Only If You Flatter Me! (John 8)

The second half of John 8 is spoken to the Jews who believed in Jesus.  But when you read it, you get the impression that their belief was weak.  It would seem that they didn’t like to believe when Jesus spoke to their sin.

It’s hard, as a Christian who tries to give his all to Christ, to hear of others who claim to have a faith but deny Him if He hurts their pride.  To watch people have such a wishy-washy faith in the One who died for them, who suffered for them, who became a man for them.  It’s unreal how unthankful people can be.

But then I’ m reminded of my own struggles.  Sometimes I’m faced with a situation that  requires I be humbled if I’m to follow Christ.  And sometimes I don’t give up my pride like I should. 

It’s never an intentional thing when I forsake Him.  But that’s just it… I should always intentionally follow Him.  I should have nothing less than a fully intentional, moment-by-moment, living for Him faith.

The Holy Spirit convicts His people when they walk in sin.  When I’ve been convicted and rebuked for my forsaking Him I have two choices… I can swallow my pride and address the situation, or I can go on living in my pride.

My belief will not be limited to one who will flatter me, it is only placed in He who has the words of life!

Loyalty of Authority (John 5)

In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis writes:

Do not be scared by the word authority. Believing things on authority only means believing them because you have told them by someone you think is trustworthy. Ninety-nine per cent of the things you believe are believed on authority. I believe there is such a place as New York. I have not seen it myself. I could not prove by abstract reasoning there the must be such a place. I believe it because reliable people have told me so. The ordinary man believes in the Solar System, atoms, evolution, and the circulation of the blood on authority — because the scientists say so. Every historical statement in the world is believed on authority. None of us has seen the Norman Conquest or the defeat of the Armada. None of us could prove them by pure logic as you prove a thing in mathematics. We believe them simply because people who did see them have left writings that tell us about them: in fact, on authority. A man who jibbed at authority in other things as some people do in religion would have to be content to know nothing all his life.

There are good reasons to accept many of the things we believe.  But none of them are as good as the reasons we have to accept Jesus.  How can we expect to know and believe truth if we don’t consider where authority truly comes from? 

A Scientists come to us and says we should believe him because he personally studied a thing out.  Scholars, politicians, judges, presidents, neighbors, loved ones, everyone does it.  But who are they?  They are only men, susceptible to the same sins of compromise that all men fall to. 

And even if a person is right on a thing, the very thing they’re right about would itself testify for Christ.   And if a man is against Christ then that thing in which he put his hope will betray him and side, as it always has, with Christ.  Creation makes no allegiance to that which opposes the Creator, nor does it pretend to.  It will oppose us if we are against the Living God.

As we examined in the previous post, Jesus’ witness have rightful claim to authority.  We would do good to listen to them… and to listen to God.

Hebrews 12:1-3:

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

 

 

It’s Your Ministry… Your Sustenance (John 4)

As I’ve read through the Scriptures over the years I found myself comparing Bible characters, both good and bad, to other people.  I’d commonly read a passage, and tell myself “This is how I should react when dealing with these kinds of people.” 

But as I grow in my walk with Christ, I’m coming to see myself represented by the characters instead.  I’m realizing more and more truth about my own participation in the fall, my own inabilities, and my own heart.  And I’m coming to realize more and more that God is the one responsible for all the good that I’ve done, not me.  And in turn I have a fuller appreciation for the good He has in fact done through me and in me.  I have a deeper reverence and love for He who is able to work so mightily in fallen man.

Today, for the first time, I saw myself as the woman at the well specifically in the passage from John 4:39-42…

From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all the things that I have done.” So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. Many more believed because of His word; and they were saying to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.”

Though I wish I could say that my influence for Christ has been as great as this woman’s, I cannot.  But I can see yet another picture of my role in the Kingdom of God.  Jesus spoke to this woman, and she was affectly so deeply that she passionately spoke to her people about Him and what He did in her life.  She spoke in a way that touched the people so much that they came to have a belief in Christ.  Then the people met Christ directly, and they came to a belief in Him because of what He Himself did in their own lives.  All these things happened in a matter of only days.

Her role is the role that all Christians are called to.  If a person has truly given their all to Christ then they have come to recognize, in a limited yet overwhelming sense, that God has deeply affected their own life.  And they have something immense to share.

I mentioned in the post before this one that one of my favorite passages is in the verses just before our text here.  It’s where Jesus says that His food is to do the will of the Father.  The specific case of the Father’s will is seen in the context we are now considering. 

Spreading the gospel was His food.  It is our food.  Though we have other duties in regard to His will that are just as important, we cannot therefore forget this ministry of reconciliation.  It is something that gives our soul necessary nourishment.  We need this.

When we consider how much people need Him, how can we remain silent?

When we honestly consider How great He truly is, how can we not shout it from the mountaintops?