Classic Christianity – Book of John Part 41 (07-03-19)
Turn to the gospel of John.
Let us look at a passage of scripture so important to us that is so clear on what Jesus said in regards to salvation. Salvation is being saved from the consequences of sin, which is death, by the gift of God, which is the resurrected life of Jesus Christ. Mankind has all kinds of opinions on what salvation is. Are you saved by going to a certain denomination? No! By doing enough good or avoiding too much bad? No!
Do you lean on your understanding? We all have that tendency. Do you rely on what man has told you? Do you look at the DaVinci code, the philosophies of men or science for the answer to life? Where is your source of truth and is it reliable? Is it from men or from God and how would you know?
Man has the tendency to rely on his own understanding for truth, which is the same error in the garden of Eden. Adam chose to find out for himself what is right and wrong and what is good and evil. He told God he did not need Him for knowing good and evil, right and wrong. Adam and Eve chose to lean on their own understanding, believing the lie of Satan in the garden of Eden. That is how sin entered the world and all men since have been born spiritually dead, and if they remain in that state, then they will indeed die in their sins. This is what Jesus said in John 8:23-24, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.”
So man, being dead, thinks of all kinds of ways, to determine what is fair, what is right and what is wrong, apart from God. Your belief system on justice or concept of fairness determines how you live your life. Salvation is very practical. Will you decide that same sex marriage is okay? Will you define for yourself what is acceptable behavior? Who decides what is good and evil? Who decides how good enough someone has to be to be allowed into heaven with God? If someone missed heaven by a hair, what is that hair? Have you looked at God’s word for the truth? There is no one who is righteous, no not one. We never had any righteousness of our own. The law was added to tell the Jews how dead they were, how perfect they had to be to enter heaven, which is as perfect as Jesus, who is God in the flesh. The Jew and the Gentile were both dead already. He did not come to give life to good people, for there are none. Jesus came to give life to dead people.
Yet people, in their arrogance, want to shake their fists at God. People will insist on the law, for then they can boast about how good they obey the law and look down on those who do not obey like they do. But such boasting is before men and certain not acceptable to God. God would say to such a person, “look at the spec in your own eye”. The only boast we have is in Jesus work alone for us. That is pure grace alone. Whatever condition you are in, whether a drug addict or a critical spirit, just the same to God. Your sin caused your death and you need life. The only life available to you is the life in Jesus, offered to you by his resurrection from the dead. He who raised Jesus from the dead can raise you from the dead also, not on the basis of your work or obedience but on the basis of your steadfast belief in Jesus finished work. Jesus shed his blood on a cross to take away the sins of the world, he was buried to remove it forever from the eyes of God, and he was raised from the dead so the same life that raised him from the dead will raise you up also. That Spirit of God, that comes to dwell in you, will teach you all things, guide you into all truth and the truth will set you free. Think about how Jesus was total dependent on God, humbling himself as a perfect man, submitting to the will of His Father, doing only what he saw His Father doing and saying only what His Father told him to say and how to say it.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
“You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.”
Jesus identified Himself immediately. He told us of his origin. He came from heaven to earth and we came from earth with the capacity to go to heaven.
Jesus said very clearly, “You will indeed die in your sins if”. If what? If you do not believe that Jesus is the righteous one, the promised Messiah, the savior of the world, in what he did and came to do.
This is a truth that either you are going to live on this earth with the option to believe a lie or the option to believe the truth. Jesus said you will die in your sins if you do not believe that He is the one. You cannot get any clearer than this. There is no other option. On one side is salvation and the other side is damnation.
25 “Who are you?” they asked. “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning,” Jesus replied. 26 “I have much to say in judgment of you. But he who sent me is trustworthy, and what I have heard from him I tell the world.” 27 They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father.
Man has all kinds of opinions in this world in regards to salvation like we do in regards to creation. There are opinions also whether man was created or evolved. Man also has opinions on whether they are saved by works or by grace. How we perceive justice will determine how you live your life. What is fair and just in regards to salvation? What would be fair is if you are good enough to be saved and bad enough to be lost? That is what many think. If that is what fair and just should be, then how good would you have to be to be saved and how bad do you have to be to be lost? And who will make that delineation as to what is just and fair? What if somebody just missed it by a hair? What is the hair? We have to understand the truth of these things. We cannnot lean on our understanding of these things. We just read this truth from Jesus. It i simple and cut and dry.
If you go to church or belong to this particular denomination will you be saved? That is leaning on your own understanding. You are not going to be saved by going to a man-made organization. That is joining a club. You can only be saved by joining a God made organization, which is the Ecclesia, the body of Christ. There is a group of people who claim that God decided who is saved and who is lost ahead of time. They say, “One person is chosen to be saved and the other is not. You have believe that. It is a choice of God and you have nothing to do with that”. But Jesus said you will die in your sins because you do not believe in me yet they believe you die in sins because God chose you to! You have all kinds of intellectual belief systems as to what is just and what is right. If we do not go to God for what is right and what wrong and what is good and what is evil then we are just like Adam and Eve did in the garden of Eden. We are saying to God, “we do not need you to tell us what is good and evil or what is right and wrong. We will decide for ourselves”. Yet how far have we digressed in our society to consider marriage as anything other than between a man and a woman? How far has the world digressed to even consider something like that! How does that happen? A little at a time, not considering it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God. Evil takes a start and gets worse and worse. This country is divided 50 / 50, not between Democratic and Republican, but divided between good and evil. It is divided between those who want to believe in the sanctity of marriage, the sanctity of God, and those who want to rely on their own understanding. If it continues as it is, it will be 60 / 40 and then 70, 30, then 80 / 20. Once you start compromising on truth it steadily gets worse.
Whatever opinion is on justice, right and wrong, will determine how you will live your life. How can you come to conclusion when something is good enough or bad enough? Jesus reduced us all to one level. He took the law that was given to the Jew and reduced it. He said to the Jew, “You are no longer under it”. The Gentile was never under the law, so God need not say anything to the Gentile in regard to the law. All the law did was to show man that he is dead. That is all the law can do.
For the wages of sin is death
As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one
Jesus reduced the self-righteous Jew to nothing and left the Gentile where he was, nothing.
We must keep in mind what salvation is. There is only one way to get life. It is not that Mohammad might not be a good guy or a bad guy, but that he could not give you life. It is not that the pope is a good guy or a bad guy but that he cannot give you life. Only Jesus can give you life.
“You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.
Jesus said that he came into the world to give life to the dead. He is not talking about an intellectual assent to facts, like believing Abraham Lincoln died in Ford’s Theater or George Washington chopped down a cherry tree. You are talking about a belief system, about putting faith to what you say you believe in. You say this chair will hold you up but do you sit on it?
To simply just say, “Oh, I believe that”, will not do anybody any good. Jesus said “You will die in your sins if you do not believe in who I am”. If you do not believe that he is the savior of the world, you will die in your sins. If you do not believe in what Jesus came to do, which is to take away the consequences of sin, which is death, by the gift of God, which is his resurrected life, you will die in your sins. It is not a narrow minded thing but a practical issue. You ar dead if you do not believe this and alive if you come to him for life. What man needs is life. It is not about how good or bad you are or how good and bad you have been but how dead you are. It does not matter if you a good smelling corpse or a bad stinking corpse. What matters is you are dead. The only thing a dead man needs is life. Yet man in his arrogance sticks his fists in the face of God. Man would rather read the DaVinci code than the bible, or try to read commentaries to find out about Jesus or try to read philosophies of men to find out who Jesus is rather that go to the source, his Word, to let Him tell you who he is. He is Savior of the world, the promised Messiah, the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. He is the way, the tuth and the life. No man comes to the Father except through Jesus. When we understand the truth to that our life will never be the same.
So Christ Jesus did not come to die for good people. He only came to die for dead people. When you think you are better than someone else, you will hear the words of Jesus, “who are you trying to take the spec out of someone else’s eye when you have one in your own”.
God’s righteousness is not predicated on how well you are to another man, but how you are doing next to Jesus, the man. When we stop to understand truth to that we discover that there is no one righteous, no not one. Yet people deceive themselves into thinking they are okay, and say someone else is not okay. So the system of justice determines how you live your life and even determines where you will spend eternity. You cannot talk out of both sides of the mouth, to talk out of one side as if grace does not occur. You canot mix law and grace. The apostle Paul had much to say about this. The co-mingling of law and grace is what Paul confronted the Galatians about.
ou foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? 4 Have you experienced so much in vain — if it really was in vain? 5 So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? 6 So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
If we live a life of dependency on Christ Jesus, thank God for that, but do not look at others as if they are not or try to gauge who is and who is not. You cannot live your life in that way and call yourself a born again believer. If you do not have mercy in you then do not call yourself a born again believer because you are saved by God’s mercy. If you cannot forgive someone else then do not call yourself a born again believer because Jesus hung on a cross and said, ‘Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing”.
We must understand these things. These are all attitudes of the heart that God wants to change in us. Praise Jesus for that. So many people grew up in a Christian foundation and principles and saved from all kinds of things. Praise God for that when that truth was revealed to you, just as it was revealed to those who were saved from drug addiction or pornography. When God saved you from all these things in the world, drug addiction, pornography, or being critical or non-forgiving, you cannot say one thing is worse than another. Sin caused death in all cases. If you have been saved from those things, praise God for that. If you lived a life and certainly would not write a newspaper article about that life, praise God he saved you. Whatever condition you are in, praise God for that. If you have not paid attention to Him and had to recognize God has forgiven you and loved you, then praise Him. Everything we have is God’s grace to us and so praise Him.
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.
How many of you have difficulty with a critical spirit? How many of you are liars? Do we not have a tendency to be critical of others? Self righteousness. What are you going to do with that kind of thing? We are leaning on our understanding. Do we have a tendency to lean on our own understanding. Yet we have Jesus saying he does not do anything unless the Father tells him to and does not say anything on his own buy what the Father tells him to say and how to say it. How many times do we fail to do that, to depend totally on the Spirit of God?
You hear pesky birds squawking at 6:30 in the morning. Do we wake up and say, “Praise God for that?” We have no righteousness of our own. We are indwelt with His righteousness.
1 Corinthians 1:30
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.
Jesus is saying “I do not speak anything unless the Father tells me to say it.”
29 The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.”
30 Even as he spoke, many believed in him.
Many put their faith in him even as he spoke.
Jesus came to his own and proclaimed his message of grace. For a Jew to believe what Jesus was saying is a miracle. They were steeped in self-righteousness. They had rules and regulations and tried not to violate any one of them. They tried but failed. There were those whose hearts were opened and believed the message.
31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Jesus is saying, “I do not want you to just grab a hold only to let go of it. Jesus came and took away the sins of the world and yet there are Jews who, after hearing truth, are going back to the day of atonement. They went back to their traditions. If you heard truth, and sin against the knowledge of the truth, but never changed your mind, then you never repented in the first place. Do not be persuaded to turn back to the law, to get back under the law. There are those who are led to be my disciples but there are those who really are my disciples, those that held onto the truth.
There are people who reject grace because they cannot make themselves look good. Grace has nothing to do with you. But under law you can make yourself look good for you say, “look at me and at all the law I am obeying”. There is no boasting of self under grace. It is all of Him and none of us. Under law you can make yourself look good to others but not to God. If you hold onto teaching and not be swayed then the truth will set you free. What do you need to be set free from? Resentment? Have any of you been resentful? What happens if you hold onto it? It destroys you. It does not destroy the person you are resentful to. Nine times out of ten he does not even know who you are.
There are people that have resentment to their church. Resentment says, “I was in church all my life, why did they not teach me this?” If you had a bible, you could have learned it if you had enough sense to study it. Bob said this once to God, “Why did you wait 36 years to save me?” God may have said something like, “Well, did you pick up My word and study it and ask me to teach you”.