January 11, 2022 Faith Bible Church

Abiding in the Word - Letters to the Prison

Abiding in the Word - Letters to the Prison

From the series - Letters to the Prison

--

Hello, everyone!  Paul says to be thankful (Colossians 3:15).  And we read elsewhere that one of the things Paul is most thankful for is… other believers!  He says, “I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus,” (1 Corinthians 1:4) and “We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers,” (1 Thessalonians 1:2).  So, as Paul prays (and prays often!), he gives thanks to God for his fellow believers in Christ.  We too are so very thankful for other believers.  A fellow Christian is a priceless treasure –even at a long distance.  Knowing that someone else is out there who shares our faith and loves us truly in Christ and is praying for us and giving thanks to God for us is a profound encouragement even on the toughest day.  So, know this, dear friends:  We love you and we thank God for you!


We’re continuing our study of John 8 where Jesus is providing a long, challenging answer to the question: “Who do you make yourself out to be? (Who do you think you are?)” (John 8:53b).  In the first part of his answer, Jesus clearly states that he is the Son of God worthy of all God’s glory, and that God gives him that glory (John 8:54).  In the second part, Jesus once again accuses his accusers of lying and of not knowing God (John 8:55). 


But what does it mean to know God?  Jesus, claiming to be God, is standing right there in front of them yet accuses them of not knowing him or God.  This is because they do not recognize that Jesus is precisely who he says he is.  They think he’s just a man.  So, they don’t know him in the proper way.  Earlier in our study, we saw Peter’s great confession: “We have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:69).  So, it’s more than a simple belief.  One also must come to know Jesus.  We observed that a person’s belief turns into knowing as they abide in (dwell in or live according to) Jesus’ words –the words we find in the Bible.  In fact, earlier in John 8, Jesus laid out what it means to know God.  A person must believe, and they must abide in his word (John 8:31-32) and know the truth –and Jesus claims to be the truth (John 14:6).  And Jesus, the Truth, will set them free.  Later, Jesus would assure his closest disciples that they know Jesus and God when he says: “From now on you do know him and have seen him” (John 14:7).  So, to know God is to believe that Jesus is God and live according to His word. 


In John 8:55, Jesus accuses those who claimed to believe in him of not knowing God because they were not abiding in his word.  Their walk wasn’t matching their talk.  This is a dire warning to us:  If we claim to be believers, yet act contrary to God’s word, we are liars who don’t truly know God.  Friends, we must constantly examine ourselves to see that we are acting according to the truth we claim to believe.  And where we fall short of that, we must confess it and repent.


Meanwhile, Jesus is not done answering the question.  As if what he has said already isn’t shocking enough, look what he says next:


  •  Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” -John 8:56


Let’s be clear:  Abraham lived over 2000 years before Jesus walked the earth.  Yet here Jesus is speaking as if he has seen Abraham and knows him well.  The implications of this are stunning, to say the least.  We’ll look more closely next week.  We love you!  Happy Thanksgiving!