THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST, #563
"If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." (JOH 7:17)
The Lord Jesus is calling to witness in our hearts as He has just told us about if we feed upon His blessed self-sacrificial love, if we feed upon that Spirit of Christ, if we feed upon the things that He teaches that we shall have eternal life.
And now He has come into the Temple. He has come to the Feast of Tabernacles. He had told His brothers to go before Him. He said, "I go not up yet."
But we read in verse 10, "But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret." In other words, He did not go to make a big public show of Himself. He went up as in secret or in private.
JOH 7:11-12 says, "Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he? And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people."
You might say, "Where can we find a church where there be no contention?" What are you going to say when we have a church where the Lord Jesus Christ Himself is the pastor? Here we see the strife and the murmuring among the people. Some people were saying that He is a good man, and others said no but He is deceiving the people.
Verses 14-16 continue, "Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me."
If there is any faithful preaching, it is not teaching our doctrine, and it is not teaching my doctrine, it is teaching the doctrine of Him that sent me. Our text says, "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself."
Jesus brethren after the flesh left Christ for the Feast! As is so common in our day, religious performances and forms of godliness satisfy a carnal desire for eternal security. There is in this day so much religious performance where people leave Christ; they go for the religious performances instead of for Christ. They left Jesus, the Messiah, and went to entertain these religious performances.
They had a form of godliness with a carnal desire for eternal security in a self-centered, legalistic religion. 2TI 3:5 says, "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." There is much religion in our day, where people have a form of godliness. Theyre religious, but they deny the power of it.
If you read verses one through four, you will see in what way they deny the power of it. They have hearts full of bitterness and deceit, but they have a form of godliness. The Lord Jesus is saying that if any man will do His will, then we will know His doctrine.
Our Saviour did not disobey His Father's command to attend the Feast of Tabernacles, but He would not take part in all the fanfare His brethren wanted to make of it. They wanted Him to go there, be the center of attraction, put on a fanfare, perform a miracle or two, and really get the people to follow Him, but the Lord Jesus would not participate in that type of fanfare.
JOH 7:10 says, "But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret." He went privately, not to put on a big show, but to bring forth the truth that His Father had given Him to bring forth. Our Saviours doctrine spoken of in our text was taught by His example in unconditional submission to His Fathers will. He went, not with a big fanfare, "but as it were in secret," i.e., with meekness and lowliness.
JOH 7:15 says, "And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?" He performed a wonderful miracle, and His brethren didnt recognize it. "Having never learned." Never having gone to school, and yet those gracious words flowed from His mouth to the extent that it made every one of His enemies marvel. What a wonder of grace.
He goes on to qualify this in verse 16. "Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me."
If I was to stand here and tell you all the philosophies of all the theologians who had ever written, I could come up with some very impressive evidence that I had done a fantastic study. Instead, what I beg the Lord for is that He will instill His Spirit in the Word and that He will unfold the Word, the doctrine "of him that sent me." This is all that I want to bring forth.
They were murmuring because He had not been to their schools. Look at the shame, look at the jealousy that this brought out of the scribes and Pharisees, who had spent their whole lives studying the Law, studying the Scriptures and had 650 different commandments connected with the sabbath. He stands up, explains the Sabbath, and shows the New Testament Sabbath and the true meaning of the Holy Word of God pertaining to the Sabbath and sets all of their study at naught. Now, how does this man have all of this and He hasnt studied? He hadnt done any learning. He hadnt even learned letters. He never even learned how to read. How does He have this wisdom?
That offended them-because it set at naught all of their wisdom. LUK 4:22 says, "And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph's son?"
In other words, they immediately went out to assassinate Him and His character. Why? Their pride was touched.
Where is the authority in our modern day religion? Is it in some theologian, or is it in those gracious words that flow from the mouth of our blessed Saviour? Where is the authority of our doctrine? Can a man enter the ministry of the gospel without graduating from some seminary?
What about the Apostle Paul? The Apostle Paul was brought up at the feet of Gamaliel. He was taught and instructed by the scribes and Pharisees. He was a Pharisee of Pharisees. Now read what he said in GAL 1:11-12: "But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man [all this education that I had didnt have anything to do with what I am telling you.], neither was I taught it [he certifies that the gospel he preached was not taught by man], but by the revelation of Jesus Christ."
In order to rightly divide the Word of God, do you know what we need? We need the call of the Spirit. We need to be sent by the Lord and the Holy Spirit to unfold the Holy Word of God that we might be able to rightly divide the Word of Truth
Do you know what is amazing? That is not what we learn in school. "How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?" The blessed revelation of Jesus Christ, which we receive by those gracious words that proceeded out of our Saviour's mouth, were so meek and lowly! Christ, who Himself was God, was co-equal with the Father, took no credit to Himself.
Different people have said, "Well, you have to make attribution if you use someone elses words." In other words, if you are bringing out a point that you found in someone elses work, then you have to say, John Calvin said, or Jonathan Edwards said. You have to make attribution to the man.
I disobey that principle. Do you know why? Anything I learned from any other man is only to help me rightly divide the Word of Truth, and I am not going to stand here and say, "Thus saith Calvin." I have a commission to come before this crowd and tell you, "Thus saith the Lord."
So, if I learn something by reading another mans work, I have to go back into the Word of God and confirm the truth of it. Many times I find that when I put it in its full context, the message comes through quite differently than it did with the other mans work.
Now the Lord Jesus says, "My doctrine is not mine." I am not only going to tell you that my doctrine is not John Calvins doctrine, Im going to tell you that it isnt even mine. It is the doctrine of Him that sent me to preach. That is what the Lord Jesus pointed out. He not only was not willing to come with all the fanfare His brothers and sisters wanted, but when He spoke and when they marveled, and when they were completely confused by the gracious words that He spoke, He didnt take the credit to Himself. He said, "My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me." (JOH 7:16)
I want you to see now the central emphasis of our text, to understand, that the Lord Jesus Christ came to do the will of His Father. He came to teach the doctrines of His Father. He came to submit and to unconditionally obey, with perfect obedience. He made no attempt to make Himself a name, but He took upon Him the form of a servant and was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. The Father was so pleased with such unconditional obedience that His wrath was appeased when He saw the blood of Christ as being offered upon the mercy seat with an unconditional surrender to the will of the Father. What an example He set for you and me.
Now see the central theme of our text. "If any man will do his will [Will we do His will? Are we willing?], he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself."
This word doctrine, which means "teaching," i.e., teaching the truth of God, is in the singular sense. He doesnt say, "If any man do his will he will know the doctrines" in a plural sense. He is speaking of a singular sense. "He shall know the doctrine." The doctrine of God, the doctrine of the Bible, is singular. There is one doctrine. It is the doctrine of the Father. It is the doctrine of the Word. It is a singular doctrine.
Notice 1 TI 4:6, "If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained."
This stands in striking contrast with Scripture that speaks of the "doctrines of men." Men have doctrines, all churches have church doctrines, much of this is not the doctrine of Christ. I want you to see how the Scriptures warn against this very thing.
Look at HEB 13:9. "Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein."
The New Testament church was being infiltrated by doctrines of men pertaining to meat, eating, and things-of what men would have us do. He said, "Beware of divers and strange doctrines." Plural. Do you know why? Every denomination has its own doctrines.
1TI 4:1 says, "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils."
Our text says, "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine (singular), whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself."
I sent some of my material that I printed to a group, and they said they would give it to their committee to examine it to see if they would be willing to sell it in their organization. The next time I talked to the lady on the phone, I asked her: "What was their decision?" They decided that it went against their doctrine. Each denomination has its own doctrine, much of which are doctrines of men. It is very important that we understand this.
Now, our text tells us how we are to attain unto both spiritual knowledge, and also the most blessed assurance of our faith. The fundamental condition for obtaining spiritual knowledge is a genuine heart-desire to carry out the revealed will of God. That is the doctrine of Christ. It is so important to understand, and you find few pastors who will preach that doctrine. Do you know why? It is just like with the scribes and Pharisees. They had their own doctrines-the washing of pots and pans, and all of the purification, and all these things that they have formulated as a result of their philosophy of interpreting the Law.
Look at ROM 8:16. "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit [with our mental disposition, with our thinking. The Holy Spirit bears witness with our knowledge], that we are the children of God." Our will and our attitude are the witness of the Spirit.
Now, wherever the heart is right with God, our text says He will give the capacity to apprehend the truth! Now take notice that our text says, "If any man will do his will, he shall know." You will have a capacity; your understanding will be enlightened to understand the doctrine of Christ, if you do His will.
If the heart is not right in loving the truth, wherein would be the value of knowing God's truth? Why would God give you the Holy Spirit enlightening your mind of what the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ is, if you dont love the truth? If you start gainsaying the Word of God saying, "yeah but I believe." I had a pastor tell me after I read him a passage of Scripture, "Well let me show you what John Gill says about that chapter or about that verse." I couldnt care less what John Gill says. I want to know what Jesus Christ said. And if I dont love what Christ said, and if I will not accept what Christ said, why should God open my understanding to understand the truth-when Im going to hold some theologian above the authority of Christ? Tell me, why would He?
When there is no love for the truth of God, He not only blinds the mind to the truth, but see what we read in 2TH 2:10. "And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved." If you dont love the truth, why would the Lord open your understanding to understand the truth?
Verse 11 continues, "And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie." I want you to see the striking contrast between that and our text. If they will do His will, they will know the doctrine whether it be of God. Then you will have the witness of the Holy Spirit in your heart, that that is the will of God-if you love the truth. However, those who love not the truth "for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie."
Verse 12 says, "That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." Not doing the will of Him who sent, but having pleasure in unrighteousness. I like illustrations: you see how it is on this side of the picture, and you see the principle on the other side, and the striking contrast. It helps you to decide where the truth is in the middle.
To those who love not the truth, He sends a strong delusion. Those who will do His will, in other words, have a desire to know and do His will, they will understand His will. They will know His doctrine. Now to those who "had pleasure in unrighteousness" God sends a delusion, but our text says, "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine."
Now, see the gracious words of our Saviour as He was teaching the spirit of the law of love in MAT 5:48. "Be ye therefore perfect [the summary of His doctrine is be ye therefore perfect], even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
That is not loving unrighteousness. That is seeking perfection. So now what are we talking about in the way of gospel perfection? You and I know that we cannot attain unto a legal perfection, but there is a gospel perfection. The Lord Jesus is telling us, "Be ye therefore perfect." So we need to understand gospel perfection. It is sincerity of heart. He says, "If any man will", in other words, what is your desire? What is your hearts desire? Is it sincere? Is it a sincere desire to do His will? He didnt say, "If any man do His will." He said, "If any man will do His will."
You and I never will attain legal perfection under the Law. We can never attain that outside of Christ, but He wants gospel perfection. He wants sincerity of heart, and where it is missing, our best righteousness is but filthy rags as we see from the history of Amaziah. Notice a few scriptural proofs of what I am telling you. The Lord looks on the heart. We make many mistakes. We all come short. We all offend in many things, and yet we can attain unto gospel perfection.
2CH 25:2 says, "And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, but not with a perfect heart." The Lord is not saying that he did not do what was right, but nevertheless, the heart of Amaziah was not perfect all his days. Everything he did was of no account, because his heart was not right. He did it with a wrong motive with a legalistic obedience, a Pharisaical religion. But his heart was not perfect all his days.
Now, I want you to see an example on the other side of the same principle. David was guilty of the most grievous sins. He committed adultery, made Uriahs wife pregnant, murdered Uriah, and took his wife. Now that is quite a contrast from what we see with Amaziah.
Look at 1KI 11:4. "For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods [God is dealing with Solomon for his heart sin]: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father."
What does it say about Amaziah? He did that which was right in the sight of the Lord but not with a perfect heart. David sinned grievously and yet the Lord ascribed unto him perfection-gospel perfection. Do you see why? His heart was right.
Our labor of love is accepted when it is done in sincerity. Look at Asa in 2CH 15:17. "But the high places were not taken away out of Israel: nevertheless the heart of Asa was perfect all his days."
The high places were not taken out of Israel. They were still worshipping contrary to the Word of God. Nevertheless the heart of Asa was perfect all his days. The Lord ascribes unto Asa gospel perfection, even though he did not walk totally in the way of the Lord, but his heart was right. Now, what the Lord Jesus is telling us is that the doctrine He is teaching is: "If any man will do." In other words, is it the hearts sincere desire to know and do the will of God? If thats the case, then we will know what His will is, He will unveil His will and His doctrine.
Now, in each of these Scriptures, the use of the word perfect comes from the Hebrew word shalem. Notice what we are talking about by gospel perfection. Shalem means "complete, or friendly-to reciprocate, or reimburse"-love for love! He loved us. We love Him because He loves us. As the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, it kindles our love for Him. That is what this word perfection means. In other words, it means we have a friendliness toward the will of God, and we reciprocate. How? If we love Him, we will do His commandments. By reciprocating we see His love to us, and we have a sincere, earnest desire to know and do His will. That is the doctrine of Christ.
Gospel perfection is when our actions and conversation are salted with the realization that our every thought and intent of the heart are transparent before our blessed heavenly Father. How often do we lay awake at night and think back on the day and have to say, "Lord, I dare not raise my eyes." Do you see how often it is that we come before the Lord and we see how far we come short? However, the Lord is looking upon the sincere desire of our heart. If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive.
Now, we have a sincere desire to glorify Him by our works, our attitudes, our walk of life, our actions, and our conversations. When we come together, many times right on the spot we say something that seems arrogant or critical. Sometimes our hearts smite us at the time, but what the Lord is looking at is the desire of the heart. Is our hearts desire friendly to the will of God? Is it our desire to reciprocate, in other words not only to receive love but to show love?
Now we read in what David said in PSA 18:22-23. "For all his judgments were before me, and I did not put away his statutes from me. I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity." This is when we realize how transparent we are before the Lord.
This is the doctrine of our blessed Saviour! Our text says, "If any man will do his will." See the connection there. Gospel perfection. The Lord Jesus says, "Be ye perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect." (MAT 5:48) In other words, be friendly toward His will. Have His will become your will. Let your will become dissolved in His will. Our Saviour's doctrine teaches gospel perfection. He is looking at our will-i.e., the sincerity of our hearts! Are we walking in gospel perfection? Are the thoughts and innermost desires of our hearts friendly with the revealed will of our Heavenly Father? Has our will been reconciled with His blessed will? That is what our Saviour is teaching. That is His doctrine.
"Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." (2CO 5:20)
Is our will reconciled with His will? This is what the Lord is looking at-the sincerity of our hearts. That doesnt mean He doesnt watch our actions, but He forgives when our actions sometimes are like what the Apostle Paul says: "To will is present in me, but how to perform, I find not."
That becomes the grief of our heart, that we are not able to give perfect obedience in a legal sense. We all offend. It becomes such a heartrending remorse because we have sinned against such love. We suffer this remorse when our hearts desire and sincerity is friendly with the will of God.
Our text says, "He shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." How will we know? ROM 8:16 says, "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit [the Holy Spirit bears witness with that mental disposition, that sincerity, that desire to know and to do His will.] that we are the children of God."
It becomes our evidence. Our text says, "he shall know." It becomes an assurance when we have that witness of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, that we have that Spirit of Christ, that new heart and new desire.
Our Saviour says that in the end times it shall be as in the days of Noah. This is not only in the sense that iniquity shall abound, but the good news is that there shall still be such a thing as gospel perfection. The Lord Jesus says at one point, "Shall faith yet be found?" It will be scarce. In the days of Noah it was scarce, but there was still gospel perfection.
Look at what it says about Noah in GEN 6:9. "These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God."
Noah still had a sincere desire and will to do the will of God. There was gospel perfection even at the time of the overthrow of the flood. It only says it about one man, but it was still there. According to the way the commentators point it, Methuselah and other dear children of God, died the same year as the flood. The Lord took them away. They did not get destroyed in the flood, but there was still gospel perfection right up to the end. And that is a gracious consolation in our day, when we see how that the moral fiber of our society is deteriorating and decaying. Like the Lord said to the prophet Elijah, "I have yet seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal." Elijah thought he was alone. We may think we are alone. Our numbers may be few, but what a consolation, in the day that the Lord Jesus comes, there will still be those who understand gospel perfection.
Even in our generation of apostasy-our Saviour's doctrine holds true. Even today. "If any man will [if his hearts desire is made willing] do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God." And in 2CO 1:12, "For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience."
Do you understand how the Lord is looking at the sincerity of our hearts, and how that the Spirit witnesses with our spirit? "That in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God." That is evidence of divine influence by the Holy Spirit upon our hearts.
"We have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward." The Lord spares us from sin. Our conversation in the world is not with fleshly wisdom, not with fleshly lusts. We have the testimony of our consciences. We have the testimony and the witness of the Spirit in our hearts.
Job understood Christ's doctrine of gospel perfection. Look at JOB 27:6. "My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live."
He retained His integrity. He retained that sincerity of heart, even under the most extreme part of his trial. He said, "My heart shall not reproach me." He had the testimony of a good conscience.
See what our Saviour taught in His doctrine of gospel perfection--or that is, of friendliness toward God's will, reciprocating in His love. Look what Jesus teaches us about that reciprocating in His love in JOH 14:21. "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me [see how the reciprocation takes place]: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him."
The love is mutual. You never find a marriage union where the love is one-sided. If the love is not mutual, it is not a marriage union. When Christ and His Bride have a marriage union, when they are brought into union and communion with one another, the love is mutual. And "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them." What does our text say, "If any man do his will." "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me. And he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father." See the reciprocating love.
As we endeavor in sincerity and truth to keep right with our Lord and His will-in equal proportion the Lord allows us access to Him in a special manner. Those who truly fear the Lord have access unto Him.
1JO 3:22 says, "And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight." Do you see the reciprocating love? We ask, and He says, "Here I am." Why? We keep His law of love.
In ISA 58 it so beautifully shows the connection between doing His will and receiving an answer to prayer. Look at ISA 58:8-9. "Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward. Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am."
What blessedness. If any man will do His will. Do you see the gospel doctrine of Christ? Do you see how that it is those who do His will? They cry, and He says, "Here I am." Look at the blessed mutual love. Look at how He says, "Whatsoever ye ask, ye receive because you keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing to him."
Thousands of years ago one of Israel's prophets recorded the same doctrine of gospel perfection as Jesus brought out in our text, "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine."
Look at HOS 6:3. "Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth." Isnt that exactly what our Saviour says. If we do His will, then shall we know of the doctrine and understand it. We will have the witness of the Holy Spirit in our hearts that this is the truth.
He will distill upon our souls that blessed pouring out of the Holy Spirit. In other words, the Holy Spirit will come down as the dew and as the rain upon our hearts, then we shall know if we follow on to know the Lord
The proud, hypocritical, rebellious Pharisees were not friendly to the doctrine of gospel perfection-i.e., the spirit of the law of love, but the Lord has not left Himself without a witness.
Jesus says in JOH 13:34-35, "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."
Does that leave any question of whether or not you will know? Does that leave any question about whether or not you will have the witness in your own soul? It says that all men shall know by the love that we have for one another.
Those who live by Christ's doctrine of gospel perfection glorify God, but see what we read of those who forsake His law! Look at the absolute contrast of any one who forsakes the law of God and professes to be a Christian-he is a liar. PRO 28:4 says, "They that forsake the law praise the wicked [can you imagine the contrast between that and those who do His will]: but such as keep the law contend with them." Theres going to be a lifetime of contention over this very thing.
Our text says, "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself," but see what we read in PRO 28:5. "Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things." You do His will and you will know. Evil men understand not His judgment. They will not know. They will perish for a lack of knowledge and will not know the doctrine of Christ nor love the doctrine of Christ. They will not do His will. "Evil men understand not judgment".
Do you see that blessed doctrine of Christ preached in Proverbs?
As we grow in our understanding of the doctrine of Christ, i.e., of gospel perfection, we learn to understand what David talked about in PSA 24:3-5. "Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation."
Who? "He that hath clean hands and a pure heart." It is those who have a pure heart and do His will.
Christ is honoured by the favored few who have received the grace to understand His doctrine-whose lives are not stained with their outward conversation-i.e., cursing, swearing, filthiness, deceitfulness in dealings, lying, or profaning His sabbath. These things do not honor Christ. He is honored only by those who do not follow the conversation of the wicked.
Christianity is not found in doing the orders of God. A legalism is doing the orders of God. It is legalistic dos and donts. You must do this and you cant do that, you do this and you dont do that. You get the right haircut, the right length of skirt on, the right color of socks, and you will never be criticized from the pulpit. You will never have another sin brought to light. If you just get it so you look right. Legalism. But Christ is looking at the heart. Do we have love? Do we have a forgiving spirit? Do we do unto others as we would they do unto us? The Lord Jesus Christ has a doctrine of sincerity to do His will, according to the Spirit of the Law.
Making clean the outside of the platter is not His doctrine. It is making clean the inner heart. Do you know that when the inner heart comes clean, then the externals also become clean. It isnt that the externals are the doing of Gods will, but the externals come clean because the inside desire of the sincerity of the heart is to know and do His will. Then anything we see in our life that is against His will we want to eliminate. It isnt legalism now. Now its gospel perfection.
See the distinction in ROM 2:28-29. "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God."
That is the doctrine of Christ. He wants the heart. David, a man after Gods own heart, was sincere. A sincere desire in spite of all the places where he fell short.
Our text says, "If any man will [If any man is willing to] do his will, he shall know of the doctrine," which calls for action, does it not? That doesnt mean that we sit and wait for God to do something. It calls for action. If we are willing to do his will, show your willingness by your actions.
The Apostle Paul said in ACT 24:16, "And herein do I exercise myself [herein do I make my feet, my mind and my heart all in harmony] to have always a conscience void to offence toward God, and toward men." This is gospel perfection.
When we live as the light of the world, as the salt of the earth, the Lord is glorified by the conviction of conscience, even if it does not result in stopping a sinner in his career of sin. The Lord is glorified when the sinners heart is convicted. Do you know why? In the Day of Judgment they will have condemnation. Even if it doesnt turn them from their way of sin, we have a duty to shine as the light of the world. We have a duty to be as the salt of the earth, a deterrent against evil, and the Lord often convicts the conscience of those whom we shine to, even though it doesnt alter their course of action.
PHI 2:14-16 says, "Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain."
Even before a wicked and perverse generation, those who are lights, who shine that blessed light, will glorify the Lord. Those who have learned to live by the doctrine of Christ, i.e., "If any man will do his will," will find in their dying hour what a pleading ground it will be. Did you know that? Did you know that you could come on your deathbed and plead your life? A life of gospel perfection. A life of a heart desire to do the will of God, and we can plead this on our dying bed.
See what Hezekiah said upon his deathbed. Hezekiah had been told, "Thou shalt die and not live. Set thy house in order." He was approaching death, now look at what His prayer was in ISA 38:3. "And said, Remember now, O LORD, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight." Do you think that Hezekiah was claiming legal perfection? No, but he was pleading his sincerity and friendliness of heart. He was pleading that he had interacted, that he had loved the Lord, had kept His commandments, and had experienced much of the Lords love. That was his pleading ground on his deathbed.
Think of what a contrast it will be for those whose consciences will arise to testify against them in that hour. See what Paul says in 2CO 1:12. "For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward."
Can you imagine our dying hour, if we have a conscience that is accusing us and bringing before us all of our wicked and sinful nature, and our rebellion and our hatred for God? But here He is talking about a testimony of our conscience that is in simplicity and godly sincerity.
A dead fish can float down the stream without any effort, but Joshua was willing to do the will of the Father according to Christ's doctrine of gospel perfection.
"And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." (JOS 24:15)
Serving the Lord under the Kingship of Christ is not any sacrifice at all, when we have been renewed in the Spirit of our mind, and we have our hearts set upon things of eternal value.
2CO 4:17-18 says, "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."
Our text says, "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." Amen.
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