John 14:1-14 and the Second coming! PIV

What is the point of  John 14 and the Second coming? We are to be prepared by our faith not by our wayward theories!

“I am the way and the truth and the life!”

Meaning Jesus is the way to the Father. Jesus is exclusive, the only living Temple, Beacon, and Gate to God! The “way” in the Hebrew writings, refers to the pursuit of righteousness as one journeys through the wilderness of the tough times of waiting and confusion-even suffering. It is a beacon and we are to focus on Christ.

Truth in this context means He fulfills the Law and teachings of the Old Testament. Life means there is no existence without Him and there is no salvation without His atonement, redemption, and grace. Christians were first called “the Way” (Ex. 16:33; Lev. 10:2; 16; Num. 17:5; Matt. 7:14; John 1:1-4, 14; 3:16-18; 5:26, 33; 11:25-26; 18:37; Acts 4:12; 9:2; 19:9, 23; Rom. 10:14-15; Eph. 2:8-9; Heb. 10:19-20;1 John 5:12).

This question is far more important to our spiritual formation than any the ones of the false teacher crowd or the prideful teacher bergade:

How do you feel about your personal Christianity and that God will completely and thoroughly accomplish and achieve His purpose throughout the universe?

No one comes.” There is only one True God and only One right way and Jesus is that Only way and path to God, Heaven, and real righteousness!

Philip asked an impossible act, an appearance that even Moses was not allowed to see. This would have been a ridiculous question for a Jew to ask on one hand and yet a beginning to a statement of faith that Philip did not quite understand, but was starting to realize-that Jesus is God (Ex. 24:10; 33:18; Isa. 6:1; Ezek. 1:26-28; John 1:18; 14:21-22).

“I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me.” This is a dynamic and dramatic expression of the Divinity of Jesus, that there is One True God, yet distinct personalities, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, each sharing the same mutual, united, reciprocal indwelling essence. This is also an emphatic  statement for the Trinity, for the Whole of Godhood expressed in this one passage (John 10:38; 17:21; 2 Cor. 13:14).

Faith in me.” This is not just knowledge of God, rather an intimate connection that He first offers to use unity with us in His work for our redemption. All the blessings and wonder that we have and can have are locked up in Christ and He gives us the key of faith turned by our faith, commitment, and obedience.

“Greater things” or “works.” Works here do not mean miracles; rather, this refers to righteous deeds and a greater number of them in amounts, cultures, and regions of people transformed.

Consider that Jesus was limited to Palestine as he walked this earth; we have had the whole world to go at with the full force of the Church for many centuries, over twenty thus far. Thus, when Jesus went to the Father and sent us the Holy Spirit, the work began at Pentecost. This “works” (Greek ergon) does not mean miracles like signs and wonders, that is a different word rendering; rather, here it is a call that the Disciples through us today will have a greater Kingdom impact and expansion than when Jesus walked the earth.

How and why?

Mainly because Christ work is multiplied through His Disciples and then their Disciples and so on. Also, the empowerment of the Holy Spirit and the exponential increase of followers and opportunities are included (1 Kings 17:22; Matt. 28:18-19; John 2:11; 5:17; 7:21, 39; 8:39; 10:32; 14:16-17, 26; 15:13, 26; 16:7; 19:30; Acts 1-2).

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Seeking a Sign? PIII

Matthew 16:1-4

Do you look for other signs, or do you take His precepts as your sign and roadmap for life? Do you know this is destructive? 

The Pharisees and Sadducees were clouded the Truth with so much rhetoric and tradition they could not see the Truth. They put forth so many other regulations and insights that the main insight and rule was unseen. We, too, can be experts in interpreting trivial matters such as the weather, but unable or unwilling to apply God’s Word into our lives. We, instead, focus ourselves on minor, trivial matters such as a particular Bible version or an obscure doctoral point that becomes our god; then we become unconcerned with the bigger picture of His real truth.

We are to keep our eyes on important matters such as His Word, and how to apply it, and not be concerned with the latest trends. Ask Him for wisdom and His insights so your ideas and the ideas of others do not cloud His truth from your eyes.

Jesus was getting their attention, but they refused to listen. Some first century Jewish commentators said false doctrine is like poison water. And Jewish teachers often spoke figuratively, as Jesus did. Also, the Israelites had a long history of forgetting who God is and His provision-from just a few months of wandering in the desert, to the next generation after Joshua, to all the good kings compared to the failed kings. Thus, God had to remind them of who He is on numerous occasions (Duet. 8).

Here is a couple more key words:

“You of little faith” was one of Jesus’ favorite nicknames for His Disciples (Matt. 6:30; 8:26; 14:31). Ouch! They had some faith, but still needed to learn and grow into maturity.

You do not understand”, another ouch, as the Disciples once again misunderstood their Lord. Jesus spoke plainly, but He also taught in figurative language to draw people deeper into the meaning, to think through and apply His teaching. The Disciples only saw the face value, and either were not listening or did not want to think. The Disciples should have started to see the signs, especially after so many unprecedented miracles, the most seen since Moses.

“Just do it” requires a process-from the signal to enter the brain, it is categorized, implemented, and then the info is sent to the hands and feet. So it is with faith and our spiritual growth. Plain speech instructs, and to a good listener, it can be applied. But, metaphors require thought and a process to hone and own the precepts-to be a changed person so behaviors can be changed. This just does not happen; it requires the wrestling of thought and the work of the Spirit.

“No bread” is the sign that the disciples were over-concerned with material matters and not spiritual ones, as they should have been. We need to be aware that we do not slip into superficial ideas of Christianity; rather, we look deeper and apply His depths to our hands and feet.

The Disciples had so much testimony and wonders before them to still be stuck with superficial notions. It would take another miracle in the next chapter to cement, in their hearts and minds, Who He is (John 3:4; 4:11; 6:52; 6:63).

Have you ever seen the evidence of how false doctrines can be destructive? Consider, it gets people excited, which is not bad. Then gets peoples hopes up, still not bad. Then, the zinger, it turns out to be false and then the hope is dashed into disillusionment and frustrations and then once active people in the church give it up. False teaching destroys and hides the Work of Christ and poisons what He is doing in the lives and ministries of real Followers of Christ!

Do you understand who you are in Christ? What does that mean to you?

How can you know when you are unable or unwilling to apply God’s Word into your life? How can this awareness help you apply His truth?

 

Seeking a Sign? PII

 

The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away. Matthew 16:1-4

The over-concern with appearances or trivial matters can get in the way of seeking Truth! 

Jesus made use of the Pharisees as examples of what not to do, as they were preachers of false doctrines. Just as there are so many today, chasing feelings and desires and not real true Truth. That they were wrongly teaching what the Bible plainly contains may seem small and insignificant to some, but we have to realize when we teach something as His Word that is not in His Word, or skewed, we are being Pharisees. We would be the ones clouding people from God’s revealed truth.

This is no small matter. It is like yeast; only a small amount makes its way through all of the dough, affecting the entire outcome. Essential Truth is essential. False doctrines are destructive and will ruin people, churches, and skew His plan from unfolding in us.

The Pharisees and Sadducees were “Testing Him” these two groups who were diametrically opposed to one another. The Pharisees were traditionalists and popular, while the Sadducees were liberal, denied an afterlife, and held the political power. They disagreed on many doctrinal points and customs so that each one hated the other. Yet, they were united in their joint hatred of real Truth. They both liked to interpret and apply their own rules as Law, and the One who is Truth was their chief opposition. Does this sound familiar? (Matt. 15:2-3; 22:23; Acts 23:6-10)

Let look at a couple of these key words:

So, what does the “Sign of Jonah” mean? It referrers to our Lord’s resurrection to come, not to some deluded prediction of a false teacher that will not come true. How do we know? Look at the context! Also, Christ alludes to His coming suffering for their redemption. A people who refused to acknowledge or accept Him and will put Him to the death, are given ultimate forgiveness and salvation if only they will believe. Jesus offers His life to redeem them from their sin. (Acts 2:22-36). Jonah was at the door of death, and God kept him alive with a miracle (Matt. 12:39).

So, what does Yeast mean, besides being a bakery product? This was, and still is, an essential component to make bread rise and taste better. Yeast also was a colloquialism referring to evil. It only takes a small amount of evil to corrupt the entire batch. Jesus is using yeast to mean false doctrine which is extremely destructive because it hides real truth. It is a counterfeit that quickly penetrates and corrupts and has no value for redemption. So, when you cash it in, you receive nothing but the rotten works of its aftermath (Matt. 13).

The only way to remove false doctrine is to remove the people proclaiming it. First, show them the real truth; if they still reuse to recant, remove their platform and poison from harming others As in do not give them money, do not listen to them and show others what is real true Truth from God’s Word in context and real word meanings (Gal. 5:9; 1 Cor. 5:6-7).

Do you understand who you are in Christ? Do you look for signs, or do you take His precepts as your sign and roadmap for life? The Pharisees were experts in interpreting what was going on in the world with people, motivations, knowing their rules, and even the weather, but they did not know their Scriptures. They only knew what their interpretations were, what others had said, and the passion to follow the concepts they cherished. But, they did not know the facts of what God had plainly told them in His Word.

What do you need to do to keep your eyes on important matters, such as His Word

Seeking a Sign? PI

Jesus dealt with this in Matthew 16, let’s take a look what this means and how it applies to eschatology.  

The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away. Matthew 16:1-4 

The Pharisees were hounding Jesus for more miracles to prove who He was. Just like many Christians today, who are so focused on fads and new teachings, they totally ignore Who and What Christ is. Even though Jesus gave them miracles that were greater than even Moses had shown, their faith was absent and their focus was skewed.

The leaders were so concerned with appearances and their made-up doctrine they could not, nor wanted to see the real Truth. Sound familiar? They interpreted and applied their ideas and judgments from the Law, but did not understand God’s plain truth as revealed in the Scriptures. So, they focused on trivial matters and burdened the people with silly laws that were not scriptural. Just like false teachers do today! They became obstacles to the truth and facilitators of confusion. They literally believed, with passion, the weather report based on superstitions, but not God’s Word based on fact! They could see the sky and predict tomorrow’s errands, but were unwilling to see God at work or His plan.

A sign from heavenhea. Literally means, point to the sky and show us! This did not refer to a sign from God; Jesus already gave them that. This was an astrological proclamation. Often the leaders would use astrologers and star predictions for understanding the signs of the times and the future, even though God did directly forbid it (2 Kings 20:8-9; 2 Chron. 32:24; Isa. 38:7).

They relied on superstitions and not spiritual maturity. Superstitions were rooted in Jewish custom; Josephus wrote that the heavens, as shown to men, had a special portion to predict future events (Judges 6:17; Isa. 7:11-14; 8:18; 19:20; 20:3; 37:30; 38:7; 66:19; Ezek. 4:3; 12:11; 24:24-27; Matt. 24:29).

Elijah countered the astrologers by making a sign on the spot (1 Kings 18:38).

They were looking for proof from fables, and refused to see the real proof as predicted by the prophets. Thus, it can be said the leaders were looking for a sign from God, but that is unlikely due to the fact that Jesus already gave them many.

The best sign in eschatology is the buildup of our faith and the deployment of our spiritual formation into the lives of others. We pave the way for His Second Coming by our faith development and deployment, not by our feeble theories and the chasing of signs!

Their problem was not the lack of signs, but the refusal to adhere to them. God had given them the signs, but they refused to read or obey them (Duet. 32:5-20). The ultimate sign would be the resurrection (Matt. 12: 39-40).

We need to understand our Lord’s worth; He is Worthy, He sees us as worthy to be saved. We need to see that worthy means honorable and precious, so we need to empty ourselves of pride and concerns so as to be worthy to worship Him. The this becomes the beacon sign to the unbeliever.