Tag Archives: instruction

Salvation and the Church: The Apostles Were a Mixed Up Group

Today’s message summary of November 12, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Church is a place where we learn how to live for Jesus Christ.  It counters how people have learned to live according to the world’s standards.

A person will truly change not just because someone tells him to change.  The true change will come with the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit in that person’s life.

In understanding the word “apostle,” one first has to note that the word was never found in the Old Testament.  It was only presented when Jesus used the word.  It was a word used at sea concerning the ships that first went out.  The ships were “sent out” before the rest of the fleet.  Jesus applied this term to people.  If you take the example of the apostles, Jesus sent them out before the church even comes into existence.  He sent them out beforehand with a message.

Of the people that Jesus chose to be apostles, they were a mixed up group of people!

All but one of the disciples were from Galilee, which turned out to be a hotbed of activity and rebellion against the Romans.  Nazareth was within Galilee, where it was spoken, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46a)

There was a controversy with Jewish authority (a religious group).  Jesus was concerned about what was being taught within these groups.

The apostles witnessed miracles–things that no other person could do.  They may not have completely understood what they were seeing, but yet they witnessed them.  The miracles said something about Jesus, and that He was different from everyone else.

The apostles received private instruction–it was time alone with Jesus.

The apostles witnessed His resurrection.  They saw Him in His new body.

They were able to see things that no one else had seen.  In all of this, they could not even begin to explain all that they had witnessed to others.

Remember that Jesus was involved in two major ministries at that time (in the same way that today’s church is involved with these ministries today):

  1. Calling and training the twelve. (While there was emphasis on the twelve, there was other teaching and instruction that was taking place.)
  2. Healing and teaching in the community. (Jesus spoke to crowds of people and provided valuable wisdom and knowledge.)

The condition of our very society should be a flashpoint as to how the church is to respond, as the church is indeed the light for a dark world.

The church is to train people within its walls to be able to go out and execute Jesus’ Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20), and that is to make disciples of other people–to win people to Jesus Christ and to bolster up and encourage other believers.

The apostles become Jesus’ traveling companions.

The disciples are those who receive Jesus’ teaching and even the direction of the apostles.

The community receives the teachings, and members of the community also go out in an effort to reach others.

Luke 10:1, 17

After this, the Lord appointed 70 others, and He sent them ahead of Him in pairs to every town and place where He Himself was about to go.

The Seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in Your name.”

The apostles were godly men who showed their sincerity by following Jesus; yet at the time of their calling, they were ignorant, narrow-minded, superstitious, and full of Jewish prejudices and misconceptions.

And yet, God calls these men.  They soon learn that Jesus taught them differently from what they had heard in the past.  Even though they were considered godly men, it was Jesus’ words that gave them the ability to look at their own hearts and minds.

The apostles were aware of their own Jewish traditions, but lacked understanding as to their true meaning and application.  They also had prejudice (Jews verses Gentiles, Samaritans) and superstition (ghosts).  This is a lot like many of us today.  Many people have ongoing misconceptions about what the church represents.

The apostles has much to unlearn of what was bad.

They had much to learn of what was good.

There were old beliefs that were incorrect that needed to be challenged in order to make room for new beliefs to be recognized and understood.

The greater number of disciples (70) were occasional followers.  The (12) apostles would be with Him most of the time.  They would become His traveling companions and His real ministry companions.  He was teaching them in order to be able to send them into the world.

Mark 3:13-15

Then He went up the mountain and summoned those He wanted, and they came to Him.  He also appointed 12He also named them apostlesto be with Him, to send them out to preach, and to have authority to drive out demons.

Matthew 13:36

Then He dismissed the crowds and went into the house. His disciples approached Him and said, “Explain the parable of the weeds in the field to us.”

Matthew 6:5

“Whenever you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by the people. I assure you: They’ve got their reward!”

Luke 11:1

He was praying in a certain place, and when He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John also taught his disciples.”

Godly men need to learn how to pray.

Matthew 5:1-2

When He saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain, and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him.  Then He began to teach them…

Jesus is still teaching today if you find the time to be with Him.

Are you willing to learn?  Ask Him to teach you.

Do you desire to know more?  Ask Him for more.

Look at these men who Jesus selected (Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:14-16)

  • Peter and Andrew were brothers (John 1:40-41; Matthew 4:18)
  • James and John were brothers who left their father (Matthew 4:21)
  • Matthew was a government tax collector
  • Thaddeus was known by three different names, including Jude
  • ..a zealot…a killer and hater of Romans
  • Judas was a deceiver and a thief
  • James, son of Alpheus, brother of Matthew
  • ..one who learns, spoke Greek
  • ..also known as Nathanael; was skeptical (John 1:45-49)
  • ..a doubter; was unsure (John 20:27)

Some of the brothers were bidding for a position within their role as apostles (who sits on the right hand of God or the left).  This mixed up group of people had to learn from Jesus what was really important.

John 13:34-35

“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.  By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 8:31-32

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, you really are My disciples.  You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Jesus can take anyone, regardless of their past, and transform a person to become a faithful servant of God.  Jesus just wants you to come.

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The Church and its Priesthood (Part 4)

Today’s message summary of September 3, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

The people of the church are the priesthood of the church.  The people hear the voice of the Spirit and are the teachers and disciples of the church.  These are the people that are moved to live for Christ even outside the walls of the church.  The priesthood leans on Jesus Christ and believes that He is the one who accomplishes what they set out to do.

The priesthood is comprised of teachers.  They teach the people of God and to those who are willing to listen to the words and teaching of Jesus Christ.

Revelation 5:9-10

And they sang a new song: You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because You were slaughtered, and You redeemed people for God by Your blood from every tribe and language and people and nation.  You made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they will reign on the earth.

God gives His people a reason and purpose to live as His priests.  The reason and purpose is to serve Him.

The author of the cause:  to produce, to construct, to form and fashion.

Revelation 20:6

Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection!  The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of the Messiah, and they will reign with Him for 1,000 years.

The purpose of the priest is to teach God’s people.

The priests of the Old Testament were expected to live out their lives in the same way that they gave instruction.  This remains true today.  A priest is to have a sober mind and be sharp.

Leviticus 10:8-11

The Lord spoke to Aaron: You and your sons are not to drink wine or beer when you enter the tent of meeting, or else you will die; this is a permanent statute throughout your generations.  You must distinguish between the holy and the common, and the clean and the unclean, and teach the Israelites all the statutes that the Lord has given to them through Moses.

Priests are not only to teach but to live according to what is being taught.

Ezekiel 44:23

They must teach My people the difference between the holy and the common, and explain to them the difference between the clean and the unclean.

Teaching must have an element of demonstrating its truth (The KJV refers to discernment, while the NIV version is to show, or to make known.).

Hosea 4:6-9

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.  Because you have rejected knowledge, I will reject you from serving as My priest.  Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your sons.  The more they multiplied, the more they sinned against Me.  I will change their honor into disgrace.  They feed on the sin of My people; they have an appetite for their transgressions.  The same judgment will happen to both people and priests.  I will punish them for their ways and repay them for their deeds.

Some people will have knowledge, but it will be the wrong knowledge.  Do you have knowledge based upon your own understanding, or the knowledge that comes from godly wisdom?

James 1:5

Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.

 


The Church’s Benefit is Truth About Life

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:
Church attendance is dwindling throughout America today. The conclusion is that more people believe that the church is less relevant today. In reality, the church actually brings relevance to our lives. When we enter the house of God, it’s purpose is to give us understanding. We learn from the church that the way of the world is vastly different from what we learn in church. It is about not leaning on one’s own way of understanding but on what God states about leaning on His guidance and direction (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Newsweek ran an article about “A World Without Fathers: The Struggle to Save the Black Family” back in 1993. Twenty years later, the state of the Black Family remains in peril and is arguably getting worse.
Statistically, less than 50 percent of black men in high school actually graduate. There has been little to no improvement in the plight of children coming out of high school, in spite of the money that has been spent on education.There is a clear change in society when it comes to marriage. Many people choose living together as an alternative in order to “test out” the relationship.
Americans are creating their own religions by blending their beliefs with what others may believe. They are using the mix-and-match approach in order to conform to what works best for them. The question for this is ‘Are these blended religions in conformity with who God really is?’

These views are all the result of the world’s influence on man’s way of thinking. Some have even proposed that God Himself does not exist. The church brings insight as to what is really the truth about life and provides direction in every daily situation and circumstance.

God’s truth gives understanding to life. Life without God’s truth is nothing less than living life in a state of confusion–it is a life of disorder, embarrassment and failure. The church is a benefit for us because it is the only place we will receive truth that is directly from God concerning all of life that is correct.

The church teaches and insists upon those who claim that they are saved to trust in His Word–the Holy Bible. You cannot say that you do not believe in the Bible and also refer to yourself as a believer in Jesus Christ. It is a standard that is without compromise.

The church instructs that not one word of God’s Word will fade away. Why?

Numbers 23:19
God is not a man who lies,
or a son of man who changes His mind.
Does He speak and not act,
or promise and not fulfill?

In the church, we learn that God is not a man (John 4:24).

John 4:24
God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

God does not lie–He speaks the truth, and His Word will not change.

2 Thessalonians 2:9-12
9 The coming of the lawless one is based on Satan’s working, with all kinds of false miracles, signs, and wonders, 10 and with every unrighteous deception among those who are perishing. They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth in order to be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a strong delusion so that they will believe what is false, 12 so that all will be condemned —those who did not believe the truth but enjoyed unrighteousness.

1 Timothy 4:1-3
1 Now the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will depart from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons, 2 through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared. 3 They forbid marriage and demand abstinence from foods that God created to be received with gratitude by those who believe and know the truth.

2 Timothy 3:7
…always learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.

Romans 3:4
…Absolutely not! God must be true, even if everyone is a liar, as it is written:

That You may be justified in Your words
and triumph when You judge.

Psalm 119:89-91
ל 89 Lord, Your word is forever;
it is firmly fixed in heaven.
90 Your faithfulness is for all generations;
You established the earth, and it stands firm.
91 They stand today in accordance with Your judgments,
for all things are Your servants.

Matthew 5:18
For I assure you: Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or one stroke of a letter will pass from the law until all things are accomplished.

2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 All Scripture is inspired by God[a] and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

The truth about life comes through the church and God’s Word through Jesus Christ.

John 14:6
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

John 8:32
You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

God’s people are being prepared for service and work within His church and for His ministry. The church is the body of Christ.

Ephesians 4:11
And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers…

Colossians 1:24
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and I am completing in my flesh what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for His body, that is, the church.

God does not change His mind; as a result, the church believes the words of God, stands on it, and acts upon it. We need His Word to renew our minds, to keep us and help us to endure the afflictions that come from the enemy. He is our Comforter. He has a standard that is far above that of the world that we live in. He wants us to seek His kingdom in the way that we live.

Isaiah 55:8
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
and your ways are not My ways.”
This is the Lord’s declaration.

God’s Word declares sin and the nature of the sinner.

Psalm 73:18-19
18 Indeed, You put them in slippery places;
You make them fall into ruin.
19 How suddenly they become a desolation!
They come to an end, swept away by terrors.

The believer in Jesus Christ who responds to Him and His Word will receive blessings from Him.

John 1:17
…for the law was given through Moses,
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

God’s Word provides teaching and valuable instruction for dealing with the issues of life. It also provides clear information on how to worship Him and how to remain in righteous living.

The church carries out God’s plan. It is not a new plan–it was His plan from the beginning.

Genesis 1:28
God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.”

Matthew 28:18-20
18 Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

“Subduing the land” requires work. It means to conquer or bring into subjection. It is to overcome by way of persuasion or training. We all are to work with a clean conscience in how we live, and that is how God reaches us as He ministers to us while we minister to others. His truth calls us to work for His kingdom.

To make disciples calls for work. Our work is for Jesus Christ and its purpose is to reach others. It is all about all of us coming under God’s authority.


Rest in The Lord

For many of us, there is no such thing as a slow time of the year, and the holiday season is no exception to that.  Everything that we are involved in seems to move at a rapid pace.  There are timelines and deadlines, ever-present breaking news events, instant communication through emails and social media, and ever-increasing expectations to do more with less, even when we aren’t at work.

As busy as we can be, our moments of leisure, such as a vacation, or even a day off from work, are very precious to us.  These are the times when we can rest our bodies, take a deep breath, and enjoy the change of scenery or surroundings, or even get a nap or two in when we need it most.  If only those moments wouldn’t go by so quickly!

Our time of rest is indeed precious to us.  God knows that this time is special.  While it is good for all of us to work (2 Thessalonians 3:10) and remain busy in service for Him, it is still a necessity that we make time for some down time.  In our time of rest, we are to use it to our benefit.  We need to regularly refresh and recharge our batteries, for it helps each of us to see life in a way where we can appreciate what we have instead of what we don’t have.  It is a time to focus on the peace of the moment and on where God is in your life.

The best opportunities of reflecting upon God come when we are less busy—it’s very difficult to do when we are very busy.  While we are to never put Him to the side while we are at work, we are best able to learn about Him during our moments of rest.  What you will find is that the moments of rest are His preferred time for each of us to rest in Him and in His Word.  The more that we see His best during our rest, the more we will see His presence at all times during our life.

God uses the time we spend in Him to communicate with us, and to give us a reassurance of His presence.  He gives us what we need, and when we need it most.

Deuteronomy 7:9

Know that Yahweh your God is God, the faithful God who keeps His gracious covenant loyalty for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commands. 

Psalm 119:102-105

I have not turned from Your judgments,
for You Yourself have instructed me.

    103 How sweet Your word is to my taste—
[sweeter] than honey to my mouth.

    104 I gain understanding from Your precepts;
therefore I hate every false way.

 105 Your word is a lamp for my feet 
and a light on my path.

In the same way that we need rest after a very long and busy day, we need God’s promises to bolster us and gives us encouragement through these moments, and even through those times when things are not going very well.  If we are being oppressed, falsely accused, or even persecuted, we are not going through those experiences alone.  God is aware of everything that we go through, sees it all, and provides encouragement that helps us to endure it.

Deuteronomy 31:6, 8

Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For it is the LORD your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.  The LORD is the One who will go before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid or discouraged.”

Psalm 55:22

Cast your burden on the LORD,
and He will support you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.

Psalm 27:13-14

13 I am certain that I will see the LORD’s goodness
in the land of the living.

    14 Wait for the LORD;
be courageous and let your heart be strong.
Wait for the LORD.

When we slow down from a busy life pace, we can best hear God speaking to us.  Our time of rest should also be a time of recovery, and a time of healing.

Matthew 11:28-30

28 “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Jesus Christ encourages the state of being at rest, because, in His wisdom, He relates to us that He is the true source of our rest.  We readily need rest from our hectic life, our troubles, and our difficulties, and He encourages us to seek Him for that rest.  One area of that rest in Christ is communication with Him through prayer:

Philippians 4:6-7

6 Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 107:28-30

28 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
and He brought them out of their distress.

    29 He stilled the storm to a murmur,
and the waves of the sea were hushed.

    30 They rejoiced when the waves grew quiet.
Then He guided them to the harbor they longed for.

Matthew 7:7

“Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you.

Matthew 21:22

And if you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

Mark 11:24

Therefore, I tell you, all the things you pray and ask for —believe that you have received them, and you will have them.

John 14:13-14

13 Whatever you ask in My name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.

In addition to prayer, your rest in the Lord is fulfilled when you have faith that God is responsive to your prayers and that you exercise complete trust…your trust and faith in the Lord is when you realize the true rest that Christ provides.  It is rest with confidence in Christ’s ability.

1 John 5:14-15

 14 Now this is the confidence we have before Him: whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for.

Another aspect of rest in the Lord is that He communicates with us in response to our prayers and provides insight to His will with guidance and direction.

Psalm 32:8

I will instruct you and show you the way to go; 
with My eye on you, I will give counsel.

Proverbs 3:1-6

 1 My son, don’t forget my teaching,
but let your heart keep my commands;

    2 for they will bring you
many days, a full life, and well-being.

    3 Never let loyalty and faithfulness leave you.
Tie them around your neck;
write them on the tablet of your heart.

    4 Then you will find favor and high regard
in the sight of God and man.

    5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own understanding;

    6 think about Him in all your ways,
and He will guide you on the right paths.

Resting in the Lord is more than just a state of mind and mere relaxation.  It is actually our best opportunity to slow our life pace down to recognize His true goodness.  He gives us much more than just rest.  He gives us a time of reflection through His word.  We are assured of:

  • His very presence
  • His encouragement through His Word
  • His communication with us through prayer

With these things, we have a confidence that He responds to us and that He will guide us through each and every situation and circumstance.  Our true rest in the Lord is our complete faith and trust in Him.

Copyright © Melvin Gaines. All rights reserved.


The Wilderness of Life

When one goes through a wilderness experience, we learn something from it. How quickly one learns from the experience and the attitude of the person is very important. God allows things to occur in life in order for one to see who God really is, and that it is God’s grace that is always evident.When going through a wilderness experience, the flesh makes its presence known, yet it provides emphasis on how you are to live in the midst of God’s grace.

There are two types of wilderness experiences:

1.) God will take you from one place to another, and sometimes for your own safety. It is a time to prepare you for a life God wants you to live, or even for a task.

2.) God takes you into the wilderness because of rebellion against Him. If one is not willing to follow His plan, His will, or listen to His instruction, or if one concludes that He is not needed or necessary to accomplish anything. One will also be driven into the wilderness when it is perceived that God has asked to do what is not possible (for example, staying in a marriage or a job that is extremely difficult). He has to remind us that He is the one who provides for all of us and that nothing is impossible.

Mark 10:27
Looking at them, Jesus said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God, because all things are possible with God.”

The wilderness, as referenced in Scripture, was a learning experience:

  • The instruction of Moses in leading his people
  • John the Baptist’s learning and preparation
  • Jesus in the wilderness when being tempted by Satan
  • David in the caves in the wilderness (evidenced by many Psalms that he wrote of his experiences)

Jeremiah 9:2
If only I had a traveler’s lodging place
in the wilderness,
I would abandon my people
and depart from them,
for they are all adulterers,
a solemn assembly of treacherous people.

Revelation 12:13-16
13 When the dragon saw that he had been thrown to earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male. 14 The woman was given two wings of a great eagle, so that she could fly from the serpent’s presence to her place in the wilderness, where she was fed for a time, times, and half a time. 15 From his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river after the woman, to sweep her away in a torrent. 16 But the earth helped the woman: the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the river that the dragon had spewed from his mouth.

A wilderness experience is far from enjoyable, but it can be for our protection from harm in the midst of the learning experience.

Exodus 13:17-22
17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them along the road to the land of the Philistines, even though it was nearby; for God said, “The people will change their minds and return to Egypt if they face war.” 18 So He led the people around toward the Red Sea along the road of the wilderness. And the Israelites left the land of Egypt in battle formation.
19 Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, because Joseph had made the Israelites swear a solemn oath, saying, “God will certainly come to your aid; then you must take my bones with you from this place.”

20 They set out from Succoth and camped at Etham on the edge of the wilderness. 21 The LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to lead them on their way during the day and in a pillar of fire to give them light at night, so that they could travel day or night. 22 The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night never left its place in front of the people.

Wilderness experiences are seldom seen as short cuts. God is orchestrating every experience, and He’s not in a hurry. He’s not in a hurry because there is still a great deal of learning that must take place spiritually. The flesh is always the deterrent in the learning process, for it makes surrendering to this world very inviting.

Matthew 26:41
“Stay awake and pray, so that you won’t enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

The nation of Israel was not prepared for battle (they were living as slaves), and they were only used to serving for task masters. They had to learn how to love God, who loved them, for they had heard the stories from their fathers about God (Exodus 13:19), yet, they had to experience Him for themselves. In the same way, new believers in Christ have to continue to learn about God and who He is for them personally. The learning needs to go beyond just hearing about God and His Word. There must be a willingness to follow Him and trust in His ongoing presence.

The wilderness experience of Israel brought about the development of a nation, even though their learning experience was still ongoing. Our wilderness experiences challenge each of us to be receptive to His instruction and be the best that we can be, and He will provide direction for us. We may not have all of the details as to when or how we will come out of the wilderness, but we should always remember that God is present throughout the experience.


Preparation For Ministry

Have you considered that life is a series of events of preparation? For example, the act of raising a child is a series of events to prepare that child for life as they grow older. Children are taught about becoming adults as they approach adulthood, but much of what is learned is preparation, and it requires ongoing learning.As an adult, one should prepare for future events, such as a transition within the family, or when your spouse outlives you. The preparation for eventual events prevents one, or others around you, from being completely caught off guard.Christians should also always be prepared for ministry. In order to be prepared, it requires the consistent study of God’s Word. It also requires a preparation of the heart for ministry, which means having a heart to share the love of Christ. It is a readiness to share and a willingness to speak up for Jesus Christ.Preparation is all about training, but it requires the time and willingness to be trained. What we should remember is that Jesus, in His human body, was in training for thirty years to fulfill three years of ministry, and through all of it, experienced temptation as we do; nevertheless, he remained focused on what needed to be done.

In the book of Matthew, Jesus was taken by his parents to Egypt to flee from Herod and his decree to kill all of the firstborn males, and through this Jesus escaped and returned to Nazareth after Herod’s death. Nazareth was not looked highly upon by others; as a result, Jesus was raised quietly there.

John 1:46

“Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Nathanael asked him.

    “Come and see,” Philip answered.

Luke 2:41-44

41 Every year His parents traveled to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival. 42 When He was 12 years old, they went up according to the custom of the festival. 43 After those days were over, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but His parents did not know it. 44 Assuming He was in the traveling party, they went a day’s journey. Then they began looking for Him among their relatives and friends.

Jesus traveled to Jerusalem with his parents to Jerusalem three times a year with his brothers and traveled around Samaria in doing so. As a young child, this required discipline and instruction, and it was done faithfully.

In the custom of the day, a twelve year old had more responsibility and maturity, which means they were more actively involved in family issues, and it was not unusual for family members to travel in different parties. In this situation, however, Jesus was not traveling with the family as Joseph and Mary returned from Jerusalem to Nazareth. They searched for Jesus and, after not finding Him in their party.

Luke 2:45-49

45 When they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for Him. 46 After three days, they found Him in the temple complex sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all those who heard Him were astounded at His understanding and His answers. 48 When His parents saw Him, they were astonished, and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for You.”

    49 “Why were you searching for Me?” He asked them. “Didn’t you know that I had to be in my Father’s house?”

The fact that Jesus was in the temple complex should not be missed here. Jesus was focused on doing the work of God, the father, and teaching men, who were teachers in their own right, about the things of God. Joseph and Mary still saw Him as a child, and did not realize that Jesus was aware of what His role in life was.

Luke 2:51-52

51 Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was obedient to them. His mother kept all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with people.

Yet, even though Jesus was God, He was obedient to His parents and remained under their authority until he became an adult. His obedience sets the example for parent-child relationships, and how we, even in our areas of authority, have to also learn how to come under authority. Mary also learned from this experience that her child was special.

It is important for each of us to know, at an early age if at all possible, what our role is in ministry. Knowing this requires guidance, instruction, and ongoing training. This is how Jesus was raised, and his training enabled Him to know where His focus should be.

Sometime later, Joseph passes away, and Jesus takes on, according to Jewish culture, the responsibility of caring for the family–an ongoing growth and maturity in His life. Jesus readily took on His responsibility, and fulfilled it. Not much is written in Scripture about Jesus’ life from age 12 to around age 30, but we know that He grew in wisdom and knowledge and in stature (Luke 2:52).

John 4:34

“My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work,” Jesus told them.

Ministry requires dedication and discipline, and it starts with a lifetime of preparation and the proper guidance as you grow and mature. It requires a studious behavior and a desire to learn more about Jesus Christ, and to learn how to speak with others.

Titus 3:1

Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work

The preparation is absolutely necessary, for the road of ministry is difficult and challenging.

Matthew 10:16

“Look, I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as serpents and as harmless as doves.”