Brisbane, Saturday Jan 7 2017.
This insightful message challenges us to consider the state of our Christian faith.
We might say Well, what's that all about? Of course I know where I live! Christ answered that question to one of His future disciples, Nathanael, in John 1:35.
John 1:35-39 35 Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. 36 And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38 Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, “What do you seek?” They said to Him, “Rabbi” (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), “where are You staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour).
He wasn't about to tell them right there, He was going to let them find out for themselves. But He did say "come, and see". He did this to two of John's disciples, who would later become Christs disciples.
John didn't know who or when, but he did know that Jesus was the one to come, the lamb of God, he baptised Him and heard the voice come down upon Him, and the he knew that He was the one. John's work, for all practical purposes, is now over.
John 1:39 He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour).
Now this is not where He was staying (or perhaps where He was temporarily staying), but there was more that He was about to tell them which we are going to see in a moment.
John 1:40-44 40 One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, A Stone).43 The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.
It's interesting that they are saying where these people are from, as though it's a particular point. It is a point, but it's not THE point. There is a play on words here, and a play on the idea as to where do you live? He is going to show them something far different in that regard.
John 1:45-46 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
And, of course, it was the best answer.
John 1:47-48 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”
This obviously meant something to Nathanael.
John 1:49 Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
Nathanael could analyse and see things. He could see the hypocrisy of the Jews, and he was not a part of it. He was very clear in his mind as to what he believed, and he wasn't pulling any punches with himself or anyone else.
Jesus was able to see that, and perhaps He had supernatural power from God to actually perceive that and then say that to Nathanael, without even talking to him.
John 1:50 Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.”
He's saying that's not proof because I said that to you. It may indicate a proof, but there is more to it than that. So He added this:
John 1:51 And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
What He is saying is this: you haven't seen anything yet! There is a lot more that you are going to see. You will see things happen which you cannot explain. You will see it taking place, and there is only one place it can come from, and that is from heaven. If you "come and see", if you are prepared to do that, you are going to see a lot of things you never saw before.
Heaven opened in Rev 4:1. There is a similar kind of a statement here.
Revelation 4:1-2 After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.” 2 Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.
So John, at least in spirit, was transported to the door in heaven, in which he sees some things which he goes on to describe in chapters 4-6. He saw some things that were taking place in heaven; decrees by God, what the angels were doing, and things that were happening on the Earth.
I like to explain it this way; it's just like if you have a split screen on your TV or computer, you have a line in the middle, and you hear certain utterings, thundering etc taking place above that line, and see certain other things that He was showing him. Then, below the line is what happens on Earth. A whole bunch of things start to happen, and you begin to connect the two. That's how John saw the book of Revelation.
There are a lot of things taking place on this earth - wars, famines, pestilences etc and that's all anyone on the earth would see. Once the door to heaven is opened, you can see that someone is giving the directions, releasing angels, messengers etc and actually causing these things to take place.
So, John writes the book of Revelation. He was told to "write what you see".
Remember in Jacobs incident in Genesis 28, where Jacob is fleeing from Esau. It's a very interesting thing taking place here.
Genesis 28:12-13 12 Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants.
He is saying the same thing He said to the others. I want to skip down to verse 16:
Genesis 28:16-17 16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” 17 And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!”
Jacob was seeing some things that were taking place here. He arises early in the morning and sets up his pillar, then he says in verse 20:
Genesis 28:20-21 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, 21 so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God.
And so he did. God was his God, and now we have the term the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. You start to see a relationship form between God and Jacob, where Jacob could see God's hand directly influencing his life. This is the gate of heaven, or the door, here is where angels come and descend, and it's going to be in this land. Jacob knew that his future was in this land, which God had spoken of many times before. So, God was the God of Israel, as it turned out.
He would set up His people in this land. He was their God, and they were his people. They would begin to see, as it were, the door of heaven open, and God would be a special blessing to them. This is the ideal, and what He wanted with His people. It didn't always turn out that way, of course.
He is telling them that there is a relationship that you need to have with God the Father, you need to understand what is taking place with God the Father. This is where you need to be. This is where you need to live.
Jesus is about to explain to His twelve disciples about a whole new realm that they had only heard of before, from the pages of the Scriptures. Now they were about to experience it, merely with their association with Jesus Christ, and they would see this for themselves.
They were products of this world, they lived in this world, and He says now there is going to be a lot more than that.
Ephesians 2:1-2 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,
You might ask the question "well, where did you live before?". If anyone in the Church has asked this, you should understand that this is where you walked before. This is where I lived.
Ephesians 2:3-5 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus
When He takes His people, He brings them out of a simple, mundane, human, only physical existence and He moves them into another place.
He has "raised us up together". That can only mean two things, the resurrection of the dead (which hasn't happened yet), and being raised out of sin and the death we are heading towards, and into life from above.
Let's see how this took place in the life of Christ.
John 5:9 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.
That's the world in which He lived. In what world do you live? What world do you get your understanding from? In what world do you have a higher level of knowledge and understanding?
John 5:20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.
So, you are going to see some things that you cannot explain. I hope that happens to us on a regular basis. Thing that we cannot explain only come from one source.
What did they see? The healing of the blind, lame, healing of the lepers, the feeding of the 5,000, demons being cast out. They knew who this person was. He came from a different world, and He lived in a different world. It was a part of His thoughts and mind. Yes, He had to live in the world, He was not exempt from temptations, or pain and sufferings, but this was not the important place to Him. He knew there was another place, where He lived in His own heart and mind, and would eventually go back to.
It was quite extraordinary what they were seeing. When He says "come, and see", He is inviting them to come and see what is going to happen. If you are willing to take that step and move into a whole different realm, and live your live this way, then you are in the real world. This is the world that is going to prevail in the end.
John 5:20-21 20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.
This means He will give spiritual life. This person has been moved to the spirit, moved from death to life. That doesn't mean we won't die a physical death, but he is not heading for a death after which there is no further life.
John 5:22-24 22 For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, 23 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. 24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.
It means you will not be subject to the death which results from sin. You are given life.
John 5:25-26 25 Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself
Colossians 2:12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.
Baptism symbolises a burial, then a rise into a different place. There is now the working of God in that persons heart and mind. This is where that person then begins to live.
Galatians 5:22-26 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
When He says walk in the spirit, what is He talking about? Again, where do you live? How mindful are we of the realm of God, and the change that ought to take place because of the spirit of God?
John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.
You either hear it and reject it, or you make that kind of change and move on into a different world. Again, where do you live?
John 12:26 If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.
I'm quoting much of this from John. He was so keenly aware to try to show us the other world, which most people are completely unaware of. He starts doing this right from John 1:1.
John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
He's saying this is where I want you to be. This is where I want you to live.
John 14:4-6 4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.” 5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
To come to the Father, you have to accept the fact that Jesus lived in a different realm.
John 14:7-10 7 “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” 8 Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.
The words were a result of heaven opening, and Jesus spoke the words from God. He did not speak the words of philosophers, or politicians, or even His own words. He got those words, because in His heart and mind, He resided with the Father.
Jesus is saying: Where do you live, Philip? I am trying to show you that this is where I have lived ever since you have known me. Do you want to know who the Father is? I have already shown Him to you.
It may take some time for people to get this point, but it is not an easy point to get! To try and understand that there is another realm here, which should be the source of our thoughts, belief, truth, way and life.
John 14:20-23 20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
Now, Jesus may live in another place called heaven, which I couldn't even begin to describe, but it manifests itself in your attitude, love toward God and choices in life.
John 16:22-23 22 Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you. 23 “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
When you have the kind of joy that transcends what happens to you here on Earth, you are living in a different place. That kind of joy should transcend what we experience as humans.
John 16:25-28 25 “These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I 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 shall pray the Father for you;27 for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God. 28 I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.”
Does that explain it for you??
John 16:29-30 29 His disciples said to Him, “See, now You are speaking plainly, and using no figure of speech! 30 Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from God.”
Didn't they know that before? I think they kind of did, but it's hard to be truly convinced in your mind, to the point where it comes out in your life.
John 16:31-33 31 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? 32 Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. 33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
He is saying: I am moving you into another realm.
Matthew 6:18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
Where do you live? You don't make an ostentatious showing of your religion, you simply do it if that is where you live.
Matthew 6:19-21 19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Where do you live? Where is your heart? Your heart is where you live.
You and I live always in the presence of God, and we should be keenly aware of that. If you can't do that, God might have a bit of a different opinion of you and say you're not really genuine. You have got to be this way all the way through.
Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
John 19:7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God.”
Well, that's who He really was! He lived with the Father, and the Father did the works through Him. That's the realm in which He lived, operated and functioned.
John 19:8-9 8 Therefore, when Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid, 9 and went again into the Praetorium, and said to Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer.
I think that is a very interesting question! John recorded this. Jesus wasn't going to tell him the answer! He told the disciples that, but He wasn't going to tell Pilate. Jesus knew that Pilate lived in a different world.
John 19:10-12 10 Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?” 11 Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.” 12 From then on Pilate sought to release Him, but the Jews cried out, saying, “If you let this Man go, you are not Caesar’s friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar.”
I think at this point Pilate at least understood something better, something more than what the Jews did, but everything Pilate had was from Caesar and the Jews knew this. The Jews knew where he lived, and what he lived for.
If Pilate backed out at this point, he knew he would be in big trouble. Everybody was at the mercy of Caesar, that's where they lived.
In contrast, Jesus knew that everything He had or ever would have was from God.
Colossians 3:1-7 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. 5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, 7 in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.
Colossians 3:15-17 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Colossians 3:22-25 22 Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. 23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. 25 But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.
This how we have got to live.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
If you do not dwell in the house of the Lord now, with the steward of that house, Jesus Christ, then you will not live there at all. You have to seek His involvement in your life.
This is what is means to know and answer the question; where do you live?