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The Disciple and the Word of God

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
September 20, 2023 12:00 am

The Disciple and the Word of God

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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September 20, 2023 12:00 am

It’s easy to feel sometimes that communication with God is a hard thing to do.


Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Wednesday, September 20. Today we continue our series with a look at the essential relationship between the disciple and the Word of God. Stay with us for a lesson from John chapter eight. But all the way through these Gospels, there is one aspect here, one here, one here, one here. And in this dissertation to the Pharisees and the Sadducees in the temple, he speaks to them and describes really in one word the relationship of a true disciple of Jesus Christ to the Word of God, to his word in that day or to us today to the Holy Scriptures.

Now, if I should ask you what you believe about the Bible this morning, more than likely you could tell me. Yet here in this particular verse, in verse 31, he says that a disciple's relationship to the Word of God is this. That is, if you continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed. He says discipleship demands continuing in the Word of God.

Now, what does he mean by continuing? Let me tell you what it does not mean. First of all, it does not mean that a man who's saved can become a disciple if he keeps on believing in the Word of God.

It doesn't mean that. Nor does it mean that a man is a disciple if not only does he believe in it, but he reads it every day. If he reads it and studies it every day, he's a disciple.

Not necessarily. There are people who read the Bible and study the Bible every day who are not disciples at all. No evidence of discipleship in their life. So when he says continuing it, he does not mean simply reading it. But what does he mean? Well, let's look at this word continue for a moment. The word continue in the Greek is mino, which is the same word translated in John chapter 15, aba. Look in John chapter 15 for a moment. Let's look at two or three verses and we'll come back. In John chapter 15 verse 4, as he's describing the relationship now of the branch and the vine of a grapevine, he says in verse 4, Abide, now watch this, abide or continue in me, and I in you, as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself except it abide or continue in the vine, no more can you bear fruit except you continue in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth or continueth in me, and I in him the same bringeth forth much fruit, for without me ye can do nothing. Now, what does he mean when he says abide? He's speaking of drawing from something that which sustains life.

Now watch this. He says continue in me. Now what happens? When you and I are saved, we're like a branch that is simply grafted into the vine and that branch sinks its roots and becomes a vital part of that vine so that the branch is doing what? It is being nurtured and sustained by the life of another, that is the life of the vine.

Now what is he saying here? He's saying if you continue in my word, that is if your life is sustained by a relationship. Now, a plant abides in the ground, it sinks its roots in the ground and it draws up its nourishment and strength, it is sustained by its environment. A fish in the sea, it lives its life off of that which is around it. It is sustained by the life that is around it. He says that the believer who is in Christ is sustained by his relationship of his environment. What is his environment? He says spiritually we have been grafted into the vine.

Our roots have sunk deep into him and we are sustained by that relationship. Now, when he says if ye continue in my word, what is he saying? He's simply saying if a believer, one who is truly a believer, if a believer is sustained from the word of God, in the word of God, living in the word of God, drawing up nourishment from the word of God, resting upon the word of God, as its spiritual environment being nourished by, he says that man is a disciple.

Now, what in the world does he mean by that? Well, turn to Colossians chapter 3 and there's a familiar passage here concerning the word that I want us to notice. In chapter 3, he says in verse 16 of Colossians 3, he says let, keep on, keep on allowing, permitting, letting the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom. He says let the word of God dwell in you richly.

Now watch this. He says, first of all, we are in him, drawing up nourishment from him. He is the source of our life.

You turn that right over and what happens? He says not only are we in him, but his word likewise is in us. And in John chapter 15 verse 7, he says if you are abiding, continuing, that is being sustained and drawing up nourishment from me, and he says likewise the word of God abiding in you, nurturing you, he says then you can ask what you will and it shall be done unto you. The believer's life is a life of resting and continuing in him.

Now, Jesus said, that is if you are continuing, seeking and drawing up strength and nourishment from my word, then are you my disciples indeed. It is not just a matter of reading, it is not just a matter of studying, it is a matter of resting continually, looking to the word and drawing from the word of God the sustenance for our life. Now when I think of what's involved in that, I think there are four things involved in continuing in the word. It isn't just a matter of reading it. I want you to notice what these are.

First of all, and if you'll get these down, they'll all begin with an S so you won't forget them. First of all, for a man to continue in the word of God, first of all, demands a study of the word of God, because you see, there's no way in the world to continue in the word, that is to draw up nourishment from it and to rely upon it and to have it as a source of life and strength to you unless you study it. Now people who just breeze through the word of God once in a while or turn to the scriptures when they're in trouble, or open the Bible once in a while and say, Lord, I'm going to see what you're going to say to me, and they point their finger to a verse, that's not what we're talking about. Remember we said that a disciple is one who's accepted Christ as Savior, yielded to him as Lord, and one through whom the Lord Jesus Christ is reproducing himself in the life of someone else. Now listen, the only way for Jesus to reproduce his life in us and through us in the life of someone else is that he must work in us and through us with what we have. Now watch this, God demands that the disciple, because the word implies learner, that a disciple is one who is continuously learning about the one whom he's serving.

It is one who is learning about him and whose lifestyle is compatible with the one he's learned about. Now the only way in the world for you not to know who God is, to learn who Jesus is, how he responds in circumstances and situations, is to study the word of God. And in order to study the word of God you need several tools.

First of all, you need the Bible. Secondly, you need an inquisitive, sensitive, hungering, thirsting, yearning mind to know what it teaches. And thirdly, you need the ministry of the Holy Spirit to teach you that truth. Now it's amazing to me how many people who've never been to seminary have such great insight into the word of God. Praise God, he didn't limit that to seminary students.

Now I'm not knocking the seminary, I think you need to get all the education you can get as long as it's the right kind. But if a man will go to the word of God, open his heart and tell God I want what you want, any way you want to give it, when you want to send it, the only thing I don't want is disobedience in my life. Lord, I am willing to commit myself to whatever you're willing to teach me.

I believe God will get the gospel truth to that man one way or the other. A disciple is a learner. A disciple has an inquisitive mind. Now watch this, not about simply the facts of scripture, but the principles of the word of God. Listen, quoting verses is not what I'm talking about. Watch this, learning and applying spiritual principles is far, far, far beyond being able to quote verses.

Now, I would never, never, under any condition, be critical of people who are learning the scriptures. The best way to start is memorizing the verses, but remember, it isn't just memorizing them, it is getting them, the principles of those scriptures into your life and making application. A true disciple who is continuing in the word of God will be consistently studying the scriptures to find principles he can apply to his life that'll make a difference. Now you show me a growing Christian, I'll show you one who's in the word.

You show me a growing Christian, and watch this, I'll show you one who's in the word looking for principles that will change his life. A man who's simply studying the scriptures to find out if this is true or if that's true, or if he can quote this, that, or the other, or so he can know the sequence of events, he can miss the whole point. But a true disciple is searching the word of God for the principles of God to make application in his life that he might become more like God.

The study of the word. The second thing I want you to notice, that is, he will be sustained by the word of God. A true disciple is going to be a student of the word looking for the principles in order, secondly, to be sustained by the word. Now listen, the only way to be sustained by it is in the study of it to concentrate, asking God to bring to light from the word of God those scriptures and those truths that you need at that particular time or any time and each time in order to sustain you in a given situation.

For example, there's sickness and discouragement, disillusionment, seemingly no hope of healing and the doctors don't know what to do. Now you can read all kinds of verses on healing and sometimes people do that and they end up saying, well, I read all those verses on healing and I'm still as sick as I was. Now, if you go to the word and say, now Lord, I want you to give me what I need. I'm going to draw from the will of thy word as your disciple and I'm going to trust you when I bring it up, I want you to meet my need. The person who goes to the word as a student of the word to apply principles and one who seeks to be sustained by the word will discover in the word of God that in every given situation he has exactly what you need for the moment to sustain your heart. So when you go to the word, you're not just seeking scriptures and facts, you want sustenance for your life.

Now the third thing, watch this one. A true disciple continuing in the word is not only going to be a student of the word, he's not only going to be sustained by it, but he is going to be submissive to the authority of the word. Now here's where we have our trouble.

The fellow says, yes, I believe the word of God and I want to be sustained by it. Then are you willing to be submissive to its authority? Now, here's the problem today. The problem today is that people want to look to themselves as the authority. Are you willing to do anything up to a given point? Are a group of people willing to do anything up to a given point?

Now watch this. In the life of the disciple, there is never any question as to what is the final authority for his life. Never any question about that. It is not men's opinions. It is not passing philosophies. The only and final authority in the life of the believer is the word of God. Now listen. The reason I emphasize this is because the man who believes only part of it will never accept that as authority. Never. And the man who does not accept that as the authority will never be happy.

Never find peace. Here's what he'll tell you. He'll say, well, I believe most of it and I'm searching. And Paul said there are those who are ever learning and never able to come to the truth. A true disciple is studying the word of God, having accepted it as such. Is being sustained by the word of God and those two things are profitable.

Now watch this. Are profitable because when God does bring a truth into his life that demands change or confession or repentance. He confesses that sin. He repents of that sin. He allows God to change him. And then what does God do? He just carries him deeper and deeper. He sustains him in an ever widening way.

Now you watch. But the man who goes to the word of God and the Lord in his sustaining power, in his directing that life brings up to that dear soul an area of life, a blind spot that needs to be changed. He says, no, not going to handle it. And so he skips chapter 7 verse 34 and goes on to verse 35. Now he may do that in his mind, but you know what God does? God says, all right, that's it.

That's as far as your understanding is going. When a man is studying the word of God and being sustained by it as a disciple, he moves to a point of obedience. And God says, this is what I want you to do. When he says, all right, Lord, I'm willing. And he keeps moving as long as he is able to keep on submitting to God's authority in the word. Each time he brings up something that he's willing to obey, he keeps moving.

But the man who says, nope, not going to do it. So he tries to bypass. He can't get around.

Why? Because he keeps hitting a stone wall. And this is why people can go to church at the age of 12 and are going at the age of 75. And listen, for all practical purposes, when it comes to spiritual truths, they understand no more about the word of God at 65 than they knew at 15, because God stopped them dead in their tracks where they were unwilling to be obedient to reveal truth.

Now listen, do you know how lucky you are, how fortunate, how blessed you are? When you realize that God loves you enough to reveal to you, that is to explain to you, to make simple to you, I mean divine truth, searchless truth, absolutely incomprehensible truths, God is able to make you and me to understand those. I'll tell you, dear brother, to know the truth, to discover the truth by his revelation, his illumination, his inspiration, and then to deny the application of that truth in your life, to refuse to be obedient to the authority of the word of God is sin above sin. How in the world would we ever explain that to God?

Because there is much human knowledge floating around. There is only one source of divine wisdom and knowledge for a man to know the truth, have the truth revealed, and then to be unwilling to submit to the authority of the word of God is sin of the highest caliber. A disciple of the Lord is not only going to be studying the word, sustained by, but he's going to be submissive to the authority. Now in Colossians chapter 3 verse 16, he says, Let the word of God dwell in you richly. Listen, the word dwell means, it was used in the Greek as to describe a person who was at home. That is, let the word of God just be at home in your life, be at home in your dining room, be at home in your living room, be at home in your guest room, be at home upstairs, be at home downstairs, be at home in the basement. That is, the whole house is subject to his wanderings wherever he wants to go. Now the person who says, Oh, I believe the word, but then he puts limitations on it. He says, All right, Jesus, you can go in the kitchen and dine with me. You can go in the living room and sit down and talk.

You can go in the family room, but you can't go upstairs and you sure can't get in the basement. And there are lots of people who say, I'm willing for the word of God to be a part of my life, but only a part of it. A true disciple says that every facet of my life is open.

Every area of my life is to be exposed. Lord sends your word into my life wherever you find anything you don't like, expose it, that I may confess it, repent of it and cleanse my life. Subject to the authority of God's word. Then the last thing I believe is true in the disciples life is this.

A man who's continuing in the word. Well, not only not only will he be a student of it, sustained by it and submissive to its authority, but he's going to share it. How can you imagine what a contradiction in terms that a disciple of Jesus Christ would not share his faith? That's a contradiction in terms because you see, a disciple is one who has been discipled by someone else in order that he may be a discipler of others.

And I want to ask you this morning, is that happening in your life and through your life? Are you a discipler of him? What is your attitude toward the word of God? Whatever it is will determine whether you can be a true disciple of his or not. And we've talked about many aspects of the disciples life.

His love toward others, his detachment from the world, his persecution by the world, the cost of surrendering everything. He says here, if you would be a true disciple, a man must commit himself to continue. That is to search the word and study, to be sustained by it moment by moment, day by day in every situation. That man must be willing to be submissive to its authority, continuing my word, then you my disciples. And that man is going to be sharing the truth of the scriptures. It's one thing to believe about it that will never get you to heaven. To believe in it, to the point that you give your life to him, that's what it takes. But to be a disciple, my friend, means that you go beyond the believing. Continuing in the word, making personal scriptural application in every facet of your life. And my friend, if that is the mark of a disciple, could you say to him this morning, Lord, my relationship to the word of God is that I am committed to its study, its sustaining power, its submissive authority, and sharing it with a world that has yet to discover life at its very best.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-29 19:56:36 / 2023-10-29 20:04:27 / 8

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