Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Walk with Jesus Tuesday: Discipleship Part Two

Last Tuesday I began a blog about the qualities in the live of disciples.  The first part was called Discipleship: Part One.

3.  Spirit-controlled (Ephesians 5:18; Galations 5:16; Acts 6:5)

          When the disciples walked with Jesus, they literally walked with Him!  They woke up in the morning, looked at Jesus, and thought, "Today, I'm with Him!"  In our day, in the Church Age, God has left us the Holy Spirit, the One who comes alongside of us to help us, to comfort, to convict, to guide, and most importantly, to manifest the Person and Power and Purity and Presence of Jesus in, through, and around us. 

            It is only the Christian who is filled with and controlled by the Holy Spirit who can please God.  The fleshly, natural, carnal Christian cannot please God.  Only the spiritual man, empowered by God's Spirit, can carry out the will of the Father.  At salvation we get all of the Spirit of God.  The appropriate question then, for the believer is not "Do you have the Spirit" but "Does the Spirit have you?" 

            In the great Shantung Revival in China, what some historians call the greatest revival and spiritual awakening of Southern Baptist history, Martha Franks, Bertha Smith and others witnessed that a key to that mighty move of God was when many believers realized that they were not filled with the Spirit of God: He was not able to flow out of their lives (John 7:37-39) because self was on the throne instead of Jesus.  The Spirit is poured out when Jesus is on the throne!  Bertha Smith wrote, "If He sees that we are clean, and that He is in complete possession of us, He will fill us just as He filled the tabernacle and the Jerusalem temple when they were dedicated to Him."

            Am I filled by the Spirit of God?  Am I walking under His direction and in submission to His leading?  Smith said that "there can be no fullness of the Spirit without a life of yieldedness."  Am I yielded to Him?  Am I resting in His ability? 

4.  Fruit-bearing (John 15:8,16)

            In the Old Testament, the Lord filled His house with His glory.  And that glory evoked tremendous awe and worship from His people.  After God later removed His glory, it was not until Jesus Christ came to this earth that the glory returned.  Then, just before He went back to the Father, Jesus explained how that glory would remain in this world: "This is how My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples" (John 15:8.)  Today the temple of the Lord is filled with glory through the process of fruit-bearing.  Those Christians who are fruit-bearing disciples bring the Father glory.

            First, we can bear the fruit of godly character.  As the Spirit controls us, He produces the fruit of the Spirit (Galations 5:22-23) and the fruit of righteous living through our lives.  So, when you bear patience, joy, love, gentleness, and when you obey God, the temple is filled with glory.  Second, as you give witness to others of Christ's work, you are empowered to be His witness, leading others to Christ and then helping them to be His disciples, God is glorified.  It is this process of making disciples of other people, taking converts and teaching them to obey, to walk with Jesus in the details of life, that brings the Father glory.  And is that not the simple call of Jesus?  Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.      

            Matthew 4:19 gives us this picture of disciples.  They are abiding in the Word of God, that is, they hear and appropriate what Jesus says.  Then, they are obedient, and their obedience is immediate.  They are responsive to the person of Christ, as today we are to be responsive to the Spirit of God.  And they embark on the journey of becoming fruit-bearing disciples, fishers of men.

            Oh, Father, bring Yourself glory in and through our lives.  Teach us to be Your disciples.  And make us Your vessels whom  You use to make disciples both here and around the world.  And keep our nose to that mandate.  We love you.  Thank you that as we obey you, you will make us know you more and more.  To your name be glory.

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