Thursday, January 5, 2012

Discipleship's need for the scriptures

John 6:66-68 66As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. 67So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” 68Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.

Thus far in our study on discipleship, we have defined discipleship as the process whereby a person by grace through faith trusts in Christ in order to become more like the Master through the pattern of self-denial.  We have explored the following key principles:
1. Discipleship begins with the Call of Christ
2. Cross bearing through self-denial
3. Christ must be prized above any counted cost, if the disciple is to genuinely follow Him. 

Discipleship's effectiveness is not only measured by how well one begins (which we could say classifies the first three lessons in this blog series), but moreso by how well one continues on in Christ.  In today's blog, we want to understand the purpose of the scriptures in the disciple's spiritual growth.

1. Scripture is that which is written, communicating Christ's mind
Notice what Peter says to Jesus in John 6:68 "You have the words".  When we call the Bible "scripture", that word "scripture" comes from the Latin "scriptura" meaning "that which is written".  Perhaps you have heard of a "script".  In this sense then the Bible is Christ's script for your life.  Furthermore, if I want to get the mind of the Master into my own, I consult the scriptures.  The Apostle Paul writes about the scriptures in 1 Corinthians 2:16 "For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ."

2. Scripture's inherent property as a life-giving document communicates spiritual growth
As we once again notice Peter's response to Jesus in John 6:68, he states that Jesus has "the words of eternal life".  What is it about the Bible that makes it unique in being the Disciple's sustaining source for committment in discipleship?  We know from other scriptures that the scriptures are the sole means through which the converting power of God is communicated into the human heart. (Psalm 19:7; James 1:18)  Unless the word of God is present, read or communicated to the hearing ear, no one can become a disciple. (Romans 10:9-15). 

As true as the scriptures are used by the Lord to convert the soul, they are also used by the Lord to sustain the soul following conversion.  In the context of John 6, Jesus had performed his greatest mass miracle - the feeding of the 5,000.  Yet whenever the crowd saw that they were no longer going to be getting free handouts, they left in droves.  Yet Peter, a true disciple, knew the truth that "man shall live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God". (Mt 4:4) Were it not for the Bible, the disciple could not sustain the high call and cost that is discipleship.  It is a fool's errand to think that one can live the Christian walk apart from daily exposure to the word of God. (Psalm 1; 19:8-13)

3. The scripture as the written word points us to Christ, our Rabbi, the Living Word
The word "word" comes from the word "logos", from whence we get our word "logic" and "logical".  When we say the word "word", we are referring to how the Bible communicates God's logic, provides order and faithfully communicates His voice into our hearts.  Christ too is also called "The Word".  As the "Living Word", He does as The Living Person what the Bible does as the living document - He communicates God's logic, provides order to our world and communicates the very presence of God - since He is God.  (John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16-17)

4. Your attitude toward the Bible reveals your attitude toward Jesus
Jesus Himself recognizes the relationship between Himself and the scriptures, since they are the words which points the believing disciple to Him. (John 5:39; Luke 24:44)  Thus our attitude toward the Master will be directly related to what our attitude is towards the Bible.  The two in terms of their relationship are inseperable.  You cannot think of Christ apart from the Bible.  He as the author of life is spoken of by the the Author of the scriptures, the Holy Spirit.  This is why Peter says to Jesus in the same context of John 6: "To Whom shall we go, for you have the words of Eternal Life".

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