E62: Taking a personal discovery journey into the Bible – What does the Bible say?
As Christians, we ares of Jesus. But what is a disciple? What distinguishes a true disciple of Jesus? Join Kathy and Julia and their guest Sam Petkau as they take a “personal discovery journey” into the Bible to see what the Scriptures tell us about living a disciple life.
Transcript: “Living the Gospel” podcast, Episode 62: Taking a personal discovery journey into the Bible – What does the Bible say?
Welcome to ActiveChristianity’s “Living the Gospel” podcast. Join us as we talk about how we can “live the gospel” every day, no matter who we are, where we live, and what our circumstances are.
Julia: Hi everyone and welcome to another episode of “Living the Gospel.” I’m Julia.
Kathy: And I’m Kathy. And today we have our good friend Sam Petkau with us. Hi Sam!
Kathy: And thanks very much for agreeing to talk with us today.
Sam: Thank you for inviting me. It’s nice to be with you again.
Kathy: So, the last few weeks we’ve been doing this “What does the Bible say?” series. And today is actually the last episode in that series. Sam, when I mentioned to you that we were doing this series and asked you to join us for this particular episode, you said to me that it would be interesting to have a conversation about the need for a personal discovery journey in the Bible. And I liked that phrase, “a personal discovery journey in the Bible.” Do you want to tell us a little bit about what you were thinking there?
Sam: Yeah. Jesus said in one place, He said, “I have many things to say to you.” (John 16:12.) So think of that, to be made aware, and keen, to the fact that the Bible has something to say to me! It has something to say to me about how I shall live in this time that we’re in right now. Many people call it a difficult time. But God hasn’t exited stage left!
Julia: Thank goodness!
Sam: God is right there in the center, and He has something to say to me, and the word of God, the Bible, has many good things that I can learn from. How I should conduct myself in this time.
Julia: So today, like Kathy said, this is the last episode from our series about “What does the Bible say?” And today this is going to be a really good one, I feel. “What does the Bible say about being a disciple?” is today’s theme.
Kathy: Yup, so, we thought maybe to start by just kind of defining, what is a disciple?
Sam: Yeah, well, a disciple is an apprentice, right? A learner, that’s the, I would say, the simple definition of a disciple. So, if I want to learn something, then there’s a very basic underlying truth that I must accept. And that is that I don’t know as I should. So in order to learn something new, in order to be an apprentice, I have to unlearn what I think I know. Otherwise, why would I want to learn something new, if I already know? And so a disciple is one whose whole attitude of mind is, “I don’t know as I should know, but I want to know like the Master knows.” That’s an inner attitude of mind, that nothing is more precious to me than to know what Jesus wants me to do. There’s nothing more precious to me. I give up every other attitude of mind.
Kathy: And then, like, you talked about a disciple being someone who learns. But there’s more to it than that. Isn’t it also that you learn in order to follow, right?
Sam: That’s exactly right. Otherwise, you’re not a disciple.
Kathy: Like, when I think about being a disciple, the first verse that I kind of think about is, that ... is what’s written in Luke 9:23 where it says, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Right? Like, that kind of is Jesus summing up what it means to be a disciple, actually. But Sam, can you tell us a little bit more about what that means, to deny myself and take up my cross daily?
Sam: Jesus said it also very simply, or it’s written about Him in Hebrews, when He said, “Here I am ... a body You have given Me, O God, to do Your will.” (Hebrews 10:7.) So then, that’s what He had to learn when He was in the body. And we know His prayer, in the garden, He said, “Nevertheless, not My will ...” (Luke 22:42.) So, to deny myself and take up my cross, that means I have to suffer the loss of my own will. And that’s why discipleship ... people turn away from discipleship. But that’s not our intention. Our intention, our calling, our purpose in life is that we shall learn to suffer the loss of something that is loss, and lay hold of something that has eternal value. So, to deny myself, take up my cross, that is to say this, “Not my will, but Yours, be done.”
Kathy: Right. And then Jesus actually follows up that verse in Luke 9:24 with, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will [find] it.”
Sam: Yeah. That’s the key.
Julia: But you said there, Sam, that Jesus’ prayer was “not My will, but Your will be done.” And that God had prepared a body for Him. So, actually, Jesus Himself had to give up everything and follow what God was speaking to Him. So He was actually the first disciple.
Sam: Yeah, absolutely He was. And that’s why He can say, “Follow Me,” because He was the perfect disciple. He lived in such a way that all the fullness of God came and dwelt in Him bodily. And then He turned and said, “Follow Me.” So that’s why we are soof faith, because it’s He who perfected discipleship that turned and said to us, “Follow Me!” And then He said, there in Matthew 11, “Learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly of heart.” (Matthew 11:29.) Which human being, according to their nature, is meek and lowly of heart? But He understood that by being meek and lowly of heart, the Father, through the eternal Spirit, could speak into His life those things that would never die. The word of God, which lives and abides forever, came into His body, in other words, into His conduct, into His daily attitude, through that eternal Spirit. The words of the Father came into Him. And they directed His life according to the Father’s will. And He couldn’t have done that – that’s why it’s prophesied about Him in Isaiah that, “He awakens my ear morning by morning, to hear as a learner.” (Isaiah 50:4.) To hear something that I hadn’t understood until now. And that’s the meek and lowly heart. Is open to those eternal words from God. And that’s why the Bible is, I mean, the theme of this, or this series, is “What does the Bible say?” Oh, think of the enthusiasm that we can be filled with, like we sometimes think about the explorers that came from Europe to North America. And then these people, they did unbelievable things in pressing across the North American continent. And many of them alone, or just with two or three. And what is it that drove them to do this? There’s something around the next corner that I’ve never seen! There’s something new over the next hill! Think to be that kind of a person with regard to being a disciple! Jesus has something to say to me about how ... This person just said something evil about me. But now Jesus has something to say to me about how I can conduct myself in return! “Don’t repay evil with evil! But overcome evil with good!” (Romans 12:21.) Think of that land that lies open before us to explore in our daily circumstances. How can I fill what the Bible says about that? It becomes such a, like you said, or like you referred to, this journey through the word of God. This personal ... What did you call it? I forget.
Kathy: Well, you called it...
Julia: Personal discovery journey. Not just a journey into the word of God, but a journey into the new life that it brings me into.
Sam: Yes! Exactly. As an individual. As a person. As someone God created to be very unique and be who you are. But in and according to His will. That’s what makes it. That’s what ... The eternal Spirit has something to say to me in my temporal situations. It’s awesome.
Julia: And that eternal Spirit, that is the Spirit that was in Jesus in the days of His. That’s the thing. And like it’s written about Him, “Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth.” (1 Peter 2:22.) So to be a disciple of that Man is a huge, lofty goal. Like, that’s really something to reach out for.
Sam: Fantastic. Who, when He was reviled, did not revile again. (1 Peter 2:23.) Think to let that word work in us!
Julia: Yeah. You could be busy with just that one thing for the rest of your life.
Sam: Yeah, I think so.
Kathy: But that’s the life we’re supposed to follow! That’s who we are a disciple of. So that’s what we also need to learn and do in our own lives, right?
Julia: And we think about, yeah, what is it for me to be a disciple? Like, I think, and we’ve heard before, at church, that this verse here in Galatians 2:20 is quite possibly the most powerful personal testimony ever given. And that was Paul, just a man, his personal testimony, that, “I have been; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” So that is the level of discipleship that we too can partake of.
Sam: Yeah. And that’s where, like, it says there in 1 John 2:6: “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” That’s the life of a disciple. To learn to walk just as He walked. In His circumstances, when His own human will was challenged. What did He do? That’s why we need to know the Scriptures. And Jesus said to the Jews in one place, He said, “You search the Scriptures, because you think you have eternal life in them. But you won’t come to Me!” He said. (John 5:39.) And this, to come to Him, is to walk in that same attitude that He walked in.
Kathy: Which means, when I meet my own will, the sin in my own flesh, I am also to overcome it, right?
Sam: Yeah. And that’s also, what He said there in connection with “Not my will, but Yours, be done.” There was ... what can you call it. An absolute honesty. He said, “Father, if possible, let this cup pass from Me.” (Matthew 26:39.) And there you see His own will. He revealed to us that He was honest about His human will. And that’s required of a disciple. We have to be honest with ourselves. “I don’t like this! I don’t want this! But there is something I want, and that is to be like Him. When He returns, I want to be like Him.” And therefore it says, everyone who has that hope, He cleanses Himself, in 1 John 3. Everyone who has that hope cleanses Himself, or purifies Himself, just as He is pure. (1 John 3:2-3.) And that purification came when Jesus said, “Nevertheless.” You see there? He dropped His own will and said yes to the will of the Father. Regardless of the. The suffering did not determine His choice. His choice was determined on, “What does God want Me to do?” And that’s what He chose. Every time. He never, ever failed. He never, ever chose His own will above the Father’s will. And now we are to walk that way.
Kathy: And I think that goes back to what you said again previously, about if that is the most precious thing to me, if Jesus is the most precious thing to me, and I have that hope, that when He is revealed I will be like Him, like it’s written in 1 John 3:2, if I have that hope in me, then I purify myself just as He is pure, because He is more precious to me than getting my own will. Than giving in to the sin in my flesh.
Julia: And again, Paul says that same thing in Philippians 3, that, “I ... count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” (Philippians 3:8.)
Sam: Yeah. Anyone wants to know about discipleship, read Philippians chapter 3. It lays it out step by step.
Julia: This has gotten me really excited to think about this as an exploratory journey, like you were saying there, Sam. Like, what’s the next thing? What’s over the next hill? Because you can think of the sufferings that we have to go through. Like you said, we don’t love them for the sake of suffering. But the fact that we go through the suffering, we go over the next hill to whatever the next thing God wants to lead us to. That’s really exciting! And then you know, what is the end goal for a disciple, ultimately?
Kathy: Well, and I think it’s that that we talked about, that one day, He will be revealed, and we will be like Him, right?
Sam: Right. When you think about how He dealt with people, like we were talking, He didn’t revile again. And at first, it’s something that we learn to, you can say, control. We hold it inside. Reviling or irritation or... But it says that if we cleanse ourselves, if we purify ourselves, we shall be like Him. And what was He like? His love for God and His love for people gained power over all those retaliatory reactions in the human nature. He absolutelythose things so that there was no possibility for that to come out of His body.
Kathy: Because it was dead, right?
Sam: It was dead! It was crucified – like you read there. “I am crucified.” This “I” that wants to be right. This “I” that wants to know. This “I” that wants to fix the others. That “I,” that is actually self-exaltation and ego, that exalts itself over other people, and thereby disqualifies me as a servant for those people. So that “I” is crucified. In other words, I hate that stuff. And then the door opens up for me to learn to be like Him, until I am like the Master, it says. It’s not enough for a disciple until he is like the Master. (Matthew 10:25.) In other words, that stuff has no source of energy or strength within me. There’s nothing left there. And that’s our goal. That’s the purpose of discipleship.
Kathy: It just made me think of this one verse that’s been really good for me recently. I think it’s Psalm 117. Nope.
Julia: There are only 2 verses in Psalm 117!
Kathy: Maybe I need to take more of a personal discovery journey into my Bible. OK, it’s Psalm 17 that I’m looking for. “As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.” (Psalm 17:15.) And that verse has been so good for me. Like, nothing else will satisfy me, as a disciple, nothing is going to satisfy me until I awake in His likeness. And that’s not something that’s just going to happen like, boom, one day in the blink of an eye, you know, like, when we get to heaven, that one day I’m going to be in His likeness. But it’s because of this disciple life that I’m living here on earth, where I am taking up my cross and overcoming, one by one, as I meet these things from my flesh. Taking up my cross, as we read. And denying myself. Then I am being transformed into His likeness, right?
Sam: Yeah. There is no more exciting or fulfilling or interesting life to live for a human being. This is by far the top of the top of a life’s experience in this world. By following Him we become like Him. And this is where our first love for Jesus Christ must be burning. Everything else is of no value to me, except to be awakened in His likeness. And to be able to love people the way He does. And to be able to do good to the others the way He would have me do it. That’s the greatest thing on earth. Jesus has become our Forerunner, and now we are “after-runners!” And we can live as He lived and learn of Him, and that’s the fulfillment of a disciple life.
Julia: And then the end result of everything is that I am like Him and I am with Him for all eternity.
Sam: Yeah. Comfort one another with these words. We shall be with Him!
Kathy: So, I think, maybe just to sum up a little bit, what does the Bible say about being a disciple? I think it’s pretty clear that a disciple is not just someone who admires and is thankful for what Jesus did for us, but is someone who follows Him on the way that He opened for us, right?
Sam: Yeah. That’s a very good point. So that what we read in the Bible doesn’t just remain knowledge. It outlines a way of life for us.
Kathy: And it becomes life in us.
Sam: And becomes life in us.
Kathy: So, we’ve pulled out a few verses here in this episode, what’s written about being a disciple, but I would encourage you, as we said, to take your own personal discovery journey here, and open up your Bible and sit and read for yourself. What does the word of God have for me? What do I need to learn about being a disciple?
Sam: And pray along with Paul for the spirit of wisdom and revelation, because we need revelation through the Spirit. We can’t come to this life by just studying. But we need to read the word of God with this in mind: “God give me the spirit of wisdom and revelation, which can reveal for me what you actually meant for me with these words!” That’s quite a journey.
Kathy: It’s incredible. But I think we need to wrap up for now. So we want to thank you very much Sam, for joining us today and just bringing out these truths as you have and for your heart to show people the way. So thank you very much for that.
Sam: Thank you very much. This has been good to think about and Peter said we need to have our pure minds stirred up. So thanks a lot.
Kathy: And just a reminder to our listeners, if this episode was good for you, to share it with your friends and share it with someone who you think it would be a benefit for.
Julia: Thanks again everyone, we’ll see you next time.
Kathy: Until next time.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.