Friday, March 18, 2016, 9:05 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “He Gives Purpose.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read John 12 (select vv. ESV).
We Must Die to Sin (vv. 20-25)
Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
It was time for Jesus Christ to be handed over to be crucified on a cross for our sins. In his death he put our sins to death, and in his resurrection he rose victorious over sin, hell, Satan and death. After numerous days, he ascended back to the Father in heaven, and some days later he sent his Holy Spirit to indwell all who are his followers. Through faith in him, we are delivered out of slavery to sin, and we are given new lives in Christ Jesus, our Lord, to be lived in his righteousness. We now have eternal life with God. We are no longer slaves to sin, but now we are slaves of his righteousness, if we “have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which” we “were committed” (Ro. 6:17).
If Jesus Christ did not die for our sins, we could not have eternal life with him. When we are born into this world, we are born with sin natures, without God, without hope, and destined to spend eternity in hell. We are enslaved to sin, and there is nothing we can do in and of ourselves to gain divine approval. We can never be good enough to earn our own salvation. Our good will never outweigh our bad. So, God planned that he would send his Son Jesus to the earth to take on human form, and to die for our sins on a cross so that we could be set free of the curse of sin. He had to put our sin to death, so that we could be born spiritually from above, and so we could have eternal life with God.
In like manner, when we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ in newness of life, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24). Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24). He did not go through that horrible death, and take upon himself the sins of the entire world, just so he could forgive us our sins and give us eternal life with him in heaven. He died in order that sin in our lives might be put to death so that we could live completely new lives in the Spirit, and so we could walk by the Spirit and no longer conduct our lives according to our sinful flesh. If we still walk by the flesh, we will die, but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live (See: Ro. 8:1-14).
Jesus did not call us to be one with the world, either, or to immerse ourselves in today’s culture. He did not tell us to “make nice” with this sinful world in order to “win” the world. He called us out of the world. He called us to live holy lives, pleasing to him. To be holy means to be set apart from (different, unlike) this sinful world, because we are becoming like Jesus. We are to present our lives to Jesus as living sacrifices to God, no longer conformed to the ways of this sinful world, but transformed of the Spirit of God in the renewing of our minds. When we believe in Jesus, we turn from our lives of living for sin and self, and we turn to follow (obey) Jesus Christ with our lives. Sin is no longer our master, because we have been set free of the power of sin and Satan over our lives. Amen!
We Must Follow Jesus (v. 26)
If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
What does it look like to follow Jesus? I hear many people say they are followers of Jesus, but not all who profess his name are truly his followers. When Jesus died on the cross for our sins he redeemed us. What that means is that he bought us back away from sin for God. When we believe in him, he becomes our owner/master, and we become his bond-slaves or bond-servants. Our lives are no longer our own to live how we want. We were bought with a price, therefore we are to honor God with our lives and with our bodies. We are to walk in the fear of the Lord, giving God/Jesus our full respect, obedience, submission, surrender, love, honor and service. This is what God’s word teaches us.
Yet, many people today who claim to know Jesus, and who claim to be ministers of the gospel of salvation, do not teach surrender, submission or obedience to Christ. They do not teach that we must die with Christ in death to sin and be resurrected with Christ in newness of life, to be lived to righteousness. They treat God as though he is a doting grandfather in the sky just there to grant our every request, and to pardon our sins, and to give us heaven when we die regardless of what we do with him or with his word. Their approach to the gospel is all “me, me,” but with no fear of the Lord. They ignore the teachings in scripture which teach us that the primary purpose for which Jesus died was so that our old lives would be crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, so that we will no longer be enslaved to sin (See: Ro. 6). If we want to live, we must first die to sin.
So, if we want to be the Lord’s servants, we must be his followers first. To follow means to obey, not in absolute sinless perfection (See: 1 Jn. 2:1), but if we do sin, we should repent of our sin and then continue following Jesus. To follow him means we go where he says to go, we do what he says to do, we say what he wants us to say, and we are who he created us to be. Daily we are in his word and in prayer, seeking his counsel and guidance, confessing sin, giving him our honor and praise, and bringing our requests before him. Our desire is for him and to do what pleases him. We don’t just do what we want and hope he will be ok with it. And, we especially don’t willfully engage ourselves in what we know is wrong and/or in what is contrary to his word and his instructions to us in holy living.
We can’t follow Jesus if we are going the opposite direction as him, in other words. We can’t follow him with our lives, for instance, if we spend our off-work hours being entertained by the sins of others via TV shows, movies, music videos, video games, and the like. We can’t live holy lives if we are taking in the filth of the world into our minds on a daily basis, and if we are giving honor to what is obviously sinful. We also can’t follow him if we are not listening to him, and if we are not obeying what he says to do, and if we make all our own decisions for how we are going to spend each day without even consulting with him to find out what he has for us to do and to be. When the disciples followed Jesus, they left their old lives behind. They left everything to follow him. And, this is where we need to be, too.
Believe in The Light (vv. 35-36)
So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”
In context, Jesus was referring to himself as the light that would only be with them a while longer, because he was going to be put to death on the cross, and after he was resurrected, he was going to return to the Father. Yet, I see a broader meaning here, as well. Although Jesus died and he rose from the dead, and he returned to the Father, he still left his followers here on the earth, who he had said were the light of the world and the salt of the earth. As well, he sent his Holy Spirit to indwell and to empower his followers, so the light is still here, just not physically in the person of Jesus, other than as it shines through you and through me. We also have his written word, which is also the light, so the light is not gone.
Yet, that light is not going to be indefinitely here, nor will the opportunity to believe in Jesus as Lord and as Savior always be here. One day Jesus will return for his bride (his followers), and he will judge the earth and the inhabitants of the earth. If we truly believed in Jesus Christ via being crucified with Christ in death to sin, and being resurrected with Christ, of the Spirit, in newness of life (being born again), we have the hope of eternal life with God in heaven. But, if we did not trust in the light, and if we ignored the full gospel message in favor of a false “feel good” gospel message or no gospel at all, then all we have waiting for us is eternal damnation in the fires of hell. As well, not one of us knows if we have tomorrow. So, if you are still walking in darkness, believe in Jesus today, so that you may be set free from your sin, have eternal life with God, and the hope of heaven one day.
He Gives Purpose / An Original Work / June 9, 2012
“Listen to Me when I’m calling to you.
Obey freely My word.
Follow Me in all of My ways.
Do all that I say.
Hear Me gently whisper to you
My will for your life and future.
Give all of your life and heart to
Follow Me always.”
Repent of your sins and worship Jesus.
He’s your Lord and Master.
He died for your sins so you could
Live with Him today.
He has a plan for your life and
He gives purpose and direction.
He gives meaning to your life,
So follow Him today.
“I love you so much I gave My life for
You to walk in My ways,
Living for Me each day as you
Bow to Me and pray.
Witness for Me of your love for Me and
Of My grace and mercy,
How I died to save you of your
Sins now and always.”