This Biblical Christianity website encourages people to know and to live, God’s Word; thus enabling us to live now as God intended for us to live, and preparing us for eternal life in God’s kingdom.
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Jesus taught that His Kingdom was not a part of, or like this world’s kingdoms. Because the differences are so great, we need to learn God's ways of interacting with those around us and with the world itself. For instance He taught that His kingdom citizens must live in this world, but they do not belong to it, "I have given and delivered to them Your word (message) and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world [do not belong to the world], just as I am not of the world" (John 17:14). There is to be no fighting or dominion, one over the other, in Christ’s kingdom. Unless Christ instructs us personally and to the contrary, it appears to be permissible for God’s people to fight for a just cause while living in this world, but not in an attempt to establish God’s kingdom on earth; God does not force people into His kingdom. Ours is a heavenly kingdom and it is already established and secure. "The Lord will certainly deliver and draw me to Himself from every assault of evil. He will preserve and bring me safe unto His heavenly kingdom" (2 Timothy 4:18).
JOHN 18:36.... Jesus answered, My kingdom (kingship, royal power) belongs not to this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My followers would have been fighting to keep Me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, My kingdom is not from here (this world); [it has no such origin or source].
MARK 10:42-44.... But Jesus called them to [Him] and said to them, you know that those who are recognized as governing and are supposed to rule the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority and dominion over them. But this is not to be so among you; instead, whoever desires to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be most important and first in rank among you must be slave of all.
JOHN 17:1-12.... When Jesus had spoken these things, He lifted up His eyes to heaven and said, Father, the hour has come. Glorify and exalt and honor and magnify Your Son, so that Your Son may glorify and extol and honor and magnify You. [Just as] You have granted Him power and authority over all flesh (all humankind), [now glorify Him] so that He may give eternal life to all whom You have given Him. And this is eternal life: [it means] to know (to perceive, recognize, become acquainted with, and understand) You, the only true and real God, and [likewise] to know Him, Jesus [as the ] Christ (the Anointed One, the Messiah), Whom You have sent.
4I have glorified You down here on the earth by completing the work that You gave Me to do. And now, Father, glorify Me along with Yourself and restore Me to such majesty and honor in Your presence as I had with You before the world existed. I have manifested Your Name [I have revealed Your very Self, Your real Self] to the people whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, and You gave them to Me, and they have obeyed and kept Your word. Now [at last] they know and understand that all You have given Me belongs to You [is really and truly Yours]. For the [uttered] words that You gave Me I have given them; and they have received and accepted [them] and have come to know positively and in reality [to believe with absolute assurance] that I came forth from Your presence, and they have believed and are convince that You did send Me.
9I am praying for them. I am not praying (requesting) for the world, but for those You have given Me, for they belong to You. All [things that are] Mine are Yours, and all [things that are] Yours belong to Me; and I am glorified in (through) them. [They have done Me honor; in them My glory is achieved.] And [now] I am no more in the world, but these are [still] in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, keep in Your Name [in the knowledge of Yourself] those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We [are one]. While I was with them, I kept and preserved them in Your Name [in the knowledge and worship of You]. Those You have given Me I guarded and protected, and not one of them has perished or is lost except the son of perdition [Judas Iscariot — the one who is now doomed to destruction, destined to be lost], that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
JOHN 17:13-26.... And now I am coming to You; I say these things while I am still in the world, so that My joy may be made full and complete and perfect in them [that they may experience My delight fulfilled in them, that My enjoyment may be perfected in their own souls, that they may have My gladness within them, filling their hearts]. I have given and delivered to them Your word (message) and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world [do not belong to the world], just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that You will take them out of the world, but that You will keep and protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world (worldly, belonging to the world), [just] as I am not of the world. Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by Truth; Your Word is Truth.
18Just as You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And so for their sake and on their behalf I sanctify (dedicate, consecrate) Myself, that they also may be sanctified (dedicated, consecrated, made holy) in the Truth. Neither for these alone do I pray [it is not for their sake only that I make this request], but also for all those who will ever come to believe in (trust in, cling to, rely on) Me through their word and teaching, that they all may be one, [just] as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe and be convinced that You have sent Me. I have given to them the glory and honor which You have given Me, that they may be one [even] as We are one: I in them and You in Me, in order that they may become one and perfectly united, that the world may know and [definitely] recognize that You sent Me and that You have loved them [even] as You have loved Me.
24Father, I desire that they also whom You have entrusted to Me [as Your gift to Me] may be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory, which You have given Me [Your love gift to Me]; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O just and righteous Father, although the world has not known You and has failed to recognize You and has never acknowledged You, I have known You [continually]; and these men understand and know that You have sent Me. I have made Your Name known to them and revealed Your character and Your very Self, and I will continue to make [You] known, that the love which You have bestowed upon Me may be in them [felt in their hearts] and that I [Myself] may be in them.
JOHN 16:33.... I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]
Notice the distinction the Lord makes between the world and God’s people, and the world’s opposition to all that belongs to God. Notice this oneness and unity that Jesus has and had, even before the world was formed. And now Jesus is praying, from the world to the Father in heaven, that all those throughout all the ages that believe Christ’s message may experience this same joy, and oneness, and unity. Here is our High Priest interceding for us just prior to offering Himself as our sacrifice and redeemer. What a tremendous prayer, what a tremendous salvation, and what a tremendous and magnificent Savior!
Also notice that Jesus makes it very clear that we can expect tribulation, trials, distress and frustration while we are here in this world. But if we dwell in Him, as He taught here and the Word of God teaches throughout, we will be kept in perfect peace and confidence by the power of His dwelling presence.
Jesus did not come initially to set up a visible Kingdom, which eventually He will establish, but to recruit disciples for a kingdom that already existed by reigning in their hearts (Lk. 14:26-35; Lk. 17:20-37). We cannot have a part in God’s kingdom by our own efforts (Matt. 11:12), nor can we be a part of it unless we abide by its constitution. It is foolish to think that God will allow us in His kingdom if we refuse to be law-abiding citizens. "Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; mercy and loving-kindness and truth go before Your face" (Psalm 89:14). It would not be loving or right of God to allow people who are not committed to Him and His Kingdom into heaven — look at what happened to planet earth. God is not so foolish as to allow it to happen all over again in heaven. The Bible is God’s history book and the constitution of His kingdom.
It is interesting and blessed to see Jesus’ unveiling and revealing of The Kingdom of God as recorded in the Gospel according to Matthew. John the Baptist prepared the way for the Lord by calling people to repentance because the kingdom of heaven was at hand (Matt. 3:2). Before Jesus began His ministry He was baptized by John and led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness where God allowed Him to be tried and tested by the devil. We can only assume that God intended for these two antagonists to face one-another at the outset of this great spiritual battle, which is still continuing and growing in intensity, in order to try out their spiritual weapons and strategy (Matt. 3:13-4:11). Jesus began His ministry by preaching, "Repent (change your mind for the better, heartily amend your ways, with abhorrence of your past sins), for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 4:17). Then He chose and began to train disciples to accompany Him. "And He went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the good news (Gospel) of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every weakness and infirmity among the people" (Matthew 4:23).
The kingdoms of this world are not yet a part of God’s kingdom as they shall be (Rev. 11:15). This world has rejected Christ as King and He does not yet rule over all of it, but He will when He comes back at the close of the tribulation period, and at that time His servants will fight (Rev. 19:11-21). This is why the Dominionists, Reconstructionists, and Kingdom Now movements are wrong — there is not to be any fighting to set up Christian rule over any people until Jesus accomplishes it after the tribulation. This has been the basic failure of the Church ever since A.D. 325; when the Church and State (world power) banded together under the emperor Constantine, and by about A.D. 381 they were, together, trying to physically enforce Christian rule. This is also a part of the abundant evidence that the Roman Catholic Church is not a part of the true Church, but is actually Satan’s false counterfeit church. Satan is the prince of this world (Jn. 14:27-31), and as such he exercises great authority, power and control over it; Jesus came to destroy that power and control over all who have repentance [that is due] to God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21). We need to examine the evidence that the Bible and Church history provides us, in order to decide for ourselves concerning our participation in these kingdoms.
MATTHEW 5:3-12.... Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous—with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the poor in spirit (the humble, who rate themselves insignificant), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven! Blessed and enviably happy [with a happiness produced by the experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His matchless grace] are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted! Blessed are the meek (the mild, patient, long-suffering), for they shall inherit the earth! Blessed and fortunate and happy and spiritually prosperous (in that state in which the born-again child of God enjoys His favor and salvation) are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God), for they shall be completely satisfied! Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy! Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God! Blessed are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they shall be called the sons of God! Blessed and happy and enviably fortunate and spiritually prosperous are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven! Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil things against you falsely on My account. Be glad and supremely joyful, for your reward in heaven is great (strong and intense), for in this same way people persecuted the prophets who were before you.
In this discourse recorded in chapters five through seven, that we traditionally call the sermon on the mount, Jesus first makes mention of what and who are most blessed in this life. It is most assuredly not what the world believes and seeks after: thinking little of ourselves, grieving over sinful conditions, patient and longsuffering, longing for righteousness, showing mercy, longing for purity, living peacefully, doing that which is right even though it may bring suffering upon you, remaining true to Jesus no matter what people think, say or do. To live in this way causes us great joy and peace, even now, but the fulness of it all will only be realized when we go to be with Jesus.
MATTHEW 5:13-16.... You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste (its strength, its quality), how can its saltiness be restored? It is not good for anything any longer but to be thrown out and trodden underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a peck measure, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven.
Having told us in verses three through twelve how living His way would bring great blessing to our lives; He now tells us that it is also our responsibility to live this way in order to promote righteousness and glorify God. Our lives should be an example, and have a purifying and preserving effect upon those round about us. In fact, it is the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in God’s people that prevents Satan from taking over the world completely. While we’re here, we are to warn people to flee from the penalty of sins committed before it is everlastingly too late. God expects us to live this way, and we are warned not to turn back from this pathway of life, lest we lose our effectiveness and become worthless for any good purpose.
MATTHEW 5:17-20.... Do not think that I have come to do away with or undo the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to do away with or undo but to complete and fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until the sky and earth pass away and perish, not one smallest letter nor one little hook [identifying certain Hebrew letters] will pass from the Law until all things [it foreshadows] are accomplished. Whoever then breaks or does away with or relaxes one of the least important of these commandments and teaches men so shall be called least important in the kingdom of heaven, but he who practices them and teaches others to do so shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness is more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
It may sound like Jesus is saying that we should live by all that the Old Testament Law taught. But we must keep in mind that the revealing of God’s way for us to live was a progressive revelation. Paul says, "Likewise, my brethren, you have undergone death as to the Law through the [crucified] body of Christ, so that now you may belong to Another, to Him Who was raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God" (Romans. 7:4). For the Church, the called out of this world people of God, the ceremonial law has ceased; Jesus fulfilled all their types and established a new covenant with us.
Jesus warned the people that it is not enough just to know and quote Scripture, like the scribes and Pharisees, but that we must also live by it. He said that our conduct and way of life must be better than that of the religious leaders. This may seem like Jesus is requiring too much of us, but it’s not — He will provide! If ever a well-equipped man with good intentions tried to live according to the Law, it was Paul, but in the seventh chapter of Romans he exclaims his total failure to do so. No man in his own ability can live a righteous life, but God has enabled all those who have received Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, to do so, by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit; we are thus equipped to live as Jesus instructs us here. This is how Jesus’ righteousness is imputed to us; our supply of personal righteousness was completely empty, when we believe in Jesus’ sacrifice in our behalf, He places His righteousness in our account. Isn’t that a wonderful thing for Him to do? When we truly believe this in our hearts, we will be eternally grateful and will be enabled to respond with loving obedience. See also: Rom. 3:19-31 and 1 Cor. 1:30-31.
MATTHEW 5:21-26.... You have heard that it was said to the men of old, you shall not kill, and whoever kills shall be liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the court. But I say to you that everyone who continues to be angry with his brother or harbors malice (enmity of heart) against him shall be liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the court; and whoever speaks contemptuously and insultingly to his brother shall be liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, you cursed fool! [you emptyheaded idiot]! shall be liable to and unable to escape the hell of fire. So if when you are offering your gift at the altar you there remember that your brother has any [grievance] against you, leave your gift at the altar and go. First make peace with your brother, and then come back and present your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way traveling with him, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last fraction of a penny.
Scripture says that God is love (1 Jn. 4:8), and that He has no desire that anyone should perish (2 Peter 3:9). Hatred and ill-will toward anyone are so contrary and inconsistent with the nature of God that we are unable to maintain fellowship with Him if we harbor these things in our hearts (Mat. 6:15). Jesus emphasizes that our primary concern should not be what men say, but what He personally taught and has been recorded in His Word!
MATTHEW 5:27-30.... You have heard that it was said, you shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that everyone who so much as looks at a woman with evil desire for her has already committed adultery with her is his heart. If your right eye serves as a trap to ensnare you or is an occasion for you to stumble and sin, pluck it out and throw it away. It is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be cast into hell. And if your right hand serves as a trap to ensnare you or is an occasion for you to stumble and sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better that you lose one of your members than that your entire body should be cast into hell.
Jesus is not commanding or suggesting that we should discard our physical eye or limbs, but is emphasizing the drastic measures we should employ in the effort to rid ourselves of any word, thought or deed that would corrupt and infect our heart or mind. Jesus repeatedly shows us where it is that we really live from; it is from within our heart or soul. God formed man’s body from the dust of the earth, breathed into this body His breath of life, and man became a living soul (Gen. 2:7). It is the interacting between our spirit and body, with the world around us, that our soul is developed into the person we are. What we become is of such primary importance that nothing should be allowed to spoil or ruin that image of God that He created us to be (Gen. 1:26). The following Scripture shows us the importance of keeping our heart in good condition: "Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life" (Proverbs 4:23).
MATTHEW 5:38-45.... You have heard that it was said, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, do not resist the evil man [who injures you]; but if anyone strikes you on the right jaw or cheek, turn to him the other one too. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your undershirt, let him have your coat also. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who keeps on begging from you, and do not turn away from him who would borrow [at interest] from you. You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy; but I tell you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, to show that you are the children of your Father Who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the wicked and on the good, and makes the rain fall upon the upright and the wrongdoers [alike].
When Jesus tells us to love our enemies He is referring to personal enemies, not those who are knowingly trying to destroy the Gospel or present a different gospel; for the apostle John tells us, "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine [is disloyal to what Jesus Christ taught], do not receive him [do not accept him, do not welcome or admit him] into [your] house or bid him Godspeed or give him any encouragement. For he who wishes him success [who encourages him, wishing him Godspeed] is a partaker in his evil doings" (2 Jn. 10-11), and Paul tells us, "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to and different from that which we preached to you, let him be accursed (anathema, devoted to destruction, doomed to eternal punishment)! As we said before, so I now say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel different from or contrary to that which you received [from us], let him be accursed (anathema, devoted to destruction, doomed to eternal punishment)!" (Gal. 1:8-9)
Most commentators agree that Jesus is here referring to relatively small matters and not to anything that would jeopardize our lives or livelihood. This has to do mainly with the laws of retribution which were designed to take vengeance out of the hands of private persons and commit them to the magistrates. But instead of confining it to the magistrates, the Jews had extended it to private conduct, and had made it the rule by which to take revenge. They considered themselves by this rule to inflict the same injury on others that they had received. Our Savior remonstrates against this. Adam Clark says, "He that seeks revenge or avenges himself must lose the mind of Christ. . . . Do not repel one outrage by another. . . and thus the spirit of hatred and strife are fostered. . . . We are great gainers when we lose only our money, or other property, and risk not the loss of our soul, by losing the love of God and man." The J. F. & Brown commentary says, "It is the preparedness, after one indignity, not to invite but to submit meekly to another, without retaliation. . . rather than raise quarrels."
Most would agree that discretion regarding the circumstances and desirable outcome must always be taken into account in these very touchy situations, as Jesus and Paul demonstrate. "Jesus replied, if I have said anything wrong [if I have spoken abusively, if there was evil in what I said] tell what was wrong with it. But if I spoke rightly and properly, why do you strike Me?" (John 18:23). "Then Paul said to him, God is about to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Do you sit as a judge to try me in accordance with the Law, and yet in defiance of the Law you order me to be struck?" (Acts 23:3)
The law of love is to rule over all that we think, speak, or do. There should be a readiness to suffer a wrong, rather than to make a bad situation worse; a desire, above all else, to be right with God, and as much as it depends upon us, with our fellow man also.
MATTHEW 7:13-20.... Enter through the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and spacious and broad is the way that leads away to destruction, and many are those who are entering through it. But the gate is narrow (contracted by pressure) and the way is straitened and compressed that leads away to life, and few are those who find it. Beware of false prophets, who come to you dressed as sheep, but inside they are devouring wolves. You will fully recognize them by their fruits. Do people pick grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so, every healthy (sound) tree bears good fruit [worthy of admiration], but the sickly (decaying, worthless) tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear excellent fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire. Therefore, you will fully know them by their fruits.
If good seed has been planted and watered in good soil it will produce a good tree, and a good tree will produce good fruit. When we were born into God’s kingdom, He implanted His Divine nature into us and the Holy Spirit waters and nurtures it. "No one born (begotten) of God [deliberately, knowingly, and habitually] practices sin, for God’s nature abides in him [His principle of life, the divine sperm, remains permanently within him]; and he cannot practice sinning because he is born (begotten) of God" (1 John 3:9). Jesus will expand upon this theme in chapter thirteen, and this is what James meant when he said, faith without works in dead (James 2:17). True faith will produce good works!
During the days that followed Jesus healed many who were sick and cast demons out of those who were under their control. The training of the disciples progresses as Jesus sends them out ahead of Himself to minister to those in distress (Matt. 9:36-10:15). Jesus warns them to expect difficulties, hardship and rejection (Matt. 10:16-31). Discipleship requires a commitment to the king above every other relationship. Jesus empathetically states that we cannot compromise this commitment even for the sake of family members and that this commitment may cause our family to turn against us (Matt. 10:32-39; Lk. 14:26-35).
MATTHEW 7:21-27.... Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name and driven out demons in Your name and done many mighty works in Your name? And then I will say to them openly, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who act wickedly [disregarding My commands]. So everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts upon them [obeying them] will be like a sensible (prudent, practical, wise) man who built his house upon the rock. And the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not do them will be like a stupid (foolish) man who built his house upon the sand. And the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell — and great and complete was the fall of it.
JOHN 8:31-32.... So Jesus said to those Jews who had believed in Him, If you abide in My word [hold fast to My teachings and live in accordance with them], you are truly My disciples. And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.
It’s the height of folly to think that we can live contrary to God’s Word and still have access into His kingdom. The only people who are really free are those who are totally committed to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. A true disciple spends time every day in the Word of God and at the feet of Jesus and learns of Him (Matt. 11:28-30). As he learns of Him Who is the Truth, he is kept free from the bondage of sin and this world. Jesus said, "I Am the True Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser. Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing] He cuts away (trims off, takes away); and He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit. You are cleansed and pruned already, because of the word which I have given you [the teachings I have discussed with you]" (John 15:1-3). God uses His Word to keep us free from sin, when we apply it. We risk the danger of a heart lead astray by sin, the world, and the deceitful tactics of the devil, if we neglect this time spent with the Lord and in His Word. We must learn to use God’s Word to weigh and evaluate everything that we are exposed to. Only in this way will we be able to counteract the harmful influences of the enemy, and live as we should.
MATTHEW 11:1-15.... When Jesus had finished His charge to His twelve disciples, He left there to teach and to preach in their cities. Now when John in prison heard about the activities of Christ, he sent a message by his disciples and asked Him, Are You the One Who was to come, or should we keep on expecting a different one? And Jesus replied to them, Go and report to John what you hear and see; the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is he who takes no offense at Me and finds no cause for stumbling in or through Me and is not hindered from seeing the Truth.
7Then as these men went their way, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: What did you go out in the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? What did you go out to see then? A man clothed in soft garments? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in the houses of kings. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and one [out of the common, more eminent, more remarkable, and] superior to a prophet. This is the one of Whom it is written, Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You, who shall make ready Your way before You. Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until the present time, the kingdom of heaven has endured violent assault, and violent men seize it by force [as a precious prize — a share in the heavenly kingdom is sought with most ardent zeal and intense exertion]. For all the prophets and the Law prophesied up until John. And if you are willing to receive and accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come [before the kingdom]. He who has ears to hear, let him be listening and let him consider and perceive and comprehend by hearing.
Many today believe that people were drawn to Jesus by His appearance and presentation, but Scripture says, "For [the Servant of God] grew up before Him like a tender plant, and like a root out of dry ground; He has no form or comeliness [royal, kingly pomp], that we should look at Him, and no beauty that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected and forsaken by men, a Man of sorrows and pains, and acquainted with grief and sickness; and like One from Whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we did not appreciate His worth or have any esteem for Him" (Isaiah 53:2-3). Jesus warned the people that their personal likes, dislikes, preferences, and prejudices could prevent them seeing or comprehending the Truth.
Jesus uses this inquiry by John’s disciples to begin to explain, here and on through chapter thirteen, some of the things pertaining to the kingdom of heaven or of God. He wants them to know what the kingdom of God is like and what will be required of those who desire to be a part of it. The questions and comments that He addressed to these people are well worth our consideration. Three times Jesus asked them, "What did you go out to see"; what is motivating your search and curiosity? In order that we might not seek the kingdom of God for the wrong reasons, Jesus informs us that His kingdom is not like the kingdoms of this world (Lk. 22:24-30). Like John, kingdom of God soldiers are not swayed by every wind of doctrine (Eph. 4:14), or rumors that God is working over here or over there (Matt. 24:23-28); they stay on the battle line where they’re put; they are not moved by the popular in-thing, the majority vote or the threats of the people; they are not concerned about the latest fashions and the things that the world calls important and strives after. Jesus said, If you went out to see a prophet, know that he is that and much more; of all those who have been once-born (of woman), John is the greatest, but all of those who have been twice-born (of the Spirit) are greater than he. This has nothing to do with the quality of men; Jesus is speaking of the superior quality of the new covenant that He was about to establish with man. The reason that men under this covenant and in this kingdom will be greater is because God Himself, as we shall see, will be their power for living. From the time that John first began to announce the coming of the kingdom, men began to try to force their way into it (Lk. 16:16). If a kingdom here on earth is desirable, how much more a heavenly one? The Law and the Prophets of old were for the nation of Israel and an earthly kingdom, but the kingdom that Jesus came to establish in our hearts is a heavenly one and we must hear well what Jesus is saying if we expect to have a share in this kingdom!
After the above discourse Jesus begins to accuse and reprove the people of His generation. He finds them to be like little children — no matter how the Truth is presented to them they cannot receive it. He then declares that the work that He had done among them should have caused them to turn away from a life of sin and an acceptance of Him as their Savior, but it didn’t (Matt. 11:16-25). Then Jesus reveals the reason for their unbelief — God has hidden these things from them because of their pride or reliance upon their own reasoning ability, but has revealed them to those who are teachable (Matt. 11:26-27). He has much more to say concerning their lack of acceptance as we proceed through this study.
MATTHEW 11:27-30.... All things have been entrusted and delivered to Me by My Father; and no one fully knows and accurately understands the Son except the Father, and no one fully knows and accurately understands the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son deliberately wills to make Him known. Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will fine rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good — not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.
Here is the most gracious and blessed invitation ever extended unto man. Those who truly come to Jesus will be introduced to the Heavenly Father, and Jesus will be their ever-present help in time of trouble. Jesus is the Christian’s tranquilizer and they have no need or desire for the devil’s substitute (Prov. 3:1-2; Jn. 14:19-27; Jn. 16:33).
MATTHEW 13:10-17.... Then the disciples came to Him and said, Why do You speak to them in parables? And He replied to them, To you it has been given to know the secrets and mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has [spiritual knowledge], to him will more be given and he will be furnished richly so that he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is the reason that I speak to them in parables; because having the power of seeing, they do not see; and having the power of hearing, they do not hear, nor do they grasp and understand. In them indeed is the process of fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah, which says; You shall indeed hear and hear but never grasp and understand; and you shall indeed look and look but never see and perceive. For this nation’s heart has grown gross (fat and dull), and their ears heavy and difficult of hearing, and their eyes they have tightly closed, lest they see and perceive with their eyes, and hear and comprehend the sense with their ears, and grasp and understand with their heart, and turn and I should heal them. But blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) are your eyes because they do see, and your ears because they do hear. Truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous men [men who were upright and in right standing with God] yearned to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
The question that the disciples asked of Jesus was not for an explanation of what He had just said, but why He had spoken to them in parables instead of clearly telling the people what He meant. Have you ever wondered why the Lord didn’t, except on rare occasions, just come right out and tell the people who He was and what He had come to do? Well, Jesus answers these questions throughout the remainder of this thirteenth chapter, and it’s very important for us to clearly understand the reasons that He gives.
As Jesus begins to answer their question, He first informs them that there are many secrets and mysteries to God’s kingdom, and that they are given or revealed to some but withheld or concealed from others. He explains that statement by saying that these secrets are given to those who already have some knowledge of God and His kingdom. He then states why He spoke to the people in parables. It is because they all have the ability to see and to hear, but they won’t do it. Then He uses the prophecy of Isaiah (Isa. 6:9-10) to explain why the people won’t see and hear; it is because their hearts are so full of everything else that they have no desire or room for the things of God. Notice that Jesus says the people themselves have tightly closed their eyes; it is not God keeping the Truth from them; they have no heart for the Word of God! And notice that the way to repentance is by perceiving with the eyes, to comprehend by hearing, and grasp and understand with the heart, and thus to be healed. It is with the heart that we understand, believe, and are saved (Rom. 10:9-10). This is why we are told to be careful what we allow in our hearts (Prov. 4:23); because what’s in our heart directs the course of our life. Do we fill our hearts with a knowledge of God and His will so that He can reign there, or are they stuffed with selfish desires and the garbage of this world?
Then Jesus tells His twelve disciples that their eyes and ears are blessed because they do see and hear — not that they understand everything, but they are learning, and that was the difference between the twelve and the other people. Desiring, seeking, learning and applying — that’s what makes a disciple (Jn. 8:30-32), and that was why Jesus could say that their eyes and ears were blessed, and why Jesus went on to explain to them the meaning of the parable. Remember Jesus’ words, "Do not give that which is holy (the sacred thing) to the dogs, and do not throw your pearls before hogs, lest they trample upon them with their feet and turn and tear you in pieces" (Matthew 7:6). We can see by Jesus’ actions here that He practiced what He preached! He did not give the precious truths about God and His kingdom to those who had no appreciation for them; those who would only ridicule and turn upon those who proclaimed them. They were given only enough to know Who to turn to when they were really interested in and had a heart for knowing the Truth. "If any man desires to do His will (God’s pleasure), he will know (have the needed illumination to recognize, and can tell for himself) whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking from Myself and of My own accord and on My own authority" (John 7:17).
We can now better understand God’s dealings with king David, because God Himself said that David was a man after His own heart — David had a heart for God! "Be careful therefore how you listen. For to him who has [spiritual knowledge], will more be given; and from him who does not have [spiritual knowledge], even what he thinks and guesses and supposes that he has will be taken away" (Luke 8:18). This is a frightening Scripture, this should shake us and wake us up! The following Scripture says that the Israelites missed out with God because they did not prepare their hearts to know Him. "And might not be as their fathers — a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that set not their hearts aright nor prepared their hearts to know God, and whose spirits were not steadfast and faithful to God" (Psalm 78:8). The condition of our heart is our own responsibility; we must eat the right spiritual food and learn to exercise faith in God to be strong and spiritually fit; and when we neglect these endeavors we will lose the health and strength we previously gained.
To show them just how blessed or privileged they were, Jesus tells them that many of God’s Old Testament saints yearned to know more about God’s plans for the future, but were not allowed to. Not necessarily because they were not worthy, but they really had no need for it. Remember that Jesus said that up until John there was the Law and the prophets (Matt. 11:13). But now God is doing a new thing, and a new covenant has been given wherein God indwells us, and reigns in our hearts by His Holy Spirit in preparation for the Millennial reign of Christ and the Eternal Kingdom of God.
Jesus gives us a total of seven parables in this chapter. In God’s Word the number seven usually designates completeness, such as, in seven days God finished all of creation and rested. So with these seven parables Jesus reveals to those who have ears that really hear, a general-over-all picture of what the kingdom of heaven or of God is really like. We can be sure that Jesus will give us additional information as it is needed. It’s important that we know these truths, in order that we might be saved from a lot of un-necessary trouble or difficulties as we grow in the grace and knowledge of God.
A parable uses that which is common knowledge to compare and illustrate truth that the hearer does not yet understand. The validity of the common knowledge is meant to be proof of the truth presented. Whereas, an allegory usually contains, in itself, the proof and explanation of what is being presented (Jn. 15:1-10). An allegory seems to be more descriptive and explanatory.
MATTHEW 13:18-23.... Listen then to the [meaning of the] parable of the sower: While anyone is hearing the Word of the kingdom and does not grasp and comprehend it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the roadside. As for what was sown on thin (rocky) soil, this is he who hears the Word and at once welcomes and accepts it with joy; yet it has no real root in him, but is temporary (inconstant, lasts but a little while); and when affliction or trouble or persecution comes on account of the Word, at once he is caused to stumble [he is repelled and begins to distrust and desert Him Whom he ought to trust and obey] and he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is he who hears the Word, but the cares of the world and the pleasure and delight and glamour and deceitfulness of riches choke and suffocate the Word, and it yields no fruit. As for what was sown on good soil, this is he who hears the Word and grasps and comprehends it; he indeed bears fruit and yields in one case a hundred times as much as was sown, in another sixty times as much, and in another thirty.
Jesus wants us to know that the result of the preaching of the Gospel, if it is proclaimed accurately (2 Tim. 2:15), does not depend upon the preacher, but rather upon the desire or heart condition of the hearer. This is why Jesus said, "Be careful therefore how you listen" (Lk. 8:18). Jesus says that the seed is the Word or teaching of the kingdom that is sown in the soil of individual hearts that will, if properly attended, produce the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23); etc., etc.. Now here are some of the heart conditions that we will encounter, in ourselves and others, that will cause crop failure.
The first hearer (the roadside heart that is hard and not capable of penetration) does not welcome, accept, or allow the seed to enter his heart, and so the devil just snatches it right out of his mind. Therefore he does not understand the meaning or the value of it, and he is not benefitted by it. This ground will require some preparation or plowing before the seed can penetrate.
The second hearer (the thin, rocky soil) rejoices in the thought of being a part of the kingdom of God and the benefits thereof, but has no heart or desire to endure the hardships. This hearer is desiring a spiritual welfare program; he is not interested in working in the kingdom of God.
The third hearer (the thorny soil) has an interest in the kingdom of God, but he is more interested in the things of this world. So not being able to love or serve two masters he puts his effort and labor toward a fleshly, worldly crop, and produces no spiritual benefits. He probably still attends church and may even be a real born-again child of God; the tares so resemble the real wheat that we cannot know for sure, but God does.
There is no greater failure than the one who gains the whole world, but loses his soul; he worked all his life for nothing but a miserable eternity. With the fourth and last hearer the crop failures stop, and the produce begins to come forth.
The fourth hearer (the good soil) desires to know the whole truth concerning the kingdom of God, because he wants to spend his life working for something that is truly worthwhile and lasting. Some good ground produces more than others because there is good, and then there is better.
The Lord is going to enlarge upon all these things as He continues, because He wants the disciples to know what they are up against, and how to conduct themselves when He sends them out to proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom.
MATTHEW 13:24-30.... Another parable He set forth before them, saying, the kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while he was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed also darnel (weeds resembling wheat) among the wheat, and went on his way. So when the plants sprouted and formed grain, the darnel (weeds) appeared also. And the servants of the owner came to him and said, Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? Then how does it have darnel shoots in it? He replied to them, an enemy has done this. The servants said to him, then do you want us to go and weed them out? But he said, no, lest in gathering the wild wheat (weeds resembling wheat), you root up the [true] wheat along with it. Let them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will say to the reapers, gather the darnel first and bind it in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my granary.
In this second parable, which Jesus explains later in verses 37-43, He wants us to realize that the devil will always follow the preaching or sowing of the Gospel Seed with his lies and pretenders. Don’t be surprised or discouraged because of people in the Church who profess to be Christians, but their produce is not fit for food. God does not expect us to endeavor to identify and remove the pretenders, unless specifically directed (1 Cor. 5:1-8), because we could ignorantly injure or destroy a true child of God. We should not go looking for trouble, but should always hold fast to the Truth of God’s Word, and not give in to those who distort the Truth and thus endanger the spiritual lives of God’s people.
MATTHEW 13:31-33.... Another story by way of comparison He set forth before them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field. Of all the seeds it is the smallest, but when it has grown it is the largest of the garden herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and find shelter in its branches. He told them another parable: The kingdom of heaven is like leaven (sour dough) which a woman took and covered over in three measures of meal or flour till all of it was leavened.
These two parables, the third and the fourth, were spoken to the crowds, see verses 34-36. The presentation of the kingdom of heaven had a small, humble, seemingly insignificant beginning. Neither Jesus nor John the Baptist were men of renown who established themselves in the economy of this world in order to be leaders of some new movement or government. But the end result of this humble beginning will be bigger and better than any other, and whosoever will, may come. The Kingdom of God will have a representation and accompanying effect upon every generation right up until Jesus comes, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it!
MATTHEW 13:37-43.... He answered, He Who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed means the children of the kingdom; the darnel is the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed it is the devil. The harvest is the close and consummation of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the darnel (the weeds, the wild wheat) is gathered and burned with fire, so it will be at the close of the age. The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all causes of offense [persons by whom others are drawn into error or sin] and all who do iniquity and act wickedly, and will cast them into the furnace of fire; there will be weeping and wailing and grinding of teeth. Then will the righteous (those who are upright and in right standing with God) shine forth like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let him who has ears [to hear] be listening, and let him consider and perceive and understand by hearing.
At the request of the twelve disciples (36), the Lord explains the meaning of the second parable in this series concerning the darnel in the field. The seed in this parable, instead of being kingdom principles sown in the hearts of individuals as in the first parable, are people who have become children of God and belong to His kingdom. Since the field is the whole world, we understand that Jesus has His people, and the devil has his people at various places throughout this planet. The reason that the devil deliberately planted these counterfeits is to cause problems and hindrances that cause people to stumble and fall, or to remain blind to the salvation that God has offered in Christ Jesus. And this is the reason that God must deal with them as Jesus explained.
MATTHEW 13:44-46.... The kingdom of heaven is like something precious buried in a field, which a man found and hid again; then in his joy he goes and sells all he has and buys that field. Again the kingdom of heaven is like a man who is a dealer in search of fine and precious pearls, who, on finding a single pearl of great price, went and sold all he had and bought it.
In the fifth and sixth parables, Jesus endeavors to show us the immense value and benefit of having a part in His kingdom; there is nothing in all the world of greater value! It reminds me of Jesus’ answer to the rich young ruler who asked the question, "What shall I do to inherit eternal life? . . sell all that you have . . . and come follow Me" (Lk. 18:18-22).
MATTHEW 13:47-50.... Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet which was cast into the sea and gathered in fish of every sort. When it was full, men dragged it up on the beach, and sat down and sorted out the good fish into baskets, but the worthless ones they threw away. So it will be at the close and consummation of the age. The angels will go forth and separate the wicked from the righteous and cast them into the furnace of fire; there will be weeping and wailing and grinding of teeth.
This seventh and last parable conveys the same truth as the second. Farmers could relate to the second parable because they hate weeds in their crops. This seventh parable was spoken and explained to the disciples, many of whom were fishermen, and they could understand and have a feeling for working hard at pulling in a heavy net only to have to throw away a bunch of uneatable fish. But they would also realize the necessity of having to go though that process in order to get some good fish that were fit to eat. The necessity in both parables is to realize that there will be a harvest and a separation; those who have been a hindrance instead of a help in God’s kingdom will be cast into the furnace.
MATTHEW 13:51-52.... Have you understood all these things [parables] taken together? They said to Him, Yes, Lord. He said to them, Therefore every teacher and interpreter of the Sacred Writings who has been instructed about and trained for the kingdom of heaven and has become a disciple is like a householder who brings forth out of his storehouse treasure that is new and [treasure that is] old [the fresh as well as the familiar].
Jesus has used these parables to set before us, as with the nation of Israel, a blessing and a curse; and we must choose which we prefer and act upon it. Feed God’s people well-balanced meals from the whole of God’s Word! Peter, do you love Me? . . . Feed My sheep (Jn. 21:17). See the Scripture below to see something strikingly new, but based upon and proceeding from the old.
ROMANS 1:1-7.... From Paul, a bond servant of Jesus Christ (the Messiah) called to be an apostle, (a special messenger) set apart to preach the Gospel (good news) of and from God, which He promised in advance [long ago] through His prophets in the sacred Scriptures — [The Gospel] regarding His Son, Who as to the flesh (His human nature) was descended from David, and [as to His divine nature] according to the Spirit of holiness was openly designated the Son of God in power [in a striking, triumphant and miraculous manner] by His resurrection from the dead, even Jesus Christ our Lord (the Messiah, the Anointed One). It is through Him that we have received grace and [our] apostleship to promote obedience to the faith and make disciples for His name’s sake among all the nations, and this includes you, called of Jesus Christ and invited [as you are] to belong to Him. To [you then] all God’s beloved ones in Rome, called to be saints and designated for a consecrated life: Grace and spiritual blessing and peace be yours from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
JOHN 14:9-18.... Jesus replied, have I been with all of you for so long a time, and do you not recognize and know Me yet, Philip? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say then, show us the Father? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in Me? What I am telling you I do not say on My own authority and of My own accord; but the Father Who lives continually in Me does the (His) works (His own miracles, deeds of power).
11Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me; or else believe Me for the sake of the [very] works themselves. [If you cannot trust Me, at least let these works that I do in My Father’s name convince you.] I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, if anyone steadfastly believes in Me, he will himself be able to do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these, because I go to the Father. And I will do [I Myself will grant] whatever you ask in My Name [as presenting all that I AM], so that the Father may be glorified and extolled in (through) the Son. [Yes] I will grant [I Myself will do for you] whatever you shall ask in My Name [as presenting all that I AM].
15If you [really] love Me, you will keep (obey) My commands. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever — the Spirit of Truth, Whom the world cannot receive (welcome, take to its heart), because it does not see Him or know and recognize Him. But you know and recognize Him, for He lives with you [constantly] and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans [comfortless, desolate, bereaved, forlorn, helpless]; I will come [back] to you.
Jesus is preparing us to realize that power and effectiveness lie not in ourselves, but in our identity and union with Him; just as His power and effectiveness sprang from His identity and union with the Father. In verse ten Jesus said that the very words He was speaking were from the Father that was living in Him. And in verse twelve He says that we shall be able to do the things that He has done, when we believe in Him. He was going back to heaven, and there needed to be someone here to tell the people about God’s salvation. To truly ask in the name of Jesus is to ask knowing who Jesus is, and that He is in us and we are in Him; just as the Father lived in Him and He in the Father. Jesus tells us, in verse twenty, that when the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us we will know that all these relationships are so; and in verse twenty-one He says that this awareness is only for those who show their true love for God by their obedience. In the following verses in John 15:1-10, Jesus reemphasizes some of the same truths; when God speaks twice, we ought to pay special attention!
JOHN 15:1-10.... I Am the True Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser. Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing] He cuts away (trims off, takes away); and He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit. You are cleansed and pruned already, because of the word which I have given you [the teachings I have discussed with you].
4Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you]. Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me. I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing. If a person does not dwell in Me, he is thrown out like a [broken-off] branch, and withers; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, and they are burned. If you live in Me and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.
8When you bear much fruit, My Father is honored and glorified, and you show and prove yourselves to be true followers of Mine. I have loved you, [just] as the Father has loved Me; abide in My love [continue in His love with Me]. If you keep My commandments [if you continue to obey My instructions], you will abide in My love and live on in it, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commandments and live on in His love.
Having explained, in chapter fourteen, the vital union and relationship required for the kind of life that Christ expects them to live; He now reinforces that with additional information by the use of the example or parable of the grape vine. There is only one Vine that can give the life energy necessary for the branches, and that is Christ. God is carefully watching this relationship between Christ and the branches, and He cleans and prunes these branches so that they will produce good fruit. Any branch that does not bear fruit is cut off. We are informed that the way we are kept clean is through an application of the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ. Then we are reminded of the absolute necessity of abiding in Christ, for without that attachment we can’t do one blessed thing that is acceptable to God, and we would be in danger of being cut off permanently. There are three things required of us if we expect Jesus to help us when we ask Him in prayer: We must be living vitally united to Him, we must know His Word, and it must be alive and activated in our hearts. Living this way guarantees fruitfulness, honor to God, and proof of our discipleship.
The way we are to abide in His love is to obey His commandments; this will result in productive and effective service and answered prayer. Jesus reminds us that this is the only way that we can experience His personal joy and gladness — perfect submission, perfect delight (Blessed Assurance).
JOHN 16:7-15.... However, I am telling you nothing but the truth when I say it is profitable (good, expedient, advantageous) for you that I go away. Because if I do not go away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I go away, I will send Him to you. And when He comes, He will convict and convince the world and bring demonstration to it about sin and about righteousness and about judgment: About sin, because they do not believe in Me; about righteousness, because I go to My Father, and you will see Me no longer; about judgment, because the ruler (evil genius, prince) of this world [Satan] is judged and condemned and sentience already is passed upon him.
12I have still many things to say to you, but you are not able to bear them or to take them upon you or to grasp them now. But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth). For He will not speak His own message [on His own authority]; but He will tell whatever He hears [from the Father; He will give the message that has been given to Him], and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come [that will happen in the future]. He will honor and glorify Me, because He will take of what is Mine and will reveal (declare, disclose, transmit) it to you. Everything that the Father has is Mine. That is what I meant when I said that He [the Spirit] will take the things that are Mine and will reveal it to you.
In this section and in several other portions throughout chapters 14 through 17, Jesus speaks of the absolute personhood of the Father, Himself and the Holy Spirit, and substantiates the oneness and unity of the Godhead or Triune God. These four chapters are unique and priceless, giving us the most blessed and precious information and instruction ever uttered by our Lord; there is a rich, deep well of living water here.
Jesus was getting ready to leave this world and to go back to the Father, and the Holy Spirit would be sent to indwell God’s people, especially the disciples, to enable them to effectively proclaim Jesus as Savior. There were three things that the Holy Spirit came to convince mankind of: That sin has separated us from God and the only way that we can be reconciled back to Him is through believing that Jesus paid the price for our redemption; the Holy Spirit would take the vacated place of Jesus to demonstrate the righteousness of God through the disciples; judgement upon all the ungodly is certain, there will be no exceptions or excuses, not even for God’s highest angel, the anointed cherub – Satan (Ezek. 28:14). Jesus informs them that there is much more for them to learn, and that the Holy Spirit would take up where He left off in their education and guide them into all that we need to know about Jesus. Jesus reinforces what He had said about being One with the Father, by stating that they both possess the same qualities and things.
There is only one way to live a successful Christian life; by the power and ability that the Holy Spirit gives to those who love and obey God!
ROMANS 8:1-4.... Therefore, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh [the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh [subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice], so that the righteous and just requirement of the Law might be fully met in us who live and move not in the ways of the flesh but in the ways of the Spirit [our lives governed not by the standards and according to the dictates of the flesh, but controlled by the Holy Spirit].
GALATIANS 2:20-21.... I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me. [Therefore, I do not treat God’s gracious gift as something of minor importance and defeat its very purpose]; I do not set aside and invalidate and frustrate and nullify the grace of God. For if justification (righteousness, acquittal from guilt) comes through [observing the ritual of] the Law, then Christ died groundlessly and to no purpose and in vain. [His death was then wholly superfluous.]
When we trust these promises of God to be true and set our minds upon being obedient to the Spirit, Christ lives His perfect life in and through us by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. If we do not believe God in this way, as Paul says above, we set aside, invalidate, frustrate and nullify the grace of God in our behalf.
EPHESIANS 2:4-7.... But God — so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us, even when we were dead by shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation). And He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together [giving us joint seating with Him] in the heavenly sphere [by virtue of our being] in Christ Jesus. He did this that He might clearly demonstrate through the ages to come the immeasurable riches of His free grace in kindness and goodness of heart toward us in Christ Jesus.
COLOSSIANS 3:1-5.... If then you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth. For [as far as this world is concerned] you have died, and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, Who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in [the splendor of His] glory. So kill (deaden, deprive of power) the evil desire lurking in your members [those animal impulses and all that is earthly in you that is employed in sin]: sexual vice, impurity, sensual appetites, unholy desires, and all greed and covetousness, for that is idolatry (the deifying of self and other created things instead of God).
These are accomplished facts; when Jesus said — "it is finished" — it was done; it was a completed and a full and an adequate salvation that fully satisfied the just requirements of God, and made available to us His power to live by!