Study Notes

John 14:18-31


John spends seven chapters (13-19) on a 24-hour period - beginning with Jesus eating the Passover Seder with His disciples, and ending with His crucifixion and death. As we pick up in the 18th verse of chapter 14, Jesus is still with His disciples in the room they've eaten the Passover dinner in. And boy, what an evening it has already been! Jesus has told the disciples that He's going to be betrayed. That Peter will deny Him. And that He's going away. The guys were all very troubled about the way this evening seemed to be going.

But then Jesus also told them that heaven was waiting, and that He'd send the Holy Spirit to help them. The Spirit was alongside of them at this point, but He would soon come into them.

That's where we as Christians are today, by the way. The Holy Spirit was next to us, convicting us of sin, drawing us to faith in Christ. Then, when we believed, the Spirit came to be inside of us. Over and over, the Scriptures remind us:

James 4:5 ...the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us

2Cor. 1:22 who also sealed us and gave {us} the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.

Eph. 1:13-14 ...having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of {God's own} possession, to the praise of His glory.

Rom. 8:9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you...

1Cor. 3:16 Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and {that} the Spirit of God dwells in you?

2Tim. 1:14 Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.

So the Spirit of God now dwells in every believer, a fulfillment of the promise that was still future to the disciples. Then Jesus continues in verse 18, saying...

14:18-20 You In Me And I In You

Even though Jesus was leaving physically, He wasn't leaving the disciples completely. He says, "Hey guys, not only will the Spirit dwell in you, but I will also." Again, we who are Christians live in the fulfillment of that promise. The Bible tells us...

Eph. 3:17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith...

Col. 1:27 ...the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Gal. 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me...

A good parent doesn't birth a baby and then say, "Well, you're on your own. Have a good life. Watch out for trouble." No, the parent lives with the child, cares for the child, educates the child. And Christ has not left us as orphans either. We become children of God, and Christ now not only lives with us, He lives in us!

He also mentions that not only is He in us, but we are in Him. Have you ever considered what it means to be "in Christ?"

1Pet. 5:14 ...Peace be to you all who are in Christ.

Rom. 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

2Cor. 5:17 Therefore if any man is in Christ, {he is} a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

If you are saved, Christ is in you, and you are in Him. And if He is in you, there is peace for you, not condemnation. Do you ever wonder if you're saved, if you're in Christ? There's the test: are you a new creature? Think back to the day that you were born again as a division in your life. Do you act differently than you did before Christ? Do you think differently than you did before Christ? Did you consider "fun" differently before Christ? If you are truly in Christ, the old things have passed away, and new things have come.

14:21-24 Keeping The Commandments

Maybe you listened to me speak about being in Christ and a new creation and thought of someone who says they are a Christian but there's no changed life. Maybe you thought, "wow, there's no change in MY life!" What then? Should you try to shape up? Should you try to do better? Should you begrudgingly pitch the beers in the dumpster and disconnect the HBO? Should you focus on keeping the commandments?

I believe that's putting the cart before the horse. What you really need to focus on is not keeping the commandments, but on loving Jesus Christ. You see, if you love Christ, you'll keep His commandments. But if you keep the commandments and don't love Him, you're just being a deceived, religious Pharisee.

This is why the greatest commandment of all is,

Matt. 22:37-38 "'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and WITH ALL YOUR MIND.' This is the great and foremost commandment."

If you truly love God, you'll truly be keeping the commandments. So the big secret really is, "How can I learn to love God?" One night, Jesus was having dinner at a Pharisee's house, when a sinful woman came into the room and wept at Jesus feet. The Pharisee was disgusted by the presence of such a woman

Luke 7:40-43 And Jesus answered and said to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." And he replied, "Say it, Teacher." "A certain moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. Which of them therefore will love him more?" Simon answered and said, "I suppose the one whom he forgave more." And He said to him, "You have judged correctly."

He then pointed to the difference between the woman and the Pharisee, saying,

Luke 7:47 "...he who is forgiven little, loves little."

If you're having trouble loving God much, it is because you haven't acknowledged that you've forgiven much. "Well, you see, I'm not that bad of a sinner," you might think. Really? From an eternal perspective, there are no different levels of sinfulness. James told us that,

James 2:10 ..Whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.

The key to loving God more is to begin to acknowledge how much sin you commit. We all sin a lot, every day. Make a habit of 1John 1:9...

1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

As you tune in more to your own sinfulness and confess it, you will be more acknowledging of God's forgiveness. And your love for Him will naturally and supernaturally increase. You will begin to love God more, and therefore keep His commandments. The secret to this is not a legalistic obsession, but regular confession!

14:25-26 The Holy Spirit

As we talked about last week, the Holy Spirit was sent alongside to help us. One of the ways He does that is to illuminate the Word of Christ to us. He reveals it to us and reminds us of it. Without the Holy Spirit, studying the Word of God is a difficult educational exercise. Paul told the Corinthians,

1Cor. 2:14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

If today, you're not a Christian, but just trying to study the Bible educationally, may I recommend that you receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior. You will find that it is much easier to grasp when the author of the book lives inside you!

14:27 My Peace

In the 60's, peace was the thing. Everyone went around flashing the peace sign. But did they have peace? No. They smoked pot to find peace. They dropped acid to find peace. They started a sexual revolution hoping to find peace. There is no real peace to be found FROM this world. But there is real peace to be found IN this world - the peace that Jesus gives. Do you have that peace? The peace that comes from knowing God is in control, the peace that comes from knowing that your place in heaven is guaranteed? The peace that results from knowing that all things are working out together for your good? Do you have that peace from Jesus?

14:28-31 Told In Advance

Jesus told them in advance so that when it came to pass, they would believe. This is one way that God has chosen to reveal the reality of Himself to us - through prophecy. Telling the future in advance, using exact detail, that we would know He is God.

At the age of 21, I was a self-described atheist. I knew for a fact that God didn't exist. I had come to this conclusion on my own during my elementary school years, and had never had a single doubt since. But then I discovered true prophecy. Pastor Chuck Smith, teaching through Daniel 9, demonstrated that God had revealed an exact calendar date that Jesus would enter Jerusalem over 500 years before!

Maybe today, you are an unbeliever, or struggling with your faith in God. The Lord has given us prophecy to assist our belief. For example, every Jewish synagogue had a copy of the Old Testament long before Jesus was born. This collection of 39 books foretold many historical happenings. For example, the fact that Christ would be born to a virgin woman in Bethlehem. That He would enter Jerusalem on exactly April 6, 32 AD riding on a donkey. That He would be killed for everyone else's sins by having His hands and feet pierced by Gentiles while they rolled dice for His clothes.

That same Old Testament foretold that the Jews would be scattered into the entire earth, but that in the last days, they would be regathered as a nation again. In 1948, our generation saw that happen!

The New Testament also is full of prophetic foretellings. For example, that the earth would move into a global economy. This is happening before our very eyes! Europe is about to bring the Eurodollar into circulation, uniting many countries into a single currency.

It tells us that the Jews' temple will be rebuilt, and for the first time in 2,000 years, preparations are nearly complete.

It tells us that people all over the world will be able to simultaneously watch an event that happens indoors in Jerusalem. Only since the advent of satellite TV has this been a possibility.

It tells us that very soon, we will have to take a mark on our bodies in order to buy or sell anything. How many magnetic strips and bar codes are you carrying in your wallet this morning? Won't it be convenient when in a couple of years, the thousands of stolen credit cards and checkbooks prompt a world-wide replacement with a computer chip the size of a grain of rice implanted in your right hand or forehead?

The Bible also tells us that society will degrade morally while radically increasing technologically.

Dan. 12:4 "...until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase."

2Tim. 3:1-4 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God;

Certainly, there is no avoiding the obvious fulfillment of these truths.

Jesus said,

John 14:29 "And now I have told you before it comes to pass, that when it comes to pass, you may believe."

Do you believe? Have you looked at at the fact of God's existence and come to the logical conclusion? And since He exists, are you going to take seriously His call to you when He says,

Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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