Table of Contents
1.0: The Message
2.0: The Mission
3.0: The Method–House Church and Luke 10 Evangelism
Appendix A: Spiritual Inventory
Appendix B: The Laws of the Kingdom of God (Teachings of Jesus Christ)
Appendix C: Talking about Christ with People who Worship Allah
This document is open copyright and was prepared to be freely copied, translated, and distributed in digital and print forms. The author and publisher of this document strictly prohibit any effort to hinder its distribution.
Scripture primarily taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
The original (English version) and translations of this document may be obtained upon request. Email us.
These materials are borrowed directly from New Testament practice and early church understanding of New Testament doctrine. They represent the three main features common to the most effective Kingdom expansion events in history: a common MESSAGE, MISSION, and METHOD. Commentary is minimized and Scripture is maximized, but you will find several analogies and stories that are designed to illustrate points in a memorable way.
One of the main objectives of this work is to provide accurate and actionable material—but to make it as short, simple, and precise as possible. This is in an effort to reduce page count, lower printing costs, and make translation easier. Points are made as much as possible through the Scriptures alone, because they are authoritative. Translation is also simpler because the Bible has already been translated in all of the major languages and is readily available digitally.
This book is not meant to be read for entertainment or solely to inform; it is meant to be a tool for mobilization. Don’t simply read this book and file it on a shelf—receive this information and apply it. Then you will bear fruit: go out there, preach the Kingdom and make disciples who make disciples.
God’s Kingdom is firmly established in Heaven. Satan rebelled against God and went to the earth. God had created everything that is; the culmination of his creation was man. Man was placed in the Garden and given one law—if you eat of the forbidden fruit, you will surely die: “The Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die’” (Genesis 2:16-17). This is the Law of Sin and Death. The same law applies to us. If we sin, we will surely die (see Romans 6:23).
Man chose sin and became enslaved to Satan: “Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?” (Romans 6:16). “Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives” (Hebrews 2:14-15). As a result of sin and our bondage to Satan, we will receive the same punishment as Satan: “’Then He will also say to those on His left, Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels’” (Matthew 25:41).
However, God had a plan to save us from Satan, sin, death, and hell. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Jesus was sent as a ransom, to save us from slavery to Satan and sin: “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time” (1 Timothy 2:5-6). “…just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).
Let me describe a ransom: if someone kidnapped my child, and I wanted my child returned to me, I would pay the captor a ransom and he would free my child. As a result of sin, who were we enslaved to? Satan, of course! So God sent Jesus as a ransom to free us from Satan. This is the historic understanding of how we were reconciled with God: “But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life” (Romans 6:22).
Jesus was handed over to Satan, and by the hands of evil men was tortured and killed. Our sins are cleansed by His blood: “But if we walk in the light as he Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7). But because Jesus never sinned, the Law of Sin and Death did not apply to Him. In spite of what Satan tried to do, death could not hold Him and He rose from the dead! “But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power” (Acts 2:24). And now WE can participate in Jesus’ death and resurrection in baptism. If we repent, or turn away from sin, and are baptized, our sins will be forgiven and we will receive the Holy Spirit: “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). We must be born again. You see, our old nature dies when we go into the water and our new nature is born by the Holy Spirit: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5, see also Romans 6:3-5 and Colossians 2:12).
Satan is the ruler of the kingdoms of the world, and we are citizens of his kingdom if we are enslaved to him: “And he [Satan] led Him [Jesus] up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, ‘I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours’” (Luke 4:5-7, see also John 12:31, 14:30 and 16:11). But God’s plan is to establish His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Jesus told us to pray for this: “‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven’” (Matthew 6:10).
Ask anyone what Christianity is about, and they will likely answer, “God’s redemptive plan for humanity.” But Jesus’ message was about a kingdom. In fact, Jesus was sent to the earth to preach about the Kingdom of God: “But He said to them, ‘I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose.’” (Luke 4:43) Did you know that Jesus only mentioned our need to be born again once? He only mentioned being sent as a ransom once. He only mentioned the church twice. In fact, He only talked about being sent for the forgiveness of our sins a handful of times. However, he mentioned the Kingdom of God 87 times! It was the actual theme of His teachings, and clearly the purpose for which He was sent to Earth!
When Jesus rose from the dead, He taught His followers for 40 days, knowing that they would be the people leading this mission going forward. You might expect that He would have focused on the most important stuff. So what did He teach? “To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.” (Acts 1:3) The Bible says He taught them exclusively about the Kingdom of God!
So what did his followers teach? Did they follow His example? “But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike” (Acts 8:12). “When they had set a day for Paul, they came to him at his lodging in large numbers; and he was explaining to them by solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus, from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, from morning until evening” (Acts 28:23). “And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered” (Acts 28:30-31). From these three examples, we see that Jesus’ followers taught about the Kingdom of God, AND about Jesus; they emphasized the Kingdom!
Jesus is coming back one day. His followers asked Him (see Matthew 24) for the signs of His coming and of the end, and He answered them concerning the signs. He also stated that something must happen before the end comes: “‘This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come’” (Matthew 24:14). The end will NOT come until the Gospel of the Kingdom is preached in the entire world.
Now I want to share my favorite verse in the entire Bible. This is the end of the end—after the sounding of the last trumpet: “Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.’” (Revelation 11:15) This is what Jesus told us to pray for; this is the message Jesus was sent to preach; this is what He taught the disciples for 40 days after He rose from the dead; this is what His followers preached; this is what He said must be preached in the entire world before the end would come. Now here it is, fulfilled. This is what Christianity is all about! A Kenyan disciple was sharing the Kingdom message with a married couple and read this verse. Demons manifested themselves in the wife and she shouted: “Stop! Stop! Get out of here! You’ve come to destroy our kingdom!” The demons fear this message. The disciple immediately cast out the demons and the couple surrendered to Christ, repented, and was baptized.
So what is the Kingdom of God? All kingdoms have four things in common: a king, a territory, citizens, and laws. The Kingdom of God is no different. Let us explore the Scriptures to see what they say about these four things in the Kingdom of God:
Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” (John 18:37)
Jesus is the king! So where is the territory? We already determined that it is established in heaven, and it is God’s will to establish it on earth. But where? John the Baptist and Jesus both said the Kingdom of God was at hand! Right there in their midst (Matthew 3:2, 4:17). So is it in Judea? Or maybe it is a church. Is it the Catholic church, the Baptists, or the Pentecostals? Where is this Kingdom?
Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst [within you].” (Luke 17:20-21)
The Kingdom of God is within the hearts of its citizens! But who are the citizens? Citizens of the Kingdom are those who have repented, been baptized for the forgiveness of sins, and received the Holy Spirit. In this process, we die to our old self and are born again to enter the Kingdom of God. But Jesus elaborated more on citizenship. He likened being a citizen to being a branch on a vine:
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. (John 15:1-10)
Jesus says that to remain citizens, we must abide in Him (which He defines as obeying His commands) if we are going to bear fruit. If we do not bear fruit, we will be cut off and thrown into the fire. Now you might wonder, who can take away your citizenship from the hands of Almighty God? The answer is, NO ONE; however, you can give it up! Let me explain. Imagine if you were a citizen of the United States of America working in Kenya. Your home is in Kenya, your family is in Kenya, your work is in Kenya—your life is in Kenya. What if Kenya went to war with the USA and you fought for Kenya; would you still be considered a US citizen? No, you would be killed or imprisoned. Now consider: you are a citizen of the Kingdom of God. But your home is in the world, your family is in the world, your work is in the world; your life is in the world. The world IS at war with the Kingdom of God. What if you fight on the side of the world? Jesus says if you do not bear fruit, you will be cut off and thrown into the fire. James, the brother of Christ said it this way: “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4). To remain citizens, we must remain faithful to the Kingdom of God and its laws.
So what are the laws of this Kingdom? We have already introduced that we must bear fruit by obeying Jesus’ commands. Elsewhere in the Scriptures, we read:
“If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.” (John 12:47-50)
Jesus taught exactly what the Father told Him to say: nothing extra, nothing missing. We already read that Jesus was sent to preach the Kingdom of God. So His Father told Him to preach the Kingdom! And those words are eternal life. Those words will judge us on the last day. Therefore, Jesus’ teachings are the exact laws of heaven.
We already discussed the fact that the Kingdom of God is firmly established in heaven. Therefore, today in heaven it is more blessed to give than to receive. Today in heaven, if you want to be greatest, you must be servant to all. Right now in heaven, you are to love everyone, even your enemies. Do you get the message? Jesus taught the very laws of heaven!
Jesus was sent to Earth to redeem a people from the kingdom of darkness and adopt them as children of His Kingdom: “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14). But the rescue had an inherent objective: to recruit citizens who would want—not just heaven—but rather the very laws of heaven in their hearts. Jesus redeemed us from Satan, putting our old nature to death and giving us a new nature by the Spirit, imparting the very laws of heaven which were to be written—not on tablets of stone—but rather on tablets of human hearts (2 Corinthians 3:3).
Jesus taught us that all law-breakers would be rejected by Him:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:21-23)
So that leaves us with a choice: which kingdom will we serve? Jesus gave us a great story to illustrate our dilemma: “Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace” (Luke 14:31-32). Here we see a weaker kingdom facing off against a more powerful King. His advice: while the more powerful King is still far away, seek terms of peace. This parallels our situation precisely. Because of our bondage to Satan in violation of the Law of Sin and Death, we are citizens of a weaker kingdom. One day Jesus will return to destroy that kingdom and establish His Kingdom. So that leaves us with two choices: maintain our citizenship in the domain of darkness by serving Satan, sin and the world, or seek terms of peace with Jesus and be adopted as a citizen of His Kingdom. His terms of peace are clear: repent (that is, turn away from Satan, sin and the world), and be baptized for the forgiveness of our prior sins, then He will give us His Spirit and a new nature. We have to completely surrender to Him; He demands total allegiance! Then, follow Him and His teachings (the laws of His Kingdom) henceforth. Failure to comply with His terms results in our rejection.
“By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him:the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” (1 John 2:3-6)
Simple enough! Now I know some of you are wondering: “Is obedience really necessary for salvation?” Well, read the following passages for yourself: John 14:15, 21, 23, 24, 15:6 and 10, Matthew 7:24-27, 1 John 5:3-5, James 1:22 and 4:17. You can believe and obey the Scriptures, or, take your chances and follow the teachings of the theologians who say you don’t have to obey. I personally will follow Jesus!
So what does it look like to “surrender to Jesus?” Let me share the Jesus “altar call” with you. You see, Jesus did not just gather a crowd and ask them to repeat a prayer after Him. Oh, He gathered the crowd. But let me share what He said to them—His “altar call:”
Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish… So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions. (Luke 14:25-30, 33)
Jesus set the bar, and it’s high; He demands total allegiance! To be His disciple you must be willing to give up family, comfort, possessions, and even your life. I want to know who gave us permission to lower His standard. That’s right, no one did. So now my question for you is this: are you willing to give up your sin (that is, repent), your comforts, your pleasures, your possessions, your family, your hopes and dreams in this world—yes, even your life for Christ? If you are not, you can’t be His disciple!
We can’t serve two masters. Jesus said we will love the one and hate the other. We can’t serve the world and the Kingdom of God; here is James 4:4 again: “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” Elsewhere, Scripture says,
“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:15-17)
We make ourselves God’s enemies by maintaining our friendship with the world, and the love of God is not in us! Now I want you to read several other passages about the Kingdom of God: 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 5:19-21, Ephesians 5:5-6, and Acts 14:22. I also want you to understand that the Kingdom of God contains both good and evil. Yes, you read correctly. Read Matthew 13:47-50, 13:24-32 with 37-43, and Matthew 22:2, 9-14. Note verse 22:10. Both good and evil are gathered. But also note the man at the wedding without wedding clothes. Now read Revelation 3:3-6 and 19:7-8 to discern to what the wedding clothes refer. The unrighteous will NOT inherit the Kingdom of God, but the righteous will. You see, many are called, but few are chosen!
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So if you have surrendered everything to Christ, repented, and are following Him, keep reading—because now I will share the mission with you. I am sure you already know what the mission is: it is the Great Commission!
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
Let’s unwrap this a bit, starting with the first word, “go.” It does not say “sit and wait,” but rather GO! This is not something meant to be confined to the four walls of a building. It does not say to invite folks for Sunday service so they can hear an altar call. It does not say be a nice person and wait for someone to ask you how to be saved. It says GO!
Next, it says what we are to do: make disciples. It does not say to get folks to say a magic prayer. It does not say to get people to give you intellectual assent or guilt or fear them into making some sort of profession of “faith.” It does not say to invite them to church and hope that years of attendance will slowly lead them to maturity. The marching orders are to make disciples. And we already defined what disciples are: those completely surrendered to Christ (Luke 14:25-33) and bearing fruit by obeying Jesus (John 15:8 and 10).
Next it says where to start: baptizing them. No mention of a baptism class or an “ordained” minister. No waiting for the next scheduled baptism at the local church. Go out there and baptize them immediately, which was the New Testament practice.
Implicit with the command of baptism is repentance and forgiveness of sins. No repentance, no salvation: period. Baptism without repentance is simply taking a bath (see 1 Peter 3:21). Three phrases are used throughout the New Testament that link baptism, repentance, and forgiveness of sins: repentance for forgiveness of sins (Luke 3:3, 24:47, Acts 3:19, 8:22, 11:18), baptism of repentance (Luke 3:3, Acts 13:24, 19:4), and baptism for forgiveness of sins (Luke 3:3, Acts 2:38). They all go together.
Insist on full repentance. Have them renounce the devil and his works, publicly. We will discuss a very effective and simple method for authentic repentance shortly.
Now, the final command: teach them to obey all Christ’s commands. Therefore, our job has just started when we preach the Gospel of the Kingdom, take a disciple to surrender and repentance, and then baptize them. Now we have the hard work ahead: teaching them to obey ALL that Jesus commanded.
To whom is Jesus speaking? The disciples. And what did He tell them to teach others? All that He commanded them. Now that includes this command to make disciples, doesn’t it? Therefore, ALL Christians are called to complete the mission of making disciples. That means all Christians are missionaries!
If Kenya went to war with Uganda and Uganda enlisted the entire citizenry and Kenya just sent military leadership to the battle, who would win? Uganda, of course. Well, if the Kingdom of God fights the domain of darkness just utilizing leadership, who will win? That is why it is necessary for leadership to mobilize ALL Christians to fight this war: “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-12). The leadership is meant to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. There is a war going on out there and the “should-be” soldiers are too busy gathering in buildings and singing songs to be of any use for the mission. It is the leadership’s job to equip them and send them out to the mission, which is everywhere but within the four walls of a building.
Now I want to compare an “evangelist” (defined as someone who leads someone in repeating a prayer after them and then sends them to church) with a disciple-maker (defined as someone who preaches the Gospel of the Kingdom, brings them to surrender and repentance, baptizes them, and then teaches them to obey all that Jesus commanded). Assume the evangelist leads one person per day to repeat the “sinner’s prayer” as compared to a disciple maker making one disciple (obedient follower of Christ) per year. At the end of year one, the score is evangelist 366, disciples two; year two, evangelist 731, disciples four; year three, 1,096 to eight; year five, 1,826 to 32; year 10, 3,651 to 1,024; year 20, evangelist 7,300, and 1,048,576 obedient disciples. The entire world population would be reached in just 33 years, presuming making just one disciple per year. You with me on this?
Now you can understand why Jesus invested most of His effort teaching and training just 12 individuals—because He knew that if He imparted Himself in those 12 (ultimately 11) men, the world would be turned upside down. If Jesus were ministering today, he would probably be considered a failure. He had no building, no named ministry, no salary, and just 12 “members.” What a loser, right? Except, He knew what He was doing. We are the ones who are clueless. We design and execute our ministries with total disregard for the clear command and example of our Lord and Shepherd.
Study the life of Paul and you will see the same model. He taught the crowd, but was rejected by most and continued discipling the few. We see in Paul’s letter to Timothy that multigenerational discipleship was His method as well: “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2). Paul teaching Timothy, to teach faithful men, who would teach others—that is likewise how we should do ministry.
Now I want to share the three most important things you need to do with a new disciple. We already discussed the first two briefly, but let’s dig deeper. The first step is taking the disciple to complete surrender to Jesus Christ. After presenting the Gospel of the Kingdom, read Luke 14:25-33. Demand total commitment! If they refuse, don’t work with them. The purpose of discipleship is to have them repeat the process with others; if they refuse to surrender unconditionally to Christ, they are not suitable for reproduction. Bad parents make bad children. If you see a couple bad children in the village, follow them home. You will be certain to find some bad parents. So remember—you are training disciples to be disciple-makers. Total surrender to the Lordship of Christ and a commitment to obedience to His commands is paramount.
The second step is helping them to experience freedom from sin. Yes, you read that correctly—total freedom from sin. Let us read a couple passages so you can understand: “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). This is a command of Christ. And He said exactly what His Father told Him to say and we will be judged by those exact words. This passage was meant to be obeyed! Most of us read this and think that it’s just not possible; certainly, it’s out of the realm of our practical experience.
Here are a couple more challenging passages:
Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. (1 John 3:4-10)
For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries… It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:26-27, 31)
Here we are taught that those who abide in Christ cease from sin; those who are born again do not practice sin; and if we willfully sin, we have nothing to look forward to but the wrath of God! That is some scary stuff. Now how do we reconcile these very clear passages of Scripture with our imperfect lives?
Most of us have come to believe that struggling with sin is the normal Christian experience. However, we all have been given opportunity for complete and total freedom from sin’s power—it’s just that we fail to receive it.
The phenomenon is similar to how elephants are trained. They are attached to an immovable object for a time; they pull and pull and never break free. So after a while, they stop pulling. They can be held with a tent spike from that day forward, because they are convinced that their pulling will be futile.
This deceptive training concept is similar to what happens to northern pike when they are captive in fish tanks. To prevent the large fish from eating their natural prey within the tank, a glass divider is placed to prevent the pike from reaching its prey. A short time of running into the glass trains the pike to never try again. Even with the protective glass removed, the small fish live in safety, because the pike assumes that the barrier remains.
We oftentimes walk around in bondage as a result of similar training. We have tried for so long to escape some sin patterns, we become convinced that we can’t and just stop trying. We have been deceived into thinking that the struggles we face are beyond our ability to overcome. The enemy keeps us clinging to the chains, when all the while, we have been granted freedom from them.
Notwithstanding our freedom in Christ, we cannot belittle the enemy’s influence. Let’s explore the enemy’s methods and the root of his power in our lives.
Before we give our allegiance to God, all areas of our lives are under the authority of the devil. Our sin invites him to operate freely within our lives. To illustrate: picture your life as a house. The door is wide open for the enemy to roam freely within the home. Your sinful life grants him full dominion. You have sins in every room: unforgiveness, anger, sexual sins, idolatry in many forms, addiction, worldliness, and much more. These permeate your being and give Satan permission to have his way with you.
Now imagine the transformation: when we surrender to God, our repentance cleans the house through the blood of Christ. In fact, the house is outright purchased by God, and we are no longer even the rightful owners. The deed is in His name. We become slaves to the one we obey—in this case, Christ.
Absent of complete surrender, however, a different scenario plays out. If there is any area of our lives that we do not give to God, the devil still has permission to operate in that area. The house should have changed ownership, but we still have a few items that we try to keep hidden. The house can indeed be cleaned and the door locked, but we allow the devil entrance. Satan is still permitted to access those dark corners. In so doing, he gets his dirty footprints in every room. That is why light needs to shine in all the dark closets, and those areas must be taken from the devil and given completely to God.
So what does this look like, practically speaking? A mentor takes a disciple through a spiritual inventory (provided later). Through much introspection and prayer, they must literally write down all historic and recurrent sins, past strongholds, areas of victimization, and so on. The disciple must confess and repent to allow cleansing. Then, out loud (because Satan can’t read minds), rebuke the enemy—take these from him by exposing light to them, command Satan to get out, and submit these things to God. State plainly that the enemy no longer has permission or authority to operate in these areas. Renounce Satan’s claim, then ask God for strength and protection—lock the door so Satan can’t get in. Then burn the list.
Now take the disciple through the same exercise next week. Some rooms really don’t get clean with one pass—stains always come back a few times. The list will get shorter over time, and complete freedom is the end. God will be glorified in that life. You will be able to say PERFECT AS OUR HEAVENLY FATHER IS PERFECT!
To sustain the victory (and to keep Satan from getting his foot in the door again), teach the disciple to live moment to moment, not day to day. If someone struggles with smoking, they may light up and fail for the moment. But in the next moment they can, mid-drag, realize their sin and repent of it, rebuke the enemy, remind the devil that he has no authority over that stronghold, put out the cigarette, and throw away the pack. There is victory moment by moment. If day by day, we too easily justify our sin by saying, “I’ll quit when this pack is gone.” Then, glory goes to Satan rather than God.
Picture an enemy naval force advancing against your coastline. At first, they send missiles and aerial bombardment to lower your defenses. They do not take any ground, but rather constantly bombard your positions to soften your defenses and identify weaknesses to take advantage of. The enemy is off the coast and has unhindered ability to relentlessly pummel your coastline, regardless of your response. However, the defenses can thwart the landing with perseverance. This is equivalent to temptation and resisting temptation.
Once the weaknesses are identified, the enemy sends landing craft to secure a foothold (or “place”). At this point, the enemy is taking first ground with the objective of securing a position to deter defenses and safely receive reinforcements and supplies. The enemy is extremely vulnerable at this phase of the assault and can be easily thwarted by a retaliatory strike from the defensive reserves. This is equivalent to sinning upon temptation, and the retaliation is confession and repentance, resulting in cleansing by the blood of Christ.
However, if the defensive reserves are not rallied to counter the offensive landing, the enemy receives reinforcements and becomes firmly entrenched. At this point, the enemy is formidable, and deterring the advance is extremely difficult. In fact, the enemy really could not even achieve this success absent the willful complacency or capitulation of the defensive force. At some level, the defenses are let down and the enemy is even aided by the defender, allowing the enemy to become fully entrenched. The end of this scenario is eventual defeat and death. This is a stronghold, or the “willful sinning” or “practicing sin” described in Hebrews 10 and 1 John 3.
The only possible solution to this apparently insurmountable scenario is to call in reinforcements. Additional troops from outside the original compromised defensive lines are necessary to provide a crushing blow to the enemy, but only with the defender’s cooperation. If the defenders refuse the aid, they are abandoned to the enemy for a time, so that they come to realize that the enemy is not benevolent, and means them harm. If the defenders come around, they will repent of their treason and seek the aid of the reinforcements. With help, the enemy can be thwarted and the stronghold cleansed. Then the unity of the allies is reestablished and loyalty to the King reaffirmed. More on this later.
Truth and Lies
The first casualty of war is truth! In the battle of Satan against God for the allegiance of men, the propaganda machine started all the way back in the Garden of Eden:
Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1)
Here was the first salvo—the first attack challenging the truth set forth by our Creator. “Indeed has God said?” Certainly God had said. But the Serpent set out to cast doubt on this truth. It was a direct frontal attack on the character and trustworthiness of our Creator.
We know how this played out. Adam and Eve took the bait. They were tempted and sinned, and that resulted in death. Sin entered God’s perfect Creation and every man thereafter was given a predisposition to sin.
However, God had a plan to restore us from the lies of the enemy:
“Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.’” (John 8:31-32)
Temptation, Sin, and Death
“When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” (James 1:13-15)
We see here three elements: temptation, sin, and death. One does not necessarily need to lead to the other. A clear understanding of the spiritual dynamic at work can empower us to achieve victory over sin’s power in our lives by stopping the progression from temptation, to sin, to death.
We are tempted by our carnal desires. We have a predisposition to sin dating back to the Garden. Our fallen state has given Satan dominion over us as we are enslaved to the one whom we obey (read all of Romans Chapter 6, now). Through Christ, we have been set free. The old man has died and the new man is birthed. Christ’s blood cleanses us from all of our past sins (see Romans 3:25). Jesus destroyed the devil’s work (1 John 3:8).
If you read John 15:1-10, you see that they were cleansed by the word spoken to them, but could be cut off if fruitless, (defined as not obeying). Therefore, the cleansing is for past events, and future events still have a bearing on salvation.
Likewise, Jesus’ dissertation to the church in Sardis (Revelation 3) shows that the church was soiled and could only be cleansed by repentance. If they failed to repent, they would be erased from the Book of Life.
Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained. (Philippians 3:12-16)
Paul says he is NOT perfect, but is ministering to those who ARE perfect and tells people to live up to the standard they HAVE obtained. Confused? Let me explain in different words: we are cleansed by Christ’s blood; the old man dies and the new man is birthed. We are free from the devil’s power and enslaved to righteousness. At that moment, we are holy (which is why in Scripture we are called saints, and NOT saved sinners). We are indeed saved by grace. We are PERFECT!
At that point, we can just walk in freedom, “forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,” for we are cleansed and not subject to the lies of the “Accuser of the brethren” (Satan). Indeed, “the TRUTH has set us free.”
However, we still have the capacity to sin. Though we are now God’s possession, no longer bound to our former slave master, (Satan), and free to walk in holiness, righteousness, and obedience, the same old dynamic plays out. Temptation (from our carnal desires) can lead to sin, and sin to death. So how do we stop this onslaught of the enemy?
Let’s talk about temptations, footholds, and strongholds. The first level of “evil” is temptation. All humans are tempted. Even Jesus was. In fact, I would argue that we must be tempted in order to prove our holiness. There is no way to determine if we are worthy of being in God’s presence unless we demonstrate our obedience, holiness, and righteousness by being victorious through temptation.
So what happens when we are NOT victorious? Sin!:
“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold [or place]. (Ephesians 4:26-27)
Anger is a natural emotion that does not have to lead to sin (lashing out verbally or violently would constitute sin). The anger is simply an emotional response that is quite natural. Tempering that response through the Spirit and obedience to the Kingdom teachings (turn the other cheek, forgiveness, kindness for evil, and so on) renders Satan powerless. However, obeying our former slave master by responding inappropriately gives the devil a “place” or a “foothold.”
You see, Satan does not have authority to operate in our lives when we are cleansed, because we are no longer subject to the law of sin and death. We are free: “Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:7). We resist the devil by not giving him a place, or a foothold (which is obeying him at the expense of the Spirit’s guidance).
If we sin, we give the devil dominion and authority to operate in our lives. He is granted a foothold. However, even this can be stopped right here. Do you remember how the church in Sardis could avoid being erased from the Book of Life? That’s right! Repent.
If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. (1 John 1:6-10)
In this passage we see a few elements thus discussed. We are cleansed by His blood if we walk in light, practicing the truth, in fellowship with Him and the saints. Here John emphatically states we do sin. Yet in the same letter he says if we are born of God, we can’t go on sinning! Confused? Well, what he is saying is that anyone walking in the Light, abiding in Christ, will subject themselves to the Spirit and repent, confessing their sins to God and to each other. The result? PERFECT AS OUR HEAVENLY FATHER IS PERFECT!
Again, the foothold is taken away from Satan, we are holy and we are righteous. However, if we continue to sin, it just shows we are carnal, not abiding in Christ, grieving the Spirit.
Now what happens if we continue to sin? A stronghold is formed. What is a stronghold? It is when we continue sinning, and at the point we justify, and even defend the sin, it is a stronghold of Satan in our lives. In Scripture, it is defined as “every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God.” It is a lie—a direct assault on the truth. Satan once again says, “indeed has God said?”:
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete. (2 Corinthians 10:3-6, NIV 1984)
Obedience is submission to the Spirit, and walking by the Spirit is abiding in Christ. Disobedience is the result of ignorance—believing a lie instead of the truth. When we defend the lie, we actually go as far as to serve Satan. We justify the sin and encourage others to likewise disobey so that we do not feel shamed or convicted that we are the only one disobeying (Romans 1:32). In essence, we sense safety in numbers. We believe this lie even though Jesus said wide is the way that leads to destruction, and narrow is the way that leads to life (Matthew 7:13-14). We even search out teachers to comfort us in our sins and agree with our views, in spite of the clear warning that this would happen in the last days (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
So when we believe and defend the lie, it is a stronghold of Satan, and only can be broken down through the power of the Spirit. However, the Spirit is grieved and no longer in operation in the person with the stronghold. Therefore, the saints must step in! (Return to the previous illustration about bringing in additional troops from outside to strengthen the defensive position against the enemy stronghold—that’s what we’re talking about here.)
Scripture demonstrates mutual accountability and empowerment within the Body of Christ. There is power and authority in numbers!:
“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” (Matthew 18:15-17)
It begins with the offended addressing the offender: “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted” (Galatians 6:1). The objective is to bring the offender to repentance, taking the foothold away from Satan and preventing the formation of a stronghold. If they fail to repent, then a second person accompanies the offended to make clear to the offender that the claim by the offended is substantiated. Repentance, which cleanses the offender by Christ’s blood, restores their right standing with God.
However, if they justify and defend their sin, a stronghold results, grieving the Spirit, granting Satan authority in their life. This is when the church passes judgment and the sinner is cast out and shunned. They are handed over to Satan for him to have his way with them. But don’t for a second think this is done for a reason other than love!
In the letter to the church in Corinth, we see a perfect example of church discipline. Paul made the case that the church must discipline sinners. Read 1 Corinthians 5:1-13 and 2 Corinthians 2:6-8 to see an early church example. Also, read the story of David and Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 11-12 to see another example.
Paul taught: “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death” (2 Corinthians 7:10). Rejection from the church leads to sorrow, which leads to repentance and salvation. This is very good. Ignoring someone’s sin does not help them at all. In fact, it is a one way ticket to Hell. Ignoring sin is simply avoiding confrontation—either an individual exercising self-love, or a church avoiding losing membership.
We also see the power of the church for the forgiveness of sins and answered prayer (consistent with Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 18) in James 5:16: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.”
Consider this example: What if you were a patient suffering with cancer and you saw the doctor and he told you that you were healthy, because he did not want to hurt or offend you. Would he be a good doctor? No! A good doctor would tell you that you are sick, require surgery and treatment, that will cause you pain, but will ultimately save your life. Well, if we are “good Christians,” we will obey Jesus and confront sin so as to save our brothers and sisters from hell by bringing them to repentance.
So where do you start? Find an accountability partner and work through the Spiritual Inventory provided with this book.
Once you have been cleansed through repentance, renouncing, and releasing, maintain a clean slate by walking in a constant state of repentance, being cleansed by the blood of Christ, listening to God’s grace at the Spirit’s leading.
The early church shared the sacrament of communion together weekly, first inspecting themselves and confessing their sins to the body. Do this, and remain PERFECT AS YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER IS PERFECT!
Read and OBEY
Now the third most important thing to do with your disciple is to teach them to read the Bible and obey what they read. Start them off with the New Testament. You want them to meet Jesus on the first page. Also, you want them to become fully indoctrinated in the teachings of the Kingdom of God before you start confusing them with the teachings of the “kingdom of Israel.” “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.” (Luke 16:16) Start them with the teachings of Jesus; see Acts 15:28-29 and 21:25 for understanding of the church’s requirements from the Old Testament.
Teach them that the Bible means exactly what it says and says exactly what it means (specifically the New Testament Kingdom teachings). Train your disciple to listen for these words when others are expounding upon the Word of God: “what that really means is…” If they hear those words, they are being told lies! That was Satan’s method of deception.
Teach them to obey what the Bible says: “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (James 1:22). “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).
Tell them to read the New Testament this way: 1.) read a passage 2.) write down what it means 3.) practice what it says. You see, not everything Jesus said was a command. Much of what He said was meant for us to figure out in application. For example, in Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus said that the one who hears His words and “acts on them” builds on the rock and the one who does not “act on them” builds on sand and will fall. Therefore, it is not enough to simply obey commands. We must act on His words according to His intent.
Here is an example: Matthew 5:7 says “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” In this passage, there are no commands. So what does the passage mean? If you show mercy, God will show you mercy in return. So what does it mean to “act on” these words? He wants us to show others mercy. The disciple, to obey Jesus’ intent, would show others mercy. Therefore, the disciple will be trained to write what the passage means, write what they believe God wants them to act upon, and obey it. If you instruct your disciples to read Scripture this way, they will be very strong and effective.
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Two missionaries named Michael and Robert were packing to go overseas to plant churches. They wanted to put everything in the bag that they would need (symbolically, that is). So they proceeded to pack for the adventure.
Michael said to Robert: “A Bible, we will need a Bible to plant churches.”
Robert answered: “Yes, put it in the bag.”
Michael pulled a plan for a church building from a folder and showed Robert. Then he said, “We will need a church building to plant a church. It will take purchasing property, getting permits, and getting a contractor to build the structure.”
Robert replied, “Yes, of course. We can’t plant churches without a ‘church.’ Put it in the bag.”
Michael then showed him a brochure of a bunch of fancy audiovisual equipment: “We will want to show the Jesus film and do crusades to save people and get many members for our new church. We will need much expensive equipment to attract large crowds.”
Robert responded, “Yes, I love these speakers—and what a great projector! Put it in the bag.”
Michael then pulled out a couple resumes for prospective pastors. “We will need a strong pastor to launch this church. Look at this guy. He has a degree from a great Bible college. We will have to pay him a good salary to move out there, but he will be worth it.”
“He is perfect!” exclaimed Robert. “Put it in the bag.”
“We will need some powerful preaching to draw a good crowd,” said Michael.
“And we certainly want a crowd,” said Robert.
Michael then motioned to a plan for a Bible college. “Look at this,” he said.
“Wow! I love it. That is how we will train up indigenous pastors. Put it in the bag,” said Robert.
Michael opened his wallet. “This will cost a lot of money. But we will get the Westerners to give. They always want to support missions.”
“Put it in the bag,” said Robert.
Michael zipped up the bag and lifted it, firmly bracing himself. He handed it over to Robert and he nearly fell due to the great weight of the bag.
Robert commented, “This bag is real heavy. Do you think it will work?”
Michael replied, “This is how we do it, and it works for us!”
Weeks later they boarded a plane for East Nowhere. In the field, they encountered Wanyonyi on the side of the road on a path. They introduced themselves as missionaries and told him they had a gift for him from God.
Wanyonyi replied, “Are you sure it is for me?”
They handed him the bag and it nearly crushed him. Wanyonyi got up, furious, and chased them away. Michael and Robert barely escaped. Disappointed from the failure of the mission, they returned home.
“What happened?” Robert asked Michael.
“I don’t know. It looked way too heavy for him,” replied Michael.
“That was really discouraging,” said Robert. “I know we have been called to plant churches. Now what do we do?”
Michael had a look on his face and twinkle in his eye as if he was granted some supernatural insight. “I have an idea. What if we simply follow the New Testament pattern for our church planting mission?”
Robert responded in delight, “Yeah, that is a great idea. Because we know it worked for them!”
“That’s it then. It is settled!” exclaimed Michael. “If it is not in the New Testament, it does not go in the bag.”
The men then dumped the contents of the bag onto the table and started repacking for the church planting mission with renewed hope and vigor.
Michael first grabbed the Bible and said to Robert, “A Bible, we will need a Bible to plant churches.”
Robert answered: “Yes, of course. That is our model for how we will work. Put it in the bag.”
Michael pulled a plan for a church building from a folder and showed Robert. “We will need a church building to plant a church. I mean, we are church planting. How do you plant churches without a ‘church?’”
Robert replied. “Actually, I don’t remember seeing a church building in the New Testament.”
Michael responded in disbelief, “What do you mean no church building in the New Testament? Where did they meet?”
Robert opened to Romans 16:3-5 and read, “Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who for my life risked their own necks, to whom not only do I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles; also greet the church that is in their house.” Then he read 1 Corinthians 16:19: “The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Prisca greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.” Then Robert read Colossians 4:15 and Philemon 1:1-2 in rapid succession: “Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea and also Nympha and the church that is in her house… To Philemon our beloved brother and fellow worker, and to Apphia our sister, and to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house.”
Michael stared dumbfounded and a bit humbled. “For real, there are no church buildings in the Bible. They met in houses! That is great news for the mission, because I knew the expense of the building would be a real problem. But they already have houses! Put it in the bag, brother.”
Michael started affectionately looking over the audiovisual equipment catalogs. “No, not my equipment!” exclaimed Michael, having realized the ramifications of their mutual agreement that if it is not in the New Testament, it does not go in the bag. “So now how are we going to evangelize?”
Robert responded, “In Luke 10 Jesus just sent them out in pairs—in fact, He made the point for them to go empty-handed. They preached the Kingdom of God and healed people. I mean, they were taught by the Master storyteller. Jesus showed them how to share the message of the Kingdom using simple stories.”
“You know what? That is actually much better than what we had going,” replied Michael with renewed enthusiasm.
Next, Robert grabbed the resume of the pastor they both liked. “What about the pastor? There are pastors in the Bible, aren’t there?”
“Well, that is funny you ask. Not exactly,” said Michael.
“What? You have to be kidding,” remarked Robert.
Michael clarified, “churches certainly had leadership—even house churches. But each fellowship did not have a CEO-type running the place.”
Robert, a bit confused by Michael’s mysterious response, balked, “but pastor is one of the five-fold offices—you know—Ephesians 4:11.”
“I know, I know,” said Michael. “But all I am saying is that it was not the way we understand the role. Pastoring is synonymous with shepherding, and it was certainly a vital role. But the shepherds were discipled and trained up from the flock, and selected based on their character and how they managed their personal households. These were not seminary trained business-style leaders who were recruited and hired based on resumes.”
Robert, interested in where the conversation was heading, then asked, “Well, if they are trained up from the body, are you saying the church operated without a pastor at the beginning? Because I know Paul said in 1 Timothy 3 leaders should not be recent converts.”
“Precisely,” responded Michael.
“Brother, your theory sounds great,” said Robert, “but we agreed it does not go into the bag unless it is the New Testament. So prove it.”
Undaunted, Michael opened up to Titus 1 and started reading from verse 5: “For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain,but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled,holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.”
“You can’t be serious,” responded Robert. “I have read the New Testament a hundred times and I never noticed that Paul’s churches were launched leaderless. This is amazing! What a discovery. This will make starting our house churches a million times easier. All we have to do now is make disciples, organize them into fellowships, and simply disciple them until the Holy Spirit reveals the leadership. Put it in the bag, brother!”
Robert’s enthusiasm sank as he thought out loud, “Well, if we don’t have a pastor, who will preach the sermons? I mean, without powerful sermons, who will come, really?”
Michael answered, “Actually, you don’t find sermons preached in the New Testament either.”
“Not true, brother,” responded Robert, confident he had stumped his dear brother Michael. “What about the ‘Sermon on the Mount,’ ‘Sermon on the Plain,’ Stephen’s powerful sermon, and Peter at Pentecost? There is certainly preaching in the New Testament.”
Michael calmly explained, “There is preaching, but NOT to believers. All those examples were evangelism, not examples of sermons directed at the churches.”
“I see your point,” responded Robert. “So what did they do in the churches? Who led the service?”
“They had an interactive service lead by the Holy Spirit. I mean one would teach, then another would lead a song, and they even spoke in tongues and prophesied in turn. It is right here in 1 Corinthians 14:26; let me read it: ‘What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.’”
“So it looks like no one person ran the show, but rather all who were so inclined participated as the Spirit led,” noted Robert. “This takes a lot of pressure off the would-be pastor. It really sounds great! Let’s put it in the bag.”
“Another thing I noticed in reading 1 Corinthians 11, is that they shared the Lord’s table as a full meal. I mean every week. They took communion, but not a token wafer and a little sip,” said Michael. “In fact, they called it the Love Feast. This was the centerpiece of their meeting together.”
Robert, feeling about three inches tall and not understanding how he could have missed these things (having received so much Bible training!) replied, “Brother, this is a real humbling exercise. I really never knew any of this. But I am blessed and relieved. Because I am certain the folks we are ministering to are going to love this. Put it in the bag.”
Now they looked at the plans for the Bible college together. They looked directly at each other and both realized at the same time that there is no Bible college in the Bible. So they thought of the New Testament alternative to Bible college and both blurted out at precisely the same time, “Discipleship!”
Michael then quickly opened his Bible to 2 Timothy 2:2 while Robert was opening his to Luke 6:40. Michael read first: “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
Then Robert read, “A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.”
Michael said, “Put it in the bag, brother.”
Robert saw the last item. “Money—that is a sticky issue. What do we find in the New Testament? Church planting costs a lot. I mean we need the church building,” then quickly realizing, “oh yeah, no building.” Then he went right down the list, “pastor…no pastor, audiovisual equipment…no equipment, Bible college…no Bible college…”
Michael interrupted, “I got it, I got it…I know what we need money for!”
Robert looked confused.
Michael continued, “The Bible. We will need money for the Bible. That is the only thing we need to plant churches!”
Robert was laughing nervously, somewhat bewildered as to how such a complex endeavor as church planting could have become so simple and affordable.
Robert contemplated, “So what did the New Testament church do with their money? I mean, they took offerings, didn’t they?”
Michael, eager to answer the question, responded by reading from Acts Chapter 4 starting in verse 32: “And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them. And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all. For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales and lay them at the apostles’ feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need.”
When Michael finished reading, Robert answered his own question: “They simply gave to all as they had need. So the money went to the neediest among them. I am certain our new house churches will love this.”
Michael grinned. “Put it in the bag.”
The next week they returned to the mission field. Both were amazed by how light the bag had grown. They were eager to carry the bag this time, remembering how heavy it used to be.
They stumbled upon Wanyonyi again. He saw the bag and made a run for it. They caught up to him and were able to explain to him that it was different this time. This time they handed the bag slowly, and held it with Wanyonyi until he supported all the weight. Wanyonyi was shocked by how light it was.
They all praised God together and the men urged Wanyonyi to take it to his people. Wanyonyi walked away under the blue sky carrying the package to all the villages. The missionaries returned home, overjoyed by the success of their mission.
House Church Summary
- Note: the “church” is the people, not the place where the people meet!
- House church is biblical and historical
- Very effective for Kingdom expansion
- Don’t need a church building—affordable to start
- Naturally reproduce and multiply (see Luke 10 evangelism below)
- Encourages discipleship
- Encourages participants’ use of spiritual gifts
- No pressure on “pastor” to handle all teaching and leadership
- Encourages strong families
- Communion celebrated as a full meal weekly, encouraging confession and repentance, facilitating holiness (all participants contribute to the meal)
- Easy to identify member gifts and send out harvest workers
- Participants encouraged to share lives, personal needs, and with each other materially
Traditional Church Transitional Considerations
- Make a commitment to expand THE Kingdom, and not just YOUR kingdom
- Disciple key leaders (total surrender and repentance/spiritual inventory)
- Start “cell groups” with existing membership using key leaders to disciple them
- If groups grow strong and healthy, release them as autonomous house churches
- For future evangelism, exclusively start house churches
Luke 10 Evangelism
1 Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come. 2 And He was saying to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. 3 Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. 4 Carry no money belt, no bag, no shoes; and greet no one on the way. 5 Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house.’ 6 If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. 7 Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from house to house. 8 Whatever city you enter and they receive you, eat what is set before you; 9 and heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But whatever city you enter and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet we wipe off in protest against you; yet be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’ (Luke 10)
- Verse 1: We are doing God’s work. Must go in preparation for His work.
- Verse 2: Harvest is READY. Just need laborers. Get out there and fight for the Kingdom!
- Verse 3: On the attack in Satan’s territory, outside the four walls of the church building.
- Verse 4: Pack light. See also Luke 22:35.
- Verse 5-6: Seek man of peace. Examples are Cornelius, Lydia and Philippian jailer. They and their HOUSEHOLDS were saved. These were instant house churches. When we find a man of peace, we plant a church. Quite literally, pray for peace when you enter a home.
- Verse 7-8: Stay at one house. Finish what you start. The goal is not numerous people. The goal is finishing what you start with the RIGHT person. Preach the TWO KINGDOMS (Part 1.0 of this document), bring to surrender and repentance (spiritual inventory), teach on baptism, and baptize them—all right there that day! Do not start a second disciple until you finish the first. Yes, they will reward you with food. Eat it.
- Verse 9: Heal the sick and preach the Kingdom!
- Verse 10-11: If they refuse you, move on to the next house. You have been obedient.
Read Matthew 13:18-23:
- Seed is Word of KINGDOM
- Only one of four do not believe the Kingdom message (see also Luke 8:12)
- Only one of three who accept bear fruit; we already know if no fruit, they will be cut off and burned (John 15:6)
- One falls away quickly because of persecution and the other slowly because of worldliness
If evangelizing away from home, assign mentors to each new disciple and say this to the mentors: “When I get to heaven and see you there, I will ask you, ‘where is the disciple I entrusted to you to teach to obey all that Jesus commanded.’” In front of all the witnesses, get him and the witnesses to agree to watch over this new citizen of the Kingdom.
Success of this mission will be measured based on how your disciples’ disciples do applying and teaching what you have taught them about the Kingdom of God, obedience to Jesus, and making disciples.
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Before you begin to populate your personal spiritual inventory (sample form found in this section), it is vital that you bathe the process in prayer. You must be sure that your house is “clean;” that is, that you have experienced authentic repentance with the result of desiring to live in obedience to the commands of Christ and grow in His likeness. Surrender all to God, show your willingness to follow wherever He leads, and allow Him to work in you through circumstances that will stretch you, challenge you, and discipline you when necessary.
The first area you should consider in the Inventory is personal sins. You will want to write down in the first column of the worksheet any personal sins that you have struggled with, particularly habitual sins which indicate a stronghold of the enemy. Ask God to specifically reveal things to you, and make sure to get to the root cause of your struggles rather than to name resultant sins. You can see, at the bottom of column one, that the goal of the inventory is to help you to repent of these sins.
Now let’s move to that center column, Occult influences. This may or may not be relevant to you, but any occult influence is an open door to the enemy. It can be a magazine that arrives in the mail that contains anti-scriptural ideas; it can be cultural traditions or even patriotism or tribalism. Occult influences may also be outright witchcraft or cults. New Age ideas are a Satanic influence, as are astrology, some types of meditation, and even secular viewpoints like humanism. It is a good idea to get rid of any physical items which may be strongholds, but you also need to repent of any occult involvement that may provide a stronghold for Satan’s continued entry into your life. Anything that you have experienced in the past and which may continue to invite Satan’s involvement should be included on that list. You can see at the bottom of that column that all of those strongholds must be renounced and power taken away from the devil in Jesus’ name.
In the third column you will list any victimizations which Satan uses to influence you away from God and His Kingdom. You may harbor unforgiveness—and remember the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount: “Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Victimizations can result in strongholds because they can cause us to walk in anger or unforgiveness. As well, they can create mental strongholds such as fears, emotional instability, depression, and so on. Victimization effectively holds us prisoner to the past instead of freeing us to walk forward with Christ, in faith. After you pray over and write down any relevant victimizations that are strongholds in your life, the solution is to release them.
In the boxes at the bottom the page, you will consider your habitual thought patterns and ways of believing about yourself and God. Satan is called the father of lies because he leads us away from God’s truth; these lies hold us in bondage and can render us ineffective and unproductive for the Kingdom. So, in the first box, write down any lies from Satan that you have believed about yourself. You may struggle with low self-worth; you have to remind yourself that you were created in the image of God, for His purposes, and that He had a purpose and a plan for your life even if it seems small. You have to avoid comparing yourself to others and remember that you are just one member of the Body and that all parts are unique. Think about your own life and write down the lies you have believed about yourself. Then, read, meditate upon, and even memorize the Scriptures that will remind you of God’s truth and help you walk in victory.
The second area of ideological stronghold is the false ideas you have believed about God. I’ve heard it said that our understanding of God can be greatly influenced by our relationship with our fathers, since God is somewhat of a “father figure.” And while God is a holy God and does expect our obedience, He does not remove His love from us when we sin. He is more concerned with our direction than our perfection, as long as we are pressing on. I still find that I have to keep these opposing ideas about God (his righteousness and holiness versus His love and grace) in balance. This is where, again, it helps to be in the Word and to have Scriptures that can help you when you get caught in an ideological stronghold of one type or another.
Praying through the Spiritual Inventory
After you have completed the spiritual inventory, ideally you will share it with someone who is close to you and mature in the Lord—an accountability partner, if you will. James 5:16 says, “confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” As well, there is power as we gather in Christ’s name (see Matthew 18:18-20)
Our willing confession, coupled with the humility that allows us to share our sins and shortcomings with others, helps us to stand against the enemy and all of his lies. Satan wants us to keep things hidden in darkness, but God wants them exposed to the light. Only then can we be truly cleansed and walk in victory. As well, establishing an accountability relationship is an important element of growing in the grace of God to keep from sinning. All of this is essential for us as we seek to be spiritually strong and to serve God however He leads.
Once you have invited a partner to discuss the inventory with you, you will want to go over some of the things on your list with them. Resist the impulse to just talk about your areas of victimization—easiest because they often focus on what other people have done to us, rather than what we have done before God. While you don’t need to name every sin and talk in detail about each and every thing, you do want to share the most important things that create the greatest strongholds in your life—the areas where you struggle most and the root causes. You will want to pray: repent, renounce, and release. In the name of Jesus, rebuke the enemy and remind Satan that he no longer has hold over you, that God has not only forgiven your sin through Jesus, but He has also released you completely from the power of sin in your life. Satan cannot read your thoughts, so you will need to tell him out loud that he needs to leave you alone! For some people, this is a new idea and might be a bit strange or uncomfortable; however, understanding the spiritual dynamic is very freeing. Along with the Spiritual Inventory sample and blank form are sample prayers. You do not need to repeat these verbatim, but they are designed to help you understand how to effectively pray against strongholds in the power and authority of Jesus Christ.
After you go through your spiritual inventory, the best way to acknowledge the victory of Jesus and let the enemy know that “it is finished” is to burn the paper or papers where you have written down all of your sins and strongholds. It will feel like you just lost 50 pounds of weight. During the subsequent several weeks, most honestly feel no urge to sin, or struggle at all. You will likely feel an intense communion with God. It is like night and day! You will have new weapons in your arsenal for dealing with temptations to sin and different ways of dealing with sin when it happens. You will have a more sensitive conscience, a better understanding of God’s truth, and a stronger faith to stand firm. Although the spiritual inventory helps us to lock the door against the enemy and protect ourselves, it is not the end, but rather an excellent beginning. I suggest going through the process repeatedly weekly until the list is GONE! FREEDOM from sin is yours!
- Look over the Spiritual Inventory and prayers; prepare your heart by communing with the Lord in prayer. Ask Him to reveal anything and everything which has been an area of stronghold in your life, so that you can repent, renounce, and release those things and experience victory over sin for His glory.
- Prayerfully complete the Spiritual Inventory and seek out a mature accountability partner. Explain the Inventory and its purposes and ask if they would be willing to discuss and pray over your inventory with you. (This can be accomplished in person or even by phone.)
- Go over your Spiritual Inventory with your accountability partner, specifically focusing on your greatest areas of struggle that keep you from experiencing victory over sin and joy and peace in your home. Pray in repentance, renounce the devil’s work, and seek release from any emotional strongholds that are the result of victimization. Confess the lies you have believed about yourself and about God and ask God to replace those lies with the truth. Have your accountability partner also pray for you in each of these areas. Then, burn your Spiritual Inventory. (This is just good closure.)
- Repeat the process weekly until there is nothing left to write on the list! Victory is yours!
47 If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. 49 For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. 50 I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.” (John 12)
17“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4) 15“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1)17”Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” (Luke 18) 37“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it. (Matthew 10) 13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it…21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter…24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock…26 Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.” (Matthew 7)
The Commands of Christ
37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22) 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13) 12 “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you. (Matthew 7) 37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. (Luke 6)
39 But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. 41 Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. (Matthew 5) 27 “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. (Luke 6) 44 But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you… (Matthew 5) 28 Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10)
34 But I say to you, make no oath at all…37 But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil. (Matthew 5) 42 Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. (Matthew 5) 18 “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries one who is divorced from a husband commits adultery. (Luke 16) If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. (Luke 17) 8 But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. 11 But the greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted. (Matthew 23)
23 And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19) 33 “Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys. (Luke 12) 33 So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions. (Luke 14) 31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 …For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6) 12 “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment. 13 But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” (Luke 14)
2 “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. (Luke 10) 27 What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops. (Matthew 10) 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28) 15 “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. 17 These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16)3 Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. 4 Carry no money belt, no bag, no shoes; and greet no one on the way. 5 Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house.’ 6 If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. 7 Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from house to house. 8 Whatever city you enter and they receive you, eat what is set before you; 9 and heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ (Luke 10)
Additional Teachings of Christ
“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 21 Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. 22 Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. 23 Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets. 24 But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full. 25 Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. 26 Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way.
Jesus’ Teachings about the Judgment
31 “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. 34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38 And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ 41 “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; 43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ 44 Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25)
Apostolic Teachings about the Kingdom of God
38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)
3 By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. (1 John 2)
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6) 5 For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. (Ephesians 5)
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The Qur’an speaks much of Jesus Christ, and always does with great respect. The area where you work will have many worshippers of Allah. You can be much more fruitful in your ministry if you know what the Qur’an says about Christ. The Qur’an does not tell its readers much about Him, but there is enough there to enable you to see if a person is interested in talking about Christ and looking at the New Testament. Here are a few important verses from Surah Al-Imran, Qur’an 3:45, 48-50:
45: Behold! the angels said: “O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah; 48: “And Allah will teach him the Book and Wisdom, the Law and the Gospel, 49: “And (appoint him) a messenger to the Children of Israel, (with this message): “‘I have come to you, with a Sign from your Lord, in that I make for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by Allah’s leave: And I heal those born blind, and the lepers, and I quicken the dead, by Allah’s leave; and I declare to you what ye eat, and what ye store in your houses. Surely therein is a Sign for you if ye did believe; 50: “‘(I have come to you), to attest the Law which was before me. And to make lawful to you part of what was (Before) forbidden to you; I have come to you with a Sign from your Lord. So fear Allah, and obey me.
The Qur’an says that Jesus (or ‘Isa in the Arabic of the Qur’an) has special qualities that apply to no one else: He is called a word from Allah, and Messiah, and he is held in honor in this life and the next, and that Allah gave him the Injil (the Gospel) and allowed him to heal the blind and the lepers, and to raise the dead.
A most amazing thing is in verse 50, ‘Isa is quoted as saying that faithful Muslims (all those who are submitted to Allah) should fear Allah and obey ‘Isa. But the Qur’an gives none of ‘Isa’s teaching, so to obey him, we must seek out his teaching in the Injeel, the New Testament. Muhummad was told by Allah that if he had questions about these things, to ask the people who read the earlier Scriptures: Surah Yunnus 10.94: If thou wert in doubt as to what We have revealed unto thee, then ask those who have been reading the Book from before thee: the Truth hath indeed come to thee from thy Lord: so be in no wise of those in doubt.
Many have been told that the Bible or the Injeel was corrupted. We can tell them that we believe Allah can watch over his word to protect it, as it says in Al-An’am 6.115-116: The word of thy Lord doth find its fulfilment in truth and in justice: None can change His words: for He is the one who heareth and knoweth all. Wert thou to follow the common run of those on earth, they will lead thee away from the way of Allah. They follow nothing but conjecture: they do nothing but lie.
We are looking for people who are interested in hearing what the Gospel says about ‘Isa. We must take care not to speak against Allah, Islam, Muhummad or the Qur’an. We are bringing Good News to people about how to discover and receive the blessings of ‘Isa.
To close this section, we will offer a few suggestions for speaking with Muslims: Always show humility and love. Always bless them, and offer to pray in the name of ‘Isa if they have needs for prayer. Always be respectful and friendly. Never criticize their religion or customs. Never allow yourself to be drawn into an argument. Remember that these are people with normal human feelings just like us, and that God loves them. We do not fight against flesh and blood, and these people are not our enemy. You will succeed by looking for a person of peace, and loving and blessing that person, and those that he or she knows.
This section was written by Aalim, who has worked in various parts of the world with large Muslim populations. You can write to him with questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kingdom Expansion Essentials is a concise manifesto on Kingdom expansion designed to mobilize the saints for the harvest. These materials are borrowed directly from New Testament practice and early church understanding of New Testament doctrine. They represent the three main features common to the most effective Kingdom expansion events in history: a common MESSAGE, MISSION, and METHOD. Commentary is minimized and Scripture is maximized, but you will find several analogies and stories that are designed to illustrate points in a memorable way.
One of the main objectives of this work is to provide accurate and actionable material—but to make it as short, simple, and precise as possible. This is in an effort to reduce page count, lower printing costs, and make translation easier. Points are made as much as possible through the Scriptures alone, because they are authoritative. Translation is also simpler because the Bible has already been translated in all of the major languages and is readily available digitally.
This book is not meant to be read for entertainment or solely to inform; it is meant to be a tool for mobilization. Don’t simply read this book and file it on a shelf—receive this information and apply it. Then you will bear fruit: go out there, preach the Kingdom and make disciples who make disciples.
The original and translations of this document may be obtained upon request. Please feel free to email us.