Link to All Pinkney Commentary Titles
Every Believer Becomes a Disciple -
As many that have received the
gift, minister it to one another,
as good stewards of the manifold Grace of God
2012 PDF Edition of Complete "Disciple's Handbook"
(you will find additional content and updated corrections
from the chapter by chapter links below.)
A Disciple's Handbook Complete Version in PDF Form
of God's Power - PDF FILE:
How all believers may receive
'The Promise of the Father'
Through the Holy Spirit
Paul Defines the Apostolic Emphasis
In chapters one and two of his first letter to Corinth Paul presses a very important foundation point. This particular emphasis stresses the difference between a Spiritual (supernatural) message contrasted to a conceptual one. In chapter 1 verse 17 he states that his gospel emphasis is not based upon words of human wisdom but in power generated from heaven where Jesus Christ is enthroned. It was on the cross of Jesus' crucifixion where the exchange of righteousness was made. The cross of crucifixion is where the sacrifice was made. The cross of crucifixion is where God paid the price in blood for every sinner. This doctrine of the cross does not end with a man's death but with a divinely-powered resurrection. Thus the doctrine that Paul speaks of includes the death and the resurrection of Jesus. It was Jesus who was crucified, dead, buried and resurrected. The holiday we call Easter fulfilled the Passover, Unleavened bread and First Fruits. It is truly unfortunate that so few Christians understand the Jewish roots of Christianity, including the fact that Jesus (Yeshua) and most all of the first disciples and apostles were Jews. Yeshua rose from the dead, ascended on high, took captivity captive, and gave gifts to all who would believe. Paul's statement of the cross addresses victory, not sorrow or loss. The resurrection speaks of the power of an endless life laying a foundation of that inheritance for all believers. It tells about the Father's plan to extend grace and peace to every man, woman and child. It speaks about the ability to become a new creation in Christ.
of God Versus Human Wisdom
in the opening chapters of 1 Corinthians, introduces the theme of
"wisdom." Paul contrasts human wisdom to divine wisdom.
He explains that a man who deems himself wise through power of
reason, struggles to accept the wisdom of God. God's wisdom is
framed in paradoxes and conundrums. For example the paradox of
the least being the greatest; the weak being the strong; the
first being last; the wise being foolish; the living being dead;
while the dead are being awakened to live.
these concepts make any sense to you, perhaps God has already
opened your eyes in a very significant way. God framed truth in
such a way that when they sound preposterous, unbelievable and
irrational and become a stumbling block for many who are
world says, "Be someone, do your own thing, express your
individuality." God says, "Decrease your self
importance, take your cross. We are told to let the outward "you"
be crucified so that the Spirit of Christ can have effective
sanctuary and expression in you.
Accessing God's truth requires faith on our part. Paul, in the same letter talks about how to make Spiritual realities manifest. "I did not come teaching and preaching with enticing words of man's wisdom but with demonstration of the Spirit and of power that your faith should not stand upon man's wisdom but upon the power of God. (1Corinthians 2:4,5) The Spiritual life only begins to manifest because of the grace of God. It is actually God who gives us the ability to act in faith.
The gospel states with respect to the Kingdom of God that we are all pressing into it. (Luke 16:16) The Lord stands at the door knocking, the action of faith opens that door to him. Again, grace is the initiatory cause, it is God's hand in matters concerning our life that stirs, directs and empowers. Grace is the hand of God outstretched to us, beckoning; he bids us to come forth. We respond to him and we press in to the world of Spiritual life that awaits. The hand of grace is outstretched in love. Grace speaks in the voice of love, kindness, compassion and giving. This love is caring and constructive in nature. Love builds and empowers the body to grow. Love builds the bonds of those who come together to share their faith experience. Love, not knowledge defines the character and the parameters of the spiritual life. There is always a knowledge component involved in studying God's word. But from mere information, precepts grow as the Spirit of God gives 'understanding' and connectivity to the whole of scripture. Scripture reminds us that knowledge alone ultimately has the affect of "puffing up" our egos. We find that knowledge without compassion becomes a deficit. We will always find that the "knowledge" aspect of Christianity is closely linked to "religious systems." In the religious realm knowledge and expertise defines God knowledge and not so much personal revelation that the Spirit of God provides in the study of the word of God.
How much do we have to know before we become Spiritual?
I describe that the Apostle Paul emphasizes the power that God provides. Activation in all spiritual matter derives through Christ Jesus' Spirit. This spirit is given to empower our lives and relationships.
The attribute of spiritual relationships within the body of believers lies closer to the center of Spirituality than any other factor. The koinonia, fellowship and relationship of believers becomes the life of the body of Christ on earth. In order to glimpse the New Testament church of the Book of Acts, "They continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship and breaking of bread, and with prayer." (Acts, Chapter 2:42) The apostles who knew the way of God in the richest measure served to guide novices into the same area of common experience. By witnessing through first hand experience; the community grew dynamically. The Kingdom of God expands in their regions gaining more and more converts. A community grows and stands in the midst of a world of unbelief, carnality, and unrighteousness.
calls us into a family-like community in which God
is not only glorified but in which God continuously interacts
with the disciples of this community.
Genuine affection and fellowship is what this community is about.
This 'family' is characterized by sharing the joy of redemption
(salvation is the first step in pressing into this community.)
This intimate fellowship of believers is the closest thing to
heaven God has for us on earth. We share a common mind, a common
testimony, a common hope. We are baptized into one Spirit into a
common destiny. This community is redemptive owing to the fact
that deceptions that tarnish this world can not endure in the
presence of the Living God, neither can the things which defile
the flesh stand in his presence. We
welcome those who enterr this community of faith where we find
restoration, strength and edification. We come together in
fellowship to repair the bumps, bruises, and blemishes that life
in this world inflicts upon those who are "not
of this world."
God chooses a diversity of human gifts and abilities
As we gather in the body we soon realize that there are so many different life experiences. These display the diversities of gifts and abilities. There needs to be a welcoming of these unique gifts that these individuals offer. We are not meant to be like another. However, the path to discipleship is a long and gradual process. Some progress more quickly owing to the grace of God. During the continuous process of discipleship we must be open and teachable. We need to respect the mature and seasoned in matters spiritual. Spiritual experience among the mature may be broad enough to demonstrate a total range of spirituality and anointings. See Romans Chapter 12; 1Corinthians 12; and 1Corinthians 14, and Ephesians 4. We are reminded that Paul is so bold to admonish his own disciples to "imitate him as he imitates" Christ Jesus.
POWER OF PARADIGMS
essential questions asked by philosophers:
wisdom extols and rewards self-exaltation and individuality Godly
wisdom (the Truth) says deny yourself take up your cross, die to
yourself. In the Jesus, Spirit-led model of wisdom no man is
"good "Worldly wisdom is based upon observation and the
appearance of things Godly
wisdom (the Truth) The unseen things are eternal and have
a substance yet to be known by human reason.
The Paradigm of Religious Wisdom
formal religions feature some if not all of the following
descriptions of the way they minister the Truth of God to people.
In the religious paradigm the religious life occurs in or
centers around a 'church house.' In the religious paradigm the
church house is called "the house of God" In the
religious paradigm traditions include various church features or
components such as:
the religious paradigm a formally trained priest or clergy
"officiates" over the "services"
Spirit-led model of wisdom presents paradoxes to natural
instincts or wisdom of man;
of Religious Wisdom
WHEN WE GATHER AS A BODY (KOINONIA)
eternal purpose of the triune God was to expand that triune
intimacy to the human race.
ALL BELIEVERS CALLED TO MINISTER?
It would be good for religious eyes to see what things can and do happen in a New Testament meeting. 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.
Church liturgy began to be put together in the 3rd or 4th century of the 'church' age. The formalizing of service into ritual occluded the kind of glorious liberty and fellowship known in the days of the apostles. Who knows what were the motivating intentions behind formalism. Perhaps is was the purpose of preserving some of the truth or glory of those earlier days. Maybe they wished to insure the manifestation of God's presence and to provide a platform to disciple those who needed to under stand the truth of Christ's eternal ministry.
The Bible shows that God's presence can not be captured and preserved. The Israelites of Old tried to do so, but when God's Glory departed it was gone they were left, as in the case of Mose's brazen serpent, with a lifeless idol. The temple remained but God's presence was gone. Whether God's glory and fellowship remains with us is determined by the hearts of those who gather to worship him. Yes, through the years, churches preserved catechism, but remained but the glory had been lost. The ritual remained and the liturgical trappings remained but the presence of God vanished. Ritual happens, I believe, when men try to duplicate a behavior which once brought forth the glory of God through faith.
preserved by the Roman church substituted mystery and iconography
for God's presence. "Ministry" became the focus of a
very small body of liturgical experts, called the priesthood or
the clergy, when it was always to be the domain of every
believer. Just as God wishes each believer to be a ministering
priest, he wishes us to become a true
What is a true worshipper and what does it mean to worship the
Father in Spirit and in Truth? (John 4:23) God is always looking
for True Worshippers. He looks at the hearts and determines
sincere devotion and thankfulness. He does not regard the man
with the religious more highly than a common person whose heart
is open. He does not favor a cathedral over another location
whether a meadow or humble home. As Jesus told the woman at the
well of Samaria, it is not where you worship, not
upon this mountain or another mountain,
but what and how we worship. He said to her that some do
not know what they are even worshipping but
the truth is that salvation is connected to worship, it is
through the foundation of the Jews. The time was coming, Jesus
men and women women would worship the Most High God in the Spirit
Holiness. Those who do not have this Spirit can not have the
authentic and true revelation and witness of God.
Believer Becomes a Disciple -
IS NOT JUST ABOUT PARTAKING OF THE LIFE OF GOD BUT TO PARTAKE IN
THE MINISTRY OF Yeshua (JESUS)
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, spoke with him, and were both witnesses and partakers
of his Spiritual ministry. They knew his voice; saw his power;
and marveled at his wisdom. On a strictly physical level they
knew him! This was not considered adequate for these original
disciples and were exhorted to receive an additional supernatural
empowerment (Wait in Jerusalem until you receive power from
above- -) in order to demonstrate and build the Kingdom of God.
Today I suspect that few nominal Christians are able to say they
know Jesus on a personal level. Yes, although they have heard
about him and have studied doctrines or teaching, how much
do they know him in the power of his love and in the power of his
are exhorted as believers to mature. We are not to ramain a
novice, a baby in the faith, but that we exhorted to 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 - -;
Ministry Edifies, Strengthens, and Blesses
Discipling pertains to the edification and maturing of the body Christ. This need not be the formal sort of ministry experienced as the normal Saturday or Sunday fare in a typical congregation. In the form presented by the apostles it is the living, pure, peaceable, and entirely informal sharing of the life of Christ and the acknowledgment of the revelation of the Word of Truth, among believers. We pass through various stages as we grow. Just as in the natural, we begin as babies, then children, the strong young 'men', then mature sages expressing the character and spiritual nature of Jesus Christ. So is it in the matter of Spiritual growth. The Bible shows how we each are called to minister our individual Spiritual gifts to one another. (Rom.12; 1Cor.12. 1 Cor. 14, and 1Pet 4:11)
Individuals have various of testimonies and experiences from day to day. Some have more of this, some less depending on the pressures of life. There may be some with musical gifts with which enhance worship, and of course some have 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. At times of spiritual fellowship, mundane issues and distracting chit-chat kinds of conversations are distractions. But this is not to say that questions can't be shared about the pressures and problems of living can not be shared among the fellowship and become a source of teaching or a subject of prayer.
The dynamics of fellowship changes from week to week as fewer or more people are present at a house or meeing place. I believe fellowship should never turn into something that is impersonal or formalistic. However it can become that especially when everything is controlled by one person. Those unfamiliar with such kinds of fellowship need to experience what things can and do 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, heal broken relationships and save a person's soul. The Holy Spirit administers just such actions. (See link to Why We Gather )
JESUS MINISTRY IS A MODEL TO SPIRITUAL LIFE
Disciples, Practice and Learn the "Disciples 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
You may be interested in checking out the writing of Frank Viola and George Barna See www.ptmin.org and listen to some interviews as sound files describing the return to open, house church. 1Peter: 4-11 (any that have received the gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the 'many faceted' Grace of God)
A Religious spirit in the form of domination, control or formalism, continuously stalks the believer with the aim of transforming God-life into dead religion. Church liturgy was put together in times past, perhaps following just after 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. If only God's manifest presence could be captured and preserved, but alas it can not. He is moving on as the pillar of cloud moved ahead directed the sojourners in the wilderness in the book of Exodus.
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 it was gone they were left with a lifeless object (an 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. With passing years catechism remained but the glory 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. Elements and doctrines that remain are a substitute for God's presence. "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 re-think: Abolish the Laity! God wishes each
believer to be a ministering priest,
Understanding Home Fellowships