Message No. 2: The Essentials Of Discipleship
Reading John 8v25-45. Part 1.
Preached By Ken Humphries,
Thomas Huxley said, "It does not take much of a man to be a Christian, but it takes all there is of him." (Luke 14v33 + Rom. 12v1).
You are aware, are you not, that discipleship is the process which God uses to make us like our master? The closer we get to the master, the better attention we pay to him then there is the wonderful possibility we will become like him.
If I am going to know my business well, I must learn well from a good master, teacher. I well remember when I first started in the bakery and confectionery business, an old journeyman said to me on one occasion in reply to my question, how he made the same item so perfectly every time, "I can give you the recipe but I cannot give you the hands!" In other words, I may have all his receipts but unless I watched carefully the master at work I would never be as proficient as he.
So it is for us as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Remember Matthew's words? Matt. 10v25.
"It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master." (Teacher)
Henry Drummond, preacher and author, was once asked to address a meeting of a very select London Club. On arrival he found his audience assembled eagerly awaiting their speaker, arrangements had been meticulously carried through like a well oiled machine, the moment he stepped into the room and onto the platform he was greeted with warm respect and appreciation. To the Lord's and Ladies gathered he began his speech with these words. "The entrance fee into the Kingdom of Heaven is nothing: The annual subscription, however, is everything." A. Naismith 'Notes, Quotes and Anecdotes' No. 301.
Dr. Vance Havner said: "Occasional high days, answers to prayer now and then, temporary blessings, make for uneven and spasmodic Christian living. But to live day in and day out, all kinds of days, in simple dependence on Jesus Christ as the branch of the vine, constantly abiding, that is discipleship." End quote!
There is no such thing as part time discipleship, Luke 9v23.
" And he (Jesus) said to them all, if any will come after me; let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."
Discipleship is a serious business! Let's unpack that thought.
1. A Disciple Is A Learner that Is Receptive! John 8v31.
"Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, if ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed."
Look To The Teacher Of The Learner: John 8v31.
"Continue in my Word."
Here were some that had not known the word setting them free; they were still in bondage to Jewish rites and rituals. So Jesus said to them v32 "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
As we look to the teacher of the learner what do we find? He says to us, get in my Word and continue doing so, there is no other way to become like your master, teacher.
Peter Waldo, the leader of the pious Waldensians, a rich merchant of Lyons, France, sets out three prerequisites for discipleship: Look to Jesus, Listen to Jesus, and Learn of Jesus!
What does the teacher of the learner say? Matt. 11v28 says:
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
A disciple is one who has found rest, release and relief from sin and having come to the Saviour gives great heed to the next two verses. Matt. 11v29-30.
"Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
There is a great need to be yoked to Jesus to find the burden light, the reason may don’t find real enjoyment in the Christian life today is because they are yoked to the wrong things. Our text is saying when you come to Jesus; the next logical step is to come after Jesus. Look to the teacher of the learner, it's as simple as that. Jesus, is the model teacher, He is also the master teacher. You cannot go wrong by following Him. The teacher says "Continue in my Word."
Listen To The Text For The Learner: John 8v31.
"Continue in my Word."
The text for the learner is 'The Word'. This if you like is where the rubber hits the road. It’s the Scriptures the text is speaking of. And while it may seem a daunting task for the young believer to think of getting into the Word of God, that he might understand all the counsel of God, believe me, those Scriptures are shallow enough for babes to swim in without drowning and deep enough for theologians to dive into without ever hitting bottom.
You see, the Word is a Saving Word 1 Peter 1v23.
"Being born again not of corruptible seed, but of the incorruptible, by the word of God; which liveth and abideth forever."
Nobody ever gets saved apart from the Word of God! Rom. 10v17.
"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God."
The Word is a Sanctifying Word John 17v17.
"Sanctify them through thy truth, they Word is truth."
It is impossible for a Christian to grow to maturity if he, she, neglects the Word of God. "Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you." John 15v3. "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his ways; by taking heed thereto according to thy Word." Psalm 119v9. "Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee."
This from Dr. Vance Havner:
Sometimes the aeroplane pilot cannot see and must fly by instrument. The Christian that wishes to be a true disciple must often do the same, and our instrument is the Word of God, it guarantees a safe landing.
A pupil, referring to Deuteronomy 6:6-- "And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be upon thy heart", asked a rabbi a question. "Why is it said this way?" the pupil asked. "Why are we not told to place them in our heart?" The rabbi answered that it is not within man's power to place the divine teachings directly in his heart. "All that we can do is place them on the surface of the heart so that when the heart breaks they will drop in." James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 12.
C. Learn From The Testing Of The Learner: John 8v31.
"Continue in my Word."
Using the same text for all three sub-headings preacher? Yes! Why? Because the test is continuance in His Word. James 2v12 reminds us:
"So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty." (The law of liberty is the word of God)
You see, some even after all these years of reading the Word of God, and hearing the Word of God preached still believe, or at least give the impression, that once we are saved we can coast to heaven in whatever way we please, not so! In John chapter 8 the writer brings us up with a short, sharp stop and shouts out at us, listen! listen!
There Are Conditions To Be Considered: John 8v 24, 36, 46, 51.
There is a belief unto Salvation: v24.
Are you out from under the deathblow of sin? Do you know you are saved?
If you were brought before the courts and charged with being a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict you? 2 Cor. 13v5 Paul puts it like this. "Examine yourselves, whether you are in the faith; prove yourselves."
Is that important? Sure it is. The evidences of your life prove to yourself and the world if you really are in the faith, far too many dear people who profess to know Jesus Christ as Saviour, but their lives do not display that they actually possess His new life within them.
There is a belief unto Liberation: v36.
If you are truly saved then you will continue in His Word and that truth, that Word, will set you free. You will know a spiritual liberation. You will allow the Word to be your strength and shield; you will refuse to become in bondage to legalism. You will be liberated from the ritual and rites of man and be free in the precious Word of God.
There is a belief unto Acceptation: v46.
Is that, dear believer where you are just now? When the Word of Truth is spoken you are ready to do it without question. Is there continually to be found in your attitude towards the Word of Truth a meek acquiescence to abide in, and obey outwardly that True Word of God?
There is a belief unto Determination: v51.
Jesus is saying, if a man determines in his heart to keep my sayings, he can be absolutely certain, spiritual death will not touch him. Why? Because this is the Word of Life, Eternal Life! It's worthy of our obedience. These are the conditions of that eternal life.
This from Dr. Vance Havner:
"Believing God is not religious auto-suggestion. It is not the flesh engaged in positive thinking. It is the disciple, the one in whom Christ lives, taking God at
There Is A Confirmation To Be Considered: v31.
"Then are ye my disciples indeed."
Jesus Himself is saying, fulfilling the conditions confirms that you are my disciples indeed! and remember it's our attitude and actions that make that confirmation. James puts it like this. James 1v25.
"But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed."
Blessing follows the doing! Its quite possible for us as Christians to look into the Word of God in a very casual manner and do absolutely nothing about what we see there. Like the man who takes a quick look in the mirror and sees his hair is tossed, he is in need of a wash and a shave, his clothes are creased and in need of pressing but does nothing about what he has seen, then goes out into the public arena and makes a spectacle of himself.
Blessing follows coming to the Word daily, diligently, devotionally and doctrinally, doing something about what we see and hear.
There Is A Compensation To Be Considered: v31.
"If Ye Continue."
Without doubt, it’s the continuing that seems to beat so many dear people of God. There clearly comes compensation for those who do continue. Listen to Hebrews 5v12-14.
"For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."
This indeed is the test, continuing until we have grown to full age and can use the Word of God with power and authority to the eternal benefit of others.
You may be saying in your heart just now, well, its all right for him, it's not just so easy for me.
Listen to A.W.Tozer and W. E. Sangster.
"A loving Personality dominates the Bible, walking among the trees of the garden and breathing fragrance over every scene. Always a living Person is present, speaking, pleading, loving, working, and manifesting himself whenever and wherever his people have the receptivity necessary to receive the manifestation." End Quote! A. W. Tozer.
"Centuries of experience have tested the Bible. It has passed through critical fires no other volume has suffered, and its spiritual truth has endured the flames and come out without so much as the smell of burning." End Quote! W. E. Sangster.
At the feet of Jesus is the place for me,
There a humble learner would I choose to be.