God Haters!

Jesus continues his discourse with his disciples and as he does he describes ultimately what sends unbelievers to an eternity in hell.  These verses may seem a little confusing at first but when you apply them to the context of the situation then you see the truth in it.

John 15:22-24 –  22If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father.

First, Scripture is very clear that we are all sinners.  Romans 3:23, “For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” 

Romans 5:12 – 13 –  12“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned. 13For sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law.”

What Jesus is talking about is that in the fact that he gave full revelation of himself in all the miracles and words that he proclaimed and they still rejected Jesus as the Savior.  That is what it ultimately comes down to.  Yes, there are sins in our lives that show our heart and how wicked, evil and inherently sinful we are.  In that sin, we and the world display our willful rejection of Jesus Christ as the redeemer for our sin.

What does Jesus say about that willful rejection of him?  We are God Haters!  Whoa!  You are calling me what? You see God has clearly revealed himself to us.  As we look at Creation, Jesus, the cross, the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the Bible we have the full revelation of God before us.  In Jesus, God has shown that he has total authority over all things in this world.  In Jesus, he shows that all truth of what sin is and what sin is not is displayed to the world. Therefore, we see the prophecy of Scripture fulfilled as Jesus quotes from Psalm 35:19.

John 15:25 – But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: “They hated me without a cause.”

There is nothing that Jesus has done that should give anyone any reason to hate him.  Scripture tells us in Romans 8:7, “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law, indeed, it cannot.” We see in this verse where the hatred comes from.  God has all authority over us and if we are unwilling to submit to his authority we will be hostile to God.   Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love me you will keep my commandments.”  If you are unwilling to submit to God’s authority then you hate God.  If you are unwilling to submit to what God calls Holy and Righteous then you hate God.   If you are more concerned about having your sin condoned and justified rather than repent and turn from them you hate God.  I know that sounds harsh but that is what Jesus says.

That is so prevalent in the world today as we continue to pervert the relationship between man and woman and the marriage that God has designed.  I mean that in a homosexual and heterosexual sense. 1 million abortions a year in America.  Alcohol sales at an all-time high.  Eat, drink and be merry! There will be judgment upon all of that.

Jesus said in John 3:19, “And this is the judgment, the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather that the light because their works were evil.”  Sometimes we try to make excuses that may be they just don’t know.  But they do know.  A lot of it is they just love their sin.  Is there a sin you need to repent of?  Is there a sin you love so much you are unwilling to repent of and turn away from?  As we look at others may we not forget to look at ourselves.

But, there is Hope!  Though Jesus has completed his task of dying for the sins of mankind and was resurrected from the dead by the power of God.  The Holy Spirit will come and he will continue to convict and show the truth of our need of a Savior.  The revelation of Jesus will still be shown to the world.

26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.

If we are true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ we also get to witness of the light of the Gospel to a dark world.  There is Hope!  May we truly show our love for the Lord Jesus and tell others about what he has done to set them free from their sin.

Dale

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Does Anybody Hate You?

Does anybody hate you? Think hard. Anyone come to mind? Why do they hate you? If it’s for doing good and living righteous, then you are in good company. Jesus said this would happen.

John 15:18-22

18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.'”

Man oh man do these words need to be repeated throughout our culture more and more. I watched a video someone posted on Facebook on Monday that showed an Episcopalian minister defending the “rights” of the “transgendered” to use any bathroom they choose no matter what their given gender. He evoked “proof-texted” and “cherry-picked” Bible passages to support his claim. He was speaking at a public meeting and the crowd was giving him rousing support and cheering him repeatedly! They loved him! I mean they thought he was the best thing since sliced bread. Uh-oh! That could be trouble based on Jesus’ words above.

19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own…

In my humble opinion, the “world” was loving everything this man had to say. He was handling the Scripture “fast and loose” and they ate it up, as he justified every vice and every abhorrent lifestyle as something “Jesus would love and accept because He is so loving.” Well brothers and sisters…this man probably hadn’t read John 15 in a while. There was zero persecution coming his way from this secular crowd and when that’s the case…CHECK UP!!! Houston we have a problem!

Jesus said:

20 Remember the word that I said to you: A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 

If they PERSECUTED me they WILL persecute you! Friend, if you are not facing persecution, then you are going with the world. If you are not being “hated” from time to time because of your biblical stance on truth, then you are watering down the truth. If you can be loved and praised by the world with no backlash, then you are most likely compromising and not following the Master. If this is happening in your life…then you have moved away from calling sin, “sin.” Jesus said…

22 “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.”

Do you see what Jesus is saying? He had to confront people with their sin! They had to feel the guilt of their sin! They had to see that there was no excuse for their sin. Remember, Jesus always shared the truth in a loving way…but He ALWAYS shared the truth! He told the woman caught in adultery, “Go and sin no more.” He didn’t excuse her sin. Do you see that? Nor must we.

Take heart brothers and sisters…keep following the Master, the Lord Jesus! Like Jesus, give a reason for your confidence in gentleness and respect. But, please, for His sake, give a reason for your confidence that’s truly based on the Truth. And know that when you do, there will not be applause. There will not be kind words said about you. There will be the opposite.

Yes, today in our pagan culture, you and I are going to be branded has haters, bigots, close-minded, intolerant, non-inclusive, unintelligent fools for standing on the truth of God’s Word, but remember, we are in good company…

20 Remember the word that I said to you: A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. 

Kevin

You Are My Friends, If You Do What I Command You

Jesus made one of the most fantastic and radical statements of all time when He said: “You are my friends if you do what I command you.” That was radical for a Rabbi to say. Most Rabbis taught the Talmud, (the central text of Rabbinic Judaism), and said, “Do what the Talmud says.” But, Jesus said, “Do what I tell you.” That was beyond anything anyone had ever heard from a Rabbi in Jesus’ day.

What did Jesus want us to do? Here ya go…

John 15:12

12 This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

Now does this mean that we are to “love” everybody in the exact way they are living? Does this mean that we love each and every lifestyle no matter how unbiblical that lifestyle might be? Does this mean that we negate the sin in the life of people of and look past that sin? Does this mean that Jesus’ eventual death on the cross wasn’t powerful enough to help every area of sin in a human’s life? Did His blood only cover some sin?

You see in our culture today it’s no longer appropriate to call anything sin. It’s no longer appropriate to call any lifestyle that’s anti-biblical sinful. In fact, in our politically correct, “anything goes” culture, you really can’t call any lifestyle sinful. In fact, nothing is sinful any longer. And people have taken the above verse and said, “But, we must LOVE one another because that’s how Jesus lived. He just loved, loved, loved.”

Yes, He did love! But folks, He also died!!! He died for sin! He was crucified on a cross “while we were yet sinners!” He died to set us free from sin! That’s love folks! That’s love! Let me show you love. Jesus said:

13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:13-15

Jesus said, “You are my FRIENDS, if you do what I command you.” What did Jesus do? He lived a perfect, sinless life! He never sinned! But, today we condone almost all sin. Jesus doesn’t want to call us servants, because a servant doesn’t know what the master is doing. He wants to call us friends. But, to call us friends, we must do what the Master is doing. And if we are to do what the Master is doing, then we must call Him (Jesus): MASTER! Do you see? We must surrender our lives to the Lordship of Jesus Christ! We must call Him: “MASTER.”

That’s where the rub comes in dear friend! People don’t want a “master” over their lives. No! They want to be the master of their lives and they want God to approve of their lives. They’ve made God the servant, and they’ve become the master. Yet, Jesus chose us, not the other way around…

16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another. John 15:16-17

Do you see it? Jesus chose us to go “bear fruit.” What does that mean? That means to live in a dark, lost and dying world like He did. We are to live in such a way that we show our good deeds before men. We were created for good works, “fruit.” No, Jesus didn’t die on the cross to leave us in our sin. He died on the cross so that we might confess and repent of our sins and be delivered from the power of sin over our lives. Do you see that? You must see that to understand what Jesus actually did in coming to save sinners!

You and I must not be blinded by the politically correct narrative being espoused by the world. We are to bear fruit for Jesus and if we’ll do that, then we will truly show that we love Him by how we love one another. We will love people enough to tell them that they are sinners, (like we are), who need a Savior, so that the love of that Savior might deliver them into freedom from sin! That is true love! And that’s “doing” what Jesus commanded.

Kevin

Unplug At Your Peril

My wife has recently had ACL replacement knee surgery and she is using an ice machine to keep it from swelling. One of my jobs over the last few days has been to keep it filled up and running for my bride. But, here’s the problem. The thing won’t work unless it’s plugged up!! On one occasion over the last week, I forgot!!! Oops! I didn’t even tell Pam. Yikes! I was embarrassed. After about 20 minutes I figured it out, because it was humming (meaning it wasn’t running). I slipped over and got Pam’s cup to go fill it up with water and slid in the plug. Slick, huh! 🙂

Point being…if that ice machine isn’t working, Pam’s knee is going to swell and there could be problems. So the mantra is: Unplug at your peril! And the same is true in our relationship with Jesus. If you and I don’t abide (stay plugged in) to Jesus, then we do so at our peril.

The Apostle John makes this clear…

John 15:1-11

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

This is basic Dendrology (the study of trees and shrubs). If you’ve got a tree that’s got limbs that aren’t producing fruit, you cut it off.

Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.

Obviously a branch can’t bear fruit if it’s not connected to the vine. That’s obvious. It will wither and die. So, who’s the vine?

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 

Simple enough! Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. If we stay plugged into Him, we’ll bear much fruit. We’ll do what we were made to do. Just like Pam’s ice machine (as long as it’s plugged into the wall). Problem is: for those who refuse Jesus, they will be discarded and burned (that would be Hell).

If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.

Now here’s the upside of being plugged into Jesus. Hold on to your seat!

 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

God wants us to bear fruit and that means that we have the privilege of asking the Father for the things that we need in order that we might see God’s kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. How do we bide in Him? Simple…rest in His love. Watch it…

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.

Abide in my love. That simply means “remain in.” It literally means to stay attached or to be plugged in. Okay…let’s bring this to the finish line. How do you and I know if we are staying plugged in? How do we know if we are abiding/remaining in His love?

10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.

Did Jesus keep His Father’s commandments? Sure He did. Was He an obedient Son? Of course! That’s our example. If you want to know if you are living plugged in to Jesus, just ask yourself: Am I keeping His commandments? Am I obeying His Word? Am I acting like a son or daughter and resembling my Father? That’s the key: OBEDIENCE. That’s how you’ll know. And guess what you get as a by-product of that obedience? JOY!!!

11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

Do you want joy? Sure you do! So do I! Well, remain in Him! Stay plugged in! Unplug and go your own way in disobedience at your own peril. It’s just like Pam’s ice machine. Her knee is healing perfectly! And so I’ll remember to unplug at my own peril.  🙂

Kevin

Can We Get Some Peace?

Peace!  That was the motto coming of the 60’s and early 70’s.  The world seemed to be in utter turmoil during that time.  It was the cry of many people. Things haven’t change much.

image

Is the world at peace now?  No! Has it ever been? No! And it never will be, as we say, “On this side of Heaven”.  Why?  Because man is looking for peace in the wrong place.  We have a peace problem because we have a sin problem.  So many believe that if the right person is elected, then we will have peace.  Some people believe that if we were void of true morality there would be peace.  We cannot receive the real peace we need but from God.

John 14:25-27 – 25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

Eventually Jesus will tell the disciples that they will have tribulation in this world but to not lose heart.  Jesus has overcome the world.   We see the glory of the triune God in unison working together to bring that peace we need.  It is God that our sin has separated us from.   We have no way back to God in and of ourselves.  So, God sends his son Jesus Christ to pay that payment that is needed for our redemption.  Jesus continues to explain that to the disciples.  That he must go and suffer for our sake.  Jesus once again encourages them to not let their hearts be troubled.  We talked about that yesterday that they will not be left alone.  God will now send the Holy Spirit, which is also called the Comforter.

The Holy Spirit will bring unto them a full understanding of the truth of who Jesus Christ is.  This is from divine inspiration and all things that they have been taught from Jesus.  But it is also through the Holy Spirit that they and we can experience this peace that Jesus is leaving for us as believers.  For the Holy Spirit will act upon Jesus’ behalf and will.  What Jesus is doing is best for them.  But once again they must be reminded.  Isn’t that like us though?  We have to be reminded time after time about the power the lies within us as believers.

John 14:28 – 31 – 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe.

The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians, Chapter 3:10. That I may know him (Jesus) and the power of his resurrection that I may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.

Though things get tough and we may again feel alone we can take heart as Jesus encouraged the disciples.  We can have peace because the power of the Holy Spirit resides in us that raised Jesus from the grave.  Jesus has come in the flesh in obedience to finish the work that will provide that peace for us.  As Jesus mentions that the Father is greater than I.  He is not contradicting any of the statements of his deity or being God.  As being fully man and fully God, he was submissive to the Father to be the payment of sin that was needed for us to have the relationship God wants with us.  Once he fulfills this on the cross and is raised again then he will take his rightful place and take on all the glories he once beheld.   Jesus wants his disciples to know this as they will see through his foretelling that once again he is the Son of God and will be going away.  But he gives them another word of encouragement.

30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, 31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.

Jesus reminds them that the ruler of the world, Satan, is coming.  Not that he wasn’t already there.  They have seen the torment that Satan puts on people.  The deception and the lies.  As we have talked about it is through Satan that the world tries to give a peace that will not satisfy.  Satan, as it reads in 1 Peter 5:8, Be soberminded, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  You may be asking, “So where is the encouragement”?

Jesus reminds them that Satan has no power of him.  Though Jesus’ death looks like his defeat.  It is a great victory!  Because after his death, through the power of the Holy Spirit Jesus rose again.  We can know and live in that power.  Isn’t it great, we get to celebrate that this Sunday and really every day.

image 2

All is well!  The tomb is empty! That should bring us peace!

Dale

You Will Never Be Alone!

Jesus has been sharing how his time has come.  The time that he must go to the Cross and take the payment of sin, which is death, upon himself.   But, as he has promised he will rise again.  God in his divine power will raise Jesus from the dead to show Jesus paid the price for sin.  In doing so he must go back to heaven and take his rightful place again beside the Father.  Becoming our High Priest and our mediator between us and God the Father.  Though Jesus is going he is giving the disciples a wonderful promise.  They will never be alone.

For those that repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ will never be alone.   Jesus has promised the Holy Spirit will come and though Jesus is gone there will be that relationship that will not be broken.  For those that have believed upon the Lord Jesus Christ has the promise of eternal life and through the indwelling into our lives of the Holy Spirit will always have the fellowship with Jesus.

John 14:19-20 – 19Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.

It is the drudgery of life that we possibly can think we are alone sometimes.  We wonder where God may be.  It may seem that our struggles are more than we can hold up under or we just don’t feel like God is there.  But his promise is that he is always there.  Maybe we just need to sit back and as it says in Psalm 46:10. ‘Be still and know that I am God”.

The first step of keeping that close relationship with the Lord is obedience.  We may say we love but do we keep his commandments. Are we living to please him or please ourselves?  Do we not show others that we love them by doing things for them?  How many times have you heard that if you love someone you must show them that love?  Just saying it is not enough.  It must be displayed.  Jesus says the same thing.

John 14:21 – 21Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who love me.  And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.

We cannot say we love Jesus and then live any lifestyle we wish to live.  In his commandments Jesus has detailed a life of surrender to him and to live holy and righteous before him.  Remember Jesus said to be his disciple we must do this. Luke 9:23-25 – 23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?

So through our obedience we see that love relationship with God continue and we will see and hear from God.  God’s Spirit will bear witness with our Spirit (Romans 8:16).

John 14:22- 24 – 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.

We see something wonderful in these last few verses but also something very sad.   If we keep God’s Word.  If we come to God through repentance of our sin and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, we will have that relationship with God that has been broken by sin.  As we surrender to Jesus and keep his word he will take up residence in our lives.  That is encouraging to me today.  I am never alone or forsaken by God.  I can walk continuously with him and I get to enjoy that relationship for eternity. But sadly, many will not.  There will be many that will reject the truth of God’s Word and they will be separated forever from God.  So, if there is one that is reading this today and has never repented of their sin and surrendered their life to Jesus.  I urge you to do so today.  For Jesus does love you but he wants you to know him intimately.

Blessing this glorious Day!

Dale

 

The Holy Spirit: The Helper

The Holy Spirit: The Helper: How the Holy Spirit Can Help Us Do the Impossible

John 14: 15-18

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. 18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

Yesterday, we discovered (or were reminded) what true Biblical love really is. That it is more than feelings, or subjective descriptions of emotion. It is, to a degree, measurable by how we behave, how we believe, how we obey, and what our lifestyle is. We discussed that it is wholly possible for us to love unworthy things, that we can love material things more than our family, we may love money, hobbies, or academics more than God. Sure, we may see these loves as lesser, but if we are more faithful, affectionate, loyal, controlled, and consumed by a material or activity than our own family, or God, then we love that thing more.

That is a scary thought.

Truth is, there has been times in my life where I loved myself more than anything. Where I loved my happiness, money, hobbies, or materials more than I should have. We all have.

Now, if yesterdays devotion led you to a place of overwhelming regret, and to a sense of helplessness… Then I accomplished exactly what I had hoped.

Sure, I know for certain what I said yesterday is true. True love for God is complete obedience to his commands (and not just the commands we see in the Gospel, but throughout the Word, since He is the Word made flesh). True love for Christ is total sacrifice to Him, and for His mission. True love is utter abandon to everything else.

That is a pretty daunting task.

When we begin to consider the depth and breadth of the commands throughout Christ’s ministry pertaining to morality, it’s certain to make us humble. When we think of all the commandments he gave period, such as to repent, or to rise up, or to go through all the world sharing His message, or to heal the sick, etc. The task gets even more daunting. Then we see that every command throughout scripture is HIS command, we should feel completely helpless… Rightly so.

Because, while the humanly impossible instruction to obey ALL his commandments sits before us, the hope to do the impossible follows. That which Christ knew was impossible with man, made possible through himself.

How so?

Well, if you look again at the passage, you will see.

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever… he dwells with you and will be in you.

And, this is the beauty of the Gospel.

Before the Cross, we stood condemned before God because we could not obey His commands.

Paul said as much:

Romans 3: 23

For all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God.

But, does this mean that the law is evil, or wrong as some presume in our world today? Absolutely not!

The law, God’s commands and Christ’s commands are perfect.

Romans 7:7

What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. 

You see, the problem with the law was not the law, but us. We could not obey it completely, and the same is true after the Cross. We cannot obey Christ’s commands on our own. That is why He made His broken body and poured out blood the new Law, and then sent a helper, the Holy Spirit to help us obey.

So, today, you might be feeling overwhelmed, helpless, or burdened at the task of being obedient to God… You need not be afraid or burdened. Firstly, your life is under the eternal forgiveness of Christ, and secondly, it is sealed by the promised help of the Holy Spirit to overcome.

So, I will close with this quote by John Piper, whom I adore!

“Do you believe it honors Jesus more to trust him to forgive the sin you are about to commit, than to trust Him for the power not to do it?”

So, do you?

We have been given a helper in this life. It is hard to be obedient. It is impossible to keep the law or the commandments of Christ on our own, and when we attempt to, it breeds exhaustion, frustration, resentment, and an ultimate loss of faith. But, when we embrace the loving help of the Holy Spirit, we can delight in Christ’s commands, and find  joy in obeying them.

-Caleb