FOLLOWING JESUS – HOLDING TO HIS WORD

A disciple is a learner, always a learner. As we saw in the previous meditation, Jesus defined a true disciple as a person who ‘held to’ his teaching. And what he taught, and what his apostles taught, is objective and absolute: It is true and relevant to all disciples, in all places, at all times. It is the same truth that has to be believed, trusted and obeyed by all disciples. It does not mean one thing for me and another thing for you. It is the same word, the same truth, for all. How it applies might be different, but what it means is constant.

Here is what the New Testament apostles affirmed about the power of God’s word:

It is the only road to faith and salvation (Romans 10:14 - 17).

It is the means of establishing/stabilizing believers in their faith (Romans 16:25, 26).

It is the power of God and the wisdom of God (1Corinthians 1:18-25).

It is the wisdom of God and the mind of Christ (1Corinthians 2:1 – 16).

God has put those who proclaim his word (teachers, pastors, apostles, prophets, evangelists) in his church to bring his church to unity, knowledge, maturity, stability and service (Ephesians 4:9-16).

It teaches us how to live for Christ – the things not to do and the things to do (Ephesians 4:20-24).

It cleanses (Ephesians 5:26).

It protects against the evil one and his schemes (Ephesians 6:9 – 17: all of the ‘armour’ is God’s truth or some aspect of God’s truth).

It is ‘the word of life’ that enables believers to stand firm for Christ in a godless culture (Philippians 2:16).

It is the source of faith and love (Colossians 1:5).

It results in believers becoming mature in Christ (Colossians 1:28).

It is the foundation upon which the whole of our Christian life, stability, growth, maturity and gratitude is grounded (Colossians 2:6, 7).

It produces worship, gratitude and commitment (Colossians 3:16, 17).

It produces faith, joy, service, hope, even in the midst of persecution (1Thessalonians 1:5-10).

It is at work in those who believe (1Thessalonians 2:13).

It enables believers to stand firm (2Thessalonians 2:15).

It makes us wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus (2Timothy 3:15).

It is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, to thoroughly equip us for every good work (2Timothy 3:16,17).

It enables the ‘elder’ to encourage others by sound doctrine and to refute those who oppose it (Titus 1:9).

Its message of the grace of God teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age (Titus 2:12).

It merits the most careful attention (Hebrews 2:2,3).

It is living and active ... it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).

It trains us in righteousness, enabling us to distinguish good from evil (Hebrews 5:13,14).

It produces a life and faith worth imitating (Hebrews 13:7).

It is the source/cause of our regeneration (James 1:18; 1Peter 1:23).

It exposes what we are and shows us where we need to change (James 1:22-25).

Unlike every human, it is permanent, always there (1Peter 1:24,25).

It is the source of growth, and we ought to crave it (1Peter 2:2).

It is a light shining in a dark place (2Peter 1:19).

It makes us aware that we are, even now, sinners who sin (1John 1:8,10).Our response to it demonstrates the integrity or invalidity of our profession of faith (1John 2:3-11; 3:11-15).

It is the one thing that makes us strong and enables us to conquer the evil one (1John 2:14).

It defines and demonstrates for us what the love we are supposed to have for each other actually looks like (1John 3:16; 4:7-12).

As disciples of Jesus we hold to his teaching, we hold to his word. It is this holding to his word that identifies us as his disciples (John 8:31).

© Rosemary Bardsley 2021