A Manual For Discipleship

Disciples - Follow Jesus

 

We have been studying the gospel of Matthew as a manual for discipleship. Jesus is the Supreme Disciple-Maker. A disciple is a learner who begins with spiritual regeneration through faith in Jesus and continues on in Christ serving Him in the power of the Spirit. The disciple can expect to be tested and tempted as part of the preparation for service. Testing and temptation are the means God uses to help the disciple crucify his or her flesh and build a strong faith in God. Jesus is our example in all of this.

 

In the remaining part of Matthew chapter 4 we see Jesus first call of people to be His disciples. What is involved in the call to be a disciple? These verses will answer this question.

 

First - Disciple, Count The Cost

 

Matthew 4:12 – “Now when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He departed to Galilee.”  [1]

Serving God led to imprisonment for John the Baptist. This verse only touches on what was happening during this time in Jesus ministry. In Luke’s gospel account we see that after Jesus had proven His power in the face of the devil’s temptations, he returned through Galilee to his hometown of Nazareth where He taught in the synagogue. Jesus came out of the desert temptation in the power of the Spirit but was rejected Him and tried to throw Him off a cliff.  Luke records the events in the following way:

  • Luke 4:14-30 – “Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region.15 And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.16 So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him.21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”22 So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”23 He said to them, “You will surely say this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your country.’ ”24 Then He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country.25 “But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land;26 “but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.27 “And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”28 So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,29 and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff.30 Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.”  [2]

John the Baptist was imprisoned and Jesus was accosted and almost thrown off a cliff; it’s not easy being a servant of the Lord. And so, the disciple should count the cost understanding that being a disciple is not always welcomed by others. You aren’t going to win any popularity contests when you are a disciple. Those who respond to the message of salvation the disciple brings will be grateful to God and appreciative of the disciple’s faithfulness, but most will likely reject the message and persecute the messenger.

As we continue on in Matthew’s gospel account we will see more and more the cost of being a disciple. There are rewards, but there is also a cost for the disciple. While Jesus paid the entire cost of our salvation on the cross, to follow Him and have a personal relationship with God through Him one must choose Him as Lord (Romans 10:8-10). The following passage will give you an idea of the rewards as well as what it may cost a person to follow Jesus as His disciple:

  • Matthew 19:27-30 – “Then Peter answered and said to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?”28 So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.29 “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.30 “But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”  [3] (See also Mark 10:28; Luke 18:28).

Later in this portion of scripture we will see that James and John left the comfort of their homes and families to follow Jesus (Matthew 4:22). This doesn’t mean they abandoned their father because in Mark’s parallel account it states there were “servants” with their father (Mark 1:20). It is costly to be a disciple of Jesus. But we need to consider the cost rightly. The point for the disciple to grasp is that it is not really the cost that should be the concern of the disciple, but that the disciple will follow Jesus at any cost! To be a disciple you have to have the attitude that no matter what, I will follow Jesus. Disciple, count the cost of following Jesus no matter what.

Second - Disciple, Consider Your Place

Matthew 4:13-16 – “And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali,14 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles:16 The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.   [4]

When Jesus left Nazareth and came to Capernaum, (a city on the northwestern coast of the Sea of Galilee), He was right where God wanted Him. Capernaum became the headquarters of Jesus’ ministry. It was an important town in that there was a synagogue (Mark 1:21), a Roman outpost (Matthew 8:5-13), and a tax office (Matthew 9:9) located there. By Jesus moving to Galilee, He was fulfilling God’s preordained plan for His life. The Scriptures foretold of Jesus’ coming to this area (Isaiah 9:1-2). Jesus was right where He was supposed to be.

Where was Jesus supposed to be in the plan of the Father? In a place described by the words, “darkness,” and “the region and shadow of death.” Jesus went where there was a need for the gospel to be heard. This was an area not only of material poverty but spiritual poverty as well. Disciple, God wants to use you to shine the light of His gospel and word into the dark hearts of the lost.

 In The Complete Biblical Library commentary it states, “To become a fisher of men demands one thing: the person must become a disciple willing to follow the Master.” [5] To follow Jesus does not necessarily mean one picks up and leaves where they are; sometimes Jesus requires we stay right where He has us and other times He requires we move. We need to pause a moment and consider this because there is an inherent danger in our response to the call of Jesus. The danger is not in the call itself, but in our flesh and how our flesh sometimes uses the call of Jesus to fulfill a lust. There are those who are prone to mobility and there are those who are prone to immobility. Both of these tendencies should be examined.

As disciples there are usually too extremes that need to be brought into balance with regard to answering the call of God. First, there are those who are prone to be mobile. These are the people who are always ready to pick up and leave at the drop of a hat. These are prone to transience and love to travel. They see adventure at every chance to leave wherever they might be. These take being available to God to an extreme and even to the point where they read into circumstances an “open door” or opportunity to move on. The person called to be a foreign missionary or itinerant evangelist is buoyed by the grace of God enveloped in the particular spiritual gift and calling of God. But the person inclined to transience of their own accord has a great difficulty being a disciple because they are never around long enough to be effected by their surroundings or to be used by God to affect their surroundings. The inclination to mobility in one’s flesh is a motivated by fear and flight from responsibility and accountability. The transient has difficulty and even fears building lasting relationships and such relationships are usually the means God uses to work in and through the life of a disciple. How can we know if we are of this transient type of person? Ask yourself when you are considering a move: Why am I moving? Have I prayed about this move? Is God providing me with a specific opportunity to serve Him in this move? Am I running away from some uncomfortable situation in the place where God has put me at present? Has my move been confirmed in God’s word (a verse of confirmation), godly counsel, and circumstances? Is such a move self-serving or self-sacrificing? Is this move something I thought up or God revealed to me?

The second extreme is just the opposite of the transient person. The second extreme is the person who is immobile. This is the person who doesn’t want to move and is determined not to move, no matter what. This person is stationary and so comfortable in their surroundings that they are oblivious to the possibility of God calling them elsewhere. Such persons are focused on their own small universe and have difficulty seeing God’s bigger picture. God may close every door of opportunity to serve him in the place where they are, but because of comfort they refuse to see the writing on the wall so to speak. The inclination to immobility in one’s flesh is a motivated by fear of change and has put their faith one’s surroundings rather than in God. Oftentimes God will shake up such people by allowing their “stable” surroundings to destabilize. God sometimes allows the ground to move and shake beneath them until they see the need to trust in God and submit to Him alone.  How can the stationary person determine if they are to move on? Simply ask a few questions: Is there opportunity to serve the Lord where I am? Have I prayed about where God wants to use me? Am I closed to any potential call of God to move because I fear change? How has God been leading in His word, godly counsel, and circumstances? Is being immobile self-serving or self-sacrificing?

To move or not to move, that is the question. Jesus moved on for one primary reason, the door of opportunity to serve and minister had closed in one area and opened in another. Jesus was moved by a desire to shine light in a dark place. That should be our motive as well. The disciple is not primarily motivated to be mobile or immobile on the basis of financial or career opportunity. The disciple always asks God, where do you want to use me, where have you opened the door for me to serve. This focus of the disciple is fueled by the third consideration in answering the call of God to be a disciple.

Third - Disciple, Have a Sense of Urgency For The Lost

Matthew 4:17 – “From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  [6]

The first word of Jesus’ message was the same as that of John the Baptist, that is, “repent.”  Salvation does not come without repentance. “Repent,” is translated from the Greek term METANOEO (Strong’s #3340) and means, “to change one’s mind; to change one’s mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins.” [7]  We have already studied repentance in some detail (see comments on Matthew 3:2,8), but it needs repeating, before a person can be forgiven their sins they must first turn from their sins and sinful lifestyle and turn to God through faith in Christ. Repentance is essential and necessary for salvation. True repentance is evidenced by visible change in the life of the repentant person.

The phrase, “is at hand,” in Jesus’ message carries with it a sense of urgency for the lost. Greg Laurie, in his most recent book entitled The Upside-Down Church states the following:

“I believe the biggest reason we in the church are not carrying out the great commission is that we don’t care enough. We’re simply not that concerned about the souls of others.

General William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, once said that if he could have his wish, part of the final training for preachers and evangelists would be to have them hung over the open fires of hell for twenty-four hours ‘so those that were sharing this gospel message would recognize the urgency of it,’ he explained.”  [8]

The disciple who has a heart for souls, an urgency for the lostness of humanity will be open to what God wants to do in and through them, whether that means to stay where they are or move on to another area. The point is that wherever the disciple is placed by God, they will urgently seek to be used by God to save souls and make disciples.

This urgency is what we see in the lives of the early disciples. Read what the Bible says about them in the following passages:

  • Acts 4:13-20 – “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.14 And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.15 But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves,16 saying, “What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.17 “But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.”18 And they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge.20 “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.   [9]

And again in Acts it says:

  • Acts 5:40-42 – “And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.41 So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.” [10]

Nothing and no one could stop the first century disciples from sharing their faith in Christ and being used by God to save the lost. The early disciples couldn’t stop witnessing. Our problem is often that we can’t get started! The apostle Paul put it this way:

  • 1 Corinthians 9:16 – “For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!”  [11]

This is the substance of our call disciple, to be used by God to win lost souls to Him! This was the substance of Jesus’ direction to Paul when He said:

 

  • Acts 26:14-18 - “And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’15 “So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.16 ‘But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you.17 ‘I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you,18 ‘to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’”  [12]

Paul wrote the following about this call of Christ on us when he wrote in his second inspired letter to the Corinthians:

 

  • 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 – “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died;15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”  [13]

Do you see yourself as a disciple who is an ambassador of God, God’s representative sent by Him to plead and implore with the lost to come to Christ to be saved. Samuel Logan Brengle, an officer in the Salvation Army, wrote a book entitled The Soul Winner’s Secret. In this book is a poem written by Brengle that is entitled Zeal. This poem would be good for any disciple to take to heart. Brengle wrote:

 

ZEAL

Equip me for the war,

And teach my hands to fight,

My simple, upright heart prepare,

And guide my words aright;

Control my every thought,

My whole of sin remove;

Let all my works in thee be wrought,

Let all be wrought in love.

 

Oh! Arm me with the mind,

Meek Lamb, which was in Thee,

And let my earnest zeal be found

With perfect charity;

With calm and tempered zeal

Let me enforce Thy call,

And vindicate Thy gracious will

Which offers life to all.

Oh! May I love like Thee,

In all thy footsteps tread;

Thou hatest all iniquity,

But nothing Thou hast made.

Oh, may I learn the art

With meekness to reprove;

To hate the sin with all my heart,

But still the sinner love. [14]

Disciple, Jesus had a sense of urgency for the lost, we need to have a sense of urgency toward the lost too. Plead and implore if need be, but by all means be used by God to reach the lost.

 

Fourth - Disciple, Commit Yourself Entirely To Christ

 

Matthew 4:18-22 – “And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.19 Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”20 They immediately left their nets and followed Him.21 Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them,22 and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.”  [15]

Based on the gospel of John this was not the first time these fishermen met with Jesus. Andrew and Peter had likely accepted Jesus as Messiah the day before (John 1:35-42). Jesus was therefore calling these converts to discipleship. In their cases discipleship involved a full time ministry with Jesus.

There is no concrete indication that James and John had accepted Jesus as their Messiah prior to the encounter noted here in Matthew 4. Jon may have been one of the disciples who had responded to Jesus the day before (John 1:35-37). If James and John were not among these first converts of Christ, perhaps Andrew had spoken to them as he had to his brother Peter (John 1:40-41). Nevertheless, the immediate obedience of James and John to the call of Christ to “follow Me,” demonstrates hearts ready to learn of the spiritual message Jesus was teaching. They had a spiritual hunger. That is a pre-requisite of a disciple.

Fishermen were not people of nobility or high class; on the contrary they were usually characterized by having salty language and vulgar habits; but these are the ones who Jesus chose and called to be His disciples. Why did Jesus choose these fishermen? Perhaps He saw in them potential and qualities that you or I might glance over. Fishermen must be patient and persevering; so must disciples. Fishermen must be strong and courageous and willing to take risks on the sea. Fishermen must pay attention to the detail of their nets or risk loosing fish that pass through its holes. Fishermen learn to work together to get the job done. All of these qualities are needed by disciples. Jesus, the Supreme Disciple-Maker took these men and brought out their full potential for the glory of God.

The greatest attribute of these fishermen was the willingness to “immediately” leave everything behind to follow Jesus. These men answered the call of Christ to be disciples without hesitation. They from the very start showed an interest and trust in Christ. If you look at the instances in the gospels in which Jesus calls a person to follow Him what you see is that He does not allow for dilly dallying around by the one given the opportunity to answer the call (Matthew 8:18-23; Luke 18:18-30). When Jesus calls a person, they need to be ready.

We also need to see here that the calling of Jesus brings the disciple into a cycle of reproduction of disciples. Christ’s desire for the disciple is to reproduce other disciples. It’s important to note here that Jesus didn’t say, “Follow Me, and I will help you make more fishermen.” The disciples were not called by Christ to reproduce themselves, but to reproduce those who would be disciples of Jesus.

The disciple does not reproduce him or herself but is called to reproduce disciples of Jesus who seek to be transformed into the likeness of Jesus by the Spirit. This is the fruit of discipleship.

 

Fifth - Disciple, Incorporate Christ’s Methods Into Ministry

Matthew 4:23 – “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.”  [16]

Jesus had already been preaching, that is calling the unsaved to repentance (4:17). The method of Jesus always involves first preaching then teaching. Preaching is evangelism which leads people into a saving relationship with God through faith in Christ. Teaching is building up and equipping the saint in the word of God. Teaching builds on what preaching has been used to start. Both preaching and teaching are essential the work of the disciple.

 

Jesus the Supreme Disciple-Maker demonstrated a three-pronged method in His ministry. Jesus , preached the gospel, taught the word and healed the hurting.   It says, “Jesus went about all Galilee,” This is the method of a disciple. A disciple will know the gospel well enough to share it with the lost. A disciple will know God’s well enough to explain it to the inquirer. And a disciple will help in the healing of the hurting by relying on the Spirit in prayerful encouragement and intercession. The disciple should prayerfully seek opportunities to share the gospel, apply and explain God’s word to people’s lives and pray for the hurting in the place God has set them.

 

The ministry of Jesus should clearly reveal to the disciple just how important it is for the disciple to know God’s word. A disciple is not one who needs to be poked and prodded to study God’s word, but rather is one who is constantly into God’s word. The disciple will carry a pocket Bible in some shape or form wherever they go. A disciple is current with their devotions in God’s word. A disciple is seeking to have God apply the word to their lives and through them to the lives of those God brings along their way. Paul wrote of the import of the word of God in his inspired writings to pastor Timothy:

 

  • 2 Timothy 2:15 – “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”  [17]
  • 2 Timothy 3:16-17 – “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  [18]

Paul wrote elsewhere concerning the import of God’s word:

  • Colossians 3:16 – “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”  [19]

The importance of God’s word to the disciple cannot be overemphasized.

But Jesus also heeled the sick showing that he was not a dry theological type of person. Some people know the word and doctrine very well but they are like porcupines, they have a lot of points but no one can get close to them and visa versa. Both Peter, John and Paul wrote concerning the disciple’s need to have compassion on people:

  • 1 Peter 3:8-9 – “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.”  [20]
  • 1 Peter 4:8 – “And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”  [21]
  • 1 John 4:7-8 – “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” [22]
  • Colossians 3:12-14 – “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.”  [23]

Disciple, share the gospel of salvation with the lost, teach God’s word to believers, and pray with the hurting.

Lastly - Disciple, Be Ready To Minister

Matthew 4:24-25 – “Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them.25 Great multitudes followed Him—from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan.”  [24]

I find it interesting that the opportunities to minister came to Jesus just as much as He went about preaching, teaching and healing. There is a truth here to be recognized by the disciple. If the disciple is doing what a disciple is meant to do, God will bring ministry to the disciple.

Those connected with the Calvary Chapel movement (the founder being pastor Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, California) see this truth in practice and have made it a part of the philosophy of ministry. God directs His sheep where there are green pastures (Psalm 23:1-3). When the disciple counts the cost, is where God wants them to be, has an alert sense of urgency for the lost, is totally committed to Christ, is teaching God’s word, preaching the gospel and praying for the healing of the sick, God will bring ministry opportunities to that disciple, to that ministry. There is no need for marketing and business techniques in the body of Christ that is according to God’s plan. The disciple who is being a disciple of Christ will be led by God smack dab into the middle of great ministry opportunities. The problems that sometimes disciples are unwilling to enter into or take advantage of the opportunities God brings their way. Maybe a disciple feels that teaching children or youth in Sunday school is not “big” enough ministry. Perhaps the disciple doesn’t feel the opportunity set before them to minister is “important” enough. The need to feel “great” and “important” is a fleshly desire that the disciple needs to leave in the wilderness. The disciple who is unwilling to serve in the opportunity that God has provided for him or her, is exerting a subtle but real type of rebelliousness that needs to be repented of. The disciple needs to be willing to serve in the most obscure, menial, unnoticed place God puts them. Unless the disciple shows him or herself faithful in obscurity, they are not ready for ministry that puts them in a more visible place.

Disciple, if you are following Christ, He will lead you to ministry and lead ministry opportunities to you, be ready!

Ready For What?

Matthew 4:24 – “Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them.”  [25]

The disciple should take note that the way Matthew describes those who were brought to Jesus means that those with problems usually thought to be incurable were the ones brought to Jesus, and He cured them. This is important disciple; Jesus is able to heal every and any physical, psychological or spiritual problem. Jesus does heal miraculously both with doctors and without doctors. One should not refuse medical attention to the physically hurting person. But when it comes to the person with  “psychological” issues we pass from the area of science to an area where the world offers through psychology human speculation and human wisdom. In our day and age of the “professional” the disciple of Jesus is often too quick to think it necessary to refer a troubled person to a professional therapist. Studies have shown that people profit little from psychological intervention. In fact studies have shown that those who submit to psychological therapy are often no better off than those who sought no therapy and on occasion are worse off.

One such study states their findings in the following way:

“[The research] reviewed forty-two studies that compared professional counselors with untrained helpers. The findings were consistent and provocative. [Untrained helpers] . . . achieve clinical outcomes equal to or significantly better than those obtained by professionals . . . . The study, on the whole, lent no support to the major hypothesis that .. .the technical skills of professional psychotherapists produce measurably better therapeutic change.” [26]

In their book, How To Counsel From Scripture, Martin and Deirdre Bobgan state the following:

“People have wondered if it is possible to minister to mental- emotional-behavioral problems without resorting to psychological models and methods or to psychological gimmicks and devices. The evidence suggests that it is. Three researchers found in a national survey conducted for the Joint Commission on Mental Illness and Health that "of those persons who actively sought help for personal problems, the vast majority contacted persons other than mental health professionals, and that generally they were more satisfied with the help received than were those who chose psychiatrists and psychologists."  [27]

The apostle Paul gave a warning against relying on worldly wisdom and traditions of men in his inspired letter to the Colossians, which is just a pertinent in our day and age for the disciple. Paul wrote:

  • Colossians 2:6-8 – “As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.”  [28]

Paul states here that resorting to worldly ways to treat problems will result in being cheated of the more blessed healing that comes through Christ and God’s word.

The word of God applied in the Spirit is sufficient to meet the needs of people.

  • 2 Timothy 3:16-17 – “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  [29]
  • Hebrews 4:12 – “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”  [30]
  • 2 Peter 1:2-4 – “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”  [31]

(See Psalm 119 to get a glimpse of the abundant usefulness of God’s word.)

You might be inclined to think that you are unqualified to help the hurting soul. Who is qualified? If the disciple knows the word of God thoroughly (Romans 15:14), has divine wisdom by the Spirit of God (Colossians 3:16), goodness (1 Peter 5:5) and can relate well and communicate well to others (Colossians 4:6; Titus 2:8), and has a sincere desire to help others (1 Thessalonians 5:14), then God can use them to help the hurting and bring healing. [32]

Conclusion

The following story from history conveys the way a disciple should answer the call of Christ and follow Him:

In the eleventh century, King Henry III of Bavaria grew tired of court life and the pressures of being a monarch. He made application to Friar Richard at a local monastery, asking to be accepted as a contemplative and spend the rest of his life in the monastery. "Your Majesty," said Friar Richard, "do you understand that the pledge here is one of obedience? That will be hard because you have been a king."

"I understand," said Henry. "The rest of my life I will be obedient to you, as Christ leads you."

"Then I will tell you what to do," said Friar Richard. "Go back to your throne and serve faithfully in the place where God has put you." When King Henry died, a statement was written: "The King learned to rule by being obedient." When we tire of our roles and responsibilities, it helps to remember God has planted us in a certain place and told us to be a good accountant or teacher or mother or father. Christ expects us to be faithful where he puts us, and when he returns, we'll rule together with him.  [33]

Have you asked, “Lord, how do you want to use me? How can I be used by you where you have placed me?” Have you asked, “Lord, what would you have me to do? Where would you have me to go?” Jesus is calling you to be His disciple. He is looking for people who are totally committed to Him; willing to serve him where they are or elsewhere; have an urgent zeal to see the lost saved; and who are willing to be used by Him to teach His word, preach the gospel and heal the sick. Jesus is calling you, will you follow Him? 

 



[1]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[2]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[3]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[4]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[5] Ralph W. Harris, International Ed., the Complete Biblical Library - Matthew,  (Springfield, MI: The Complete Biblical Library) 1989. p. 71

[6]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[7]Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1995.

[8] Greg Laurie, The Upside-Down Church, (Wheaton IL.: Tyndale House Pub.) 1999. pgs. 60-61

[9]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[10]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[11]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[12]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[13]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[14] Samuel Logan Brengle, The Soul winner’s Secret, (Atlanta, GA.: The Salvation Army Supplies and Purchasing Dept.) 1979. p. 21.

[15]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[16]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[17]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[18]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[19]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[20]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[21]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[22]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[23]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[24]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[25]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[26] Ed Bulkley, Ph.D., Why Christians Can’t Trust Psychology, Eugene, OR: Harvest House Pub.) 1993. p. 75

[27] Martin & Deirdre Bobgan, How To Counsel From Scripture, Moody Press, 1985, p. 42.

 

[28]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[29]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[30]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[31]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[32] Ed Bulkley, Ibid. p. 79.

[33] Steve Brown, Key Biscayne, Florida. http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/c/calling.htm