John 14:21-24 ESV
“Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.”
This teaching is very profound. Yet, it is not something that is largely taught in the church today, at least not here in America. But, it is consistently taught throughout the New Testament. And, that is that there is a direct correlation between us following our Lord in obedience to his Word and us having a genuine intimate relationship with Almighty God.
For, love for God is to keep his Word. We need to be doers of the Word and not hearers only. We need to be applying the Word of God to our lives on a daily and consistent basis. Yet, this is not about sinless perfection or having to keep the law perfectly, for if we could keep God’s moral laws perfectly, Jesus would not have had to die on a cross for our sins.
But, this is about walking (in practice) in obedience to our Lord in his power and in his strength at work within us. And, this is not just Old Covenant teaching, either. This is New Covenant teaching (Rom. 6:16; Heb. 5:9; 1 Pet. 1:2; 1 Jn. 2:3-6; 1 Jn. 3:24). For, if we don’t walk in obedience to our Lord, we don’t really know God, and he does not live within us (1 Jn. 2:3-6).
Yet, this is not saying that we will never sin again, or even that we could not stray, for a time, from our pure devotion to our Lord. For, scripture indicates that both are possible. But, again, it all comes down to lifestyle, to how we live our lives day in and day out over the course of our Christian lives. For, this is what gives evidence to whether or not we truly know God.
For, to know God is to love God, and to love God is to walk in obedience to his instructions to us, his church. For, Jesus died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live with him to righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. He gave his life up for us that we might be his possession and that our lives would no longer be our own, but so we would glorify God with our lives (1 Co. 6:20).
As well, His grace to us is not free license to continue in our sinful practices. His grace, which brings salvation, instructs us to say “No!” to ungodliness and worldly passions (fleshly lusts) and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s soon return (Tit. 2:11-14).
John 14:25-29 ESV
“These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe.”
On the third day, after Jesus died on that cross to deliver us out of our slavery to sin, he rose again. He appeared to many people, including to his disciples, and then he ascended back to the Father in heaven. But, he did not leave his followers comfortless. He sent his Holy Spirit to indwell the hearts and lives of all who were his followers, his disciples.
And now, when we believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we are indwelt with the Holy Spirit of God. God, by his Spirit, is now living within us, strengthening, counseling, guiding, encouraging, comforting and empowering us to live godly and holy lives, pleasing to God.
The Holy Spirit is also our teacher. As we read the Word of God, it is the Holy Spirit who quickens our minds to hear from God what he wants to teach us. For, spiritual things are spiritually discerned. It is the Holy Spirit who guides us into all truth and who makes God’s Word come alive to our hearts. But, we have to be listening, and then we need to follow our Lord in obedience to what we are being taught.
When we are in relationship with our Lord, which comes about by God’s grace, through God-given faith in Jesus Christ, then we also have the peace of Christ in our hearts and lives. But, this is not the kind of peace that the world talks about. They talk about absence of conflict and everyone in the world joining hand across the globe singing “Kumbaya.”
But, to have that kind of peace involves compromise of faith and conviction. For, it requires that all people of all faiths come together as one mind and heart, agreeing to compromise their beliefs in order to find common ground that they can all agree upon and operate from. But, that kind of peace is not of God, but of Satan, for it forces all of us to relinquish our individuality and our individual beliefs so that we all become united as one.
But, the peace that God gives is not like that. His peace is internal and eternal, not external. And, it is peace with God, i.e. reconciliation with Almighty God through faith in Jesus Christ and in what he did for us on that cross in making the way for us to be delivered from our bondage to sin. And, this comes about through repentance and obedience to Christ.
John 14:30-31 ESV
“I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.”
Jesus, I believe, was making reference to his betrayer, Judas, who was then about to hand him over to be crucified on a cross. For, Judas, in his decision to betray Jesus, had handed his own life over to Satan, and Satan had filled his heart (Lu. 22:3).
And, Jesus said that if we follow him with our lives, we will be hated, mistreated, and persecuted like he was. Thus, we will have people, even among the fellowship of the believers, who will befriend us only to turn around and betray us behind our backs.
But, this goes much further than this, I believe. This is not just about personal betrayal at the hands of someone close to us. This, I believe, can also be taken to make reference to the antichrist who is coming to rule the world and who will betray all those who believe him to be who he says he is.
For he will come out from among us. He (or they) will establish himself among the people in a trusted position only to later on betray the people he said he came to serve. He will pretend to be one thing when he is another; to be working for us, while he is working against us. And, one day the truth will come out, and the masks will be dropped, and then all hell is going to break loose all around us.
And, I believe we are nearing that time, too, and that the antichrist is already at work among us, and he is working to destroy all of us who follow Jesus Christ with our lives. And, in some countries of the world, they have been feeling the effects of his persecution greatly for some time now, and that America is targeted, too, for severe persecution yet to come.
Yet, we are not to fear what is most certainly coming our way, for we have been told this was coming, so it should not take us by surprise. We just have to keep on obeying our Lord in doing what he says. And, we have to keep sharing the truth of the gospel with all who will listen, even knowing that it could cost us our reputations, or could result in us being persecuted, or that it could even involve the taking of our lives.
And, we will persevere, because we love God, and we love his Word, and we know the truth that sets people free. We will willingly lay down our lives in order to see others be free from their burdens of sin, too, so that they, too, can have eternal life with God.
An Original Work / December 24, 2013
Based off Various Scriptures
The Word of God throughout taught.
Some people heard, but did doubt.
Still others had faith in Christ.
By grace He purified them.
They turned from sin
And they obeyed Christ.
He opened up their blinded eyesight;
Turned them from darkness
To the true Light;
Forgave their sin by His might.
He strengthened them in their faith.
He said, “Remain my faithful.”
He called them to obedience.
By faith, they were so grateful.
By faith, they were to follow Jesus;
To daily sit and listen to Him;
To have such faith
That mountains could move;
To love those whom He gave them.
Be on your guard; courageous.
Stand firm in faith. Be thankful.
Take up the shield of your faith;
Protect against all evil.
Do not move from
The hope that you have.
Your faith in Jesus let it endure.
Hold to the truth;
Your conscience be clear.
Endure with perseverance.
Friday, September 6, 2019