Christ: The Essence of Real Discipleship

After Christ had returned from His 40 days of fasting (Matthew 4:1-2), He chose His first four disciples. God planned for His Son’s ministry to be short, and Christ needed to teach others the mysteries of God’s kingdom (Colossians 1:26-27). These four men became the essence of real discipleship.

It’s not by accident Christ approached these men. Since Christ is God (John 10:30), we see God’s Spirit working because those men without delay followed Jesus. They didn’t question who Jesus is and did as He asked. This illustrates God’s undeniable presence in a faithful believer’s life.

The first two men anointed to discipleship are Peter and his brother Andrew (Matthew 4:18). They were fishermen casting their nets from the shore. Christ told them He will make them fisher of men (Matthew 4:19). Here Jesus gives us the essence of discipleship-fishers of men. In fact, Christ appointed Peter as the leader of His church.

The next two who Christ called on is James and John (Matthew 4:21-22). Again Matthew highlights the impact God made in their lives. Those two men showed an unshakable trust in Christ because upon hearing God’s command they picked up their cross and walked with Christ.

When we take an honest look at the way, those men responded to Christ; we gain knowledge into true discipleship. The first thing to remember is their unselfish commitment to God. Their faith shows us a disciple denies oneself for the will of God. It takes selflessness to live as a disciple. Likewise, for us to become disciples, we must do the same.

Jesus recruited eight more disciples. One of those twelve betrayed Him (Judas Iscariot) in the garden of Gethsemane. Many others entered discipleship because God planned for anyone who believes in Christ sovereignty (John 8:31-32). Today others are still being granted this same privilege.

The essence of discipleship is applying Christ’s teachings to our everyday lives. It’s easy speaking the Gospels. But a more challenging presentation of God’s Spirit is exemplifying the impact Christ has in the way we respond to adversity.

For example, our reactions to life terms need to radiate the way Christ dealt with His troubles. Even though our problems don’t match the ones Jesus endured, He shows us the spiritual principles necessary in staying firm on God’s word. It’s our reliance on Christ that we find courage beyond ours to face the world full of evilness.

One of the first things to remember is discipleship radiates God’s Living Spirit. This doesn’t mean a disciple is perfect. Everyone falls short of living in God’s will (Romans 3:23), and no one is free from sin (1 John 1:1-10). With this in mind, we must remember it’s our willingness to repent and let Christ remove our trespasses. Nothing pleases God more than a believer’s action of repentance.

A disciple is a spiritual craftsman working for Christ’s Deity spreading God’s truth. And for this purpose, the Holy Spirit is the driving force behind discipleship. Without God’s Spirit present in the life of a disciple, the message of Christ’s Kingship is ineffective. This includes taking a self-righteous approach in sharing Jesus’s truths.

Discipleship is of divine importance because our spiritual lives depend on our willingness to live in Christ. This significant God-granted experience is not without responsibility. We must pick up our cross (regardless of its pain) and become His servants. Remember we no longer living in the world but God’s kingdom!

Have you found your discipleship?

Christ Defeats Satan’s Temptations

As we continue looking at Matthew’s Gospel we see how God made Christ the King over temptation. A most compelling evidence attesting to this truth is the way Christ defeats Satan’s temptations in the wilderness (Matthew 4:3-11).

A temptation is a real and devastating problem. Eve couldn’t resist it nor did Adam. I can’t either and neither can you. The moment we give into its demand, everything changes for the worse. In fact, this three syllables ten letter word damages our relationship with God.

But the Lord’s love for His children is greater than the trouble temptation causes because He redeems us through Christ.

To show us Christ’s as the redeemer, Matthew’s testimony to the three temptations He faced proves Jesus is stronger than everything the devil can dole out. Each time Lucifer confronted Christ with his cunning deception He didn’t waver from God’s powerful truths.

When we take a deeper look into the enticement, Satan used against Christ an incredible insight of God’s sovereignty emerges. Since the Messiah is God’s Son so Lucifer created those temptations to overtake Jesus’s kingship.

In other words, those attempts of disobedience aren’t for humans but made for Jesus. The devil understood who Christ is and designed his temptation in line with assaulting His loyalty to God.

For instance, the devil’s first try to trick Jesus is asking Him to do a miracle. Here Matthew shows us the wisdom of Christ. Jesus rebutted His tempter by sharing the purpose of life isn’t just physical.

Christ used the Old Testament scripture to let Satan know the way God intends for a believer to live (Deuteronomy 8:3). Here our Messiah gives us a blueprint for building a spiritual foundation anchored in God’s will. Remember, my friends. Salvation goes beyond the flesh.

After Jesus defeated Satan’s first entrapment, then he tries to lure Christ into tempting God. Here we find the devil seeking to extinguish himself as an expert in interpreting God’s word. The devil used Psalm 91:11-12 to show our Messiah his knowledge of God’s law.

Again Jesus corrected him by explaining another key point in living in God’s kingdom is never to tempt the Father (Deuteronomy 6:16). Here Christ gives His adversary God’s truth to stress the Lord’s way in staying humble. Tempting God is useless because He is the most powerful and knows our hearts.

God’s enemy failed in those two attempts but gave one last try to make Christ stumble. This last temptation is the real motive behind Satan’s intention of turning away from God and working for his evil deeds.

But Christ’s unshakable trust in the Lord coupled with His perfect wisdom crushed the devil’s trap. Jesus said to him: “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”

Matthew gives concrete evidence of Christ’s undeniable power in defeating Satan’s temptations. Under those circumstances, Jesus proved He is God’s King by illustrating His dominance over sin.

Through Christ’s victory, God rewarded Him by sending angels to minister to Him (Matthew 4:11). Likewise, we receive a blessing when we rely on Jesus because God takes notice when we move away from sin and into righteousness.

I know the result of temptation. Every time I give into its enticing call my spirit becomes disturbed leading me to sin. I’m powerless over its entrapment. The moment I succumb to its demands my relationship with God becomes fractured placing a wedge between Christ and me.

On my own, this troubling dilemma gets worse. But when I humble myself before Christ and ask for help I find courage beyond mine. Then I’m able to stop and turn away from temptation.

My battles with temptation are overwhelming. But because of my everyday reliance on Christ, those wars become lessen. Since Christ overtook Satan’s domain, He gives me the strength to live in God’s will.

I’m not perfect and when I sin my willingness to repent gives me a way back to Christ. Even though I have to wait for God’s mercy the results from practicing patience outweigh the suffering caused by a hardened heart.

In conclusion, temptations aren’t impossible to overcome because God gave us Christ as our saving King. No matter how tempting you become remember Jesus is never absent.

How do you overcome your temptation?

Christ’s Deliverance: God’s Greatest Pleasure

God is astonishing in the way He keeps His word. For centuries He used Prophets to prepare for the day of Christ’s deliverance. The Lord’s love for His Son coupled with His compassion for humanity gives Him incredible pleasure.

 

 

God made this eternal deliverance His greatest gift. To receive this infinite treasure, one must receive God’s grace (Ephesians 2:8).

Because of Christ’s baptism; God’s new plan for salvation is real (Matthew 3:15).

Last week we discussed God’s message of repentance. We saw the crucial role an act of contrition is in God’s eyes.

Matthew wastes no time to show us God’s joy in delivering His beloved Son (Matthew 3:16-17).

When God speaks, it has the utmost importance for humanity. It’s imperative to understand God’s language. Without knowledge of His dialect, eternal life stays elusive. And, Matthew recorded Christ’s deliverance through God’s voice.

 

 

Here in this part of Matthew’s third chapter (Matthew 3:13-17), we come to see God’s overwhelming joy for His Son.

Since Adam and Eve’s disobedience, it’s rare for God to express pleasure with humanity. In Jesus’s baptism, God treats us with His happiness.

Imagine witnessing God’s pleasure. It’s mind boggling pondering over the Lord’s excitement to give humanity a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). But God’s love is never absent from those He saves. I’m thankful to understand Christ is the way to God’s kingdom (John 14:6).

Watching the pleasure God showed in delivering His Son is a privilege. With this in mind, remember not everyone understands the meaning behind Christ’s ministry. This experience is an incredible gift. We are fortunate God included us in His kingdom.

The moment God exposed Christ as His Son the way of believing in Him changed. At the time of Christ’s arrival, an unfavorable faith in God developed and under those circumstances God put right this tragic mistake.

At this point in man’s history, many believers relied on traditions handed to them through the generations. Most of those doctrines center on rituals and not anchored in God’s truth. But Christ’s deliverance put an end to this incorrect understanding of God’s word. Because of Christ’s deliverance God unlocked His mysteries (Colossians 1:24-27).

When I meditate over Christ’s deliverance, it makes me grateful for God’s truth.

I use to live in darkness consumed by a life full of resentment, bitterness, and selfishness. Everything I centered in prideful motives leading to a life filled with disappointment.

It brings me great pleasure to share with you God pulled me from the darkness. Today my life changed, and it started with God introducing me to Christ. This new way of living isn’t easy, but with Christ, as my guide, nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37). Even though I’m not perfect Christ helps me overcome my sinful nature.

 

 

Christ’s deliverance fosters many discussions, and we have touched on a few of them. We can agree without Christ our lives stay troubled. But on the positive side with Him, our place in God’s kingdom is everlasting!

What does Christ’s deliverance mean to you?

 

 

Satan’s Failed Attempt on Baby Jesus

God’s mightiness is hard to fathom. In Matthew’s Gospel, he gives insight into the Lord’s undeniable strength. Our Father’s enemy (Satan) understood Christ’s Kingship meant the end of his reign and tried using King Herod to kill Jesus (Matthew 2:13).

God knew everything and protected Christ from the wickedness of Herod. Nothing gets pass God (Jeremiah 16:17). Satan knows Christ’s Kingship is God’s final plan for humanity and tried to eliminate Him as a child. Since God is Almighty (Revelation 1:8), the devil didn’t exterminate the King of the Jews!

When you look at Matthew’s second chapter, a glimpse into God’s undeniable plan of salvation emerges. Last week we discussed http://wp.me/p74gem-c2 God’s announcement of His promised Messiah(Matthew 2:2). And the rest of this chapter shows us God’s indisputable faithfulness. Our Father let none human or the devil defeat His King making sure our eternal inheritance (Ephesians 1:11) stayed intact.

The devil uses many wicked ways to destroy God’s kingdom. When Herod unleashed his rage on the Jewish people (Matthew 2:16), we see Satan’s hatred.

Throughout the Old Testament, the terror caused by Lucifer is real. In Noah’s generation, God stepped in and annihilated Satan’s evil grip on the human heart (Genesis 6:17).

No one past or present can change the evil facts of the devil, and Matthew saw this by watching Herod murder innocent boys (Matthew 2:16). Even today we see this happening around the world, but God in His Glory secured a way out of spiritual death. The Lord wants to save everyone and guaranteed Christ birth by protecting Him from the devil (1 Timothy 2:1-4). We are fortunate to experience God’s grace and proclaim the good news of Christ!

 

In fact, God used the Prophet Jeremiah to make known the future suffering Christ birth caused at the time it took place (Jeremiah 31:15). You may wonder why God doesn’t intervene and eradicate evilness. That’s a great question, and it’s hard to grasp the way God works. But a saving faith understands the Lord gives everyone a chance to know Him.

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse. Romans 1:20

God keeps His word and led Joseph into Egypt fulfilling Hosea prophecy (Hosea 11:1). Our Father never changes, and His Word without exception is pure. Everything God does is in the Bible, and He used Matthew to highlight the prophecies from the Old Testament.

Matthew closes his second chapter by giving us the reason Christ lived in Nazareth (Matthew 2:19-23). Again we come in contact with Satan’s constant attempts on killing baby Jesus. This is the third time God sent an angel to direct Joseph actions in protecting His Son.

 

 

When I pause and ponder over Matthew’s second chapter, it strengthens my trust in God’s eternal plan. This recorded Biblical history gives me the opportunity to test my faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). And for me, God’s words are more than metaphors they are the actions I need to take to live in Christ.

What’s your outlook on Matthew’s second chapter?

 

The Three Wise Men Unwavering Trust

In Matthew’s Gospel, he shares the journey of the three wise men from the east. In this story, two relevant circumstances arose from their arrival in Jerusalem.

First, they asked where to find Christ’s birthplace. They didn’t hesitate telling others their mission is worshiping the King of the Jews.

And as the result of their inquiry it caused trouble amongst the citizens.

Their message disturbed Herod, the king. Because God used strangers to announce the news of his King’s birth. This threatened Herod’s throne. So the king of Judea gathered the Jewish spiritual leaders asking them where this remarkable event took place. They answered Herod by sharing Bethlehem (Matthew 2:6) as God’s chosen town.

Even the residents of Jerusalem became terrified. Imagine living under Herod’s hard rule knowing he wouldn’t tolerate another king to invade his territory. And when those wise men disobeyed Herod, he took his rage out on the Jews by murdering their first-born boy’s ages two years and younger (Matthew 2:16).

The real revelation in Matthew’s three wise men story is how the Jews didn’t receive God’s word. On Christ’s birthday, God’s chosen people became numb to His presence. They forgot God’s prophesies because their spiritual leaders (the Pharisees) didn’t teach them God’s truth.

The Pharisees held Moses as the ultimate authority in sharing God’s word. They relied on his teachings and added unique traditions for their followers. But when those wise men came to worship the King of the Jews it fell on deaf ears. None of them remembered Moses’ words on God’s truth on the birth of Christ (Deuteronomy 18:18-19).

The time of Christ’s birth isn’t an accident. God knew the way His children believed needed to change. They became confused over the truth of God’s word because their spiritual leaders misled them. So the Lord used Gentiles to announce Christ the King.

God commanded those men to worship baby Jesus. So they traveled to a foreign land leaving behind the comfort of home and humbled them themselves to Christ the King (Matthew 2:11). Guided by God (star) these Gentiles glorified God by offering young Christ gifts.

I wonder if my faith is strong enough to do the same. Could I leave my familiar place and have the spiritual confidence to share with total strangers God’s message of salvation? Do I have trust in Christ to pick up my cross regardless of its burden and live in God’s will?

The three wise men are excellent examples of a faith in action anchored in an unwavering trust in God. Matthew allowed us to witness their unshakable reliance on the Lord and when we follow Christ with the same actions, our lives become spiritually whole.

How do you relate to the three wise men story?