ABRAHAM'S CHILDREN DO THE WORKS OF ABRAHAM, #593
They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham. (JOH 8:39)
Our Saviour revealed the distinction between the professed believers and those who have truly found Christian liberty, i.e., deliverance from the love and power of sin. This is Christian liberty or "conversion." What is conversion?
Look at 1 COR 10 and you will see how the Apostle Paul lays forth how the children of Israel were baptized in the Red Sea, they followed that rock which was Christ, and they drank of that spiritual Rock. They had many rich experiences, but they were never converted because they remained rebellious against the will of God. Jesus said: "My word has no place in you." JOH 8:37b. They were in rebellion and unbelief, and they perished with all their experience. They perished in the wilderness. They did not enter the Promised Land. They were never converted. Conversion is to be made into something that you were not. To be truly converted is to be delivered from the power and love for sin. It is to be brought into doing the will of God. "If ye were the children of Abraham ye would do the works of Abraham." In other words, we no longer desire to serve sin and the flesh.
Now He proceeds to reveal how the attitude toward His Word in the unregenerate heart is evident by whom we serve. Our conversion becomes evident by whom we serve. Are we serving sin? Do we love sin? Are we continuing to do that which pleases the flesh? Then there is no conversion. Then there has been no change, regardless of what we may claim we have experienced. Jesus proceeded to show that that unregenerate state of heart becomes revealed by whom we serve.
Look at JOH 8:37; "I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you." He is pointing out that they still have murder in their hearts. They do not have the love of God in their hearts. They have never had that bitterness against the Word of God broken. There is where the Lord distinguishes between those who are truly saved and those who are still unregenerate. Do we love the Word of God? Do we meditate on His Word? Is it our desire to know His blessed will?
Jesus said: "My word has no place in you." In other words, you are not willing to receive it. You are not willing to accept the Word of God as the rule of your life. This is what He is telling these Jews. Who are these Jews? Look at Verse 31. "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him " We are talking here about the Jews, or we will say the professing church, who claim they believe in Christ.
They will tell you that they accept Christ, and they will tell you that they rely on Christ as the only basis and foundation of their salvation, but His word has no place in them. They have no desire to do the works of Abraham. They still want to walk in the way of sin. They still want to serve the flesh, and that is what Jesus tells us in Verse 34; "He answered them, Verily, verily I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin." They had never been delivered from the power and the love of sin.
This word seek comes from the Greek word zeteo which means "an earnest desire to kill, to plot against one's life." He said: "Ye seek to kill me." In other words, they had a longing desire to put an end to His life because He was shining a light into their hearts that they didnt want. They had no desire to know the corrupt nature of their own attitudes. They had an earnest desire to kill him. They were plotting, they were conniving, they were setting snares, they were trying to take Him in His words, they were seeking an occasion to justify killing Him.
He tells them, "You are not doing the works of Abraham." He knew every thought and intent of their hearts, and He knew that they had no love for His Word. That is why He is telling them, "You are of your father the devil." Look at Verse 44. "The lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own, for he is a liar and the father of it."
The enmity in the human heart reveals itself in a person's wrong attitude and actions. The attitude that they had toward the Lord Jesus Christ, their desire to kill Him, revealed itself by what they were doing. Jesus said in our text, "If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham." If you were truly the spiritual children of Abraham, you would walk in godly fear and godly love as Abraham walked. Your actions would reveal it.
Our Saviour has consistently emphasized throughout His ministry that our attitude toward His Word is what distinguishes between the true believers and unbelievers. See what He said in MAT 7:21, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." Are we serving sin or are we serving God?
True conversion can be identified as we see what Jesus said in Verse 37; "My Word hath no place in you." The Greek word translated as no place signifies "no entrance." The Word of God does not enter into your heart. There is no desire for My Word in your heart.
They refused to receive Christ's words. They were hearing the very words of the Lord Jesus Christ, and there was no place in them for His Word; they refused to receive it. See the contrast in true believers recorded in 1TH 2:13. "For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe."
These believing Jews, or professed believing Jews, refused and could not receive the Word of God. In Thessalonica they received it from an apostle, from a man, and yet they received it as the Word of God. This is essentially what distinguishes between a saved and an un-saved person. True conversion requires a complete change of attitude.
Have you ever tried to talk with people and found that they were just not willing to receive the Word of God? Why? It enlightens their heart, and they see their sin; they love their sin, and they are not willing to turn from it. What is more grievous than if there is somebody you love so dearly and there is no place for Gods Word in their conversation. When you bring up Gods Word they have contention, and it immediately causes division. Why? They cannot receive the Word of God.
Many want to substitute something else for the Word of God. They make Gods Word into a lie. They will run to some commentator or some other person or some dignitary or some authority and say, "Now, he says " And they take the words of a fallen, depraved man to make the Word of God into a lie. Why? They cannot receive the written Word of God because it convicts them. It condemns them. They love not the truth. They want a salvation. They want to believe in Christ. They want to go to heaven. They want to escape the consequences of sin, but they still love sin. They do not want to depart from iniquity. They do not want to start walking a Christian life. They do not want to start walking in the fear of God. The Lord Jesus says, "If ye were the children of Abraham, ye would do the works of Abraham."
The one who has received grace is beautifully described in JAM 1:21: "Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls." The saving of your soul is by receiving the engrafted Word of God. They could not receive it. They were not able to receive it because it condemned them, and they loved their sin. They were still the bond servants of sin.
You cannot serve two masters. You cannot serve sin and serve Christ. You cannot serve Christ and obey the law of love with a heart filled with bitterness. When you want to continue walking in hatred and bitterness you cannot serve Christ under the law of love, loving your neighbor as yourself. When you love sin, you cannot serve God under the law of love, loving God with your heart, your soul and your mind.
The true believer gives God's Word the throne of his heart; the Word of God rules on the throne of his heart. It is given the highest place of trust, honour, and authority. Look at PSA 119:11; "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." Why did he hide Gods Word in His heart? Why could he receive Gods Word? "That I might not sin against thee." In other words, he is saying that he might do the works of Abraham. David's heart reveals the exact reverse attitude from the unregenerate toward God's Word described by our Saviour in our text.
In PSA 19:7-11 we read, "The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart."
Why do the statutes of God rejoice the heart? That word statutes in the original means Gods appointed way. God has appointed a way in which you and I are to walk. One of its basic points is: "Do unto others as ye would they do unto you." That is Gods appointed way. When we do to someone else what we would not want them to do to us, we are committing iniquity. It becomes our greatest joy when we are able to walk in his appointed way.
In Verse 8 we continue, "The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. [It gives us to see and understand the areas in our own heart where we need to repent]. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward."
See the blessed distinction that David saw in the Word of God, and those professed believing Jews. Those Jews who wanted to have Christ as a fire escape. They wanted to escape hell. They wanted justification. They wanted to escape the consequences of sin, but they did not want to break with their love of sin. They still wanted to continue serving sin, and the Lord Jesus cautioned them: "Verily, verily I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin." JOH 8: 34. David says: "By them thy servant is warned." The Words of God warn us against the snares of the devil and against the love of sin. "And in keeping them there is great reward."
I want you to understand the difference between reward and merit. You go out and work for a rate per hour. You have earned your wages. You have a right to come in and lay claim to that money. You earned it. You have merited that. A reward is a bonus over and above what you deserved. If hire you for a given rate per hour and I give you twice that much, that is a reward, perhaps because you have done such a good job. I have been so pleased with the way that you did it, I gave you what you had no right to get. In the keeping of His Word there is a great reward. There is no merit. We do not earn heaven by keeping His Word, but we have a great reward.
The people of the world find the light of the Word their greatest enemy. The light that shines into their hearts reveals to them the dishonesty, covetousness, and their lusting after sin. They start to see the depravity of their heart. It becomes their greatest enemy. They dont want to know because they love to have it so. To the unregenerate, the Word of God is their greatest enemy. There is no place for the Word of God in their hearts. They are enraged by its warnings.
David said: "How blessed is the word of God because thereby thy servant is warned." The Word of God warns me: Dont do this, but do this. The unregenerate dont want to be warned. They have no pleasure in doing the will or pleasure of God. That is not their joy; their pleasure is to serve sin.
Unspeakably solemn are Christ's Words to all such who have no pleasure in serving God. Look what we read in JOH 12:48. "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day." Wont that be something, if we would reject the Word of God all our life, and we have no desire to do what He has told us to do and not to do. We didnt want to hear it. Then on the Day of Judgment, the Holy Spirit comes, and Christ is the light. Light shines in our heart, and every thought and every word and every deed now is naked and open before God. Now we are judged by that very Word that we did not want to hear. We are judged by that very Word that we refused to receive. That is a solemn reality. "The same shall judge him in the last day."
Christ further emphasizes the infinite gulf there is between Himself and those who have no place for His Word in them. Those who have no place for Christs Word generate an infinite gulf between themselves and Christ. It is like you are on a mountain on this side and there is a mountain on that side with a gulf between them, and you cannot transfer from here to there. What is that gulf? That gulf is unrepented sin, sin for which we have never been sorry, sin from which we refuse to turn away. Sin, which we have loved and have never learned to hate, generates that gulf between us.
Jesus said in JOH 8:38, "I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father." He is saying that you do not do the works of Abraham, you do the works of your father, the devil.
This is the gulf spoken of in the parable the Lord gave about the rich man and Lazarus. Lazarus was in Abrahams bosom, and the rich man lifted up his eyes in hell and he pled: "Father Abraham send Lazarus to give me but one drop of water for my parched tongue, to cool my tongue in these flames of hell." What did Abraham say? Read LUK 16:26; "And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence."
That example is something to think about. That gulf is unrepented sin that stands between the place of rest and us. That gulf is between those who are unregenerate, those who could not receive the Word of God and Christ.
Where Jesus said, "Ye do that which ye have seen with your father," He leads up to their real parentage. They claim that God is their father. He said: "If you had God for your Father you would know me and you would love me." He says, "No, you do that which you have seen with your father." He is leading up to who is their true parentage. He conceded that they were children of Abraham after the flesh, but He said they were not the true spiritual children of Abraham because they did not do the works of Abraham.
Just because you have a godly father and mother doesnt mean you will go to heaven. The Lord is teaching us here that you may have had a godly father; you may have had parents who loved the Lord, but you are not walking in the footsteps that they walked in. Therefore, their religion does not benefit you, even though they may have served the Lord.
Jesus said, "You do not do the works of Abraham." They may have been the children of Abraham after the flesh, but they had to understand what we read in GAL 3:29: "And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." They were claiming the promises that God gave to Abraham. You and I cannot claim the salvation God has promised our parents if we do not walk in godly fear as they walked. He is looking at the spiritual seed of Abraham. If you are in Christ, then you have those same promises.
Where Jesus said, "Ye do that which ye have seen with your father," He reveals that these Jews never did come to understand Christ's doctrine of salvation. So many doctrines of men are taught about how we are going to go to heaven, but there is only one doctrine of salvation. It is taught by Jesus Christ. These doctrines of men will never save your soul. It is only the doctrine of Christ that has salvation.
Jesus says in JOH 7:17: "If any man will do his will." If any man is willing to do that which is pleasing or the pleasure of God, he can claim salvation. For example, you have a father and a mother, and they have set the rules of the house. You might do them in a legalistic way because you know that is the rule of the house, but there is a lot of distinction that and having a desire to know what would please your father and mother. In other words, to look and search and ask what would be their pleasure, and to do it because you love them. Now you are not doing the orders of your parents, but you are doing their pleasure. This is the message the Lord Jesus is giving us. Are willing to do your Fathers pleasure? Is it your highest pleasure to know what pleases Him, and that you do His will because it pleases Him? If that is the spirit and the attitude of your heart, then you will know the doctrine of salvation. Then your understanding will be opened to know.
"He shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." JOH 7:17. This doctrine teaches that those little words "will," and "do" are the pivot words of the doctrine of salvation. Why? What does it mean to be converted? To be converted means there is a change of attitude, a new desire. It means to be renewed in the spirit of your mind and have a desire to do what is pleasing unto the Lord. That is the doctrine of salvation.
Your actions speak louder than your words. Our text says, "Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham." If you can claim to be the spiritual children of Abraham, you would do the works of Abraham. What were the works of Abraham? It was his highest pleasure and delight to know and do what would be pleasing unto the Lord.
These Jews could make great claims of being Abraham's seed. Our text says in
JOH 8:39: "They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. [They were claiming the promises of Abraham. Because Abraham was their father, therefore, they were going to have all the promises of Abraham.] Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham." In other words, if you were going to be included in the promises of Abraham, you would be walking in the footsteps of Abraham.
The doctrine of salvation taught by our Saviour reveals those who by the grace of God "receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls" (JAM 1:21). Those who are truly taught by the Holy Spirit receive with meekness the engrafted Word, which is able to save the soul. Of the Jews Jesus said in JOH 8:37, "I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you."
Do we enjoy, is it our hearts desire, to know the Word of God, to know His will that we might serve Him from our heart? It becomes our greatest pleasure to do His will, to do His pleasure. On the other hand was the admonition, "My word hath no place in you." That is where we have to decide: are we serving the devil or are we serving Christ?
Our Saviour's concession, "I know that ye are Abraham's seed," would be like me admitting you are not a Jew, Moslem, or open infidels, that you have a doctrinal belief in the Christian faith. I can say: "Well, I am a Christian." What do I mean by that? I can say that I am a Christian by merely saying that I am not a Jew, I am not a Moslem, I am a Christian. In other words, I have a basic belief in the Christian faith, but that doesnt make me a saved believer. Jesus is pointing this principle out to these people.
However, Jesus immediately proceeds to remove any doubt about the distinction between being Abraham's offspring after the flesh, but He tells them that they are not walking in the footsteps of Abraham, and therefore they have no claim to the promises of Abraham. "You seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you."
Very simple, and most logical, yet very searching is the distinction between the natural and the spiritual seed of Abraham. Isnt it simple? Isnt what the Lord Jesus is saying logical? That is, you are the descendant of whomever you serve.
Our text says, "Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham." He is making a distinction between whether they were of the seed of Abraham or were they the children of Abraham. If they were Abrahams children, you would do the works of Abraham.
The "seed," i.e., as it is in the original, "descendants of the sperm of" Abraham. It is a fleshly descendency, but not the spiritual children of Abraham, who was "the father of all them that believe" (ROM 4:11). To be the spiritual seed of Abraham, you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.
This distinction between the "seed" and the "spiritual children" of Abraham is clearly drawn in ROM 9:7-8: "Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children. [a distinction is being drawn between the seed, those who descended from the sperm of Abraham and those who are true children]: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed."
If you are serving the flesh, you are not the children of God. It is so logical, yet it seems to be such an obstacle. So many people want to be Christian. They want to escape the consequences of sin. They dont want to go to hell. They want to be justified and go to heaven, but they want to serve sin. They do not want to serve in the walk of life that Christ has ordained.
Talk is cheap. A mere boast of church membership or some social connection with a Christian fellowship will profit nothing. In our text Jesus doctrine of salvation becomes so personal. You are not going to be a member of a body and the whole body goes to heaven. It just doesnt work that way. The Lord Jesus is making it a personal application. He is talking to you and me personally. You can join any body of believers. You can join any church. It isnt going to have one thing to do with your salvation. There is only one thing and that is, we stop serving sin and serve the Lord under the leadership of His Word.
"Jesus saith unto them, If ye [you, personally] were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham." Abraham is the father of those who believe. If you were a believer, you would do the works of Abraham.
In MAT 7:18 we read: "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit." If you were a good tree, if the Lord has worked His grace in your soul, if you have salvation for your soul, you cannot bring forth evil fruit. See how the walk of life, attitude, and the fruit of salvation distinguishes between those who have salvation and those who do not.
The "works of Abraham" were works of the obedience of faith, and submission to God's Word. GEN 22:18 says, "And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice." See the connection between obedience to the Word of God and salvation. To do the works of Abraham is to obey the voice of God. What had God commanded him to do? God had commanded him to take his own son and put him on the altar and slay him and use him as a burnt sacrifice unto God. Obey. Yes, he obeyed. Right to the point where he reached for the knife to slay his son, and then the angel of heaven said, "Abraham, Abraham, touch not the lad," and the Lord spared him. Now the Lord is saying in Verse 17, because you have obeyed even such a command, "blessing I will bless thee and multiplying I will multiply thee." Why? "And in thy seed shall all nations of the earth be blessed because thou hast obeyed." GEN 22:18.
When the Lord Jesus is saying is "ye do not the works of Abraham." He is talking about obedience. What a striking contrast Jesus draws between the works of Abraham and the works of the unregenerate heart--"ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you" (Verse 37). The difference is as obvious as day and night.
God knows every thought and intention of the heart. See what He said about Abraham, and how there was place for His will in Abraham's heart. His heart was in perfect harmony with the will of God. Look at GEN 18:19; "For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him." If he would not do justice and judgment, if he would not obey the Lord, then the Lord may not bring upon Abraham the promises He has promised.
See the distinction between whether you are one of Abrahams children or whether you are not. Are you among those who believe or are you not is whether or not you will obey the Lords commands, "that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he has spoken of him."
Jesus continues to press the issue of who their true parentage sprang from as was evident from their attitude and actions. Look at JOH 8:41; "Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God." Doesn't this echo American Christendom? The universal Fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of men are the doctrines of our day-- "we have one Father, even God." Oh, it is said, we are all brothers in Christ.
JOH 8:42 says, "Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me." Here they desired to kill Him, and He is saying, "If you were of God, if God was your father, you would love me." If they were the children of God, they would love His Son, even as they loved the Father.
In 1JO 5:1 we read, "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him." If you say that you love the Father, you will love Him who is begotten of Him also.
This directly distinguished those Jews from the children of God. If they were the children of God they would love Him and do His will! The Holy Spirit brings forth in HEB 1:3 how that the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, is "the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power." The Father and the Son are one; those Jews have such hatred and bitterness in their heart that they want to murder the Son. How can they say they love the Father? They despised and rejected His Son, who was the express image of His Person.
Look at 1JO 2:4-5. "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him." If you say that you know God, that you love God and you dont keep His commandments, you are a liar and the truth is not in you.
How do we know that we are in Him? We know if we continue in His Word because there is a place in our heart for His Word. His Word is our greatest joy.
These unregenerate Jews who made their descent from Abraham as their foundation for salvation were still bond slaves to sin (Verse 34). There is where you have the distinguishing characteristics. Have you been converted? I am not asking you if you have had an experience. That has nothing to do with conversion. I am asking you, have you been converted? Have you been converted to where you hate sin instead of loving it? Have you been renewed in the spirit of your mind? Have you come to where it is your highest pleasure to do the pleasure of God? Do you have a new heart? That is conversion. Have you been converted?
Look at our text in JOH 8:39. "They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham." You would have a love to do His will. You would have the heart and the spirit of Abraham.
Jesus asked them in JOH 8:43: "Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word." Often people find that what God teaches in His Word crosses up their plans. We may have a plan for our life. We may have a plan for this evening or a plan for tomorrow. Then we see in the Word of God that it would be against His will, it crosses those plans. There is no room for Gods Word in the unregenerate. It muddies their water. All of the sudden they cant do the things they love to do. All of the sudden they have that bitter hatred in their heart for some person, and the Lord Jesus says, "Love your brother." He says, "as you love yourself." He says, "Do unto others as you would that they do unto you." However, you have this little thing that you are about to pull on somebody, and now Gods Word interferes with your plans.
No. There is no place for the Word of God in the unregenerate heart, no place for it at all. The Lord Jesus says, "Why do you not understand my speech? Even because you do not hear my word." Jesus addressed their conscience! This is why the Word is sharper than a two-edged sword. It pierced their conscience. It reminded them of where they had violated that law of love, and it told them that they ought not to have done so. If they claimed to be God's children, they should know their own Father's voice.
Is it likely that your father could call you on the telephone, and that you wouldnt recognize his voice the instant he said hello? You recognize your fathers voice. Is God your Father? Do you recognize His voice? Do you recognize in His Word that it is the voice of God, that it is the voice of your Father? You should understand His doctrine when you hear the Word of God!
As we see here in JOH 7:16-17, "Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." You are willing if it is your hearts desire to know and do the pleasure of the Father. Does that sound like your Fathers voice? Is that the thing that makes your joy when you hear His voice telling you that your pleasure would be to do what pleases God? Then you will know His doctrine.
Jesus charged their conscience to see that if they could not understand the Father's simple, plain doctrine of submission and obedience, they could not claim to be His children. You cannot claim to be the children of God if you are still sworn enemies to His will.
Jesus went on to tell them why they did not understand His speech "even because ye cannot hear my word." "Because there is no place for my word in your heart." This word hear in the Hebrew signifies to receive and believe. Now when He says, "Ye cannot hear," He is not talking about a hearing impairment, He is not talking about deafness, what He is talking about is a willingness in the heart to receive and believe. In other words, "you are not willing to receive and believe."
The same word is used in JOH 9:27, when He is talking to the scribes and Pharisees in the case of the man born blind. The man was telling them how he was healed, and they asked him again: "He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples?" Now, he is not saying that they were deaf and his words did not enter their ears. He is saying that they were not willing to receive it. They were not willing to believe what the Lord told them..
We see the same significance in JOH 10:3. "To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out." That is again to receive and to believe His voice.
We also see this word hear is used to signify receive and believe in ACT 3:22-23. He is saying that you were not willing to receive it: "For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet [the prophecies of the Lord Jesus Christ prophesying the very scenario happening in our chapter], shall be destroyed from among the people."
There is an unwillingness to hear. It isnt that they didnt hear. It isnt that they didnt understand. It isnt that they didnt have the witness of the Spirit in their heart and their conscience convicting them that what He said was true. That wasnt the deficiency. The deficiency was willingness to hear, willingness to believe, and a willingness to receive. They rejected it.
Why was it that these Jews could not hear? They were still bond servants to the love and power of sin. They still enjoyed that which they knew was sin, and they were not willing to hear.
In JOH 8:34 we read, "Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin." You cannot serve sin and serve Christ. The unregenerate have no ear for God's Word. Their hearts are set on the love of sin. They have no heart for His Word, and they have no desire to do His will. That is why the work of the Holy Spirit in the new birth, in the work of regeneration, is to renew you in the spirit of your mind. Regeneration takes away the loving attitude toward sin; sin becomes exceedingly sinful and loathsome to your heart. It becomes your greatest enemy. The wicked, the unregenerate, have no desire to do His will.
Look at JOB 21:12-14 to see why sin is so attractive. Do you see why it is so appealing to the ear, and to the heart of an unregenerate man? "They take the timbrel and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ. They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave. Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways." The Word of God had no place in their heart.
Herein we find the great distinction between those who fear the Lord and those who do not. 1-SA 3:10 says, "And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth." He was just a young boy, but he knew the Lords voice. He knew His Fathers voice. There was a place in his heart for the Word of God. He recognized his Fathers voice.
Not only was Samuel willing and able to hear, but he was willing to obey. This is where the dividing line will be drawn on the great Day of Judgment. When you and I come to stand before the judgment seat of Christ, the line will be drawn between those who serve the Lord and those who serve Him not.
See what we read in MAL 3:16-18; "Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not." That is the division between the two.
Our text says, "They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham." Amen.
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