How Will You Believe?

Discussion in 'Bible Study' started by SueJLove, Mar 20, 2015.

  1. Friday, March 20, 2015, 3:27 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Living Water.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read John 5:30-47 (ESV).

    The Testimony

    “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he bears about me is true. You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me.”

    We love and serve a triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – the Only true God. In the first chapter of John we read at least twice where John declared Jesus to be God. He is the Word who was from the beginning, who was with God, and was God. He is our creator. “No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.” Jesus Christ is “God the One and Only” who is at God the Father’s side, and he is the one referred to here as the one who was making the Father known to the people. One of the main reasons the Jews hated Jesus and wanted him dead is because he claimed to be equal with God, i.e. he claimed to be their God and Messiah. This incensed them greatly.

    Jesus Christ, although God himself, always remained subject to the Father. I believe he modeled for us what our own relationship with God should look like, although we are not gods, but are mere humans. He did not operate on his own accord nor did he bear witness of himself alone, but he submitted himself to the will of the Father, and the Father bore witness about him. The Father did so through the writings of the prophets, including those of Moses. He also did so through the works of Jesus, which the Father had given to him to accomplish, and he did so audibly at Jesus’ baptism (See Matt. 3:17). As well, in Hebrews 1:8 we read concerning what God said about his Son: “But about the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom.’” In verse 9 he says about Jesus, “…therefore God, your God…,” which then established that not only is Jesus God but he is subject to the Father who is his God.

    John the Baptist (not the writer of the book of John) also bore witness to Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah who had come into the world. He was sent by God to bear witness to Jesus Christ and to prepare the way for his ministry on the earth, i.e. to prepare the hearts of people to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Messiah. John’s ministry entailed baptizing people and calling them to repentance “for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

    The Jews did send to John the Baptist to learn who he was, i.e. I believe they were looking to see if he was the Christ who was to come. When he replied by saying he was not the Christ, he was not Elijah, and he was not the Prophet, they asked, “Who are you?” He told them that he was the one Isaiah the prophet had written concerning when he said, “I am the voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’” The next day John, when he saw Jesus coming near him, declared openly “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” He then bore testimony that Jesus is the Son of God.

    Yet You Refuse

    “His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. I do not receive glory from people. But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. I have come in my Father's name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”

    So, the Jews had the testimony of Moses, of the prophets, of John the Baptist, of Christ himself, of the works the Father had given Jesus to do, and of the Father (God) in heaven concerning Jesus Christ and who he was, and yet they still refused to believe in Jesus and to accept him as their promised Messiah who was to come. They did not hear God’s voice speaking to them, they did not recognize that Jesus was God in human flesh, and the Word and love of God was not abiding (living and active) in their hearts and lives because they would not believe in the one whom the Father had sent to them. Yet, this was not for lack of knowledge. They were students and teachers of the scriptures, so they should have known. They held the scriptures with high regard, or so they thought, and they believed that in them they would find eternal life, yet the scriptures bore witness to Jesus Christ over and over again, and still they blinded their minds and hearts to the truth.

    Yet, they would easily believe those who came in their own name and bore their own witness to themselves as to who they were and yet had no witness from God as to their true identity in relationship to God; to Christ. I believe Jesus was referring here to false prophets, false teachers and/or false christs. They easily followed after human flesh but were not willing to follow after the Spirit of God.

    What About Us?

    So, does this have any application to our lives today? I believe it does. The Jews of old were God’s chosen people. They were a physical nation. They were under the Old Covenant relationship between God and man. God promised them a Savior, a redeemer to come, whom he had his prophets write about many times over. The seed of Abraham from whom many nations would be blessed was and is Jesus Christ (See Gal. 3), our Messiah. They were taught concerning the Christ who was to come, and they knew to look for him. Although Jesus had not yet come, and he had not yet died for their sins, still they were saved by faith as we are. The scriptures are quite clear that Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness. No amount of good works saved him, yet his actions (his obedience) was the evidence in his life that revealed that true faith in God actually existed (See: Heb. 11). Yet, not all of them believed. Many didn’t, in fact.

    Now God’s chosen people are his church, which is a living organism made up of true followers of Jesus Christ. We are his people, whether Jew or Gentile by birth. The church is not a physical building or a physical nation or an organization of human-origin and the will of man. Jesus Christ is the head of his true church, and we are his body, the sheep of his pasture. So, although there are many organizations and buildings in the world called “church,” they, in and of themselves, are not the church, though the true church may exist within these organizations and may meet together in these buildings called “church.” So, when we enter one of these buildings and/or their sanctuaries (worship centers), we are not entering “the house of the Lord” nor are we entering into God’s holy presence, for we, the people of God, are God’s house and his presence dwells within us. In other words, we don’t have to go to something called “church” in order to meet with God’s church. We can meet anywhere and at any time with other believers for the teaching of the Word, fellowship in the Spirit, for prayer, and for the breaking of bread (communion).

    Yet, many of God’s people today, although they may be in Christ by God’s grace, through faith, have turned away from their Lord to follow after false teachers and their teaching, and are refusing to believe and to trust in, or are ignoring the teachings of Christ and those of his apostles. They prefer the testimony of humans over the testimony of Christ and of his true servants and witnesses, because it is more pleasing to their ears. And, I am speaking of many pastors and elders within the church, too. Although they know the scriptures, and many have been taught them from birth, they have gone the way of the world, instead, and have adopted the ways of the world and its sinful practices in place of the ways of God and of his holy Word. Although they listened to the voice of God at one time, now they are listening to the voice of humans with greater intensity and interest. The Word of God is no longer alive and active in their lives. Instead their minds are filled with human culture, philosophy, traditions, morals, and human values via TV, movies, the Internet, et al.

    And, so, they have allowed the true church of Jesus Christ to be overtaken by human businesses and human philosophy and marketing schemes so that they can build their businesses, which they call “church,” according to human design but not by God’s design. Instead of the church meetings being a safe place for believers to come together to encourage and to strengthen one another in the faith so that they can go out into the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ, they are now inviting the world into their meetings and are thus conforming their meetings to the pattern of the world in order to attract and to keep the world among them, while stressing the importance of not saying anything that might offend the people of the world, but only what will make them comfortable so they will want to come back. Yet, this is not God’s way! This is man’s way, and it is wrong!

    So, God is calling out to his people, he is confronting them with their sins of idolatry and spiritual adultery, and he is calling them to repentance and to return to their “first love.” He is calling them to forsake their idols, and to turn their hearts back to him, to listen to him speaking his words to their hearts, and to obey them. He is also calling out to all those who have never given their hearts to Jesus Christ, perhaps because they have believed in a false gospel, and he is asking them to truly put their faith in him for the first time ever. Won’t you listen to him? And, do what he says?

    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.
  2. Now that's the problem isn't it. Everybody wants to be the true church; everybody wants to be saved; everybody likes to think that all believers are equally saved; all doctrines/denominations are equal; that all are the children of God.
    I know because this general luvvy duvvy feel good be nice to everybody, and your gospel is as valid as mine
    is what is mostly posted on this forum, most times.

    As I see it the great majority of "believers" or 'christians" that call themselves 'The Church' or 'The body of Christ' are happy in a church
    with doctrines that complement their own personal level of commitment to obedience and belief in the Word of God.
    Most christians argue over the Word and the Gospel.
    Most christians refuse to accept all that is written in the New testament - the formula and examples of being born again
    with the need to be filled with the Holy Spirit exactly as anyone can read for themselves.
    No, they would rather argue and debate the Scriptures; and make excuses for not believing what God himself has written for our benefit.
    Only the other day a"well known" member posted that the last 12 verses of the Gospel of Mark were not true, and some later addition.
    What a total insult to God, accusing Jesus of being incapable of sealing and protecting his Word from forgeries and untruthful
    content. Well you might as well just throw the whole Book out for garden mulch if that's what "christians" believe about the
    authenticity of the Word of God.
    Someone posted that they lead someone to Christ through the saying of a sinner's prayer. That's not the gospel of salvation.
    How can there be a true church with true believers when the whole of Christendom argue over the Word of God and what is the gospel??
    When "believers" argue over how to be saved?

    When God [Jesus] spoke to Moses on the building of the Tabernacle he gave very precise instructions and measurements
    down to minute details on how it was to be constructed and with what materials, and colours.
    When Solomon was given the privilege of building the first Temple in Jerusalem again he was given very precise details and measurements.
    The Law given to Moses is precise in its coverage, judgments, rituals, clothing, sacrifices, and purpose.
    So why do "christians" think that when it comes to the Gospel of the New Testament it is this vague do whatever you think is right, and argue
    over the details if anybody should bring Scriptures to your notice.

    The New testament that I read, that I believed in, that I follow; that sustains me and keeps me in obedience to the Word of God is
    very precise and exact. it is outlined in the Gospels and the Epistles with clarity and detail.
    There is even a chapter in 1Corinthians that tells me how a meeting of the Church is to be conducted properly.
    So why aren't all christians doing this. The Levites were commanded with precision and exactness in detail on how
    to perform Temple rituals and sacrifices. So why do 'christians think that they can get away with doing what pleases themselves.
    Even something as fundamental as taking communion varies according to what people are happy to do.
    Some congregations have communion every Sunday, and some now and then. And some want to insist on Saturdays.
    How can there be a true church of true believers with all this division and conflict going on?

    Thank God I got witnessed to by people who believe and live the entire New Testament - and do not put a red biro through any of it.
    Read it and believe it wholly without debate, without argument; without false claims that this part does not apply any more;
    or that part was for another time, but not today. That is not how Jesus works.

    Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Hebrews 13:8

    There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
    One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
    One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
    Ephesians 4:4-6

    Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you,
    and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. Jude 1:3
  3. Thank you for sharing these thoughts. I understand where you are coming from, I think. I agree that much of today's church has veered away from teaching and preaching the true gospel of salvation as was taught by Christ and his apostles. I agree that many disregard truly relevant scriptures, citing that they are now irrelevant. That is troublesome. I agree that many people attend "church" based upon personal preference and what makes them feel good, i.e. what supports their own personal theology or ideology, which then allows them to live however they want. I believe a lot of what you talked about here is based in the fact that many people are followers of humans more than they are followers of God, and that they are listening to humans over the voice of God, in many respects. I agree that we can't lead people to Jesus Christ merely by having them pray a prayer to "receive" Christ, without teaching them what that means, i.e. that it means death to sin, being born anew of the Spirit of God, and it means now walking in the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh - all in the power of the Spirit within us. I also agree that there is too much arguing that goes on among people who call themselves Christians, and that it destroys fellowship among believers, and it has the potential to destroy their Christian witness and testimonies for Jesus Christ, too. That deeply saddens me.

    Yet, all is a matter of interpretation to some degree, is it not? What I mean is, who decides what is the correct interpretation of scripture? Should we all agree? Most certainly! But, who sets the standard for what is right and what is wrong? Certainly Christ did and scripture does, but some passages are open to being interpreted in various ways. Others are not. Some are very clear, and liberties are taken with them to support man's theologies, which then allows them to live how they want. I get that. That breaks my heart. Yet others may not be as clear or there might be confusion over them because there may be apparent contradictions in scripture which may make translation difficult. Also, when translating from Hebrew or Greek into English there are difficulties because of language barriers, verb usage, etc. So, what may seem perfectly clear to you may not be perfectly clear to others. Sometimes it is because people want to listen to man over God and so they reject what is true. Other times it is because they have been taught a certain way all their lives and it is difficult for them to process that there may be another way of looking at a particular scripture. Sometimes we have to go through things in life before we really get it and our eyes are opened to the truth, possibly because of our own stubborn hearts and wills. We need to be patient with one another in areas where we disagree, without compromising absolute truth. We definitely need to agree to disagree and not argue over disputable matters.

    The main thing we can do here is to share what we believe scripture teaches, and pray that the Lord Jesus will use it to speak to people's hearts. Yet, we must also be humble, and teachable, and be willing to see where we might be wrong, too. The Lord Jesus has opened my eyes many times over the years to things I had always believed but that were not correct - things I was taught, but were not interpreted correctly. Scriptures were often taken out of context and interpreted on their own to say something that was not what the scripture really taught. This often came through the use of topical Bible studies, which can be good, but can be bad if scriptures are not read and interpreted in context. This often also came through evangelistic share the gospel plans which pick out certain scriptures for the purpose of sharing the gospel. Again, this can be good, but it can be bad if the scriptures are not studied in context to get their true meaning. I don't think the people who taught me these scriptures out of context were intent on deceiving me, though. They were just sharing what they had been taught. Many people have come to Christ through these various means, despite their flaws, though, because the Holy Spirit was drawing them to Christ, and the Holy Spirit got through to their hearts. Yet, I have learned that I need to read and interpret scriptures in context and not to assume they mean what I was always taught they mean. I can't say I never falter in this, though. I hope I do not. Feel free to point out to me any time you think I am misinterpreting scripture. I will not get into arguments with people, but I will prayerfully consider all reasonable opposing viewpoints. But, be open to the idea that you may not have some things right, too. We can all learn from one another.
  4. This is very incorrect teaching. It is not the purpose or work of the Holy Spirit to draw people to Christ.
    The Father and Jesus work together in partnership to call people to Jesus; to the gospel; to salvation.
    People receive the Holy Spirit after they have believed the full gospel as written in the New testament (and as described clearly in Acts and after).
    The work and purpose of the Holy Spirit is to indwell the true believer and teach them of righteousness and the scriptures. To bring
    all things of the carnal flesh and mind into submission, unto obedience to the Word.
    To eventually have the mind of Christ.
    To go and preach and witness the gospel of salvation to others.

    All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. John 6:37
    And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. John 6:65
    And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. John 12:32
    But the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things,
    and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. John 14:26
  5. #5 Waggles, Mar 21, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2015
    One is always obligated to preach the full gospel of salvation - what is exactly written down for us to believe in and to submit to. It is not complicated, and God has not made it so vague and guessable that people can use the excuse I cannot understand the word of God - the gospel message. What is it?
    That would be to defeat the whole purpose of Jesus' work and of the Apostles who wrote as the Holy Spirit inspired them.
    I believe it is more an act of deliberate unbelief and disobedience to challenge the Scriptures.
    And since Adam and Eve this is pretty much the story of the Children of Israel (which includes us).
    The gospel and what one must do to be saved is clearly and easily read to be understood and followed by any person
    seeking to know and accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.
    God has wrote it out for us to know.
    The problem is that the true gospel of salvation requires a person to deny themselves and to give up their own life so
    as to obtain eternal life as a promised eventual reward.
    Sadly most people want to hold onto their own life, and friends, and family, and earthly comforts...

    People witnessed to me simply by opening up their Bible and reading out the appropriate verses. I could see
    for myself what was written down for my guidance unto belief in Jesus.
    I simply believed in and applied what I could read for myself in my paperback New Testament.
    And even better Jesus confirmed the truth of his Word because I was able to experience his salvation and
    to be baptized in the Holy Spirit exactly as is written. It doesn't get any better than that. The truth in action.

    And there are many warnings from Jesus himself concerning disobedience and following the teachings of men rather that of God.
    There are severe consequences for those who choose another gospel that suits them, but not of God:
    We can make excuses, or invent theology, to cover up our multitude choices for so many gospels and doctrines -
    but in the end it matters most as to what Jesus himself regards all of this...
    Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;
    but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
    Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils?
    and in thy name done many wonderful works?
    And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Matthew 7:21-23

    But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.
    Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. Romans 8:9
    In plain English you do not belong to Christ, you are not of Christ's.

    And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
    He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 1John 2:3-4

    But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you:
    but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you,
    ye shall abide in him. 1John 2:27

    And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us,
    by the Spirit which he hath given us. 1John 3:24
  6. This will only end up in tears...
    I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
    If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
    John 15:5-6

    And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:
    And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
    Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness;
    there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.
    Matthew 22:11-14

    "christians" need to take the Word of God a lot more seriously than they do. In the end it is a matter of life or death!
  7. Waggles, Thank you for your responses. I have read them, and I will respond to them as soon as I am able. Been sick with a bad head cold/cough so head pretty foggy and needing to rest as much as possible. But just wanted you to know I am not ignoring you. I do have the beginning of a response to this one, but need more time to do some research before finalizing my response. So, talk with you later. Sue
    Waggles likes this.
  8. I think, It will be depend upon the individual interest. Trusting in Christ eternally unites us with him and other believers. Our new relationship with Christ gives us his presence and purpose in life.
    hebrew roots bible
  9. Luke 4:18-19: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
    He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
    and recovering of sight to the blind,
    to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
    to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.”

    John 12:32: “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself."

    John 16:4b-11: “I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 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. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 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.”

    Acts 1:8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

    Acts 2:4: “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

    Acts 7:51: “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you.”

    No one can come to Jesus unless the Father draws him. But, how does the Father do this? After Jesus’ death and resurrection and his ascension to heaven, he would draw all men to himself. How would he accomplish this? Would the Father come down to earth and talk with us face to face? No! Jesus had already been on the earth, and he talked with people face to face. He was the Father’s representative, and he spoke the words of the Father to the people, yet he said that after he was lifted up from the earth he would draw all men to himself, something he could not accomplish in a flesh body. So, he sent the Holy Spirit. Yet, even when he was on this earth, he was anointed of the Spirit of God to preach the gospel, so the Spirit was active in Jesus presenting the gospel to the people, and the apostles spoke in the power of the Spirit and people were drawn to faith in Jesus Christ and thousands were saved on the Day of Pentecost.

    As well, one of the Spirit’s jobs is to convict the world of sin and righteousness and judgment. And, it was the Holy Spirit whom the stiff-necked Jews resisted when they heard the gospel preached. So, yes, it is the Father who draws us to Jesus, and it is Jesus who draws all people to himself, but they do so through the working and ministry of the Holy Spirit who convicts of sin and who speaks to people’s hearts about Jesus, and who speaks through us when we share the gospel of Christ. It is not our words which convict, but it is the living and active Word of God, and it is through the Holy Spirit that humans are able to hear the voice of the Father and of the Son speak truth to our hearts, so technically I see no real problem with saying that the Spirit draws us to Christ, because he is the one who speaks under the authority of the Father and the Son, just as the Son spoke under the authority of the Father and spoke his words to the people when he walked the face of this earth. All throughout the New Testament you see how the Spirit spoke to people’s hearts and as a result they repented of their sins and turned their hearts to God.
  10. David, if you would not mind, would you give a quote so we know to what specifically you are referring when you say, "I think, it will depend upon the individual interest"? I am not getting a connection here. Help! Thanks!

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