Whole Heart Hope 13th July
Whole Heart Hope 13th July
Jn 13:23 Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.
Jn 20:2 Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.”
John the beloved disciple wrote his gospel some time after 45AD – after he had walked with Jesus 3 years or so and after he had seen Jesus crucified, buried and risen – in fact it was this disciple who was first to the empty tomb – and later watched as He ascended on the cloud. When John recorded in the Spirit the things we now read, he was not simply writing things Jesus had said – although the Holy Spirit brought to his remembrance the things God wanted recorded,
the beloved disciple was writing what he knew and had experienced – John wasn’t writing theory or only prophesy – he was writing for all who were to come after him – not only what Jesus said and taught, but he was testifying to their truth! Even though he himself records this, it seems that among the disciples John had a more intimate and close relationship with Jesus – there was something in John that allowed him to draw closer than the others – maybe his youth? Innocence?
But even the other disciples saw and recognized the closeness that was between John and Jesus it had even caused some jealousy and competition for a while – but that eventually faded into the background. – But there was something that enabled John to get close. So let’s keep that before us as we read on : --
Jn 7:37-39 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
Jn 16:12-14“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.
John was writing after Pentecost! What he writes here is what he now lived – and even though he records for us the things Jesus actually said – He was living the example of the truth of those words! John wasn’t writing about a still future Promise, he was living what he wrote as already being fulfilled. Isn’t it wonderful to think, that inspired by the Holy Spirit, without any pride or wrong motive the Disciple could call himself the “the disciple whom Jesus loved!”
John had been close to Jesus in person and after Jesus ascended that relationship continued in the Holy Spirit – the Holy Spirit was precious to Him and if you read Johns writings he was totally captivated by God – in his letters and in the Revelation John expresses a total God preoccupation – in Proverbs it speaks of being intoxicated with love and I think John was intoxicated with Love for God, for Jesus – His life even after Pentecost was a pursuit of God in Christ.
I think that is why God entrusted him with the ending – with the conclusion and final chapter! John knew Jesus – but much more than that, Jesus knew John.
Mt 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
We know this scripture and the power of lawlessness and lying signs etc. – we know that there are many – Jesus never exaggerates His message and He says MANY – many will prophesy, and
move in supernatural power, have all the outward form of religion and Christian practice – using the Name of Jesus, casting out devils – but on that day – that day that every person who has ever lived will face – when they stand before Jesus to answer for their lives – there will be MANY who Jesus will call workers of lawlessness and He will cast them out into outer darkness! The reason they are workers of lawlessness is not what they have done –
not the miracles themselves – isn’t that an interesting thought the miracles may even be used by God – remember Paul said : --
Php 1:15-18 Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.
So the Name of Jesus is the Name that is above every Name and there is power in that Name and if He is preached then there will be a response regardless of the motive – but this is referring to the hearer – it promises no reward to the preacher! And so with signs and wonders, – people might even get healed and touched by God – but it may still be lawless – that is, without the legal right, this is what Jesus is saying here – and they are His words.
So many of us know about Jesus – we know the Bible we believe in Pentecost – we go to church and we attend meetings, we are regular and even diligent in our attendance and our giving and the outward appearance of religion – and we can even say “I know Jesus” – because we have believed and we have received and we have even perhaps received the Holy Spirit – you know the power can begin legitimately and you know like these MANY – have ministry in His Name!
1 Co 12:3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.
So here are these MANY saying Lord, Lord so they must know the Holy Spirit and they have performed in supernatural power in this Precious Name – because you cannot call Jesus Lord except by the Spirit - so this lawlessness is not about not knowing Jesus – yet there is an offense here to Jesus – an eternal and horrifying offense that casts MANY out. Remember Uzzah when he touched the Ark – and Aarons sons ---
Le 10:1-2 Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.
They knew about God and the law, their Father was the High Priest, they had been trained and prepared, made ready – but familiarity and presumption is not acceptable to the God whose Name we should Hallow and Revere – oh there are precedents to the MANY – over and over again man has defiled what God has called Holy with his arrogance and pride – man has tried to do for God what will make the man appear greatest! Man has used the Precious Name for his own glory.
Then it brought instant judgment even the very ground swallowed them up to hide them from the wrath of God. But now we have been given Grace and we must treasure that grace, it is only by Grace – then it was by the law and obedience to every regulation – but now it is by the Spirit of Grace and in obedience to Him –
Heb 10:29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?
I have often wondered how many people who become leaders and hold position in the B.O.C.
would have the same position in the world – how many who call themselves prophets would hold a similar position of authority in a secular job – or teachers or pastors or secretaries, treasurers or anyone else. The Name of Christ is a very powerful Name and there is no other Name given under heaven by which men must be saved – but believing this Name and using this Name and applying the power behind this Name and knowing Christ – does not mean we are known by Him!
Mt 6:2 Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.
Look there is a type of Christianity – or the practice thereof, that is shallow and impersonal – a knowing of all the right things and attending church but that really is not recognized by Jesus because we have been given the Holy Spirit to glorify Jesus – to magnify and exalt Him and profane fire is no more acceptable to Jesus now than it has ever been – He does not want to smell the incense of our ambition, pride or complacency – He longs to know our hearts are for Him.
I met with a Pastor recently a nice man and after many years in ministry he said I have finally found my DNA – I have found someone I can connect to – he was talking about an emerging ministry out of America – over the years this man had tried to connect with various ministries – Vineyard and Hybels and others and now finally this one, and there are things he really likes and wants to join with – but you know he never talked about Jesus – not once.
Ministry and culture and power and healing and organizations and connecting – but not Jesus and you know there is only one DNA and that is Christ – but this has become our Christianity. We have a global network of connections and ministries and styles and streams – systems and tried and proven formulas that work to “grow church” – and I cannot tell you how tempting and challenging it is to want to adopt some of these things to get some growth here – I struggle sometimes!
But that is not what this Christianity is about – that is not why we come and why we persist and pray and hope for is it.? We never became Christians to become successful or prosperous or famous did we? No, we came by grace and for the glory of Jesus (glory of God only point of life!)– but I truly fear that this has been lost and stolen – just as it was in the garden and just as it was with Nadab and Abihu – all the right sort of practices and even the incense – but profane fire – ignited by the devil!
2 Ti 1:8-10 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,
It is the same story all the way through – the scripture given for our example over and over again – How truly glorious and patient and longsuffering our God is – I find myself longing for Him more and more as I read His Word and see how Holy He is – how indescribably magnificent and uniquely God – Oh there is no other God – church there is one God and Father of us all – and it is Him we seek – you know we can never know Him fully, not His glory until that day we are taken HOME –
We cannot know Jesus in His fullness because the finite passing away earthly body cannot contain or comprehend the immortal eternal GLORY that is our God – that is why we must never stop seeking for Him, longing for Him searching Him out – not that I have already attained but I press on from glory to glory, I persist and cry out to know Him and be known by Him – we never arrive we are never content in this mortal body! – As soon as we settle and think we have the Holy Ghost and
that’s all we need we are backsliding – it is the story of the History of the Church from Abraham to Jacob to Moses to Corinth. And you know there is a constant cry on the lips of God ---
Is 64:6-7 But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away. And there is no one who calls on Your name, Who stirs himself up to take hold of You; For You have hidden Your face from us, And have consumed us because of our iniquities.
Is 63:5 I looked, but there was no one to help, And I wondered That there was no one to uphold; Therefore My own arm brought salvation for Me; And My own fury, it sustained Me.
God is always looking for a man – searching for a man whose heart is only after God –whose whole heart is only after God – no ambition, no recognition, no ministry to take the place of intimacy, no works and service and serving will make up for a heart that is not sold out for God. Oh how we think doing things is what He wants from us – but He chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world – our salvation is not by our works – it cannot be – God wants our hearts.
He is always searching for a man just to take hold of Christ and be known by Him – really known by Him! There just seems to have been so few – but you know that’s because we think they are all the ones who have been recognized, acknowledged, become famous – and of course there are those who stand out because of their hearts and God has had them revealed to us like John the disciple you know he had no great ministry of signs and wonders but He loved Jesus and Jesus knew Him.
Like Jonathan Edwards who just loved Jesus – and John Owen the great Puritan writer who can have you weeping reading his theology! He was so known by Jesus, and that being known is revealed in what he was able to see and understand of the W.O.G. He never sought a ministry or someone to connect to – he was connected to Jesus – he knew Jesus and Jesus KNEW Him – he was not one of the MANY he was one of the few on the narrow path – he only ever looked for Christ
Je 29:11-14 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity;
We know the heart is wicked and deceitful and that man cannot know it – but God can and does and He tests it, and tries it, and searches for those who are single of heart and determined and focused and constant – You know it is never to do with works, it is always to do with accepting and acknowledging that every moment of every day, waking or sleeping God knows your heart and if God knows your heart then we must keep it open to Him – that is really being honest with ourselves
You know Jesus knows exactly what we are thinking at any moment –and if our hearts and minds are stayed on Him or not. I know this is difficult but it is none the less true and He is looking for a man – for a woman, for a group in one accord – God commands a blessing in unity. But Jesus is looking for a people who will be honest with themselves – really brutally honest – because you know we can have all the performance and all the attendance but we will never fool Jesus
and we rarely fool ourselves – but we do live in denial – we do! We live this personal deception of trying to fool ourselves that we are okay when really we know we aren’t. You know we can be so self righteous, so judgmental, critical of everything, gossiping and holding bitterness in our hearts. Do you know how manipulative and controlling we can be – we will do all sorts of things to get our own way and then tell ourselves it is spiritual or practical – or just and right.
Mt 9:4 But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts?
Mt 15:8-9 ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”
Mt 12:34-37 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Mk 12:29-31Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Cannot love your neighbor – if you don’t love yourself – cannot love yourself unless you are honest – we cannot bring those things to the cross that we will not acknowledge exist!
1 Co 11:27-32 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.