WILLING TO DO THE FATHER'S PLEASURE vs. HIS ORDERS, #565
"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 doctrine of Christ, as it stands in such a dynamic contrast with the doctrines of men, is far too crucial to pass over lightly. It is far too crucial to make just a passing study of it and go on, because to understand the doctrine of Christ is to understand the gospel. May the God of all grace grant the opening to unfold these weighty truths. May the Blessed Spirit accompany the truth into each heart to the praise of our Saviour, and the edification of your soul!
Before we can proceed to rightly understand the blessed doctrine of our Redeemer, we must obtain a right understanding of the key words upon which He places His emphasis--"If any man will do his will." This is the central emphasis of the doctrine of Christ, so we must rightly understand these key words. First, we must rightly understand the required posture of the heart attitude before any man can or "shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God." This is what our text is telling us--we shall know the doctrine, whether it be of God.
Why is there such emphasis on this? If you see the context of the verse, the Jews were accusing Jesus of having a doctrine outside the Bible. They were coming against Him and telling Him that His doctrine did not meet the Scriptures. What they were trying to imply was that He was teaching contrary to the Word of God. I want you to see how the Lord Jesus reproves them. "He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him. Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law?"
What He is pointing out to them is, "You claim that you are living by the law of Moses and you dont even understand the law of Moses." The controversy that they were raising against the doctrine of the Lord Jesus Christ was that they were under the law of Moses. Now what our blessed Saviour is teaching you and me is that the doctrine of Christ is not a doctrine under the law. It is a doctrine under grace.
We have to see the distinction here. The distinction is in the meaning of the word will. The first word will comes from the Greek word thelo, which means, "acquiescence." Do you know what it means to acquiesce? Acquiescence is that your heart is in agreement with what is said or done. You and I can approve of what is being said by our acquiescence, in other words, by our remaining silent and by being in agreement. Silence is equal to endorsing. Thelo means acquiescence. It means to "choose or prefer, i.e., to be inclined to be about gladly, or to delight in." It refers to having a delight to be doing the will of the Father. That is totally different from coming under the orders of God. We have to distinguish between what it is to be under the law and doing the commands and the orders of God or doing His will. The Lord Jesus is saying that you are to have a delight in doing the will of God.
This same Greek word thelo was translated as willing in MAT 1:19. "Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily." It is talking about a willingness. In other words, a delight to do something is to be willing to do it. Before we will ever gain a right understanding of the doctrine of Christ, we must come to realize that this word thelo is His definition of the new birth. The Lord Jesus says, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Unless you come to where it is your chief and highest delight to do the will of the Father, you cannot enter His kingdom. You cannot enter His service. The Lord has no pleasure in any person doing His will grudgingly.
In JOH 3:5 Jesus said, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit [of the Word and of the Spirit], he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
ROM 12:1-2 clearly teaches us that as we come under the Divine influence of the Word and Spirit (thats the spiritual new birth), the Holy Spirit brings us under His influence. The first effect is "that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."
What is the Spirit's effectual instrument whereby He transforms our attitudes from our rebellious nature to delight in doing the Father's will? Look at verse 2. "By the renewing of your mind [by the renewing of your mind, by the grace of God, by the influence of the Holy Spirit, you come into acceptable service of God], that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." That is the influence of the Holy Spirit upon a rebellious heart, transforming us into servants of God, and bringing us into His kingdom, into His kingship.
Our Lord has no pleasure in anything we do out of compulsion. As a parent you can compel a child to go to church. As a parent you can compel a child to do the rules of the house. If you can see that they murmur and that they are not delighted in doing it, and doing it out of drudgery, do you have pleasure in watching them do it? The pleasure in watching a child observe the rules of the house is that they have a delight in doing it, that it is their chiefest pleasure. That is what brings joy to the heart. The Lord has no pleasure in anything that you and I do out of compulsion.
This shows what the Lord Jesus is saying, We have delight in doing the will of God. That is the doctrine of Christ. That is the new man. That is the work of regenerationbringing our hearts and our souls into reconciliation with the will of God. Our Lord shows us how David's heart was in full acquiescence, full agreement with the Spirit and doctrine of Christ as he exposed the inner expression of his heart in a prophetic way. In PSA 40:8 he says, "I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart."
What is the covenant of grace that God has made with His people? I want you to notice the covenant God talks about in HEB 8:10. "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people."
What does David say in a prophetic way? "I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart." He had received the covenant promise. You and I cannot serve God acceptably in the flesh out of compulsion, doing the orders of God. It has to be with a heart desire, with delight in doing His will.
Lets look at that second word will in our text, "If any man will do his will." Notice the distinction. We have a different word in the Greek for this. It comes from the Greek word thelema (thel'-ay-mah), which means "choice." So what is it telling us? We delight to do Gods choice. Have you ever heard of that word choice being used in our day? Every person has a choice. I can choose whether I want to have an abortion or whether I want to keep my baby. I do all the choosing. No. Doing the will of God is doing what He chooses.
So, the second will means, "to choose." It means to do His purpose, to do His decree, to do His desire, and it means to do His pleasure. Now, theres the doctrine of Christ. It is so simple. So many theologians come up with so many interpretations of Scripture, but the Lord Jesus teaches a simple doctrine. He wants your heart. He wants it to be your highest delight and pleasure to do His will, to do His pleasure. Is there anything that brings more joy in the heart of a parent than when they find that a child is searching for what he can do to please his parents? Then you dont question whether they love you. Because their highest and their chiefest delight is to do His pleasure. That is the doctrine of Christ.
Now, I want you to notice something. There are two forms of repentance. The very first word when the gospel was preached was repent. Webster's Christian Series says that "sorrow, pain, or regret on account of past conduct because it exposes him to punishment... is legal repentance." Cain had a legal repentance. Cain had no sorrow over having killed his brother; his sorrow, pain, and grief was over the punishment he bore. Sorrow and pain over our sin because of the punishment it exposes us to is a legal repentance.
Gospel repentance is sorrow or deep contrition for sin, as an offense and dishonour to God, a violation of His holy law, and the basest ingratitude toward such a loving Father. What causes grief, sorrow, and remorse is that we have offended against such love, because we have done His displeasure. We are not primarily concerned about the consequences of that sin, except that it caused displeasure to the Father who has loved us so, that He has given His own Son, and that we have sinned against such love. That is gospel repentance.
In JOH 8:47 the Lord Jesus qualified the meaning of "if any man." Jesus said, "He that is of God heareth God's words," which is synonymous with what He said in our text, "If any man will do his will." "He that is of God." In other words, what evidence do we have that our conversion or that the work of grace, which we may believe we have in our souls, is of God? Verse 47 says, "They hear his word." In other words, they delight to know His will. In our text it says, "they do his will."
Our Saviour's doctrine is, "He that is of God" chooses, acquiesces with, prefers, is inclined to be about gladly, or to delight in, doing the desire or pleasure of the Father. This inclination proceeds from grace. We need to understand that this is not legalistic, in our own strength, doing the will of God. It is of grace. This is not from Mount Sinai! There is such a vast difference and this is where the quarrel was between Jesus and the Jews. They were looking at the Law of Moses. The Lord Jesus points out to them: "Did not Moses give you the law, and you are not obeying the law?" He is showing them that you are not going to obtain salvation by keeping of the law. He is showing them that you need grace. You need that divine influence of the Holy Spirit upon your heart to change your desires, to change your heart, to change your affections.
ROM 6:14 says, "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace." The Lord Jesus was teaching the Jews the distinction of being under the law or being under grace. Under that divine influence of the Holy Spirit in our hearts we have a new affection. We have new attitudes and new desires. Under the law there is a legalistic repentance.
The doctrine of Christ teaches that we "are not under the law, but under grace" [or charis in the Greek] i.e., "the Divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life." So, we are not under the law. We are under the divine influence of the Spirit upon our hearts. This is the doctrine of Christ. By the grace of God we are "renewed in the spirit of your mind." It is by that divine influence of the Holy Spirit upon the heart that we come to a different attitude, that we have our wrong attitudes removed, and that we have the right attitude.
It is by the grace of God that you are "renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness" as we see in EPH 4:23-24, whereby you delight in doing the desire or pleasure of the Father.
By nature we are at enmity against God. We are not subject to His law, neither indeed can be. But by grace, by that power of the Holy Spirit upon the heart, the divine influence gives us a right attitude and changes our affections and brings us under the will of God. The law has no provision for mercy. It is very important that we understand that. The Lord Jesus teaches in His doctrine that by being under grace, there is place for mercy, because there is no mercy under the law. The law demands that we do the orders of God. It is inflexible, unalterable. We are not able to perform a legal obedience to the law, and therefore, we cannot approach God by Mount Sinai.
Satan loves this Mount Sinai preaching, this fire and brimstone preaching, thinking that you are going to drive people to Christ. He loves it because it drives people away from Christ. He loves that kind of doctrine. No place in the Scriptures does the preaching of Mount Sinai lead people to Christ. You and I cannot approach God by Mount Sinai. It is very important that we understand this principle of Christs doctrine.
We read in HEB 12:18 and 22. "For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest. [You are not come unto Mount Sinai.] But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels."
Look at the distinction between Mount Sinai and Mount Sion. Is it a different law? No. It is the same law. It is the same Ten Commandments. If you read in HEB 12:26-28, it talks about those things being removed that might be shaken. "Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear."
In removing of those things which might be shaken, Mount Sinai shook and trembled. God came down upon Mount Sinai. Mount Sinai is removed. But the law was written with the finger of God, and it was engraved in stone. Have you ever heard the expression: "That which is written in stone cannot be altered?" The law was written in stone. It could not be moved. We now come to that same law unto Mount Sion. Wheres the difference? It is satisfied. On Mount Sion we come unto the same law, but it has been satisfied by that perfect atonement of the Son of God.
You and I cannot come to the mount that might be touched. This word touched is taken from the Greek word, Pselaphao, (psay-laf-ah'-o), which means, "to manipulate, to use as a counter ballot." It means there is no place for a verdict of acquittal. It cannot be altered or touched. There is no mercy in that law. Nothing can alter it. The meaning of this word touched in this verse means the total opposite as the word touched in HEB 4:15. They are both the same in English, but they are totally opposite in Greek. "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."
That word touched is a totally different word. That word comes from the Greek word, Sumpatheo, (soom-path-eh'-o), which means, "to feel sympathy, to be touched with a feeling of compassion--having a fellow-feeling--to experience pain jointly or of the same kind, especially persecution, to sympathize or suffer with." Now, we have a totally different approach, as we approach Mount Sion. As we come to Mount Sion, we come to a law that has mercy. When you and I find that we are not able to keep that same law, we now have refuge before Mount Sion. "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need," because that law is satisfied. It is the same law. We still may not commit adultery, nor kill, nor worship idols. We still must keep the Sabbath day holy. However, for those infractions of the law, where we are not able to keep it with perfection, we can come before Mount Sion and find mercy.
This reflects the distinction the apostle was making between Mount Sinai and Mount Sion. Mount Sinai reflects God's just demands under the law without any mercy. God's justice cannot be altered, it cannot be touched, i.e., "to change or falsify for one's own purpose." God's justice cannot give "a verdict of acquittal," until it has been fully satisfied with perfect obedience and payment in full for every infraction of the law. Mount Sinai cannot be touched. It cannot be altered. Jesus Christ needed to obtain justification through His perfect obedience in paying the last farthing of the debt of the sin of His people. Why? We read in 2 CO 5:21, "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
The Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, could not touch, i.e., alter or change for His own purpose, nor receive a verdict of acquittal until He had satisfied every demand of the law. The law was unalterable by the most earnest pleadings of the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of kings and the Lord of lords. He lay before His Father in Gethsemane and said, "If it be thy will, if it be possible, remove this cup; but not my will, but thine be done." The Lord sent an angel to comfort Him, and being in earnest, he prayed more earnestly. And his sweat became as great drops of blood as He prayed before the Father, "If it be possible, let this cup pass from me."
Beloved, Mount Sinai could not be altered. Every jot and tittle of the law must be fulfilled with absolute perfection. Do you see why the Lord Jesus is telling us in His doctrine that these Jews dont understand the law? They think theyre keeping the Law of Moses, and He is pointing out to them that they are not keeping the law. The Lord Jesus is teaching us in His doctrine the necessity to understand what a distinction there is between being under grace or under the law.
We read in HEB 5:7-9, "Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared." In that He had holy reverence for the will of God, He was heard. How do we know He was He heard? The Lord sent an angel to comfort Him. And being in earnest, in agony, He prayed more earnestly. The law could not be altered.
Yet we read in HEB 12:18, "For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest.." What do we mean by that? Mount Sinai, it says, is the mount that might be touched. How was it touched? How was it altered? How was it that the law was transferred from Mount Sinai to Mount Sion? That transfer was obtained by perfect satisfaction as we read in HEB 12:8-9. "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him."
That is how the law was touched. It was transferred from Mount Sinai to Mount Sion by perfect satisfaction of the Son of God. Mount Sinai could only be touched by the burning coals of the Father's love for His people; the love of the Father in giving His Son to perform perfect satisfaction under Mount Sinai. The Father so loved the world that He gave His own Son for His people. This is what we read in 1JO 4:10-11. "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another."
When you and I start to learn to understand the law of love and start to understand the love of the Father in giving His Son, we start to understand the law of love to love Him with our hearts, our souls and our minds, then we start to understand the doctrine of Christ and that is to do His will. And what is His will? What can we do that is more pleasing to the Father than that we love one another?
A faith's view of that same law of love as it comes now from Mount Sion, filled with mercy, is what renews the spirit of our mind and makes it our chief delight to do the pleasure of our blessed heavenly Father. That is wherein our affections become altered, when all affections are set upon a loving God. Not upon Mount Sinai, not upon fire and brimstone preaching, but our hearts become set upon the love of God. We start to understand, rather than alter the law, how He sent His own Son to satisfy that law in our behalf. We start to understand that love, the coals of love of our Father. Then we start to understand His commandment of love. "Then ye also ought to love one another."
As we see a faith-view of this, and we see Mount Sion filled with mercy. This is what renews the spirit of our mind, and makes it our chief delight to do the blessed pleasure of our heavenly Father. HEB 4:15 says, "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities [Why can He be touched? Because He took upon Himself our human nature, body and soul]; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." He can so intimately relate to every trial and every power of sin. He is the Word of God. He also knows every thought and intent of our hearts. And He knows whether it is our greatest grief that we offend against the pleasure and the delight of the Father. He also knows whether or not it is our choice and our greatest delight to do His will.
Verse 16 continues, "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
When we learn to understand what it is to be under grace, we start to understand how we can come boldly to the throne of grace--that throne of grace where His divine influences are on our hearts. He has given us that new desire and He has given us that love to do His will.
"Unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy [there is mercy on Mount Sion] and find grace to help [we can find that the Holy Spirit will come more and more upon our hearts and give us the right attitudes and the right influences] in time of need."
Our Saviour's doctrine teaches that: "He that is of God heareth God's words." (JOH 8:47) Isnt that precious? We start to have an ear to hear. When we hear the Lord say, "Love one another as I have loved you," then when we see our neighbor sin, rather than amplifying it and making it a big show before the world, we have a desire to cover that sin.
I was talking to a lady yesterday, and she was explaining how her daughter had been so offended. I explained to her, "When we start to understand the gospel, then we will understand what we read in PS 50:19-23 about those who slander their own mothers son." "Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit. Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mothers son. These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes. Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver. Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me."
Instead of taking our neighbors sins and scattering them to the world, we should offer praise. Do you suppose that there is any human being we couldnt criticize if we are looking to be critical? The Jews were criticizing the doctrines of Jesus Christ. The Jews were criticizing those blessed doctrines that I am now trying to unfold for you. If all we are looking for is something to be critical about, we can criticize God Himself, but the Lord says in PSA 50:23, "Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God."
The Apostle Paul says, "Is there any love, is there any virtue, is there anything that you can find, whereby you can show forth somebodys praise, he says, if there is, then think on these things." The Lord says, "When we see the love of the Father in giving His Son, and the propitiation of our sins, He says, now then, you love one another." Our Saviours doctrines teach that he that is of God hears Gods Word. In other words, we are willing to hear His law of love.
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." (JOH 7:17) That is another important part of our text. If we are willing, if it is our desire, if we have pleasure in doing the pleasure of God, He will give us understanding to understand His will. How shall we know Christ's doctrine? It is by grace! We shall know by the Divine influence of the Holy Spirit which witnesses with our loving desire to do the pleasure of such a loving God. The Spirit bears witness with our spirit. How does the Spirit bear witness with our spirit? He bears witness with our attitudes. When we have the witness of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, then it is our earnest desire to know and do the will of God. Then, by this we know it is of God. He says then, By faith we "find grace to help in time of need."
We have grace. We have that divine influence of the Spirit that helps us to know the will of God. How do we have this? Look at HEB 12:2-3. "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame." Are we able to suffer wrongfully? Are we able to despise the shame rather than the person? Many people offend. In many things we offend all, but is it the sin or is it the person that we put a finger on? We should be able to put a finger on a persons sin without putting a finger on the person. We should not judge him as a person; we are to judge his actions.
"And is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." By this faith of Christ being imputed to us we are able to consider Him as we see in the next verse. "For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds."
Suppose you are suffering wrongfully and someone has come against you to destroy you heart and soul. What do you do? You consider Christ, how He forgave while He was hanging on the cross. "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots." LUK 23:34.
We consider Him. We consider the faith of Christ. What did He do? He despised the shame. He was hanging there as a malefactor, naked before the world, being murdered without having done one thing wrong. "For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied." In other words, lest you start acting foolishly and start slandering their name. Love those who are your enemies. Bless those who curse you. See? Consider Him. When we take the faith of Christ and see it imputed to us, and then we start having a Christ-like spirit.
The command is, "Love one another as I have loved you." How did He love you? While you were yet an enemy, He died for you. Without looking unto the faith of our lovely Saviour, we will never prevail against the power of sin.
We read in HEB 12:4, "Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin." The Lord Jesus resisted unto blood. All the powers of hell came against Him in that hour to try to get Him to disobey the Word of God. But He strove against sin. He resisted unto blood striving against sin. We cannot resist "unto blood, striving against sin," without "looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith."
I have found in my own experience, when it seems as if the entire world comes against me, what peace we can have in our hearts when the Holy Spirit brings Jesus Christ and what He went through right before our eyes. When we start to see by faith the wonder of the faith of Christ and how He remained steadfast in His love for His people even while they were nailing Him to the tree. Did it ever enter your mind?
When I was young I would get emotional when I thought about how the Jews and the Romans took Jesus and nailed Him to that cross. But, have you ever had a faith-view to see who it was that nailed Him there? Did you ever have your faiths eyes opened to see that it was you who nailed Him there? That it was your sins that nailed Him to the cross. We have so many less stones to throw at anybody else when we learn to understand that we were the ones who nailed Him there. It was for our sins that He obeyed the Father and submerged Himself under His Fathers wrath to take away our penalty. Then we get to where we can start resisting sin. When we learn to understand what He paid as the penalty for our sin, then we start to understand that blessed doctrine of Christ. Then it becomes our chiefest delight to do His pleasure. We cannot pay Him. We have no money. We cant with our best holiness and our best righteousness reward Him for what He did, but it can become our highest and our chiefest delight to do His will out of a form of gratitude and love for what He has done. We look unto Him as the Author and Finisher of our faith.
ROM 6:10-11 says, "For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God." We must become dead to sin. "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." Looking unto Jesus and unto the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, we become dead to sin. Sin becomes the most dreadful and the most abominable thing in our lives. Is there anything that could cause your heart to more fear than to think the Lord would remove His restraining grace and allow you to fall into some grievous sin?
After a life of persecution weaning him from the flesh, the Apostle Paul's greatest delight was to do the will of his God. He wrote in GAL 2:20, "I am crucified with Christ." That is self-sacrificial love, which is the fruit of the faith we have of Christ. That self-sacrificial love, "I am crucified with Christ" means everything of self gets crucified. There is only one desire we have left and that is to know and do His will. Our will becomes totally dissolved in His will.
"Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
Now, we learn to understand what it is to live by the faith of the Son of God. My beloved friends, we understand what it is to come to our wits end and the Holy Spirit lifts our Lord Jesus Christ up before our eyes of faith. He shows us that Jesus trod in those exact same footsteps where we are walking. He so intimately understands every trial and every thing that Satan is trying to do. We learn to see that Christ has been walking in those same footsteps. We hear His voice, and we follow Him, because we are following Him through that exact trial and through that exact temptation. Then our hearts become weaned from the things of this life, from the things of self.
Paul wrote in ROM 6:6, "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." As the Lord crucifies that old man of sin, He weans our hearts from the social religion of the world, and brings us into heavenly places in Christ Jesus. The world has more religion today than it ever has had before. However, when the gospel, according to the doctrine of Christ is preached, watch them disappear. Watch them run to get away. They dont want to hear it. They might come to you when they have trouble, and they might come to you for help, but preach them the gospel as it is according to Jesus Christ, and they dont want to hear it. As the Lord crucifies that old man of sin, He weans the heart from the religion of the world.
We read in HEB 12:22-23, "But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God." Not only are we come unto Mount Sion but we are coming into the fellowship of those who are there. There is a blessedness to this. Those birds of a feather flock together. Those birds of a feather will be found at the same place at Mount Sion, and they have fellowship in the will of God. They delight to do His will. Then he brings us into "the heavenly Jerusalem," i.e., the place of Christian liberty--free from under the power of sin, being delivered from the old man of the flesh, free from the power of sin and the bondage of Mount Sinai. When we come into the fellowship of the assembly of the saints, then we are not always day and night concerned about Mount Sinai.
Then we come before Mount Sion. Then we come into a heavenly society, "and to an innumerable company of angels." When we have come to understand the doctrine of Christ, we come into communion with the church universal, wherever they may be dispersed. "To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect. And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel."
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." I want you to see the emphasis on this. As we obey and do His will, the prize is won when we will learn to understand the will of God by laying aside all inordinate affection for the world. If we do His will, we will know. Watch what it says in PSA 25:14-15, "The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him [those who reverence His will]; and he will shew them his covenant." Or as it says in the margin, "and His covenant to make them know it." He has a covenant that He will give us to know His will. Where do we find that covenant? He will write His will upon our hearts.
Have you ever heard of an apprenticeship? The master craftsman takes a person who hasnt had any experience in a trade. He brings him in and he begins to work with those who have; the end result is that he learns by doing. Such a person learns a trade by putting into practice what he learns, as he learns it by doing it. When the Lord comes with the divine influence of His Spirit upon the heart, we become apprentices. We start walking with those who do the will of God, and we learn. We begin to put into practice what we have learned by doing. That is what our text is saying. "And if any man will do his will, he will know the doctrine." This is the same principle we learn from the doctrine of Christ.
We learn the truth, which our Lord teaches by putting what we know into practice. We learn it by walking side by side with those who are doing the will of God, by coming into the assembly of the saints, and walking with the flock. Our text says, "If any man will [if it is his greatest delight to] do his will [the desire or pleasure of God], he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." (JOH 7:17)
Now, we read in 2CO 3:14 of the Jews who lived under the law--doing the orders of God in a legalistic sense. "But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ." As long as we want to embrace the Old Testament law, we have a shield, a blinding of our eyes, a vail.
The doctrine of Christ teaches that those who delight to know and do His pleasure will know His will. Look at PSA 51:6. "Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom." He desires truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part he will make me to know. How? By doing it. Those secret desires of the heart which are not known by any manin fact which are not even fully understood by ourselves, are known unto the Lord.
We read in 1PE 3:4, "But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price." A meek and a quiet spirit, a submissive spirit, is of great value. What Scripture says to one, it says to all. Look at HEB 12:14-15, "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled." This is why it is so important that the assembly of the saints gather togetherfor reproof, for rebuke.
You see, to walk in the will of God, we walk in His law of love, and we must diligently watch whether there be a root of bitterness springing up in somebody. If there is, we have to as we read in GAL 6:1, "You who are spiritual, restore such a one." Amen.
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