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JESUS, THE ANSWER TO ALL QUESTIONS February 1, 2009

Posted by roberttalley in God the Father, John's Gospel, Religion, Sermons.
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“LORD, SHOW US THE FATHER AND WE WILL BE SATISFIED”

(John 14:8-21)

Sometimes we make a statement by asking a question. “You’re not going to eat that, are you?” implies that there is something seriously wrong with what you are about to eat and that only a fool would continue to follow the course of action that you have chosen.

In John 14:8 we have the opposite situation. Philip is making a request but what he is really doing is posing a follow-up question. You have to admire Philip’s boldness. Peter asked Jesus where He was going, wanting to know why he could not follow Jesus there and received the news that he himself would deny the very Christ, for whom Peter claimed he would lay down his life. Then Thomas asked a similar question, stating that if they were going to follow Christ later on, they would need to know where He was so that they would be able to know the way. Jesus answers clearly, “I am the way…no man comes to the Father but by me.”

Philip grabs a hold of Jesus’ statement and requests that Jesus would go ahead and show them the Father. “Jesus, show us the Father now and we will quit pestering you with questions.” Jesus’ response was less than charitable, “Haven’t you been paying attention, Philip!” Now why was Jesus impatient with Philip’s request.

I. Because Philip should have known that all Jesus has is from the Father, that is, to know Jesus is to know the Father (verses 8-11).

A. We are to believe His words and in that way we know the Father (verse 10a). We saw last week (John 12:48-50) that it is the words of Christ by which we will be judged. If we believe His words, we have eternal life but if we do not believe, we will be judged. Now what is meant here is not that if you reject the whole Bible but accept the words of Christ that you have eternal life. What is meant by believing the words of Christ is described for us in verses 44-47. Jesus is the light of the world, the Messiah sent to save men from the kingdom of darkness, from the darkness of their hearts, and from the place of eternal darkness and judgment. The claims of Jesus Christ as the Messiah will be the claims by which we will be judged.

Jesus is saying to Philip, “What more do you want? You know that I am in my Father and He in me. You have believed those words, have you not. What more do you want?”

B. Well, Jesus did not offer Philip anything more except His works and we, like him, are to believe His works (verse 10b-11). In John 10:36-38 Jesus makes it clear that His works are proof that He in the Father and the Father in Him. We have only two options, believe Him or reject Him. Now this is why Jesus was so upset with Philip. He had seen the works and had yet to realize that He was seeing the Father through the works and the words of Christ.

In spite of Jesus impatience with Philip’s spiritual dull-headedness, Jesus answers His question anyway and then explains what it means to know the Father.

II. The believer can receive directly from the Father through Christ just as Christ Himself has received from the Father (verses 12-14).

A. This is why we pray (verses 12-14). Jesus Christ has taken the place of authority by sitting on the right hand of His Father. When I pray, it is because of this place of authority which Jesus has taken which results in my being able to do greater, that is, more works than even what Christ did during His short three and a half year ministry. You see these works He is referring to are not some magical powers or spiritual gift that God gives us but rather we approach the throne of God in prayer and Christ guarantees that my prayers are answered.

When I pray to the Father, based on my faith in Christ, Christ is saying that the Father will answer my prayers in the same way that He gave to Jesus. The reason He does this, though, is because of Jesus Christ and not because of anything which I may bring before the throne of God. I cannot do anything in my prayers that will guarantee that they are answered. You see, Jesus is my access to the Father. He is the guarantee to answered prayer. That is what it means to pray in Jesus’ name.

Now I typically end my prayers with some variation of “in Jesus’ name.” That phrase though is not what guarantees that God answers my prayers. Prayer is not about phraseology. It is about access. I have access to God, not because of the way I pray but because of the one in whom I am trusting for my salvation, Jesus Christ.

B. This is how sinful men can glorify God (verses 13-14). To pray in Jesus’ name means to ask that God’s reputation be enhanced. Do we pray for healing to avoid pain or to enhance God’s reputation? Do we pray for strength to go on because we feel weak or because we want to glorify God? Do we pray for insight, so that we might be wise or that we might know how best to lift God up? I am afraid that we pray a lot more often, even in the spiritual realm, that we may consume it on our on lust, like the believers James rebuked in chapter 4 of his epistle.

III. This unique relationship of love will continue forever (verses 15-21).

A. The Father loves (verse 21) and gives (verse 15). We will talk about how the Father loves us a bit later but I want us to focus on the result of His love. He gives! God the Father gives God the Spirit to us because of God the Son. We have a full relationship with God. There is no part of Him that is disinterested in us. God gives to us. Now it is true that God gives some gifts to all people. It rains on the just and the unjust. Ecclesiastes teaches us that the good things of life like marriage and rewarding work are give to the believer and the unbeliever. There are, however, some gifts that are reserved for me because of Jesus Christ. When I trusted Him, God became my benefactor. He gave me His Spirit.

B. The Spirit comes in (verse 17) and helps (verse 16). Jesus called the Holy Spirit “another Helper” in the New King James Version. Other translations use the word “Comforter” or “Counselor.” All of these translations underline for us, something very important. Jesus regarded the Holy Spirit as a person and not a force.

Now that is very important. You see a force follows certain laws. The gravitational force of this earth allows us to predict that when I fall off a ladder, I will fall to the ground and not up to the clouds. The force of gravity does not decide, “I am going to let this fellow fall to the ground.” Gravity has no will, can have no plan, can make no decision, can feel no desires. It simply does what it is supposed to do.

This is true of the force of the sun. The sun produces light, it produces heat, it also can produce storms that can interfere with radio reception. I do not have to worry about the sun deciding that it is going to withhold light or intensify the heat or disrupt my cell phone service. If it does one of these things, it will do so in obedience to certain natural laws or principles over which the sun has no input or influence.

The Holy Spirit, however, is a person. He is not controlled by any laws or principles. He has a will. He has plans. He can make decisions. He has certain desires. So when Jesus says I am sending you another Helper, one just like me, to abide with you and in you forever, we can have confidence that God intends for our relationship with Him to be one in which we understand His will and His plans and His decisions and His desires because it is exactly in those areas where we need, not just a rule book or a guide book but we need a personal guide.

C. We love and obey (verse 15). What is our part of this relationship we have with God? What do we bring to the table. Obviously not much if, in order to have God answer our prayers, we have to come through Jesus. We have nothing to contribute. Nothing that God needs. Yet Jesus begins His explanation of our relationship to God with the statement, “If you love me, keep my commandments!” In other words, “Love and obey!”

Now this does not mean that love and obedience are synonymous. They are closely related but obedience to Christ is not the same as love to Christ. John Piper explains it this way, “…consider a similar sentence: ‘If you take this medicine, you will get well.’ Is taking the medicine the same as getting well?”

What then does this sentence mean? If you remember in John 13, Jesus said, I am giving a new commandment to you, to love one another, as I have loved you. You see, obedience to the Lord’s commands was already a regular part of their lives. They had left all to follow Him. Jesus is emphasizing that if they loved Him, their continued obedience was to be a priority in their lives. That is, the proof of their love for Christ is their obedience to His commands. Jesus says this plainly in the first part of verse 21.

How then does God respond to our love? Verse 21 continues to say that the Father and the Son will love us. We need now to be careful here. On the surface it appears that these verses could mean that we earn the love of God by keeping the law and proving that we love Him. Now we know that cannot be true because Jesus has just told them, “Love one another, as I have loved you.” Jesus has already loved them. This is true of all who trust Christ. Romans 5:8 tells us that God proved His love for us while we were still sinners in that Christ died for us. So whatever this may mean, it cannot mean that we can earn God’s love.

We find a hint at the end of verse 21. If we love Christ and keep His commandments, He will manifest Himself to us. What we have is a description of an intense relationship of love. Now we will talk more about this next week but I want you to think about our human relationships. While it is true that there is nothing like young marital love, it is in the later years that love is proven. As a young couple sacrifices for one another and learns more and more about the other and reveals more about themselves to the one they love, the love they have for each other can reach a higher plane that young love rarely reaches. That is the way our relationship to Christ should be. He loved me and died for me, so I believe in Him and I love Him and I keep His commandments and He responds in love to me by revealing Himself to me more clearly and then I love Him more and I obey Him more and He loves me more and reveals more of Himself to me and I love Him more and it just keeps on going through all eternity…

D. The Son lives (verse 19). He rose from the dead and because He lives, I live and have eternal love. And Jesus loves (verse 21) and brings me in a love relationship with my Heavenly Father. And Jesus prays (verse 16) so that I might not be left alone as an orphan. And finally, Jesus, shows Himself (verse 21) to us.

INVITATION: Have you seen Jesus? God the Father has given you His Son to reveal Himself to you. Will you believe His words and works? He has made Himself known to you. He paid for your sins on the cross. He invites you to come to Jesus for forgiveness of sin. Would you come, today?

Believers, we have no excuse. People turn to dreams and programs and the things and wisdom of this world and all manner of other things looking for help. The Father has given us Jesus to die for us and the Holy Spirit to guide us. Is that enough for you?

NEXT WEEK: “LORD, HOW WILL YOU SHOW YOURSELF TO US AND NOT TO THE WORLD?” from John 14:22-31

 

 

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