John Dowling devotional bible study blog

This is a christian biblestudy blogsite which aims to encourage and challenge other christians in their walk. it is also aimed at encouraging seekers to find truth in the word of God and all are most welcome

At Home in the Heart

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John 14:17-24

“That is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you. After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to Him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?”   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 abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.”

Teaching:

Jesus refers more than once to ‘the Spirit of truth’, but in verse 17 a totally new concept is revealed to us, ‘The Spirit dwells with you, and will be in you.’

In old testament days the Spirit came upon people, and up to this moment that too had been the experience of the disciples.  At Pentecost they were indwelt by the Spirit, He was now in them and with them.

In verses 22-24 the Lord emphasised the truth He had stated in verse 15 – If you love Me you will keep My commandments.

The condition of the heart for receiving the Holy Spirit is based on love for Him (remember that love is a verb and is a quality requiring actions not a statement) and obedience to Him, which is an expression of that love.

In other words, an action required to display the love you have, not because you have to, but because you want to – out of love.

If only we could really understand that these two heartfelt responses love and obedience Jesus longs for in the life of every believer.  When a believer starts to show and display them visably in their life, then the promise here is fully fulfilled in them.

For it to be fulfilled the believer, like the title suggests – must have a change going on in their heart.

The desire to sell out totally for Jesus, to live to honour Him, to bring glory to His wonderful name, through their living witness.

When you deeply love someone you want to tell everyone else about them, Is Jesus meaning that much to you?

They must hand over the driving seat of their life once and for all to Jesus (surrender their will over to Him and let His will become dominant).

Handing Over Requires:

Access,to all areas within the secret realms of ones life

Your mind, by submiting to His Lordship from the word of God, through the Holy Spirit’s teaching, rebuking and so on.

Your Living life, no longer living to worldly principles, but looking to heavenly principles and imitating the Godly witness of those charged over you. It means submitting to them also for they are your teachers.

Is your lifestyle in ordinary life the same as that which you profess to be? It’s easy being a Christian in Church we all know the standards that we need to keep, but how about in the home? with friends and relatives? at work? with your neighbours? Is it the same lifestyle that you have there? That’s a lot harder to say is it not?

Your actions with others, reflecting the light into the darkness. The more you submit the more you are being conformed into the image and likeness of Christ Jesus. Resisting in an area where submission is needed will limit how much of Jesus you can become like.

Your time, how much time in the week are you spending on the work of the Lord Jesus Christ, do you have an open home for others? Prayer? devotional bible studies with others? fellowship with others from the Church? How much Study of the word and trusted christian books do you read and gain knowledge from? are they outward or inward looking?

Your resources, ahhhhh!, money for the kingdom of God, without resources others cannot be reached, opportunities will be missed – open doors closed, preachers and others in ministry struggling to earn a living. How many missionaries are sent out today? How many Church plants? How much do we help others from within our church family and also those in need in community that surround our outpost?

The point is, that you are to provide for the work of the kingdom of God according to what you have.

Keeping His Word, We must all be keeping all of God’s word and allow the Holy Spirit to challenge us and change us – there will be no growth if we do not feed.  Blessed are those who hear, heed and do.

The word states in Psalm 119:160 that the sum (whole of it) of His word is truth. yet so many Christians’, ‘so called’ eradicate huge swathes of His word.

He has given it to us to find the truth, believe the truth, live in light of the truth and tell the truth.

It is a History book with a difference it is for all mankind to know the truth – it is about mankind in the eyes of how God sees them and how He has revealed that mankind will perish and be eternally separated from Him unless they come manner that He has revealed – the way of salvation through Jesus Christ’s penal substitutionary death.

Beloved, how can we ever hope to see people come to know Him, if we have never read the whole book?

How can we ever see lives changed if we do not know the word enough to preach the gospel to others?

Our evangelism is failing our Lord and Saviour – for we only look at how we can ‘share the gospel’, everyone is looking at new ways at how we can do that by showing Christ when really it should be together with the telling of Christ as main priority and we have left the basic principles – We need to ‘preach the gospel’ Romans 10:9-15 and reflect our changed lives as living witnesses to the power of God before all mankind.

If you want to see change in our world for the Lord then we will need to keep the word, we need to repent of our neglect – for example, people are still receiving the specific calling of an evangelist – but it has been a neglected office by today’s churches.

The fact is that so few of them are being allowed to enter a ministry or being sent out as missionaries. Very few christian jobs are listed for an evangelist today.

In an Evangelical Newspaper a recent survey of a cross section of evangelical churches showed results that only 2% of Church attendants were Christians converted under three years.

That shows a damning indictment on our turning away from the word of God in evangelism and numbers being converted in the UK are dwindling. What is worrying is that church growth is showing that it is church transfer rather than conversion.

The Holy Spirit will not bless those who withold and do not keep His word.

All too often in church circles we hear that you cannot preach the word today, to proclaim the truth and the good news of Christ – that’s rubbish and is nothing more than political claptrap or correctness (whatever it is). Categorically No! Did the prophets Jeremiah, Ezeikiel, Isaiah, Amos and so on ever stop telling God’s word in warning of coming judgement? No they FAITHFULLY proclaimed the message in full despite their hearers rejection of it. We too must do also today.

On an individual level in our passage:

Verse 23 is so clear ‘if a man……then We will come to him and make our abode with him.’

So many Christians fail right here, they want the power, but are not willing to pay the price. They offer time, talents, money, and all they can think of (and rightly so), but sadly they neglect the first principles of total love and obedience laid at the feet of Jesus in full surrenderence of ones life for the price paid at the cross to redeem them from the hands of the evil one. He set us free, though undeserved that demands your very life, and soul, your all.

We must surrender self and become like Christ to serve Him in making ourselves available to His saving work in the lives of others.

Francis R. Havergal had it right in her great hymn of consecration, ‘Take my life and let it be’…. The following verses are an offering up of every part of the personality, but the crunch comes in the last verse, which says – ‘take myself, and I shall be ever only, all for thee.’

Until Jesus has our SELF, He does not have all of us. Therefore He is not free to come fully and make His home in us, because we have not let Him. Until He is there we will never experience all He is longing to give to us, and to impart the mighty power of His Spirit into our feeble lives.

Christian did you know that we were to be fruitful and multiply?

This takes on new meaning in Christ Jesus for you are a new creation in Christ – Jesus in ministry devoted His main priority to the preaching of the kingdom of God and to prayer – the gospels are litered with those sayings – Those were the main emphases’s of His public ministry and it must be ours today.

One point on this, it is an critical error to replace the kingdom of God with social justice – social justice does not save people from eternal consequences it only makes their temporary momentary suffering a tiny bit more bearable, eternity is forever, without Christ Jesus those given a plaster will still perish, your priority must be on reaching people with the good news of how they can enter the kingdom of God today.  In order to do that we should and must not shirk away from the truth of God’s word for if we do not warn then none will know what they need to be saved from – always in love, gentilness, kindness and patience.

Christ Jesus priority was for people to enter the kingdom of God through repentance and faith.   That is how we can be fruitful in our lives and multiply the kingdom of God with souls that have been set free from an eternity away from God.

A Prayer:

What love, what grace, what condescension! Lord, please enlarge our capacity for You, and may You be at home in our lives, through Your indwelling Spirit. Set our hearts ablaze for You today, now, and forever for bringing many sons and daughters to glory.

Help us to hold fast Your word and be able to preach the gospel to the lost. Give us the courage, strength, wisdom and Your protection as we endeaver to reach out to others and as we preach the gospel from Your word and reflect You in our lives may the Holy Spirit move to bring conviction of the word we preach and our living testimony to those we meet.

Grant to us opportunities with others to do this and we ask that the Holy Spirit would guide us and provide a word of knowledge for each person that we come into contact with.

Help us oh Lord to warn of the coming judgement in ways which show Your love, Your gentilness, Your kindness, and the good news there is in Jesus and the hope of Your kingdom. Grant to us patience in our dealings with others.

Help us to be ready to give an answer for the great hope You have given us.

Help us O Lord to redeem the time that we have left to us in our lives to make ourselves available to you for the work of the Kingdom.

In Jesus Name, we pray. Amen.

Sources: Based on the devotional works of Alan Redpath, and then expounded.

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