Text John 8:31
1. What does it really mean to follow Jesus?
a. Somehow in the latter part of the twentieth century people have lost sight of what it means to follow Jesus.
b. Discipleship is linked to external observance of religion rather than a relational experience with Jesus Christ.
2. During the life and ministry of Jesus Christ many people sought to follow the Lord. "As he spake these words, many believed on him." John 8:30.
B. A TRUE DISCIPLE HAS CONTINUANCE.
1. Jesus realized that some people made an impulsive decision to follow Him.
c. He knew that many would decide not to follow Him. "After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him." John 6:66, RSV.
2. Jesus pointed out that perseverance would be the sign of a true disciple.
a. "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed." John 8:31.
b. Discipleship is not the excitement of one moment. It is a patient continuance in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.
c. Illustration. Ignace Jan Paderewski started playing the piano at the age of three. He developed slowly, but he was determined to become a master of the piano. He practiced six hours almost every day of his life. By discipline and determination he reached his goal.
3. To a crowd of potential followers Jesus gave a sure sign of a disciple.
a. A disciple is one who follows Jesus continuously.
b.The genuine evidence is in the sustained effort.
C. A TRUE DISCIPLE HAS FREEDOM.
1. Jesus taught of a freedom which led to bondage.
a. "Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin." John 8:34.
b. To a group of potential disciples Jesus taught how sin leads to bondage.
2. Jesus spoke of a bondage which leads to freedom.
a. A true disciple is one who has renounced his way to the way of Christ.
b. This kind of bondage to the Lord leads to authentic freedom. Jesus said, "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." John 8:36.
D. A TRUE DISCIPLE HAS CHRISTLIKE BEHAVIOR.
1. The Jews made claims to be Abraham's children.
a. By physical lineage this was true. However, Jesus taught that a true disciple was not one of mere physical descent,
b. The Jews claimed to be disciples on pedigree and name. John 8:40.
2. God's children behave like His children.
E. A TRUE DISCIPLE HONORS CHRIST.
1. Many claimed to be disciples of Jesus, but they did not honor Him. Jesus said,
a. "I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me." John 8:49. The people dishonored Christ by saying that He was possessed with a demon,
b. Also, they called Him a Samaritan.
2. True disciples honor Christ.
Are you a true disciple of Jesus Christ?
1. The proof is not in mere externals. It is in continuance, freedom, the way one lives, and honoring Christ.