Thursday, October 29, 2015

John 17:24-26 comments: Christ reveals God

24 ¶  Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. 25  O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. 26  And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one being with three parts. God’s love for Himself, His unity, is shared with us and is to be exemplified in how the church operates in the world, or at least it is meant to be that way. Christ’s will is that we be with Him and behold His glory. Before the creation God loved the Son, as He loves us now.

God, by His foreknowledge, saw who would receive Christ and chose them also before the foundation of the world.

1Peter 1:2  Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father...

Ephesians 1:3 ¶  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4  According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5  Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6  To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

Predestinated, once saved, to the adoption, our physical resurrection in a glorified body;

Romans 8:23  And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

The world does not know God. The world has created a version of God who is weak and distant, someone you call in times of trouble but who had no part in giving you that trouble. The God the world invented justifies their power structures, their social classes, their standards, their pride, their bigotry, and their violent expressions of power. But the Son knows the Father as they are one being. Now the disciples know the Son came from the Father.

Christ has declared God the Father to the disciples so that they can manifest the love the Father has for them and for Christ to a fallen world, because Christ is in them. This is the key to being a Christian, the Bible teaches, to manifest Christ, and therefore God, to a lost world.

John 1:18  No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

Only Christ knows God the Father because He is one with God the Father. Only Christ reveals that knowledge to mankind. All others who claim to know God or to reveal God to man, whatever religious tradition they come from, are in error and do not reveal the God who created them. There is only one way of knowledge and salvation to God.
John 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

John 17:20-23 comments: the Father's love for us

20 ¶  Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21  That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22  And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23  I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

Here is a verse that should give we Gentiles great joy. When our ancestors were living in pagan debauchery worshipping trees, the sun, the moon, and the stars, laying our dead on hillsides to be eaten by vultures, sacrificing human beings to devils, and living worse than animals in some respects Christ made a prayer for those of us who would believe.

I read, and I don’t have the citation handy, that there is evidence that missionaries from Antioch, where Christians were first called such (Acts 11:26), went to what we would call today Northern Italy and even as far as Wales and Ireland to spread the apostolic faith. This is why there where congregations in the Cottian Alps of the Piedmont section of Italy, in Wales, and Ireland who had a more Biblical faith than mainstream Christianity although we know little about them other than through their “Christian” enemies who slaughtered them.

Christ prays for those who will believe through the preaching of the Apostles. He prays that we will be unified in our purpose as He and the Father are in the same purpose, that people will believe that Christ came from God the Father. He gave the glory that He received from God the Father to the believers, that all may be one. And that we may be complete (perfect as per Colossians 4:12 and finished as per 2Chronicles 8:16) in our understanding so that the world will know that God the Father loves us as He loved Jesus Christ.

God the Father loves us as He loved Christ. Ponder that for a few million years.

Monday, October 26, 2015

John 17:17-19 comments: thy word is truth

17 ¶  Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. 18  As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. 19  And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

God’s word is the means of sanctification for which Jesus prays. Notice how important God’s word is.

Philippians 2:10  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

Psalm 138:2  I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

We are set apart by God inasmuch as we submit to Him speaking to us through His words in the Bible. I recommend reading Psalm 119 in its entirety.

Psalm 119:11 ¶  Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

There are many things to be said about the word of God and how important it is. But, one thing is that the word of God prevents a church from being nothing more than a social club or a political club. Everything that anyone says that God has laid on their heart can be compared to it to see if what they say is true but if you do not read or listen to the word of God you cannot know if you are being lied to or deceived or told the truth.

How many times have your read the Bible through from cover to cover? If you have been a Christian for ten years and have not read or heard the Bible read through ten times there is something very wrong. You may be a great person, a serving Christian with a servant’s heart, even a soul-winner, but like Martha you may choose to be too busy to fellowship with God.

The Bible should be your standard in all matters of faith, practice, and doctrine. If reading or listening to the Bible read was a daily activity it would be difficult to deceive you. Let God speak to you through His word. God will set you apart for what He wants you to do while you are in this world through it, not the manic ravings of a celebrity preacher who just wants a following to glorify himself and to justify his own sin.

As God the Father sent Christ into the world so has Christ sent His disciples into the world. Christ’s offering of Himself sanctifies the believer. He is useful to God the Father by His death and resurrection in drawing men to salvation and by that the follower of Christ is set apart for His work in the world as part of the body of Christ.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

John 17:6-16 comments: the son of perdition

6 ¶  I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. 7  Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. 8  For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. 9  I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. 10  And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.

As Christ teaches us and gives us an example of prayer He continues to pray to God the Father. He states that He has taught the Apostles about God, that they belonged to God, that God the Father gave them to Christ, and they were faithful and kept His word. They now know that Christ is over all things and the only way to God is through Him for He is God. They know His words come directly from God the Father.

Christ is praying for them, not for the world that rejects Him, but praying for them, those that God the Father has given Him, for they belong to the Father. Every one that belongs to the Son of God belongs to God the Father, as well, and every one that belongs to God the Father belongs to the Son of God. Christ is glorified in those who believe in and trust in Him.

    11 ¶  And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. 12  While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. 13  And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14  I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15  I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 16  They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

Christ will no more be walking in the world of men and women, no more walking on the earth. He is going back to Heaven, the abode of God. Christ calls God the Father, Holy Father, which is not a title to give to men. Like the word reverend it has a particular application to God alone.

Psalm 111:9  He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.

Christ prays for unity among the Apostles. Unity is one of the most important attributes that God wishes for the body of Christ.

Romans 15:6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Philippians 2:2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.


Ephesians 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;

5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.


This unity of purpose is essential for a church to grow inwardly as the congregation draws closer to God through the Scriptures and outwardly as people are drawn to the church by the Holy Spirit using the atmosphere created by the congregation becoming closer and closer to God.


Jesus kept every one of the Apostles except for Judas Iscariot, who is called here the son of perdition. This epithet is used again, by Paul, in 2Thessalonians 2.


2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.


This poses the question as to a further meaning of the following verses with regard to Judas Iscariot whom we have already been told is a devil in John 6:70, 71.


Acts 1:25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.


(See also 1Samuel 5:11)


Revelation 9:11 And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.


Some believe the spirit of Judas will return in the form of someone at the end in the beast of Revelation as John the Baptist was imbued with the spirit of Elijah, the Prophet.


Read Psalm 109 for prophecies that will assigned to Judas in Acts, chapter one. Also see other passages that will be illuminated in Judas’ behavior;


Zechariah 11:12  And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.13  And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD.


Psalm 41:9  Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.


Psalm 55:12  For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: 13  But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. 14  We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.


There are other verses that refer to Judas in the Old Testament.


Christ spoke these words the Apostles so they might not despair, but have joy as John wrote in his first letter in 1John 1:4 that he was writing that those Christians’ joy might be full. Believing the Bible does not lead you to despair but to joy. We may not understand everything now but we will. Trust God.


We do not belong to this world any more. It doesn’t own us even though we often try to let it. As Christ is not of this world, neither are we.


Why can we not be removed from this world as soon as we believe and are saved by God?

Jesus asks the Father not to remove His disciples from the world, but as they have a part in saving those of the world that can be saved, He asks that God protect them from the evil.  What would, “the evil,” refer to specifically in this particular context? 


Perhaps the evil is Satan, whom we will find out in Luke 22:31, has desires to do much damage to the Apostles.


Luke 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you [the plural you for all off the disciples], that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee [the singular you, for Simon Peter specifically], that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

John 17:1-5 comments: power over all flesh

1 ¶  These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: 2  As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. 3  And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. 4  I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. 5  And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

As the time for Christ’s crucifixion, His resurrection, and His ascension are at hand Christ explains that these events will glorify the Father as the Father glorifies Him.

Matthew 28:18  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

Christ has power over all flesh to give eternal life to men and women who will receive Him but other things will result from this, as well, such as God cleansing the animal world so that no animal is unclean to us.

Acts 10:9 ¶  On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: 10  And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, 11  And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: 12  Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. 13  And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. 14  But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. 15  And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.

Christ is completing His mission in a human body.

Hebrews 10:5  Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:… 10  By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Again, here we have Christ identifying with God as God, in the reference to the glory He has in the heavenly realm. Remember the first verses of this gospel.

John 1:1 ¶  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2  The same was in the beginning with God. 3  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Later, John will write;

1John 1:1 ¶  That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2  (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 3  That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4  And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

John 16:28-33 comments: to overcome the world

28 ¶  I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father. 29  His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. 30  Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God. 31  Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? 32  Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. 33  These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Christ came from God into the physical world of men and women. He is leaving the world to return to the Father.

The disciples acknowledge that they believe that Christ came from God. Christ then warns them that they will abandon Him to His fate, the mission of dying for mankind’s sin and the resurrection from the dead.

Zechariah 13:7 ¶  Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.

Mark 14:27  And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.…50  And they all forsook him, and fled.

One thing that Christians are taught in this passage is that we are never alone in a trial because God is with us. We often do not draw strength from that as we should.

Hebrews 13:5  Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Christ told the Apostles of what was coming so that they would have peace and not wonder why when events unfolded. He told them this so that they would have peace and not be troubled.

John 14:1  Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

Isaiah 26:3  Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Christ has overcome the world. We have the Spirit of God and Christ, the Holy Ghost, inside of us if we are believers in Christ.

1John 4:4  Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

What does it mean for the body of Christ, the church, when Christ says that He will do certain things for them that overcome as in many verses in Revelation such as 3:5 and 21:7?

Revelation 3:5  He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

Revelation 21:7  He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

And here, the Bible defines what it means to overcome the world.

1John 5:4  For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.5  Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

The world cannot hurt you if you do not adopt its values and follow its plans, letting it define what concepts like happiness, success, and fulfillment mean in your life. The world cannot hurt you if you trust and accept God’s will for your life on a moment by moment basis as being just and good. The world, then, cannot do anything but kill your body and it cannot harm your spirit. Your soul also, that part of you that is your self-identity united with the Spirit of God that raised Christ from the dead, is safe with God for eternity.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

John 16:23-27 comments: questions answered and understanding given

23 ¶  And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. 24  Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. 25  These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father. 26  At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: 27  For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.

Christ tells His disciples that after His resurrection their questions, of which there are many now, will not need to be answered. They will understand what He has been telling them. Throughout His time with them they had asked many questions, not all of them too bright or evidence of a good motive. But, this will all change when they see Him risen from the dead. See John 9:2; Matthew 18:1; Matthew 19:27; and John 21:21 as examples.

Our questions in life, about life, which are many throughout our life are sometimes based on selfish motives, are sometimes based on a lack of trust and faith, and often on just plain ignorance but our questions will be answered when we come face to face with Christ.

The context of the verse where Jesus says that if they ask anything in God the Father’s name that He will give it to them is in that ‘understanding after a lack of understanding’ setting. This is not about a disciple of Christ getting a vacation home on the beach, winning the lottery, or having one’s dear, late grandma coming back to life. He instructs them to ask for this understanding in His name and they will receive, so that their joy may be full.

The Bible declares that it was not uncommon for God to speak in the form of sayings, proverbs, and parables that could be dark and unintelligible to those whose heart was not in the right place or who were not ready for that particular truth yet.

The Spirit of God gave us proverbs through the physical writers of the Bible such as Solomon who gave us a Book of Proverbs although they represented only a few of what he wrote as presumably they were the ones given by inspiration of the Almighty (Job 32:8).

1Kings 4:32  And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five.

A proverb is a saying that means something literal, on the surface, and yet has a deeper meaning that is only given in understanding to those whom God chooses. A parable is a story that teaches something in the same way and the story may be a truthful recounting of actual, historical events that teach something as in Job’s life. See Job 27:1 & 29:1. Your life and any of its many individual scenes can be a parable. Just think of what the events of your life could have taught you about God’s will yesterday if you had been listening.

Here is the qualification to ask for understanding, to ask for these things in the context of understanding of the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  God the Father loves those who love Christ and believe that He is from God. This is a fundamental truth of the Bible that must be accepted in order to be a Christian.

John 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Acts 4:12  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

In this, Christianity is very exclusionary. Salvation is predicated upon belief and trust in Christ, in His righteousness and not our own, to have eternal life. It is not about church membership or ritual observance. It is about belief and trust.

This passage teaches us to ask for guidance and wisdom and understanding of God the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  There is the promise that if we seek it faithfully He will give it abundantly. It is not about you getting your way, manipulating natural events, or avoiding some consequence of your sin or living in a fallen body in a fallen world. Do not look to this passage of Scripture for a promise that you will get something physical and tangible but for understanding and peace if God does not give that thing you desire to you, if you seek that understanding from Him.

1Corinthians 13:12  For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Philippians 3:9 ¶  And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10  That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11  If by any means I might attain unto [understand as in Psalm 139:6 and Proverbs 1:5] the resurrection of the dead. 12  Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect [complete in understanding as in Col. 4:12 and 2Chronicles 8:16]: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend [to know, as in contrast to know in verse 10] that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13  Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Monday, October 12, 2015

John 16:16-22 comments: joy that no man can take away

16 ¶  A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father. 17  Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father? 18  They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith. 19  Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me? 20  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. 21  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. 22  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.

Seven times, in these passages, the phrase, “in a little while,” is used. Stating the significance of numbers in the Bible can be very subjective and it is not difficult to twist the amount of times a number is mentioned to try to make it mean something you want it to mean. However, an interesting study can be made of the usages of numbers in the Bible like three, five, seven, and nine. There are books written about the significance and meaning of numbers. An interesting book is Bible Numerics by Peter Ruckman. A dangerous book is Michael Drosnin’s The Bible Code. Just be careful about looking for secret messages and codes within the Bible based on repeated numbers or hidden patterns. There is enough in the Bible we do not follow that is written plainly rather than to be looking for some secret knowledge that makes you feel superior to the less enlightened while you resist obeying Christ with your attitude, words, and deeds.

Look at the counter position here of joy and sorrow. The world will rejoice when Jesus dies and the disciples will mourn but the disciples will then rejoice when Jesus is risen.

Psalm 30:5  For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

Psalm 130:6  My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.

I cannot imagine a more bitter, painful, and difficult thing than giving birth to a child. In this bitterly poor culture a male child was met with great rejoicing. The covenant God made with the Jews was between Himself and the male children as per Genesis 17:10 although women were part of this covenant in that the same rules and benefits applied to them woman came from man.  

Genesis 2:22  And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23  And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

1Corinthians 11:11  Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. 12  For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.

Also, the son could work and help on the family farm or business and a son was a mother’s welfare when she grew old. But we rejoice no matter what sex the child is today. We are just happy to have a healthy child. Women quickly forget the pain they endured, the labor or travail, to bring a child into the world.

In like manner these disciples will quickly forget the sorrow they feel right now and rejoice over a risen Saviour. This is the essence of Christianity, not a lamentation for our glory lost, like the Jews, but a triumph in that God’s glory reigns and Jesus is risen and our best times lie ahead of us and not behind us.

The joy they will feel at Christ’s defeat of the grave and proof of His Godhood will be unshakeable and no man will be able to take it from them. This is a promise of Christianity. We weep for a time but will rejoice for eternity. Let no man, even yourself, take your joy from you and try to place you back under the Law given to Moses. You cannot please God with slavish obedience to the Law because you set yourself up for constant failure and disappointment. Preachers and evangelists will constantly try to put you back under the Law. If the Jews could not and would not obey do you think your will, your good intentions, is better or stronger than theirs?

Again our faith is to be a joyous thing looking forward to the time of Christ’s appearing and our eternity with the God who created us, not a dismal durge lamenting past greatness, wishing we could return. Let no man take your joy from you. You might come to God in prayer with a heavy heart for something you’ve done or that has been done to you but when that prayer is over you should be lifting your voice in praise to the One who forgave you and conquered death and Hell.

1John 4:4  Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

1Corinthians 15:51 ¶  Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52  In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54  So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55  O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56  The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57  But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

John 16:7-15 comments: the Comforter's work

7 ¶  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. 8  And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9  Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10  Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11  Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. 12  I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13  Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14  He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15  All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

Here, Christ gives an important point about theology. The Holy Ghost’s indwelling of Christ’s followers cannot happen while Christ is still on the earth in a human body.

Here is the sin of not believing on and trusting in Christ. See verse 9. The presence of the Holy Ghost in the believer is a condemnation of the world rejecting Christ. There can be no Biblical righteousness in the world apart from the Christian because Christ is not walking the earth today except in the church. If the church is not righteous then there is no righteousness. It is very important that we, as the body of Christ, represent Him faithfully. If we do not live righteous lives in Christ we cannot condemn a world that is living no worse than we are.

The Holy Ghost in the believer is a constant reminder of the sins of the world, if the believer has not bought into the world’s message. This is a very important point, too. If your conscience is so seared that you are unable to stand against the world’s ways then your testimony will be mixed at best. Here are some of the things that Christ and the New Testament writers wrote about the world.

First, about wealth and the economic system.

Luke 16:13  No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Luke 6:24  But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.

James 5:1 ¶  Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. 2  Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. 3  Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. 4  Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. 5  Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. 6  Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.

This reflects back on advice given in the Old Testament.

Proverbs 23:4 ¶  Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.

The things that the world system holds as valuable and important the Christian, far too often, embraces as his or her pathway to luxury, leisure, respectability, and success.

Luke 16:15  And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

The very things which tempted Eve to sin against God afflict the Christian today. Compare the two passages following.

Genesis 3:6  And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

1John 2:15  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh [good for food], and the lust of the eyes [pleasant to the eyes], and the pride of life [to make one wise], is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

See Deuteronomy 12:15 for lusting for food.

The trouble is that we will proclaim our contempt for sins like adultery and getting drunk and embrace things like greed and gluttony because they are more socially acceptable.

1Timothy 6:10  For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

For that matter, there are Christian congregations in America that historically have looked the other way when their preachers committed serial adultery. It is a shameful heritage.

It is impossible to reprove the world of sin when you are clinging to sin. It is impossible to pursue righteousness when one is zealously clinging to error.

An example would be the messianic zeal with which the Wilson administration in World War One captured Christian churches in the delusion that if you chose what Christ said over government policy you were not really a good Christian or a good American as they were supposed to be one and the same. One preacher announced that if Christ were here on earth today he would be in the infantry and have a German’s guts on his bayonet.(27) Christians confused patriotism with faith and placed their patriotic feelings above any commitment to Christ. Of course, the Germans also thought that God was on their side. Sometimes a good thing like your country is placed in front of you but that good thing demands that you place it above God. Then, you have to make a decision. Conservative Christians have a difficult time differentiating between love of country and blind obedience to politicians with an agenda.

The liberal Christian denies the supernatural declarations of the Bible and the conservative Christian denies the truth of what God literally said twisting it and taking it out of context, both of them having a hard time reproving the world of anything and rendering the church powerless spiritually in a world gone mad.

The prince of this world, the god of this world (2Corinthians 4:4), the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2) is judged as Christ’s presence by His Spirit in the believers by virtue of the Holy Ghost’s presence convicts Satan, the Adversary (1Peter 5:8). It is now time to simply wait for the sentence to be carried out.

We are to rely on the Holy Ghost for truth and rely on the Spirit of truth through God’s word for what is and what is to come. If what we receive comes from Him then Christ will be glorified as God. So, any cult that denies the divinity of Christ is clearly not founded in the Spirit of truth. Examples would include those Christians which place Christ in an inferior position to God and rely on Bible translations that call Him a begotten God rather than the only begotten Son in John 1:18.

Luke 10:18  And he [Jesus] said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.

The Holy Ghost operating within the believer, within the church, which is the body of Christ on earth, is the most significant and relevant fact of Christian history after Christ’s ascension to Heaven and is usually left out of any history of Christianity or any study of the history of Bible translation as the church organizations that the Holy Ghost has no part in, who are powerful and influential in the world, would then be excluded except as enemies of Christ.

(27) See Ray Abrams, Preachers Present Arms (New York: Round Table Press, 1933).

Friday, October 9, 2015

John 16:1-6 comments: Christ warns the disciples

1 ¶  These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. 2  They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. 3  And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. 4  But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you. 5  But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? 6  But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.

What does Christ mean by, “offended?” An offence causes someone to stumble, to be confused, to not be able to understand, to cause to sin. It does not always mean to make one indignant or to enrage them after insulting their sense of what is proper and what is not or disrespecting them.

1Peter 2:8  And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

Matthew5:29  And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Matthew 18:6  But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Psalm 119:165  Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

Much like God prepared the world of men with the book of Job for the reality of how life can come hard at even the most righteous-minded, Christ is preparing His disciples for what they are going to face as His followers. The reason that the religious elite in that day were willing to kill the disciples, thinking it was for God, was because they did not know God, the same as today in the Middle East when religious men murder Christians in the name of God it is because they do not know God, nor do they know Christ.

Christ is telling them now so they will remember what He said when the time of persecution comes. He is leaving soon. They aren’t asking, where are you going, because they are grieving that He stated He is leaving them.

When people, especially Christians who have a Bible, ask why bad things happen to people they are asking a foolish question. In the Book of Job God revealed to all of human history in the oldest book of the Bible ever written that you will experience pain and suffering and loss even if you are the most righteous and just man or woman on earth and you may not know why in this lifetime. Just trust God. That is what is required of you in those times that make no sense and seem so random and meaningless but that make you hate being alive.

Here, Christ lays out the future for His disciples and, by extension, every Christian in history who has suffered tribulation for their faith. Hey, it’s coming. I warned you. Get ready.  The Bible tells us that God settles accounts but not necessarily in our preferred timeframe and not necessarily in this life.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

John 15:26, 27 comments: when the Comforter is sent

26 ¶  But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: 27  And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.

The Comforter is the Holy Ghost, as already stated in 14:26. The Holy Ghost has not been sent yet to indwell the believer, but Christ promises to send Him from the Father. The word even links the Comforter as identical with the Spirit of truth. The Comforter proceeds from the Father. Jesus notes that the Holy Ghost will testify of Jesus, as will His disciples.

The Holy Ghost, the Comforter, is one of the three parts of God.

Matthew 28:19  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

2Corinthians 13:14  The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.

1John 5:7  For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

The Bible uses two words in the New Testament translated from one word pneuma for Spirit and Ghost. Holy Ghost refers to the name, the identity, of the part of God being talked about while Holy Spirit or Spirit of God or Spirit of Christ for the function. As a result the Holy Ghost is referred to as a he while the Spirit is referred to as an it. Only those Bible scholars afflicted by the modern era that began with the so-called Enlightenment where man began to worship his reasoning ability as his god are unable to discern a difference in usage. They will just throw their hands up because they aren’t willing to investigate and consider and say impatiently, “they’re both the same,” much as they do mistakenly with the kingdom of heaven in Matthew and the kingdom of God in Matthew and elsewhere. There is a difference. Different words, different applications, and slightly different meanings.

Luke 4:1  And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,

John 7:39  (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

Acts 2:4  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Romans 8:9  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his…16  The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:…26  Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

1Corinthians 12:3  Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

You will not find the Holy Ghost mentioned as such in the Old Testament. He is coming on the disciples soon.  As the Holy Ghost teaches the disciples about Christ, Jesus’ followers are to bear witness, to bear record, to speak of Him, and to be a witness for Him in the world.

Acts 1:8  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

In fact, the calling is very specific as to the result Christ wanted. He wants His followers to teach the world about Him.

Matthew 28:19  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

We are to do that as the Holy Ghost teaches us, confirming in our spirit with His Spirit by the words of God in His Bible.

John 14:26  But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

John 17:17  Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

I think it is clear that you cannot understand the Bible or the Gospel of Jesus Christ without the work of the Holy Ghost. The Bible is not understood by logic or argument but, the grace that brings salvation has appeared to all men…

Titus 2:11 ¶  For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

and we are taught what God’s will is for our lives as we are to teach it to others.

11 ¶  For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12  Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13  Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14  Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. 15  These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.

The Bible is fundamental in this command and useful for everything God wants.

2Timothy 3:16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

We see written in the Scriptures God in His three parts in heaven and God working through His Spirit on earth through the blood of Jesus Christ whose triumph in the believer is signified by the water of baptism as an expression of faith.

1John 5:7  For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8  And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

This Bible, called the King James Bible, King James Version, KJV, or KJB in modern marketing parlance, used to be called the common version in early America and was the standard in Bible translation for nearly three hundred years in the Protestant world.(23) The common English-speaking Protestant thought of this Bible as God’s very word in print, or, as the head of the American translating committee for the American version of the English Revised Version, the American Standard Version, said in his book entitled A Companion to the Greek Testament and the English Version that part of the objection to the new translations and translating methods was that, “…to the great mass of English readers King James’ Version is virtually the inspired Word of God.” (24) It took a lot of marketing and a push by preachers in conservative pulpits who had been trained in seminaries corrupted by Enlightenment thinking and theology to change that.

When a return to the Bible whose veneration Philip Schaff lamented began in earnest in 1964 with Peter Ruckman’s book Bible Babel a significant minority of Baptists began to see things the old way.  Even though they might not understand or know what the Enlightenment was, what German theology or Higher Criticism entailed, or even had even heard of the Catholic Counter-Reformation they began to rely on the old Book. Unfortunately, even today in some of those churches you’ll have people sitting in the pews criticizing a translated word or verse in the King James Bible simply because a favorite preacher said it must be wrong, that maybe it should have been oil lamp instead of candlestick or Holy Spirit where it said Holy Ghost. These criticisms are made even though translating words from Greek or Hebrew is a very subjective process and much results from the opinion of the translator.*(25)  In addition, there is even today a great deal of uncertainty with regard to translating from the Greek. **(26)  And so it goes.

(23) James Beller, America in Crimson Red: The Baptist History of America (Arnold, MO: Prairie Fire Press, 2004) 336.

(24) Philip Schaff, A Companion to the Greek Testament and the English Version (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1883), 413.

(25) Tom Griffith in the translator’s introduction to Plato: ‘The Republic,G.R.F. Ferrai, editor & Tom Griffith, translator (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000), vii.

*The translation process and disagreements with his editor was “a laborious task which involved reading the whole text against the Greek, flagging the hundreds (literally) of passages where he did not agree with what I had written, explaining in precise detail why he disagreed (bless him), suggesting an alternative in each and every instance.”

(26)  Bernard A. Taylor, John A. L. Lee, Peter R. Burton &Richard E. Whitaker, Biblical Greek Language and Lexicography: Essays in Honor of Frederick W. Danker (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing, 2004), Kindle Edition.

**“The fact is that opinions will very often differ over the precise wording of lexical definitions even - or perhaps, especially - after careful consideration of a proposed definition.”

“…there is the fact that even the latest lexicons derive their material from their predecessors, and a great deal of it has been passed on uncritically over the course of centuries.”

“…we cannot know for certain that what we find in front of us when we look up a word is sound.”

“…all the existing lexical entries in all our dictionaries are now obsolete and await reassessment in the light of the full evidence,or at least checking to see if there is further evidence to be added.”

“Lexicons are regarded by their users as authoritative, and they put their trust in them. Lexicons are reference books presenting a compressed, seemingly final statement of fact, with an almost legal weight. The mere fact that something is printed in a book gives it authority, as far as most people are concerned. And understandably: if one does not know the meaning of a word, one is predisposed to trust the only means of rescue from ignorance. Yet this trust is misplaced.”

Note: So, don’t play the Greek and Hebrew game with me when insisting that my faith in God’s preservation of His word through the KJV is in error. I’m not buying what you’re selling. You, like an evolutionist who believes that life occurred by random chance, can prove nothing but that, as everyone has a nose, you have an opinion. Your opinion is proof of nothing but that you have one.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

John 15:18-25 comments: no excuses

18 ¶  If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19  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. 20  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. 21  But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. 22  If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. 23  He that hateth me hateth my Father also. 24  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. 25  But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.

Regardless of how well you get along with people who do not know Christ the simple fact is that many will hate you simply because you are His. The world systems and the people who slavishly follow them cannot bear the thought that they need a Saviour or that Christ is that Saviour. The same goes with most church organizations. Churches, particularly conservative ones, fundamentalists, are often run by control freaks who simply want to establish their own cult where their own convictions will be followed as if their own words came right from God’s mouth.

The key issue that makes the rest of the world angry is Christ’s claim to deity, to being God in the flesh. Although, we have seen that very clearly stated in the Gospel According to John there are some things you will hear and read the world doing to show their contempt for Christ. Some will deny that Jesus ever said He was God or the Messiah or the Christ, which is obviously not the case if you read the gospels and the rest of the New Testament writings. Others will attack the Bible, particularly the last major Bible version before man’s worship of his own intellect and reasoning ability became predominant in the period of time called The Enlightenment. Even others will attack this particular gospel, The Gospel According to John, because it presents Christ so clearly as God in the flesh. This Bible version, more than almost any other, uplifts and glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ as God and the world and Satan cannot tolerate that.

The world can love Gandhi and King and Christ, if He is nothing more than a great teacher who was martyred for His beliefs. The world can adore Buddha and Mohammed and extol the virtues of Hegel, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Kant, Hume, and Marx. The world will list any of the so-called great teachers as an avatar sent to teach mankind truth. “The Coming One” of Alice Bailey’s new age doctrine adopted by the editors of the New King James Bible  in Matthew 11:3 put Jesus in that list. So did the Satanist, Madame Blavatsky, who in her The Secret Doctrine insisted that Christ and Satan/Lucifer are the same individual since Satan was to her the Saviour of mankind like The New International Version in Isaiah 14:12 and Revelation 22:16.(22)  Even Islam will venerate Christ as a great one.

But, the world cannot tolerate Christ as God and will hate you for insisting on it. Speaking specifically about the religious elite that had Jesus in their crosshairs He tells His disciples that what they have done and will do to Him the disciples should expect to receive the same, whether it be good or bad. The evil things that await the disciples are done to them because those who do them do not know the God of the Bible, who is their Creator .

The world has no excuse and cannot claim ignorance of Christ as He is the most talked about personage in history. There is more evidence of Christ from historical documents than there is of any other person in history. The Bible has been printed in hundreds of millions of copies in hundreds of languages and missionaries have traveled the length and breadth of the earth. Certainly, the Jewish elite of His time had no excuse. Finally, He states that those who hold Him in contempt hold God in contempt. If a person does not believe in Christ, he does not believe in God. It is that simple and that exclusionary. All faith traditions are not equal. There is truth and there are lies. All those who worship Allah, venerate Buddha, sacrifice in a Hindu temple, extol the genius of Marx, or imagine a soon-to-arrive avatar sent to lead mankind into a glorious age are deceived and deceivers themselves, and liars.

John 3:36  He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

John 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Acts 4:12  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

In verse 25 Jesus alludes to the Psalms. Jesus uses the phrase, “the law,” to include to the Psalms as He did in 10:34.

Psalm 35:19  Let not them that are mine enemies wrongfully rejoice over me: neither let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause.

Psalm 69:4  They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away.

(22) Lucis Trust, pamphlet adapted from Alice Bailey, The Reappearance of the Christ, 1947.,   & H.P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine , 540.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

John 15:9-17 comments: Joy

9 ¶  As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10  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. 11  These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. 12  This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14  Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. 15  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. 16  Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. 17  These things I command you, that ye love one another.

If you think about it, this is a startling statement. As God the Father loves the Lord Jesus Christ, so Christ loves His disciples.  We often hear preachers talk about Christ’s special relationship with the Father, but that relationship is also available between Christ and us. Now, if I had an agenda I would go on to tell you that the way to have that relationship is to do what I tell you, which, is, of course, nonsense and even evil if I couldn’t back that up scripturally.

Let Christ be our guide and let His words in His Book be our final authority in all matters of faith, practice, and doctrine reading it to whom it is written, for what purpose , and in what context, knowing what is directly applicable to us as doctrine and what we can make a spiritual application with. Of course, then, every verse in the Bible applies to our lives in some way.

If we are to be Christ’s followers we must follow His instructions and His example in obedience. Now, beware of someone who applauds you as having a ‘servant’s heart’ as that usually means they think you will be submissive to their own will. It often has nothing to do with Christ. Christ has given us His commandments, His instructions, and His standard of righteousness in the gospels and He has given us the perfect example of obedience to the Father for us to follow.

Christ has given us His words that His joy may remain in us and that our joy may be filled. Joy is first mentioned in the Bible with dancing and singing and musical instruments playing in 1Samuel 18:6. It is not just a good feeling. It is more than that.

1Kings 1:40  And all the people came up after him, and the people piped with pipes, and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth rent with the sound of them.

Do you have joy in the Lord? I was a Christian for sixteen years before I even knew what joy was, when God confirmed to me what a Bible truly was and God spoke to my heart, not in an audible voice, but in the quiet way the Holy Ghost speaks to the Christian’s heart, changing, molding, and sanctifying; setting him or her apart for God’s use. If you don’t have joy, why? Are you just spiritually lifeless like preachers and evangelists insist, because you don’t come to church enough, don’t hand out enough gospel tracts, don’t give enough money? Or are you without joy because someone has robbed you of it? Is it possible you’ve been lied to by someone who is also deceived?

Why do you not have joy? It is one of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5.  Is it perhaps because you’ve been taught that every bad thing that happens to you must be because you haven’t been in the church building enough, tried to sell Christ on the street or door to door enough, or given enough money to the church organization so a new floor can be put on the church basketball court? The solution for that is to read the Book of Job, Jeremiah, the other  prophets, and, in fact, the entire Bible cover to cover to see that even the most righteous and “faithful” Christian will suffer and not necessarily know exactly why and that we live in fallen bodies in a fallen world and that no one, “does business with God,” as the evangelists like to say when they want to see you come up in front of the church and get on your knees because their sermon manipulated your emotions so well.

Have joy. Christ has overcome the world and death itself as we are told in the Bible and the Creator of the universe wants to have a relationship with you 24/7. Have joy. Be giddy about it. Dance for the Lord and sing praises to Him. Rent the very earth with the sound of your joy. You are going to be with the Lord forever and ever! If you are sick now, have joy. If you have suffered a loss and are grieving, have joy. If you have been told you are going to die, have joy. If you have lost your job, have joy. If your friends and family have rejected you or you are being persecuted because of your love for Christ, have joy. If you are young and uncertain about what the future holds, have joy. If you are old and tired and ready to go, have joy. Whatever situation God has placed you in, that’s right, God has placed you in, HAVE JOY!

Christ gave His commandment again, to love one another, to be willing to lay down our lives for each other, to die to Self and selfish desires, no longer wanting to dominate and control and manipulate and exploit others to satisfy your own desires or to justify your own convictions.

If we do Christ’s will we are not servants, but His friends.

James 2:23  And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

Christ has told us what we are to do, which is nothing more than a master tells a servant, but He has also told us why, which is how we would treat a friend, a close companion, whose will and ours are in agreement on a task.

God chose us because He knew we would believe. He ordained us that we might bring forth fruit and not just whenever we feel motivated but that it would come from the Spirit’s indwelling and God speaking to us through His words.

Again, it is said that anything asked in His name and, of course, by His will and not contrary to it, He will do. He has commanded us to love one another. There are so many Scriptures that tell us in the New Testament how we are to be as the body of Christ on earth there is no excuse for looking at yourself as being of ‘a better sort’ than others in the assembly, trying to psychologically manipulate others, trying to guilt others and control them so them so they are a miniversion of yourself, judging others by your own experiences; the ‘been there, done that, got the t-shirt’ crowd,but to truly be concerned with the spiritual growth IN THE LORD of each and every one of your brothers and sisters rather than how they submit to your plans and prejudices.

Christ is preparing to die for the sins of the world and to be raised from the grave in victory to those who count themselves as the Friend of God. He is also preparing them for the trials and tribulations they will have to endure.