The Treasure of the Kingdom of God

hidden-treasureI am preparing to teach this Sunday in our children’s department at church. We have been walking through the entire Bible during 2016. We have arrived at the teachings of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In fact, all through the Bible, we have learned that it is all about Jesus. It has been lots of fun and very eye opening. Last week, we covered Jesus’ miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 in John 6. During Jesus’ 3 and 1/2 year ministry on this earth, many, many people were given the opportunity to repent and become disciples of Jesus Christ. The 11 of the 12 disciples answered the call, repented and dedicated their lives to discipleship. There were others, about 120 in all who ended up answering the call by the end of Jesus’ ministry. The vast majority of the people who heard the call, chose to walk away, not repenting and deciding not to dedicate their lives to discipleship. Some of those same people probably answered the call the second time it was offered, on the Day of Pentecost when 3,000 people repented and dedicated themselves to discipleship. Of the other 2,000 who answered the call a few days later, I am sure many of them were the same ones who had rejected the call when Jesus gave it. Praise God that He is the God of second chances, and third, and fourth etc. Continue reading

The mark of a genuine disciple

disciple

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I have had some interesting discussions over the past year about what a genuine disciple of Christ is like. Some of the discussion points are

  1. Can a person be a believer in Christ without being a disciple of Christ?
  2. Is discipleship required to be a genuine believer in Christ?
  3. Can a person say yes to salvation and no to discipleship?
  4. Does Jesus call us to faith and then to discipleship?
  5. If you present salvation in the packaged deal of discipleship, does salvation depend on works instead of by faith alone?
  6. Is it possible to follow Christ and yet, still not be a genuine disciple?

I would like to try and answer these questions, not from a theological stance but, from a Biblical stance. Continue reading

Jesus feeds 5,000

10807452516_a6890f0df2_bI am excited to be able to teach the Word of God once again this coming weekend. As a childrenā€™s department, we are continuing our walk through the entire Bible, learning that the Bible is all about Jesus. Last week, we learned that in the miracle of Jesus calming the storm, Jesus used the miracle to teach the difference between fear and faith. The two cannot coexist. Fear drives out faith and faith drives out fear.

This week, we are going to examine the miracle of Jesus feeding the 5,000 in John 6. Anytime you witness a miracle from Jesus in the Gospels, you will encounter the following formula: miracle, teaching, and results. In John 6, we see this formula. I want to examine John 6 to see what we can learn about Christ and about ourselves. Continue reading

Are you connected to the source? (Rev. 3)

This lessons comes from the book of Revelation, the revelation of Jesus Christ to His bride, the church. This is the last book of the Bible because it is the final inspired revelation to mankind from the throne of heaven. Jesus Christ gave this messages to the church through His servant, Saint John, on the isle of Patmos.

I want to take a look at the letter to the church in Laodicea. The book of Revelation is divided into three parts, according to chapter 1. In verse 19, Jesus tells John to write down the things which he has seen, and the things which are, and the things that will take place after these things. In chapter 1, John sees Jesus Christ. In chapter 2 and 3, the things that are means the 7 churches to whom he writes. Chapters 4 through the end of the book, John writes about the things that are to come, after the church period. The churches begin with the “hub” church planted in Asia Minor, the Ephesian church. Then the order of the following churches is the along the mail route in Asia Minor. Continue reading

The Apostle Paul on Leadership (Acts 20)

Leadership-2Yesterday, I was watching a video of a Bible study that our church leadership did a few years ago as we met and planned the upcoming year for us at that time. It was an amazing day. As a leadership team, we hiked about 18-20 miles, visiting villages, sharing the Gospel, doing Bible study, and planning. It was a great day of fellowship and brotherhood. We even found time to take a nap beside a lake under some shade trees during the hottest part of the day. All the memories came flooding back as I watched the Bible study session. I wanted to write an article with the teachings from Acts 20, given to us by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, through the Apostle Paul. I linked to the verses, or, you can open your own Bible and read the account, starting in verse 15 and going through the end of the chapter. As we studied the passage, we looked at what we learned about Paul and the commands Paul gave to the Ephesian elders. From these two aspects, we have much to learn about Biblical leadership.

I. Insights about Paul

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Let us learn to respect our spiritual elders

As a relatively young pastor, I have had to learn and apply this teaching to my own life over and over again. I am not teaching pure theory. This comes from years of practical application. As people, our sin nature does not like authority. Because of this natural state, it is very difficult for us to honor our elders. We have to be taught and reminded over and over again. That is why “Honor your father and mother” is a command. It is a command because it goes against our nature. Showing honor and respect to elders is not natural to anyone. It is a conscious effort that we must make, moment by moment, day by day. The command to honor has no time limit. Even when you are married and have your own kids, you are still to honor your father and mother. The same is true once you receive authority yourself, you must still respect the authority of those who are older than you are.

I. Walk humbly in authority

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The importance of in depth Bible study

Dear friends, I am excited to share this message with you, a message that my mentor, Vasile Filat, preached at our former church, Good News, last Sunday. It was a powerful message that rebuked, corrected, and encouraged me in my walk with the Lord. I want to share it with you here in written form since most of you do not have the ability to listen to it in Romanian and understand it. I pray that the Word will work in your heart the way that It worked in mine. Continue reading

Effective Prayer: Forgiveness

I am so excited to be able to teach this next lesson on Effective Prayer; forgiveness and deliverance. In case you have missed our previous lessons, or, just as a simple review, here is a list of previous lessons.

  1. Effective Prayer Lesson 1
  2. Effective Prayer Lesson 2 part 1
  3. Effective Prayer Lesson 2 part 2
  4. Effective Prayer: Allegiance, Submission, and Gratitude
  5. Effective Prayer: Petition and Intercession

This article is based on lesson 5 from the study, “The Essentials of Effective Prayer“. In this article, we will examine the need to be forgiven by so that we can extend forgiveness to othersĀ  to build and maintain relationships with others. Continue reading

The ungodly in YOUR church

I am sure the title of this lesson got your attention. Good, that was the point. There are some in our modern world today that teach that the church is a hospital for sinners. It sounds like a nice analogy, but . . ., this is not the picture that the Bible paints about the church. Biblically speaking, the church is the gathering of those who are called out from darkness (sinful lifestyles) to light (a new life of righteousness in Jesus Christ). Does this mean that everyone who attends your local church is a genuine follower of Christ? NO!!!

In the previous article, I wrote about God’s description of a believer according to what He inspired the Apostle Paul to write to Titus. Is there a danger to the rest of the church when there are ungodly people in the church? YES!!! God explains why this is dangerous and what needs to be done about the ungodly who have infiltrated the ranks of the local church. Continue reading

Counting the cost of discipleship L2

Yesterday, I finished lesson one and wrote an article on discipleship. Today, I would like to continue the theme of discipleship from Jesus’ perspective. If you want to catch up or review the previous lesson, here it is:

  1. Counting the cost of discipleship Lesson 1

What does the word disciple mean? The Greek word that is translated “disciple” is “mathetes”. It literally means a learner or a pupil, one who learns theory and practice. This is the exact example that we saw in lesson 1. Jesus taught His disciples theory and also gave them opportunities to practice what they learned. The root of the word disciple is the Greek verb “manthano”. It means to increase in knowledge to the point of habit. As you learn things, you apply them. As you apply them over and over again, they become a habit for you. This is what discipleship mean. I learn and apply until learning and application become a habit for me. I am learning to know and follow Jesus. It really is that simple. Are you a learner of Christ’s ways? Are you applying what you learn to the point where it becomes a habit for you? Continue reading