Classic Christianity – Book of John Part 24 (05-22-19)
Bob George shares from John 5, on the testimony of the Father concerning Jesus. Bob emphasized the life of the Holy Spirit living in a person, producing the fruit of the Spirit. That ultimately is the work Jesus came to do. One characteristic of the Spirit is love (Galatians 5:22-23). Then he shares from 1 Corinthians 13, explaining how Jesus came to expose the pride in man, that he may humble himself, recognize his state of spiritual death, and come to walk in the newness of life, with the Spirit of God living in him. The opposite of love is not hate, but pride. As a born again person, Jesus is showing us today how to live in dependence on the Holy Spirit of God. He is the vine and we are the branches. We love because he first loved us. Allow the love of he Holy Spirit to be produced in you and through you.
Bob George shares from John 5 on the testimonies of Jesus. We have read about his early life and his public ministry, his miracles, the testimony of John the Baptist, and where Jesus identified himself as the promised Messiah. Having heard the testimony of John the Baptist, people now hear the testimony of Jesus. But Jesus says there is even weightier testimony and that is the work he came to do. Now we come to the point where Jesus is going to say “I want you to understand who I am and to listen to the testimonies that have been given in regards to that question, ‘Who do you say I am?'”. All of us have to answer this question in the depths of our heart. Is Jesus just a prophet, a good teacher, or is he God who came to this earth in the flesh, who came to the cross to die for our sins in order to offer eternal life to man. Until we answer the question, “Who do you say I am?”, we are not ready to start for that is where it all begins. That is where it all starts before we are born again.
31 “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. 32 There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is true.
Just a testimony that says “I am this way is not valid”. I have more testimony that validates this claim.
Have any of you been to a funeral where different people get up and speak about the person who just died? There are such glowing testimonies about this man. Someone stands up to speak and says the man never swore. Yet you know the man and he certainly did swear. So you say to yourself, “Who are they talking about? I knew him”. At a funeral you hear these glorious things about a testimony of man who has died and yet you wonder if what they say is true. For you knew him.
33 “You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. 34 Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. 35 John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light.
So this testimony of John the Baptist was only mentioned so that men might be saved.
36 “I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me.
Jesus is talking about himself who came from God. The human testimony is not the issue. In other words, Jesus is saying, “What does God have to say? God is the one who sent me.”
37 And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, 38 nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent.
34 Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. 35 John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light.
Jesus testimony about John is there.
I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”
There has been no man like John the Baptist. There is no man ever born like John the Baptist. That was Jesus testimony, “You have testimony of John the Baptist but I have testimony greater than that”.
the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me
Jesus is essentially saying, “I want you to understand I did not come from down here. I came from God and he gave me a work to do before the foundation of the world”.
37 And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form,
God is spirit. No one knows what the Spirit looks like. No one has seen him, but God sent Jesus to make himself known to men. If you have seen Jesus, you have seen the Father.
Yet, blessed are those who have not seen me and yet believe. Can you come to believe based on the evidence? What testimony have you heard? Why do you not believe? Could it be pride?
38 nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent.
What is the evidence of being born again? God’s word lives in you. Truth lives in you. Jesus, over and over testifies of that truth.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
You cannot separate truth from the person of God.
38 nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent
39 You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me,
These men knew all the stories in the scriptures, and they thought that by the scriptures given to them, they have eternal life. Jesus came to the Jewish people and gave them the law, the prophets and the word of God, the Old Testament that testifies of a coming Messiah. The Old Testament to the Jewish people was not a known instrument to the Gentile world. The Old Testament was known to the Jewish world. It prophesies of a coming Messiah. But because they had the scriptures, this knowledge of God through the scriptures, they thought they had eternal life, but they failed to come to Christ to have life. Their attitude of pride is this, “We have the scriptures and you do no”. Because God gave them to us, we are saved. You do not have them so you are lost”. People today, in certain denominations, such as the Church of Christ, say they are saved because of the denomination they are in, and if you are not in that denomination then you are not saved. Religious pride is what that is.
40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
Jesus is saying, “Life is found in me. You may come to follow me to get fed, to get a miracle, to get healed, to get blessings, but you have not come to me to get life”. The whole emphasis of salvation is life. “Come unto me and receive life.” Why? We do not have life. We are not born with spiritual life. You are born dead. Jesus is pointing you to be in a position to listen. He is preparing them to what he came to do. He came to die on a cross and give them resurrected life.
He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.
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.
You may information but you do not have the life of God in your heart. In scriptures, you see the simplicity of how to walk in Christ Jesus.
The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
You can go out and brag about things you are doing. A preacher says, “I built a 20 million membership.” People say all kinds of things they have done but God is asking, “How are you doing in the love department?”
Whenever you see love in the gospels, and in the writings of Paul, it is always accompanied in faith, hope and love.
1 Corinthians 13:13
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
When Bob was writing his last bible studies, the last one on love, he thought to himself, “Well that would be easy to write”. But when he got into it, he could not get it down, and that frustrated him. He could not understand why he could not pull a bible study on love. But then he discovered that whenever love is talked about, it was accompanied by faith and hope. Agape love, God’s kind of love, can only be produced by the one who can produce that love, for God is love. It is a triplicate that cannot be separated.
you do not have the love of God in your hearts.
How are we doing in regards to love? If faith expressing itself through love is the only thing that counts, then you cannot have this love without faith in the one who produced it.
1 John 4:19
We love because he first loved us.
Recall the vine and the branches Jesus spoke about in John 15. The branch bears fruit by abiding on the vine. Jesus is the vine and we are the branches.
Turn to 1 Corinthians 13.
1 Corinthians 13:1-8
1 If I speak in the tongues 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, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
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.
8 Love never fails.
As we look, we see how that the opposite of this love is pride. You do not have love in your heart without Christ. Let us look in our own lives here today. How much of the love of God do we have in our hearts. How we are doing in the love department is a direct correlation on how we are doing in the abiding department. Love is a reflection of abiding on the source. The fruit of the Spirit, listed in Galatians 5:22-23 – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self control – are not to be gained as in a vending machine, putting in a quarter and out pops love, joy, peace, ad all those things listed. All of these will be ours when we are abiding in the source. It is not like this, when you say, “I do not have much joy so try to get some joy. Or try to command somebody to love. Penny, get peace in your heart.” Against such things there is no law. You cannot command these things to somebody. That is the fruit of the Spirit, hat only he produces, and that is produced through you by abiding in the source. It is like saying to a water facet, “Give me water”. Well, you have to turn it on. A water facet is plugged into the source. The problem is you are not loving because you are not abiding in the source of love, joy, peace, and those characteristics from the Holy Spirit of God. There is your problem. So you do not worry about what kind I am not doing. We need to see why such characteristics are coming out of me and it is because of not abiding in the source of love. You do not have the love of God in your heart.
1 Corinthians 12:31
And yet I will show you the most excellent way.
The opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is pride. Love is patient. Pride is never patient. Love is kind. Pride is never kind. Love never keeps record of wrongs. Pride cannot afford not to. Pride says, “In case you get one upmanship on me, I have got your record to throw back at you. You did those things. Oh, that is what you did too”. That is a prideful thing that we have to shoot back, or take revenge. We do not want people to get too close. Why? In case we get hurt. The opposite of hate is love.
There are three types of love. Phileo love originates from the city of brotherly love. Philanthropy love comes from the root word meaning a brotherly kind of love. Eros is sexual love. Then you have agape love which means the love that only comes from God, not a feeling, but an action taken by God on behalf of man. The agape kind of love can only be produced when attached to the source. Pride is the problem. I want to protect myself because I do not want to get hurt. We are fearful of getting hurt. People say I have poor self image. A young girl says, “I do not like myself because I am ugly.” That is not true. If you hated yourself, you would be glad you are ugly. It is the fact that you love yourself too much. The world comes along and says you need to love yourself more, which can lead to pride. Agape must be produced by God. It cannot be produced by us. What are some of these areas where man is susceptible to pride, spiritual pride? Now listed here is one of these. We all fall short but God knows our heart.
1 Corinthians 13:1
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
Why bring it up? So people out there with the gift and have pride full of it. It does not make any difference if gifted or not. The prideful attitude say, “Just let you hear me speak”. Listen to me speak! This is a pride element. That is an exaggeration that is written down in this passage of scripture. That does not mean an angel language. So many people get hung up on language and people are not listening anyway. So the man in prideful thinking says, “If God is listening to what I am saying then who is the only one talking to God when I am praying up here on Sunday morning? For you are not talking but I am. I get up and speak on Sunday morning. I am the only one evidently talking to God for he is the only one hearing my word”. How much sense to say let us have silent prayer then if the only one praying is the one talking? What sense does it make if you did not have a tongue to talk, or had a disease that you could not communicate? Are you then all of a sudden a second rate citizen? No! God is too smart to listen to what we are saying. Most of the time what we are saying, 9 out of 10 times, we do not mean. That is why we say, “How are you doing?” The other person replies, “Fine” yet silently his guts are hanging out. The man looks on the outward appearance but God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). He does not need a United Nations interpreter to know what I am thinking. God is not listening to what I am saying but he is listening to what I am thinking. You can be thinking one thing and saying another. They can be thinking, “I do not like you at all” yet say “you look good”. Man can be phony. So Jesus says he does not accept the testimony of man for he knows what is in a man. God does not care what language you are speaking in, whether Chinese or Japanese or whatever. He is not listening to your voice anyway but he is listening to your heart. If we do not understand that then we get hung up in how we are talking. One lady from Scotland came to a fellowship, with a Scottish accent and everybody enamored in how she can pray. God was not impressed with her accent. We are impressed with that stuff. How glib people can be! But a prayer that comes out of the heart says “I do not even know how to pray”. A parent, waiting for the first child to be born, is all excited to hear the child’s first words. When the child first says, “Da Da”, we are excited and we should be. Yet when the child grows then we want to say, “Please shut up”.
1 Corinthians 13:1b
do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal
There are people, well meaning, but who are taught this way, that believe tongues is a sign you are filled with the Spirit. It would be very difficult to call somebody a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. That is not a sign of anything. That is not a sign of being controlled by the Spirit. What is the only sign of being controlled by the Spirit. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
So Jesus is knocking down all pride, the things done in pride.
1 Corinthians 13:2
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.
Think about if you have faith that moves mountains then how many Television interviews you would have, if you had such faith to move mountains. You would probably be called a mountaineer of the year. The thinking of the world is so contrary to the thinking of God. Man’s natural inclination is pride. God says if you had such faith without love then you are nothing.