Last night in our Bible study, someone asked the question, “how do we know if someone is a true Christian?” Someone quoted Matthew 7:16, “You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?” Before we apply that verse to our question, first look at the context. Jesus refers to “false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (7:15). The quote does not apply to the question.
There are certainly many characteristics we would expect in someone who claimed to be a disciple, but that may not answer the question either. In Luke 14, great crowds followed Jesus for a time until the real test was put to them. “So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33). Jesus was not trying to discourage anyone for being His disciple, but He wanted them to understand the real cost. Do we know the real cost?
This is a subject that could take many blogs to answer properly, but there is one more point I want to add before I close. Does Jesus know you? Paul says, “God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His”” (2 Timothy 2:19). Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). Does Jesus know you?
“Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24).
One of our team has just returned from training pastors in The Congo. He soon discovered that some of them did not have their own Bible. While they shared during the training, what are these pastors without Bibles going to do when they return to their villages? We learned that around 800 Bibles are need. We prayed and asked the Father to give us funds for Bibles.
God answered and mobilized some to help provide for this critical need. We also want to give you the same opportunity. As Brother Tim trained in Laos earlier this month, we provided Bibles to pastors there who were without them. To watch their faces when a Bible is placed in their hands tells a story that words cannot express. Now the need is in The Congo.
If you are interested in participating in this life changing event, go to our SUPPORT page and you will find ways to give toward this need.
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” (Matthew 13:44).
This is a very familiar verse of Scripture and many commentaries and articles have been written about this verse in addition to countless sermons preached. Without referring to any of these, what would the Holy Spirit say to us right now.
To the natural eye and mind, this treasure is hidden and cannot be seen unless the eye of the heart is enlightened (Ephesians 1:18) to realize its value does not come from the world and its values. The mind of heaven must give its value to us by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:14-16), to the person who is searching for what the world cannot see and does not value.
What is the field? Jesus explained “The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom” (Matthew 13:38). We understand the idea of a kingdom is heaven (God’s) reign and rule here on earth (the field). Where do we see it working? In the hearts of those who receive His Son.
Once the treasure is found, what do we do with it? That depends on whether we understand the true value of what we have found. Would we sell all we have to possess the power and authority of God’s reign in our hearts through His Word? In many parts of God’s field where He has allowed us to work, persons are sacrificing what they possess to gain this treasure. What do you value?
In this blog, we jump across the ocean westward to the Central American country of Nicaragua. Jonathan is there with David introducing God’s Plan for His Disciples (GPHD) and God’s Plan for Young Disciples (GPYD) to a new group of believers in Nagarote. A group of local pastors/leaders from many different areas have come for the introduction to GPHD and GPYD. It is so encouraging and exciting to see how God is working.
This reminds us of Paul’s exhortation to the Colossian church (2:6-7). “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”
This is what we want to see happening everywhere!
We are so thankful to see the Lord working in The Congo, Africa. Our partner from Zambia is there training leaders through God’s Plan for His Church. Sadly, some of these leaders do not have their own Bible. If you are interested in providing Bibles for them, we will see that 100% of any gifts designated for this cause are made available.
There is nothing more important than God’s Word!
May our thirst for God’s Word become so great that we are driven to share it with others anywhere in the world.
One of the joys of my heart is to watch persons grow in spiritual maturity. This is evident by the way Scripture holds authority over their thinking and actions. No one is telling them what to do, but it is God’s Word that is causing them to obey from their heart. This was true of some believers in the Early Church that Paul wrote to in Rome.
“But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6:17–18).
J. Oswald Sanders says, “God rejoices to see His children growing in likeness to His Son, the only perfectly mature Man. Such maturity opens the door to an ever-deepening intimacy, and in turn, that intimacy makes possible and accelerates a greater maturity of spiritual life and character.”
(Enjoying Intimacy with God, page 113).
Are you growing in Christ? If not, you might becoming spiritually stagnant.
I just received this report from Randy and Pat in Mali, Africa. It is the first time our team has been invited to train in Mali. This country of 21.9 million people has only 2.8% that are considered Christian, but God is working, and we are so thankful to be part of what He is doing. Here are the brief message and pictures I received from Pat.
"Our training in Mali is going well. More than twenty-four (24+) missionaries from Seven (7) different nations and 5 different mission agencies came to this introduction and training. One of them is a missionary to the Fulani (those who have persecuted and killed many Christians). The Lord may be opening the door in big ways to the 10 x 40 window in Africa through these leaders.”
Please pray for Randy and Pat as they fly Sunday from Mali to Niger. Security issues are a particular concern for this leg of their trip. We have a great God, and for the sake of His work and glory we appeal for Him to open doors of effective ministry even though there is risk and trials.
Last evening, we had someone attend our Bible study who was raised in a church tradition that believed a Christian could lose their salvation through bad behavior. She had no clear confidence that they were secure in Christ. She wanted to know how to be certain of their salvation.
We first took her to John 10:27-29. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand” (John 10:27–29). Those who have placed their faith (belief) in the saving work of Jesus are saved (Acts 16:30-31; Ephesians 2:1-10 and many more references).
Paul makes this point about our salvation in Romans 10. “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart, one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in Him will not be put to shame.”” (Romans 10:8–11).
I close with the verse from the letter to the Hebrews. “For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:14). The phrase “for all time” means “always, forever, and all eternity.” The work of God in the soul of any born again Christian is never incomplete and can never be destroyed! “Do you believe this?” (John 11:26).
“Or perhaps you’ll find another laborer to send, support, and sustain on the field. We’re all in this together, and we all need to lock arms. If Christ be anything, he must be everything. And because he is everything to us, we must go everywhere, and tell everyone.
We’re now two centuries removed from the work of Carey, Urquhart, Taylor, and so many others. Many tribes, tongues, and people groups have been crossed off the lists of “unreached” and “unengaged.” But too many still remain — nearly half the world. Our hearts are too dull to statistics, but it should rattle us to find out more than 41 percent of people breathing in the world today have zero access to Jesus. Zero.
The harvest is plentiful. The laborers are few. And the doors are open. With God, anything is possible. With God, there are no closed countries.” (Stephanie Quick Feb 17, 2019, Desiring God).
“Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God”” (Luke 9:62).
“It is important to note that essentially, for far too long, no one had been talking about missions. Perhaps the pain and toxicity of the Crusades had scarred the people of Jesus from going to foreign fields. Perhaps we needed a couple of centuries to breathe in the Protestant Reformation before we remembered we had a job to do. Perhaps, simply, we just liked where we lived and didn’t want to leave it.
William Carey didn’t just pull the “go ye therefore” of Matthew 28 off the back bookshelf and dust it off for folks to read again; he shook the church herself out of a profoundly disobedient slumber.
For a growing number of college students to devote precious disposable time and energy to an extracurricular activity surrounding such a niche issue at the time was marvelous. It still is. Yet after years (literally years — their whole academic careers) these young men began to scratch their heads with mouths agape and one distinctly important truth resonating in their guts: missionaries weren’t subhuman or superheroes. They were simple men and women who met Jesus one way or another, just like every other born-again believer, and decided one way or another to go where other disciples hadn’t yet gone and build gospel foundations where there were none (Romans 15:20).”” (Stephanie Quick Feb 17, 2019, Desiring God)
“Thus, I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation” (Romans 15:20).
Link To Our Old Blog: