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John 15

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

Thursday, JULY 5

SCRIPTURE: John 15

As you were reading this chapter, I have no doubt that you noticed the word abide.  It, or its synonym (continue in verse 9 and remain in verse 11), is used some eleven times in the first eleven verses.   Since Jesus used this word so many times in such a short section, there must be something of great value that He wants us to understand.  That means there must be something of great value that we should know.

The word abide simply means to dwell in.  In this particular chapter there is a lot of talk about Jesus abiding in us and us abiding in Jesus.  You might think that there couldn’t be one without the other.  And you may be right.  But I want you to use your imagination for a moment.

Imagine someone with an aquarium full of water and an empty glass.  If that person turned the glass upside down and shoved it quickly into the water, the glass would be completely surrounded by the water.  That might be like us abiding in Jesus.  But there would no water inside of the glass.  If you are tracking with this analogy, this would mean that Jesus is not abiding in us.  In fact, the air in the glass would be trying to force the glass out of the water.

If you turned the glass right side up, it would quickly fill with water.  At that point, the glass would not only be completely surrounded by the water but the glass would also be filled with the water.  I really think that is the picture that Jesus is painting for us: He in us and us in Him.  

When this mutual abiding is taking place, the believer will produce fruit (verse 2).  The believer will experience pruning (verse 2).  That means the believer will experience discipline by the hand of the Father so that we can produce even more fruit.  The believer will experience answered prayer (verse 7).  The believer will experience a deepening love for Jesus and other believers (verse 9).  And the believer will experience a greater joy.  

The chapter also shows us at least a couple of results of all of this abiding.  The first one, in verse 15 is that Jesus will no longer call us servants.  He will, instead, call us friends.  I am not sure I fully comprehend this.  Don’t get me wrong.  I like it.  I really like it.  I have even sung songs about it.  But it is more than a bit mind-boggling for me to think about Jesus thinking of me as His friend.  This really is close to crazy to think about.  God’s only Son knows me, everything about me, and still calls me His friend.   

The other result of this abiding begins in verse 17.  It is simply that the world persecuted Jesus unmercifully.  As His friends, we should expect nothing less.  The world hates Jesus.  Ultimately, the world hates those who are like Jesus.

I think most of us who live in this part of the country that we used to affectionately call the Bible Belt kind of skated through this one.  We are fortunate to live in an area that has a bunch of folks who call themselves Christians.  So, at times we almost feel like the majority.

But this is changing.  As I said a couple of weeks ago from the platform, the church is increasingly perceived to be the villain and Christ followers are increasingly seen as enemies of the state.  If this trend continues, persecution cannot be far behind.  

But take heart.  Jesus has overcome the world.  And as we choose to live in this abiding, we, too, will be overcomers.

 

Posted by Joe Ligon with

John 14

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

Wednesday, JULY 5

SCRIPTURE: John 14

As this chapter opens, we encounter some familiar and yet powerful words.  Jesus is reinforcing the fact that heaven is a real place not a figment of an overly active religious imagination.  Heaven is real!

Another thing we see as this chapter opens is heaven is not a place for the dead but for living.  Those in heaven have a specially prepared place for them to live.  There won’t be any death or dying or dead folk in heaven.  Heaven is a place for life in such quality and quantity that we cannot comprehend all of its magnificence.  

Christ followers should live with heaven in mind.  We should rest easy in the fact that Jesus has promised a prepared, personal place for us to spend eternity.  It is going to be off the cool chart.  

But if the Christian life is just about where we will spend eternity, our life on this earth would be most miserable. In other words, if heaven is all there is, then we would spend our days on earth moping around upset that we haven’t gone to heaven yet.

But if you will look at verse 16, we see that as glorious as heaven will be, there is more in the Christian life.  Jesus promised us that the Holy Spirit would be sent to us.   It is really interesting how the different translations of the Bible translate this.  The King James calls the Holy Spirit our Comforter.  The New International Version calls Him our Counselor.  The English Standard Version calls Him our Helper.  The New Living Translation calls Him our Advocate.  And The Message calls Him our Friend.

The crazy thing about that is all of those descriptions are very accurate.  But what do they actually mean?  If we look at the original language of the New Testament we would discover the Greek word is Parakletos.  The “para” in the word means alongside of.  The “kletos” refers to being called.  So, the Parakletos is one who is “called alongside of us”.  By definition, He is called to be our Comforter, our Consolation, our Encourager.  The Holy Spirit is literally our Holy Encourager.

Jesus goes on at the end of verse 17 to tell us that the Holy Spirit will be in you.  This is an amazing first.  Throughout the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit came upon certain people to empower them to do certain things.  Often once that was accomplished or the person rebelled against God, the Holy Spirit was removed.  But now, the Holy Spirit comes to live in every Christ follower.  

Verse 16 says He will be with us forever.  In other words, once the Holy Spirit comes to live in us, He will never leave us nor forsake us.  He takes up permanent residence in us.  

In verse 26, we find another role that the Holy Spirit plays.  He not only is our Holy Encourager but He is also our teacher.  Jesus said He would teach us all things and then enable us to remember those things that He taught us.  The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to teach us all things about the Way of God.  He opens the Scriptures to us so that we can learn and we can recall what we have learned.  

I wish we had more time to talk about the Holy Spirit but let me leave you with this.  Heaven is our home and we should look forward to spending forever there.  But in the meantime we have the Holy Spirit in us to make this life most abundant, incredibly fruitful, and divinely purposeful.  Go live out your days in the power of and under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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