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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On this page we will begin our study of what Jesus taught about spirituality or living a spiritual life in and with Him. We will be examining the 14th and 15th chapters of the Gospel of John; I use the term examining instead of studying because if we did a study of these two chapters we would encounter many other issues, themes and subjects not necessarily relevant to the subject we are concentrating on.
Another related subject that we need to mention, but will not dwell upon, is Satan’s counterfeit spirituality of spiritism, spiritualism or mysticism which are terms usually associated with communicating with evil spirits. Many who call themselves Christians, and even some who truly are Christians have been deceived by evil spirits thinking they are communicating with God.
The way that we can know the difference between spirituality and mysticism is by relying only and completely upon the Word of God for our understanding and practice of spiritual life in Christ, this we will attempt to do in this series and on this website.
It is not an easy task to change the way that people have been accustom to think, reason and believe, nor can it be accomplished in a short time; but this was one of the main reasons of Jesus’ earthly ministry. The transition from the old covenant to the new, or the Law to Grace, or the physical to the spiritual all speak of or refer to the same thing. This transition is still in process and must be understood from a Biblical perspective or it becomes very confusing and difficult. When Jesus tried to explain about being born again to "a certain man among the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler (a leader, an authority) among the Jews" (John 3:1), Nicodemus replied, "How can all this be possible?" (John 3:9). Jesus response to this question illustrates to us just how difficult something new may be even to the most capable of men: "Are you the teacher of Israel, and yet do not know nor understand these things? [Are they strange to you?]" (John 3:10). Even after two or three years of personal instruction from Jesus, the disciples still failed to grasp much of what Jesus had spoken unto them (Jn. 20:29).
This is further illustrated by the apostle Paul in the following passage:
2 CORINTHIANS 3:5-6; 16-18.... Not that we are fit (qualified and sufficient in ability) of ourselves to form personal judgments or to claim or count anything as coming from us, but our power and ability and sufficiency are from God. [It is He] Who has qualified us [making us to be fit and worthy and sufficient] as ministers and dispensers of a new covenant [of salvation through Christ], not [ministers] of the letter (of legally written code) but of the Spirit; for the code [of the Law] kills, but the [Holy] Spirit makes alive. [Jer 31:31.] . . . .
16But whenever a person turns [in repentance] to the Lord, the veil is stripped off and taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (emancipation from bondage, freedom). [Isa. 61:1,2] And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit.
This is the purpose and process of spiritual growth, and what we hope and pray to accomplish with this website and present series; to lift this veil that lies upon our hearts so that we may see ever more clearly what Christ has accomplished for us and made available to us. And as we can see from the above paragraph, the study of God’s Word lifts this veil, revealing Jesus to us and changing us into His likeness. So let us begin by examining what Jesus declared to the disciples on the night that He was arrested.
JOHN 14:1-31.... DO NOT let your hearts be troubled (distressed, agitated). You believe in and adhere to and trust in and rely on God; believe in and adhere to and trust in and rely also on Me. In My Father's house there are many dwelling places (homes). If it were not so, I would have told you; for I am going away to prepare a place for you. And when (if) I go and make ready a place for you, I will come back again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also. And [to the place] where I am going, you know the way.
The disciples had no idea of the details of Jesus’ soon departure, even though Jesus had repeatedly told them concerning His arrest, death and resurrection, but He goes on to explain to them and thus reassure them that through a spiritual ministry he would continue to help and take care of them. Thus, the transition from the physical to the spiritual begins.
5Thomas said to Him, Lord, we do not know where You are going, so how can we know the way? Jesus said to him, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me. If you had known Me [had learned to recognize Me], you would also have known My Father. From now on, you know Him and have seen Him. Philip said to Him, Lord, show us the Father [cause us to see the Father--that is all we ask]; then we shall be satisfied.
This is how spiritual life opens up unto us, as we increasingly learn to know Jesus personally, not just about Him, but to know, understand, believe and rely upon Him and what He has accomplished for us as revealed in the Scriptures, and this is why it is so important to be prayerfully and daily in the Word of God!
9Jesus 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). Believe 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. [Ex. 3:14] [Yes] I will grant [I Myself will do for you] whatever you shall ask in My Name [as presenting all that I AM].
Here is one of the vast differences between physical and spiritual life; the connection and communication of the spiritual so transcends the mere physical that it is very difficult for us to understand and communicate it. Nevertheless, by the help of the Holy Spirit we can if we sincerely desire it and put forth the effort. Jesus said, "Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me"; He cannot mean dwelling in the Father in a physical body, but He is referring to a spiritual connection or union – one that He later makes clear we can experience and enjoy as well.
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. Just a little while now, and the world will not see Me any more, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. At that time [when that day comes] you will know [for yourselves] that I am in My Father, and you [are] in Me, and I [am] in you.
The fact of our connection or union with the Godhead could not be more emphatically or clearly stated than in the above paragraph. To help and aid us in developing our new spiritual life, God has given every born-again believer the indwelling Holy Spirit. We should expect to be increasingly enlightened as we progress through these four chapters.
21The person who has My commands and keeps them is the one who [really] loves Me; and whoever [really] loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I [too] will love him and will show (reveal, manifest) Myself to him. [I will let Myself be clearly seen by him and make Myself real to him.] Judas, not Iscariot, asked Him, Lord, how is it that You will reveal Yourself [make Yourself real] to us and not to the world? Jesus answered, If a person [really] loves Me, he will keep My word [obey My teaching]; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home (abode, special dwelling place) with him. Anyone who does not [really] love Me does not observe and obey My teaching. And the teaching which you hear and heed is not Mine, but [comes] from the Father Who sent Me.
Here is the condition required to establish and experience this spiritual union. There is an old hymn that says, "Trust and obey, for there’s no other way; to be happy in Jesus, than to trust and obey." This is the simplified, in-a-nutshell instruction for living a successful and faithful Christian life, and we should not expect to make much progress unless we follow it.
25I have told you these things while I am still with you. But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you. Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]
Even though Jesus tells us that we have been given the indwelling Holy Spirit and His peace, He still found it necessary to instruct us not to allow our hearts to be troubled, reminding us that we must learn to be workers together with God; "Laboring together [as God's fellow workers] with Him then, we beg of you not to receive the grace of God in vain [that merciful kindness by which God exerts His holy influence on souls and turns them to Christ, keeping and strengthening them--do not receive it to no purpose]" (2 Cor. 6:1).
28You heard Me tell you, I am going away and I am coming [back] to you. If you [really] loved Me, you would have been glad, because I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater and mightier than I am. And now I have told you [this] before it occurs, so that when it does take place you may believe and have faith in and rely on Me. I will not talk with you much more, for the prince (evil genius, ruler) of the world is coming. And he has no claim on Me. [He has nothing in common with Me; there is nothing in Me that belongs to him, and he has no power over Me.] But [Satan is coming and] I do as the Father has commanded Me, so that the world may know (be convinced) that I love the Father and that I do only what the Father has instructed Me to do. [I act in full agreement with His orders.] Rise, let us go away from here.
Faith, confidence and reliance in what Christ has accomplished and provided for us, is the starting point in a long journey that will eventually lead us safely to our heavenly home that He went away to prepare for us.
JOHN 15:1-11.... 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 (being vitally united to) 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 (abundant) 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 [abide vitally united to 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. When you bear (produce) much fruit, My Father is honored and glorified, and you show and prove yourselves to be true followers of Mine.
The above paragraph explains why so much of the effort in Christendom produces little or no productive results, and we all think that this is only true of the other fellow and fail or refuse to "Examine and test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruits of it. Test and prove yourselves [not Christ]. Do you not yourselves realize and know [thoroughly by an ever-increasing experience] that Jesus Christ is in you--unless you are [counterfeits] disapproved on trial and rejected?" (2 Cor. 13:5). I know that these are harsh words, but in light of the current condition of the Church we must realize the necessity to examine what we believe and are holding on to.
Notice that in the above paragraph Paul mentions the necessity of knowing that Jesus Christ truly abides in us, and Jesus mentions in the preceding paragraph that for this to be true of us we must dwell or abide in Him – spiritually. Therefore, this study about or concerning spirituality appears to one of our greatest needs, but most Christians seem to give it little attention and dismiss it as something that is all God’s responsibility and none of our own.
Jesus is showing us in the above passages the importance of dwelling or abiding in Him, that is, to continue in or to remain true to His teachings and instructions, and not depart from them or neglect them. He is teaching us how to live the normal Christian life, not the nominal or popular one we see in much of the world today!
He is talking about living with Him in the same way, but even a more blessed way, as the first disciples did -- they went where He went, they did what He instructed them to, they said what He gave them to say, and they lived where He lived. This is what dwelling or living in Christ is all about. It is the way of a disciple, Jesus put it this way in Matt. 16:24-26: "Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also]. For whoever is bent on saving his [temporal] life [his comfort and security here] shall lose it [eternal life]; and whoever loses his life [his comfort and security here] for My sake shall find it [life everlasting]. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life [his blessed life in the kingdom of God]? Or what would a man give as an exchange for his [blessed] life [in the kingdom of God]?"
9I 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. I have told you these things, that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy and gladness may be of full measure and complete and overflowing.
JOHN 15:12-21.... This is My commandment: that you love one another [just] as I have loved you. No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends. You are My friends if you keep on doing the things which I command you to do. I do not call you servants (slaves) any longer, for the servant does not know what his master is doing (working out). But I have called you My friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from My Father. [I have revealed to you everything that I have learned from Him.] You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed you [I have planted you], that you might go and bear fruit and keep on bearing, and that your fruit may be lasting [that it may remain, abide], so that whatever you ask the Father in My Name [as presenting all that I AM], He may give it to you.
17This is what I command you: that you love one another. If the world hates you, know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you belonged to the world, the world would treat you with affection and would love you as its own. But because you are not of the world [no longer one with it], but I have chosen (selected) you out of the world, the world hates (detests) you. Remember that I told you, A servant is not greater than his master [is not superior to him]. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word and obeyed My teachings, they will also keep and obey yours. But they will do all this to you [inflict all this suffering on you] because of [your bearing] My name and on My account, for they do not know or understand the one Who sent Me.
The more time we spend at the feet of Jesus with an open Bible, the better equipped we will increasingly become to experience the fulness of the Spirit and of our relationship with God!