The Gospel of John XXVII:
August 9, 2009
Main Point(s) of sermon:
· Obedience does not produce love, but love does produce obedience. This avoids cheap grace and legalism.
· The Spirit empowers us to obey, aids us in a hostile world, reminds us of Jesus words and teaches us, and brings us peace.
· The Spirit didn’t indwell God’s people until Pentecost.
· Heaven is “now and not yet” for believers.
· Peace is not the absence of conflict, but a wellbeing that is not based on temporal realities but eternal ones.
Objectives of sermon:
· Encourage us to cherish and seek the Holy Spirit and his work in our lives, as found in this passage.
· 2 Peter 3:1-10; Jer. 31:33-34; John 14
· Beginning of Driscoll’s sermon
· Grudem (Spirit); Role of the Spirit is Bible study
· Peace notes, Leftovers, skim Newbigin
Scripture reading: John 14:15-17
· Marilyn and I spent the first 4 ½ months of our engagement apart, so we understand waiting.
A theme in the Bible is “How long, O Lord?” It sometimes seems like it takes God forever to act; the disciples would have been shocked to know we’re still waiting after 2,000 years.
· God has his reasons for delay (see 2 Peter 3:9).
· The apostles would say we still need to follow his order and he left us well equipped to do so.
Imagine you are going to take a weekend away without the kids and they are now old enough to not have a babysitter. Before you leave, you would prepare them. That is what Jesus is doing.
· One of the things you tell them is “If you need anything, go over to the neighbor’s” – likewise Jesus left us with help.
In this passage, we’ll look at Jesus’ final instructions and the help he left us, the Holy Spirit, and we will see four specific ways he says the Spirit helps us as we wait.
You did not leave us as orphans, and we are not in a holding pattern. Help us make the best use of the time we have.
The obedience of love
Jesus starts with a statement that is both scary and encouraging:
NIV John 14:15 If you love me, you will obey what I command.
We know it’s a really important point because it’s repeated:
Vrs. 21: Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.
Vrs. 23: If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
(In the negative) Vrs. 24 He who does not love me will not obey my teaching.
In these statements, Jesus confronts two of the biggest errors Christians struggle with: Emphasizing love without obedience, or obedience without love.
· It is the fight against both legalism and cheap grace.
To the person who grew up earning love and struggles with fear of never doing enough, it’s very good news (but hard to “own”):
God first loved us, so we love him. The more we love God, the more obedience flows from us, first out of gratitude, then out of a delight in the obedience as we find his “yoke is easy.”
· Obedience does not produce love and a love-less obedience is a truly ugly thing. It creates self-righteousness and ritual.
Ä But just as important as the fact that obedience does not produce love is that love produces obedience.
Lordship is the only salvation
To the extent Christianity is a “get out of jail” card, these verses are troublesome. Bonhoeffer called it cheap grace.
· I was excited to hear that the class rebel “received Christ,” until he said that the best part was he didn’t have to change.
· There was a defiant idea that “You can’t tell me what to do.”
In 21b and 23b it says “if you love me...the father will love you.” it is not saying we have to earn God’s love. Rather, the mark of salvation is attempted obedience.
· Unless we call him Lord, we cannot call him Savior.
The Biblical idea of believing is not merely “mental assent,” it is radically reorientation your life to live out the beliefs.
The power to obey
Here is the thing – Jesus knew he was asking for the impossible. Even when motivated by love, we are still incapable of obeying God’s commands. We need divine intervention, literally.
NIV John 14:16-17 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever-- 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
To obey Jesus’ commands required far more than behavior modification, it requires heart change. We can only keep God’s commands motivated by God’s love and empowered by the Spirit.
How do I know? Because even in the OT, the commands were to be motivated by love, but Israel could not keep them. What was to make the difference? Was it because Jesus commands were easier? No, by confronting motives, Jesus was making them harder.
NIV Ezekiel 36:26-28 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God.
A change of heart
Vrs 17: “He dwells with you and will be in you” mark the fulfillment of that prophecy. Up until this point, “beside” was the closest the Spirit got, it was not until Pentecost that the Spirit came into all believers.
Prior to this, the motive of love wasn’t sufficient, so God augmented it with material “blessings and curses.” But this motivation is obviously inferior to an internal desire.
· In the intertestamental period, God prepared for this shift by the persecution of the righteous by the Greeks.
With the gift of the Holy Spirit for all believers, the motivation for obeying God went from rewards and punishment to the love of God and love for God.
· Health and wealth theology misses the shift in motivation.
The reward for obedience is no longer what we get (though holiness typically brings blessings), but God himself.
· No longer are Jesus’ commands “have to” but “get to” any more than a date with my wife or playing with my kids is “have to.”
The beautiful irony is that as we obey motivated by love and empowered by the Spirit, we learn that his commands are indeed “light and easy,” and that they are for our joy and benefit.
· When we serve we find joy, when we forgive we find freedom.
\ So the first role of the Spirit is to empower us to obey, the second in found in the title of the Spirit.
The word behind “Counselor” is parakletos. There is no English translation for this. It is translated advocate, helper, or comforter. Neither is there a simple definition.
In Jewish literature, In God’s court there were accusers (Satan means “Adversary”) and advocates (parakletos). In this sense, the Spirit is our advocate and helper in a very hostile world.
· How does he help us? “Another” means that Jesus’ acts for the disciples will help us understand the Spirit’s.
In the same ways that Jesus was a Parakletos for his disciples, the Spirit is for us. That is why Jesus said:
A really good question
NIV John 14:18-24 18 ¶ I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” 22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” 23 Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
At this point, I do not like NIV’s translation:
ESV John 14:22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?”
Judas asks a really good question and highlights confusion caused by this passage: How can you be manifested to us yet not be seen by the world?
· “Manifest” is what Moses for when God to show himself.
· Additionally, “on that day” is loaded with meaning, describing the end of time, an apocalyptic event.
Jewish perspective saw time going along [diagram], but then “on that day” there would be a fundamental shift and God’s kingdom would come on earth, rather like our perspective.
· But Jesus was saying that “on that day” I will be known only to my followers.
How can that be? Vrs. 23: “I and my father will dwell in you and be manifest in you.” Yet at the same time, there still await a full manifestation of God and the end of history (14:1-4).
Scholars debate whether this passage describes the current reality for Christian, or the future reality of heaven. The answer is both.
· It’s described as the Kingdom of God being “Now and Not Yet.”
· Instead of “That Day” between Christ’s 1st and 2nd coming a co-mingling of the Kingdom and World, awaiting the fullness.
Here’s the important clue: “Dwelling” is the same word as in 14:3. “We will come to him and make our home with him” (v. 23) means that heaven resides within us, even as we wait for him to “take you with me” (v. 3).
· In this there’s hope – we are on the doorsteps of heaven.
Teach and remind
Now Jesus returns to the topic of the Holy Spirit’s “advocacy” while we are still waiting on earth.
NIV John 14:25-26 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
There are three distinct things here:
1. The Spirit reminded the disciples of Jesus words and actions as they taught and wrote the Gospels.
2. The Spirit taught the taught “all things” as they wrote epistles.
3. Furthermore, the Spirit still teaches us as we study God’s Word – helping us understand and (more importantly) do.
The final role of Spirit (in this passage, more to come):
NIV John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
How does the world give? The world’s peace is only a “cease-fire,” a momentary break from strife. Rome maintained Pax Romana through military might, but that isn’t the peace Jesus spoke of.
The peace Jesus’ promised was shalom, which doesn’t simply mean tranquility. The opposite of shalom is not war, but chaos.
· In the creation, the void over the earth was chaos, but rather than subdue it (in ANE myths), God ordered it by his word.
Technology has given us the illusion that we are not subject to the chaos of the world, but it has moved from external to internal. If anything, we live in greater chaos today.
In light of chaos, shalom is “well being,” it means “it is well with my soul. Shalom does not mean lack of trials but peace in the midst of the storm.
· It isn’t “don’t worry, be happy,” it is a focus on eternity.
This peace in the midst of storms flows from the present reality of heaven within us. It is not focused on the temporal reality as much as eternal reality.
· This peace doesn’t come from denying temporary realities (which can be miserable) but the Spirit changing our focus.
This is the “peace that passes all understanding” because the peace of the world is based on this world, but Jesus’ peace is based on eternity.
And that is why, in the midst of the Black Plague, Julian of Norwich could write:
But all shall be well,
And all shall be well,
And all manner of things shall be well.
Q & A
In our time of worship, evaluate yourself:
1. Am I demonstrating my love for God through obedience?
2. Drawing on Sprit for the power to obey and his aid in life?
3. Is my peace built on earthly realities or the Spirit’s eternal perspective?
4. This only works if you have made Jesus “Savior and Lord”; it requires the indwelling of Spirit which only comes as a gift. It’s the mark of salvation, not “doing good.”