Pastor Adam's Blog

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Introduction to this Blog

There is so much help for the Christian in John 14–17.  I’m so glad these words are in the Bible! In these chapters are the words Jesus left His disciples, tailor made for hard times. I’ve had the opportunity to teach and walk through the book of John in our Sunday school class, where our last class finished in John 17, just before we cancelled services due to the Covid-19 outbreak and stay-at-home orders given by state governments. It was timely, because it provides so many promises for us in these difficult days. It’s no accident the Lord had us land in these chapters right before the pandemic really started to affect our whole country and world.

For the next few weeks, I plan to walk through these chapters in John 14–17 and closely listen to the Lord’s voice with you. God willing there will be a new devotional put out on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the weeks during the Covid-19 virus situation. We’ll hear His words of peace, joy, and encouragement in the midst of trials and tribulation. He will teach us about the Holy Spirit. And we will learn to pray. Please pray with me that we would experience more of His Spirit, more of His Love, more of His presence, more of Him, than ever before. 


Pastor Adam - adam@galenabiblechurch.org

John 16:29-33

John 16:29–33

29 His disciples said, “Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech! 30 Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.” 31 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? 32 Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. 33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”


Have you ever thought you understood what Jesus is talking about then come to realize how off you were? I have and so did the disciples here in our text. Jesus says, “Do you now believe?” Jesus is so patient with us. And He tells them there will come a time, in the next hours that they will indeed leave Him alone.


But here is what is important for them to remember. He will not be alone. The Father will not leave Jesus. And they too, as His followers, they will have tribulation. And yet, they can and will take heart. They will have peace. He has spoken to them and us and His Word is the power that gives peace. The circumstances won’t give peace. But rather His infinitely powerful Word will create and sustain New Creation peace in them.


And this Word He gives is the Word that is purchased with His own blood. His promises to us are blood-bought promises. They are all based on His atoning work on the Cross that secures the New Covenant for the believer. And so we hear Jesus’ Words to us, “Take heart, I have overcome the world.”


Notice that He doesn’t say He overcame the world only. But has overcome the world. Meaning there is a present reality of Jesus overcoming the world in us and through us! His death on the cross and resurrection secured the beachhead invasion of the Kingdom of God breaking into the world in Christ. It was D-Day so to speak. And the Kingdom advances still in overcoming the world through the work of Christ in our own lives until all His enemies are made His footstool, worshiping Him as He promised (Psalm 110:1). Our fight of faith to take heart in the midst of the world and the tribulations that surround us is a battle to see Jesus continue to overcome the world.


So take heart believer! Jesus has overcome the world! And He will use us as instruments in His hands to bring His peace through His Word.

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John 16:25-28

John 16:25–28

25 I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; 27 for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.


Up to this point, Jesus taught His followers about God with figures of speech. He had just used the vine analogy back in chapter 15 for example. But soon Jesus would teach them plainly about God the Father and then they would ask Him directly. What a simple truth to know and live out. Knowing the truth of God leads a person to speak to God. The more we can know about God, the more it should move us to prayer to God.


And verse 27 gives the reason why this is the case, to know God moves us to pray, “…for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.” God’s love will be poured into the hearts of His followers (Romans 5:5), so they will pray to Him!


Jesus here calls His clear teaching about the Father, love for the Father. This is why we go directly to the Father through Jesus because He shows us the Father! We are the priesthood of all believers and have a direct connection with God our Father because of Christ.


And this love of God is God’s love for His Son. So we too love and believe in Jesus with the very love God has for Him. Do you believe it? This is awesome! We are invited into the love God has for Himself in the Godhead. God the Father loves God the Son. So the Son loves God the Father and we are swept up into that very love by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are now partakers of the divine nature as 2 Peter 1:3-4 says,


"His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire."

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John 16:22-24

John 16:22–24

22 So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. 23 In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.


Jesus promises His followers that they will see Him again. And the promise is that they will see Him and rejoice. Joy comes from seeing Jesus with the eyes of the heart. It’s joy that 1 Peter 1:8 explains, “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.”


This is Spirit-worked, Spirit-empowered joy that the world does not know of. No one can take this joy from you believer. Such joy is indestructible and invincible. And this indestructible joy in Jesus does something. It prays! Overflowing joy in Jesus displays itself in prayer and a certain way of praying. It’s prayer that goes right to God the Father and prays in the name of Jesus. Joy in Jesus sees and savors the greatness and authority of Jesus as the Christ-King! And it is authority in Jesus’ name that God the Father Himself recognizes and loves to give answers to. He will give it to you!


So the Spirit shows Jesus to the eyes of faith and the heart of the faithful believer rejoices in and enjoys Jesus. And the overflow of joy in Jesus is prayer to God the Father that freely asks Him to work in and through the name of Jesus. It asks that His Kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. It prays that God’s name be hallowed and be praised. And what is the result of this seeing Jesus, asking God the Father? Verse 24, Jesus says, “that your joy may be full.”


Jesus said back in John 15:11, that He spoke His Word so that His Joy would be in us and our joy might be full. Now we see how this works. Jesus’ Word reveals Jesus to the eyes of the heart. We believe and rejoice in Him. And the overflow of that joy is prayer to God the Father in Jesus’ name. And thus our hearts are filled with joy in Christ. This joy, the world knows nothing of. And no one and no things, not even Covid-19 can ever take this from you believer. Jesus has promised!

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John 16:16-22

John 16:16–22

16 “A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me.” 17 So some of his disciples said to one another, “What is this that he says to us, ‘A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and, ‘because I am going to the Father’?” 18 So they were saying, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about.” 19 Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Is this what you are asking yourselves, what I meant by saying, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me’? 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. 21 When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22 So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.


Jesus tells His disciples that there will be time, a little while, when they will see Him no longer. He is about to leave, He has shared this already (John 14:2–4). He is going to die on the cross and go to God the Father to take His seat on the throne in heaven. And the promise He gives to His followers, they will see Him again.


The sight that Jesus is speaking of is the sight of faith given to a person when the Holy Spirit opens the eyes of the heart. The Spirit continues to enlighten the eyes of the believer’s heart to see Jesus’ glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). The Spirit turns the sorrow experienced in Christ’s physical departure into joy because He makes Christ known to the heart. The Spirit is active and working to convict the world of sin through the Word proclaimed and He is active and working to make Christ known to believers to transform their lives.


This can be difficult to comprehend as it was for the 11 disciples who were listening to Jesus. They were full of questions and without understanding at the moment they heard Jesus teach. I love that Jesus is patient with them and graciously talks them through it. So it is with us especially when Jesus talks about seeing Him when we don’t see Him with our physical eyes. Does He mean that we see Him like a ghost? Will we hear His voice whisper in the air? I don’t think so. We can’t forget that Jesus just taught the Spirit’s work through the Word. We can’t forget that we receive more of the Spirit through faith in the Word. 

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John 16:12-15

John 16:12–15

12 I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.


What does the Spirit do? One of His biggest jobs is to speak the word of Jesus to glorify Him. We see this especially in verse 14, “He will glorify me, for…” The Spirit will glorify Jesus, display Him as infinitely valuable and worthy of praise. How will He do this is why Jesus says, “for…” For He will take what is mine and declare it to you. Words are declared. The Spirit will declare and speak the words that belong to Jesus.


It’s through Jesus Word that the Spirit Works. Spirit and Word. Word and Spirit. We might see an emphasis on the Word, but little Spirit emphasis. I think this looks like little prayer, little passion, love for a knowledge but without transformation which comes through seeing the glory of the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18). This can happen in churches and even in our own lives.


But we can also see an emphasis on the Spirit but little of the Word and doctrine. The Spirit is wrongly viewed as working without the Word. He does amazing works and the church might talk a lot about the Spirit. But the word and doctrine and Christ is basically absent.


No, Jesus teaches here that the Spirit and the Word work together. One goes with the other and both work to make much of Jesus. We are called to be Spirit-dependent, Word-saturated, Christ-exalting people. All in the same sentence!


So when you sit down to read the Word, stop and consider these truths. Pray the Spirit open the eyes of your heart and give you understanding in the Word of God. And may this understanding lead to your worship of Christ. Pray that ultimately you would see the glory of Christ and be transformed by it! This is why love what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3:18,


“And we all with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into that same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”


The Spirit displays the glory of Christ through His Word, we behold that glory of the Lord with the eyes of faith. And this is what transforms us. And we are made more and more like Jesus, from one degree of glory to another. We won’t be perfect until we see Him face to face.


Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.


But there will be progress, however slow (1 Timothy 4:15). Jesus promised and He is faithful!

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John 16:4-11

John 16:4b–11

4 I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 5 But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.


Jesus is going away but it’s to an advantage. That’s what He said to His disciples. It is better that He went away. Really? We might ask. That’s what Jesus said. How often we might think that if I lived in the days when Jesus walked the earth, that would be more advantageous than living today where all we have is the Bible and not Jesus in the flesh. But this is not how Jesus thought of it.


We live in a day of advantage because Jesus has gone and sent the Holy Spirit into His disciples. And the power of Christ’s Spirit is at work through Jesus’ followers to bring about conviction to the world. The power to convict others of sin, righteousness, and judgment does not come from within ourselves. This is the Spirit’s work in and through us.


Jesus says the Spirit will convict people through believers living for and bearing witness to Christ. They will be convicted, “concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” These things are impossible for us to convict the world of. That’s why we need the Holy Spirit.


We are called to be a witness of who Jesus is and what He has done for us. The rest of the work we must leave to God. If someone you know doesn’t believe in Jesus, it is not your job to convict them of this. Isn’t this good? We can entrust this job where it needs to go and that’s with God. Our job is to be faithful with Gospel and trust the Lord that God perhaps may grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 2:24–26). 

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John 15:26-16:4

John 15:26–16:4

26 But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning. 1 I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. 3 And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. 4 But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you.


Jesus will be gone, the world will hate them, and persecution will come to them even from people who will think they’re serving God by persecuting them. To say the least hard times were coming to the disciples. So Jesus says in John 16:1, “I have said these things to keep you from falling away.” We might think the opposite, that Jesus said these things to make them reconsider following Him. But he tells them the entire world will hate them for following Him but they will not fall away?


Jesus does not base their not falling away on the strength and wisdom of the disciples. What does He base it on? Jesus promises the Spirit and what the Spirit will do in them and through His disciples. And so we’ll see in John 16 Jesus explain more about the person and work of the Spirit and how it will prepare believers for hard times.


Why won’t they or any believers fall away? Because of the Holy Spirit and the Word of Christ that the Spirit will work in and through them and us. Jesus said, “I have said these things to keep you from falling…I have said these things to you that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you.” His Word will protect His followers. They will remember what He said by the Spirit. And this is the power in their lives to keep from falling away from the faith and testify to Him in the hardest of times.


And so it is simple yet how we try to make it so complicated. What do we need in hard times? Jesus has given to us all we really need in His Word and Spirit. We will learn more about this in the days ahead. But let us take in the Word of Jesus in the Bible we hold in our hands and recognize it is power to keep us and strengthen us for the days ahead.

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John 15:22-27

John 15:22–27

22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’ 26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.


Throughout John 14–17, Jesus prepares Christians for suffering and it is so helpful for us to meditate on His Words especially in our own trials and tribulations. What Jesus addresses specifically in our text is suffering from persecution from the world that hates Him and God the Father. The Word even predicted their hatred and that it would have no cause. We should not be surprised when persecution happens. But how will God provide for His people to endure such suffering?


The answer Jesus gives is we are to endure such irrational hatred and suffering because of the person and work of the Holy Spirit. Look again at John 15:26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.” Jesus says what you need at that time of suffering believer: you need the Holy Spirit to bear witness about Him! You need the Spirit to make much of Jesus and to shine the light of the Glory of Christ on your heart so that He’s everything to you and you are transformed by that sight of glory. I love how Paul puts the Spirit’s work in 2 Corinthians 3:18,


And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.


And there are ripple effects in our lives, like, what Jesus says in verse 27, “And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.” This is why Jesus calls the Spirit the Helper because He is going to help us. He calls Him the Spirit of Truth because He proceeds from the Father and He will bear witness about Jesus who is the truth (John 14:6). The Spirit is how Christians will bear witness about Jesus amidst even the hardest times because of His transforming work on our hearts and lives. Don’t you love this promise?

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John 15:18-21

John 15:18–21

18 If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.


As hard as it is to imagine at times, the world hates Jesus. It hates the real Jesus. A Jesus of their own creation, one who makes no claims to truth, no claims to kingship, no claims on our lives, He isn’t a problem. But the real Jesus, the truth, the King, the one who claims us as His own and purchased us with His own blood, we belong to Him. As it has been said, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: 'Mine!” The Christian loves this glorious reality of our Sovereign Christ. But the world hates it.


And if the world hates Jesus, Jesus says in our text that it’s likely the world will hate you if you follow Jesus. And to boot, Jesus goes as far to say that He chose us out of the world, and therefore, the world hates you. In other words, I chose you for this! It is a gift to suffer for Jesus like the apostle Paul says in Philippians 1:29, “For it has been granted (same word for gift) to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake…” As we learned before Jesus chose His own to bear fruit in loving prayer for one another. Here we learn that Jesus chose His own to be hated by the world.


Why does the world hate Jesus and His followers? Jesus answers in verse 21, “All these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.” They don’t know God, that’s why they hate Christ and Christians. Notice it doesn’t say they don’t know about God, or things about God, but they don’t know Him. There is no real knowing God in a saving relationship with Him. It they did, they would love Him and love His people.


So Christian, we should not be surprised when the world hates Christ and hates Christians. Jesus said it to prepare us. The persecuted church knows this intimately and is not surprised. Folks are stuck in their hostility to God and His Word (Romans 8:7). The only real antidote to such hate is only a right knowledge of God and His Son. This is what Jesus calls eternal life in John 17:3, “this is eternal life, to know the one true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.” God must open the heart and give repentance so that a person can let go of their hatred of God. This is why Paul said in 2 Timothy 2:24–26,


"And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will."


Let’s pray that God would replace hate of Himself and People with a true knowledge of Himself. Pray for new hearts, eyes that see the glory of Christ, and ears to hear His Word. Pray, that we would see, even in the midst of a pandemic, a great turning of people from hate to know God and Christ! But Christian, don’t be surprised when they hate, be prepared to love with prayer.

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John 15:15-17

John 15:15–17

15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.


A friend is an amazing thing isn’t it? It’s someone who listens to you and you listen to him. You are in the know with a friend. Even if you haven’t seen one another for a while, you can just pick up right where you left off and fill each other in on, well, everything. You ask him or her a favor, and it’s done. Why? That’s what friends do right?


Jesus calls His followers friends. And this is how he explains His friendship with them. He has made known to them all that His Father has spoken. And they listen to Jesus’ Word. They love His Word. He asks them to do something, and it’s done. That’s what friends do. If you are a follower of Jesus, you are a friend of Jesus, and a friend of God.


 And a friend is an amazing thing, a precious thing. How much more amazing is the fact that Jesus says He is our friend. And He chose us! Jesus didn’t choose us because we were more wonderful than those other people. Rather it is just the opposite, like Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:26–31,


"For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, 'Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.'"


Jesus doesn’t choose us because we’re so wonderful or our great potential to be good friends. Rather He chooses us for wonderful things, namely, to bear the fruit of love in praying for each other according to John 15:16–17. Jesus chooses His followers to bear fruit that will abide, it will last. And since He is the one who chose them, He commands them to pray and ask God for things in His name. And He commands them to pray so that they will love one another.


Here is the flow of thought: Jesus chose us in order that we ask in prayer for others and so love one another in this way. The fruit that Jesus chooses for His followers to bear is loving one another through prayer. Do you see prayer like Jesus does here? Do you consider prayer as one of the most loving things you can do for someone? Or, does this almost sound…foolish…lowly…despised? Well, to the world it certainly would. The world needs to DO something. And the world needs to have their efforts on display. And when all else fails, then all we can do is pray right? Not for Jesus’. Jesus chooses us to bear the fruit of love in asking for one another as His friends. We ask God the Father to work in Jesus’ name. And we ask God to work for other brothers and sisters. And this fruit will abide, because it is God’s work on behalf of His friends.

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