The Believer's Armory:
M.E. Brines' blog with articles & links to important resources to equip Believers for spiritual success in a world steeped in the occult.
Christ’s last instruction to his followers just before he returned to heaven is given in Matthew 28:18-20, more popularly known as The Great Commission:
“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (NAS)
The King James Version reads “Therefore go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things, whatever I commanded you.” The verb “teach” in this passage is translated from the original Greek word “matheteuo” which means, “to make a disciple of.”
Christ’s last instruction to his disciples was to go to the entire world, make disciples and teach them the things that Christ had taught them. We’re supposed to be the latest link in an unbroken chain of disciples beginning in the first century and lasting until Christ returns again. But before we can follow His command and make disciples, we need to know what a disciple is.
The dictionary defines a disciple as 1) One who embraces and assists in spreading the teachings of another. 2) An active adherent of a movement or philosophy. 3) One of the original twelve followers of Jesus.
The origin of the word is from the Latin discipulus meaning pupil. Interestingly the English word discipline has the same Latin source.
Discipline is defined as 1) Training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental improvement. 2) Controlled behavior resulting from disciplinary training; self-control. 3a) Control obtained by enforcing compliance or order. 3b) A systematic method to obtain obedience. 3c) A state of order based on submission to rules and authority.
It can also be a verb: 1) To train by instruction and practice, especially to teach self-control.
Obviously discipline and being a disciple are related. But what does it really mean to be a disciple?
I think that the best illustration of what it means to be a disciple can be seen in the martial arts. You have a master who takes on pupils, students, disciples, etc. and imparts to them his knowledge and skills over a period of time, with the intention that some day the disciples will themselves become masters and impart those same teachings to others. Isn’t this exactly what Christ did? Isn’t this what he told us to do in Matthew chapter twenty-eight?
How does the master do this? By placing the disciples under discipline, teaching them the basic principles, demonstrating to them the proper behavior and helping them to duplicate it. This requires time, discipline and effort on the part of both the master and his disciples. It is common for serious disciples of the martial arts to attend classes several times a week. They are also expected to study and practice at home on their own time. To achieve success requires a great deal of discipline to make the time necessary to attend the classes and practice. Disciples who lack the interest or discipline will not succeed in achieving their goal.
But the important thing isn’t what Webster thinks a disciple is, but what Jesus thinks. If our mission is to be the best disciples we can be and then to make disciples of others, then we need to know exactly how Jesus would train disciples so we can emulate the Master.
How would Jesus recruit, educate and train disciples? Wouldn’t it be great if there were a book on how to do that? Wouldn’t that be the perfect way to model our lives? Wouldn’t that be the perfect mission to organize a local congregation around? Isn’t that what Christian churches are supposed to do?
Currently there are dozens of books available on discipleship by all sorts of authors who come at the subject from every different perspective. But if we really want to know Jesus’ ideas on the subject, why not examine the “books” written by disciples that Jesus personally trained? We should examine the Gospels and see exactly how Jesus trained his original disciples for clues to how He expects us to be disciples and to make disciples of others.
Together you and I are going to examine Matthew’s account of his discipleship training at the hands of the Master. Unlike most discipleship books you may have seen, we’re going to follow Matthew’s account of Jesus’ training of His disciples verse by verse. We may take a few side roads along the way to find backup and quote other verses to reinforce the teachings presented, but what I’m NOT going to do is quote two verses and then expand them into an entire book by padding them out with my own ideas. You are beginning a journey to discover what the Apostle Matthew said that Jesus taught about discipleship, not what I or any other merely human author thinks discipleship ought to be. Think of me as a fellow student; Jesus is the teacher. I just want to share with you what I learned from Matthew who learned it from our mutual Master.
I’m going to quote from the New King James version because I like it. You can follow along in any other translation or paraphrase that you prefer. The concepts presented will be the same.
Along the way let’s see how the discipleship training that Jesus practiced two thousand years ago compares to what goes on in modern American churches today. How do we stack up against the teachings of the Master?
As we look at Matthew we may not like what we see. A lot of readers are going to undoubtedly disagree with many of my observations. Some of them are going to think all I want to do is attack the Church and tear it down. But that’s not true. I see problems and I see a solution. I want to build up the Church, reform it and restore it to what it once was: an organization designed to make and train disciples. The problem is that the modern Christian church in America today is not organized with that as its primary goal. We say that we are, but if you look at the way we actually do things and the practical effect of what we teach and how we teach it, most churches fall very short of the mark Jesus set for us at His ascension. We don’t understand what it really means to be one of His disciples.
Now, if that makes you want to toss this book aside snarling, “that author is an apostate bent on destroying the Church as I see it,” consider: isn’t that exactly the same thing that first century Jews said when Paul preached Christ to them as the Messiah? They denied that the Jewish council could possibly have been wrong to reject Jesus. They clung to what the synagogues had been teaching them all their lives about the Messiah coming as a conquering king and attacked Paul as a heretic and blasphemer. He was beaten and stoned and run out of town, over and over again.
The Bible says that eventually Paul traveled to the city of Berea and began to preach the Gospel there in the synagogue. Those Jews soon realized that what he was teaching was different from what they were used to hearing, but instead of rejecting it outright as the Jews in other cities had done, they checked his teachings against what the Scriptures had to say, “to see if those things were so.” The result was that many of them discovered the Truth and were saved.
* * *
And the brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. They, when they arrived, went into the synagogue of the Jews.
And these were more noble than those of Thessalonica, in that they received the Word with all readiness of mind and searched the Scriptures daily to see if those things were so.
Therefore many of them believed, and quite a few of honorable Greek women and men. (Acts 17:10-13)
* * *
I urge you not to reject my message but instead to examine the scriptures with me and see if those things are so. Because if they are, then the Church is in trouble and it’s up to us to do something about it.
Has Christianity lost its cultural relevance? Has the Church’s misguided
efforts to market itself to non-Christians doomed it to irrelevance? Is it time
for a new Reformation? Spiritual
Embezzlement Made Easy
What does Jesus expect from his followers? How did he train his disciples? Revolutionary
Why do those who disagree with you politically believe the ridiculous things
they do? Why don’t they see what’s so obvious? How does the Progressive
Mentality differ from the Conservative Mentality? What are their origins? Their
motivation? Their goals? What part does religion play in political worldviews
– for BOTH sides? What does the Culture War mean for the future of the US?
Read Conservatives are
from Mars & Progressives are from Venus
With all the depressing news lately do you need something to pick you up and make you laugh? In a world where sugar, cream and caffeine are illegal can one man give the people back their just desserts? Strike a blow for frosting and freedom! Read The Donuts of Doom, a whimsical steampunk fantasy e-novel Also available in paperback.
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Who is M.E. Brines?
M.E. Brines spent the Cold War assembling atomic artillery shells and preparing to unleash the Apocalypse (and has a medal to prove it.) But when peace broke out, he turned his fevered, paranoid imagination to other pursuits. He spends his spare time scribbling another steampunk romance occult adventure novel, which despite certain rumors absolutely DOES NOT involve time-traveling Nazi vampires!
A former member of the British Society for Psychical Research, he is a long-time student of the occult and a committed Christian who sees himself as a modern-day Professor Van Helsing equipping Believers for battle against the occult Principalities and Powers that rule a world in darkness. (Ephesians 6:12)
The author of three dozen books, e-books, chapbooks and pamphlets on esoteric subjects such as alien abduction, alien hybrids, astrology, the Bible, biblical prophecy, Christian discipleship, conspiracies, esoteric Nazism, the Falun Gong, Knights Templar, magick, and UFOs, his work has also appeared in Challenge magazine, Weird Tales, The Outer Darkness, Tales of the Talisman, and Empirical magazine.
*I'm often asked how I square my Christianity and "messing around" with the occult, as if I'm partial to bestial things with a goat under the amber light of the moon or something. No so. I'm a student, in the same way I used to study Soviet weapons and tactics back when I was a US Army officer. This gives my work a unique perspective no matter what your belief system. I don't judge. I just present the information and let the reader decide.
Tales of the Talisman magazine
Ghost Hunting Theories (+ Bigfoot)
Gnostalgia (the Esoteric Steampunk Lodge of the Retro-Future)
Why Star Trek is dead. (Postmodernism killed it)
Smashwords is great place 2 get e-books, 7 different formats, Nook, Kindle, EPUB, & more! Many are FREE. Check it out!!! https://www.smashwords.com/
The Struggle of Nations Game
(This could be you)
Ever wanted to rule your own nation? Now you can! The Struggle of Nations is a historical play-by-e-mail game where each player is the leader of his own nation. Players may enter the game at the beginning of any turn with no handicap, taking over an existing government or rebel faction. Weekly turns represent the passage of a year in game-time. During each week you can plot, plan and scheme, then turn in your national budget and orders by the deadline. Track your progress using the economic report and full-color maps on the web site. Read about your exploits in the weekly newsletter!
The game accommodates busy players by enabling you to spend whatever time you like during the week conducting diplomacy with the other players via e-mail and determining your budget and orders, as long as they are finalized and submitted by the weekly turn deadline. You devote to the game exactly as much or as little time as you choose.
The rules are realistic and complete yet with a human referee to allow customized options. Players can manipulate tax rates, social programs, propaganda, and forge a customized military with secret weapons of their own design. The possibilities for economic growth, conquest, colonization, exploration, and research are endless.
Set in a 19th century steampunk Victorian world, The Struggle of Nations allows players to develop their countries as they see fit, accommodating any ideology or style of play. The game only ends if one player manages to conquer (or destroy) the world. In previous sessions the game lasted until the early 21st century as players began to explore and colonize the solar system. What could YOU accomplish if you ruled a nation?
Find out in The Struggle of Nations! Choose any nationality or secret society you like. Players may enter the game at the beginning of any turn with no handicap, taking over an existing nation or rebel faction. Just contact the Game Master by sending an e-mail to "email@example.com." For the rules of play, click on The Player's Handbook below. The game is FREE (although we request a donation of $5 per turn.) Sign up today!
The links below lead to the Player's Handbook, and other useful documents. The player's handbook helps players fill out their order packets correctly so their orders are not misunderstood by the Game Master.
The new Indian balloon carrier:
Argentine explorers on Easter Island
The Papal flagship, Fist of God
You can join the game discussion group by using this URL:
All attached documents are Copyright 2012 by Michael E. Brines