John

Rise To Live

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It is amazing how intertwined the Holy Trinity is. In John, Jesus says that he can do nothing by himself; that he can only do what he sees the Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. It is amazing how the three personalities of the trinity compliment each other so clearly. One inevitably affects the other. Just like the parts of our body are one, but every part, in some way, affects the other. While on earth, the Father had given Jesus the authority to perform miracles and to judge. He had been given authority to judge those who were living, but also those who have died. It says in John chapter 5, verses 28 and 29:

“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out - those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.”

Jesus is the ultimate judge, exercising the authority given to him by the Father. The Pharisees didn’t understand that. They called him a blasphemer, which I suppose would’ve been true if he wasn’t the Son of God. But he was, and he is the Son of God, given authority to judge us. And in John we are reminded that we will be judged on how we’ve lived. Jesus says, “those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned”. So I encourage you to live with eternity in mind. Do good and rise to live, not to be condemned.

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Jesus is the judge. He forgave sins while he walked the earth in human flesh, and he still forgives sins as he sits in heaven at the right hand of the Father. In the book of John, Jesus reminds us that how we live on earth will determine whether we will rise to live or rise to be condemned. If I were to say that how we live our life on earth is incredibly important, that would be an incredible understatement. I don’t think we can really comprehend the magnitude of our actions, our decisions and our behavior here in the flesh. But we really need to take them seriously. Because judgment is coming, and Jesus tells us that there are only two outcomes that can befall us. He says that “those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned”. I encourage you to be in the camp who rises to live.

Jesus Knew

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Can you imagine having the power to know what was going to happen before it happened? If you had that power, and were wise enough to know how to best use it, you could perfectly plot out your life, avoiding pitfalls and making sure that you didn’t miss any opportunities. But, unfortunately, we are only human and we don’t possess that power. But Jesus did. He knew what was going to happen before it happened. He knew that he’d be crucified on a cross, and he even knew when it would happen. He also knew where he came from, and he knew that he’d be returning to God. It says in John chapter 13, verse 3:

“Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God;”

It says that “the Father had put all things under his power”. So, even though Jesus knew that he had the power to change his destiny, he chose to obey the Father instead, dying in one of the worst ways imaginable. He did it for us. And he did it knowing the whole story before he even stepped foot on this earth. He knew the entire plan, and now that we have the benefit of the Holy Bible, we know it too. We know of God’s plan of salvation, how Jesus saved us, and we even know the future because parts of the Bible haven’t happened yet. So, now that you know, how do you choose to respond? If you aren’t sure, I encourage you to do what Jesus did… Obey the Father. Obey him in every way possible.

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Jesus knew that he had come from the Father and that he would be returning to the Father soon. He also knew the implications of that truth and what he’d have to endure before his return. We may not know all of the details of our future, but because of his word, and because of our faith in Jesus, it shouldn’t be a total mystery. Ask yourself; Will you choose to follow and trust Jesus? Will you choose to pattern your life according to what he teaches in the Bible? Will you ultimately give your life to Jesus and accept the gift of eternal life that he gave you? If you will, or if you have, you should certainly know your future; to serve God here on earth and to live with him for all eternity once you die. Just as the apostle Paul put it, “to live is Christ and to die is gain”. That should be the future of every believer.

He Knows Us

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If you’ve read the Bible, when it comes to humanity, you know that God cares most about what is in our heart. Yes, he wants our obedience, he wants our praise and he wants our dedication, but if we give him these things with the wrong heart, he’d prefer that we not offer them to him at all. It is amazing how well God knows us. He knows our motives, he knows our intent, and he knows when we are trying to hide what is truly in our heart. But Jesus knew that too, even when he walked the earth. It says in John 2:24-25: 

“But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.”

When I read about how Jesus handled himself with the Pharisees and how he avoided the verbal traps they set for him, I am always amazed - and rightly so. It was as if Jesus literally knew what they were thinking, because in truth, he did. There are several times where we read in the Bible that Jesus knew what others were thinking and he responded accordingly. This would mean that Jesus possessed a supernatural ability to know the thoughts of men and the hearts of men while he walked the earth. And if that is true, how much more does he know us since he has returned to glory and sits at the right hand of the Father? I encourage you to consider just how well God knows you.

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Jesus knows each one of us more deeply than anyone on this earth knows us. He knows our complete past and he is aware of all of our weaknesses. He even knows how many hairs we have on our head! And in John, we learn that he knows our heart, our intent and he even knows our thoughts. But more than that, he is physically close to us. The Bible tells us that he lives inside of us, and that he’ll never leave us or forsake us. So God knows us intently. He knows us better than we know ourselves. And in spite of that, he still loves us intensely. I hope that both challenges and encourages you; that it challenges you to remember that there is nothing we can hide from God, but encourages you because regardless of that, he still loves us.

Know God

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The concept of the Holy Trinity can be difficult for us to wrap our minds around. How can three distinct entities, or personalities, be considered one? How can God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all be one and the same God? This notion may be challenging for us to comprehend today, but consider how confusing it must have been for the people of Jesus’ day. They had a hard enough time accepting him as the Son of God. But Jesus tried to explain it to his disciples in John chapter 14, verse 7, which says: 

“If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

He also says in chapter 10, verse 30:

“I and the Father are one.”

Jesus explains to Thomas that by seeing him he has, in affect, seen the Father. He says that because he and the Father are one, just as the Holy Spirit and the Father are one. The equation that 3 = 1 doesn’t make sense to us. That’s just not how traditional math works. Nevertheless, it is very true. So if we know Jesus, then we know the Father. And since we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us, we actually have God living inside of us. I challenge you to consider this truth today. By knowing any part of the Trinity, you know God.

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Do you know God? Jesus tell us that if we know him then we know the Father because he and the Father are one; three entities that have different roles but are all the same God. God the Father is our Sovereign Lord; he is our provider and our stronghold. The Bible tells us that Jesus is our advocate to the Father; that he sits at the right hand of God. And we know that the Holy Spirit is our Counsellor; that he lives inside of every believer. There are a list of roles and titles attached to each one of the Trinity working in concert as one distinct God. I don’t know about you, but that breaks my brain. We don’t have to fully understand it, and we may never fully understand it this side of heaven, but we are called to believe. We must have faith in this truth. Do you know God today? If you know the Trinity, then you do. Because God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are one.

Never

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If you are a believer in Christ today; if you’ve put your trust in him and have given your life to him, and if you call yourself a Christian and a follower of Christ, you should realize that you are who you are in Christ only because the Father drew you unto himself. Sure, he may have used an event, another person, or an experience in your life as a catalyst, but the Bible reminds us that no one can come to a saving knowledge of Jesus unless the Father draws them. Jesus reminds us in John, chapter 6 verse 37, that after that happens he will never drive you away. It says:

“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.”

In this verse Jesus attests that it is God the Father who gave him those who have come to believe. And Jesus says that he will never drive them away. Isn’t that a comforting feeling? God wants to draw near to us. It is never his intent to drive us away. We may choose to leave him, turn away from him, or distance ourselves from him, but he will never drive us away. So I encourage you to have the same heart toward him as he has toward you. As it is his intent to never drive us away, let it be our intent to never leave him. Remember, God chose you even when you were lost in your sin and drew you to himself. Now that he has, he will never drive you away.

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When you were young and forced to play sports in gym class were you ever the last person chosen? If you were, that probably made you feel like you weren’t chosen at all. You probably thought, since you were the last one left, your team was forced to take you. Well, it isn’t that way with God. If you are saved by God’s grace, remember that God chose you. Not because you were the last one left. He drew you unto himself because it was his good pleasure to do so. And now that you are his, he will never drive you away. There are more people throughout human history who will find the wide path that leads to destruction than the narrow one that leads to salvation, and you are on the right path because God chose you. I encourage you never to forget that.