DISCIPLESHIP

Pastor James J. Barker

Text: LUKE 6:40; JOHN 8:31-36




INTRODUCTION:


  1. The term "disciple" is used repeatedly throughout the four Gospels to describe the relationship between Christ and His followers.
  2. As Christians we are to be busy making disciples. Getting people saved is the first step. Some churches are very good at getting people saved, but not very good at making disciples.
  3. Consequently they often have a revolving door ministry. Or their churches are filled with weak and carnal believers.
  4. Before He ascended into heaven, our Lord gave the Great Commission to the church. "Go ye therefore, and teach ("make disciples") all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 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" (Matthew 28:19, 20).
  5. The word "disciple" is also found often in the book of Acts. Acts 11:26 says, "And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch."
  6. So before they were called Christians, our Lord's followers were known as "disciples."
  7. The Lord Jesus Christ is our Master teacher, and we are His disciples.
  8. Discipleship is a lifelong process. Conversion is instantaneous, but discipleship and service are lifelong. Our Lord said, "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed."
  9. The key word is "continue." The Bible says Christ has reconciled us and will present us holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight, if we "continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel" (Col. 1:21-23).
  10. A true disciple will continue in the faith. "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed" (John 8:31).

  1. CONTINUANCE IN THE WORD OF GOD
  2. OBEDIENCE TO THE WORD OF GOD
  3. DELIVERANCE BY THE WORD OF GOD

 

I. CONTINUANCE IN THE WORD OF GOD (JOHN 8:31)

  1. To continue in the Word of God means to be guided by the Word of God.
  2. Psalm 119:105 says, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."
  3. Psalm 119:130 says, "The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple."
  4. Joshua 1:8 says, "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success."
  5. Second Peter 3:18 says, "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."
  6. To grow in grace implies there already is new life because dead things do not grow. The Christian life cannot be static. You are either growing or you are backsliding.
  7. To grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, one must read the Bible, and be faithful in attending church services where the Bible is preached.
  8. Second Peter 1:2 says, "Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord." This "knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord" comes from studying God's Word (cf. II Peter 1:3, 5, 6, 8; 3:18).
  9. When we consider the importance of discipleship, remember there is potential for abundant spiritual growth. Second Peter 1:8 says, "For if these things be in you, and abound..."
  10. The present verb tense "abound" implies a continuing process -- increasing, growing, and abounding.
  11. On the other hand, lack of growth is a sign of inner deterioration -- "barren" and "unfruitful" (II Peter 1:8). "Unfruitful" pictures a tree that is without fruit.
  12. John the Baptist said, "And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire" (Matthew 3:10).
  13. Our Lord Himself said the very same thing in Matthew 7:19, "Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire."
  14. Let us consider the apostle Paul as the ideal disciple.  Right after he was saved, he was baptized (Acts 9:18).  Then he got busy serving the Lord.
  15. Paul spent three years preparing for the ministry in Damascus and Arabia (Galatians 1:17, 18).
  16. Paul referred to his conversion as a "pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting" (I Timothy 1:16).
  17. Charles Haddon Spurgeon said Paul "was a model convert, and is to be regarded, as a type and pattern of God’s grace in other believers."
  18. A true disciple must continue, and will be fruitful.  "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed" (John 8:31).

 

II. OBEDIENCE TO THE WORD OF GOD

  1. Continuing in the Word of God certainly implies obedience to the Word of God, but sadly some Christians are inconsistent when it comes to obeying the Word of God.
  2. Some people pick and choose what parts of the Bible they will obey, and what parts they will ignore.
  3. Our Lord said in John 8:32, "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." The Word of God is the Word of truth.
  4. Second Timothy 2:15 says, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
  5. "Rightly dividing" literally means to "cut straight." Perhaps Paul was thinking of his skill as a tentmaker. "Rightly dividing the word of truth."
  6. In John 17, our Lord prayed to God the Father, and He said, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth" (John 17:17).
  7. Our Lord said to Pontius Pilate, "Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice" (John 18:37).
  8. Then Pilate said, "What is truth?" (John 18:38).
  9. Pilate was standing in front of Truth. Our Lord said in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
  10. There are two similar passages of Scripture that should be carefully studied together. Ephesians 5:18, 19 says, "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit. Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord."
  11. Colossians 3:16 says, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord."
  12. There is a marked similarity between the result of letting the Word of Christ dwell in us richly and being filled with the Holy Spirit. When one is truly filled with the Holy Spirit he will likewise be filled with the Word of God, and visa versa.

 

III. DELIVERANCE BY THE WORD OF GOD

  1. Our Lord said in John 8:32, "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
  2. Sinners are enslaved to sin. They are in bondage to sin (John 8:34; cf. Romans 6:20-23).
  3. Sinners are enslaved to drugs, to alcohol, to pornography, to gambling, and many other wicked sins that are dragging them down to hell.
  4. The most degrading bondage is homosexuality. I was driving in my car a few weeks ago and I heard a fascinating radio interview. The man being interviewed was a preacher named Stephen Bennett, who used to be a homosexual. Like most homosexuals, he was molested as a child (at the age of eleven).
  5. He became enslaved to the wicked sin of homosexuality in college. He dropped out of college and became a drug addict and a drunkard. He was living with another homosexual, and they attended the Roman Catholic church regularly.
  6. One day his doorbell rang, and it was an old childhood friend, a woman named Kathy, who he had not seen in a long time. Kathy held a Bible in her hand and asked if she could come in and talk with him. She told him she had gotten saved.
  7. She told him how Jesus Christ changed her life and showed him from the Bible that homosexuality was wrong — that it was a sin and an abomination in God's eyes — how according to the Bible, he was not "born homosexual"—and that Jesus could indeed change his heart, his life, and set him completely free.
  8. Stephen Bennett listened intently as she spoke with such authority and conviction, and something inside of him told him she was right. After almost an hour of listening to her and debating with her, she asked him if he wanted to pray with her and ask Jesus Christ to save him.
  9. He said no, but he told her he would take the Bible she offered him. Then she left. He was under conviction for over a year. He eventually did get saved and was completely delivered from the filthy bondage of homosexuality.
  10. Today he is a preacher, happily married with two children.
  11. Salvation means deliverance from the penalty of sin, and the bondage of sin!

 

CONCLUSION:


  1. D.L. Moody used to tell an old story about a Christian who was brought before a king who wanted him to recant and give up his faith in Christ.
  2. In the second century they brought this Christian before a king who wanted him to recant and give up Christ and Christianity, but the man spurned the proposition. But the king said: "If you don't do it, I will banish you.''
  3. The man smiled and answered, ''You can't banish me from Christ, for He says He will never leave me nor forsake me.''
  4. The king got angry, and said: ''Well, I will confiscate your property and take it all from you."
  5. And the man replied: ''My treasures are laid up in heaven; you cannot get them.''
  6. The king became still more angry, and said: ''I will kill you.''
  7. ''Why,'' the man answered, ''I have been dead for forty years; I have been dead with Christ, dead to the world, and my life is hid with Christ in God, and you cannot touch it.''
  8. The king gave up, and said, ''What can you do with such a fanatic?"


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