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John 8: 31 – 32

Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

The most telling part of these verses may be the first phrase. Jesus was saying to those who believed in him that there was more to follow. Just hearing him speak was not the answer. He told them that they must abide in his word. Some translations say to continue in his word. I believe what Jesus is saying is that it is not enough just to hear Jesus word once. Instead we must learn to live in his word. Those who stay in his word will have truth and that truth will set them free of every sort of hindrance.

Let’s close the circle on this and see how it works. From the first chapter of John we know that Jesus is the word, the incarnate word. The word was with God since the beginning but then came alive in the form of a person and dwelt among mankind. We also know that Jesus is the truth (John 14: 6). Jesus is the word and he is the truth. We also know from John 14: 6 that Jesus is the life. Therefore, if we want life we must dwell in the word and we must dwell in truth. Let’s go one step further though. In John 6: 63  Jesus tells us that the words that he spoke are spirit and life. So, life is in the word, spirit is in the word, truth is in the word and freedom is in the word. If we want to live a life worth living, really if we want any life at all then we must abide in the word of Jesus and lest we deceive ourselves, the entire Bible is the word of Jesus. Remember he was with God in the beginning so all the word of God is Jesus.

Further, if we want to be disciples of Jesus then we must abide in his word. To abide does not mean a casual glance at the scriptures now and then. It probably implies a daily residence. If you abide in your house, then doesn’t that mean that is where you live? It is the place we call home and to which we always return. While travelling we even think of that place which we call home. This is the place of habitation and rest. Jesus is trying to get us to think of his word the same way we think of our homes. His word should be the place to which we always return. It is the place of comfort and rest. It is our secure haven and only when we have learned or decided to take up residence in his word can we be his disciples.  

There are so many pieces of church life these days and it is easy to get bogged down in all of the things we feel we must do but there are only a few things that Jesus calls needful. So, when you cannot do it all do those things which are most important. Chief among them is attendance to the word. There is no truth, there is no life, there is no discipleship or freedom apart from a habitual abiding presence in the word. There is a reason why ministers beyond me send out daily devotionals. We all know that liberty and life are contained in the daily consumption of the word. The word, Jesus, is our shelter and our daily bread. It is the presence of God in our lives to bring his truth alive within us. There is no life apart from the word. It is just that simple. And do not let anyone mislead you. There is no doctrine, no 7 step program, no teaching series that can replace the Word of God. They are all complimentary, meaning that they are intended to illuminate the Word for you but it is the Word which has the power to change lives. Abide in that almighty presence of the Word of God. Receive life, truth and freedom.

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