Classic Christianity – Book of John Part 79 (10-01-19)
Let us join Bob now as he gets started with today’s lesson. Jesus came to earth to serve in love.
Jesus, God in the flesh, came to earth, taking on an earth suit, to serve us in love. Jesus took away your sins on the cross. God offers eternal life!
In chapter 13 we pick up in the last hours, in the preparation of the Passover supper where Jesus showed us the meaning of servitude and having the heart of a servant. He came to put in earth suit to serve us in love. He told us to do likewise, to serve one another in love.
He gave the example in washing of his disciples feet, the lowest form of servanthood in those days. He showed his love for his disciples by washing their feet. He told us that a servant is not greater than his master.
In those passages you read about Jesus prediction in regards to his disciples. He predicts the betrayal of Judas and the denial by Peter. You had Judas who betrayed him. You had Peter who denied him. You had Thomas who doubted him. You had every possible emotion being displayed through his disciples in regards to Jesus of Nazareth.
In the midst of this, he told them, let your heart not be troubled. In Him is where peace is going to be. Then he promised the Holy Spirit that will come to live in them. Jesus told his disciples that his body is going away. It is better that he is going away because when he does, he will send them the Holy Spirit, who will dwell in them and be in them forever. He will be in them, not in physical form, but in a new form, taking on a mystery form. You are going to be my body here on this earth. So Jesus comforted his disciples with many such words.
He told them of the future. In my Father’s house are many mansions and I am going to prepare a place for you.
Jesus told them that he will not leave them as orphans. That even greater things you will do because I go to the Father. That does not mean you will raise the dead or walk on water or turn water into wine, the things that Jesus did. That does not mean you are going to do spectacular things. He means you are the body of Christ. It means that you have the Spirit of God living in you, with a new life and source of power to live a new and different life. You are going to be my body here on this earth. We are to be a reflection of the love of God around the world. That is why he said, “the world will know you are my disciples by your love for one another”. Yet so many times people substitute other things for love. They say, “look at my tithing records or church attendance”. God is not impressed with those things.
6 The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
We are to live a life dependent on Him to live His life in and through us.
He announced the fact that the Holy Spirit of God was to come? If I am indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God, how then do I live the gospel Christian life? Do I grunt and groan to live this life with in the energy of the flesh? Or do I try to do things for Jesus or do I allow Jesus to live in me and through me? I rely totally on the Holy Spirit to live His life in me and through me.
The most phenomenal illustration he gave us was in John 15, the parable of the vine and the branches. He had to explain this to us for us to begin to grasp and understand. The Holy Spirit has to teach us these things, to make them known in our hearts.
So Jesus explains the parable. I am the true vine, not Israel, and you are the branch. If you abide in me, and I in you, you will bear much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing. How much can we do apart from Him? Nothing.
Now this fruit he is talking about is the fruit of the Spirit. This is the same fruit as described in Galatians 5:22-23.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. 23 Against such things there is no law.
The only way we can produce this fruit is by abiding in the vine, depending on the Holy Spirit of Jesus living within us. There is no way that you or I on our own can produce this fruit. We cannot love in the energy of the flesh.
So we substitute happiness for joy. You can go to a mountain stream to feel happy. Happy comes from the Greek word “hap” and is dependent on your circumstances. As soon as you leave and drive away, the happiness is gone. You are unhappy when things are not happening as you want them to happen.
But there is no such word as “unjoy“. There is only “joy“. Joy is of the Lord and does not depend on circumstances. Joy is what allowed Peter and Paul to sing songs of praise while in a prison cell.
Joy comes from what is inside you. Joy comes from the vine. You cannot produce joy. Only God produces joy and you bear that joy as you rest in Him to produce that joy.
He introduced us to that concept. We were born with an insatiable desire to be accepted. We want our children to accept us. We want our parents to accept us. We want our friends to accept us. We knock ourselves out to be in the in crowd.
God says that the only acceptance that matters is to be accepted by God. He tells us that we are accepted in the beloved. If I am accepted in Jesus then that ought to free us from tenaciously being accepted by our friends. That does not mean you are obnoxious saying, “it is your problem you do not like me”. It means you let those things fall into the hands of God. You have a choice to let Him produce the life in you and through you. We have a choice to allow the Spirit to produce love, joy and peace in our hearts. The fruit of the Spirit is on display through us as we allow Him to do so.
Yet people try to strain out this fruit in the energy of the flesh. At times, people even boast about how spiritual they are by what they do. People say, “I have my quiet time every morning and so should you”.; It is not the issue trying to impress people by your spirituality.
Branches do not sit there looking at one another and wondering how others are doing. No, we rest in what God is wanting to do through me. He who compares himself by himself is not wise. It is quite frankly none of my business telling someone else what he should be doing. That is God’s business, not mine.
A husband makes a point for his wife to hear. He is not taking to your wife. He is talking to you.
A man once asked Bob, “How do I become a powerful witness for Jesus?” You have a terrible goal. How strong do you have to be for God? And if you ever found out you are strong enough, you would be so proud. If you got so strong, you would start thinking you do not even need Jesus. Or you start looking down on those who are not as strong as you. In both cases, either pride or self condemnation and both coming from hell. The strength that God wants is the strength to love.
16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Would it be possible to be filled to the full measure of all the fullness of God and not be filled with the Holy Spirit? Would it be possible to be filled with the Holy Spirit and not be filled to the full measure of all the fullness of God? No.
Then why do we camp on this one verse and make it mean anything we want it to mean?
18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,
In one group over there, it means “to roll on the floor and bark like a dog” and in another place it means to “babble in a strange tongue”. Ephesians tells us exactly what it means. It means to be filled with the love of God. This ties right into the verse that says the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. All this other stuff is garbage to God if we do not have love. We are told that. Love is what God has called us to.
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
“Even as the Father has loved me, so you must love one another.” That is what he is focusing on, even at the last hours of his life. He is telling us what is important from God’s vantage point. He has told us to serve one another. He told us that we are going to have trials and tribulations, that people will betray you or deny you, but if you abide in the vine you are going to bear the fruit of the vine. He told us how to live. He told us about the work of the Holy Spirit. He also told us that when you walk in the Spirit, you will be hated by the world. And don’t we know that today?
All you have to say is ‘ I am a Christian and I read the Bible’ and someone in the world will reply, ‘Oh, you are not one of those right-wingers, are you?” or ”You are not one of those bigots, are you?’ You are hated by the world. Jesus told us that. Then he warned us again.
Then he told us about the work of the Holy Spirit. The work of the Holy Spirit is to tell the world wrong about sin, about righteousness and about judgment.
Then he told us what sin is from God’s vantage point, not from ours and not from Moses. What is sin?
The world’s sin is unbelief in me
The only sin attributable to man is “what did you do with my Son?” The only question God will ever ask you and me is “what did you do with my Son, who came to this earth to solve your problem, who came to this earth seeing your state of spiritual death, and finding a way to offer eternal life through His resurrection. He came to first take away the cause of death, which is sin, when he voluntarily laid down his life for you and me. He then offers eternal life to all. He came to appeal to men to come to him for life, life eternal.
No man will ever go to hell because of his sins. Why is that so? The cross of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:21
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
He took away the sins of the world.
2 Corinthians 5:19
19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.
Do you believe that? Then why do we hear, “If you continue in your sins, you will go to hell?” is that truth? If it is, then we are being taught by a liar or someone who does not know better. If that were true, then God is a liar. That is not true. No one is going to hell because of sins.
We say, “it should be true?” If that were true, then you have to ask yourself, “How many sins do I have to not do to be acceptable to God? How good or not bad do I have to be to be acceptable?
So God reduced the whole world to one condition of death, spiritual death. The only life available to you is the resurrected life of Christ Jesus. What did you do with my Son? That is the question.
We concentrate on sin. Every Sunday we concentrate on sin, sin, sin instead of life, life, life. Sins have already been taken away from the eyes of God at the cross. Forgiveness provided is only received in Christ. It is only received in life. When you come to Jesus for his resurrection, in Him, you have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of Godࢩs grace
When you come to Jesus for his resurrection, in Him you have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Where is the forgiveness that he provided over 2000 years ago received? In Him. In his resurrected life. You do not come to Christ to get your sins forgiven. You come to Christ to get life. In that life you have forgiveness.
Why do we have such poor discipleship? Because we have such poor evangelism. We stream people down the aisles to get their sins forgiven instead of teaching people their sins have already been forgiven. That forgiveness that was provided then is only received in the open arms of Jesus. Jesus said, “Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy burdened and I will give you rest for your souls”. He said, “Come unto me” and not “Come unto my forgiveness”. His forgiveness was already provided when he shed his blood on a cross. He said, “Cone unto me andI will give you life.”. What kind of life? Eternal life.
So he told us about the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit did not come to make us silly. The Holy Spirit did not come so that we could be more spiritual than someone else. As a matter of fact, the Holy Spirit did not even come to draw attention to Himself. If you are giving too much attention to the Holy Spirit, then you are giving too much attention to the wrong thing. The Holy Spirit came to glorify Jesus, not Himself. So when the Holy Spirit came,
He came to show us our sinfulness. If you could ever get that explained to the Christian community that your sins are already forgiven, and what sin really is, unbelief in Jesus, that would be a miracle.
Then he said he came to show the world is wrong about righteousness, because Jesus said he is going to His Father. He is saying, “You have seen righteousness. Now, I am going away. The only righteousness you see in yourself is that righteousness I give you. Just like the only Holy Spirit in you is the Holy Spirit I give you.”
Then about judgment because the prince of this world has already been judged.
So Jesus prepared us. He prepared us for what he was about to do. Again, what we read in chapter 17, the priestly prayer of Christ Jesus. The last thing he did, in that supper, was to ask God to preserve his people. He prayed that not only for them but also for all of us here today.
Now we pick up in chapter 18.
1 When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.
If you had a picture of Israel, you would have seen that where his last supper was to be held, they had to cross over what was about a mile and a half, going out of the walls of Jerusalem, to the East of Jerusalem, crossing over what is called the Kidron Valley, and then up North to the Mount of Olives. So he went up to the other side which was an olive grove. His disciples went into the Mount of Olives. It is just a beautiful grove of olive trees just above the Temple Mount.
2 2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.
What in the world do you need weapons for, coming to Jesus?
4 Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”
5 “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) 6 When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.
So much is taken out of context in this scripture, where it says “they drew back and fell to the ground“. There are people justifying the teaching of “being slain in the Spirit”. That is utter nonsense. Jesus is not going out to slay anyone. Jesus did come to slay people. He came to give life to people. Yet thousands and thousands of people are drawn to this kind of teachings. Here you have people touching people on the head and people passing out. Then you have catchers to catch them. To think someone has some special relationship with God to do that is utter nonsense. That irritates the daylights out of me to see people deceiving other people like that. Some people come to what they deserve sooner or later.
7 Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?” “Jesus of Nazareth,” they said. 8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” 9 This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”
10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)
That is a fleshly thing Peter did. These people are coming to take my Jesus. So I am going to defend him. Sounds noble, doesn’t it.
Although not recorded in the book of John, but in another gospel account, Jesus healed the ear of Malchus that Peter had cut off.
11 Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”
In other words, Jesus is saying shall I not finish the work my Father has given me to do. So he tells Peter to put his sword away.
12 Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him 13 and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. 14 Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jewish leaders that it would be good if one man died for the people.
15 Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard, 16 but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple [John], who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the servant girl on duty there and brought Peter in. 17 “You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” she asked Peter. He replied, “I am not.”
18 It was cold, and the servants and officials stood around a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself.
You can imagine Peter to be as nervous as he could be. According to the Mel Gibson film, Jesus would have been severely beaten by this time to be hardly recognizable. So you can imagine great fear.
19 Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. 20 “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. 21 Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.” When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby slapped him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” he demanded.
He is in the house of Annas. We have to assume that Annas is a he high priest before Caiaphas took his place. It would be like a former president of the United States still being called president when another president is holding office. It be like referring to Ronald Reagan as President Reagan.
So Annas is being referred to as high priest even though he is currently not holding office at that time.
So he struck Jesus, who is God, right in the face. Jesus, identifying Himself as the high priest, said “is this how you strike the high priest?” I am sure he had no idea what Jesus was talking about.