Following Jesus: Doing

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Foundations of Discipleship from Jesus' early calling and teaching of the disciples

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April 1991 NY Times Article:
A collector who spent $4 at a Pennsylvania flea market two years ago for a dismal painting because he liked the frame now finds himself the possessor of a first printing of the Declaration of Independence. It is expected to bring $800,000 to $1 million at an auction on June 4.
The discovery was announced yesterday by David N. Redden, head of the book and manuscript department at Sotheby's in Manhattan. Mr. Redden described the document, found behind the painting when the collector took the frame apart, as an "unspeakably fresh copy" of the declaration. "The fact that it has been in the backing of the frame preserved it," he said. Of the 24 copies known to survive, only 3 are in private hands, he added.
Mr. Redden said the unidentified owner bought the painting, "a dismal dark country scene with a signature he could not make out," for its gilded and ornately carved frame. He told Mr. Redden that he discarded the painting, which he disliked. When he realized the frame was crudely made and unsalvageable, he said he got rid of it also.
"But he kept the declaration, which he had found behind the painting," Mr. Redden said. "It was folded up, about the size of a business envelope. He thought it might be an early 19th-century printing and worth keeping as a curiosity."
Recently the owner showed it to a friend "who became quite enthusiastic and urged him to look into it further," said Selby Kiffer, an Americana printing specialist at Sotheby's "At that point he called us."
"The discovery of any first-printing copy of the declaration, even a fragmentary one or a poor copy, would be exciting," Mr. Kiffer said. "But on this one, the condition is beyond reproach. It was folded up when we first saw it -- the way the owner said it was in the painting, less than one-tenth of an inch thick. I had to agree with him it was just as well that he kept it that way.
"There has been absolutely no restoration, no repair. It was unframed and unbacked." Only 7 of the 24 copies are unbacked, he said, which increases their value.
Mr. Kiffer said the declaration was the fourth copy of the first printing to surface in the last 10 years -- three of which were either known copies or had been handed down to heirs of the original 18th-century owners. The record for a declaration sold at auction is $1.6 million, which was realized in January 1990 in a Sotheby's sale of a copy from the estate of H. Bradley Martin, an heir to the Phipps steel fortune.
"The ink was still wet on this copy when it was folded," Mr. Kiffer said. "The very first line -- 'In Congress, July 4, 1776' -- shows up in the bottom margin in reverse, as a faint offsetting or shadow printing, one more proof of the urgency John Dunlap, the printer, and others felt in dispersing this document."
QUESTION: Why so urgent? Why so valuable? After all, it is just words and ideas.
ANSWER: It represents the heart of the American Dream. It (along with the Constitution) represents and conveys the foundational truths of what it means to BE and American. The original authors KNEW these truths and declarations were inevitable when it came to defining what the new nation would need to represent…what it would need to BE. But, what makes it so urgent and so valuable is that my signing it they were staking their lives on the truths contained therein. By affixing their names, a bold act of both treason and the renunciation of tyranny, the document itself represented the journey from KNOWING & BEING to DOING. It was no longer about freedom from an idealistic standpoint of BEING. It became a catalyst of DOING.

From Beatitudes of Being to Declarations of Doing (v. 27-31)

27 “But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

In the beginning of Jesus’ famed Sermon on the Mount, or in Luke’s case and setting Sermon on the Plain, Jesus is surrounded by need. In Luke’s account He is surrounded by it and it is pressing in on all sides. It is here that Jesus decides to begin laying out the foundational teachings of what it means to be His be His disciple.

Knowing Jesus is a Result of His Calling

Jesus initiates relationships through calling; the disciples left everything for the sake of “Knowing Jesus” and answering His call. It is personal and individual and not to be mistaken as general.

Being His Disciple Means a New Way of Seeing the World

Jesus defines a new reality, a new worldview awaiting those who are intent on being His disciples.
Jesus began His teaching in Luke 6:20-26 by stating Beatitudes & Woes that would give shape to and define a new reality.
These Beatitudes of Being paint a peculiar picture where poverty, hunger, longing, and ridicule are marks of happiness & contentment and where excess, fulfillment, temporary happiness, and popularity are harbingers of woe and future dissatisfaction and sadness.

Doing Discipleship is Key to Following Jesus

“I SAY TO YOU LISTEN....” Jesus transitions from Beatitudes that define a sense of Being for His followers to Declarations that emphasize the necessity of Doing.
Jesus launches a transformational ethic for His disciples, He flips the script and turns their world and sense of fairness upside down.
The Bridge between KNOWING and BEING that leads to DOING and starts one on the life long journey of Following Jesus is paved with the necessity for self-denial.
Jesus is attacking their sense of fairness, their sense of justice, their sense of what is right that is based entirely on self preservation.
Each teaching is an invitation to deny oneself and die to self in order to live for Christ through this new Kingdom Ethic.

A Rationale for Putting Feet to Faith (v. 32-34)

32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again.

Difficult Questions of Doing

What sets us apart? What defines us and makes us any different from the world in which we live?

Why must Discipleship be centered upon Doing but Doing at the expense of self interest and preservation?

Answer: When we put feet to faith and set our sight on Doing Discipleship, living out a faith where inward assurance is displayed through outward expression, we are actively denying ourselves and providing a living example to the power and presence of Christ to not only change our lives but change lives of those around us who are witness to and impacted by the life of Jesus living through each one of us.

The Rationale of Faith

What if the Doing of Discipleship is the ultimate act of self-preservation? By Following Jesus are we trading temporary justification for something more?

Why We Do What We Do (v. 35-36)

35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Repeat After Me

Jesus reiterates the necessity of doing based upon a Kingdom Ethic that is not of this world. Why?

Our reward is found in a Kingdom not of this World

A Kingdom for the Children of God Defined by the Mercy of God

Go & DO Likewise

We are called to follow Jesus to be like Jesus
We are to live our lives in the image of God as children created in the image of God
God is redeeming and reconciling His creation through Christ. We are called to follow that example Doing Discipleship
The New Revised Standard Version Hearing and Doing the Word

19 You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness. 21 Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls.

22 But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.

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