Testing One’s Love for God John 15:16-27

Text:  “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are NOT of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore (a Godly conclusion) the world hateth you.”

John 15:19.

Good morning, hated Christian!  No matter how much you go out of your way to show love to the world around you - you are utterly detested.  No matter how many good deeds you do for the unsaved world around you - you are hated by those whom you seek to help.  

Naturally, you would like the world of the unsaved in whose neighbourhood you live to like you, or at least tolerate you, and treat you with equal levels of neighbourly kindness - but, if God’s Word be truth, that will never be achieved, not as long as you and I seek to show love to the Lord God by obeying His commandments.  Fact!

“If the world (the unsaved all around us) hate you, ye know that it hated Me (Christ Jesus) before it hated you.”  (V.18)

If you and I are trying hard to live as Christ-like a life as we can - to bring glory to our Lord and Saviour - then the logical outcome for us is to incur the hatred of the world.  The natural side of us would just love the unsaved world in our neighbourhoods to ‘…speak well of…’ us, but if they do, then clearly we are not the ‘salt and light’ our Lord has called us to be!

“Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you!  For so did their fathers to the FALSE prophets.  But I (Christ Jesus) say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.”  (Luke 6:26-28)

It is a Scriptural fact that sincere and active servants of the Lord Jesus Christ are seen by the worldlings all around us as ‘Christian spoilsports’!  Our very presence tends to spoil what the world enjoys as daily ‘sport‘: binge-drinking alcohol; foul and lewd talk; taking ‘recreational drugs’; sexual promiscuity; pornographic film-watching; all night revelry and general carnal debauchery.

Definition: Revel - (verb) to feast or make merry, especially in a riotous or noisy manner; to take intense delight in revelry. (The Chambers Dictionary page 1411)

The morals of Western societies have plummeted to an all time low!  There was more morality in the behaviour of Sodom and Gomorrah than there is in many of our local neighbourhoods today!  We are living in social disgrace!

“In those days there was no king (moral authority) in Israel, but every man/woman did that which was right in his/her own eyes.”  (Judges 17:6)

Verse fifteen of our Bible reading today clearly teaches us that the Lord God, in His own wisdom and grace, has chosen us to be saved.  We have NOT chosen to make ourselves known to the Living Lord God.  He has made Himself known to us, in the incarnation of the Person of His Son, Jesus Christ.  God reveals Himself through His Word - His Word is truth!

“Sanctify (set them apart, save them, cleanse) them through Thy truth; Thy Word is truth.”  (John 17:17)

“Seeing that ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit (capital S!) unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.  Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.”  (1 Peter 1:22-23)

God the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Triune Godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost) empowers us to ‘…purify our souls in obeying the truth…’.

Therefore, we can test the quality of our love for the Lord God by the level of obedience we exercise in a consistent manner day by day.

We can also test our love for the Lord God by the level of love that we manifest towards other Christian believers.

“These things I command you, that ye love one another.”  (V.17)

We can further test our love for the Lord God by the level of hatred the world manifests towards us - “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me (Christ Jesus) before it hated you.”  (V.18)  Does the world hate you and I?

We prove the depth of our love for Christ by the level of persecution we receive from the world that hates us, because it hates our Saviour, Jesus Christ!  In this manner, what the world desires for our hurt, actually encourages us in ’…the faith once delivered unto the saints…’  Praise God!

Thought:  Do you and I love God?  Is there daily proof of this love?  If so, rejoice, dear Christian, the world’s hatred proves God’s love for us, 'His people'.

‘…Continue Ye In My Love…’ John 15:9-15

Text:  “As the Father hath loved Me (Christ Jesus), so have I loved you (born again believers); continue ye in My love.”

John 15:9.

 Good morning, well-beloved Christian!  As God the Father loved, loves, and has always loved His only begotten Son, Christ Jesus - in this same Divine manner, God the Son loves you and me.  Hallelujah!  We are loved of God.

“Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God IS love.”           (1 John 4:7-8)

Now, while most of us are perfectly sure that the Lord God loves us, the more profound question we often ask ourselves is this: do we love God?  And if so, how do we prove to ourselves that we actually love God?

We love Him (the Lord God), because He first loved us.”  (1 John 4:19)

The Lord God Almighty is the infinite source of LOVE; and it is His Divine love that has caused us to love Him in return - through the Divine revelation of God in human form, Christ Jesus.  Our love is totally inspired of Him.

We would never have desired to know and love the Lord God had He not drawn our very souls unto Himself, by His Divine cords of Eternal love.

“The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.”   (Jeremiah 31:3)

“When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called My Son out of Egypt…I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love; and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them.”  (Hosea 11:1; 4)

Almighty God’s love is manifested clearly in the Cross of His dear Son, Christ Jesus - Whom the Father sent to suffer in our place and die to save us from our vile sins.  Jesus Christ, the Son of God is, therefore, the epitome of true and Divine LOVE.  Hallelujah!  What a Saviour Lord we have in Him!

“For God so loved the world (elect sinners of every nation), that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth (trusts, and continually trusts) in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  (John 3:16)

God’s love for you and for me is therefore clearly proven from Spirit-inspired Scriptures.  But how can we prove our love for Him?

Today’s brief Bible reading clearly teaches us the only way we have of proving to ourselves whether or not we actually love the Living God.  Christ Jesus here teaches us that His Father loves Him; and that He loves us; and that we can actually prove our love for Him by ‘…continuing in His love…’  

We ‘…continue in Christ’s love…’ by continually seeking to be obedient to His written commandments; His clearly set forth teachings; living our lives in His Spirit of truth and love.  We prove our love for God by our obedience.

“IF ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.”  (V.10)

The ‘IF’ in this teaching of Christ denotes a condition He is setting down for us to fulfil before we can claim the promise of abiding love which follows.

“For all the promises of God in Him (Christ Jesus) are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.”  (2 Corinthians 1:20)

In other words, ‘Have we fulfilled God’s condition of being in Christ?’  Yea, we have.  Then, having fulfilled God’s set condition - we are ‘in Christ’, and seeking to obey His commandments - we can therefore claim all the promises of God contained in His Word to us, His Blood-bought children. 

We can prove we love God in this manner, IF we obey His commandments and are ‘…hidden in Christ Jesus…’  Hallelujah!  What a Saviour!

“Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought His judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness; it may be ye shall be HID in the day of the Lord’s anger.”  (Zephaniah 2:3)

“Blessed (blessed with blessings) is he/she whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.  Blessed is the man/woman unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.”  (Psalm 32:1-2)  (See the Doctrine of Imputation)

“Ye are My friends, IF ye do whatsoever I command you.”  (V.14)

Thought:  Do we love Christ?  If so, let us obey His Commandments.

Jesus: The True Vine John 15:1-8

Text:  “I am (Jehovah) the true Vine, ye (true Christian believers) are the branches; he that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without Me ye can do nothing.”

John 15:5. 

Good morning, fruit-bearing Christian!  Christ Jesus, the true Vine, has called you and I; granted us faith to believe and repentance from our sin; Redeemed us by His own Blood; and saved us for time and Eternity.  Praise God it is so!

However, the Lord did not save us in such miraculous manner to just sit idly by and do nothing for Him.  Never!  We have been saved to serve the Lord, and woe betide all who are called with the universal call of the Gospel yet fail to bear the fruit of Christian validation!  The fate of such idle professors is a sore one indeed.  Beware idle professor!  Things could get quite HOT!

“If a man/woman abide not in Me, he/she is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men (other worldlings) gather them, an cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”  (John 15:6)

It has been said that there are a number of different levels of Created life: among them there is plant life; there is animal life; and there is human life.  (Genesis 1:1;11-28)

All living things that were Created by the Living Lord God Almighty were created ‘…after his kind…’ - this is what I have called ‘The First Ten Commandments’.

Check this Scriptural fact out for yourself.  The Lord commanded his creation TEN TIMES, to be created, ‘…after his kind…’  (Genesis 1:11;12;21;24;25)

There was to be absolutely no transmutation of the created species!  Hybrids (mules, jackasses) are always born impotent, they cannot procreate.  All God’s Creation live life ‘…after his kind…’  Which immediately debunks Darwin's Theory of Evolution.  God created mankind - Adam & Eve - '...after his kind...'.

The plant life enjoys the nourishment of the sun, the rain, etc. but it’s experience of existence falls far short of that of the animal kingdom.

The animal kingdom in created life has a much higher level of experience of existence than that of plants - but animals know nothing of the higher human experience of life; animals cannot actually plan by reasoning power, although animals often prepare for survival by natural God-created instincts.

Natural mankind is the Lord God’s highest level of creation - we are the only species that possess reasoning powers.  Yet, we are born in Adam’s fallen image, far short of Adam’s perfection, as created in the image of God (Tri-partite, three parts - body, soul, and spirit.)

“And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness (fallen), after his image; and called his name Seth; and the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years; and he begat sons and daughters (all in his own fallen, image!).” (Genesis 5:3-4)

In today’s selected Bible passage, we find the Creator Lord Himself, the Lord Jesus Christ, likening Himself to a Supernatural Vine.  And what a true Supernatural Vine of life indeed!  Praise His lovely Name!  (John 10:10b)

In the natural world, branches cannot grow of themselves.  Branches are put forth by the vine; they are nourished from the roots of the vine - without the vine the branches dry up, wither, and die - they are often burned as firewood.

In the Supernatural world, you and I are born of our natural parents ‘…dead in trespasses and sin…’; a body, a soul, and a DEAD SPIRIT.  (Ephesians 2:1;5)

This is why we ‘…must be born again…’; we must be reborn from Above; we must have a Supernatural birth and be quickened by God the Spirit to live for Him in Christ Jesus, and by the way of His Cross Sacrifice. 

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he/she is a new creature; old things are passed (passing) away; behold (look), all things are become (or becoming) new.”        (2 Corinthians 5:17)

“For we (Christian believers) are His workmanship, CREATED in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”     (Ephesians 2:10)

Just as the natural branches of a vine cannot come forth, grow, or be nourished of themselves - we Supernaturally birthed Christian believers cannot come forth, grow, or be nourished without the Lord God.  We grow strong when we ‘…abide…’ close to Christ, the true Vine.

Thought:  Is your branch of Christ’s Church a fruit-bearing branch?

Is There A Literal ‘Devil‘? John 14:30-31

Text:  “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the Devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour; whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”

1 Peter 5:8-9.

 Good morning, Spiritually vigilant Christian!  The Lord God has instructed thee and me to be always vigilant in our daily walk as pilgrims through this often barren land.  We do well to heed the Voice of our God in His Word.  As a Christian author penned some years ago, ‘…the Devil is alive and well on planet earth today…’; continue to be most vigilant, Christian warrior!

“Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man/woman truth with his neighbour; for we are members one of another (believers).  Be ye angry, and sin not; let not the sun go down upon your wrath; neither give place unto the Devil.”  (Ephesians 4:26-27)

Many of my regular Christian readers will have noticed that I try to write a capital D when I make mention of the Devil.  I do that for a reason: the Devil is so subtle an enemy that he insinuates himself into every aspect of our lives, if we but relax our vigilance.  Therefore, even in my writing about this foul being, this sly and subtle snake - I put a capital D on the word, to enable me to keep an eye on this foul tempter.  The Devil is well worth the watching!

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against Spiritual wickedness in high places.  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day…”  (Ephesians 6:10-13)

Hear what the great Puritan, William Gurnall (1616-1679) says in his wonderful book The Christian In Complete Armour:  

“The Nature of Evil Spirits (’spiritual wickedness’) The inherent nature of the devils themselves, as well as the character of their works, is included in the description, ’spiritual wickedness’.

“A literal rendering of the passage reads, ’against the spirituals of wickedness’…the passage also refers not only to the spiritual nature of devils but also - in fact, chiefly - to the nature and kind of sins they perpetrate. These sins are the apples of temptation which they most often use to poison the saints. Such sins are the ’spirituals of wickedness‘. Not gross, fleshy sins which ignorant sinners, like swine, wallow in - but spiritual sins, which are much more subtle and perhaps even more despicable.” (The Christian In Complete Armour, Banner of Truth Trust, P.O. Box 621, Carlisle, Pennsylvania 17013, U.S.A. p.186-187)

The Lord Jesus, in today’s two-verse Bible reading, refers to the Devil as ‘…the prince of this world…’ (V.30); and the Lord knows and has revealed to us, that this is the exact identity of this foul angel.  The Devil, Satan, that old Serpent - is a prince among his disobedient angels; a deadly and ruthless foe against the very souls of mankind.  Christian, be vigilant!

But, praise God, we KNOW the Devil’s eventual fate!  We Bible-believing Christians have read the end of God’s Book!  Hallelujah!

“And I saw an angel come down from Heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.  And he laid hold on the Dragon, that old Serpent, which is the Devil (capital letter!), and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled; and after that he must be loosed a little season.”  (Revelation 20:1-3)     

“And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison (the bottomless pit), and shall go to deceive the nations (the rebellious against Christ)…and fire came down from God out of Heaven and devoured them.  And the Devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever.”     (Revelation 20:7-10)

That old Serpent, Satan, the Devil is an Eternally defeated foe!  Fear him not!  We vigilant Christians are protected under the Blood of the Lamb!

“…Resist the Devil and he will flee from you.  Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you…Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.”       (James 4:7-10)

Thought:  Oh yes, there is a literal Devil - Christ teaches this fact - but Christ has defeated him once and for all time at the Cross of Calvary.  Glory!  Glory!  Glory to the Victorious Lamb of God!  Amen.

Jesus: The God of Prophecy! John 14:28-29

Text:  “And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.”

John 14:29.

          “Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am He.”

John 13:19.

Good morning, believing Christian!  When you and I read and study God’s Word - as contained in the 66 Canonical Books of the KJV Holy Bible - we believe what God has said through His prophets, psalmists, and Gospel-writing evangelists.  Praise God for faithful, Bible-believing, Christians!

“…Jehoshaphat stood and said (under the inspiration of God the Holy Ghost), Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe His prophets, so shall ye prosper.”   (2 Chronicles 20:20)

We ‘prosper’ in life and in the service of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, when we truly believe and receive His infallible, God-breathed Word, and act on His Divine instruction.  That’s a Scriptural fact!

“Trust (truly believe) in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.  Be not wise in thine own eyes; fear the Lord, and depart from evil.”  (Proverbs 3:57)

Today’s selected Bible reading reveals the Lord Jesus encouraging His disciples to maintain a high level of true belief.  Just one chapter earlier, as our secondary text above shows, He made a very similar statement of His intentions; He foretold events that would come in order that, when the events actually took place, the disciples would be well prepared for such events, and gain more faith to believe in Christ’s plan of Atonement Salvation.

Everything Jesus foretold came to pass exactly as He had prophesied!

The Lord God Almighty ‘…ordained…’ certain chosen men to be his prophets in Old Testament times.  Jeremiah was one such chosen prophet.

“Then the Word of the Lord came unto me (Jeremiah) saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”    (Jeremiah 1:4-5)

Dictionary definition:  Ordain - (verb) to arrange; to establish; to decree; to destine; to order; to assign, set apart; to appoint; to set apart for an office; to invest with ministerial functions; to admit to Holy orders.  (Chambers Dictionary page 1141)

In the above dictionary defined manner, the Lord God ordained, chose, set apart certain men to be His prophets - and their words were at all times His Word, and never the product of their own totally fallible will.  

God’s Word declares God’s will, the Scriptures are God-breathed, Spirit-inspired!

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation.  For the prophecy came not in the old time (Old Testament times) by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved (inspired, taught, directed) by the Holy Ghost.”       (2 Peter 1:20-21)

All the Old Testament prophets spoke only as they were directed by God the Spirit - their lives depended upon the prophecy coming to pass!

“If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying,  Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.  Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.  And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.”  (Deuteronomy 13:1-5)

The Lord Jesus, God the Son Himself, therefore prophesied His Crucifixion; His suffering; death and resurrection - to prove that He is God, and to give certainty to our faith in Him.  He is the fulfilment of every other prophecy.

Thought:  “Never man spake like this Man” - Jesus, the risen Christ.