When you are born-again God puts you on a path, a path of spiritual maturity and formation. While we all enter the Kingdom of God as a babe. God's plan is that we all mature in Him. God desires for each of us to grow in our relationship with Him. Whereby we are blessed by His grace that enables us to walk in blessing and become a blessing to others.
God has a specific path for us to mature on. Our goal here at LightHouse Discipleship Center is to see help put those who want to mature on a path.
"And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, 'Be saved from this perverse generation.' Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers." (Acts 2:40-42)
When the Church was born on the Day of Pentecost, God added, in one day, 3,000 believers to the 120 who were already assembled in one accord. These 3,120 believers continued steadfastly in...
- The Apostles' Doctrine (teachings)
- The Breaking of Bread
These (4) things were their spiritual food group. It is one path working in balance together to help produce balanced growth. We believe, if we will partake of these in balance. This continual diet will bring balanced growth in our lives. We believe, anyone and any church who will get on this path will without fail grow and mature in Christ.
However, the path will not work if you are coerced, forced or manipulated to do so. Therefore, we cannot mandate this path, we can only encourage and assist you along the path of life.
You must see this path by revelation. By the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Grace you must allow some things that God has ordained in your life to help you stay on this path.
If it was good enough for the early Church it is good enough for us today.
We start at the Apostles' Doctrine not only because it is the first listed (Acts 2:42) but we must start here because it effects the other three.
Yes, the essence of our spiritual growth is dependent on our desire of the pure milk of God's Word, that we may grow thereby (1 Pt. 2:2). Yes, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
Therefore, we need to know what the Word of God says, specifically the Apostles' doctrine in regards to fellowship, the breaking of bread and to prayers. If we do not know what the Word of God says about fellowship it will not produced the desired results. If we don't know what the Word of God says about the breaking of bread it will not produced the desired results. If we don't know what the Word of God says about prayers it will not produced the desired results.
Teaching is the beginning of all growth. Most acceptable behaviors have been taught. For instance, as a child if you were not taught to brush your teeth, at the age of 6 it would never have been your goal or desire. If you were not taught to take a bath, at the age of 6 it would never have been your goal or desire. Likewise, if you were not taught as a child to share, at age 6 it would never have been your goal or desire to share.
Everything we have learned, we have been taught.
Likewise, spiritual things are taught. We need to be taught. We need to be discipled. We need sound doctrine not the doctrines of men. We need to be taught the Apostles' doctrine.
Paul taught Timothy, that in the last days people will not endures sound doctrine. Instead, they will pay people to tell them what they want to hear (2 Tim. 4:3-4). We must be established in the apostles' doctrine.
We start specifically in the Apostles' Doctrine, the New Testament teachings, because the New Testament explains what the Old Testament contains.
Jesus taught us: no one puts New Wine in old wineskins (Mk. 2:22). Therefore, we cannot live in New Testament grace after Old Testament teachings. We cannot live in New Testament grace after Old Testament administrations. Otherwise we will be confused and frustrated.
For instance, if we do not understand: "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree')," (Gal. 3:13) we will be confused if we sin. Based on the Old Testament teachings we will conclude that God will punish us for our sins.
Beloved friends, God is not punishing us for our sins, as many have been taught. Why? The Apostles' doctrine teaches us that Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us.
God will never punish you. Why? He punished Jesus for you.
We cannot understand the Old Testament in proper context if we don't understand the New Testament. Jesus is the substance of all the types and shadows of the Old Testament. Because many have been taught wrong, many are messed up in what they believe. If what we believe is wrong, that is unbelief that will bring forth confusion and make our faith in Christ of no effect. Causing us to never grow and mature in Christ.
In the Old Testament Moses (the Law) was able to get the children of Israel to the Promised Land. But he (the Law) could not get the people into the Promised Land. Instead, Moses (the Law) had to die.
"But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully." (1 Tim. 1:8)
"For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." (Jn. 1:17)
The Law is good. The Law is holy. The Law shuts our mouths and reveals our sin, making us guilty before God. The Law cannot save us. The Law can get us to the Promised Land (Jesus). But the Law cannot get us into the Promised Land (Jesus).
The Law reveals we need a Savior. But the Law cannot save us.
Now Joshua (Yehoshua) represents Jesus, as Moses represented the Law. Moses had to die and Joshua had to be raised up. Joshua (Jesus) did what Moses (the Law) could not do. Moses (the Law) led the people to the Promised Land. Joshua (Jesus) led the people into the Promised Land by faith.
However, because many are never established in the apostles' doctrine. They never grow up and mature in Christ (the Promised Land). Many are very loyal and devoted to Moses (the Law). Whereby, many are trying to get into the Promised Land by looking to Moses (the Law) instead of looking to Jesus.
Many are looking to the Law to live righteously. Many are looking to the Law to live and mature in this Christian life. Instead of looking to Jesus and allowing Jesus to lead them into the Promised Land and live His life in and through them, enabling them to grow up in Him in all things.
"Yes, and ALL who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus WILL suffer persecution." (2 Tim. 3:12)
If you are not being persecuted, I love you but you are a "closet Christian." In other words, you are not standing up for your faith. Instead you are playing it safe and have sheltered yourself in a closet.
Paul clearly teaches us: ALL who live godly WILL suffer persecution. Especially in our culture today, if you desire to live godly you will suffer persecution.
"But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived." (2 Tim. 3:13)
Paul continued to teach: "...evil men will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived." (2 Tim. 3:13)
Beloved friends, we live in a fallen world. There are deceivers all around us. Therefore, we need to know and be established in the Word of God, the apostles' doctrine, more than ever. We need to be established with a continuous steadfast diet of sound doctrine.
"But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them," (2 Tim. 3:14)
Paul exhorts his young disciple, Timothy and the Church at large to continue in the things he (they) have learned. "...knowing from who you have learned them" (2 Tim. 3:14).
Just like the early Church we are to continue steadfastly in the apostle's doctrine. We are not to change our diet and we are not change from whom we heard it. Yes, the current pastor, minister or ministry may change but at its core we must continue steadfastly in the Apostles' doctrine. Knowing at its core we heard it from the Apostles.
"and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." (2 Tim. 3:15)
Paul instructed Timothy, "from childhood you have "...known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation..." (2 Tim. 3:15)
Beloved friends, if you are wise you won't be deceived or a deceiver. Age does not make you wise, the Scriptures do.
I know I am where I am today because of the Word of God. I know I am where I am today because of the Apostles' doctrine. I know I am where I am today because the Word of God has been sown into my heart.
In a dark, evil world His Word Alone is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Ps. 119:105).
Jesus countered the Deceiver in his own temptations with the Word He had been taught: "But He answered and said, 'It is written, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”'" (Mt. 4:4)
The Word of God is not only our continual diet, whereby we grow and taste His grace (1 Pt. 2:2-3). In a dark, evil world, it is the traditions of men that make the Word of God of no effect (Mk. 7:13).
Therefore, we need to be established in His Word for ourselves.
“'All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the Word of the Lord endures forever.'” (1 Pt. 1:24-25)
His Word protects our hearts from being deceived into temptation. "Your Word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You." (Ps. 119:11)
What is more, His Word is salvation and healing (Yeshua). "He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions." (Ps. 107:20)
"Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (Jn. 8:31-32, KJV)
His Word affects our heart. It affects our body and our entire lives. We need to continue steadfastly in His Word, so that we know it. And the Truth that we know will set us free.
We cannot get too much of the Word. We need to eat it and drink it. We need to sniff it, snort it, needle it and get high on it. We need to do whatever it takes to get the Word off of the pages and into our hearts and lives. His Word is the spirit, life and power of God.
Impossible things happen when we are in a continual steadfast relationship with God. Spiritual growth is the supernatural order of the Kingdom of God.
We were created by God to grow and mature. We were created by God to believe in miracles and the supernatural. Children were created to believe. They believe animals can talk. They believe in Santa Claus. They believe that rabbits lay Easter Eggs. They believe Jesus walked on water. They believe Jesus raised the dead. They believe Jesus cleansed the lepers. They believe Jesus healed the blind man. They believe Jesus fed the multitudes.
We have forgotten that we once believed too. However, our problem is not believing.
We've been taught too much unbelief.
We've been taught out of the supernatural. We've been taught out of the impossible. We've been taught out of a God Who is alive and real. We've been taught out of invading our world. We've been taught out of walking with God in the cool of the day. Where we talk to God and He talks to us. Changing our lives by His Word.
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." (2 Tim. 3:16-17, KJV)
A perfect man is one who is mature. The Apostles' doctrine will not only bring maturity, they will also equip us for every good work that God has called us to do. In other words they will enable us to fulfill God's will, plan and destiny for our lives.
There is common teaching that is emerging in society again that is deceiving multitudes into believing the Bible is just a collection of multiple author's biases and opinions.
No, the Bible was penned by the inspired instruction of the Holy Spirit (2 Tim. 3:16). These men (authors) recorded God's thoughts, the mind of God.
Beloved friends, any society that wants to control and enslave people must take away the Word of God. That is why any backslidden country constantly assaults the Word of God.
The devil knows, dear ones, that when you continue in His Word as His disciples. You will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free (Jn. 8:31-32). The devil knows that when you are established in the Word of God continually no one can enslave you. No one can manipulate and deceive you. No one can impoverish you.
If Jesus is your Lord, no one else is.
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." (2 Tim. 3:16, KJV)
The New Testament explains what the Old Testament contains. Therefore, the Apostles' doctrine is your doctrine on the Blood of Jesus. Whereby you filter all other doctrines through that lens.
Likewise, as you continue steadfastly in the Apostles' doctrine you reprove, correct and instruct all other doctrines through the Apostles' doctrine of righteousness so that you will be perfect (mature) and thoroughly furnished (equipped) for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
"This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him. If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself. Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth." (2 Tim. 2:11-15)
Being mature is not just reading and studying Scripture. Maturity is the ability to rightly divide the Word of Truth.
For instance, my job as a pastor is to study His Word, the Apostles' Doctrine. Get it into my own heart. So that I can impart Truth to hearts of men and women who hear what I teach and preach. Ultimately, His Word has the capacity to change and transform lives, even generations.
What I teach and preach is not a lecture. It is not a speech. It is not a presentation. It really is not even a "sermon." His Word is Spirit and life (Jn. 6:63). When the Word of God is taught Truth (Seed) is imparted to any heart (soil) that is ready to receive.
Teaching the Apostles' doctrine is a marvelous miraculous event in the Divine plan of God. In the same Message taught. Some receive doctrine. Other receive reproof. Others received correction or instruction. But all the Word needs is a heart ready to receive it.
Unfortunately, many only use the Bible to debate and prove their point. We need to be careful. Anyone can make the Bile say anything they want it to say.
Some people know what the Bible says. But they have no relationship with the Author. Therefore, they have never learned the Spirit of the Book.
We need a relationship with the Holy Spirit - the Spirit of Truth.
We need the Spirit of Truth to reveal the Truth that will set us free as we continue steadfastly in the Apostles' doctrine (Jn. 8:31-32; Acts 2:42).
I want to conclude on practical note. Discipleship is of the core cornerstones of our church. In fact, we have named our church LightHouse Discipleship Center for a divine reason.
Whereas I cannot mandate discipleship. Discipleship will not work if it is coerced, forced or manipulated. Nonetheless, my life's and purpose and calling is to help disciple those who are willing to be discipled. I am committed to this.
Therefore, by design we have implemented the following avenues for you to be discipled through our ministry if you are willing:
- WEEKLY HOUSE CHURCH SERVICES - If you do not have a home church that is like-minded: based on the Apostle's Doctrine, we strongly encourage you to get committed to a rhythm of grace, as your discipline of seeking God corporately.
- BIBLE CLASSES - Currently we offer FREE Bible Classes, every Wednesday and Thursday evening year-round. Our goal is to get you established in your identity and equipped in His Word. We are not a college, we are a church. But I believe every Christian should go through an intensive season of becoming established in His Word.
- BIBLE STUDIES - Currently we offer Charis Bible Studies at two different locations. The purpose is to connect and build relationships with the Body of Christ as we study the Word of God together, ministering to one another in wholesome fellowship.
- BLOGS & ARTICLES - Via this website we are regularly posting new blogs like this one and Articles from other like-minded ministers we esteem and support. We are not the only ones teaching this Message and we encourage you to follow their ministries as well.
- INDIVIDUAL READING - I encourage you to have regular diet of getting into God's Word on your own. There are many good examples out there based on your preferences and desires. If you need help selecting one, just ask, I would be glad to help.
- MEDITATE ON SCRIPTURES - I encourage you to meditate on His Word. We all need good teaching and good disciplines of partaking of His Word on a continual basis. But each day I encourage you to take a verse, phrase or passage of His Word and just meditate on it throughout your day. This can be a powerful method of getting His Word in your heart.