By Dan Vis
February 05, 2018
As our Breakout Memory Challenge is open for enrollment right now, and lots of new members are joining our community thanks to kind efforts by partner ministries to help us get out the word, this classic post seemed the perfect article for this week's Monday Memo. Discover what drives us here at FAST!
This past weekend, I had the privilege of being able to speak in one of the churches in my area. I entitled my message "Foundations" and in it, suggested the foundational secrets to finishing the work were all encoded right within the Great Commission itself. In particular, these secrets can be linked to three key words. Here they are:
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
In today's Memo, I'd like to take a few moments to talk about the implications of each of these words.
The first word I want to emphasize is the word "observe". Jesus gave clear instructions in the Great Commission that we were to teach every new believer how to "observe" the things He taught. It's an easy word to overlook--but considering it is the one thing we are commanded to teach, it perhaps deserves more attention.
Tracing the Greek word used here down through the New Testament, suggests it involves guarding, keeping, or locking up the Word of God in our heart. It's used, for example, to describe the centurion assigned to guard Jesus at the cross (Matthew 27:54Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.). To describe the jailor assigned to lock up Paul and Silas at Philippi (Acts 16:23And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:). To describe the fallen angels bound in unbreakable chains (Jude 1:6And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.). All these paint a picture of how important it is to internalize the Word of God. To guard it in our heart, lock it up in our mind, keep it bound in our memory. To memorize it.
Of course, memorizing Scripture was not a new command. The Old Testament is filled with commands to store the Bible in our heart, and the New Testament with commands to hold it fast. Proverbs puts it this way:
My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. . . . Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart.
At FAST, this is one of our foundational principles. We encourage every new member to get started with our Crash Course in Bible Memorization, or if you are in a training center church, to work through our Survival Kit. We also have powerful memorization tools like the Engine available on our site. And twice a year we offer our flagship Breakout Memory Challenge, teaching our most advanced memorization principles.
We believe every Christian, can and should hold FAST to Scripture (Revelation 3:11Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.). Filling one's heart with God's Word is a powerful way to jump start the growth process, and prepares the way for our next two foundations.
The second word that stands out is the word "commanded". It's easy to focus on the doctrines of the Bible. And there is a certain amount of instruction a person needs before baptism, if they are to make an intelligent decision about joining a church. And certainly, a lifetime of study after baptism! But the emphasis in the Great Commission is teaching the commands of the Bible.
That is, Christianity is more a call to a way of life than to a creed. In fact believers were called followers of "the way" long before they were called Christians (Acts 9:2And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.). Given the doctrinal confusion in the world today, we should be serious about theology. But we need to be serious about its application too!
A quick perusal of the Sermon on the Mount makes it clear the vast majority of what Jesus taught was about practical day to day living. Jesus taught we are to take the letter of the law (thou shalt not kill or commit adultery), and apply it practically to our lives (don't be angry or have impure thoughts). This is what Isaiah meant when he prophesied the Messiah would "magnify the law, and make it honourable" (Isaiah 42:21The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness' sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable.).
The Law of Moses actually links this idea of application with memorization--by calling us in dozens of places to both "keep" and "do" what the Bible says. Memorization allows us to meditate on Scripture. Application requires us to reflect on our life. Without combining these two, there is no transformation. To quote the Psalmist:
59 I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies. 60 I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.
The practical nuts and bolts of the Christian life, is a second foundational principle at FAST. We encourage every believer to combine memorization with application. To go from knowledge, to understanding, to wisdom. Our emphasis on personal discipleship is designed to encourage a deeper commitment to the will of God. And courses like Basic Training and our ROCKET time management system, are designed to encourage faithful implementation of God's will. It is not enough to hold FAST to Scripture, we must stand FAST in its commands (I Corinthians 16:13Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.).
The third word in the Great Commission I want to emphasize today is the word "baptizing". It reminds me that every believer is called to reach out to a lost world, and draw others to Christ. Being baptized may mark the beginning of our Christian journey, but that journey should lead to seeing others baptized through our efforts.
Jesus was clear about what communion with Him should accomplish. "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.). "He ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach" (Mark 3:14And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach,). Time with Him, following Him, should lead us to become effective communicators of the Gospel, effective fishers of men.
Every believer is equipped with specific spiritual gifts. They also have special talents, resources, abilities. And just as surely as God has a unique place for us in heaven, He has a unique work for us here on earth. Learning to identify the ministry God has called us to individually, and execute it faithfully is a powerful third foundation. Or to quote the apostle Paul:
But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
Empowering believers for ministry is a third foundational principle at FAST. From providing tools to help believers disciple others to equipping them with skills to lead an effective Care Group, our goal has long been to help transform every church into a training center. In 2018, we introduced several new classes along this line as well--including an all new Unleashed Ministry Model and our Worker Tools class on ministry development.
Our goal is to see every believer build a ministry that wins souls to Christ. To hold FAST is good. To also stand FAST is better. But time is short, and the work is vast. And what's finally needed, is to learn to work FAST (Ezra 5:8Be it known unto the king, that we went into the province of Judea, to the house of the great God, which is builded with great stones, and timber is laid in the walls, and this work goeth fast on, and prospereth in their hands.).
From the beginning, our strategy at FAST has been three-fold: to help believers take in God's Word, live it out, and pass it on. To hold fast, stand fast, work fast. These three steps are foundational to finishing the work. And they are encoded right into the Great Commission itself.
Are you making progress on all three steps?
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How important do you think each of these foundations are? What might happen were every believer to focus more on these areas? Feel free to suggest ways FAST can do more to help people build these foundations into their lives...
|Posted by Marion Coppock on 10/24/18|
|Very interesting, Dan. I appreciate all the above information. It would be good for all church members to read it .|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 10/23/18|
|You are very welcome Shirley! There is power in simplicity, isn't there? And you are right about the comments. It is so encouraging to see so many people striving to climb higher in their walk with God, isn't it? :)|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 10/22/18|
|Yep, that's pretty much it Carole! Hold FAST to the Word, Stand FAST in the Word, and Work FAST at getting out the Word. Take in, live out, pass on. Simple, but it can take us a good ways...|
|Posted by Fiona van Wyk on 02/12/18|
A message for you, Qing, from Dan.
And it is a lovely community ... :-)
|Posted by Dan Vis on 02/10/18|
|Hey we're all in this together Qing. That what being a community is all about. :)|
|Posted by Fiona van Wyk on 02/10/18|
A comment for you, Eric, from Kathy Rosenberger.
Both Qing's verse and Eric's are wonderful verses to memorize! :-)
|Posted by Kathy Rosenberger on 02/09/18|
|Eric, Love that verse. I also had never seen the impact of it before. Memorising it now Thank you.|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 02/09/18|
Eric, amazing verse. Somehow I never saw that one before. Another great one to grab!!!
Qing, I think Valerie was trying to tag you. A good comment on your verse...
|Posted by Valerie Wise Burrell on 02/09/18|
|Qing, thank you. Ezra 10:4Arise; for this matter belongeth unto thee: we also will be with thee: be of good courage, and do it. is the original “Just Do It” slogan long before there was ever a Nike!|
|Posted by Eric on 02/09/18|
Joyce, Valerie, Qing, those verses in Ezra are good, and remind me of Joseph in the prison in Egypt. I always liked this verse:
"And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it." - Genesis 39:22And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it..
Now, I'm not there yet. Focus, Focus :-).
Dan, may your plans prosper.
Now I'm going straight from here to do something...
|Posted by Fiona van Wyk on 02/09/18|
|That Multiplication Table from the Basic Training class is phenomenal, Qing. The potential is incredible - all possible in one generation, as you say!|
|Posted by Qing Ling on 02/09/18|
Excellent write up of yet another message on the central mission of FAST. What ever will you come up with next, Dan ? :)
MAP - Memorise Apply Pass-it-on
And the pinnacle: hold - stand - work FAST
LOVE IT! :)
Carole - i'm so with you on that one (praying to retain it, and apply it to my life, and share it.). What a great way to be living the FAST Way, which is really the Great Commission Way given to us by Jesus Christ Himself!
Valerie another verse in Ezra that might be useful is Ezra 10:4Arise; for this matter belongeth unto thee: we also will be with thee: be of good courage, and do it. - I really love how straightforward it is - no beating around the bush, it just says "Arise...and do it"
My mind can't begin to grasp what it would look like if every believer were to live out these 3 foundational principles. I was just reviewing the Multiplication Table from Basic Training yesterday and saw that if only ONE believer multiplied themselves each year, exponentially, it would only take roughly 33 years to reach 8 billion! The world CAN be turned upside down in ONE generation.
As for Suggestions, Dan - have you considered Personal Coaching services? I guess you need more human resources to deliver that. So the next closest thing is to do what you are already planning - equipping CHURCHES to be mini FAST Training Centers around the world :) looking forward to the church centered modules coming out later this year from FAST.
|Posted by Valerie Wise Burrell on 02/08/18|
|Eric, you sum it up perfectly: "We have to keep the main thing, the main thing". Carole, Your post is a humble reminder to me that simply memorizing the words of Scripture is not enough without first also praying for His Spirit to anoint our efforts that God can bring fruit from our lives. Joyce, Ezra 5:8Be it known unto the king, that we went into the province of Judea, to the house of the great God, which is builded with great stones, and timber is laid in the walls, and this work goeth fast on, and prospereth in their hands. will be added to my verses for memorization. It encourages me to commit the work He has given to me to do that He may accelerate and prosper my efforts. Dan Vis, another inspired and inspiring Memo. Praise God!|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 02/06/18|
I like how the word "fast" is used in all three senses in the Bible. To hold tightly, stand firmly, work quickly. Revelation 3:11Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown., I Corinthians 16:13Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong., Ezra 5:8Be it known unto the king, that we went into the province of Judea, to the house of the great God, which is builded with great stones, and timber is laid in the walls, and this work goeth fast on, and prospereth in their hands..
So interesting, isn't it Joyce? Thanks for highlighting that last verse!
|Posted by Joyce Augustinis on 02/05/18|
|I like the last part of the text in Ezra 5:8Be it known unto the king, that we went into the province of Judea, to the house of the great God, which is builded with great stones, and timber is laid in the walls, and this work goeth fast on, and prospereth in their hands. and this work goes fast on and prospers in their hands. This is what I want to be able to say about my work. I also agree that Christianity is ultimately a change of lifestyle and I believe we need to keep teaching and modeling that so that others understand.|
|Posted by Lynn Badger on 02/05/18|
|The unlimited possibilities if everyone focussed on these 3 areas-- the Lord would come. Praying daily and sharing to do my part in spreading God's word.|
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