighbor. This parable isn’t defining who your neighbor is. It asks the question: "Are you a neighbor?" It’s not who is my neighbor i.e. who qualifies to be love-- It’s about am I a neighbor who loves in an unqualified way.
It’s fairly easy to follow Christ’s commands when the balance of the world is swinging in our favor. It’s when the bumps in the road come, the heavy storms, that we seem to waver. Peter saw Jesus walking on the water, so he got out of the boat to go to him. But he got distracted.
Hearing the voice of God and seeing his hand at work can be difficult in the midst of crisis. Yet the prophetic voice of Isaiah is as relevant now in 2020 as it was over two thousand seven hundred years ago. Whether it's national turmoil, global pandemic, political division, financial downfall or personal crisis--God is sovereign and works all things for His glory.