Monthly Archives: August 2012

John 15:26 – John 16:15 – If I Go

In our text today, there is a lot going on.
·  But I want to focus on what Jesus says about the Holy Spirit.
·  And to do that we will break down the verses as follows:
o   (1) Departing – Jesus speaks of the relationship between His departure and the coming of the Spirit.
o   (2) Describing – Jesus describes who the Spirit is.
o   (3) Defining – Jesus defines for us what the Spirit will do (context is crucial here).
1) HIS DEPARTING BRINGS THE SPIRIT
John 16:7 (ESV) — 7Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.
·  Jesus, after acknowledging the sorrow of the disciples in verse 6 due to (1) what they will soon face, and (2) His coming crucifixion, reminds them for the third time that the “Helper” is coming.
·  We saw in John 14:
o   John 14:16 (ESV) — 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever
o   John 14:26 (ESV) — 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
This time however Jesus couches the coming of “the Helper” in terms of His own departure.
·  He says, “it is to your advantage that I go away”.
·  He says, “if I do not go away, the Helper will not come”.
·  He says, “But if I go” the Helper will come.
Sinclair Ferguson teases out the profoundness of Jesus’ words by asking the following question.
·  Would you rather have Jesus physically present with you, or would you rather have the Spirit present in you?
·  He suggests that it is Jesus’ view that it is better that Jesus go and the Spirit come and indwell the disciples.
o   BTW – Jesus is not saying that He and the Spirit can’t work simultaneously (Carson, et al.).
·  Why is it better that Christ leave and the Spirit come?
o   We will see at least three reasons.
(1) The “‘lifting up’ of Jesus via his cross to the throne of God brings about the turn of the ages that ushers in the saving sovereignty of God in fullness” – Beasley-Murray.
·  And what is the “saving sovereignty of God”?…the Gospel.
·  With Jesus glorified and exalted, and the Spirit sent by the Father, the table is set for (1) the Spirit to unleash the saving power of the Gospel.
Paul put it like this:
·  Ephesians 1:16–23 (ESV) — 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
·  Paul then goes on to explain how these events made possible our salvation by grace through faith.
What of the other two reasons it is better for Jesus to go and the Spirit to come?
·  Thomas might give us some insight into another reason.
Thomas expressed his preference for the physical proof that Jesus was raised from the dead.
·  John 20:25 (ESV) — 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”
·  Of course, physical proof was only possible because of Jesus’ physical presence.
o   No Jesus = No Physical Proof
However, Jesus had an opinion about the need for physical proof found in His presence.
·  John 20:29 (ESV) — 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
What does this exchange tell us?
·  To get at that we have to remember the lesson where we discussed what D.A. Carson called Saving Faith and Spurious Faith.
·  He said that, “in John’s Gospel, too much interest in the raw miracles themselves is spiritually dangerous (2:23–25; 6:26). Miracles cannot compel genuine faith (e.g. 11:45–46)” – D.A. Carson.
·  What they often compel is Spurious Faith.
We saw that:
·  A Spurious Faith can give false assurance that one has a Saving Faith (John 2:23-25).
·  A Spurious Faith can reject the Words of Christ while accepting His Works(John 6:28-30).
·  A Spurious Faith is based man-centered not Christ-centered (John 10:25-26).
·  And as such, a Spurious Faith is vulnerable to “opposing evidence” (John 7:27 & 31).
In fact, Jesus had this to say about Spurious Faith:
·  John 2:23–25 (ESV) — 23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. 24 But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.
(2) So how is the issue of Saving Faith and Spurious Faith, and the exchange between Jesus and Thomas related to Jesus’ departure being an advantage?
·  We know that many who saw Christ and His works rejected Him.
·  We know that many who believed in Christ because of His works later rejected Him (John 6:66).
·  With Christ’s departure, however, the (2) Spirit was unleashed to regenerate hearts.
o   There is no one whose heart was/is regenerated by the Spirit who rejected Christ.
·  So the answer is that the sure faith of a regenerated heart is desirable over the spurious faith based on the human powers of discernment of physical evidence.
Finally, there may be one more reason that Jesus said it was, “to your advantage that I go away”.
·  John 1:32 (ESV) — 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him.
·  Matthew 12:28 (ESV) — 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
·  Ben Witherington suggests that Jesus’ words here indicate that it is the Holy Spirit that empowers Jesus’ works .
(3) If so, this means that it was this same Spirit of God that, after Jesus’ departure, would empower the works of the apostles.
·  Acts 3:6 (ESV) — 6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!
·  Acts 5:12 (ESV) — 12 Now many signs and wonders were regularly doneamong the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico.
·  Acts 20:9–10 (ESV) — 9 And a young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer. And being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. 10 But Paul went down and bent over him, and taking him in his arms, said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.
·  So with Christ’s departure the (3) Spirit was unleashed to empower miraculous works.
Now that we have seen at least three reasons why Jesus’ departing was an advantage for the disciples, we can move on to how Jesus defined who the Spirit was.
2) HIS DEFINING WHO THE SPIRIT IS
In our text today, Jesus describes the Spirit as:
·  the Helper” (15:26)
·  the “Spirit of truth” (15: 26)
·  who proceeds from the Father” (15:26)
(1) Holy Spirit as Helper:
In our lesson “The Coming of the Holy Spirit” we learned the following:
·  The Greek word Jesus used to describe the Holy Spirit as Helper (vss. 16 & 26) was “parakletos”.
·  It’s has legal overtones and describes “one who is called to someone’s aid” – BDAG.
·  And specifically in our text, Jesus is saying the Holy Spirit will be sent to appear on Jesus’ behalf as “mediator, intercessor, helper” – BDAG.
We saw at least two ways the Spirit would do this:
·  “…he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26).
·  “…he will bear witness about me” (John 15:26).
(2) Holy Spirit as Truth:
We also covered this in “The Coming of the Holy Spirit”.
·  The gist of this is that the Spirit is the Spirit of truth “primarily because he communicates the truth…bears witness to the truth…the truth that Jesus is” – D.A. Carson.
·  As Jesus Himself said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
·  Truth profoundly links the ministry of Christ with the ministry of the Spirit.
·  The Spirit bears witness to:
o   The truth of Jesus’ identity
o   The truth of Jesus’ ministry
o   The truth of Jesus’ Gospel
(3) Holy Spirit as proceeding from the Father:
·  The significance of what proceeding from the Father means is wrapped up in the works that the Spirit was sent to do on behalf of the disciples.
·  And understanding the relationship between these two is, as I said at the intro, peculiar to our context.
·  This is because the proceeding and the works are relevant to the situation the disciples will find themselves in w/o Jesus.
·  In other words, Jesus is leaving the disciples, but the work He has started with the disciples will not be jeopardized by His departure.
·  The Spirit proceeds from the Father to continue that work.
So to get at this relationship between proceeding and works, we must get into Jesus’ description of the works of the Spirit.
3) HIS DESCRIBING WHAT THE SPIRIT DOES
The relationship of the procession from the Father and the works of the Spirit can be teased out with a few questions.
·  If Jesus’ is going away, and it is because of Him persecution comes, what exactly is the world going to be persecuting the disciples over?
·  “How will this confrontation with the world continue?” – D.A. Carson.
·  After all, as Kostenberger points out, Jesus “was the prime target of hostility” not the disciples – Kostenberger.
It is when we see that the Spirit is proceeding from the Father to take over the work of Christ in the lives of the disciples that we can answer these questions.
·  In other words, because the proceeding from the Father indicates a direct analogy between the Spirit’s mission and Jesus’ mission – D.A. Carson.
o   THEREFORE
·  Jesus’ “workon earth has not come to an end; it will be continued by the Spirit” – Kostenberger.
·  This leads us to the underlying way that Jesus describes the work of the Spirit in the context of our text.
(1) Work of Spirit Replaces Work of Christ:
This means that the Holy Spirit comes “in certain respects as a replacement of the Son” – D.A. Carson.
·  The Holy Spirit will continue to do for the disciples what Jesus was doing.
·  “The Spirit continues the same convicting work that Jesus himself undertook during the days of his flesh” – D.A. Carson.
·  And so to answer our questions just posed, persecution will come to the disciples not because of their testimony but because of the Spirit’s testimony in unison with their testimony – D.A. Carson.
o   We can’t bear witness to Christ without the Holy Spirit – D.A. Carson.
5 Ways in which the Spirit’s work was continuation/replacement of the work of Jesus:
The similarities between the work of the Spirit and the work of Jesus (in the lives of the disciples – our context) are evident in the examples of the Spirit’s work given by Jesus.
·  And these answer the question, exactly how was the Spirit “a replacement of the Son”?
·  (a) “bear witness about me” (15:26) – like Jesus bore witness about Himself to them
·  (b) “convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (16:8) – like Jesus convicted them
·  (c) “guide you into all truth” (16:13) – like Jesus guided them
·  (d) “not speak on his own authority” (16:13) – like Jesus spoke to them
·  (e) “he will declare” the “things that are to come” (16:13) – like Jesus declared to them
·  Then verse 14 gives us the effect of the Spirit’s work – “he will glorify” Jesus (16:14)
o   A natural result of all the work of the Spirit.
o   Glorification of Jesus by the Spirit is not a direct parallel to Jesus’ work but it is rooted in it.
Let’s take a look at these one at a time.
·  And keep in mind, as we said earlier, Jesus’ work was never in jeopardy with His departure.
·  In fact, His departure and glorification through the cross will actually expedite God’s purposes – Kostenberger.
·  All of this would have been a comfort to the disciples once they put it all together at Pentecost.
·  They weren’t left alone and powerless.
·  And importantly, we should take away that the Holy Spirit is “replacing” the work of Christ, He is not an impersonal, 2nd string substitute for Jesus!
o   He is God (and yes, according to Grudem, we can pray to Him.
(a) Like Jesus bore witness:
·  John 5:31–32 (ESV) — 31 If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true. 32 There is another [the Father] who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he bears about me is true.
Now the Spirit will bear witness to Christ with the Father and the Son.
(b) Like Jesus convicted the world – sin, righteousness, judgment:
·  John 3:19 (ESV) — 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
·  John 5:22 (ESV) — 22 The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son,
·  John 5:24 (ESV) — 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
·  John 5:27 (ESV) — 27 And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.
Jesus, as the light, exposed darkness and sin and brought it under judgment.
·  And “to show someone his sin” is “to summon him to repentance” – Beasley-Murray
·  Now the Spirit will expose sin and summon to repentance those who have ears to hear.
(c) Like Jesus guided into truth:
·  John 1:14 (ESV) — 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
·  John 5:31–32 (ESV) — 31 If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true. 32 There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he bears about me is true.
·  John 14:6 (ESV) — 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
·  John 17:17–19 (ESV) — 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.
Now the Spirit will guide them in the truth that was Christ and that was taught by Christ by testifying to this truth in their born again hearts.
(d) Like Jesus didn’t speak on His own authority:
·  John 5:19 (ESV) — 19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.
·  John 5:30 (ESV) — 30I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.
·  John 12:49 (ESV) — 49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak.
Jesus’ words and actions found their origin and authority in the Father.
·  Now the Holy Spirit will testify to only what has been spoken by the Father and Son before Him.
o   One more blow to the Mormon and Jehovah’s Witness claim of new revelation.
o   John 16:14 (ESV) — 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
o   What is His is what He has already declared – there is nothing new.
(e) Like Jesus declared the things to come:
·  Jesus, obviously, spoke often of what was to come.
o   His crucifixion (John 3:14; John 8:28; John 12:34)
o   His exaltation (John 3:14; John 8:28; John 12:34)
o   His resurrection (John 2:19; John 10:18)
o   His glorification (John 8:54; John 17:5)
Now the Holy Spirit will flesh out “the implications of God’s triumphant self-disclosure in the person and work of his Son” – D.A. Carson.
·  The Spirit will make known all the consequences “of the pivotal revelation bound up with Jesus’ person, ministry, death, resurrection and exaltation” – D.A. Carson.
o   John 2:22 (ESV) — 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
o   John 12:16 (ESV) — 16 His disciples did not understand these thingsat first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these thingshad been written about him and had been done to him.
Summary of Jesus’ words and the reason for them:
The reasons Jesus gives for all that we have just discussed.
·  (1) John 16:1 (ESV) — 1 “I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away.
·  (2) John 16:4 (ESV) — 4 But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you. “I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you.
It appears that if they remember these things they won’t fall in to apostasy.
·  What is the apostasy Jesus speaks of in our context?
·  It is not a loss of salvation – this is not possible.
·  It is referring to people who “have been led astray, but who have not altogether fallen away from the faith” – TDNT.
Sadly, however, Jesus makes clear that they will fall into apostasy.
·  Mark 14:27–31 (ESV) — 27 And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ 28But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” 29 Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” 30And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” 31But he said emphatically, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all said the same.
This brings us back to the work of the Spirit – and perhaps a fourth reason it is to our advantage.
·  And only serves to heighten the value of the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost.
·  It will be the work of the Spirit we just discussed that will overcome any urge to fall away.
·  In fact, the Spirit will empower a boldness in stark contrast to the disciples state of mind after Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion which led them to fall away.
·  For as we learn from Acts, the Spirit gave them, among other things, boldness.
o   Acts 4:31 (ESV) — 31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.
Right Thinking Conclusion:
It should be clear now why it is to the disciples’ advantage that Jesus depart through the cross and send the Spirit.
·  The Spirit can pick up where Jesus left off, and do so within the Kingdom of God fully inaugurated by a glorified, risen and exalted Jesus.
·  The Spirit’s work at glorifying an exalted Jesus can be done all over the world – no physical presence of Jesus required.
·  Additionally, with Jesus’ exaltation, Christ is now seated at the right hand of the Father interceding on our behalf.
·  And this arrangement of reality is the context in which we live our Christian life; the context in which the Kingdom of God operates.
·  And as we saw last we are not of the world, but of the Kingdom described in the above reality (whether we feel it or not).
·  And the Holy Spirit is every bit as personal; as divine; as powerful; and as real as Jesus.
o   He is not 2nd string divinity.

John 15:18-25 – Not of this World

In our text today Jesus addresses both the disciples (and by extension all believers) and the world.

  • In vss. 18-21 Jesus addresses certain implications for the disciples given their relationship with Him.
  • Specifically, he says they are not of this world.
    • We will see how this relates to our Position and Place in Christ.
  • In vss. 22-25, Jesus addresses the implications for the world given their relationship with Him.
    • And yes, the world does indeed have a Position with regards to Christ.

 

 

1) POSITION AND PLACE OF THE DISCIPLES

 

John 15:18–21 (ESV) — 18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.

 

Jesus has spent much of the Farewell discourse comforting the disciples – see John 14.

  • Last week He spoke of the intimate relationship they have with Him.
  • One rooted in a love for Him and for each other.
  • Now he prepares them for what they will experience given their relationship with Him.

 

He shares at least four things with them.

  • 1) He tells them “if the world hates you” it is because it hated Him first (vs. 18).
  • 2) He tells them they will not be loved by the world because they are “not of the world” (vs. 19).
    • To be loved by the world is to be in it
  • 3) He tells them the world “will also persecute you” just as it has persecuted Him (vs. 20).
  • 4) He tells them they will face all of this on “account of my name” (vs. 21).

 

But there is an upside to number 3.

  • The upside is that the reverse is also true.
  • if they kept my word, they will also keep yours” (vs. 19).
  • In other words, there will be those that will “hear” the word of God.
  • Acts 18:9–10 (ESV) — 9 And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, 10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.

 

These are all straightforward enough.

  • But I think it is important to dig a little deeper into Jesus’ words in verse 19.

 

What is Jesus conveying when He speaks of the disciples being “not of the world”?

  • His words seem to have a least a two implications.

 

The first implication is something that Jesus has spoken of continuously since John 3, and the second is implied throughout the Gospel of John and is mentioned in 3 verses.

  • They are (1) our Position in Christ and (2) our Place in Christ.
  • The Position is necessary to have access to the Place!

 

To get an idea of our Position in Christ, we will look at how John contrasts it with the world.

 

1) A description of the person’s Position in Christ.

  • born of the flesh is flesh” vs. “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” – John 3:6
  • condemned already” vs. “not condemned” – John 3:18
  • hates the light” vs. “comes to the light” – John 3:20-21
  • does not honor the Son does not honor the Father” vs. “honor the Son, just as they honor the Father” – John 5:23
  • Do not believe Moses vs. believe Moses would believe Jesus – John 5:45ff
  • Not drawn by the Father vs. drawn by the Father – John 6:44
  • Do not hear the word of God because “you are not of God” vs. “whoever is of God hears the words of God” – John 8:47

 

In John, all of these things describe someone who:

  • Is born again through the Spirit.
  • Believes that Jesus who He says He is.
  • Believes that Jesus’ words are the Father’s words.
  • Believes that Jesus’ deeds are the Father’s deeds.

 

So to be “not of the world” involves all these things in the life of the believer.

  • Our born again heart and belief in Christ position us so that we no longer walk in darkness; are no longer condemned; and are able to “hear” His words; and honor the Father; etc.

 

Yet along with our position, “not of the world” also involves a place.

  • The Kingdom of God

 

2) A description of a person’s Place with Christ.

  • John 3:3 (ESV) — 3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
  • John 3:5 (ESV) — 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
  • John 18:36 (ESV) — 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

 

Briefly, what is this place called the Kingdom of God?

 

The Kingdom of God (taken from Love in the Kingdom of God lesson):

A definition: “The Kingdom of God is primarily the reign, rule, or authority of God himself; secondarily, it is the realm in which that rule is directly exercised, consisting largely in the laws governing the natural world and, more importantly, the individual and collective hearts of those who have bowed to God’s rule.” – J.P. Moreland.

  • And importantly, “its character is determined…by the covenant according to which it is administered” – Michael Horton.
    • Our context is the new covenant of Jesus Christ as prophesied in Jeremiah 31.
  • Examples of the Kingdom’s “character” in which Christ rules are that “the righteousness of God has been revealed from heaven, including justification of sinners and new birth, the Spirit and his gifts poured out” – Michael Horton.

 

The Kingdom of God “stands at the very center of the message of the historical Jesus” – AYBD.

  • It is “the worldview of Jesus of Nazareth and Holy Scripture” – J.P. Moreland.
  • It “established a radically new order of life on earth” – Dallas Willard.

 

Kingdom of God in Scripture – a few examples:

1)  The Kingdom of God is at hand – the now and not yet.

  • Matthew 3:2 (ESV) — 2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
  • Matthew 10:7 (ESV) — 7 And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
  • Matthew 12:28 (ESV) — 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

 

2) The Kingdom of God is priceless.

  • Matthew 13:44 (ESV) — 44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
  • Matthew 13:45-46 (ESV) — 45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

 

3) The Kingdom of God requires self-sacrifice.

  • Mark 9:47 (ESV) — 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell,
  • Acts 14:22 (ESV) — 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.

 

4) The Kingdom of God has different priorities than the world.

  • Luke 9:60 (ESV) — 60 And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
  • Luke 12:29–31 (ESV) — 29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.

 

5) The Kingdom of God is not about worldly gratification.

  • Romans 14:17 (ESV) — 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

 

So to be “not of the world” is to be firmly placed in the Kingdom of God and positioned in Jesus Christ.

  • It is to understand that as a believer, life is to be lived in this new reality.
  • We may not “feel” this truth, but it is true and we can rely on it.
  • We are to live with a Kingdom Understanding of the world around us and no longer with a Worldly Understanding.
  • To live in this Kingdom necessitates being Positioned in Christ.
    • And to live joyously in the Kingdom requires death to self and right thinking.

 

Current Events and Jesus’ Words to the disciples:

“Christ’s followers will be hated by the same world, partly because they are associated with the one who is supremely hated, and partly because, as they increase in the intimacy, love, obedience and fruitfulness depicted in the preceding verses, they will have the same effect on the world as their Master” – D.A. Carson.

  • In other words, we should be hated not just because of our association to Christ but because we are becoming more like Him.

 

Have you become enough like Christ to bring the hatred of the world down on you?

  • And do we really face the persecution today that Christ spoke of to the disciples?
  • Certainly Christians in other parts of the world do.
  • But what about in America?

 

Case in Point:

  • The Family Research Council is a “conservative Christian lobbying group” that “strongly opposes gay marriage and abortion and says it advocates ‘faith, family, and freedom in public policy and public opinion’” – Washington Post.
  • On August 15th 28-year-old Floyd Lee Corkins II walked into the FRC with a 9mm pistol, two 15 round magazines and a 50 round box of ammunition and began to open fire.
    • He also had with him a 15 of Chick-Fil-A sandwiches.
  • Corkins was a volunteer for the DC Center for the LGBT Community.
  • The reason he gave for the shooting was the FRC’s stance on gay marriage.
  • The liberal Human Rights Campaign has called the FRC a “hate group” because of this stance.
  • The liberal Southern Poverty Law Center labeled the FRC a “hate group”.
  • The Huffington Post called the FRC a “hate group” even after the shooting.
  • Corkins, apparently a big fan of Friedrich Nietzsche, apparently decided the way to deal with a “hate group” is to shoot them.

 

“The world is a society of rebels, and therefore finds it hard to tolerate those who are in joyful allegiance to the king to whom all loyalty is due” – D.A. Carson.

  • What the Kingdom of the World calls a “hate group”, is in the Kingdom of God “joyfull allegiance” to King Jesus.
  • And given Jesus’ words in our text today, to express hatred for Kingdom values is to express hatred for Jesus Himself and the Father (vs. 21).

 

Humility required:

  • We must remember that the difference between us and them is not us.
  • It is Jesus.
  • Jesus reminds us of our origins.
    • but I chose you out of the world” (vs. 19).
  • He chose us out of the darkness; out of the condemned; out of the flesh; out of Satan’s world.
  • A beautiful picture of the Grace in the Guilt – Grace – Gratitude we spoke of a few weeks ago from the Heidelberg Catechism.
  • How are you showing God you are grateful?

 

 

2) POSITION OF THE WORLD

 

John 15:22–25 (ESV) — 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’

 

Jesus also tells us about the position of the unbeliever.

  • Because of Him, His divinely purposed ministry and the Words He spoke, the unbeliever is:
  • guilty of sin” (vs. 22)
  • have no excuse for their sin” (vs. 22)
  • A result of this position is hatred of both Jesus and the Father.
  • As we have said over and over, there is not neutral ground in which any man stands.
  • And quoting the Psalms, he tells us that this hatred is a fulfillment of prophecy (Psalm 69:4).

 

It sounds like Jesus is saying they would have been innocent of their sin had He not arrived.

  • Is this really what He is suggesting when He says they “would not have been guilty”?
  • Absolutely not.
  • Jesus is referring specifically, as suggested by the Psalm prophecy, to the rejection of His Messiahship.
  • And to the guilt this rejection incurs.

D.A. Carson puts it like this, “by coming and speaking to them Jesus incited the most central and controlling of sins: rejection of God’s gracious revelation, rebellion against God, decisive preference for darkness rather than light” – D.A. Carson.

 

This is also similar language that Jesus used in John 3 and John himself used in John 12.

  • John 3:19 (ESV) — 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
  • John 12:37–39 (ESV) — 37 Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, 38 so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” 39a Therefore they could not believe.

 

Importantly, as Carson points out, this hatred and rejection of Christ does not jeopardize “God’s redemptive plan”.

  • In a prophetic and mysterious way, it is part of it.

 

 

John 15:1-11 – The Vine – Part 2

Jesus, as He so often does, drops a “J-Bomb” and says something shocking in our text today.
·  I am the true vine” (vs. 1).
·  Why was this such a controversial thing for Jesus to say?
·  The reason should be apparent soon enough.
To find out, we need to look at a description of Israel as found in the O.T.
·  We will be primarily looking at Psalm 80:8-19.
·  And then we need to review a lesson from John 12 – The Hour Has Come.
1) ISRAEL AS THE VINE
In the O.T., Israel was frequently referred to as a vine.
·  Importantly, it was a vine that was planted by the Father.
·  And it was tended by the people of Israel.
·  They were given this responsibility by God.
·  They were to ensure that Israel bore fruit in keeping with God’s covenant with them.
Israel as the vine in the O.T.
·  Psalm 80:8–11 (ESV) — 8You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it. 9 You cleared the ground for it; it took deep root and filled the land. 10 The mountains were covered with its shade, the mighty cedars with its branches. 11 It sent out its branches to the sea and its shoots to the River.
·  Hosea 10:1a (ESV) — 1a Israel is a luxuriant vine that yields its fruit.
·  Ezekiel 19:10a (ESV) — 10 Your mother was like a vine in a vineyardplanted by the water…
·  Isaiah 5:1 (ESV) — 1 Let me sing for my beloved my love song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill.
We must give special attention to the geographical location in which God planted the vine of Israel.
·  See below map.
·  Israel was the crossroads to Europe, Africa and Asia.
·  So Israel was God’s vine geographically, politically, as well as spiritually.
·  In all these capacities it was to abide in Him and bear fruit to His glory.
·  And only in obedience to God could it prosper and bear fruit for purposes greater than itself.

Israel as Crossroads Map

One of those purposes was to be a light to the nations.
·  Isaiah 42:6 (ESV) — 6“I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations,
·  Isaiah 49:6 (ESV) — 6he says: “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel [restoration from exile]; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”
·  Isaiah 49:22 (ESV) — 22 Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I will lift up my hand to the nations, and raise my signal to the peoples; and they shall bring your sons in their arms, and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders.
John Monson describes Israel as being strategically situated to be a testing ground of faith – John Monson.
·  See below map.
·  And its engaging with the Gentile world to be a light to them was truly a test of faith.
·  We can see from the topo map that Israel, like us, could engage the world as God intended.
·  Or it could try to geographically seclude itself from the nations and keep God’s fruit for itself.

Israel as Crossroads Topo Map

But there was a problem.
·  Israel was failing; maybe it was secluding itself (think Jonah).
o   Jonah 4:1 (ESV) — 1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry.
·  The vine was suffering from neglect.
·  Israel was not bearing God’s intended fruit.
·  Jeremiah 2:21 (ESV) — 21 Yet I planted you a choice vine, wholly of pure seed. How then have you turned degenerate and become a wild vine?
·  The Jews tending skills were sorely lacking.
·  Israel had become a wild vine.
·  And what they weren’t doing in obedience they would be made to do in judgment and exile.
The O.T. describes the Jews failure to tend the vine as follows:
·  Psalm 80:12–16 (ESV) — 12 Why then have you broken down its walls, so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit? 13 The boar from the forest ravages it, and all that move in the field feed on it. 14 Turn again, O God of hosts! Look down from heaven, and see; have regard for this vine, 15 the stock that your right hand planted, and for the son whom you made strong for yourself. 16 They have burned it with fire; they have cut it down; may they perish at the rebuke of your face!
·  Hosea 10:1 (ESV) — 1b The more his fruit increased, the more altars he built; as his country improved, he improved his pillars.
·   Ezekiel 19:12 (ESV) — 12 But the vine was plucked up in fury, cast down to the ground; the east wind dried up its fruit; they were stripped off and withered. As for its strong stem, fire consumed it.
·  Isaiah 5:2b–7 (ESV) — 2b …but it yielded wild grapes. 3 And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. 4 What more was there to do for my vineyard, that I have not done in it? When I looked for it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes?
The disobedience of the Jews that brought judgment from God in the form of exile had withered the vine that God had brought out of Egypt and planted for His glory.
·  The vine of Israel had become a wild vine bearing useless, tasteless wild grapes.
o   “Wild” can actually be translated “worthless”, “rotten”, “stinking” or “sour”.
·  The vine was clearly unfit to serve its purpose as a light to the nations.
·  Something needed to be put a right.
So in spite of the Jews failure, God’s ultimate purposes would not be thwarted.
·  Psalm 80:17–19 (ESV) — 17 But let your hand be on the man of your right hand, the son of man whom you have made strong for yourself! 18 Then we shall not turn back from you; give us life, and we will call upon your name! 19 Restore us, O Lord God of hosts! Let your face shine, that we may be saved!
·  Israel, the wild vine, was in need of restoration.
·  Or, perhaps it needed to be replaced.
2) ISRAEL REPLACED – JESUS AS THE VINE
Now back to Jesus’ words in our text today.
·  I am the true vine
·  What is Jesus saying?
1) He is passing judgment on the Jews’ tending capabilities.
·  They had virtually killed the vine and turned its fruit “worthless” and “rotten”.
·  They had failed to be a light to the nations.
o   Even in exile many simply assimilated and didn’t return to Israel.
·  They had failed to be obedient to God.
·  So when Jesus said He was the vine, He was taking away their stewardship of the fruit of God.
o   Ultimately to whom did He give this stewardship?
2) He is proclaiming that He has replaced Israel as the vine.
·  He is now the crossroads to the world.
·  He has borne the fruit of God.
·  “Jesus has already, in principle, superseded the temple, the Jewish feasts, Moses, various holy sites; here he supersedes Israel as the very locus of the people of God” – D.A. Carson.
·  This is huge!
And unlike Israel:
·  As the vine, Jesus has brought life and truth (John 14:6).
·  As the vine, the light to the Gentiles has not been extinguished.
o   John 1:29 (ESV) — 29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
·  In fact, we saw in John 12 that the Greeks seeking Jesus were a cue for Him.
o   John 12:19–26 (ESV) — 20 Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. 21 So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23 And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
·  As the vine, He has been perfectly obedient to the Father.
o   John 15:10 (ESV) — 10b …just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
To complete the picture of the nature of Jesus’ replacement, we need to review what we learned from John 12.
·  In so doing, we will see a specific example of the nature of His replacing.
Jesus replaces the Temple:
·  In John 12 we discussed:
·  The Jews hope for a coming King.
·  And the nature of the Kingdom of God this King would inaugurate.
We saw from N.T. Wright that this King/Kingdom eschatology of the Jews carried with it the expectation of:
·  Two Accomplishments
·  Two Moments
The two accomplishments would at a minimum include:
·  1) “Victory over the pagans” – N.T. Wright
·  2) “Cleansing or rebuilding the Temple” – N.T. Wright
Additionally, the King’s campaign “would have (at least) two key ‘moments’” – N.T. Wright.
·  1) “The initial proclamation” – N.T. Wright.
·  2) “The moment when the final battle was won and the Temple rebuilt” – N.T. Wright.
In John 12 we covered all but accomplishment number two.
·  The “cleansing or rebuilding the Temple” – N.T. Wright.
·  Jesus not only “cleansed” and “rebuilt” the Temple, but as evident in our text, He also replaced it entirely.
When did He cleanse the Temple?
·  He cleansed it when He cleared it out.
·  John 2:14–15 (ESV) — 14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. 15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables.
When did He pass judgment on it?
·  He passed judgment on it when he prophesied its destruction.
·  Mark 13:2 (ESV) — 2And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”
And when did He replace it?
·  He replaced it when He alluded to His resurrection as the raising up of the temple.
·  John 2:18–22 (ESV) — 18 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body.
That Jesus replaced the Temple is also seen in the following:
·  Matthew 12:5–6 (ESV) — 5Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? 6 I tell you, something greater than the temple is here.
·  Revelation 21:22 (ESV) — 22 And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.
The Temple was just one of the many old covenant elements of Judaism replaced by Jesus.
·  As the book of Hebrews makes so clear, Judaism as they knew it, was completely recreated under Jesus and the new covenant.
·  What were some other things Jesus replaced?
o   Temple Sacrifice
o   Court of the Gentiles
o   The Priests
o   The Feasts
There is another massive implication in Jesus’ replacing the Temple.
·  Throughout the history of Judaism, there was always an overlap between heaven and earth.
·  This place of overlap occurred in the Garden of Eden, the tabernacle, and the Temple.
·  Now, Jesus was telling them that the place of overlap has changed from a place to a person.
o   John 4:21 (ESV) — 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.
·  It now takes place in Him!
o   One more argument that He thought of Himself as God.
·  And when He left, the overlap between heaven and earth would occur where?
Through the giving of the Holy Spirit, Jesus would make us temples to the living God.
·  1 Corinthians 3:16 (ESV) — 16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?
·  2 Corinthians 6:16 (ESV) — 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Right Thinking Summary:
·  We have said before that we simply can’t believe or trust in what we don’t know.
·  We have said that to love someone more means also knowing them more.
o   You can’t love what you don’t know.
·  Today’s lesson brings us one more way we can know Jesus and His mission and thus love Him more.
·  Christ is the vine, having replaced Israel, so that the fruit of God might reach the Gentiles.