Practical Discipleship, Part 2
June 22, 2018
We ran long last week, and will run long again this week. I’m trying to cram a lot into these two weeks before we move on to a new series.
When I wrapped up the last Coffee Break, Holy Spirit reminded me that I'd missed sharing one of the most important aspects of discipling: the imparting of the anointing, the transfer of the mantle that God has laid upon the one who is mentoring, teaching, sharing and discipling.
Let's begin again today with the command Jesus has given: "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20 NASB)
There is so much wrapped up in Jesus' command that it is almost hard to know where to begin. He starts off by saying that all authority -- make sure you get this -- ALL AUTHORITY in Heaven and on earth has been given to Him. I don't mean to be redundant but "ALL" literally means that there is no part of the authority or dominion in any realm, earthly, natural, spiritual, emotional, mental, of the heavenly realm or dimension, AND the realm of the demonic over which Jesus lacks the final say. What's more, He has not just the authority, but the power to back up that authority.
He follows up that preface to His command by saying, "Go ye therefore!" In other words, "Because I have all authority, I'm commissioning and empowering you to go forth on my behalf as my personal representative; and you have the full backing of Heaven to do everything I've commanded you."
"Everything I've commanded you" takes in a lot of territory, folks!
Remember when Jesus sent the 70 out, two by two, and told them to "heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons"? Then Jesus said to them, "freely ye have received, freely give." (Matthew 10:8)
Take a quick look at Mark 16:15-18: (see also Matthew 24:14)
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach, declare and proclaim the gospel, the good news of the Kingdom, to all of creation. He who actively believes [and puts into action My Word] and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved [and opposed mentally, emotionally and spiritually] shall be condemned.
These signs will accompany those who actively believe and put into action: in My name [in the very character and makeup, the essence of who I AM] they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will take on wily, deceitful men whose purpose is to sway and deter them through clever arguments [and defeat them], and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover and be completely restored.” (Mark 16: 15-18, RAC Translation and Amplification)
[A quick note before we continue: The phrase which occurs at the beginning of verse 18 in the KJV-- "They shall take up serpents" -- is a common Hebrew metaphor, and it means to take on those people who try to deceive or sway through clever arguments or manipulation. The particular phraseology which occurs here makes very clear that Jesus is giving those who believe the authority, the power, the wisdom AND the anointing to combat and defeat such arguments and/or manipulation.]
Both Matthew and Mark use the expanded reference to "the Gospel" by clarifying it this way on four separate occasions: "the Gospel of the Kingdom." You see, the Gospel is not simply some good news of salvation through Jesus Christ; it is the news that we have access to and available citizenship in a Kingdom -- a sphere and a dimension of living -- which is superior to, and has authority over, all the kingdoms of this natural world.
Thus, when Jesus begins His covenant promise to "those who believe," He instructs us to preach, declare and proclaim the good news -- the angelic tidings -- of His Kingdom to all of creation! That's more than just preaching to people, folks! That's the exercise of Kingdom authority over all that is this earthly realm. That includes the ground we walk on. That includes the trees, the plants, the vegetation -- the agricultural realm, if you please. That includes the animal kingdom, birds, marine life, bugs, etc. That includes the weather.
Get it? ALL OF CREATION!
We are instructed to preach, proclaim, declare, prophesy, decree -- to enact by the release of the spoken Word -- the Kingdom of God in, upon and throughout all the earth! That doesn't mean we get to say anything that pops into our heads. This only works when we speak that rhema -- that same Word we first heard from Holy Spirit -- which is coming (present tense -- not past tense) out of the mouth of God!
One cannot receive that rhema unless one has his or her ears attuned to hear what Holy Spirit is saying. And......one cannot even hear in the realm of the Spirit unless they spend time in that realm. When you spend time with the Lord, there is a change that takes place in you, your nature, your character, the way you behave, the way you think.
Notice what happened when Peter and John began to do the works that Jesus did. "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus." (Acts 4:13)
When Jesus sent forth His disciples to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons and preach the Gospel of the Kingdom, there was an impartation that went with the disciples. What do I mean by this?
There was a transfer that took place in the Spirit realm. When Jesus sent them forth, He commissioned them. With that commissioning came an anointing. With that anointing came an empowering. With the empowering came a mantle, a covering, a transfer of divine authority and power to accomplish what they had been commissioned to perform.
Let me use some personal experience for the sake of illustration.
Without retracing a lot of ground that I've already discussed in prior posts, I grew up with angels. They were my early companions. I saw them on an almost daily basis for three years. When Jesus appeared at my bedside early one morning and began to lay out His plan and purpose for my life, there was a shift from that moment forward in my life. The angelic realm was mere preparation. It laid a foundation of "normalcy" for the realm we generically refer to as "supernatural." It paved the way for me to think "naturally supernatural, and supernaturally natural."
From the moment that Jesus first appeared at my bedside and began to lay out His purposes and His destiny in and for my life, a transition began to take place in the way that I thought, in the things I expected, and in my perception of unfolding events. Two years later, when I experienced my first trip to Heaven, communication in the Spirit had become second nature.
Hmmmm.....let me rephrase that! Communication in and through Holy Spirit had become the norm. It was perfectly natural. From that day to this -- some 70 years later -- it has been the way I live and breathe. I wouldn't know how to live any other way!
Though that experience at age nine was only the first time I had the opportunity to visibly walk and talk with the Lord side-by-side, from that day to this we have walked together continually -- whether I've been able to visibly see Him there or not. And that, my friends, changes a person's outlook on everything!
There is an intertwining of personality that takes place when you walk together. There is a transfer of character and makeup that happens. This is absolutely essential and intrinsic to discipleship. The more I have lived and walked with and in Christ Jesus, the more I have taken on His character and nature. (Oh, and by the way, He's not finished with me yet. There is still more change to take place! [Smile!])
One of the most practical aspects of discipleship and discipling is that one must first be a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. One must always remain in a place of submission to Holy Spirit. One must not only listen but respond. The first and most basic tenet of discipleship is -- as Francis of Assisi used to put it -- "to hear and obey." It is absolutely impossible for me to lead someone into a way of living and walking in Christ Jesus that I have not first lived and walked. I can't promote a theory and hope it actually works for someone.
One of the reasons why we have seen such a watering down of the Gospel throughout the years is that being "in Christ" and having "Christ in us" has become a religious philosophy -- a theory, if you will -- lacking in reality and practical living. Christianity is anything but a religion. It is not a theory. It is a lifestyle with naturally supernatural implications. There is a dynamic to it that is absolutely foreign to the societies of this world.
Jesus Christ was and is God incarnate! In the flesh! In the here and now! Without the transfer of character and personality, without the impartation of the divine nature and makeup of who and what Jesus is, made visible and operational and functional on a daily basis in us, anything we have to say becomes "sounding brass and tinkling cymbals" devoid of Kingdom life and reality!
As first, disciples of Jesus Christ, and then disciplers for Him of others also desiring to walk the Kingdom life, we impose the light and the sound of Heaven whenever and wherever we go. It is impossible to do otherwise. Our very presence brings change wherever we are. Our very presence impacts the environment. At least, it had better do so! Otherwise we're a bunch of frauds who live a religious lifestyle without the reality of intimacy with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Roughly 35 years ago, Della went to work in the jewelry business, beginning as an assistant manager for a family-owned jewelry store in Anchorage. The main store manager had been brought into the store to run it based on the recommendation of others in the business. This person -- a lady -- led a very worldly lifestyle and was totally devoid of any sensitivities to Jesus Christ. It didn't take long for the very presence of the Lord in Della to become threatening to this woman despite the fact that Della was very quiet and non-confrontational. She became more and more uncomfortable with Della's presence in the store.
Della and I began to pray for this lady. The more we prayed the more nervous and uncomfortable she became, to the point that she began making accusations about Della to the family that owned the store. One of the owner's daughters was sent into the store to work with Della just to assess the situation. This young lady responded enthusiastically to the presence of the Lord in Della and a bond of friendship formed -- one that would last for years to follow. The existing store manager was shortly thereafter moved out of that store to another location. The owner's daughter stayed on to groom Della to manage outright one of their stores, and it wasn't long before Della was given a different store to run on her own.
In the years that followed the blessing and the presence of the Lord went with her. When she transitioned over to work with and manage for Zales Jewelers, the company's corporate managers saw and recognized the anointing of the Lord. The regional managers began to use her as a trouble-shooter to ferret out corruption and thievery among their stores. Everywhere she went, dishonest and lazy employees were exposed and removed who were negatively affecting the store's performance and image in the community. Everywhere she went, she brought profitability and honor, in several instances setting sales records for those locations.
Beyond that, Della became a mentor and a "discipler" in an economic sense training and creating management teams for the company. But her "discipling" ran far beyond the material and business world. It became a joy and a pleasure to lead some of those employees into a committed walk with the Lord Jesus Christ and to mentor them spiritually.
I've shared all that just to illustrate the fact that when there is true integrity in your walk with the Lord and a continual pursuit of His presence and the excellence of His character, you cannot help but influence and change the spiritual climate in which you live and operate daily. The authority of the Lord goes with you and the blessing of the Lord manifests in your labors and your work ethic.
As disciples of Jesus Christ and then Kingdom representatives, we are both ambassadors AND part of Heaven's royalty. As such we have been given both authority and the responsibility of bringing the earth back under subjection to Heaven. We DON'T rule over people! We DO rule, however, over the spiritual realm -- and with it, and in the process thereof, take dominion over thrones and principalities and rulers of the darkness of this world in the realm of the spirit.
THAT, all by itself, brings change in people and influences natural events, spiritual events, political events and economic events around us! It is our responsibility as active believers to put into action the Word of the Lord in the earth and to enforce the peace of God in our societies.
The apostle Paul put it like this:
I Timothy 2:1: "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth."
We cannot force men and women against their will to come to the knowledge of salvation, and we cannot force people to lead a disciplined life in Christ Jesus. We can, however, fulfill our responsibilities as Kingdom representatives to bring about the change in our society -- change which must first begin in the realm of the Spirit. We first implement that change through prayer and intercession. After that, depending on the rhema of Holy Spirit, we begin to declare and decree.
We are first spirit beings. We are secondly, soul, and thirdly, body -- in that order. If we desire to bring about the necessary change to our societies, it must begin first as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, living under submission and subjection to Holy Spirit, and then -- as He so orchestrates -- discipling those around us in order to implement Kingdom change in the earth.
Are you hearing this? Great! See you next week.
"If we are just in the flock of the Lord's companions, the veils will remain and we will only obliquely be able to see His glory and be changed by it. This is why my goal in ministry has never been to make people my personal disciples but to help everyone I can to become a personal disciple of Christ Jesus Himself.
As we also can note from John 10, it is His sheep who know His voice, not His lambs. While we are young in the Lord, we will have to follow others until we learn to know His voice, but my hope is to have my own veils removed and those of all I can help along their way. We must see Him in order to be changed into His image, not just become the image of one of His friends.
What would any man think if his children all looked like his best friend? We need to consider what we're doing when we're leaders who are trying to get people to conform to us rather than to Him. Our lives can and should be good examples for others, but as the Apostle Paul stated, he was in labor until Christ was formed in His people. This is our goal." (Prophetic Word from Rick Joyner)
In case you are missing out on real fellowship in an environment of Ekklesia, our Sunday worship gatherings are available by conference call – usually at about 10:45AM Pacific. That conference number is (712) 770-4160, and the access code is 308640#. We are now making these gatherings available by Skype. If you wish to participate by video on Skype, my Skype ID is regner.capener. If you miss the live voice call, you can dial (712) 770-4169, enter the same access code and listen in later. The video call, of course, is not recorded – not yet, anyway.
Blessings on you!
Regner A. Capener
RIVER WORSHIP CENTER
Temple, Texas 76504
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