Classic Christianity – Book of John p15 (11-13-18)
Bob George continues teaching from the book of John. Currently he is sharing practical biblical insight from John 5:41-45. From this passage he shares that the opposite of love is pride. He illustrates several ways man shows pride and contrasts that with love as listed in 1 Corinthians 13:4-6. God is love and perfectly shows such love. Bob explains that man cannot produce this love in their flesh, but by abiding on the vine (John 15:5), so they can bear the fruit, the characteristics of the Spirit, as listed in Galatians 5:22-23. In contrast to the Pharisees, who accepted praise from men rather than seeking the glory that comes from God, could not even bear love. Unless someone is born again and has God’s love poured into their heart, they cannot give out love, being detached from the vine.
41 “I do not accept glory from human beings, 42 but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. 44 How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God[d]?
45 “But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. 46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. 47 But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”
“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.
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.
Bob introduces the subject with a young lady saying she is ugly and does not like herself because she is ugly. Is she telling the truth? No. Because if she did not like herself, she would be glad she is ugly. Her real problem is she loves herself too much. Is that not what pride is? Loving yourself too much or not seeing yourself as God sees you. So, we have the world telling people how to have a good self image, promoting and encouraging pride rather than telling people the truth that sets men free. Bob shares how Jesus spoke truth to men so they can be set free. Are we not to share truth so that man can walk in freedom and be conformed to the image of God? So a proper image is what people need. They need to see themselves as they really are. From there they can then begin to look to the one who can produce in them what is really important and matters.
Bob continues to share other areas of pride common with men, illustrating examples from 1 Corinthians 15:1-3.
1 Corinthians 15:1-3
If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Have you ever heard someone say that you must have the gift of tongues as a sign of having the Holy Spirit? Is that true? No. Tongues, as used in this passage, is an exaggeration. The implication is that God is only listening if someone is talking. So if I pray and someone else is listening, then only thing God hears is my talking? No. God listens to the heart. What about a man who has no tongue? Does God hear him? Of course, he does. So, boasting about our praying or speaking or how one speaks, or his many words or nice-sounding accent, that is focusing on self, what comes from you, and is pride. God does not accept testimony of man for he knows what is in a man. How phony men of the world are! If one does not understand that God listens to the heart, then get caught up in tongues. The gift of tongues is not a sign of anything. Look again at this scripture.
The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
So, then, what is the only sign of a Holy Spirit filled believer? Love!
What if someone has faith to move mountains? Would that be something to boast about? No, that would be pride in who we are, seeing ourselves more highly than we ought. What did Jesus say in Matthew 17:20? Why did he say that?
He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
The focus is not in how much faith one has but how great God is. Even what faith we think we have is but a mustard seed, the smallest of all seeds, and is quite small in comparison to the person of God. So, again, when one boasts about how much he or someone else has, could it be evidence of pride? Look again at this scripture.
1 Corinthians 1:30-31
30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
Who is the source of all wisdom, righteousness, and holiness? Is it not Christ in you, unless, of course, Christ is not in you. In the latter case, you are dead and in need of life.
What if you gave up your body to the flames, became a martyr, but have not love, what then was accomplished? Nothing! There is nothing one can do to impress God without love.
So the natural man is full of pride, acting independently of God, thinking he knows good and evil, capable of producing life without God! What pride! Was not pride that caused Satan to fall from heaven like lightning (Isaiah 14:1-3, Luke 10:18). Was it not Satan who deceived Adam in the garden of Eden? Did God not warn Adam that the moment he eats from the knowledge of good and evil he will surely die? Genesis 2:17. Man is fallen and cannot get up. Who rescued man? Praise be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, who is your father? Is it Satan, the father of all lies and full of pride? Or, is God your father? Have you been adapted into the family of God, with God as your Father? Will you let your Father teach you truth, knowing that he deeply loves and cares for you?
All your pomp has been brought down to the grave,
along with the noise of your harps;
maggots are spread out beneath you
and worms cover you.
How you have fallen from heaven,
morning star, son of the dawn!
You have been cast down to the earth,
you who once laid low the nations!
You said in your heart,
“I will ascend to the heavens;
I will raise my throne
above the stars of God;
I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,
on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.
but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
And how easy is it for us in Christ to act according to the flesh? If one were to go through the list of characteristics of love from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, and ask yourself how well you are doing, how would you rate yourself?
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Are you patient? Are you kind? .. Do we need go on. Most of us would say we are not doing so good in being patient with a spouse, or co-worker, or your two year old child, who refuses to obey and you are at your wits end. Now, it is more than just action. What about your thoughts? Do you keep record of wrongs? Man has filing cabinets full, not even enough to contain all the things he failed to do or things he did in thought, word or deed.
Now has anyone heard a sermon where all your sins will be display on a huge video screen in heaven? Is that true? No. Hearing such things, would that make you long for heaven? No, not if everything were to be recorded down. Oh, the depravity of man! Heart-breaking and breaks the heart of God! Is God love? Yes (1 John 4:8). Does he keep record of wrongs? No (2 Corinthians 5:21, Isaiah 43:12, Hebrews 10:16-18). Then why then should one believe someone who says things contrary to the nature and character of God? Truth is what sets men free. Truth about ourselves and truth about God and what he has for man, life!
1 John 4:8
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
2 Corinthians 5:21
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.
“This is the covenant I will make with them
after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts,
and I will write them on their minds.”[a]
17 Then he adds:
“Their sins and lawless acts
I will remember no more.”[b]
18 And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.
As a further example of things said by men that are contrary to truth, Bob shares several more examples. Have you ever been to college or heard about Situational Ethics? Have you been taught that homosexuality is an alternative lifestyle or worry is a healthy concern. Those are lies from the world! So how then does the natural man think? He listens to the ideas and thoughts of the world, thinking he has knowledge of good and evil but fails to listen to the man of truth, Jesus Christ.
Now, if one were again to go through the list of characteristics of love as listed in 1 Corinthians 13, and ask God how he measures up, what would you discover? Perfection and glory no man can fathom! Who is the exact representation of God on earth (Hebrews 1:3)? Does Jesus keep record of wrongs? Look again at the scriptures above. Did Jesus boast? No (Philippians 2:7-9) Does Jesus delight in evil? No! Does He rejoice in the truth? Yes! If you have seen Jesus you have seen the Father (John 14:9). Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). God is always patient with you, always kind, never rude, never self-seeking, keeps no record of wrongs, does not rejoice in evil, but delights in the truth!
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature[a] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
I and the Father are one.
God does not delight in evil because evil destroys humanity.
So this love, God wants that kind of love in us. If you have the Spirit of the living God in you, and God is love, then what do you have access to? What then would be the source of your love? But what does man try to do? Does man offer all kinds of self help courses on how to have a better marriage, how to have self-esteem, and all kinds of programs. Do such programs teach truth about who you are? About how to live by tapping into the source of love? Can you make your be more patient? Do you say to yourself, “I am going to work on patience? Can you produce patience? Can you produce love? You never had this in you in the first place, being born dead in sin, without the life of God!
So, how did Jesus show us how to live? Consider Jesus, as a model of a perfect man, showing us how to live in total dependence and trust of God His Father.
Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.
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.
Bob also shared the words of Jesus Christ when he explained this manner of living this new life by the Spirit. Jesus spoke to His disciples a parable about the vine and the branches in John 15. How does this parable reveal to us this new way of living?
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[a] 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.
You, the believer, is the branch connected to the vine, who is Jesus Christ, the head, who directs the body. If one listens to the voice of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ in you, he will instruct you what to do and what to say and how to say it. He is the source of life. Just as a branch cannot produce fruit unless connected to the vine, getting the nourishment from the source, neither can man produce fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and gentleness. God is the vine, the producer of this fruit. Apart from God, man can do nothing.
So then, when Jesus spoke to the religious leaders, and told them that they did not have the love of the Father, he was telling them the truth what they needed to hear. They were unwilling to accept Jesus testimony because they would rather accept the testimony and praise of men. They said they believed Moses, But Jesus told them that if they believed Moses, then they would believe in Him also, for Moses wrote about Jesus, the Messiah who was to come into the world and is now here. So, it was pride that kept Jesus from accepting Jesus as the Messiah. Pride is a very serious matter!
Jesus exposed the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. Do not say you love God when you hate your brother. Let us learn to love one another. How do men know you are disciples of Jesus?
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.”
36 Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?”
Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.”
Do you get discouraged when you find yourself failing to love? Then, you should rejoice with the truth that you cannot do it and go to the only source that can produce fruit of love in you and through you, the Spirit of Jesus! Do you strive to work harder? No! One does not strive harder, that is man’s way. Go to Jesus and ask of Him. Praise Jesus he tells the truth to men that man cannot produce love and that He can! It would be bad news if there was not a God who could! Do you find yourself in church, and everyone seems to “have it all together” and you see yourself struggling, discouraged, and even thinking about leaving altogether. Could it be men are lying to one another, pretending, and you are lying to yourself or are deceived about who you are and who God is?
What is needed is the life of Christ in you. Are you born again, with the Spirit of Jesus indwelling in you? Abide on the vine. I do not need Jesus to go to church, to pray, to read the bible and know what it says (an actor can do that). I need revelation from God, truth from God about what the word of God means so that I can have the love of God poured into my heart and have that love passed on to others. Can you learn to abide in that kind of love?
Jesus is not dead on a cross, but is risen, to live in us today. He is the reality, the living word, living in us, teaching, directing, counseling, pointing us to the source of life. Jesus, who is forever praised, will complete the word he started in you (Romans 1:6). The reason we get angry is because we are not trusting Jesus for today or tomorrow or dwelling on the past. Focusing on the past ruins all we have today. So let us all let the Lord be our teacher and let him conform us to the image of God. Christ in you is indeed the only hope of glory. Oh, let us praise Him forevermore! Oh, the depths of His love for you and me (Romans 8:38-39)!
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Purchase/Download the 11/13/2018 Classic Christianity Radio program now:
After purchasing, there will be a download link emailed to you. Follow the instructions.