John 15:1-11 The Upper Room Discourse

Without Me You Can Do Nothing

In chapter fifteen of the Gospel of John, Jesus employs a parable as He continues to prepare His disciples for His departure. The parable is the famous one of the vine and branches. Jesus begins with the outstanding claim of “I AM” and says, “I AM the true vine.” He is, as opposed to all else, THE true vine. Jesus picks up on a thought that was used in Ezekiel chapter fifteen. In that place, the Lord uses the same illustration of a vine and branches to declare that unfaithful people are like unproductive branches and they will ultimately be cut off and cast out. Therefore, on their last night together Jesus is warning His disciples of unfaithfulness. This passage will serve well to warn us too if our hearts are open to the word of God.

READ Scripture- This is the Word of God

The True Vine [1-4]
What the disciples needed to be reminded of was the fact that they would not be who they were if they had not been connected to Jesus all this time. They had come a long way in three years of ministry and it was all because they were joined to Him. This is a great lesson for us as well. You have not come all this way and become who you are today on your own. You are connected to Christ. The disciples were together in that upper room enjoying a meal because each of them had been united with Christ. The same is true of us. We are together in this room today because each of us has been united with Christ. This makes Him the True Vine. He is the one-and-only source that gives life. We all are simply branches. If we could only grasp one thing in our Christian lives, I think this may be it. In the first chapter, John said, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” O, that the Christian would keep at the forefront the truth that Jesus is the Vine. The Scripture also tells us that the Father is the Vinedresser (or Farmer/Gardener). The Father has planted the Vine of His choosing, a perfect and sturdy vine. The branches that shoot out from it are the Gardener’s responsibility. He is to maintain those branches in a way that will allow them to be most productive.

In this way, the Gardener takes away unproductive branches and prunes productive ones. It is all about more fruit. How will He yield the most? First, the dead branches must be cut off. They are no good anyway, but with them gone, there is more space for new branches to grow in. As one person notes, “Dead wood is worse than fruitlessness, for dead wood can harbor disease and decay” (Tenney, 151). Second, the productive branches must still be trimmed clean. If the growth of branches is not maintained (cut back, cleaned, etc.), the branch will not produce much fruit because all of the strength goes to growing and not producing.

This idea of pruning allows Jesus to remind His disciples of what He said earlier, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” They were clean, not because they were perfect, but because they were connected to Him as vines are to branches. Judas was not a fruit-producing branch. It is the Word that cleans a person. The believer is pruned by being obedient to the Word of God.

The picture of a vine and branches continues into verse four. Here is a simple question: Can a branch live and bear fruit without being connected to the vine? The answer is no, especially for the long-term. Jesus is telling us that the same is true of us. We can not live and bear fruit apart from Him. Thus, it is appropriate that He commands His disciples to “Abide in Me.” Disciples are to remain in Him, continually. There is a popular ideology today that expresses that people are mainly good and sometimes they do a little bad. This comes directly from the father of lies. How do I know this? On what authority do I warn you of this? When you study the Bible and heap up the verses on this subject, you realize that God declares mankind mostly bad, apart from Christ, and sometimes people can do a little good. Do not believe that you can wonder away from Christ and remain alive. He is your source of life and righteousness. Abide in Him.

Without Me You Can Do Nothing [5-8]
Verse five is clear that we are nothing without Christ and can not bear the necessary fruit of righteousness. Jesus says, “For without Me you can do nothing.” Can you picture the vine and the branches? A branch that is not connected to the vine can not live, much less grow and produce fruit. I suppose that you may think to yourself, Well, does this mean that unbelievers can not do anything good? Can they not do any good deed? This goes back to what I previously said. Apart from Christ, people are mostly bad and sometimes a little good. Unbelievers do wonderful things from time to time, but they do no eternally good thing. Christ is telling us that without Him we can do nothing that has eternal significance. Are you connected to the life-giving vine?

The imagery continues into verse six. If a branch is unfruitful it is cut off and thrown into the fire. Ezekiel chapter fifteen makes clear that the wood of a vine is not good for building anything that is why it is used as fuel for a fire. This is a picture of judgment. Jesus’ point is that the true believer will be connected to the true vine – and, if not, then the person will be cast out.

What does it mean to abide in Christ? Abiding in Christ is His words abiding in you. Picture again the vine and branches. The same nutrients run through the entire plant, in and out of the branches and vine. What is Jesus after here? He wants His disciples to be so full of His words, flowing in and out of believers, that they are constantly in sync with Him, obeying Him, and conforming to Him. Only then can you ask what you desire and it be done. So I ask you, would you hide the words of the Lord in your heart? Would you teach them diligently to your children and grandchildren, talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up? These are the words of eternal life.

God is glorified when we bear much fruit. Listen closely, this is unmistakable: a disciple of Jesus will bear fruit. It demonstrates that we are His disciples. God is shown to be a masterful Gardener in the beds of our souls when we bear fruit. To this point you may say, Well then, I will get to it. I can show everyone that I’m a Christian. I will clean up my act and walk that straight and narrow path. Do you notice anything unbiblical about that thought? A person can not clean up his or her act and walk the “straight and narrow” alone. The fruit that glorifies God can not be mustered up by you. You can’t look at the commandments of the Bible like they are some formula and if you just follow the directions you will be fruitful and ultimately saved. The New Testament is clear: that will not work. You must abide in Christ. His words must abide in you. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.

Abide in My Love that Your Joy May be Full [9-11]
We have been told to abide in Jesus and for His words to abide in us. We are bridged from that by being exhorted to consider the love between the Father and Son and to abide in it! Verses nine through twelve convey truths that the parable of the vine can not. Mainly, the parable “does not depict the unfathomable love that sets the disciples in this new intimacy” (Carson, 520). Throughout the Upper Room Discourse we have read about the relationship between the Father and the Son. It is at this point that Jesus tells His disciples that they can enter into this same intimacy, this same love. What Christian doesn’t want to abide in His love? It was the Apostle John who wrote, “God is love.” I have meditated on this from time to time and have come to the realization that John could say God is love because there has eternally been mutual love shared between Father, Son, Spirit. Is that not a wonderful description? Before the foundations of the earth, love was conferred between the Triune God (Father, Son, Spirit). Now Jesus tells us that we can abide in that love. That same love is shared with us! I don’t know about you but my soul cries out YES! I want to be a part of that!

There is no way to escape the fact that keeping His commandments is crucial to this relationship. You can not operate independently of God and expect to be intimately involved in His love. To abide in His love is to hear and obey, it is to be humbled, and it is to trust His grace. You can not abide in the love of God apart from the Gospel. The Good News declares that we are to believe on the One whom God has sent. Let me give you a quick, earthly illustration: Love between Bridget and me continues on the basis of our submissiveness and faithfulness to one another. This is a trustworthy saying: God will always be faithful to you. The question is, will you remain faithful to Him? If you intend to abide in His love, then you must keep His commandments. Listen to what Jesus said in John 8:29, “The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.” I pray the same is said of all of us.

Jesus foretold certain things so that the disciples might later believe. He also tells us that these things were said so that His joy may remain in the disciples and they are intended to fill up their joy. What has He been talking about? Answer: Abiding in Jesus, His words abiding in us, abiding in His love, and keeping His commandments. Let me assure you of this: there is nothing more joyful than pleasing Christ. Though the Christian life is not free from concerns, troubles, or sorrows it is a joyful one. The joy of the Lord is our strength.

Jesus provides us with a perfect conclusion to this sermon. If we take all these things to heart, if the Spirit opens the eyes of your heart, then the joy of Christ will remain in you and your joy will be full. As opposed to all else, Jesus Christ is the True Vine and you are branches. Abide in Him and fruit will come forth from your life. He has told us the means by which we can remain in Him – stay in His word. I beg you and plead with you to stay in His word. Each and every day would you consider the words of the Lord? They are like honey straight out of the honey comb. They are sweetness to the soul and health to the bones. His word will give you life.

May the Spirit of Christ consume this church. May the Spirit of Christ consume each of us, that we would be conformed to His image. To this we have been predestined.

John 14:25-31 The Upper Room Discourse

My Peace I Give to You

In today’s sermon text we continue on in Jesus’ farewell address. He is preparing them for the extreme events that would soon take place. Jesus knew that His time had come and the disciples had begun to feel the pressure. They did not want to believe that what Jesus said would take place, but it would be inevitable, even necessary for both them and us. To help them process it all Jesus foretold things that would take place and made several promises. He tells them that Holy Spirit would come to teach and remind them of all these things, Jesus would give them a peace that they could get no where else, and He would have victory through all of the offenses of the adversary. This is what Christians need to take confidence in and this is what the world needs to hear proclaimed from the church.

READ Scripture- This is the Word of God

Teach and Bring to Your Remembrance [25-26]
Jesus now returns to His teaching on the Holy Spirit and He tells us two activities that the Spirit will be involved in: teaching and reminding. In this role, the Spirit is once again appropriately called the Helper (or Counselor). This is the ministry that the Lord Jesus had among His disciples even until that hour as He spoke in the upper room. Verse twenty-five rings the bell again of Christ’s impending death. He was speaking these things while still with them, but in a short time He will no longer be with them. They would need another teacher and the Spirit would continue that ministry among the disciples. Remember back to verse sixteen when Jesus said that He would pray the Father to send “another Helper,” that is another of the exact same kind. Everything that the Spirit is said to do in these chapters is precisely what Jesus had done during His earthly ministry. It is also noteworthy that Jesus says the Holy Spirit would be sent by the Father in His name. To be sent in someone’s name is to be their representative or ambassador. Thus, the Spirit comes as a representative of Jesus who, likewise, came in the name of the Father as His representative. In John 5:43 Jesus says, “I have come in My Father’s name…” Now we learn that the Spirit comes in Jesus’ name.

The Spirit’s teaching ministry will build upon the foundation that Jesus laid. It will not be something all-together new or different. The disciples have been shown to misunderstand Jesus on many occasions, even here in the upper room, and it would be a chief responsibility of the Spirit to make those teachings understandable. The Spirit would teach them what it all meant and the significance of it all (Carson, 505). Now, let’s be clear that this promise was primarily to the first disciples of Jesus in the first century. This explains to us how they came to a thorough and complete knowledge of Jesus which is conveyed to us through the apostolic teaching of the New Testament. In His role as teacher, the Spirit did and does not bring about new teaching, but makes clear the teaching of and about our Lord Jesus Christ. Notice that both the teaching and reminding are followed by “that I said to you.” The Spirit would teach what Jesus had said.

One major reason I can make these statements is because Jesus links the Spirit’s ministry of teaching with His ministry of reminding. The two must go hand-in-hand. The ministry of reminding is a valuable function to the history of Christianity. Have you ever wondered how the Apostles could remember all the things that Jesus said and did? The Gospels were probably written about thirty years after Christ and that doesn’t seem so great a time lapse. Many of you can remember things vividly from thirty years ago. Yet, consider the large quotes of Jesus found in the Gospels. Paragraphs upon paragraphs are “written in red” as the words of Jesus. How could they remember such large amounts of Jesus words? Many factors may have contributed, but I will tell you the main reason: the Spirit brought to their remembrance all the things that Jesus said, just as Jesus promised He would there in the upper room! That is vastly important.

These two functions, teaching and reminding, are not to be taken separately. The Spirit would do both at the same time in the life of the Apostles. Let me show you a couple examples from John’s Gospel of the Spirit calling to his remembrance certain things and teaching him (see John 2:19-22 and 12:16). So, here is the question that you may have: Does the Spirit still teach and remind me of all the things of Jesus? I think the answer is yes, but in a different way. He is not uniquely inspiring us to write Scripture. We do not need to independently come to a complete knowledge of Jesus Christ because we have it expressly communicated to us in the New Testament. What the Spirit will do is help you to understand the Bible. There is no doubt in my mind that I can understand the Bible because God’s Spirit has illuminated it for me and I have no doubt that the Spirit calls to my mind the Scriptures on several occasions.

My Peace I Give to You [27]
“Peace” does not mean free from conflict. In fact, Jesus would face conflict that night and the very next day as He was beaten and crucified. It is the traditional Jewish word used for greetings and farewells. This peace is trust in the purposes of God. It is knowing and resting on the promise that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” This peace is a gift that is provided by Jesus Christ. The world can not give this gift because it does not possess it. In Jeremiah 6:14, the Lord criticizes the people for “saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ When there is no peace.” This is a particular peace that Jesus leaves for them. He calls it “My peace.” Colossians 1:19-20 declares exactly what that peace entails: “For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.”

In light of the promise that Jesus has just made, He once again affirms, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Listen, Christians, do not let your heart continue to be troubled or afraid. Peace with Almighty God has been secured for you by the blood of Christ’s cross. Now rest in faith knowing that the purposes of God will come to pass and you have been called according to His purpose. You are included in His eternal plans.

When It Does Come to Pass [28-29]
The Lord repeatedly declares His departure. This is what drives the anxiety in the room. Yet, Jesus must go to the Father for the peace to be given to the disciples. Going to the Father would mean that He had gone to the cross. Going to the Father would mean that He had died, but had been raised again. This should bring joy to the disciples, if they truly loved Him, but Jesus implies that they are not rejoicing and therefore they do not love Him. This must have come as a shock to the men in that upper room. If they really loved Him, then they would have rejoiced that He was going back to the Father. For the “Father is greater than” Jesus, meaning the Father is in a greater state than the Son. In reality, the Father was in a place of undiminished glory, while the Son was here in the world as flesh and blood (see Carson, 508).

Do you understand what He is saying? If the disciples really loved Jesus then they would have put aside their emotions and rejoiced for/with Him that He was returning to the glory which He had with the Father before He became a man.

The whole point of Jesus telling them these things, the entire reason for His farewell address is so that they may believe. Major events were going to unfold and Jesus told them what would happen before it did. He did not want their faith to be dissipated because of what would happen. The Apostle John tells us in chapter one, verse twelve “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” Then he tells us even more directly in chapter twenty, verse twenty-one why he wrote the Gospel. He says, “These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” It is obvious that the Apostle wanted his readers to believe and he wants you to believe. It is also apparent that Jesus stressed this as well. In chapter six the people asked Jesus, “’What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?’ Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” Believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved! Believe that He is who He claimed to be: Master, Savior, Son of God, Christ, the Way to the Father.

The Ruler of this World is Coming [30-31]
Jesus literally did not have much more time to talk. His hour had come and He was fully aware of it. The time had come for the ruler of this world to come for the Son. “Ruler/Prince of this world” or any variation thereof is commonly used of Satan in the New Testament. Though that may also be discouraging news, Jesus quickly follows it with the message “and he has nothing in Me.” That phrase means that Satan has no hold on or has no claim on Jesus (Carson, 508). “Jesus is not of this world (8:23), and he has never sinned (8:46)” (Carson, 509). Therefore, the Devil has nothing to use against Jesus.

How is it that Jesus avoided supplying evidence against Himself? He maintained sinless perfection by proving His love for the Father. He constantly kept the Father’s commandment before Him and did what it said. He was obedient to the Father, even unto death. Satan had nothing on Him. The cross would appear to be a symbol of Satan’s victory over the Son of God, but it will be forever the mark of Christ’s ultimate overthrowing of Satan and his influence. This is what the world needs to know. This is what we must proclaim to the world. Christ has won!

“Arise, let us go from here” seems oddly placed in the discourse because Jesus goes on speaking for two more chapters and then prays for another entire chapter. Some have made the case that Jesus and the disciples left the upper room at this point and that the remainder of the discourse was said on the road. That would mean chapters fifteen, sixteen, and seventeen would not be part of the “Upper Room Discourse.” Others have seen a theological meaning behind this phrase as if to say, The ruler of this world is coming…Arise, let us go to meet him! Yet, I think it is simple enough to understand that Jesus intended to begin wrapping it up at this point, but continued on teaching instead. How many of you have ever heard a preacher say “In conclusion…” and then go on to preach another whole sermon? The atmosphere of that upper room must have been intense and emotional from the time that Jesus stood to wash their feet. In verse thirty-one, Jesus had come to a climax in His farewell address. Judas would betray Jesus, Peter would deny Him, the ruler of this world was prowling toward Him, Jesus would soon die and be physically with the disciples no longer. The deal is now all out on the table.

Rejoice this day because Jesus has returned to the right hand of the Father. He has been glorified: crucified, resurrected, and ascended back to heaven. The prince of this world came up against the Son of God and was no match for our Lord. He has secured peace for all those who believe in Him. That peace He gives to you. You can not earn it and the world can not give it to you.

And He has sent His Spirit to dwell in each one of us who have received Him. The Holy Spirit will teach you about this peace and all the things of Jesus. He will continually remind you of all the things that Jesus has said and done. It is the Apostle Paul who continued this teaching when in Romans 5 he tells Christians that the Holy Spirit has been given to us and one of the things the Spirit does is pour out the love of God into our hearts. Over and over again, the Spirit declares to our hearts the Good News of Christ.

The Lord has told us these things so that we will believe. He wants you to believe that He is who He claims to be. Jesus said, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”

John 14:15-24 The Upper Room Discourse

We Will Come

It feels as if we are going deeper into intimacy and doctrine the farther we go along in the Upper Room Discourse. It feels as if we are getting closer and closer to Jesus’ departure and, as a matter of fact, we are getting much closer! This God-Man, Jesus the Christ, has been with His disciples for around three years now and they have grown dependent upon Him. He has been there helper, their comforter, and their counselor. Now, He has told them He is leaving and they will see Him no more. What would they do? Where would they go? Those initial questions had already begun to bombard their minds. The anxiety has reached a high and Jesus told them, “Let not your heart be troubled.”

The disciples may take courage from the words that they hear in verses fifteen and following; another helper is coming who will abide with them forever. Though Jesus was with them for only a short while and was now leaving, another one who is just like Him will be sent to stay with them until the end of the age. This may not be exactly what they would want, because in truth they want Jesus Himself in the person, but they would soon learn that it was to their advantage that Jesus would leave and send the Spirit back.

READ Scripture- This is the Word of God

If You Love Me [15]
Our sermon text today is bracketed by two verses on obedience (see v15 and v24). Verse fifteen links us back to the teaching on prayer. Jesus has promised His disciples that they could ask anything in His name and He would do it. But verse fifteen makes it clear that He is in the position of authority, not us. He wills to lead us by servanthood, but He is always our Master. We can not use and abuse Him in prayer. We are to obey Him at all times.

It appears to me that throughout the Upper Room Discourse Jesus is teaching His disciples how to truly love Him. There is a proper way to love! Go back to the footwashing event and think to how Peter reacted: “You shall never wash my feet!” Yet, it is almost as if Jesus says, If you love Me, you will let Me wash your feet. Then, as Jesus identifies His betrayer, it is as if He teaches, Loving Me is more than being close to Me. It is more than eating with Me. If you love Me, you will be loyal to Me. He goes on to say in essence, If you love Me, you will love one another.

Now in verse fifteen of chapter fourteen Jesus says, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” I think that we should take this as a response to Peter’s remark in chapter thirteen: “I will lay down my life for your sake.” This is proper love! Jesus simply wants His disciples to obey Him. Does discipleship call for rocky roads? Sometimes. Does obedience call for someone to lay down their life? Yes, it can. Yet, for the most part, especially in times of little persecution, we are to lead quiet and peaceable lives in obedience to Christ. This is the Christian life: calm, slow, and steady progress in our faith. We are not to be flashy and loud, but godly and reverent.

Obedience is a love issue, not a salvation issue. If you love Christ, you will obey His commands.
What are His commandments? The whole of His teaching, the Bible.
Another Helper [16-17]
Jesus will pray to the Father to send another Helper to the one who loves Him. This action is not dependent on our obedience or our love as if it is a boom, boom, boom sequence. Jesus is not cutting a deal with His disciples as if to say, If you do this, this, and this, follow this formula, then I will give you the Holy Spirit. Instead, Jesus is describing the true situation of a disciple and his Lord. A believer will love Christ, keep His commands, and Christ will have another Helper sent to him. The Father will send this Helper at the Son’s request.

We know that this Helper is the Holy Spirit, but let’s take note of a few things. First, the Spirit is “another” Helper, meaning that there was one before Him. Second, the word “another” means another of the exact same kind. The Spirit will be exactly like Jesus, thus Jesus can later say, “I will come to you.” Third, the word “Helper” is a translation of a word that literally means one who is called alongside. Therefore, the word has been translated in several ways and we should be familiar with them if we would like to have an accurate understanding of who the Spirit is and what He does. It can be translated as helper, comforter, counselor, advocate, strengthener, supporter, etc. Wasn’t Jesus all of these things in relation to His first disciples?

Well, the Spirit is will be exactly those things to Jesus’ later disciples, including us! As a Helper, the Spirit is also called the “Spirit of truth.” Jesus called Himself the same when in chapter fourteen verse six He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” You can begin to see how the Son and the Spirit are of the same kind. Verses that we will come to in future weeks tell us that as the Spirit of truth, He teaches all things, calls to remembrance all things, testifies of Jesus, convicts the world, guides into all truth, and tells of things to come.

The work of the Holy Spirit is primarily with regard to Christ’s disciples. The Spirit of God does not carry out His ministry according to the world, but according to His good pleasure. Do you know what the Apostle John said about Jesus in chapter one? John wrote, “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.” The same is true of the Holy Spirit. He will be in this world actively working the purposes of God, even dwelling in the people who put their faith in Christ, but the world does not and will not see Him nor know Him. Only those who are born of God will know the Spirit of God and He will stay with them forever!

In John chapter seven, John quotes Jesus and then gives a commentary. It reads, “’He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” Jesus said in Luke chapter twelve that He came to bring division on earth. “As Christ is a divider of men, so is the Spirit who comes in His name” (Harrison, 88). One of the greatest gifts of God is the sending of His Spirit to dwell within the believer, but this occurs only the believer. Those of you who have not been born again can not understand with this means. It is an inexplicable experience. Would you believe on the Son of God today and be born again? The Son of Man has been lifted up so that all those who look upon Him in faith may not perish, but have everlasting life! The one who believes in Him is not condemned. There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Repent and be baptized and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit!

You Will See Me [18-21]
The doctrine of adoption is beautiful in the New Testament. The Scripture teaches us that we believers were predestined for adoption as children of God. John describes this adoption in chapter one when he says, “But as many as received [Jesus], to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name…” In verse eighteen of our main text, Jesus says, “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” Missionaries tell stories of visiting orphanages overseas. They say that when the paperwork is complete for an adoption that the staff will go and tell the children that they have been adopted and that their parents will be coming to get them. Missionaries say that when you visit an orphanage the children are standing at the windows waiting expectantly and eagerly for the parents to arrive. At that point in their lives, they know that they will not be left as orphans, but that their parents will come to them. What a feeling to know that Jesus would not leave His disciples as orphans! They had been adopted.

Christ would have to be crucified and raised from the dead for the Spirit to come and we know that when He was raised from the dead that He appeared to the disciples. No unbeliever saw Him at that time, but only the believers. This would explain what the last sentence of verse twenty means. The disciples would have life because Jesus had paid for their sins and had overcome death and the grave in His resurrection. Because of the context that speaks about the Spirit being sent, there is no doubt in my mind that Christ is also referring to His continued coming to the disciples by the Holy Spirit. The Son and the Spirit are so closely connected that “When the Spirit comes to dwell in believers, it is as if Jesus himself takes up residence in them” (K√∂stenberger, 436). Out of your heart will flow rivers of living water because Jesus lives and you are indwelt by the Spirit.

We Will Come [22-24]
Another one in the bunch that’s named Judas really wants to know how this is all going to happen. How is it that Jesus will be able to show Himself to the disciples and not the world? In response, Jesus goes on to describe once again the big picture of the near future: true believers will love Christ, they will be obedient to His Word, the Father will continue to love His children, and now we learn particularly that the Father and Son both will come to abide in the Christian undoubtedly by the Spirit. That is how the Christian will see Jesus, but the world will not be able. Those people who love Him and seek to obey Him are the type “of people to whom Jesus will be pleased to reveal himself” (K√∂stenberger, 440). Everyday Christ manifests Himself to His people and can be seen with the eyes of the heart, the eyes of faith. The word “home” here is the same word translated as “mansions” in verse two. All the fullness of the Godhead (Father, Son, Spirit) will come and make a dwelling place in each and every believer.

Jesus does not say this on His own accord, but according to Word of the Father. This has been Jesus’ constant declaration throughout His ministry, especially in the face of Jewish opponents. These verses describe the reality of faith. This is what it means to be born again. These are the essentials of the true Christian life: love, obedience, favor, and the indwelling of the Spirit.

Listen, Christian, you have nothing to worry about if you are trusting in Christ. He will be your mainstay if you do not move away from Him. This world will push on you, pull on you, and just simply wear you out. You all know this. You may say, I try to obey Christ, but it is difficult. Listen, do your best to follow Him each and every day and He will send the Spirit to aid you. The Spirit will be for you exactly who Jesus was for His disciples. He will be your comforter, helper, and counselor. You already know Him. He dwells in you!

Therefore, I charge you this day, as I have on several other occasions, to keep His Word. It is living and active, truly God-breathed. Do you remember that old song that we use to sing, Wonderful Words of Life? We would sing, “Let me more of their beauty see, wonderful words of life; Words of life and beauty teach me faith and duty.” Do you still believe that?

Jesus instructed His disciples to love Him by obeying Him. This is what was expected of them after He had gone back to be with the Father. And the same is expected of us. We are to love Christ by obeying His Word and He has sent the Holy Spirit to be our help with that duty and all other things. It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that Jesus speaks are spirit, and they are life.

Pastoral Prayer

October 2, 2011

A Pastoral Prayer for Homecoming

Our Father in heaven,

We have gathered before You today to declare Your mighty works. You are the Creator of heaven and earth, all things visible and invisible. All things were created through You and for Your good pleasure. We acknowledge that we are merely creatures, yet we also realize that we are creatures made in Your image and likeness. You have breathed into us the breath of life. And there is no creature hidden from Your sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

We confess our sins to You, O Lord. We all have sinned and fallen short of Your glory. We are truly poor in spirit. Yet, You have brought us up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set our feet upon a rock. You have justified us freely by grace through the redemption that is found only in the blood of Christ. You have proven Yourself to be both Just and the Justifier of all who have faith in Jesus.

We reflect upon our own past and see Your handiwork. You have called out for yourself a people in this county. You have raised up this church to be salt in our community and a light in the darkness of this region. Will You provide for us by Your Spirit and equip us through Your Word to walk worthy of the calling that we have received?

I pray for these people, that they would remain faithful and obedient to Your Word. May we not be moved from the message of the Gospel. May the Word of Christ dwell in us richly. May we not seek to make a name for ourselves, but instead seek to make Your name famous.

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God our Father. There is no shadow of turning with Thee.
You do not change. Your compassions, they do not fail. You are the same today as you were on the date of our first Homecoming. For this we are beyond grateful.

Almighty God, You have set kings upon their thrones, and You have brought them down. No one has any power at all unless it has been given from above. May our leaders in this country hear the words of Your mouth and praise You. May Your people in this land humble themselves, pray, seek Your face, turn from their wicked ways that You might hear from heaven and forgive their sin. We pray that Your kingdom come and Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Will you extend our history for many years to come and cause us to progress in the faith?
Would you fill us up with joy as your people gather together week after week, year after year?

We pray all these things in the name of our Lord and Savior, Amen