How Will You Believe?

Friday, March 20, 2015, 3:27 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Living Water.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read John 5:30-47 (ESV).

The Testimony

“I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he bears about me is true. You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me.”

We love and serve a triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – the Only true God. In the first chapter of John we read at least twice where John declared Jesus to be God. He is the Word who was from the beginning, who was with God, and was God. He is our creator. “No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.” Jesus Christ is “God the One and Only” who is at God the Father’s side, and he is the one referred to here as the one who was making the Father known to the people. One of the main reasons the Jews hated Jesus and wanted him dead is because he claimed to be equal with God, i.e. he claimed to be their God and Messiah. This incensed them greatly.

Jesus Christ, although God himself, always remained subject to the Father. I believe he modeled for us what our own relationship with God should look like, although we are not gods, but are mere humans. He did not operate on his own accord nor did he bear witness of himself alone, but he submitted himself to the will of the Father, and the Father bore witness about him. The Father did so through the writings of the prophets, including those of Moses. He also did so through the works of Jesus, which the Father had given to him to accomplish, and he did so audibly at Jesus’ baptism (See Matt. 3:17). As well, in Hebrews 1:8 we read concerning what God said about his Son: “But about the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom.’” In verse 9 he says about Jesus, “…therefore God, your God…,” which then established that not only is Jesus God but he is subject to the Father who is his God.

John the Baptist (not the writer of the book of John) also bore witness to Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah who had come into the world. He was sent by God to bear witness to Jesus Christ and to prepare the way for his ministry on the earth, i.e. to prepare the hearts of people to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Messiah. John’s ministry entailed baptizing people and calling them to repentance “for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

The Jews did send to John the Baptist to learn who he was, i.e. I believe they were looking to see if he was the Christ who was to come. When he replied by saying he was not the Christ, he was not Elijah, and he was not the Prophet, they asked, “Who are you?” He told them that he was the one Isaiah the prophet had written concerning when he said, “I am the voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’” The next day John, when he saw Jesus coming near him, declared openly “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” He then bore testimony that Jesus is the Son of God.

Yet You Refuse

“His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. I do not receive glory from people. But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”

So, the Jews had the testimony of Moses, of the prophets, of John the Baptist, of Christ himself, of the works the Father had given Jesus to do, and of the Father (God) in heaven concerning Jesus Christ and who he was, and yet they still refused to believe in Jesus and to accept him as their promised Messiah who was to come. They did not hear God’s voice speaking to them, they did not recognize that Jesus was God in human flesh, and the Word and love of God was not abiding (living and active) in their hearts and lives because they would not believe in the one whom the Father had sent to them. Yet, this was not for lack of knowledge. They were students and teachers of the scriptures, so they should have known. They held the scriptures with high regard, or so they thought, and they believed that in them they would find eternal life, yet the scriptures bore witness to Jesus Christ over and over again, and still they blinded their minds and hearts to the truth.

Yet, they would easily believe those who came in their own name and bore their own witness to themselves as to who they were and yet had no witness from God as to their true identity in relationship to God; to Christ. I believe Jesus was referring here to false prophets, false teachers and/or false christs. They easily followed after human flesh but were not willing to follow after the Spirit of God.

What About Us?

So, does this have any application to our lives today? I believe it does. The Jews of old were God’s chosen people. They were a physical nation. They were under the Old Covenant relationship between God and man. God promised them a Savior, a redeemer to come, whom he had his prophets write about many times over. The seed of Abraham from whom many nations would be blessed was and is Jesus Christ (See Gal. 3), our Messiah. They were taught concerning the Christ who was to come, and they knew to look for him. Although Jesus had not yet come, and he had not yet died for their sins, still they were saved by faith as we are. The scriptures are quite clear that Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness. No amount of good works saved him, yet his actions (his obedience) was the evidence in his life that revealed that true faith in God actually existed (See: Heb. 11). Yet, not all of them believed. Many didn’t, in fact.

Now God’s chosen people are his church, which is a living organism made up of true followers of Jesus Christ. We are his people, whether Jew or Gentile by birth. The church is not a physical building or a physical nation or an organization of human-origin and the will of man. Jesus Christ is the head of his true church, and we are his body, the sheep of his pasture. So, although there are many organizations and buildings in the world called “church,” they, in and of themselves, are not the church, though the true church may exist within these organizations and may meet together in these buildings called “church.” So, when we enter one of these buildings and/or their sanctuaries (worship centers), we are not entering “the house of the Lord” nor are we entering into God’s holy presence, for we, the people of God, are God’s house and his presence dwells within us. In other words, we don’t have to go to something called “church” in order to meet with God’s church. We can meet anywhere and at any time with other believers for the teaching of the Word, fellowship in the Spirit, for prayer, and for the breaking of bread (communion).

Yet, many of God’s people today, although they may be in Christ by God’s grace, through faith, have turned away from their Lord to follow after false teachers and their teaching, and are refusing to believe and to trust in, or are ignoring the teachings of Christ and those of his apostles. They prefer the testimony of humans over the testimony of Christ and of his true servants and witnesses, because it is more pleasing to their ears. And, I am speaking of many pastors and elders within the church, too. Although they know the scriptures, and many have been taught them from birth, they have gone the way of the world, instead, and have adopted the ways of the world and its sinful practices in place of the ways of God and of his holy Word. Although they listened to the voice of God at one time, now they are listening to the voice of humans with greater intensity and interest. The Word of God is no longer alive and active in their lives. Instead their minds are filled with human culture, philosophy, traditions, morals, and human values via TV, movies, the Internet, et al.

And, so, they have allowed the true church of Jesus Christ to be overtaken by human businesses and human philosophy and marketing schemes so that they can build their businesses, which they call “church,” according to human design but not by God’s design. Instead of the church meetings being a safe place for believers to come together to encourage and to strengthen one another in the faith so that they can go out into the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ, they are now inviting the world into their meetings and are thus conforming their meetings to the pattern of the world in order to attract and to keep the world among them, while stressing the importance of not saying anything that might offend the people of the world, but only what will make them comfortable so they will want to come back. Yet, this is not God’s way! This is man’s way, and it is wrong!

So, God is calling out to his people, he is confronting them with their sins of idolatry and spiritual adultery, and he is calling them to repentance and to return to their “first love.” He is calling them to forsake their idols, and to turn their hearts back to him, to listen to him speaking his words to their hearts, and to obey them. He is also calling out to all those who have never given their hearts to Jesus Christ, perhaps because they have believed in a false gospel, and he is asking them to truly put their faith in him for the first time ever. Won’t you listen to him? And, do what he says?

Living Water / An Original Work / November 21, 2013

Based off Various Scriptures

My people have forsaken Me,
Their Savior, who died on a tree;
Made idols, and they worshipped them;
So empty, they will ne’er fulfill.

Lord, You are the hope of Your chosen ones.
Those who turn away from You will be shamed;
The Spring of Living Water left behind.

Living Water satisfies.

The thirsty, let them come and drink;
Believe in Jesus as their King;
The gift of Jesus given them,
So they will never thirst again.

Indeed, the Living Water flows within.
It springs up like a fountain cleansing sin.
Eternal life in heaven promised them.

Living Water glorifies.

Oh people, won’t you come to Him?
Obey Him and repent of sin.
Let Jesus come and live within.
Surrender all your life to Him.

My people, won’t you turn your hearts to Me?
Forsake your idols and then you’ll be free.
Won’t you come now to Me on bended knee?

Living Water sanctifies.

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