His Will Is In The Word
John 17:17 “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”
In this prayer, Jesus prayed twice that the Father would keep His disciples from evil. Then He reveals the way that God will accomplish this – through His Word, the holy scriptures. Anyone who desires to live for God, reject the devil, and reject the world’s system, must know God’s Word.
We must study the scriptures, for they reveal the will of God for our actions and attitudes. To be filled with the knowledge of God’s will, we must be filled with God’s Word. God’s Word is His will! Those who are ignorant of God’s Word will be ignorant of God’s will.
Knowledge of God’s will is foundational in developing Christian conduct and character. There is no way we can fulfill God’s will if we don’t know what it is. The starting point for any Christian is understanding God’s will for his life. How can a person obtain such knowledge? The first step is to desire it. Jeremiah 29:13 says, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” People ask the Lord for knowledge of His will but don’t receive it because they aren’t seeking with ALL THEIR HEART. No one who has ever sought the Lord with all his heart has ever been disappointed.
The Holy Spirit is the dispenser of God’s wisdom. It is through Him that we know the things God has revealed to us. One of the primary ministries of the Holy Spirit is to reveal God’s will to us.
There is no way we can walk worthy of the Lord and please Him if we don’t know His will. Furthermore, we can’t be fruitful without the knowledge of His will. God has provided all that we need to be successful and victorious in this life. Believe His Word.
Rejoice In The Lord – Always
John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
The world experiences joy and happiness in direct proportion to their circumstances. Bad circumstances produce depression and sorrow, while good circumstances produce joy and peace. That’s bondage, and does not have to be the case for a Christian. Our joy is not dependent on things, but rather on the person of Jesus Christ. He is our peace and joy.
The way we take advantage of this joy and peace in the midst of tribulation, is to have our minds and hearts stayed on things above and not on things of this earth. The invisible things of God are eternal while the visible problems on earth are only temporary. All the problems of this life grow very dim when we compare them to the glory of God that is ours through Jesus.
We can rejoice in the Lord always, Philippians 4:4, because rejoicing is an action, not a reaction to our environment. Joy is a gift from God that was given to us at salvation. It was placed within our born-again spirit and it doesn’t fluctuate or diminish; it is constant. The Lord has put the joy inside us and we are to “work it out” by choosing to obey this command in scripture.
We are commanded to rejoice “IN THE LORD.” Many people are not experiencing true joy because their joy is in their circumstances. That is, they are waiting to rejoice when things in their lives are going good, and that doesn’t happen very often. We are suppose to “rejoice in the Lord always.”
That means we are supposed to rejoice in who the Lord is and what He has done for us. He never changes, Hebrews 13:8, and His mercies and compassions are new every morning, Lamentations 3:22-23.
John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Jesus said we would have tribulation. He did not say that He was the one bringing the tribulation or what the tribulation would be, but He said it would come. Then He made the amazing statement that in the midst of tribulation we were to be of good cheer.
Tribulations exist because there is a battle between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the devil. When we operate in faith, God is able to grant us such victory that we are actually better off because of the battle. It’s just like when a army goes to war. If they win, they gain spoils. But if they embrace their enemy because of the spoils they were expecting to receive, they will be killed instead of blessed. First, you have to fight and win the war and then, and only then, will the spoils be available. The enemy doesn’t come to be a blessing, but a blessing can be obtained from the enemy if we are victorious.
Likewise, tribulations and adversities are not blessings from God. They are attacks from the enemy intended to steal the Word of God out of our lives. No man should say that the temptation came from God, for God is not the one who tempts any man, James 1:13.
If problems were what perfected us, then most Christians would have been perfected long ago and those who experienced the greatest problems would be the greatest Christians. However, that’s not the way it is. God’s Word is given to us to make us perfect, and thoroughly furnished unto every good work, 2 Timothy 3:17. God’s Word does not need to be supplemented with problems to accomplish its work.
Be A Witness, Not A Judge
John 16:8 “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment”
It is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to reprove sin, righteousness, and judgment. It is not our ministry. We are simply witnesses. A witness is not the judge or the jury. A witness simply relates what he has experienced, thereby providing evidence to the truth of something. We are to witness in word and deed, to the truth of Jesus being alive in us and let God be the one who convicts. We are simply to testify to what we have seen or to what has happened to us.
Some people in their zeal, have gone beyond the witness stage and have tried to bring people under conviction themselves. This is assuming the job that belongs to the Holy Spirit alone. This not only frustrates the witness but it drives many people away from God. We make a very poor Holy Spirit; therefore, we should stick to our job of being a witness and let the Holy Spirit do His job.
Jesus specified an orderly progression in the way we should witness. First we start in Jerusalem (i.e. where we are). Then we go to those nearby (Judaea).
Finally, we take the gospel to every religious and racial group (Samaria) throughout the whole world.
There are some very practical reasons for becoming witnesses in this way.
John 15:19 “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”
We should not think it is strange to be persecuted. “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution”, 2 Timothy 3:12. We can actually rejoice because we are being persecuted for Jesus’ sake, and the Lord will be with us in the midst of the persecution. When we stand before Him, there will be more than ample reward.
Persecution is a token that those persecuting you are under conviction. They realize that they are not living what your words or actions are advocating and in self defense, they attack you, who they perceive is the source of their conviction. If you understand this, it makes persecution much easier to take. They aren’t just mad at you; they are convicted. When the gospel is presented in the power of the Holy Spirit, there will always be either revival or riot, but not indifference.
In the midst of persecution, Satan will try to convince us that the strife is all our fault. If he succeeds, then we back down and the pressure is off his followers. However, Jesus suffered continual rejection and persecution, yet we know that the problem was not with Him, but with those who rejected Him.
Jesus makes it clear that persecution is an inevitable part of living a godly life, so that we will not fall prey to introspection and self-condemnation when rejection comes. If our sinless Savior was rejected, then certainly we will be too. Don’t feel guilty or condemned when persecution comes. The Word strips people of the disguises they have been hiding their sins behind, and the result is persecution.
There Is Only One Way To The Father
John 14:5 “Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?”
Thomas knew Jesus. He just didn’t realize Jesus was “the way.” Likewise, people today know portions of God’s Word but they don’t realize that God’s Word is their way to victory. Often, people cry out for God to speak to them while their Bible lays unopened on their nightstand. God has spoken to us through His Word. We just need to believe it and receive its truths as our way to victory.
Jesus didn’t say: “I am a way, a truth, and a life.” He claimed to be the only way, truth, and life. No man can come to the Father except through Jesus. This means that anyone who claims to honor Jesus while advocating other ways to get to God, truth, or life, besides Jesus, is deceived or a deceiver.
Jesus’ claims about Himself, of which there is only one, left no room for other means to salvation. He is either who He says He is, or He is the greatest deceiver of all time. His own statements about Himself leave no other alternatives. Therefore, other religions that recognize Jesus and His teachings as wonderful examples, but don’t believe He is the only way to achieve salvation, are false.
The Word of God is a spiritual book written under the direction of the Holy Spirit. It was not written to our head but to the innermost part of our heart. This is why some people find the Bible so hard to understand. They are trying to comprehend it using only their mind. The Word of God has to inspire our heart before it can enlighten our mind.
Our Life Is In Him
John 15:4 “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.”
This is a profound truth, that is the key to bearing fruit, but it is so easy to forget. Because the fruit is borne on the branch, it is easy to credit the branch with the fruit, when it is the vine that drew the life from the earth and channeled it through the branch.
Likewise, since we are the branch through which the life of God flows, we sometimes think that it is our own holiness that produces the fruit. The moment we think that way, we are no longer abiding (trusting in; clinging to) in the vine and we will become fruitless if we persist in this mind set.
This is actually a great relief if the believer understands this and applies it properly. It puts all the responsibility on Jesus. Our only responsibility is to respond to His ability. In the same way that you have never seen a branch travailing to bring forth fruit, so all we have to do is labor to enter into His rest (trust and depend) and completely trust Jesus as our source, Hebrews 4:11. If we abide in Him, fruit will come naturally.
It’s our faith in what Jesus did for us that saved us, and our faith has to continue to be in Christ, not in ourselves, to maintain salvation. Our holiness, righteousness, and justification are gifts that we receive in our spirits through Jesus.
Just like the life of a root is found in the soil, or a branch in the vine, or a fish in the sea, so the believer’s true life is found in the union with Christ.
Let God Prune You His Way
John 15:2 “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.”
This purging has been interpreted in many ways. The illustration that Jesus is using is one of pruning; therefore, some have said this purging is a very painful process where the Lord cuts and slashes us through things like sickness, death, poverty, and other forms of tragedy so that eventually we will bear more fruit. This teaching not only promotes problems as being good, but necessary, if we want to bear more fruit.
That thinking is not consistent with the rest of God’s Word or even the context of this verse. The text makes it very clear that the purging that Jesus speaks of is done through the Word that He has spoken unto us.
Paul said in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that God’s Word was given to us “for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” That is God’s method of pruning us, and He doesn’t need the devil’s help. His word will make us “perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
That is not to say that we cannot learn through tragedy: but God has a better way. If we mistakenly think that God is bringing tragedy into our lives to make us more fruitful, then we’ll not resist the tragedies and they will not flee from us. All of us will learn by hard knocks, but the man who welcomes them with wide open arms will suffer greatly and be far behind the man who lets God’s Word have His perfect