Classic Christianity – Book of John Part 54 (08-05-19)
In the book of John, we have recorded down for us many conversations Jesus had with men as he walked this earth. He came to speak truth into the hearts of men. He performed miracles, that God wanted to do through him, in order that we might be willing to listen to the word of life he proclaimed. He spoke to Mary and Martha, whose brother Lazarus had died. Jesus told them that he is the resurrection and the life. Many Jews heard the message of truth, believed and spread the word. So many more people followed Jesus and listened to what he had to say. The religious leaders of the day, the Pharisees, who heard, were not excited about the truth, or even that Lazarus had just been raised from the dead.
Still today, there are those who would rather go after Jesus, and speak about Jesus they do not know. Where do you go to learn the truth about Jesus? From the religious leaders? There are some fine seminaries that speak the truth but how would you know the truth when you hear it? Of all the seminaries combined, only 75% believe in the virgin birth. An even greater number do not even believe the bible is the word of God.
Before Pentecost, a day that Jesus told they would receive the Holy Spirit, all the disciples and Peter were cowering in fear. But after Pentecost, their lives were changed forever. They received the Holy Spirit and became bold in spreading the word of God, the message of Christ.
Before they had heard the words of Jesus, they knew he was the Messiah, but they did not really know why all these things had to happen to Jesus. These things had to happen so prophesy would be fulfilled and we could have life in his name. Before Pentecost they had no understanding. But after Pentecost, they understood everything. Why? They had the Holy Spirit living in them now. Jesus is the Son of God, and he came to die and be buried only to rise again, a command he received from his Father.
In Acts, an account of the early church after Pentecost, you now read about Peter boldly speaking about Jesus before a large crowd of Jews. Peter stood before them all and said to them that they crucified the Lord of glory. They replied, “What must we do to be saved?” Repent, or change your mind about who Jesus is and what he did for you. Believe the good news. He did this for you that you might have life in Him. They too received the Holy Spirit and the word of the message of Christ spread out into all the world.
Today, we have the very word of life, truth from the Spirit of God, recorded down for us. The bible, the collection of 66 books, that we have in our hands today, did not have its origin in the will of man. Men were filled with the Holy Spirit and were carried along by the Holy Spirit. They wrote down truth as it was revealed to them, truth not by men, but by the Spirit of God. The only way to learn about Jesus is to be studying the word of God, allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to you.
You too can be bold in spreading the word. Why? Because you have the knowledge of Jesus. You know Him personally and he gives you the privilege of participating in the divine nature. Choose to participate in the divine nature. But if you do not study God’s word, then how do you know truth? God’s word instructs us to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Jesus is full of truth and grace. When the Spirit of God is living in you, you have the mind of Christ. You can discern the things of God if you let Him. Truth is revealed by the Spirit of God.
What does it mean that you have the mind of Christ? Let God teach you truth, teach your mind to control your emotions, and direct your will so your behavior is consistent with the one who lives in you. That cannot be done apart from the ministry of the Holy Spirit. That cannot be done by joining church. That cannot be done by just saying you are a Christian. Everyone thinks they are a Christian. Everyone says they are a Christian that are not Jew to the point where the Jewish people think the opposite of a Jew is a Christian. The opposite of a Jew is not a Christian. The opposite of a Jew is a Gentile. You have lost Gentiles and you have lost Jews. You have saved Gentiles and you have saved Jews.
If you have the Spirit of God living in you, He will guide you into all truth. But if you do not take time to listen to the Spirit of God through His word, how then can you know what is true when you go into the world. All of us were living in error, at one time or another, both through religious upbringing and the secular world. Error is everywhere.
Can you recognize error when you hear it?God’s word instructs us to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. When we grow to know Him, we are bold to share truth and do not have to rely on church membership or a pastor to proclaim truth. We learn to live in a new way of the Spirit, walking in the newness of life. We learn to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions and let the fruit of the Spirit be produced in us and through us. We too can be bold like Peter to proclaim truth God has revealed to us personally unto the changing of lives.
It is like a person who is trained to detect counterfeit money. He is trained to study real money so well that when he ever sees counterfeit money, he rejects it quite readily. So too is a person who knows God and His word, who studies the word, and sits at the feet of Jesus listening to Him. Truth is revealed to you by the Spirit living in you, by a genuine relationship with the living God. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”
Were the disciples saved as we know salvation today? Salvation is the receiving of life. The receiving of life is receiving the Holy Spirit. The day you received the Spirit of life you are alive spiritually. They were not alive spiritually until the day of Pentecost. How could they be alive until the Spirit of God came to live in them? When did the Spirit of God come to live in them? At the day of Pentecost is when the Spirit first came to dwell within men.
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
So here are the disciples hiding behind locked doors for fear of the Jewish leaders! Did they learn anything from Jesus at this time? Makes you wonder does it not? How can they understand the things of the Spirit unless the Spirit is living in them to teach them? They can’t.
Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
Can you imagine somebody walking through walls and saying to you, “Peace be with you”.
20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
This was very shortly before Pentecost. Where were the disciples who followed Jesus for 3 years? They saw Jesus raise the dead. Did they believe Jesus was the Messiah? Yes. Did they know what that meant? No. They couldn’t know what it meant. Why? The Spirit of God was not living in them yet. Unless the Spirit of God is living in you, He cannot reveal what it means. So here were the disciples in utter fear, living behind locked doors in utter fear.
Now turn to the book of Acts.
The Holy Spirit came upon the disciples. He came to live within them. Jesus has risen from the dead and has ascended to his Father. So fifty days after his ascension, the Holy Spirit came to indwell the believer, to make a brand new person that has never been created before, a person with the Holy Spirit with the total inability to ever lose that life. Why do they have permanent ability to not lose that life on the day of Pentecost? Because of the death of the cross where he took away the cause of death. Jesus took away the sins of the entire world, so the sin are never to be seen again by God. A man said, “But if Jesus took away the sins of the world, then why do I still sin?” From whose eyes did he take away the sins of the world? God’s eyes.
When Jesus died on a cross and shed the blood of God himself for our sins, he looked at the Father and the Father said propitiation has taken place, which means he is totally satisfied that justice has been served where sins are paid in full. That blood took away the sins of the world from the eyes of God forever. When God looks at you who does he see? The righteousness of Jesus. You are clothed in His righteousness. When he looks at a lost man, who does he see? A lost man, naked and in need of clothes. Until a man accepts the life of Jesus he remains lost and unclothed.
The day of Pentecost is the best day of all. We ought to be celebrating the day God came to invade his creation and give life to the dead. Prior to this time these people did not understand. After the Holy Spirit came to live in these people then they understood. Peter just a few days earlier is behind locked doors, knowing that if they killed Jesus they would kill them too. Now you see Peter raise his voice and address the crowd.
22 “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.
This was the same Peter now saying this is the Jesus you killed. Does it sound like a different Peter? Is he denying the Lord before little women. Peter is now boldly proclaiming this Jesus, standing with the eleven and boldly proclaiming before the Jews telling them they crucified the Lord of glory.
24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. 25 David said about him:
“‘I saw the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest in hope,
because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
you will not let your holy one see decay.
You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.’
29 “Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,
“‘The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.”’
36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”
Does this sound like a coward behind closed doors? What is the difference? The Holy Spirit living in him and you, your only hope of glory.
Colossians 1:27 (TLB)
He has kept this secret for centuries and generations past, but now at last it has pleased him to tell it to those who love him and live for him, and the riches and glory of his plan are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ in your hearts is your only hope of glory.
There are many people today who may be like the disciples, who heard things about Jesus. They were not capable of understanding these things. Why? The Holy Spirit was not living in them. Why? He had not died, risen and ascended to the Father yet. Today, if someone does not have the Holy Spirit living in him, he also cannot understand the things of God. If he does have the Holy Spirit, then he is not relying on the Holy Spirit, but going on Sunday to rely on someone else to teach him. Just bring somebody on Sunday and old Bob will shoot him down. That is not the church. This room, where the body meets, is not for evangelism to take place. It is a place for believers to grow by hearing truth. You go to the fields to evangelize. We have reversed it. It seems good because if you get saved here you will stay here.
If you are indwelt with the Spirit of God, you are a new creation.
2 Corinthians 5:17
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
You had to be born by your mom and dad. That is the only way you got here. But you also have to be born again spiritually. You had a natural birth and now you need a spiritual birth. Your mom and dad cannot give you spiritual birth. Only God can create a spiritual being. Mom and dad created a natural being. Only God can create a spiritual being. God did not birth you. He created you. You were not created in the image of God when you were born into this world. You were born in the image of Adam. You are told this in Genesis.
3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth.
When Adam and Eve had Seth, Seth was born in the image of his father. Adam and Eve were created in the image of God. Seth was born in the image of Adam. You were not created in the image of God. You were born. You were never created until you were born again. When you were born again, you were created in the image of God. You had a spiritual birth that can only come about by the Spirit of God. Now you have someone living in you. His name is God. The Holy Spirit of God is living in you. You have the mind of Christ living in you. Why? You have God living in you. He did not come without his head.
You have the mind of Christ living in you. It is hard to tell sometimes because we do not draw on that much. We lean on our own understanding. But available to us at any time and moment of the day, is the privilege of participating in the divine nature that lives in me.
2 Peter 1:4
4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
1 Corinthians 2:16
16 for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
What does that mean? I can access His mind. Let God teach you truth, teach your mind to control your emotions, and direct your will so your behavior is consistent with the one who lives in you. That cannot be done apart from the ministry of the Holy Spirit. That cannot be done by joining church. That cannot be done by just saying you are a Christian. Everyone thinks they are a Christian. Everyone says they are a Christian that are not Jew to the point where the Jewish people think the opposite of a Jew is a Christian. The opposite of a Jew is not a Christian. The opposite of a Jew is a Gentile. You have lost Gentiles and you have lost Jews. You have saved Gentiles and you have saved Jews.
This guy says, “I am a Messianic Jew.” I say, “Big deal. I am a Messianic Gentile. Now let us forget about our national heritage and get on with who we are, a child of God. I would rather be one of those than a Jew or a Gentile, wouldn’t you? A child of the living God is what He made us into.”
What is the difference? One day they do not understand all this. The next day they understood all of it. One day they were cowering before closed doors, fearful of their lives, in fear of the leadership. The next day they cared less about the leadership, saying “this is Jesus whom you crucified”, and not worrying about being politically correct or offending someone who does not like it. They were bold. Where did the boldness come from? The Holy Spirit.
What makes you bold? The knowledge of something makes you bold. Bob jokingly says that he is bold with computers. I know how to turn one on. Yet those who have great knowledge of computers are quite bold talking about computers. Jesus says, “I want you to have knowledge of me, to know me. That way you will strong in talking to people about me.” Some people say, “Bob, you are bold. Why are you so bold?” Bob replies, “What do you want me to be, a wimp? Should I say sheepishly, ‘Please come to Jesus?’ I know Jesus. I do not need to wimp it up.” If you have the Holy spirit living in you, then you can rely on that Spirit and be bold too. You do not have to rely on church membership for that. Does the Spirit of God live in you? If he does, then he has given you everything you need for life and godliness.
2 Peter 1:3
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
So then you can be bold as Peter speaking to the Jews. The same Spirit living in Peter is the same Spirit living in you.
36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”
What happened to the people who heard the truth from Peter?
37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
“What shall we do to be saved?” , they asked. Change your mind, which is what repent means, and be baptized, every one of you, receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit.
39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
That is the importance of understanding the message of the Holy Spirit of God. You cannot have the power of God or the boldness He wants you to have if you do not know what you are talking about. That is why people hate changing jobs, because when you go to a new job, you feel as dumb as a mule. We do not like feeling dumb. Everyone will feel dumb in a new job until they get to know the vernacular and get to know the product. One day you say, “I do not know what I am doing” but then you start to learn and you are confident in your work. Jesus says, “I want you to study the word of God to get your mind renewed.” How are you going to get to know Jesus apart from studying Jesus. This is a book about Jesus. How are you going to get to know Him? How are you going to experience Him apart from relying on the Holy Spirit to reveal the meaning of the word of God to you?
2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.
What is the renewing of your mind? What does that mean? It means your mind is full of error and lies. So you need it replaced with truth. You can have religious lies. You can have secular lies. You have lies all over the place. Every secular advertising has a lie in it or a hook in it. When you hear advertising for drugs, you hear what it will do for you, but then you hear, or just read the fine print on the screen, about the side effects.
God wants us to know truth so we can easily spot error. An owner of the bank will hammer you so hard what real money looks like so you can spot fake money quite easily. That is what we do when we know the word of God. We can spot error and give truth back to the one who tells the error. When I study God’s word and rely on the Holy Spirit to teach me, then when I hear error on television, then I can turn it off. Why even turn it on in the first place, if you know that whenever you do there is just error?
32 “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
The way you know whether or not you are getting truth is by you and Jesus and the book, by letting Him talk to you and reveal truth to you. The truth will set you free from all the garbage in the world.
36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Isn’t it great to be free?
Only after Jesus was glorified, after Pentecost, did they realize these things had been written about him. They knew how this had all fit together and these things had been done to him.
16 At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him.
17 Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word.
The disciples were excited. The Jews hearing Jesus, after seeing Lazarus raised from the dead, were excited. They heard the word of God and believed. They heard, believed and spread the word.
18 Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him.
Now look to the response of the leadership. This is the leadership saying this.
19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”
Even today, the whole world is going after Jesus. Why? Because people do not depend, or do not know the Spirit of God, do not have the spirit of God, and are talking about Jesus that they do not know. So too do people who know nothing about Jesus talk about their church. They say, “We have this program, these trees, and all kinds of stuff”. Bob got so sick going out to lunch with his friend and hearing about church, church and church. Does anyone ever talk about Jesus? Does anyone talk about this personal relationship with Jesus? Or do we just talk about how many trees and tables we have? What about talking about what God did in and through our lives at work, and talking about Jesus to him, who he did not know but now came to know? So they can only talk about what they know and not about someone they do not know.
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots
In many cases, leadership and denominational-ism is going to start in their seminaries. Whatever the leaders of denominational heads believe will be passed on in their seminaries. Now there are some fine seminaries that truly speak truth. But of all the seminaries combined, only 75% do not even believe in the virgin birth. An even greater percentage of that do not even believe the bible is the word of God. Where are you going to learn about God, the reader’s digest? No, the bible never had its origin in the will of man, but men carried along by the Holy Spirit spoke truth as it was revealed to them. We have recorded down for us the word of life, truth spoken through men by the Holy Spirit. Such men whom God appointed were His prophets of old and the apostles who were eyewitnesses of Jesus so we would have the word of God today.
2 Peter 1:21
21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.