INTRODUCTION TO JOHN'S GOSPEL
We will begin with an introduction to our study on the Gospel of John where we will analyze the central theme of this gospel. It is diverse from the other three gospels.
I want you to notice as we proceed into this study that the gospels are unique and distinct, one from another. For example, you and three other people could be standing on the four corners of an intersection, and observe the happening of an accident right before your eyes.
One is looking at it from this side, one from this side, one from this side, and one from this side. You will get four totally different accounts of that accident from four separate witnesses. Even though there should be nothing that contradicts the one from the other. This is what we see in the four gospels.
We see that the four apostles have each given their account of the life and the ministry of Christ as they have observed it from their perspective. However, this does not mean that we are going to see any contradiction, even though each, individually, has their own perspective, and then reported what caught their attention the most.
Now as we get into the study of the Gospel of John, I want you to see that the central theme of the Gospel of John is very diverse from the other three. Each gospel is very distinct in its own character.
Consider first the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew portrays Christ in His Kingly office--He is prophet, priest, and king. The central theme of the Gospel of Matthew sets forth the kingly office of Christ. He presents Him as the heir of the throne of David, the King of the Jews. This is the perspective from which Matthew saw the ministry and the life of Christ.
See how the gospel begins in the Gospel of Matthew. "Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him." MAT 2:1-2.
Turn back to MAT 1:1. The very first verse of the Gospel of Matthew starts with the genealogies of Christ. "The book of the generation of Jesus, the son of David, the son of Abraham." MAT 1:1. The Jews were looking for that fulfillment of that everlasting kingdom of David. In the very first perspective that Matthew sees Christ, he sees Him as the Son of David, the King of Israel.
As we see the history of Christ, MAT 2, where it begins to unfold, we first learn of the wise men seeking this Saviour who was to be born King of the Jews. As we follow through the Gospel of Matthew youll see that the Kingship of Christ is the central theme of Matthew.
Then, look at the Gospel of Mark. The Gospel of Mark does not begin with the lineage of Jesus. The Gospel of Mark makes no mention of where He was from or of any of His ancestry; it begins in the first chapter showing Jesus as the Servant of Jehovah. The central theme of the Gospel of Mark is Jesus Christ the Servant of the Father. It immediately begins with the gospel of Jesus pertaining to his work of the ministry.
Notice in MAR 1:14-15, "Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God." The very first thing that it tells us is of John the Baptist and how he baptized Christ and how Christ was taken into the wilderness for forty days to be tempted of the devil. It tells us about the ministry of Christ in that He began preaching the gospel of the kingdom.
Now what is so wonderful about the gospel of the kingdom is that you and I, by nature of the fall, have been taken into the servitude of Satan and sin and have lost the state of conciliation in which we were created. In the creation man was created in a state of perfect conciliation with God - perfect harmony, perfect oneness of thought, oneness of mind, oneness of purpose. All of this harmony was broken by the fall.
Now, the good news of the gospel is the gospel of the kingdom of God. What is that for? To teach you and I that we again can be delivered from the servitude of self, of Satan, and of sin; the gospel of the kingdom has opened the way whereby we can again be brought into the service of God. We are able to come into this service because Christ Jesus came and satisfied the penalty of the law.
The Lord Jesus Christs coming and keeping the law with perfect obedience can be imputed to you and I. Now, Satan can be dethroned; we no longer serve the lusts of the flesh, the pride of life, and we no longer serve the flesh. We can again come into the kingdom of God and come to serve Him acceptably in Christ.
We see in MAR 1:15, "And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand " What does that mean, "the kingdom of God is at hand"? That means that the day is here that we now can again enter the kingdom! Many people think entering the kingdom of God means something thats going to happen after we die. Let me tell you, if we dont enter the kingdom of God in this life, we will not enter it in eternity. We must enter the kingdom now; the kingdom of God is at hand!
And what does he say immediately after that, "The kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye." MAR1:15. What does that word repent mean? It means change your attitude. In other words, you have an attitude that you think you can serve God and man. You think you can serve both God and mammon; you can serve the world and you can serve God at the same time.
The word repent means you need a change of attitude, you need a change of heart. What is the greatest distinction between the biggest reprobate and the most godly saint? Attitude. The one is in open rebellion against God and wanting to serve self, Satan, and sin. And the other is unconditionally surrendered to the will of God and comes into the kingdom of heaven. He says that "The kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel."
Now, lets consider the perspective from the Gospel of Luke. The Gospel of Luke reveals the humanity of Christ; it begins with "born in a manger." It begins with how the Lord Jesus Christ was born of a woman and of the deity of His human nature. And if you follow throughout the Gospel of Luke, youll find that the central theme is that Christ is revealed as the Son of Man.
Notice also, that it is in the Gospel of Luke, that we see the great contrast between Christ in his perfect human nature and the sinful sons of men. This contrast is seen in LUK 4:6-8 where we read, "And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine."
This is the trap that you and I are in by nature. We are serving Satan because he has come with this ugly delusion that by serving him we can gain all the things of this life; we can gain the things of this world. In verse 7 Satan says, "If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine." That is the temptation of Satan to Christ. See the great contrast between you and I by nature and the Lord Jesus Christ in the answer our Saviour gave. See that He was not under this power of Satan. What was His answer? "And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." LUK 4:8
When you and I have entered the kingdom, been born again, and have been born of the Spirit, then we shall serve only the Lord Jesus Christ. We will not serve mammon: the pleasures of this life, the pleasures of Satan, and sin. We will serve only our Saviour.
The fourth gospel, the Gospel of John, reveals Christ as the heavenly One come down to earth to tabernacle with men. We see Christ revealed as the Son of God. Theres the central theme; the main truth which dominates the Gospel of John is showing Christ as God, Christ in His divinity, Christ in His deity.
The first three gospels teach Jesus' human relationship with men: the relationship that He has, in His human nature, with you and I as man. However, in the Gospel of John we see His spiritual relationship more than the human ties.
We see throughout the Gospel of John the spiritual relationship between Jesus and man, i.e., the state of reconciliation, when you and I have come out from under the service of sin, have stopped serving the law of sin, and begin serving under the law of the Spirit. The spiritual relationship between Christ and His people is the central theme of the Gospel of John.
The central theme teaches the One who was born in the manger, and the One who did eat and drink with sinners, and the One who died upon the cross was co-equal with the Father. It shows and it teaches how God, the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ were one. It teaches the Godhead of the Lord Jesus Christ; He was the only begotten Son of the Father. As we see in JOH 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son."
The Gospel of John shows the unity and the oneness that there is between God the Father and God the Son. It shows the spiritual relationship between Christ and His church. Watch what we see in the balance of JOH 3:16, "that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." It shows the love union between the Father and the Son and His church.
It is John's gospel which teaches us the spiritual nature of our relationship with God. There is the law of love, and that is to love God with your heart, your soul, and your mind. It is the first table of the law; the second table of the law of love means that we must love our neighbor as ourselves. This is more than just a natural love.
It shows us here in the Gospel of John in JOH 4:23-24, "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth." That means we must worship Him in the mental disposition of Christ. The word spirit means mental disposition, mental attitude. There is a beautiful harmony between the call to repent and true worship.
True worship means we can worship the Father in the mind of Christ. " in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him." JOH 4:23. God is a spirit, God is the Holy Spirit. There is a trinity: The Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are one. "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship Him "in spirit and in truth." JOH 4:24 This gospel is showing us the spiritual relationship between Christ and His church.
Each Book of the Bible has its own central theme; the theme of the Gospel of John is the Deity of Christ. I want you to see that now, in our day, much has been done to try to undermine the Deity of Christ, i.e., His Godship. He is God and man. The other three gospels are emphasizing His human nature much more than John, but John emphasizes the Deity of Christ, and it is apparent from the very first verse. JOH 1:1 says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Do you see His deity? Christ is the Word and that the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Deity of Christ comes forth in the very first verse.
The blessed example of this same Jesus who was crucified and was laid in the tomb now teaches us what our spiritual relationship is to be as we become dead unto sin and serve Him as great God and Saviour. Now we serve Christ as our God.
Lets consider the words ungodliness and unrighteousness used in the following Scripture. What is ungodliness? Ungodliness is any transgression of the first table of the law: loving God with your heart, your soul, and your mind. Any infraction of this law of love is ungodliness. What is unrighteousness? Unrighteousness is any infraction of the second table of the law: loving your neighbor as yourself. Unrighteousness is any wrong or un-right act against our neighbor.
We read in TIT 2:12-14, "Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." We are to turn away from sin and follow Christs example.
The Scriptures clearly set forth the Deity of Christ: He is called the Great God and our Saviour. "The glorious appearing of the Great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity." TIT 2:13-14.
Have you ever heard Christ called our Redeemer? What does it mean to you? What is it that we are to be redeemed from? Is it just to be redeemed from hell? No. What does the word redeemed mean? To help us analyze redemption, lets consider an example. If you entered into a land transaction and were in default of your contract, the state law of Montana provides a year "right of redemption". It means that you have the right to come back in and pay for that which you are in default and redeem your land in the allotted time. Does it not?
What is the debt we owe the Lord? The debt we owe the Lord is perfect obedience! We are in default, and we are not able to pay. Our blessed Redeemer comes in and He pays our default! What does He do? He comes in and satisfies that law with perfection that you and I were not able to do because of our fall. What does this do? It redeems us from all iniquity.
Many people think that redemption means to be redeemed only from hell? No! It is to be redeemed from all iniquity. The verse says, "who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto himself a peculiar people." TIT 2:13-14.
If you and I had a land deal in default and somebody came in and gave the price of redemption, what is it that we would gain? We would come back into possession of that which we have lost, is it not? What did we lose? In the example, we lost land; from a spiritual viewpoint, we lost purity; we lost the state of conciliation that we had with the Father. We lost our ability to serve Him in a pleasing way.
We are now redeemed from our iniquity and purified "unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." TIT 2:14. Now repentance comes into the picture. Our attitude has been changed. We no longer desire to serve that which is displeasing to the Lord. Our heart has been renewed, and we are brought back into the service of God, acceptably in Jesus Christ. It is not that we are able to do it perfectly, but the Lord looks at our heart, and it becomes the desire of our heart to do that which is pleasing to God.
What is salvation? Is it a fire escape? No. Salvation is to become reconciled with God. That state of conciliation that you lost in the fall has been restored. Salvation means that we are now brought back and purified "unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." We have been redeemed from all iniquity.
What does it means that Jesus Christ is Lord? It means that He is Lord over you; that means that you serve Him. The Deity of Christ, His Lordship, was foretold and made known by the inspiration of the Spirit in ISA 9:6. "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Does that teach the deity of Christ? Certainly. He is co-equal with the Father; He is one with the Father; He and the Father are one.
The eternal relationship between the Father and the Son of God was also foretold by inspiration of the Spirit in MIC 5:2, "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." He is eternal, He is not only co-equal with the Father, but He is co-eternal with the Father.
It was also of this same Jesus who was born in a manger that David prophesied in PSA 110:1, "The LORD said unto my Lord..." David calls Him, "Lord." David calls Him his God. Christ indeed is co-equal with the Father. We see this prediction of David in PSA 110:1 also referred to in ACT 2:34-35.
The apostles, on the day of Pentecost, brought forth that very statement of David "For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool." The apostles, on the day of Pentecost, are using the testimony and the prediction and the prophecy of David to prove that this was very Christ and to prove that He is very God.
In these days of apostasy, it cannot be emphasized too much that the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, is co-equal with the Father.
It is in this fourth gospel that we have the full unveiling of Christ's glories. It is here that we see Him dwelling with the Godhead before time began. This is the central theme of the Gospel of John: the deity and the Godship of Christ. In JOH 1:1-2 we see He was dwelling with the Godhead before time began! "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God."
In the beginning of time and the beginning of the creation. This shows that He predates creation. In the beginning He was with God, He was God, by Him all things were made. The deity of Christ is revealed in the Gospel of John as the Creator of heaven and earth.
I dont too often get into authorities that are not in the Scripture, but I have one I want to quote. Have you ever heard of The Apostles Creed? "I believe in God the Father, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, Our Lord." That was fabricated by the Roman Catholic church years ago. The original creed, just says, "I believe in God the Father."
See what the gospel tells us: The creation was the act of the Trinity and not God the Father who made heaven and earth.
There is a difference between making and creating. Making means there was some substance there from which you make something. If I want to make a box I need tools and I need a substance. I need either wood or paper or something from which to make the box! When God created He said, "And it came to pass " It was the act of creating. Read GEN 1:3, "And God said, Let there be light: and there was light." How did this come to pass? By the Word. Christ is the Word.
"All things were made by him;" By who? By the Trinity.
JOHN 1:1-3 says, "1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."
Where did creation begin? It is in the deity of Christ that we see the power of the Creator made manifest; it is in His Word! He spoke and it was! He commanded and it stood fast. This was Christ. This is the deity of Christ. He is the Creator.
John the Baptist bare record of this same Jesus in JOH 1:34, "And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God." Again we see that the central theme of the Gospel of John centers on the deity of Christ.
The Gospel of John testifies of Jesus' glory in JOH 2:11, "This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him." How did it manifest forth his glory? By the beginning of miracles. It was to the glory of God the Son, that when He commanded it happened.
In the beginning of miracles He said, "Be healed," and by the power of His Word the person was healed. He said, "Stretch forth thy hand," (the mans hand was shriveled up and withered), and by the power of His Word the man was able to stretch forth his hand. It was the glorifying of the power of His Word. He said unto Lazarus, "Lazarus, come forth," and the dead came out of the grave by the power of His Word! These are the things we see in the Gospel of John.
The fourth Gospel reveals the Father's love and how He gave all authority unto His Son. The deity of Christ is revealed in the Father giving all authority unto His Son. In JOH 3:35-36 we read, "The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."
All power is given unto the Son. If we believe on Him, we have everlasting life. All things hath He given into His hands. Our salvation, our acceptance with God, is given into the hands of Jesus Christ.
It is in this fourth gospel that we learn the eternal nature of Christ's power as co-equal with the Father. We read in JOH 5:21-23, "For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will." The Son is co-equal with the Father. The Father has given all authority unto the Son.
The deity of Christ comes through, "For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him." JOH 5:22-23. Can we question the deity of Christ? Can we question that Christ is very God? It is the central theme of the Gospel of John.
The deity of Christ comes through in the gospel; it shines forth in JOH 10:27-30. "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand."
We see in JOH 5:21, that "the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will." "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." JOH 10:28. He is saying that the sheep are in His hand; that He gives them eternal life.
"My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one. JOH 10:29-30. Jesus is co-equal with the Father. He is God as the Father is God.
The Deity of Christ is also found in JOH 14:8-10, "Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father;" JOH 14:8-9
The Lord Jesus Christ is the express image of the Father. If you have seen Christ, you have seen God. His mercy, His righteousness, and His love are all revealed in the Son. "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?" JOH 14:9. God is revealed in His Son.
Jesus goes on to say, "Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." JOH 14:10. He is saying that it is the Father in Him that is being revealed and is speaking.
As we become conformed to the image of Christ, we become a reflection of the character of Christ, the character of God. God is love. If we can harbor bitterness or hatred in our heart, how dwelleth the love of God in us? As you and I become conformed to the image of Christ, then that character of God is radiating from our thoughts, our words, and our deeds.
That is what Christ is saying. He says, "the words that I speak," it is, "the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." (JOH 14:10) Our character, our attitude, everything about us Christ in you becomes the hope of glory. The hope of our salvation is in becoming conformed to that precious image of Christ.
Not only does this fourth Gospel unveil the deity of Christ, but it is also distinguished from the other three Gospels in that it unfolds the spiritual relationship between Christ and His church.
JOH 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
In verses 5-7 Jesus is talking about the formation and the creation of that image of Christ in your heart. If you dont have that, He says you dont have life except you be born again. "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." You cannot serve God acceptably unless you have been born of the Spirit, because youre going to have bitterness, selfishness, lust, pride, and all those things that will still be ruling in your life. Until Christ is formed in you, you cannot enter His service.
He says in JOH 3:7, "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." You dont have to enter the second time into your mothers womb and be born physically. The Lord Jesus says you must be born of the Spirit and of water, and then He goes on to explain how that takes place.
"The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit." JOH 3:8.
What does this example of the wind mean? It tells us that you will find new desires in your heart, and you cant tell where they came from. All you know is that you no longer enjoy the old desires! I talked to a man in a church one time in Great Falls. He had been a drinking man and had lived in utter riot all his life. Now he was coming to church! He said, "You know, I dont know what happened. All I know is I go to a bar and I cant stand it in there anymore! I hear the people cursing and swearing; I cant stand their company! I come to church and for some reason theres something here that draws me. What it is that brought me here, I dont know."
That mans experience is another example of what this passage of Scripture is saying; the Holy Spirit begins to work in the heart, and He starts to give repentance, a change of attitude. That which we used to love, we begin to hate. That which we used to hate, we begin to love. We love the appearing of Jesus Christ! We love the fellowship of His saints! We love to do what we can for our brother! We love what we used to hate.
A person cant tell you just exactly how it began. It isnt like some bolt of lightning came down from heaven and now he became a different man. No its gradual. Its something that comes in the heart as the wind blows. You can feel it, you can see the effect of it, but you cant tell where it came from or where its going. "So is every one that is born of the Spirit."
There are other distinctions between the Gospel of John and the other gospels; the sovereignty of God in our salvation comes through so beautifully in JOH 1:11-13.
JOH 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
"He came unto his own, and his own received him not. [They refused to accept Him.] But as many as received him [in the original that word received is a different word than it is in vs. 11 in the original that word received comes from the same place as another verse where it says, And what dost thou have that thou did not receive. That does not mean accepted. That means that which was conveyed to you outside of yourself.], But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."
How did you receive your second birth? What did you contribute to your first birth? It isnt that you contributed anything. The Holy Spirit begins the work of grace in your heart outside of you. And this is as it is with the birth of the spirit. He gives you a new desire, He gives you a new hungering and thirsting, and He gives you new appetites.
"Which were born, not of blood " What does not of blood mean? In other words, not because my father was Abraham, not because of my father or my mother or my ancestry, not of blood, not out of bloodlines. " nor of the will of the flesh ," it isnt because I decided, I made the decision for Christ, and I accepted. No, it teaches the sovereignty of God. It was by birth. It was by being born of the Spirit. Not of the will of man, but of God. Thats how we were born spiritually. We were not born by the will of man; we were born by the Holy Spirit. The sovereignty of God in our salvation comes through so beautifully throughout the fourth gospel.
We read JOH 6:44-45, "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day." Can you go out and tell people that all you have to do is accept Christ? The Lord Jesus says, "No man can come to me, except the Father draw him."
Why? ROM 8:7-8. "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God." Thats why we are not able to come unto Christ except the Father draw and we have the new birth. We are not able to serve God acceptably in the flesh. Theres only one way we can serve God acceptably and that is with the quickening grace of the Spirit in our hearts, and when the Father looks upon us in Christ.
JOH 6:44-45 says, "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. [In that work of regeneration, when the Holy Spirit works that new birth in the heart, we start being taught of God.] Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me." How do we hear? When the Holy Spirit quickens our spiritual ears, we begin to hear the gospel according to the will of God.
The spiritual relationship between the Father, the Son and His church come through in John 17. We must look at John 17:1-3 to see the precious relationship between Christ and the Father and the Church in the Spirit.
JOHN 17:1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: 2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. 3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
The knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ is eternal life. What does it mean to know Him, to know God and Jesus Christ? You can have been born and raised with somebody, even to the point that you think you know that person as well as you know yourself, but until youve had dealings with that person, you dont know him. I can talk from experience.
Somebody I was born and raised with I never knew until I started doing business with that person. I discovered that his word was no good; he would make promises, enter into a written contract, and it was a though there was not a commitment at all if he could gain by breaking it. I never knew that until I started doing business with him, even though I thought I knew him since I was little.
You dont know the Lord until youve had dealings with Him, until He has lead you, and worked grace in your hearts. Then we have learned to know that what He says is "Yea and Amen in Christ;" that His Word is faithful. As He leads us from day to day we learn to trust that when He says, "I will give you your bread and your water shall be sure,"
He will perform it. We will find that we come to the end of ourselves, and then out of some miraculous corner He provides, He leads, and He directs. Then we learn to know Him because He becomes formed in us. We start walking in His footsteps.
The intercessory prayer of Jesus not only included the ones unto whom He personally preached the gospel, but the whole family of God who would believe after His death, after His resurrection, and after His ascension. See JOH 17:20-21, "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; [It is through the word of His sent apostles, through the word of those whom he has sent to preach.] That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me."
Do you see why the unity of spirit in the church is so required? The oneness of the church, the love thats reflected by the church one to another, is what Christ uses that the world may know and "believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one;" JOH 17:21-23
There is a oneness of Christ and the Father, and now He brings in that blessed harmony for His church. And he says, "I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one," i.e., that we might be made one with Christ, with God, with the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ.
"I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me." JOHN 17:23.
The love the Father had for His Son when He was in the garden of Gethsemane was restrained for the love that He had for His church. He allowed His Son to go into and be submerged under the wrath that you and I deserved. He allowed that crown of thorns, which was your and my sin, to be placed upon His head. The Father allowed the blood to run down His face, and His suffering upon the cross. The Father restrained His love for His Son for the love that He had for His church. He allowed His Son to come in and pay the penalty for our sin, and the Lord Jesus did this all as an act of obedience.
Jesus says to His Father, "and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me." The love that God has for His church is from eternity. It is an eternal love. Its not just a fit of passion, but it is a love that comes from eternity. Do you know what it does as we learn to understand this? It helps us to repent. We develop a right attitude towards sin.
When we see how terribly displeasing sin is in the eyes of God, the Father, that He would rather put His own Son to death than to let one sin go unpunished, and then we see that He did this out of the love that He had for us. God gave His Son because He loved us even as He loved His Son, that His Son might purchase our redemption to redeem us from all iniquity. When we learn to understand this with our hearts, then all this must make sin become exceeding sinful.
Then we understand why the man said, "I cant stand to sit in a bar. It bothers me to hear people take Gods name in vain." It is because sin becomes so exceeding sinful, because we see how grievously the Father hates sin. That is true repentance. That is a change of mind. That is being born of the Spirit. That is the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts that makes sin become exceeding sinful.
We see the blessed intercessory prayer, where Jesus said, "and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me." What a precious interceder we have in heaven that He bears that before the Father, that Hes pleading our salvation before His Father! Sin must become grievously sinful as we learn to understand Jesus message.
The deity of Christ and His Spiritual relationship with the church, for the reconciliation of His Father and His church comes through in JOH 14:15-17.
JOHN 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
Do you understand reconciliation? Do you understand what it is to be brought back into that state of conciliation that we had with the Father before the fall? We understand the love of the Father in giving His Son. We understand the love of the Son in giving Himself. Now he says, "Do you love me? Then keep my commandments." I came to redeem you from all iniquity.
What is the spirit of the law? The hearts desire to know and do the will of God. How often do you lay on your bed at night and beseech the Lord as you meditate, "Lord, what is Thy will? Give me to know thy will and give me grace to do Thy will." Then it isnt a matter of, "Well, I can do this because the neighbor does it," or "Well, the pastor does this so I can do it." No! We must look at what the Lord Jesus did. He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even to death on a cross.
If you and I are going to walk in the footsteps of our Saviour, we must humble ourselves unto death; that is death upon the world, death upon everything of the flesh, death upon everything of self. Why? The answer is in ROM 6:10, "and in that He died, He died once unto sin." We become dead unto sin. Sin becomes sinful!
And we read in JOH 14:16, "And I will pray the Father " [see the connective words that we find in JOH 14:15-16. First, if its conditional] "If ye love me, keep my commandments. [verse 16 starts with and, you keep my commandments] and I will pray the Father, [Do you want Him to be our interceder? Do you want Christ interceding for us before the Father? He says] keep my commandments and I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, [the Holy Spirit] that he may abide with you for ever."
Its all contingent upon if you "keep my commandments." That does not mean we are going to keep His commandments with perfection, but we are going to obey from the heart.
We must see how our blessed Saviour teaches that our spiritual relationship with Him and His Father are contingent upon becoming reconciled with His will. What is salvation? It is becoming reconciled with the will of God.
In JOH 14:23, we read, "Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him."
The spiritual relationship between the Father and the Son and His church is what distinguishes the Gospel of John from the other gospels.
JOHN 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. 9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
JOH 15:7 tells us, "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." Do you want to come before the Lord and make a petition that He will hear? He tells us that if His words abide in us, and we do what He says, we shall ask and it shall be done! Do you want to abide in the love of Christ? Then be reconciled with His will.
The Father's greatest glory was Christ's unconditional obedience; if we are to please Him in any way it can only be through an unconditional surrender to His will. How are we going to walk in the footsteps of Christ if we are unavailable to do what is pleasing to the Father? Its only going to be by our heart being totally dissolved in His will that we become willing.
1 JOHN 3:22. "And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight."
All our spiritual relationship with the Father in Christ centers in our having become reconciled to His will as we see in 2PE 1:10-11.
2 PETER 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
12 Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.
It is in doing "these things" that we please God What things are these? Peter says in 2PE 1:12, "Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth."
"These things" are what we find in the context of 2PE 1:5-7, "And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity." Amen.
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