Selective Hearing

John 9:31 ~ Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him.

The obedient worshipper of God has privileges. If someone bows before the Lord in genuine humility, he has a captive audience in God. The only time God listens to a sinner is when he finally gives in to the work of the Holy Spirit and asks forgiveness, turning from all known sin. On the matter of prayer, this notion of God bending His ear our way is a vital part of our faith and relationship with Jesus as he is our High Priest and one mediator between us and God the Father. James 5:16 says, “…The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” As we are clothed with the righteousness of Christ and cling to the ways of holiness, our cares and requests become amplified as God becomes more attentive to them. Our prayers for the lost and for the sick are taken more seriously when we are right with God. Our prayer is more powerful and effective when we live in the Spirit as a true child of God. How is your prayer life? God has large ears but is selective in His hearing.

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Who Will Testify About Me?

John 8:54-55 ~ Jesus answered, “If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing. It is My Father who honors Me, of whom you say that He is your God. Yet you have not known Him, but I know Him. And if I say, ‘I do not know Him,’ I shall be a liar like you; but I do know Him and keep His word.

It is becoming apparent that the eighth chapter of John contains several “if” statements. In his discourse with Jewish religious leaders, Jesus sets up numerous conditions in declaring his deity. The Jews assert that Abraham is the apex of Jewish religious tradition whereas Jesus pronounces eternal existence which was considered vile blasphemy by the Jewish priests. Jesus declares that Abraham was a mere mortal compared to him – “I AM”. In his declaration in verse 54, Jesus leaves out his ego and says, “If I brag about myself, what is the honor in that?” Jesus does not defend himself but rests on the glory bestowed him by his Father. Through miracles and preaching the Kingdom, God the Father brings honor to Jesus as the crowned Messiah, the Savior of mankind. It is God the Father, the Father of Truth, who sanctifies Jesus and gives him approval. God the Father is the star witness to Jesus’ credentials as the Son of God, the same Father and God of Abraham and the Jews. Yet, Jesus instructs the Jews that he does know the Father as evidenced by his life and teachings. He likens the Jewish leaders to liars in their profession of knowing God and said he himself would be a liar if he said he didn’t know God. But Jesus does know God and not how the Pharisees claimed to know Him. The Father and Son are one. He who has the Son has the Father also. He that does not have the Son, has not the Father. For us as Christians, if we are truly born again and sanctified through and through, our lives will bear witness to the work of the Holy Spirit for the glory of God. What would be more powerful, our claim to be a Christian or God’s presence in us as evidenced by our faith and love? Because if we truly know Jesus and love Jesus, we will obey his commands and they will not be a burden. We will be attracted to holiness.

Do I See My Death?

John 8:51 ~ “Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.”

Never to see death is a consequence of keeping Jesus and his Gospel. Never to taste death is a reward for allegiance to Jesus (John 8:52 NKJV). Divine forgiveness gives way to eternal life. If we deny or reject Jesus, we are most assuredly to see and taste spiritual death, complete damnation dwelling in the pits of eternal hellfire and brimstone, total separation from God’s glorious presence. The condition is clearly put forth. Our salvation is contingent on loving Jesus and his redemptive plan as executed on the cross. This message offended the Jewish religious leaders 2000 years ago and offends people today. Because I don’t want to be confronted with spiritual death, I bend my will to the will of God. Because I don’t even want to taste spiritual death, I cling to the hope held out in the Gospel. I recognize my need for a Savior and my need for reconciliation with my God. Jesus says, “If” I keep him, I shall never see nor taste the wages of sin.

How Is My Hearing?

John 8:46-47 ~ Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”

Who could be without sin except a holy God? And yet Jesus challenges the crowd to convict him of one little sin. Surely someone could rightfully accuse Jesus of transgressing a law of God! None could. But Jesus said, “I Am”, claiming eternal existence as God Himself. Jesus also said, “I am telling you the truth! Why don’t you believe me?” If Jesus is telling the truth, why didn’t the Jews believe him? To be greater than Abraham should have gotten their attention and cause them to seek the scripture to validate his claim as being the prophesied Messiah. No one could convict Jesus of sin as he declared himself as God and the Jewish leaders squandered their opportunity to bask in God’s presence. How about you. Are you hearing God’s words? Are you of God? Do you understand the implications of Jesus’ sinless life? Jesus is the truth that sets us free. And if we believe him, we are of God and co-heirs partaking of his reign spanning from everlasting to everlasting. Those who don’t believe Jesus will attempt to stone him and will be judged accordingly. They are of seed of Satan. If you are of God, you hear His voice and accept His invitation unto eternal life. You hear and accept the Gospel as preached by Jesus and you are born again. Changed forever. As we approach God in the fullness of His glory and splendor, He will not see our sin but see the righteousness of Christ our Savior. He that has the Son has life! I believe it.

Offspring of Who? (pt. 2)

John 8:42 ~ Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me.

Continuing in his discussion with the Pharisees, Jesus makes some rather startling statements. But following up on “Offspring of Who?”, Jesus speaks more plain and says, “If God were your Father, you would love me.” What if Jesus walked up to you and asked, “Do you love me?” How would you respond? Jesus would not be interested in mere lip service but in faithful obedience. Jesus also said, “If you love me, you would obey my commandments.” In effect, Jesus is saying, what’s in the well comes up in the bucket. If we truly love God the Father, we will love His Son. Jesus disproved the Pharisees relationship to Abraham and now disproves their relationship to God because of their attempt to take his life. So if we are not seeds of Abraham or offspring of God, we are children of the devil. In other words, our social status or affiliation with a church will not insure our salvation. Only love for God will accomplish that. If God is your Father, you will love Jesus and aspire to gain his qualities. He who has the Son has life and they worship in Spirit and Truth. True children of God love Jesus and it should be evident for all to witness. Because Jesus proceeds from the Father, our love is not divided but received in equal measure. You cannot have Jesus with no Father and the Father with no Jesus. He who has the Son has the Father also.

“All that have God for their Father have a true love to Jesus Christ, and esteem of his person, a grateful sense of love, a sincere affection of his cause and kingdom, a complacency in the salvation wrought out by him and in the method and terms of it, and a care to keep his commandments, which is the surest evidence of our love to him.” ~ Matthew Henry

Offspring of Who?

John 8:38-39 ~ I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.” They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham.

What does it mean to be children of Abraham? Because if we are children of Abraham, there is certain behavior expected. In this conversational exchange between Jesus and the Pharisees in the eighth chapter of John’s gospel, we gain a little insight into what it means to be a child of Abraham. According to the Pharisees, they were assured of salvation because of their physical relation to Abraham. These Jewish leaders considered themselves the seed of Abraham bestowing upon themselves special privileges. Because they were descendants of Abraham, the Pharisees thought their redemption was all sewed up. But not according to Jesus. Jesus taught that the children of Abraham were spiritual in nature, not natural. They kept the word of God. They took after their spiritual father and honored him through their faith in the promises of God. In our Christlikness, we are the seed of Abraham. We need not be Jewish, but need to be honoring God as Abraham with our attitude and behavior. Abraham caught the messianic vision of eternal life and believed, and responded to God’s promises by faith. The Pharisees claimed to be descendants of God but attempted to kill him. They did not have genuine faith and lived by a false assumption of spiritual life. If God is our Father, we will do the works of God. We will be engaged in the ministry of reconciliation, reconciling a lost world unto Himself.

The Truth Shall Make You Free

John 8:31-32 ~ 31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

The apostle John records Jesus speaking to believers about experiencing God’s love. And knowing the truth is central to experiencing fellowship with God. Jesus said IF we abide in his word, his teaching, his revelation, then we are his true disciples. To abide in Jesus’ word is continued obedience, to remain under the influence of the Holy Spirit, not giving up on his promises contained his Gospel. Verse 31 infers that believers are capable of stopping their relationship with God through disobedience and chasing after the lies and philosophies of this world. Truth reveals sin and if we respond by regretting our sin, we experience freedom from that sin and therefore experience a closer walk with the Lord. Are you free today? Do you know of the truth Jesus is speaking about? Are you living in words of Jesus’ hope? Today we can be totally immersed in the truth of God, but tomorrow is a new day. Will we continue in the truth? Or will we be swayed from our faith by the unbelieving or by satanic influence, or even by our own weakness due to our own lack of spiritual fervor.True discipleship in conditioned by our fight to remain in God’s presence through constant meditation on the Scripture and holy obedience unto the Lord of Lords. Relationships are work and we must not become lazy when it comes to abiding in the love of Jesus.