Following a format similar to the other volumes of the Essentials series, each of the 12 sessions includes the following elements:. Designed to work well on your own, with a partner or in a small group, New Testament Essentials offers a comprehensive overview that will enrich your knowledge and deepen your faith. I can't think of a more positive introduction to the Bible for those who wish to grow in their knowledge of Scripture and faith.
New Testament Essentials is a delicious blend of research, accessibility and devotion that challenges the reader to examine core beliefs and convictions in light of the only book from which we might abstract the ministry and nature of Jesus of Nazareth.
Discipleship: The priority of the 'Kingdom and his righteousness'
Used in the context of private study or, even better, group interaction, this book is an excellent resource for those who are looking to more deeply root and enliven their faith. Robbie Castleman masterfully leads us in a study that introduces us to the glorious teaching of the New Testament, a study that deepens our love and trust in our Savior. Jesus, the Messiah 2. Jesus, the Lord of Heaven and Earth 3. Work: True Righteousness 4. Teaching: True Holiness 5.
She previously served for several years as a staff member with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, specializing in ministry to graduate students at campuses in and around Tallahassee, Florida.
39. A Biblical Profile of a Disciple
We see this in numerous examples in the New Testament already. The story of Noah becomes a type for baptism in 1 Peter 3. Paul uses the relationship between Sarah and Hagar to describe the Christians and the non-Christian Jews in Galatians 4. Jesus even uses the bronze serpent from Numbers 21 as a type for Himself in His conversation with Nicodemus in John 3.
Early Christians completely integrated the Old and New Testaments and created a poetry to the faith. And for them, Scripture was read at length in the context of worship. There was no individual Bible study because there were no individual Bibles. The subject material was Jesus, no matter what book or passage was read and the application was how, therefore, the followers of Jesus were to live with one another and in the world.
The worship service itself was a time when Christians were discipled in a general way. It was a time to encounter the Scriptures. It was a time to be encouraged by one another to keep the faith and persevere through whatever trials they were encountering at the time.
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It was a time to be reminded that Jesus Christ is God and that the individual members of the church were integrated into His life, His body. The worship service was not evangelistic in nature. The preaching was not for conversion of the visitors. The focus was on God and how to be faithful disciples. The reason they came was not to be the center of attention or the focus of the service, but to learn what these people truly believed and why. For these early Christians, the Eucharist was a main form of discipleship as well.
It was the climax of every service they celebrated.
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For the entire part of the service leading up to the Eucharist, the people were being raised up to the throne of God in heaven. Their prayers focused them on God, petitioning God to create the kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. The reading of Scripture and expounding on it showed how God had been acting throughout history to prepare the world for the coming of Jesus Christ, and how Christ was still present in the world through the church, His body.
Finally, in the Eucharist, as the people had been ascending to heaven, heaven came down to earth as the Holy Spirit eucharized the bread and wine so that the people in Christ actually received Christ. In Holy Communion, heaven and earth met. What this did for the Christians was to give an objective reality to the Christian experience. Not every worship service was an ecstatic journey into the third heaven. Not every presider was skilled at preaching, or even praying, on behalf of the people. Not every Christian felt like they were in the presence of the Creator and Sustainer of the universe every week.
But in the sacrament, the Christians knew, whether or not they felt it, that Christ was present. They knew they were standing in the presence of the God of all who gave all for them. They knew that, by receiving the sacrament, they were receiving more of God within them for their transformation and empowerment to be the faithful disciples they were called to be.
5 Principles of Discipleship from Colossians 1:28-29
All of the other means by which the church created and reinforced discipleship were found in the celebration of the sacrament. It was only celebrated when the people gathered together as the church. Because it was only open to Christians, it reinforced the concept that they were different — a new race in the world, one not belonging to any nationality or tribe but to God above all else. Holy Communion was the climax of corporate worship.
It was an extensive exercise in prayer — prayer that used numerous scriptural references from both the Old Testament and what would become the New Testament. It was here, in the sacrament, that the church saw fully and completely what the potential cost of discipleship entailed: death.
Yet it was literally good news because, despite His death, Jesus Christ was currently present with them in this very act of Holy Communion. By making regular use of the means of grace Wesley identified from the primitive church, we can make significant strides in that mission as we journey together in the life of the church.
Steven D. He adapted this article from a series on ancient discipleship fmchr.
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