Living for Eternity
Assurance While Satan Has Been Elected to Office
Turn to John 14. If you are like me this week and you read this passage, you may have been a little overwhelmed by the amount of information that has been given to us in these 26 verses. So, what I wish to do is to give you first of all an outline. And don’t worry notetakers, we will give you the headings later on as we go through this. So, let’s read through it. Then we will look at an outline. Then we will ask the Lord to help us understand what is being said. And then we will dig into it.
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me. If you have come to know Me, you will know My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.’ Philip said to Him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you all so long and have you not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, “Show us the Father”? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak from Myself, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, this will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. ‘If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.’
And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate, that He may be with you forever; the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him. 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. On 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 dwelling 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. These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. You heard that I said to you, “I go away, and I will come to you.” If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe. I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me; but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here.’”
John 14:6-31 (LSB)
Let’s pray. Lord, we rest on Your Word, for we look to Your Word for direction, help, and wisdom in life. So, would You help us this morning, that You would guide us with Your Spirit, that we would be certain of our priority for which we have been called, and therefore do what is spiritually best for as and for Your glory. For we ask this in the name of Christ, amen.
Well firstly, I have entitled this message, “Assurance While Satan Has Been Elected to Office.” This comes from verse 30. So, I believe this whole passage is a reassurance to His disciples during a time when the “ruler of the world” has come. In other words, the time when Christ has left to this present time when Satan has been given the power to reign or the office of rule. Secondly, there is an overriding verse that clarifies for us or assures us of who we are, and that by being followers of Christ, we are on the right side.
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me.’”
John 14:6 (LSB)
Thirdly, there is going to be some equipment provided for us along the way as we must live through this. And this is revealed to us through several verses which we will look at showing: there is security in Christ, there is power in Christ, there is obedience to Christ, and there is comfort from the Spirit. And then finally, Jesus will end with an encouragement to walk with Him, so that we might know our mission as Christ-followers this morning.
So, are you ready? There is no indication that this passage, speaking of the life of believers is going to be easy, as I believe Jesus would be wasting His words to give us this comfort if things were going to be really simple. What a waste of time for an army commander to train troops, and prepare and go through drills, to be disciplined, committed, and faithful in service, if he thought that when we get into the battle, it will be a piece of cake. For the problem with Christianity today is not what is out there. The main problem is the preparation of the troops within the church. It is not like we haven’t been given the proper battle weapons to do well, for if that was the case, that would be God’s fault. For we learn from this passage that the Lord knows exactly what we are up against. So, the key is really, is if we as the Lord’s army are willing to use what He has given to us, and do what He has asked of us, So, look at middle of verse 30, “for the ruler of the world is coming.” Jesus is going to reassure His disciples during a time when “the ruler of the world” has come (vs 30). Now the Apostle John has already mentioned this ruler in His gospel. John 12:31:
“Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.”
John 12:31 (LSB)
He will mention him again (16:11), because the ruler of the world has been judged. Paul speaks about him as well in 2 Corinthians 4:4:
“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this age [or ruler of the world] has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
2 Cor 4:3-4 (LSB)
Ephesians 2:2, the ruler of the power of the air. 1 John 5:19, the world lies in the power of the evil one, or the ruler of the world. This of course is Satan, not the ultimate ruler of the world, certainly not the supreme power of the world, but power and ruler indeed. How can this be? For how can God be sovereign and there still be this evil serpent running around doing whatever he wishes? Answer, he doesn’t, but he does do what God allows him to do. There is an Old Testament story. The Lord wanted to destroy King Ahab of Israel for he was not faithful to God. Well, how was God going to do that? Well, the Bible tells us that God had the false prophets lie to Ahab so he would go into battle and die. Ahab was one of those guys who was sort of semi-religious. He knew of God, even worshipped God to some extent, but had no real heart for God. In other words, when it came down to what Ahab wanted and what God wanted, Ahab chose himself. And so, Ahab listens to the false prophets and dies in battle. Prophets who were used by Satan, but ultimately it was part of the divine plan of God. And there are false prophets today. Many of them are preaching this morning. For they are like the false prophets in Ahab’s day saying it’s okay, it’s okay! Don’t worry about what the Bible says, you are okay! Preachers who as Paul Washer said are “giving people a comfortable ride to hell.” Does God allow this? He must, for it happens.
Of course, the classic example is Job, who lived this admirable life for God. In fact, the Bible tells us that there was not a man like Job in all the world. And in the book of Job, there is a dialogue between God and Satan. And of course, Satan wants to test Job’s faith saying that Job only served God because God was always so good to him, and said that if things went badly for Job, he would certainly curse God. But he does not. True, he wanes in his understanding of God, but he will never let go of his faith in God. But also know that in all this Satan kills Job’s family. Satan causes great havoc, at the okay from God. So, is what happening today in our culture due to the work of Satan? Yes. And is what happening today being allowed by God? Yes. So, is the government direction part of God’s sovereign plan? Yes. Not in line with His righteousness. For much of what is going on today is completely in opposition to God’s law and God’s holiness, as mankind is acting in rebellion against a perfect and holy God. But has God allowed this? Yes. Will God’s greater glory be magnified because of what is happening today? Yes. Do we understand all this? No. Does God? Yes. See, the bad, which man is completely responsible for, magnifies the good. The evilness of mankind blazes, screams out the holiness of God. It’s like the pitch black of a room, and someone turns on the light. The blacker the darkness, the greater the glory of the light.
What does this phrase mean at the end of verse 30, “and he [Satan] has nothing in Me.” This is a Greek phrase that is hard to put into English. The ESV says, he has no claim on Me. The NIV, he has no hold over Me. The literal wording is, Satan has nothing in Christ. That there is absolutely no inroads to Satan’s influence on Jesus. Jesus never sinned, (John 8:46) Jesus said, who can convict Me of sin? Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, but was completely perfect. And Jesus died and yet Satan could not hold Him, could he? So, from the time of Christ’s ascension He warns of a time when that same Satan has been elected to rule, which is still going on today, and he will reign in our world until our Lord returns. In fact, the Bible teaches that when our Lord reigns in the Millennial Kingdom. Satan again will be loosed to bring havoc on the earth at the end of the thousand years. Therefore, this will continue to be a long battle. In Revelation 20 when Satan will finally be cast into the Lake of Fire:
“And when the thousand years are finished, Satan will be released from his prison, and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
Rev 20:7-10 (LSB)
So, what is our mandate? To change all this from happening? Or to live as soldiers of Christ in this battle? And I understand that living for Christ in the battle will bring changes. But I would strongly preach that the great priority is not the change, the great priority is the life of the Christian. Douglas Johnson wrote:
“We can’t stop what’s coming because it is already here, but let’s see to it that we count ourselves among those who can see it for what it is.”
- Douglas Johnson
In other words, let’s fight, battle, commit, and bear down for our Saviour, and leave the results to Christ. Because the “well done, My good and faithful servant,” is conditional on the fight within us, and is not conditional on the outcome of the battle. So, Christ is going to encourage us as we fight, and He reminds us of something that is first and foremost if we are going to be able to do this well.
- Christ assures us that we are on the right side (vs 6)
As He tells His followers (vs 6), “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me.” What’s your battle? Whose side are you on? As there is only one clear winner in all this, Christ. We, as humans. are on the losing side. For the world has believed the lies of Satan, as we are no different than Ahab who believed the false prophets. But the gospel allows us to change sides. For who is on the Lord’s side? Means that you must make a move. For we as humans are naturally not on the side we need to be. Therefore, we have to move. For you cannot sit still and leave the side you are on. No, there must be a heart change, a transforming moment, a born-again experience. For everyone born physically is born on the wrong side. So, to change sides, you must be born-again. Therefore, you must come to Christ, you must repent of your sin and come to Christ. Your mind must be convinced that where you are now falls short. Now you may not believe that, or even know that, but the natural human heart without being born-again is a follower of the evil one, Satan. Kind people believe the lies of Satan. Smart people believe the lies of Satan. So, you must come to Christ. You must change allegiance. You must change sides. For Christ is the only way, the only truth, and the only life.
“For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.”
- Cor 15:22 (LSB)
We are born in Adam, but we are born-again in Christ. And if you know Christ, and you have given your allegiance to Him, realizing that He is Lord. This is why when we get baptised here at Elim we say, “It is my desire to follow Christ all the days of my life.” If this is true, that if we are on the right side, then we are going to have to fight. But secondly:
- Christ assures us of equipping
- There is unity with Christ (vs 7, 20).
“If you have come to know Me, you will know My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”
John 14:7 (LSB)
See, we become part of the relationship that the Father has with the Son. Of course, not part of the Godhead, or part of deity, but we are let into that relationship, as we have a part in the love of the Father and the Son. And whatever God is doing and however He desires to use us, you and I become involved in that. We are part of His sovereign plan and His will.
“You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would abide.”
John 15:16a (LSB)
And look at (vs 20):
“On that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.”
John 14:20 (LSB)
Now you might say, Mark I am just a factory worker, I am just a farmer, I am just a stay-at-home Mom trying to hold things together, I am just a struggling high school student. No, for if you have surrendered your life to Christ, you are intimately related to the Father and Son, you have been chosen to be part of that relationship and part of His plan.
- There is power in Christ (vs 12-14).
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, this will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.”
John 14:12-14 (LSB)
Sometimes this passage can be thought to be related to the miracles that Jesus performed. That Jesus is saying I did these miracles, but you will do more or greater miracles. And so, the church down through history will do even more, though the disciples did not do near the number of miracles that Jesus did. Or some might teach that it means greater miracles, not in number, but in the spectacular nature of the miracles. But that would be even harder to fathom when we think of the raising of Lazarus. So, what might this term “greater works” refer to? Well it likely means that it is referring to something greater than physical miracles, as the most concentrated time of the miraculous was likely during the three years of Jesus’ ministry. Yet Jesus never went beyond Palestine. But since the time of Jesus, the gospel has gone throughout the world, as through the disciples, it spread to the Gentiles. At the time of Jesus, there were likely “hundreds” of Christians. But it soon would become “thousands” in the book of Acts, and then “millions.” So, though some might teach here that “greater works” means more miracles. But even in the raising of Lazarus, Jesus emphasizes the greater miracle of people never dying, in other words, the greatness of spiritual life over physical life.
And we also need to understand here that Christ has not yet died. So, there is no clear understanding of the gospel, that became so apparent when Christ was resurrected. And then, on top of that, the New Testament is written, and the clear message of salvation becomes so obvious. Not just in the teaching of the Old Testament, but as everything is brought into such focus in the letters of here, John; and in Paul’s writing; and Peter’s epistles. So that with everything the Lord has left for His followers, His life, His burial, His resurrection, the New Testament, the possibilities are almost endless. So that this promise to the believer (vs 14) that whatever we ask in the Lord’s name, He will do, has given us the opportunity and the mandate to live the gospel and spread the gospel. This is part of the “greater things.” And we do not know all the sovereign plans of God, but prayers such as Lord: Lord, would You use us, Lord, would You be glorified in our obedience to You, Lord, would You make us fruitful in the work of the gospel, and Lord, would You keep us faithful. And Christ would say to us, you keep asking, you keep praying, and I will do it! Thirdly:
- There is obedience to Christ (vs 15, 21a).
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me.”
John 14: 15, 21a (LSB)
You know it would seem here that Christ is simply saying, that I have done all this for you, now I would simply ask, that you would obey Me. In fact, this obedience is an assurance of your love, that if you love me (vs 15), you will keep my commandments. This obedience to Christ does not save us. For we are not saved by works, but by faith alone. But our love and obedience for Christ proves our faith, the genuineness of our faith. Brother, sister, if you are claiming to believe, but knowingly and intentionally continue to sin, you have no assurance of salvation.
“And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, truly in him the love of God has been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him.”
- John 2:3-5 (LSB)
Keeping the commandments, specifically here of Christ, as we have come to know Him. As 1 John will go on to say, to walk in the same manner that Jesus walked. In other words, doing what Jesus commanded us. Simply to love the Father, and to love our neighbour as ourselves. To be fair and just, as Jesus taught in His parables. To be pure and holy. To be honest, gentle, and all the things that Jesus has asked us to obey. Knowing that (1 Cor 6) the unrighteous, the sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, thieves, the greedy, the drunkards, will not inherit the kingdom of God. Therefore, when we do sin, the same book of 1 John says, to confess those sins and He will forgive us. Obedience to Christ. Finally, in regards to the Lord assuring us of equipping:
- There is comfort from the Spirit (vs 16-17, 26-27).
There is such a depth, more on this as we get to chapter 17.
“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate, that He may be with you forever; the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him. 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.’”
John 14:16-18 (LSB)
What is happening here? Jesus is asking the Father to send the Holy Spirit to be with His disciples. This Spirit will be with them and in them. Now picture yourself as one of the disciples here before the crucifixion of Christ, as Jesus tells them that another Advocate will come. Then what is the assumption? That Jesus is leaving. So, He assures them that He will not leave them as orphans, and that He too will come later, But don’t miss the comfort that He is giving here:
“After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. On that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.”
John 14:19-20 (LSB)
That as Jesus has been with them physically, in fact, physically He has been with the world, but the world will not see Him anymore, but they will. This is further explained:
“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.”
John 14:26-28 (LSB)
Understand that Jesus has come to the earth. He was willing to leave this indescribable glory with His Father, to become a Man. Though sinless, yet still with the weaknesses of men. At times being fatigued and at times being hungry. Yet He would soon be back with the Father, In chapter 17, He will say Father glorify Me with the glory I had before the world was. Now we will unpack more of that in a few weeks, but to say for now that the Holy Spirit will come upon them, but that He Himself would return for them later. And don’t miss the words of Jesus (vs 27) peace I leave with you. For the Christian cannot experience more peace than what has been given to us. This is the work of Christ, peace I leave with you. True, we live in a world that is blind, afraid, arrogant at times, sinful, unkind, troubled. But not the Christian. For we have been given the peace of Christ. And therefore, do not let your heart be troubled. Yes, Satan has been elected to rule. So, are we on the right side? And if we are, then Jesus provides everything we need while we do battle.
Jesus is leaving. So, he warns His disciples of the battles they will face when He is gone. Many of the same battles you and I face. But He assures them that they are on the right side. Therefore, so important that you know Christ. And He assures them of equipping along the way, everything that we will need: unity with Him, power in telling of the gospel, being obedient to Him, and that the Holy Spirit will come, and that Christ Himself will return for them later on. But there is one more thing that I found so encouraging in this passage to us as His followers.
“Get up, let us go from here.”
John 14:31b (LSB)
- Christ assures us that we are working alongside Him (vs 31b)
In other words, this is not a time to lament. It is not a time to be lazy. For I have equipped you. You possess power, and you have the Holy Spirit. I think all of us at some point have been motivated to do well. When someone has placed their faith in us to succeed. I am a numbers guy. And a few into our marriage, there was a life insurance guy at the church who did very well. And it just intrigued me so much by his job. And I got talking with him, long story short. I started to work for Mutual Life Insurance. And you had to sell so much to keep up with the salary base they put you on. And I was way ahead of what I had to sell to keep up with my salary structure. But probably after 6-8 months I just didn’t feel like I wanted to keep doing this, not even sure why. And telling this gentleman at church was hard as he had put his faith in me and sort of got me going. But even harder was telling my Dad, because I think my Dad thought this was me, and I did too frankly. In fact, Dad had bought me a briefcase, and it must have been a good one for 40 years later, it still looks and works great! And I bring it to work every day. Someone said I look like Inspector Gadget with a briefcase. So, fortunately, I used what my Dad entrusted to me for something he probably would have been prouder of me.
But the picture here is our Lord has entrusted us with the message of the gospel, knowing that it would be hard. But He also gave us so much. And therefore, He wants us to grab our briefcase and get to work for His glory and to do “greater things.” So “get up, let us go from here.” Let’s pray. Lord, what a blessing to have been entrusted with “greater things.” To be workers for our Lord, at a time when Satan has been elected to reign, somehow for Your glory. So, might we be diligent, not lazy, not distracted, but busy doing that which You have entrusted us with. Paul said that we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, not to please men, but God. So, keep us focused on our mission. And all God’s people said, amen.