Grace Leadership Institute (As Jesus Is, So Are We)
Facilitated by Pastor Joedy
Transcribed and internalized by Yours Truly
Pastor Joedy comes to me during the worship session before the second speaking arrangement, and hugs me. His words, he just wanted to direct overflowing love to me. I’m so thankful to be shown so much favor.
The Beloved Son & His Relationship With His Father – Discipleship Is Relationship
Christ paid a great price for us to have a relationship with God, first and foremost. And it’s the natural effect for this relationship to overflow into our own relationships.
In the previous session, we discovered our completeness in Him. As we continue, may we also develop our intimacy with God, who is our Abba Father. May we bear fruit for the Father’s glory, manifesting Jesus in our lives, His infinite love manifesting in our finite reality through us. Finally, may we become fishers of men, just like Jesus.
It’s sad how we are so willing to force stuff down peoples’ throats; That, in order for them to be disciples, in order for them to be blessed we literally scream the following: “You’ve got to be a disciple!” “You’ve got to follow the Ten Commandments of Christian Living!” “You’ve got to read the Bible every day – 10 chapters!” “You need to pray long prayers, and they all have to be in King James format!” “Attend church!” “Win souls!” “Serve” “GIVE!” “SACRIFICE!” “Pay and attend Discipleship 101, Leadership 101, Evangelism 101!” (Notice how your voice naturally grows louder with each item?)
But here’s the thing – We demand these of other people, but we ourselves aren’t anywhere close to doing any of these things perfectly! It’s bad enough that we couldn’t observe the 10 Commandments perfectly, and it’s even worse that we couldn’t come anywhere close to observing the subsequent 613 Levitical Laws… Now, really, how on earth can we do these, and how daft are we to insist that others can do them perfectly? And it isn’t even worth trying – the thought doesn’t count, nor does the effort, because the harsh reality is if you break just one of the rule, you break it all. And Paul didn’t make any effort to sound nice in saying that, in Scripture.
But here is the good news. And what a good news it is – If there’s one power that we can drive us to do any and all of these things and ACTUALLY meet the mark… It’s God’s love. We’re not saying any of that stuff, loud as they may sound as they leave our lips; We’re not saying they’re bad things. They have their benefit! But the moment we make them burdens, incentives for us to get out of curse, incentives for us to be blessed… The moment we use them to put the focus back on our work and performance, that’s when they don’t serve us, that’s when they drag us down. We would do ourselves a great favor by always doing what we do, finding motivation from Christ, who loves us.
Again, it’s God’s love that’s behind all this. It’s God’s love that’s the impetus, the power and peace that drives us and motivates us towards discipleship. The moment we try anything, insisting on our own efforts primarily, we give ourselves the sad guarantee that we’re eventually going to fail – but we thank God, because His love for us is present; it never fails, and we know this especially when we fail. Pastor Joedy says that this is the most excellent way we’re shown before, during, and after what we do; it’s all infused with the love of God, made possible and present in us through Jesus Christ.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
(1) Jesus is our greatest example of Living.
How did Jesus live His life? He lived loved. He lived, loved by God, aware that His Abba, His Father was always with Him and He was with His Father… and all that He did and taught was an overflow of this relationship.
[I mean, take that in! He lived loved. Not that He lived aware of His love, or lived in the name of His love…. No, He. Simply. Lived. Loved. No additives. ]
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. John 15:9 // And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”Matthew 3:16-17
The Father loves the Son, and the Son loves the Father. In that regard, they are one. Where do we come into the picture? Jesus Christ loves us, and as the Father loves Jesus Christ, so He loves us, and so Jesus Christ loves us… We’re in the middle! The angels do not celebrate this same union with God – We hear the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This same God who knows exactly how many hairs you have on your head at every single instance, is interested in everything you have going on, everything there is to know about you.
So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel.John 5:19-20
As we walk with Jesus, and as we walk with others, we aren’t left unequipped. We live loved. We live knowing that we are loved by Christ, and not only Christ, but the entire Godhead – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And what we’re saying here is that in the love of God for us, He shows us the works we’ve been built for, as He shows what He’s doing for us, to us.
[And it’s not like it’s an instructor-student sort of thing. Well, sure, it may be for some, but my personal experience is more of flow. There’s liquid involved.]
(2) Jesus knew His Identity.
You are defined by who you are, and not what you do. That’s precisely why it’s so much more important for us to understand our identity, more than our function. In fact, by knowing our identity we would come to know our function. We know what isn’t natural for us. A thief isn’t a thief because he steals. A thief is a thief, and therefore he steals. That’s the same thing with us – we’re not thieves by any stretch, but we have been made righteous with God… and though we may steal, it doesn’t match who we’ve been made. And again, we know what isn’t natural with us. It’s who you are that defines your performance.
Who is Jesus? There are 2 common titles that one can find in relation to Jesus.
- Jesus is the Son of God – He is the only begotten Son of God.
- Jesus is the Son of Man – It’s the Father’s mission to being back the lost authority of Man. It was lost because of Adam’s sin… but Christ became the second Son of Man, the firstborn of the new creation, and where Adam failed, Christ succeeded, practicing authority.
[And I guess this is what I’ve been trying to say all this time. We really shouldn’t be caught up in the miracles, but the more excellent way – the authority given to us is not proven by the healing and prosperity, but exercised in love, peace, and the rest of the fruits of the Holy Spirit!]
Who are we in Jesus? We are God’s beloved child!
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 1 John 3:1
We’re the apple of His eye. Nobody but God could ever proclaim that we are ALL His favorites. All that He has for us is perfect love – and this perfect love casts out all insecurity, all anxiety – His perfect love for us casts out all fear!
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.Ephesians 5:1-2
(3) The Father And The Son Jesus Christ – They Live Loved!
We enjoy this love on our own, and as the Father and Son enjoy each other, so we love one another as well, and we enjoy His love for us as a group!
Here’s a birds-eye view of Jesus’ way of discipleship:
- His Prayer Life
- “But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.”Luke 5:16
- “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”Matthew 6:6
- Christ went through the extra effort of isolating Himself, and staying away, that He would not be heard or seen by other people; I’m thinking He did this (1) so that people wouldn’t go through the process of saying the words He says, counting it as a religious work, and well, in the name of focus (2) He wanted to be away from distraction, and (3) He wanted to concentrate all of His being to communication with His Father.
- His Teachings
- So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me.John 8:28
- First of all, it’s not that He didn’t exercise authority. He did command demons and unclean spirits to be gone, after all. He specified it Himself in the Great Commission: All authority has been given to Him by His Father. So this means that He cast out sickness and proclaimed the forgiveness of the sick, under the authority of His Father. So the words He spoke, whether they be in command or in teaching… they were all done by the authority given to Him by the Father.
- His Works
- So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel.John 5:19-20
- So not only does Christ speak ‘just as the Father taught (Him)’, Christ certainly does ‘just as the Father does’, and so He does what He sees the Father doing. And this in itself is an act of love for us to keep in mind; in other words, we show we love other people by showing them what we are doing.
- Folks like to take that second verse and say that we will heal more people, and we will bring even more people out of poverty. I disagree with this. I think it’s more of us demonstrating and manifesting the fruits of the Holy Spirit in more ways, and in mightier ways: We would show more people love. We would bring more people that other people have given up on to peace beyond understanding… and so on, and so forth.
- His Joy
- As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.John 15:9-11
- We’ve settled how we’ve been placed in the middle of true love – That is, we’ve been re-made and consequently re-positioned to be lavished by love by the Godhead – loved by God, loved by Jesus Christ, and loved by the Holy Spirit. And it’s out of this love that we are able to fulfill the same new commandment that Christ gave to the disciples in that same chapter – that is, to love one another as we have been (unilaterally) loved.
- It’s in this true love that we would experience the joy of Christ – the only true joy that there is. And I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch for us to say, in all this being revealed and discussed, that Christ enjoys us – or, that we are part of the joy that Christ has. Now with that said – how wouldn’t the joy that swells within us be full? We have been fully loved… we could fully rejoice!
- His Power
- Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.Philippians 2:5-11
- Here’s another aspect of power that you probably wouldn’t hear Robert Greene talk about or even hear, considering their Machiavellian perspective – That power is not without humility. It’s just as the Ragnar Lothbrok of the fictional Vikings series told his son – “Power is only given to those who are prepared to lower themselves to pick it up.” And, sure, Uncle Ben was spot on in saying that great responsibility comes with great power… but we’re seeing in Uncle Jesus’ example, that great humility precedes great power… And see, even then, it wasn’t as if He wanted the power. No, it was actually IN HIS POWER that He humbled Himself – so it isn’t a matter of humility unto power, or humility preceding power! No, apparently we’re seeing here that there is no humility without power, nor is there any power that lasts without humility.
- His Pleasure
- So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.”John 8:28-29
- Do you see a pattern here? Christ’s teachings were spoken under the authority of God. Christ’s power and humility were through His Father. And it just follows that Christ’s joy and pleasure is God’s pleasure… and so His joy and pleasure are our pleasure as well. To add to this, when we do what we were made new to do, we’d have joy and pleasure – and it’s the opposite when we insist on doing what we’ve been re-made from. In other words, sin wouldn’t feel as good as we used to feel when we did it before Christ.
- His Service
- Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.John 13:1-5
- Christ’s power is not without humility, so Christ’s service is done in humility as well… but if you caught it in the first parts of this set of scripture, He did what He did out of His love for them; a love that the Father has lavished on Him, is the same love He lavished on them, to the point of washing their feet.
Are we forced to do these things in order for us to be loved by God? Are we doing these things to establish and/or maintain a relationship with God? By no means! Christ did these things out of the overflow of the love, the overflow of the relationship with God, His Father, and our Father!
We are encouraged to live loved like Jesus. When we live as God’s beloved, then all the commandments become a natural outflow of this wonderful relationship with God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
You are a blessing wherever you are placed. You may not have all the accolades this world insists is valuable… But you can know God loves you, and that’ll be everything you can ever need.
Until the next post, God bless you.
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