1. Disciples are known by the world by loving each other as Jesus loved them. (John 13:34-35)
Was this a new command? (v34-35) What about the command was new?
How did Jesus just demonstrate his love?
How did what Jesus did make the disciples feel? Was it awkward? Uncomfortable? Why?
Is this how I love others? Does the way I love others seem over the top? Does it make others uncomfortable? Do other people notice how different it is?
2. Disciples prove they are disciples by bearing much fruit. (John 15:8)
What is the fruit Jesus is referring to?
What kind of fruit does an apple tree bear? What kind of fruit does a grape vine bear?
What kind of fruit therefore does a disciple vine bear?
Jesus says “I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit.” (Chapt 15:16) Does what I think the fruit is make sense in the context of this verse? Does it reflect the purpose and focus of Jesus’ life (i.e. that this is why He chose them)?
How do I bear fruit?
How much fruit am I supposed to bear?
What does it indicate if I am not bearing fruit?
How fruitful am I?
3, The world will know who Jesus is by the unity of the disciples. (John 17:20-23)
How does Jesus define the level of unity that should exist between disciples?
What are Christians known for today?
What prevents us from being unified?
What should I conclude if we are not unified but that’s what Jesus prayed for those who would believe in and follow Him?
How do these areas relate to the condition of “the church” today?
Let’s take tomorrow thinking through these three areas and sharing with one another as we feel led.
I was raised to be an independent, strong-willed woman. My earthly father prepared me for life by sending me to the best schools. I attended Wellesley College, the same school Hillary Clinton and a host of prominent women attended. Gloria Steinem spoke at my graduation. I was a Fulbright Scholar. I went to Harvard Graduate School. My father meant well, but his plans stemmed from worldly wisdom.
"Church" was an event I put into my schedule, not the fabric of who I was. Amidst many successes that left me feeling empty, I began searching for meaning. My life was turned upside down when I realized how wrong I had been about God and the Church. I had accepted a diluted, unrecognizable version of both. Earnestly studying my Bible and realizing my need for repentance, I committed myself to a relationship with Christ, following his plan for salvation. That was the easy part.
Then began the process of peeling away layer upon layer of religiosity.
Now 23 years later, He is still stripping away layers of erroneous thinking and revealing to me how to bring greater glory and honor to Him through my thoughts, my actions, my speech, my life.
Though I have been blessed in many ways and have a wonderful family, the desire to obey the Lord's commands has led me to a very different path in life than I would have ever imagined. Following Him has not been easy. In fact, it is harder than any of my studies at the best name schools, ever was.
Jesus never promises a life of ease. In fact, He calls me to walk counter to the teachings of this society. But in trading in worldly wisdom for His, I have gained full confidence that Jesus Christ is truly the only treasure worth chasing.