29
Jul
2018

JOHN 3:31-36 SIX REASONS FOR THE SUPREMACY OF CHRIST

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John 3:30 "He must increase, but I must decrease. 31 "He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 "And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony. 33 "He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true. 34 "For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure. 35 "The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. 36 "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." (NKJV)

Here, John the Baptist sets out to prove the supremacy of Jesus Christ and to show how vastly superior Christ is to him. John hangs his whole argument on several key premises. First, John informs us that He is superior to John because of where He has come from. Jesus has come “from above,” “from heaven.”  Jesus is “from above”; John is “from the earth.”

31 "He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all.

Mt 28:18; Joh 1:15, 27; 3:13; 6:33; 8:23; Ro 9:5; 1Co 15:47; Eph 1:21; Php 2:9

Some forty times in the Gospel through John, Christ is spoken of as being sent from heaven or going back to heaven.

V31 Divine origin - Jesus if from Heaven (From God) – The one from above, 3:3, 3:7 Rules as God v31 and 35

Since Jesus is “from above,” He speaks of the “heavenly things” which He has seen and heard in heaven. John is “from the earth,” and thus he speaks about “earthly things.”[i] It sounds irreverent, but there is an idiom that says: “I got this right from the horse’s mouth.” That is what John is saying about Jesus and His words. In spite of this, John also calls attention to the amazing truth that even though Jesus speaks divine truth, “no one accepts his testimony

But Jesus is of a completely different nature because He’s of a completely different origin. He had no human father, He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and that’s how a divine person passed into a human body. He has a heavenly origin. He is from above. And by the way, that is the same language of John 3, you must be born from above in the spiritual sense, regenerated by God to be a part of His Kingdom. Heavenly origin then becomes a very important part of Jesus’ testimony, and I want to show this to you.

 John 6:33, Jesus had just fed the massive crowd the loaves and the fish and was teaching the great sermon on Himself as the bread of life. But notice a few of the things that he says. In verse 33, John 6, “For the bread of God…meaning Himself…is that which comes down out of heaven and gives life to the world.” Verse 38, “For I have come down from heaven.” Verse 50, “This is the bread which comes down out of heaven.” Verse 51, “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven.” Verse 58, “This is the bread which came down out of heaven.” That doesn’t leave any room for doubt about the origin of the Lord Jesus Christ. He came down from heaven. Clearly distinguishing Him from earth-born people, which constitutes the entire human race.

32 "And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony.

Joh 3:11; 8:26; 15:15

He has a heavenly origin. And by the way, chapter 8, you’re going to find this as we go all through John’s gospel, but chapter 8 verse 42, Jesus said, “If God were your father…He’s talking to the Jewish leaders…if God were your father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God.” I proceeded forth and have come from God. In chapter 17 He prays a prayer and says, “Restore to Me the glory I had with You before the world began.” And speaks there of His preincarnate existence. In 17:8, “The words You gave Me I have given to them and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You.” This is foundational to understanding Jesus Christ is not merely human. This establishes the deity of Christ

 v32 Divine Testimony - Has a firsthand knowledge of the truth because He is God – Speaks and witnesses as God has a better testimony than John

Now we know He knows everything because in chapter 2 verses 23 to 25 it said He knows everything. He even knows the thoughts of every human being, this is omniscience. Jesus is the only man who never needed to take any information from anyone else. He didn’t need to be educated by other people. There was no need for that. Yes, He grew in wisdom, stature, favor with God, favor with man…there was an awakening to His divine knowledge as He grew legitimately as a baby and a child. He wasn’t a one-year-old able to spout profound eternal theology. He was conformed to the development of a human being. By the time He’s twelve, obviously it’s crystal-clear that He…He has reached the point with a full adult sense of His mission which means that His knowledge was then complete. Did He choose to use all that knowledge? No, He restricted the independent use of His own omniscience in His humiliation. That’s why He could say things like “I don’t know the day or the hour when I return to establish the Kingdom.” He put self-imposed limits on His omniscience. But He could limit His omniscience, no one could add to His knowledge. He could limit His development and that in the plan of God, but no information as outside that full omniscience.

 This sets Him apart from us. Everything we know, somebody has to teach us. We need information from heaven given to us from someone from heaven. So Jesus comes, God spoke in time past by the Holy Spirit through the prophets and then He spoke, Hebrews 1, by His Son. Either God speaks to us through the prophets and through the writers of Scripture or He speaks to us through His Son, but He has to speak to us because we have no knowledge of heavenly things.

 Back in chapter 3 verse 11, “Truly, truly…Jesus says…I say to You, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen.” This is firsthand knowledge. And he calls these things in verse 12 heavenly things. So in referring to Jesus Christ, everything begins with an understanding of His heavenly origin and then moves to an understanding that He has knowledge of all things, He has complete omniscience, He knows everything that can be known and He knows it by first-hand experience, not because He acquired that knowledge or was taught that knowledge. There is a reference in the gospel of John to being taught of God, Jesus speaking of being taught of God meaning only in the sense that He was with God in eternity past, they shared a common understanding of truth.

For example, Jesus reiterates this a number of times. Maybe it would be good to look at chapter 5 verse 30, “I can do nothing on my own initiative, as I hear I judge, My judgment is just. I don’t seek My own will but the will of Him who sent Me. If I alone testify about Myself, My testimony is not deemed true. There is another who testifies of Me and I know that the testimony which He gives about Me is true. You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth, but the testimony which I receive is not from man but I say these things so that you may be saved.” John is a lamp but I’m the light. In other words, Jesus says John gave you a testimony that he had received from God. I give you a testimony that comes from heaven itself. There’s a sense in which it all originates with God. The difference is John had to be taught this, Jesus knew it eternally. He is the omniscient one.

 In the eighth chapter of John’s gospel, just a couple of other verses, verse 26, “I have many things to speak and judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true and the things which I heard from Him, these I speak to the world.” Jesus says My knowledge is the knowledge that belongs to God, it is knowledge which we share. Verse 38, “I speak the things which I’ve seen with My Father.” In other words, the common identification of these two members of the Trinity, eternally, which encompasses their omniscience.

 Because He is of heavenly origin then, He has all heavenly knowledge. There is no preacher who can claim that by any means. We struggle at best to grasp the heavenly things, to understand the heavenly things, to articulate the heavenly things, and we’re only scratching the edge of the surface.

By the way, at the end of that verse, a statement is made, “No one receives his testimony.” Back in verse 11 he said the same things, Jesus said it there. “You do not accept our testimony.” He said that to Israel and now John says no one receives his testimony. John the Baptist is affirming that what Jesus is saying, people are rejecting. It’s not consistent with what they’re used to. It’s not earthly. It’s not consistent with the system that they’ve developed. It’s too heavenly. And Jesus said that, how are you going to understand heavenly things when you don’t even grasp earthly things?

33 "He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true.

Ro 3:4; 1Jo 5:10

The truthfulness of God is bound up in the affirmation of Christ. Look at verse 33. “He who has received His testimony,” there are some, “no one received His testimony,” is a general statement, not an exclusive one, but there are some. “He who has received His testimony, that is the testimony concerning Christ, has set His seal to this, that God is true.” That is such an economy of words to say something so profound. Does God speak truth? Is God true? You heard Kory sing what essentially says that, you are truthful. God is true, a God who cannot lie. He is truth personified. God is true. If that is so, then you must believe in Christ. Why? Because God sent an angel and said this child is Immanuel. This is Jesus who will save His people from their sins. Because God sent an angel, this is the Son of God, because God spoke at His baptism, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” Because God spoke at the Transfiguration, “This is My beloved Son, listen to Him.”

 If you don’t believe that Jesus is the Son of God, then God lied. Understand? So don’t come with some kind of patronizing statement about, “Well I believe in God, I believe in the true God, I just reject Christ.” No, if you reject Christ, then you affirm that God is a liar.

he Jewish people think they affirm the God of the Old Testament. They talk about the God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, the God of the Old Testament Scripture, they affirm that that’s their God and that’s the true God. But their God is a liar…their God is a liar because it is the God of the Old Testament who revealed every single prophecy directed and fulfilled in Jesus Christ’s first coming. It is the God of the Old Testament who talk about the seed of a woman in Genesis 3, it’s the God of the Old Testament who talked about one who would be crucified, pierced, wounded for the transgressions of His people, Isaiah 53. Every single prophecy in the Old Testament fulfilled in Jesus Christ is a point at which you either validate God as speaking the truth, or lying. You cannot reject Christ and say God speaks the truth. It was God who said this is My beloved Son. If that’s not His Son, God’s a liar.

v33 His Testimony agrees with God and proves that God is true

In 1 John chapter 5, John affirms this very important declaration with this statement, 1 John 5:10. This time he’s writing in his epistle. “The one who believes in the Son of God,” John is constantly going back to this theme, this is who He is and you must believe to have eternal life. “The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in Himself. The one who does not believe God has made Him a liar.” Whoa-whoa, I would never make God a liar. You just made Him a liar if you reject what He said about Christ because you have not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son. It’s inescapable. You don’t have the right to say I believe in God and that I believe God is true, and then reject Christ. If Christ is not who God said He is, we are really in serious trouble because the biggest promise that God ever made, the clearest identification that He ever spoke of was a lie. And if God is by nature a liar, throw your Bible away, throw your Old Testament away, run from it. You cannot reject Christ and affirm that God is true. If God is true, then everything He said about Christ is true and Christ is who He said He is and provides the eternal life that He declared He would give.

 

This becomes another of John’s themes. Chapter 7, verse 16, “So Jesus answered them and said, very basic statement, My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me.” Reject Me, you’re rejecting God. Call Me a liar, you’re calling God a liar. We are connected. If I’m a liar, God’s a liar because what I’m telling you comes from God.

 Back in chapter 5 is maybe the most potent statement, chapter 5, you could pick it up say maybe at verse 19. Jesus is talking about His relationship to the Father, His Son can do nothing of Himself unless the something He sees the Father doing, common knowledge, common life, common action, common works, common words, whatever the Father does, these are the things the Son does. And He goes on to speak about this. And then He sums it up in verse 23, “So that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father.” And then this, “He who doesn’t honor the Son, doesn’t honor the Father who sent Him.” Reject the Son, and you’ve rejected the Father. That is why the writers of the epistles of the New Testament refer to God as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, meaning that the God that we believe is the God who is one with the Lord Jesus Christ. You can’t separate the two, and end up with anything other than blasphemy. It’s blasphemy to call God a liar. And if Jesus is not who God said He is, then God is a liar and there is nothing more horrendous or horrific than that kind of blasphemy.

 In the fourteenth chapter of John, the tenth verse, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. My works, My words all come from the Father. Believe Me, I am in the Father, the Father’s in Me.” This is essential to any grasp of the identity of Jesus Christ.

34 "For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure. Joh 1:16; 7:16

 V34 Jesus has the full measure of God’s words since He is God and full of the Holy Spirit

Eph 4:7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. Eph 4:8 Therefore He says: "When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men."

it speaks again to His Trinitarian relationships. This comes in verse 34. In verse 34, and it is this, “He possessed full Holy Spirit presence…full Holy Spirit presence.” Why do we exalt Christ? He has a heavenly origin. We have an earthly one. He knows what He knows from eternal omniscience. We have to be taught and are limited in our comprehension. Why do we exalt Him? Because He is the one whom the Father promised and whom the Father affirmed and to agree with God the Father we must embrace Christ. And then this, “He possesses the Holy Spirit in full presence.” Great statement in verse 34. “For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God…that’s the same point He was making in verse 33, probably should be added to verse 33, and then verse 34 should say…”For He gives the Spirit without measure.”

 One of the ministries of the Spirit, of course, was to bring the words of the Father through the Son. Everything Jesus did in His ministry was the work of the Holy Spirit, that’s why in Matthew 12 when they called Him satanic, they said You do what You do by the power of Satan, He didn’t say you blasphemed Me, He said you blaspheme the Holy Spirit.

 Why? Because part of His incarnation was to become human, part of His incarnation was to restrict the independent use of His attributes. Part of His incarnation was to yield over His will to the operation of the Holy Spirit in His humiliation.

it speaks again to His Trinitarian relationships. This comes in verse 34. In verse 34, and it is this, “He possessed full Holy Spirit presence…full Holy Spirit presence.” Why do we exalt Christ? He has a heavenly origin. We have an earthly one. He knows what He knows from eternal omniscience. We have to be taught and are limited in our comprehension. Why do we exalt Him? Because He is the one whom the Father promised and whom the Father affirmed and to agree with God the Father we must embrace Christ. And then this, “He possesses the Holy Spirit in full presence.” Great statement in verse 34. “For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God…that’s the same point He was making in verse 33, probably should be added to verse 33, and then verse 34 should say…”For He gives the Spirit without measure.”

 

One of the ministries of the Spirit, of course, was to bring the words of the Father through the Son. Everything Jesus did in His ministry was the work of the Holy Spirit, that’s why in Matthew 12 when they called Him satanic, they said You do what You do by the power of Satan, He didn’t say you blasphemed Me, He said you blaspheme the Holy Spirit.

Back in chapter 1 verse 32, John testified saying, “I’ve seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven and He remained on Him and I didn’t recognize Him, but He who sent Me to baptize in water said to Me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him is the one who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’” So there symbolically is this coming of the Holy Spirit resting on Him. That’s only an external demonstration of what was an internal, eternal permanent union in the Trinity. In fact, in Colossians 2:9, it’s stated this way, “That in Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily. He is Son and Father and Holy Spirit all in one.”

 Why would you exalt the minister? John has a measure of the Holy Spirit. John has information given to him but John is an earthly man, not to be compared at all with the one who comes from heaven who knows everything from eternal omniscience, who gives perfect testimony establishing the truthfulness of God, and who has the spirit in infinite fullness.

 35 "The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand.

Mt 11:27; 28:18; Lu 10:22; Joh 5:20,22; 13:3; 17:2; Heb 2:8

 V35 Divine Authority - Everything belongs to Jesus because He is God and only by Him can you be saved – He has Ultimate Power

Power and Grace Mt 28:18

John understands that the whole of redemption and the whole of creation, the creation of the material world, the immaterial world, the plan of redemption, all of it is about the Father loving the Son and creating a universe in which He can redeem humanity and give a bride to His Son, a love gift to His Son. John has a full understanding of the plan of God to create and then regenerate, to regenerate the heavens and regenerate the earth and regenerate fallen sinners and gather all that together and give it as an expression of His love to His Son. That’s staggering truth to grasp.

 In Ephesians, the Apostle Paul tries to capture some of this with amazing language. Ephesians chapter 1, one of my favorite passages anywhere in Scripture, starting in verse 20, talks about Christ whom He raised from the dead. And then says about Him, “He is far above all rule and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. He’s put all things in subjection under His feet, given Him as head over all things, He’s head over all things, He’s given the One who is head over all things to the church which is His body. He is the fullness of Him who fills…the church is the fullness of Him who fills all in all. The language is full, full, full, full, full.

 God’s eternal love relationship with His Son results in God giving to His Son all of His creation in its final form, the new heavens, the new earth, the redeemed humanity, love gifts to the Son. John understands this.

36 "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."

Hab 2:4; Joh 1:12; 3:15-16; 6:47; Ro 1:17; 1Jo 5:10 (NKJV)

Jesus is the key to our destiny. The answer to one question determines where we will spend eternity: “Who is Jesus Christ, and what have you done about His claim to be God’s only means for your salvation?” The one who accepts His testimony has declared that “God is true” (verse 33). To reject the words of our Lord, who speaks for the Father, is to call God a liar. To believe in the Son is to have eternal life. The one who rejects the Son will not see life; indeed, God’s wrath abides on him (verse 36).

V36 Those that believe His testimony are saved, don’t they are not

Old wine of Judaism doesn’t work, new wine of Jesus works

Purification Water pots no longer necessary, only Jesus purifies

Eph 5:25 -27

Holy Spirit, Jesus gives us new life as we are born from above

Full Christology and so he closes with an invitation in verse 36, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life. He who doesn’t obey the Son will not see life.” By the way, why does it go from believing to obeying? Because to believe on the Son is a command. The gospel is a command, not a suggestion. It’s a command. He who believes in the Son has obeyed the command. He who does not believe in the Son has disobeyed the command. And he who doesn’t obey the Son will not see life but the wrath of God abides on him.

You have a choice. Eternal life, eternal wrath. Eternal heaven, eternal hell. John ends up a gospel preacher. Those are the last words to fall from the lips of John the Baptist recorded in Scripture and he’s a gospel preacher. Believe and have eternal life, it sounds like the words of John 3:16, believe and have eternal life. Fail to believe in disobedience, you will not see life but you will see eternal wrath, a preacher of the gospel, the last message and the voice of one crying in the wilderness goes silent…goes silent.

 Not long after this John’s sad ending came. Let me read it to you. Matthew 14. Herod had arrested John. Herod arrested him because John publicly preached against Herod’s immorality and illicit marriage. So Herod arrested John, bound him, put him in prison because of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip. That was the immorality. He had literally seduced his brother’s wife and married her. And John had been saying to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” Although Herod wanted to put him to death, he feared the crowd because they regarded John as a prophet. But when Herod’s birthday came which was a good excuse for debauchery, drunken orgy, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod in a very seductive way. Pleased him so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. Having been prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”

 “Although he was grieved, the king commanded it to be given because of his oaths and because of his dinner guests. He sent and had John beheaded in the prison and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl and she brought it to her mother. His disciples came and took away the body and buried it and they went and reported to Jesus. And the shining star was out and the voice went silent.”

 It’s really sad, isn’t it? Pathetic, ugly, horrible way for the greatest man who ever lived to end. His disciples buried his body and went and told Jesus. But this is how it is for the preacher. John died a satisfied man. His joy was made full, why? Because he had decreased and Christ had increased. And John’s followers had no one else to turn to, so they went to Christ. He was a faithful preacher of Christ, faithful preacher of the gospel and a model of the first law of ministry, the law of humility.

 The most important question anyone can ask and answer is, “Who is Jesus Christ?” The answer is the key to everything. It is the key to one’s eternal destiny. It is the key to one’s ministry and service. It is the key to the gospel itself. Is it any wonder that the truths John the Baptist affirms here are the same truths the Apostle John emphasizes in this Gospel? Is it any wonder that these same truths are those most under attack by unbelieving “scholars”?

The claims Jesus makes, which John the Baptist declares here, and which the Gospel of John was written to proclaim, are found everywhere one looks in the New Testament. But perhaps nowhere is the thrust of our text more clearly stated elsewhere in the Bible than in the Book of Hebrews:

(Hebrews 1:1-2:4).

In contrast to John and his joy, we see the jealousy and frustration of his disciples. How can this be explained? What went wrong here? I would begin by saying that this same “sourness” seems to characterize many Christians and their service to the Lord. How quickly and easily we lose sight of Christ’s preeminence, and start to think of our position and our pleasure. Is this not what characterizes the disciples of our Lord? Are they not interested in promoting Christ so that they can prosper with Him? Is this not why they react so strongly to His words about His own rejection, suffering, and death? They are serving God for self-serving reasons.

Too often I hear Christians in ministry talking in terms of success, and this is problematic. But I also hear too much talk about “personal fulfillment.” Is this what motivates our service?

Is this perhaps the reason why your joy and mine is not that of John the Baptist? Are we serving our Lord selfishly? Jesus calls us to “take up our cross.” Serving God is in our own best interest, but when we begrudge the glorification of Christ because it seems to come at our sacrifice and our expense, then we have become like John’s disciples. If this is the case, we should repent of our sin, asking God to restore to us the joy of our salvation.

Philippians 1:12-26

[i] In John 3:12, Jesus claimed the ability to speak both “earthly things” and “heavenly things.” John claims to be able to speak only “earthly things.”

25
Jul
2018

30 SECOND DEVOTIONAL 1 JOHN 2:4 THOSE THAT KNOW HIM WALK THE WALK

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1 John 2:4 He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

1 John 2:4 tells us He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. Jesus told the Pharisees who never trusted Christ as Savior, in John 8:44 that "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.  Jesus said if you really know Him as Savior, you will not only talk the talk, but also walk the walk

23
Jul
2018

JOHN 3:22-29 THE TRANSITION FROM JOHN TO JESUS

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John 3:22 After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He remained with them and baptized. 23 Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there. And they came and were baptized. 24 For John had not yet been thrown into prison. 25 Then there arose a dispute between some of John's disciples and the Jews about purification. 26 And they came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified--behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!" 27 John answered and said, "A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. 28 "You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, 'I am not the Christ,' but, 'I have been sent before Him.' 29 "He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled.

 Here we see the transition from John’s ministry to Jesus’ ministry.  As usual people always get jealous of others even though John has been telling his disciples and us from the very beginning that his job was just to point the way to Jesus and that he is only the newspaper boy telling us to read all about it, Jesus is coming, you need to get your life right with God.  He then tells us that he is only the friend of the bridegroom and that person is Jesus.  His job is to protect the bride and get them ready for when the bridegroom comes, then he is off the scene because his job is done.  Everything John does and says points us to Jesus, does your life and mine?

 All other Gospels have Jesus going into ministry immediately after His baptism, John gives us all info

  1. Jesus wanted to be with disciples
  2. Jesus wanted to baptize
  3. Jesus wanted to cause confrontation

Important overlap so John can point people to Jesus.

Transitional passage from the old covenant to the beginning of the new –End of the Old

V22-26 Jesus goes out where John is baptizing so as to set up a confrontation between the two ways Numbers 11:26-30 Moses had the same problem

Joh 3:22 ¶ After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He remained with them and baptized. Joh 4:2

Jesus and His disciples had been in the city of Jerusalem, where He had cleansed the temple (2:13-22), performed a number of signs (2:23), and spoken with Nicodemus (3:1-21). They are now leaving the city of Jerusalem, making their way into the countryside.  There, Jesus “spent time with” His disciples. We should ponder these three words, “spent time with,” because they remind us of a very important element of discipleship. As it should be, the church is very interested in discipleship. Jesus is seen as the model for “discipling,” and rightly so. Nevertheless, our discipleship programs seldom do what our Lord actually did. Rather, we emphasize a kind of classroom instruction, and usually a highly structured program with “accountability” and other controls. While this may be commendable, I cannot overlook the fact that Jesus “spent time” with His disciples. To be our Lord’s disciple was to “be with Him”:

Discipleship is about witnessing, accountability, and one-on-one relationships with those who come to faith in Christ. But first and foremost, a disciple is one who spends time with the Master.

Let us not lose sight of the fact that a significant part of our Lord’s discipling was simply spending time with His disciples.

Jesus'  conversation  with  Nicodemus  evidently  happened  in  Jerusalem (2:23). Jerusalem was within Judea. After that conversation, Jesus went out into the Judean countryside. Jesus had not yet commissioned the Twelve.        That   commissioning   happened   after   John   the   Baptist's imprisonment (Mark 1:14). The disciples who accompanied Jesus may not have been the Twelve, but they were His followers and they could have included all or some of the Twelve. This is the only record in the Gospels that Jesus engaged in a baptizing ministry similar to John the Baptist's. It was undoubtedly baptism expressing repentance rather than "Christian baptism." The writer later explained that Jesus did not do the baptizing Himself, but His disciples did (4:2). Jesus was also spending time with these disciples undoubtedly to help them understand and appreciate who He really was.

23 Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there. And they came and were baptized. 1Sa 9:4; Mt 3:5-6

 24 For John had not yet been thrown into prison. Mt 14:3

John then interjects a parenthetical explanation in verse 24: “(For John had not yet been thrown into prison.)” Why would the Apostle John feel this statement is necessary? The Synoptic Gospels all start our Lord’s public ministry after the arrest of John the Baptist:

14 Now after John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee and proclaimed the gospel of God. 15 He said, “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the gospel!” (Mark 1:14-15; see also Matthew 4:12f.)

From him alone we learn that between Jesus' temptation and John the Baptist's arrest John and Jesus worked side by side for a time. His reference to John the Baptist's imprisonment is important because it helps the reader see that John's account does not contradict the Synoptics. Yet his primary concern was John the Baptist's witness to Jesus.

At this later point in time, Jesus picked up where John left off, with virtually the same message as John. Only in the Gospel of John do we learn of an earlier time when both John and Jesus were ministering simultaneously, with both groups (John and his disciples, and Jesus and His disciples) doing virtually the same thing at the same time (baptizing those who came to them).

John wants his readers to know of this unique, if very brief, period of simultaneous ministry because it is the setting from which a perceived problem arises. This problem arises because of our Lord’s successful ministry at this time. In our text, the Apostle John bids what I suspect is a sad farewell to John the Baptist. He will be referred to later in this Gospel, but this is the last time we read his own words. Our text is a fitting tribute to a great man. John the Baptist’s response here is a model of humility and Christian servanthood. Let us listen very carefully, not only to his words, but to his heart.

John’s Disciples Are Distressed (3:25-26)

 25 Then there arose a dispute between some of John's disciples and the Jews about purification.

John tells us of a dispute between the disciples of John and “a Jew or Jews,”[i] who argue over ceremonial washing. If this Jew was resistant to John’s message and his baptism, it may well be that he argues for the superiority of the Jewish ceremonial cleansings. Somehow, the conversation seems to gravitate to a comparison of John’s baptism with that of Jesus. The dispute between John’s disciples and this Jew appears to prompt them to return to John with their concerns about Jesus.

We are not told what is said in this dispute. For the purposes of illustration and clarification, allow me to suggest one possible scenario: John’s disciples encounter a Jew and ask him if he wishes to be baptized. He responds that he is not interested; he is convinced that the Jewish ceremonial cleansings are more effective. Unwilling to leave it at this, the disciples begin to debate with him. Seeing that he is not making any progress, the Jew may have “put the icing on the cake” with a statement something like: “Well what are you so dogmatic about? Don’t you know that Jesus is baptizing in the same way you are, and far more people are going to Him than to you folks? Why don’t you just give it up?”

John’s disciples return to him frustrated and upset, not with the Jew, but with Jesus. They are distressed that Jesus and His disciples are more successful than they are. In fact, they almost seem distressed at John the Baptist, irritated that he has not done anything to remedy this situation. After all, it was John who pointed the crowds to Jesus, and he who had greatly contributed to the success of Jesus. Listen to the anger and frustration in their words to their “master”:

 26 And they came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified--behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!"Joh 1:7,15,27,34

 The words of John’s disciples give them away. Notice how they choose to refer to Jesus. They do not call Him by name (Jesus), nor do they refer to Him as the Messiah, though that is the way John refers to Him. They speak of Jesus as “the one who was with you, … the one about whom you testified.” I believe they did so because they actually came to resent who Jesus was. His identity and His success are related. If they are jealous of His success, they are not as enthusiastic about His identity as they should be. Neither are they as enthusiastic about acknowledging Jesus as Messiah as John is. John associates himself with Jesus, giving Jesus credibility. Worse yet, from their point of view, John testifies about Jesus (notice that they don’t mention what he testifies). Now, they complain, “everyone is going to him!

Note the similarity of these words to the words of the Pharisees:

17 So the crowd who had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead were continuing to testify about it. 18 Because they had heard that Jesus had performed this miraculous sign, the crowd went out to meet him. 19 Thus the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you can do nothing. Look, the world has gone after him!” (John 12:17-19, emphasis mine.)

One is also reminded of these words in the Book of Numbers:

26 But two men had remained in the camp: the name of one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad. And the Spirit rested upon them. Now they were among those listed, but who had not gone out to the tabernacle; yet they prophesied in the camp. 27 And a young man ran and told Moses, and said, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.” 28 So Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, one of his choice men, answered and said, “Moses my lord, forbid them!” 29 Then Moses said to him, “Are you zealous for my sake? Oh, that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!” (Numbers 11:26-29, NKJV)

Lest we think John’s disciples are the exception, let me suggest that their mindset is virtually the same as the disciples of our Lord. Our Lord’s disciples are jealous for Jesus’ success. They don’t like it when others attempt the same ministries they perform (see Mark 9:38; Luke 9:49). They dread the thought of failure and suffering (Matthew 16:21-22). In the Gospels, the disciples of John and the disciples of our Lord are in it for themselves, until they learn the meaning of taking up one’s cross. John’s disciples therefore are put out with John for having created this situation. They do not like the fact that Jesus is now baptizing, just as they are, but with greater success. They see the end in view, for themselves and for their ministry. Yet this is the way God meant it to be.

This raises an interesting issue: Why don’t John’s disciples—the ones chastising him—leave John to follow Jesus? Why do they stay on with John? What do they expect, as far as the future is concerned? John’s ministry was to introduce the Messiah. He has done that, and his mission has been accomplished. John’s disciples are acting as though John is the Messiah. They seem to think that their mission and ministry will continue on indefinitely. Judging from the broad impact of John’s teaching (e.g., Acts 19), they may have worked at it for some time. But they look upon Jesus as their competition, rather than as the culmination of their ministry. None of these men seem to be considering leaving John and joining Jesus, as the first two disciples of John did.[ii] Had they cast their lot in with John, so that now they are unwilling to face up to what is in store for him and for them? It seems so. It is not a pretty picture which the Apostle John draws for us, but it is certainly true to life.

With the attitude of John’s disciples, one can understand why it was necessary for John to be imprisoned and then beheaded by Herod. Even then, one wonders how long it took John’s disciples to give it up and to begin to preach Christ

 A Servant’s Heart (3:27-30)

V27-28 A ministry can only be given by God – I am only a messenger boy or a paper boy

I am only to understand my role and do what God has called ME to do. Not be jealous

2 things we should never say, I don’t need you and you have no need of me

27 John answered and said, "A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven.1Co 4:7; Heb 5:4; Jas 1:17

 28 "You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, 'I am not the Christ,' but, 'I have been sent before Him.'Mal 3:1; Mr 1:2; Lu 1:17; Joh 1:20,27

 V27 Mark of a new Christian is that Jesus is v21, deeds have been done in Christ.

1Co 4:7 For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?

Ps 84:10 For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.

29 "He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. Song 5:1; Mt 22:2; 2Co 11:2; Eph 5:25,27; Re 21:9

V29 John is but the voice, Jesus, my sheep hear my voice, Jesus is the real voice

John 8:47 "He who is of God hears God's words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God."

V29 John is not the Messiah, only the bridegroom’s friend – his job was to protect the bride for up to a week and put the hand of the bride into the bridegrooms and then he was done

John’s ministry is the ministry he received from God. His God-given ministry was not to be the Messiah, but to introduce the Messiah. He was the forerunner; Jesus was the fulfillment,

[i] Some manuscripts have the plural here. It really doesn’t seem to matter whether the dispute was with one Jew or many.

[ii] If the Apostle John was the second disciple of John the Baptist to follow Jesus, think how he must have felt as he wrote this account, realizing this could have been him, and knowing that he is exposing the self-serving attitude of his former associates.

18
Jul
2018

30 SECOND DEVOTIONAL 1 JOHN 2:4 THOSE THAT DON’T KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS DO NOT KNOW HIM

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1John 2:4 He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

 In 1 John 2:4, John was speaking to believers about the Gnostics who said they had a relationship with Jesus, but they really did not.  This seems to be the way of society today, because many live ungodly lives and yet they think they are going to heaven, or they live like the Pharisees, who look good to people because they pretend to be holy, but are really hypocrites who have never asked God to forgive them on the basis of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.  Where do you fit, is this you, or have you truly been forgiven because you cried out to Jesus to save you because you are a sinner?

11
Jul
2018

30 SECOND DEVOTIONAL 1 JOHN 2.3 THOSE THAT KNOW CHRIST KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS

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1 John 2:3 says Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.  This is what Jesus meant when He said in John 14:15 "If you love Me, keep My commandments.  He also said in John 10:27 "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.  This means that if we are truly saved we will be holy, as He is holy.  We will be doing our best through the power of the Holy Spirit to live our life to model that of Jesus Christ’s.  That doesn’t mean we are perfect, but if this is not what you desire and are trying to do, you cannot truly be saved.