John 14 Part 3

Resumed from part 2

But, there are four levels of ‘knowing’ in this Gospel. The first level of knowing is just knowing a fact. The second level of knowing is understanding the truth behind that fact. The third level of knowing is believing in a person and that moves us into the relational dimension.
But, the fourth level of knowing is the one that John stresses and the one Paul had in mind when he said, “That I may know Him in the power of His resurrection.” It is also what Jesus had in mind in our verses 19 through 23, that we see in a moment. It is the knowledge of a deep union with another person. It is union and communion with a person. That union, then, is the real ‘I-Thou’ relationship that will truly satisfy us.
To know and see Jesus, He says, was to see the Father. “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Phillip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” Imagine the implications of that claim. “How can you say, show us the Father? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words I speak to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.” He is saying here, in effect, that the better we know Jesus, the better we will know the Father.
We have not come to see Jesus in the flesh. Look at 1st Peter 1:8, “Although you have not seen Him, yet you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.” The point is this; these people were privileged to see Jesus. We don’t get to see Him in this life. What is faith now will turn into sight then. A claim to be God, then, is a strong claim. But He is saying that if you know Him, you will know His Father. The assurance we have, then, is that the Creator of the universe is our own Father. That knowledge can really comfort our hearts. As many of you know there is a Powers of Ten video.
There was something about the end that didn’t quite get to me. We are looking, as you know, from the microcosm to the macrocosm, and you get to the level of seeing galaxies, and then you see clusters of galaxies, and you begin to see the large structure of the cosmos, with some 200 billion galaxies. It becomes virtually overwhelming.
But, I need to make a comment about this idea that God created, look at John 1:1, I want people to understand that there is an earlier verse than Genesis 1:1. We think the Bible begins there, but there was an earlier beginning, John 1:1. In Genesis, it says, In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.” In John, it says, “In the beginning was the ‘logos’, the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” That word ‘logos’ means that He is a personal intelligence. He is an intelligent designer who spoke creation into being.
Next, let’s look at John 14:20, “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” here is the amazing thing; the One who spoke it into being is in you. He is both transcendent and imminent. The Scriptures affirm that He is both. I have to tell you that I really can’t quite grasp that. I can’t put the two together. So often we reduce God to our own framework and we almost trivialize Him in the process. The more you are impressed by the greatness and the vastness and the intricacy of the created order, the more you are impressed by the fact that this One wants to know us and, in fact, in-dwells us. It is quite remarkable and only Scripture affirms these things. We have a unique understanding here of a relational being, and just as God is a relational being, He wants us to enter into that Trinitarian community. Regarding that community, we also have another privilege, another assurance. There is the assurance of prayer.
What He means by prayer, of course, is an ability to have a communication with the Father; where you can share your deepest concerns, your deepest longings, and your heartbreaks as well as your joys. Prayer is merely communication, but it is that we commune with God in our deepest selves, and it is an opportunity for us to really know Him. So let us look, now, at verses 12 through 15. “Truly, truly I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” When He says, by the way, “Greater works than these He will do,” I don’t believe He is saying that they are greater in quality because a slave is not greater than his master, but they are greater in scope and quantity. You understand the difference? There has never been a person since Jesus who has accomplished the miracles that He accomplished. They will be greater in scope and quantity.
That is what I think He means by “greater works.” A lot of people have the mentality expressed in the plaque, “Why pray when you can worry?” The issue is that worry doesn’t do us a shred of good. Most of the things you worry about never happen, and if it is something that can happen, your worrying can’t solve the problem. It will only make it worse. And so, worrying is totally counterproductive. “Do not be anxious in anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication and thanksgiving, make your prayer known to God. The peace of God, which transcends all comprehension, will guard your mind and soul in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7.
Memorize this scripture because it can been a very meaningful verse, with all that you go through. That’s an awesome verse, because He is saying, ‘I am going to turn anxiety into peace’. If I had a machine to do this, I’d be a billionaire. Imagine having a machine that would take anxiety and transmute it into peace. Yet, that is exactly what he says. When he says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything let your prayer be known to God,” he is saying that you have a privilege. You have to pray in faith, he says, by believing in Him, but faith and works always go together, because it is faith that releases the power of God in our lives. The works must be done in His power, so the two go hand in hand.
So, we see the two connected. I am not down on works. Please understand that no one is saved by works, but we are rewarded as we grow through works. Works imply obedience and if it is a faith that is alive, it is a faith that will work.
But, don’t put the cart before the horse. Works don’t produce it, they are the product of it. When I say faith, when I say belief, I mean trust. I am not talking about just something in your head, I am talking about a person you trust. See the difference? A person you have welcomed in by an act of your will, and you ask Him to come into your life, thanking Him for forgiving you your sins, and giving you His presence. Once having trusted Him, then, now we really begin the journey, because the journey will go on forever and it will grow. It is the kind of faith, then, where we realize He is the One we must turn to, and it must be done in His name.
So, this isn’t a magic formula that means anything you want, or that is selfish or stupid, He is going to give to you after all God is not a candy store, but what He is saying is “Ask in My name.” That is really a submission to His will. Any request that doesn’t glorify God’s name should not be asked for in His name. It has got to be done in His will, 1st John 5:4-15.
Now, to verse 15 in our text, “If you love Me, you will keep my commandments,” it means we have to pray in faith, we have to pray in Christ’s name, and we have to pray in loving obedience. This loving obedience is this; when you love someone, you honor his or her name. When you truly love somebody, you seek to honor that person, and love, by the way, is to see the best in a person, rather than the worst. You get to choose how you view your friends and your spouse. You can choose to focus on the negative, and we all have those warts, or you can choose to focus on the things that are meaningful and good. You see where I am going with that? You get to choose how that will be. If you choose to honor the other person, then, the loving thing to do is to treat them with real regard.
Now, the fourth assurance we can say we have is the assurance of the Holy Spirit, which John is going to develop more in chapter 16, but we have the assurance of the comforter. We will call Him the comforter, and when you think about it, this is exactly what we need to hear, when He says, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled,” He is saying He is not going to leave them as orphans. In verses 16 through 18, then, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world can not receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you.” I don’t believe we can live the Christian life as God would have us live it under our own power. It is impossible.
But, it is only when the Spirit of God empowers us to manifest His life. ‘Another helper’, ‘parakletos’, is the word He uses. ‘Para’ means ‘alongside of’, and ‘klatos’ means to ‘call’. When you put the two words together, you get ‘to call alongside of’. You see the idea here? He comes alongside you. Also, ‘comfort’ is a word often used to translate. He is the ‘comforter’. The ‘paraklet’ is also the ‘comforter’.
Now, that comes from two Latin words, ‘com’ and ‘forte’, so it means, then, ‘with strength’. True comfort, then, strengthens us to face life bravely. He says, “I will give you another comforter.” ‘I have been a paraklet, I have been your comforter in this life’. Was He not? Didn’t He go alongside of them, and didn’t He provide comfort all this time? Now, He is going away, but He will send another helper. There are two Greek words for ‘another’, ‘allos’ and ‘heteros’. We have the word ‘heteros’, which means ‘another of a different kind’, but ‘allos’ is ‘another of the same kind’, and that is the word He is using here.
In verse 17, He says, “That is the Spirit of truth, whom the world can not receive because it does not see Him or know Him.” The world is not able to see Him because that is something that is Spiritually revealed, but, “You know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” He was not in them yet, because in the Old Testament economy, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit was quite selective and it was also temporary. Remember how the Spirit of God departed from Saul, in 1st Samuel 16:4? Remember how David prayed, “Do not take Your Holy Spirit away from me?” That can not happen now. In other words, now that He is in you, He is there to stay. That is a radical thing that happened after Pentecost.
So, the believer’s body, according to 1st Corinthians 6:19-20, is now the temple of the Spirit of God. So, in your deepest self, that is where the Spirit is. Your spirit communing with His Spirit, in the deepest component of yourself. To me, that is a great and profound mystery, but we can enjoy that relationship.
Now, we have been changed and He does not abandon us. He will say, In John 16, that it is necessary for Him to go away because if He didn’t go away, He couldn’t send us the other ‘comforter’. He says, “After I go to My Father, I will send the comforter, but I also will be with you, and I will come again and receive you into Myself, that where I am, you may be also.”
That makes me think of something that I didn’t mention before, and if you go back to verse three, when He says, “I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also,” I take it to be like something He said to Martha in chapter 11, verses 25 and 26, in that great ‘I-am’ statement, “I am the resurrection and the Life.” He goes on to say, “Everyone who lives in Me and believes in Me will never die.”
I think He is talking about two kinds of people. Those who die before He comes, and those who are alive when He comes. Those people who are alive when He comes never see physical death, but, as I go to 1st Corinthians 15, Paul says, “I tell you a mystery, We will not all sleep, but we all be changed.” Not everyone will die. Up until now, that is a mystery because, so far, one out of one has died. You see the problem here.

 

 

Continued in part 4

2 Replies to “John 14 Part 3”

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