Summary: It is not possible for us to be faithful disciples of Jesus who make disciples with the Bible playing a proper role in our lives. The lordship of Jesus is exercised when we carefully follow the teachings of the Bible, and we can't follow what we don't know.
A. One day many years ago, a boy walked down the beach, and as he did, he spotted a woman sitting under a beach umbrella.
1. The boy walked up to her and asked, “Are you a Christian?” “Yes,” she replied.
2. Then the boy asked, “Do you read your Bible every day?” She nodded her head, “Yes.”
3. “Do you pray often?” the boy asked next, and again she answered, “Yes.”
4. Liking those answers, he asked his final question: “Will you hold my quarter while I go swimming?”
5. That boy concluded that if a Christian reads their Bible every day and prays often, then they can be trusted, and I think he’s right.
6. Disciples of Jesus who are committed to prayer and Scripture should be trustworthy and good.
B. Today, as we continue our series on discipleship, I want us to continue exploring some essentials for disciples of Jesus.
1. In the last two sermons, we have concluded that it is essential for disciples of Jesus to be characterized by love, and for disciples of Jesus to be devoted to Jesus.
2. It is easy to see why those are two essentials for disciples, right?
a. Loving God and loving others are the most important commands of the Bible.
b. And Jesus is our everything – He is God in the flesh, our Messiah, Savior and Lord – His Gospel is the good news of salvation for everyone by God’s grace through faith.
3. Today, I want us to focus on why the Bible is the essential guide for disciples of Jesus.
C. Over the years, I have heard people say that the Bible is God’s “love letter” to us, and I like to think of the Bible that way.
1. All of us love to get personal mail, and yet because of the changes in technology, we get less and less handwritten letters and cards that used to be common place.
2. As a matter of fact, there was a day when people had pen pals, and even courtships took place completely through the mail.
3. Through the Bible, God’s “love letter” to us, we come to know God and develop a relationship with Him.
D. The practice of studying, reading and meditating on God’s Word is fundamental to what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.
1. A disciple will not know who God is or what God wants without knowing God’s Word.
2. God created the Bible as His inspired and authoritative Word, and knowing, trusting in, and obeying God’s Word is the primary means we develop and maintain a relationship with God.
E. Last week, we focused on the importance of Jesus in the life of a disciple, and the Bible clearly unveils the identity and greatness of Jesus.
1. Every book of the Bible points to the grand story of God carried out in the person of Jesus, and that’s why the Bible is the key source for making and maturing disciples of Jesus.
2. In discipleship, we commit ourselves to learning how to live as Jesus would live if He were in our place – do you remember the WWJD movement? – what would Jesus do?
3. A common mistake is to think of discipleship as mastering the content of the Bible – which equates discipleship with education.
4. While learning facts and content is important and helpful, it is not the goal – the goal of discipleship is to know Jesus and follow Him, putting into practice His teachings and will in our everyday lives.
F. Some people mistakenly think that the Bible is optional for Christians.
1. They might be intimidated by the idea of reading, studying and memorizing Scripture, and so they try to distance themselves from those spiritual disciplines.
2. But it is not possible for us to be faithful disciples who make disciples without the Bible playing a proper role in our lives.
3. Discipleship requires a commitment to learning about Jesus and His ways and His teachings.
4. The lordship if Jesus is exercised when we carefully follow the teachings of the Bible, and we can’t follow what we don’t know.
G. In 2 Corinthians 10:5, the apostle Paul described a key aspect of discipleship when he wrote about “taking our thoughts captive in obedience to Christ.”
1. If obedience to Jesus is our goal, then it will require a certain way of thinking – a way of thinking that is in line with God’s thoughts and commands.
2. In Romans 12:2, Paul said it this way: Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.
3. Paul says that our transformation is grounded in the “renewing of our minds” and that renewing takes place as we allow God’s Word to shape our thinking.