John 16:1-4 ESV
“I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. 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.”
These Things (Summary John 14-15)
What things did Jesus say to his disciples? Basically, he had just given them his parting remarks, reminders and encouragements. He was about ready to be put to death by his enemies, and so these were some of his final words prior to his departure. And, in them he encouraged them that, although he was leaving them, he was going to prepare a place for them, and one day he would come back for them and he would take them to himself.
But, then he let them know, too, what they could expect while they were waiting for him to return. And, too, he shared with them what he expected of them, as well (See: Tit. 2:11-14).
For one, he let them know that he was God, and that in seeing him, they had seen the Father also. And, he promised those who love and obey him that, after he left, he would send them a helper, a comforter, the Holy Spirit to be with them forever. The Holy Spirit would teach them all things and he would remind them of all that Jesus had taught them. And, he let them know that those who love him keep his commands. If they walked in obedience to the Lord, this was the mark that they truly were in Christ and he in them.
He spoke, too, about the kind of peace that he was about to give to them, and that it wasn’t the kind the world gives. For, he did not promise them absence of conflict, trouble or hardship. But, what he promised was peace with God, and an inner peace and confidence in the Lord to keep them, and to carry them through all the hard times which were awaiting them.
Then, he went on to talk with them about his relationship with them and theirs with him, and to speak with them with regard to his expectancy that they, as his followers, would bear much spiritual fruit (results) as the outgrowth of them abiding in him and his words abiding in them. And, he let them know, too, that they could not bear this fruit apart from him, i.e. they could not produce it in their own flesh.
He talked, too, about how they needed to love one another with God-like love which is based in righteousness, holiness, purity and honesty. So, this kind of love will not do harm to its neighbors.
And, then he let them know of the kinds of things they must suffer in order to be his followers. Thus, he told them that, as he was hated, so would they be hated. Yet, if they were of the world, the world would love them as its own, but because Jesus had called them out of the world, therefore the world would hate and persecute them.
From Falling Away
Some of the words Jesus spoke to them were comforting to them, while others may have been hard to hear and hard to accept. For, some of what he promised them was conditional to their own conduct in the Spirit, and to their own submission to Christ and to their yielding to him as Lord (owner-master) and Savior of their lives.
He said that to love him is to practice obedience to his commands (his Word). And, if we don’t make it our practice to follow him in obedience, then we don’t love him. But, it is those who love him who are in Christ and Christ in them, not those who merely profess to love him but who still walk according to the flesh and in darkness.
And, he said, if any do not bear fruit (spiritual results) for his kingdom, he removes them from the vine, he throws them away, and they are thrown in the fire and burned. For, we prove ourselves to be his disciples, he said, if we bear much fruit (spiritual results) for his kingdom.
So, his words to them were both comforting and they were cautioning and warning them against what could cause them to fall into a trap and to fall away. And, to fall away has to do with hindrances to right conduct. And, it has to do with breaking away from our walks of faith with Jesus Christ, and to withdraw from our relationships with Jesus, and to drift off course.
And, there is a danger of this happening when we are faced with enormous persecution, too, which is why Jesus let us know that this will be part of our life with him, that we will share in the fellowship of his sufferings. And, this is so that, when persecution comes, we don’t get disheartened and end up falling into traps and thus falling away.
For, not only will the world hate us, but even those who profess the name of Jesus, and with whom we purportedly worship the Lord together, will despise and reject us and will put us out of their gatherings, and for the same reasons Jesus was hated, too. And, why was he hated? It was because he told the people the truth about their sins and their eternal destiny, if they continued in those sins, and if they did not repent.
And, that is happening in our day, but not just in foreign countries, but it is happening in America, and inside the gatherings of the church in America, too. For, the message of the cross, and the teachings on holiness, purity, obedience, submission and repentance are being departed from these days in favor of a friendlier gospel which does not require death to sin at all.
John 16:20 ESV
“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.”
In context, Jesus was describing to his disciples that he would be leaving them, and they would weep and lament over his departure (via death). But, the world who put him on that cross would rejoice, because they would feel as though they won out over Jesus, and that they would hear from him no more.
But, the disciples’ sorrow would turn to joy at Jesus’ resurrection, and even with the sending of his Holy Spirit to indwell them, and even with the fruit of their labors, as they saw people turning their hearts to Jesus Christ.
And, this carries over, too, into our own lives and the persecutions we face for the sake of Jesus Christ, and for the sake of his gospel, for they will be painful, and many of them will be cause for much weeping and lamenting.
And, yet our sorrow is turned to joy when we look to Jesus for our comfort and for our support to help us in our time of need. And, it is turned to joy, again, in seeing the results in other people’s lives, as they turn their hearts to Jesus. And, one day it will turn to joy when our Lord returns for us.
John 16:33 ESV
“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.”
In this world we do have tribulation. Many people throughout the world are suffering tremendously for their faith and testimonies for Jesus Christ. Here in America we have not yet known such severe suffering, but it is coming to us, too, and so we need to get ourselves ready and prepared for that eventuality so that we don’t fall into a trap and fall away on account of Jesus Christ and his gospel.
But, even though “all hell” may be breaking loose all around us, inwardly we can be at peace if we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, and if we don’t let the cares of this world take us out. And, even if we are being persecuted for our faith, it can be a cause for rejoicing, for we are being counted worthy to suffer for the sake of the name of Jesus and for carrying his gospel to others.
And, in our suffering, too, we can be encouraged that the devil and his evil schemes against us have no power over us, for Jesus overcame the world. And, he put sin to death on that cross, too, so that we could be free from our slavery to sin, and so we can walk righteously before him. So, we never have to cave to the desires of our flesh, for Jesus provided a way out for us from underneath the temptation to sin against our Lord.
Songs in the Night
An Original Work / December 18, 2013
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25 NIV ‘84
Lord, I praise You forevermore.
You, my Savior, I now adore.
Hope in heaven awaiting me,
Because You died at Calvary.
I have been forgiven,
And I’m bound for heaven.
Jesus set me free from
All my sin, I say.
I will praise Him always!
Lord, I love You for all You’ve done:
Overcame death, my vict’ry won!
Jesus saved me, and now I’m free!
I rejoice in His love for me.
I will walk in vict’ry!
My sin is but hist’ry!
I am free to please Him
With my life today.
I will love Him always!
Lord, I thank You for giving me
A new life bought at Calvary.
Loving Jesus, I meet with Him.
Tender mercies now flow within.
Lord, I am so thankful;
Through my Lord, I’m able
To sit at His table;
Fellowship with Him.
I will thank Him always!
Monday, December 31, 2018