Category Archives: sermon sneak preview

MAKE DISCIPLES: An Expression Of Loving God

THERE’S NOW A WORLDWIDE PHENOMENON regarding (loving) helping the less privileged. Young people are now looking for something that is beyond them.  Volunteerism is on the rise. Sort of like our REAL Life-feeding program every Saturday morning. Habitat for Humanity. Gawad Kalinga (Philippine version). And many more.

After examining the first and the greatest commandment, let’s now look at the second great commandment.

Matt. 22:39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
Matt. 22:40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

These must really be highly classified commandments because ‘all the Law and the Prophets HANG on these two’.

‘LOVE the Lord…’ and ‘Love you neighbor…’

The other aspect of fulfilling the greatest commandment, besides the ‘love for the Lord’ -vertical relationship, is the ‘love for one’s neighbor’ –horizontal relationship. The Scriptures tells us that,

1John 4:20 If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.
1John 4:21 And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Rom. 13:8  Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.
Rom. 13:9 The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Rom. 13:10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

As a movement, we express this important law through our desire to ‘make disciples’. Despite of the current anti-discipleship attitudes of the age.

a disciple. One of the ways to find out the theme of a certain passage of Scriptures is through the Principle of Repetition. So if you look at these words below, you won’t be so far off from the truth.

* Christian/s – 3x
* believers- 28x
* saints – 69x
* disciple/s – 296x

God is looking, not just for a Christian, a believer, or a saint; He is on the look out for a disciple. A disciple; a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ezek. 22:30  “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.

be a disciple. How can one become a disciple of Christ? Well, let’s ask Him. It’s self-explanatory in red letters.

John 8:31  “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.

John 13:35 “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

John 15:8  “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

be a disciple-maker. Many stop short of just becoming a recipient of heaven. Just a recipient, but not a conduit. But Jesus, in red letters again, said,

Matt. 28:18  “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Matt. 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Matt. 28:20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Being a disciple-maker has something to do with first commandment ever mentioned in the Bible.

Gen. 1:28  God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

When we fulfill what He is asking us to do, we are actually following God.

So I say,

“Following God Entails Helping Others Follow Him.”

But as much as it is impossible to love God apart from Christ, so it is to love our neighbor as ourselves.

1John 3:16  This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

1John 4:19  We love because he first loved us.

Only through the cross that we can love God (vertical line) and love others (horizontal line).

When these lines crossed each other, that would give us a glimpse of HOPE.

OUTRAGEOUS Sayings Of Jesus: All You Can Eat

OUTRAGEOUS FOODS ARE here to stay. We have different weird ones in almost every country: “veggie mite” of the Aussies; “chicken feet” of China; “monkey’s brain” of Hong Kong; some sort of “hippopotamus” meat of South Africa; “ceviche” of Peru; “sushi” dipped in wasabe with soy souce of Japan…(the rest of our readers out there, feel free to share your contri, especially if you’re a fan Andrew Zimmer of Discovery Channel: (‘Bizarre Foods’).

We don’t even have to go far to see some bizarre ones. In the Philippines, we have a lot of those: “Azucena” adobo dog meat of Baguio; fried “cricket” of Tuguegarao; “durian” fruit of Davao; the world famous and I think, Ptr. Steve’s fave, “balut”, a boiled unhatched duck egg of Pateros.

But there is this unique Filipino dish that’s so good to eat with rice cake (puto): “Dinuguan”. Side note, “Sabi nila, pinaglihi daw ako sa puto…kaya lang nahulog sa dinuguan kaya naging ganito ang kulay ko.” It’s pork meat with some mysterious parts mixed with pig’s blood.

I know…I know you are a bit squeamished about the idea. But imagine telling that to the Jewish people!

Well, Jesus mentioned something even more outrageous that “dinuguan”.

John 6:52-55
“Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.

But what made this statement so outrageous; being one of the most original hard sayings in the Bible, is not because of the ‘cannibalism’ idea in it; not because they can’t understand the saying; but it is the difficulty of accepting the meaning of it. So hard that many disciples, I mean DISCIPLES, turned there backs and no longer followed Him.

This has become the saddest verse in the entire Scriptures, which is found in, what I call, the ‘666’ verse- John 6.66.

What made Christianity so unique is that it is highly EXPERIENCIAL. He was telling us to feed on Him! And He wasn’t the first one to talk about eating the things of God, though:

Psalms 34:8
Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”

Ezekiel 3:2-3
“So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat. Then he said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.”

Since the words He used were associated with ritual sacrifice terms, Jesus was here claiming to be the Lamb of God, the sacrifice that would be offered for the sins of the world.

It is almost like Jesus was telling them, the disciples then, and today, that:

“Only Jesus Satisfies Our Hunger.”

(In a way, I made an illustration about this idea in what we can call ‘Salad Bar’ theology, and the story as I have said it at the end of my message in this podcast.)

With that truth, He must have attached this note: “Re’spondez S’il Vous Plait” (R.S.V.P.)…short for, “Please reply.”

Only few, twelve disciples to be exact, responded well (vv.67-69).

Will you?

If you will, then I say to you…

“Bon Appetit!”

OUTRAGEOUS Sayings of Jesus: The Camel And The Eye Of The Needle (No ID,No Entry)

INSTEAD OF BEING MUSHY and just focus on ‘boy and girl’ relationships this month of love- February, allow me to go through other aspects of our hearts’ pursuits.

In conjunction to our new series, we will be dealing with several ‘hard’ or shall I say ‘outrageous’ sayings of Jesus. To start with, let’s jump right in to the most difficult sayings of all: The camel and the needle’s eye.

This encounter with ‘the rich young ruler’ gives a rich picture of the radical nature of discipleship. The impossibility of one’s attempt to save self or to enter heaven.

Fulfilling the laws of Moses cannot guarantee it. It can only point a person to the right direction, but it can not bring you to a lasting security. Now Jesus pointed out the real issue of the matter in the life of this man: a LOVE for the things of this world.

The Scripture tells us…

1John 2:15
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

Colossians 3:1-2
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

There were attempts to tone down this hard-to-believe declaration of Christ. Some say that the ‘eye of the needle’ was a reference to a small opening, giving an independent access to the city. A visitor can dismount and get through the small entrance on foot but the camel, especially if it’s loaded, can’t get through. It must wait for the main gate to be opened to let it through. This is a charming explanation but it has no evidence at all; that a subsidiary entrance really did not exist in history.

Another attempt was made, but this time in the area of definition. The word ‘camel’, they say, has the same sounding in Greek with the word ‘cable’. If it is the case, then it can be translated as ‘rope’. This then can be more acceptable and rational to say compared to what Jesus declared. Well, at least a ‘rope’ is easier to accept than a camel or an elephant! But once again, this is nothing but futile attempt to lessen the impact of the meaning of this language…a language of hyperbole that Jesus used.

Whatever one might say, realize that it is humanly impossible for a person, rich or poor, to enter the kingdom of God apart from the divinely initiated ultimate act: Christ’s death on the cross.

Our “identity” should be establish on who Christ is and what he did (faith in Christ) before we can attain eternal life. Salvation is impossible apart from Christ, who was sacrificed on the cross of Calvary. More like a student trying to enter through the campus main gate seeing this notice: “No ID, No Entry”.

So to follow the logic of what Christ said:

The Way To Enter The Eye Of The Needle Is Through The Foot Of The Cross!

BRANDED Cert. Christ Follower (4/4): Bearing Fruit

What a way to end this series.

John 15:8 says,

“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

I am glad Jesus has described our relationship with Him in a biotic level: bearing fruit. He never explained it in a technocratic way; like machines.

Yet the challenge still remains: bear much fruit! Without it, we are as good as dead. To be cut-off. Thrown into the fire.

But if we bear fruit, we still have to be cut. Cut in a different way- to be cut-clean. I don’t have time to talk about pruning in viticulture, but that’s how the Word of God managed to illuminate it beautifully.

I want us to understand though that we as branches, don’t produce fruits. Yup, you heard me. We never produce fruits. It is the vine that produces the ability for the branches to bear fruits. Therefore, we can safely say that, we are like racks where fruits are hanged. Branches don’t have the capability to come up with fruits.

So, how can we, as branches, not just bear fruits, but bear much fruits? I am glad you asked: abide in the Vine. Just stay in there. You may be feeling the ‘heat’ (cutting) from the Gardener, remain anyway.

Since John 15:1 said this in red letters: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.” Then you know what I mean when I say ‘abide in the Vine’.

So, which one do you like? To be cut-off or to be cut-clean? Branches that are bearing fruit need to be cut clean so they may bear ever more fruit. Yield to the pruning. God knows what He is doing. Remain connected with the Vine. The fruits will follow.

When that happens, people will start to see something. The bible described several aspects of fruits… to you my dear readers… would you please tell us some of the these fruits that are expected to be seen in us as Christ followers? Feel free to join in the discussion…

Well, let me reword it. If being a Christ follower is a crime, would there be enough evidence to convict you? Ouch..

Don’t be burdened. It’s a privilege. Bearing much fruit is not for your sakes. It’s for the glory of our Father in heaven.

Wow. Let me continue to bear much fruit then.

Glory to God!

BRANDED Cert. Christ Follower (3/4): Loving One Another

When a person decides to become a follower of someone, he becomes branded as what that person represents. Now, that’s easy and automatic. It is almost like becoming a “fan”. The downside though, is that there is no lasting and deep impression in a person’s heart.

A classic example of this is found in this text:

John 6:66
“From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.”

I would like us to see the other side of being a follower. A follower of Christ, I mean. I consider it a responsibility. An awesome responsibility. Apostle John took the time to present an old truth in a new way:

John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

It is a command, not a suggestion. It is incumbent upon us to do so. How?

1John 3:16
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.”

Having said these, what about the great impact of loving one another?

John 13:35 “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Wow… talking about being branded as a follower of Christ! I call that a privilege. A great privilege of being associated with Jesus Christ.

Whether I like it or not, the way I relate with others reflects my brand of Christianity.

I can say then that:

“Loving one another is our endorsement to the world that we are Christ followers”

Let’s enjoy this video clip that shows how others flaunt their brand..

BRANDED Cert. Christ Follower (2/4): Living the Word

One of my heroes in the field of discipleship is no other than the founder of  TheDawson Trotman Navigators, Dawson Trotman.

The main emphasis of the discipleship process he has espoused in the lives of believers is the passion for the Word.

For the next three weeks, we will explore the three discipleship marks that John mentioned in the Gospel book that he wrote.

This week, we will focus on the first one…

John 8:31
“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.”

I believe that the life we have received from God through Christ, causes us to have a desire for learning, and learning leads us to freedom.

The next verse tells us…

John 8:32
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.


..a real Christ follower anchors his whole life on God’s Word.

It’s great to be passionate for the Word of God like these men that I know: Ptr. Winston Reyes (the walking concordance), Atty. Banjo Navarro, and many others.

But it’s another thing to impart that same passion to other fellow believers.

Dawson Trotman (1906-1956), did just that.

Now that’s what I call discipleship.