The Household of God
The Household of God (Pt 2)
The Household of God (Pt 2)
SUNDAY 10TH JUNE 23018
TITLE: The Household of God (pt 2)
Question: Who would people say are the great leaders of today?
Question: How can you tell who is a great leader?
You can tell who is a great leader in any group or organisation by ascertaining who has the greatest influence - especially in regards to the group’s character or ‘spirit’ if you will. Great leaders know how to imprint their own character or ‘spirit’ into the life of the group they lead.Great leaders are also, usually, great communicators, but not always great orators (e.g. Moses). But all great leaders have known how to connect with those who have followed them and to influence them with their ideas and teaching, their vision, plans and mission, and their desires.
Who is the true leader of this church? Of course, it is Jesus Christ - the Master of the household.There has been no greater leader than Jesus. No one has been a greater communicator. And no one has had greater impact or influence on the world with his teachings, his vision and his mission. But just as important as that has been the impressing of the likeness of his character into his disciples, his family, his household, by the supply of his Spirit.As we continue on through the rest of John chap.14, we will see more of the character or ‘spirit’ that Jesus intended to impress upon and into his household by his teachings and his Spirit.
Verse 21 A Household of Love
We’ve already seen this, but Jesus intentionally emphasises the characteristic of love eight times in this one chapter, so we shouldn’t under-emphasise it."has my commands” I.e. the one who possess them in one’s heart. N.b. ’commands’, plural - as already seen, summed up in one command - to love.
* “is the one who loves me"
The true sign of a person's genuine love for Christ, who is the true Christian. Not loving only with words but with actions and in truth.
* A wonderful promise:
To know and be known. To love and be loved. This is what our hearts were created for. This is the ultimate desire of the human heart - to know that we are known by God and to be loved by him.So here we are given sure promise. Jesus promise that he and the Father will love us and that he will make himself, and therefore the Father, known to us.Do you want to know that you are loved by God? Love his son.Once again, Jesus is talking about the close family relationship expected of those who are members of the household of God.
* Why to them and not the world?
Natural assumption: The Messiah was expected to come and reign on David's throne, in Jerusalem, as King of kings, over the whole earth. Will see that Jesus does not answer this question directly, but implicitly.
Verse 23-24 A Household of Humble Obedience
Sounds like a reiteration of what Jesus had just said, but we need to take note of the subtle differences - they can be very significant.
* "obey my teaching"
notice, not just "commands". Now whole of his teachings.Lit. translated as "be watchful of my word". ‘Word’ as in whole of his message - what he said, taught, preached, enacted and modelled. Like watching a measuring line or compass. Staying in line or on track. Therefore, this is about obedience. But also about maintaining an attitude of submission and servitude - to be like Jesus when he washed his disciples feet. Also, this is about being watchful as guardians of truth - first and foremost over themselves and over the message - no distortions allowed.
* "My Father will love him... make our home with him."
Here once again is the language of household. Similar sounding promise, but not only will God be revealed but will come to dwell with that person. N.b. compare with opening verses: Jesus promises to take his disciples, his bride, to be with him in his Father's house. Now the other way, they will come and dwell with us. In the first instance, at the end of the age In the second, in the interim. The longed for presence of the LORD. God's presence leading the Israelites through the wilderness - seen in the pillar of cloud and fire. Also known as the Shechinah glory of God that remained in the Holy of Holies in the Temple. But with Israel's idolatry and rebellion against God, the glory was seen by the prophet to have departed from the Temple and abandoned them.Yet God had promised that he would return to dwell with his people, that his glory would return. And with that promise in mind, John wrote these words in .So Jesus is our Emmanuel, “God with us.”
* “He who does not love...obey my teaching"
Sometimes, the easiest way to teach about something is to give a comparison with the opposite, which is what Jesus does here.Teaching is again, the word, "word" and this time it is in the plural. Unfortunately, NIV, in tying to give us a smooth reading in the English, has distorted the meaning and created a disconnect from what Jesus said next.
* “These words... belong to the Father...”
I.e. The words we are to obey. The point being, it is the Father speaking through him. We should obey because Jesus was not speaking on his own authority but on behalf of the Father who sent him. The Son has come with a mission, as an ambassador of the Father, to establish his kingdom, his household. But those who have no love for the Son will have no love for his Father, neither for his message, and will want nothing to do with his household. So they will not keep his words.Jesus came not to preach his own message but, in humble obedience to the Father, he came to make the Father’s message known and to serve others. Shouldn’t it be the same for Jesus’ disciples, those who would belong to his household?In , the apostle Paul put it like this. “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!”
Verse 25-26 A Household of Holiness
Jesus, the Son, had come and spoken to them in the Father's name. But he was about to leave them and he didn’t want them to be left without his word, his voice, his counsel. So, as we saw earlier, in verses 16-17, he will ask the Father to send the Spirit to counsel them. Previously, called the Spirit of truth. Here, called the Holy Spirit.Holy is the most common designator of the Spirit in Scripture. Holiness is also, therefore, a descriptor of the character or culture of the household of God. The spirit of the household is the Spirit of holiness (cf. ) But what is holiness? There are two aspects to holiness.The first is that of purity. To be holy literally means to be ‘whole’, such that there is no division, nothing in conflict, therefore a holy heart or life is one that has no divisions or conflict due to anything corrupt or impure in it.The second aspect is similar. It has to do with being set apart or devoted. Things that were declared holy in the O.T. were set apart and devoted for God’s purpose, God’s glory. They were therefore not to be used for anything common that might make them unclean or impure - anything that would confuse or corrupt their purpose.Now, the Spirit comes as the Holy Spirit because his role is to make us holy, to purify our hearts and set us apart for the Lord.Now, notice also Jesus said the Spirit would be sent in his name, representing him. Once again, we see the pattern. As Jesus came representing the Father, to make him known, so the Spirit comes representing Christ, to make him known. Thus he would be sent to teach Jesus' disciples by reminding them of everything Jesus had said. Why will the Spirit come in Jesus' name, teaching what Jesus taught? So that we too, might be made members of the household and representatives of Jesus Christ, whom God has established as the Master of his household. One other critical issue here: the Spirit never gives any extra or new revelations that are outside of the message or teachings of Christ. Some teachers and churches claim they have received new revelations but you can always tell whether they have received them from the Holy Spirit or some other spirit. Those who are being led and taught by the Holy Spirit will always be growing in their love of and obedience to Jesus Christ. What worries me is to see some Christians and churches so promoting the Spirit, they have demoted Jesus Christ. You know the Spirit of God will never do that. Another thing the Spirit of God will never do is lead anyone to lie. As we have seen, he is the Spirit of truth. So anyone who is lying to themselves, to others or to God, you they are not being led or taught by the Spirit. A third thing the Spirit will never do is lead people to behave in unholy ways. It is absolutely incredible that there are many people who claim to have the Spirit of God, and who claim to be living in the freedom of the Spirit, yet are behaving in thoroughly unholy ways. Often their unholiness is kept in secret, yet inevitably, the truth will come to light. One horrendous example that must be deeply grieving the Lord's heart: the rampant destruction being caused by the invasion of pornography in his chunk, his household. Yes, those who are led and taught by the Spirit are no longer bound under law, we have a new freedom. But that freedom was never intended to be a freedom to sin. It is supposed to be a freedom from sin, because the Spirit of God is the Spirit of Christ, and Christ was the holy one of God, so his Spirit is the Spirit of holiness.