Classic Christianity – Book of John Part 60 (08-19-19)
Bob continues sharing from John 12, starting at verse 35. Jesus told the Jews that he is the light of the world and he is not going to be in the world much longer. Jesus entered this dark world that we live in. We were born in darkness, without the light of Christ living in us. The disciples heard the truth, they saw the Light, touched him, ate with him and listened to His Light. But they were in darkness, devoid of understanding without the Spirit of God living in them. While Jesus was with them, they were kept safe and being tutored until faith could be revealed in them. Later, when Jesus spoke of the promised Holy Spirit to come, on that day of Pentecost, they received the Spirit of God, the Light to live within them. Then, through the Holy Spirit living in them, all the things Jesus spoke to them was brought to their remembrance and they understood the meaning of Jesus words.
Jesus is also speaking to us today. We had the light in the person of Christ Jesus but now we have the light of the person of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. The reason Jesus was here was to point us to truth, expose us to truth, and teach us what truth is, for truth is what sets us free. The bible points us to Christ Jesus. Walk in this light God has given you so darkness does not overtake you.
At one time we too walked in darkness. Bob explained this darkness that we all once lived in one degree or another, when he shared the testimony of a man named Sid.
Both Sid and his wife were enslaved in the sin of drunkenness ever since their college days, giving into the pleasures of sin. There is pleasure in sin for a season but it leads to a broken life. One day they both heard truth, but at that time only she understood the truth. They both walked an aisle but only she was able to walk free from alcohol addiction. Two weeks later, Sid’s wife calls Bob and tells him her husband is drunk and asked for help. She deeply loves her husband and knows he wants to do right, but something is wrong. Bob asks the Lord for wisdom and later asks Sid a question. “When you walked the aisle, did you receive Jesus the God or Jesus the man?” “Did you realize, Sid, that this Jesus, who is the man, is also God? Do you realize that this was the one who was raised from the dead, after entering into your death with you, in order to give life to you? Did you understand that?” “No”, he said, “I did not understand that.” “Are you ready today to accept the living Christ, not just the one who walked on this earth and died on a cross, but the one who was raised from the dead, and today is ready to raise you from the dead?” Sid then understood Jesus is God, who has resurrection life to give as gift to be received. Sid believed the truth and was born again. He was made complete in Christ, a new creation. He never drank since and continued to grow in that newness of life, a life he received from God.
So Jesus is saying to us today to walk in the Light. As a born again believer, you have the Light in you, the resurrected life of God in you. Since you are a child of the King, the Spirit forms new attitudes of heart in you that is like that of Christ Jesus. You walk in accordance with who you are, a child of God with the mind of Christ. Think about why we are called children of God. Think about how a parent, who has a heart of love for his child in correcting him when he does wrong. We are children of God being trained by a perfectly loving Father. God, being full of truth and grace, deals with us in truth and grace for our good.
You go along your journey in life, and at times you do not act like a believer, but God is at work in you. Many times a person may not be able to tell the difference between a believer and a non-believer just by outward behavior. For a believer, the Holy Spirit, instructs you and tells you about your attitude that led to your improper behavior. The issue is and the difference is, for a believer in contrast to a lost person, is that when those kinds of attitudes that cause those kinds of actions are revealed to us by the Holy Spirit, then God starts working in our hearts and tells us this is not the attitude of Christ Jesus, who is our head.
What then causes a believer to not walk in the Light. The enemy, or Satan, attacks our minds with lies. He convinces us about how much fun we once had when we were lost. He convinces us of even good things as long as our mind is off of Christ. He attempts to change our attitudes by bombarding our minds with thoughts contrary to the thoughts of God. So we are instructed to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ so we can demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
So we are also put in a body of Christ to serve one another in love, with whatever gift God has given you. The body of Christ are those who are born again of the Spirit of God, with Christ Jesus being the head. It is not a physical body but a spiritual body in whom Christ dwells. Those mature in Christ help the weak to grow, as we all continue to grow.
How is the body of Christ to function? There are those with the gift of encouragement. How beneficial is encouragement to a believer who is struggling and whose thoughts are wandering to things that he thinks will bring him satisfaction in life but ultimately will put him back in bondage to sin? The body serves one another in love when the body knows already that everything needed for life and godliness has been supplied. They then are not looking to serve themselves but others.
By growing in the knowledge and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the body is free to serve others. He is amply supplied. To learn that if I am in Jesus and Jesus is in me, then I am to serve this body. And I delight to serve the body in love. If I am serving, it is because I already have something. You cannot out-give God. You cannot out-teach God. You do not have to worry about running out of resources. He supplies all that we need.
If you have the Spirit of God living in you then you are led by the Spirit. Are you listening to the Spirit and walking in that truth? Or have you wandered from the truth, having been deceived by the thoughts of this world? Have you grown in understanding of the meaning of God’s word, allowing the Spirit of God to teach you through His word? The body is uniquely put together, each with their various gifts of service, of teaching, of encouragement, of giving, and all manner and sorts of gifts, so the body of Christ can be edified and built up, to be properly functioning as God intended.
The true church is not a building on the corner of walk and don’t walk. Many such places that are called church today have become entertainment centers, where the leadership followed the model of the business world, with marketing brochures and invitations from marketing research, catering to what the lost wants. So called churches may become large buildings or have grown in numbers but has the body of Christ grown in the knowledge of Jesus Christ? Many a place people call church is nothing more than an entertainment center, a coffee shop, a community club, or a big business. The true church is the born again believers, who, as in the early church in Acts, chose to meet together to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let us turn to John 12. We pick up where Jesus is saying to us we will only have light just a little while longer.
35 Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. 36 Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.
Whenever you see the word “light” in scripture it always represents life. Jesus is contrasting light with darkness. To live in the darkness means to live in death apart from the light of the world, who is Christ Jesus. To live in the light means we have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of the Son, Jesus Christ. Light and darkness always constitutes death and life.
13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Christ Jesus is the life. You are just going to have the Son just a little while longer. You will only have Jesus here in physical form, where people can interact with him, look at, touch and be disciplined by him, for just a little while longer. For our own lives, we can say that we also will only be here on earth for just a little while. Sometimes it seems like a long time but in light of eternity, it is just a short time. While I am here, walk in that light. The reason Jesus was here was to point us to truth, expose us to truth, and teach us what truth is, for truth is what sets us free. The bible points us to Christ Jesus. Walk in this light God has given you.
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
32 “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
For you and me today, we are not the physical body of Christ as Jesus was, but we have been made into the body of Christ. When you and I were born and the Holy Spirit came to dwell in us permanently, we became the body of Christ. Each one of us who is born again is a member of the body of Christ. I have a head and many parts to the body. Each part is to serve the whole. My hands are to serve the totality of my body. My feet are here to serve the totality of my body. It is not there to serve feet. Our lips and our digestive system, everything is here, to serve the totality of the body. The gifts are there to serve the body. If I am given the gift of teaching, it is not to sit by and teach myself and glorify in myself how wonderful I am. No, I speak to edify the body of Christ. No, you teach in front of others so others are built up. If you have the gift of giving, the purpose is not to give to yourself, but to serve the body of Christ. It is not to say, “Praise God, I got this money and so I give to myself”. Until we get a glimpse of that then we are only a Christian who only receives and misses out on serving the totality of the body of Christ. We miss out on a vital role that God has called us to in regards to living the Christian experience. If you have the gift of encouragement it not to encourage yourself but to go out to the body of Christ and reach out to those who need encouragement. We are not there to beat each other up. It is a sad experience to say that the church is the only place that hurts its wounded. You are serving the body to build it up.
1 Corinthians 12:12-20
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body – whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
1 Corinthians 12:27
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
God has put together this body of believers. We are not there to get numbers. If we were then we would have a different function than what we have. I know how to get numbers but I refuse to do that. I am not here to get people here, filled up with activity or just to have their ears tickled. No, I want people to be built up in truth in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. There is plenty of entertainment in the world apart from us. The church is not for an entertainment center or a place for bowling alleys or Starbucks. The purpose of the church is where people come and learn about Jesus, to grow in your knowledge of Jesus. Consider how the early church met in a common purpose.
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
To learn that if I am in Jesus and Jesus is in me, then I am to serve this body. And I delight to serve the body in love. If I am serving, it is because I already have something. You cannot out-give God. You cannot out-teach God. You do not have to worry about running out of resources. He supplies all that we need.
19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
Because we have the Light, that is why we are not in communion with the world, for the world is in darkness. What separates you and me from the world is not necessarily the way we act. Now our actions should certainly be different from the world. We all understand that. Our actions are not always different from the world. Sometimes you can get angry enough, when in a situation and provoked, and nobody can tell the difference. The issue is and the difference is that when those kinds of attitudes that cause those kinds of actions are revealed to us by the Holy Spirit, then God starts working in our hearts and tells us this is not the attitude of Christ Jesus, who is our head.
13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose
Every thing we do is a result of our attitudes. Our attitude is what controls how we live. When we realize we are a child of the King, then that will determine the decisions we make. As a child of the King, that when I am married, I will have to die to the decision of singleness. Cherish your relationship.
12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had
22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Are we thinking about serving one another in love? Are we vile? Are we selfish? Or, are we thinking about serving one another in love? How can I serve you in love? How can I help you grow in the knowledge of Christ Jesus? How can I help you grow in the world? Is there anything I can do to help you be successful in life? These are the attitudes of the heart that God honors. So what is Jesus is saying to us? “You have the light. Now live in it before darkness overtakes you.”
9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.
12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation – but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
When you and I are born again, we are indwelt by Christ Jesus. We we have received the light of the world. But there is darkness out there. Walk in this light unless you get overtaken. What does that tell us? You can get so involved in the world that nothing spiritual comes through. We are spiritual people. We are in Christ Jesus. We are in the Light. Our destiny is secure as to where we will be when we are absent from the body, and that is, we will forever be present with the Lord, and will soon see him face to face, and remain with Him forever.
Yet, we wander back into darkness. I wonder sometimes, not to be overly critical, but what are people are thinking in this so-called church life, that we call Christianity? When we go out into the world and ask the manager of Walmart, “What did you do to get business? What did you do to get people attracted to your store” So church leaders think, “Let us use the same principles and apply them to the church”. So we have all these church mailers and advertising, and if you do these things your church will grow. But what is really being grown, a church where people grow in the knowledge of Jesus, or a business, where the lost is catered to so as to increase the numbers of people coming?
What many today are catering to is that if you do these things your numbers will grow. But what about the maturity of the people who are here? Yet people ask, “What kind of music do the children like?” The leadership thinks, “So let us develop music so the children will like it?” What I liked as a child I would not be proud of. The role of a parent is not to reduce down to the level of a child but to elevate the child to the level of an adult. So many are compromising to be politically correct or socially acceptable instead of helping people to understand good things.
I appreciate my daughter for she teaches music to her children. John Groben was a singer that she liked. And as good as those songs are, they do not come close with truth in the old hymns. Those old hymns, you will never beat them, just as you will never outdo Michelangelo, the sculpture. The work produced by Michelangelo will probably never be duplicated again. We need to think about those things that are good and holy. We had the light in the person of Christ Jesus but now we have the light of the person of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
A person came to talk to Bob about a story she read in Classic Christianity that really touched her heart. Bob retells what happened. A lady called concerning her husband Sid, who had gotten drunk again. So Bob thought to himself, “There must be something wrong with Sid. A number of weeks prior to that, and both of them were alcoholics since the time of college, and both walked an aisle in Whitaker, CA. She was set free from alcohol. But her husband Sid was not. They heard the same truth about Jesus. One is set free and one is not.”. After talking a while with Sid about his drinking again and similar talk, Bob finally asked Sid a question. Bob asked him, “When you walked the aisle, did you receive Jesus the God or Jesus the man?” (From reading Classic Christianity, you may recall that the Lord had revealed to Bob that he should ask Sid such a question.) Sid replied, “What do you mean?” Bob asked, “Did you accept the fact that there was a man named Jesus walking on the face of this earth who did many wonderful deeds. He healed the blind, made the deaf hear, and raised the dead. Is that the man you received or did you realize that that man who did those things was raised from the dead as God, and today is seated at the right hand of God, interceding on your behalf? Which did you receive, Jesus the man or Jesus the God?” Sid said, through blurry eyes, “I received Jesus the man.” “Did you realize, Sid, that this Jesus, who is the man, is also God? Do you realize that this was the one who was raised from the dead, after entering into your death with you, in order to give life to you? Did you understand that?” “No”, he said, “I did not understand that.” “Are you ready today to accept the living Christ, not just the one who walked on this earth and died on a cross, but the one who was raised from the dead, and today is ready to raise you from the dead?”
Bob finishes retelling what happened. I saw that man fall on to his knees and accept the living Christ into his life. That was years ago, never to touch another drink, and that started into a newness of life. Why? He was new in life. He accepted not just what Jesus did on this earth, but what He did in His resurrected life. He came to the fullness in Jesus Christ. God restored the years the locusts ate away all through his life, that at the time looked like it was totally destroyed because of his choices in life. But that was not the case, as he became a new creation in Christ.
So there is darkness out there. We have that tendency to walk back into darkness and engage in the deeds of darkness. God is saying to us, “The Light is in you so walk in the Light so darkness does not overtake you.” Did you know that you, as a believer, that you can get back into darkness and be overtaken. How does he, or Satan, do that? He does that by changing our attitudes. He does that by getting your mind off of truth and getting it onto a lie. He also convinces you about how much fun it used to be back then before you knew Jesus. So Satan is continually bombarding our minds with thoughts that are not the thoughts of God.
2 Corinthians 10:1-6
1 By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you – I, Paul, who am “timid” when face to face with you, but “bold” toward you when away! 2 I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. 3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 6 And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.
How do you know when you are being led by the Spirit? If you are in Christ Jesus, you are being led by the Spirit. If you are not in Christ Jesus, then you do not have a choice of who you are being led by. You are being led by Satan. He can lead you on good things too. He does not care where you are led as long as your eyes are off Jesus. If you are in Christ Jesus, you are being led by the Spirit.
14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.
2 Corinthians 2:14
14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere
Then what keeps a person, you or me, from being led by the Spirit? Getting back into the world. Getting back under the law. Getting back where sin is. The only thing that can cause the Spirit not to lead you is your refusal to not be led. If you know the truth, walk in it. For when you are in the dark, you do not know where you are going.
12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God
36 “Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.
The children of the light of the children of God.
37 Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. 38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet:
“Lord, who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” [Isaiah 53:1];
Even after Jesus did all these miraculous things, they still would not believe. This was to fulfill the word of the prophet Isaiah. Who believed our message?
39 For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:
“He has blinded their eyes
and hardened their hearts,
so they can neither see with their eyes,
nor understand with their hearts,
nor turn – and I would heal them.”
People are so often involved in signs and wonders today. What would Jesus say to those of the “signs and wonders” crowd today? “I will show you a sign. Tear down this temple and I will raise it up in three days.” He was talking about his own body.
18 The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”
19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”
20 They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” 21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.
If the miracle of the resurrection is not enough for you, then what do you think lengthening your legs would mean for you? Or what do you think some other miracle is going to mean, in light of eternity? Or if some healing, that even some doctor can do, what will that mean to you? f I cannot believe in Jesus by the resurrection, then there is not any so called miracle that he will do for me that would cause me to believe in him.
30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”
There is no greater miracle that God did for you and me than the miracle of making us into a new creation, by means of a new spiritual birth, being raised up in Christ. That is a miracle! For some of you, it is an even greater miracle for you than others, as when you are in a situation where you know nothing and where you do not know how anything works. All you know is that what you are doing is not working. Then someone comes along, a born again believer, and tells you what Jesus has done for you, and you believe the message of the resurrected life of Christ and receive that life and become a new creature in Christ. Bob George is so grateful for Bill Bright sharing such truth to him. Bob believed and accepted the truth and was born again. Bill Bright was a servant whom God used but God caused the growth.
1 Corinthians 3:6-8
6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor.