Sunday, July 08, 2012

Jesus is Going Back to the Father (Jn. 1:27-31)

This is my personal summary of Rev Dr Stephen Tong's sermon on 1 July 2012 in STEMI Expository Preaching at True Way Presbyterian Church Singapore. It was preached in Chinese with English translation.

Passage: John 14:27-31

Our love for God is not built upon the speech of tongue but manifested through actions. Jesus said those who do not love Him would not obey Him. “The words you hear from Me are not My words but from the Father who sent Me.” So if we are obedient to the Jesus we are obedient to the Father. The Father sent the Son and loved the Son. If we honour the Son, we honour the Father.

The Greeks emphasised wisdom and believe that it is achieved by using reason to control the will and the will to control emotions. But who control your reason? It is the Word of God. Jesus said the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth. The Holy Spirit will remind us of all that Jesus has spoken. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is the Word of God. He is God’s Word coming into the world, full of grace and truth. By the grace of God we live by God’s truth. Jesus spoke to us as the Word. When the Spirit comes, He will remind us of what Jesus has said words. It is a most blessed life to have our thoughts guided by the Spirit of God and to bring our reasoning to His truth. This is faith.

As Jesus was marching towards the end of His life, He said to His disciples, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (Jn. 14:27)

He said this as He was about to be tortured and crucified on the cross. One’s life and greatness is seen in the things he says in the toughest of circumstances. Christ said the words that gave peace just before His crucifixion. So when Christians were martyred, they were peaceful. This was never seen in all human history. They believed their Lord has resurrected. They are different from the people in the Roman Empire. Josephus wrote that Christians truly believed the Lord has risen from the dead and was willing to die for the Lord.

Jesus said “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father for the Father is greater than I” (v.28)

In one of the earlier chapthers, Jesus said, “I and My Father are one”. But now He said “the Father is greater than I”. If they are one, how can one be greater than the other? Theology relating to Trinity contains things that are hard to explain. This One God is incomparable. He is the only One God, but He is Three. The most important theological statements about Trinity is the Athanasian Creed. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are of same eternity and same divinity. They are the same in status but not in order. God the Father sent God the Son, not the other way round. God the Father and God the Son sent the Holy Spirit, not the other way round. Thus they are one in status, but from order perspective, the Father is greater than the Son.

Jesus said He came from the Father and now He is going back to the Father. This is the direction of salvation. From above to below, it is the Father’s work in sending the Son, from below to above, it is the Son of God finishing the work of salvation.

The disciples are not to be saddened by Christ going to the Father because He will send His Holy Spirit. He will go to heaven to prepare a place for them. Therefore they will be glad.

Jesus said, “I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.” (Jn. 14:29-31)

The Word Incarnate will stop speaking. Jesus said the prince of the world is coming, which refers to Satan. The Bible never teaches that God is the prince of the world. God is called the King of heaven and the Lord of heaven and earth. After the Lord finished speaking, Satan would come and speak. Like the case of Adam, God spoke to Adam not to eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, then the serpent came and spoke something opposite.

We have the choice to listen to the truth or to lies. God has given us two eyes to look at what is right and wrong, and two ears to listen to what is good and evil, but one mouth, so that when we give testimony, our yes is yes, our no is no. Anything beyond that is evil.

Jesus warned His disciples that they would hear words that were completely opposite of what He had said. They would hear the speech that is against Him. But the devil has no hold over Him. God is our shield to defend us against the assails of the devil. Our ministry is a battle. Our spirituality is a battle. Our lifestyle is a battle. Our social life is a battle. May the Lord have mercy on us.

“The world must learn that I love the Father and that the Father has commanded Me and I have obeyed Him.” (v.31) The secret of success is in obeying God. No matter what the circumstances are, obeying the Lord will give you power over sin.

In the final part of the chapter, Jesus said, “Come now, let us leave.” We cannot stop now. The journey is still long. Too many churches today are stagnant and never grow. How long have you walked with the Lord? Where have you walked to? Are you stagnant in your spirituality? Do not stop here. Keep going until God’s purpose be accomplished.


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