John 16 Part 1

From the House of The Nazarene. This will be a very in-depth deep-dive study of the Book of John.

Let’s begin, as we always do, with a prayer. We thank You, Lord, for our time together. We thank You for each person reading this and for the plan that You have for each person’s life here. We ask that You would cause us to pursue Your purposes for our lives and embrace the hope, the peace, and the joy that is made available in the in-Christ relationship. We pray in His name. Amen.
We are up to John chapter 16 and as we continue, we really have to go back to the end of John 15 just for a moment to see the experience that Jesus has been talking about. In that chapter, we have the central teaching, in the Upper Room Discourse, that He is the true vine and we have this image, or allegory, of the vine. He is talking about the abiding in-Christ relationship; to abide is to draw your life from Him. Remember the analogy that we used of the vine and the branches, that the branches do not create life, but receive life? Then they display the fruit of that life. You and I can not create life, as I always say; ‘I’m but a conduit from God’. We can only receive the life in Christ and then manifest that in spiritual fruit, the fruit of character, and the fruit of the Spirit.
So, that life is not something we create, but we receive it, and then we are conduits to that life. That is an important principle because then Jesus talks about this abiding relationship and how central for us to find a true, day by day, power and identity through that relationship that God has now made available in Him. And so, this is a central theme, and it relates to prayer and to a sense of peace. He talks about the idea of bearing fruit and, really, all of us here want to accomplish something that will go on forever. Isn’t that true?
Wouldn’t it be sad to go through life and then realize you just squandered your existence, and that there would be nothing but dust and ashes in the end? All of us have been created by God with a desire to accomplish something that is meaningful and that will really endure. I see this in my own life and in my own desire. I think it is wise for us to come in touch with deep and that longing because it is a longing from God. It is something that He tells us; if you do not use your time well and wisely, if you do it just to pursue the agenda of the world, rather than the agenda of the Word, you will miss out completely. What you will do is go for second things first and in doing so you will not only miss the first things, but you will miss the joy of the second things as well. After all we have 24 hrs. in a day. So, that’s 1440 mins. or 86,400 secs. in one day!
So, He goes on to discuss the idea that you can anticipate that with this message about Jesus, you are going to be encountering some strong opposition. Particularly, as you know, in the Jewish world, but you have to keep in mind that Jesus Himself was a Jew. The disciples were all Jewish. All the writers of the New Testament, with the possible exception of Luke, were all Jewish.
So, you can not say it is anti-Semitic. The central theme is that the salvation is from the Jews. But, it is true, however, that there is a term John uses, ‘Jews’ in the plural, and it refers to the temple establishment, and particularly the Sadducee’s, although the Pharisees were also hostile to Him. This is what he is referring to, the national rejection by the spiritual leadership of the people of Israel. However, keep in mind that in the early Church, all the believers were followers of Messiah, and ‘Yeshua ha Mashiach’ was actually the fulfillment of the promises in the Hebrew Bible.
So, all of them were Jewish until some years went by and the real fundamental question is, what about the Gentiles? Can they get in? Today, we ask about the Jews, but the question has always been, what about the Gentiles? And, really, historically, it required the Acts 15 Council, in Jerusalem, in AD 50, for that to finally be resolved, and the Gentiles do not have to become proselytes to Judaism in order to have the right relationship with God.
So, you have this theme here, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. That was characteristic of the ministry in the Apostolic preaching and the Cross and the Resurrection in the Book of Acts. So, in seeing all of this, Jesus is saying to them that they can anticipate all these things. “They persecuted Me, they will persecute you,” and “They do this because they don’t know the One who sent Me.” Then He goes on to say, as we saw last time, that these people had not received the message that He had given them, and he says, “If I had not and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.
He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the work which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well.” The point here is that they have rejected this message and the fundamental sin is that of disbelief. That is really the ultimate issue. The one sin that God can not forgive, having sent His Son on our behalf, is that sin of rejecting the provision that God has made in Jesus. Remember, as we have said before, if I understand Galatians 2:21 correctly, he says, “If salvation were possible,” if righteousness were possible, “by keeping the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”
If I understand what Paul is saying there, if it were possible, through some sort of works system, to arrive at a right relationship with God, then the death of Christ was a tragic waste. Similarly, the other side of that coin is, if the death of Christ is actually the means by which God brings us into a relationship with Him, then He is our only hope. So, it comes down to this, and I have said it before, all the world’s religions that I have studied is and includes work systems.
So, you have the uniqueness of this message, and that is it is by grace through faith. Of course, you always have the question of what about those who have not heard, and it always relates to the issue of the fairness of God. And, God is fair. If you want to know about God, look at Christ and look at how He related to people, and the issue is, those who seek will find; those who knock, it will be opened to them; and those who ask, it will be given to them.
So, this issue of whether a person is seeking God or avoiding God is going to be the fundamental divide. If a person seeks God they will find Him, and how God brings that about is up to Him. Furthermore, God does not hold people responsible for Light they did not receive. He does, however, hold us responsible for the Light we have received, and no one is ignorant of all that Light, because Romans 1 makes that clear, because, from the internal and external witness of the created order, God has made Himself manifest to us. Romans 2 emphasizes the witness of our conscience, and how we also have a concept of a moral code.
Try as we may, in a post-modern world, to eliminate that idea, that morality of wrong and right, of truth and falsehood, of beauty and ugliness, try as we may, we just don’t live that way. I have yet to find a post-modernist who can live consistently with their view, that there is no such thing as right and wrong, or truth and falsehood, because they are very, very eloquent in trying to convince us in the truth of their relativistic position, namely that all truth is just something that is constructed by the community and really has no bearing on what is out there.
Then, of course, that raises the question of whether their own truth was something constructed by their community? It is a self-refuting system and is completely unlivable. But, that is where we are, ‘whatever feels right do it’. We all know inside of us when there is something wrong. We are also aware that there is a power, an intelligence, a designer, that has made it all.
Now, we can avoid that or we can pursue it, and that is what it comes down to. But, the point is, and this is the issue, “They have done this to fulfill the word that is in their Law, they hated Me without a cause.” That is why Isaiah 53 describes Jesus, the suffering Servant, the Messiah, coming out like a root out of parched ground. There is ‘parched ground’, which is symbolic of the spiritual deadness of Israel in that context. It was predicted that this would happen. It was actually written that they would hate Him.
But, then He goes on to say, in verse 26, as He looks now, and focuses in on the powerful ministry of ‘the comforter’, the Holy Spirit, “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me.”
So, what Jesus is saying is that those who wish to know, God is giving the power for it to become possible for them to know Him. There are three conditions in the human situation that, from a human point of view, are impossible to overcome. One is that we are spiritually dead. That is the first problem. From Ephesians 2, we are “Spiritually dead.” The second problem is that we are spiritually blind, as we see in Corinthians 4. We can’t see that Light unless God reveals it to us. The third problem is that we are held captive by the enemy to do his will. We are volitionally bound, as we read in 2nd Timothy 2.
Now, that is pretty tough. You are in slavery, you are dead, and you are blind. Try dealing with that. How can you possibly, on human power, overcome those things? You can’t; only the Spirit of God can break through that, and in His power convict the world concerning, as we shall see, three things: sin, righteousness, and judgment. Apart from that convicting power of the Spirit and His regenerative work, we have no hope whatsoever.
So, Jesus talks about this resource that will come when He goes to the Father. So, He says, “You will testify because you have been with Me from the beginning.” So, He is talking about the Apostolic Ministry.
So, as we look at this, then, we see that the Holy Spirit will encourage us, and work in such a way that, though the people who heard His Word and saw His works did not respond to the truth, yet there are those who will. It is the Spirit of God who will make that manifest. In chapter 16, now, again, if I were making the chapter divisions, I would have done it after verse 25. I sometimes can’t figure out what they thinking. That is why you must remember not to let the chapters keep you from reading what is right before and right after. Always understand that these divisions were not in the original text.
So, beginning with verse one, then, “These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling. They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think he is offering service to God.” Isn’t that what Saul thought? When Saul was persecuting the Christians, what was he doing? ‘The followers of the Way’ it was originally called. They didn’t call them Christians until Antioch, and that was many years later. They were called ‘followers of the Way’.

 

Continued in part 2

2 Replies to “John 16 Part 1”

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