Friday, January 13, 2012

The Way: Living in the Dust of the Rabbi

Are you ready to get back on The Way?  This Sunday we begin a long anticipated series called The Way: Living in the Dust of the Rabbi.  We will endeavor to follow Jesus through the eyes of His disciples, gaining a first century, middle-eastern Jewish vantage point of Jesus and His world-changing, life-transforming life.  The following is on our website introducing the series:

Discipleship was at the heart of Jesus' ministry, so it is not surprising that the word disciple is used more than 250 times in the New Testament.  But is the disciple-making mission of Jesus and His followers as clear, compelling and effective nearly 2000 years later?  Not really.  Western Christianity doesn't always make discipleship central to the faith.  To Jesus and His disciples, following Jesus was a life totally committed to obedience -- to walk as the Rabbi walked, to become like Him.  Just as God empowered the early disciples with the desire and power to become more like Jesus the Rabbi, He desires to do the same with us today in 2012.  So let's walk in the footsteps of the ancient disciples for a season.  Let's explore the practices of first century rabbis and their disciples...their methods, loves and passions.  Let's walk through those experiences from the perspective of Luke.

The book of Luke is addressed to a man named Theophilus, who was probably some sort of government official.  His title of "most excellent" is used for governors in other places in Acts (cf. Felix and Festus in Acts 23:26; 24:2; 26:25).  Luke was from Antioch, but traveled with Paul all over modern-day Southern Europe and the Middle East.  The title "most excellent Theophilus" would suggest that the Gospel was sent to some Roman center of government like Rome or Antioch.  Throughout church history, some have speculated that because Theophilus means "love of God," if you want to grow in your love for God, then reading Luke prayerfully, carefully and repeatedly is absolutely imperative.

After finishing our study together, we would expect the following outcomes:
  1. A renewed call to a wholesale reorientation toward Jesus expressed in faith, repentance, and commitment (Luke 9:23, 57-62; 14:25-35).
  2. A renewed call to follow Jesus on mission (Luke 24:47).
  3. A renewed call to love God and to love our neighbors.  Jesus demonstrated in His daily life that His disciples are to be neighbors to all, without distinction of race or class, and are to follow Him in reaching out to others (Luke 5:31-32; 15:1-32; 19:10).
  4. A renewed call, in the face of opposition, to remain steadfast and faithful to the Gospel (Luke 8:13-15; 9:23; 18:8; 21:19).  Disciples are to fear God, not man (Luke 12:1-12), recognizing that the Lord will return one day and that they are responsible to Him (Luke 12:35-48; 19:11-27; 18:8).  They must hear the word, cling to it, persevere, and bear fruit until Jesus comes again (8:15).
It all starts this Sunday! I look forward to being together.

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