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Deep Disciples of Jesus Shaping Article

You, a Christian? Really?!

Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj

Do you call yourself ‘Christian’? Do you brand yourself as a Christian?

What does that word mean? To answer that question we must turn to the Bible – the book which used that word first. In the Bible, the word ‘Christian’ is used three times. When we study those three instances we get to see three characteristics that cannot be separated from any true ‘Christian’ – a biblical Christian.

Converted

Let’s race to passage number one: Paul stands before King Agrippa as a prisoner. His crime – preaching Jesus. Paul gives Agrippa a blow by blow account of his conversion experience: the ride on the road to Damascus… his passion to persecute followers of Jesus… the blinding light from heaven… the voice that said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting!”…. his U-turn… his repentance…etc etc.

After having shared his terrific testimony Paul did not stop. He did not shut up.  He went on. He got a touch personal with King Agrippa. He posed a personal question to him: “King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe!” You see, Paul was not just trying to save himself from further imprisonment by sharing his testimony – he wanted to save King Agrippa from going to hell too! After this abrupt and daring invasion of his private space by Paul, King Agrippa said, “In a short time, would you persuade me to be a Christian?” (Acts 26:28).  There you bump into the word we are trying to understand the meaning of – the word ‘Christian’. Ask King Agrippa what he meant when he used the word ‘Christian’. This would be his answer: “To be a Christian for me is to be someone like Paul – to be someone with a CONVERSION experience!”

You cannot be called a Christian without a convertion experience!

Yup, the word Conversion and ‘Christian’ go together. A Biblical Christian cannot be a Christian without the conversion experience. Absolutely. Do you call yourself a ‘Christian’ without an experience of conversion?! If so – forgive me for being blunt – you simply are not a Christian. You are just pretending to be one! You don’t have to hire a horse and ride on the road to Damascus to make this experience your own. Right now, I invite you to kneel down by your bedside with a repentant heart and ask Jesus to forgive you and come into your heart and life. If you have done that, you too are converted! You too are a Christian!

Committed

Let’s talk about yet another time the Bible used the word ‘Christian’: The setting now is the city of Antioch. A new preacher is sent to this church from the church in Jerusalem – the headquarters. His name? Barnabas. What was his message? “Remain faithful to the Lord!” In other words, he was trying to help believers graduate from merely being a believer into a disciple. One believer he searched out and discipled was Paul. For one full year, Barnabas preached messages that typified what his name meant: encourager. He preached messages that encouraged wobbly believers to become solid disciples. Who could be called Jesus’ disciples? Those who remain faithful to Him – no matter what the cost is or how challenging the condition is. Such COMMITTED folks were nicknamed Christians by the folks in Antioch (Acts 11:26)! 

Are you the sort that will desert Jesus at the slightest provocation – such as in times of a tantalizing temptation or perturbing persecution? Then you can’t be called a Christian according to the Bible. Christians, according to the Bible, are those who stay committed to Christ, even when the going gets tough!

Celebrating

Christian or a celebrating Christian?!

This aspect of being a Christian was so important that another Bible writer also talks about it. Yes, Peter also brought together these two words: commitment and Christian. He did by writing his first letter thus: “Let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name!” (I Pet 4:15, 16).  If you have carefully read those two verses you will grasp that Peter’s understanding of the word, ‘Christian’, goes one step further than that of Luke – the author of the book of Acts, the source of our first two references for word, ‘Christian’, in the Bible. Here is how: a Christian is someone who CELEBRATES God even while suffering because he stays stubbornly COMMITTED to Christ! Yes – a Biblical Christian is someone who glorifies God even when the going gets rough and tough! Are you that sort of Christian? Are you a complaining Christian or a celebrating Christian?!

It can be said, when the going gets tough, the true Christian will get going!

Stop. Think. Introspect. Look inwards. Are you a Christian merely by name? I pray that after you have read this piece, your understanding of the word ‘Christian’ is never the same! Would you surrender your life to Christ so that He will change you into a Biblical Christian? Would you do that, right now?!

(This article was published in the Aim Magazine – October 2021 edition. Aim is published by the Evangelical Fellowship of India. Duke is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, the G4 Mission. This is a reader-supported Indian ministry to presentday people. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org. Watch Duke’s messages at http://www.youtube.com/visitduke).

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Deep Disciples of Jesus Shaping Article

INTERNET EVANGELISM: WHY AND HOW

Duke Jeyaraj

Over 50% of the world is now online, reported a reputed magazine, The Economist, in 2019 itself. Atleast 726 million people came online in the years 2017 through 2019 with ‘much of the rise coming from poorer places, notably Africa and India’ (the same report said). Mobile data usage per smartphone was the highest in India among all the countries of the World (according to a Ericsson report of 2019). From these numbers come a missionary call!

THE INTERNET MINSITRY CALL FROM GOD’S PAINFUL QUESTION

Why do I say that? Because I have read the last verse of book of Jonah which goes this way: “And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?” (Jonah 4:11 NIV). Those are the words of the Father God. The huge numbers of poeple in the city of Nineveh who did not know left hand from right hand concerned God. Bible Scholars , explain the phrase ‘did not know left hand from right hand’ this way: the people of Nineveh were morally confused, so much so, that they called what was wrong as right, and what was right they called wrong. It was akin to people of a contemporary city applauding for crimes such as rapes and showing utter distain for acts of love such as dressing of a leper’s wounds by a nurse. The numbing numbers of people that were present in Nineveh with horrendous moral confusion made God concerned about them. The huge numbers of people online any given time of the day and a vast majority among them using data for porn consumption or fuelling illicit relationships outside marriage bonds using the convenience of certain dating apps should move us to being concerned as well. The God who was disappointed with Prophet Jonah who had turned a deaf year to the missionary call from the numbers of evil-embracing people, will he be also disappointed with us as well?

Why not we become imitators of our missionary-hearted God we read about in the book of Jonah? We not we get involved actively in Internet Evangelism and Online Disciple Building efforts?

THE INTERNET MINISTRY CALL FROM APOSTLE PAUL’S POINTED OBSERVATION

Apostle Paul talks about people in the city of Rome who “always (were) thinking up new ways to do evil” (Rom. 1:30, CEV). The internet has provided the convenience and the platform to do just. During the pandemic, online classes were the order of the day for students (they still are as I write these words in January 2021). And when it came to online exams, students were quite inventive when it came to cheating. While the older generation would hide chits that would provide hints as they wrote the exams in their socks and shirt sleeves, the Google Generation, creates WhatsApp/Telegram/Signal groups to unfairly seek help as an online exam is on. Why should the internet only fuel new ways of doing evil? Why can’t it fuel new ways of sharing the Gospel and winning the lost?

THE INTERNET MINISTRY CALL FROM THE LOCATION THAT JESUS CHOSE TO MEET THE SAMARITAN WOMAN

Jesus did not wait for the sinful Samaritan Woman to come to a synagogue. Instead, he went to a non-sinful place which she frequented – the city’s well. And there he met her. And he began conversing with her. He did not wait for her to start the conversation (Read John 4 and find all about it). Pretty soon, this marriage-hopping woman became a soul-winning woman! Jesus’ approach gives us a clue as to how we must evangelise: We must be in non-sinful places which the unsaved frequent! And the place which the unsaved frequent the most these days is definitely, the internet. So, we must be available on the internet to meet with them and share the Gospel!

Well, we have seen the “why” of internet evangelism so far. Now to the “how”. I believe that should be left to the individual believer’s choice. Some are good at video production. Some are good at responding quickly to chats. Some of good at voice calls. We need to examine what activity we enjoy doing while we are online and use that very channel to build God’s kingdom. You may not be able to carbon copy someone else way of doing internet evangelism. The key is to see your smartphone as a tool for evangelism – not a toy for self-gratification.

In our ministry, the Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, we have a team of internet volunteers. Vikas Yadav cuts my long youtube messages and makes them short, adding titles at the start and at the end. He includes a back ground music as well. These shorter videos are viewed by more people. Lijo John receives audio messages from me via WhatsApp that bring Bible truth wrapped around contemporary events. He finds pictures from the internet that represent my words and strings together a video which inturn blesses many as it gets forwarded on WhatsApp. Sunny Karumanchi using his high tech camera that God has given him shoots ‘short videos on hot topics’ from the Bible with me behind his lens. Gipu James, Harsha, Ferry, John and Lamuel, help design posters for the events I preach God’s Word in. This list is not exhaustive.

What about you? Will you get involved in internet evangelism after reading this? You must!

(This article was published in the Aim Magazine – February 2021 edition; Aim is published by the Evangelical Fellowship of India. The author, Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission. This is a reader-supported Indian ministry. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org or by subscribing to http://www.youtube.com/visitduke).

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Bible Study Deep Disciples of Jesus Shaping Article

New Year Priorities

Duke Jeyaraj’s practical study of the word ‘annual’ found in the Bible

An annual master health checkup is recommended by many. What the things that God’s Word says we must do year after year?

The word yearly or annually occurs quite a few times in the Bible. Some of these Bible references give us indications about things that the Lord wants us to do on a yearly basis. These would give us a clue as to what kind of New Year resolutions we should be taking. These Bible passages talk about the priorities we must have as believers year after year.

THE YEAR OF GOD-WORSHIP

This New Year we must resolve to worship God more. Judges 21:19 which tells us that there was an annual festival of the Lord in Shiloh, gives me the specific inspiration for this New Year resolution. It was in that festival that a dance was a noted feature (Judges 21:21). The people of Israel could not sit in one place when they thought of the good things the Lord had done for them. They, especially the women, had to get up and dance in the Lord’s presence! In this year, we must resolve to be people who worship God!

A devotional reading from Our Daily Bread reading made this fabulous suggestion which will help us practically execute this New Year resolution: During daily family prayer each family member could talk about the blessings God gave them on that day. This could be jotted down in a small sheet of paper. On a typical day, a family may have four or five points for praising God, if each family member spoke up. Each such point should make into a fresh chit of paper. These chits should be rolled and tossed in a ‘thanks giving bowl’. An empty fish tank bowl can be used. This should be done daily through the year. And when 31 December comes you can fish out these chits from the bowl and read them out in mega family thanksgiving prayer once again, praising God for the wonderful way, He graciously took care of us in that particular year! If Eric Yuan, the founder of Zoom was a believer, and if he wrote out these kinds of thanksgiving chits, this would been an entry on the April 30, 2020: ‘God enabled the company I founded, Zoom, to jump 10 million daily meeting participants in December 2019, to 300 million’ (Time, December 21-28, 2020, p.72).

THE YEAR OF FAMILY-WOWING

The New Year should be a year in which you resolve to be a more responsible family person. The Lord has graciously added the New Year into our life so that we can take good care of our families. When I read this portion of Scripture, this New Year Resolution inspiration came to me: ‘Now Samuel was ministering before the LORD—a boy wearing a linen ephod.  Each year his mother would make him a little robe and bring it to him when she went with her husband to offer the annual sacrifice.  And Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, saying, “May the LORD give you children by this woman in place of the one she dedicated to the LORD.” Then they would go home’ (I Sam. 2:18-20). We know that Samuel’s mom, Hannah, was barren for many years. And God did a miracle and gave her a son. After Samuel, Hannah’s son, was weaned, he was left in the house of the Lord. He assisted the priest Eli in God’s house. Every year, Samuel’s mom made a little robe, travelled to where he was and gave it to him. Wow! This act of Hannah inspires each one of us who are part of a family to unselfishly do loving acts that will put a smile on the faces of other family members. As husbands, we must resolve this New Year to do something special for our wives! As wives, we need to resolve this New Year to do something special for our husbands! As children, we need to resolve this New Year to do something special for our parents! As siblings we need to resolve to do something special for your other siblings! Taking good care of our families must be part and parcel of our annual New Year resolution list! Why not place a carefully planned and cheerfully executed family holiday in the list of ‘to do’ things this year? We can learn from Virat Kohli in this regard. He decided to take paternity leave early in 2020 should the time of his wife Anushka’s delivery come even during an important Cricket tour!

THE YEAR OF SIN-BEATING

What are pointers in God’s Word when it comes to New Year resolutions? The New year should be a year of Satan-beating! The God-given New Year should be a year when we win over Satan!

I get the inspiration to form this resolution from the book of Esther. Here we read the following: “Mordecai recorded these events and sent letters to all the Jews in all the provinces of King Xerxes, both near and far, to establish among them an annual celebration on the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar as the days on which the Jews gained rest from their enemies and the month in which their sorrow turned to joy and their mourning into a holiday” (Esther 9:20-22).  There was an enemy of the Jews. His name was Haman. Haman tried to harm the Jews, because of his negative experience with one Jew – Mordecai. But the enemy of the Jews, Haman hung in the nearly 23-meter-high gallows he prepared for Mordecai (Esther 7:9). God turned the tables on the behalf of the Jews, the apples of his eyes (Duet. 32:10; Zech. 2:8). This event eventually led to the passing of this decree where “letters the king (of Persia) permitted the Jews in each and every city the right to assemble and defend themselves, to destroy, kill, and annihilate all the forces of any people or province hostile to them, including women and children, and to plunder their possessions” (Esther 8:11). “Each and every year” this celebration of God-orchestrated miracle victory over their enemies was done among the Jews (Esther 9:24-27).

Our primary enemy is Satan. We sometimes think a certain individual is our enemy. We do not think of Satan who is perhaps behind that individual, instigating that individual to act against us and discourage us (see Math. 16:23). Satan often uses human instruments to work against us. Our main agenda in the New Year that God has graciously added to our lives, should be to win over Satan. Satan’s main agenda is this: to make us sin! So, our New Year resolutions should involve a plan and program to have victory over sin! In the New Year we must, enabled by the Spirit of God, seek to win over the “sin that so easily entangles” – the sin that we often feel like repeating, be it porn-watching or outbursts of anger or whatever (Heb. 12:1). Our New Year may not be pain-free, but it can be porn-free! Our New year may not be agony-free, but it can be anger-free (I am talking about sinful anger here). So, in the New Year, we need to win over sin. This can be done when we have an ongoing cooperation with the Spirit of God who enables us to put to death the misdeeds of the body (Romans 8:13).

What should be our priorities in the New Year? The book of Leviticus gives us another clue. If a well-off foreigner who lived in Israel hired a slave from Israel, the people of Israel needed to pay money to the foreigner to have him released, even if the year of Jubilee when all slaves would be eligible for a free release was still far away. Why? God’s children cannot be slaves year after year. This I understand from my reading of Leviticus 25:47-53.

We must get involved in the work of releasing people from bondage to sin through our giving of our time, talents, treasures and truth. We must make this task a priority in the New Year that God has graciously added to our lives.

What I have talked about in this essay should be our priorities, year after year! Do a review at the end of the day/week/month/year as to how much time you have given to the activities that God’s Word is saying that we must make as our priority “year after year”.

(This article by Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj was originally published in the Aim Magazine published by Evangelical Fellowship of India in its January 2021 edition. Duke is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, the G4 Mission. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org.)

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Anti-Dotes-For-Modern-False-Teachings-Like-Hyper-Grace Deep Disciples of Jesus Shaping Article

HOPE YOU WILL CHOOSE TO ENDURE; IF NOT HERE IS THE CURE!

Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj

November 16 is the International Day of Endurance.

A prominent worship leader with a popular worship band said that he was leaving the Christian Faith. That was just barely three weeks after a popular author of a best-selling book that called generations of Americans to sexual purity (‘I Kissed Dating Goodbye’ was the book’s name) did the same.

Are you, my believer friend, tempted to give up faith? Don’t!

There is a cure for those who won’t choose to endure! What cure? It is to learn once-again in a memorable way what the Bible teaches on spiritual endurance!

Do you know that the Bible calls for spiritual endurance, repeatedly? It does so using three approaches:

  1. COMMANDS THAT CALL FOR ENDURANCE

The New Testament writers call believers to endure in their salvation using a POSITIVE approach in the following Scriptures: ‘But all of you who endure to the end shall be saved’ (Math.10:22);  ‘If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples’ (John 8:31, RSV); “When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is dead wood, gathered up and thrown on bonfire” (John 15:56, MSG); ‘Keep your eyes open for spiritual danger, stand true to the Lord’(1 Cor. 16:13); ‘ For we share in Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end’(Heb. 3:14); “Don’t quit, even if it costs your life. Stay there believing. I have life-crown sized and ready for you”(Rev. 2:10); “Keep tight grip on what you have ,so one distracts you and steal your crown” (Rev. 3:11). Starting from 1 Corinthians 10:12 – ‘So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!’ –

How do we persist in our salvation? Systematic Theologian J. Rodman Williams explains: We do so by our abiding (1 John 2:24-25; Heb. 2:1,3.Jn 15:3-4,6,7), we do so by our continuing (Col. 1:21-23; Rom. 11:11,22; 1 Tim. 4:16), we do so by our enduring (2 Tim. 2:10-12; Heb. 10:34-39,Matt. 24:12,13), we do so by our firmness (Heb 3:1-6, 2 Pet. 1:10-11,5-7;2:1,20,21) and we do so by our faithfulness (Rev. 2:10, 2:4-5, Heb 3:1-6, Heb. 6:4-8).

We are not talking about salvation by works here. We are talking about guarding our salvation by continued faith, exactly the same way we were saved by faith in the first place. I learnt truth from Apostle Peter who wrote: “who (those born again, v.3) by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time’ (I Pet. 1:5, ESV).  We are saved by faith. And we guard our faith by faith. Yes, we are saved by faith and not works. But if that faith is alone and does not propel us to endurance, that faith is not real, saving faith (the message of the book of James is this very thing – James 2:20,26).

There is another way this very same truth is taught in Scripture. Let me explain: Without holiness no one will see God (Heb. 12:14). And nobody can live holy – say ‘no’ to ungodliness and worldly passions – unless they are enabled by the grace of God (Titus 2:11,12). So a grace-enabled life helps us to live holy and endure in our salvation!

We just saw how the New Testament calls the believer for endurance using a POSITIVE approach. The New Testament also calls us to endurance using a NEGATIVE approach:

2. CAUTIONS THAT CALL FOR ENDURANCE

We can think of several Scriptures in this regard:

2 Peter 3:17 says, “Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall your secure position.” Peter couldn’t have stated this better.

2 Peter 3:18, in fact, expresses the same warnings in the positive terms: ‘grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.’  If there was no real possibility of a believer permanently backsliding, that one has to admit Spirit-inspired writers of scripture were joking here or I dare say, lying! But they were not. They were calling each one for spiritual endurance by writing these words! In a discussion like this, we cannot leave out the famous passage in Hebrews 6:4-8. Commenting on this key text, Grant R. Osborne says, ‘In conclusion we must say there is no more powerful or detailed description of the true Christian in the New Testament, yet one has to be stone-blinded not to note that they were in the real peril of falling away.’ Osborne further points out that if this passage was found in Romans 8, it would be considered as the most eloquent summary of the blessings of a believer! He summarizes brilliantly the danger of apostasy so persuasively and passionately presented in the book of Hebrews this way: Pay attention, lest you drift away, 2:1-4; do not harden your heart, lest you fail, 3:1-19. Fear not lest you fall short, 4:1-13; Press on, lest you fall away, 5:11-6:12; Hold fast lest you die, 10:19-39; be careful, lest you fall short, 12:1-17.

After having called the believe to endure spiritually, using both a positive as well as negative approach, the New Testament goes one goes one step further. We will discuss that in the next point.

3. CHARACTERS WHO SHOWED NO ENDURANCE

In the parable of the Sower, Jesus spoke of those ‘who believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away’ (Luke 8:13). Jesus clearly predicted, ‘At that time many will turn away from the faith. The love of most will grow cold’ (Matt. 24:10, 12).  1 Timothy 4:19 is blunt: some have shipwrecked their faith! Demas – a fellow-preacher in Paul’s ministry team – deserted Paul and perhaps even the faith for ‘he loved the world’ (2 Tim. 4:10). Peter described some teachers in the church who had known the way of righteousness yet turned their backs on the sacred commandment that was passed on to them (2 Peter 2:20-22). If they had turned their backs of the sacred commandments then without a shadow of doubt they had their faces set on the commandments – they were believers – once upon a time! But they became apostate. Finally, Revelation 22:19 shows that some believers can have their names removed from the book of life. Another example of actual apostasy could be Ananias and Sapphira. F.F.Bruce writes, “We cannot be sure that they were not believers, unless we are prepared to say that no one who is guilty of a deliberate deceit cannot be a true Christian. The thrust of the Simon the Socerer narrative in Acts leads us to conclude that there was a possibility of serious sin by the members of the church which could lead to their exclusion from eternal life, but at the same time there was a possibility of their repentance and restoration. In the Bible the root word for faith and faithfulness is the same. One can’t have one without the other.” Yes, Simon the Socerer is another real example of a New Testament believer character who did not endure. Acts 8:13 is very clear – Simon himself believed and was baptized. But as he had become ‘captive to sin’ (Acts 8:23), he needed urgently repent before it was too late (Acts 8:22).

But these characters who did not endure are matched by those who did. Stephen endured. And Church throws up more names in this regard: Polycarp, Tyndale, etc. Some recent additions have been: John Allen Chau (North Sentinel Island Missionary Martyr), the Coptic Christians slain by the ISIS (you have seen a WhatsApp video of their slaying – haven’t you?)

4. COUPLED WITH PROMISES ARE ENDURANCE CALLS (if you carefully notice)

As I bring this essay to a close, I want to encourage you by saying that Jesus has prayed for your spiritual endurance!  Jesus prayer was that the Father would “keep” the disciples (John 17:11, 15, 24). The very fact, Jesus is praying for them is proof that Jesus understood the real danger of them being lost for otherwise they would not need to be guarded through Spirit-enabled, grace of God-enabled endurance. According to Howard Marshall, John 17 should not be seen in isolation from John 15:16 and John 16 which warn the disciples about ‘falling away’.

The promise of John 10:28, 29 that no one can pluck us from God’s hand should not be divorced from John 10:2 where Jesus gives the condition for this promise: “my sheep hear my voice; I know them and they follow me.” It is to be noted that all the verbs in this verse – especially ‘hear’ – is in present indicative sense in Greek original. Robert Shank notes, “The honest characteristic of the Greek present indicative is that it denotes the action is in progress.” There the incredible promise – “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; no one will snatch them away from me” – is only of whom Jesus can say, “My sheep keep listening to my voice, and they keep following me!”

Wuest’s translation of John 5:24, where-in he correctly retains the present tense (‘having eternal life’) argues powerfully against using it as a text against spiritual endurance: “Most assuredly, I am saying to you He who habitually hears my word and is believing the one whom he has sent me, has life eternal …..” David Pawson brilliantly flows along this thought-line when he preached from Hebrews, that “these people [the Old-Testament believers of Hebrews 11) was still living by faith when they died”(Heb. 11:13). This clearly shows that faith should be a present possession for a believer – in other words, the believer must endure – in order to make the wonderful eternal security promises found in the New Testament work for him.

Apostle Paul wrote these glowing words of confidence: “I know him in whom I have believed and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I committed to him against that day” (2 Tim. 1:12). This did not mean that Apostle Paul did not believe in ongoing spiritual endurance. The same Paul wrote these glorious lines of promise which certainly indicate while he was certain that God would keep him, he also never forgot his responsibility to endure enabled by God’s grace. I Corinthians 9:27 talks about how serious Paul was when it came to exercising Spirit-empowered self-discipline with regard to ongoing, sexual, bodily purity (a stubborn failure in this, meant disqualification for Paul). Paul also worked out his salvation – needless to say, enabled by the Grace of God – with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12). The Paul-penned sure promise of salvation in I Corinthians 3:15 – ‘he himself will be saved’ – is not absolving anyone from the need to endure. Otherwise why would there be a warning for those who fail to endure right below that promise, penned by the same Paul (See I Cor. 3:16,17; 6:13; 9:27).

The second last verse of Jude read this way: “Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault” (Jude 23 NLT). What a glorious promise! To whom was this given? It was given to those who “keep (themselves) in the love of God” (Jude 21). Yes, the ‘God-can-keep-you-from-falling’ is for those with a Spirit-empowered willingness to endure in the love of God!

(This article was published in Evangelical Fellowship of India’s Aim magazine, November 2020 issue. Duke is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, G4 Mission. This is a reader supported ministry. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org).

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Deep Disciples of Jesus Shaping Article

READY TO SHUN AND SHAKE OFF BIBLICAL ILLITERACY?

Duke Jeyaraj

September 8 is observed as World Literacy Day. How many of us appreciate the fact that the Bible Translation works have indeed accelerated the literacy levels in many a place across the globe?

The translation of Bible into English by the likes of John Wycliffe (1328-1384) and William Tyndale (1494-1536) in the 14th century and 15th century paved way for even shopkeepers in England to become 95% literate. Bob Creson writes, “Literacy in England is directly attributable to the Bible” (The Washington Post, December 11, 2014). This phenomenon was repeated in India. Here is a report: ‘Teaching  people to read was one of the responsibilities the evangelists undertook so that by the time they left a village there were Christians who could read. Conversion and literacy were adopted together. Among the Khasis in Northeast India missionaries taught that “You cannot be a Christian without reading the Bible!” So, people were taught to read in Schools.’ (Darrell L. Whiteman’s essay in the Philip C. Stine-edited book,  ‘Bible Translation and the Spread of the Church: The Last 200 Years,’ page 138).

Unfortunately Christians who brought in literacy initiatives so that people could read the Bible, are fast becoming Bible illiterates. ‘Sodom and Gomorrah? Are they sisters?’ – this Biblically illiterate generation asks!

Let me use the word ‘THEOLOGY’ as an outline to underline the need for Biblical Literacy among God’s people.

T-Titus Being Called To Pick Bible-Strong Elders!

Paul  fondly called Titus his ‘son’ (Titus 1:4). He told Titus about what kind of elders he had to appoint for providing Christian Leadership in every town: “He must hold firm to the trustworthy Word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it” (Titus 1:9, ESV).

H-Head-nodders, the Bereans Weren’t!

The people of Berea were not head-nodders. They were more noble than those in Thessalonica because they not only “received the Word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see” if the things Paul and Silas taught were in line with Scriptures.

E-phesian Elders Called To Commit Themselves To The Word of Grace!

Paul never stayed continuously in one place to minister as much as he did in Ephesus. And when he wanted to move, he made a gripping farewell speech to this church’s elders. What did he say? He said after he left, ‘fierce wolves will come in not sparing the flock’ (Acts 20:29). What was the antidote for this wolf-attack? A commitment to the ‘Word of His Grace!’ (Acts 20:32).

O-One Hundred Twenty Thousand People, That God Talked About!

God’s last question to Jonah still rings in my ears: “Then shouldn’t I show concern for the great city of Nineveh, which has more than one hundred twenty thousand people who do not know right from wrong, and many animals too?” (Jonah 4:11, NCV).  The big number of people in Nineveh who were morally confused as they had no knowledge of Yahweh’s life-giving laws which in-turn left none in any doubt about right and wrong – from that big number comes a missionary call to teach the Bible to those who know nothing about it! India’s population is approximately 10,000 times more than Nineveh and that means we have a bigger motivation to reach the Word of God to the ignorant millions and teach it to them!

L-Lack of Knowledge Which Hosea Writes About!

One of the most painful cries from God in the whole Bible is recorded in the book of Hosea. God says, “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. ‘Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also with ignore your children!” (Hosea 4:6 NIV).

O-Online Millions and the Opportunity For Evangelism They Present!

Sandhya Keelery wrote on July 7, 2020 that there are 550 million internet users in India (Statista.com). This huge number beckons Bible Teachers to dedicate their lives to teach people by modern media  such as Zoom. And there are fully online Bible Training programs by reputed Bible Colleges like South Asian Institute of Advanced Christian Studies (SAIACS), Southern Asia Bible College (SABC), etc., which trains those who feel called to be Word preachers.

G-Going On Circle!

Apostle Paul talked about an ever-increasing circle of Bible Teachers when he wrote to Timothy: “And the things that you have heard me say among many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be qualified to teach others as well…” (2 Tim. 2:2).

Y-ahweh’s Prediction!

Yahweh’s prediction about a famine of hearing God’s Word is mentioned in the book of Amos (8:12). So, in the short time available now, let us become Bible Literates! Let us learn to handle the Word of Truth and teach it to our generation! 

You may be a lay-person. But you can equip yourself by a self-study of the Word of God. Pick up a good Systematic Theology book. Wayne Grudem, Millard J. Erickson and others have written excellent systematic theology text books. I picked up my first theology book, not after I landed in Bible College, but long before that. As a student of Technology (B. Tech) in Allahabad, I was studying volume 1 of Renewal Theology by Rodman Williams! And I led Bible Studies on the Doctrine of God for a small group in the men’s hostel! That was the training ground for a nation-wide Bible Teaching ministry for me! God has grand and glorious plans for you! And as you shun and shake-off  biblical illiteracy  and  take time to study His Word systematically, you will become a blessing!

Duke Jeyaraj wrote this aritcle of Aim magazine of Evangelical Fellowship of India. This article appeared in the magazine’s Septemeber 2020 edition.

Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj is a trained Agricultural Engineer [B. Tech from SHIATS, Allahabad, India], who did not pursue a career in the line of his education but nevertheless enjoys growing cacti in the balcony of his flat, during his spare time! He could have been a cricket commentator but prefers to wrap Bible Truth around cricket magic moments and other interesting-to-Google Genners contemporary events. God’s call upon him made him utterly restless and he obeyed that call to by founding the Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission (G4 Mission) to finally find serenity after having served as a International Bank Customer Service Executive/Youth Pastor/Bible College Teacher/Missionary/Youth Mag Editor. G4 Mission is not a church but an inter-denominational ministry to present-day people, a ministry which Duke works full time for, as an itinerant presenter/preacher since 2008 putting to use the formal theological training he received from Southern Asia Bible College in Bangalore [M. Div & Doctor of Ministry]. Duke is called ‘dad’ by Dale (16) and Datasha (12) and ‘hubby’ by Evangelin and calls Hyderabad, India, his adopted home. Duke has preached by invitation beyond his national borders (we are talking about nations such as Bangladesh, Singapore, Germany, Nepal and the United Arab Emirates). In case your curiosity is triggered by hearing all this, you may checkout www.dukewords.com [if you are the reading plain text type], www.soundcloud.com/shoutaloud [if you are part of the audio-listening tribe] and www.youtube.com/visitduke [if you group yourself with the video-steaming generation]).