Classic Christianity – Book of John p12 (11-06-18)
Welcome to Class Christianity Radio with Bob George, the clear, timeliness teaching on the complete forgiveness and unconditional love of Jesus, that will transform your life as you learn about God’s amazing love. Let’s join Bob as he continues sharing through the book of John. Currently, we are looking at John 4:46 – 5:20. Bob shares insight into one question Jesus asked a man who was an invalid for over 38 years: “Do you want to get well?” Bob made several observations, the invalid’s attitude and initial unbelief, the invalid’s coming to believe, and the response of the religious leaders. Bob made a point to identify what religion does to keep people blind to truth and what a real relationship with Jesus does to change lives. Bob said that there is nothing more stupid than religion. Then Bob shares how the Holy Spirit living in you was modeled first by Jesus living as a man to show us how to live, to live totally dependent on God. This personal relationship with the living God is unique to every individual. Bob made a point to emphasize the true freedom a believer really has. A believer is designed to be listening to what God uniquely wants him to do and is under no obligation to do what anyone else tells or expects him to do that is contrary to what the Holy Spirit wants and instructs him to do. The way a Christian is meant to live is by total dependence on the Holy Spirit.
Bob spent much time sharing insight from the one question: “Do you want to get well?” Now that really sounds like a dumb question, since the invalid has been that way for 38 years. Who would not want to get well? But upon closer evaluation, if you are addicted to cigarettes, have you ever asked yourself that question, “Do you want to stop?” Have you ever heard anyone say, “I can’t quit”? Is he really being truthful? Can you break a habit if you really want to? Do you want the cigarette because it gives you good feeling, temporary as it is, only to be compelled to again light another cigarette? In case of a habit like smoking, it is really not a matter of “I can’t” but “I won’t”. If someone is handicapped, do they want to remain handicapped for the sympathy they receive. So in the story of the invalid in John 5, when Jesus asked the invalid that question, could it be he really did not want to get well. Did he like having attention or a pity party? When the invalid responded that there was no one to help into the pool when the water was stirred, what was he really saying? Was it an excuse? Was it a pity party, liking the attention or handouts he received? Notice that Jesus never even addressed anything about the pool in his answer. He simply told him to pick up his mat and walk. So, in reality, Jesus simple question was quite profound. Bob continued to site several different variations of the same question under different circumstances, marriage, drug addiction, grumpy children, and the question is quite a profound question. Do your children really want to stop being grumpy, for example? Bob stated that the first question he asks as a counselor is that same question: “Do you want to get well?” Do you really want your marriage restored? So, are you currently unable to honestly answer yes to the question: “Do you want to get well?” If no, then would you be willing to ask God to help you be willing to get well? If you answer no to any such question, and you can certainly do so, but realize you must face the consequences. You will reap what you sow.
Bob also made reference to another passage in scripture.
Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
And notice that after the invalid was healed, although physically healed, he still was in the sin of unbelief. He did not know the one who healed him. Bob emphasized again what sin really is, unbelief in Jesus. When Jesus later found the man he had healed, he told him, “Now you are well; don’t sin as you did before, or something worse may happen to you.” What a strange sounding statement! Jesus was telling the man about his sin of unbelief in who he is and what he really came to do, to give him new spiritual life. And, the man came to believe because his action in response revealed his faith. Many people feared the religious Pharisees, because they put such heavy loads on men and if men did not comply to their demands, they could be thrown out of the synagogue. So Bob explains the story more fully to show such religious stupidity of the Pharisees. Here is a man 37 years an invalid, and Jesus, knowing how the Pharisees think, chose to heal the man on the Sabbath by simply telling the man to pick up his mat and walk. Yet, all the Pharisees could think about was it was forbidden to work on the Sabbath. Because Jesus healed on the Sabbath, the Jews were all the more eager to kill him. So evidently in the mind of a Pharisee, it is okay to kill someone on the Sabbath just do not pick up your mat before you do it. Nothing more stupid than religion. So the Pharisees all wrapped up in religion except truth. Was Jesus really breaking the Sabbath? To the religious Jews, he was because you cannot work on the Sabbath. And what is work according to a religious Pharisee? According to custom, you cannot spit on the ground because then you could make mud and that is considered work. So if you spit, make sure you spit on a rock. So when Jesus healed another man who was born blind, he put mud on his eyes to expose the stupidity and religious hypocrisy of the Pharisees.
So, when the invalid came to believe, he showed no fear of the Pharisees, for in John 5:15, one reads that the man went to find the Jewish leaders to tell them that it was Jesus who healed him. So in application for us today as believers, we too should not be afraid to lovingly express truth.
Then Jesus speaks to the Pharisees, identifying himself as equal with God. Bob shares from this passage to explain that God is Spirit. There is no flesh on a Spirit. Recall from John 3 where Jesus, when talking with Nicodemus, compared the Spirit to the wind. No one can see the wind but you know its effect. Bob emphasized again to stop putting flesh and bone on God. Jesus is the only visible representation of God one can see. Yet, Jesus did not consider equality with God as something to be grasped. Why? Because he became the example of what man was created to function, someone totally dependent on the Spirit of God. That is why in John 5, one reads the following statement made by Jesus.
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. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed.
Bob asks the question, “What was Jesus saying?” Essentially this, that you are looking at God the Son or God in an earth suit. Jesus is saying that he lives in total dependence on God as a man to show us how to live. Jesus is essentially saying this, “What you see me do is because the Father told me to do it.”
As you continue reading, you come to understand what Jesus came to do, to die and be raised again to give eternal life to men. And this life is the very Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ to dwell in men to those who believe. So by application of Jesus statement and example of dependence in how He lived on earth as a man, how then should those who have the same Holy Spirit indwelling them live? The same Spirit that lived in Christ now lives in those who believe!
Bob shares many applications of such a revelation by posing this question, “How do we live the Christian life?” In short, a life lived controlled by the Holy Spirit of liberty. Considering also the scriptures that reveal to us Jesus as the head of the church and how each believer is likened to a physical body, what can one learn in understanding the meaning of God’s word with application to us today.
15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
How should church leaders function? Should they be forming committees so as to determine what thumbs do on behalf of the head? No! Jesus is the head of the church! Who is the body of Christ? Each individual believer, uniquely put together as God intended. So what is a church leader’s function? The church leader’s role is to equip people with truth and let them let God tell them what to do? So, the church leader is not the head of the church, Jesus is! Is every individual part of the body a church leader? No.
Bob made this statement that “He would rather see one man out doing what God wants him to do than one thousand men doing what I want them to do.” Is the leader teaching you truth? Or, is the leader a control freak? a religious leader like a Pharisee? Religion seeks to control men and stomp any relationship with the living God. There is no room in the heart for God for a religious leader. So, the real question to ask yourself, “What is God telling me to do?” So it is wise to wait for what God wants you to do. Do not be in a hurry to rush to do what a leader wants you to do. As a believer, you have true freedom and simply function by being available for God to work in you and through you as he directs you. Jesus did not come to form a religion, not a People to People religion or Baptist or Catholic religion. No, he came to give you a relationship with the living God. He came to give you life that was lost in Adam so you can know Him intimately. You are free to do what God wants you to do, a unique creation of God unlike any other person.
Near the end of the audio, Bob says a prayer so that we all continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. He prayed personally for himself also as an example for us. He prayed for the Lord to continue to guide us, to confront us with error and to even change our unwillingness to one of willingness to be well, to be changed in our thinking and behavior, and to not be afraid to lovingly express truth, and for the Holy Spirit to continually guide us into all truth.
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