If You Continue

April 11, 2013

“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you continue in My word, you are My disciples indeed.’” (John 8: 31 KJV)

One of the most important words in the New Testament is the word “continue.” From the horrible Mamertine prison in Rome Paul dictated his last words to Timothy, his beloved son in the faith.  He fervently exhorted Timothy to continue in the things he had learned.

International Cooperating Ministries has built more than 4,000 churches in 65 countries.  One of the greatest challenges we face is attrition.  This is both in individuals who profess faith in Christ and churches that are started by professing believers.  We have found that churches are 91% more likely to continue and build daughter churches it they get into our four year curriculum of Bible study we call “The Mini Bible College.”

Our Lord was intensely realistic.  He knew all about the hard reality of attrition.  In His Parable of the Sower He taught that nothing happens 75% of the time the Word of God is proclaimed or taught.  That’s why when people professed to believe in Him, His challenge to them was to continue in His Word and be His disciples indeed.

His Great Commission to His disciples was to make disciples (Matthew 28: 18-20).  There were three participles in that commission: going, baptizing and teaching.  But there was only one commanding imperative: to make disciples.

Apply this word “continue” to your own personal commitment to follow Jesus and remember this concept when you share the Gospel with others.  It is critically important that we, and they, not only profess to believe but make the commitment to continue and become disciples indeed of our glorious and victorious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


A Formula for Hearing

October 24, 2012

“But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”   (Luke 8:15)

This verse is taken from a very familiar parable of Jesus called “The Parable of the Sower, “ but I call it  – “Four Men in a pew, which one are you?”

Jesus is claiming that when the Word of God is taught, seventy-five percent of the time nothing happens.  The first man who hears is wearing a hard hat – the Word does not penetrate his mind.  When the word is not understood, nothing happens.

The second takes his Word on the rocks. The seed of the Word does not penetrate his heart, or his will.  If the Word of God does not penetrate the will, nothing happens.

The third man understands and fully intends to obey the Word but he loses the Word in the weeds of riches, pleasures and worries.  Again, nothing happens.

The fourth man understands, obeys and overcomes all the weeds above the soil and the rocks under the soil.  He perseveres through all this and produces a crop that is more than one hundred percent what was planted.

Jesus is giving us a formula for hearing when the Word of God is being taught or preached.  We must understand, obey and overcome all the obstacles that are trying to defeat us as we hear the Word of God.

Jesus is also challenging His disciples to realize that as they teach the Word of God unless they penetrate the understanding, the will, and the opposition of the evil one nothing happens.

He concluded this teaching with the challenge to be careful how we hear His Word and how others hear when we teach.