by: Bill Bratt         Email: info@icogsfg.org

  A disciple is a person who subscribes to the teachings of a master and assists in spreading his teachings. A Christian is a person who is a disciple of Jesus Christ, who is our master, and the disciple has a strong desire in spreading Jesusí teachings and His message of the gospel of the kingdom of God.

What was the message that Jesus delivered to His disciples? It is called the gospel.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ

The book of Mark begins with the statement about the gospel: "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God" (Mark 1:1 NKJV). "Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, {15} and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel"" (Mark 1:14-15 NKJV).

The word "gospel" means "good news", "glad tidings" or "good message". So Jesus came preaching the "good news" of the "kingdom of God". Notice in verse 15 that we must "repent and believe in the gospel".

Thy Kingdom Come

One of Jesusí disciples said to Him: "Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples"" (Luke 11:1 NKJV). Jesus then proceeded to teach His disciples by giving them a model prayer (commonly called the Lordís prayer - Matthew 6:9-13). This outline prayer has seven requests to it and the second request is: "Thy Kingdom Come." When we are praying for Godís kingdom to come, we are asking God to set up His literal Government on the earth through the return of His Son Jesus Christ as "King of kings and Lord of lords!" (Revelation 19:16).

Godís government on earth will last 1,000 years. It will be a millennium of world peace, prosperity, good health, a land of "milk and honey." There is a new world coming and it will be a "utopia". We are told to pray for Godís kingdom, His realm, His government to come.

(Request our free feature articles: "Lord, Teach Us to Pray". This article discusses the seven requests of the model prayer. Also request "Thy Kingdom Come". This article will go into detail about the return of Christ and the millennium).

Jesus taught His disciples to: "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:33 NKJV).

Count the Cost

Jesus taught His disciples that there is a cost of discipleship. A disciple must be willing to leave all to follow Christ.

"Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, {26} "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. {27} "And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. {28} "For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it; {29} "lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, {30} "saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.' {31} "Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? {32} "Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. {33} "So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple" (Luke 14:25-33 NKJV).

We must be willing to forsake all to be a disciple of Jesus. What do we have to be willing to give up? The one thing that we need to give up is "sin". Sin separates us from God: "Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. {2} But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear" (Isaiah 59:1-2 NKJV).

How do you give up sin? We must repent of breaking Godís Ten Commandment. Jesus said: "repent" (Mark 1:14-15) and He also said: "If you love Me, keep My commandments" (John 14:15 NKJV).

Letís notice something that Jesus requires if we are going to follow Him: "Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, "Lord, I will follow You wherever You go." {58} And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." {59} Then He said to another, "Follow Me." But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." {60} Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God." {61} And another also said, "Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house." {62} But Jesus said to him, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God"" (Luke 9:57-62 NKJV).

Once we have counted the cost, repented of our sins and made a commitment to follow Jesus then must "spread the good news" and preach the kingdom of God.

Worship God in Spirit and in Truth

Jesus admonished His disciples in how to worship God: "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. {24} "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:23-24 NKJV).

Jesus told His disciples that Godís word is truth (John 17:17). As a disciple of Jesus we must seek Godís truth and live by it. We must study Godís word, the Bible, and seek the truth that He reveals to us: "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15 NKJV).

Before we "spread the good news", we had better know what we are talking about. If all a person is doing is spreading the message of typical "churchianity", which much is based upon pagan fables and holidays, then God will hold that person accountable. We had better be sticking our noses in the Bible to see what God and Jesus are really saying. NOWHERE IN YOUR BIBLE does it say to keep Sunday, Easter or Christmas. The Bible in both the Old and the New Testament does say to keep the seventh day weekly Sabbath ( Exodus 20) and Godís seven annual holy day festivals (Leviticus 23). (Request our free literature: "Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath", "Why Do You Keep Sunday" and "Godís Holy Days").

Do you know the Shepherdís voice?

Do you know the voice of the Shepherd? If Jesus Christ were to return today, would you know His voice? Two thousand years ago, when Jesus came the first time, the Pharisees and most of the other religious leaders of His day did not know Him. They did not recognize His voice. They eventually crucified Him on the cross.

Do you know the voice of the Shepherd? How do you know that you know? The only way is through prayer and Bible study. We must maintain a close relationship with God the father and Jesus His son. We must "Read the Book!" The shepherd spent much time with His sheep. Since we, as Godís people, are compared to sheep, we then must spend much time with our Shepherd Jesus Christ. How do we do this? We do it through daily Prayer and Bible study.

 

Set the Right Example

The best way that we can "spread the good news" is by setting a right example. Our example or conduct should be holy (1 Peter 1:15-16) and righteous. Righteousness is doing what is right based upon keeping Godís Ten Commandments: (Psalms 119:172 NKJV) "My tongue shall speak of Your word, For all Your commandments are righteousness."

Jesus taught His disciples many principles in setting the right example. Jesus delivered the beautiful sermon on the mount which is recorded in Matthew chapters 5-7. Let Ďs take a very brief look at a few of the "beatitudes": "And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. {2} Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying: {3} "Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. {4} Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. {5} Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. {6} Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. {7} Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. {8} Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. {9} Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. {10} Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. {11} "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. {12} "Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you" (Matthew 5:1-12 NKJV).

Notice in verse 6 that we are to hunger and thirst for righteousness and in verse 10 Jesus warns that we may be persecuted for righteousness sake.

Jesus also said: "Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also" (John 15:20 NKJV) .

We should always live our lives by keeping the Ten Commandments and being honest and upright. But there are some people who will persecute a person who tries to live a right kind of life. Look at the entertainment media. Most movies that involve Christians will be negative. The apostle Paul said: "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be" (Romans 8:7 NKJV).

Spread the Good News

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, {20} "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen" (Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV).

The last two verses that Jesus inspired Matthew to record is for His disciples to go out into the world and make disciples, baptize them and to teach them. This is our commission.

Jesusí disciples will be given the power of the Holy Spirit to be strong witnesses: "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." (Acts 1:8 NKJV).

Jesus said that there are fields with people ready for the harvest: "Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!" (John 4:35 NKJV).

In Conclusion: Our Monthly Newsletter goes out to quite a few people in our local community. Through our Newsletter, we are "spreading the good news" based upon the truth in the Bible, the Ten Commandments, Godís Sabbath and His seven annual Holy Days. Do you understand this "good news"? Are you ready to be harvested? Hebrews 10:25 says: "not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching." If God has opened up your mind to His truth and you understand what you are reading, then join us for Sabbath services and fellowship.

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