Unless It Dies

Saturday, March 28, 2015, 12:00 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Living Water.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read John 12 (selected vv. ESV).

A Grain of Wheat (vv. 23-26)

And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

What Jesus was saying here to his disciples is really the essence of the gospel of our salvation. Jesus Christ had to die on the cross, taking upon himself the sins of the entire world, putting them to death, and then rising triumphant over sin, death, hell and Satan. If he had not done this, we could not be saved. His death and resurrection means the salvation of human lives. Through his death we have life with him everlasting. Amen!

Yet, it doesn’t end here. We must also die, with Christ, to our old lives of living for sin and self, we must be born anew (of the Spirit of God), and we must now walk in the Spirit and no longer after the flesh, though certainly not in absolute perfection. Jesus said that if we want to come after him we must deny our self-life, die daily to sin and self, and follow (obey) him. He said if we hold on to our old lives of living for sin and self, we will lose them for eternity, but if we willingly die with Christ to our flesh and to sin, we will gain eternal life (See: Lu. 9:23-25; cf. Eph. 4:17-24; Ro. 6-8; 1 Pet. 2:24-25; Jn. 12:23-26).

Blinded Eyes (vv. 37-43)

Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

“Lord, who has believed what he heard from us,
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”
Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said,

“He has blinded their eyes
and hardened their heart,
lest they see with their eyes,
and understand with their heart, and turn,
and I would heal them.”
Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.

The ones who did not believe in Jesus were primarily the Jews. They were God’s chosen people at that time. They were the ones who had been trained in the scriptures, and they knew what the prophets taught and prophesied concerning the Christ who was to come, yet their eyes were blinded to the truth so that they could not see because of their stubborn and unbelieving hearts. As well, many who did believe the words and the miracles of Jesus would not confess faith in him out of fear of rejection, for they were more concerned over human approval than they were with whether or not God approved them.

Those who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of their lives today are now God’s chosen people, whether Jew or Gentile by birth. We are the body of Christ, the church. Within our gatherings of the church today in America, and perhaps elsewhere, there are people who are not believers in Jesus; there are those who profess faith in Jesus, but it is in form only; there are those who are believers in Jesus, but they are presently not walking with him, but have forsaken their first love to chase after idols of men; and then there are those who are following the Lord Jesus with their lives, though, again, not in absolute perfection, but by the grace of God and in the power of the Spirit within them.

I believe these unbelieving Jews of Jesus’ day, and the believing Jews who were more concerned with human approval than with God’s approval, if they were participants in the gatherings of the church today, would fit with either those who profess the name of Jesus but who, by their lifestyles, show they do not believe, or else with believers who have forsaken their Lord to chase after idols of men. Since they have participated with the fellowship of God’s people, and they have, perhaps, had some training in the scriptures, or else they have been exposed to them via sermons and small groups, they should have some knowledge of what Jesus and the apostles taught concerning our salvation and the life Jesus requires of his true followers. Yet, many of these have blinded themselves to the truth, because the lies sound better, and they fit better with the lifestyles they choose to live.

If Anyone Hears (vv. 44-50)

And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”

Jesus is the Light. The Light is righteousness, holiness, truth, revelation, and the Word of God and the gospel of our salvation. It is the opposite of darkness. Darkness is evil, sin, wickedness, deception, rebellion and unbelief. Jesus Christ did not die that painful death on the cross, taking upon himself the sins of the entire world, just so we could escape hell and go to heaven when we die. He died so that those who believe in him would no longer walk in darkness but would walk in the Light (the Spirit; truth; righteousness). He died so we would no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave himself up for us (See: 2 Co. 5:15). And, he died “to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (See: Tit. 2:11-14).

One of the rules of Biblical interpretation is to interpret what is being said in light of the context it is written in. So many scriptures are pulled out of context and are made to say what they are not saying at all. Another rule is to interpret a verse in light of scripture as a whole, comparing scripture with scripture, because sometimes things are said in a way that is confusing, or else the translation from Greek to English (or any other language) may have difficulties because of language barriers, and so if there seems to be some contradiction, we need to look at other scriptures to be able to correctly handle the Word of Truth.

So, with that said, I will say here that where Jesus said that if anyone hears his words and does not keep them that he does not judge him, for he did not come into the world to judge the world but to save the world, I think we need to compare this with other scripture. Jesus also said that “the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22). He said that as he hears he judges and that his judgment is just (Jn. 5:30). He also said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind” (Jn. 9:39).

Jesus truly made judgments while he walked the face of this earth, for he confronted people with sin, cleansed the temple, and rebuked the Pharisees for their hypocrisy and for their wicked hearts. Yet, I believe what he was saying here is that he did not condemn, at that time, those who refused to keep his words, but that a day of judgment would come in which they would be condemned. His focus while he was on the earth was on bringing people to salvation, not on condemning them to hell, although he did speak words of condemnation, at times, to some groups of people.

The point of all this, I believe, is that if we want to have eternal life with God, we must die with Christ to our old lives of sin, be born anew of the Spirit of God, and walk in the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. We must follow (obey) Jesus with our lives, and not continue to go our own way. This is why Jesus gave his life up for us, not just so we can go to heaven when we die. We need to not respond to Jesus’ words and miracles with blinded eyes and hardened hearts, and we also need to not take God’s grace for granted, and think that being “saved” gives us the liberty to continue in willful sin without guilt or remorse. We need to also not have this false idea that Jesus didn’t judge anyone or that he doesn’t judge sinful behavior, for he does, and he will. We should not take sin lightly.

So, if you have forsaken your Lord and have gone off to follow after the “gods” of men, God is calling out to you to return to him. If you are more concerned with people liking you than you are with pleasing God, who saved you from your sin, then I pray you would repent of that sin, and that you would now acknowledge your Lord before other people. And, if you have been putting off believing in Jesus, thinking you will get around to it later, please realize you may not have later. Give your life to him today while you still have today.

Living Water / An Original Work / November 21, 2013
Based off Various Scriptures

My people have forsaken Me,
Their Savior, who died on a tree;
Made idols, and they worshipped them;
So empty, they will ne’er fulfill.

Lord, You are the hope of Your chosen ones.
Those who turn away from You will be shamed;
The Spring of Living Water left behind.

Living Water satisfies.

The thirsty, let them come and drink;
Believe in Jesus as their King;
The gift of Jesus given them,
So they will never thirst again.

Indeed, the Living Water flows within.
It springs up like a fountain cleansing sin.
Eternal life in heaven promised them.

Living Water glorifies.

Oh people, won’t you come to Him?
Obey Him and repent of sin.
Let Jesus come and live within.
Surrender all your life to Him.

My people, won’t you turn your hearts to Me?
Forsake your idols and then you’ll be free.
Won’t you come now to Me on bended knee?

Living Water sanctifies.

John 12 is with me a lot.
To me it says much about desires. This passage also motivates me to not be self-centred.
And yes, it is not easier than it sounds.
John 12 is with me a lot.
To me it says much about desires. This passage also motivates me to not be self-centred.
And yes, it is not easier than it sounds.
Arrie, Thank you for sharing those thoughts. Thank the Lord we are not required to do this in our own strength and power, but in the power and strength and working of the Holy Spirit within us as we yield control of our lives over to God and allow him to do his work in and through us for his praise, honor and glory.