Many people amble through life with little sense of purpose. Others are sent into the world with a job to do.
Jesus selected twelve men to do His work. Sometimes they are called disciples and sometimes apostles. The difference between the two is significant.
- A disciple is one who shares the discipline of the leader, as in the field of study.
- An apostle is a disciple who has been sent by the leader to do a certain thing in his name.
They were both disciples and apostles.
- They were called to Him, not to a cause or a movement, but to the Man, Christ Jesus.
- He gave them spiritual authority over sickness and unclean spirits.
- He gave them instructions about who exactly should be the objects of their efforts.
- They had to depend on the people who received their ministry for support.
- They must be courteous to everyone but never waste time on people who did not receive them.
Disciples and Apostles Today
Everyone who becomes a Christ-follower today should be a disciple of Christ. He is our Teacher and we try to learn His ways and live for Him in ways that reflect His values. He is also our Savior, the one who cast our sins far away. Jesus is also our Champion. He defeated and disarmed our enemies from hell and ordered angels from heaven to guard our footsteps. It is good to be a disciple of Jesus.
Believers Are Apostles, Too
Each disciple of Jesus should respond to Him with specific things that he/she feels called to do for Him. We are all disciples and apostles—we follow Christ and we have work to do in His name. There are really two distinct lists of things we are sent into this world to do:
- Things that all disciples should do and
- Specific things He has called each of us to do.
The General Will of God.
These are the things that each of us must do:
- Worship Him in spirit and truth both privately and with the church.
- Live holy lives shunning sin and doing works of righteousness.
- Tell His story, including our testimony, to all who will listen. This is done in demonstration as we live according to His teaching and show compassion to others, and in words as we speak to others about what He has done for us.
This call to discipleship is upon every one of us.
The Specific Will of God.
Discovering this is a matter of prayer and consultation with leadership. Here are some time-proven guidelines:
- God usually calls us to do something we are gifted in and for which we have talent. For instance God calls musical people to music ministry. Our talents need to be developed into skills God can use.
- God’s power flows in the area of our calling. When we do the things God is calling us to do, the results are obviously blessed by the Holy Spirit.
- Doing what God is calling us to do brings a sense of joy to our hearts.
- Godly leaders recognize God’s blessing on our work and affirm His calling.
- Knowing what God has called you to do sets up a plan of action to prepare for it.
- Knowing God’s will helps you say no to things others want you to do.
Each of us should live with this sense of having been sent by Jesus into the world, sent in His name and in His power.
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. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him. These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead,* cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts, nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food. “Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out. And when you go into a household, greet it. If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!
Lord Jesus, You made me for a purpose. I am not in this world by accident. I know Your calling on my life and I am doing all I can to fulfill it. Help me to never betray that calling with foolish choices and sinful actions. Let the anointing of Your Spirit rest on me each day as I seek to do Your will. Help me to go where You send me and stay where You keep me and be who You called me to be. For Your glory, Lord! Amen.
Living for Jesus
Words: Thomas O. Chisholm; Music: C. Harold Lowden
1. Living for Jesus a life that is true,
striving to please him in all that I do,
yielding allegiance glad hearted and free
this is the pathway of blessing for me.
O Jesus, Lord and Savior,
I give myself to you,
for you in your atonement
did give yourself for me.
I own no other master
my heart shall be your throne:
my life I give, henceforth to live,
O Christ, for you alone.
2. Living for Jesus, who died in my place,
bearing on Calvary my sin and disgrace:
such love constrains me to answer his call,
follow his leading, and give him my all.
3. Living for Jesus wherever I am,
doing each duty in his holy name,
seeking the lost ones he died to redeem,
bringing the weary to find rest in him.
© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved