Posts Tagged ‘John’

The Tables Will Be Turned

Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.  A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.  And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.

John 16:20-22

In this passage, Jesus gives His disciples another one of the paradoxes of the Christian life.  He told them that they were going to weep and lament while the world rejoiced.  But soon, the tables would be turned.  Their sorrow would turn into joy.  They were going to see Him betrayed and crucified, and they were going to have great sorrow.  But soon, that sorrow would be turned into rejoicing and they would forget their short season of sorrow.

When Jesus was crucified, His disciples did indeed have great sorrow.  They were nervous and afraid.  They were confused.  The world that hated Him was rejoicing.  It seemed as if the devil and his forces had won.

But then, three days later, the tables were turned.  Jesus rose from the dead, came to and comforted the disciples.  The disciples are still today (nearly 2,000 years later) rejoicing with Him in Heaven.  They went through a few dark hours, but have had the victory ever since.  On the other hand, those who condemned Him to die felt like they had won in those few hours.  But they have been suffering ever since.  The tables were definitely turned.

We need to remember these things when we get discouraged or sorrowful.  God has promised us the victory.  We need to remember to look at the end of the thing!

The Holy Spirit

Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.  And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.  Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

John 16:7-11

When Jesus was talking to the disciples, they were understandably distressed at the fact that He was leaving them.  But, to comfort and reassure them, He told them that He would send the Comforter to be with them always.  This of course refers to the Holy Spirit.  He then went on to say that the Holy Spirit would help reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.

Those things are the “job” of the Holy Spirit.  Showing us sin, righteousness and judgment.  Those three things are really all we need.

He shows us our sin.  He shows us where we have failed and where we have gone astray.  He shows us where we are wrong.

He shows us righteousness.  He not only shows us where we are wrong, He shows us how to be right.  He gives us help in living a righteous life as a child of God.  He helps us to understand the Bible, which give us our instructions for living.

He shows us judgment.  He shows us how to discern the sin from the righteousness.  He not only shows us where we are wrong and how to be right, but He shows us how to make wise decisions about anything and everything that we encounter.

The Holy Spirit does all of those things for us.  He shows us where we are wrong, how to be right, and how to stay right.  What a wonderful God we serve and what a wonderful Comforter we have in us!

No Excuses

If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.  He that hateth me hateth my Father also.  If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.

John 15:22-24

As I read through the Bible, especially the four gospel records, I always find myself wondering how the people could have heard Jesus preach and teach and still reject Him.  I always wonder how the people could have seen all of the miracles He performed – healing the sick, raising the dead, causing the blind to see and the deaf to hear – and still reject Him.  What would cause these people (some of whom had to have been at least friends and family of some of those that He healed) to even go so far as to hate Him?  I think we can find an answer to that in these verses.

“If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.”  Jesus came and showed them just how sinful they were.  Their sins were no longer hidden.  After seeing and hearing Jesus, they had no excuses.

It is the same today.  People hate Jesus and they hate the Bible because it shows them their sin.  Any person who really reads and studies the Word of God will see the sin in their life.  Any time we hold up the perfect example of our Saviour, we see all of the areas in which we fall short.  There are many things sitting around in the dark.  But as long as there is no light, we can’t see them.  Jesus is the Light of the world.  He illuminates the condition and sinfulness of man’s heart.

People hated Him then and people hate Him now simply because He takes away their excuses for sin.  Are we still trying to hide our sin from Him?

The World vs God

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.  If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.  Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord.  If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.  But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.

John 15:18-21

This passage shows us the nature of the struggle between the Lord and the world.  God and the world are against each other.  In fact, the world hates the Lord.  The world persecuted the Lord.  The world crucified the Lord.  He tells us these things to comfort us when the world doesn’t like us.  When the world hates us and persecutes us, we can take comfort in the fact that we are not the first.  It hated Him first and persecuted Him first.

The world loves the world.  It does not love the Christian.  It doesn’t even like the Christian.  In fact, it hates the Christian because it hates Christ Himself.

Sometimes we can feel like we don’t belong.  Sometimes we can feel uncomfortable and out of place in the world.  That’s ok.  In fact, that is a good indication that we are doing something right as a Christian.

It is our duty to show the people in the world the love of Jesus Christ.  But we have to remember that Jesus Himself was hated of the world and even crucified.  He is our Lord and we are His servants.  We should not expect the world that hated Him to roll out the red carpet for us.

Let us follow Him, all the time, no matter what.

Friends of God

This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.  Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

John 15:12-15

Imagine being called “the friend of God.”  Imagine Jesus Christ Himself saying that you are His friend.  Just being called a miserable sinner saved by grace would be wonderful enough, but to be called His friend is something different.  Like the woman who called herself a dog who wanted to eat the scraps from the Master’s table, we would be fine being called a “dog” if it meant being His dog.  But to be called the friend of Jesus would be incredible.

But here it happened.  “Ye are my friends” and “I have called you friends.”  Jesus told the disciples that they were His friends.  He tells us the same thing.  How to we get to this exalted position of being the “friend of Jesus?”  We do what He told us to do in verse 14, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”

We would all say that we want to be the friends of Jesus.  But do we do the things that He commands us to do?  Do we obey Him?  Do we read His Word and follow the things we find therein?  Imagine being called the friend of God and how wonderful that would feel.  We don’t have to imagine it.  We can do it.  We just need to obey Him.  How are we doing?

Love One Another

If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.  These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.  This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

John 15:10-13

It seems that just about every other chapter in the book of John deals in some way with Christian love.  In this passage, Jesus gives us this, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

“…love one another, as I have loved you.”  That is given to us as a commandment.  That is a difficult commandment to live out.  Just a command to love one another is a tough challenge.  There are some people who are simply not easy to love.  There are some people who are not kind to us.  Just loving one another is going to be hard.  But then He adds this to it: “…as I have loved you.” That takes this thing to a whole different level.

Jesus loved us enough to go to the cross and die for us.  He loved us when we hated Him.  He loved us even though we sinned against Him over and over again.  He gave up everything for us.  That is the love that we are supposed to show to one another.

I doubt if any of us measures up to that standard of love for each other.  We all have work to do in this area.  How much do we really love one another?

Full of Joy

As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.  If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.  These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

John 15:9-11

Jesus was speaking here to the disciples about loving Him, loving each other, and bearing fruit in their Christian lives.  He then tells them in verse 11 that “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”  He was (as always) our perfect example of joy.  And He wanted the disciples to continue to have and enjoy His joy.  He wanted their joy to be “full.”

All of us want to have joy in our lives.  We all want our joy to be full.  That is what Jesus wants for us too.  But how do we assure ourselves that His joy will remain in us and that our joy will be full?  Very easy – we simply need to do what He told us to do.

We need to, in the words of verse 9, “continue ye in my love.”  We need to continue in His love.  What did/does He love?  He loves the Father and He loves people.  Do we love the Lord God like we ought?  Do we love other people like we ought?  Doing those things will help our joy to be full.

We also need to, according to verse 10, “keep my commandments.”  Simply being obedient will help our joy to be full.  God does not want us living miserable lives.  He wants our lives full of joy.  That is the reason He told us to do certain things.  We might not understand all of them, but if we will obey, we will experience His joy in our lives.

How full is our joy today?  If it is not full, do we need to have more love in our hearts or do we need to be more obedient?

Little, More, Much

I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.  Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.  Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.  Abide in me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

John 15:1-5, 8

This passage speaks of three level of “fruit bearing:”  “fruit” (vs. 2), “more fruit” (vs. 2), and “much fruit” (vs. 5 and 8).  Christians should bear fruit.  Purging the branches that aren’t bearing fruit will help us to bear more fruit.  Abiding in Jesus, understanding that we can do nothing without Him allows us to bear much fruit.  God is glorified when we bear much fruit.

There is an old saying that goes “Good, better, best.  Never let it rest… until your good is better and your better is best.”  That is a perfect saying for this passage.

We can constantly be working and improving in every area of our lives.  It doesn’t matter if we 7 years old or 97 years old, there are always things that we need to be working on and things that we can improve.

As Christians, we can all bear fruit.  We can all bear more fruit.  We can all strive to bear much fruit.  None of us are perfect, and as long as that is true, we can all improve.  Fruit, more fruit or much fruit?  Where are we at today and what are we doing to bear more fruit for the glory of the Lord?

Pruning the Vine

I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.  Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.  Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.  Abide in me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except in abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

John 15:1-4

As I read this passage of scripture, I started thinking about pruning grapes and fruit trees.  I enjoy gardening and I have several types of fruit trees and vines that need pruned.  I know that this is not the doctrinal context of the passage, but reading about pruning the branches that don’t bear fruit got me thinking.

We all have things in our lives that we could say don’t really bear fruit.  We all have things that we do that aren’t productive.  We should be taking a long, hard look at those things.  Some of them are necessary – even the Lord Jesus had to come apart and rest from time to time.  We are not super human.  We need rest and diversion from time to time.  But some of them are just pure wastes of time.  Those are the ones that we can afford to prune out.

If I have fruit tree with branches that never bear fruit, I take them out.  That allows the branches that do produce fruit to have more light, more air, and more nutrients.  They then begin to produce even more fruit.  It is the same in our lives.  If we can prune out the things that don’t need to be there, the things that do need to be there will begin to flourish even more!

If Ye Love Me…

If ye love me, keep my commandments.

John 14:15

This is one of the most convicting verses in the Bible to me.  It is so simple, yet so powerful.  Seven little words that can drive a dagger into a cold and backslidden heart.  Seven little words that can bring a saint to tears.  Seven little words that can inspire the Christian to a more holy life.

“If ye love me, keep my commandments.”  Do we love Jesus?  It’s easy to say that we do.  It’s easy to go to church every week, sit in the pew, and sing songs like “Oh, How I Love Jesus.”  Saying it is easy.  Living it is a little more difficult.  If we are truly going to love Him, we are going to keep His commandments.  We are going to do the things that He wants us to do.  We are going to love Him not just in word, but in deed.

It is the same with people.  It is easy to say that we love someone.  “I love you.”  Those are three little words that are easy to speak, but much more difficult to live out.  Any married couple can tell you that saying “I love you” is probably easier than doing all of the things that loving a spouse entails.

If there is love, there is going to be action that comes out of that love.  When we are talking about loving Jesus, that action is going to be obedience to Him and to His Word.  Saying that we love Jesus is nice, but if we truly want to love the Saviour, we need to heed His words: “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

We say that we love Him.  Are we keeping His commandments?  Do we truly love Him?