John 8:25-32 Then said they unto Him, Who art Thou? And Jesus
said unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning.
26 I have many things to say and to judge of you: but He that sent Me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of Him.
27 They understood not that He spake to them of the Father.
28 Then said Jesus unto them, When you have lifted up the Son of man, then shall you know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father has taught Me, I speak these things.
29 And He that sent Me is with Me: the Father has not left Me alone; for I do always those things that please Him.
30 As He spake these words, many believed on Him.
31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If you continue in My Word, then are you My disciples indeed;
32 And you shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free.
This portion of Scripture finds Jesus ministering in the temple. Verse 30 says, As He spake these words, many believed on Him. Now it doesnít say anything about Jesus handing out membership applications or telling them about their obligation concerning tithes and offerings. There was no organization for them to join. As a matter of fact, the Lord is never interested in building up an organization. He is interested in disciples. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If you continue in My Word, then are you My disciples indeed; and you shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free.Ē
It is obvious that Jesus did not think it was enough for them to believe on Him. They were not yet disciples. Neither did they know the Truth, nor were they free. That would only come if they continued in His Word. Oh, may this truth nail our modern-day thinking of salvation to the cross. We hear the Gospel, accept Jesus as Savior, join a church, and weíre headed for heaven. That kind of thinking destroys discipleship. Itís no wonder that the organized church is so impotent.
There are so few disciples among Christians today. And like the Jews in our text, they do not know the Truth, and they are not free. How did the Gospel of Jesus Christ become so watered-down? How did Christians come to think that accepting Jesus as Savior was all they had to do, and they were on their way to heaven? The clergy is responsible! Half-hearted, lukewarm pastors have produced half-hearted, lukewarm churches. Do you know what the Lord does with lukewarm Christians? He spews them out of His mouth (Revelation 3:16). In other words, they make Him vomit! We donít like to hear words that sharp, but that is exactly what we need. The hearts of many Christians have become so dull that only a sharp two-edged sword can cut through the calluses and make them sensitive again.
Do not misunderstand. We must accept Jesus Christ as Savior. That is the foundation for everything in God. But we must not stop there. We must continue in the Word and become His disciples. Only then will we know the Truth and be made free. And neither is discipleship a stopping point. Everything we have experienced and will experience in the Lord is expandable.
Discipleship is directly linked with the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Becoming a disciple means that we allow Him to be the Lord over our lives. His Lordship prevails. He becomes Lord and King, the Director and Planner of our lives from that moment on.
When He says, If you continue in My Word, then are you My disciples, He is saying that our responsibility does not end with hearing the Word and believing it, but we must continue in the Word until we become disciples. We must continue in the Word until we know Him as Lord through submission to His Lordship.
Jesusí relationship with the Father is the pattern for our relationship with Him. Jesus said, I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father hath taught Me, I speak these things. And He that sent Me is with Me; the Father has not left Me alone; for I do always those things that please Him (verses 28-29).
A disciple learns to bring self under the Lordship of Jesus Christ that He may be glorified. A disciple speaks what the Lord has taught him. He sits at the Masterís feet and learns the Word of the Lord. A disciple knows that his life has a purpose. He has a sense of destiny, a mission to accomplish. A disciple knows that the Lord has not left him alone, for he dwells in the presence of the Lord. A disciple knows his life is pleasing to the Lord, for he has set his heart to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).
We must continue in His Word to become disciples. Obviously, that means something more than just studying the Bible. Many Christians have done that for years and still havenít become disciples. In fact, many of our preachers have gone to seminaries and had extensive training in the Scriptures without becoming disciples. Having a Doctor of Divinity Degree and being able to read Greek and Hebrew hasnít been successful in making disciples either. Jesus Christ is the Word (John 1:1-4). So to continue in the Word is to continue appropriating His life.
Copyright © 1995 by Henry DuBose