“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31-32 NKJV
A disciple is a learner or a pupil, someone who is being taught by a teacher or a master, learning everything the master knows, following his teaching, imitating him and, in the end, becoming just like him.
If you abide in Jesus’ word and if His word abides in you, then you are trained by it and then you are truly His disciples. The word of God must come to live on the inside of you – it must take up residence in you. You must hear it, receive it, believe it, act upon it and live it out in your life. Even if you are born-again, you are not truly Jesus’ disciple if you do not have His word in your heart or if you do not imitate His example and do what He did. Even if you know the Bible back-to-front, you are not truly Jesus’ disciple until you are a doer of the word of God. When people see that you behave like Jesus – that you walk like Him, talk like Him and do the things that He did – then they will know that you are His disciple.
13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. 14 And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. Acts 4:13-14 NKJV
Peter and John were uneducated and untrained men, but they were anointed with power and boldness and they had a revelation from Heaven of spiritual things – a fact which was very evident to the religious leaders. They could tell that they had received their education from Jesus because they were just like Him and they behaved just like Him! When you abide in Jesus word, you will know the truth and the truth will liberate you, deliver and make you free.
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35 NKJV
If you abide in Jesus’ word and His word abides in you, the love of God that is shed abroad in your heart will begin to flow out of you and you will walk and operate in love, just as Jesus did. When you walk in the God-kind of love, that love that loves the unlovely, then people will know that you are Jesus’ disciple. The God-kind of love sees people as valuable and precious, even when they are worthless, useless, despised and despicable in the eyes of man.
When you walk in love, you will do things and say things in a way that is totally opposite of the way the world operates. Because you do the thing they least expect you to do, because you respond in love and peace when any regular person would react in anger and hate, they see the difference immediately! They know that you are different – they know that something happened to you, they know that you have been with Jesus and learned from Jesus, and they know that you are His disciple. You are a light and a testimony and you convict them of their sin.
1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. John 15:1-8 NKJV
When you obey the word of God and it even becomes part of who you are, not simply something you believe, then you will bear much fruit – the fruit of His word and work in your heart and life. When you bear the fruit of the word and work of the Spirit in your life – you will bring much glory to the Father. When you bear the fruit of the word and work of the Spirit in your life – people will know and recognize that you are Jesus disciple, that you have spent time with Him and that you have been trained and taught by Him. So if you are His disciples – go forth and abide in His word, walk in love and bear much fruit!