BILL’S BLOG ENTRY #78

ANNOUNCING A NEW APPROACH TO THIS BLOG, “DISCIPLESHIP AND DISCIPLINE”

The completed book, “Discipleship and Discipline” by William Hicks, copyright March, 2005, is now available for purchase at amazon.com! You can OWN YOUR OWN COPY by searching the title, “Discipleship and Discipline” and get the previously un-published content that completes the book. It is well worth the purchase!

Going forward, this blog will be publishing articles and writings- all focused on the Gospel- that are original writings by William Hicks, including essays, commentary and other writings on topics relevant to the spread of the Gospel in today’s cultural environment.

TO GOD BE THE GLORY!!

The Disciple

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BILL’S BLOG ENTRY #77

From “Discipleship and Discipline” by William H Hicks, copyright March, 2005:

“CHAPTER FOUR: The Love of Disciples: The Key to Release God’s Power In Our Lives

“”The Lord addresses the power for discipleship as being aligned exactly with our abiding in His word. “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you”. The power extended in II Timothy 1:7 is inseparable from the Spirit of love we have received. And that Spirit of love enables us and encourages us to “abide in His word.” The Word gives power, motivation and discipline towards fulfillment of its purposes. The discipline is the “how to”, the “game plan”, the way we execute the Lord’s commandment to “abide in His word.”

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.” “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”

“Jesus here explains that disciples are called to a higher form of friendship. Our friendship is more accurately characterized as kinship. Would any of us hesitate to sacrifice our lives for one of our children? Would we run into a burning house to save our baby? Would we rush into oncoming traffic to snatch our child from the path of an onrushing automobile? God forbid that we should ever have to face such circumstances! But Jesus commands us to act towards one another the way He acts towards us. He puts us first. He seeks us out to bless us. He laid down His life that we might have a right to the Tree of Life.””

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BILL’S BLOG ENTRY #76

From “Discipleship and Discipline” by William H. Hicks, copyright March, 2005:
““CHAPTER FOUR: The Love of Disciples: The Key to Release God’s Power In Our Lives”

““Dear children, how brief are these moments before I must go away and leave you! Then, though you search for Me, you cannot come to Me—just as I told the Jewish leaders. So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are My disciples.”

These words of the Lord, some of the most poignant He ever uttered, come just after Judas Iscariot has left the upper room to seek out the Pharisees and Sadducees to whom he would betray the Lord. In a tender and touching way, the Lord recites His living legacy to all disciples: “Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” This goes deeper into the second element of the greatest commandment, which states, “love your neighbor as yourself.” Here, the Lord commands His disciples to love each other as He has loved them. Later, in John 15, Jesus explains the implications of this command. The Lord observes to His disciples that “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also 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 so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”

Jesus makes clear that our love for Him and for each other is tied inextricably to our obedience to His Word. Moreover, by no other means is His Father glorified than by our faithful obedience to His Word and by no greater means is our love for each other so fully manifested than faithful adherence to His Word. In addition, our joy is dependent upon our abiding in His love. Joy is something to be experienced most fully when it is shared. Jesus’ joy is made fuller by His sharing it with us. Our joy is most full when we share it with each other.””

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BILL’S BLOG ENTRY #75

From “Discipleship and Discipline” by William H. Hicks, copyright March, 2005:

“Recall the seven (7) works the Holy Spirit does in every believer. He regenerates (“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me”- Psalm 51:10); indwells (“For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE”- 2 CORINTHIANS 6:16); assures (“that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself- Colossians 2:2; “Yet we have this assurance: Those who belong to God will live; their bodies will rise again! Those who sleep in the earth will rise up and sing for joy! For God’s light of life will fall like dew on his people in the place of the dead!”- Isaiah 26: 19; “Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water”-Hebrews 10: 21 – 22 and, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”- Hebrews 11: 1); seals (“Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge”- 2 Corithians 1: 22; “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”- Ephesians 4: 30 – 32; teaches: “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” -John 14: 26; “But you have received the Holy Spirit, and He lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you all things, and what He teaches is true—it is not a lie. So continue in what He has taught you, and continue to live in Christ.”-1John 2: 26; leads: “He leads me besides quiet waters, He guides me in the paths of righteousness- Psalms 23: 2; He leads the humble in justice and teaches the righteous His way- Psalms 25: 9; “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every pIf we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139) to be new creatures in Christ (II Corinthians 5: 17) for good works in which we should walk (Ephesians 2: 10), then the work of the Holy Spirit as noted above describes the way in which He goes about the process of producing a disciple. The result of His work is that we conform to the image of Christ. Our privilege as disciples is to show forth the Holy Spirit at work in us. II Timothy 1: 7; “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.””lace”- II Corinthians 2: 14; fills: “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.”- Luke 24: 49.””

“If we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139) to be new creatures in Christ (II Corinthians 5: 17) for good works in which we should walk (Ephesians 2: 10), then the work of the Holy Spirit as noted above describes the way in which He goes about the process of producing a disciple. The result of His work is that we conform to the image of Christ. Our privilege as disciples is to show forth the Holy Spirit at work in us. II Timothy 1: 7; “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.””

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BILL’S BLOG ENTRY #74

From “Discipleship and Discipline”, by William H. Hicks, copyright March, 2005:

“”Our great task will be to demonstrate our faith, to “act out of trust in God”, even in the face of persecution by terrorism, murder, deprivation, castigation, character assassination, temptation and torture. Will we respond to the challenge to be faithful when our very lives are at stake? We have the power to be faithful; the question for each of us individually is, do we have the will to go through to see what the end will be, to “stand on the promises of God”? ”Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t be afraid and don’t worry. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if you are asked about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But you must do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak evil against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!””

“A desire to serve God is a prerequisite to discipleship. But our hearts must be made of special material, made by special expertise. You can only get such a heart from God. Deuteronomy 30:6 (NASB): “Moreover the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live.” Jeremiah 24: 7 (God’s Word translation): “I will give them hearts that will recognize me as the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me wholeheartedly.” Jeremiah 31: 33b: “I will put My laws in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people.” God’s Law written in our minds (knowledge) and on our hearts (desire) equals power for application in our lives (wisdom).””

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BILL’S BLOG ENTRY #73

From “Discipleship and Discipline”, by William H. Hicks, copyright March, 2005:

“In Hebrews 11, we find God’s “Faith Hall of Fame”, wherein we are given a partial list of that Hall’s inhabitants. We tend to concentrate and focus on the “conquering heroes” among those listed there: Abraham, Noah, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. We oftentimes forget the unnamed ones who “trusted God and were tortured, preferring to die rather than turn from God and be free. They placed their hope in the resurrection to a better life. 36Some were mocked, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in dungeons. 37Some died by stoning, and some were sawed in half; others were killed with the sword. Some went about in skins of sheep and goats, hungry and oppressed and mistreated. 38They were too good for this world.” Hebrews 11: 35b – 38a. We disciples should know that we are more likely to be unnamed than named as “conquering heroes”, even though we, as they, are “more than conquerors””

“No one in America alive today will ever forget September 11, 2001.”

“”One of the initial phenomena coming out of the tragedy was an unretouched CNN photograph of the South World Trade Tower showing the “image” of Satan in the smoke billowing from the place on the tower where the second plane impacted the building. Everyone I spoke with reacted to the picture by saying, “this confirms that this was a supremely evil act! See! The face of Satan! This tells us that these people are wrong to attack us, to take innocent lives! Their cause cannot be just!!” While these are all credible conclusions, is there not more? Was there a message for America in that God allowed us to be subjected to such horror, terror and despair? Was this allowed to occur merely to call us to heroism, sacrifice and circumspection? I think not. We as a nation- “one nation, under God, indivisible”, must reflect on how far we have wandered from the faith of our fathers. Jerry Falwell was vilified for suggesting that we as a people might have lost our way, what with banning prayer in schools, legalization of abortion and other policies and laws that run counter to God’s word. Maybe it was the way he said it. Will a just God long tolerate institutionalized racism? Will He not call us, “who are called by My name” to repentance- individually and corporately? Will He not demand discipline from His disciples? I think so.””

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BILL’S BLOG ENTRY #72

From “Discipleship and Discipline”, by William H. Hicks, copyright March, 2005:

““Or have you forgotten that when we became Christians and were baptized to become one with Christ Jesus, we died with Him? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. Since we have been united with Him in His death, we will also be raised as He was. Our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also share His new life. We are sure of this because Christ rose from the dead, and He will never die again. Death no longer has any power over Him. He died once to defeat sin, and now He lives for the glory of God. So you should consider yourselves dead to sin and able to live for the glory of God through Christ Jesus.

Since Jesus has all authority, He can give us the power (note Matthew 28: 18KJV: “All power…”) to make disciples of all the nations. John 1: 12 (KJV) says “…to them gave He the power to become the sons of God…” The source of our power is the Holy Spirit of God “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes to you. Then you will be my witnesses to testify about me in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (God’s Word Translation.) Note that the power is useful for witnessing. The power for conviction rests solely with the Holy Spirit (see Bill’s Letter to the Christians, below). Witnessing is the privilege and responsibility of disciples.

“When I think of the wisdom and scope of God’s plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will give you mighty inner strength through His Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in Him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now glory be to God! By His mighty power at work within us, He is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. May He be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen.” (Ephesians 3: 14 – 20, New Living Translation)””

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