Monday, November 23, 2015

The Carnal Cannot Understand The Spiritual

John 8:31-59

“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32)

There was a major division among the Jews, even before Christ began his ministry, with the debates between the many schools of interpretation by the Scribes and Pharisees, as well as the conflict between the Pharisees and the Sadducees.   If they were going to be Jesus disciples, they would have to follow his word instead of the teachings of all those groups.  It is essentially what he would tell the twelve in John 14:23-24.  “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.  He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.”

 If a person doesn’t care enough to find out what God wants and try to do it, he really isn’t a Christian.  If a person loves the Lord he will try to obey, and the Holy Spirit will reveal the truth to him, so that he can live confidently.

“They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?

Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.  And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.  If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.  I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.  I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.” (John 8:33-38)

Once again the people focused on the earthly rather than the spiritual concept, claiming as descendants of Abraham, they had never been servants to anyone.  As so often happens when people take a defensive attitude, they ignored the facts.  Israel had been slaves to Egypt, to Babylon, to the Persians, to Greece, and at that time were held by the Romans.  They were actively seeking to throw off Roman rule at that time.  They denied any need to be set free. 

Jesus made it clear he was not talking about physical freedom, but spiritual freedom.  When a person commits a sinful act they allow a sinful attitude or spirit to control them. Romans 6:16 asks, “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”     Fortunately, a person can be delivered from slavery, and when Christ makes us free, we are completely free.  I Corinthians 6:9-11 states, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”  When a person allows Christ to have control, he is no longer a slave to sin. Romans 6:22 says, “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.”While the Jews were physically Abraham’s descendants, spiritually, they had Satan’s attitude rather than Abraham’s. 
“They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father.

 Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham.  But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.  Ye do the deeds of your father.

Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.

Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.  Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.  Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.  And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.  Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?  He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.” (John 8:39-47)

In John 6:44, Jesus said, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”  Unless God causes a person to understand the spiritual they will always be limited to a carnal understanding.   I Corinthians 2:14 tells us, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”  This group of Jews never allowed the Lord to teach them.  They didn’t understand that while they were physically children of Abraham, they were spiritually Satan’s, even after repeated attempts to show them.   Satan had such control of their thinking they could not understand.  Instead they would do what Satan wanted.  The very fact they wanted to kill him for telling them what God said was proof that they were believing his lies.  Satan was the original liar, starting with his lie to Eve, and he has never changed.  Though they had no evidence that he was lying, they refused to believe Jesus, because they were not of God. 

“Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?

Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me.  And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth.  Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.” (John 8:48-51)

A common ploy when one has no valid argument is to begin to attack one’s reputation and character.  The Jews accused Jesus of being controlled by Satan and of being a Samaritan.  It was a racial slur implying he was not really a Jew at all.  Jesus responded that his teaching honored God and their slurs were disrespectful of both him and God.  If a person would do what he was teaching that person would never face spiritual death. 

“Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death.  Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself?

Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying.  Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.

Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?

Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by. ” (John 8:52-59)

Still hung up on the physical, They pointed out Abraham had died some 2200 years before, despite obeying God.  Did Jesus thing he was better than Abraham or all the other prophets?  Jesus pointed out that what mattered was that God honored what Jesus said by making all the miracles happen, and that while they claimed to know him they ignored what he said.  Clearly they were lying as much as Jesus would b to say he didn’t know him.    He said that Abraham foresaw his day and rejoiced at what he knew was coming. 

The Jews took his statement as saying Jesus had been alive in Abraham’s day and challenged his claim, since he was less than fifty years old.  Though they had deliberately misconstrued what he said, Jesus told them he had been alive long before Abraham had been born.    While they didn’t believe him, John 1:1-3 tells us, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.   The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”  As John 1:10 states, “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. “

They attempted to stone him to death, but Jesus simply disappeared and walked through the crowd unseen.  

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