In the last post we started talking about spiritual disciplines. Dr. Donald Whitney, in his book, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, says the spiritual disciplines are, “those personal and corporate disciplines that promote spiritual growth.” We will begin to explore just two: Bible intake and prayer.
“Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him, they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, [...]
Mark 14:1-25 is the first segment of the remaining three chapters of Mark. These last three chapters record the betrayal, arrest, trial, crucifixion, and resurrection of Christ. This first segment of that section is comprised of two episodes. The first episode (14:1-11) focuses on the sacrificial act of a woman who poured oil on Jesus to honor Him. The second episode (14:12-25) focuses on Jesus’ Passover meal with His disciples to whom He reveals His knowledge that He will be betrayed and introduces them to the means for remembering His sacrifice on their behalf. The first episode is a beautiful portrait of the costly sacrifice involved in being a follower of Jesus. The second episode is an even more beautiful portrait of the costly sacrifice that Jesus pursued for His followers.
In our previous posts, we have been talking about Christian fellowship. Christian fellowship involves followers of Christ coming together face to face to talk with each other from their knowledge of and experience with God and His Word. Christian fellowship is important because it is one of the three general ways that God produces in us a Christ-like godliness. God uses the prayers, words of encouragement, and acts of kindness from others, as well as the admonitions, and attempts to confront to shape each of us into the moral character and image of Christ. Christian fellowship is indispensable to our growth in godliness.
In Luke 6:40 our Lord says, “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone, when he is fully trained, will be like his teacher.” A disciple of Jesus is someone who is on the path of becoming like Christ. In fact, one of our favorite passages of Scripture is Romans 8:28, “For we know that for those who love God and are called according to his purpose, all things work together for our good.” But the very next verse explains the purpose for which we are called, the goal that all things are working together to accomplish. “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son that he might be the first born among many brothers.” God is leveraging all the authority of the universe to accomplish the task of taking the followers of Christ and producing in them the likeness of Christ.
Mark 13:1-37 concludes a section that began in chapter 11. The entire section occurs at the Temple. The disciples, as they were leaving, note the Temple’s magnificence. Jesus announced to the awe struck disciples, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” What Jesus just revealed was the sequel to His earlier symbolic actions when He pronounced judgment on the Temple. Jesus then taught His disciples about the future.
While it certainly is not a sin for Christians to socialize, Christian fellowship goes beyond mere socializing; it involves followers of Christ coming together face to face to talk with each other from their knowledge of and experience with God and His Word. With that working definition in mind, we are exploring why Christian fellowship is so important-it is vital for our spiritual growth and progress.
We exist to explain the gospel and to call people to become disciples of Christ. But what does a disciple look like? If we don’t know what a disciple looks like, how will we know if we are fulfilling our calling to make disciples? Here are two additional traits (the first two traits are found here):
Mark 12:13-44 continues a string of episodes around the Temple. Having symbolized the coming destruction upon the Temple (11:12-25), Jesus is approached by a delegation of the Jewish religious leadership who demanded to know the basis of His authority (11:17-12:12). While the Temple incident occurred on Monday, the following conflicts between Jesus and the religious leaders probably all occurred on Tuesday.
Christian fellowship involves followers of Christ coming together face to face to talk with each other from their knowledge of and experience with God and His Word. We are exploring why Christian fellowship is so important-it is vital for our spiritual growth and progress.
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