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Sunday, May 07, 2006

My mind is well and truly blown!

Well. WHAT a talk we had from Jonathan Stephen at church this morning. I think it's gonna take a good long while for it to sink in. But I want it to. I want to digest it slowly and thoughtfully and pray that it sinks in deep so that it lasts. My notes, such as they are, are below. I found some bits hard to understand and occasionally had difficulty concentrating so if anything doesn't make sense or sounds dodgy, it's entirely my bad notetaking and I apologise for that. But the point is, which I hope you do manage to get, that God is totally amazing and there are some things we'll just never figure out. But that's ok. It's more than ok. He's God - we're not. And we have peace, infinite, unfathomable peace. Hallelujah!

Over the last couple of chapters of John we've seen a growing sense of anxiety amongst the disciples. They're not happy, they're perplexed, they're worried; they're wading in concerns and objections.
The only one who isn't worried is Jesus - even though He's shortly gonna go to the cross!

We don't need to allow ourselves to get in the kind of state the disciples were in.

Judas (not Iscariot) - this is all we hear of him. And what do we hear? That he's completely perplexed. He assumed, rightly, from 14:3 that Jesus was speaking about the end of the age and about being visible to everyone. So why here is Jesus saying they'd see Him when He returned but the world wouldn't?

Verse 22 - the 'why' in NIV isn't great translation. More literally 'What has happened?' - Judas wants to know what's changed from verse 3.

The answer is nothing! Jesus isn't talking here about the same thing he was talking about in verse 3. He's not talking about His second coming, but about His resurrection. And after His resurrection He revealed Himself to His disciples, not to the whole world.
Of course, Judas was in no state to understand all this just then!
And Jesus' answer in verse 23 just adds to his perplexity. In verse 23 Jesus talks about something different again! Not the second coming of verse 3 or the resurrection of verse 18, but the coming of Jesus and the Father by the Spirit after Pentecost. HOW was Judas supposed to work all that out?!

The answer is that he simply wasn't! That's why we have verses 25-26. Jesus is telling him don't worry, it makes sense, but you won't understand it yet. You can't, until the Holy Spirit comes. And the Holy Spirit will teach you everything you need to know, help you to make sense of it, and lead you into a deeper understanding.

The Holy Spirit enabled the apostles to write the New Testament. That's why we believe the Bible is inspired. How did John remember all these words? How could he remember everything Jesus said? No other way than by the Holy Spirit bringing to his mind everything he needed to know.

Do verses 25-26 speak to us? We always need to ask, when studying the Bible, WHO the words are spoken to.
Here, it is the case that the words apply to us too, the promises made belong to all believers. In certain ways the words only apply to the apostles "will remind you of everything I've said to you" - but in a less exalted sense it applies to us too. The Holy Spirit delights to remind us of Scripture. Remind us. That implies we've read it and are acquainted with it. Gives us a duty to read it. The application to us is not exactly the same as to the apostles, but parallel and instructive.

There's a connection between love and obedience. Verse 15, verse 21, verse 24 are three different ways of saying the same thing. How do you show your love for God? By obeying the Scriptures.


Anybody who claims to love Jesus but neglects the Bible is quite deluded.

"I will show myself to him"
"we..." (Father and Son) "...will make our home with him"

These are staggering truths.
We cannot fully grasp what is being said here. What do these words mean? That the Father and the Son indwell us?

The Father and the Son between them sent the Holy Spirit to indwell us. Because He dwells in us, He does all sorts of things for us. Thank God for the Holy Spirit!!

But somehow - in a way no theologian can fully explain - the Father and the Son indwell us.

This is INCREDIBLY difficult to grasp.
Do they indwell us by the Spirit? Or is there some other way?

BUT - all Jesus wants us to understand is that the believer is somehow home to the triune God.


This applies not only individually but as a church. We always need to turn from the individual to the corporate understanding. This indwelling is a foretaste of the glorious future to come.

City/bride = picture of the church.
verse 3 - "Now the dwelling of God is with men" - as in the Garden of Eden. God will walk with His people.

Verses 1-4 are a great statement of the ultimate state of the universe.
John 14 is an anticipation of all that. Until then, as a pledge of what will be, He chooses to dwell in the only part of the new creation which already exists - the church of Jesus Christ.
We are a new creation still living in the old creation.

Until the kingdoms of this world are made the kingdom of God, both Father and Son choose to make their home with the redeemed.

(my notes, Jonathan didn't say that!)

It's a mark of the redeemed. Who are redeemed? Those who love Him. Who loves Him? Those who obey His word. God looks on your heart. So even when you disobey His word...does He see an underlying desire to please the Lord Jesus? Does He see a longing to please Christ reflected in sadness and repentance when you sin? Does He see something real that says "I know Jesus is my Saviour and I long to please Him"?

The book of John ends with the 're-instatement' of Peter. Jesus doesn't ask him "Have you obeyed me?", but "Do you love me?"
This is the ultimate test of the Christian. Peter, full of self-loathing, begs Jesus to look at his heart. "You know all things. You know that I love you." - What a wonderful statement!

Sometimes that's all we can do. We'll never be able to obey the Lord perfectly. Hopefully we'll get more like Christ. But we'll never be perfect in this life. So when we stuff up and Satan tells us we can't love Jesus if we disobey Him like that...all we need to say is "Lord, you know all know that I love you."

Verse 27 - one of Jesus' most famous sayings. Same as 14:1. Closing a section. Repeated.

It shows His concern for His disciples, who cannot take in what is happening. It's a word of farewell. It tells them, and us, his legacy is peace. It comes as a result of His death. That peace treaty was signed in the blood of Christ. Romans 5:1.
This peace isn't just the objective reality of peace with God, but the experience of this peace in our lives. The peace the world gives doesn't last. The world is constantly looking to establish peace on earth. It doesn't work. Jesus' peace is inward and it lasts for eternity. He has established an everlasting covenant of peace. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.

What are you worried about at the moment? What has your mind drifted onto during this sermon?

The peace of God will protect you from all those terrible thoughts and fears that invade your heart and rob you of all the blessings of the Christian life.

If Satan cannot bring you back into his kingdom permanently he will seek to rob you of the blessings of being a Christian.

Don't let him!

Christ left His peace as a legacy. Enjoy it! Shalom.

Filled with assurances of salvation, rejoice in the promises of the Lord, knowing that whatever happens it is well with your soul.

THAT'S peace!

Not all Christians experience this peace as they should. We should seek to. God uses that. Seek to experience the peace of Christ.
In all the disciples' confusion, Jesus longed that they'd experience His peace.


Blogger FloydTheBarber said...

Great stuff Ceryn, thank you for taking notes!

3:45 PM  
Blogger Timmy C said...

I ditto you Ceryn, Jonathan spoke so powerfully about obedience to God's will coming through love, not duty. I've been massively challenged about how I approach serving him.

Thanks for taking such detailed notes as well!! :D

5:41 AM  
Blogger Jonny:) said...

Man, Carey is going to be lacking when Jonathan goes!

9:19 AM  
Blogger Welshie said...

God's still gonna be there! ;-)

11:24 AM  

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