Summary: To note that a true disciple of Christ is one who continually lives according to Words of Jesus.
Marks of Discipleship #1:
The Continuance Principle
Text: John 8:31-32
Thesis: To note that a true disciple of Christ is one who continually lives according to
Words of Jesus.
(1) We are to be disciples of Christ.
(a) A disciple is “one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another” (Webster’s).
(b) The apostles were told to go out into the world and “make disciples” (Matt. 28.19-20).
(c) Basically, a disciple is the New Testament equivalent to Christian.
(2) In the gospel according to John, 3 marks of discipleship are given.
(3) Today, we will look at the first one given, which we will call “the continuance principle:”
In order to practice the continuance principle, we must:
I. Receive the word
A. This is where discipleship begins.
1. The hearing of the word brings about faith (Rom. 10.17).
2. It is “the power of God for salvation” (Rom. 1.16).
B. Receiving the Word is the equivalent to receiving the Lord.
1. Jesus is the incarnate Word (John 1.1-5, 14).
2. To reject the Word is to reject the Lord (John 12.48).
II. Mediate upon the word
A. “Continuance is Christ’s Word is not automatic; it is the result of strong purpose and self-discipline” (J. Oswald Sanders, Spiritual Discipleship 28).
1. Therefore, we must “study” and be “a workman” (2 Tim. 2.15).
2. We should read it all of our days while carefully observing what is being said to us (Deut. 17.19).
3. David told us that the man who is blessed is one who mediates on the Law day and night (Psa. 1.2).
4. A simple 4-step study method is (R. J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline 65-66):
B. We must let the Word become a part of us.
1. We are commanded to let the Word “richly dwell within” us (Col. 3.16).
2. This principle goes back to the Old Testament where Moses told the Israelites to write the Law on the gates and door posts and to bind them to their wrists (Deut. 11.18).
3. David stated that he had laid up the Word of God in his heart so that he might not sin (Psa. 119.11).
4. The Word of God is intended to make one complete (2 Tim. 3.17).
5. As one wrote: “To abide in the word of Jesus meant that the disciple must persevere and continue to understand and comprehend His teaching” (M. Jones, Discipling 20).
6. Also, “the disciple studies the scriptures for the purpose of learning the mind of Christ” (J. Jones, Discipleship in God’s Eternal Purpose 51).
III. Live the word
A. James tells us that we must be doers of the Word and not merely hearers (James 1.22).
B. This is the essence of “continue in” (i.e., to make it their rule of life in daily practice) (Sanders 28).
C. At times, the teachings are difficult either to understand or practice (e.g., John 6 – Jesus’ teaching about flesh and blood).
1. When this occurs, many disciples withdraw (John 6.66).
2. However, “a true disciple continued to abide in the Word of Jesus even when it was difficult to understand or difficult to obey” (M. Jones 20).
(1) “Nothing in the realm of human responsibility is so urgent as one’s obligation to know and do the will of God” (R. Shelly, Going on the Maturity 75).
(2) Have you received the word?
(3) Are you continuing in the word?