Last week, we began to look at what it means to be a disciple, based upon the words of Jesus in Luke 14. This week, however, I want to concentrate on this verse from John’s Gospel: “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed” (John 8:31).
A Primary Characteristic of a Disciple
Disciples have many characteristics, but I want to focus on one. The disciple of Jesus takes God’s Word seriously—His Word is absolute and final.
Let’s be clear about this. You cannot be a true follower of Jesus and at the same time reject the Bible’s teaching. Now, why do I say that? Because there are people today who think that you can. I have talked to people who say they are Christians and believe in Jesus. They just don’t like what the Bible says about Him. But the reality is, there is no Jesus outside of what the Bible says about Him.
As disciples, we don’t get to pick and choose what passages we like in the Bible. We can’t come to a particular passage and reject it simply because it’s hard. Instead, true followers of Jesus are devoted to God’s Word, submit to it, and recognize its authority.
Frankly, there are passages in the Bible that I wish weren’t there. I don’t like this stuff about hell; it’s not a pleasant thought. But it’s a reality. Just because it grates against my human nature doesn’t mean that I can dismiss it. As a disciple, I must take it to heart and pray, “Lord, even though my nature chafes at this heavy truth, I submit to it; I accept it. It’s Your Word.”
Saturated in God’s Word
How does this devotion work itself out practically? Through the diligent study of and meditation on God’s Word. A person who claims to be a Christian but has no place for the Bible in their daily living is not a disciple. We see a picture of a disciple in Psalm 1—he delights in the Lord’s law and meditates on it day and night. Disciples seek to know God better, ask to hear His voice, and long for Him to change their hearts through His Word.
Finally, disciples are doers of the Word. If we’re just hearing it, but not doing it, James 1:22 says we’re deceiving ourselves. Disciples saturate their lives with God’s Word, submitting to it, obeying it, following it, and living according to it.
So that’s a primary characteristic of a disciple. Next week, we will look at the marks and rewards of being a disciple.