Sunday, January 5, 2020

Serving the God You've Seen; John 14:8-14

Serving the God You’ve Seen
John 14:8-14, Remsen Bible Fellowship, 01/05/2020

This morning we are going to address to great truths: Jesus’ gracious revelation to those who believe, and Jesus’ powerful promises to those who believe.

Read the Text

Jesus’ Gracious Revelation to Those Who Believe: v8-11
  • What do you most long for? What is the one thing that you think if only, then…?
  • Last week we heard Jesus address the disciples troubled hearts, v1
  • He offered them comfort with the assurances of the Father having a place for them (v2) and of his personal return to receive them to himself (v3)
  • He is the Way to where he is going-that they can only get to the Father through him, v6

  • Now, as we come to v8, Philip asks, Lord…
  • The first question we should ask the text is: is Philip making a good request?
  • Absolutely. Ex 33:18, Psalm 27:4
  • Where Philip goes wrong is his misapprehension of the way in which that request would be fulfilled; he’s looking for more visible signs
  •  Jesus says, Philip, to see me is to see the Father. (v9) Signs? I’ve provided those in abundance (v10-11)

  • While the Father and the Son are distinct persons, they are members of the One Triune God, and are thus indissolubly linked. I in the Father, Father in me, is a linguistic way of explaining their perfect unity
  •  5:19, 23; 8:58, 10:30. Cf Colossians 1:19, 2:9
  • Are you ever confused about Mormonism, JW, etc? The key distinction, the central distinction is this: they reject the truth that Jesus and the Father are One God, united from all eternity, equal in every perfection. 
  • To diminish Christ is to spit upon the only name given under heaven, given among men, by which we must be saved. “The key of a cult is an unorthodox view of Jesus Christ.” Fred Gums

  • But the disciples had Jesus sitting there-what about us?
  • They weren’t going to for long, and it apparently hadn’t helped. They didn’t need a physical sight of Jesus. They needed spiritual sight. 2 Corinthians 4:6
  • They never saw Jesus. But in the gospel message preached to them, in the words of Scripture, they saw the face of Jesus Christ, ad in him the glory of the Father. Cf 1:14 [if you’ve ever having trouble understanding something in John, read the prologue again, then go back to your problem passage].
  • Philip wanted the right thing. What he didn’t realize that in Jesus he already had the fulfilment of his request. But Jesus had promised in v7 that the sight would come. 
  • To believe in Jesus is to have seen him in this book, read or explained or preached, and to have perceived that he is God, he is the way to God, and to receive him on that basis. To know Jesus is to know the Father. To know the Father requires knowing Jesus. 

This should be an immense comfort to the disciples, it should also comfort us. But Jesus doesn’t just leave off with comfort here. He is also going to make some jaw-dropping promises to every believer.

Jesus’ Powerful Promises to Those Who Believe: v12-14
  • Have you ever, like me, read these verses in a state of eyebrow-raised perplexity?
  • First, we need to observe who this addressed to: select, or universal? v12
  • Jesus is promising that every single believer in him will do the same works that he was doing; yea, greater still! Let your mind be floored by that, because I think that was his intention. Consider the works they had seen. 2:1ff, 4:46ff, 5:1ff, 6:1ff, 9:1ff, 11:38ff
  • Which makes us ask, how can we do these things: or greater works still? Is greater even possible? 
  • First, we should see that in the time of the apostles Jesus actually did extend his miracle working power through them and their associates. See the book of Acts. But was this universal? 1 Corinthians 12:29-30

  • What was universal was two-fold: first, all believers do the work of God explained in 6:29. Second, they further that work in others. That is the emphasis of Acts, not the miracles, not the healings. It is the word of God, the good news of Jesus, going forth with power. Teaching, preaching, prayer, sharing house to house, encouraging men and women to build them up in Christ. The formation and expansion of the church is the work of the book of Acts, the work that all believers participate in. 
  • Do you know that God isn’t looking for, isn’t desperate for, superstar Christians? He just wants you to be obedient, and he will work powerfully through you.
  • Isn’t that encouraging for us as a small church? That God is not limited by our smallness. 1 Samuel 14:6-7. 
  • We can see mighty things here through simple obedience to him. Do you believe that?
  • The second half of v12 explains how this is possible. Because I am going to the Father. Jesus going through the hour of his cross-work, resurrection, and exaltation, and upon returning to the Father, sending the Spirit (discussed in the verses to follow) are all the things that will enable his followers to spread the message of reconciliation.
  • What greater work is there than spreading the message that In Christ God has paid for sins, and offered life to all who believe? The extent of Jesus’ ministry on this earth was very limited. His work is now being proclaimed and ministered in every country on the globe. 

  • The final promise in v13-14 is just as amazing. 
  • What does it mean that Jesus will do whatever we ask in his name?
  • First, we should see that the immediate context is in doing the works of the Father, the works that he did. So when you need emotional energy to make that phone call to a difficult relative, or boldness to share your faith with a friend, or gumption to give up something you desire to make a financial sacrifice for someone in need: pray, and Jesus will give you what you need. If you come, praying in his name for power to do his works, he will give you what you need. 
  • Second, praying in Jesus’ name is centered on glorifying the Father. V13
  • Third, praying in Jesus’ name is praying in recognition of and submission to his Sovereign Wisdom. He controls the answer, not you. Cf Luke 22:42

  • The final thing I want us to see about praying in Jesus’ name, is that there is power in his name. Not as an incantation “in Jesus name=abra kadabra”, but as an appeal on the basis of our identity with Christ. 
  • This, again, is encouragement for ordinary Chistians: if the power is located in Christ, then he can use anyone, even you and me. 
  • Ask in my name, I will do it. Jesus is making a personal promise. This is why we do not pray in any other name. He’s the only mediator there is, and he’s the only one we need!

In conclusion. We come to Jesus, in the pages of this book, to see in him the revelation of the Father. Jesus is the only way to God, the only way to be forgiven and have right standing with the Father, the only way into God’s eternal family. And he has made this promise: if we believe in him, he not only will save us, but he will use us to bring glory to himself by doing his works. This seems so beyond our abilities, and it is. But he has also promised to be with us, and to give us direct access to the throne of grace, where we can come with our every need. Brothers and sisters, trust in him, and lean on him for everything you need.

1 Samuel 8, The King Thing

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