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|Posted on June 14, 2016 at 11:15 PM||comments (0)|
I Go to Prepare a Place
John 14:1 (ESV) “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.
Jesus had just told them that He was not going to be there to teach or encourage them anymore, at least not as the tangible touchable God-Man they had traveled with for about three years. He had dropped the bombshell that one of them was going to betray Him. So why wouldn’t they be troubled? However, Jesus told them not to have troubled hearts but rather to continue to believe in God the Father and in Him.
John 14:2 In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.”
There is a place in the Father’s house for everyone that knows and trusts Jesus as the Son of God. Jesus reminded them that He was going to prepare that place and would come back for them in the future. Jewish custom was that an engaged man would begin building a house for himself and his bride usually on his father’s property. Once the house was complete, the time of betrothal would be over, and he would come to marry his bride and take her to their home. Jesus is our Bridegroom, and the church is His bride. He is preparing our home in His father’s home. Those who have trusted Jesus Christ and received Him as their Savior and Lord will ultimately be with Him forever.
After Jesus said He was going to prepare that home, He said the disciples already knew the way to where He was going, but they were not so sure.
John 14:5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”
I believe the disciples still did not understand that He was talking about going back to the Father in Heaven. Perhaps they thought He was traveling somewhere far away. Jesus had repeatedly stated that He and the Father were one when talking to the Jewish leaders, and the disciples were standing right there. They had traveled with Jesus. They had spent more time with Him than with their own families. Maybe it didn’t click because they didn’t want to think about Him leaving or being without Him for any amount of time. The thought of being separated was difficult. He had made friends out of a rag-tag group of fishermen and tradesmen. They certainly did not want to entertain the idea that the Messiah could die!
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
This is the sixth “I AM” statement of Jesus in the book of John. He declared, “I am the way to God.” The way He stated it would mean that not only was He the way to God but that He was God. Any other charlatan, imposter, that comes to you espousing that he is the truth is lying because Jesus is THE TRUTH. The disciples witnessed the anointing, the miraculous power of God that worked through Him; so they should have confidence that Jesus was the real deal, and anyone who comes after Him is an imitation, a false prophet, a fake messiah. Jesus also proclaimed Himself to be the Life, and He is the only one who can give us eternal life with the Father. There is no other way to have a right relationship with the Father besides trusting Jesus. People are teaching today that there are many paths that lead to God, and that Jesus is not the only valid path. WRONG! Jesus Himself stated that He is the only way. Each of the people who will be in Heaven had individual experiences on their way to Jesus, but the bottom line is that they eventually realized that Jesus was the ONLY way to escape the grip of sin and experience the abundant life Jesus offers.
John 14:7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
To know Jesus IS to know God because Jesus was God incarnate, in bodily form. The disciples trusted that He was the Son of God and that He and the Father were One. However, it did not compute that they communicated face to face with the Lord of the universe over supper each night. They would understand this completely after the resurrection and after witnessing Jesus returning to the Father in the clouds.
John 14:8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”
Poor Philip! We laugh, but we would not have been any better. We would have been just as clueless. He still did not realize he was staring God in the face!
John 14:9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Jesus was gracious enough to not call Philip and osmium head. As God, Jesus understood their human confusion. The man part of Him may have been frustrated, exasperated, and perhaps a bit hurt that the disciples had been with Him for over three years and still had not internalized what He meant by “I and the Father are One.” Jesus had been fulfilling His role in showing them the Father the entire time He had walked with them.
John 14:10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The Father and the Son have a connection that is eternal and internal, but it is more than that. Their unity is complete. Explaining the concept of the Trinity, the Triune nature of God is complicated even with the entire word of God in our hands, so I guess we should have some pity on the poor disciples trying to understand how Jesus and God could be the same person but separate. And at this point, Jesus had not even thrown the Holy Spirit into the mix!
John 14:10b The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.
Jesus never moved as a lone cowboy. All of His actions and words were in obedience to God the Father and with His blessing. His meaning here was that He would not have had the power to perform the works, the signs, the miracles they had witnessed if He did not derive His authority from the Father. He was saying to let His record speak for itself.
John 14:12 (ESV) “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.
The greater works were the spiritual transformations of people all over the world. They could not be greater in power because Jesus was and is the greatest in power – He is omnipotent (all-powerful). Jesus taught in Judea, Samaria, and Galilee. The disciples (and later us) would spread the gospel throughout the entire world. People were healed in the name of Jesus during the apostles’ ministry, but it was Jesus who did the actual healing. We are but His instrument when the miraculous occurs in the course of meeting the needs of people. When Jesus went to the Father, He sent the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to enable His followers to serve God mightily. More on that later!
John 14:13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
These two verses do not mean we have carte blanche to demand whatever we want from God, and He is somehow obligated to give it to us. What we ask must be in accordance with God’s will and His purpose and plan for the life of person who is praying. It must be that which will bring attention to God for His glory, not the person praying. John MacArthur explained this well in his commentary:
The MacArthur Bible Commentary
“To ask in Jesus’ “name” does not mean to frivolously attach such an expression on the end of a prayer as a mere formula. It means: (1) the believer’s prayer should be for His purposes and kingdom, not selfish reasons; (2) the believer’s prayer should be on the basis of His merits and not any personal merit or worthiness; and (3) the believer’s prayer should be in pursuit of His glory alone.”
Q – Are you confident that Jesus has gone to prepare a place for YOU? If not, please pray and ask Him to reveal Himself to you. If you have questions about becoming a Christian, please ask us via the “Contact/Prayer Requests” tab on this website. We will answer and will pray for you!
|Posted on February 12, 2016 at 4:10 PM||comments (0)|
Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Paul is saying that he hasn’t grasped or completely perceived all the ramifications of the truths that he is teaching. He has not achieved complete sanctification as none of us will this side of Heaven, but he is continuing to move forward rather than “backsliding” into his former way of life. He is leaving the past behind. He is leaving behind his past claims to fame, his intellectual pedigree, and his extreme Jewishness. What is in our past that we need to leave behind? We need to repent and turn from our sin and leave our past sins behind. They have been paid for on the cross.
Isaiah 38:17 (NIV)
“Surely it was for my benefit
that I suffered such anguish.
In your love you kept me
from the pit of destruction;
you have put all my sins
behind your back.”
Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV)
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (You would do well to read the rest of this chapter of Hebrews)
Sin is a thought that is dwelt upon and nurtured or an action that is contrary to the will and the heart of God.
We need to leave Satan and his temptations behind, to flee him and turn to the Lord.
Luke 4:5-8 (NIV)
“5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 If you worship me, it will all be yours.”
8 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”
James 4:7 (KJV) Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
We also, like Paul, need to leave behind and forget our own claims to self-righteousness. We can become quite prideful of our “accomplishments” for Jesus instead of remembering that without Him we can do nothing. We need to remember that all the glory, all the claim of accomplishment is His alone.
Galatians 6:14 (KJV) “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”
John 15:5 (VOICE) “I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you abide in Me and I in you, you will bear great fruit. Without Me, you will accomplish nothing.”
We need to leave behind our selfish way of life and follow Jesus, to lose our life in order to find it in Him.
Matthew 16:24-27 (NASB)
24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 25 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds.
And as we have seen previously, we are to do what God has called us to do without complaining. Leaving grumbling and negative attitudes behind is paramount for cutting off the pathway to complaining. We also need to quit constantly complaining about others. For example, I am tempted to complain about those who complain all the time. We need to cease obsessing about others’ inconsistencies and focus on our own journey with the Lord.
James 5:9 (VOICE) “Brothers and sisters, don’t waste your breath complaining about one another. If you judge others, you will be judged yourself. Be very careful! You will face the one true Judge who is right outside the door.”
Whew! We have a lot of junk to leave behind in the junkyard! And just like I need to periodically clean out my closet, we need to examine ourselves occasionally to see if there is a build-up of these things that should be tossed. Many times we stuff our junk instead of purging it. We put our negative attitudes, our sin, our pride into a dark closet to hide it from others; but the Lord knows it is stuffed in there. It is important not to hoard the negative things because they weigh us down and cripple us in our walk with the Lord. They prevent us from, fulfilling our purpose which is to bear good fruit, or in the least slow us down.
Q – Is there stuff you need to clean out of your life in order to move forward with the Lord?
Philippians 3:15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
Mature believers are those who have left behind their pasts (attitudes and behaviors that do not reflect the work of Jesus on the cross and His resurrection) and are moving forward in the power of the Holy Spirit. The view we are to take is that of the preceding verses 12-14. Paul is confident the Holy Spirit will convict those who do not understand this yet. The Holy Spirit indwelling us is also Who enables us to leave the past behind and to press on. We need to live up to what the Lord has already revealed to us as we continue to listen and study to learn more. We need to press on, press toward, be in pursuit of the goal of Christlikeness.
Q – Am I living up to all the Lord has already revealed to me through His word?
Philippians 3:17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.
Our ultimate role model is Jesus Christ, but Paul served as a mentor to many in the early church. We still need godly mentors today, those who live according to the scriptures. We do not place our total trust in them because we are all human and will fail at times. Our trust is in Jesus, but we can learn from people He places in our lives to encourage and disciple us.
Q – Do you have someone you look up to and follow? Someone who is known for following closely with the Lord?
Philippians 3:18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.
Some feel Paul is referring again to the Judaizers, others to Gentile libertines as enemies of the cross of Christ. Either one could apply since both groups denied the power of our salvation in our earthly bodies. The Jewish establishment was so concerned with dietary laws and conformity to rules imposed above the Law that they denied the fact that Christ accomplished our salvation by His death and resurrection, and we do not earn it by keeping the Law but by grace. The Gentile libertines were the forerunners of Gnostics who discarded any moral law. Therefore, they ate and drank any and everything to excess and felt no shame in sensual, sexual pursuits. They denied the power of the Lord to transform the believer into someone who could obey within this body of flesh. They did not believe that anyone could willfully (under the influence of the Holy Spirit) dedicate themselves to such a way of life. The Jews were concerned with outward ceremonies and traditions of men rather than the condition of their hearts, and the Gentile libertines were simply worldly to the extreme.
Q – Are there any temporal (worldly) things that impede my progress to the goal of conforming to the image of Christ?
Philippians 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
The Philippians prided themselves in being a colony of Rome with all the privileges that afforded them. The church is colony of Heaven! We should take great joy in our heavenly citizenship. Not only do we have citizenship, but we have a seat with our name on it. We have not only season passes, but eternal passes for a box seat with our Lord.
Ephesians 2:4-7 (NASB)
“4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
When Jesus returns for us, to take us to our home in the Father’s house and to that reserved seat, He will change our earthly bodies with all their problems into perfect bodies fit for Heaven. Many years ago, I was complaining to the Lord about not walking yet; and He said to me that the most pristine athlete had nothing on me and I had nothing on them. We were both the same. We were only fit for earth, highlighting that BOTH of our bodies would require changes to be fit for Heaven. I have not physically walked, but I walk with Jesus in the spirit. The Lord controls all things even now, but we sometimes have a difficult time understanding His reasoning. However, when He takes us to be with Him, our eyes will be opened to see clearly. Right now, we use eyes of faith until the day that we know Him as we are known by him.
1 Corinthians 13:12 “For now, we can only see a dim and blurry picture of things, as when we stare into polished metal. I realize that everything I know is only part of the big picture. But one day, when Jesus arrives, we will see clearly, face-to-face. In that day, I will fully know just as I have been wholly known by God.”
To quote my former pastor, Dr. James T. Draper, “If that don’t light your fire, your wood’s wet!”
APPLY THIS TO YOUR LIFE:
1. Ask the Lord to show you the things, attitudes, behaviors you need to jettison from your life in order to follow Him more closely and know Him more intimately.
2. If you feel you have not learned anything new in the Word lately, could it be due to the fact that you have not obeyed what God has already shown you? Inventory what you have learned in Bible study and ask yourself honestly if there are any areas of your life that need to be brought into compliance. (Ouch!)
3. Be sure you are following the right models. Look for someone who loves the Lord, knows the Word, and lives with integrity. Emulate this person as they emulate Jesus. Try to be this person in someone else’s life.
4. Beware of strong affections for the things of this world. Do not let the quest for things, prominence among men, or fulfillment of earthly desires overtake you and draw you away from time spent with the Lord.
5. Praise the Lord for the day you will be transformed into someone completely qualified to walk by His side in Heaven. Illness, disabilities, sinfulness, and any other fleshly flaws, proclivities of the “old man” will not be present in the new body. Hallelujah!