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Having picked His twelve apostles Jesus shows them the ministry that they are to participate in, the healing of the sick and the preaching of Truth. From it we are able to extrapolate what it means to follow Jesus.
1. The Demonstration of Power
While there are many ways in which the Christian might be defined, biblically speaking it is a person who has received the regenerative work of the Holy Spirit and allows that power to move through them. Therefore, no man can decide for Christ or be born a Christian; he must be born again. And likewise, no man is able to live the Christian life without the power of the Holy Spirit.
Application: Have you truly been born again? That is, do you know that Christ died for your sin, is on your side by grace and now dwells in you giving you new power and strength to live? If not then I would urge you, my friend, to get on your knees before God and beg Him to show Himself to you. If you have, I would encourage you to be a conduit of His power by the way in which you live, by praying for others, witnessing and by emulating Him, the word of God says: “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked” 1 John 2:6. Please understand, however, that the power to do this comes from His word, His Spirit and through the encouragement of His body the Church and not from guilt or self-effort.
2. The Declaration of Truth
Having healed the sick and cast out demons he goes on to a teaching section which is known as “The Sermon on the Plain” and whilst this is not identical it should be seen as parallel with “The Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew ch 5-7). Within this section Jesus is portrayed as the new Moses who comes down the mountain to a mixed multitude and pronounces the Kingdom’s blessing and curses (Deuteronomy ch 27-28). It must be remembered these are not given as a qualification for entry but as evidence for entry (Luke 6:46-49) and describe the way in which God’s view of man.
Jesus is not advocating abject poverty for this would contradict the rest of Scripture; instead this is to be read as Jesus bestowing a blessing on the righteous poor who have suffered righteously. In like manner He is pronouncing a blessing upon the hungry, the weeping and the persecuted. Within the following section He pronounces a “woe” upon the rich, the comfortable, the pleasure-seeking and the popular. Again, these are not evil in themselves but only if they become the sum total of our life.
Application: Are you seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness? The best way to check is to see how you spend your time and your money and see how you use resources and talents. Whatever is the sum total of your life is your god.
Following Jesus should never be seen as attainable. Sinless perfection was purchased for us by the cross of Calvary but is unachievable when living with a fallen nature, wrestling with a fallen enemy and living in a fallen world. Nonetheless, we should be sinning less, for we: “with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” 2 Corinthians 3:18. Therefore let us, by the mercy of God, declare this truth with our lives that all may come to see and know Him.
*Our infinite God has chosen to limit Himself by using finite men therefore the sermon and the study notes should be received in a spirit of humility for that was the spirit in which they have been given. It is therefore our prayer that by the power of the Spirit’s illumination they might be used for the glorification of God and the transformation of your life*