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Aug 20 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

August 19, 2018 – John 14:18-23

Tired of Sleep-Walking Through Life?

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you see Me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”
 (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?”
Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.” John 14:18-23

Intro: Jesus had announced to his disciples that he was going away

He would soon leave them and the world of humans
– and return to his Father – the dimension of God’s reality (cf. Jn. 8:21-23)
• the disciples have completed their journey with him
• but he is not abandoning them – they won’t be orphans
◦ their discipleship will continue
◦ from now on, it would be directed by the Spirit
– so Jesus is preparing them for his departure
• however, he could only tell them what they were able to comprehend
◦ that means, he could not provide many specific details
• as a result, they were confused and had lots of questions
◦ their conversation that impossible night goes on for three more chapters
◦ and includes the longest recorded prayer of Jesus

For the disciples, this was a moment of spiritual transition
– Jesus was going away, but would still be with them
• only now, his presence with them would be internalized (v. 20)
◦ I doubt that made much sense to them
• “How could You be invisible to world, but visible to us?”
◦ Jesus’ explanation is in verse 23

If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him

– Jesus’ word would provide an ongoing connection with him
• and his word was not only his, but God’s

. . . and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent me (v. 24)

• God’s word is his revelation to humankind
◦ it fills the Bible and was made personal and human in Jesus Christ

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power (Heb. 1:1-3)

I’m going to make a few observation about the Scriptures

I doubt that what I say will be new to you,
– so consider this as a reminder

The Scriptures:

  • reveal who God is and the sort of people he wants us to be
    Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD (Jer. 9:23-24)
  • can penetrate the deepest parts of our hearts and minds (He. 4:12-13)
  • are not affected or blocked by worldly forces
    I suffer hardship [for the message of Jesus] even to being chained; but the word of God is not chained (2 Tim. 2:9)
  • provides us a vocabulary for our lives in God
    – as a result, we’re able to think about it, examine and discuss it

And from 2 Timothy 3, where Paul says Timothy had known scripture from childhood
– Paul says the sacred writings

  • are able to give us wisdom leading to the salvation that is ours through faith in Jesus
  • are, all of them, inspired
  • are profitable for:
    – teaching
    – exposing wrong
    – correction
    – training to do right and live right
    – prepares and equips men of God and women of God for every good work

There is just one more passage I want to add

O how I love Your law!
It is my meditation all the day.
Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies
For they are ever mine.
I have more insight than all my teachers,
For your testimonies are my meditation.
I understand more than the aged,
Because I have observed Your precepts (Ps. 119:97-100)
The unfolding of Your words gives light;
It gives understanding to the simple (Ps. 119:130)

I have seen the truth of these words for myself
– men and women without an advanced education
• yet from the Scriptures they have learned wisdom
◦ a wisdom they have been able to apply to real-life situations
• and as a result, they have made happy, healthy homes
◦ their lives have been productive
◦ and underneath everything, they have an undying joy

While I’m on it, let me add the following:
– I admire the wisdom of caring people, who do not have a college education, but read scripture, meditate on it, and then observe the world and ponder what they see
– I have been surprised by people, who have proved to be more than I expected or whom I thought were incapable of ever changing
– I enjoy adults who harbor silliness; some because they have a good sense of humor and others because they’re goofy
– I love people who are nice, who smile at strangers and who have avoided becoming disenchanted

I believe
– if we give the Scriptures access to our inner lives regularly,
• they can keep our souls supple

I read the Bible every day

You’re thinking, “Of course you do; it’s your job”
– but I don’t read it to:

  • sharpen my skills
  • increase my biblical knowledge
  • become ever more familiar with scripture

– I open my Bible every day to connect with its Author
• to wake myself up to him
◦ to give God access to my mind, heart and body
• I give God access to my whole self,
◦ because I want him to form the life of Jesus Christ in me
◦ and I know the way he does this is Spirit-to-spirit

I come to scripture in every possible mental state
– in curiosity some times and in gratitude other times
– in sleepiness so great I can hardly concentrate
– in the calm quiet of our morning appointment
• or I come with the simple pleasure of being with God
– I have come to scripture in frustration and desperation
– more often than not, under a dark cloud of oppression
– and I have come when reading my Bible was the last thing I felt like doing

Does it always speak directly to my specific issues?
– perhaps, if I always had eyes to see and ears to hear
• but I know for certain that it definitely speaks directly to me,
◦ this human person who has all these issues
• and in speaking to me, it redirects my thoughts and feelings
◦ it brings peace to my nervous system,
◦ it brings me back to my senses and the presence of God
– the point is, when I do this I am no longer alone
• the Bible is not God, but it does bring his revelation to me
◦ and the revelation brings me to God and God to me
◦ that is its intended purpose
• and when it connect us, I am not an orphan
This is the message of Jesus that what I wanted to share with you

If anyone loves ME, they will keep My word;
and My father will love THEM.
and We will come to them
and make our home in them

Conclusion: Now I know that reading the Bible doesn’t work this way for everyone

But something will
– many people find that God comes to them through music
• if that’s you, identify the music that works
• develop a routine of listening to it every day
– some people connect with God through poetry: reading or writing poems
– others experience God in conversation with a godly friend
• or a spiritual mentor
• some married couples do this for each other
◦ they share reminders of how God has been with them
◦ and this awakens their trust and mindfulness
– others cannot resist the influence of nature
• if that’s true for you, don’t let yourself get boxed-in
• get out – natural beauty is not far away
– others depend on church services or some part of the service
• the hymns, contemporary songs, or choir
• the liturgy or sermon
• or just being with a group of people who all love God
– others turn to inspirational or devotional books

The point is, there is some way God presents himself to you
– some way that fits your particular personality
• so make it a daily experience
• be present to what you enjoy – savor it
• open yourself to the moment and God’s presence in it
• take notes (this enlarges your experience)
• pray

We are not cold engines with low batteries trying to start our spirits
The energy of God is already here

These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name,
He will teach you all things,
and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you
 (vv. 25-26)

We only need to open our hearts to this truth as our present moment reality
God will take it from there

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