Category Archives: Discipleship

SAINTS, TRIBULATION, AND WRATH

His disciples escape God’s “wrath” but endure “tribulation” to which they have been “appointed”1 Thessalonians 3:1-4.

In the New Testament, the terms “tribulation” and “wrath” are NOT synonymous. “Tribulation” is what disciples endure for the sake of Jesus, but “wrath” is the horrific fate awaiting the wicked at the “end of the age,” the “second death,” which unrepentant sinners and apostates endure on account of their iniquities and betrayals.

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CHRISTIAN RESPONSE TO PERSECUTION

When Christians react in kind to hostility, whether from government, society, or individuals, Satan triumphsMatthew 5:12.

The reality of persecution in the Christian life raises numerous questions. For example, how should we react to our persecutors, especially when we are persecuted by governing authorities? Should we respond with indignation, civil disobedience, and public protests? Or should the disciples of Jesus follow his example and that of the early church?

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LOVE YOUR ENEMY

Mercy and love are the defining characteristics of his disciple and reflect the true nature of his FatherMatthew 5:43-48.

Christians can be confused, even overwhelmed, by the exhortation found in the middle of Christ’s ‘Sermon on the Mount’ – “Therefore be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” We assume that “perfection” means conforming to a standard of righteousness that is impossible for any human. How can anyone ever hope to emulate the perfect righteousness of God?

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LET THIS MIND BE IN YOU

The obedient death of Jesus is the paradigm for Christian service to others, the pattern disciples are summoned to emulatePhilippians 2:5-11.

In Philippians, Paul pointed to Christ’s obedience as the paradigm for proper conduct by his disciples. His submission to a shameful death set the pattern that his followers must emulate to have any hope of becoming like him. And his elevation over all things is the result of his “obedience to death” – Exaltation did not precede his death, it followed it.

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EMBRACING THE CROSS

To be the Messiah means suffering and death, and he summons his disciples to follow the same path Mark 8:31.

As Jesus approached Jerusalem, he explained exactly what it meant to be the Messiah of Israel, namely, suffering and death, an expectation contrary to popular expectations and those of his disciples. And he also summoned anyone who would become his disciple to take up the cross and follow his self-sacrificial example. And failure to do so would render one an object of shame before the Lord of Glory.

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SANCTIFIED WHOLLY

Considering the future arrival of Jesus, Paul summoned believers to become sanctified completely by that day 1 Thessalonians 5:23.

Paul concluded his first letter to the Thessalonians with a series of exhortations summoning believers to righteous living in the interim between their conversion and the “arrival” of Jesus “from heaven,” and ended with a call for their complete sanctification by that day. His final exhortation included verbal links to the preceding sections of the letter.

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