Lesson Two Deeds of The Flesh Study Spring 2024
Living Life in The Abiding Relationship with Jesus John 15:7-11 Part Two
What We Learned Together Today Sunday August 6, 2023
The title of the message today is A Promise of Hope for The Future Because of His Resurrection. Jesus comforts His disciples at the time with His words about the future so that they would have hope and peace as His disciples. Look at how Jesus encourages His disciples throughout this chapter knowing their situation [16:1, 7, 20, 23, 25, 33]. We have seen the blessed understandings in these words of Jesus. Now there are the blessed assurances with the words of Jesus. In this final section of chapter sixteen in these final words by Jesus he repeats His teaching about the Father. Jesus states, “ . . . the Father . . .” [vv .25, 26, 27 [2x], v. 28 [2x], v. 32]. The main teaching in this first section would be A Promise of Hope for The Future By Believing What Is True According to the Words of Jesus [16:25-28]. Next week A Promise of Hope for the Future by Experiencing What Is Real According to the Words of Jesus [16:29-33]. Both Understanding What Jesus Has Said and Knowing What He Has Done. Three themes for believing what is true: deeper knowledge, higher privilege, and greater advantage.
In verse 25 there is the Deeper Knowledge of Truth About The Father [16:25] Jesus says, “These things I have spoken to you in figurative language . . .” Transition to a change and how things will be different in the days ahead for His disciples. Also Jesus said, “an hour is coming . . . but will tell you plainly of the Father.” See also John 16:32 His reference to the Father [cf. John 1:18; 4:25; 10:6; 16:12, 29]. This is an unique word used only here by Jesus “to announce or inform, with possible focus upon the source of information—‘to tell, to inform.’ Their Future and The Hope in Jesus as His Disciples is this Christian Clarity promised by Jesus. For the disciples ot have hoper for the future there will be increased knowledge of God the Father. Consider all that we learn about the Father through the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels. What it means that He is the Father revealed by the Son. Who He Is as the Father connects with what Jesus says next in verses 26-27.
In verses 26-27 there is the Higher Privilege of Prayer To The Father [16:26-27] Jesus says, “In that day you will ask in My name.” Such personal requests and present needs of His disciples brought to the Father. Again all that He is and what He has done “ask in My name.” He states they have personal access to the Father. A future day after His cross and His resurrection—in that day. Look at verses 23-24 as Jesus repeats Himself putting emphasis on this matter for His disciples. As one commentator wrote, “all Christ’s disciples give themselves to prayer.” [Matthew Henry] Their Future and The Hope in Jesus as His Disciples is this Real Relationship promised by Jesus. And then Jesus says, “and I do not say to you that I will request of the Father on your behalf.” Jesus does intercede on our behalf as our High Priest in heaven before the very presence of God the Father in heaven. Here His words emphasize how personal their relationship is with the Father as the Father they ask and that Jesus does not need to speak on our behalf or assist their prayer to be heard by the Father. The disciples of Jesus do not need the arm of Jesus for their prayers to get to the ear of the Father. And then in verse 27 Jesus adds, “for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me . . .” The word here is phileo meaning love of affection and delight, association and friendship. Different from agapao meaning love of action and decision usually based upon sacrifice. See the use by Jesus in previous teachings in the Upper Room Discourse [John 14: 21, 23; 15:13-14 17:23]. Two-fold emphasis by Jesus describing His disciples as “have loved Me . . . have believed . . .” Literally translated, “for the Father Himself loves you because you yourselves me have loved and have believed . . .” In contrast to the world hating the disciples of Jesus and Jesus Himself [cf. John 15:18-20]. Jesus knows who His disciples are, and His disciple know they are His disciples because they love Him and believe Him. This relationship then shows heart of the disciples of Jesus toward the place loving Jesus. This relationship then reveals feet of the disciples of Jesus on the path following Jesus. This relationship then informs the mind of the disciples of Jesus for the promise knowing Jesus. And this relationship then manifests the hands of the disciples of Jesus in the position serving Jesus.
In verse 28 there is the Greater Advantage of The Certainty About Jesus [16:28]. Jesus summarizes the accomplishment of His mission and fulfillment of His promises by the whole personal promise of these actions as the Son of God. “I came forth from the Father and . . .” Their Future and The Hope in Jesus as His Disciples is this personal promise by Jesus. Remember what Jesus said back in John 16:7. And Jesus said, “I am leaving the world again and going to the Father.” Remember what John wrote about Jesus at the beginning of this Upper Room Discourse [John 13:1, 3]. His words in verse 28 include His Incarnation, His Resurrection, and His Exaltation [cf. John 18:37]. All that He has promised His disciples in this Upper Room Discourse delivered by His victory and majesty as the Son of God demonstrated in these actions.
A Promise of Hope for the Future by Believing What is True. The lesson of crocus flowers. These wonderful bulbs herald the end of winter. They often bloom just as the snow melts, before winter finally retreats. “If you have ever lived in a place with harsh winters, you know that the coming spring is welcome with great anticipation. In some places, winter can last for around half the year, with bitter cold, snow, and dead vegetation. However, when winter is fading away the crocus appears. Even during an early spring snowstorm, this flower will still bloom. It is a sign of winter ending and spring beginning, even when there is still snow on the ground.” These final words of Jesus picture this great anticipation of what is next for His disciples. We can understand the truth in Jesus and about Jesus because of His words given to us by the ministry of the Spirit of truth. Being a disciple who is asking the Father in the name of Jesus holding to these words of Jesus are yours because you are His. Being a disciple who is knowing, asking, believing because of what is real. It is true that my relationship with the Father is not based on anything about myself but everything about Jesus Himself. Therefore He is exalted as the Son of God, Savior of the world, and the resurrected Lord in my life! Having Love for Jesus as His disciple because you are believing His words telling us that the Father loves us. It is not based on my experience alone and my feelings only in knowing the Father loves us.
What We Learned Together This Sunday July 30, 2023
Our message this morning in John chapter sixteen “A Promise of Answered Prayer for The Disciples of Jesus” verses 23-24. We continue to study these chapters being disciples making disciples as we learn together what discipleship means for each of here at New Life Fellowship. Throughout these chapters the many themes for us as disciples of Jesus: humbly serving, sacrificially loving, faithfully abiding, and personally believing. In this Upper Room discourse given to us here in the Gospel of John the words of the Lord Jesus for His own disciples are filled with promises for faithful believing, blessings for fruitful abiding, and prophecies for hopeful living. Here again we see the humble service, sacrificial love, and personal obedience by the Savior as He comforts His disciples at the time when He is going to the cross & die for them.
Last week we saw A Word By Jesus About Present Misunderstandings [16:16-18]. There was An Announcement by Jesus of His Resurrection. Today Some Promises By Jesus About Blessed Understandings [16:19-24]. Both Having Joy & Praying to The Father. Here are Some Encouragement by Jesus Because His Resurrection. In verse 19-22 For His Disciples His Promise Grief Will Become Joy. Last week we defined Joy as a deep, abiding inner thankfulness and gratitude to God which is not interrupted when undesirable life circumstances intrude. We have emphasized the three parts for joy: confidence in the promise of God, assurance of the power of God, and reliance on the plan of God. One unknown author represented joy as the royal banner flying from the flagstaff of the heart, signaling that the King is in residence. Jesus repeats the word joy through these verses [vv. 20,21,22, 24]. C. S. Lewis “The Weight of Glory”: If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
Next Jesus speaks about answered prayer and joy for His disciples. For His Disciples His Promise of Answered Prayer [16:23-24]. First, His Promise Declared For His Disciples Who Do Ask and Will Receive [16:23a]. This is confidence for His disciples in His words. “In that day you will not question Me about anything. Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you . . .” His words emphasize certainty, reliability, and truth to His disciples. Second His Promise Described for His Disciples Who Believe Jesus & Know the Father [16:23b] This is assurance for His disciples in His words. Jesus says, “if you ask the Father for anything in My name,He will give it to you.” Most translations written “whatever you ask the Father in My name . . .” This means what is consistent with the character of Jesus What a promise by Jesus! See John 16:19. The relationship with the Father through asking in prayer with Jesus as the ground and access. Reality of a relationship with the Father through the Son taught by the Spirit. Asking in His name is that Which Is Done for & Because of Jesus [cf. 14:13] Remember in the Gospel of John Jesus is revealed as the Son of God, the Savior of the World, and the Resurrected Lord. As in the Old Testament the Name of God because of Who He Is and What He does is displayed in His guidance, His deliverance, and His existence. This phrase by Jesus “in My Name” used in several places already used in this Upper Room Discourse [John 14:13-14; 15:16; 16:24, 26 cf. Matthew 7:7-9]. Think about the first time praying out loud with others as you are called upon and look around and see, “you mean me?” This promise by Jesus so important for us as His disciples. “Our Lord here sums up the prerogatives and privileges of His servants in the day that was about to dawn and to last till He came again. There is nothing absolutely new in the words; substantially the promises contained in them have appeared in former parts of these discourses under somewhat different aspects and connections. But our Lord brings them together here, in this condensed repetition, in order that the scattered rays, being thus focused, may have more power to illuminate with certitude, and to warm into hope. These are the jewels which He sets in a cluster, the juxtaposition making each brighter, and gives to us for a parting keepsake.” [Alexander McClaren]
And finally third, His Promise Detailed For His Disciples Who Pray and Have Joy [16:24]. Th is obedience for His disciples in His words. Jesus says, “Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.” Remember what Jesus said in John 15:11 and 16:26. This a command by Jesus using the present active imperative form of this verb with continuing and repeating action. So as His disciples we are commanded to ask in prayer in His name! “Of all the list of Christian duties there is none to which there is such abounding encouragement, as prayer . . . It is worth noticing here how very frequent and full are the encouragements to prayer which our Lord holds out to His disciples.” [ J. C. Ryle] This means Seeing the Work of God, Having the Supply of God, and Knowing the Grace of God. Consider also Paul’s prayer in Colossians 1:9-12. Charles Spurgeon on Joy “There is a marvelous medicinal power in joy. Most medicines are distasteful; but this, which is the best of all medicines, is sweet to the taste, and comforting to the heart. This blessed joy is very contagious. One dolorous spirit brings a kind of plague into the house; one person who is wretched seems to stop all the birds from singing wherever he goes . . . [But] the grace of joy is contagious. Holy joy will oil the wheels of your life’s machinery. Holy joy will strengthen you for your daily labor. Jesus concludes, “so that your joy may be made full.” [16:24]
One commentator wrote about this joy. “It is His joy that we are to pursue (see John 15:11). This is not the “joy” that the world seeks. The world seeks for a “joy” that is rooted in the absence of trials and suffering, that delights in the promotion of self-interest, and often in the downfall of one’s rivals. First and foremost, our joy is knowing for certain that Jesus is alive, risen from the dead (see Matthew 28:8; Luke 24:41, 52). Our joy is in the abasement of self, in the exaltation of Jesus Christ (see John 3:29), and in sacrificial service (Philippians 2:17). Our joy is in the Lord, in His salvation, and His working in the lives of others (Acts 15:3; Romans 15:13; 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20; 1 John 1:4; 3 John 4).” Whatever failures, challenges, fears, disappointments, struggles, losses, bad reports, bad news that each of us would testify in the face of these with the testimony of joy in the presence of others. So are you missing joy in your life? Do you have half cup joy because not asking and not praying? Our message today from the words of Jesus in John chapter sixteen. "A Promise of Answered Prayer for the Disciples of Jesus" John 16:23-24. As we give some application from these words of Jesus let us read these words again and again. There would the great expression of confidence, assurance, and reliance in our joy as disciples of Jesus. That we would see the blessed understandings giving to us in the words of Jesus. Being a disciple of Jesus who acts upon these promises of Jesus in devoting yourself to prayer because of His words. Make this My Christian Ministry. Being a disciple of Jesus who is asking in prayer and receiving from the Father so that your joy may be made full. Make this My Christian Testimony. “And there is this marvelous new promise of answered prayer. Those answered prayers will bring a note, and an experience, and a disposition of joy that will make a Christian life worth living, and vital and marvelous. May we all have this joy.” [S. Lewis Johnson] Make this My Christian Joy.
(a) In general, in our relying on the Lord Jesus only for the success of our prayers in heaven. Consider that we are in this matter to rely on Him only for access to God in our prayers (Ephesians 3:12; John 14:6). For acceptance of our prayers (Ephesians 1:6). For the gracious answer of prayer, and consider how we are to eye Christ as the object of this reliance — viz., as our great High Priest (Hebrews 4:15, 16). And here we find the infinite merit of His sacrifice (Romans 3:25), and His never-failing intercession to rely on (Hebrews 7:25).
(b) More particularly, praying in the name of Christ, and for His sake consists in renouncing all merit and worth in ourselves, in point of access, acceptance, and gracious answer (Genesis 32:10); believing that however great the mercies are, and however unworthy we are, yet we may obtain them from God through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:15, 16). In seeking in prayer the mercies we need of God for Christ's sake accordingly (John 16:24). In pleading His merit and intercession (Psalm 84:9); in trusting that we shall obtain a gracious answer for His sake (Mark 11:24).
What We Learned Together Today July 23, 2023
So many passages of Scriptures which speak to joy in the lives of the people of God. Listen to Psalm 30.
“Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning” [verse five]. “Hear, Lord, and be gracious to me; Lord, be my helper.” [verse ten]. And then verses eleven and twelve, “You have turned my mourning into dancing for me; You have untied my sackcloth and encircled me with joy, That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent. Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.” The palmist gives testimony of the work of the Lord God in his life in the matters of joy. The title of our message this morning is “A Promise of Joy for The Disciples of Jesus Because of His Resurrection.” In this world we will be hurt, have pain, experience grief, and endure suffering. Three questions we can ask others: How are things? How are you doing? How can I pray for you? Each of these are seen in this passage today through the words of Jesus. That we would pray that we would have joy no matter what is going on in our lives. In our experience we pursue so many other things like pleasure, happiness, delight to have our will be done, and have control. But here Jesus says there is something more wonderful for us to have from Jesus which is joy. A song that teaches about the role of Jesus in our lives as His disciples would be the Christian hymn “In Christ Alone.” The truth that we as His disciples believe Him, love Him, serve Him, and have Him. Here are a few more thoughts as we begin this morning. Life brings many challenges where difficulties darken our understanding. Such experiences bring the accompanying shadow of emotions in seasons of sorrow and grief. When an unexpected turn on the road of reality is where we find ourselves. On our backs and in our minds there is placed a heavy burden with the companion of a grieving heart. And we walk on the cobblestone uneven path of uncertainty before us. The Bible does not stay away from such matters. Here in the Gospel of John the words of Jesus speak to this matter for His disciples. In this Upper Room discourse given to us here in the Gospel of John the words of the Lord Jesus for His own disciples are filled with promises for faithful believing, blessings for fruitful abiding, and prophecies for hopeful living. READ John 16:1, 33 Jesus speaks about joy in these verses today. He already has mentioned joy back in John 15:11, “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” There we emphasized three parts for joy: confidence in the promise of God, assurance of the power of God, and reliance on the plan of God.
First, A Word By Jesus About Present Misunderstandings [16:16-18]. Here Jesus speaks about Not Seeing Him And Yet Seeing Him Again. This is An Announcement by Jesus of His Resurrection with The Absence Then Presence. In verse 16 Here The Prophecy by Jesus. “A little while, and you will no longer see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me.” A phrase Jesus uses throughout the Gospel of John [John 7:33; 12:35; 13:33; 14:18-19 cf. John 10:11, 17-18]. Jesus knew fully what was going to happen to Him stating personally these words describing both His death and His resurrection from the dead. The three days prophecy by Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels of His resurrection is only referenced once in the Gospel of John [cf. 2:19-20]. This also is the wording Jesus gave earlier in this chapter [cf. 16:5,7, 10]. In verses 17-18 There The Perplexity by His Disciples. Here in this section the conversation narrative returns [vv. 17-18, 29-30] Three levels of perplexity: 1) “What is this thing He is telling us . . .,“ 2) So they were saying, “What is this that He says . . .,” and 3) “We do not know what He is talking about.” Testimony to the honesty of the Gospel writer eyewitness account of revealing this about himself and the other disciples through a less than lens of presentation. Remember the words of Jesus in verse twelve, “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them at the present time.” Also see how these remembered what Jesus said, “and because I go to the Father.” Remembering again what Jesus has already said in previous chapters [14:12, 28; 16:5, 7, 10, 12].
Second, Some Promises By Jesus About Blessed Understandings [16:19-24]. Here there are two main sections: Having Joy & Praying to The Father. In these verses there is Some Encouragement by Jesus Because of His Resurrection. Here Jesus hands them the key of His words to the unlock their understanding. Two points in these words by Jesus. We will only look at verses 19-22 today and study verses 23-24 next week. This week Jesus words For His Disciples His Promise Grief Will Become Joy [16:19-22]. Next week For His Disciples His Promise of Answered Prayer [16:23-24] where Jesus says, “so that your joy may be made full.” The theme of joy in these words of Jesus as he repeats the word joy throughout this passage [v. 20, 21, 22, 24]. A focus and emphasis in the lives of His disciples. Do you see how important joy is for the disciples of Jesus? He wants us to have joy. I am chasing so many other things. We are so often trying to figure out what’s going on, and looking for a little more comfort and less pain instead of having joy. Strong Christian testimony to have joy in a world with such pain and suffering and grief.
Now we look at verses 19-22 For His Disciples His Promise Grief Will Become Joy. In verses 19-20 His promise declared with a prediction. Jesus directing His disciples to His words “Jesus knew . . . and He said to them . . . that I said . . .” Jesus repeating His words plainly & personally to His disciples. And then Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you . . .” He uses this phrase for attention and affirmation calling upon His disciples listen, hear, certainty, reliability [cf. 16:23]. And then in verse 20 “ . . . that you will weep and lament . . . you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy.” Such weeping and lamenting always connected with death. Such references are recorded in John 11:31, 33 over Lazarus and John 20:11,13, 15 with Mary near the tomb. These disciples would have joy as recorded in John 20:20. Remember back in John 15:11 “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” See forward Jesus prayer to the Father praying for our joy in John 17:13. There Jesus prayed to the Father, “But now I am coming to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves.” In verse 21 His promise described with an illustration. The woman in pain but “ . . . because of the joy . . .” Reality of the pain and the reality of the joy! In verse 22 His promise detailed with an explanation. “Therefore you too have grief now . . .” Then Jesus says, “ . . . but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice . . .” Remembering how Jesus ministered to the hearts of these men [cf. 14:1, 27]. He wants us to have hearts that rejoice! Not going to happen if I get my way, seeking comfort only, and trying to get away from pain. And then He told them “ . . . and no one will take your joy away from you.” Here again three levels. One definition of joy is a deep, abiding inner thankfulness and gratitude to God which is not interrupted when undesirable life circumstances intrude. One unknown author represented joy as the royal banner flying from the flagstaff of the heart, signaling that the King is in residence. A large cold stone of overwhelming grief becomes a deep fresh spring of abounding joy. Would people say I have this kind of joy from Jesus as His disciple? The very event which caused grief and sadness would become the source of joy and gladness. Everywhere the disciples write about the cross there is joy in the resurrected Lord Jesus. Notice the phrase Jesus used, “and I will see you again . . .” Here His words mean looking you in the face. The great truth for everyone who has put their faith in the Lord Jesus that we also will see Him face to face in heaven one day. First Peter 1:3-9 teaches us about these future matters of seeing Jesus and Him seeing us. We need to learn more about this work of God in giving us joy! Such a wonderful statement to understand and the joy Jesus wants us to have as His disciples. This joy is not conditioned upon how people treat us, and everything going the way I want it to go, or whether or not I get my way, and feeling the way I want to feel.
In the epic conclusion to the Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis attempts to express the absolute joy that will come as our earthly lives come to an end and we are reunited with our God for all of eternity: The things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before. C. S. Lewis, The Last Battle p.165.
As we give some application from these words of Jesus let us read these words again and again. There would the great expression of confidence, assurance, and reliance in our joy as disciples of Jesus. That we would see the blessed understandings giving to us in the words of Jesus. First, Having joy in your experience as a disciple of Jesus because of His Promises in His Words. He is the resurrected Lord and the exalted Savior. Second, Seeing the Lord turn your grief into joy that your heart would rejoice because of His resurrection. He Is able, He is reliable, He is dependable. Oh Lord you want to turn this grief into joy! What a glorious testimony of His power in our lives as disciples of Jesus. What do I really want the Lord to give me in His joy? Do I want my testimony to show He does this? Third, Understanding the ministry of the Good Shepherd to you as His disciple when you are in the misery of grief and sorrow. Our Testimony of Joy as His disciple. There is the joy only Jesus can give that others would see what He can do and the joy He does give His own. Fourth, This experience of joy needs to be my testimony as a disciple of Jesus. Do not underestimate what God wants to do in taking our grief and turning it into your joy as your testimony as His disciple. What a great message to the world of joy from Jesus!
What We Learned Together Today July 16, 2023
INTRODUCTIONWe have entitled the message today “The Ministry of the Spirit of Truth for The Testimony of Christ.” In this Upper Room discourse given to us here in the Gospel of John the words of the Lord Jesus for His own disciples are filled with promises, blessings, and prophecies. In the Gospel of John Jesus is revealed to be the Son of God in personal revelation. In the Gospel of John Jesus is revealed to be the Savior of the World for personal salvation. In the Gospel of John Jesus is revealed to be the Resurrected Lord. So far in John chapter sixteen we have been given so much in the words of Jesus. We have seen Such Privilege in Having the Words of Jesus. We have also seen Such Advantage in The Coming of the Holy Spirit. Here today in verses 12-15 we will learn Such Knowledge in Revealing the Truth from Jesus and About Jesus. Again we read John 16:12-15, “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them at the present time. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take from Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; this is why I said that He takes from Mine and will disclose it to you.”
The Personal Work of the Holy Spirit in the World is convicting the world according to verse 7-11. Then The Personal Work of Holy Spirit through His Apostles is communicating the Word according to verse 12-15. The Holy Spirit is Testifier, Revealer, Speaker, and Teacher. There is the Divine source of the words and writings of the Scriptures because the Holy Spirit is the Author of The Truth [cf. 2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 1:1-2; 2 Pete 1:20-21]. In the words of Jesus He is The Spirit of Truth [cf. John 14:16-17, 26; 15:26] The phrase “He will . . .” repeated throughout verse 12-15 here in chapter sixteen. “He will disclose/declare/tell to you . . .” meaning “to provide information, with the possible implication of considerable detail—‘to announce, to inform, to tell.’ This action and direction also described by the Apostle Paul, “Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God. We also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.” [1 Corinthians 2:13-14] As One commentator wrote, “When you compare John 14:26 with 16:13, you see the wonderful way that God arranged for the writing of the New Testament Scriptures. The Spirit would remind them of what Jesus had taught them; this gives us the four Gospels. The Spirit would also “guide” them into all truth; and this would result in the epistles. “He will show you things to come” refers to the prophetic Scriptures, especially the Book of Revelation.” [Warren Wiersbe]
First, The Spirit of Truth Will Help Them with The Truth from Jesus [16:12]. Jesus says, “I have many more things to say to you . . .” All that Jesus has already said and also more of His teaching they will be given through the Spirit of truth. Here the weakness and limits of the disciples is exposed in the words of Jesus.
Second, The Spirit of Truth Will Guide Them In The Truth of Jesus [16:13a] Jesus continues, “When He comes, the Spirit of truth . . .” The truth so important both to the Son and the Spirit. And “He will guide you into all the truth.” Again a future active indicative verb emphasizing the prophetic nature of these matters with the fulfilment of these words of Jesus confirmation of who He Is as the Son of God. He will guide meaning “someone acquiring information,” and “lead someone to know” as the Spirit of truth. The presence of the truth which the Spirit of truth will guide them. The phrase “into all the truth” reveals the set body of truth about Jesus which will fulfill the words of Jesus in verse 12 to these disciples. Also the nature of this guiding them will accurate and complete. Jesus does not tell His disciples to ask the Spirit of truth to do this guiding for it is all of God. No one can pray for the Spirit to give them the Word of God personally when He has already guided these men into all truth. All truth about Jesus Himself. Remember how truth is so important to the revelation given in the Gospel of John: “full of grace and truth” [John 1:16], “I am the way, the truth, and the life” [John 14:16], “But I tell you the truth” [John 16:7], and “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth” [John 17:17].
Third, The Spirit of Truth Will Speak To Them About The Truth of Jesus [16:13b] “He will Not Speak on His Own Initiative . . .” Similar language used by Jesus to describe His own ministry [cf. John 14:10, 24; 12:49; 8:28; 7:16]. The source of the truth which the Spirit of truth will speak to them. Here the words of Jesus emphasize communication, revelation, and declaration as persons of the Godhead. The Spirit of truth is the Person who speak because o what he hears from the Son and form the Father. “Spiritual blessings in heavenly things are given by the Father to the Son for us, and the Son entrusts the Spirit to convey them to us.” [Matthew Henry] The Spirit has the place and work in the lives of the disciples of Jesus according to the His word. One man said, “the very revelation of God Himself.” Also the consequence of His speaking and revealing is the testimony of Jesus in the Gospel of John.
Fourth, The Spirit of Truth Will Glorify Jesus With The Truth of Jesus Revealing the Things of God [16:14-15]
“He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine . . .” Making Jesus known and showing Jesus now with the focus and emphasis of the ministry of the Spirit of truth glorifying Jesus. So both truth orientated and Christ-centered will be this ministry of the Spirit of Truth. The relationship of the Spirit with the Son and the relationship of Son with the Father where unity and consistency exists presently and personally. Such knowledge possessed by the Son of the Father and the Spirit of the Son, “The Spirit’s teaching mission would be first to receive the deposit of Christ-centered truth, then show it to believers. It follows that a ministry, to be Spirit-directed, must be one that magnifies Christ.” [Wycliffe Bible Commentary] This relationship is seen in different Scripture passages in the New Testament where the teaching of the Spirit is connected with the testimony of Jesus. This is seen as a example throughout the Book of Ephesians [1:7-14; 2:19-22; 3:16-17, 20-21; 5:18-21; 6:10-17]. And Jesus finally says in verse fifteen, “All things that the Father has are Mine; this is why I said that He takes from Mine and will disclose it to you.”
Read the lyrics for “Holy Spirit, Living Breath of God” by Keith and Kristyn Getty
As we come to the end of the message here in the Words of Jesus about the Spirit of Truth some points to direct our thoughts. We have seen the ministry of the Spirit of truth for the Testimony of Christ. “It is essential that we see that the work of the Spirit of God is never divorced from Jesus Christ or the Word of God. “He shall testify of Me” (John 15:26); “He shall glorify Me” (John 16:14) . . . Jesus is the truth (John 14:6), and the Word is truth (John 17:17), and the Holy Spirit is “the Spirit of Truth.” Where the Holy Spirit is at work, there must be truth.” [Warren Wiersbe] So Let’s Consider then what this means for us today. The Spirit of Truth will help . . . will guide . . . will speak . . . will glorify . . . The need for the truth from Jesus and about Jesus in your life as His disciple revealed by the Spirit of truth--motivates our Bible Study. Without the ministry of the Spirit of Truth communicated in the Word of God we would not have the truth of Jesus--evaluates our theology. Glorifying Jesus is the ministry of the Spirit of truth so that we also as disciples of Jesus would be glorifying Jesus--activates our ministry. Instead of looking for what we want to find in the Word of God we would seek to glorify Jesus.
What We Learned Together Sunday June 25, 2023
Lord Jesus may you indeed stamp your words Upon Our Hearts and our lives
that we who are your disciples would indeed live according to your word. We ask that your Word would help us to keep us from stumbling that we would not be wayward, rebellious or sinful that we would be a bold and strong testimony for your Name’ sake. We ask that we would confess you as the Son of God and the savior of the world and our resurrected Lord. You are the one who died for our sins according to the scriptures and was buried and was raised on the third day according to the scriptures. May you be exalted and glorified in us as we hear your words believe your words and obey your words. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
INTRODUCTION The Death of Thomas Cranmer what a testimony in life and at deathDear friend we come to some very important words of the Lord Jesus here. The Upper Room discourse reveals words that Jesus would give to us because of the hours that we face. The history of the life of Jesus can be summarized very briefly that the Gospel of John presents him as the Son of God and it presents Him as the Savior of the world, and as the Resurrected Lord. Yet all this Revelation that is given by the Son of God there was rejection and rebellion and refusal to listen to him and to believe in him to obey him but there were some who received it. And yet in this Upper Room discourse here Jesus gives to us words His words and here in the Gospel of John the Apostle John would write these words down to us for his own disciples and and these words are filled with promises and blessings and prophecies. He is the savior for all who receive and believe His words. He is the Savior for all who have and believe His testimony He is the only Savior. He has shown Himself to be the God of His people, the Lord of His servants, the Teacher of His disciples, the Shepherd of His sheep, the Leader of His followers and the Very One For Whom The Believers believe. There are great privileges that are given to us to know the words of Jesus and really in these first six verses in John chapter 16 we see the privilege here.
Dear friend I'm here to tell you that no matter what you face no matter what you're going through
the words of Jesus and Jesus himself can minister to you. This is a great reminder and reality in John chapter 16. He knew everything that was going to happen. He knew that He was going to be betrayed turned over to the religious leaders be hung on a cross and die for the sins of
mankind according to the will of the father as the Son of God. And yet all these things He is ministering to His disciples that very night. Dear friend never forget that no matter what you're going through Jesus wants to minister to you because of who He is the very savior of the world.
It's wonderful when you think of this and indeed the Privileges and advantages that we have being a disciple of Jesus and the very words that he gives to us. At the end of this section in John chapter 16 verse 33 notice the words of Jesus here verse 33, “These things I've spoken to you that in me you may have peace and in the world you have tribulation but take courage I have overcome the world.” Jesus doesn't say oh it's all going to get better in some ways it gets harder it gets more serious and yet the very words of Jesus are here to teach us and help us and understand. The prophecy of Jesus Himself the Lord would speak to us and these words are fulfilled in the lives of each of these men that listened to Him. They indeed were killed and martyred. It is very fascinating in a historical note that John the Apostle John probably in Exile on the island of Patmos. There because of his testimony for Jesus that he is the only man of all those that were there that night that was still alive when he wrote this Gospel. We don't often read it like that the words of Jesus here were fulfilled in the lives of those men. Even as John would write these words he knows that the intensity of the persecution and suffering of the Disciples of Jesus is going to continue and it has continued. And it continues to
this very day and yet even in the words of Jesus did you notice the way that he says these things verse two “an hour is coming,” verse four “but when their hour comes.” Understanding the testimony Jesus says I'm going to him who sent me in verse five and “I will send.”
THESE THINGS I HAVE SPOKEN TO YOU
I want you to see dear friend the testimony that Jesus gives to us here and the privilege for what is next. Really in this message is there so much that has been given to us here. We are trying to take these very important ideas and divide them up. We're going to try to get to verse six but there's a whole flow of thought here that Jesus is giving to us. And understanding notice how he begins this such privilege having the words of Jesus at this time. Here Jesus emphasizes the coming personal persecution for the Disciples of Jesus is according to the words of Jesus. Dear friend are you in the regular habit of examining interpreting and understanding what's going on in your life based on what Jesus said to you, what he said was going to happen, and what it means to be his disciple. This is what Jesus is saying such privilege Jesus has spoken while with them. Look at verse one “These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling.” Dear friend do you hear what Jesus is saying” here Jesus proclaiming His words, “I'm saying these things to you so that you wouldn't fall away.” I was talking to someone before the service this morning and they said just look around and I see this person walking away and this person walking away. All of us can give testimony of somebody that we've known that just seems to have walked away from the faith. Well that happens because they're not holding true to the words of Jesus!
Jesus very clearly says they would stumble if they didn't hear his words and if he hadn't spoken to them. So I don't know what you have done exactly with all the teaching that we have been giving in the upper room discourse but it will be very needed in your life. I guarantee you in the days ahead if Jesus understood they would be kept from stumbling because of what he had spoken. Oh Lord help me hold onto to your words that much more for I surely would
stumble without your word. These men remember when Jesus was arrested where did they go? They took off and Jesus came back and showed himself to be that gracious loving Savior that his friendship with him was based on him choosing them not them doing everything right all the time. Aren't you glad for that Jesus can be mine and I can be His not because I did everything perfect, but because of His loving heart His salvation the kind of Savior that He is now for all who would believe in Him. Jesus gives us words so that we wouldn't stumble! Such privilege Jesus has spoken while with Him. Such privilege, dear friend, that you and I have this morning to hear the words of Jesus that we wouldn't stumble. I wonder if I'm just going to step off the stage one of these times and that might be embarrassing for all of us but it's a very spiritual reality for some because they are walking on the edge in their life. Warning for those not paying heed to the words of Jesus. Dear friend does your life reflect the reality that apart from the words of Jesus in your life you would stumble? It's such a poignant moment that Jesus is reminding them that He has spoken to them. He wants to speak to them. He wants to tell them exactly what they need to know so that they wouldn't fall away. They wouldn't be discouraged and might be kept from stumbling that they would continue to believe and they wouldn't give
Listen to the way Matthew Henry says this as he wrote several hundred years ago in his commentary. He says, “the Disciples of Jesus are apt to be offended at the cross and the offense of the Cross is a dangerous temptation even to good men to turn back from the ways of God.” It sounds a lot like what we read earlier about Thomas Cramner. Can you relate with such a man? Have there been times where maybe we haven't spoken the way we ought to speak? And yet God's grace and we realize now my testimony is sure. Jesus is the only savior. I declare Him and profess Him to be the Son of God, the Savior of the world, and the Resurrected Lord. The one who I've believed in and asked him to forgive me for my sins! And dear friend He is the only one who can save you! He is the only one who can make you right and give you a right relationship with God because of His shed blood. Matthew Henry says, “it this way or have to turn back from the ways of God or turn aside out of them or drive on heavily on them to quit either their integrity or their comfort it is not for nothing that a suffering time is called an hour of Temptation our lord Jesus by giving us notice of trouble designed to take off the tear of it that it might not be a surprise to us and of all the adversaries of our peace in this world of troubles none insults us more violently nor puts our troops more into disorder than disappointment does but we can easily welcome a guest we expect being forewarned and forearmed.”
Such privilege in having the words of Jesus at this time in the coming personal persecution for the Disciples of Jesus. Such privilege Jesus has spoken while with them as He continues in verse two saying, “and they will make you outcasts from the synagogue but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he's offering a service to God these things they will do because they have not known me or the Father.” Such privilege Jesus has spoken while with him in verse one, but also such privilege Jesus tells them what will happen in verse two. I find such great comfort when I realize that Jesus understood everything that was about to transpire. Dear friend you ever had those moments of doubt. Lord did you know this was going to happen? Did you know it was going to be like this? Did you know I was going to feel like this and I was going to face these circumstances that they were going to treat me the way they did? Did you know that I was going to suffer the way I'm suffering? Yes and His words prepare us for those moments.
For those of you that have been reading through John chapters 13, 14, 15 and 16 you probably could stand up here and give testimony about how the words of Jesus minister to you in recent days. In that moment when I began to realize Jesus spoke about these things and He is here to help me and He wants to keep me from stumbling. He knows that my heart is troubled the disciples were going to be persecuted and hated by the Jewish authorities. This is primarily what Jesus was talking about here in these verses. We come to the 21st century interpretation and there are currently people on the face of the Earth because of their religion that they're emboldened to kill such ones that believe differently than they do. I mean there are places on this earth right now that Christians are dying by the hands of religious men and they're fulfilling exactly what Jesus said in His words here in John chapter sixteen. We just don't hear about it on the news. Every once in a while, you hear some stories but recognizing the prophecy that Jesus gave not only was fulfilled and the lives of those men on that very night but it continues to be filled in in this very day. There are some many disciples suffering and dying according to the hands of religious men who would kill them in their service to their god.
Dear friend I would even say it even further for you because not only did they suffer this done by the Jewish authorities were the very religious people in that day and they persecuted the disciples and persecuted the church. Also the Apostle Paul was number one enemy of the Disciples of Jesus when he is shown to arrive on the scene standing there as they're laying they're throwing stones at Stephen who becomes the first martyr of the church and then the church is persecuted in chapter 8 and then James one of the Apostles is martyred in Acts chapter 12. you don't think this was a serious situation in the very chapter the Apostle Peter is in jail and they're praying for him knowing full well that he's the next one to lose his head. In the Roman culture
the persecution rose up against the Christians as they hated the Christian church because they believed in a one true God and they believed in one Lord and His name was Jesus and Caesar wasn't Lord and so they were persecuted not only by the Jewish authorities but they were also persecuted by the idolaters in the Roman culture.
BUT AN HOUR IS COMING
Dear friend I'm here to tell you it is no different for us today. We will be persecuted when we don't bow down to the idols of our culture. Have you noticed the things that are going on in our culture this very weekend as our culture just flaunts its sin in front of the face of God and thinks there's not going to be any judgment for it? Dear friend when you don't bow down to their idols they're like who do you serve and they want to punish you because you don't bow down. This is one of these great understandings that Jesus gives to us and the very words that He speaks to them. Again in verse two, “they will make you outcasts from the synagogue but an hour is coming for everyone it kills you to think that he's offering service to God these things they will do because they have not known me for the Father.” I want you to notice here Jesus is saying persecution is guaranteed with the truth of God in the person of Jesus and the testimony of God in the person of Jesus. The revelation that He came to give is rejected and they don't know God because God came and walked Among Us in human flesh. Jesus revealed himself as the Son of God sent by the Father, and so they don't believe God if you don't believe the testimony and the revelation of God in the person of Jesus. God the Father sent His Son you don't believe in God and that's why He is saying to them they these things they will do “because they have not known me or the Father.” Again Jesus using the word because He is saying the reason all this is happening because they really don't know me or know the father since they haven't responded to the revelation I've given of God in my very person as the Son of God. So one of the great questions you can ask somebody in evangelism is saying, “Dear friend have you responded to the testimony that Jesus gives of himself being God and that He was sent by God the Father as the Son of God to be the Savior? Have you believed and understanding the testimony that is given by Jesus of Himself and the Father?
Now notice at the end of your notes this morning. I want you to see that we are privileged and we have advantage. John will write later in verse seven, “but I tell you the truth it is your advantage I go away . . . and if I go I will send Him to you.” It's so wonderful because what Jesus is saying here is that not only persecution is guaranteed but the Helper is on the way. Jesus knows full well that the persecution is going to come but He also knows that you need the ministry of the spirit of God. The amazing thing is the Spirit cannot come and would not come unless He would go to the Father. And going to the Father means that Jesus would fulfill the mission that the Father sent Him on as the Savior. As He also goes to a cross and He suffers and He dies bearing the weight of the sin of mankind on that cross as the Father would unleash His wrath upon Him as a perfect sinless sacrifice for sin that every single one of us in this room need. First, the importance and the place of the words of Jesus in the lives of His disciples. Again the number of times that Jesus repeats “these things I have said to you . . . these things I have spoken to you.” What importance and place do the words of Jesus have in your life as His disciple? Could it be that we go back to verse one, “These things I've spoken so you might be kept from stumbling.” So don't be afraid am I going to endure or am I going to persevere! Don't be afraid of that because you won't be able to do it without Jesus’ words. Hang on to Him! Cling to Him! Tell others about Him! Find in your life that great faith and hope and trust and belief that rises up in your heart that you're willing to be whatever testimony you can be for Jesus! Whatever you've been to this point that your testimony would shine gloriously for the glory of Christ and that many people would hear and many sinners would be saved because you tell them about Jesus being the Savior. Second, thank you Lord Jesus for teaching me and telling me what I need to know by the words for me in this time of my life. Third, Jesus knows all about what's going to happen and what's going to be so listen to Him, believe Him, trust Him, and obey Him. Fourth, trust in His plans and His purposes for what He has planned for you as His disciple in the presence of those persecuting you. Obviously I have much more than I want to say to you this morning but time does not allow. I trust will be together next time to continue our study in these very important words of the Lord Jesus.
Let's pray together. Oh Lord would you magnify yourself! Would you be lifted up! Would you show yourself to be the resurrected Lord that you are now! We pray that our testimony would be that you are the Savior of the world and You are the son of God. Oh Lord Jesus I pray that every single one of us here today will be kept from stumbling because we have heard the words that you have spoken. I pray for the lives of our our children and our grandchildren that they would believe you and cling to you so they wouldn't stumble. I feel like this world is filled with stumbling blocks as you said in Matthew 18 and there are those that have walked away. I pray that we here at New Life Fellowship would be faithful to you, that none of us would stumble and fall away from you because we know you have spoken and you have spoken to us and we believe your word. May the importance and place of your words Lord Jesus have a greater priority in our lives and a greater place in our ministry here. Indeed the ministry of the Holy Spirit would be on display as the Holy Spirit would bring to remembrance the words of Jesus and that Lord Jesus we would abide in you and your words would abide in us. We pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
What We Learned Together Sunday June 18, 2023
Again this morning we are turning to John Chapter fifteen hearing the words of Jesus for His disciples. As Jesus continues the speaking to His disciples in the Upper Room discourse now on the move toward the garden of Gethsemane. Jesus teaches us that being His disciple means rejection, opposition, and persecution by the world because the world hated Him. The title of our message this morning is Our Testimony As Disciples of Jesus in A Hostile World. The context of John chapter fifteen contains three sections: Relationship with Jesus [15:1-11], Relationship with One Another [15:12-17], and Relationship with the world [15:18-27]. The Guardian Film critic Polly Toynbee description of Aslan in 2005 . . .”but we can do well without an Aslan . . . Narnia represents everything that is most hateful about religion.” Such hostility towards a character who represented Christ in a story written by a man with a Christian testimony.
In this section we hear prophecy by the Lord Jesus that would be fulfilled and now is fulfilled in the lives of His disciples. We began last week teaching this passage with verses 18 to 21. There we learned the Testimony of Faithful Disciples of Jesus In The Face Of A Hostile World. Jesus is teaching Why the World Is and Will Be Hostile to His Disciples. His point in verse eighteen Know that The World Hated Me First describing the rejection by the world. Then in verse nineteen Jesus teaches Understand that The World Loves Its Own & Not You describing opposition from the world. The disciples of Jesus are Not of the World But Chosen Out of the World. Instead of calling yourself a Christian the question is are you a disciple of Jesus? Has He chosen you out of the world and are you His own? And finally in verses 20-21, Jesus teaches Remember that the World Persecuted Him describing persecution by the world. Here Jesus commands His disciples “Remember the word that I said to you . . .” And also Jesus said, “But all these things they will do to you on account of My name.” They will do these things because of the truth about Jesus and truth from Jesus. There are several examples throughout the Gospel of John [John 5:18; 7:1, 19; 8:37, 40; 11:53]. Always when Jesus was teaching what they must believe about Him and believe about themselves. So much of His teaching is not popular in this world. The teachings of Jesus contradict the world and its teachings and standards. The teachings of Jesus confront the world and its beliefs and values.
First, Testimony of The Faithful One Jesus Himself Before The Eyes of The World Who Hated Him [15:22-25]. In these verses we see How the World Was and Is Hostile to Jesus Himself. Jesus begins His explanation with Hearing His Words They Are Guilty of Rejecting Him. “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin . . .” Revelation from Jesus and about Jesus through His own words. See the references to the teaching of Jesus throughout the Gospel of John [10:24 and 14:10-11]. He teaches about the person of God, the character of man, the nature of salvation, and the calling of discipleship upon the lives of people. One sin is emphasized here in the words of Jesus. It is the sin of rebellion against Him and the sin of rejection of Him. So many sins by so many others because of the one sin of rejecting Jesus. We come to Jesus as our King who laid down His life for us. Therefore we bow down before Him as Savior and Lord. All because of what He said about Himself and who He has revealed Himself to be so that we would believe in Him! As my Dad said while watching the movie the Gospel of John, “Did Jesus really say those things? Did Jesus really do those things? Yes! Yes Dad he did! Do you believe His testimony? Do you believe Him to be the Son of God? Will you believe in Him according to His testimony of His words?
Next in verse 23 Jesus describes Hating The Son of God They Are Guilty of Hating the Father. “The one who hates Me hates My Father also.” Earlier in the Gospel of John in chapter seven Jesus said to His unbelieving brothers, “The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify about it, that its deeds are evil.” [John 7:7] Show people the words and works of Jesus so clearly that their rebellion and rejection is plainly seen in their unbelief. We need to do a better job as disciples of Jesus telling others what Jesus said and what Jesus did so that His testimony is our testimony! And again the connection between the words and works of Jesus. As Jesus stated in John Chapter five, “But the testimony I have is greater than the testimony of John; for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish—the very works that I do—testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me. And the Father who sent Me, He has testified about Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. Also you do not have His word remaining in you, because you do not believe Him whom He sent.” [John 5:36-38]
And in verses 24-25 Seeing His Works They Are Guilty of Denying Him. “If I had not done among them the works which no one else did . . .” Sin of rejection of Him adds the unbelief of rebellion against Him all in the presence of His revelation of Himself. As Jesus says, “but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well.” The very One who is full of grace and truth according to John chapter one. His testimony that condemns. His ministry that confronts. His activity that convicts. Again many examples throughout the Gospel of John of His revelation of Himself which is before the rebellion and rejection of those who did not believe. With verse 25 all of this is according to the Scriptures, “But this has happened so that the word that is written in their Law will be fulfilled: ‘They hated Me for no reason.’” Here Jesus is quoting from Psalm 69:4 showing that His revelation was trustworthy and yet rejected without cause. As one man said, “so perfectly has Jesus done His works, and so completely did He reveal Himself.” No one will stand before Jesus and say you did not do enough and your revelation was not clear that you lacked in anything you said or anything you did. So grate to the Lord for so many here today in this church body who have believed and are not guilty of the sin of rebellion and rejection against Jesus. But today in a group this size there may be some who are here and the sin of rejection of Jesus and rebellion against Jesus is still present in your life and therefore you are not His disciple and are not saved. You may be here today and do not believe what Jesus said or believe what Jesus did as His testimony of who He really is as the Son of God and the only Savior. Al Mohler tells the story of Larry King in his different conversations. Someone asked Larry King “if you could interview God what would you ask Him?” Larry King immediately replied, “Hey God, do you have a son? That’s my question.” Indeed God has a Son and His name is Jesus according to His testimony of His words and His works!
Second, Testimony of The Spirit of Truth through the Disciples of Jesus In The Presence of A Hostile World [15:26-27]. Here is What the World Does and Believes Is Hostile to Disciples of Jesus. In verse 26 The Promise of the Coming Holy Spirit Who Will Be Testifying About Jesus.
Hear the words of Jesus “When the Helper comes. . .whom I will send. . .who comes from the Father.” This third statement by Jesus about the ministry of the Holy Spirit [see also 14:16-17, 26]. “He will testify about Me . . .” His ministry is emphasized and highlighted in this context of hostility by the world. The truth of the revelation of Jesus in His words and His deeds. In verse 27 The Practice of the Going Disciples of Jesus Who Will Be Testifying About Jesus. As Jesus concludes, “. . . and you are testifying as well” [cf. John 15:16, 20] Our ministry is the focus and attention in the context of the hostility by the world towards the disciples of Jesus. Again consider Acts 9 the testimony of the Apostle Paul [cf. 1 Corinthians 1:22-25; 2:1-2]. The Holy Spirit makes possible Our Testimony As Disciples of Jesus in A Hostile World. Read the Epistle to Diognetus describing the lifestyle of early Christians.
In this passage of Scripture we learn about both Our Relationship with Jesus and our relationship with the World. First, Taking time as a disciple of Jesus to receive, believe, and understand what Jesus said and what Jesus did. This means we READ the Gospels Again and Again. Second, Thinking rightly as a disciple of Jesus you are not guilty of rejecting Jesus nor are you guilty of denying Jesus. We are never guilty of rejecting Him or denying Him if I am testifying about Him. This demands we PROCLAIM the Gospel Again & Again. Third, Telling Others about the words and works of Jesus as His disciple. Let me tell you about my Lord about My Savior and my God. Fourth, Teaching Others these words of Jesus in making disciples in these days. Fifth, Testifying about Jesus by the ministry of the Holy Spirit as those bearing fruit according to the words of Jesus. Our Testimony As Disciples of Jesus in A Hostile World. I really believe! He really is mine! He really did die on the cross for my sins and paid the penalty for all of my sins! I live my life for Him and not for myself! I testify of Him! The things He said and the things He did cause me to worship Him more. I call you to come and bow your knee before Him as King to believe in Him and receive Him as your Lord and your Savior! He is the one and He is the only Savior!
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.
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.
Pastor Timothy J. Atkins
Husband, Father, Grandfather, Pastor, Teacher, Discipler, and Follower of Jesus.