Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 7 Feb 18:
1. Exodus 25:9 – “Exactly as I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle, and of all its furniture, so you shall make it.” Worshipping God starts with obedience to His every command. This is non-negotiable. The Bible provides many general principles for how to live, but it also provides very specific commands. Often, people will attempt to interpret the specific commands as general principles in order to give themselves some wiggle room for disobedience. On the contrary, sometimes people take verses intended to present general principles and make them specific commands. For example, when Jesus says to forgive your offending brother seventy-seven times in Matthew 18:22, He doesn’t mean it literally, He means forgive your offending brother without limit. But when the Bible says a man should have only one wife, the Bible means one wife, it is not a general principle.
2. Exodus 25:30 – Bread does not imply that God needs food but serves as a reminder that God provides our every need, and our greatest need is His presence and His word. The Bread of Presence is a picture of Jesus, the Bread of Life — “Who ever comes after me will never go hungry.” (John 6:35)
3. Exodus 25:31-37 – Lampstands indicate God is the source of light for His people and can deliver them from all darkness. God was very specific on how He wanted the Menorah to look. The Lampstand is shaped like an almond tree which was always the first tree to blossom and bear fruit in the spring (first fruits — 1 Cor 15:20-23) and which was a symbol of the royal priesthood (God caused Aaron’s rod to grow almonds overnight) — the Bible says we are the priesthood. The Lampstand was always lit, 24/7-365. Jesus said, “I am the Vine, and you are the branches.” Jesus is the Light of the World and is always present, and in Him, we are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). In Revelation 1:20, Jesus says the seven lampstands are the seven churches. The Lampstand points to Christ.
4. Exodus 25:38-26:16 – God’s provision is provided first that we might have the resources to worship and serve Him.
5. Proverbs 7:6, 7 – “I have looked out through my lattice, and I have seen among the simple, I have perceived among the youths, a young man lacking sense.” You can see the truth of God’s word at work in the lives of others and learn. Wisdom understands without need of personal experience.
6. Matthew 28:1-10 – God revealed Himself first to those who ministered faithfully to Him though their seemed to be no earthly benefit to their fidelity.
7. Matthew 28:8 – “So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.” When was the last time you were overcome with fearful joy having had a miraculous encounter with Jesus?
8. Matthew 28:10 – Resurrection news must be shared.
9. Matthew 28:13 — “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’” Unbelievers and false prophets are comfortable lying about Jesus in order to pursue their own selfish ambitions.
10. Matthew 28:17 – “And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.” Many Christians worship in doubt, despite Jesus’ miraculous activities.
11. Matthew 28:18 – Christ in you gives you all power.
12. Matthew 28:18-20 – “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’” This is your mission. Your authority is directly from Jesus as is your power to execute the mission. Your mission is to “make disciples” not just believers. Disciples obey ALL of Jesus’ commands. You are to teach others how to do that, and disciple-makers must lead by example. The emphasis of the Great Commission is not just on evangelism (which most mega-churches focus on) but primarily on discipleship (which most churches do very poorly). Evangelism is “the spreading of the Christian gospel by public preaching or personal witness.” The word ‘evangelism’ comes from the Greek word “euaggelion” which means “to announce good news”. But with the Great Commission, many churches are guilty of what some have called “The Great Omission”, failing to teach obedience. Discipleship is a ‘train the trainer’ concept requiring instruction that is continuous, consistent, coherent, and life-long, ideally starting from childhood and continuing until ‘separation from service’ upon earth. Discipleship is not just about education; it is also about training – learning not just the ‘who, what, and why’, but also the ‘how’. Training involves demonstration, rehearsal, coaching and critiquing through basic competencies. Of course, Jesus modeled discipleship with the Apostles. He patterned the basic training model – “Educate, demonstrate, replicate, evaluate, remediate.” A Great Commission Church does not focus on its seating capacity but rather on its sending capacity. Powerful churches are disciple factories, creating people who are not only ready to ‘go’ but who are also ready to ‘teach’ as ‘priests’ and as ‘ambassadors for Christ’ – disciples who are prepared to make disciples. Have you been properly discipled by your church? How many disciples are you personally training right now? Are you walking with your students and following the model of “educate, demonstrate, replicate, evaluate, remediate?” Does your Bible study or small group actively practice ‘doing’ the word rather than just ‘hearing’ the word? What role are you playing in the Great Commission?
13. Matthew 28:20 – God promises His presence and power to those who commit their life’s service to His work.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 7 Feb: Resolve today to be a disciple-maker. (Matthew 28:18-20)