Daily Spirit & Word: Disciples Prepared by Jesus for His Mission.
40 Days With Jesus. Day 36: The Importance of Preparation.
Good morning my friends, today is Baptism Day: In two senses;
Baptism in Water for our Candidates who’ve been through the 40 Days of Preparation With Jesus. We’re thinking today on our course ’40 Days With Jesus’ :Day 36: The Importance of Preparation.
Baptism in The Holy Spirit: Today is Pentecost Sunday; the day the Church and Christians throughout the whole world will be celebrating the first outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. However, before that day arrived for the Disciples they had to undergo preparation by the Lord Jesus Christ. When He was satisfied they were ready, then He departed the earth and returned to Heaven, promising the next time they’d see Him on the Earth would be when He returns in all His Glory.
Why did Jesus ‘prepare’ them? You’ll know that whatever we do in life that has any value has a time of preparation connected with it. Schooling is preparation for meeting the world as an adult. Children spend every year of their lives from age 4 to age 18 in schools in the UK. It used to be age 16, but now they are required to remain in education for another two years. That’s 14 years of getting ready. Then some will go on for a few more years in further education establishments; College and University. Then there are other times of preparation in life: When a woman is about to have a baby, she’ll attend pre-natal classes, often with her husband, so she’ll know what to do and what to expect when the delivery day comes. Before people take a Driving Test these days, they are required to have undergone pre-test training. It was so easy years ago to get a driving license. You’d get a little booklet called the Highway Code, study it in your own time, take a few lessons, normally about 15 hours of driving with an experienced driver, then take the test. It’s not like that today it’s much more stringent and costly for people wanting to drive in the UK. But we all understand that we need to be PREPARED before we can say we’re qualified to do stuff: Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen; Police, Firemen, Nurses, Doctors, etc all need to have both basic training and specialist training for their chosen sphere of service.
So if we do all that in ‘normal’ secular life, we shouldn’t be surprised that we need a time of preparation by the LORD before we’re ready to serve Him with our lives? Well that exactly what Jesus was doing with His own Disciples and what happens with Christians today; The LORD Himself takes us on a journey of preparation. It took the Disciples over three years of time with Jesus before He considered them ‘ready’. To me that’s a bit like getting a Degree. Before you finally get your Diploma at a ceremony marking the occasion, where people clap and acknowledge the hard work you’ve undergone. People say, “Oh, it’s only a piece of paper”, but if you’ve taken the time, done the reading and research and thinking and study, you know what that piece of paper signifies. So when the Disciples finally get to Pentecost and their DAY arrives with the Diploma of the HOLY SPIRIT, the SEAL of God’s Approval, they’d undergone so much in preparation before it happened. During these last few days with Jesus, the 40 days between His Resurrection from the Dead and Ascension into Heaven: it was like an intensive short-course of specialist training.
Let’s look at Scripture: Acts, Luke’s second book.
Acts 1:1-11 1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach
2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.
3 After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.
4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.
5 For John baptised with water, but in a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.”
6 So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.
11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
So before He was “taken up before their very eyes”, Jesus had been getting them ready for what was about to come. It wasn’t just the Holy Spirit, Jesus knew they’d NEED more than the indwelling and Jesus always gives us what we NEED. Sometimes Jesus doesn’t give us what we want, but He’s always ready to give us what we need. Acts 1:1-3 highlights the ‘preparation’ of Jesus Disciples and reveals to us why He needed to be with them ‘many times’ during those 40 Days before the Ascension. They were about to get the SEAL, the Holy Spirit, which was God’s Power for God’s Mission to the ends of the earth: They had been selected to be Jesus’ Witnesses.
Get Ready For Your Next Breakthrough With Jesus
Have you ever thought about the word: “DISCIPLE”: Think about another word, ‘Discipline’ and you’ll understand what’s sometimes required in the making of a disciple.
- A branch of knowledge.
- A system of rules of conduct or method of practice.
- The trait of being well behaved.
- Training to improve strength or self-control.
- The act of punishment or punishing.
Verb: Discipline Means:
- Develop (Children’s) behaviour, by instruction and practice; especially to teach self-control.
- Punish in order to gain control or enforce obedience.
When you look back through Jesus time here on the earth, you’ll observe, especially thinking about how He was ‘training and disciplining His disciples, you’ll see that He employed all of the ABOVE. Also, God has promised to each and every one of us, that as a FATHER disciplines his own children so the LORD disciplines those who belong to the family of God.
Remember God’s Promises:
Proverbs 3:11-12 (NIV) “My son, do not despise the LORD’S discipline and do not resent his rebuke, 12 because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.”
Proverbs 15:5 (NIV) “A fool spurns his father’s discipline, but whoever heeds correction shows prudence.”
How does He Discipline and Train and Get YOU Ready For His Mission?
Hebrews 12:1-6 1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
5 And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.“
My Friends: When we are going through the LORD’S Preparation: Discipline, Punishment, Rebuke, Correction, Training, The Lord’s Discipline (sometimes it’s not pleasant and it hurts in so many ways), we must know and remember that He’s just getting us ready for something, for another aspect of service or specialist training for His purposes. When it gets hard like that, and it really does get hard sometimes, instead of falling away, ‘growing weary’ or ‘loosing heart’ as so many do, we should cling tighter to the Saviour of our souls, focus our attention upon the Lord Jesus Christ again, run with perseverance the race marked out for us, and submit afresh to the Holy Spirit and know that He’s only doing it because He loves us as our HEAVENLY FATHER. He knows what we need to develop our character and make us fit for service in His Kingdom.
Remember Jesus was; gentle, meek and mild, but He was also quite strong and stern when He needed to be, when He was rebuking Peter and the other Disciples when they didn’t quite grasp what He was trying to teach them. Nobody likes to think of their precious Lord Jesus in that way, but we mustn’t paint a picture in our mind of a God that we want, that’s idolatry (IDOLATRY = making a god to suit ourselves or our desires), we must accept God completely as He has revealed Himself to be throughout Scripture: He is a Father who’s loving, kind, generous, gentle, patient and forgiving, encouraging and strengthening, but He’s also the LORD of Heaven who requires certain standards of behaviour, honesty, self-discipline, professionalism, and when we fall-short, because we’re His ambassadors and we’re His specially selected children, He’ll come and make His desires and ways known to those He loves and rebukes and corrects and trains in RIGHTEOUSNESS.
It’s difficult for followers of Jesus to discern sometimes, to know where the hardships or troubles are coming from: It’s either the LORD or SATAN; It’s either Discipline or Attack.
The Scriptures speak of three major categories of “trouble” for the believer:
- Discipline, judgment, or rebuke from the Lord;
- Tests, trials, and suffering from the Lord;
- Temptations or afflictions and attacks from Satan.
Knowing the PURPOSE:
God wants us to grow and flourish and be fruitful. So He’ll prune like a gardener does, to make things even more fruitful.
Satan wants to destroy us, to make us stumble and fall and even to hate God.
What’s Happening In Your Life Right NOW?
It may be the Lord is getting you ready for a breakthrough in ministry as He was the Disciples.
It may be that He’s just refining your character a bit.
It might be that Satan can see you are becoming a threat to his purposes of destruction.
Whatever it might be let’s do what God’s Word encourages us; Accept the Lord’s Discipline and Resist the Devil’s attacks with God’s armour in place.
Hebrews 12:9-11 (NIV)
9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
The Bible has so much to say about the Lord’s Discipline and Training in Righteousness: Bear this in mind:
Romans 11:11-24 11 Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious.
12 But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fulness bring!
13 I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry
14 in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them.
15 For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?
16 If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.
17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root,
18 do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you.
19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.”
20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid.
21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.
22 Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.
23 And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.
24 After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!
The word I’m getting today about all of this is: REPENT. Turn again to the Lord, no matter what kind of trail, suffering, sickness or trouble; ask the Lord to show you if you’ve wandered away, fallen short or not been listening to what He’s been telling you to do; like Jonah who refused the Lord’s call to mission. He’s always getting you ready for the next great thing in your life and in His Divine plan. Submit therefore to the LORD. He’s delivering you from the darkness into the light, into something much better.
Job 36:15 (NIV) “But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction.”
Get Ready For Your Next Breakthrough With Jesus
Have an awesome Sunday: Pray for our Candidates who’ve been prepared by the LORD for this day.
Praise the Lord for His goodness, kindness and love. But also welcome the Lord’s discipline that you can be trained and encouraged and strengthened by it.