WISDOM FOR LIVING DEVOTIONAL
AUGUST 29, 2020
TOPIC: THE CHURCH MUST EMPHASIZE DISCIPLESHIP
BY T. O. BANSO
“At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles” (Acts 8:1 New King James Version).
When there was the persecution of the church in Jerusalem, where the church was born, the church was scattered. The believers went everywhere, except the apostles who remained in Jerusalem. But the dispersal of the believers wasn’t the end of their faith in Christ.
They didn’t say because their pastors (apostles) remained behind in Jerusalem, and no pastor was around to teach or lead them, they couldn’t practice Christianity again. They didn’t wait for the apostles to come and start a fellowship or Bible study group.
The Bible says, “Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. And there was great joy in that city” (Acts 8:4-8 New King James Version).
Phillip was a deacon. But he got to Samaria and became a mighty evangelist. He took Samaria by the storm, so much that Jerusalem heard about him and had to send Peter and John to confirm what they had been hearing. There was no telephone, mass media, or the internet then.
Phillip’s job while in Jerusalem was to serve food with the six other deacons appointed for that purpose (Acts 6:1-6). There is no record that he stood before people to preach the gospel, led any Bible study group or performed any miracle! But, when he got to Samaria, and there were no apostles, he preached the Word and miracles began to happen.
How could these believers, who were dispersed, have preached the Word? They must have known the Word. What did the apostles do that made the dispersal not to lead to the end of the early church? What did they do that made the church turn adversity to advantage? What did they do that made ‘ordinary’ believers become preachers? They devoted much time to teaching and discipleship of believers in an atmosphere of love.
“At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles” (Acts 8:1 New King James Version). If this happens to your church today, will the members go everywhere, preaching the Word or wait for the Pastor to come and plant a church in their towns and cities?
During His earthly ministry, Jesus went about preaching but didn’t neglect discipleship. He had many followers but He had twelve disciples who stayed with Him till the time of His arrest except Judas who betrayed Him. Matthew 10:1 says, “And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease” (New King James Version).
Luke 9:1-2 says a similar thing: “And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease” (New King James Version). Jesus spent enough time with His disciples pouring Himself into them though He ministered to others, too.
The church must wake up. We must place emphasis on discipleship. We must ensure that the young people in our churches today or their children don’t grow up not to know the LORD or the work, which He had done for their parents (Judges 2:10).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The LORD be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, help Your church not to minor in discipleship, but major in it. Help the leadership of each assembly to design discipleship programme that develops new converts and members into disciples. Touch the heart of new converts and members to submit themselves for discipleship.
(For over 300 in-depth and powerful messages by T.O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T.O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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