We continued our study in Galatians 5:16-26 Lesson Four Deeds of the Flesh
What We Learned Together Sunday May 28, 2023
INTRODUCTIONSo many stories in our culture of friendship. It is the grace of God in our human experience to have friends. Friends take different forms and even songs express the heart desire of so many “You Got A Friend in Me.” In our Scripture passage this morning three references Jesus makes to friends in verses 13, 14, and 15. In John Chapter Fifteen three different relationships explained: Relationship with Jesus [15:1-11], Relationship with One Another as His Disciples [15:12-17], and Relationship with the world [15:18-25]. Look on your notes this morning for our summary statement of these verses. Jesus teaches us that being His disciple means loving others because He has loved us in this discipleship relationship with Him. Here Jesus Entrusting Himself to His Friends. Notice how these words of Jesus are bracketed by the same instruction, “This is my commandment, that you love another.” [verse 12 and 17] We have entitled our message this morning “Greater Love has No One Than This.” We will see three main themes for better understanding friendship in the words of Jesus: Present Love, Present Relationship, and Present Plan. We as New Life Fellowship are a church to glory God by becoming more like Jesus Christ and making Him known.
First, Present Love for One Another Because They Are Loved by Jesus [15:12-13]. Both the Mandate and Model of Love communicated in these words of Jesus. There is His Present Commandment Is Love One Another in verse twelve. His words “This is My commandment, that you love one another . . .” The present tense verb emphasize both loving personally and humbly. These words by Jesus are in repetition, importance, truth. Remember the words of Jesus in John Chapter Thirteen. “ I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples: if you have love for one another.” [John 13:34-35] And then he says, “. . . just as I have loved you.” In His will, action, and choice His love is demonstrated and communicated. This means our love ought not be conditional nor reciprocal. Even further we would say the character of this love is grounded in the nature of His love. And also the nature of this love is rooted in the presence of His love. The love of Jesus shown in both His service and sacrifice. These words of Jesus put before us as His disciples our testimony for Christ, our ministry as a church, and our identity as Christ’s disciples. There is also His Present Commitment Is Love For Each One of Them in verse thirteen. Jesus says, “Greater love has no one than this . . .” An axiomatic statement pointing to Himself when He then says, “. . . that one lay down his life for his friends.” The present tense verb emphasizes both loving sacrificially and willingly. Elsewhere we have seen this phrase in the words of Peter in chapter thirteen [John 13:37-38]. As one commentator said, “no greater proof of love than the sacrifice of one’s life.” Know what Jesus did do, would do, and has done! This tells us also that there are many other things we must lay down in our loving one another. In order for us to offer both sacrifice and service in love for others we should lay down selfishness, unwillingness, and unforgiveness. We all must grow in this degree of our love in self-sacrificing for others. Our love should be measure by serving, sacrificing and suffering just as Jesus has loved us as His disciples. John would write later in his first epistle in chapter three. “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers and sisters. But whoever has worldly goods and sees his brother or sister in need, and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God remain in him? Little children, let’s not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.” [1John 3:16-18] Indeed never fully like Jesus but indeed we can love personally and humbly, sacrificially and willingly because of both the mandate and model of His love. Who is it in my life that I love like Christ loves me? Who would say that I love them the way Christ loves me? Who needs to be loved in our midst that we can show them the love of Christ?
Second, Present Relationship for Each One of Them As Friends of Jesus [15:14-15]. Both the Meaning and Message of Friendship communicated in these words of Jesus. There is His Present Statement That Who Are His Friends in verse fourteen. See His words, “You are My friends if you do what I command you.” Literally “you yourselves My friends are . . . I Myself . . .” Reality of personal obedience by those in this relationship because of the reality of His sacrifice for them. Jesus sees His disciples as His friends but His disciples loved Him as Savior and served Him as Lord. Friendship involves words, plans, counsels, and cares in sharing our time and talking together in a relationship expressed in love for one another. There is also His Personal Statement About What Being Friends Means in verse fifteen. “No longer do I call you slaves . . . but I have called you friends . . .” And “for all things that I have heard . . . I have made known to you.” The disciples of Jesus are more informed, more privileged, and have more understanding through what Jesus has said to them and for us in these chapters. Such friendship shares, gives, relates, and reveals communicated with love and for love for others. Therefore, we possess knowledge in this friendship and have love in this kind of friendship through our close association in this friendship.
Third, Present Plan for Those Who Are His Disciples [15:16-17]. Both the Mission and Ministry of Discipleship communicated in these words of Jesus. There is His Personal Appointment of Those Who Are His in verse sixteen. “You did not choose Me but I chose you and appointed you . . .” Jesus emphasizes not you yourselves Me chose BUT I Myself. It could be explained this way, "it is not about you but about Me.” Other places where Jesus teaches His choice of them as His disciples in His initiative in this discipleship relationship [cf. John 6:70; 13:18; 15:19]. There is also His Personal Assignment for Those Who Are His in verses sixteen and seventeen. Three elements of this assignment: 1) that you would go, 2) bear fruit, and 3) that your fruit would remain. Friendships because of Gospel relationships expressing the love of Christ as disciples of Jesus. And we are called upon as His disciples to be asking and praying through these steps and on this assignment. And Jesus said at the end of verse sixteen, “so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.” And finally Jesus says again, “This I command you, that you love one another.” We should all memorize this as disciples of Jesus. These summary words by Jesus for His disciples “that you keep loving.” What does Jesus want me to do today? Why should I go to church this Sunday morning? All sort of ministries through this church body that will grow as we love one another through service and sacrifice in laying down our lives for others because of the love of Jesus for us.
The Loving Relationship with others where we are personally and humbly, sacrificially and willingly showing love in these Gospel friendships with others because of our discipleship relationship with Jesus. Jesus teaches us that being His disciple means loving others because He has loved us in this discipleship relationship with Him. Here Jesus Entrusting Himself to His Friends. Again, Jesus words place before each of us as His disciples Present Love, Present Relationship and Present Plan. We learn that our Relationship with Jesus is shown in our relationship with His disciples. We see These words of Jesus decide & mark How I am relating to others. We together show These words of Jesus shape & form How We are relating to one another. Sacrificing of selfishness, unwillingness, and unforgiveness so that self-centeredness and shallowness be set down as we pickup love for one another. Listen as I read “The Friendships of John Newton” which give testimony of such gospel friendships as disciples of Jesus. These words of Jesus put before us as His disciples our testimony for Christ, our ministry as a church, and our identity as Christ’s disciples. We as New Life Fellowship are a church to glory God by becoming more like Jesus Christ and making Him known.
On This Memorial Day Weekend . . .
The Story of John Robert Fox . . .
During the Second World War, countless Allied soldiers put their lives on the line for the good of their country. Others simply offered themselves up in order to save comrades. But still, even in this time of true heroism, the story of John Robert Fox stands out. The artillery officer added his names to the history books – and earned himself a posthumous Medal of Honor – for the sacrifice he made one December day in 1944, when he was thousands of miles from home.
Fox was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in May 1915. By all accounts, he was a smart, diligent young man and he earned a place at Wilberforce University. Here, he signed up for the Reserve Officer Training Corp, meaning he not only finished college with a graduate degree, but with a rank of Second Lieutenant. When war broke out, then, he took his commission and joined the 92nd Infantry Division, a segregated division for African-American soldiers that fought with distinction throughout the conflict.
With his unit, Fox was sent to the European theater of war. In 1944, he found himself fighting the Nazis in Italy. It was here where, in December of that year, he was tasked to stay behind in the small village of Sommocolonia, in Tuscany. The village had been overrun by Nazis, and Americans were in retreat. Fox found a house to hide in and, from the second floor, he used his radio to contact his colleagues. He called for artillery fire to be directed at the village in order to give the US forces time to retreat, regroup and then launch a counter-attack. Fox even specifically ordered a barrage of fire on his exact position. The gunner who received the message pointed this out to him, assuming it must be some mistake. Fox, however, simply said: “Fire it. There’s more of them than there are us”: famous last words of a true American hero.
Fox’s act of sacrifice was not in vain. As he planned, the artillery barrage did indeed give his comrades the chance to regroup and launch a successful counterattack. When the US army entered Sommocolinia, they found Fox’s body surrounded by the bodies of around 100 Germans. It wasn’t until 1997 that his bravery was truly recognized, however. President Bill Clinton awarded Fox the Medal of Honor, with his widow, Arlene, picking it up. The citation noted it was awarded for Fox’s “gallant and courageous actions, at the supreme sacrifice of his own life”. He was a true American hero who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Lesson Three The Spirit of God in the Life of the Christian and the Life of the Church
What We Learned Together Sunday May 21, 2023
INTRODUCTIONThis morning we enter into John Chapter fifteen. Three different kinds of relationships which the words of Jesus address in our lives as His disciples: 1) Relationship with Jesus, 2) Relationship with one another, and 3) Relationship with the world. These Words from Jesus for His disciples because of His departure Going Away in Chapters [13-14]. These Words from Jesus for His disciples because of The Nature of His Relationship Going Forward with His Disciples . We have entitled the message this morning “Living Life in The Abiding Relationship with Jesus.” Look on your notes this morning for some summary statements to get us started in thinking through this first section of John Chapter fifteen.
Jesus teaches us that being His disciple means being in relationship with Him
Being in relationship with Him means bringing forth fruit through Him
Bringing forth fruit through Him so that we would demonstrate the reality
and vitality of our discipleship relationship with Jesus . . .
Jesus repeats the instruction abide in Me throughout this first eleven verses in John chapter fifteen [v.4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]. Another theme in these words of Jesus include descriptions of bearing fruit, bringing forth fruit as His disciples because of abiding in Him. much fruit [v.2] . . . bear fruit [v.4] . . . great deal of fruit [v.5, 8].
First, Illustration of Abiding in Jesus As The Life Giving Vine [15:1-3]. Here is the Vitality of Life according to the words of Jesus. Jesus begins with the Picture of The True Vine and the Real Vinedresser [15:1] Literally His words are “I Myself am the true vine and My Father the vinedresser is.” He is the real, genuine vine which Israel had failed. The Father is the Real Gardner. Jesus next explains the Nature of Every Fruit Bearing Branch [15:2-3] Here is a warning and a promise. Notice the actions of the Father “and every fruit bearing branch He prunes.” Some more detail given in Hebrews 12:7-11 where the Father disciplines His sons. Also see the plan “in order that more fruit might bear.” Both purpose and result communicated in these words. The Father is both actively involved and personal invested in seeing fruit bearing branches for the vine. He gives loving cuts, pruning cuts, fruit bearing cuts which helps us when being pruned. So many here today understand these words and are even now being pruned. Dear friend remember who the Vinedresser is and His purpose in pruning. Listen to this prayer by Amy Carmichael, “‘Rid me, good Lord, of every diverting thing.’ What prodigal waste it appears to be, to see scattered on the floor the bright green leaves, and the bare stem, bleeding in a hundred places from the sharp steel. But with a tried and trusted husbandman, there is not a random stroke in it at all; nothing cut away which would not have been loss to keep, and gain to lose.” Look at verse three, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.” He uses the word of God to prune and cleanse remembering Jesus words backs in John 13:10.
Second, Instruction for Abiding in Jesus As A Fruit Bearing Branch [15:4-6]. Here is the Reality of Fruit according to the words of Jesus. In verse four Jesus gives His Command for Abiding in Him. “Abide in Me, and also I Myself in you.” A duty given and laid upon His disciples for being remain in Him and with Him. This word abide means dependent on Him, obedient to Him, and present with Him. As Matthew Henry wrote, “It is the great concern of all Christ’s disciples constantly to keep up a dependence upon Christ and communion with him, habitually to adhere to him, & actually to derive supplies from him.” And notice the words of Jesus at the end of verse four. Jesus says, “Just as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself but must remain in the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me.” Horticulture imagery communicating the need for being connected to Him as The Vine. Another commentator describes abide in this way giving more detail. “To abide in Christ means to keep up a habit of constant close communion with Him,—to be always leaning on Him, resting on Him, pouring out our hearts to Him, and using Him as our Fountain of life and strength, as our chief Companion and best Friend.—To have His words abiding in us, is to keep His sayings and precepts continually before our memories and minds, and to make them the guide of our actions and the rule of our daily conduct and behavior.” [J.C. Ryle Expository Thoughts on the Gospels] Even further this word abide means not adding but cultivating, and not trying but depending. In verses five to six Jesus gives the Character for Abiding in Him. The necessity brought before His disciples being connected to Him. Jesus said emphatically, “I myself am the vine, you yourselves are the branches.” Again Another Promise and More Warnings in these words of Jesus. Notice the emphasis placed on the individual when Jesus says, “the one who remains in Me, and I in him bears much fruit.” [15:5] Here it is individual for the personal calling each one to examine life for this fruit bearing life connect to the vine. Listen to Him say, “for apart from Me you not able to do nothing.” As Martin Luther said, “nothing does not mean a little something.” Jesus is claiming to be the source of bearing fruit in our lives as His disciples. What only He can produce and that which we are unable to produce in and of ourselves without Him. Such a great reminder for the moralists, legalists, and zealots among us and such tendencies within our own lives spring from self-righteousness in our own hearts. And then His warning of judgement in verse six. Read the words of Jesus, “If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown away like a branch and dries up; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.” Warning that not all will abide, and more specifically Judas being such an example of one who did not abide. The disciple of Jesus cannot lose their salvation for a true fruit bearing branch abiding in the vine heeds this warning in the words of Jesus. Several Points to Ponder before going further in this Scripture passage. There is the Importance of my dependence upon the Lord Jesus. There is the Cultivating a close relationship with the Lord Jesus. There is the Vital relationship with Him because of Who He Is and Who I am. And There is the significance of this relationship with Jesus according to his words. As one commentator wrote, “It is most significant that the branches of the vine are useless for anything other than bearing fruit . . . Only in fruitfulness can a branch related to the vine fulfill its divine purpose and function.”
Third, Intention for Abiding in Jesus As A Disciple of Jesus [15:7-11]. Here is the actuality of relationship according to the words of Jesus. In verses seven to eight Jesus emphasizes Being One Who Is Abiding in Jesus and His Words Abiding in You. The repeated personal pronoun “My . . . My . . . My . . . My” brings into focus the emphasis of Himself in a clearer understanding of abiding in Him. Look at how Jesus starts this section. He said, “If you remain in Me, and My words remain in you . . ..” Both the Presence of Him in your life and the Residence of His word in your living. Then Jesus says, “ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” Here is the Obedience of asking Him during this Life. Being one who asks meaning His disciple who prays directed by Jesus with another command. And then Jesus directs us as His disciples to see the goal of being fruit bearing branches. “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.” Here is the Evidence of Being His in Living your life. In verses nine to ten Jesus emphasizes Being One Who Is Abiding in Jesus and Abiding in His Love. Jesus said, “Just as the Father has loved Me, I also have loved you; remain in My love.” Jesus calls us into the love of God as given to Him by the Father that we as His disciples would abide in His love. Jesus does not love us more because of performance but we experience and know His love more in our obedience. Experience His grace, His goodness, and His gospel. And then He said in verse ten, “If you keep My commandments, you will remain in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love.” He who perfectly obeyed so worthy and deserving of the love of the Father give to us His disciples who are so unworthy and undeserving His love. In verse eleven Jesus emphasizes Being One Who is Abiding in Jesus and Having His Joy in You. His joy in you and that your joy might be full in Him. Such joy includes confidence in the promise of God, assurance of the power of God, and the reliance on the plan of God. The flow of thought from joy to abiding and abiding to joy with ever increasing measures of these matters for the disciples of Jesus. The changes and conditions of our own hearts needing reminders and directions in these blessings found only in being one abiding in Jesus. The realities and truths of one being a fruit bearing branch connected to the life giving vine. All that Jesus would be glorified in us as those saved by Him and shown to be His disciples who are glorifying the Father bearing much fruit.
The Abiding Relationship shows the vitality of life, the reality of fruit, and the actuality of relationship. As we began, we now remind you again from the beginning of this message today of our thinking through this passage of Scripture.
Jesus teaches us that being His disciple means being in relationship with Him
Being in relationship with Him means bringing forth fruit through Him
Bringing forth fruit through Him so that we would demonstrate the reality
and vitality of our discipleship relationship with Jesus . . .
Several points of applications for each of us here today. Instruction for abiding in Jesus and His words abiding in you is essential for life as a disciple of Jesus in your Christian life. Examination of your life as His disciple according to His words because of His commands, His warnings, and His blessings. Demonstration of the reality & vitality of our relationship with Jesus. Condition of your Christian Life based on your abiding in Jesus and having His words directing the way you are going forward in your Christian walk.
Here Are 5 Tips for Conversations in Our Tense Cultural Moment - Canon Fodder (michaeljkruger.com)
OK, so conversations with non-Christians aren’t what they used to be. In years gone by, it seems you could just disagree with someone and everyone was fine with that. You could just shake hands and move on.
But now, in our tense cultural situation, disagreement is regarded as a personal attack. To disagree with someone is to be hateful and unloving toward them.
This is why it can sometime seems like conversations with non-Christians can quickly escalate to DEFCON 1. Before you know it, somehow it’s nuclear war.
As a result, I think Christians have struggled with how to talk with non-Christians in our current culture. Some have decided the conversations are just not worth it. Any hint at a disagreement causes some believers to tuck tail and run.
Other Christians take the opposite approach. They figure if a good fight is what someone wants, then by golly we’ll give them one. So, some Christians enter every conversation with both guns out of the holster, ready for a showdown.
Needless to say, neither extreme is healthy for the church. So, here are a few tips/reminders to consider in your conversations. There’s nothing particularly earth-shattering here, but hopefully keeping these things in mind can help:
1. It’s not arrogant to think you can know things about God. One thing I’ve noticed over the years, is that Christians are very wary of being labelled dogmatic or arrogant. Our culture bristles at any claims of certain knowledge, insisting that such claims constitute intellectual hubris. As a result, Christians often shy away from claiming they know anything for sure.
But, lurking behind the charge that Christians are arrogant is a certain assumption about the way religion works. Many non-Christians view “religion” as merely human attempts to discover and learn things about God. Religion is simply the fallible act of humans trying to figure out the divine. Now, on that definition of religion, the Christian claim would indeed be arrogant!
The problem, of course, is that this is not how Christian’s understand their own religion. We don’t believe our knowledge comes from our efforts to figure out God, but rather is the result of God graciously revealing himself to us. For Christianity, religion is not about man finding God, but about God showing himself to man. It is about God seeking out lost sinners and opening their eyes to the truth. That is the opposite of an arrogant claim.
So, don’t abandon your certainty under the guise of humility. If God reveals himself by grace, then we can be humble and certain at the same time.
2. Have patience with the non-Christian’s situation. In our conversations, it’s easy to get frustrated, even irritated, when our non-Christian friends don’t “get it.” But, we need to remember what Paul says, “The natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him and he is not able to understand them” (1 Cor 2:14).
Remembering this truth can help us show patience, even compassion, to our non-Christian friends. To understand the truth, they need God to open their eyes to see it. Just like God was patient with us, so we can be patient with them.
3. You Don’t Have to Know All the Answers. Sometimes we shy away from conversations out of fear that we will be caught without an answer to a tough question. But is this a reason to disengage from our cultural conversations? Not at all.
First of all, not having an answer does not affect the truth of what you believe. Your beliefs can be absolutely correct, even if you cannot explain or defend them. Consider other beliefs we might hold. We believe humans landed on the moon in 1969, but if we happened to strike up a conversation with a moon landing denier (these folks are more common than you think) who shared all his well-crafted objections, and pressed us to defend our beliefs, we would probably have very few answers. But, surely we wouldn’t abandon that belief just because we were stumped! Our belief would still be correct.
Also, don’t confuse not having an answer with there not being an answer. The two are not the same. Even if you don’t have answers to difficult questions, that does not mean there are none. Indeed, you should know that most of the objections you will hear are old news (even though they are often presented like no one had ever thought of them before).
4. You have to speak truth, but you don’t always have to speak. Sometimes I think we have the impression that it is our job to enter into every debate and engage every conversation. Indeed, some Christians seem to be looking for a fight, jumping into the fray whenever they can.
But, this is not always necessary. When we speak, we have to speak the truth. But we don’t always have to speak. Sometimes it is wise not to speak. It might be wise to wait for a different moment or opportunity.
And truth be told, that can keep us out of trouble. As Proverbs says, “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise” (10:19).
5. Your goal in the conversation should not be to “win” but to persuade. Our disposition in a conversation is key to its success. If our goal is to win (whatever that may mean) then suddenly the conversation becomes about us—how we look, how good of a debater we are, etc.
Instead, the goal should be to persuade the non-Christian of the truth. And then the conversation is no longer about us, but about them—how they can be reached, how to help them understand.
Yes, we must remember that only the Holy Spirit ultimately opens eyes to the truth. But, our attitude and disposition in a conversation matter. “Always be prepared to make a defense . . . but do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Pet 3:16).
In the end, these five things won’t solve every challenge we face in the complex conversations we have with non-Christians. But, I think they are a step in the right direction.
Our goal is not to avoid all conversations. Nor is it to enter into bare-fisted brawls with everyone we can. Instead, our goal is to patiently, but boldly, engage our culture as opportunities arise, always “speaking the truth in love” (Eph 4:15).
The Complete Series: Ten Basic Facts About the NT Canon that Every Christian Should Memorize By Michael Kruger
For the last month or so, I have been working through a new series on the NT canon designed to help Christians understand ten basic facts about its origins. This series is designed for a lay-level audience and hopefully could prove helpful in a conversation one might have with a skeptical friend.
Given that there are already four installments in this series, I thought would be helpful to have them listed all in one spot. Thus, I will list the current installments below, and plan to update this list as the series progresses. Also, note that the bottom left of my website has a link to all my blog series.
#1: “The New Testament Books are the Earliest Christian Writings We Possess”
#2: “Apocryphal Writings are All Written in the Second Century or Later”
#3: “The New Testament Books Are Unique Because They Are Apostolic Books”
#4: “Some NT Writers Quote Other NT Writers as Scripture”
#5: “The Four Gospels are Well Established by the End of the Second Century”
#6: “At the End of the Second Century, the Muratorian Fragment lists 22 of our 27 NT books”
#7: “Early Christians Often Used Non-Canonical Writings”
#8: “The NT Canon Was Not Decided at Nicea—Nor Any Other Church Council”
#9: “Christians Did Disagree about the Canonicity of Some NT Books”
#10 “Early Christians Believed that Canonical Books were Self-Authenticating.”
We studied Galatians 5:19-21 The Serious and Dangerous Deeds of The Flesh Part One
What We Learned Together Communion Sunday May 14, 2023
We are focusing on John 3:16 this morning for our communion study. One commentator wrote, “What proclamation of the Gospel has been so oft on the lips of missionaries and preachers in every age since it was first uttered? What has sent such thrilling sensations through millions of mankind? What has been honored to bring such multitudes to the feet of Christ? What to kindle in the cold and selfish breasts of mortals the fires of self-sacrificing love to mankind, as these words of transparent simplicity, yet overpowering majesty?” It is a great testimony in this verse. These words in John 3:16 are important for each of us here this morning. The message of salvation here in the Gospel of John through the words of Jesus. We have entitled the message “Whoever Is Believing in The One and only Son. May we all go forth from this time together telling others the truth in John 3:16. The message we can speak this week because of our time of communion this morning as those who are believing in Him.
In this Scripture passage we are given truth from God for us about salvation. Here in these verses we see The Grace of God through the Truths of Salvation in Giving His Son [3:16-18]
In verse 16 The Truth of The Greatness of The Love of God. In verse 17-18 The Truth of The Seriousness of The Judgment of God. Four simple points from this one verse. This one verse contains just a few words in which a sermon could be preached on every word in this one verse.
First, His One and Only Son was given to Display—The Love of God. Verse sixteen begins “For God so loved the world . . .” The first word “for” points us back to verses 14-15 in John chapter three. There The Deliverance by God for the Consequences of Sin in Providing His Son. The Old Testament reference in Numbers 21 His provision for cure from the poison of the serpents. As one commentator said, “Moses raised a bronze snake on a pole as a cure for a punishment due to disobedience. So Jesus would be lifted up on a cross for people’s sin.” In verse 15 “so that whoever [sing] believes might in Him have eternal life.” The character of those who are believing personal and presently. The great declaration that Jesus would be lifted up! He would be raised up on the cross and die in the place of sinners. Jesus is the remedy and cure for the poison of our disobedience within as the very One lifted up that we would look to Him for salvation. You Have This Salvation Who Believe in The Savior To Save Me The Sinner. Deliverance from sin in the look to the solution which God provided for them and for us! God so loved the world, meaning He loved the world in this way and in this manner. Not how great is His love, for it is great indeed! The very nature and character of God as The One who loved the world. We must begin with God for He is first in this truth. Not His emotion but His action. Not His feeling but His giving, doing, the sacrificing. His personal actual, and real love for the world where mankind dwells. “God’s love is to be admired not because the world is so big and includes so many people, but because the world is so bad.” John would write later in his epistle of First John, “By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.” [I John 4:9-10] He gave the greatest and the best, His only begotten Son, for the least and the worst.
Second, His One and Only Son was given to Provide—The Gift of God. Then John writes, “that He gave His only Son . . .” Language uniquely used of Jesus. For Jesus is “the one and only/only begotten” “unique,” and there is no other like Him or can take His place or has His importance. The one most precious and therefore God was most generous in giving His One and Only Son! “Who can estimate the value of God's gift, when He gave to the world His only begotten Son? One that thinks lightly of man's need and man's sin, would do well to consider man's Saviour. Sin must indeed be exceeding sinful, when the Father must needs give His only Son to be the sinner's Friend!” [J. C. Ryle]
Third, His One and Only Son was given to Believe—The Promise of God. Here the purpose is given for the giving of the Son “so that everyone who believes in Him . . .” This is the repeating of the phrase in verse fifteen. No matter who they might be and what they have done, and how bad of a person they are or what kind of sinner they have been. My belief which results in an active faith that looks at Jesus & His provision for me. He is the remedy. He is the cure. He is the Only Savior. “The love of God in the great gift, and then in the great plan by which that gift becomes available to guilty men.” [Charles Spurgeon] Whoever Is Believing In The One and Only Son!
Fourth, His One and Only Son was given to Testify—The Truth of God. “ . . . will not perish, but have eternal life.” In the context the consequence of not looking up to the snake lifted up that one would die because of their sin. Perishing does not mean that one ceases to exist but suffering the death as the consequence of the judgement of God. A reminder for us all there are two kinds of people. We gather here this morning as a people declaring we are believing in Jesus as the remedy for our sin, and the cure for the poison in our lives. There are some who are perishing because they would not believe and will receive the punishment of the judgment of God. This verse calls us to be such ones who are the believing ones, and even as we gather together as a church body giving testimony as ones who are believing in Him. As we celebrate communion together we are stating publicly, “I am a believer. I am believing. I look to Jesus. He is my Savior.”
Is John 3:16 more than words you learned a long time ago? Is it the way you live your life? Does this verse express who you are believing in the One and Only Son? If that is true than people would hear us declaring to them the truth of John 3:16. And there is the truth in the next two verses. “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him. The one who believes in Him is not judged; the one who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” [John 3:17-18] Our testimony this morning is that I am believing, that Jesus is my Savior. Our testimony that we are the one which John 3:16 describes as whoever is believing in Him. I know this is true for so many here today who are believers. But there may be one here today who has not believed. Understand what you see as wrong in your life that God see its also and that Jesus is the remedy for your sins in your life. Look to Jesus this morning!
As Charles Spurgeon said, “Will anyone refuse? This good gift, this perfect gift,-can you decline it? Oh, that you may have faith to lay hold on Jesus, for thus he will be yours. He is God's free gift to all free receivers; a full Christ for empty sinners. If you can but hold out your empty willing hand, the Lord will give Christ to you at this moment. Nothing is freer than a gift. Nothing is more worth having than a gift which comes fresh from the hand of God.”
John 13:1-17 “That Humble Service for Those Whom Jesus Loved”
John 13:31-38 Both The Reality and Necessity . . .
John 14:1-6 LOVE . . . FAITH . . . HOPE . . .
John 14:6 COMMUNION “Believe Jesus Alone Is The Way To Heaven”
Where are you going in this life? Which way are you going? Who is it that you are following? Can you go in your own direction and be going where Jesus is the way? How it is you can being going in the wrong direction in your life and arrive at the right destination? Do you have Jesus? Have you received Him? Will you believe Him? Is He the way you are going? Is He the One you are following? Who will you tell about Jesus this week? Who will hear from you these words by Jesus about Him being the way?
John 20:1-31 RESURRECTION SUNDAY
John 14:7-15 Truths given to His disciples by Jesus Himself
Knowing Him . . . Believing Him . . . Praying to Him . . . Loving Him
John 14:16-24 In His Words The Promises . . .
How do you see the help of the Holy Spirit in your life? How do you see His presence in your life? What do the words of Jesus reveal about His relationship with you? How do the words of Jesus direct your relationship with Him? Which one of His promises do you need to grab onto today with both hands because of what is needed in your life? What does Jesus see in you from His words and what has He revealed about you in these words for His disciples? Looking to That Day That God will dwell Revelation 21:3
John 14:25-31 The Promises of His Words . . . For His Disciples
Pastor Timothy J. Atkins
Husband, Father, Grandfather, Pastor, Teacher, Discipler, and Follower of Jesus.