Summary: Part 2 of a sermon on the name for the people of God, "Disciple." This study discusses three characteristics of true disciples.
“Disciple” (Part 2)
Series: Names for the People of GodA
April 24, 2016
NOTE: A PowerPoint presentation of this sermon is available upon request from me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TEXT: Open Bibles to John 8
Illus. – Did you know that Walt Disney initially had a different name for Mickey Mouse? He originally named him MORTIMER Mouse!
He told his wife about his creation and said the name for the little critter was going to be
“Mortimer Mouse” and she said, “Well, that’s a dumb name!”
So Disney asked her what he should call him and she said, “How about ‘Mickey?’”
The rest is, as they say, history…thank goodness! Can you imagine what it would be like if you went to Disneyland and everything you saw was “Mortimer Mouse!”…or little kids the world over wearing “Mortimer Mouse” T-shirts?…or little boys and girls all across the fruited plain going to sleep with little stuffed Mortimer Mice?
This shows the power of a name. It also shows that it does pay to listen to your wife!
We’re in a mini-series on “Names of the People of God.” In Acts 11:26 we’re told that the name “Christian” was first used in Antioch for disciples.
One theme I’ve tried to get across in this series of sermons is that names are important in the Bible and that we should live up to the meaning of our names. Last week we began looking at the name disciple—God’s true goal of every believer.
We saw that Jesus says in Luke 14 that being His disciple involves three critical tests:
• First, it means loving Jesus supremely (verse 26) – So much so that our love for others seems like hate in comparison.
• Second, Jesus said in verse 27 that being His disciple means being willing to bear the cross of the world’s rejection. The world will mock us if we follow Christ and obey Him supremely. Jesus was saying, “Don’t be surprised by that; that is your cross to bear for Christ.
• Third, Jesus said in verse 33 that to be His disciple means that Jesus becomes the Lord of our possessions. He says a disciple must “forsake” all that he possesses to be His disciple. But the Greek word translated forsaketh literally means “to properly categorize.” Jesus is saying that our possessions and material possession must be in their proper perspective and priority…with Jesus and His kingdom and His kingdom FIRST.
Those are the tests of discipleship, but Jesus had more to say about discipleship. I discovered that He teaches three things that will characterize true disciples.
Let’s look at them:
I. FIRST, TRUE DISCIPLES DWELL IN GOD’S WORD. – John 8:31 – “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.”
Who were these words addressed to?—The verse begins, “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him...” These Jews were believers in Christ as their Savior, but were not yet disciples. These were beginning Christians and Jesus was pointing out to these believers that believing is only crossing the starting line. Jesus wants you to cross the FINISH line. (Hence the racing motif in my slides.)
Jesus continues: “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.” The word “continue” in the original Greek text is ménō (μένω). Of the 120 times it is used in the New Testament, it is translated in the KJV as “abide” 61 times and “dwell” 15 times.” In other words,, about two-thirds of the time, its primary meaning is the idea of “living or dwelling or lodging in something continually.”
A continuous dwelling place is called a “home.” That’s the way Jesus wants us to feel about His Word, the Bible. We’re to make ourselves at home in God’s Word; to spend a lot of time in it.
But this takes work and discipline on our part. J. Oswald Sanders wrote, “Continuance is Christ’s Word is not automatic; it is the result of strong purpose and self-discipline” (Sanders, Spiritual Discipleship).
This is why Paul exhorted Timothy to “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2.15).
And the Psalmist says in Psalm 1:2 that the man who meditates on God’s Law day and night is BLESSED.
May God help you to let God’s Word become a part of you by dwelling in it daily. Part of being a disciple of Jesus is dwelling in His Word and living in it and obeying it. So we need to set aside some time each day to read God’s Word.
But it means more than just reading it: It means listening to what it says; taking its commands and applying them to your life; OBEYING what it says.