But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God.
Acts of the Apostles chapter 7 verse 55
Jesus was so full of love to His Father and love to us that His love never failed to accomplish its purpose. The love of Jesus is clearly seen operating in the life of Stephen. This love of Jesus in both Stephen and ourselves works in us and through us by the power of the Father’s love in Him. This is what needs to come into our lives. Christ is to be the all - in - all of everything. All we do, say and work must be in Him and unto Him.
Such a life is evidenced in Stephen. In the Acts of the Apostles chapter 6 verses 1 to 6 a situation arose in which there was a murmuring amongst the Grecians against the Hebrews when they said that the Grecian widows were being neglected in the daily ministration. So that the apostles could concentrate on preaching and prayer it was decided to appoint seven men to oversee the daily ministrations. One of these men was Stephen. Along with the other six men Stephen’s ministry was recognised through them having hands laid upon them by the apostles. Stephen was said to be a man full of faith and the Holy Ghost.
In verse 8 of chapter 6 Stephen is shown to have a ministry which went far beyond daily ministrations. He is said to be full of faith and power and that great wonders and miracles were done among the people. Miracles still take place amongst Christians in countries like India and Sri Lanka as although they have little of this world’s goods their lives have been totally surrendered to Jesus. In western society it is the mind which rules as everything spiritual has to be analysed instead of applying simple faith.
It is still possible for Christians in western society to have a living faith. You might say how do we get this faith. There is only one way and this is found in the Bible, the Word of God. It is faith. It is the living principle of faith; a faith which was so evident in the life of Stephen. The word of Jesus was the authority of faith. Stephen had grasped this principle and applied it in his life. Stephen knew what it meant to believe Him whom God had sent. The word which Stephen preached in chapter 6 of Act of the Apostles was based on the Old Testament in which he spoke on the dealings of God with His people the Jews. Stephen showed the scriptures to be the Word of God which is the living Word, the precious, precious Word of God. Jesus during His earthy ministry had said:
Search the scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
St John chapter 5 verse 39
Just when great wonders and miracles were being done through Stephen and the people were getting to see that Jesus was everything, into the midst of the throng came the devil. He always comes at a busy time. The challenge to this mighty work of God came in the form of men from the synagogue who disputed with Stephen. Even today wherever there is a work of God and in particular prophetic ministries the devil will stir up those who call themselves Christians to dispute to work. In western society it is not unbelievers who are against the work of God but those who say that they are Christians and should be obedient to the Master’s call to “ Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.”
These men from the synagogue so stirred up the people that Stephen was brought before the council. In similar circumstances to Jesus at His trial false witnesses made accusations against Stephen. Was Stephen deterred. No. He was said to have had a face as it had been the face of an angel.
Could we react with similar faith in the face of such treatment. Those who have the Holy Ghost in the same measure as Stephen will have faith and power to withstand all that the devil throws at them and through Christ be more than conquerors as they are the present day overcomers.
Stephen had such a depth of knowledge of the scriptures that the council could not dispute his argument. The council were convicted to the depths of their beings when Stephen called them “ Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears.” Chapter 7 verse 51. The reaction of the council was “ they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.” Chapter 7 verse 54.
Stephen was so filled with the Holy Ghost that he looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing on the right hand of God. This was too much for his hearers who were so angry that they stoned Stephen. In his final words on earth Stephen echoed the same loving heart as seen in Jesus when he said, “ Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.”
Do you have this same loving heart of Jesus as seen in Stephen? God help us to believe that we can. Oh what a blessing it is if we believe. Allow God to divest you of everything else. Allow the Word to sink into your heart. Allow it to drive away everything else.
The Christian life is seen in Stephen as this is a life which is “saved by His life” :
For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved, by his life.
Romans chapter 5 verse 10
The Christian life is also to be set apart for the continuing expression of God’s holy character in the sanctification of “living godly in Christ Jesus.”
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
2 Timothy chapter 3 verse 12
A Christian life can only be lived by the grace of God ( that is God acting according to His character) and the divinely empowered representing and also expressing the life of Jesus Christ in the life of the Christian. Praise God that in our own day we too can be vessels just like Stephen who are full of the Holy Ghost and faith.
Lord Jesus Christ Stephen looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God and you standing on the right hand of God. Stephen too had your loving heart in that even when faced with death he could say “ Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.” Lord may those who know you have within them your own love, a love which reaches out to others rather than be centred on themselves. May your life, Jesus, be the life of all Christians so that we like Stephen are vessels filled with the Holy Ghost and faith. Unto Him who has loved us and washed us in His own blood be worship, praise and adoration for ever and for ever. This prayer Jesus is for the honour and glory of our God. Amen.
Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
Acts of the Apostles chapter 8 verse 29
The Word is God Himself. This is shown to us in the following verse:
In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.
St John chapter 1 verse 1
What assurance is in this verse as all our hope is in the word of God. This is our sure foundation because the Word of God abides for ever. The Bible should not be compared with other books as this is from heaven and does contain the Word of God; it is the Word of God. In this message it will be seen that the Word of God was the all prevailing truth which led a searching soul to find Jesus as his Saviour and Lord.
In Acts of the Apostles chapter 8 verses 5 to 8 we read of Philip going down to the city of Samaria. Philip had a message and this was to preach Christ. The message was in the anointing of the Holy Ghost and the people were drawn to Christ. Miracles took place as those with palsies and the lame were healed. Those with demon spirits were also delivered and set free. Great joy filled the city. In the midst of a mighty move of God’s spirit Philip is called to leave the city of blessing and go to the desert. Philip obeyed as he left the place of blessing amongst many because God wanted the blessing in the form of the Gospel message to reach beyond Samaria and go to the uttermost parts of the earth. The Master had said that the Gospel was to be preached first in Jerusalem, then Judea, Samaria and finally the uttermost parts of the earth. Jerusalem and Judea had been reached and with Philip’s ministry in Samaria it was the rest of the world which had still to hear.
God knew all about an Ethiopian man who was travelling on the road from Jerusalem to Gaza on his return to Ethiopia after a visit to Jerusalem. This was the very man that God needed to be able to commence making known the Gospel throughout the whole world. This Ethiopian was a man of influence in his own country. He had a position of authority under Candace the queen of Ethiopia. This man had been to Jerusalem to worship but was still searching the scriptures on his way home. God had his man in this Ethiopian as he was hungry to find God but did not know how even though he had the scriptures in his possession. God knew of this hunger and sent Philip in order to explain the scriptures to this hungry soul. In many third world countries there is a great hunger for the Word of God. O that this were the case also in western society. What a contrast when in third world countries there is a spiritual hunger to find God but in western society there is a rejection of seeking after God as the god of this world through materialism and the intellect reign in place of spiritual awareness.
Philip was a man filled with the Holy Ghost. He obeyed without questioning the leadings of God’s Spirit. When told to join the Ethiopian he found this man reading the prophet Isaiah. What gracious words the Ethiopian had just read. These were the words which spoke of Jesus Himself. The Ethiopian man was a man with a deep spiritual awareness. He was desperate to understand the words before him. How gracious is our God in that he knew all about this man and was not going to disappoint the longings of his heart in seeking to understand the deep things of God. The same applies in our own day. There are millions in the third world who are longing to find God, the living God and have the spiritual awareness to understand the word of God when they are given the opportunity to hear the Word of God. It is the responsibility of those called of God for this great task of evangelising the world to be like Philip and obey God’s call. There is a great hunger and God has shown the way by which this hunger can be filled. It can only be filled by the Word of God Himself in the receiving of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
Who else could the scripture be speaking of when it spoke of being led as a sheep to the slaughter and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so he opened not his mouth. The Ethiopian drank in the Word of God as Philip preached unto him Jesus. This man was ready to receive Jesus as he said that he believed that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He saw water and was baptised by Philip. Philip’s task was complete and he left the Ethiopian to go rejoicing on his way to return to Ethiopia. This man was a new man as he was a new creature in Christ. He has a message to make known to his people; a message of the Word of God as found in Jesus Christ. The message had started to go to the uttermost parts of the earth.
The commission of taking the Gospel to every creature has still to be fulfilled. How you might say can this be done as the task appears so enormous. It is if we think in the natural and not the spiritual. God will do great things for us if we are prepared to receive them from Him. We let the cares of this world blind our eyes. However, if we keep open to God, He has a greater plan for us than we can comprehend. It is God who will fulfil impossibilities because of His omnipotence when we reach the place where He alone has the right of way in all things. Have you reached this place where God has the right of way in all things?
The responsibility of taking the Gospel to every creature lies with those who have let God have the right of way in all things in their lives. God has made it clear that the way to reach the billions as yet unreached is through broadcasting. I, along with those I work with have heard the call and are vessels through whom this great work of God will be fulfilled. From everlasting to everlasting He is God. When God calls He enables. We are under all circumstances able to triumph. Not that we have any help in ourselves, it is only from God that we receive our help. If our help is only in God then we are also strong and never weak. It is always those who are full of faith who are in the place of victory , who are not in the place of human order but of divine order in God. To Him be all the praise and glory.
Lord Jesus Christ you were led as a sheep to the slaughter and as a lamb dumb before his shearers. In you dear Lord we see the love of God manifested. O what love dear Jesus which went to such depths, the depths of death as you hung and suffered on Calvary’s cross. It is in your blood Jesus that we find cleansing and forgiveness from all sin. As the Ethiopian man found the way to God though the scriptures which spoke of you may those who seek to find God as earnestly as this man have the opportunity of hearing the Gospel message; that message of life, for you are Life. All glory be to you Jesus as you are still on the throne and have all authority in heaven and earth so the great commission to preach the Gospel to every creature is safe. This prayer is for your honour and glory. Amen.
But Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened the door; and saw him, they were astonished.
Acts of the Apostles chapter 12 verse 16
The Church is the body of Christ. The worship of the Church is a heart worship as there is a longing to come into the presence of God. Here is true worship.
God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.
St John chapter 4 verse 24
God sees our hearts and He will open our understanding. The Lord delights in His people. How He longs for us to come to a place of undisturbed rest and peace. This place is only found in God. It is only through meekness and gentleness that we can meet God. As we seek in simplicity of faith He will give us this place of worship.
Our study in this message is to look at the how the early church reacted to Peter being placed in prison. King Herod was looking to destroy the early church. He had killed James the brother of John. As this pleased the Jews Herod had Peter arrested and placed in prison with the maximum of security. However, for what ever reason Herod had chosen to arrest Peter at the time of unleavened bread and Peter was to be kept in prison until after the feast. From the human point of view Peter would still be in prison when the feast had ended and then face trial. God is not limited by human plans or security. In Acts chapter 12 verse 4 it is recorded that “ prayer was made without ceasing of the church to God for him.”
God worked on His own scale. The night before the trial of Peter was due God intervened. Peter we are told was “sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison.” Humanly speaking there was no escape. That is thinking in the natural. Some people have the idea that they have to do something. There is one thing only that is going to accomplish the purposes of God, and that is being in the Spirit.
What in intervention took place. It was the angel of the Lord who came as a light shined in the prison and touched Peter on the side. What would we have thought if an angel touched us and said “ Arise up quickly.” Peter’s chains fell off from his hands. The angel called on Peter to get ready and follow him. Without questioning Peter obeyed. The guards did not hear or see anything as all was orchestrated by God. Even the iron gate of the prison “ opened to them of its own accord.” Once Peter was free the angel left him.
There are situations in our own lives which appear impossible. They are if we look at them from the human point. We as Christians are not to restrict ourselves through human thinking. We are to be in the spirit at all times. Christians are those who are to look down having seen things from God’s point, not those who look at whatever confronts them and then look up to God.
When we are always in the spirit there is a living faith with a deep vision of God. The world cannot produce it. This is a place where we see the Lord and know that when we pray we have the confidence that God hears. This is asking God and believing for the answer. There is no fear here but a living faith to come into the presence of God.
In thy presence is fullness of joy; At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
Psalm 16 verse 11
Modern thinking makes many who call themselves Christians no better than paupers. Most use human thinking. They copy the world and look to analyse a situation for their own answer. Why not choose the best? The best can only come from God and that is by being in the spirit. In our day where God is pushed out from the lives of most in western society and reduced to a God of convenience to many in the Church are we prepared to be different? God is still looking for a people who He can reveal Himself in. In order to do this our human spirit has first to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. There is a place of death and life where Christ reigns in the body. All then is well. It is the Spirit of God who can change our nature. There is a creative power which changes our whole nature and makes us the sons of God. We can be changed from glory to glory. You can reach this altitude only by faith. When we live in the spirit though all things become possible to him who believes.
Was this the experience of those who prayed for Peter’s release? Peter had made his way to the house of Mary the mother of John Mark. It was at this house that prayer was bring made for Peter’s release. As Peter knocked at the door of the gate a damsel named Rhoda recognised Peter’s voice. She was so overjoyed that she did not let Peter in but went to tell those praying. Rhoda evidences someone living in the spirit. Her joy at hearing Peter’s voice was evidence of her expectations that Peter would be released from prison in answer to prayer. In contrast those who were still praying had not believed that it was possible for Peter to be released for if they had they too would have been filled with joy as they would have rejoiced in answer to prayer. What a difference it will make to be in the spirit all the time. There is no other way for God to be able to work in and through us but in the person and power of the Holy Ghost. Are you content to stay living on the spiritual level? If not there is only one way to reach the heights, depths and fullness of God and that is to be in the spirit. Once we are in the place where God wants us to be there are no limits as to what He can do. God is on the look out today for those who will deny themselves and come to Him and accept His conditions of meekness and gentleness to be transformed from human thinking and become men and women who are in the Spirit.
Lord Jesus Christ you have shown us the Father. You and the Father are one. Lord you have shown us that God is a spirit and they that worship him must worship in spirit and in truth. Help us Lord to come to that place where we are always in the spirit. In your love Lord show what it is to be meek and gentle, fully dependent on the Holy Spirit who alone can live a life like yours. May our hearts be filled at all times with your joy Lord. May we rest in that place of peace, undisturbed no matter what is taking place around us. Lord, may your body, the Church, come to know that the worship of the Church is a heart worship as there is a longing to come into the presence of God. Then your body will know true worship. This prayer seeks only to bring honour to the name of our God. Amen.
He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God.
Romans chapter 4 verse 20
What a Word we have from God in this promise. The great plan of God’s salvation is redemption in all its fullness. In Romans chapter 4 we find revelation of what God means for the man and woman who believes. When we can take in this truth of what God has for us then we shall find that faith is the greatest inheritance of all. We have an Almighty God who is willing to give us faith that will bring this glorious inheritance into our hearts.
What a verse of scripture we have in Hebrews to challenge our hearts.
Now the just shall live by faith.
Hebrews chapter 10 verse 38
This verse should be written large on our hearts. We will not receive the deep things of God unless we move in faith. Those who will not reach out to God and take hold of His many promises will remain in the shallows and never taste that not only is the Lord good or know that the Lord is able to do exceedingly abundantly.
Now unto him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.
Ephesians chapter 3 verse 20
May the Lord reveal to us the fullness of the truth that the just shall live by faith.
God had made a covenant with Abraham that he would be the father of many nations.
As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.
Genesis chapter 17 verse 4
God had further promised that the covenant was to be an everlasting covenant with Abraham and to his seed after him.
And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.
Genesis chapter 17 verse 7
To the human mind this could not be as Abraham was old and his wife Sarah was too old to be able to have a child. Abraham already had a son named Ishmael by Sarah’s maid Hagar. However, it was not God’s plan to make the covenant through Ishmael. God always has a definite plan. It is down to us to hear from Him what that plan is for our lives and then through faith apply that plan in all its fullness. Abraham many years later heard further from God as to how the plan for the promised covenant would come into being. God spoke to Abraham and told him that Sarah would have a son and that the son was to be named Isaac.
And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.
Genesis chapter 17 verse 19
Abraham had looked with the human mind and said to God that he was one hundred and Sarah was ninety years old. Abraham was correct from the human way of thinking that this could not be. God wants us to look at Him and see His ways which are not ours. Ours are limited. His are on the divine scale and have been predetermined. God works on His own scale and in His own time. We have before us though the glorious opportunity to be part of His plan when we are prepared to ask Him to reveal this to us for our lives. When we know this plan we can reach out in faith. This is not faith in God but to have the faith of God. Abraham was brought into the divine plan of God.
For twenty-five years Abraham had the promise that God would give him a son. During these years Abraham stood on that promise. He became physically weaker as the years went by. Sarah also became weaker and more frail and natural conditions so changing that as far as they could see there was no such thing as their bodies being able to bring forth fruit. If they had looked at their bodies they would have remained like that forever. Abraham, though, dared not look at his or Sarah’s body but he had to look at God. God could not fail. What He had promised He would fulfil.
God wants to bring His people today into that blessed place of faith. Are we prepared to let Him change us into a real substance of faith until we are so like-minded that whatever we ask according to His will we believe we receive. No matter how long it takes for God’s plan for us to take place or how great the opposition of the devil to try and thwart God’s plans God will do all He has already determined to do. Our part is to hear God’s voice and receive the faith of God. The faith of God is that which does not stagger but is always strong, overcoming all opposition and every human impossibility to the glory of God. It is from the position of a faith like God’s which is unmoveable no matter what the natural may say that God’s mighty purposes for our own day will be fulfilled through those who have none of self and all of God. To God be the glory and our joy becomes full because we believe.
Heavenly Father may we always worship you in spirit and in truth. You are the eternal God who changes not. You know the end from the beginning and do all things well. Our trust is in you for you loved us so much as to send your only begotten Son into the world in order to reconcile sinners to yourself. Thank you Father that the plan of salvation is perfect. May each one of your children who has come to know you through your Son Jesus be willing to come into all the fullness of God. In these days of self seeking may you find those who will give their all to you no matter what the cost. Father please find those who like Abraham will go all the way with you and stagger not at the promises of God through unbelief but are strong in faith giving glory to God. This prayer seeks only to bring honour and glory to our God. Amen.
2) Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
St John chapter 5 verse 39
It is with a heart full of praise and thanks that there is only One who could have spoken these gracious words and claimed that the scriptures testified of Him. The Word, the living Word speaks to our hearts when we are prepared to give Him open entry. The only person who could have fulfilled all the scriptures which testified of the One who God was to send to be the deliverer was Jesus. We can see that there was to be One who would come from God as shown in the following verse.
Then said I , Lo, I come: In the volume of the book it is written of me.
Psalm 40 verse 7
Jesus was the only one as God the Son who was able to do the will of the Father. He had come from the glory of heaven in response to His Father’s request. At the start of His earthly ministry Jesus read the following scripture from Isaiah in the synagogue in Nazareth which He claimed to refer to Himself.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.
St Luke chapter 4 verse 18
At the end of this reading Jesus said the following to His hearers.
And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
St Luke chapter 4 verse 21
After His resurrection Jesus appeared to His disciples and confirmed that He had done all that was written in the scriptures about Himself.
And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
St Luke chapter 24 verse 44
It can be seen that God had a plan. He always has a plan. Nothing was left to chance as God knew the end from the beginning. Those who know Jesus as Lord and Saviour do so because it was in the heart of God even before time began to send His Son into the world to reconcile sinners unto Himself. God knew all about you even before you were born. He provided the means for your salvation and how and when you would accept His plan to be reconciled with Himself. O the depth of the love of God that He knew when we would see that we were a sinner and accept that Jesus is the only way that we could be reconciled with a holy and righteous God when we repented of our sin and accepted Jesus as Lord and Saviour. Lord I am overwhelmed with the sense of the depth of your love for me. Let me never become complacent or half hearted in returning Your love. Let your joy be my portion continually in a life given fully to You every moment of every day as You are the centre of all I think and do.
It is as the Holy Ghost opens the scriptures to us that we see more fully the loving heart of God. It is not with the mind that we are drawn into the depths of God’s word but by revelation to the heart. The mind cannot understand the ways of God as these are not the ways of human thinking but divine ways. Who but God could have known what He was going to do and through the Old Testament scriptures have recorded this plan centuries before the plan was unfolded.
The Word of God is the living Word. It is the precious Word of God. Unlike other books, even those with the thoughts of other religions the Word of God as contained in the Bible is as relevant and alive today as when it was written. Jesus the eternal, living Word of God has come into our hearts when we were prepared to open the door to Him. It does not yet appear yet what we should be like but we know that when He shall appear we shall be like Him if we go on and grow in the knowledge and love of Him who has given His all for us.
The Christian is ever reaching forward to the goal which is set before him or her. On earth it is a daily moving forward. Should we become satisfied with our lot we shall become cold and indifferent to our lovely Jesus. It is Jesus who shows us the God given way of life. This is to be in constant communion with God. Jesus depended fully on the Father during His earthly ministry as He was constantly in prayer. The example of Jesus is our means of keeping in touch and growing in grace.
The plan of God is that we should be like Jesus. We are to know the presence of God with us at all times and that this presence will go wherever we go. God has shown us in Jesus that there is always a need in the world. All peoples in all countries are in need of God. There are still the poor and brokenhearted. There are sinners in all countries who need to hear of God’s plan for sinners to be forgiven. May God help us always to be in the position where the Holy Ghost can use us to manifest the life of Jesus wherever we go so that others may be drawn to the One who loved us and gave Himself for us when He fulfilled all that was written of him in the scriptures.
Lord Jesus Christ how can we ever thank you enough that we have not only searched the scriptures which speak of you but through them know that you are the only way to eternal life. In the volume of the book it is written of you for you are the Word, the living eternal Word of God. May those who know you as Lord and Saviour never grow cold or indifferent to you but follow your example day by day. Lord you showed how vital it is to pray like you did many times each day with the Father. Lord draw us ever closer to yourself as friend with friend. Let us know the closer the walk the greater our love for you. Jesus you gave everything to fulfil the will of the Father may we hold nothing back from yourself. In giving ourselves to you day by day Lord may your own life be manifested as a sweet smelling savour to whoever we are brought into contact. This prayer seeks only to bring honour and glory to our God. Amen.
3) Message: 19th. February 2014
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life.
1 John chapter 1 verse 1
John was able to write from experience. He had been called to be a disciple of Jesus at the same time as his own brother James.
And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left their nets; and he called them.
St Matthew chapter 4 verses 21 and 22
John and his brother James had worked with their father as fishermen. Their life had been devoted to providing a living for their family. The call of Jesus brought an immediate response for they left their nets, their livelihood, their father and the rest of the family. The account of the call does not say whether this was the first time they had encountered Jesus. The likelihood is that Jesus had walked by the Sea of Galilee before and John and James had already been deeply impacted by this man who had a message unlike any they had heard before. Not only the message for there was a life which was lived in line with the message. Jesus right from the very beginning of John’s discipleship had won John’s love, every bit of it so deep did Jesus impact on John’s life. Throughout Jesus earthly ministry there was a firm and especially close bond between Jesus and John. This is clear from what John, himself, records.
Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper.
St John chapter 21 verse 20
A special bond with a deep love is what is seen here in John’s account of his own following of Jesus as one of Jesus’ disciples. In our own walk with the Master can we say we have a special bond with a deep love? When we can what love fills our whole being for the One who loved us and gave Himself for us when He was nailed to His cross at Calvary for you and for me and for all who accept Him as their Savior and Lord. In the light of Calvary our lives should be white hot for Him overflowing with a love for Him which will never grow cold or become self-centered. John had seen Calvary and could never be the same again: when Calvary is seen we too can never be the same again. It is when Calvary has not been seen that there is coldness, self-centeredness and disobedience to act upon God’s Word.
John had a day to day experience of all that Jesus came to teach and to do. He had no doubts whatsoever that this man was God for the opening of John’s gospel is not the word of someone who had any uncertainty. There is an absoluteness here; a total certainty that Jesus is God, the creator Himself who came to live among His creation.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
St John chapter 1 verse 1
John as he was involved with the life of Jesus daily ministry could record from first-hand experience the teaching of Jesus. What a depth we find in John’s record of Jesus’ teachings. One of the most known verses in the whole of scripture is contained in Jesus’ reply to Nicodemus.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
St John chapter 3 verse 16
John was the source of recording Jesus as “the bread of life” (6:35); “the door of the sheep” (10:7); “the good shepherd” (10:11) and “the true vine” (15:1) which are just a few of some of the deep insights of Jesus’ teachings. There is also the record of Jesus at the last day of the feast when He spoke of the coming of the Holy Spirit after He returned to His Father.
He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
St John chapter 7 verse 38
Not only had John heard Jesus each day he had also seen all the miracles of Jesus. In essence John had been involved with all that took place during Jesus’ ministry from the moment he had received and obeyed that gracious call.
John along with the other disciples had experienced the mighty works of God in his own life when he had been commissioned by Jesus to go act in Jesus name.
And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.
St Matthew chapter 10 verse 1
It was through obedience to the call of Jesus that John heard, saw and had a mighty experience in the ministry which Jesus did from day to day. John had also been involved in active ministry himself exercising power over demons and evil spirits alongside healing sickness and disease. To John we are indebted to his writings in his gospel and epistles.
What a man John was as he was mightily used by God. John accepted responsibility from Jesus. All who belong to Jesus are given responsibility, however, not all accept their responsibility and many never find out what God has for them. Have you asked God for His plan for you and listened for the inner witness of the Spirit of God deep down in your inner being.
Only those who are His can hear and only those who listen will hear. In these days when the business of life can crowd out the still small voice of the Spirit of God let us respond at the slightest indication of the Spirit of God wanting to speak to our own spirit otherwise we will be spiritual paupers rather than walking in heavenly places with the Master.