Read John 8
Key Verse: John 8:31 “If you abide in My words, you are My disciples indeed.”
I like the way the NIV puts it, “If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples.” The word “hold” is a strong verb; it speaks of mothers embracing their newborn, and ship-wrecked sailors clutching the life-line, refusing to let go. It speaks of commitment.
Whenever young couples come to me for premarital counselling, I tell them there are three words to remember in terms of making marriage last. Those words are, 1) commitment, 2) commitment, and 3) commitment. The marriage ceremony underscores the word –“… to have and to hold from this day forward. For better or for worse. In sickness and in health. For richer or for poorer. Till death us do part.” That’s the kind of foundation you can build a life on!
I’ve sometimes wondered if it might not be a bad idea for some of us evangelical pastors to make a bit more of a person’s commitment to Christ at salvation that merely have the publicly “come forward”. Why not put together a public ceremony wherein vows are expressed to Christ: where a new believer is gripped with the thrilling but awesome responsibility of what it means to call oneself a follower of Jesus, after he has made that initial “come forward” move.
The vows could go something like this: “I _________________ take you now, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, as my Saviour and Lord. I have acknowledged and confessed my sin; now I declare before this body of sin, and walk in a new direction. And, even as I do so, I charge this body with the responsibility of correcting and guiding me, as I grow from faith to faith. I am no longer my own. I belong to Christ even as I now take my place in His Body. I take hold of HIs teaching. I am His disciple. So help me God.” Amen.