After a long series of introductory material, we finally made it to the first section on the earliest commands that Jesus gave his disciples. At this point they were disciples of John the Baptist, but he pointed them toward the Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world.
Discipleship is a strategy, a process whereby people grow in their faith through various stages. Here is the model I presented yesterday.
In the chart above, the PGA refers to my Personal Growth and Accountability (PGA) series.
- BASIC Training (Brothers And Sisters In Christ) is for new believers or seekers, emphasizing the basics, but encouraging those to become a part of the family of God.
- The PGA series is based on Bill Bright, Campus Crusade, and Navigators short courses on the basics of the Christian faith.
- OCS Training (Organized Christian Servants) refers to advanced material in how to find and train others to make disciples of others.
As we investigate this man Jesus, my desire is that we all come to a fresh passion to walk as Jesus walked, and to allow the footsteps of Jesus and his first disciples to be OUR footsteps. Those timeless commands are to be OUR commands. Below is simply a short list of the commands and the passages that we will eventually study in depth.
There are SIX Commands at This Level
- Come and See Invitation – John 1:35-51
- Repent & Believe – Mark 1:14-15, Luke 4:14-15
- Fear, a Barrier to Faith – Luke 12:4-12
- Greed, a Barrier to Faith – Luke 12:13-21
- Baptism – Matthew 28:19-20
- Evangelism – John 4:3-42
In this overview, you will notice that three of these six commands fall outside of the early months in the disciples’ faith stages: FEAR / GREED (Luke 12) and BAPTISM (Matthew 28). These three commands fall into the proper place thematically but not chronologically.
The first step for a seeker or a new convert is to understand that Jesus is a person worth investigating, which is just what the early disciples did. At Jesus’ invitation, he told them to “Come and see.” I mentioned a lot of confusion by authors in search of the “historical Jesus.” They have many theories about how Jesus did not believe he was the Messiah or even that he was God (and since they are university professors, why would we doubt them?). We are talking about the Gospel of Thomas, or The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife (recently debunked as a fake).
I mentioned the Gospel of Thomas, which is dated between AD 140-180, which obviously is using Thomas’ name to present his own version of Jesus (you can read more here). As I mentioned, all you have to do is read the book to see why it was rejected by early church leaders. It is strongly anti-female, just read this quote:
Simon Peter said to Him, “Let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of Life.” Jesus said, “I myself shall lead her in order to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every woman who will make herself male will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” (114)
That is so against the authentic gospels that affirm women (Gospel of Mark as an example).
Next week we will look more intently into John chapter 1, but also Jesus’ warning about FALSE CHRISTS that would come, and Jesus’ emphasis that seekers need Christian friends.
[Based on my classes with Richard D. Leineweber, Jr. c. 2000]