Doctrine of Christian Liberty - Free to be a Disciple II
July 17, 2022 Series: Great Doctrines of the Christian Faith
Scripture: John 8:31–37, Matthew 11:25–29, Matthew 28:18
Quote – J.C. Ryle
…we must not forget that to begin is one thing, and to go on is quite another.
Patient continuance in well-doing is the only sure evidence of grace. Not he that runs fast and furiously at first, but he that keeps up his speed, is he that “runs so as to obtain.”
By all means let us be hopeful when we see anything like conversion. But let us not make too sure that it is real conversion, until time has set its seal upon it.
Time and wear test metals and prove whether they are solid or plated.
Time and wear, in like manner, are the surest tests of a man’s religion.
Where there is spiritual life there will be continuance and steady perseverance.
It is the man who goes on as well as begins, that is “the disciple indeed.”
We have been spending a lot of time talking about liberty.
It is one of those things that most self-professing Christians tend to get all confused about.
Most of what we call “freedom” and “liberty” is not truly a freedom nor is it a liberty.
- These things are really what the Bible calls bondage.
- Being under the influence of our own will
- The Bible calls that bondage
- Being under the influence of the will of others
We, as Christians, must decide
- Who is our Lord?
- Either it is going to Jesus Christ…
- Or it is going to be yourself.
There are no other options.
If you say Jesus Christ is your Lord
- Then you need to stop following
- Your own will
- Your own desires
You will simply do what Christ has commanded you – whether or not you think you know better.
- I hope everyone in this room wants to follow Christ
- is willing to set aside any and all preconceived notions
- is willing to seek and then follow the truth as revealed in Scriptures.
If we are to be found in Christ, we should stop holding on to these false notions of Liberty and Freedom
- That we can do as we like
- That we can determine what is right
- That we can get what we want simple because we think we deserve it
We must continue to re-program our minds and our thoughts and bring them captive to Christ in all areas
Last week, we learned that there is no absolute liberty or freedom.
We learned the devil tricks and promises freedom and liberty all the while re-branding the term “bondage” as “liberty” and “freedom”
- Bondage is still bondage no matter the name
- Like Shakespeare...” A rose by any other name…”
In John 8.31 we learned from the words of Christ
- The truth shall make you free
- Christ says, that as he continues in his father's word, so we should continue in his word (v.28)
- If you continue in My word, then ye are my disciples, indeed
- Think of if this way
- “You are not truly my disciples, unless you continue steadfastly in my Word.”
So, today, we are going to continue looking at this and try to discern what it means to be a disciple
- and how, in our liberty
- we are FREE to be a disciple.
What it Means to be a Disciple
Sometimes we might think there is a difference between being a Christian and being a Disciple
But that's not what Jesus says.
- Jesus does not differentiate between Christians and Disciples.
Disciples are Christians and Christians are disciples.
The Meaning of the Word Disciple
It comes from the Greek word “matte - taes”
- It is the same word we get mathematics from
- It speaks of learning a particular pattern through teaching and repetition and closely adhering to the teacher
And so, Jesus says, if you continue in My word, then ye are my disciples indeed
- He adds this word in indeed
- It the Greek word “alay - theia”
- which means in accordance with truth or fact or reality, in the sense of “unhiddenness”
Jesus distinguishes here not between Christians and disciples, but between disciples and disciples
- There are disciples
- and then there are true
- There are those who perhaps profess to continue in Christ's word
- But they do not truly continue in His word
- There are those that profess to continue in Christ's word
- And they truly do.
And so, Christ says
- if you continue
- you are my disciples, indeed (truly)
- So, there are such things as false disciples.
To be a disciple, in this passage, means to continue in the word of Christ.
- And the Word there, in its broadest sense
- is the teaching of Christ
- the doctrine of Christ
- everything Christ has given to us
Jesus says, if you continue in My word
- then you are my disciples indeed, and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Discipleship and Freedom Are Not at Odds
Jesus makes one of the most grand and bold statements of his own divinity.
- He says, no man, knows the Father, save the Son
He is claiming a particularly full and divine knowledge.
- Then he says, and also to whom the Son reveals Him
- First, He says, No man knows the Son save the Father.
- So, the Father has this divine comprehensive knowledge of the Son.
- Second, He says, No man, knoweth the Father, save the son.
- So, the Son has the divine comprehensive knowledge of the Father.
- Third, He says, And He to whom the s Son will reveal Him.
- He identifies Himself as the revealer of God
- the quintessential teacher
- the One who makes God known to the human race
- He identifies Himself as the revealer of God
- Next, 28 → and learn of me
- that is the Greek word used for disciple
So, come to Him and to do what?
- To take the yoke of Christ
- John 8 → if we will become His disciple, we will continue in His word, and we will know the truth and the truth shall make us free.
- If you are going to become my disciple, what you need to do is take my yoke upon you
The question we need to address is this:
- Is there some kind of conflict between yoke and freedom?
- Not in the mind of Christ.
It is only our own bad thinking, which puts having a yoke upon us and freedom at odds.
- Biblically speaking
- the yoke of Christ is
The yoke of Christ is freedom from the bondage of sin.
- It is freedom from the bondage of being enslaved to the devil.
- It is freedom from having to answer when the devil snaps his fingers.
- It is freedom to say NO to temptation
- We do not have this in our natural estate.
This is what taking the yoke of Christ upon us means
- It is the ability, the freedom
- to grow in grace
- to grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ
- Rather than to be lost
- in perdition
- in ignorance
- in darkness.
These are the things that we must take to ourselves when we think of freedom.
Jesus says → v. 39
- Yes, it is a burden.
- But it is light burden.
- Yes, it is a yoke.
- But it is an easy yoke.
Yes, It is all of this because it is replete with freedom.
- Freedom according to God's original order
- not the freedom to do anything you want, anytime you want
- This is nothing other than slavery to your own lusts.
- This is nothing other than bondage.
Discipleship Means Under Authority
And Jesus came and spake unto them saying, All power
- literally, that is the Greek word “ex zoo see ah”
- it does not mean power, like strength
- it means authority over a domain or sphere of influence
Said in another way
- “All authority to rule is given unto me, in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world, amen. “
This verse is also known as “The Great Commission” but is often treated as the “Great Omission”
- People will take you to the Great Commission for scriptural support for
- their street preaching
- their group bible studies
- their leading/ teaching of others...or whatever
Jesus says in verse 18, All authority in heaven and earth is given unto me. (that is, unto Christ)
- That is the foundation of the commission
- folks do not often understand.
- When we go preaching or when we go to make disciples
- we go by the authority of Jesus Christ
- this means that we do not simply go without being sent
- and the Bible is clear as to how one is sent
- It is not by personal desire
- It is not by personal experience
- It is only by other elders in a presbytery
So, Jesus says → All authority in heaven and earth is given unto me
- Remaining within this context, verse 19
- there is one imperative verb
- the rest of the verbs are participles
- which support that imperative.
- There is one command
- and the command is not “Go”
- the command is not “baptize”
- There is only one verbal imperative that Jesus says to His disciples
- That is to “disciple the nations”
- That is the command
- “Go,” “Baptize” → are all participles.
- They describe what the command is intended to convey.
How do you make disciples?
How do you disciple the nations?
Jesus says three things
- First → you go to them.
- Second → you baptize them
- Notice, you do not baptize when someone is already a disciple
- You baptize to make them a disciple.
- Third → you teach them to observe everything that Christ has commanded.
The word teach is that same word for disciple → “matte - taes”
- you are to make disciples
This is important, and we must not miss this.
- To be a disciple is to be under the command of Christ
- This is freedom.
- Because when you know Christ, and His word abides in you
- you are His disciples
- Because when you know Christ, and His word abides in you
- you will know the truth and the truth makes you free.
The commands of Christ are liberty
- Being under Christian Authority is Liberty
As we continue to draw the scriptures together, we will see that this is what it means to be a disciple.
- We ought not run away from Christ’s commands
- we ought to run towards
True Disciple or True Slave
True Disciple or Slave
Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees, and he relates to them the necessity of abiding in His Word
- the hearing and keeping of his instruction
- the hearing and keeping of his teaching
You shall know the truth and by doing this the truth shall make you free
Liberty, then, is
- knowing Christ’s word
- believing Christ's word
- submitting yourselves under his command.
That is what liberty is.
- That is what being his disciple is.
Note the response of the Pharisees:
- The Romans had conquered the Jews.
- The Greeks had conquered them.
- The Assyrians had conquered them
- The Babylonians had conquered them.
- And they say they have never been in bondage?
But the Lord is not speaking about the obvious political errors in their judgment but about their souls.
- He is speaking about their spiritual estate.
Christ responds by telling them that whosoever commits sin is the slave of sin
- Did you hear that?
- Now some of this is going to come as old news hat to us
- because we have discussed the relationship between sons and servants when talking about the doctrine of adoption.
- We understand a servant comes into a house comes not as his own but under bondage.
- He must rise up in the middle of the night. If the master says rise up.
- When he comes in from the field all day, and the master has been at his desk all day, the master puts his feet up and says, it is time for you to make dinner. He has to make dinner.
- He is not free.
- But the son says, I am not under bondage.
Listen to this → Servants, you are under bondage
- you may spend some time in the house
- but not forever.
- you may enjoy some good things of the house
- but not forever.
However, the Son is free, and he abides forever.
- If the son makes you free
- you shall be free indeed.
The Pharisees believed that they were free
- they believed they had never been in bondage to anyone.
Jesus exposes the folly of such thinking by telling them they are nothing other than the slaves of sin.
- Slaves do not get to stay in the house forever.
But the Son has an inheritance in the house.
Now, the question you should be asking is this:
- How does one become free?
- by becoming the disciple of Christ
- by taking the yoke of Christ
- by taking the commandments of Christ
- by the word of Christ abiding in you
There is no such thing as a mere Christian and then as something that comes later as a disciple
- Everyone who claims the name of Christ is a disciple.
- The question is whether or not we are true disciples.
Only Disciples Can Obey Christ in Liberty
- Now we begin to see what bondage truly is.
- It is an inability to process the word of Christ.
- It is an inability to accede to the words of Christ.
- It is an inability to say “Yes” to Christ.
Except the Son make you free, you cannot be free
Except the Lord Jesus Christ opens your mind.
- You cannot receive His Word
Except the Lord Jesus Christ opens your heart
- You cannot receive Him
- You cannot receive His yoke
- You cannot receive His commandments.
Verse 38-45 → I speak that which I have seen with my Father, and you do that which you have with your father.
Now he is going to take them to the next step.
- He is going to show them whose disciple they truly are.
- He begins to identify who their father is, and that is Satan himself.
- He was a liar from the beginning and did not abide in the truth.
- His lies led to bondage and to death.
The Pharisees believe they are the children of Abraham
- but in reality
- they are the children of the devil
- they are in bondage to the devil
- they are not free.
Only Christ makes one free.
- They cannot hear Christ because their father has always spoken lies to them
- When they encounter the truth
- they will not hear it.
Verse 43 → Why do ye not understand my speech?
- Because they cannot and not will hear the Word.
- Why can they not hear the word of the Son?
- Why can they not obey the words of Christ?
- Because they are slaves.
- Because they are in bondage.
We have spoken a lot about this over the past several weeks.
And it is necessary because we have been trained for years and years
- to have the wrong understanding of Liberty
- to have the wrong understanding of discipleship
- to think that because we are in the house
- we must therefore be free
We need hear that liberty pertains
- to knowing Christ
- to being His disciple
- to receiving His yoke
- to keeping His commandments.
Because if we are not under the yoke of Jesus Christ
- then we are under the yoke of sin and death.
- then in the end, cast into an eternal judgment.
There are people believing that they are free.
- They call themselves, as the Pharisees did, sons of Abraham.
- But they are not.
- They say all of that Old Testament stuff…
- We are free from that.
- They say we do not have to follow the NT; we can pick and choose what we want.
Our Lord Jesus Christ says
- If you love Me
- keep My commandments
- If you want to be my disciple.
- keep my commandments.
- You want to be my disciple
- take my yoke upon you.
- It is easy and light.
- You want to be my disciple
- bear much fruit because that is what pleases my father.
Brothers and sisters, to throw off the yoke of Jesus Christ, because we think it is too heavy
- is to burden ourselves with a yoke that in the end will crush us.
- We cannot bear it.
- And we will die in our sins.
- And the clamoring after freedom today is a clamoring after death.
If we are going to be free, then
- We are going to follow Jesus Christ
- We are going to become his disciple.
- We are going to take his yoke and learn of Him.
- We are going to learn to hear from our Lord Jesus Christ
- do what He commands because we have been released from the bondage of sin.
- We are going to stop claiming our own rights and so-called freedoms
- and learn to be as one under authority
- for under authority is where we find liberty.
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