Category Archives: Discipleship

APPOINTED TO TRIBULATION

Disciples of Jesus will escape God’s “wrath” but are appointed for “tribulation” in this life for the gospel‘s sake.

The terms “tribulation” and “wrath” are NOT synonymous in the New Testament. The former is what disciples endure for the gospel, but the latter is the horrific fate that awaits those men and women who reject the good news of the kingdom. Rather than life, they along with apostates will undergo the “second death.”

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THE CENTURION

In Mark, only at his death did the Roman centurion who was present at his execution recognize who Jesus was.

In Mark, all men prove incapable of recognizing who Jesus is, even his disciples. The only exceptions are John the Baptist and the Roman centurion at Golgotha, the very man in charge of his execution. Mark has threaded this theme throughout his gospel to make the point – The Messiah cannot be understood apart from his death on Calvary.

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POWER AND WISDOM

The Power and Wisdom of God are revealed in Christ Crucified, not in great miraculous displays or the exercise of political might.

We assume people are drawn to the biblical faith by displays of supernatural power, eloquent speech, ministerial success, and so on. Did not Jesus win the crowds by performing miracles? In fact, most of his contemporaries failed to recognize who he was despite his healing the sick, exorcising demons, and even calming a horrific storm with only a verbal command.

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HE HUMBLED HIMSELF

“I will give him a portion among the great because he poured out his soul unto death, and with transgressors let himself be numbered”Isaiah 53:12.

Unlike Adam, the “Servant of Yahweh” did not attempt to grasp the “likeness of God.” Instead, he humbled himself and chose obedience, even when that meant his submission to a most shameful death. For this reason, God highly exalted him and made him “Lord” over all things. Exaltation did not precede his death – it followed it.

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SPIRITUAL WARFARE

Christians wage spiritual “warfare” through right conduct and by emulating the example of Jesus.

Today, “spiritual warfare” is a popular topic and features prominently in popular preaching. The basic idea is derived from a passage Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus – “Our wrestling is not against flesh and blood but against the principalities and powers… against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

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SLAVES OF HIS KINGDOM

To be a citizen of the kingdom of God requires a life of self-sacrificial service for others, not power over them.

According to the New Testament, collectively, Christians are a “kingdom of priests.” As citizens of this realm, they rule with Jesus both now and in the “age to come.” But such a high calling raises the obvious question:  How does each believer participate in his present reign? Fortunately, both Jesus and Paul provided straightforward explanations for how the disciple implements his sovereignty.

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