Radio Broadcast Monday 08/26/2019

Classic Christianity – Book of John Part 63 (08-26-19)

Synopsis

Salvation is not about how sinful we are but how dead we are. Often times, all you hear from the pulpit is how sinful you are. Yes, sin is the cause of death, but death is worse than sin. But what you often erroneously hear is to come down an altar to get your sins forgiven. Well, I got news for you. Salvation is not getting your sins forgiven, but getting new life, God’s life.

Why is salvation not getting your sins forgiven? Well, that is the preparation part of it. Jesus already died to take away the sins of the entire world. His shed blood was once and for all, never to be repeated again, and was all sufficient to take away God’s wrath against all sin, sins from all eternity, past and future, for all men! So if getting sins forgiven is salvation, then everybody is saved already, and that would be called universal salvation. But that is not salvation that saves. Salvation is receiving new life.

You must come to understand that sin is not what keeps you from God. It is your condition of death that keeps you separated from God. Jesus already took away the cause of death, which is sin. He is now just waiting for men to come to their senses and come to Him for life. Nobody will ever go to hell because of their sins, however many or few. The world’s sin is unbelief in Jesus. You go to hell for failing to receive the gift of life offered freely by God through Jesus Christ. Jesus did it all.

Since we were born dead in our trespasses and sins, God sent His only Sin to rescue mankind. Who can raise a dead person from the dead? Only God can. God so loved the world that He sent His only Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

But what do men try to do to be saved? They form their own ideas of how to be acceptable to God. Man in his pride adds to the finished work of the cross.

The non-religions try to do the best they can or just simply think they are okay, since they have not murdered anybody. Yet they fail to realize their dead condition, for Jesus said if you have hate in your heart for a brother then you have already committed murder in your heart.

The religious add various works, by leaning on their own understanding, to make themselves acceptable to God. The Catholic says he believes in Jesus but then goes to the confessional booth to get his sins forgiven. The Protestant is not any better. He boasts that he goes direct to God to get his future sins erased by confessing sins in accordance with his false understanding of 1 John 1:9. The Jews boasts about going back to the day of atonement, sacrificing a bull and a goat, to get his sins forgiven.

 

In all these cases, the non-religious and the religious, have not repented of trusting in the finished work of Jesus Christ alone. Many people know that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again, but they do not understand why Jesus did all that. Jesus died for the sins of the entire world, all past, present and future sins. His shed blood was of such high quality, of eternal value, that the world’s sins will never be remembered anymore in the eyes of God. You did not get forgiven when you believe. You are already forgiven. Jesus was also buried to prove his death. He was then raised from the dead so that the life that raised him from the dead, will also raise you and me from the dead, if we just simply put our complete trust in what he did alone for us.

Many people do not understand repentance. A prevalent usage of the term is saying, “Oh, I used to smoke and now I don’t.“ Well, you can start again. Or saying, “I used to cuss and now I don’t.“ Well, I can make you cuss by cutting you off the freeway. So biblical repentance unto salvation is not saying, “I used to do this and now I don’t.“ Those sinful behaviors can all start again.

The biblical word repentance unto salvation is a total change of heart and mind. You were born into this world not a believer, but an unbeliever. There was a point in time you heard the knowledge of truth from God. You either accepted it or rejected it. If you accepted it, you had to repent of whatever you were believing at that moment in order to repent and believe that truth of God in His word.

We read here in the gospel of John where Jesus says he has not come to judge the world. He said that all judgment has been left to His Father. He said that whoever rejects His word rejects the one who sent him. Why is this? Consider the manner in which Jesus lived.

Jesus is God in the flesh, and came to dwell with men. He became like one of us, except without sin. He also came to show us how mankind was supposed to live. Man cannot live as God because he is not God. Mankind was originally created to function in total dependence on God, but that was stolen and taken away by the craftiness of Satan and decision of the first man, Adam. When Adam sinned, all of mankind since then wanders in darkness. All men were born without the life of God in them. That is why Jesus identifies Himself as the Light of the world.

So Jesus entered this world in order to show man how to live. Jesus emptied himself of his divine attributes and lived as a man in total dependence on God. He only did what he saw His Father doing. He only did said what His Father told Him to say and how to say it. That is why if you reject the words of Jesus for eternal life, you are rejecting the very words of God speaking through Jesus. Jesus has the very words of eternal life that he received from His Father. Jesus did not come to condemn but to save.

The work that Jesus came to do, to die on a cross is exactly what his Father wanted him to do, so that the consequences of sin, which is death, will be taken away from man. This had to happen first before God could offer eternal life to man. If not, then if man did have life, then the next time he sinned he would die again.

Jesus received the command from His Father to lay down his life for men only to raise it up again. By raising Jesus from the dead, anyone who puts their trust in His life can be raised to new life in Him also. So we are saved by the life of God, not by his death.

So what is this life Jesus is talking about? It is the same Holy Spirit of God living in him that was once in Adam before sin entered the world and all sinned, and therefore, all died. Death is the absence of God’s life. Adam became dead to what vacated him, which was the Spirit of God, the breath of life that was breathed in him the time he was created. Now Jesus offers this same Holy Spirit to dwell within men, to those who will put their complete trust in him alone, in what he did for you.

Yet men strive in their flesh to produce fruit of the Spirit. If you are dead to God, not having the Spirit of God living in you, you cannot produce anything the Spirit produces. I got news for you. If you have the Holy Spirit living in you, you still cannot produce the fruit of the Spirit. We were never designed to be God but to be dependent upon God.

That is why, in John 15, Jesus explained the parable of the vine and the branches to us. He is the vine and we are the branches. Apart from Him we can do nothing.

So what exactly is the fruit of the Spirit? In Galatians 5:22-23, this is listed out for us. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control are the fruit of the Spirit.

Now just looking at the first three listed here, we can discern rather quickly that we cannot produce those things. These are characteristics of God, but not us.

God is love and we would not know what love is if God did not first love us. This is how we know what love is; that Jesus laid down his life for us.

Joy is also something that only God can produce. What does man try to do. He tries to get something he thinks looks like joy, but it is only artificial fruit. He gets happiness from circumstances. When circumstances change, man can so easily get overcome with depressing thoughts. Yet, when man rests in God, God produces this joy in his heart, that even in a prison cell for proclaiming the gospel, he is singing praises to God. Jesus said that for the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame.

Peace is something the world does not understand. Jesus said he came to give peace but not the peace as the world gives. The world’s kind of peace is the peace you have when you sit by a gently flowing stream. How quickly that peace goes away the moment you leave the scene. The peace that God gives is the kind that surpasses all understanding. Jesus said that in this world you will have tribulation, but to be of good cheer, because he has overcome the world. Peace comes from a vital living relationship of trust with God. In the midst of troubling circumstances, you make your requests known to God, with thanksgiving, and the peace of God that surpasses all understanding, guards your heart and your mind.

So you cannot have the peace of God until you have peace with God. You cannot have the peace with God until you have understood who you are in Christ Jesus. You have understood that you have been justified by faith and you are at peace with God. And because I am at peace with God I can experience the peace of God.

So Jesus explains the parable of the vine and the branches to his disciples. Jesus gives us this illustration of the parable of the vine and the branches to show us how mankind was originally created to live, in total dependence on God.

So the day when you come to faith in Christ and are born again, having the Holy Spirit placed in you and sealed in you, you can learn to walk in the new way of the Spirit. So salvation is life, God’s life, to be lived in you and through you. Salvation truly is a relationship with the living God.

Jesus says He is the vine and you are the branch. Jesus says, “I will produce in you what you cannot produce in and of yourself. But I will give you the privilege of bearing the fruit.”

Can a branch produce fruit? No. Neither can you? Can a branch bear fruit? Yes. So can you? If the branch remains on the vine it will bear fruit, taking in nutrients from the root? Yes. So when you remain in Jesus, letting him teach you and speak to you, like those nutrients go into your heart, you also can bear fruit, fruit that will last.

How then do you bear fruit? You live in a vital relationship with the living God. The same God who talked with Jesus, who emptied himself of his divine attributes, living to show us what it is like to be a man, is the pattern of living the Christian life.

How do you live the Christian life? You get out of the way and let Jesus live His life in you and through you. Why did He give His life to you if He did not want to live His life through you? How is this Christian life lived? Do not complicate it. This is not a complicated issue. It is abiding in the One who can live the Christian life. I cannot live it. I did not give it. I can just participate in it. I can bear the fruit of it but I cannot produce anything in it.

That is a blow to our ego. The old pride says, “Do not tell me I cannot do something. Give me a little something to do here. I want some credit. It is all grace. It is all a gift. Everything is a gift from God. All of it. We did not deserve an ounce of it. Stop to think about it. What was your condition prior to being saved? Dead. Just how valuable is a corpse? But when Jesus comes to live in you, then your value comes from Who is in you.

John 17:3
3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

James 1:17
17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

1 John 3:1-2
1 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

Transcript

Hebrews 10:1-10
1 The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming – not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. 2 Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. 3 But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. 4 It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

5 Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:

“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but a body you prepared for me;
6
with burnt offerings and sin offerings
you were not pleased.
7
Then I said, ‘Here I am – it is written about me in the scroll –
I have come to do your will, my God.’”

8 First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” – though they were offered in accordance with the law. 9 Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

It is not the blood of a bull and goat that can only cover sin until the next time, but the blood of God Himself, of such value that it could take away the sins of the world. Having done that, God is now in the position of offering you and me life eternal. Life comes from the resurrection. You do not get life by getting your sins forgiven. You get life by receiving life. The only life available to us is the life of Christ Jesus.

What is the problem of mankind? We can sit back and concentrate on the fact of how sinful we are. Is there anyone among us without sin? No. Is there anyone out there without sin? No. If you are without sin, cast the stone. If not, go home. There is not one of us without sin. We have this problem that we have all sinned, fallen short of the glory of God, and the consequence of that sin is death, and that has to be corrected. That was corrected by the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ Jesus.

We have a problem that is worse than our sins. There is a consequence that has to be dealt with. What we have done, many times, in the Christian world is we have become so sin oriented that all we ever do is point our boney fingers at how sinful you are, only to realize we have three pointing back at us. We have concentrated on how bad people are instead of how dead you are. The problem is not how bad you or how good you are.

The problem is how dead you are. You have dead people spiritually who act very religious. They act so holy as if ready to make their ascension at any time. You can also have saved people who act like the devil. That is not the issue. The issue is your behavior should be commiserate as to who you are as a child of God. But that is not the issue of salvation.

The issue of salvation is how dead you are. It is not how bad you stink. It is how dead you are. If you are dead, you are dead. If you are dead, you have a problem. The only solution to that problem is the resurrected life of Christ Jesus. It is not a religious issue. Why do we get into this religious issue? It is the most practical issue on the face of the earth. You have got a practical problem. You are dead and a dead person needs life. And Christ said he came that you might have life and have it abundantly.

Christ came to identify Himself as the only solution to man’s problem of death through His resurrected life. Now to those who reject that there is a judge and the judge is God. Jesus said he will not judge you. “I do not have to. My Father will”. There is a judge for the one who rejects Jesus and who does not accept His word.

John 12:48
48 He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.

These are a sampling of the sayings of Jesus.

John 10:10
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

John 11:24-26
24 Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”

John 12:49-50
49 For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. 50 I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”

John 14:6
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Jesus said, “I told you I came that you may have life and have it abundantly.” What did you do? You rejected it. I told you, “I am the way, the truth and the life”, and you said, “I would rather worship Buddha or Mohammad. I would rather be a Catholic” or you said, “I would rather be a Baptist. Just call me a Baptist but not Christian.” Okay, you are a lost Baptist. Whether you are lost or saved has nothing to do with where you park your car on Sunday or Saturday. Bob was raised Presbyterian and did not know the Lord until he was 36 years old. He knew about him but did not know Him.

The issue is, as Jesus said, “What did you do with my words that I spoke to you? I came to give you life.” You do not have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that if Jesus came to give me life then I must be dead. He is not coming to give me what I already have. I must not have life. Yet if all we are doing is telling people how sinful they are, then let us respond back to how sinful they are. The response to that is, “I am sinful, what about you? Let us talk about you. Let us talk about this scale you have established for yourself. Do not tell me how sinful I am. I will follow you home and ask your wife to see how well you are doing.” All that falls flat. That does not communicate. If someone tells me how sinful I am, then I will turn around and tell him how sinful he is. But if someone tells me I am dead, that is a different problem.

John 12:48
48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day.

We are going to be judged by God with what we did with the information, the truth Jesus spoke to us. Jesus said, ”I am the way, the truth and the life” and “no man comes to the Father except through me”. Jesus said, “I am not judging it. My Father is judging it”. What did we do with those words? He will judge those who reject Jesus and do not accept the word He has spoken. That very word will condemn him on the last day. No man will ever go to hell because of his sins. Your sins have been put behind the back of God never to be seen again. Your sins were judged. The sins of the whole world were judged. They were judged at the cross. There was a verdict. Guilty. There was a punishment. Death. And Jesus took it all.

Romans 8:1
1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Why is there no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus?

Romans 8:2
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

You have been set free from the law of sin and death by the life of Christ Jesus. No man will ever go to hell because of his sins. There is only one sin that could not be forgiven. The rejection of the words of Christ. That is what Jesus said. If you do not have the Spirit of life in you, then you are not set free from the law of sin and death and you remain dead in your sins. The law that demanded death for sin, and since you refused the provision of Christ, you are bound by that law and remain condemned.

John 16:9
9 The world’s sin is unbelief in me

The sins of the world was taken away at the cross but the sin of the rejection of the one who took away the sins of the world is the unpardonable sin. That is the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit who testifies that what Jesus said is true. The only sin attributable to man is the sin of unbelief. The only question God will ever ask is, “What did you do with My Son? Did you reject Him or did you accept Him?” I am not talking about an intellectual deal, as in just saying, “Oh, I accepted him”.

There comes a point in time where there is a total change of heart and mind. It is what is called repentance. That term repentance is used loosely. A prevalent usage of the term is saying, “Oh, I used to smoke and now I don’t.“ Well, you can start again. Or saying, “I used to cuss and now I don’t.“ Well, I can make you cuss by cutting you off the freeway. So biblical repentance unto salvation is not saying, “I used to do this and now I don’t.“ Those sinful behaviors can all start again.

The biblical word repentance unto salvation is a total change of heart and mind. You were born into this world not a believer, but an unbeliever. There was a point in time you heard the knowledge of truth from God. You either accepted it or rejected it. If you accepted it, you had to repent of whatever you were believing at that moment in order to repent and believe that truth of God in His word.

That is precisely what is talked about in Hebrews 10:26-28.

Hebrews 10:26-28
26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.

In the passage, “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth”, what are you sinning against? The knowledge of truth. If you keep on in your unbelief, sinning against that knowledge of truth, that only Jesus took away your sins, all you have to look forward to is the “fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire”. The author of Hebrews states this quite clearly.

You say to someone, “Jesus took away your sins”. One person, a Catholic replies, “That is great, but I am going back to my confession booth”. Another person, a Jew, says, “That is true but I am going back to the day of atonement.” Then another person, a Protestant says, “That is true but you must keep short accounts with God. You must confess your sins to God to get them erased.” If you have a “but” in this, then you have not repented of your unbelief. There are no “but”s when it comes to Jesus. A Jew says, “I believe Jesus died but I am going back to the day of atonement. I am going back to slaying a bull and a goat. I am adamant about that. Don’t tell me not to do that.”. Then he never repented. Whether a Catholic, a Protestant or a Jew, and you have inserted a “but”, you have never repented of your unbelief.

If you think like that you have never changed your mind. You are still hanging on your way of forgiveness rather than his way. You are still hanging onto your way. A Protestant says, “I know Jesus took away my sins but I keep short accounts with God, brother. I do not let a sin go by that I have not confessed to God and got my forgiveness. I keep short accounts. I got all these marks on the blackboard and I got them all erased. I got them all erased, diligently.” How many of you have been in that mentality? The attitude is like saying, “I am holy as holy can get”. I do not know what happens when such a person gets Parkinson’s disease. Why? It would be like saying, “I have a good memory. I keep short accounts”. Those who say or think such things have never repented.

2 Corinthians 5:18-19
18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.

You never changed your mind that Jesus has done it all. There has never been a change of mind that Christ took away my sins and there are no more sins to forgive. If Jesus took away my sins, and took away the sins of the world, and God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself not counting your sins against you, how many sins are attributable to you? None.

When Christ cries out from the cross, he did so after being hung on a cross, beaten as no man with blood shed, with a crown of thorns on his head, spikes through his wrists, and died so you and I can go free, and before he did, he cried out on the cross and said, “It is finished”. What do you think he meant when he said, “It is finished”? He means exactly what he said, “It is finished”. The blood he shed took away the sins of the entire world. That is why, in Hebrews, we read that there is no more sacrifice for sin. There is no sacrificial system by the Jews requiring the slaying of bulls and goats any more, and that just to cover sin. Why? Jesus sacrifice finished the work once and for all. If sins are completely taken away, what sense is there in continuing a system of sacrifice, having sins just covered, and that once year. That would be a mockery of what Jesus did, exposing his body to public shame all over again. The book of Hebrews explains all this in detail.

John 19:30
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Hebrews 9:23-28
23 It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices (bulls and goats), but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. 25 Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

“It is finished” in Greek, Tetelestai, means “paid in full”. Jesus paid for the sins of the entire world. If he paid for all the sins of the world in full, what are we doing trying to improve on what he did? If you try to improve upon it by putting our “but” on it, then if that is the way you believe, then you have never repented. You say, “I believe this, but …” You say, “I keep my 1 John 1:9 going”. You say, “I have got my sacrificial system going on” or “I have got my confessional booth”. Then you have never repented. This is serious business.

Repentance is serious because without repentance you cannot be saved. You have got to change your mind. You have to come to the point of saying that what you are believing is not true. There is no place in scripture about getting sins forgiven in a confession booth. There is no place in scripture that says you can get sins forgiven by a sacrifice. Hebrews clearly says there is no more sacrifice for sin. It is over. You cannot hang onto something that God says is over.

2 Corinthians 7:10
10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

Hebrews 6:4-6
4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

2 Peter 3:9
9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

You have to get your whole heart changed. When your whole heart changes then your attitude changes. Your attitude has to change that there is not one earthly thing I can add to the finished work of Christ Jesus. If I am forgiven and he has done it, there is nothing I can do to add to that. I am putting a 100% confidence in Him. When I die and go into the presence of God, and He says to me, “What do you deserve to get here, then I better say that there is nothing I deserve. There is no reason I am here except for what Your Son has done. If I believe that with all my heart, and I am not pleading any other case but what Jesus did, then I have repented. If you have not done that, then you have not repented. If you are still holding on then you are still playing games.

Repentance is like breakfast in the morning with ham and eggs. The chicken made his commitment and the pig made a total commitment. Repentance is pig stuff, a total commitment. This is serious.

John 12:48
48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day.

Jesus said, “The judge, who is the Father, is going to reject those who have rejected me and the word I have spoken. You will be judged on what you have done with God’s Son. You will be judged, not by me, but by my Father in regards to what you did with me, His Son”.

Jesus is saying to us, “As a man walking here on this earth, I am not going to be the initiator of my own action. I am only going to respond to what the Father has told me to say. The Father who sent me commanded me what to say and told me how to say it”. The way we say things can really get miscommunicated. The way we say something has a big bearing on something. Everything Jesus said was told to him by His Father and how to say it. This command that he received from His Father leads to eternal life. This is the testimony of God concerning His Son. What God said is what leads to eternal life. Who is the source of eternal life? His son. Jesus is saying, “Whatever I say is just as the Father told me to say. I do nothing on my own”.

John 5:19
19 Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”

John 8:28
28 So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.”

John 12:49-50
49 “For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. 50 I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”

Now that is something to think about. This is God saying, “I will not do anything unless the Father tells me to do it”. So why did he do that? When Jesus was walking on the earth, he did not function as God but as a man, as what God meant for man to be, not the pitiful thing we turned out to be. Jesus is saying, “I will teach you how to live as a man. You cannot live as God. You are not. I will come to this earth as God, taking on your humanity and show you how to live as a man. So I will live in total dependency on My Father. I am going to do what He tells me to do. I am not going to do anything unless the Father tells me to do it. I am not going to say anything unless He tells me to say it. I am only going to say it how He tells me to say it. As the Father sent me, so I send you. ”

Did He not give us this illustration of the parable of the vine and the branches?

John 15:1-8
1“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

Can a branch produce fruit or bear fruit? A branch cannot produce one ounce of fruit. A branch can grunt and groan all day long and not bear one fruit. The best he can do is hang artificial fruit on there and hope nobody comes close to it and does not bite into it, for if he does, all he will get is a ball of wax. That is what religion is. All you can do is produce artificial fruit. And do not get close to me because you might find out it is artificial. So let me sit back and let me look good but do not get too close to me. So then, you have a church in the desert, with all this artificial fruit hanging on it, but no reality.

Jesus says He is the vine and you are the branch. Jesus says, “I will produce in you what you cannot produce in and of yourself. But I will give you the privilege of bearing the fruit. What is the fruit of the Spirit?

Galatians 5:22-23
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Let us look at love. Can you provide that on your own? No! God is love and we would not know what love is if God did not first love us.

1 John 4:8
8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

1 John 3:16
16This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.

What about joy? Can you produce that on your own? No! So we just look for happiness. Joy comes from God and I do not how to get that, so I will just go and get happy. Happy comes from the English word “hap”. If I am happy, it is because something is happening the way I want it to happen. If I am unhappy, it is because something is not happening as I want it to happen. Happiness is predicated on what is going on around you. There is no word, “unjoy”. Joy comes from God. Happiness comes from your circumstances.

1 Thessalonians 1:6
6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.

Let us look at peace. Can you get the peace that surpasses understanding on your own? No! You can get the world’s peace. You can sit down by a gentle stream or a beautiful mountainside. That is worldly peace. That peace only lasts as long as you are there. If you are sitting by a stream with your fishing rod in the water, where all is nice and peaceful, then you just have peace for the moment. As soon as you pull your pole back and get back in your car and drive back, you are right back where you came from.

John 14:26-27
26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Philippians 4:4-9
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

There is a peace of God that surpasses understanding. That peace only comes when you have the peace with God. You cannot have the peace with God until you have understood who you are in Christ Jesus. You have understood that you have been justified by faith and you are at peace with God. And because I am at peace with God I can experience the peace of God.

All those things listed as fruit in Galatians 5:22-24 are characteristics of God, but not of us. They are not characteristics of a branch. They are characteristics of a vine. That vine will produce those things in you and through you if you let Him. If you are out trying to grunt and groan them out in the energy of the flesh, then it will not work.

How do you live the Christian life? You get out of the way and let Jesus live His life in you and through you. Why did He give His life to you if He did not want to live His life through you? How is this Christian life lived? Do not complicate it. This is not a complicated issue. It is abiding in the One who can live the Christian life. I cannot live it. I did not give it. I can just participate in it. I can bear the fruit of it. But I cannot produce anything in it.

That is a blow to our ego. The old pride says, “Do not tell me I cannot do something. Give me a little something to do here. I want some credit. It is all grace. It is all a gift. Everything is a gift from God. All of it. We did not deserve an ounce of it. Stop to think about it. What was your condition prior to being saved? Dead. Just how valuable is a corpse? But when Jesus comes to live in you, then your value comes from Who is in you.

John 17:3
3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

James 1:17
17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

1 John 3:1-2
1 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

Classic Christianity

What About 1 John 1:9 Booklet


Order from our online store: Bible Studies, Books, Witnessing Tracts, Audio Cds, DVDs and More.

Purchase and download Bible Studies, the Closer Look Series & more.


%d bloggers like this: