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No one greater than Jesus of Nazareth ever lived on earth.
* Millions of people have claimed Him as their Master.
* All history is measured from the time of His birth.
* He revealed the highest moral standard ever known.
* The Bible, which records His words, has been the best known and most influential book in civilized countries for nearly 2000 years.
Surely Jesus deserves our careful attention. The purpose of this study is to consider why we ought to honor Jesus as Lord, and what it really means to be His disciple. We begin with some definitions.
"Lord" means a person who has authority over others: a master, chief, or ruler. [Matt. 28:18- 20; Eph. 1:19-23; Luke 6:46]
"Disciple" means a follower, pupil, student, learner: one who adheres to the teachings of the master. [Matt. 10:24,25; 16:24]
Why should you follow Jesus rather than someone else?
A. Jesus Is Our Savior
"He will save His people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21). Sin is disobedience to God's law (1 John 3:4). Note how Jesus saves people.
>>> Read ROMANS 3:23. <<<
*1* How many people commit sin? Answer: ______ have sinned.
>>> Read ROMANS 6:23. <<<
*2* What is the consequence of sin? Answer: The wages of sin is ______.
*3* Through whom can we receive eternal life? (a) Mohammed, (b) Jesus, (c) our parents, (d) no one. Answer: ______.
All of us ought to be punished eternally, because we have disobeyed God. This punishment is what we need to be saved from. Jesus is our Savior because He can give us eternal life in spite of our sins.
>>> Read ROMANS 5:6-9. <<<
*4* What did Jesus do to save us? Answer: He ______ for us.
*5* What characteristic of God does this demonstrate? Answer: It demonstrates God's ______ for us.
*6* When Jesus died, was He dying for you? Answer ("Yes" or "no"): ______.
Jesus "bore our sins in His own body on the tree" (1 Peter 2:24). We sinned, so we deserve to be punished, but Jesus, who did not sin, died in our place so we can be forgiven and receive eternal life.
>>> Read MATTHEW 27:22-35,50-54. <<<
*7* When Jesus suffered, whose sins was He suffering for? (a) His own sins, (b) sins of other people, including you and me. Answer: ______.
"There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). No one but Jesus can tell how to receive eternal life. [See also John 3:16; 6:68; 14:6; 4:42; Eph. 1:7].
B. Jesus Is the Divine Son of God
The Father said about Jesus, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!" (Matthew 17:5). [Heb. 1:1,2; 2:1ff]
>>> Read JOHN 20:26-31. <<<
*8* How did Thomas know Jesus had been raised? (a) he saw and touched Him, (b) he just heard about it, (c) he dreamed about it. Answer: ______.
*9&10* Whom did Thomas confess Jesus to be? Answer: My ______ and my ______.
*11* How can we believe Jesus is Lord and God even though we have not seen Him? (a) by guessing, (b) by examining the evidence in the Bible, (c) by taking a preacher's word for it. Answer: ______.
*12* What blessing can we have if we believe? Answer: We can have ______ in His name.
Though Jesus died, He was raised from the dead. His resurrection, along with His other miracles and the prophecies He fulfilled, prove that He is God's Son (Cf. Acts 2:22-36; Rom. 1:4; 1 Cor. 15:1-8). Because He is God's Son, He possesses "all authority in heaven and on earth," so we should obey all His commands (Matthew 28:18-20).
C. Jesus Will Be Our Judge.
Jesus will someday come again and judge all people.
>>> Read 2 CORINTHIANS 5:10. <<<
*13* How many people will be judged? Answer: We must ______ appear before the judgment seat.
*14* Who will judge us? (a) our priest, (b) Buddha, (c) Jesus. Answer: ______.
*15* On what basis will Jesus decide our reward? (a) what our parents did, (b) what Adam did, (c) what we did, (d) all the preceding. Answer: ______.
Jesus' words will judge us in the last day (John 12:48). We need to learn His will and follow it so we can be prepared. [See also Acts 17:30,31; Matt. 25:31-46; Rev. 20:11-15.]
>>> Read MATTHEW 7:13-15,21-27. <<<
*16* What final destinies face us? (a) either eternal life or eternal destruction, (b) all go to heaven, (c) death is the end of our existence. Answer: ______.
*17* How many follow the broad road? Answer: ______ enter the broad way.
*18* How many follow the narrow way? Answer: ______ find the narrow way.
*19* What must we do to enter the kingdom of heaven? (a) just have faith, (b) call Jesus "Lord," (c) do God's will, (d) just be religious. Answer: ______.
We must hear Jesus in everything He teaches or we will be destroyed (Acts 3:22,23). In religion, as in many areas of life, there are truth and error, right and wrong. For example, 2 + 2 = 4, red light means stop, etc. Other answers to these questions would be error. So in religion Jesus' teachings are truth, and anything different is error. [See also 1 John 4:1,6; 2 Tim. 4:2-4; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; 2 Thess. 1:6-9.]
Many people say Jesus is Lord, yet this does not seem to affect the way they live. Some groups even teach that Jesus will save people if they just believe He is the Savior, even if they do not obey Him. What does it really mean to follow Jesus as Lord? How will it change your outlook on life? Can a person be saved without obeying Jesus?
A. A Disciple Must Learn and Obey the Lord's Will.
A person cannot possibly earn salvation, yet there are conditions one must meet in order to become and remain Jesus' disciple.
>>> Read JOHN 8:31,32. <<<
*20* To be Jesus' disciple, what must we do? (a) just believe in Him, (b) just learn His will, (c) learn His will and obey it (abide in it)? Answer: ______.
*21* If we know and abide in Jesus' word, what will it do for us? Answer: Make us ______ from sin (see v34).
To be freed from sin, we must obey Jesus from the heart (Romans 6:16-18). Truly a disciple must believe in his master, but the only kind of faith that God rewards is obedient faith (Hebrews 10:39; 11:6-8,30). [See also Gal. 5:6; James 2:14-26; John 12:42,43; etc.]
>>> Read LUKE 6:46. <<<
*22* Do we respect our Lord if we do not obey Him? Answer: (Yes or no): ______.
*23* If we have been practicing some activity that is nowhere taught in the Scriptures, what should we do? (a) quit serving God, (b) find a preacher who justifies the practice, (c) quit participating in it. Answer: ______.
We purify our souls in obeying the truth (1 Peter 1:22-25). Jesus is the "author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him" (Hebrews 5:9). To be forgiven of sins and become a disciple we must: believe in Jesus, repent of sins, confess Christ, and be baptized (Mark 16:15,16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 17:30; Romans 10:9,10; 6:3,4; etc.) Then we must continue to serve Jesus faithfully throughout life.
[See also Acts 10:34,35; James 1:21-25; Matt. 7:21-27; Rom. 2:5-11.]
B. A Disciple Must Imitate His Lord.
>>> Read LUKE 6:40. <<<
*24* What is the goal of a disciple or servant? Answer: The disciple's goal is to be like his ______.
To be Jesus' disciple, we must deny self and follow Him (Matthew 16:24,25). Often people want forgiveness and the blessings of discipleship, but they do not want to give up their own desires and live according to Jesus' teachings. This is not true discipleship.
>>> Read 1 PETER 2:21-24. <<<
*25&26* What did Jesus leave for us? Answer: Jesus left an ______ so we should follow in His ______.
*27* How did Jesus live? Answer: Jesus lived without committing ______.
Jesus died so that we should no longer live for ourselves, "but for Him who died" and rose again (2 Corinthians 5:15). Jesus gave His life so we could receive eternal life instead of eternal punishment. The least we can do is to love Him enough to follow His example. In every circumstance we should ask, "What would Jesus do in this situation?" Then do as He would do. [See also Gal. 2:20; 1 Cor. 11:1.]
C. A Disciple Must Put His Lord's Will First.
Choices in life often consist of setting priorities. What will I do with my time, abilities, money, etc.? For a disciple of Jesus, top priority must always be serving Jesus and doing His will. One who is not willing to make this sacrifice, cannot be Jesus' disciple.
>>> Read LUKE 14:26-33. <<< (cf. Matthew 10:34-38).
*28* What must a person be willing to give up to be Jesus' disciple (a) loved ones, (b) possessions, (c) his life, (d) all the preceding. Answer: ______.
We should present our bodies "a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God ... And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind..." (Romans 12:1,2). Discipleship is total sacrifice, total transformation of self, total lifetime commitment. Jesus must take precedence over everything else. When we realize what Jesus has done for us, such demands are not unreasonable.
>>> Read MATTHEW 6:24,33. <<<
*29* How many spiritual masters (lords) can a person serve? Answer: You can have only ______ Master.
*30&31* What should be our greatest concern in life? Answer: Seek first the ______ of God and His ______.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17). The decision to become a disciple of Jesus is the most important decision in life. It will profoundly impact your whole outlook and every aspect of your life. Anything less is not true discipleship.
[See also Mark 10:28-30; Rev. 2:10; 1 Cor. 6:19,20; 15:58; 2 Cor. 8:5; Rom. chap. 6; Col. chap. 3; John 15:8.]
We have learned that a disciple of Jesus must obey Jesus' teaching. But what happens if a disciple ceases to serve Christ and goes back into sin? Some religious people teach that, once a person becomes a child of God, he can never so sin as to be eternally lost. Is this teaching in harmony with the teaching of the Lord Himself and His apostles?
A. Warnings of the Danger of Falling
>>> Read JOHN 15:1-6. <<<
Disciples are here described as branches "in Christ" (v2,5, etc.) who have been cleansed by His word (v3).
*32&33* If disciples don't bear fruit and abide in Christ (v2,4-6), what happens to them? Answer: They are picked up and thrown into the ______ and are ______.
(Note that abiding in Jesus and bearing fruit requires obedience - 1 John 3:6,24; John 15:10; Gal. 5:19ff; etc.)
>>> Read 1 CORINTHIANS 9:27 and 10:12. <<<
This letter was written by the apostle Paul to saints in the church (1:1,2). They were striving to gain the imperishable crown (9:25). To do so Paul said he had to bring his body into subjection (v27). Israel is an example to us (10:6,11) showing we should not commit sins (idolatry, fornication, etc. - vv. 7,8).
*34* Though Paul was an apostle who had preached to others, what concern did he have? (a) he might be disqualified or rejected, (b) some babies might not be baptized, (c) he might be among the elect. Answer: ______.
*35* One who thinks he stands must take heed for what (10:12)? Answer: Take heed lest he ______.
If a person believes he cannot possibly be lost, note that this passage shows that he is one of the very people who are in the greatest danger of falling!
B. Disciples Who Lost Their Faith
>>> Read HEBREWS 3:12-14. <<<
This is addressed to "holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling" (3:1). It describes how Old Testament Israel failed to enter God's rest because they lacked faith and obedience.
*36* We too must guard against what? (a) an evil heart of unbelief, (b) departing from God, (c) being hardened through the deceitfulness of sin, (d) all the preceding. Answer: ______.
*37* To partake with Christ, what must we do? Answer: We must hold our confidence (faith) steadfast to the ______.
Note: V12 warns that God's people may develop a heart of unbelief, like the people of Israel did. Many New Testament examples describe disciples to whom this very thing happened. Note 2 Tim. 2:16-18; 1 Tim. 1:18-20; 5:8. [See also 1 Tim. 6:9,10,20,21; Psa. 106:12,13,21,24; 1 Tim. 5:11,12; Luke 22:31,32]
*38* Can a person please God and be saved eternally if he does not have faith (Hebrews 11:6; Revelation 21:8)? Answer: ("Yes" or "no.") ______.
Faith is essential to salvation. Those who lose it are no better off than those who never had it.
C. Examples of Disciples Who Fell Away
>>> Read ACTS 8:12-24. <<<
Simon believed and was baptized (v13). This is what Jesus said one must do to be saved (Mark 16:16). This is what the other Samaritans did (v12). Simon did "also" the same things the others did. If they were saved, he was saved. But Simon later sinned.
*39* What was Simon's condition after he sinned again (see vv. 20-23)? (a) his heart was not right, (b) he was guilty of wickedness, (c) he was in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity, (d) he would perish if he did not repent and pray, (e) all the preceding. Answer: ______.
>>> Read GALATIANS 5:1-4. <<<
These people were children of God (3:26; cf. 1:2-4; 4:6), who had been set free by Christ (5:1). They had been in grace (5:4). They were in danger of sinning by going back to the Old Testament (5:1) and binding circumcision (5:3,4).
*40* What would be their condition if they went back to the Old Testament practice of binding circumcision? (a) Christ would profit them nothing, (b) they would be severed from Christ, (c) they would be fallen from grace, (d) all the preceding. Answer: ______.
Can one receive eternal life if he is severed from Christ (Eph. 1:3-7) and fallen from the grace that saves (Eph. 2:8)?
[See also 2 Peter 1:8-11; 2:20-22; Galatians 6:7-9; Romans 6:12-18; 8:12-17; Hebrews 6:4-8]
This does not mean that serving Christ is impossible. In fact Jesus promises that we can overcome temptation and be victorious (1 Cor. 10:13; Eph. 6:10-18; Phil. 4:13). The point of these verses is to show that being a disciple of Christ is a serious matter. We should not take it lightly. We need to begin serving Christ, but we also need to continue steadfastly in His work (1 Cor. 15:58; Rom. 2:6,7).
Disciples of Christ have a great reward waiting for them (1 Peter 1:3,4). Serving Christ is not easy, but it will be worth every sacrifice we make (Rom. 8:18; 2 Cor. 4:16-18).
(These questions are for you to ponder. Your answers will help us understand your thinking, however they will not affect your "score.")
*41* Briefly state what you believe about who Jesus is? __________
*42* Do you believe it is possible for a child of God to so sin that he/she will be lost in eternity? __________
(C) Copyright David E. Pratte, 1999 (click for copyright information)
Is Obedience Essential?
The Importance of Bible Instruction
Once Saved, Always Saved
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