Muster The Troops!

Monday, February 25, 2013, 7:34 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me with the songs “When His Kingdom Comes” and “Much Too High a Price” playing in my mind.

When His Kingdom Comes / Dottie Rambo and Dony McGuire

When His kingdom comes, what a difference…
When all has been settled and my heart is His home,
Oh, what a difference, what a great transformation!

Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. I read Matthew 13:51-52 (NASB):

“Have you understood all these things?” They *said to Him, “Yes.” And Jesus said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”

Matthew 13:52 (Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible, 1862): And he said to them, `Because of this every scribe having been discipled in regard to the reign of the heavens, is like to a man, a householder, who doth bring forth out of his treasure things new and old.'

“Scribes are members of a learned class in ancient Israel through New Testament times who studied the scriptures and served as copyists, editors and teachers. In the Old Testament the Hebrew word translated as scribe identified a person who numbered or mustered the troops” (Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright (c) 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers).

To muster means to rally, call together, collect, or assemble the troops; or it can mean to improve or revive, pull through or help the troops to get better (MS Word Thesaurus).

Therefore every scribe…

Jesus Christ died for our sins, he was buried, he was resurrected back to life, he ascended to heaven, and then he sent his Holy Spirit to indwell and to empower the lives of his true followers (disciples). And, one day he is coming again to gather his own, to judge the world, and to reign supreme on the earth as King of kings and as Lord of lords.

Before he left this earth to go back to heaven, he instructed his disciples that all authority had been given to him in heaven and on earth.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:19-20).

Paul, in writing to Jesus’ followers (his disciples) said: “I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another” (Ro. 15:14), i.e. “the troops.” In 1 Thess. 5:11 we are instructed to “encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” To encourage means to inspire, reassure, give confidence, urge, admonish, exhort, assist, nurture, persuade and advance. As well, to build up means to inspire, boost, develop, enlarge and expand. In Hebrews 3:13 we are instructed to “encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”

So we, as Christ’s disciples, and as members of the body of Christ, are to instruct, encourage, urge, exhort, inspire, and develop one another in the kingdom of heaven. We, thus, are the scribes, because we have been given the word of God, the Bible, to teach us, and we have been given the Living Word within us in the person of the Holy Spirit to teach, guide, counsel and direct us. And, we have all been given the imperative to go and to make disciples of Christ Jesus of the people of this world, teaching them to obey all that Christ has commanded us, in his power and strength within us. As well, we have been instructed that we need to encourage one another daily in the truths of God’s Holy Word, and in how his word is to be applied to our daily lives, so that we may not fall back into sin and become hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. This is what it truly means to “muster the troops.”

…who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven…

This is the qualifier, though. We can’t make disciples of others unless we are first of all disciples of Christ ourselves. So, how do we become disciples of the kingdom of heaven?

Jesus Christ said that if anyone would come after him - the embodiment of the kingdom of heaven - he (or she) must deny (negate) himself (his selfish ways or ownership and mastership of his own life), take up his cross daily (die daily to sin and self) and follow (obey) him. He said if we want to hold on to (save) our old lives of living for sin and self, we will lose them for eternity, but if we lose our old lives (die to sin and self daily), we will gain them for eternity with God in glory (see Luke 9:23-25).

God, speaking through Paul, said that the way in which we come to know Christ is by forsaking our old lives of sin and self, by being transformed in heart and mind (the working of the Spirit within us), and by putting on our new selves, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (see Eph. 4:17-24).

He also said that when we accept Jesus Christ’s invitation to salvation by grace, through faith, that our old self is crucified with Christ, “in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin” (see Ro. 6:6-7). When we were crucified with Christ, “I,” meaning my self-life and life of sin, no longer live, but Christ now lives in me, i.e. he is now the boss, and he is on the throne of my life (see Gal. 2:20). I was bought with a price, and I am no longer my own, but I belong to Jesus Christ, who loved me and who gave himself up for me so that I would be free to love, worship and obey him, and be free from slavery to sin and death.

…brings out of his treasure things new and old…

Jesus Christ had just completed a discourse on the kingdom of heaven. He compared the kingdom to a mustard seed that, when full grown, becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches. In other words, the seed is the gospel, which when planted in our lives begins to grow and to branch out into the lives of others so that it reaches to the whole world, and people from all nations flock to the kingdom of heaven and find rest in Jesus Christ. This is what we are supposed to do (see Matt. 28:19-20).

He also compared the kingdom of heaven to yeast in bread. In other words the kingdom of heaven, i.e. Christ Jesus and his gospel, should permeate our lives and the life of the church. And, he compared the kingdom to a treasure hidden in a field and a pearl of great value for which men sold all they had to possess. They were willing to give up everything in this life in order to gain life everlasting in God’s eternal kingdom. That is what Jesus Christ requires of his disciples (his followers), that we leave all to follow him.

Then, he asked his disciples if they understood all these things, and they answered “Yes.”

Then Jesus said “Therefore” (or because of this understanding), every discipled person who disciples others should share with others from the riches (treasures) of God’s eternal kingdom what has been stored up in his or her heart and mind, i.e. both from the prophecies of old, and from the teachings of Christ and his kingdom (the new), with the understanding that Christ is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets. And, he or she should use them to minister Christ’s love, grace, mercy, counsel, teachings, instructions and encouragement to those whom he or she disciples, and/or to the body of Christ as a whole.

Yet, what this also means is that we must first of all be his true disciples, growing in his love, nurtured in his word, and comforted at his feet. Jesus Christ should be Lord (boss) of our lives, and his kingdom and his Spirit should be filling up every aspect of our lives to overflowing, and then out to others. Our lives should be truly transformed from darkness (the power of sin over our lives) to light (truth; Jesus Christ; the Gospel). His kingdom should permeate (flood; penetrate) our entire being and every aspect of our lives here on this earth, nothing held back!

Jesus Christ paid much too high a price for us to have our souls “just stirred at times but never truly changed” (McHugh). He deserves a “fiery love that won’t ignore” his sacrifice (McHugh). “Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe, sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow” (E.M. Hall).

Much Too High A Price / Jesus Paid It All / Phil McHugh and Greg Nelson

You paid much too high a price for me, Your tears, Your blood, the pain –
To have my soul just stirred at times yet never truly changed.
You deserve a fiery love that won’t ignore your sacrifice…