Summary: Message 18 from John's gospel exploring chapter 8:31-59 where Jesus identifies the characteristics of the true disciple.
Pastor David Welch
“Badge and benefits of a bona fide believer”
Chapter 8 of John focuses on Jesus as the light of the world and the only way out of darkness. We were encouraged to revive the light, reflect the light, and reveal the light.
Today we finish chapter 8 where Jesus continues His bold temple teaching claiming Himself to be the light of the world, the source of truth that sets the captives free. We learned in verse 30 that as He spoke about Himself as the light and the witness of His heavenly Father and that apart from belief in Him these people would die in their sins, that many came to believe. Only genuine belief results in true freedom and adoption into the family of God.
We live in an age of easily believism. Becoming a Christian is as easy as joining a new multilevel marketing company. They require minimal commitment to receive the benefits of discounted product. Many sign up for the benefits of the product but have no intention of being an ambassador. You just do only want you want and leave the rest to someone else. You only have to invest what little time you want and hope to become elevated by others who will invest the time for you. No life change required. Too often, people market Christianity in the same manner; offering minimal risk with maximum return. Just add Jesus to all the rest. Come to Jesus and let him fill you life and make you whole on your own terms. Early Christianity flourished because it called for radical commitment. They turned to God from idols. Today no turning required.
Many will be surprised when they stand face to face with Jesus. Matt 7:21-23
For that reason Paul calls us to test ourselves to see if we be in the faith.
Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you-- unless indeed you fail the test? 2 Cor. 13:5
Today’s passage provides a test of genuine belief as well as an encouragement to bona fide believers Jesus offered a test of true discipleship to those who had believed in Him because of his teaching. This crowd quickly degenerates from a leaning to believe him to an eagerness to bombard him with boulders. They degenerate from distrusting his teaching to questioning his very character.
Passage John 8:31-59
Jesus points to one particular characteristic here that sets a true disciple apart from those who only want to go along for the ride.
The badge of a bona fide believer
“If you abide in My word, you are truly disciples of Mine”
Only those who abide in the Word of Christ are truly disciples. The core disciples heartily affirmed their conviction that Jesus alone had the words of eternal life (John 6:68).
What does it mean to abide in His Word?
The word abide has a broad range of meaning.
a verb; to stay (in a given place, state, relation or expectancy) :- abide, continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand, tarry or wait (for)
It is used in an everyday sense of staying at a place. “Stay home until noon!”
It is used to indicate constancy in a particular state of being. “Remain unmarried.”
It is used in reference to living in a city or town. “I live in Bremerton, Washington”
The weight of the word points to someone who continues, remains or stays in close association with a place or person or state of being. In this passage Jesus points to those who commit themselves to and have a heart and passion for learning and obeying the word of God. The badge of genuine belief is a commitment to remain associated with the words of Christ that is equal to a relationship with Christ himself.
To call yourself a follower of Christ when you don’t have a passion to learn or do what he taught is hypocrisy. This principle goes back to Jesus teaching Martha the only needful thing in life is to get in a place to learn from Jesus. Jesus commissioned his disciples to make disciples by baptizing and teaching them to obey Christ’s words.
Abiding in the words of Jesus calls us to structure our life according to the principles and truths taught by Jesus so as to maintain a vital relationship with Jesus himself.
What might abiding in the words of Jesus look like?
Listening and talking to Jesus – study and prayer
Abiding in the word requires more than a couple hours each Sunday.
We need daily exposure to the truths taught by Jesus.
We need to take advantage of good books, good teaching.
How much time do we spend searching Scriptures as opposed to surfing the web or switching the TV channels? Do you have any learning goals related to your knowledge of spiritual things?