Tuesday, July 27, 2010

To Believe and to Disciple Others

Mark 16:14-18 NLT
  14 Still later he appeared to the eleven disciples as they were eating together. He rebuked them for their stubborn unbelief because they refused to believe those who had seen him after he had been raised from the dead.
  15 And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.
Mark 16:16 Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. 17 These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. 18 They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.”

Among the many who witnessed Christ's Ascension from earth to heaven, there were some whom He had to rebuke. Even while disciple after disciple bent the knee of belief in His resurrection, there, apparently, were some among them who did not believe because He had not appeared personally to them. Their faith was so limited that the first-hand witness of a brother or sister among believers would not satisfy them.  It was important for them that Jesus rebuke their lack of faith. How ever could they expect the people of 'the world' to whom they were being sent to share the good news to believe on the strength of their testimony alone when they, themselves, refused to believe. There were the women-- and the men dismissed them. There were the two on the Emaus road, and the main group dismissed their witness. There were the ten disciples minus Thomas and Thomas dismissed all ten of them! Then there were the eleven and among the hundred or so followers at that time, many dismissed them!

Faith in the risen Lord is a hard thing to do. In fact it requires a supernatural intervention for us to be able to believe. Our yieldedness is to be willing, but the Holy Spirit has to provide to us the capacity to believe. Faith is a gift from God-- one of the gifts important to the body life.  At this meeting, Jesus commissioned them all to go and preach; to baptize; and to exercise the miraculous things that the Spirit of God, by His own will and plan, would administer through their faithfulness. Interestingly enough, each of these events did not accompany all of the disciples but all of these events were accounted somewhere in the book of Acts by one or more of the disciples.

We last spoke of the Ascension of the Lord. This last commissioning was the most important statement the Lord was to make prior to returning to The Father, as he had long prophesied for the past three years. It was to commission each and every believer standing there-- and each new believer throughout time-- to become something they were not. We all must become disciple-makers. It is a commission by God Himself. It is not an option as to whether you or I will choose to do so. To not choose would be to disobey God at the very core of our faith. To disobey at that level would be to deny Christ as Lord and God. To so deny Christ would be to reject the salvation we had once received and then turn our back on God.  If you are willing to be a believer in Christ, then you must be willing for Him to make you into a discipler. Are you willing today?

Your Servant in Christ's Love
Dan Elliott

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