Thursday, October 9, 2014
A holy promise, conclusion
If you are like many believers, you sometimes wonder, "How can I possibly do all of this that God wants me to do?"
Here's how: the Holy Spirit enables us.
That's a load off my mind.
At least I have some help.
Hey, I don't mean to be sacrilegious -- but it is really true, we don't have to "go it alone." The Holy Spirit is the way that Jesus manifests Himself to us; He shows us that He is with us, and gives us assurance of His holy promise.
We have a clue to this in I John 3:24 . . . check this out:
The one who keeps God's commands lives in Him, and He in them.
And this is how we know that He lives in us: we know it by the Spirit
He gave us.
This promise that Jesus makes to us assures us that His Spirit will be with us. We will live in Him, and He will be with us and in us.
Spoiler alert on these next verses! They are teaching the three persons of the Trinity:
Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me.
The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love
them and show myself to them.” Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said,
“But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”
Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father
will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.
Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you
hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. (John 14:21-24)
If you have one part of the Trinity, then you have them all. If you are indwelt by the Spirit, you are indwelt by the Father and the Son as well.
See up there where it says, "make our home with them"? In the King James, the words are translated "make our abode with." Who will they abide with? With believers, with the people that love Jesus. They don't necessarily abide with the rich and the powerful and the famous.
And, that word that King James' translators wrote down as "abode" is the same word that is translated "mansions" in verse 2. God owns all those glorious mansions in the sky; He has palaces beyond the reach of time and space -- we sing about them, though we've not yet seen them -- He leaves those and takes up our bodies as His dwelling place.
Did you see verse 24?
Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching...
There's a real contrast there . . . we've talked about how we should be motivated to obey Him, right? In this verse, Jesus is emphasizing for us: no love, no obedience. As we have seen, love is the only power that can draw a person to keep the Lord's commands; they are totally foreign to our fallen human natures. I think another point to see in that verse is that disobedience to the Lord Jesus is rebellion against God. The rest of the verse is where Jesus said:
These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father....
So, if we refuse to do what Jesus says, we are refusing to do what the Father says.
Heavy stuff, no?
Remember where we talked about the Spirit enabling us? We can be encouraged by Paul's words, as well:
I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with
power through His spirit in your inner being . . . (Eph. 3:16)
A comforter; One who comes alongside; a counsel, a source of strength . . .
I found this anecdote on the internet and thought it was a good metaphor for how His Spirit will strengthen us:
One evening Lord Radstock was speaking at a meeting in Woolwich, and afterwards nearly missed his train home. He had just time to jump in as the guard blew his whistle. But a young army officer had followed him to the platform and running up to the carriage window, said to Lord Radstock, “Sir, I heard you speak tonight, but tell me, how can a fellow keep straight?”
The train began to move. Lord Radstock pulled a pencil from his pocket and laid it on the palm of his hand. “Can that pencil stand upright?”
“No,” said the young officer.
Lord Radstock grasped the pencil in his hand, and held it up in an upright position. “Ah!” said the young fellow, moving beside the train, “but you are holding it now.”
“Yes,” said Lord Radstock,” and your life is like this pencil, helpless, but Christ is the hand that can hold you.” As the train rounded the curve and was lost to sight, the last thing the young officer saw was Lord Radstock’s outstretched hand holding that pencil upright.
Twenty-five years later the same officer met Lord Radstock in India, and told him that all those many years ago, on that railway platform, he had trusted his life to Christ, who had upheld him and kept him ever since.
We, too, can trust our lives to Christ -- He has promised a Comforter, an advocate, a counsel. His promise is sure. Rest in the knowledge that He is Love, and He is Truth. He will never fail us.
(Thank you to Sermon Central site for the illustration.)