Categories
Discipleship Healing Jesus Preaching Kingdom of God Ministry Miracles Prayer Success

Jesus Taught a Progression: An Overview

Jesus taught lots of things; in particular, there is an important series of things to do in order to minister more like Jesus. From one point of view, here’s an overview:

First, it’s valuable to know what an Ecclesia is. That’s a Greek word frequently translated as “church” in many bibles, today. And that can be confusing because the meaning has changed over the years.

When the Roman’s conquered a new territory, one of the things they would do was to appoint people to transform the local culture to Roman culture. To teach them how to talk, dress and in many other ways act like Romans. So that when the Emperor would come, he would feel at comfortable and at home. These people were backed up by the power of the Roman Empire.

Jesus apparently borrowed the term and used it to mean local Christians, disciples, who would meet in small groups – such as peoples homes (in addition to public places). Encourage and build each other up. Teach and help one another And, to change and transform the surrounding culture – into becoming a Christian culture with lots of disciples. An Ecclesia is backed up by the Kingdom of God, led by Jesus – our King.

This was a period of extremely rapid growth of the Body of Christ, and this was a huge method of helping that to happen. Ecclesia’s made of disciples were very important to the rapid spread of Christianity.

They practiced what is now called “Marketplace Ministry”. Not in local churches with separate buildings where they sat passively as one mostly person spoke. Everyone participated and many were business owners – fishing business, sheep business, a tax collector. Jesus was a worker of wood – making many different things. Later St. Paul was a tentmaker. At that same time there was also a dealer in expensive dyes. And others….

How were such disciples made? Through Ministry. It went something like this:

-Jesus and later his disciples always began with prayer. Prayer, prayer and more prayer. Always much prayer before growth in numbers ad in effective ministry happened.

Then to go. Going for the Harvest of souls. Going took several forms, which we will explore later. The key point: people were sent.

-Then the Proclamation or Preaching of the Good News of the Kingdom of God.

-Then in that context, the healing of the sick, freeing those bound by unclean spirits; and also the cleansing of lepers and raising the dead. (I often speak of this as being healing the sick and freeing the bound for a shorter phrasing as well as focusing on what is more usual these days. The other two items are still valid.) This attracted lots more people!

-Then was the making of disciples (of all ethnos, – all people groups). People who learned and who applied and practiced what they were learning. And reported back to a rabbi for more instruction as needed. Most people went on with their lives, happy for the ministry help. A few even said, thanks. A much smaller number were open to learning and to applying what they were learning. The custom among in Israel at that time (where Jesus was ministering) was that a rabbi would teach, disciples would go practice and report back to the rabbi. Who would give more teaching to help, as needed.

-The disciples would in turn become sent ones, who prayed for their areas, then were sent to represent the Kingdom and make more disciples by going through this progression of steps.

-The disciples who were going through this progression and making more disciples would also meet to encourage, help, minister to, and teach one another. All participated. Leadership had the purpose of helping them achieve unity in the faith, maturity in Christ, and to prepare these people for ministry – and more. Ministry was to be done by people helped by leadership to be prepared to do such ministry. This was the biblical pattern.

And this was the progression. Prayer, then going to help gather the harvest – sent in a few but somewhat various ways. Proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. Healing sick, freeing the bound – prisoners and captives. Making disciples of all people groups. Planting Ecclesia’s who prayed massively for the local area, ministered generously – who shared the Gospel, healed the sick, freed the bound (attracting many people), making disciples who again applied this progression that Jesus taught – and who made yet more disciples. Then ecclesia’s were planted who continued these continuing cycles leading to rapid growth.

When this pattern is followed, evangelization and ministry spreads faster better and more powerfully than any other method I have ever heard of. This is what Jesus taught. It’s Scriptural. It works powerfully. It helps Missionaries avoid money trouble, when the other methods of sending are added. (Can’t wait? See Luke 10; and also Matthew 10.)

Categories
Discipleship Jesus Preaching Kingdom of God Ministry

What is The Good News of the Kingdom of God – that Jesus Preached?

Mark 1:15 gives us the shortest – checklist or bulleted point version – of the Gospel, the Good News, that Jesus preached.

Good News is big news – news that changes everything. It was modeled after how the Romans announced a new Emperor. Messengers were sent out, proclaiming how there was a new ruler. Who would protect the empire, and the peace – the Pax Romana. All were to bow down to the new ruler and worship. So much was this modeled after what the Roman Empire did, I am surprised that Jesus wasn’t killed for announcing this way – and killed far earlier. But God had other plans.

Jesus uses the term Good News in Luke 4 where he gives the longest version of the gospel in the Synoptic, the first three Gospels. He is quoting from Isaiah 61. Israel was very familiar with Isaiah.

So the term “Good News” had multiple meanings to the people of the times in the Roman Empire, including in Jerusalem. It was a strong term.

Let’s take a look at the short version of the Gospel so we don’t overload ourselves at first look.

There are a couple of things about the context that are best understood. You may remember that scripture tells us that Jesus was called to preach to the Hebrews, to Israel, first. The Hebrews were well versed in Torah, the teachings of the first five books of our bible.

They knew well of, and understood much about the Fall of Man and the curses of this broken world that we have inherited. This was written about in Genesis 3:15, and the Hebrews knew this scripture well.

That’s what I like to call the Bad News: we live in a broken world full of curses and problems, such as sickness, death, taxes, relationship difficulties, financial problems, bad politics, imperfect and even evil rulers…the list goes on and on. All of us are affected by at least some of these: the Bad News is personal to us all.

So Good News that changes everything is greatly needed.

Jesus told us that Now is the time. The time of his coming and of his Kingship (he is the King of the Kingdom of God) – his Kingship had been coming for a long time. And when the human mind hears the word “Now” spoken, without realizing it, we tend to think of now. We momentarily experience ourselves in the present. A side effect of this is that we are more present, and we are more whole minded. Decisions have an even wider impact, helping them to be more solid and long lasting unlike too many New Years resolutions.

Remember, this is being spoken by the King who is present. The Anointed One, who has Holy Spirit on him since his baptism in water, Holy Spirit for a purpose – which is an important part of the human experience of the Anointing. (Luke 4 and Isaiah 61 tells us what the Anointing is for. The Hebrews knew this well, and were looking forward to the coming of the Anointed: the Messiach (transliterated from the Hebrew) or the Christ (transliterated from the Greek).

When an important truth is spoken, human intuition perceives it, if nothing is getting in the way. Holy Spirit is whispering it to our spirit, and we know; and we know that we know….

So Now is the time. The Time has come. (Kairos moment – anyone?)

Now the big announcement. Here it is, folks. And this is huge. Why, because we live in a broken world full of curses where the adversary rules – that’s a whole other message – but see Genesis.

Now here’s the thing, folks.

When we experience the Presence of God as near us, with us or in us – we experience ourselves as more confident, whole, resourceful and even joyful.

When we experience the Presence of God as far away or absent, we become depressed and tend to become hopeless. We may feel fragmented, we certainly do not experience ourselves as feeling whole.

Want to see these differences dramatized? Read Psalms!

The difference is not subtle. It’s very important.

When we experience the truth and Presence of God as in us, near us or in us – we experience not only more wholeness, but more whole-mindedness. This means that when we make decisions while being this way, the decisions are deeper and more long lasting. Less fickle than so many well intended New Years resolutions.

So the message of Jesus continues. Now is the time (finally). (The King is speaking. Clearly implied but not said.) The Kingdom of God is at hand – literally, within reach.

Which means – those areas where the hearer is experiencing the curses or brokenness of this world – such as sickness, financial or relationship difficulties, and so forth — which are under the rulership of the adversary — are all within reach of help. The rule of God as in Eden (Paradise, Garden of) – can be restored to that area of your life. Sickness can be healed. Bondage to unclean things (including any spirit of uncleanliness) – freedom can be obtained – “the prisoners freed”. And so forth.

This is good news. Wonderful news! Literally, Good News that changes everything.

In the future, we’ll explore how this is applied to practical ministry to heal peoples sicknesses and problems. How to literally restore to humans every good thing originally given to us by God.

So watch for future articles.

Categories
Discipleship Getting Help Hearing God Jesus Preaching Kingdom of God Miracles Presence of God

Giving Freedom to Holy Spirit

Jesus often did the unexpected. Told stories and preached things – unexpected. He broke up the social order frequently. He interrupted people with actions and stories and parables that taught unexpected and surprising things.

He disturbed the social order, disturbed Pharisees, threw people out before raising the dead.

All, virtually all of his miracles were unexpected: surprising.

Churches that had a lot of miracles sometimes become complacent. Get comfortable having done a lot. Routine sets in, local church culture solidifies. Miracles stop happening: fewer risks are taken, less faith acted upon. Fewer opportunities given for Holy Spirit to operate and do what is not usual.

Because the usual is the worldly order of things. Customs. Habits. Safety. Corporate culture where there is gradually less and less creativity and surprises.

Holy Spirit needs freedom to operate. Holy Spirit needs us to make room, to allow, to risk with faith; to listen and obey more than do what is customary and safe.

Rules, safety, comfort, complacency – all get in the way of Holy Spirit having freedom to operate.

To have miracles, for faith to operate well – for us to hear God and do what God says – all require us to make room, to give more space to Holy Spirit to operate.

Requires us to give freedom to Holy Spirit to operate.

Then miracles can happen more often.

Let’s create openings. Tell stories, do things: interrupt what has been normal. So the unusual and abnormal – the miraculous – can happen. Listen to Holy Spirit — and do what we are shown, or what we hear.

Categories
Discipleship Getting Help Jesus Preaching Kingdom of God Prayer Presence of God

Healing & Deliverance is Easier when Experiencing the Kingdom of God

When you or I reach out to the Kingdom of God, which is literally within reach – at hand — it’s much easier to heal and to be free.

When healing or deliverance is needed, rather than try to achieve these by ourselves – reach out and pull the Kingdom into those areas that need healing or freedom. Or simply enter that which is so close and at hand.

Sooo much easier! This is why we were given the Good News of the Kingdom, so we can do this for ourselves and encourage others to do this.

An easy and more effective way to minister healing and delivering.

A great way to live! Make a deep decision to do so, and trust God.

Trust God. What a simple and radical idea. So simple, and easy, too, when we are doing it.

Life is harder and much more difficult when we are not trusting God.

Decide which way you want to live!

Categories
Getting Help Jesus Preaching Kingdom of God Pain Presence of God

Bad News: We Live in a Broken World

We find ourselves in a world full of difficulties and troubles.

Relationship troubles such as failing marriages, families that cause suffering, individuals, groups and even races who not only do not get along, but who trigger suffering and pain.

Health difficulties. Sickness, disease, pain – physical and emotional.

Money troubles. Financial cycles that cause damage and hurt. Poverty. Lack of sufficient decent resources.

I could go on and on…but you know what I mean.

This is the world we are born into: the conflict is already here. It is not your personal fault or mine.

This is the context for the Good News of the Kingdom of God where restoration to the way things are in heaven are established on earth.

The Good News of the Kingdom of God that Jesus preaches.

Categories
Discipleship Getting Help Jesus Preaching Joy Kingdom of God Presence of God

The Good News that Jesus Preaches

I say preaches instead of preached because he still preaches through the Body of Christ and with the help of Holy Spirit.

But what is this Good News? It is different than a lot of us expect.

Mark 1:15 is the shortest version. We’ll explore other versions later – this is just a start. Mark gives key bullet points, a sort of minimal set of what this Gospel is. Depending on your translation, it goes something like this: “Now is the time. The Kingdom is at hand. Repent and believe the Good News”.

Let’s take a closer look at this –

  • Now is the time. It has been a long time in coming. It’s a special moment. And, for humans, when someone – especially with the Anointing, says, “Now” — we tend to focus very much on the present moment. Which is good. Now is the only time decisions can be made. Especially deep decisions.
  • The Kingdom is at hand – literally means is within reach. This is the Kingdom of God where God rules. Things are the way God wants and says. Not sickness, financial difficulties, relationship troubles – even in families. No trouble with bosses, financial cycles — none of the broken things of this world that affect us so much outside of the Kingdom of God.
  • Repenting is to make a new and deep decision to turn around our lives and orient them towards God and the Kingdom. In this case, with Jesus preaching – the King is actually physically present. (After he ascended the Apostles taught and preached a bit differently – they had to. They were not the King being physically present.)
  • And believe. Which can be to continue to believe, and to continue to orient our lives around God and his Kingdom.
  • What a relief to have God’s Kingdom come and rule where we have troubles in our lives in this broken world.

This is the context, the preaching of the Good News of the Kingdom, by the King (Jesus the Anointed One), where the sick were healed, demons and unclean spirits exorcized, lepers cleansed, the dead raised – and disciples made.

In such a context, the preaching of the Good News of the Kingdom of God changes the atmosphere, and the context – and we more easily receive our Lord’s grace.

Where disciples heal, free the bound, and so forth. Where disciples make more disciples who multiply and make yet more disciples.

More on these things and how they are related in another posting.

Questions or comments? Love to hear them! Email me at David@DavidBurnet.com