He that walks among briars and thorns
will be very careful where he sets his foot.
And he that passes through the wilderness of this world,
had need ponder all his steps.
Hebrews 3:12–13 (ESV)
12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
To attain this goal, the die metal had to be much harder than the blank coin, so the coin’s metal conformed to the die rather than the other way around. Every single coin had the exact same image of Caesar on it. This is a picture of sanctification, for God the Father wants to conform all of us to his Son: “ for those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers ” (Romans 8:29). Amazingly, God has designed a two- fold “die system” to conform us to Christ. The Greek word for the die struck on the blank coin was tupos , and it is used in two key places in the New Testament, in both places translated by the word “pattern”:
Sound doctrine: What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 1:13).
Godly lifestyle: Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you (Philippians 3:17).
An Infinite Journey, Andrew Davis
By Pastor Ed Wilde
In Numbers 15, we read of the Lord’s command concerning tassels:
“37 The LORD said to Moses,38 “Speak to the people of Israel, and tell them to make tassels on the corners of their gar- ments throughout their generations, and to put a cord of blue on the tassel of each corner.39 And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the command- ments of the LORD, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after.40 So you shall remember and do all my commandments, and be holy to your God.41 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God: I am the LORD your God.”
The principle remains in the NT, yet the tassels have been replaced:
“12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitful- ness of sin. 14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.”
Hebrews 3:12-14. It is interesting to note that this command to exhort one-another comes in the context of warning against the hardness of heart of the people in the wilderness (quoting Psalm 95).
It is for this reason that failing to congre- gate is so dangerous and thus carries such a grave warning:
“23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us con- sider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. 26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacri- fice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.”
Hebrews 10:23-27. Here is a central aspect of discipleship: Jesus has defined discipleship as teaching others to ob- serve Jesus’ commands (Matthew 28:20, “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you”). The OT command is to wear tassels to constantly remind oneself of the commands of God. In the New Covenant, the work pictured by the tassels becomes the command for the entire congregation: all of you ex- hort, encourage, provoke one another:
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,” Hebrews 10:24. This work is a core work of discipleship—and it is given to the entire congregation. This is the mes- sage of the NT, not just of Hebrews:
“I, myself, am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another .” Romans 15:14
By way of application, we must consider being filled with the Scriptures so that we have something to say—discipleship is teaching what Jesus has commanded, not what we have invented (Matt. 28:20). Second, the power of transformation is in the Scripture:
“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the en- couragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” Romans 15:4.
Third, we must realize that we each have this obligation to exhort one-another, it is not merely the duty of some pastor or overseer.
Fourth, we must pray for the wisdom and grace to perform this work.
Fifth, we must repent of failure to do so, whether for laziness or a fail- ure of love.
Sixth, we must do the work.
Upon a Picture and a Statue
In what a differing manner is the image and representation of the same person brought into these two pieces of art. In the one it is effected by the soft and silent touches of the pencil, which happily convey likeness and beauty together. And the other is formed by the rough and loud strokes of the hammer, and by the deep cuttings and sculptures of instruments of steel.
In a strange and far differing way is the heavenly image of God formed in the souls of the new converts, when first made partakers of the divine nature. In some, God paints (if I may so speak) his own likeness by still and calm delineation of it up on the table of their hearts.
And in others he carves it by afflicting them with a great measure of tears, and wounding their souls with a thorough sense both of the guilt and defilement of sin.
But in this diversity of working, God is in no way necessitated or limited by the disposition and temper of the matter, as other agents are, but is freely guided by the counsel of his will — which is the sole rule and measure of all his actions towards the creature. (as his word is of theirs towards him).
Lord therefore do with me what you please,
let me be yours,
and I will not prescribe your wisdom the way to make me yours:
Bruise, break, wound, yea, kill, Lord
so that I may be made alive again by your power,
and bear your holy image,
according to which I was first made,
and to which by your grace and might only I can be restored.
The previous post in this series may be found here: https://memoirandremains.wordpress.com/2015/04/23/pilgrims-progress-study-7-vanity-fair/
Christian and By-Ends
The prior study guide may be found here: https://memoirandremains.wordpress.com/2015/02/27/pilgrims-progress-study-guide-4/
Pilgrim’s Progress, Study Guide 5:
Christian and the Valley of Humiliation
In this section of the trip, Christian descends first in the Valley of Humiliation
Background: Christian has been refreshed and encouraged in Palace Beautiful. He has eaten of the Lord’s Supper. He has known fellowship with the Church, spoken of the wonders of Christ and God’s work with his people. Then before he leaves, Christian is brought to the armoury where he is outfitted for battle, “lest perhaps he should meet with assaults in the way.”
The previous post in this series may be found here: https://memoirandremains.wordpress.com/2015/01/26/study-guide-pilgrims-progress-2/
Grace Abounding, 115:
I remember that one day as I was travelling into the country and musing on the wickedness and blasphemy of my heart, and considering of the enmity that was in me to God, that scripture came into my mind, He hath made peace by the blood of His Cross. By which I was made to see both again and again and again that day that God and my soul were friends by that blood: yea, I saw that the justice of God and my sinful soul could embrace and kiss each other through that blood. That was a good day tome; I hope I shall not forget it. I thought I could have spoken of His love and of His mercy to me that day to the very crows that sat upon the ploughed lands before me had they been capable to have understood me. Wherefore I said in my soul with much gladness, Well, I would I had apen and ink here and I would write this down before I go any farther, for surely I will not forget this forty years
Mark Dever, January 16, 2014
Truth For Life
Choose whom to work with
Choose your goal
Be willing to pay the cost
I. Whom should I choose?
1. Are they are family member? 1 Tim. 5:8. We have a special responsibility & opportunity for our family. Husband wife, parent child. If you do that well, you will bless others.
2. Are they a Christian? Evangelize non-Christian friends, but do not try to disciple them. 2 Cor. 2:14.
3. Are they a church member? Hebrews 13:7 & 17. We have a greater responsibility for those who are in our own congregation. Consider the damage we may inadvertently do by helping them stay in a bad church.
4. 1 Cor. 14, Titus 2, consider their gender. In public a preacher will disciple a mixed congregation. Yet in personal discipling relationship it is wise.
5. Age: e.g., Titus 2 older to younger. In 1 Tim 5, be especially respectful of the older men. Normally you will disciple someone younger. Again, there are exceptions.
6. Consider someone different than you: Ephesians 2. We are indwelt by the same Spirit, which creates a real unity. That unity trumps so many of the worldly things that divide us. Be careful that not all close relationships are with people like me (age, status, ethnicity).
7. Look for someone who is teachable: 1 Peter 5:5. That spiritual hunger is one of the most important things to look for.
8. Someone who will be able to teach others. 1 Tim. 2:2. Four generations in view: Paul, Timothy, those whom Timothy diciples and whom they will disciple.
9. Proximity: use our time well. Someone who is geographically and schedule-wise available.
Speak with others about the wisdom of your work: to help another grow spiritually and to be grow oneself.
II. Have Clear Aims in View:
A. Help them be more like Christ: But how specifically? Understanding and living.
1. Our life depends upon a message. We must understand that message well.
2. Why we pray, share, etc.
3. We cannot simply talk about life as if it were only about accountability and behavior modification.
4. Discipleship begins with what we understand.
5. We do seek to obey, but we cannot obey what we do not know.
6. Discipleship is mentoring, but it is Christian.
E.g., Dever asked the man to teach Hebrews to him.
Phil. 2:16 holding fast to the Word of Life. You can’t hold fast what you don’t know.
7. We want them to be clear on the Gospel.
8. All proper books are just explanations of The Book.
9. Life-Truth-Life pattern: Life attracts, Truth transforms, Life illustrates and instructs. We learn in order to understand and live.
1. 1 Cor. 11:1 Imitate me. 1 Cor. 4, 2 Thess. 3, 2 Tim. 3, etc.
Jesus calls his disciples to love as his loves. Therefore, we if have followed that pattern, when others imitate us they are imitating Jesus.
2. Phil. 2:14-16: Πάντα ποιεῖτε χωρὶς γογγυσμῶν καὶ διαλογισμῶν, 15 ἵνα γένησθε ἄμεμπτοι καὶ ἀκέραιοι, τέκνα θεοῦ ἄμωμα μέσον γενεᾶς σκολιᾶς καὶ διεστραμμένης, ἐν οἷς φαίνεσθε ὡς φωστῆρες ἐν κόσμῳ 16 λόγον ζωῆς ἐπέχοντες, εἰς καύχημα ἐμοὶ εἰς ἡμέραν Χριστοῦ, ὅτι οὐκ εἰς κενὸν ἔδραμον οὐδὲ εἰς κενὸν ἐκοπίασα.
3. If we are going to effect others how to live, they are going to have be with us. Do what you are doing and bring someone with you. Do hold up a facade, hold up a real life.
4. 2 Tim. 3:10: Σὺ δὲ παρηκολούθησάς μου τῇ διδασκαλίᾳ, τῇ ἀγωγῇ, τῇ προθέσει, τῇ πίστει, τῇ μακροθυμίᾳ, τῇ ἀγάπῃ, τῇ ὑπομονῇ, 11 τοῖς διωγμοῖς, τοῖς παθήμασιν, οἷά μοι ἐγένετο ἐν Ἀντιοχείᾳ, ἐν Ἰκονίῳ, ἐν Λύστροις, οἵους διωγμοὺς ὑπήνεγκα· καὶ ἐκ πάντων με ἐρρύσατο ὁ κύριος. How much did Timothy learn from watching Paul suffer?
5. A natural thing to do when discipling someone in your own congregation is to use a lesson who have both heard together: it can be discussed as to implications.
6. We want to understand the Truth and live Holy.
III. Pay the Cost: Time, Study, Prayer, Love
Time: Heb. 10:24
A. Take Time, Base it on the Bible, Pray, Love
B. It takes time. All discipling relationships don’t look the same. You don’t need to call it that. You do need to spur one another on to love and good deeds. Since it takes time you will have to deliberate.
1. Friendship plus initiative and commitment even when you don’t prefer is a necessity for discipleship.
2. There can only be few such relationships.
3. Convenience will not entirely obviate cost.
4. Are our examples more valuable when we struggle through hardship, than when we just succeed. Trials are key times in our discipling relationships. Build the relationships before a trial comes about.
5. Base it in the Bible.
C. Pray: We can work, but it is God who gives the growth. Our work cannot change anyone, we can only do the work.
D. Teach/learn to how to pray through.
1. What do they pray about?
2. If God answered every prayer you prayed yesterday, how many of your friends would be converted.
E. Love: all the commands.
1. It is in love that we initiate a relationship. It is love that causes us to risk the rejection at the start of a relationship. It is love to care for another’s growth; and love to persevere (especially when we consider what will face during the relationship).
2. Because we have been loved, we want to love.
3. Charity and Her Fruits.
4. It is love that makes us able to have the humility to be corrected and rebuked. Prov. 27:6
5. Little love makes way for big egos.
6. Do your friends know that you consider their wounds faithful, or do you carry yourself that they will not wound you.
7. It is love that helps us to value the other person as we should.
8. We build relational capital so that we can spend in discipling relationships.
9. It is love that helps us to end discipling relationships: We care not God. We cannot provide everything another needs. It is love that humbles us to know that the other needs not us, but God.
IV. What If You Realize You are Being Discipled?
We are all called to love, which means that we are all called be loved.
Anything we receive we are called upon to spend it upon others.
We must give an account to God for what sermons we have heard, but for the examples among those whom we have lived. Richard Sibbes
If you are a disciple of Jesus, you must be disciple others.
You cannot follow Jesus if you are not discipling others.
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