Lesson 10 Discipleship: Living in the Word
Key Scriptures: John 8:31-32, John 15:1-8, Romans 6:6-7, 2 Timothy 3:14-17, 2 Timothy 2:15 and Colossians 3:15-17
Additional scriptures: John 1:1-5, John 5: 24, John 5: 37-40, Heb 1:1-2, Heb 4: 12-13, and 1 Peter 1:23-25
A great truth in life is that what gains our deepest appreciation is that which is achieved through the greatest effort. In our walk as disciples, the greatest effort is not ours but Christ’s. He gave the ultimate, His life for ours. Our effort results from the fact that we appreciate and value what he did for us. We study the Scriptures because we care about the One who gave His all and about what His Word has to say to us. Our goal should be to reflect His life through our lives. As disciples, one way to develop a Christ-like life is to dwell in His Words, meditate on His Words, write them on our hearts, and be recreated by His Words daily. To know Him and His truth takes a great effort, which means we must take the time to live in His Word daily. In this lesson, we will study the relationship between discipleship and God’s Holy Word.
Special Note for the teachers: We can interpret “word’ in many ways through our study of the Bible. For example, some scholars may restrict “word” to imply only the Old Testament scriptures. However, as Christian disciples, we must use “word” with a less restrictive interpretation. Using Heb.1: 1-2, we see that God once spoke through the prophets, but now He speaks through his Son. John 1:1 shows us that Christ is the Word and through him all things were created. In Heb. 4: 12-13, God’s Word is living and active. Jesus is that Word! Thus, the following questions should be considered with a view of the Word being Jesus rather than the written text the Old Testament.
1. In John 8:31-32, Jesus states that discipleship is defined by holding to His
teaching. What are the implications of His statement?
Our faith in Jesus Christ is given strength by the Holy Spirit and by prayer. These verses show us that the words of Jesus can also strengthen our faith. Here Jesus defines a disciple as one who holds to his teachings. We must remember that John begins his gospel with the thought that the Word was in the beginning and the Word is Jesus Christ the Son of God. We cannot separate the written, spoken, or living Word! Jesus is the Word and a his disciples must cherish the Him by living in and obeying the Word.
2. Does John 8:31-32 apply to us today?
In my opinion, the answer is yes. Although the context of John 8 describes Jesus answering a series of questions from a group of Pharisees, we must understand that we are reading Jesus’ own description of a disciple. Thus, any one who follows him must show that they are in him by being in his “words” and living by them. We may be uncomfortable with this statement because it seems to be a judgment call. Yet, in the words of Marshall Keble, “we are fruit inspectors” because we should be able to recognize a disciple as they live in the word. The Word produces fruit in our lives. How can we be his disciples without being in his word?
3. What kind of freedom is Jesus referring to in John 8:31-32? See Romans
The Truth refers to the fact that Jesus died for our sins. He is the perfect sacrifice and the High Priest. His sacrifice allows us to be free from the deadly grasp of sin. Our freedom exists in Jesus and there is “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). The world defines freedom as “doing what feels good”, which is a life controlled by selfish desires, the sinful nature and there is no freedom in such a life, only eternal death and separation from God. Christians must grasp the fact that we are freed by the greatest Truth ever spoken (Heb. 1:1-2).
4. In John 15:1-8, how did Jesus relate being fruitful disciples, remaining in
Him, and His Words remaining in us? Why is this significant?
Jesus says we are “clean” by his word. Literally, Christ as the Word, cleans us by his sacrificial blood. As disciples, we are directly connected to him and have our lives through this connection. Because of this life and connection, we must produce fruit, which is a natural process of a living in Jesus. The point is that Jesus expects some concrete indications that we are living in his word. This is not a “works only” concept. Our belief in Christ is not head knowledge, it must be tangible by the lives that we lead. This ties back into our first lessons on “being transformed”. Jesus expects no less.
5. According to Paul in 2 Timothy 3:14-17, what are the purposes of Scripture?
Why does he call the Scriptures “holy” and “God-breathed”?
The Word of God makes us wise and supports our faith in Jesus. God’s Word teaches us and trains us in the ways of righteousness. His Word is the material for our transformation into the likeness of Jesus! His truth equips us to reflect His love and be fruit-bearing disciples. We must remember that God’s Word provides direction away from sin and into the light of His Son’s Glory.
Using these verses and John 15:7, we should define a disciple as someone who lives in the Word of Jesus and understands that the powerful message of the Bible and Jesus are direct revelations from The Creator of the universe to all people. Too many times, people reject the Bible as “old” philosophy that does not address modern times and problems. Yet, for a disciple, Holy and God-breathed means that we respect, honor, and obey the Word! God’s word is relevant for all times.
6. From 2 Timothy 2:15, why would Paul encourage the young preacher Timothy to “correctly handle the word of truth”? How does Paul’s encouragement to Timothy apply to us today?
If God’s Word is “sharper than any two-edged sword”, one must be very careful how this power is used! Anger and punishment is in the realm of God and not mortal man. Our responsibility is to spread the gospel of Jesus, the Word. We must be ready to show the reason for our hope and faith but not use God’s Word as a blunt instrument to bludgeon those who are misinformed or to use as a platform while we promote some personal agenda. His message contains the only Truth and Hope for a lost world. I believe that Paul’s encouragement to this young preacher should be written on our hearts too!
7. What is the relationship between the peace of Christ, gratitude to God,
and letting the Word of Christ dwell in us? See Colossians 3:15-17.
The Word is Peace because of the Hope, Love, Truth, and Life it brings to each of us. As the world searches for comfort in all realms of evil, it is not satisfied. The Word brings the only true Satisfaction to this restless world. Jesus told the woman at the well that He brought Living water that would quench thirst forever. Nothing of this world can ever do that! If the Word dwells in us, we gain that peace that surpasses all understanding and our gratitude towards God can do no less than grow daily.
A post Note: We need to encourage every disciple to read and study the Word of God. How can we develop into faithful, strong disciples that can defeat Satan and be ready for good work without remaining in His Word? We fool ourselves and buy into the worldview that we are too busy to study or that the Bible is simply a book of rules. We must change our habits and study more!
This Week’s Challenge: Select a book or a specific chapter of one book of the Bible to read during this week. Study the Scriptures and dwell on specific passages during the day.
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