Last 2012 PDF Edition of Complete "Disciple's Handbook"
(you will find additional content and updated corrections
from the chapter by chapter links below.)
PARTAKING IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
of God's Power - PDF FILE:
How all believers may receive
'The Promise of the Father'
Through the Holy Spirit
Believer Becomes a Disciple -
IS ABOUT PARTAKING OF THE LIFE OF GOD
is the living "head of the church"
for all believers. He has designed a way for us to both know him
and follow him, even as the original twelve disciples followed
him. During the Lord's earthly ministry, they walked at his
side, conversed with him, and were both witnesses and partakers
of his ministry. They knew his voice; saw his power; and marveled
at his wisdom. On a strictly physical level they knew him!
Yet, this was not considered adequate. These original disciples
were instructed to receive a further supernatural empowerment. In
order to demonstrate and build the Kingdom of God there were told
to. "Wait in Jerusalem until you receive power from above-
-." Today I suspect that far too few nominal Christians are
able to say they know him on a Spiritual level. Yes they know
about him have been taught doctrines but how much do they know
him in the transformative power of his love and the power of his
believers are told to grow and mature in the knowledge of Him who
came to give more abundant life through the power of his
resurrection. We are not to remain a novice and a baby in the
faith, but that we attain "unto the stature of a 'mature
man' even the stature of Christ." (Ephesians 4). The
exaltation of a single voice in the role of authority to
disciple us may be limited and limiting. Pulpit ministry is
an unfortunate self- perpetuating legacy of 17 centuries of the
"Church" age. Those who in fact have experience in
Christ's life and ministry, made possible by the power of the
Holy Spirit have a title in the Word of God; these individuals
are called "elders." Certainly church
denominations use this same term within some context of their
doctrines. But those who Jesus calls elders may differ from what
religious traditions might label as elders. The apostle John, the
disciple who Jesus loved, begins his letter by talking about
Spiritual experience as the qualification (credentials)
that we must look to and lean upon. He noted what he had seen,
touched, looked upon, and handled in the Word of life.
(1John1:1)That which was from the beginning, which we have
heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked
upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life, these
things we declare unto you - -;
Transforms, Edifies, Strengthens, and Blesses
The proper and best time to edify and grow is when fellow believers come together in koinonia (fellowship). When two or more true believers get together the natural result is to share their common salvation and to have "fellowship" to minister "edification" to each other. When these two or more gather, Jesus 'joins' them and becomes a co-participant through the Holy Spirit! This fellowship process is not complicated, nor formal, it is not domination of one individual authority over another. It is not adversarial. Discipleship happens as we share the several gifts given to each believer. Koinonia is about participation, communication and sharing. As referenced in 1John 1:1-3, It begins with actual experiences given as a witness of Jesus' life and resurrection. It is about the revelation of Christ within each person and how he is living through our lives and doing his work through us. Koinonia is about sharing what Christ has given to each believer and ministering that gift to others.
According to the measure of God's grace, individuals have various of testimonies and experiences, some have more, some fewer. There may be some with musical gifts which enhance worship and some with less of that ability. Some may have verbal skills, some less. Some with practical kinds of skills, some not so much. Some may be working through personal tragedies or rejection, while others have already had healing in these areas. All need to be encouraged to participate at some level so that leadership skills may be fostered in each.
The dynamics of fellowship will change from week to week. Few or more people may be present at a house or meeting place and the Spirit of God will act in accordance to the time and persons present. I believe fellowship should never turn into something regimented or formalistic. However it often becomes that especially when everything is controlled by one leader. Those unfamiliar with the kind of fellowship I have described need to experience for themselves what can happen in a place of meeting where the Spirit of God is given liberty! God can make his glorious presence known; lift people out of their fears and oppression; bring joy and healing; restore broken hearts and broken relationships and save peoples souls. The Holy Spirit administers just such actions. (See link to Why We Gather )
The encroachment of formalism
Religious spirit in the form of supremacy, control or formalism,
continuously stalks the believer with the aim of transforming
God-life into dead
I suppose church liturgy was put together in times past,
following the kind of glorious fellowship described above.
Liturgical forms may have started with good intentions with the
hope of bottling up something very good and worthwhile, perhaps
to preserve some of the glory of an earlier day.
The Bible demonstrates that God's presence can not be captured and preserved. The Israelites of old tried to do so, but when God's Glory departed they were left with a lifeless object (a religious artifact or idol.) The temple remained, the glory was gone. The brazen serpent remained, but the manifestation of its power was gone. A cistern remained, the fount of living water was gone. God's continued glory and fellowship with us is determined by the hearts of those who gather to worship him. Years and centuries past and only rituals and catechism remained supplanting the glory that had been lost. The ritual enactments remained and the liturgical trappings but the presence of God vanished. Ritual happens, I believe, when men try to duplicate a behavior which once brought forth God's 'glory' through waiting upon Him in faith.
As God's presence leaves it is replaced by religion. "Ministry" follows a similar transition. Leadership becomes the domain of a very small body of liturgical experts. It has come to pass that the priesthood or the clergy only is trained and authorized to govern and rule over the flock of God. But in the new covenant as it was presented to the saints, discipleship is the domain of every believer.
is a paradigm to re-think: Abolish the Laity!
Disciples, Learning the "Way"
The foundation of the life of Christ is laid by becoming a disciple of Jesus. Just as Jesus set about making disciples in the time of his earthly ministry so he continues today. (John 8:21 ; 17:20) The Great Commission is about discipleship. Too often, the Christian world has made the life of the Bible remote and impersonal through religion . It has made Peter, James and John or John the Baptist into icons or religious super heroes. It is too easy to lose the sense that Peter, James, Paul and Barnabus and the host of others are our brothers and our teachers. Though now having run their race, they shared the same life of trials and faith as we ourselves. In our minds Bible days were entirely another time, another kind of faith life , another dispensation. This is not the case. Religious tradition places men on pedestals. This should not be the case because it is contrary to every apostolic and Christ-uttered teaching. God does not show favoritism nor does he show respect of persons. s many that have received the gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the Grace
may be interested in checking out the writing of Frank Viola and
Go to next book: Disciples Handbook 03
Understanding Home Fellowships