Agape: Discipleship is Renewal

by John Greene

Many pastors and church leaders advertise Christianity with the idea of personal salvation, and often through the conviction of sin. Salvation is important, but does not rely on a simple nod of agreement. Salvation hinges on active belief, on trust that proves itself. (Mark 16:15-16; Luke 17:5-6; John 8:24; 15:1-2, 6; Hebrews 6:7-8; 1 John 3:23; “Foundation of Salvation“; “Roots of Salvation“) Scripture indicates that a disciple bears much fruit:

foundation-of-faith-300“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples…You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” – John 15:7-8, 16, NKJV

Baptism symbolizes the desire to put on the Messiah, but does not complete a lifestyle that puts on the Messiah. Baptism is a beginning, not a guarantee. All are equal in the eyes of YHWH, initially heirs through the promise of Abraham. (Galatians 3:26-29) An active living trust begins with the same justification of faith (Romans 1:16; 4:1-3;  Acts  20:24; Jude 1:3) that always bears spiritual fruit. Disciples of Yahshua [Jesus] abide through love, fulfilling the purpose of YHWH. (John 15:9-10; Matthew 5:16; 28:19-20; Romans 15:25-26; 2 Corinthians 8:1-2; 9:12-14; 1 John 4:7-12; “The Real Power Behind Baptism“; “Abiding With YHWH in Quiet Places“; “Messiah Teaches about Fruit in the Lives of People)

“Love (agape) suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, NKJV

“This is My commandment, that you love (agape) one another as I have loved you.” – John 15:12, NKJV

Agape is the Greek word that refers to the love of Elohim [‘God’]. Agape is the nature of Elohim. (1 John 4:7-12, 16b). Most people think of love as a feeling. Agape is love because of what it does, not because of how it feels. Agape is related to obedience and commitment, an exercise of will, a choice. It is not fickle or fleeting. (Matthew 22:37-38; 24:12-13; “Real Love“)

Like much of scripture, the Apostle Paul speaks of opposites to make an important point:

“But I say, if you walk in the Spirit, the lust of the flesh will not overtake you. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are opposed to one another; so you are not able to do as you desire. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under (the penalty of breaking) the Torah. Now the works of the flesh are clearly revealed, which are: adultery, impurity, uncleanness, lustfulness, idolatry, witchcraft, enmity, fighting, jealousies, anger, rivalries, stubbornness, divisions, heresies, envying, murders, drunkenness, reveling, and things like these; of which I tell you beforehand, as I also said before, that the ones practicing such things will not inherit the kingdom of YAHWEH. But the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, selfcontrol. Against such things there is no instruction. But the ones belonging to Messiah crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts.” – Galatians 5:16-24, ISR98

foundation-of-renewal-300You’ve probably heard all of this before if you are already familiar with Christianity. However, when speaking of the character that YHWH wants planted in His disciples, there is always a baseline for the definition of the sin that YHWH hates. When Yahshua [Jesus] and the disciples spoke of sin, they often referred to the baseline of sin that the Mosaic Law Covenant established. Why? The Mosaic Law established a standard, a bare minimum that convicts the heart of the righteous. Because of this need for comparison, the Bible constantly refers to opposites, referring to the baseline of the character that YHWH insists on. This minimum standard, coupled with the words of Yahshua [Jesus] and the power of the Holy Spirit [Sanctified, Set Apart Spirit] is the foundation for a new spiritual relationship for disciples of Yahshua [Jesus]. This discipleship lifts the disciple of Yahshua [Jesus] from the floor of the old law covenant as personal spiritual maturity grows. They grow more and more set apart to Elohim. (1 John 2) In Galatians 5, the Apostle Paul presented the same baseline of character contrasted with the fruit of the Spirit. Ephesians 4 describes the love, unity of spirit and peace that are worthy of the Messiah. His disciples can be made complete in the fullness of Messiah, no longer tossed about by the opinions of the world. (Ephesians 4:14) Instead, disciples speak the truth through brotherly love. (“The Miracle of the New Man“; “YHWH’s Track of Righteousness“; “Holy Spirit 101“; “YHWH’s Threshing Floor“; “Knowing Where You Stand on YHWH’s Threshing Floor“)

Once again, scripture points out opposites:

“… that you put off – with regard to your former way of life – the old man, being corrupted according to the desires of the deceit,  and to be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the renewed man1 which was created according to Elohim, in righteousness and set-apartness of the truth.” – Ephesians 4:22-24, ISR98

gods-armorThe Almighty wants His people to operate in the fullness of Messiah through spiritual renewal, putting off the old man and putting on the new man. This process of renewal has a starting point that starts with the understanding of sin. Conviction of sin is the springboard that changes the life of the disciple forever through obedience and grace. By imitating the fine qualities of Messiah, your life becomes a fragrant offering to YHWH. (Ephesians 5:1; Colossians 3:1, 10; “Understanding Sin“; “Choosing to Serve YHWH, Not Man“)

Disciples are to avoid strongholds of Satan and the dark kingdom. We are to put off falsehood, to put on purity of heart, to replace a hardened heart. We are to put off the strongholds of anger, bitterness and strife. (Philippians 4:6-7; “Strongholds & the Armor of YHWH“; “Wisdom & the Battle of Two Kingdoms“)

Disciples must operate in active faith or Satan and his kingdom will wreck and destroy that faith, either through frontal attacks or through clever and quiet manipulation. (John 10:10) Satan seeks to divide and this, he has done very well. Human faults and differences of opinion have been used to great effect to create dissension and distraction. (John 8:44; “Destruction Is Satan’s Intent“; “Serving for YHWH’s Glory“; “Attitude and the Disciple of Messiah“)

purify heart forgiveInstead, Christians are called to forgive as YHWH forgives and to love others in Messiah. Disciples of the Messiah are expected to operate in the Holy Spirit because He is our guarantee. The Holy Spirit is your personal guarantee that you belong to YHWH as evidenced by the gifts of the Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:8-13; Luke 5:30-32; “Is Your Forgiveness Real?“)

Yahshua [Jesus] and the disciples have laid the same basis of conduct that is grounded in the early law covenant. Christians don’t continually make excuses for unrighteous behavior or for walking away from their personal trust in YHWH. Christians don’t revel in spiritual debauchery or experiment with sin. The fruits of personal obedience, coupled with the power of the Holy Spirit lift the life of the faithful disciple from the depths of the dark kingdom into the light of the Savior, a new man in Messiah. (John 3:6; Acts 1:5; Ephesians 1:13-14) This isn’t about hiding personal weakness, but growing stronger in spiritual maturity, part of the purpose of a disciple’s personal faith and trust in Elohim. (John 13:34-35; 1 John 3:14; 18-19; 2 Peter 1:8-11) Christians aren’t called to be “perfect,” but to be completed through the sacrifice of their Savior and Messiah in YHWH’s grace. (“What is the Standard of Life Conduct in a Disciple of Messiah?“)

Part of the completion of an active living faith is the overflow of thanksgiving in your heart. (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 20:35; 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20; 3 John 4) You want to share what you know with others so that they can make a decision for Yahshua [Jesus].  Active trust is not like a country club membership. (Titus 2:14; Romans 15:13) Active trust takes place though the power of the Holy Spirit. (“Holy Spirit 101“; “Listening to the Holy Spirit“)

“For YHWH so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
John 3:16, RNKJV
Heavenly Father,
Thank you for sending the Messiah, your only begotten Son to be my Savior. I believe in Him and have made this belief the center of my life. Because of this, by faith I have everlasting life! Thank you! I repent of my sins and of my past, freely admitting that I have fallen short of Your glory. I look fully forward to you in my life and commit my life to You. Thank You YHWH, my Heavenly Father for setting me free in the name of your Son Yahshua [Jesus]. Amen.
genuine-articleYou will never enjoy true freedom through the Messiah and power of the Holy Spirit unless you read and absorb the Bible in prayer and trust. You will never know this freedom until you experience it for yourself. Get to know your Heavenly Father, His Son and allow the Holy Spirit to work in your life. The Holy Spirit is your teacher, your Holy Counselor that lives in you to help you learn about the truth of YHWH and His spiritual gifts.
Satan does not want you to have the excellence of YHWH in your life. People pray for protection and want to be taken care of, but often do little in growing close to Him. The world, your husband, your wife, your family, your government do not build your trust in YHWH or free you from spiritual bondage. Your church or your pastor cannot save you. Education, power and money will not free you, but only the Word of your Heavenly Father. Salvation is a daily walk, an act of love for yourself and for those around you, not a one-time event that centers only on you. Make the Word of YHWH your own, your very life!
YHWH is Yahweh, the covenant name of your Heavenly Father.
The names Yahshua and Yahushua are original language names for Jesus,
He is often referred simply as the Messiah or Master.
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