THE GREAT REWARD FOR KEEPING HIS SAYINGS, #597
Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. (JOH 8:51).
This word death has to be understood in the spiritual sense. I want to direct our attention to the circumstances that our Saviour was in. See how He uses the present circumstances as the occasion to reveal one of the most blessed gospel truths, that is fulfilling the purpose of God's creation by humble obedience in our human nature for our reconciliation.
In Verse 49 He says: "I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me." The honor of His Father, the glory of His Father, was the central purpose of His coming. He came to honor and glorify His Father to restore the purpose of His creation. The purpose of Gods creation was that man should serve Him in a state of conciliation. Conciliation is a perfect harmony and unity of mind and purpose. God created man in such a state of perfect harmony of purpose and mind with Himself, that He should be glorified in His creation of man.
However, by rebellion, man has fallen from the purpose of His creation. Now, what was the purpose of Christs coming? The sole purpose of Christs coming is that God may yet be glorified in the purpose of His creation, and that is that man may become re-conciled, that man and God might be brought back together into that state of conciliation in which man was created. For this to take place, two things were necessary.
First, from Gods side, reconciliation could only take place by the paying of the penalty of the broken law. Secondly, Christ had to fulfill that law, which we have broken, by His perfect obedience.
Our text says: "I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death." This is speaking of spiritual and eternal death.
I want you to see how beautifully this doctrine of reconciliation is synonymous with our text as we look at 2CO 5:14. "For the love of Christ constraineth [moves upon us irresistibly] us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead [We have died in Christ. We have become dead to sin. We have become dead to ourselves. We have become dead to the world.]: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again."
We have died unto the world, not henceforth to live unto ourselves, but unto Him who died for us. See how this is building the foundation for the doctrine of reconciliation.
Then in Verse 16 we read, "Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more." We are not worshipping an idol. We are not worshipping something we can see with our physical eyes. Instead, we are to serve Him with love.
Verse 17 continues, " Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." Here we are seeing the foundation being built for the doctrine of reconciliation. We are no longer going to serve in the old man of sin, but now we become a new creature. Now look at Verses 18 and 19. "And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them [reconciling Himself unto the world in Jesus Christ]; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation." We see that God is the author of all things. He has reconciliation in place. He has reconciled Himself with His people.
Look where reconciliation becomes complete in Verse 20: "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christs stead, be ye reconciled to God." Reconciliation will never be complete until our rebellion is broken. We cannot say, "May grace abound that we might continue in sin." The reason Christ came was to bring us back into reconciliation with the Father. Now, from His side reconciliation is in place.
From our side, our rebellion must be broken. Our hearts must be brought back by the love of Christ, the love of Christ constraining us, that we should not henceforth live unto ourselves, but unto Him who died for us. If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.
Read again this is the blessed doctrine that our Saviour is teaching in our text: "If any man keep my saying, he shall never taste death." If we are in a state of reconciliation, we again have that our hearts desire and our whole purpose of life is to do what is for Gods honor. We dont need legalistic obedience. We dont need Pharisaical obedience. The Lord wants our hearts. He wants that our hearts desire is to know and do what is pleasing unto him. In other words, that our heart is reconciled, that we are back in a state of conciliation with the will of God. Then, we hear His sayings and do them. Why? We do not obey to earn heaven. No. He has already done this in Christ. From our side, coming back into a state of conciliation is for one purpose, and that is for the glory of God. The glory of God becomes our entire motive, that we do it for His honor and His glory.
Jesus was saying: "But, I honor my Father and ye dishonor me." Why? They were not willing to receive His words. Now, our heavenly Father was ultimately glorified in granting our Saviour His reward for His humble obedience unto death, even the death of the cross in our human nature. The Father is so glorified by that perfect obedience of His Son, and the ultimate glory of the Father now was to reward His Son for such humble obedience. This is where He is also glorified in His people, and that is not only in their unconditional, humble obedience to His will, but also in the fact that He grants them their reward.
Look again at 2CO 5:9-11: "Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. [Why?] For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences."
Your attitude, your actions, your whole heart desire must come into a state of conciliation with the will of God for His honor. This is the gospel that our Saviour is teaching us. Take some time and go through the Gospel of John and see that every case scenario, every set of circumstances, cumulates back into the same principle as our text does. He brings about these sets of circumstances to show us the contrast between the utter rebellion of the natural heart and what it is to be in a state of conciliation with God.
Now take notice in PHI 2:9: "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name." God was ultimately glorified by giving Him the reward for His humble obedience.
As our Saviour approached the hour of His death, He expressed His anguish, the anguish of His soul, but also His ultimate desire. The Saviour went through the agony of death to fulfill His ultimate desire, and what was that? Look at JOH 12:27. "Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name."
What was the whole purpose of Christ in submitting Himself unto the Fathers command that He should lay down His life for His church? "Father, glorify thy name." If you and I think we are going to do what Christ tells us because we are going to earn heaven, we are on the broad road to hell. The motive of doing His will is for His glory. We are not doing it to merit anything. We are doing it in a state of reconciliation and that is to fulfill the purpose of our creation and that was for the glory of God.
The Father was first honored and glorified by our Saviour's humble obedience, and then ultimately by fulfilling His promise, giving His reward. Our Father is also not only pleased when His people walk in that Spirit of Christ, or mind of Christ, but He is also glorified by our walking therein.
Look at JOH 15:7-8. "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples." The Father is glorified by our unconditional surrender to His will. By our heart being reconciled with His will. You are true followers of Christ if you are bearing fruit of repentance, the fruit of the Spirit, if you are walking in the spirit of Christ to the glory of the Father.
Christ not only came to pay the penalty of our sin, but to set us an example of how we are to glorify our Father in heaven. Look at 1PE 2:21. See what the Word of God is telling us about how we are to live a life that glorifies the Father. "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps." Now, if you notice the verse before, what does it say? To suffer wrongfully and take it patiently because therein God is well-pleased. "Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously." 1PE 2:22-23.
The Father is glorified when He can see the humble obedience of His own Dear Son personified in His dear children. It is a walk of life that has a humble spirit of unconditional surrender to His will. In JOH 15:9-10 we read, "As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love."
See how He makes this example. He abode in the love of the Father. His love of the Father was to such an extent that He obeyed His Father in giving His life and laying it down voluntarily in the way of humble obedience to pay the penalty of our sin. Now, the Lord Jesus Christ is saying, that if we are willing to obey His commandments, we will abide in His love. What are His commandments? Love one another as I have loved you. That includes being willing to cover our neighbors sin with our blood. That we are willing if it takes everything we have to try to conceal our neighbors sin. That is loving one another as He loves us.
Look at JOH 8:46-47. "Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God's words [He is saying, I have loved the Father. I have kept His commandments. And if you love me, you will keep my commandments.]: ye therefore hear them not [you are not willing to believe and receive His words], because ye are not of God."
He is talking to the unregenerate Jews. He is talking to those who are the professed believers. They are the church. They are those who profess to be the Church of Christ, the Church of the Living God, but they have no place for His Word in their heart. They are not willing to understand the need of walking in His appointed way.
Now see the striking contrast Jesus places between those who are not willing to believe and receive His Words, and those who keep, i.e., those who observe to do them. See what we find in our text. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death." JOH 8:51. See the implied contrast between those who are not willing to receive the Word of God and those who keep it. Those who keep His commandments have the blessed promise: They will never see death.
The word keep in our text comes from the Greek word tereo (tay-reh'o), which means "to set a watch-to guard from injury, to keep the eye upon, to keep under observation, to observe to do." That word keep is a rich word. It means that you are putting a price upon His Word, that you value it highly.
This same Greek word is translated as observe in MAT 28:20. "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." The Lord Jesus is talking to His disciples just before He ascended into heaven, and He is giving them their commission. He is talking about baptizing in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We do not let our eye off from those sayings He has given us. They become our meat, our drink, our food, and our pillow at night. The Words of Jesus becomes our all.
This deals with a mind set. It deals with an attitude. Those who possess spiritual life receive the principles taught by our Saviour. Those who have spiritual life hunger and thirst after His knowledge, after the knowledge of His will. They have a reverent respect for His Word, and find it their greatest delight to do His pleasure. When you rightly understand what it is to be reconciled with God, to be back in the state in which man was created, you understand that our sole purpose is to serve Him for His glory. That becomes our highest desire.
We read in JOH 8:34: "Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin." We either are serving sin or we serve Christ. We cannot serve two masters.
Our text teaches the principle that who we serve identifies our spiritual life or spiritual death. Are we spiritually alive or are we spiritually dead? This question is important for you and me. If you and I have spiritual life dwelling in us, it is identified by our attitude toward His will, toward His glory.
Our text teaches that principle because it gives us this identification. "If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death." That is how we are identified. It is common for the enemies of the Truth to resort to character assassination. I dont know if you have ever experienced it, but I have. What it amounts to is they cannot put a finger on what you have said or done. The Lord Jesus said in JOH 8:46-48, "Which of you convinceth me of sin? [they couldnt put one finger on one thing He had said as being sin. So what did they do? They assassinated His character.] And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?"
Why did they call Him a Samaritan? He wasnt from Samaria, and they knew it. However, that was the most distasteful and the most degrading character assassinating name they could think of. There was nobody more despised in the eyes of the Jews than the Samaritans. So they had to come up with the most vulgar assassination of His character they could. They said He had a devil. How could they have dug the gutter any deeper to find anything more vile to cast in His face?
In JOH 8:7, Jesus answered the scribes and Pharisees, who brought the woman taken in adultery as a trap. "So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." What was the result of the light that was turned on in their consciences? "Their own conscience testified that they were enemies of those precious truths spoken by Jesus. When He said, And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst." JOH 8:9.
Their own consciences convicted them of the things that He was saying were true. They could not identify any sin in Him, and therefore they accused Him of having a devil, i.e., having a proud, and lying spirit.
I have had a little experience with this myself. You can take the very Word of God and lay it in front of a man and say, "Well, thats what the Word of God says." And they will come against you with character assassinating statements, that makes you shudder. Why? The truth is so glaringly obvious there is no answer to it.
Jesus' answer was not in self-defense, but in defense of His Father's honor. See the example that Christ set for you and me, i.e., we are not out to defend ourselves but to defend the honor of God. Watch what Jesus said when they accused Him of this. In JOH 8:49 "Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me."
He is bringing forth these truths for the honor and the glory of His Father, for the purpose of the creation of man. Here He is taking upon Himself our human nature, to fulfill for the honor of God the purpose of His creation in our human nature. He is defending the honor of God, not defending His own honor.
Look at Verse 50. "And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth." We see in HEB 12:3 that Jesus had so many people come against Him and reviling Him. We must look at how He handled it lest we should become discouraged and faint in our mind.
Jesus was willing to suffer a malefactors death in the eyes of the world, to be put to shame for one reason-to glorify His Father. His Father will consider what He has done for His glory, and He will let His reputation and His honor be in the Fathers hands. The Lord Jesus tells you and me: "If you keep my sayings," we honor the Father. 1PE 2:21 says, "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps."
If Jesus was seeking His own glory of men, He would not have told them the truth about the fallen condition of man in such humbling terms. If He was looking for men to glorify Him, if He was looking for the Jewish nation to show Him glory and honor, He wouldnt have told them so candidly who they were. He would not have so candidly uncovered the depravity of their nature, but He said, "There is one that seeketh and judgeth."
Jesus is saying that the Father will seek His honor. He did not need to concern Himself about His honor. He was willing to die and take all of the reproach of all His church, which they have deserved, before all of the heavens and all of the earth. He was willing to take all of that reproach because His Father has told Him to do so. He was willing to obey and let the Father look after His honor. There is one that seeketh and judgeth.
Our Saviour was able to give His honour into the hands of One who judges righteously. Follow this in 1PE 2:23: "Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously." These Jews were reviling Him. They were telling Him that He had a devil. They were telling Him that He was a Samaritan. They were using the vilest terms they could think of to slander and smear His name. Did He defend Himself? No!
When they took Him and hung Him upon the cross unjustly, uncondemned, He had done absolutely nothing amiss. Jesus was innocent, and they knew it. In LUK 23:4 we read, "Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man." Yet they condemned Him and hung Him on the tree. There He was hanging condemned to death by whom? He was condemned His own people, not by Pilate. It was the sins of His people that brought Him in condemnation. It was the sins of His people who hung Him on the tree.
We read above, "When he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously." When we feel that we have suffered wrongly, when we feel that we have suffered a shame that we did not deserve to suffer, we dont revile again. We dont fight fire with fire. We dont go back and slander that person to out-slander him. No. "When he was reviled, he reviled not again, and when he suffered he threatened not." He committed it all into the hands of His Father, knowing that His Father would judge righteously.
Now, in effect what Jesus was saying was that He could commit His reputation into the hands of One whose judgment He could trust. See how the Father honored His Son for honoring Him with such humble obedience.
Turn with me to PHI 2:9-11. Jesus said, "There is one who seeketh and judgeth." See the judgment of One who was just. See now what He did for such humble obedience. See how He protected His honor: "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name [What a contrast. Here we see the Jews calling Him a devil. They are calling Him a Samaritan. They are dishonoring Him, and He accepted that dishonor to honor and glorify His Father, but now His Father is honoring Him.]: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Now the Father is glorified again. How? It was by glorifying His Son for such humble obedience.
Our Saviour always remains objective. Notice the tricks of Satan, how Satan wants you and me to become contentious. If he can only get somebody to throw a little slur at you, to get under your fifth rib and get you all nervous and excited so you start contending, so that you start reviling again, so that you will start to see if you can out-smear them a little. Oh, Satan loves that, but see how our Saviour remains objective. He could not be lured into a contentious spirit, but returned immediately to the eternal theme of the gospel. He didnt revile them again. They told Him He a devil. He did not try to defend His own honor. He defended the honor of God. He said: "I have not a devil, but I honor My Father, and you dishonor me. I seek not mine own glory. There is one that seeketh and judgeth. Verily, verily, I say unto you [and He goes right back to teaching the doctrine of reconciliation, that blessed theme of the gospel], If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death."
David gives us such a beautiful description of what it means to "keep" His Word in PSA 119:11: "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." Where do we keep it? David kept it the Word of God in his heart. It was the highest priority of His heart. "If a man keep my sayings, he will never see death." Here we see a man after Gods own heart. I want you to understand why we hide Gods Word in our hearts.
To "keep" His Word is to set a watch upon It, to guard the Word of God from injury as God has guarded the apple of the eye. Have you ever noticed how that the least thing that comes toward your eye, the eye flinches? God has given us such a reflex to protect our eye. It is built in a socket. It is guarded like nothing else in your whole body. That apple of the eye, that guarding, is how we guard His Word. Anything that tends to come against it immediately we come to protect it. We come to stand in support of it.
To "keep" His Word is to retain It in memory. When you forget what the Word says you cannot act upon it. How do you remember what His Word says? You put it into practice. Suppose that I took you into a class and taught you how to drive a car. You understood every principle of handling that automobile, but you never did get behind the wheel, you never did put it into practice. Six months later you probably wouldnt pass a test on it. You would forget, but do you know what happens if you get behind the wheel, and you daily drive an automobile? It becomes instinct. You do it without even thinking. Now, when you have something jump in front of you on the road, you dont need somebody to remind you, "Oh, lets see, when that happens I take this foot and put it over on that pedal and step on it and that slows me down." You dont have to go through that thinking process. Instantly, you put your foot on that brake and stop.
When we put His Word into practice, it becomes instinct. It becomes a habit. It becomes our thinking. We have to keep it in memory, and there is only one way to do so and that is to put it into practice.
Look at 1CO 15:1-3: "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain."
What do we gain by hearing the gospel if tomorrow we go back about our work and forget everything we have heard? You havent gained a thing. Our text says: "If a man keep my saying." He didnt say, if you hear it. You must put it into action and do it. There is only one way and that is to put it into your mind, into your being, until it becomes your life.
The apostle goes on to say: "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures." That means according to the will of the Father. That means in the way of a humble obedience, and if He died unto sin once and in that He is alive He lives unto God. We must also die unto sin and become alive unto God.
To "keep" His Word is to unconditionally surrender to its government in our daily lives. When I talk about His government I mean it governs you. Do you catch yourself speaking ill of a friend? The Word of God catches you. He was reviled and He reviled not again. So we let that govern us. We repent of what we said, and we dont do it anymore. We beg for grace so we refrain from violating that principle, that Spirit of Christ. We need to understand that we die unto sin. It is to come under the government of His Word in our daily lives.
Now look at REV 3:8. "I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name." Where does our strength lie? Wherein to do we have the strength to obey His Word? As we obey, the miracle of grace is performed. Enabling grace is granted as we obey because it is our desire to obey.
Our Saviour used the surrounding circumstances and the contrast of the attitude of those believing Jews to reveal the distinction between spiritual life and spiritual death, He said in JOH 8:51, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death." See the beauty of the contrast between the two. To the one He said, He tells them the truth, why do you not believe me?" Why? The Word has no place in their heart. Does the Word have a place in your soul? Is it your highest desire to know and do the will of God? The one is as distinct from the other as day is from night. Either we have a longing desire to know and do the will of God or we have a desire not to hear His will because we dont want it to prick our conscience.
Now, again these blind leaders of the blind twisted our Saviour's meaning of the word death. See the crafty design and how they tried to ensnare Him in His word. They take the word "death" and they twist His meaning of it. Look at JOH 8:52-53: "Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself?"
Now, you see what Jesus had told them: "If ye are the seed of Abraham you would do the works of Abraham." He has charged their consciences that their attitude and actions betray them. So now they are trying to come back and snare Him in His word. They are accusing Him of having a devil. Why? In JOH 8:51 Jesus told them, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death." They come back with the declaration that Abraham is dead. They were not willing to identify the distinction between spiritual death and natural death.
Their answer clearly revealed the truth of what we see in 1CO 2:12-14: "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." There is where their problem was. They were natural. They were reasoning with the flesh. They did not discern the distinction of Christ between speaking of spiritual life and of spiritual death. That is what Christ is talking about when He says, "I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you." JOH 8:37. They were lacking spiritual discernment.
Now, the most learned among men in their unregenerate state are completely ignorant of what Christ reveals unto the smallest babes of those who are under the Divine influence of the Spirit. Those who are but babes of grace understand that which the most learned unregenerate cannot grasp. Do you know what that is? They do not comprehend the need for repentance and a new heart. They do not understand the need of a renewing of the spirit of the mind. The smallest of Gods babes understands that need.
This is what Christ is teaching in MAT 11:25. "At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes." That verse in its context is all about the need for repentance, and that the cities and the generation that He was preaching to would never accept the need of repentance.
All those who are wise in their own eyes are blind for the need of repentance. Why? Why is it that natural man has no understanding of the need of repentance? First, it comes against their interests. Their interests are in this life. Their interests are what they can gain in the flesh. All their worldly interests must be cut off and crucified. As soon as that doctrine reaches their ears, the switch is turned off. They dont want to hear it because their interests are centered in self. The interests of natural man all center in the flesh. It is a crucifying of everything of the flesh. This is why they are blind to it. They are blind to the need for a change of course in life, a change of course of attitude. It comes against their self-sufficiency.
Have you ever talked to a natural man who is proud of all of his money and all the things he has acquired that this world has to offer? Try to talk to him about his dependency on God. There isnt anything you can talk about that would be more infuriating to him. Such people do not understand their need for repentance in the way of pride, in the way of self-sufficiency. They will not humble themselves to call upon God. Why? It is because they have no need of God.
This comes across so beautifully as Asaph sets forth in PSA 73:5-12: "They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men. Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment. Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish. They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily. They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth. Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them. And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High? Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches."
Do you see why there is no place for repentance? Do you see why the need of repentance is not revealed unto them? They are hardened against the knowledge of the need of a meek and a quiet spirit. They dont understand their end, that they will be destroyed. They do not understand what our text says in JOH 8:51, "If a man keep my saying, he will never see death." They are heading headlong for eternal death, and they have no knowledge of it and no concern about it. They are fully self-sufficient, and they are not willing to humble themselves to call upon God. They mock with God. They have no need of God.
People whose hearts are estranged from God, and they are the servants of sin do not understand 1JO 5:18-20. "We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life."
This is eternal life-to be in Christ, to know Christ. How do we learn to know Christ? I was talking to a young man last week. He and another man had been personal friends for 25 years. It wasnt until this past week that they ventured into their first business transaction. At the middle of the first day they were blown apart. You never know a person until you have had dealings with them. You dont know if their word is good. You dont know if they are faithful.
You dont know God until you have had dealings with Him. How will you ever know Christ until you walk in His footsteps, until you take up the cross and start crucifying that old puffed-up nature, and that self-sufficiency, and that big proud person we are by nature? Until our old self begins to be crucified, we will not see and learn of the faithfulness of Christ. Then when we begin to learn of Christ, we start to understand what it is to suffer shame for Gods glory. It all comes against the flesh. You will never know Christ until you have walked a mile in His moccasins.
We know then that the Son of God is come, and we know that we are of God, and His Son Jesus Christ. This is eternal life, to know Him.
To rightly understand the meaning of our Saviour's words, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death," we need to see the distinction between spiritual death and spiritual life.
Take notice in ROM 6:19-20: "I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness." We are talking about the distinction between spiritual life and spiritual death.
Whatsoever we sow, we shall harvest. See the distinction between the fruits of serving sin and the fruits of serving righteousness. Look at Verses 21 to 23. "What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death."
Spiritual death is what we see in natural man. Where there is pride, where there is that puffed up nature, that walking after the flesh, we will find spiritual death. However, if you walk after righteousness, you will not taste of that. It becomes most abominable to you. It becomes nauseating to you. You have no desire for the things that accompany death.
What was the fruit of these things? "But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." ROM 6:22-23. Our text says you will not taste death. The end result of walking in the way of righteousness is everlasting life.
When the Jews asked Jesus, "Whom makest thou thyself?" (Verse 53), Jesus answered saying in Verse 54: "If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God."
The Father honoured Him at His birth by sending a multitude of heavenly angels host to announce His arrival as we see in LUK 2:13-14. "And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
The Father honoured Jesus at His baptism as we see in MAT 3:16-17. "And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
The Father honoured His Son at the Mount of Transfiguration, and just before He entered into death as we read in JOH 12:26-28. "If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again."
The Father honoured His Son at His ascension, and as He was seated at His right hand.
The Jews dishonored Him by taking up stones to cast at Him, but the Father will honour Him at His second coming when all His enemies shall be made His footstool as we see in REV 6:15-16. "And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb."
The Father will glorify Him on that day and the Day of Judgment.
This eternal death shall not be the portion of those who keep His sayings. Our text says in JOH 8:51: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death." Amen.
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