growth groups week six :
A disciple abides in God's word 

Week 6
Day 1: Mark 7-8
Day 2: Mark 9-10
Day 3: Mark 11-12
Day 4: Mark 13-14
Day 5: Mark 15-16

Memory verse:

John 8:31
“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are my disciples indeed’”

John 8:31 [NLT]
Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. 

John 8:31 [HCSB]
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, you really are My disciples. 

John 8:31 [GWT God’s word translation]
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, you really are My disciples. 

Focal passage: John 8:31-32, 1 John 2:3-6

Early in life we learn the idea of cause and effect. If you disobey, you get in trouble. If you eat too much candy, you get sick to your stomach. If you don’t study, you won’t get good grades. If you practice, you become an expert. Here is John 8:31 we see clearly a perfect picture of cause and effect. John 8:31 says, “…If you continue in my word, then you are my disciples indeed”. Jesus teaches here that if you abide in His word, you will then be His disciple. So as those who desire to be His disciples, we must ask ourselves, what does it mean then, to abide in God’s word. Abide can be defined as remain, dwell or live. When we abide someplace, when we live in or dwell in, we remain in that place. This is exactly what Jesus is telling us we need to do as His followers, we need to remain in His word. This is not just speaking of reading it, or of even memorizing it. But it speaks of staying within the walls of God’s word by doing what it says. God has given us a gift in His word. He created us and then He gave us the directions for His creation. The word of God gives us the directions for use; i.e. the use of our bodies, our time, our gifts, our will, our minds, our family, our relationships, our work, our church and so much more. In His word is where we find how we are to function while living on this earth. In order to be His follower, His disciple, we must take seriously the idea of obeying God’s word and doing what it says! We cannot experience the life that He has talked about in His word without doing what it says. God expects us to know His word, and do what it says. When we say we follow Jesus, we mean we follow His teachings. So we must know what His teachings are so that we can effectively do what He teaches us to do. Knowing His word must be priority in our lives. True life comes from doing what God says. But Christians often become frustrated in life, and many times with God, because they refuse to live the way God designed life to be lived. He has given us clear teachings to follow, but many Christians today don’t look to the word in order to actually do what it says. We may look at the word more as guidelines or suggestions, not as life giving truths to obey. Let’s examine some of the hard things God has called us to do to get a better idea of this challenge.

1. Jesus has some clear teachings on forgiveness and how we are to treat our enemies. He says in Matthew 5:44 “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” And in Peter it says, “not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.” 
I chose these passages as examples of passages that many Christians have a hard time obeying. Jesus and Peter are calling us to something that is not often followed. Why do you think that it is hard for Christians to live out verses like these in our daily lives? What is the benefit of actually obeying what God commands in His word.
2. Philippians 2:14–15 says “14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world”. Think of your conversations throughout the day at work, at home with your husband, with your kids, or hanging out with friends. Is your language filled with complaining? Is most of your conversation centered around the woes and challenges of life? If so, why do you think? How can we as believers be different in our speech than those who we work with and live life with?  
3. We certainly cannot obey God’s word unless we know it. Therefore as His disciples we must focus our attention on knowing God’s word. Hebrews 4:12 tells us the power of His word. What are some ways you can actively be learning God’s word? What are some effective ways you have learned to memorize what His word says? What are some effective ways you have learned the addresses to verses you are learning? 

Action points:

Further study: The Circle of Blessing (Obedience, Abiding)

Draw a large circle on a piece of paper. WE will Call this “The Circle of Blessing”. Write “ABIDE” right in the center of the circle. Now go ahead and write what you believe “ABIDE” means inside the circle as well. Basically synonyms or applications of ABIDE. Our goal as followers of Jesus is to remain inside the circle of blessing where God can bless us and where His life in us can be full. God wants to bless us, but we must stay within the circle of blessing in order to receive all the good He has for us. Now draw 2-3 arrows going from inside the circle to the outside of the circle. Write on the lines of those arrows what can take us out of the circle of blessing. What takes us away from the blessings and protection of God? Then on the outside of the circle, away from His protection, what are the consequences? Write the words that come to your mind when you think of being outside of God’s word and God’s ways. This is a clear picture of how abiding in God’s word looks like. God has designed us Himself, and His word is written for His design, humans, to know how we as His design can flourish and experience life. When we do what we were designed to do we experience the life abundant He promised.