(PR) John 12:24

John 12:24

“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.”

This is such an amazing verse because it exactly explains what Jesus does with his life, and exactly describes what we all must do in this life as a Christian.  When we look at Rom 6, we see Paul teaching on this concept that we have been united with Christ in his death but not only in his death, more than that we have been united to him in resurrection.  (Rom 6:1-11)

What is amazing is that Jesus has explained this truth in one sentence and it will take Paul many chapters to expound on this truth, and many years for us to even get a glimpse at what it means.  This is a mystery…but it is true.

I am continually learning this truth in new ways.  Since I began fund raising I have seen ever more clearly the image of myself that I have set up in my mind and heart and have been worshipping it.  I knew it was risky to pray for humility and more faith and grace.  Perhaps I didn’t fully understand that much of that growth will come through trial and at times, despair.

I found myself at the feet of Jesus this morning pleading for help.  And he brought me to John 12:24.  And here I am again, learning to die to myself in new ways.  I am repenting (that is, turning back to Jesus) and putting to death my distrust in God, my dislike and discomfort of my current position and am fully laying myself before him with open hands.

It’s funny that I can tell when my heart is becoming hard.  For the last several weeks every time I read scripture it felt like just words.  I wasn’t feeling the spirit’s force behind every word, that I had come to enjoy every time I was spending time in the word.

The great thing about faith is that you don’t have to understand how this will happen or how this has happened.  I don’t know how I have died with Christ or am dying with Christ, but I can trust that it is true, because I can see change in my heart and in my life.  It is a change that is totally external to me, meaning that I am not doing it…scripture in conjunction with the Holy Spirit is doing it.

I am continually praising God that it is not left up to me.  That just as God sent his son, Jesus into the world, Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to comfort us, teach us, intercede for us, love us, convict us, reveal to us truth to us, to empower us to do his will.  And then we are sent into the world…to be light, to be those who are fully trusting Him and walking in faith, through encouragement and discouragement.

And so, to go completely against worldly wisdom, God would you help me die.  Jesus would you kill the parts of me that aren’t trusting you, that aren’t loving you, that aren’t loving others through you.  Holy Spirit will you put to death the parts of me that are worshipping me.  Redirect my heart, I pray.

Your servant…more than that, your child.

Rom 8:32 “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”

Q#1 – Let God be True.

I know a woman who was sexually abused as a child by her father.  When asked if she believed that Jesus is God, she replied, “No.  I can’t believe that because of what my father did to me.”

I know a guy who cringes at the thought of Christianity because of the hypocrisy and arrogance of its people and its claims.

“We [Christians] are the stumbling blocks for unbelievers, before they ever get to the stumbling block of the Cross.” – John Piper

How are we to view God in light of the atrocities that we see every day in the world?  Or worse, how do we view God in light of the actions of those who claim to know him?

This question is as relevant for us today as it was 2000 years ago when a man named Paul wrote a letter to church in Rome regarding the teachings of Christianity.  Paul penned the question this way;

“What if some were unfaithful?  Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God?  By no means!”  (Rom. 3:3-4).

I think he could have worded it this way: “Are we to look at people and their actions and judge God?”  His answer, absolutely not!  Yet, how many of us look at Christians and judge God by their actions.  Or how many of us look at Muslims and judge God by their actions.  At the end of the day we throw up our hands and say that it is better to not believe in God.

As a result, we never get to see the beauty of the beach, because we turn around at the ugliness of the parking lot.

In Paul’s time he was referring to the Jews; the Jews who had been entrusted with the Oracles of God (Rom 3:2) and the adoptions, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship and the promises (Rom 9:4).  Does their rejection of the savior represent God’s unfaithfulness or their unbelief?

In our day we look at Christians and ask the same question, does their unfaithfulness to God, represent God’s character?  Is God a hypocrite?  Does God sin?  Is God evil? Paul’s answer:  by no means!  Rather, let God be true and everyone a liar.” (Rom. 3:4)

Paul is making a very simple, but often overlooked, point here; we should not be so quick to judge God based on humanity’s actions.  For is humanity an exact representation of God?  Has he not given us the freedom to act?  Has he not ordained our “free will”?  Indeed he has.  Most of us would argue that we are free and yet we all do wrong, but God never does wrong.

God is true, God is faithful, God is loving, God is compassionate, God is merciful, God is holy.  I think most people, if they believe in God, would agree with these attributes.

Then to what should we look for truth? If we can’t look at people and see God, where can we look?  Where is truth?  How can we know God’s character?  What is the basis for Paul’s statement that God is faithful?

My answer won’t surprise anyone; it is Jesus. Col 1:15 says “He is the image of the invisible God.”  I would challenge you to read through the gospels and see Jesus’s character.  See that he exactly represents God.  Nobody can argue against Jesus, whether you believe in Him or not, you cannot say that he stood for anything other than Mercy, Compassion, and Love.   In fact, he was so faithful towards us that he was willing to die on a cross for in order that we might see his character.

So let us look to Jesus and not to men.  Let us look to God and not people. This is revealing of our problem as human beings, that we always want to look to ourselves and at ourselves rather than God, who is Faithful and True.  (Rom 1:25, Rev 19:11).

Paul’s point is this, Let us look to God to learn about God.

I am praying that if you do not know God, or if you don’t even care to, that a desire would be stirred up in you now as you read this.  For, he is the only thing that can satisfy our souls.  We can know him by and through Jesus.  The Apostle John teaches us “that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true……”  (1 John 5:20)

In the remaining 9 questions Paul will build on these truths.  So, to summarize point 1:  Let us look to God and not men to see God’s character.

(PR) Clarity

Hey all,

If you could be praying for clarity for me.  Feeling attacked right now on the path that God has laid before me.  Going through some life change with GCM and still interning at the church and so there is a lot of uncertainty.  Please pray that God would make it clear what he would have me do.  And that I would let God work through me.

GCM approved!

Hey all,

Well, after an intense week of training, it is official; I have partnered with Great Commission Ministries.  Praise God.  We went through 8 days of 12 hour training sessions.  Who would have thought there was that much to teach.

But I learned a ton and am excited and scared at the same time.  Please be praying for peace of mind for me and trust in God for raising up a team of support.

This is all about Him.  I love this verse that Elise pointed me to months ago:

Proverbs 30:8-9

“give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.”