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Key Text: John 15:1-11
And He who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” As He was saying these things, many believed in Him. So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in Him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32
The disciples of Jesus were those and are those who believe in Him.
The word ‘belief’ is used 134 times in the gospels of which John’s gospel uses the word 99 times.
To believe is the first pre-requisite of being a disciple. To believe we have to know and the word of God gives us faith to know.
It is God the creator’s instruction manual, that shows us the way to live life to the full and be the best version of ourselvelves. We should therefore consider it, examine it, study it, meditateon it, fill our hearts and minds with it, so that it might accomplish the purposes of God in our lives, for which it was sent.
In John 8:32-32 Jesus states three things that identify us as disciples;
- Abiding in His word
- Knowing The truth
- Being set Free
A disciple abides in the word 31 if you abide in my word… to abide in God’s word means to live there. How do we move from site seeing to abiding in the word?
1.Be A Continuous Learner
‘Disciple’ means ‘learner’. We will never know everything and therefore, life is a continual learning experience. When we stop learning we stop growing and we stop living. The Spirit of God is our teacher in the learning process.
The Gk word we translate as ‘abide’ means to remain, to stand, to endure. It carries with it the idea of an ongoing thing, not just abiding but continually abiding and learning. The word is our spiritual nourishment.
2.Let The Word Permeate Us (Spread through & be present in every part of Life)
When we read, the word of God goes through us. ‘I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.’Psalm 119:11 God wants His words to permeate our lives. It is the basis of our discipleship. The Jews were constantly repeating the words of the Shema:
Hear O Israel the Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Deuteronomy 6:6
We need to let God’s word go deep into our hearts. God loves us and we should learn to love Him.
John 14:21 Who ever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father and I will love him and show myself to him.
We are not only to read the word of God but we are to let it act and take effect in our lives to change us.
3.Obey the Word
How do we get saved? We believe and this is not just saying I believe it is active.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Matthew 7:21
In Matthew 7 Jesus tells one of His better known parables. Two houses one built on rock the other built on sand.
Note: both had a foundation but it is the substance of what they built on. v.24 This man hears the word and acts on it and in v.26 This man hears the word but does not act on it.
Hearing the word alone is not the answer. Both kinds of men heard the word. The man with the firm foundation is the man who acts upon the word.
4.Know the Word
John 8:32 …and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Abiding in God’s word brings us to a knowledge of the truth.
There are two types of ‘knowledge’ mental knowledge and experiential. God does not want us to be ignorant he wants us to know. How then can we know God’s word?
James 1:21-22 affords us some help in our understanding, it says: Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
(Msg paraphrase) Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.
It’s saying get rid of (Filthiness) rubbish, excrement, nastiness and decay. It conveys the idea of a build up of wax in the ear. The wax makes us hard of hearing. We become insensitive to God’s voice. Get rid of the wax so that we can hear. But there is an urgency about it the way a man would strip off his burning clothes to save himself.
A man in that situation would literally tear off his clothing as though his life depended on it.
And this is the exact sentiment found in James, to discard sin, as though it were a burning garment because our spiritual life depends on it.
5.Receive the Word
We don’t have a choice whether or not to receive God’s word. We are to humbly accept what comes.
God gives what is good for us. He gives us what we need and the Holy Spirit applies it. We often hear something from the platform or read it in a book and think that it is good for someone else but not for us.
We should always apply the word we hear to our own lives first. If God wants some other person to hear it He’ll speak it to them.
6.Act on The Word
‘…be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
The one who is faithful in this will not be deceived and will be blessed in what they do.…the truth will set you free.” One of the greatest blessings of the word of God is that it sets us free, it brings freedom from sin.
Freedom from impurity, Freedom from darkness. Freedom from discouragement, Freedom from hatred, Freedom from doubt, Freedom form hopelessness, Freedom from death
If you are discouraged and you are not where you know you should be, then begin to be a disciple of Jesus If you are bowed down and bound up, begin to be a disciple. You’ll be released from the bondage that has disabled, disempowered and hindered you all your life. You’ll be free from fear, anxiety and failure.
Fear holds us in the reality of our adverse circumstances and anxiety kills any desire to move beyond them. But Jesus the word of life, has come to set us free.
Isaiah 55:10-11 For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty but it shall accomplish that which I purpose and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.