Gettysburg Address, world-famous speech delivered by U.S. Pres. Abraham Lincoln at the dedication (November 19, 1863) of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the site of one of the decisive battles of the American Civil War (July 1–3, 1863).
The main address at the dedication ceremony was a two-hour speech delivered by Edward Everett, the best-known orator of the time. Steeped in the tradition of ancient Greek oratory, Everett’s speech was some 13,000 words long, but he delivered it without notes. It included allusions to the Battle of Marathon and comparisons with the English Civil Wars, the War of the Roses, and wars in German, French, and Italian history, along with a dissection of the Confederate “rebellion” and an exhaustive description of the events leading up to the Battle of Gettysburg and of the battle itself. Everett concluded by saying:
’The whole earth,’ said Pericles, as he stood over the remains of his fellow-citizens, who had fallen in the first year of the Peloponnesian War,-’the whole earth is the sepulchre of illustrious men.’ All time, he might have added, is the millennium of their glory. Surely I would do no injustice to the other noble achievements of the war, which have reflected such honor on both arms of the service, and have entitled the armies and the navy of the United States, their officers and men, to the warmest thanks and the richest rewards which a grateful people can pay. But they, I am sure, will join us in saying, as we bid farewell to the dust of these martyr-heroes, that wheresoever throughout the civilized world the accounts of this great warfare are read, and down to the latest period of recorded time, in the glorious annals of our common country there will be no brighter page than that which relates THE BATTLES OF GETTYSBURG.
In the wake of such a performance, Lincoln’s brief speech (just 272 words long) would hardly seem to have drawn notice. However, despite some criticism from his opposition, it was widely quoted and praised and soon came to be recognized as one of the classic utterances of all time, a masterpiece of prose poetry. On the day following the ceremony, Everett himself wrote to Lincoln, “I wish that I could flatter myself that I had come as near to the central idea of the occasion in two hours as you did in two minutes.”
The text quoted in full below represents the fifth of five extant copies of the address in Lincoln’s handwriting; it differs slightly from earlier versions and may reflect, in addition to afterthought, interpolations made during the delivery.
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
What We Learned Together This Sunday September 3, 2023
Today is the third message of this short series in this season for New Life Fellowship. We have seen Being Members of the Body of Christ in First Corinthians 12. We have seen Christian Call of Unity for the Church Body in Ephesians 4. The message today in Philippians chapter one “Only Conduct Yourselves In A Manner Worthy of the Gospel of Christ.” All that the message of the Gospel proclaims and means, calls us to be as His people and His church. The message of the Gospel is salvation, reconciliation, and transformation. The emphasis on sacrificial love and humble service, including repentance and obedience, seeing abundant grace and abounding mercy. There is the perfect righteousness of Christ and the holiness of God. Both forgiveness of all our sins and kindness of God toward sinners. A message of substitutionary death, the Lamb of God who dies for our sins, the Son of God who lived and died for our rescue and salvation, and the Spirit of God regenerates, renews, and restores.
First, Choose To Live Your Life in A Manner Worthy of the Gospel [1:27a]. Here is both PERSONAL DIRECTION and PERSONAL DECISION. The first word only places importance and significance in this matter for the church. And also consider all of the things which the Apostle Paul had going on in his life [1:12-14, 21-23]. The gospel emphasized here in this verse twice and in this first chapter in the book of Philippians [cf. 1:5, 7, 12, 16]. Here Paul begins “Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ . . .” Different translations: only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ [NASB] . . . only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ [ESV] . . . only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ [NKJV] . . . But whatever happens, make sure that your everyday life is worthy of the Gospel of Christ [Phillips]. This first command in this epistle [verses 27-30 one sentence]. The Gospel of Christ meaning Gospel truths, Gospel blessings, and Gospel promises. Believe the truth of the Gospel, and also behave in a manner worthy of the Gospel. Believe God the Father and Provider! Believe Jesus is Savior and Leader! Believe the Spirit is our Comforter and Teacher! Such a threefold teaching with the will of God, the work of God, and Word of God! Choice made by you because of the change within you by His grace, so that the Gospel is lived in my life as a testimony of the salvation by God. Paul emphasizing living together with a people with responsibilities of belonging there and being here in this body. One commentator wrote, “but the word Paul uses in Philippians speaks of one’s manner of life seen as a duty to a body or group of which one is a member, and to the head of that group to whom he is responsible. It is a more inclusive word.”
“But in the form in which Paul gives the exhortation, the person exhorted is to recognize his position as a citizen of a heavenly kingdom, and while obeying the exhortation as a matter of obligation to God, yet at the same time realize his responsibility to obey it because of the privileged position he occupies, and literally exhort or charge himself to do the same. One could translate therefore: “Only see to it that you recognize your responsibility as a citizen and put yourself to the absolute necessity of performing the duties devolving upon you in that position.” [Wuest Word Pictures]
And there is this point by Paul in the middle of the verse, “so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear about you . . .” What are people hearing about us here at New Life Fellowship? What will they be talking about in regard to us here? We want them to say there they only conduct themselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel.
Here is the first of two measurements of conducting ourselves in the manner worthy of the Gospel. The Standing In Unity with Others in the Gospel. Here is the PRESENT ACTION for the church body. Paul writes “that you are standing firm in one spirit . . .” The same wording used in chapter four [cf. 4:1]. Standing Firm for the Gospel which means “unyielding in battle” giving imagery of soldiers. Who we stand with and why we stand here. Where I stand my ground including convictions and commitments with military imagery. Stephen Davey states, The verb here for standing firm, is a military metaphor that pictures the Philippian believers serving in the same army, battling the same foe – which in this word picture would represent disunity. He says, stand firm in one spirit. And he knew they knew – and we might not – that the Roman ground troops fought their enemy not as single soldiers, but in densely packed rows, eight soldiers deep. They moved forward in step – they even moved sideways and backward together – by trumpet or voice commands.” Its that season again, and you know what I mean. Its Fall so its football season! Defense and Offense and Special teams for good football. Here is the defense of the Christian unity when we gather with other soldiers with our shields protecting others from the enemies and warfare against us. Here at New Life Fellowship joining with other soldiers in discipleship meetings, Bible Studies, and Community Groups bringing our shields with other brothers and sisters in Christ. Sad that sometimes we need shields because of other Christians in the church body turning against their fellow soldiers. In words of criticism and bitterness, or attitudes of self-righteousness and pride, so that the one spirit of not evident and present in the body.
Here is the second measurement of conducting ourselves in the manner worthy of the Gospel. The Striving for Partnership with Others with the Gospel. Here is the PRESENT PARTICIPATION. Paul writes, “with one mind striving together for the faith of the Gospel.” Striving Together for the Gospel which means “undivided in strategy” giving imagery of athletics. This is a present active participle meaning present participation as our character describing the present activity in our lives. What we are striving for and why we are working together. In this context Paul would expand teaching on the humility as he adds more teaching and the example of Christ as support [cf. Philippians 2:1-5; 3:12-14]. Here is the offense of the Christian unity when we work with other athletes with our efforts and ministries with others for the mission for us as a church body. Serving in unity in ministry together for the faith of the Gospel. Here at New Life Fellowship joining with other athletes serving, helping, ministering, working in different ministry plans bringing our efforts with other brothers and sisters in Christ. Here at New Life Fellowship praying for the 27 fellow workers in the AWANA ministry “with one mind striving together for the faith of the Gospel.”
Here is a summer of this verse by one commentator. “Only (since my only reason for remaining on earth is for your progress in the Christian life), see to it that you recognize your responsibility as citizens (of heaven), and put yourselves to the absolute necessity of performing the duties devolving upon you in that position, doing this in a manner which is befitting to the gospel of Christ, in order that whether having come and having seen you, or whether being absent I am hearing the things concerning you, namely, that you are standing firm in one spirit, holding your ground, with one soul contending (as a team of athletes would) in perfect co-operation with one another for the faith of the gospel.” [Wuest Translation]
We Choose To Live our Life in A Manner Worthy of the Gospel with both PERSONAL DIRECTION and PERSONAL DECISION, so that PRESENT ACTION and PRESENT PARTICIPATION be the character of our ministry and the quality of our testimony. First,The power of the Gospel should be demonstrated in our conduct together. Let our church body not merely be what men can do but how God does work through the Gospel! Second, Confess sins in our lives hindering the Gospel ministry and testimony. Communion Sunday the time for us all to take inventory and seek inspection of our lives as Christians. Strengthen our partnership & fellowship we have in the Gospel together. What will people be hearing about New Life Fellowship? How will we be obeying this command and fulfilling these responsibilities as a church body? May we each commit to standing firm for the Gospel and Striving Together for the Gospel. May they say of us in this community . . . “Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ . . . I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” [Philippians 1:27].
When people hear the phrase, "the body of Christ" some think it refers to the literal body of Jesus like the one he had while on the earth. The term actually refers to the members of his church throughout history. Therefore every Christian is a part of the body of Christ. Just like a human body, the body of Christ is made up of many different parts but all are meant to function together in unity. Limbs, when left alone are useless but when they come together there is movement and purpose. The ultimate purpose of every Christian is to glorify God. Imagine the power that comes from a church that functions as a whole unit with every body part in its place. Sadly, the Corinthian Christians were a bunch of separated limbs. I'm not sure where it was first told, but the story below sums it up well...
A carpenter’s tools were having a conference. Brother Hammer was presiding, but the others informed him that he’d have to leave because he was too noisy. "All right," he said, "I’ll go, but Brother Plane must withdraw too. There’s no depth to his work. It’s always on the surface." Brother Plane responded, "Well, Brother Rule will also have to go too. He’s constantly measuring people as if he were the only one who’s right." Brother Rule then complained about Brother Sandpaper, saying, "He’s rougher than he ought to be. He’s very abrasive and he's always rubbing people the wrong way." Brother Sandpaper was annoyed by Brother Saw, claiming that he had a very sharp and cutting personality. Brother Saw leveled his criticism at Brother Level, saying that he always tends to blame others for being crooked and unbalanced. Brother Level had a major problem with Brother Hand Drill, accusing him of coming along and sticking his long penetrating nose into other people's business. And wouldn't you know it, Brother Hand Drill was really bothered by Brother Clamp because Brother Clamp always seemed so uptight and never seemed relaxed. In the midst of this bitter discussion, the Carpenter of Nazareth walked in. He spoke sternly to all the tools, rebuked them, and told them to hold their peace. He shared with them that everyone of them had a purpose and that they were uniquely made to fulfill that purpose. He told them that everyone of them was important and had a special job to do. The Carpenter told them that He needed every one of them in order to do His work. He then went to His workbench to make a pulpit from which to preach the gospel. He used the hammer, the plane, the rule, the sandpaper, the saw, the level, the hand drill and the clamp. Not one tool was untouched or unused. After the pulpit was finished, Brother Rule arose and said, "I see now that all of us are laborers together with God." There's no such thing as an unemployed Christian in the church. We all have something to contribute and we all need each other to accomplish the work God has for us!
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!
Pastor Timothy J. Atkins
Husband, Father, Grandfather, Pastor, Teacher, Discipler, and Follower of Jesus.