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Rediscovering the Sabbath as Disciples
Stats: 8,516 words / Reading Time: 42.58 mins

Published: Saturday, 4th September 2021

By: Gboyega ADEDEJI

Rediscovering the Sabbath as Disciples is read 1.3K times on CentreNDL.org 1.3K


Are You a True Worshipper?

Listen To Podcast: Rediscovering The Sabbath As Disciples

In this piece today, we want to look at something that I believe is going to challenge us and stretch us and so, we need to be very opened, we need to also enlarge the tent of our heart so that we can comprehend the mysteries that God want to unfold unto us because precepts from precepts, that is how we are supposed to grow, from one level of glory into another., step upon step, here a little, there a little and so, we grow. We want to focus on an issue that has been titled: Rediscovering the Sabbath as Disciples and the question we want to quickly answer in the course of this piece is: Are You a True Disciple? And so, the Lord want to help our understanding to rediscover the Sabbath.


I am sure we are aware of what the Sabbath means. But what we want to do is to rediscover it. We will start our observation from Isaiah chapter 56 and we will read from verse 1-8. See what the Bible says:


Thus says the Lord: “Keep justice, and do righteousness, For My salvation is about to come, And My righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man who does this, And the son of man who lays hold on it; Who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.” Do not let the son of the foreigner Who has joined himself to the Lord Speak, saying, “The Lord has utterly separated me from His people”; Nor let the eunuch say, “Here I am, a dry tree.” For thus says the Lord: “To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths, and choose what pleases Me, and hold fast My covenant, even to them I will give in My house and within My walls a place and a name Better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name That shall not be cut off. “Also, the sons of the foreigner Who join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants— Everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and holds fast My covenant— Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices Will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” The Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, says, “Yet I will gather to him Others besides those who are gathered to him.”


May the Lord bless the reading of His word in our hearts in Jesus’ name. I am sure many of us have read this section of the Bible before in the book of Isaiah chapter 56 from verse 1-8. But today we are looking at it as disciples. In verse 2, we began to see how God was describing the group of people that He intends to bless. It says: “Blessed is the man who does this, And the son of man who lays hold on it; Who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.” So, we can understand that the first place to see the sabbath is that the sabbath is a place or a moment or a time that must not be defiled. It is a moment and a place that has been set apart for the Lord, it is supposed to be holy. So, anyone who keeps it from being defiled the Lord promised him His blessings.


Also, in verse 4 and 5 of the anchor scripture, the Lord says, “For thus says the Lord: “To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths, and choose what pleases Me, and hold fast My covenant, even to them I will give in My house and within My walls a place and a name Better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name That shall not be cut off.” Those who keep the Sabbath holy, those who chose not to defile the sabbath, God promises a name and a place for them. Also in verse 8, the Lord says, “The Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, says, “Yet I will gather to him Others besides those who are gathered to him.”” Now, Jesus said in the Book of John when He was going that, I have sheep who are not in this present fold that must also be brought in. So, the fold of Christ is beyond those of us who can see ourselves; Christ has agenda for a larger number of people across the nations of the earth. And this must be kept at the back of our minds. But our focus is on the sabbath and so, I want us to go to where sabbath actually began in Exodus 20:8-11. The Bible says:


“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.”


What was that seventh day? The seventh day was the day the God rested: the day of the Lord’s rest after He was done with the creation of the earth and all its fullness. And what the Lord wanted from the children of Israel was that they should remember the Sabbath day, and hallow it — they should remember the time the Lord rested and they should keep it holy. So, the Lord ordained for the children of Israel that every day they should work, pursue their dreams, they should make themselves profitable and productive, but on the seventh day, they should set it apart, they should give the Lord. I know we are familiar with this in the Church, we talk about tithing; "pay your tithes, a tenth of your income to the Lord; recognizing that the Lord is the giver of all things. And you are willing to handover one tenth of all that He has given to you". Something like that was ordained for the children of Israel that for the rest of the 6 days they should work, for God rested on His own seventh day when He finished the work of creation. If they can do that, they should rest and keep it holy: they should sanctify their members.


We understand that there are many things that happened to the children of Israel, those things are just type and shadow of the things that are to come. They are supposed to usher us as a people into an experience by getting us familiar with some things that are not exactly as they are originally. God has a way of taken us through a path to where He wants us to go while embracing the experience that He is taking us from. Let’s go to Matthew chapter 12 and we will read from verse 1 to 4, see what the Bible says:


“At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. And His disciples were hungry, and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!” But He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him:  how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests?”


Now, something happened when Jesus was walking the face oof the earth which is important for us to learn from. For the people of Israel who were following the laws that the Lord gave to them through Moses that they must remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. So, they saw Jesus and His disciples walking through the grainfields and the disciples began to pluck some of the things they were finding on the tree and they were eating because they were hungry. On seeing Jesus according to the story we read in Matthew doing what was not in line with the law, they question it, why are you and your disciples doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath day?  They accused the disciples of Jesus Christ that they were doing what they were not expected to do on the Sabbath. And Jesus also reminded them of something that David did in the house of God which was not lawful for him to do. For the purpose of our understanding this day, we want to look at the correlation between the two.


It seems or appears to me as if there is a link between the house of God and the Sabbath day that the Lord commanded them to keep holy. To many of us whose thinking will be that on the Sabbath day we ought to go to the house of God. But I perceive a different thing that the Lord is showing us as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ as it concerns the Sabbath what should be our disposition, posture, to the Sabbath. Should we be like the Pharisees who remember the Sabbath and keep it holy, or should we be like the disciples of Jesus Christ? In verse 5 of the Book of Matthew where we read, Jesus said to them, “Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? Yet I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple. But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”


If we understand what the Lord Jesus is revealing to us here from verse 5 to 8, we will see that there is a perspective that Jesus had about the Sabbath, and there was a perspective that the Pharisees and the men of Israel had about the Sabbath. As far as they were concerned, the Sabbath day was a time or a day that they need to be holy; to wash their vessels, and appear before the Lord— that was the Sabbath. You come before God in the temple, you come clean with your clothing washed. You don’t do any other work, you only appeared before the Lord, that was their perspective. But Jesus has another perspective.


So, if the Sabbath was a time, a moment, a place, that men were to appear before God, fellowship with God, that men were supposed to worship God, to be holy, then Jesus was describing Himself as the Lord of that day, of that place, of that moment, that men were meant to be holy. In Mark chapter 2 verse 23-26, see how Mark put the same story:


“Now it happened that He went through the grainfields on the Sabbath; and as they went His disciples began to pluck the heads of grain. And the Pharisees said to Him, “Look, why do they do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” But He said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and hungry, he and those with him:  how he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the showbread, which is not lawful to eat except for the priests, and also gave some to those who were with him?” And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.  Therefore, the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.”


I believe that there is a connection between Mark chapter 2 verse 26 to 27 and Genesis chapter 2. Now, for the Pharisees they could do anything that they felt it was ‘OK’ on any other days of the week aside the Sabbath day as it has been written in the law, “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy “. So, they so particular about the Sabbath day and keeping it holy, and anyone that they saw that did otherwise, they would punish, why? Because such person was seen a sinner, and the deed unlawful. But Jesus exposed the weakness in that perspective to them. There was a reason why Jesus subjected the Pharisees to such a moment. There was something He wanted to expose to them about the Sabbath because He was under God transiting them from where they were to where God wants them to be. They were of the opinion that they needed to be holy on the Sabbath day, but Jesus was preaching a different thing to them. It says: “The Sabbath was made for man but not man for the Sabbath.”


Keeping that in our heart, let’s quickly go to the Book of Genesis. In Genesis chapter 1 verse 26, the Bible says, “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” And in same Genesis chapter 2 verse 7, the Bible says, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed.”


When Jesus speaking to the Pharisees in verse 27, He said: “The Sabbath was made for man, but not man for the Sabbath.” And so, what could we liking that Sabbath to mean? Sabbath being made for man and man was not made for the Sabbath. Man was before the Sabbath came; there was man before the Sabbath came— that was the conclusion of Jesus. God formed man before the institution of the Sabbath, and then why? There must be reason. In Genesis chapter 2:7, the Bible recorded that God formed man from the dust of the earth, meaning God built for man a body from the dust what he requires to function, go work. The tabernacle for man. The temple for man, God formed it. So, God released man into the temple that God had built for man. In Mark chapter 2 verse 27, Jesus said the Sabbath was made for man, that man that the breath of life has released into the temple. That man needed Sabbath, so God made Sabbath for him. If man will live well; if man will live his God given destiny well, will actualize the purpose of God for him, man will need to take the Sabbath into conscious remembrance and keep it holy. But what then is the Sabbath? It is just beyond a day of the week.


Let’s read something in the Scripture in 1 Corinthians chapter 3 from verse 16 to 17: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” Now, if we connect this to Genesis 2:7, the Bible says: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground…” The question is: what aspect of man was formed? It was simply the body of man. It says further: and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed.” If we connect this to Genesis chapter 2 verse 7, it says, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”  So, we see that God released a portion of Himself into the body of man that was formed. The body of man is what Apostle Paul called the temple of God.


So, when Jesus said Sabbath was made for man meaning also that the temple of God was made for man, meaning also that the purification, meaning also that purifying the temple of God, the body of man and making it holy, is what was made for man. Because apostle said, “If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy such man.” So, defiling the temple of God can only happen when man does not remember the Sabbath and to keep it holy. When a man does not acknowledge that the body that he has, the temple of God, and that body needed to be purified for God, such a person will lose what he has. In a nutshell, the Sabbath was made to preserve man, to sustain man on the earth as the temple of God and not man made for the Sabbath. You were not made for the Sabbath, your cleanness: your cleanness is made to preserve you.


For many of us that are yet to fully understand what we are dealing with, let’s see Isaiah chapter 66 from verse 1-3. See what the Bible says: “Thus says the Lord: “Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you will build Me? And where is the place of My rest? For all those things My hand has made, and all those things exist,” says the Lord. “But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.”


If we have the understand that the Sabbath day is a day when we are expected to go to the house of the Lord to worship God, then God is asking us in Isaiah 66 verse 1 to 2 saying, “Where is the house that you will build me?” “Where is the place of My rest?” Because God explained to Moses in the Book of Exodus that in 6 days God did His work, and on the seventh day He rested. The day He rested, remember it and keep it holy. If you replace “the day” with “the place” He rested that you must keep it. We must understand that the Sabbath day is a place of God’s rest; remember it and keep it holy. The house of God is a place where God rest. When we remember the Sabbath day, we are remembering the tabernacle of God that God rest.


God is making us to realize that His emphasis is not on the physical things that we do, it is on our members: “Where is the house that you can build me, where is the place of my rest?” Our sanctuaries, auditoriums, that is not His emphasis. His emphasis is the place He rest, He takes maximum pleasure. And the place is in him or her who is broken in heart and has broken spirit.  So, God is shifting our attentions from physical structures to our human bodies. God is no more fixated on temples, by physical auditoriums. God is no more focused on temples made with human hands, locations on the earth. Where God finds rest is no more in the places you go to; it is in a body that you made clean, that you make holy.


The temple of God you are and nobody is expected to defile that temple. The Bible shows us that we are the temple of God; the Spirit of God dwells in us— we house the Spirit of God in us. So, we are not supposed to be fixated on the physical building in the Old Testament. We must be translated in our minds that God is no more operating according the Old Testament fashion. God is no more focusing on buildings of blocks. Let’s see a place in John chapter 4 from verse 19 to 24, The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”


Jerusalem as used in this passage stands for the temple of God, the house of worship, in Jewish religion. But God is Spirit, so the temple of God has to be spiritual temple which is not made with hands, bricks, glasses, but made by God Himself, by the hand of God. The Bible says, “And those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” Not tied to locations, meaning the Spirit becomes the location for serving God. Worship God not geographically but in the Spirit. The expectation of God for us as disciples is not to become tie or location driven, but a people who worship God in the Spirit. God’s Spirit is not tie to location, to buildings; He is in us; everyone that has His temple built in him or her.


What then becomes the relevance of the Sabbath to me? The Bible says, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” So, God is talking about a disciple who has a contrite spirit; a disciple who trembles at the Word of God. Such disciple is the temple of God; he has in him the Spirit of God inhabiting him (his members). When such a disciple wants to worship or fellowship with God, such disciple must not be fixed on Sunday saying, “On Sunday I will go to fellowship to worship God, or be in so, so, and so place, and worship the Lord. Such disciple must be able to work with the consciousness that, since I am the temple of God, my worship to God is not tie to a place, time, or situation. I carry the presence of God everywhere; I am not supposed to be looking for God in places. I am supposed to worship God sincerely every time and every place that the Lord demands it. Every time I am in remembrance of God, I should worship Him. Of course, the Sabbath day is no more about me remembering a particular day of the week, but it is about me remembering the tabernacle of God that is in me, that I have become.


I must worship Him: I must serve Him; I must live my life for Him. I must on constant basis ask Him, Lord, what will you have me do today. Lord, should I turn left, should I turn right, go forward, or backward? In the Book of Isaiah, the Bible says, “You will hear a voice behind you”. But we have come to a dispensation where we are no more hearing a voice behind us; we are hearing voice within us. The voice of the Spirit is rising from within us! But it is very unfortunate that what many of us have built our faith around are the things that we have seen in the Old Testament. I want us to quickly read something in Hebrews chapter 7 from verse 12 to 18,


“Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law. For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no man has officiated at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning [c]priesthood. And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life. For He testifies: “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.


God according to what we read in Hebrews had annulled the old covenant, the old law, and He has enacted a new one. When Jesus was speaking, He says, “I have come to fulfil the law.” Understand that for every new covenant there must be a priest for it. As Aaron was the priest for the Old Testament, so Jesus came the priest for the New Testament. And we must understand that there is a new experience that the Lord has in mind for annulling the Old Laws, covenant because of its weakness and unprofitable. So, we can’t build our lives on what was weak and unprofitable. If God had given us the shadow in the Old Testament and has the fulfilment of the reality in the New Testament, it will just be proper for us to abandon the old, the shadow, and embrace the new except there is something else will are looking for. 


In the Old Testament, a day out of the seven days was sanctified unto the Lord, that is the day that no one was expected to defile it by working but remember it to keep it holy. But Jesus revealed to us through His encounter with the Pharisees that He is the Son of man; and we must understand that we are the sons of men, a family of many brethren. He is the Lord of the Sabbath, and we are the lords of the Sabbath. God made the Sabbath for us, not we for the Sabbath. God has ordained us not to acknowledge one day as holy, but all days as holy. And we are expected to be in daily consciousness of worship, not esteeming one day more than the others as in the manner of the Jews under the law.


We must remember the Lord our God daily, to worship Him anywhere we are, not just as the one who gives us the power to get wealth, but as the One whose presence we carry everywhere we go. So, we must worship Him with that consciousness sincerely and spiritually. Your worship of God must not be tied to location; mountain, buildings, but to the consciousness of His presence that is in you. If God has instituted the New in place of the old, but we are saying we are comfortable with the old, then we are depriving ourselves of the new experience that we are meant to share in union with the Spirit of God with us. I am not saying that if you tie yourself to the Old Covenant, you will benefit anything from it, but the Bible is saying it is weak and unprofitable.


If you want the strength of God in your life, marriage, ministry, and in all that you lay your hand on, you remember not just the Sabbath day, but that you are the temple of God, the living house, of the Living God and the Spirit of God dwell in you. Jesus says to His Disciples, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.” And the Holy Spirit will come upon you not to go and come back but He will dwell in you. That means that our body necessarily had the responsibilities of accommodating and of housing God. And as the accommodation of God, you must remember to keep the house of God clean. You must not defile yourself. You must keep yourself pure. That is the message that God has for us, don’t defile yourself. God is Spirit, you can’t see Him with your physical eyes, but He is Spirit. God dwells in you. Be conscious of His presence in your life, don’t defile His temple because you are His temple.


Concluding now, I want to tell us something that we are familiar with. Supposing that we build our houses today and we spent so much money to build it, to decorate and to furnish it. And so we use the house every day. Is it not wise that there should be a moment in the day and in the week that we set aside to maintain the house, to clean it up? So, we thrash every dirt in the house and burn them off. We clean the house at those times of the day and those days of the week. Why? We want to keep the house holy and clean. Now if you and I will build houses and schedule how we clean it, how much more our lives, our bodies that house God? We must not only schedule time on cleaning it, we must clean it, daily cleaning our lives. That is why the Bible says “Sanctify them by your truth, your word is truth.” This sanctification is a daily thing.


The tool that God uses to clean us is His word, God uses His word to clean us and you cannot restrict that to only in the mornings when you have having your devotion or only on Sundays. You cannot clean your life only on Sundays, you must clean your life daily and every time. You must meditate on the word of God and understand this body belongs to God and I must keep it clean. It is my responsibility to purge myself and to sanctify myself because if I can do that, number one, I will not be destroyed by God. Number two, God will remain with me because if you defile the temple of God, the Spirit of God will no longer tabernacle there. You must remember the story of Samson that the moment he defiled the temple of God, the Spirit of God departed. And you must also remember Adam and Eve, as soon as they ate and disobeyed God, they defiled their bodies, they lost the Spirit of God.


There is something I want us to see very quickly in Isaiah 65 and I will read verse 3-4. God was talking about a people.


A people who provoke Me to anger continually to My face;
Who sacrifice in gardens,
And burn incense on altars of brick;
4 Who sit among the graves,
And spend the night in the tombs;
Who eat swine’s flesh,
And the broth of abominable things is in their vessels;


Do we understand what the Lord was saying here? Now what got God annoyed, what provoked God was the things they did. They were going to places, they were sacrificing, they were spending nights in the graves and ate swine’s flesh and all manner of abominable things was in their vessels. Now let us look at it. We are temples of God, we are the temple of God, God dwells in us. Now what happens when we pollute that temple? That is to tell us that there are things we can eat and cannot drink. We still remember Samson. The moment the word of the Lord came to the mother and the father about the child, the angel warned that the mother must not drink any alcohol, anything that will corrupt or pollute the temple that the baby is incubating in. That is to tell us that there are certain things that does not encourage the Spirit of God and make Him comfortable in us. So, we cannot encourage those things and call ourselves true worshippers.


So, worshipping God is not therefore just coming to our fellowship or our churches on Sunday mornings to life up hands and we say we are lifting up holy hands simply because we say “Father please forgive me when we are coming to church.” Worshipping God is therefore us about us remaining in the consciousness of God as the one who inhabits us and who must never be made uncomfortable by the things we eat, by the things we drink, by the places we go, the words we say and the things we hear. Therefore, we have a responsibility to keep our lives holy unto God.


That is the word that God has laid in my heart. Are you a true disciple? Are you a true worshipper of God? If you are a true worshipper, then it is because your worship has been in Spirit; and not been defined by location and times. Your worship has been in truth. You have been conscious that God is in you and you have been serving Him. You have been carrying God everywhere and you have been keeping your body clean. Why? Because God is in you. That is the word the Lord wants us to keep. Every time you remember the Sabbath just remember that God is conscious about how you live your life, that your body must be clean, your life must be clean, and that God’s Spirit dwell in it. And as God dwells in you, God reigns on the earth through you and from you. So, out of your belly shall flow rivers of living water. When the rivers of living waters flow out of your belly, it flows into the nations. That is how God has ordained it.


Therefore, you and I must keep our members clean. We must clean our vessels clean and be sanctified unto God. We must not be telling ourselves on Monday, I will be clean, or on Sundays, I will be clean, No. You must be clean every day; you must be clean every time. Don’t defile the temple of God so that God will not destroy you, God will not destroy your works, in the name Jesus.


I believe it is a good time to pray!

Thanks for the gift of your time, I am Gboyega ADEDEJI!

Feel free to share your thoughts or testimony in the comment box below. I promise to respond to them as soon as possible!

Word of Confession: (Optional)

Lord Jesus, I confess to you that I have sinned against the LORD God - in the rebellion of my heart, I have disappointed your expectations on my life. I have fallen from Your grace and followed wrong influences around me. Today, I retrace my steps back to you - and I ask that in your mercy you accept me as your son and give to me (again) the promise of the Father - the Holy Spirit. Lord Jesus, please, come and make my heart your home, and from there rule in the affairs of all men. In Jesus Name I have prayed.


Rediscovering Disciples True Worshiper Worship Spirit and TruthSeptember2021

The call of discipleship is a call to live a life beyond reading and searching the letters of the Scripture, to knowing and becoming one with whom the letters of Scripture testifies about.

Published: Apeh Francis Abah | Monday 28th February 2022

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The call of discipleship is a call to live a
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