It is a false mentality to assume that just because we are believers, we are disciples. Christians are born into the new life, but disciples are made through learning to sit at the feet of our Lord Jesus Christ and learn.
I am amazed in the body of Christ at the amount of believers who walk with an unteachable heart. Even when Bible studies go out, many treat them as a buffet style smorgasbord which we can pick and choose what we want to learn. The Bible studies which we pick are typically things we already agree with anyway, therefore we haven't learn anything new. It was just good to have someone post a study that we know we can come in agreement with.
But then comes the study that goes against what we believe or want to believe. This could be because we are emotionally or mentally tied to a doctrine and don't want to hear anything that would speak against it and cause change. Therefore we use the age-old statement that in our own eyes carries a high level of authority. This age-old statement is "I disagree with that".
I wish I had a dollar for every time I have heard this as a Pastor. After 40 years of ministry I am saddened to say that not one person who offered this brilliant statement has offered any Biblical texts or explanations other than a strongly emotional "I disagree with that." They say this statement with such authority that it would seem they believed that we who have labored in diligent study in writing these detailed Bible studies are supposed to be overwhelmed with their emotional sincerity and therefore throw all our Biblical study out the window.
We, the church, are in a sad shape. God's people perish because of a lack of knowledge. Therefore, those who really seek truth will continue to study the Word of Truth and seek to rightly divide the Word. They will continue for a season to post more studies in hope that some will have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying. And of course they will pray for the church. The worldliness within the church which the backslidden label as Christian and Biblical is somewhat unbelievable. According to Scriptures, what requirements does our Lord Jesus Christ state for those who want to be His disciples? (See Luke 14:26-33).
Luke 14:26-33 ESV "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. (27) Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. (28) For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? (29) Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, (30) saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.' (31) Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? (32) And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. (33) So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
The discipling of our Heavenly Father.
THE FEAR OF GOD: Defined
The next study I actually get into the rewards of walking in the fear of God. I wanted to continue one more study on defining the fear of God, along with sharing about the discipling hand of God.
A biblical fear of God, for the believer, includes understanding how much God hates sin and fearing His judgment on sin.
We as believers say at sometime that we love God. But it takes God to love God. He loves Himself through us. I loved Him because He first loved me. (1 Jn.4:19). None of us can possibility love God with our four fleshly loves like God can love Himself through us.
The same is true with hating sin. We may all have said at some time in our Christian walk that we hate sin. Most of the time we may have been talking about the sin in the world, or in someone else. We may have actually said or thought that we hate the sin we see in our own lives. However, Just like we can't love like God loves, we also can't hate the way God hates. God hates sin. He hates it so much that He sent His Son to die for us to redeem us from the sin nature and the power of sin over us. When we learn the fear of God we will find that our hatred of sin increases.
The Father disciplines us for the same reason our earthly fathers should have disciplined us, to modify behavior. With our earthly father it was to modify moral behavior. It was so that we would talk and act the way our earthly father believed we should. But there were no standards because each earthly father had their own view of what to discipline and what was acceptable behavior.
With God the discipline was to modify righteous behavior. It was so that we would think, say, and act the way our Heavenly father does and in alignment with both His Word and His character. The joy of this is that the standard is absolute. The same standard the Father set for you, He set for me. That which is acceptable behavior is that which looks like Him. In this He is forming His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ in us.
Hebrews 12:5-11 ESV And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. (6) For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” (7) It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? (8) If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. (9) Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? (10) For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. (11) For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Hebrews 12:5-11 describes God’s discipline or chastening of the believer. While it is done in love (Hebrews 12:6), it is still a fearful thing. As children, the fear of discipline from our parents no doubt prevented some evil actions. The same should be true in our relationship with God. We should fear His discipline, and therefore seek to live our lives in such a way that pleases Him. It is not being afraid of God but in awe and reverence, fear His holy presence in the midst of a disobedient heart.
Charles Morris. Founder and Senior Pastor of RSIM USA.