Thought for the Week - 17th JanuaryPastor Gareth Watkins
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.
On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.
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.
“All this I have spoken while still with you.
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
“You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.
I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.
If Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, it means that all the teachings He taught years ago, remain applicable today. It’s therefore important to see how the disciples behaved and how we behave, how they got taught about their faith and we get taught about ours, how they had to deepen in God and how we have to deepen in God. We have to put our trust in Christ Jesus and spiritually learn to trust Christ Himself.
Jesus taught these disciples, despite the fact that He was going to be crucified. He wanted to teach them and leave them with something for after He went away. He taught them things that are applicable to us today; things that would establish them, and things that now establish us.
In John above, Christ taught His disciples about the events that were to come, but also about the principles of keeping the commandments and the Word of God. He taught them about putting their trust in the Word of God, as we should put our trust in the Word of God. This is a contested place, because each one of us has a rebellious spirit in us… we don’t always want to adhere to it, or believe it. So to listen and act on the Word of God, isn’t always a natural part of us. We’re no different to the disciples. We doubt without thinking, and don’t do what we should do. We wrestle with things.
Christ answers Judas’ question above with the question He wants to answer, rather than the answer Judas was expecting. As much as Judas wanted Jesus to answer about Christ coming physically to them, Christ’s answer was that if they kept his Word then the Father, Son and Holy Spirit would come to them in a different, and in many ways, greater way.
Keeping Christ’s Word is the principle of the scripture. Do we want to keep Christ’s Word? Whether it’s getting baptized, loving each other, turning the other cheek, dying to self, taking communion, confessing our sins etc.? Christ’s message to us is to keep His Word!
If are obedient to His Word, we’re no longer obedient to our own selfish desires, which are often fashioned in sin. They’re fashioned in unbelief, rebellion and the sins of our parents. If we can see the teachings of Christ and do them, in obedience to His Word, then the scripture tells us “we will come to them and make our home with them.” Christ here is talking not of Himself as Christ, but Himself as God!
Loving Christ, His Word and being obedient can get painful and tough… so we need to dig those foundations, and re-dig those foundations! Don’t lose that focus! The foundations is an ongoing process, you need to continue to try to find that rock.
Our motivation and inspiration is love! Our motivation is that we love Christ, and the motivation to follow His Word comes out of that oneness and love of Him! We do that what is asked for in obedience to His Word.
Christ tells us that He will not leave us, but will come to us. He’s never said that He’d leave us… He’s always promised to be with us! That testimony is as true today as it was then. There might be a time where we need to go through difficulties and challenges, but He will find a way to come to us! Don’t stop keeping His Word or loving Him, He will keep loving you and coming to you! If we keep our lives founded on the rock that is Christ, we are regarded as wise men. If we keep loving Him and being obedient to His Word, then this will come! And He will make us happy! We can’t always work it out beforehand, but He brings joy into our children, our homes, our work and our lives.
A disciple keeps loving God and following His Word. The disciples had to choose to keep following – the scripture tells us that many fell away. A disciple keeps trusting the Word of God, following it, acting God and looking forward into the Word of God for the next point in his life. It’s out of love for Christ Himself!
Trials, temptations and troubles will come… because the Devil doesn’t like it! He will work through our prejudices, pride, our sinful life etc. to make us rebellious and unbelieving. We need to keep our lives fixed through love on Christ and the Word He gives us!
Mark 4: 19
but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the Word, making it unfruitful.
Things – the cares of this world – can come in that choke the Word! The desires for money, friendships, holidays, promotions etc. that aren’t of God. The devil uses these things to choke the Word of Christ! And then the Word becomes unfruitful. We need to build our lives on Christ, no our lives on our homes, our relationships, or our work… we build our lives on Christ!
Are we listening to the Word of God? Are we acting on it? If we are, He will keep coming to us and overcoming the problems we have.
Revelation 19: 11-13
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.
The Word of God is right at the very end of time – as it was at the very beginning of time! The Word of God is there! That Word of God is faithful and true! We can’t always do what we want – we need to be very precious over the Word.
Do you have unbelief, troubles that are distancing you from God, sins or rebelliousness, selfishness, or something stopping you standing rightly on the solid rock that is Christ? We are being called to put our lives on the solid rock. That solid rock is the Word of God, which will stand by us, come to us and see us through right to the end!