Dr. S. Lewis Johnson discusses Jesus' words concerning God's new presence in the lives of those who follow him.
[Message] This morning for the Scripture reading we have just three verses for reading and in the light of the fact that we have just the three verses, let me take just a moment or two to remind you and remind us of the purpose of the Upper Room Discourse. The Lord Jesus has announced that he is going to be leaving the apostles, and therefore desirous to instruct them in the light of his absence concerning the promises, concerning the spiritual provision that he will make for them. He gives them this Upper Room Discourse and it is designed to prepare them for the time of his physical absence from them.
The apostles must have thought of the day when the Lord Jesus might not be with them. And of course being somewhat immature in the faith at this time, it’s not surprising, sorely not surprising for us to find out that they must have had some concerns and problems as they thought about the future when he would not be with them. No doubt they wondered how they were going to get along with the Lord Jesus not present with them in the light of the opposition that they had from the religious authorities. And so one of the purposes of the Lord is clearly to prepare them for that time and to assure them that though he would be absent from them physically, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, they would have him in reality. In fact, as will be pointed out in the 16th chapter, it is expedient for them that he go away for the simple reason that they each will have him for twenty-four hours a day through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.
Now you know we often look at it slightly different today, we look back and say, “It would have been nice for us to have been there when the Lord was there physically with them.” And we often think that we would be better off if we just had a physical look at our Lord and had a physical relationship with him such as they did. And if he just lived around the corner from us and we had the privilege of being with him day by day, wouldn’t that be a whole lot better than our experience here now? We tend to think that way, it’s part of human nature to repress the truth of God and cover it up with our objections and after all, we are spiritually blinded still to some extent. That’s part of the work of the Spirit in sanctification to gradually give us further enlightenment. It’s of course the purpose of our Lord in the announcement of the coming of the Holy Spirit to convince us of the fact that the apostles are no better off than we today. And in fact, we are better off than they, because they did not have him with them twenty-four hours out of the day, we have. So, that’s one of the major purposes of his ministry in convincing the apostles in the presence of the Holy Spirit they have him always.
Now with that as kind of an introduction, we turn again to chapter 14 and read verse 22, 23 and 24. Remember, he has announced that he is going to be leaving them, that has provoked a number of questions, and here we have another one from one of the apostles,
“Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, (There were two apostles by the name of Judas remember one Judas Iscariot, and then this Judas, the brother of James.) Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, if a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.”
May the Lord bless this reading of his word; let’s bow together in a moment of prayer.
[Prayer] When we think of the way in which Thou hast made provision for us during our Lord’s absence from us, we praise Thee, and we worship Thy name. We thank Thee for the gift of the Holy Spirit who has come in this age and indwells all of us permanently who have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are grateful for this magnificent provision and we thank Thee Lord that through the presence of the Holy Spirit who takes of the things of Christ and shows them unto us, that we have the permanent relationship with him. We thank Thee for the forgiveness of our sins by virtue of the blood that was shed on the cross. We thank Thee for the other promises of life to be with us in our problems and trials, to encourage us, to strengthen us. We thank Thee that we are able to come to Thee with our problems and difficulties and know that Thou wild give us guidance and direction. And we thank Thee for the all pervading providence which guards all of our steps. We are thankful to Thee Lord, and we give Thee thanks today on this beautiful day.
We thank Thee for the whole body of Jesus Christ, the church of Jesus Christ and the true believers who have committed their lives to Jesus Christ; we give Thee thanks for them. Bless the ministry of the word today, wherever it goes forth in the power of the Holy Spirit. And may there be responsiveness, and may the church of Jesus Christ grow and be strengthened and edified. And Lord we pray that thou would give them a desire to know Thy word and to live by the light of Thy word.
We thank Thee for each of the members of Believers Chapel and our friends who are here with us and other friends. And Lord we pray that Thou would meet all of their needs. For the sick, we especially remember them, for the troubled, and the perplexed and puzzled, and for those who have lost loved ones, and for others whose needs are great, oh God, minister to them and strengthen and encourage them and supply their needs, and give healing in accordance with Thy will.
We thank Thee for the ministries that go forth from the Chapel, the radio ministries, the publications ministries, the tapes, the daily vacation Bible School and other Bible classes we commit them all to Thee. We are so grateful to Thee for the privilege of giving out the word of God. And Father, we thank Thee for the way in which many have responded all over this country to the exposition of the Scriptures, bless that ministry. We pray for our elders and for our deacons, for the membership and friends, we commit them all to Thee. We give Thee thanks Lord for all of the blessings of life and particularly for the joy of communion with Thee. Increase our experience of it we pray in Jesus name. Amen.
[Message] In Believers Chapel we have laid a great stress over the months and years upon the fact that no man naturally of himself comes to the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, that we are blind naturally to spiritual things. “The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, they are foolishness to him. Neither can he know them for they are spiritually discerned.” We’ve laid a great deal of stress on the natural rebellion of the human heart. “The mind of the flesh is enmity against God, it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be so then they that are in the flesh can not please God.” I think we’ve laid a right stress upon that.
There is of course the other side to the question that we ought to also from time to time bring to our attention. And that is that naturally, underneath this repression of truth due to the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, there is a persistent hunger in the heart of man for God. That is because we were created in the image of God and we were created for fellowship with God. We repress this because of the Fall in the Garden of Eden and the judgment that has fallen upon man. We refuse this desire that is deep down within, we often try to ignore it, and we nevertheless find that it is persistent within us. In fact, the Prophet Isaiah says you know at least three times, these precise words and then something almost identical. “There is no peace saith my God to the wicked.”
Now if the fact that men do not have peace is true, then that reflects a basic disharmony at the inmost being of man. “There is no peace saith my God to the wicked.” In other words, we can never really reach the place where we are happy, totally happy in our rejection of the Lord God. And the fact that we still have that sense of anxiety in our inmost being before we come to know Jesus Christ is an evidence of the fact that God did create us for fellowship with him. And that’s because I say, we were created in the image of God, but man fell in the Garden of Eden and the result is that men are born in ignorance of truth. They are born in rebellion against it. And from the time that we are infants we manifest it in various ways.
Augustine, the great church father who stressed probably as much as anyone else, the natural repression of truth, and the blindness and hardness of heart that we have since the fall said, “Thou hast made us for thyself, and our heart is restless until it rests in Thee.” The sad thing is that many people die still never having found that rest in the saving work of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Westminster Confession of Faith says the chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. The tragedy of the human being is that he often dies never having come to the place where he is enjoying the relationship with the Lord God. That God created Adam to enjoy, and longs to have others to enjoy as well.
One of the major themes of the Bible and it is related to this is the theme of God’s presence with men. One can see in the reading of the Bible that it was the intention of God for Adam to have that fellowship with him and to know him as a God of grace which came true in Adam’s experience though Adam fell. But Adam came to faith, and he came to understand something of the presence of God. But you remember that when the fall took place, God drove the man and his wife out of the Garden of Eden and he placed cherubim at the east of the garden to prevent man from entering the garden again.
And then the story of the Bible is the story of how fallen man develops spread over the face of the earth, and in the midst of this natural spread, God through his saving promises, has gathered to himself a people, both from the Old Testament times and from New Testament times. And we know that in the New Testament in the description given in the next to the last chapter of the Bible of the New Heavens and the New Earth, a significant statement is made concerning the presence of God with men. John is writing and he says,
“I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of Heaven saying behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them and they shall be his people. And God himself with them shall be their God.”
That’s probably a reference to the Lord Jesus as Emmanuel, God with us. And so the end of the Bible is God dwelling with men. That’s the whole story of the Bible. That’s the ultimate aim of the program of God, to bring to himself a people of God who dwell with him, both spiritually and visibly in their communion with the Lord Jesus Christ who is the Yahweh, the covenant keeping God of the Bible.
Well, one can see from the time period of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden and the consummation of the promises of God, one can see men seeking after God. Jab saying, “Oh that I knew where I might find him that I might come even unto his seat.” The Psalmist speaking about how his heart is seeking the Lord God, in fact he expresses it so vividly in the 42nd Psalm, “As the heart panteth after the water brooks so panteth my soul after Thee, my soul thirsteth for God, for the living God, when shall I come and appear before God?” Well that’s a simple little picture of all that the Bible is about, how men may enter into fellowship with the living God through Jesus Christ and the death that he died for sinners on Calvary’s cross.
Well now the Lord Jesus is preparing the apostles for the day of his absence, and he has just said to them, “He that hath my commandments and keepeth them he it is that loveth me, and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father. And I will love him and will manifest myself to him.” Now he’s been making statements in the Upper Room Discourse to which the apostles have been responding. Remember he said he was going away and that they could not follow him, and Peter said, “Why cannot we follow Thee?” And so he answered Peter. And then he made reference to the fact that he was going away and they knew the way and that aroused Thomas’ curiosity and he said, “Lord, how is it possible for us to follow after you when we don’t even know the way?” And Jesus had said, “I am the way the truth and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” And then he went on to say, “If ye had known me you should have known my Father also and from henceforth ye know him and have seen him.” And Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and it’s sufficient for us.” Because the idea that he already knew the Father was a startling thing to Philip, he didn’t think that he did, you can see the immaturity that some of them have at this point. And so Jesus said, “Look Philip, have I been so long time with you and yet have you not known me? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” He is the perfect revelation of the Father.
Well, he’s instructed them concerning the Holy Spirit and now he has said in verse 21 that for the person who loves him and keeps his commandments, he’s going to be loved of the Father, and “I will love him and I will manifest myself to him.” And that awakens Judas. Now remember, Judas Iscariot has already left the eleven in the upper room, but this is a different Judas. There were two Judases, among the apostles; this is Judas, the brother of James. “And Judas not Iscariot said unto him, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us and not unto the world?” So, this is his question. Our Lord’s statement has puzzled him. Each of the apostles probably had some questions but these are the ones who speak up.
Now, the interesting thing about it is that it’s related to that preceding statement, “And I will manifest myself to him.” And that arouses his curiosity and so he says, “Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us and not unto the world?” Now in order to understand precisely what he has in mind, we need to know two things. First of all, that the Jewish people of our Lord’s day expected that there would be a Kingdom of God upon the earth. Now, as far as I’m concerned, that is what the Scriptures teach. And it is interesting that the apostles never fight that concept, they all appear to believe it, and they never say anything specifically against this supposedly false view. It was for the apostles an accepted interpretation of the word of God. But now, that involved an earthly manifestation of the Lord. And so he has said here that, “My Father will love him, I will love him, and I will manifest myself to him.”
Well, Judas has been looking forward for this manifestation of the Lord over the earth, and our Lord has said to him, that we will manifest ourselves to the individual who “loves me and keeps my commandments.” And so you can see that he’s puzzled. He knows about the kingdom program, the earthly kingdom, but Jesus has said that “We will manifest ourselves to him.” This word, emphamizo, the Greek word that is used here for manifest, is a word that is used in Exodus chapter 33 of a visible manifestation. Moses remember, desiring a visible manifestation of Yahweh, said, “Show us your way.” And then in a few verses, he says, “Show me Thy glory.” And remember the Lord God passed by him, evidently an appearance of the Lord Jesus before the time of his incarnation, and Moses was able to see the backside of Yahweh, the covenant keeping God, the Lord Jesus Christ.
So now here, “How is it that you are going to manifest yourself unto us?” There’s a great deal of stress upon this in the text in the original text. “Unto us, and not,” there is again stress on this due to the unusual form of the negative at this point, “and not unto the world.” So he has the concept of this earthly kingdom and the Lord seems to be saying something to him that contradicts this. He’s going to manifest himself to the believers. So that puzzles Judas and you can understand why he asks the question. The Lord of course will answer to him, if he were to spell it out, “Judas it’s not a question of either or, but both and.” Just as later on after the resurrection they will say to him, “Lord will thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And he doesn’t answer and say, “No, I’ll never restore the kingdom to Israel.” He says simply, “It’s not for you to know the times or the seasons.” There is going to be a restoration of the kingdom to Israel, but it’s not for them to know at that time the times or the seasons. In other words, again, it’s not an either or, it’s a both and.
And so here, “Judas said unto him, not Iscariot, Lord how is it that Thou wilt manifest thyself unto us and not unto the world?” The Lord will answer and he will say, not denying the other, but he will say, “Judas if a man love me he will keep my words and my Father will love him and we will come unto him and we will make our abode with him.” In other words, Judas there are two comings. One future coming in which the kingdom of God will be manifested over the face of the earth, but there is also another Parousia, another presence of the Lord God, another kingdom, and while one of these will be a visible, world wide manifestation, this is an invisible coming of the Son and the Father through the Holy Spirit, to every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. One of these is future, the other will come to pass presently after the resurrection and on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit comes in order to permanently indwell all believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.
There is a condition for this manifestation, Jesus says in verse 23, “If a man love me, he will keep my words and my Father will love him and we will come unto him.” That condition is very important, and we sometimes overlook it. We sometimes think it is possible for us to say we love the Lord Jesus Christ and not really keep his word. That’s really impossible. If we were to look around at our natural experiences we’d probably think that it was impossible too. Suppose you as a young person, whether male or female, should be in love with someone else, and they were to say to you, “I love you,” but they never made any attempt whatsoever to please you, would you consider that love? The chances are you wouldn’t. You would know just from your own human experience that if a person loves another one, there is a commitment to that person, and that commitment involves certain specified actions. We know when people love us by the commitment. It may not be perfect, it may not be absolutely everything that we might desire, but it should be a growing relationship. Most people who have been in love and stay in love truly in love notice over the experience of time there is growing commitment and a kind of relationship develops that becomes more and more intimate in which the two become practically more an more what they are when they are married, one. And of course if the relationship is in Christ, that’s the greatest of all relationships for the two are one in their common union with Christ and with one another.
So when our Lord says, “If a man love me he will keep my words,” he’s drawing analogy between true trust and falling in love. So to say we love the Lord is to say really we have trust in him. To say we have trusted Christ, we have believed in him as the Savior of our souls is to love him. And it must manifest itself in a measure of obedience. Not perfect obedience yet, I wish it were, but obedience. Its James way of saying, “Faith with out works is dead.” True living faith will manifest itself in our experience. In other words, our Lord says that true love for him is expressed in ethical terms, in pragmatic terms, in doing something to please him. Augustine on the word, the fulfillment of this says, “That it is fulfilled by one who not only has the commandments of the Lord orally, but keeps them morally.”
“If a man love me, he will keep my words and my Father will love him and we will come unto him and make our abode with him.” I know that it is generally taught in evangelicalism today contrary to a couple of hundred years ago, that the love of God is universal. That is he loves everybody the same. The Scriptures do not really make that at all their affirmation. The Scriptures to make it plain without arguing the point, say for example, “Jacob have I loved, Esau have I hated.” The kind of love that is referred to here is the love of divine election, the love of divine calling, the love of divine justification, the love of divine glorification. It is the special redeeming love that belongs to those who are the people of God. We don’t know them; therefore we issue the invitation to all to come to Christ. But, “If a man love me,” Jesus said, “he will keep my words and my Father will love him and we will come to him and we will make our abode with him.” This is that wonderful special love that before the ages of time, set itself upon us as the object of divine love and then in time when we appeared on the scene, carried out its intentions in bringing us by the providence of God and the activity of the Holy Spirit to that moment in time when we renounced trust in the church, renounced trust in our good works, renounced trust in all of the things in which we might have trust, and rested ourselves for time and eternity upon Jesus Christ and the blood that was shed.
Have you made that trust? Is that your experience? Was there a time when you renounced your trust in anything else and rested yourself upon Christ and what he has done? That’s fundamental to the possession of life. The new birth takes place then, God gives us a new nature, we’re different, we’re not perfect, long ways from being perfect, but God gives us a new nature and it manifests itself in a change of life. Change of heart, change of direction, which over a period of time will manifest itself in a whole stream of moral activities reflecting that basic communication of life by the Lord God. It’s by grace, it’s not by anything that we have done, not even by the decision of our free will, but by the divine activity we come to trust In Christ.
So, the love of the Father will take place, and the love of the Son and a united indwelling. Think of that! That is so magnificent; it’s hard to expound it. One of my favorite expositors as you already know is Charles Haddon Spurgeon, but even Mr. Spurgeon couldn’t expound the glories of verse 23, “If a man love me he will keep my words and my Father will love him and we will come unto him and we will make our abode with him.” And it’s striking that in the last statement, “We will make our abode with him,” a form of the Greek verb is used which lays great stress upon the personal interest of the God head in making this abode. Think of it! Is it not an amazing thing to realize that the Lord God is personally concerned to make his abode with us? Think of that! I could see there are no Methodists here, even Baptists I guess, but it won’t hurt you to say a private hallelujah. I know we don’t in Believers Chapel say them publicly, but at least a little private hallelujah. Magnificent to think of this, “we will make our abode with him.”
When we look at the story of the Bible, you can see what a tremendous difference this is from the Old Testament too. Now in the Old Testament, we have remarkable experiences, I don’t want to down grade them at all. If you must have an inferior experience, at least have the experience of the Old Testament saints. There was Abraham for example, well take Enoch to begin a little earlier. Enoch was one who walked with God. That’s great, when God took a step, Enoch took a step. When Enoch took a step evidently, the Lord took a step with him. Enoch walked with God. That’s a magnificent experience, and finally he was caught up, as you know, translated to Heaven.
Then Abraham came along, and he was known as the friend of God. That requires a walk with God. And Jacob, the Lord stood by Jacob at Bethel and said, “Jacob, I’m going to be with you wherever you go, and furthermore, I’m not going to leave you until I have accomplished everything that I intend to accomplish in you.” A non-frustratable God, walking by our side — what a privilege, what a blessing. And Joseph, he said to Joseph, “Joseph, I will be with you.” Moses, “Moses, I will be with you.” Israel, the whole body, with them by the day in the pillar of cloud, with them at night in the pillar of fire, constantly with them as he brought them into the land. Then in the land, the tabernacle was constructed in order that he might meet with them in the holiest of all, with them, over and over again in the Old Testament, with them.
And then finally, a man appeared on the scene, a man by the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Things were different. In those great men of the Old Testament, he was with them but in the case of the Lord Jesus Christ, something unique, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” The Word became flesh. And finally, the Apostle Paul, looking back some years later says, “Great is the mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh,” magnificent.
And then we read just in this 14th chapter of the Gospel of John, here is God manifest in the flesh making the promise in verse 17 concerning the Spirit of truth, “But ye know him for he dwelleth with you and shall be in you.” And so today, every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and only believers, if you are here this morning and you have never believed in Christ, these are not promises for you. These are promises for the saints of God who have believed. For every believer in Christ, there is the promise that he will be in us and is in us. And in fact as he said in verse 16, “that he may abide with you forever,” he is with us forever. Isn’t that magnificent? That’s something to be thankful for surely. Paul puts it in his own particular way, he says that, “We individually and we as a body the church of Jesus Christ is a holy temple in the Lord.”
I wish I had time to talk about the way in which the Scriptures describe this marvelous relationship that we have with our God, but let me just show you by the use of the prepositions that the Bible uses. The Bible says that he is with us. “Lo, I am with you always even to the end of the age.” The Scriptures say he is above us, the Scriptures say he is beneath us, the Scriptures say he is before us, the Scriptures say that he is behind us, the Scriptures say that he is around us, and greatest of all, that he is within us. We cannot escape. Who would want to escape? But we could not escape the presence of God as saints. And to think that he would come and dwell in this poor shabby abode, for that’s what we are, a poor shabby abode at the present time. Some day we will have a glorified body like his own glorious body, but we don’t have it yet. And so it’s a poor shabby, squalid kind of place. But nevertheless, he desires to indwell us.
I read a story about a missionary who had been in India in days when experiences were a little different out there, and he told the story when he came back to the United States that the governor of the province had come to the little town in which he lived. He was used to making tours of the villages to see the needs of the people. And often it was a problem to find lodging in some of these small places in which the governor came. And so knowing that that problem existed, the missionary invited him to come and stay in his home. He had a relatively nice place, and his invitation was accepted. And so he moved out and he pitched a tent in the courtyard of the home and gave his home over to the governor and his retinue. And then he said, the governor invited him to come and have supper with him. And so the governor had brought all of his food and all of his cooks and everything with him, and so he said he had the unusual experience of finding himself a guest at a royal feast in his own home. And he thought about it afterwards as what a good illustration it is of the Lord Jesus Christ, who has come into our home and has spread a royal feast there. And we have the privilege of this constant communion with the Lord God, the King of kings and Lord of lords who through the Holy Spirit dwells within every single believer. Is that hard to believe? Well, yes it’s hard to believe, but you will discover that as you live in the word of God it will become much more real to you.
Well, there is a hindrance to the manifestation of this love of God. He says in the 24th verse, the third and final verse of our section, “He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings, and the word which ye hear is not mine but the Father’s which sent me.” Now there are two things in this text that I’d like to call to your attention. The first is that the Lord Jesus, in order to stress the fact that he is serving as mediator at the present time, says that his words are really the words of the Father. In other words, we are responsible to this revelation that he gives. But there is another thing that has come home to me as I’ve looked at these verses; we read “if a man loves me he will keep my words.” And then in verse 24 he says, “He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings.” So he says if a man loves him he will keep his words, if he doesn’t keep his words, he doesn’t love him. Now naturally, we’d like to have some middle ground here. We’d like to have the experience of a person who has his word and knows his commandments but who at the same time does not really express it in our lives, because that sometimes seems to describe so accurately our own lives. But there is no middle ground, there is no place here at all for those who are indifferent to the truth of the word of God. You see the claims of Christianity are exclusive. There is no middle ground. If a man is not a believer in Jesus Christ, he is an enemy of the faith. If he’s an enemy of the faith he is not a believer in Jesus Christ. There is no place for the neutral, because the claims of Christ are exclusive and they are preeminent and sovereign and totally authoritative.
If he says, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man cometh unto the father but by me,” it is either we come by Christ or we do not come at all. His claims are exclusive, they are absolutely authoritative. There is no place for indifference. We love him we keep his word, we don’t keep his word, we don’t love him. Now I don’t want to scare any of you and make you fearful and make you feel guilty, because when he talks here about if a man loves me he will keep my words, it’s obvious he does not mean one hundred percent keeping his word. It’s quite clear that the apostles did not do that. Peter was not a perfect keeper of the word of God. He will deny the Lord in just a few moments. And then after the Day of Pentecost when he gets to Antioch, he will again so err that the Apostle Paul will have to stand up in the meeting in Antioch and rebuke Peter face to face. But what he is saying is there is a distinctive change when a person believes in Christ, and there has to be some obedience.
I like that wonderful word which Paul gives at the conclusion of his opening words to the Corinthian church, when he talks about the fact that there’s a time coming when we’re going to stand before the judgment seat of Christ and we ought not to judge one another before then. It’s not our duty to look around and say look I don’t think that brother so and so or sister such and such is really a believer because I don’t see any evidence of their obedience. It’s not our responsibility to express judgment upon our fellow believers. In fact, Paul says, “Don’t judge anything before the time.” The Lord will judge. And he will judge perfectly, he will take the hidden things and reveal them. But then Paul adds after saying that, “And then shall every man receive praise from God.” Every man, every believer in Christ shall have some praise from God. So, I’m looking forward to getting my little bit. It will be interesting to see what the Lord puts his finger on and says, “Yes that was good, through Lewis I did that.” Well, I like that and it indicates the fact that again that the man who does love him does keep his commandments.
Now let me summarize, for our time is fast growing to an end. The basic character of trust in Christ then is this; the faith that is true faith is a working faith. It will produce obedience. Also of course without this faith it’s impossible to please him because the one who does not believe who does not as he says, keep his commandments, is not really a believer in Christ. And then of course the climax and the major point of this section from the positive standpoint is the blessedness of this united indwelling. That should lead to further worship, deeper worship, deeper fellowship, greater instruction from the indwelling Holy Spirit as we read his word, and closer guidance.
You know, the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians chapter 6 makes an amazing statement. He says, “He that is drawn unto the Lord is one spirit.” Imagine that. There are lot’s of figures that the apostle and others use of the relationship between the church and Christ, for example he’s the shepherd and we’re the sheep. But the sheep may wander from the shepherd. He’s the vine, we’re the branches, but branches he said may be cut off. That’s for disciplinary judgment. The child may be alienated from a father, the wife may be alienated from the husband, but when two spirits blend into one, who can divide one spirit? That’s the closest of all the relations in the Bible. No outward connection or union even of wedlock is so emphatically expressive of the perfect merging of two lives into one as that statement, “He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” Think of that, one spirit!
The life of Israel was regulated, dominated by the presence of God in the temple. Our lives by the grace of God are to be regulated and dominated by the presence of God in his temple, the body of the believer and in the temple of the church of Jesus Christ as we meet in our public meetings. Alexander McLaren, one of the great preachers of a few generations ago said that “we must learn to tremble in the presence of this wondrous mystery, that we are the habitation of God.” May God help us to do that. May we meditate upon this glorious truth until it comes home, and may by the grace of God we be enabled to yield and let him take practical possession of us so that there may be the full glorification of our Great God who has done so much for us.
If you are here this morning again I repeat, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ, we remind you of the atoning sacrifice made for sinners on Calvary’s cross, and the fact that you may leave this auditorium this morning having come in with the burden of you sin, you may leave it with the burden having rolled off and into the grave at the foot of the cross if you come to Christ and say Lord I thank you for what you have done for sinners, I am a sinner, I receive by Thy grace the Lord Jesus as my Savior. There is consummated a union between you and the Lord, the Holy Spirit comes to indwell you and to guide you and to bless you and to make you his own and to use you for his glory. May God help you to come, come to Christ.
[Prayer] Our gracious God and heavenly Father, we are thankful to Thee for this magnificent promise that the Lord Jesus gave to the apostles through Judas’ question that Thou Lord shouldst make Thy abode with us is ultimately beyond our comprehension in our present state. But Lord throughout this week and the weeks ahead we have a greater realization of it in our lives. Work mightily in us Lord for the glory of Thy name…
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