Friday May 18, 2018
Title: Ruth 4:8-12. Final chapter - Our home with Christ in the word “abide”.
Introduction: The whisper and thunder of God.
JOB 26:14 "Behold, these are the fringes of His ways;
And how faint a word we hear of Him!
But His mighty thunder, who can understand?"
We all face adversity. Enemies attempt to remove our eyes from the sweet and wonderful home that the Lord has given us, which exists right in our hearts. We could never leave this home because we cannot leave Him, but we can look out the windows and over to the darkness that we have been delivered from and get our eyes on lust and pride as if we were itching to leave. When we do, sin will enter our hearts, but we are not beaten. Recognizing our error and foolishness, we turn inward towards the lovely abode where our Lord, Builder and Fellow Tenant, sits and we rejoice.
Adversity, persecution, dire news are all meant to make us fear so that we go to the windows. Listen to the words of F.W. Boreham concerning the verse before you in his essay, The Whisper of God.
The life of God’s love, which has been gifted to every saint, is manifest in love of the brethren. This is light and sight.
Any so-called Christian who seeks a life outside that of love is a foolish man. We are warned not to be partakers of the way of the unbelieving world.
Can Christians be foolish? “You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you.” Yes, foolish and deceived can be the description of a believer. The Galatians had adopted the Mosaic Law as a means of worship and we can bet that very soon, all who did so, lacked love in their hearts. The Corinthians were full of jealousy and strife, easily identifiable markers for a lack of love.
EPH 5:7 Therefore do not be partakers with them;
EPH 5:8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light
EPH 5:9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness [the way] and righteousness [the life] and truth),
EPH 5:10 trying to learn [proving] what is pleasing to the Lord.
EPH 5:11 And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;
EPH 5:12 for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.
EPH 5:13 But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.
Jesus said in Joh 12, Walk while you have the light [in the light], that darkness may not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes.
Darkness is a very real force. It is not ever spoken of as a metaphorical way of pointing to a moral or to adorn a tale, as such imagery is used in fiction. The Bible presents darkness as a very real force for evil. In GEN 1:2 “darkness was over the surface of the deep,” but on day one, God said, “Let there be light” and He separated the light from the darkness.
People spread darkness and they expect the believer to be enshrouded by it as they are. Stand firm!
In John’s gospel, a gift to the world as the Bible was coming to a close, is a revelation of conflict in life given in contrasting terms: light and darkness, love and hate, life and death, flesh and spirit, slavery and liberty.
God Himself exiled Himself from heaven as well as from the outward demonstration of His deity and He subjected Himself to this conflict. He brought the millennia old conflict to a head. It seemed to end with His death. So tragic was this that everyone who knew and loved Him and had put their hope in Him despaired of life.
And He said to them, "What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?" And they stood still, looking sad.
“The divine Word has not triumphed by being revealed in contrast to the world as a mystic vision untouched by the sordid realities of life, but rather by undergoing the worst that life could do [cross] and by rising above it unscathed [resurrection].” [Merrill Tenney, John: The Gospel of Belief]
Every Christian has the light. Yet a Christian can be foolish and bewitched.
EPH 5:13 But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.
EPH 5:14 For this reason it says,
And arise from the dead,
And Christ will shine on you."
EPH 5:15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise,
EPH 5:16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil.
Walking as unwise is like being drunk spiritually. It is a darkness since such a one cannot see.
EPH 5:17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
EPH 5:18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,
EPH 5:19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;
EPH 5:20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;
EPH 5:21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.
1JO 2:9 The one who says he is in the light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now.
1JO 2:10 The one who loves his brother abides in the light and there is no cause for stumbling in him.
1JO 2:11 But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
Therefore, without love I cannot know the good - I am blind to it. Good is an absolute and it is defined by God. Mankind cannot determine it without possessing a heart filled with the love of God.
The same would be true of truth. Without love, knowledge is nothing. I could learn the entire Bible without love and I would do is cause hurt with it. Example Pharisees as well as countless other religious people who have used the words of the scripture more like a whip than a gift.
Love sees others and God in the proper light and therefore can discern truth. If all events, people, and even God are only seen with yourself in mind, then you will be blind to the truth in all of them and you will stumble.
Man has tried to determine the good and the truth without God incessantly generation after generation and his results are obviously only darkness.
Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;,
Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness;,
Who substitute bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
God speaking to Job
JOB 38:19 "Where is the way to the dwelling of light?
And darkness, where is its place,
JOB 38:20 That you may take it to its territory,
And that you may discern the paths to its home?
JOB 38:21 "You know, for you were born then,
And the number of your days is great!
Where is the light indeed?
JOH 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.
JOH 3:17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.
JOH 3:18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
JOH 3:19 "And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil.
JOH 3:20 "For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
JOH 3:21 "But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God."
“comes to the light” and “draw near with full assurance” (HEB 10:22) both speak of the clean conscience. Light is life.
Who was Jesus speaking to? Nicodemus, who came to Jesus during the night to inquire of Him. Jesus saw right through him, for Jesus knows what is in the heart of man, JOH 2:24, and Jesus bluntly got to the point and stated,
JOH 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
“see” - oida = to see, perceive, or fully know. Man is inherently incapable of apprehending the kingdom of God. Light is the heritage of the spiritually transformed.
Jesus bluntly answered his question before he could ask it, asserting that without complete change, comparable only to rebirth, the natural man could not enter the spiritual kingdom. “Cannot” implies incapability rather than prohibition. The natural man is not arbitrarily debarred from the kingdom. He is inherently incapable of apprehending it, just as a blind man cannot enjoy a sunset. God’s mysteries are not the heritage of the learned, the moral, or the religious simply because of learning, morality, or religion; they are the heritage of the spiritually transformed.
Nicodemus was too learned a man to think that Jesus meant physical birth literally. But he does associate what Jesus said with a man changing himself in character or psychologically, but as we know, a man’s psychology is not what Jesus is getting at. It is a man’s spiritual rebirth that He means, which is the only way that a man can be delivered from darkness and see the kingdom of God.
JOH 3:4 Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he?"
Rather, Nicodemus is recognizing the need for a new birth, but he thinks himself too old to change in any significant way in his character or psychological makeup. He might as well try to reenter his mother’s womb. Nicodemus believes his case to be hopeless.
On our own, our cases are hopeless, but Christ, the serpent lifted up on the pole, became a curse for us. Through faith in His work alone, those in darkness can become light.
The motif of darkness and light runs deep in the Bible.
Again: JOH 3:21 "But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God."
As HEB 10:22 revealed to us, “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance.” The one who practices the truth comes to the light with full assurance. He desires, but not in an arrogant way, for his deeds to be manifest as being from God.
HEB 10:19 Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,
HEB 10:20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,
HEB 10:21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God,
HEB 10:22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
Moving onward in John’s use of meno (abide).
1JO 2:14 I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
Fathers most likely refers to those who entered the fold early on, young men to those who entered later (2nd generation), and children still later (3rd generation).
For the word of God to abide in you, you would have to be a consistent learner. There is no abiding word from superficial knowledge or lack of love for truth.
The home of the Lord is full of the word of God.
1JO 2:24 As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning (the doctrines you heard at the start over the falsehoods that came later). If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.
1JO 2:27And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him (baptism of the Spirit) abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.
1JO 2:28 And now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit changed you forever. It abides in you and that means that your regeneration cannot be undone or changed.
John’s teaching comes directly via the Holy Spirit. All teachers of the truth are sent by the Holy Spirit. You do not need anyone else to teach you, meaning false teachers with their secret things.
It would be odd for a brother of Christ to feel ashamed if He appeared to them. John is pointing out the foolishness of not abiding in Him.
If I abide in Christ there would be no reason to feel any shame if He appeared to me right now. Some have used this to mean that there will be shame at the judgment seat of Christ, but that is not mentioned here. They all expected Jesus to return any day, so it would not be odd for John to mean the Rapture appearance of Christ.
If I was fleshly, false, carnal, in other words I love myself and other things more than Christ and then suddenly He appeared, I would experience shame.
I believe this is simply all John is saying. He is pointing out the foolishness of not abiding in Christ through knowing Him, loving Him, and walking as He walked.
1JO 3:6 No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.
1JO 3:7 Little children, let no one deceive you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous;
1JO 3:8 the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
1JO 3:9 No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
The false teachers have lifestyles of sin because they have zero power over it. All believers have been given power over sin.
The false teachers with their sophistry, 1JO 2:26 These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you, condoned sin and even made it look virtuous.
As John pointed out in the first chapter, this falsehood claimed not to sin since they concluded that their knowledge elevated them above the sins they committed, and so in a warped way, they sinned but were spiritually sinless.
We are protected from their deception if we just remember the simple maxims of the Christian way. Verse 7 says that Jesus is righteous, we who believe in Him are righteous, and because we are in Him, we are to practice righteousness. It’s quite simple.
Righteousness is consonant with Christ while sin is consonant with the devil. Simple.
The very appearance of the Son of God was to destroy the works of the devil, sin.
Many attempts have been made at clarifying this passage in light of the fact that we know that we are sinners and continual sinlessness is not an option for any believer this side of heaven. But is John talking about continual sinlessness? No one reading this letter in the second century would take his words to mean that.
1JO 3:9: “he cannot sin” is a present tense (not able) with a present infinitive (to sin) = clearly speaks of continuous action. John could have easily used an aorist infinitive if he was referring to the action itself.
The one born of God is fully empowered to perform righteousness. He is righteous in Christ and his fruit is the fruit of the Spirit.
The verbs (practices righteousness, practices sin, and cannot sin) all indicate continuous action. It would be easy for John to write “we never sin,” but instead he writes that we are not continuously practicing it.
The divine nature abides in every believer. Because he is changed, he cannot practice sin like an unbeliever.
To the believer, because he is God’s offspring, sin is not entirely absent but it becomes unnatural.
He is not sinless, and when he fails, due to the divine nature within, he does so with the conviction of wrongdoing and, if necessary, with divine discipline. It is the divine nature that makes us desire righteousness.
Regeneration is just that. Our entire being changes. It would seem that some Christians do not want to embrace the change when they come to learn more about it and, if they are Christians, they are fools for doing so.
1JO 3:10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.
1JO 3:11 For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another;
1JO 3:12 not as Cain, who was of the evil one, and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother's were righteous.
1JO 3:13 Do not marvel, brethren, if the world hates you.
1JO 3:14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.
1JO 3:15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
“hates” - present participle referring to a life of inner hatred, always lying in wait. Given the right circumstances he will murder.