I wanted to write this to thank all of you for the opportunity I have had to get to know you.
It seems as though this little Pleo world has been a good place for many in the church to keep up relationships.
I have been told that most of you have plenty of study opportunities, and take advantage of them when you can.
My blog however has not been one of them.
In the past few weeks I have asked that any and all who read it give me a little post to let me know. In the past month, it seems only one of you do actually read my blog.
As much as I appreciate the one who does read it, My hope was always that this blog would be used for discussion,
and to build unity between myself and those of you in the CoC. Also to build unity among those in the CoC itself. It seems that this format is not effective do do this.
Because of this...
I believe that my time and energies will be better used elsewhere.
Thank you again for those who have read along, and those with whom I have shared by responding on your blogs.
I understand that many of you have other studies, and you have no need to apologize to me about not joining in on mine.
It is good that you are active. I just wished I would have made more friends here.
Give a warm welcome to those you can.
God is wanting to use you.
you are a light.
As Jesus goes on in John 14 to speak about the remedies for a troubled heart,
He speaks next about the privilege of prayer:
One of the best remedies for a troubled heart is prayer.
But if we want God to answer our prayers, and give us peace, and not trouble, in our hearts
There are certain conditions that need to be met.
And what we will find is that meeting these conditions is a blessing in itself.
We must have faith-
Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing.
He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
I think a lot of times the greatest lesson from this passage gets lost in the discussion.
“What does he mean, “Do greater things”
Although I believe the term greater is quantitative, and not qualitative-
For example Peter preached and 3,000 were baptized in one day.
Definitely greater in quantity that Christ in his ministry
But, I think the point we need to focus on is this:
Anyone who has faith will DO!.
And as we DO- remember it is God working in you.
He is our not only our co-worker- he also works in us to will and to act.
What we DO is a direct reflection of our faith in him
Also we must ask in his name-
I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father
This isn’t a magic phrase that by attaching it to our prayers makes all our wishes come true
To ask in the name of the father or in the name of Jesus means that we ask what he would ask.
When someone says, “Open the door IN THE NAME of the law, he means by the authority of
And when we pray in Jesus name, we also are praying by his authority.
1 John 5:14
This is the confidence we have in approaching God:
that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
And the reason for our asking is so that the son may bring Glory to the father
The first request in the Lords prayer is “Hallowed be thy name”
The first priority in all of our prayers should be the same.
And finally, we must ask in obedience-
"If you love me, you will obey what I command”
When you love someone, you would never use their name in a demeaning manner
And you do not ask them of things just to use them or take advantage of them
Our obedience can not be something we give SO THAT our prayers are answered.
Our obedience must be something we do out of a respect and love for who he is.
We can not ask for one thing that is his will, and then actively work against his will too
We can not ask for one thing that is his will
And then not put forth any effort or have any interest in that will being done.
It is disrespectful to his name
In Psalm 66:18 David says:
If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened to my prayer.
When we ask one thing and work towards another, he may well not listen to ours either.
The fourth assurance we have when our hearts are troubled, is to remember:
We have the Holy Spirit-
Jesus has a lot to say about the Holy Spirit while he is speaking in the upper room
Because he knows that without the spirit we would be unable to live the life God requires.
The Holy Spirit is given two special names by Jesus
He calls him “the comforter” and also “the spirit of truth”
The word comforter means, “one called along to assist”
The Holy Spirit does not work instead of us, or in spite of us, but in us and through us
And when he is called the Spirit of truth, he shows his relation to the word.
Ephesians tells us the Word of God is the sword of the Spirit.
It is his tool to do his will.
If we want the Spirit to be working in our lives, we would be wise to fill our lives with the Word.
So often people who are “filled with the spirit” try to set themselves up against the Word
They say, I’m not tied to the Bible only… I’m filled with the Spirit.
Or I focus on the Spirit and not only on the Word
God however, lets us know that this is not only false but also impossible
The Spirit is not the word…. But he does not word in any way contrary to it either.
But then Jesus tells them of an amazing change that takes place only in Christ.
In John 14:17 when he speaks of the Spirit, he says:
You know him, for he lives with you and will be in you
Jesus called the spirit “another comforter” and the word means “another of the same.”
The spirit of God is not different from the Son of God, both are God.
Gods spirit had dwelt with them in the person of Christ which they knew-
But now Jesus says something miraculous- the spirit will now reside in you.
Up to this time and in the Old Testament,
The Spirit would come upon people and do amazing things and then leave them
But when the Holy Spirit was given to Gods people at Pentecost- he was given to remain in them forever.
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,
who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession-
For those in Christ, our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in us,
Who we have received from God- He works and acts with us, in accordance with God’s will and his word
And that thought is a great cure to a troubled heart.
And then most importantly:
We enjoy the Fathers love-
Verse 20, reminds us:
On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.
And then it ties this unity in to our obedience.
Love for God equals obedience to him.
In John 17 he will go on to tell them that the love the father has for Christ, he has for us
The joy that he has, will be given to us
And that the Glory he has will be shared with us as well.
If we love and obey him, he will make his home with us. He holds back from us no good thing
As Christians, we do not have to call out to him, he is here all along
He is with us now in spirit, but more so, he wants to be with us completely and forever
How great is the love that the father has for us that we should be his children!
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men,
and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God
God loves us. We are the apple of his eye, we are a royal diadem in his hand
We are the bride of Christ.
He thinks of us… the Bible tells us that he sings songs over us
There is no need for us to ever feel alone, or troubled.
Remember the fathers love. He is here with you. Let him be your comforter
And with this we have the final help:
The gift of peace-
Peace I give to you.
The word is Shalom- it is a word that means much more than just the absence of stress
It means wholeness, completeness, health and security.
Where the unsaved find peace in situations- in an absence of trials
The saved find peace in an all consuming love- much bigger than trials.
We have the security and comfort that comes from our faith in an all powerful God,
Who loves us as his prized possession.
At the end of this chapter he lists our two biggest enemies, Satan and the world
Yet as a Christian we can have peace, even in the presence of both of them
1 John 4:4
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them,
because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
Again, I'm popping in here and posting right in the middle of this to ask that if you are reading this, please post and let me know.
I am considering whether posting these is having any effect, and if it is worth continuing. There are so many other formats that seems to get much more traffic and response, and I want to be wise with my time.
Do you want the counselor, the comforter in you?
Obey the word of truth
In just a very little while, Peter will make known to all men the opportunity for this peace
He will reveal Gods plan for all men to have this indwelling spirit- as they unite themselves to Christ
And this promise is for you right now.
DO you love him?
Jesus said “Who ever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me”
Has your heart ever been troubled?
Have you ever had burdens that just would not go away?
This is what Jesus was dealing with in John chapter 14.
Look at the situation here:
After 3 years of ministry, Jesus had just announced that one of them was a traitor
He warned Peter that he would deny him 3 times
And he laid on them again, not only the fact that he was going to leave them, but he was going to die.
Can you imagine the mood and conversation at the table?
Would the food be a little more difficult to swallow?
So in John 14 Jesus gives his followers six assurances to hold on to when they have troubled hearts
And if you are a believer, these are six assurances you can hold on to as well.
1. You are going to heaven-
What Jesus told Peter was “where I am going, you can not follow now, but you will later”
And how true that was.
Peter would not only follow Jesus to his own cross and be crucified,
But he would also follow Jesus to Heaven.
Jesus spoke of heaven as a real place.
It is not a product of religious imagination, and it is not religious theory.
Heaven is the place where God dwells now, and where Jesus is sitting now at his right hand.
And heaven is the place that Jesus called “My Father’s house”
Heaven is “home” for God’s children.
Do you have a troubled heart?
Remember the promise of John 14:3-
If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me
that you also may be where I am.
Jesus is preparing a place for you.
People often say that if Jesus is building a mansion for me, it must be awesome,
Because as we all know, he was a carpenter.
But I like to think of heaven more like this:
Heaven is so amazing, so perfect, that John, in his vision of it, could not even find words to describe it
Instead he spoke of what was not there.
"Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people,
and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,
for the old order of things has passed away."
Heaven for the believer is home
And Jesus is the way.
In verse 6 he does not teach us the way, or point the way. He says that he IS the way.
And this places our journey home squarely on him.
We will not enter there by good works, by religious ceremonies, or by costly gifts or big donations
There is only one way there and Jesus Christ is it.
When our hearts are troubled, Jesus reminds us- Remember you are going home.
As an old song puts it: “Who could mind the journey, when the road leads home?”
It was that trip home that reminds us of Jesus in Hebrews 12:2
“Who for the joy set before him endured the cross”
And it was the trip home that Paul was thinking of when he wrote
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing
with the glory that will be revealed in us.
And it is this trip home that needs to fill us with Joy as well.
I am inserting this here to see who is actually reading this.
If you are reading these, please post below and let me know you are reading this.
Secondly, Jesus reminds us that:
2. You know the Father right now-
We as Christians do not have to wait until we get to heaven to know the Father.
We know him today and get from him all the spiritual resources we need when days are tough.
In verse 7 Jesus says:
“If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well.
From now on, you do know him and have seen him."
But what does it meant to “know” the Father?
The word “know” is used 141 times in John’s Gospel, but it does not always carry the same meaning.
According to the Scriptures there are 4 levels of Knowing…
The lowest level is simply: Knowing a fact-
and the second level is Knowing the truth behind the fact-
But the Bible makes it clear that you can know the facts and even know they are true and still be lost in your sins.
The type of knowing God that Jesus desires of us is found in the next two levels
The third level is to believe something and have a relationship to it.
To take on its qualities, and have a tie to it.
But the type of Knowing God really desires from us is the word Paul uses in Philippians
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings,
becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
This type of knowing means to have a deep relationship- to have a communion
A knowledge based on fact and experience, and a unity in both.
This is the knowledge Jesus wants us to have of him and of the father
Because this type of knowledge is what brings us security when our hearts are troubled
The rest of the chapter I'll post later...
Thank you to those who have read along so far...
I do appreciate it.
I'd love to se more comments on the blog here...
We'll see how it goes.
In the first half of the chapter, we learned about being cleansed….
Now we see that, Holiness comes when we ALLOW ourselves to be cleansed.
And realizing that this cleansing is a gift, brings us the joy to serve others.
The key verse here is verse 17:
“Now that you know these things you will be happy, (blessed) IF you do them”
The sequence is important-
Humility, Holiness, and then Happiness.
Only when we humble ourselves, and humbly serve others-
Only when we give ourselves to Christ fully to be made Holy-
Only then will we find true happiness.
The world thinks that happiness is a result of others serving us- a result of getting our way
But God says real joy comes when we set aside our own way, and joyfully serve others.
In the world the mark of success is “How many people work for you”
But in the kingdom the mark of success is “For how many people do you work”
The Romans had no use for humility, and the Greeks despised manual labor
And Christ combined the two when he showed them the true nature of a servant.
But we also need to note that knowing the truth does not bring a blessing.
Jesus made it clear that the blessing and the happiness only come as you DO.
Studying and learning may stir you emotionally, or enlighten you intellectually
But it can not give you happiness, blessing, and contentment spiritually until we do what he says.
Doing comes from the heart.
Doing needs to be from the overflow of faith.
Unfortunately, we can try to do for wrong motives, or for show-
and that is why the last section here deals with: Hypocrisy-
The atmosphere changes quickly here as Jesus begins to deal with Judas the traitor.
The scripture Jesus quotes is from:
When David wrote this, he was probably referring to his counselor A-hith-o-phel who turned traitor
It was he who turned on David and joined Absalom’s rebellion.
And now we see Judas, betraying Jesus.
It is interesting to note that both of these men died by suicide, when they hung themselves.
But what is amazing is how Jesus treated this traitor.
up to the very hour of the betrayal, Judas was protected by the one he was going to betray.
None of the disciples knew it was Judas who was going to betray Jesus.
Judas was seated at the place of honor, and it was an act of love to offer him the bread
In fact, if you look in Luke 22 immediately after this, the rest of the disciples became irritated
And they began an argument over which of them was the greatest.
John must have been stunned by the revelation given to him by Jesus.
But Judas wasn’t
Judas knew what he was doing and he was doing it deliberately.
He had already met with the Jewish leaders and agreed to turn Jesus over.
What is amazing is that Judas even heard the warning from Christ himself
Jesus replied, "The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me.
The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born."
But let’s not look too harshly at Judas.
How often do we hear the warning and still persist in our actions?
How often do we who know what we ought to do, refuse to do it?
“What you are about to do, do quickly” Jesus told Judas, and off he went.
And as soon as Judas was gone, Jesus began to instruct and train the disciples
He began to prepare them for his crucifixion and his return to heaven.
And he instituted among them the Lords Supper-
Something that Judas, an unbeliever could not share in.
And then, finally we see the beginning of their training and encouragement
Now the son of man was glorified, and now he was bringing glory to the father.
And what did it mean to glorify the father?
Jesus let them know in John 17:4
I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do
And this is how he invites you to give glory to God as well
By faithfully doing what he has asked of you.
To humble yourself before him and submit to the washing of your sins in baptism
To be made holy by his power as he builds you up and strengthens you
And to find the joy and blessing he offers, as you do his will
John 13 through 17 is the farewell message from Christ to his followers.
He begins this message making clear to us the power of love, and the value of service in the mind of God.
It was just before the Passover feast, and Jesus took this time to give his disciples one last lesson
A lesson on his character and on the love he has for each of us
The emphasis in the first 3 verses is on what Jesus knew-
And first off:… He knew that the time had come-
For the first 12 chapters, Jesus had been saying that his time had not yet come
But beginning in John 12:23 he began to state, “The hour has come for the son of man to be glorified”
From the human point of view, it meant suffering, but from Christ’s divine point of view, it meant gory,
Jesus knew of the cross that awaited him.
Secondly, He knew the Father’s power-
He was secure in the will and plan of God- Yet he knew that it was his choice to obey:
As he told Peter later on:
Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal
more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled
that say it must happen in this way?"
Third…He knew where he had come from-
And with this he knew the reward, and the offering that his death was going to give to all mankind
But fourth, and maybe most importantly… He knew where he was going-
And with this came hope, security, and peace-
Jesus knew full well the result of his sacrifice.
And was certain that even death could not take hold of him. He would be returning to the father.
This is the same security that he has given us.
We too know that we have been born of God and will some day return to God
We know of his power, and know that in Christ we have been given all things.
And we too have the security of our salvation, certain that we will return to the father
This security that is ours, is the same security that molded what Jesus did.
He got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.
After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet
Because of this security- Jesus served. And in such an amazing way.
Look at the mindset of the men that were with him:
As we can see, Jesus gave them a lesson in humility-
and by doing so, he rebuked their selfishness and pride.
He washed their feet-
A job so low, not even Jewish servants were called to do it-
This was saved for gentile slaves, the dogs, the lowest of the low.
Yet this was the sacrifice of our savior for us- He showed his followers greatness is in the one who serves
And taught that true service comes from true love.
Then, in the next few verses he taught them the second lesson:
We have been made holy, because Christ himself has cleansed us.
There are two different words for wash used in this passage.
One means to wash a spot or a part, and the other means to bathe or “to wash all over.”
Jesus was using these terms to help them understand what it means to be made holy, and what it means to be kept holy.
When we are converted to the savior we are bathed all over- we are immersed.
Our sins are washed away and forgiven- we are made holy.
But as we live in this world it is easy to become defiled and dirty.
We do not need to be bathed all over again, we simply need the dirt cleansed away.
And God promises to do this for us as we confess and keep our hearts open to him
1 John 1:9 confirms for us:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just
and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
But look at what the initial washing means to us:
In verse 8 Jesus tells Peter unless I wash you, you will have no part with me-
The word for “part” here means a union, a “sharing in”
And when God bathes us all over he brings about a union with Christ.
A unity of those set apart, “those made Holy.”
Look at the way it was in the Old Testament:
In Exodus 29 we see that when a priest was consecrated- he too was washed all over.
It was an experience that was never repeated.
But the priests too, during their daily ministries, became defiled-
Therefore it became necessary that they washed their hands and feet
Before returning to the temple for their sacred duties.- and this cleansing need to be repeated often.
God cleanses us once for all through the sacrifice of the cross, the application of his word and our union with him in baptism
Christ then keeps us clean through continual washing as we become spotted by the world.
But look at the response of Peter: “No Lord, you shall never wash my feet!”
It takes humility to accept forgiveness. More so- it takes humility to see your need for it.
Peter was like us. He wanted to cleanse himself, he felt awkward with being served
And seeing his need clearly, made him uncomfortable.
Holiness comes when we allow ourselves to be cleansed.
And realizing that this cleansing is a gift, brings us the joy to serve others.
As we look at the rest of John 13 in part two…
We will see what this cleansing leads to:
I hope you truly have full joy today,
As you realize that you have been washed all over,
And kept clean by a loving savior.