In this Psalm we see a demonstration of the distinction between notional, and experiential knowledge. While intellectual knowledge is necessary, it is not sufficient. We are called to live out the truth in relationship to God, in Christ. To this end, the David shares his personal experience of the goodness of God, and then encourages his readers to partake of God in order to experience his goodness for themselves.
There is something universal in the celebration of mothers, or motherhood. No matter what our life situation may be, or have been, we were all born of a mother. Spiritually, the Bible tells us we are all born of one of two mothers; according to flesh, or according to promise; slave or free. These women are two covenants; Hagar is Mount Sinai, while Sarah is New Jerusalem; works and grace. Understanding this contrasting analogy helps us to think rightly about our relationship to God through Christ.
Scripture teaches that the fallen world in which we live is a dark place. We are so accustomed to this spiritual darkness that we can become blind to the light of truth. The darkness into which we are born deprives us of the ability to see and understand reality. The apostle John wrote his gospel to show us that God has invaded the darkness in the person of Jesus in order to bring us the light of life. Jesus is the life giving light of heaven. In this passage from the eighth chapter of John’s gospel we see Jesus taking advantage of ceremonies associated with the Jewish Feast of Booths to reveal to all who would listen that through him they could come out of the darkness of death and have life eternal in the light of God’s glory.
Our modern culture prides itself on knowledge and understanding. We believe we can overcome any obstacle, solve any problem by the right use of our mental faculties and the rigorous application of human knowledge. It’s all too easy to lapse into thinking that the same is true for spiritual matters as well. Many believe we can ascend God’s holy hill by way of right reasoning and right choices. An examination of the people in Jerusalem who attended the Feast of Booths in John 7 demonstrates that this is not the case. The natural man cannot comprehend spiritual reality and as such is completely dependent upon God’s grace to enable an understanding of the gospel.
It can be very difficult when we are confronted with either difficult truth, or difficult circumstances. It is certainly difficult to reconcile the two when are faced with both at the same point in life. Perhaps you are in a place of honest struggle to reconcile what you see with your eyes and what you know to be true. As we look this passage, we find that by looking to Jesus in faith, we can find relief from our struggle, and the joy of the presence of God.
Jesus has now come into Jerusalem, teaching boldly in the Temple. Never shrinking back from proclaiming the truth, He uses Moses to show how the Jews were not keeping the Law, and the Sabbath as an example to demonstrate how they see only the material and are blind to the spiritual. As a result, we will see three distinct responses; the response of faith by many of the people, the response of unbelief by the Pharisees, and the anxious inquiry of the Jews.
Believers are engaged in the ongoing process of sanctification, progressively becoming more and more like Christ. As we study the nature of Christ in Scripture we see traits that should increasingly characterize our lives. In this brief interlude, John shows us four characteristics of a faithful servant. Seeing how these traits are modeled by Jesus during a difficult season of ministry should serve to help in continue to grow in grace and Christ likeness.
Have you ever thought about abandoning your faith and leaving Christianity? Life brings many challenges to the heart of the believer but none match the words of Christ. When we read what Jesus requires of us in Scripture our hearts should despair for we do not have the means to meet the demand. But there is good news, all that God requires Jesus has satisfied. The words of Jesus are hard, but the word of Jesus are life. In this sermon we see how the apostles come to realize that Jesus was the only source of life as He is the Holy One of God. Their hope, as does ours, rests completely in Him.
John tells us that he writes this gospel so that we might, by faith, come to have the eternal life that is found only in Jesus. In this section, we have been shown that the sustenance of the spiritual life is something other than the sustenance of the physical life. Jesus appeals to the scriptures of the Old Testament, pointing to a new and better covenant. He pictures the contrast by returning to the idea of bread; the bread of Moses was perishing bread, for perishing people, but the Bread of Christ brings eternal life. Eating is believing, and Jesus’s flesh is the bread of eternal life. Upon this idea the Jews not only go from questioning to grumbling, but from grumbling to disputing among themselves; a first indication that their obstacle was not understanding, but believing. Therefore, in this passage, we will find the Disputing Jews, the Flesh of Life, and the Partaking of Flesh.
Piety is a combination of reverence for God, love of His character, and the exercise of these affections in obedience to His will and devotion to His service. This personal holiness is the means of enjoying fellowship with Christ for God’s glory. The Bible teaches that we grow in true godliness as both our life and doctrine become consistent with the gospel. Having asserted the great doctrine of justification by faith, and introduced the idea that where sin abounded grace abounded much more, Paul now wonders, in Romans 6:14, if someone might take this truth to imply that it doesn’t matter if a Christian puts to death sin in his life, because God will always overcome great sin with greater grace. Paul argues that since we are born again in Christ, we are indeed dead to sin, though sin may not yet be dead in us. In this verse we find a test, a promise, and an encouragement.
In this third section, we have seen the growing opposition toward Jesus from the religious leaders of His day. Jesus answered that opposition by explaining His equality and the ultimate unity of His works with the Father. These verses describe one of our Lords most remarkable miracles. As we walk though this story together, we see first that the place and time where this takes place is clearly noted, to give greater evidence of the truth of the story. The circumstances are specified, so that the details may be proven. We will be encouraged to see that when true faith is tested it is for our sake, for the sake of God’s provision and salvation for those around us, as well as to display Christ’s compassion, power, sufficiency, and humility.