Discipleship, An Introduction

Paradigms that control our religious understandings

Koinonia, The Fellowship of the Saints for Edification

Discipleship, We are Called to be Saints and to Minister

A Disciple's Guide to Spiritual Worship

The Foundation of the Original Apostles as the Proper Guide to Doctine

Disciple's Handbook Complete in PDF format

   

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Every Believer Becomes a Disciple -
Matthew 28:19

As many that have received the gift, minister it to one another,
as good stewards of the manifold Grace of God
1Peter4:7

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Author's Brief Testimony

Comments on Spiritual Discipleship by Kevin Leal


3 paradigms of truth, Worldly, Religious, Divine


Discipleship 1 Spiritual Growth


Disciple's Handbook 2, Growing With the Body


Jesus' Cycle: Growth, Trials, and Triumph


Learning Christ, Partaking In His Ministry

 


Believers need to be nurtured in order to grow as disciples.
The familiar church-house model is not the original New Testament model. The doctrines of Christ are defined  throughout Scripture with the word translated "Church" which is ekklasia (ecclesia) in the original Greek text.  Ekklasia is a form of gathering in which members come together to transact specific business . In the case of Christian Ecclesia it is the business of the heavenly shepherd, Christ Jesus. In such a called out body, all  members are called to participate  actively. In this body called out of the world by the Spirit to be a part of Christ's Body,(He is the head) all members bring with them unique abilities, gifts or enablements. The Grace of God provides enablement of many gifts that are needed for Spiritual fellowship and growth in understanding. (1 Peter 4:07)

The Holy Spirit is the divine personage who brings forth the varied enablements of Grace. Experience in the Kingdom of God produces 'God Stories.' These testimonies build faith.  They denote the dynamics of heaven touching us of the "Body" (called out assembly of believers.) Spiritual gifts are enablements that bear witness of God's presence in the present moment.  Church house religion too often lacks any such experience of God in the present moment.

Among the assertions of these writings is that we can not only know God but that we (men, women, boys, or girls) can have a spiritual life. The "church" as Jesus Christ established it, was given this provision. But in spite of this provision, both knowing God and  developing a spiritual life, is often occluded in the institutional church. Time. Circumstance and unrelenting forces of spiritual resistance authored by the adversary has come in to derail or to side track the spiritual life and implant human tradition in its stead. Jude, half brother and an apostle of Jesus, writes that we must, " - - earnestly contend for the faith given to us by the apostles. - -

" The lust for human authority and impure motives have continuously assailed the apostolic forms and doctrines of belief and worship that are apostolic. We are entitled to these as Christian believers.
I will offer no doctrine or methodology that is contrary to Biblical teaching. Being Holy Spirit inspired, It is not of human authorship or human tradition. It is the way that I have found to be genuine and effective and in accord with the Bible. It is the same form presented by God Almighty to apostles in the beginning of this church age.  Since so many others have attempted to mentor and advise others about the spiritual life, and there has been a history of problems and deception in the faith of Christ, it is important that we proceed with wisdom and the guidance of the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit

God has told us through the Word that we may ask for wisdom or for truth to be revealed to us. He further instructs us to be confident knowing that God is willing to give good gifts which bring fulfillment and blessings and not sorrows. When seeking the revelations which are of God, or from God, it is up to the seeker to be on guard against deceptions and to discern the true from the false. In asking for anything from God it is very important to invoke the name of Jesus Christ. For his is the name above every name! The Bible teaches that Jesus' name commands all powers of heaven and earth. It is above the authority of any other god or angel or worldly authority. The word states that at his name every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess the lordship of that name.  It is in His name that we can consecrate any prayer or any request. It is a safeguard and assurance that anything which will be revealed or imparted spiritually will be free of any corrupt or deceptive influence. If you ask in Jesus, name the deceiver is less likely to work his way in establishing of the Kingdom of God. 

The Spirit in the Seeker, the Spirit of Him being Sought 
The true Spirit of Christ Jesus is the spirit of love, forgiveness, gentleness, meekness, selflessness, and patience. It is not tinged with fear, with condemnation, with urgency or panic, It is not contaminated by a lust for personal gain, ownership of another or any desire to control or manipulate another person. Check yourself if you are seeking with motives containing any of the negatives stated above for they are contrary to the nature of the God who will insure your being lead into truth.

Receiving True Gifts and not Counterfeit   
Jesus instructs us about receiving gifts from God, especially the gift of the Holy Spirit. He teaches us that the God of heaven gives good gifts and not devilish or perverted ones. Christ also characterizes the fact that there are two kinds of vendors who might bring forth gifts but God's gifts are good and true. Let us look at the scripture found in Matthew 7:8-11 and in Luke 11:11-13: These shed light on Spiritual gifts. 

"For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."Matt 6:8;"Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?" :9; "Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?":10; "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?" -- :11.kjv  The two gifts which are requested are bread and a fish, God gives things which are life-giving (bread) and safe (meat of fish). Luke chapter eleven restates the same teaching about asking from God the Father with a slightly different emphasis, and includes the gift of the Holy Spirit which is the living gift of God's power and presence:  "If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?"; "Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?"  "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" -- Luke 11:11-13 kjv. 

The references to the counterfeit gifts are not just coincidental or random examples they represent the fact that there is a source of the bad gift. The enemy is Satan. He does not give good gifts, nor give valid revelations. His gifts are not life giving, they give neither joy, nor health nor liberty. Yet it is possible that he will try to come in unless you exclude him from having any part of the asking and seeking transaction (namely the spiritual search for a spiritual life.) Satan's gift is characterized as a stone instead of bread, as a serpent instead of pure food, a poisonous scorpion instead of an egg.  Jesus has portrayed Satan as the deadly counterfeiter who will insinuate himself into the seekers life subtly and at any opportunity. Forewarned is forearmed; for this reason we will need to initiate safe guards and precautions as I suggested above in order to keep the deceiver out of your life.  There was a time when our lives were entirely under his (Satan's) control. We may not think that this was the case but the apostle is very clear about it. A couple of apostolic letters bring attention to the nature of the unredeemed life, common to each and every life before that life is renewed In Christ. 

Paul states in his letter to Ephesus, Chapter 2, verses 2 and 3."- - in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, (Satan) the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience; Among whom also we all had our conversation (lifestyle) in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others."  Paul's letter to Colossae, Chapter 1 verse 21."And you, that were sometime before now) alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled"  Paul's letter to Corinth, Chapter 1 verses 10 and 11, "Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God; And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." 

The Foundation of the Apostles 
There is a very brief phrase which occurs in Paul's letter to the Ephesians, between Chapters 4:17 and 24. Paul is contrasting the life of the gentiles which is essentially a life without the presence and promises of God. It pertains to all of the non Jews in the world and reveals all of the behaviors which characterize fallen man. Then he states that these behaviors are totally unlike the life which is generated in Christ. . It is from this phrase that I appropriate the concept of learning Christ which I will present as fundamental to apostolic doctrine.  "This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind," "Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:" "Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness." "But ye have not so learned Christ; "If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:" That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;" "And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;" "And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." -- Eph 4:17-24 kjv 

Inherent in the above message is the fact that we were not only separated spiritually from God, but that our mental attitudes and understandings were corrupted by previous belief systems which stand apart from faith in Christ. In the renewal process which is the first stage of a spiritual life, we begin to divest ourselves of what we once believed and held to be valuable, this is not done self consciously but is a work of the Spirit of God and it coincides with the study of the Word of God. Therefore it states in 4 verse 21, that we heard of Him and were taught by Him, because the Truth is in Jesus.  God's plan is for our teachers to be taught by Jesus and learners to be taught by Jesus. This influence is immediate, dynamic, (ongoing) and it is divine in nature (Holy Spirit directed.) This is the apostolic way. 

Apostles chosen from Christ's Disciples 
Learning Christ is the doctrine of the Apostles. Apostles were first Disciples. Disciples walked with the Lord in an intimate way. They learned his ways by first hand observation, through hearing his word and knowing his voice. The disciples while they were growing in the knowledge of Christ were also participants in the work of Jesus. They announced, the Kingdom of God is at hand.  They showed that the Kingdom could be demonstrated by spiritual power and authority to impact the afflicted, the oppressed, the broken hearted, the poor.  The original disciples walked with Jesus the Messiah and knew him face to face. All of them had attributes which could be labeled plain folk or ordinary people. Some more intimately than others each disciple had personality traits and attributes of character that were unique; Matthew a worldly businessman, a publican, a tax collector; Peter a robust, headstrong man who general spoke without thinking; John a warm, compassionate and trusting youth; Nathaniel innocent and open; Thomas a scientific minded pragmatist who had to have things proven before he could be persuaded and so on.  The twelve included men who we might not have chosen, Judas the deceiver and betrayer who Jesus also called a robber. Outside of the twelve were a multitude of other disciples including women who traveled extensively with Jesus but were not subject to the same intimacy as the twelve. It is possible that those who were very close and connected to Jesus may have been about 500 individuals. It is these that Jesus visited in the flesh after had arisen from the dead. 

The disciples who became apostles were men Jesus called and taught face to face. Before Jesus physically ascended into heaven he also imparted his life and Spirit into them. In the time following Jesus' resurrection he breathed upon each of the disciples, saying to them, receive Holy Breath (gr. pneuma).  The word breath and spirit are the same word in the original text. This is the same as saying, Receive the Holy Spirit. It was this action which brought forth Holy life in each disciple. They were born or conceived a spirit being at this time. 

Saul of Tarsus was a Jewish theologian, a Pharisee of the strictest sect of Judaism. A fundamentalists of his day, Paul was an intellectual of highest  discipline and credentials. The zealous Saul, set out to destroy the Disciples of Jesus, persecuting and imprisoning all who preached Jesus name or Jesus as a resurrected Messiah.  How did Saul become a disciple and an apostle? We hear Saul give retell his account of the encounter several times, but the original encounter is described in Acts, Chapter 9. God supernaturally intervened in Saul's life, on a journey to Damascus when his travels were interrupted by Jesus appearing to him in a bright light, which knocked him off his horse onto the ground. The voice spoke to him saying, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?  Paul answered this voice saying, Who are you, Lord" and Jesus replied, I am Jesus who you are persecuting.

Jesus then gave Saul specific instructions about who he was to visit to receive further ministry and instruction. Jesus began to tutor a new disciple at this time. Jesus does not give his servant Saul more information than was immediately necessary nor does he with us. He will show us the way one step at a time; the necessary information that we need to get started. The journey of discipleship begins with a first step forward into a new life. Paul was given a new commission separate from those disciples in Jerusalem who ministered to the Jews. Saul was given the task of bringing Grace and salvation to the Gentiles, the non Jewish world.

In the first lines of his epistles, Saul identifies himself with a new name, Paul, to go along with his new nature. Paul in Galatians, accounts how he was taken aside and how he began to be instructed (face to face) personally by Jesus. For three years in the deserts of Arabia, Paul learned Christ. being discipled as one out of due time, a description of his apostolic commissioning found in 1Corinthians 15:5-10. 

The Apostles' Doctrine

Today as this is being written, there is a renewed emphasis on the five fold ministry which places the apostles at the top, and concludes with the ministry heirarchy listed in Ephesians Chapter four. The Apostolic-Prophetic ministries of today are straying from the precepts and teachings of the first century apostles, even as the 4th century church began to abandon the original apostle's doctrine of the first century and introduce the heresies which would continue to hold sway for the next seventeenth centuries. Any other gospel that is taught other than that first offered to the saints who would follow Jesus in the first century should be examined thoroughly and discarded if it is not in accord. Jude in his short epistle declares that the matter of purity of doctrine must be diligently contended to guard against apostasy.

 Why should we place an emphasis on the apostles and the disciples? Because we wish to be connected to the same pure doctrine and the same spirit and the same spiritual life that was manifested and brought forth in the beginning of the church. It must also contain the same power and the same divine order. The apostolic teachings have been described as the foundation in building a house and we must build upon a foundation which is true and sound. The foundation is the apostle's  doctrine. It is based upon the essentials of the true faith of God in Jesus Christ. We also desire to attain to the same unity and inclusiveness as was part of the original fellowship of disciples. There was no member of the original circle of disciples who was just like another. Yet, each shared the same access to Jesus Christ, they all shared the same Spirit, they all shared the same calling to ministry that Jesus was commissioned to execute:
For this reason the son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the Devil
.(1John 3:8) 

The gospel message must conform to that which Paul notes in 2 Corinthians chapter 11: vs. 2-3. It must uphold the right Jesus; the right Gospel and the right Spirit. See Foundations of the Apostles

 

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