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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It is interesting to recognize, not only in others, but in our own personal lives just how long it takes for the facts we know to become a living reality to us. This is illustrated by the fact that those closest to Jesus during His earthly ministry failed to grasp the spiritual meaning of much of what He lived and taught. Therefore, about two years after His resurrection Jesus personally revealed Himself to Paul and then took him into Arabia (Gal. 1:17) where Paul apparently spent about the same amount of time as the other disciples being instructed of the Lord regarding our further spiritual development.
One last thought to share at this time is the letter of 1st John which can be thought of as a checklist of attitudes and actions that can be used as a gage to judge whether we are making progress or not by the use of his phrase, "by this you shall know" or some such equivalent. We will have more regarding the instruments and the methods that God has used in the next or third part of this series.
JOHN 16:1-15.... I have told you all these things, so that you should not be offended (taken unawares and falter, or be caused to stumble and fall away). [I told you to keep you from being scandalized and repelled.] They will put you out of (expel you from) the synagogues; but an hour is coming when whoever kills you will think and claim that he has offered service to God. And they will do this because they have not known the Father or Me. But I have told you these things now, so that when they occur you will remember that I told you of them. I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you.
In preparing the disciples for His soon departure and the ministry of the Holy Spirit, Jesus first warns them that those who don’t know God will be their enemies, some will even attempt to kill them. We need to realize what He is saying and be prepared, because the same things can happen to us.
5But now I am going to Him Who sent Me, yet none of you asks Me, Where are You going? But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts [taken complete possession of them]. 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 (Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you [into close fellowship with you]; but if I go away, I will send Him to you [to be in close fellowship with you]. And when He comes, He will convict and convince the world and bring demonstration to it about sin and about righteousness (uprightness of heart and right standing with God) and about judgment: About sin, because they do not believe in Me [trust in, rely on, and adhere to Me]; about righteousness (uprightness of heart and right standing with God), 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 sentence already is passed upon him.
Jesus was somewhat limited, during His earthly ministry, because He was confined to a physical human body, but the Holy Spirit is able to live within each individual, thus because they are one, Jesus also lives within us and we in Him. This is all part of what Jesus accomplished for us by His death, burial and resurrection – Oh what a salvation this, that Christ liveth in me!
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 (receive, draw upon) 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 (declare, disclose, transmit) it to you.
It is interesting to note that previously Jesus had told His disciples, "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" (John 15:15).] But in the above paragraph He says that He still has many things to tell or reveal to them, but they are not able to grasp them at this time, however the Holy Spirit will lead them into all that they need to know. Even though Jesus had a great amount of knowledge to draw upon, He only revealed or spoke those things that the Father told Him to. So we are alerted to the fact that as we become more spiritually capable of handling what we have already received, God will be able to use us more effectively.
If we consider what Jesus said in the two above paragraphs, along with the following portions of Scripture we will begin to understand why Jesus was so successful in what He set out to do, and why we usually are not. "I am able to do nothing from Myself [independently, of My own accord--but only as I am taught by God and as I get His orders]. Even as I hear, I judge [I decide as I am bidden to decide. As the voice comes to Me, so I give a decision], and My judgment is right (just, righteous), because I do not seek or consult My own will [I have no desire to do what is pleasing to Myself, My own aim, My own purpose] but only the will and pleasure of the Father Who sent Me" (John 5:30). "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" (John 14:30-31).
It is not hard to see from these passages that Jesus’ success was because He never tried to do anything on His own; He was so in touch with God that He always received instructions before He acted, and this was because He dwelt in God and God in Him (Jn. 14:10); the same thing He taught us that we should do – "Dwell 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" (John 15:4). This is the essence of spiritual growth, learning to dwell, abide or so live in Jesus that we are enabled to know and follow His instructions. God cannot honor, bless or make effective our own efforts for various reasons, the primary one being that by doing so He would be making all that Jesus accomplished on the cross of no effect, He would be accepting us apart from Christ – and that is impossible!
JOHN 16:25-33.... I have told you these things in parables (veiled language, allegories, dark sayings); the hour is now coming when I shall no longer speak to you in figures of speech, but I shall tell you about the Father in plain words and openly (without reserve). At that time you will ask (pray) in My Name; and I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf [for it will be unnecessary]. For the Father Himself [tenderly] loves you because you have loved Me and have believed that I came out from the Father. I came out from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and going to the Father.
Apparently, Jesus used parables to teach the people because it was necessary to use something they were thoroughly familiar with to illustrate a spiritual truth; this was all necessary to transition them from the physical to spiritual reality.
29His disciples said, Ah, now You are speaking plainly to us and not in parables (veiled language and figures of speech)! Now we know that You are acquainted with everything and have no need to be asked questions. Because of this we believe that you [really] came from God. Jesus answered them, Do you now believe? [Do you believe it at last?] But take notice, the hour is coming, and it has arrived, when you will all be dispersed and scattered, every man to his own home, leaving Me alone. Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. 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.]
It had taken two or three years for Jesus to bring them to the condition that they are beginning to believe from a spiritual viewpoint. You can almost see and hear the joy that this must have given Jesus; then He gives them a little bit more to contemplate; even though the disciples would soon desert Him, He would not really be alone because the Father is with and in Him as He would be with them.
JOHN 17:1-26.... 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 convinced that You did send Me. I 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.]
If we are to grow spiritually, we must come to the same conclusion that the disciples did in the above paragraph. What Jesus had been telling and teaching them in the previous years was the truth, as revealed by the creator of the Universe, just as the rest of the Bible is. Therefore, it is to be believed and relied upon completely while rejecting all other contrary truth claims. As we shall see, when we trust and rely upon what God has said, the Holy Spirit makes them a reality in our lives. The Lord willing, we shall consider the above paragraph more fully in Part 5 of this series.
11And [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. [Ps. 41:9; John 6:70] 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].
This is the heartbeat of Jesus, what He began to explain to them in the 14th chapter of John; that we all might be one in and through Christ and enjoy the vast privileges and benefits granted us because of our spiritual union with Him.
14I 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 the Truth; Your Word is Truth. Just 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.
From the above paragraph, Jesus seems to be implying that the disciples have begun the transition from the physical way of thinking and believing to the spiritual. They have been weaned from the old physical way of thinking and living to begin to enjoy the true meat of the Word of God.
20Neither 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.
From the emphasis that Jesus places upon this spiritual unity we can see how important it is for us to make an effort to increasingly understand and live it.
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.
This is a process that will probably continue throughout eternity!