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Thursday, May 28, 2020
Baptist Church

Textbook Discipling

Tuesday, August 16, 2016 View Comments Comments (0)


31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”          John 8:31-32

There’s a buzzword out there today and it is ‘discipleship’. Some look at it as a program to add, while others refer to it as a pattern to follow. Many are looking for the latest material you can use but actually the textbook was written a long time ago. Now I am the first to admit that I am always curious how a fellow pastor is implementing this mandate to make disciples amongst their flock, but the simple truth is that Jesus said to be His disciple you need to abide in His Word. In considering what it means to abide in God’s Word consider this; the Bible is the baseline for making disciples who make disciples because the Word needs to get into you just as much as you need to get into the Word.

Jesus said that one of the benefits or results of this abiding in His Word is that we will know the truth and the truth will set us free. Two interesting questions came to mind in reading that. First, what is true freedom? Second, am I free?

I know that there are things that I have no desire to do at all and in that sense I am not free to do them. I’m sure I could muster up the willpower every once and while to do them, but is that freedom? I also know that even if I have the desire to do something, but not the ability, again I am not free to do it. Then again, if I have the desire and the ability, but not the opportunity, the frustrating reality is I am not free to do it. If all the things necessary line up and I have the desire, the ability and opportunity but in the end it destroys me then I am not free indeed.

To be fully free, we must have the desire, the ability, and the opportunity to do what will make us happy forever. No regrets. And only in an abiding relationship with Jesus Christ who died and rose for us, can that be possible.

In considering this abiding that Jesus is speaking of and the resulting freedom, we have to ask, “Freedom to do what?” As a disciple our abiding encounter with the Word of God is not simply to procure doctrinal truth, but rather to possess the freedom to put doctrinal truth into practice. In following Jesus through the gospel of John it is apparent that studying the Word of God and not putting it into practice through devotion will only lead to a pharisaical intellectualism.

However, before you hate on the intellectuals remember that doing something simply out of devotion without know why you do it just leads to moralism. There has to be a balance where studying and abiding in the Word of God has it natural effect and that is right behavior. What we must do as followers of Christ is close the gap between what we know and what we do. If the Scriptures teach us to bridle our tongue a disciple is looking for a tangible way to do that. If the Scriptures teach us to serve one another a disciple is looking for a tangible way to shoulder kingdom responsibilities in their church and community. If the Scripture teaches that we are to make disciples then a disciple is looking for those 3-5 people they can pour their life into in order to teach them what it means to abide in the Word.

We have the textbook for discipling and nothing less than abiding in God’s Word will free you to do what you were created to do. Let’s go make some disciples who make disciples.

david ><({‘>


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