Maranatha Media

Cost of Discipleship

Posted Jul 22, 2022 by Allan Gathoni in Disfellowship Process
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One of the most effective tools you have for sharing your faith is the story of how Jesus Christ gives you eternal life by allowing yourself to know Him (John 17:3).

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

Apostle John wrote in 1 John 1:1-4:

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life (For the life was manifested, and we have seen [it], and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)  That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship [is] with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

When Paul stood before king Agrippa (Acts 26), he spoke simply, logically and clearly about his life before salvation, how he met Christ, and how his life was like after conversion.

“And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God, unto our fathers:” (Acts 26:6)

We are, like our master Jesus, are investigated and analyzed by men, and our testimony to what God has done in our life sanctifies us. 1Pet 3:15 says,

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear...

My journey as a Seventh Day Adventist began back in 2014 while I was still in secondary school. I was first attracted by some of their activities that included: singing in harmony and peace, offering of prayers before anything else took place, well organized Bible studies with lots of references for study, camp meetings held at different areas – this made me to see the unity there is in their midst, how they share and reasoned together in studies etc...

This made me so happy since I saw a very big difference from where I was brought up. We rarely or even didn’t do such. It was such a tremendous experience. Many people would come later on to the church because of the same activities, and we would praise God for talking to His dear children in different ways. I always loved experiencing such activities until the year 2019, when my Bible studies led me to the study of the Seventeenth chapter of John which gave me sleepless nights.

This restlessness was due to contemplating the understanding of Jesus being the literal Son of God. This was different from what I had been taught in church for 4 years, which was Jesus being God the Son. It wasn’t a smooth ride because I didn’t understand well about His Sonship. I thought to share with my local church my findings and concerns, but it was not so well received since it seemed a new doctrine.  

This made me a bit worried as to why the church emphasized that Jesus, while in Heaven and on earth, was God, yet the Bible seemed to describe one God who seemed distinct to Jesus! This brought so many questions to my mind: Who was Jesus praying to? Why the phrase, ‘’if you have seen Me, you have seen the Father?” (John 14:9), “I’m going to My God, and to your God” (John 20:17), and  “No one goes to the Father but by Me” (John 14:6)? This encouraged me to do further research before I would say anything else to anyone because I didn’t want to confuse anyone with information I’m wasn’t sure of. (see Understanding the Personality of God)

After further research in 2021, I came into an understanding of what is termed as the “the Divine Pattern” that states; we have ONE Source and ONE Channel to which all children of God receive "ever good and perfect gift" (James 1:17). I would ask myself - it’s a Source and a Channel method to what? Blessing, which is His Spirit. This one shown most clearly in 1 Corinthians 8:6, where God is the Father, of whom are all things – the Source; and Jesus is the Son of God, the channel of all things. (see Divine Pattern of Life)

“But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” (1 Corinthians 8:6)

We all live in God through His Spirit that comes to us through His Son – in God and by Christ. Thus peace and harmony flows to the whole universe, the presence and mind of God channeled through His only Begotten Son, giving all created beings the perfect rest of the knowledge that we are beloved children of God to live lives of purpose and meaning. How? Since we have the mind of Christ who knows His Father’s love perfectly.

All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.” (Matthew 11:27)

“For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:16)

Another very important aspect of Jesus being a literal Son is what this tells us about His identity. His value came not by power, position, and performance, but rather by relationship. He knew His Father loved Him and gave Him everything. This special relationship between Christ and His Father is what He taught and prayed for His disciples to understand:

Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee [begotten], and they have believed that thou didst send me.” (John 17:7-8)

That God wants everyone to understand this is seen clearly in Matthew 3:17, where the Father speaks the blessed words: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” He wants all men to realize how special, precious and important Jesus is… because Jesus is His Son. God wants us to meditate on the value of Their relationship. (See Identity Wars)

This pattern of Father-Son, Source-Channel, sets up a channel/flow of blessing that rains down upon us, into our lives, our character, our families, and our communities. It is a framework for how God would have us establish love, meaning, and order in our relationships; that they would reflect the ultimate relationship between the Father and the Son. (see Life Matters) Once you have value by relationship (rather than it having to be generated from oneself), then Jesus can be begotten (Psalms 2:7) without losing His value. The only way to the Father is through Jesus Christ His beloved Begotten Son (John 14:6), because God uttering the words over him: “Thou art my Son” is what makes Him priest and mediator for all created beings:

“So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, 'Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.'" (Hebrews 5:5)

Gods’ kingdom is ruled through a family structure and its members are compelled by love. Everything needed for God’s universe, resided in His Son (Philippians 2:9-11). The Father gave authority to His Son to be equal with Himself, and this was granted to Him through the Fathers’ blessing, not power (Hebrews 1:1-5)

This would indeed cause a misunderstanding since many, including myself, had believed and presented Jesus to be an ‘’acting Son of God’’ – playing the role of a Son for our redemption when in actuality He is God. This individual known as God the Son has not actually experienced that which a son experiences – learning from dad, receiving from dad, honoring dad, inheriting from dad – but merely acts as if He has. I thought these precious experiences either never happened or I ignored them as being somehow shameful; instead I had based the holiness of Jesus upon His inherent power. (see chapter 5, Divine Risk)

I formerly had thought that Jesus was only Son when He was born as a man, and if there was no sin there was no need to be a Son. In this framework, Christ’s true identity in eternity was as co-partner to God the Father; they were like two Fathers – 2 co-equal gods -  mysteriously forming an entity called GOD (with the Holy Spirit also).

I would share these new found truths and dispute would arise… I would encourage the brethren to seek the Lord in prayer and allow His Spirit, which is a blessing, to speak in our hearts. I would ask the reader now also: what is it about the begotten Son that is either so despicable or so endearing (depending on whether you hate or love Him)?

After some time, I was deeply impressed and my heart received a tremendous joy to realize that it’s Jesus Christ, (who underwent trials, mockery, afflictions, persecution unto death) who abides in us through His Spirit – Jesus is the Comforter. (see Holy Spirit, the Comforter) This is so encouraging because He loved us first, He understands us, He took on sinful flesh to show us He experienced the same things we are going through.  He tells us to be of good cheer because He overcame (John 16:33).

John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

People tried to convince me that I needed to hold on to a certain creed. They told me that there’s no way that the whole church is wrong and only you have the truth. What they couldn’t argue with is what Christ had done for me in my life. Often, people are very interested in what the unchanging God of the universe is doing on a personal level. They want to know what Christ is doing in your life.

Our Father sent various messages to me during the time I was battling to know who Jesus was. After studying ‘’The Divine Pattern message,” it was a doorway that unlocked my understanding of how I was trying to appease God by struggling to obey the Law, keeping the Sabbath holy, Do’s and Don’ts, seeing God as two-sided and so much more. I had an Old Covenant mindset whereby I was trying to achieve righteousness by works. I learnt that there is to be a transition in our experience. Praise Father that indeed the Old Covenant is the pathway in which you receive righteousness by faith, that is, the New Covenant. This happens when we realize that we are nothing in ourselves and instead recognize the precious value of our Saviour – that His character, His will, His mind is everything to us. (see these books on the Covenants)

I had been trying to create God in my own image, with ideas and preconceptions from a carnal mind.  In carnal nature’s darkness of limited understanding, I cannot explain “how God is” ...but He can reveal to me “who He is” if I allow Him. The following four key messages were a tremendous blessing to me at an individual level:

  1. My value comes from my relationship with God since His Kingdom is relational based. He is the One who does the assessment and gives me value. His Words to His beloved Son embrace all humanity (Mathew 3:17).

Matthew 3:17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

        2. God has set up a Source-Channel system of blessing (1Cor 8:6) to His beloved children in all aspects of their lives; Worship, Families etc. The relationship the Father has with His                    Son is the one that governs all other relationships.

        3. The principle that God is truly like Jesus on earth and is not violent and condemning in nature.

        4. When is the best time to receive God’s blessings? God and His dear Son have set times to gather with His children and be blessed by His Spirit, that is, the weekly seventh-day                        Sabbath. The Sabbath, after following a divine Pattern, becomes Sabbath(S) where we have the new moon and the Feasts, where blessings can take place.

In the ministration of Jesus while on earth, He met people at their needs in Love and He encouraged them to witness to other people what they had experienced. Examples include: The man who had been demon-possessed (Mark 5:18-20), the man who had been blind (John 9), Paul giving testimony to the Jews and to King Agrippa (Acts 22:11-21: 26:1-23). This I believe is one of the ways we glorify God and most effective ways to share the Gospel. (see A Remarkable Dream)

As a colporteur from May 2021, I began sharing the messages in different ways: door to door, online presentations, and Bible studies in church. The response was very good because I presented the message in sequence, which I encouraged fellow missionaries to adopt, that is, ‘’ministering to peoples’ needs first by listening to them as Jesus did and then sharing the messages together ‘as one’.” (see presentation: Importance of Message Sequence)

This opened ways for me to visit different churches in different areas. Praises to Our Father since the message was well appreciated and received because people were happy to know about their value and identity as the children of God. The message appeals to both a thinking mind and a faithful spirit. With this attitude, there is/will be an opportunity to receive more light and build upon core messages.

During the Appointed time of the Passover Feast this year, we experienced the Spirit of God working in peoples’ hearts. Half the congregation got baptized in the name of God’s dear Son Jesus. Hallelujah! (see Times of Refreshing)

The enemy is never happy when he sees God’s children coming out of bondage and slavery which he has blinded and imprisoned them (Isaiah 14:17). Neither does he want them to experience freedom (John 8:36) from their Maker. In enmity towards God, the enemy has deceived humanity to sin, which hides their Father’s face, causing misery, suffering, calamity and death – Satan came “to steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:10) our joy, happiness, comfort, peace, and freedom that is only found through the only-begotten Son given to us by Our Father (John 3:16). The enemy also tricks us to think that he does not exist, and that it is God who is causing all this pain!  The great controversy especially plays out in our lives when we face trials. What’s the Source of your comfort, peace and joy? (See Comforter)

*****

It was on the 5th of June 2022, a Sunday afternoon, when I received a call from a church elder that I have to present myself before the church board the following Sabbath (i.e., 11th June 2022). The reason behind them calling for an emergency meeting is because they believed I’m using lots of energy to share the three angels’ message contrary to church doctrine.

Brethren, this may or will happen to anyone devoted in service. People will always try their level best to control you. I contacted my brethren in faith to pray with me. I extended my need in a post as a prayer request in the Father of Love discord and telegram group. I wasn’t expecting this trial to be so soon, but now it came and I had to face it. All I was praying for was peace – peace which I received, Praise God!

I recalled a statement from inspiration that, ‘’In the last generation, those who are active in the Lord’s work WILL SUFFER obstacles and persecution from the church itself.” (Cannot find this direct a statement, but similar idea is found in 1SM 122.3, GC 608.2, UL 87.4) The voice came to me and said, ‘’Do not fear My child”. I chose to rely, believe and hold onto that promise from My Father.

I purposed to be respectful to the authorities of the church (as honoring the 5th commandment) even if they would use this opportunity to OPENLY denounce me and my activities. I had NO CONTROVERSY with anyone; I was simply following the convictions of the heart as the Lord has bidden me. I didn’t have to worry about anything, but simply trusted in my Heavenly Father, to pray in faith and give thanks to Him for everything (1Thes 5:16-18). (See The Divine Pattern)

The meeting was held, and I was accused of preaching lies. The Father-Son Message, claiming Jesus to be the begotten of the Father, baptism in the name of dear Lord Jesus according to Acts 19:5, the character of God seen in His Son, the appointed times of God to bless His dear children i.e., the Feasts – were all termed as heresies and as denials of the Adventist Faith.

The concluding decision was pre-determined – I was already guilty in the eyes of this local church – and their decision to disfellowship me may have been what the church manual says to do. Still, a vote must be taken in a business meeting open to the church members and the church members made aware of what they are voting on.  But in my case, there was no vote. They (mainly the pastor) just stated that I HAD TO BE DISFELLOWSHIPPED – and it was done. The lay members were quiet. I was additionally falsely accused of other things that I was not aware off.

I saw hatred, mockery, pity, anger and rejection in them, but thanks to Our Father who gives love, peace and patience. When we walk in Spirit, the fruits of the Spirit will manifest.

When A.T Jones spoke defending  the Sabbath before a congregational hearing, he stayed silent for a long time as he allowed others to speak first. Finally, when he did speak, he did it in such a God-sent way that it turned out in his favor. Praise Father that His victory is gained in His love and so, He teaches us to love our enemies (Mathew 5;44). I felt it in my heart to love them more even if they are apparently judging hypocritically against their own sayings. The more light we receive, the greater the peace we get.  It is so sad that the leaders of God’s remnant are following exactly the same ways of the leaders of the first century.

Dear brethren in this message, hold fast to that which is true. There is no need for you to convince anyone of anything in case you are questioned. When given the opportunity to speak, ask for the Lord’s guidance and hold onto His promise: ‘’He will give you the words to speak and tell you the time to speak” (Luke 12:12). The concept of “My way or No way’’ will always lead to strife, struggle, or even war - and the character of Jesus is not revealed in these things since He is lowly, meek and humble.

I was praying for the Faith of Jesus while on trial, and I could feel His presence through His Spirit as I looked forward to the Pentecost blessings. I experienced peace, love and joy in my heart to my brethren. I felt the need to be closer to them as my brethren, and not be emotional affected and express hatred. Our work is to plant the seed. Jesus will work in their hearts in His own way if they allow Him to.

We cannot force people to understand our experience. Our work is to present the message, and the spirit of God helps people understand if they are willing. Pray for peace to fill you, should you be called to stand trial, remembering our Lord before us. Remember: ‘’Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God’’ (Mathew 5:9).

The LORD will give you the appropriate words and comfort. This experience has helped me and it will strengthen you. As you grasp the hand of our Mighty Lord, and drink some of the cup of His bitterness (suffering the rejection of men) knowing that the world hates Jesus and those who would represent Him – you can REJOICE in partaking of His sufferings.

God never asks us to do anything arbitrary.

Overcome Fear by fully Trusting in Jesus—Jesus invites us to come to Him and He will lift the weights from our weary shoulders and place upon us His yoke, which is easy, and His burden, which is light. The path in which He invites us to walk would never have cost us a pang had we always walked in it. It is when we stray from the path of duty that the way becomes difficult and thorny. The sacrifices which we must make in following Christ are only so many steps to return to the path of light, of peace and happiness. Doubts and fears grow by indulgence, and the more they are indulged, the harder they are to overcome. It is safe to let go every earthly support and take the hand of Him who lifted up and saved the sinking disciple on the stormy sea. —Testimonies for the Church 4:558 (1881). {2MCP 480.2}

Wrench yourself away from hurtful associations. Count the cost of following Jesus, and make it, with a determined purpose to cleanse yourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit. Eternal life is worth your all, and Jesus has said, “Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be My disciple.” He who does nothing, but waits to be compelled by some supernatural agency, will wait on in lethargy and darkness. God has given His word. God speaks in unmistakable language to your soul. Is not the word of His mouth sufficient to show you your duty, and to urge its fulfillment? {FE 125.1}

We are finite, but we are to have a sense of the infinite. The mind must be brought into exercise in contemplating God, and his wonderful plan for our salvation. The soul will thus be lifted above the mere earthly and common-place, and fixed upon that which is ennobling and eternal. The thought that we are in God’s world, in the presence of the great Creator of the universe, who made man after his own likeness, will lead the mind into broad, exalted fields for meditation. The thought that God’s eye is watching over us, that he loves us, and cared so much for us as to give his dearly beloved Son to redeem us, that we might not miserably perish, is a great one; and he who opens his heart to the acceptance and contemplation of themes like these, will never be satisfied with trivial, sensational subjects. {CE 188.3}

Finally, anyone and everyone has the right to NOT believe as you/I do. People also have the right to disagree with the books we share joyfully to others – but people DO NOT have the right to restrict or force your personal conscience and beliefs.

We should all “welcome’’ those who have criticism towards our literature with the earnest appeal to learn and be teachable. Still, I would expect that in order for people to criticize the work or the books we distribute, that at the very least they HAVE READ the book(s).

We have NO duty to convince any man of what we believe, for each man has his free will and at the end of the day he is answerable only to God for his choices – not to us. Or duty is to share in love, but not to force people or to be forced.

Should the church authorities point the finger that you do not believe as they do and there is no opportunity to come and reason together (Isaiah 1:18) – then the matter is to be left to God and to prayer, for there is nothing further we can do. Each person will have to decide how best to move forward. Let us not repay evil with evil; evil will do what evil does, but let us put on the full armor of God.

When the controversy is done and crowns are bestowed, then the armor comes off. That only is when it is safe to remove; but for now He must continually take care to our armor of protection. There is much more important work to be done – the world is hungering and thirsting for a mind-soul satisfying message rooted in value, identity, hope and understanding.

God has need of workers who, as they labor with him, will comprehend the sacredness of the work, and the conflicts they must meet in order to carry it forward successfully, —workers who will not grow despondent as they see the arduous task before them. The Lord does not try to conceal from his people the stern conflicts they will meet in these last days. Instead, he shows the plan of battle; he points out the hazardous work to be done; he lifts his voice in warning, bidding men count the cost of their discipleship: but he encourages all to take up the weapons of their warfare; for the heavenly host will stand with them in the defense of truth and righteousness. {YI October 26, 1899, par. 1}

The truths of the Bible have been obscured through misuse, traditions, doctrines, agenda, interpretations, mis-translations etc. but we will have fellowship with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. As Christ is in the Father and the Father in Him, may we all know that we are all one in God.

May God’s wisdom always be our daily choice and His Spirit guide our thoughts to put Him first. Let us believe God will help us to follow what He teaches us and place His word alone within our mind, for it is only His word that has power to refine, purify and cleanse us from within as we rejoice in His forgiveness.

Blessings, Allan (from Kenya. For books in Swahili, see https://maranathamedia-kenya.com/sw/)