Berean Break
Feb. 16, 2003 broadcast
Are You a True Disciple of Christ?
by George Sinkie

     Good morning!  And welcome to the Berean Break.  My name is George Sinkie and this program is brought to you by the Lord’s church here in Mitchell, SD.  I want to encourage you to take out your Bible and follow along as you listen to the program today.  The text we will be discussing in a few moments is based out of the book of John – chapter 8:31-32.  As we begin, let’s go to God in prayer,

Great and loving God in heaven.  We come to You now seeking to know Your will for our lives.  We are so thankful that You have given us Your word, which reveals that will for us.  Help us now to open our hearts and our minds to You.  May we be diligent to study Your word and learn from You.  We thank You for Jesus.  And it is in His name we pray, AMEN !!

     As we get into our lesson today – you may remember I mentioned a passage in the book of John 8:31-32 earlier.  Here Jesus said:

   31 Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;
   32 and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

A disciple is a learner.  The Jews who were taught by John the Baptist were called John’s disciples in John 3:25.

   25 There arose therefore a discussion on the part of John’s disciples with a Jew about purification.

The people who believed in Jesus and followed Him were called disciples of Jesus in John 18:1.

   1 When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the ravine of the Kidron, where there was a garden, into which He Himself entered, and His disciples.

The Jews who were clinging to the law of Moses, but refused to believe in Jesus, considered themselves to be Moses’ disciples in John 9:28.

   28 And they reviled him, and said, “You are His disciple, but we are disciples of Moses.”

     Getting back to John 8, notice Jesus said, “
If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine.”  There is a big difference between a “disciple” and a “true disciple.”  The people who learned enough to believe in Jesus were considered His disciples.  But notice the phrase “truly disciples.”  The word “truly” here means in reality, or most certainly.  One may be called a disciple without being that in reality.  Well friends, what exactly does it mean to be truly disciples?  How can I be a true servant, a true learner, a true follower of Jesus Christ?

     First of all, to be truly disciples one must continue in the word of Christ.  Some take the word of Christ lightly.  They are not willing to be bound by the Lord’s teaching.  They are determined to believe what seems good in their own eyes.  They rely more on human wisdom, in their man-made creeds and catechisms, than on the divine word.  They follow Christ’s word only when it happens to coincide with their own preconceptions, notions, and thoughts.  This is contrary to New Testament teaching.  Paul taught in 2 Cor. 10:5

   5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

We are to take out thoughts captive, not follow them wherever they lead.  Whether we respect and continue in the word of Christ or not, it will judge us in the last day.  In John. 12:47-48 Jesus said:

   47 And if anyone hears My sayings, and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.
   48 He who rejects Me, and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.

     To be truly disciples we must love the Lord more than all else.  Many people are unwilling to pay the price required in true discipleship.  They want to be disciples on their own terms, not on the Lord’s terms.  They are unwilling to take a stand for Christ and the truth if it means being criticized and ridiculed by friends, business associates, or relatives.  No one is a true disciple unless he stands ready to part with anything or anyone who may come between him and the Savior.  In Luke 14:26-27 Jesus said:

   26 If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.
    27 Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.

Immediately after these statements, Jesus illustrated how we must be willing to count the cost.  In v. 33 of the same chapter Jesus said:

   33 So therefore, no one of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.

     To be truly disciples we must bear fruit.  Jesus spoke of Himself as the true vine, the Father as the husbandman (vinedresser) and the disciples as branches growing in the vine.  In John 15:1-8 Jesus said:

   1 I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
   2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit.
   3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
   4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
   5 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.
   6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch, and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
   7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.
   8 By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.

To abide in Christ requires that His words abide in us.  If we ignore His words and practice what He has not authorized in religion, we make ourselves unfruitful.  We must keep His commandments in order to abide in His love.  In John. 15:10 Jesus said:

   10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.

     To be truly disciples we must love others who are true disciples. Jesus said in John 13:34-35:

   34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
   35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

The apostle John also wrote in 1 John. 4:20-21:

   20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.
   21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.

Love prompts true disciples to help each other.  True disciples will be willing to go out of their way to help others.  They will look for opportunities to serve & glorify God in this way.  We also demonstrate love for other true disciples when we call sin for what it is – sin!  This is not always pleasant.  Paul strongly rebuked the Christians in Corinth for their sins because he loved them.  A true disciple in Christ will be willing to accept constructive criticism.  He will learn to love the one who came to his aid.  Unfortunately, this spirit has been lost in the modern religious world – as the majority of “religious” people are willing to tolerate deviance so that no one will be offended.  As a result we have many who are “called” disciples of Jesus Christ – but are not truly disciples.

     Friends, the bottom line is that it is not enough to only be called disciples of Christ.  Let us learn to demonstrate before others that we are truly His disciples.  What about you?  Are you a true disciple of Christ?  Are you a part of His church – the church that He died for – the church that He purchased with His blood?  The church of Jesus Christ does exist today – and you can be a part of it!  If you are interested in becoming a Christian – a true disciple of Christ – then give us a call.  God has made it very simple for one to become a Christian.  One must believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  Jesus said in John 8:24 unless you believe that I am He you shall surely die in your sins.  One must repent of his sins. In Luke 13:3 Jesus said unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish.  One must confess that Jesus is the Son of God.  Paul said in Rom. 10:9-10 - that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  One also must be baptized in water for the remission of his sins in order to receive eternal salvation.  In Acts 22:16 Ananias told Saul: ‘And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

     We want to hear from you.  If you have any questions about today’s program, or about how to be come a Christian, please get into contact with us.

      © George Sinkie; used by permission.
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      Unless otherwise noted, “Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), (C) Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977. Used by permission.” or from the “New American Standard Bible. 1986 (electronic edition.) La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.”
      This article’s presentation in Exploring God's Word ©2004 David G. Churchill.
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