Tag Archives: Nazareth

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 Disciples of Jesus Christ

A person who accepts Jesus Christ as his or her personal Savior has to continue to learn more about who Jesus Christ is.Do you, as a believer, live for Jesus Christ and recognize its difficulties? It is not easy to be a follower, or a disciple, of Christ. It’s not enough to just say you believe in Christ…you also need to follow Christ by being obedient to His Word.
John 6:60, 8:31

 60 Therefore, when many of His disciples heard this, they said, “This teaching is hard! Who can accept it?”

31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, you really are My disciples.

The power of the Holy Spirit gives us the ability to remain obedient to Him where our own strength would make this difficult, if not impossible, to do. There are demands within Scripture that make this difficult.

Matthew 26:56

But all this has happened so that the prophetic Scriptures would be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted Him and ran away.

Luke 14:26-27, 33

26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, 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.

33 In the same way, therefore, every one of you who does not say good-bye to all his possessions cannot be My disciple.

In order to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, it may require more than one encounter with Jesus.

Matthew 4:18-21

 18 As He was walking along the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the sea, since they were fishermen. 19 “Follow Me,” He told them, “and I will make you fish for people!” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.

    21 Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and He called them.

Mark 1:16

As He was passing along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, Simon’s brother. They were casting a net into the sea, since they were fishermen.

Luke 5:1-4

 1 As the crowd was pressing in on Jesus to hear God’s word, He was standing by Lake Gennesaret. 2 He saw two boats at the edge of the lake; the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, which belonged to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from the land. Then He sat down and was teaching the crowds from the boat.

    4 When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch.”

Matthew 4:18-21, Mark 1:16 and Luke 5:1-4 essentially say the same point of reaching out to call upon His disciples.

John 1:35-51 is a little different from the previous three verses in that some of his disciples had a second encounter with Him, especially three of the first five disciples. the first two disciples followed Jesus because of the testimony of John the Baptist (John 1:35-37). There are testimonies of Christ that come about through indirect comments. Some are direct, also, and we’ll see differences here as Christ was reaching out to his disciples.

John 1:37-39

37 The two disciples heard him say this and followed Jesus. 38 When Jesus turned and noticed them following Him, He asked them, “What are you looking for?”

    They said to Him, ” Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are You staying?”

    39 “Come and you’ll see,” He replied. So they went and saw where He was staying, and they stayed with Him that day. It was about 10 in the morning.

Notice that those who follow Christ are still in need of answers beyond they already have. Sometimes the answers to questions come later after you experience more about Jesus. If you ever want to learn more about Christ, you have to spend time with Him. Once you sincerely spend time with Jesus and live for Him, you will get excited!

John 1:40-42
Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard John and followed Him. He first found his brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah! (which means “Anointed One”), and he brought Simon to Jesus. When Jesus saw him, He said, “You are Simon, son of John. You will be called “Cephas” (which means “Rock”).

John 1:43-51

 43 The next day He decided to leave for Galilee. Jesus found Philip and told him, “Follow Me!”    44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the hometown of Andrew and Peter. 45Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the One Moses wrote about in the law (and so did the prophets ): Jesus the son of Joseph, from Nazareth!”    46 “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Nathanael asked him.    “Come and see,” Philip answered.    47 Then Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him and said about him,”Here is a true Israelite; no deceit is in him.”

    48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.

    “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you,”Jesus answered.

    49 ” Rabbi,” Nathanael replied, “You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”

    50 Jesus responded to him, “Do you believe [only] because I told you I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” 51 Then He said, ” I assure you: You will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

Philip follows Jesus just by asking him to follow me. Nathanael has an experience and finally connects Jesus with what he learned about in Scripture, but he had to experience Jesus for Himself to recognize Him as the Son of God.

In all of these situations, the Holy Spirit has to give the person who recognizes Christ the ability to see Him as Lord and Savior.