Are We Truly Disciples of Christ?

Text: John 8:31-32

Many people claim to be disciples of Christ. But are they truly His disciples? Are we? When Jesus says, ‘then you are truly disciples of Mine,’ He implies that some are not true disciples. So this question is vitally important: Are we truly disciples of Christ? The context shows us what it means to be His disciples.

The Foundation of Discipleship

  • When Jesus would give the Great Commission, He told His apostles to “make disciples” (Matthew 28:19) – done by preaching, baptizing, and teaching obedience (Mark 16:15-16; Matthew 28:19-20)
  • The foundation of the Great Commission was the authority of Christ (Matthew 28:18) – without this, there is no reason to listen/obey
  • Jesus makes the same point in our original context – rather than specifying authority, He discusses His deity (deity necessarily implies authority)
  • Jesus said believing in His deity was essential for salvation (John 8:24; cf. Exodus 3:14) – this is the foundation, that Jesus was not just a man but God in the flesh (Colossians 2:9)
  • Many people in the religious world believe this – does that make them truly His disciples? … not necessarily – it’s the start, not the end

How to Truly Be a Disciple

  • When Jesus taught on this occasion, many came to believe in Him (John 8:30) – His comments about discipleship were directed to the Jews who had believed Him (John 8:31)
  • True discipleship is conditional – believing in Christ did not automatically make one a disciple
  • Same principle in the idea of salvation by faith alone – doesn’t work that way (James 2:17,19,24,26)
  • Condition for discipleship – continuing in His word (John 8:31); this only makes sense as a disciple is a learner
  • Remember the Great Commission to “make disciples” – the gospel would be taught (Mark 16:15), the gospel would be believed (Mark 16:16); the gospel would be obeyed (Mark 16:16; Matthew 28:19), continued obedience was expected (Matthew 28:20); all of these are about continuing in His word
  • One might believe in Christ, but if he doesn’t hear, believe, and obey the gospel, he is not a disciple

The Blessings of Discipleship

  • Jesus, because of who He is, could simply demand man’s obedience without any positive incentive – but He blesses those who follow Him (Hebrews 11:6)
  • Blessing #1: “You will know the truth” (John 8:32) – a disciple of Christ is following the word that came from above (John 8:26,28); we can know & understand the truth (Ephesians 3:4)
  • Blessing #2: “The truth will make you free” (John 8:32) – free from sin (John 8:33-34); we must not continue in sin (Romans 6:1-7); we must be slaves of righteousness (Romans 6:16-18)
  • Blessing #3: Those who are truly the Lord’s disciples will be saved (implied in Jesus’ statement) – sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2); being freed from sin we can be with God (Ephesians 2:16); salvation is for those who obey Him (Hebrews 5:9); punishment is for those who do not (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9)

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