The Lord Jesus led me to read John 16 (Select vv. ESV).
“I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away.”
What are “these things” Jesus said to them to keep them from falling away?
Well, first off, He spoke “these things” during the Passover Feast with his disciples. Jesus knew that his hour had come when he was to be betrayed by one of his own, and when he would be handed over to being put to death on a cross. So, he was preparing his disciples for what was to come, not just in his death, though, but in his resurrection, and in his ascension back to the Father, and in his sending of his Holy Spirit to indwell them and to give them comfort, encouragement, instruction, strength and power to endure.
Just prior to saying these things here, he had given them instructions on the importance of abiding in him, and he in them, and of his words abiding in them. He told them that, unless they abide in him, and he in them, that they could not bear fruit for God’s eternal kingdom. He also said to them that by bearing much fruit, they would, thus, prove themselves to be his disciples. He went on to tell them that they must also abide in his love, and that the way they would do this would be by keeping (obeying) his commandments. And, he also let them know that, as fruit bearers, they should expect to be pruned, but if they bore no fruit, that they would be removed from him.
Then, he told them that, as his followers, they should expect that the world would hate them, because it first hated him. He said, “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” And, then he told them that if the world persecuted him, they would also persecute them. But, who is this “world” he was speaking of here?
“They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you.”
Who were Jesus’ greatest persecutors? Who plotted his death and did whatever it took to make certain that he died on that cross? It was not the Romans (the Gentiles). It was his own people, some from his own family, and of his same faith, i.e. the Jewish faith. And, it was the leaders in the temple of God. They were the ones who hated him and persecuted him and who put him to death on a cross. And, why? Because he was not like them. Because he stood out as different. Because he stood on the truth of God’s Word, and he did not make compromises with the world, and because he did not follow their human traditions and their man-made hypocritical religion.
So, KNOW THIS! If you follow the Lord Jesus with all your heart, and you don’t make compromises with the world, and you stand on what is truth, and you speak against what is false, you will be treated just like Jesus was treated, and for many of the same reasons.
And, don’t think that it is going to be the unsaved world who will be the strongest against you, either, but your fiercest opponents may very well come from within the worldly church, which has given itself over to the world and to man-made religion in order to attract the world to its gatherings. And, some of them may kick you out of their gatherings, or at least invite you to leave and to go someplace else, too.
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”
But, we can be comforted, for we are not alone, nor do we have to fight this battle alone against the enemy of our souls, who wants nothing but to destroy us. Our God is with us, and he is in us in the person of the Holy Spirit. He will teach us all things we need to know to live godly and holy lives, pleasing to him, and to fight off these evil attacks against us in the power of the Spirit within us, and by God’s grace. He will strengthen us to stand strong on his Word no matter how many people come against us and persecute or reject or hate or mistreat us, and because we believe and because we teach what God’s Word says.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.”
Jesus was talking about his death which was to come, and how his disciples would weep over it, and that they would be sad at heart, but that the world, which had put him to death, would rejoice, thinking they had stopped him. And, then he encouraged them, that though they would be sad, and that they would go through hard times, that the end result would be worth it all.
Well, he is giving us the same message. Not that we are now sad over his death, for his death provided us with salvation, and we now have the Spirit living within us, which is Christ in us, the hope of glory, but that we will be sad over how the world and even the worldly church are now treating Jesus Christ, and over how they are treating his servants, which includes us.
So, even though we are in the pains of childbirth right now, and we will suffer for the name of Jesus Christ, and we will bear his stripes in how people persecute us, we can rejoice, because we know that our present sufferings will be for good in our own lives, but also will be for the purpose to help strengthen, comfort and encourage the body of Christ in their sufferings. Through it all, God’s name will be honored and glorified, and one day this will all be over, and we will be with our Lord forever.
So, praise his holy name, that we are considered worthy to suffer for the sake of his name. God will bring good out of it all. Amen!
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
So, we should not let our times of tribulation undo us. We should not let them weigh us down or cause us to fear. But, we should rest in the Lord, rely on his strength and encouragement, trust in his grace, and seek his guidance in what we are to do and say each and every day, and in every circumstance we find ourselves in. He will counsel us in the way that we should go.
But, we should expect opposition, and be ready at all times with the armor of God in place to fight off Satan’s lies against us and to put on the truth.
Lord, Move Me
An Original Work / October 16, 2011
Be my desire, my heart set on fire,
Lord, move me to worship You only, I pray.
Fill with Your Spirit, my heart overflow.
Lord, may I long for You; Your word to know.
Teach me to walk with You, Lord, in Your power,
And may I serve You, Lord, right now in this hour.
Lord, how I want to obey You forever.
Help me to hear You, Lord, so I will not stray.
Teach me to love You; adore You always.
Envelope me, Lord, with Your grace today.
Meet me in my need, and show me Your mercy.
Forgive me for all things, as I humbly pray.
Counsel me, lead me, direct me, and guide me,
So I follow You, Lord, where’er You lead now.
I love to hear You speak Your words to me.
I am so grateful that You set me free.
Wash me, and cleanse me, and make me like You, Lord,
And I will live with You for eternity.
Saturday, December 30, 2017, 8:01 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for this teaching from your Word. Thank you, too, for how you encourage and strengthen our hearts.