En Gedi's Gate

Always Employing Biblical Truth and Discernment!


Disciple(s) Are All Believers!

Disciple(s) Are All Believers!


Posted By on Feb 28, 2014

Disciple(s), Are All believers! If you continuously “follow” Jesus Christ, you are a “disciple”!   After joyfully, yet meticulously studying the book of Acts, I interestingly discovered a different way in which today’s evangelicals use the word “disciple”, which is in contrast to the early church’ employment.  Over the years, I have attended many churches which taught that a “disciple” of Jesus Christ, connoting a different meaning or usage, other than the way God originally intended in the book of Acts, nearly 2,000 years ago. “Disciple” which once was used to identify all followers of Jesus Christ, is now being employed ambiguously or rarely to identify Christians.   Interestingly, even some churches that maintain staunch, austere doctrine, and, are fastidious to Biblical accuracy, have acquiesced to the tergiversation or scant way the word “disciple” is employed.  To them, a “disciple” typically references a special type of Christ follower; a unique individual; someone possessing zealous aspirations to follow Christ, thus requiring special “discipleship” training, and, not all believers are equipped for it.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  If you possess the Holy Spirit (which all believers do-1 Cor. 6:19), you are considered a true “disciple”; ALL believers of Jesus Christ and who persevere, are indeed “disciples”; no special training or instruction is required.  The only exception is leadership training and I will explain this later in more detail.   However, being a disciple of Jesus Christ does require obedience and willingness to submit to His Lordship and no believer is exempt.  It is not as simple as accepting His doctrine, or believing in His performed miraculous recorded in the four Gospels.  In the Great Commission for instance, we are exhorted, to “observe”; watch over; guard, ALL that Jesus commanded (Matt. 28:20).  The nascent and amelioration of Christ’s church depicted in Acts, is the quintessential paradigm for Christ followers i.e. disciples.  According to Acts, everyone who believed in Jesus Christ, followed Him, or those who were instructed and believed in Him, were called “disciple”.  The ISBE Bible Dictionary, defines the word disciple as; “A learner”, Grk; Mathete; “to learn”, Grk; Manthano;” a scholar” Latin, discipulus; “a pupil of someone, in contrast to the master or teacher”, Grk; didascalos.  Or, Easton’s Bible Dictionary: “A disciple of Christ is one who 1) believes his doctrine, 2) rests on his sacrifice,  3) imbibes his spirit, and  4) imitates his example”  Mt 10:24 Lu 14:26,27,33 John 6:69.  The original language of Greek, and a exceptionally concise definition of “disciple”, which brings one to understand how distinctive this label identifies Christ followers  of “disciple” –is the Greek word “archaios“, meaning “one from the beginning” [Pentecost], in Acts 21:16.  However,...

Read More

Love from God; demonstrated through family   As I recall certain moments in which my heart was so full of love, demonstrated through and by my earthly biological family, I now realize I was actually experiencing God’s love, through what is known as “common grace”.  The grand meta-narrative within all lives is God revealing Himself through creation, His creatures, and Biblical revelation.  Recalling specific cherished memories of love from and for family, sealed in my mind, are evidence, that our Triune God blesses us with our earthly family, to enable us to more adequately recognize God’s immutable, unconditional, immeasurable, perfect love.  Our love for God, obeying the first greatest commandment “Love thy God”, and the second greatest commandment “love thy neighbor” provides the ability to expand our family, to include “spiritual brothers and sisters”. Our spiritual family are those who have been called by our Heavenly Father, to know Jesus Christ as Lord, quickened by the Holy Spirit.  Our spiritual family is the eternal visible and invisible church, filled with believers of Jesus Christ as their Lord, Savior and God.  We are assured eternal life in Heaven, where we will see the face of Jesus Christ, as we worship Him together.  What a magnificent and glorious thought, which is our greatest hope!  Our merciful God blesses us with mysterious bonds of love and a deep connectedness with our “spiritual” family, even though we are not biologically related. When God brings us together through providence, we inexplicably feel an instant love and desire to be with one another, sharing our experiences of His sovereign will, also yearning to worship our Lord God in unity.  We desire to share the Gospel with the lost, so they too may become part of God’s designed family, knowing Jesus as Lord, living in eternal glory.  Though Heaven is described in the Bible, none of us know how utterly glorious it will be until we are there. On a personal note, I wish to illustrate my point, through a story from my childhood.   Having been born into a family with ten children, it was our common routine to start and end the day, completing chores together.  As a little girl,  on a early winter morning, my siblings were so eager and excited to see the deep snow which accumulated on the ground, that they burst outside, instead of coming into the kitchen to begin the morning routine with our mother. They began to play in the snow, building snowmen, snow-forts, and gleefully made snow angels. My mother invited me to help her in the kitchen with our daily preparations. I cherished and delighted in her warm...

Read More

Should Musicians “Set-Up” During Final Prayer?   There has been a disturbing trend that I have witnessed occur with increasing frequency at the conclusion of many Christian church services, or theological conferences.  It happens when a pastor, theologian, or Bible teacher is ending his sermon or lecture with an impassioned prayer to our Heavenly Father, and there is noticeable disruptive activity.  There is a distraction which takes place, by the musicians who provide the concluding worship music.  Many of the musicians seemingly appear oblivious to the final supplication to God on behalf of the entire assemblage.  They amble into their positions and employ that “closing” prayer time to set-up for the final worship song, and unlike everyone else in attendance, who actively prays along with the beseeching man of God, are missing that spiritual nutrient vital to feeding their souls.  In almost every situation when there is a gathering of believers, the worship band usually misses part, or the entire closing prayer orated by the pastor or lecturer.  It is as if they are exempt or excluded from that particular prayer and are not part of the unity of all believers in attendance.  Do our musicians not need prayer, especially the final blessing from a man of God, who implores everyone to pray along with him?  Are they not equally valuable as all believers?   Are church leaders so concerned with keeping rigid “time schedules” that they insist on having their musicians employing the final prayer time preparing for the last song? Is the rational that of, therefore the musicians should be excluded from participation in the final congregational prayer?  That form of practice may not be appropriate with the ways of God (Isa. 55:8-9), and it does give the appearance of church polity or orchestration transcending God and mitigating absolute and total reverence of Him.  I think it is safe to say, that a pastors or theologian’s closing prayer is intended for ALL attending believers, therefore participation by everyone should be the norm; a unified holy reverence.  It is my belief, that God does not receive complete reverence and honor when the musicians do not partake in the final corporate prayer.    If we believe there is power in corporate prayer, and trust that God hears every supplication made from every one of His praying saints, it is essential for every gathering believer to pray in reverence.  Pastors or theologians of our churches, seminars, or conferences, should Biblically evaluate and discern the propriety of this modern day trend.  All musicians desperately need prayer just as any finite, fallen and sinful creature, who constantly requires Gods’ intervention (through prayer)...

Read More
Jesus Christ; God’s Gift to man!

Jesus Christ; God’s Gift to man!


Posted By on Dec 11, 2013

Jesus Christ; God’s Gift to man!   The “Christmas” season is already upon us and it appears to be commencing earlier and earlier each year; commercially, that is. I admit I enjoy the Christmas season. People typically are much more amiable, good-natured, and there is a tranquility and camaraderie present in the air during that time of year. However, it’s business as usual.  The United States economy depends greatly on the spending of the American people during the Christmas season (upwards of 30% of annual income). Tragically, the real reason of Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ, is nebulous, obscured, or even eradicated all together; typically because of people’s avariciousness. On one hand, stores remain open longer, products are elaborately and strategically advertised, vast amounts of merchandise is stocked, and prices are desperately and drastically slashed by merchants hoping to allure spend-thrifty consumers into their stores. While on the other hand, people shop religiously and rigorously, amass things they do not need, exceed set budgets, and accrue financial debt which might take years to abolish.   This all culminates with the bandying back and forth of Christmas gifts on December twenty-fourth or twenty fifth.  Any repercussions that have resulted from extravagant spending leading up to the “Christmas day” crescendo are usually set aside until the New Year begins. Eggnog libations heavily infused with alcohol, aid in a temporary much-needed anesthetization from all the previous stress and anguish brought on by the required lengthy shopping sprees and accrued debt. Amazingly, this self-abusive behavior will be voluntarily repeated again the following year. For the most part, financially, the Christmas season does more harm than good to people. And spiritually, Jesus Christ is becoming less and less significant to the Christmas season, and sadly, even among many professing Christians.   Soon I fear Jesus Christ will completely disappear from the existence of this monumental and historical holiday. As I noted before, the birth of Jesus Christ, is the real meaning for celebrating Christmas, but soon it will become an archaic identifier of the “once was” meaning of Christmas. In many people’s vernacular, even Christ’s name is removed from the “Merry Christmas” designation. For example, many anti-Christian or atheist groups have removed all traces of Jesus Christ’s name in relation to the Christmas season, by referring to Christmas, as “X-Mas”. Sadly, even many professing Christians, are ignorantly and flippantly succumbing to this flagitious strategy, or, becoming desensitized to the subtlety of Satan’s strategic craftiness.  They’re willfully partaking in an anthropocentric Christmas, and even a Christ-less Christmas, by placing the emphasis on decorating, food, gift-giving, singing secular carols, entertaining, and even subjecting their children...

Read More

HARMONIZATION OF THE SALVATION PARADOX   As finite human beings we are only comfortable or satisfied when we have answers to all of our questions. If we receive an answer, we will accept it, even if the answer is unfavorable to our liking; at least we have an answer. But, when we are given two apparent contradictory answers, and yet both are truthful, it’s befuddling and disconcerting, and so many times we will reject one of the answers.  This conundrum is known as a paradox, and the Bible has many of them within its pages. The Random House Dictionary defines the word “paradox” as: “A statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth.” However, a “Biblical paradox” has a different meaning; it is not just a “possible truth” as the secular dictionary defines; it’s an absolute truth! And, this, I believe, is why so many believers reject the Biblical doctrine of “election”.  It’s a very difficult truth to believe! The reader is asked, to believe two equal truths of Scripture, and both are essential tenants of the Christian faith.  To our infinitesimal, feeble, mortal minds; this doctrine does not make sense; it defies human logic. On one hand, God is absolutely sovereign in “choosing”, who He effectually draws to exercise saving faith to believe unto Jesus Christ. (John 6:44, 6:65, Eph. 2:8-9). On the other hand, man is entirely responsible and called to believe in Jesus Christ as Savior, otherwise he will perish in his iniquities. (Rom. 10:9-10, John 1:12, 3:18, 3:36, 8:24). What many people fail to accept is although this Biblical paradox is unfathomable to our limited minds, God who is infinite, perfectly harmonizes these apparent contrasting truths.  Many people, including evangelicals, argue that Biblical election is an “unfair” doctrine and claim God would never decree an unfair doctrine such as election. But, I would argue because all people are sinners, and God is perfectly just; He has the right to display unmerited mercy on whomever He deems. And, therefore, has chosen to elect some unto salvation, while passing over others. (Rom. 3:23, 9:15-18, 20-21).   Because of this difficult truth, election is probably the most controversial paradox in the Bible. And even though the Bible is fraught with verses illustrating God’s sovereignty in salvation, God’s election is still disregarded in many churches.  For example, God has chosen certain individuals for salvation, even before the foundation of the earth was created (Eph.1:4). He alone draws individuals to Himself (John 6:44). Only He is capable of changing the heart (Ezek.36:26). And, even the faith to believe in His Son Jesus Christ...

Read More
The Gospel of Jesus Christ!

The Gospel of Jesus Christ!


Posted By on Nov 18, 2013

I.   Fall Of Man   As a result of Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden, the whole human race was cursed by God and placed at enmity with Him.   Gen. 3:1-6 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”  2And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3″but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ”   4Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.  5″For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  6So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.   Gen. 3:16-19 To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.”  17Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life.  18Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field.  19In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.”     II.   Need For Salvation   From birth mankind is guilty of sin, condemned to hell, and desperately in need of a Savior.   1 Kin. 8:46 “When they sin against You (for there is no one who does not sin), and You become angry with them and deliver them to the enemy, and they take them captive to the land of the enemy, far or near;   Ps. 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.   Prov. 20:9 Who can say, “I have...

Read More
Behold, My mother and My brothers!

Behold, My mother and My brothers!


Posted By on Nov 14, 2013

 And someone said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.” But He answered the one who was telling Him and said, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?”  And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold, My mother and My brothers!  “For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.” (Matt. 13:46-50).   It is apparent from this Scripture citation that obedience to Jesus Christ and following Him, in many cases, will cause the fracturing of some or all of one’s earthly family. One of the most difficult challenges many Christians face is trying to maintain close family ties, while still being obedient to Jesus Christ and growing in the Word of God. In some cases, it just cannot be done. A Christian’s unbelieving family does not understand the things of God, nor are they able to (1 Cor. 2:14). Therefore, severing close relations may be a choice based on ignorance.   Being a true disciple of Jesus Christ can painfully and invariably separate Christian’s from non-believing family members, regardless of blood ties and initial closeness; Jesus Christ divides (Matt. 10:21-22, 35-36).  Many families have permanently fractured because of Jesus Christ, never again having unity or harmony. For some professing Christians, division from family members is extremely difficult or a virtually impossible experience to endure. And unfortunately, because of this reason some Christians will choose to elect family continuity, rather than allegiance to Jesus Christ and will repress association with Him.   Interestingly, many believers’ audaciously marvel when they read of how Christ’s disciple, Peter, denied Jesus three times in order to escape persecution (Matthew 26:69-74). Yet, every time a Christian marginalizes or denies Jesus Christ, so as to keep peace within his earthly family, is guilty of the same sin Peter committed.  Division may be necessary and required by God to accomplish His work, no matter how severe the pain. Read how Jesus challenged His potential followers.   …in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three…father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” (Luke 12:52-53).      This must have been hard teaching for the ears of the multitude who listened to Jesus Christ, but this hard teaching is relevant for anyone seeking to be His follower. He admonished all potential disciples to seriously “count the costs” before choosing to follow Him (Luke 14:28).   Even if Christians try to avoid conflict and...

Read More
He Calms the Storm

He Calms the Storm


Posted By on Oct 24, 2013

A storm began to rage as Jesus Christ’s disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee.  It was an excursion the disciples routinely made numerous times before, especially since some of them were fishermen by trade.  They knew exactly how to handle various weather conditions, yet, during this particular voyage, Scripture tells us that a dreadful “tempest” engulfed them with such ferocity, it caused them to panic.  Even the seasoned fishermen aboard the ship, were no match for the tumultuous storm that overtook them (Matt. 8:23-24).  The Webster’s dictionary defines “tempest” as: a violent windstorm accompanied by heavy rain and possibly hail.   The disciples encountered a storm so furious, that extreme terror and desperation dominated their minds and actions.  They frantically feared for their lives, and did not hesitate to rouse the Lord Jesus Christ, who was sleeping aboard the ship and pled for His help.  Amazingly, amidst the great turmoil and chaos, Jesus slept peacefully.  When I read this passage, I couldn’t help thinking; why should Jesus fear, for He was indeed sovereign over the sea!  Nevertheless, Jesus arose nonchalantly, admonished His disciples for their meager faith, and rebuked the savage winds (Matt. 8:25-26). Instantly, the roaring sea calmed!  The disciples marveled and exclaimed “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him” (Matt. 8:27)?  But, that is exactly how God conducts His will!  What is inconceivable or literally impossible for mankind to perform, is very much possible for God (Matt. 19:26, Mark 10:27, Luke 18:27)).  The believer’s faith is constantly being challenged, especially, when God allows the “storms” of life to toss them to and fro.  It is while in the midst of trials, that He wants His children to turn to Him for comfort, peace, and resolution.  He can be trusted and will deliver His elect out of trouble.  The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles (Ps. 34:17). In the 107th Psalm, the Psalmist writes: “Then they cry out to the LORD in their trouble, And He brings them out of their distresses. He calms the storm, So that its waves are still.  Then they are glad because they are quiet; So He guides them to their desired haven” (Ps. 107:28-30).  In this Psalm, the writer employs the analogy of sailors in trouble at sea, to which God delivers them.  He …calms the storm”…, He makes life bearable and tolerable for those who put their trust in Him.  Even in the most terrifying situation, God will sustain you, if you call on Him!  Ultimately, He imparts boldness in place of fear, hope instead of...

Read More
Page 6 of 6« First...23456