Archive for the ‘John’ Category

John 17:20-26 Jesus Prays For All Believers 

July 21, 2016

Jesus finishes His verbal prayer:

[20] “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,

He was talking about US!

[21] that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

The oneness about which Jesus is talking is all of us having the same spirit, the Holy Spirit. It doesn’t necessarily mean that we all think the same-although I wish there was more of that kind of oneness…

[22] I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one:
[23] I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 

When we are all on the same page-literally-about evangelism, worship, and righteous living, we ARE a light in a dark world. The problem is that we have diluted the Gospel down to having Jesus forgive our sins…that’s it. There is no followship, no discipleship, and no fruit from many who say they came to Christ. All we can do is be faithful and preach a correct message. 

 [24]  “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

BEST VERSE! It explains Jesus’ passion and plan for us while giving us a glimpse of His former glory. 

[25] “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. [26] I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” 

I love the word, “continue;” it tells us that Jesus will be interacting with His disciples (and us) revealing the Father to us as we go. His love is to overflow in our hearts to those around us, especially to those who need Jesus! 

John 17:13-19 More Prayer For His Disciples 

July 20, 2016

Jesus prays some powerful things for us!

[13] “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.

We are to have the full measure of His joy! Wow! What does that mean? Love, joy and peace are given to us by God. They actually radiate from the throne to us and through us. We are conduits of His love, joy and peace to others all the while experiencing them as they flow through us. SO LET THEM FLOW!!! 🙂

[14] I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.

People hate what is different from them, especially if it is better. We must remember that the vast majority of people are NOT interested in the Gospel and prefer the dark (John 3:19-20). Be ready. 

[15] My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.

We are Christ’s hands and feet and mouthpiece to the world. It is His design, so we go with it. Staying under the umbrella of God’s protection is important. 

[16] They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.

(Reiteration; identification)

[17] Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.

There it is: We are sanctified (set apart and made holy) be the Word of God. Let’s read it, study it, meditate on it, and obey it!

[18] As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.

Jesus’s Plan for the Church. 

[19]  For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

As God, Jesus was able to sanctify Himself. As He did, He also sanctified His disciples. I don’t know if He sanctified them before He went to the cross or by way of the cross. What do you think?

John 17:6-12 Jesus Prays For His Disciples 

July 19, 2016

Jesus prays a summary/supplication for the disciples. He is speaking aloud for their benefit (John 11:42). 

Summary-[6] “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word.

[7] Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you.

[8] For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.

Supplication-[9] I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.

Summary-[10] All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them.

[11] I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. SupplicationHoly Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one.

Summary-[12]  While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

Jesus’ prayer for his disciples is confirmation of His intercession for them. He does for us, as well:

Hebrews 7:24-25 “but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood.
[25] Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.”

He also lets them know that they belong to God. Comforting words! Jesus prays for their protection from the evil one. Staying under the umbrella of His protection is key to victorious Christian living and a “happy” life. Judas didn’t…  He also prayed that they may have unity just like Jesus has with the Father. What a new concept! Think about it: Israel’s entire existence has been because of the Sinai Experience. Look at how they perceived God:

Exodus 19:12-13 “Put limits for the people around the mountain and tell them, ‘Be careful that you do not go up the mountain or touch the foot of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death.

[13] He shall surely be stoned or shot with arrows; not a hand is to be laid on him. Whether man or animal, he shall not be permitted to live.’ Only when the ram’s horn sounds a long blast may they go up to the mountain.”

Intimacy with God the Father was a new concept. They didn’t really understand until Pentecost. WE understand it, and teach it-maybe too well. Maybe we need to teach the fear of the Lord more often. 

More tomorrow!

John 16:1-5 Jesus Begins to Pray

July 18, 2016

This prayer of Jesus reveals to us the unique relationship between the Father and Him. If a person were to read just this prayer-with assistance and guidance-he would get a real flavor of the Person of God the Son, Jesus. 

[17:1] After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:
“Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.
 

It’s all about God the Father and bringing glory to Him. 

[2] For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.

Wow! Even while He was here on Earth! I am reminded of the young man being lowered through the roof on the mat (Mark 2:1-12); Jesus forgave his sins and then healed him. 

[3] Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

This is a key salvation verse. It’s not about what you do; it’s about Who you know. 

[4] I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.

What was Jesus’ work? He trained His disciples! He set the example and now we are to continue His Plan. “Those who get it, teach.”

[5]  And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

 “Before the world began–” WOW! Take a look at these verses:

John 2:2 He was with God in the beginning. 

Philippians 2:6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped [retained]…

Revelation 13:8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world. 

And now the big one:

John 17:24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

Want to know Jesus’ heart? It’s right here! He wants us to be with Him in Glory. “Bless the Lord, O my soul!” We really do have ten thousand reasons to bless His holy name!

John 16:28-33

July 17, 2016

John 16:28 “I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”

Even though they finally understood, it was still a wild ride for the next three days–and then 40 days…and then 10 more to Pentecost…and then…

Jesus warned them one more time about what will happen and says, [33]  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Not a truer statement could be made, and aren’t you glad?! Let’s take heart today and enjoy His presence in our lives. 

John 16:16-27 Grief to Joy!

July 16, 2016

Jesus uses the word, “joy,” four times in this passage:

[20] I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.

[21] A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.

[22] So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy

[24] Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.

I think He wants us to have joy! It’s the part of the relationship that He gives to us (along with peace and love). We actually channel His joy-the joy that He is feeling!

Another neat revelation is what Jesus has to say about asking in His name and actually asking the Father. Now, don’t get hung up on procedures; you may talk to any of the Three and they hear you. It’s more about understanding our relationship with them and how Jesus was changing it and transforming it into something beautiful and intimate. 

[23] In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.

[25] “Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father.
[How? Through the Spirit]

[26] In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf.
[27] No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.

John 6:29 says, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” Because we have believed in Jesus, God Himself loves us! 

Knowing God loves us fills us with the Joy of Jesus! Keep it and share it at the same time. It’s catching…

 

John 16:1-15 More Work of the Holy Spirit

July 15, 2016

This chapter is difficult to digest. Better to take it one verse at a time:

[1] “All this I have told you so that you will not go astray.”

I love the fact the Jesus knows them (and us) so well! My version says, “fall away.” Both indicate a wandering off-course, although one may be more extreme than the other. 

[2] “They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God.”

I’m thinking Saul/Paul. He began the “eradication ” soon after Pentecost.  

[3] “They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me.”

But even then, they can be saved. Paul was!

[4] “I have told you this, so that when the time comes you will remember that I warned you. I did not tell you this at first because I was with you.
[5] But now I am going to him who sent me,”

Jesus knew what to mention and when. Prudence IS one of the seven pillars of wisdom (Prov. 9:1 using 1:2-5).

“yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?'[6] Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief.”

 I think Jesus was acknowledging their grief. It was a natural emotion to His news. Neither could they grasp just what was taking place. 

[7]”But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”

This verse is the entire reason for Jesus’ visit to Earth! He wanted to change the way our relationship with Him works. 

[8] “When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment:”

It is the job of the Holy Spirit to convict–not ours! Look at how He convicts:

[9] in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me;
(See 15:22)

[10] in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer;
(He truly IS GOD!)

[11] and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
[One of a series of judgments of Satan. The first was being cast down from Heaven (much is described in Rev. 12), now this one, then the bottomless pit (20:1-3), and then the  lake of fire (Rev. 20:10)].

 [12] “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.
[13] But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.  

I bolded the best part. Of all that we read today, let us grab onto this: God is NOT distant, nor is He vague. He loves us with an everlasting love and wants intimate fellowship with us ALL THE TIME! Hence, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. 

[14] He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.
[15] All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you. 

These two verses explain the Trinity and how that relationship works: the Father gives to the Son who gives to the Spirit who gives to us. The Spirit is not less than God, but He is the Motion of God and is a separate entity, which is how God can live in us. We could spend an entire week just on what it means to have the Motion (Power, Dynamo) of God inside us!

Aren’t you glad God had all of this figured out?!!!

 

John 15:26-27 The Work of the Holy Spirit

July 14, 2016

Something has been missing from our evangelism program and I believe it is found right here:

[26] “When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.
[27] And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

When it comes to sharing the Gospel, this passage puts it into perspective for me. It is the Spirit who does the calling; if He doesn’t make Jesus known to the person, then no amount of sharing on my part will change his mind. Indeed, he cannot unless the Spirit opens his eyes and ears to hear the Gospel. 

Also, I don’t have to “sell Jesus.” Instead, I put forth the Gospel:

  1. Christ left His throne in heaven to come to earth and be born of a virgin, 
  2. He lived a sinless life as our example, 
  3. died on a cross in our place taking our sins with Him to the grave, 
  4. three days later rising from the dead defeating sin and death for us and was seen by over 500 people over a period of forty days,
  5. and then ascended back to His throne with the Father promising to come back for us when the time is right. 

Paul quoted the Apostles on this one (I included #1 and 2 above because we deal with people with virtually no knowledge of Christ and His mission):

1 Cor. 15:1-8 Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.

[2] By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

 [3] For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

[4] that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

[5] and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.

[6] After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.

[7] Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles,

[8] and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
[This verse is where we attest that we have met Him, as well]. 

At this point in the conversation we ask, “Are you interested in hearing more?” If so, give your testimony. If not, well…move on. But pray for them that they will fall under the conviction of the Holy Spirit. A seed of the Gospel was planted; from here it depends on what kind of soil it landed. 

John 15:18-25 The World Hates the Disciples

July 13, 2016

[19] If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

Be warned. This world is not fair. You may be the perfect fit for that character in the school play, or the best candidate on the election ballot, but you are a Follower of Jesus and you smell bad to them. 

2 Corinthians 2:15-16 “For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.
[16] To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task?”

The world will hate us and not even know why. Did you know that when you received Christ you took a vow of obscurity? You also took one of poverty and chastity. God MAY bless you and make you great in these areas, but more likely not. 

“If the persecuted Me, they will persecute you.” (v.20) Be ready. Understand that it is coming; know it; own it; glory in it! Peter and John and the other apostles did:

Acts 5:40-41 His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.

[41] The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.

 One more thing: They may hate you, they may hate Jesus, but the line is drawn when they reject the Spirit. 

Matthew 12:31-32 And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.

[32] Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

Why is this so? Because it is the Spirit who woos, who calls, and who comes in and saves. Without Him THERE CAN BE NO SALVATION.

Let’s be like the apostles and rejoice when persecution comes because we will have been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.

John 15:5-17 More About Vines and Branches

July 12, 2016

[5] “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

 This verse is a reiteration of verse 4, it’s just worded differently. Verse 7 is a reiteration of 14:14. Verse 8 is new: what IS the Father’s glory? That we bear much fruit. What fruit? The fruit of obedience, of belief in Him, of trust and faith. Remaining in Him requires all of these. 

There is more fruit: Love and Joy. As we remain in His love (and enjoy His presence), we have love to share. Keeping His commands is how we show our Lord that we love Him (9-10). What is the result of remaining in His love? JOY! COMPLETE and OVERFLOWING!

“Now, armed with My love and My joy, love each other as I have loved you.” [12]

[13] Jesus states His intention. 

[14] Then He changes the relationship-they have graduated and are now considered friends! 

[15] Jesus has revealed everything necessary for the disciples to carry on the work of the Father. 

Verses 16-17 are a recap of 1-15. We have been chosen to carry on His work by trusting in His name to love one another in His fashion. He has promised to not only be WITH us, but IN us!

It doesn’t get any better than that this side of heaven!

John 15:1-4 The Vine and the Branches 

July 11, 2016

The Father is The Gardener- Keeping this term in mind, look at the references we have to gardens and vineyards:

Genesis 2:8 (the garden of Eden), Matthew 20:1 (parable of the Workers) , 21:28 (parable of the two sons), 21:38 (parable of the tenants), Luke 13:6 (parable of the fig tree)

Jesus IS the True Vine- He is the only Vine in the garden. THERE IS NO OTHER VINE. 

Verse 2- the term, “cuts off” is NOT a good rendering of the word “airos. ” The best definition is “lifts up,” which means that He picks up the vine. “Cuts off” is the seventh of nine definitions for that word. See Matthew 15:20 (feeding of the 5000), Matthew 27:32 (Simon bears Jesus’ cross), and John 1:29 (“Behold the Lamb of God…) which jives with Isaiah 53:4 (Surely He bore our griefs…) for other references. The picture is of the gardener finding a vine growing along the ground where it gets dirty, stepped on, and cannot be productive. The Gardener picks it up and ties it back on the trellis, thus allowing it to be fruitful again. 

The key word for the verse is “prunes.” Not the kind you eat😜, but the cutting away of dead limbs and even unnecessary foliage. Hmmm, maybe God does that in our lives, too…you think?!

Verse 3: Jesus cleans us and washes us with the water of the Word (Eph. 5:26). 

Verse 4: we MUST stay connected to the Vine, from which comes our LIFE! 

Let’s stay connected today to Him.

John 14:15-31 Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

July 10, 2016

Everything is based on one assumption, that we keep His commands. 

  • He will send the Spirit of Truth to be our advocate (see Romans 8:26-27)
  • The Spirit lives in us
  • Jesus lives in us
  • We will live because He lives
  • We are all one: God, Jesus, us 
  • We love Jesus by obeying Him
  • He will show (reveal, as in opening up our minds to understand His message, His Plan, and to fellowship with Him) Himself to us

This is the kind of message I like to bring to people! 😃

John 14:7-14 Knowing Him

July 9, 2016

There is great revelation and many truths in this passage. Jesus was talking plainly to them (16:29). It was straight up this time. 

[7] If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

[10] Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.

This next verse you have heard before in 10:38. 

[11] Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.

Verse 12 is a key verse for us, 

[12] I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

Jesus tells them plainly that He is going to the Father-heaven! He introduces His main objective, which He explains in verse 15 and on. His going ushered in the Holy Spirit’s coming! 

Verses 13-14 have been misconstrued and abused for centuries. What does Jesus mean by “In My name?” I think, first, that it implies a relationship-the Spirit must be present in order to have power. Secondly, we must be connected-walking with Him and not against Him. Thirdly, we must must wait for the invitation to join Him in His work-communication. All of these requirements take the human equation out of it. It’s all  Him and about Him!

Tomorrow: the Spirit of Truth 

John 14:1-6 Comfort and Direction 

July 8, 2016

I love Jesus’ logic: “Believe God? Believe Me.” He does the same with His news about heaven. 

Lots of rooms.

Would I lie to you?

I’m preparing a place.

I’ll be back. 

You know the way. 

 The disciples may have known Him as God’s Son on an introductory level, but the depth of relationship was still veiled to them. They missed the last part. Thomas asked first, “What way?”

Jesus answered in a much larger manner than the question was intended. We call it a sound bite (striking remark), a catch phrase. 

[6] Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

 The rest of the chapter is on HOW this verse plays out. More tomorrow!

John 13:31-35 A New Command

July 7, 2016

John 13:31-32 When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him.[32] If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.

 I’m thinking that dealing with Judas was the last bit of evangelism that needed to be done. You may say, “But Judas rejected Christ; how can that be evangelism?” Ah, but evangelism isn’t saving someone, but sharing with someone the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have no control over what decision he will make. Jesus had tried for three years with Judas, but Judas simply wasn’t buying it. He had an agenda and it was to deliver Jesus to the authorities for money. He did have buyer’s remorse later, but it wasn’t enough. He had missed his window of opportunity–a huge 3 year window!

Now it is all about the cross. Jesus’ glorification was wrapped up in His obedience to the Father. Ours is, too. We glorify God through our obedience and He glorifies us when we are obedient. Just like Jesus. 

I don’t know why the editors of this Bible chose to emphasize the prediction of Peter’s denial when the main idea is Jesus’ new command: [34] “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
[35] By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” 

Jesus had just commanded them to serve each other by washing feet; now He tells them to love each other as He has loved them. “Agapao” – to love with the heart and the head; with feeling and intention. THIS is how we are to love each other. We make each other our aim and marginalize the world. Easy to say, hard to do. It takes work and the power and connection of the Spirit. 

This kind of love is undeniable and unexplainable to the world. It is a drawing factor to those who are open to the Gospel. 

WOW!

John 13:18-30 Jesus Predicts His Betrayal 

July 6, 2016

“But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture-”

Jesus was calling attention to the fact that this event had already been written about and was about to be fulfilled. Telling them about it should have bolstered their faith. 

The fact that they didn’t know who the betrayer was is interesting. Evidently, Judas had not acted strangely to them. We know that he used to help himself to the kitty every so often (12:6), but he must not have shown any obvious discontent. Maybe it was all money-related. Whatever the motivation, he gave in to temptation. 

13:7 is VERY interesting, “As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.” The verse is not enough on which to build an entire doctrine, but it does give us a window into the spirit world. “Intent.” It could be that we give permission to demons to take control-to a limited degree-when we decide to sin. In reverse, we give permission to the Holy Spirit to do the same when we decide to obey the Lord. 

Let me know your thoughts on this matter. 

John 13:1-17 Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet

July 5, 2016

The time: Festival of Unleavened Bread. 

The event: Passover 

Jesus was completely aware of all that was going on: His last day, the cross, Judas, everything. 

[3] Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God;

So, He reclines at table and has everybody serve Him–you would think. But He doesn’t. Instead, He sets an example for His disciples that is true to this day, “you will be blessed if you do them.” (17b). 

Jesus was very specific with Peter because the washing was an illustration with certain points. 

1. Example- The Master did it, so if you want to be like Him, you will need to do the same. (14-15)

2. Picture- even though Jesus has cleansed us and given us a new nature, we still walk in a dirty world and we need to go to Him and have our feet washed. 

What does that look like?

Needing your feet washed infers dirt on the feet. In this case, dirt represents sin: we have sin on our feet. 

You walk by the kitchen sink and there are dirty dishes in there. Your brother was supposed to put them in the dishwasher. What do you do? A. Tell Mom. B. Tell your brother to quit slacking and do it. C. Do it FOR him so that the job gets done and he doesn’t get in trouble.  Leave the lesson to the Spirit for conviction. He will never learn the lesson of doing what he’s  supposed to do without His conviction and enlightenment. Also, the lesson may not be about diligence, but the opportunity for the Spirit to talk to your brother! What did Jesus say? “Forgive him seventy times seven”–a day!!! It’s not about fairness; it’s about obedience–YOUR obedience!

“Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” (17)

More on John 10:22-42

July 4, 2016

The question is: Will you believe Jesus?

If we believe Jesus, we are accepting Him as God’s Son, or “God in the flesh.” 

Hebrews 1:3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

There is a difference in the English language between believing in and believing on. Believing “in” is head knowledge; we receive it as fact-but may not act upon it. It is simply that: head knowledge. Believing “on” requires action. We must trust the information enough to allow it to guide our actions. 

If you believe that Jesus is who He said He is, then find out all you can about Him. Start with the book of John. Each time you come across a teaching of Jesus, write it down and ask for wisdom to apply it to your life–then do it! If you will do this procedure at least four times a week, you will become more like Him and people will notice the difference. When they do, give credit where credit is due: to Jesus and His wondrous cleansing power!

John 12:37-50 Belief and Unbelief Among the Jews

July 4, 2016

Lots of Isaiah quoted here. Eye-popper: [41] “Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about Him.” When?! In Isaiah 6:1-4, 

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.

[2] Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.

[3] And they were calling to one another:

 “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;

the whole earth is full of his glory.”

[4] At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

The bad news: [37] Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him.

The good news: [42a] Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. 

The best news: [45] The one who looks at Me is seeing the One who sent Me. 

Passages about light and darkness according to verse 46:

Isaiah 5:20, 9:2, Matt. 5:14-16, 6:22-23, John 1:1-19, 3:19-20, 8:12, 9:5, 11:9-10, Romans 13:12-14, 2 Cor. 4:6, Heb. 10:32, 1 Peter 2:9, 1 John 1:5-7, 2:8-10, Rev. 21:23-24, 22:5

Jesus gave His closing argument as He presented His case publicly for the last time. He called all listeners, both then and now, to believe or face the Judge, His Father. On THIS side of the cross, we see the vast extent of His love for us. Even so, to stand in the presence of Jesus must have been something! “Special” just doesn’t say it all…

Tomorrow, we “sit” with Jesus and His Disciples at the Passover. 

John 12:27-36 Jesus’ Candidness 

July 3, 2016

John 12:27-28 “Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.
[28] Father, glorify your name!”
Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.”  

Wow! That right there should have won everyone present over! God again, moved to speaking audibly, verified His relationship with His Son. Everyone there should have been on their faces. Instead, they questioned the process,

[34] The crowd spoke up, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ will remain forever, so how can you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?”

The crowd still didn’t believe nor would they. The crowd looks for  things contrary to the Spirit; He calls us one by one. Mass salvations are rare (Acts 2:41) and are made up of searchers, people primed at the pump.  Nearly all crowds contain too many unbelievers and rabble rousers (Matt. 27:20-26). 

Jesus tried one more time to instruct them and then He hid Himself from the crowd (36). Tomorrow we will look at HOW the Spirit calls. 

John 12:20-26 Serving Jesus 

July 2, 2016

With only a day or two-possibly hours-before His crucifixion,  Jesus is feeling the pull of the cross. 

John 12:23-26 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.

[24] I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

The next two verses call us to attention. If you need a framework for your life, here it is!

[25] The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

[26] Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

I think the part I like best is that where He is, His servant is with Him. I want to be where Jesus is-I don’t even care which world!

 

John 10:22-42 The Compassion of Jesus

July 1, 2016

It is in this passage that Jesus gives us our greatest assurance. 

[28] I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.

[29]  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 

It s double-fisted grip! We can’t even wiggle out. 😏

Verse 30 answers the question in verse 24:

[30] I and the Father are one.”

Jesus’ logic is masterful. He used the Scriptures against them. But He went further with that logic:

[36] what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?
[37] Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father.  

THERE is their out! They CAN believe because His works are proof. But they must beware if they don’t because they would be committing the sin of unbelief, which is the Unpardonable Sin. Matthew 12:31 And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit [unbelief when the Spirit calls] will not be forgiven.

Hebrews 3:19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.

Then Jesus fairly pleads with them:[38] But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”  

Did they? John 12:37 Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they [the religious leaders] still would not believe in him.

But how about the regular folks? [10:42] “And in that place many believed in Jesus.”

Thank Him today for His amazing gift of grace that we should believe and be saved and be counted as His!

John 10:11-21 The Good Shepherd Continued 

June 30, 2016

Such rich teaching! Jesus begins to reveal His plan: to die for the sins of mankind. 

[11] “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

[15] just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.

[17] The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again.

Verse 17 reveals what CS Lewis refers to as “the deeper magic,” and that is “to take it [his life] up again.”

[18] No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

Had we ears to hear what He was saying, we would not have been surprised by what happened at the cross and then the tomb. But as God told Isaiah, “Go and tell this people:
“‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’ [10] Make the heart of this people calloused;
make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears, understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed.” Isaiah 6:9-10

There was a reason for this veil. The enemy could not catch wind of what He was doing. 1 Corinthians 2:8 says, “None understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucifed the Lord of glory.”

There is another part of the plan that He reveals in this passage, which is to combine the Gentiles and Israel into one unit. 

[16] I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.

Galatians 3:14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

[26] You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus,
[27] for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.  [28]  There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  

 Ephesians 2:14b His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two [Jews and Gentiles] thus making peace,

As a Gentile, I am certainly glad that Christ fulfilled His plan. And I have great certainty that He will fulfill the rest of His plan: 

His Return!

John 10:1-10 The Good Shepherd and His Sheep

June 29, 2016

Jesus had just healed a blind man by spitting on the ground, making a mud paste and then putting it on the man’s eyes and having him go wash in the pool of Siloam. The man was taken before the Pharisees and grilled. Jesus found him later and witnessed to him: the man believed and worshiped Him [7:38]. 

Picking up at verse 39, Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”

[40] Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”

[41] Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.”

 [10:1] “I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.  

[2] The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep.

[3] The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

[4] When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.”

 The Pharisees were obviously not shepherds and didn’t get the message. Jesus tried again,

[7] Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep.

[8] All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.

[9] I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.

[10] The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Who were the thieves and robbers who came before? Could it be the religious leaders? If so, then verse 10 could easily read, “The religious leaders come only to use, manipulate, and control, but I have come that my sheep may have life, and have it to the full [in abundance].

Jesus also makes much of us hearing His voice and following Him only. It makes me wonder about so many “Christians” who run after so many things that are not Christ. Verse 5 puts them into perspective, “But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” I believe we have many in our churches that think they are His when they are not. 

I am reminded of Matthew 11:16-17, “To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others: [17] “‘We played the flute for you,
and you did not dance [a wedding game];
we sang a dirge,
and you did not mourn [a funeral game].’” He could easily have said of our generation, “We played the music and you did not worship right.” 

GLAD has a song that explains it pretty well, 

GLAD was a phenomenon. Their harmonies were before the wonders of the mixing boards of today. We heard them live in 1984 at OBU. Simply incredible! 

John 6:60-71 Many Disciples Desert Jesus 

June 28, 2016

John 6:60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”

[66] From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. 

Why did Jesus choose such an offensive illustration? [55] “For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.
[56] Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.” 

I think verse 65 is the key:

[65] He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.”

For salvation to come, a person must have:

1. A heart that is looking,

2. A willingness to set self aside,

3. And an intention to follow Jesus. 

Peter spoke for the group when he said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

How did they come to believe? Verses 37, 39, 44, and 65 tell us that the Father reveals Who Jesus is to those who would receive Him. It sounds like “Limited Atonement,” but verses 51, 54 and 56 say, “Whoever.” Life in Jesus is available to all–who will come. Many choose not to. Jesus doesn’t meet their criteria for what they think they need. Even one of the 12 (Judas) fit this category and proved it later on. 

Preach the Word-no restraints–and pray for the Spirit to move in hearts. 

John 6:45-59 Know Me and Know the Father 

June 27, 2016

Jesus continued to enlighten them. 

John 6:45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.

He was indirectly pointing the entire Old Testament to Himself, which is accurate. Had they read the Scriptures as they were intended, they would have been looking for a Lamb and not a Lion-this time!

V46 Jesus claimed to have seen the Father. In fact, He CAME from the Father. He says as much in verse 51. Then He lays it on the line:

[51] I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

Verses 53-58 will separate a group real fast. Jesus didn’t mince words; He was counting on the Holy Spirit to interpret His words in the hearts of those who were ready to accept them. THIS is how to present the Gospel! 

Now, if we are working with children, our approach has to be on their level of understanding, but I have no qualms about calling them to follow Jesus closely. 

May you call and encourage many children to come to Jesus in your ministry at LifeChurch. 

John 1:1 The Word Became Flesh 

June 25, 2016

There are no two verses to memorize that are better than these:

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

[14] The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

They tell the story of the Advent. Add to them the description of Jesus at His Second Coming and you have a complete picture:

Revelation 19:13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.

Of course, the key to the passage in John is verse 12, “Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” And it’s still true today!

This passage is the beginning of the manifestation of the Trinity, the revelation of God the Son. We have always known God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, but now we have the introduction of God the Son by way of Mary. 

Tomorrow, as we look at John 6:25-70, we will look at His message. 

Praise Him today that He CAME!