“These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble.” John 16:1 NKJV
In the beginning, God created everything, and you and me. He visited us in the garden and had a personal relationship with us, a friendship with mankind. The curse of sin, which has a price tag of death, came upon the earth thanks to the devil’s trickery and changed everything. Although nothing can separate man from the love of God, sin does physically separate us from God. God created us to commune with Him and the enemy knew sin would destroy that bond. So, God created hell to punish the devil and his demons. The enemy knows it is his punishment, but he plans to take as many humans with him as possible to continue to hurt God. Because God created heaven where he can be reunited with people. Well, people needed help to overcome the enemy so God sent laws and formulas for worship and sacrifice that should point people into a position of acting in love. And the enemy attacked it over time and twisted it until it became punitive. But God so loved us that He then sent His only son, Jesus, to break the curse of sin over mankind by bringing it down into the grave, paying the required price for it, and then conquering it by rising again! Jesus ascended to heaven after 40 days. So that we know through Him we can access a relationship with The Father. God made a way to reconcile with mankind and commune and have fellowship with them again! This is GOOD NEWS.
God also created us with free will. Just as we do not want to be married or in a relationship with someone who is forced and manipulated to be in the relationship (we do not want a partner who is chained and a prisoner to us), God also wants us to freely choose Him. Or we can choose to believe the devil’s lies and go to the devil’s punishment – hell. It is our choice.
I know this sounds like a children’s story. It is simple, moral, and almost imaginative. God made it simple so that even children can believe and be saved from the wrath to come. God wishes that no one parishes. He wants us to at least give a relationship with Him an honest try – and see that He is good. He says that if you repent and seek Him, you will find Him!
Now imagine if you will what it could be like to have your best friend be the creator of the universe, all-knowing, all-powerful, having all wealth, and super generous – not like a genie in a bottle granting wishes, but a friend with mutual respect and trust and love, who is willing to use His resources to help you. He is willing to talk to you can since he can see ahead, he can prepare you, position you, and protect you from all the craziness in this world. Oh, and all that crazy? It is the enemy knowing his time is short and working very hard to destroy people and distract them from being reunited with God.
It feels like just yesterday, I was crying laying on my floor, exhausted from trying to fix the mess I made. My sin and poor choices caused broken hearts and broken friendships and broken families and despair and death… yes, I made a huge mess of my life. As I lay there with no way I could fix anything, nor could I go on like that – God reached out to me and made me feel like He still loved me and was ready to help me through it. I had tried God before and it did not seem to work out the way I expected, how could He help me this time? As I thought I realized the last time I treated Him like a genie in a lamp and not as a loving and kind Father and Friend. So I looked up and shook my fists and said – fine! Ok! I surrender! I give up and will do things your way! Things can’t get any worse. BUT!! You MUST be a real God. You MUST be who the Bible says you are! You must be an ever-present help! You MUST be the I AM! You MUST be the God of fire shut up in my bones! I expect to see the lame walk, the blind see, the deaf hear, demons cast out, and addiction destroyed in people’s lives starting with mine!!! I expect life and relationship!
It is now years later and I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt, HE IS WHO HE SAYS HE IS! I have seen miracles. I have heard His voice. I have experienced Him personally. Oh, and I have to also put in the work because relationships go both ways. Not works like doing good things to earn heaven – that is NOT how this works. I have to put the work into the relationship, you know like talking to Him (because He talks back), spending time with Him (because we both enjoy being in each other’s presence), reading His word (I love learning about his stories and getting to know Him, He already knows me and this is how I can learn of Him), and worshiping Him (because He is faithful and just and worthy!) You know putting the work in as in keeping up on my side of the relationship.
In this world of lies – this simple truth is hard to understand. We can have a relationship with the Father through Jesus in the Holy Spirit.
Do you want to know the truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was a whirlwind of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. I was lost and I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choices. Then I found Jesus, and truth while lying on my floor crying that day. He challenged me to accept Him, trust Him and follow Him and I challenged Him to be who He says He is – I found peace and deliverance from sin.
If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and a relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and the Holy Spirit will reveal the truth to you. It becomes the two-way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth because he is our only way to the Father.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grows and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus, I pray ~ Amen
If you have said this life-changing prayer and really want a relationship with God, please reach out to me. You can reach me in the comment section here (comments need approvals so you can use it as an email to me and I will not publish / approve it), or you can PM me on Facebook or DM me on Instagram. I do not always have instant access to my accounts, but I will respond when I check them. I would like to follow up and let you know the next steps to forming a healthy relationship.
Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your Word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your Word and our sound mind. And please keep us, bless us, shine your face upon us, pour your grace over us, and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen
Today’s reading we will re-read the same passage in the Gospel of John, chapter 16 at verse 1 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV).
16 “These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. 3 And these things they will do [a]to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. 4 But these things I have told you, that when [b]the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them.
“And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.
The Work of the Holy Spirit
5 “But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He [c]will take of Mine and declare it to you.
John 16:1-15 NKJV
MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:
“And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” Luke 4:8 KJV
“1 “These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble.”
Today’s reading is STILL the same long conversation at the last supper. Jesus is really hitting home some of these vital points and John really takes the time with letting us know all these things.
The reason, they were about to enter some really difficult times and after that night NONE of them or their world would ever be the same. Some of them realized it immediately and others took a little while. Nonetheless, these words were planted in them so they did not stumble. Words from Jesus, like we read yesterday, saying they would be hated and even killed to His words in today’s reading saying we’ll be rejected.
It is time for the hard truths and not letting them discourage us, scare us, or confuse us. If you follow Jesus in our day and age – you will be a target. In Israel a law was proposed that could make it illegal to speak of Jesus, in oral words, written words, or digitally (via vlog, blog, or post on the internet), punishable by jail time. Here is the truth – even if the law does not pass (and we pray in agreement that it will not pass), persecution is on the rise worldwide, and sooner than you think we will have to draw that line in the sand and stand. You will have to choose if you are really in this regardless of the risks. You can leave the church and God now and go serve your flesh. It is an option, and the end is hell. And I know many speak of once saved always saved and it would be nice if grace could let us be willfully rebellious and not accountable for our sins – but just in case that is not true (and there are no Biblical bases for it being true) you should either sure up your salvation without compromise or just reject it and serve yourself. But flesh makes a mess of things. So you could go serve satan – yeah he will make you do gross stuff but he will promote you on earth. Maybe then you’ll at least have something before you spend eternity in hell – but what you earn will be corrupt, painful, and will destroy you on earth.
My point is that you have options and there is the truth about all of them. ALL of your choices include suffering to some degree, but only one has hope, has life, has love, and has peace.
It is time to wake up – it is time to choose – it is time to stand your ground.
“2 They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. 3 And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. 4a But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them.”
Jesus just prophesied Paul and others like him. Who thought they really were serving God. Which in itself is a big thought to think about. And we are going to take a minute to think about it.
I can give you a million examples of people who were in Christian leadership and they bought a lie from the enemy and that lie slowly corrupted their ministry and eventually exposed them as being on the wrong side of the gospel – yet they prayed daily and when they read the whole scriptures they thought it told them they were right – but it was ALL filtered through a lie and not the truth. Yet they loved the people they led and would never intentionally lead them astray – yet astray is exactly where they all were. I can tell you of so many, too many leaders and Christians who love God and think they are doing His will and are in direct opposition to Him and standing in the way of His Will getting done. Some even have demonic possession, oppression, and influence that is guiding them – and they genuinely love Jesus and think they are doing His will.
This is such a BIG MOOD in our world today. We read about false prophets and false teachers, and I always thought they would be intentional about trying to trick people. But it turns out they were tricked and are completely accidental about passing along a corrupted Jesus. They pray and try so hard, yet they cannot see the power of God because they have a false god without power.
Be vigilant about guarding your thoughts, mind and heart. The enemy will distract you with the wrong mission from God all day long to keep you from the right one! I’ll admit, I’ve been distracted and off down rabbit holes here and there – we are all at risk.
Jesus is not only telling them that Paul would be arriving on the scene – He was also warning them not to be distracted. While he was there He kept them focused. Now that he would be gone, they need to do it themselves.
“4b “And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.”
Translated to modern language: It’s getting real up in here – and things are about to go down. Be ready. Stay ready. And ‘I told ya so!’
“5 “But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’
WAIT A MINUTE!! Back in chapter 13 right after Judas left the room to go betray Jesus and Jesus continued to talk in verse 36: “Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, where are You going?”
And right now, still in this same conversation, but walking from dinner to the garden Jesus says something else? Jesus says No one asks? Did the author make a mistake? There is no mistake. Jesus is concluding that now they understand better and now they do not ask. They understand that Jesus is going to leave them and go to be with God and will send a helper to help and they will be alone for a short time.
They DID NOT understand that it was literally going to begin to happen within minutes. They did not realize that Jesus’ imminent return would have still not happened in the year 2023 at the moment that I type this.
“6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart.”
At the beginning of all this, Jesus had a heavy heart and the disciples were cheerful and celebrating the holiday – and now they all have heavy hearts. In other gospels, the authors say they were singing psalms as they walked to the garden. So there were combinations of talking and songs. The disciples were heavy-hearted – but perceived it to still be a ways off in the future and therefore were able to keep some of the merriment of the holiday. We can be happy and sad at the same time.
I point this out – because feeling mixed emotions can be confusing. It can lead to one disciple remembering and describing this walk as song-filled and another to only remember and speak of the heavy things. And Jesus is giving us all deep things to process in the midst of complicated and confusing feelings. This is a lot to process.
“7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.”
The Holy Spirit is here for our advantage in this fight, for our help, and for our comfort. And thank God we are on this side of the battle! Because when He arrives, the people on the other side will be convicted of sin, righteousness, and judgment!
“8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”
I cannot convict you of your sin. My best teaching and preaching cannot convict you or convince you that you have done anything wrong. It’s all just words on a page with a spellcheck that misses all my typos. The Holy Spirit convicts. People cannot see this spirit, so they hold it against you and me. The enemy inside some begins to get mad and manifest. It’s all because of the presence of the Helper and Him showing everyone their issues. See why people might hate and reject us?
“12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.”
I always read this and I become a Peter – Yes I can! Please tell me more!! Can you imagine all the things Jesus would say? He has already said so much GOOD stuff. Yes, tell us more! However, I love when the Holy Spirit tells us and we get a download. Boom! Just like that a whole lot of GOOD!
“13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.”
We may be rejected and hated – but we have the Spirit and that makes it all worth it. That is a whole lot and THAT is your homework assignment. Spending some time prayerfully thinking about these last 3 verses and about what the Holy Spirit means to you, does for you, does through you – Oooooooo Glory it is good, and thank the Lord for it!
Please join us tomorrow as we continue to discuss the Book of John.
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Thank you for reading in 2023 – a Year of Grace and Provision
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace. Walk in wisdom.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!