I SPEAK FROM MYSELF
John 7:14 Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. 15 And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? 16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. 17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. 18 He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.
It is amazing that religious man is so bold in his ignorance as to stand in the face of the very Word of Life and criticize him for not having learned the ABC’s of their religious traditions from their Rabbi schools. For he is the Word that is God, and is with God! John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 1 John 1:1 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;
And as far as “letters” are concerned, he is the very alphabet of God! Revelation 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. His inner thoughts were directly inspired by the Father! John 8:28 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. 8:38 I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. 12:50 And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.
And his thoughts, expressed by his words bring forth his purposes! Genesis 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. Hebrews 11:3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. Matthew 8:16 When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick:
Yet we know, as the scripture by the hand of a highly learned Jewish scholar, who became the Apostle Paul stated, “Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.” (1 Corinthians 8:1). That is, bare intellectual knowledge fills one with pride. But Christ’s words are highly beneficial to the building up of the soul, as they are both spirit and life! John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
And even the Apostle Paul knew that to deal with the Jewish community he had to do so “as a Jew.” (1 Cor. 9:20). Listen to him as he quiets the mob at Jerusalem, who caused his arrest, which later resulted in his being brought to Rome. Acts 22:3 I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day. Notice that he did give his accepted, and even required, Jewish credentials. For he gave the name of the Jewish Rabbi under whom he studied. And that is what these of our text were referring to as they criticized the Lord Jesus!
But now listen to that same apostle relate to one of the Gentile churches, founded under the influence of his powerful ministry, just how he now regards his former Jewish training after that the Lord had met him on the Damascus road. Philippians 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. 4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: 5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. 7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
Dear Reader, the church may be of great influence to first bring you to a learned position, in aiding you to come to a proper doctrinal understanding. But it will only be the Holy Spirit bringing you through experiences, in order to apply that learning, by faith, to bring you on to Christ! Philippians 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
For the just shall live by faith – not by accumulated knowledge! But that faith is not without spiritually applied knowledge! Ignorance is not spirituality! But neither is an accumulation of religious knowledge! Our pulpits are filled with Sunday School teachers, armed with a set of Matthew Henry Commentaries, with only a head knowledge, giving us lectures and calling them ‘sermons!’ Teaching has its place. But teaching is not preaching! 1 Corinthians 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers?
Preaching has a pressing urgency to it that teaching does not always have. 1 Corinthians 4:20 For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. 2 Corinthians 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
One can obtain the sermons of Pastor Charles Spurgeon, or of Mr. Calvin, Sibbes, Baxter, Watson, or any other preacher’s sermons so readily available today. These can be memorized and repeated within the form of orthodox religion,. Yet without the Holy Spirit who brought them in the first place, they are but sounding brass and tinkling cymbal lectures. We need fewer parrots and more “voices!”
And I wonder if we have not hurt ourselves in the massive efforts to reprint these works, as they cause our people to receive yesterday’s stale bread instead of the fresh bread of experiential revelation! The power of the gospel has always been in the application of contemporary instruction from the throne. Little does it matter what took place in “the Reformation,” if you cannot receive revelation for the issues of present day redemption! As one old faithful preacher stated, “We must know which way the Redeemer is going in our day!”
This is proved by verses seventeen and eighteen in our above listed text. For in verse seventeen the Lord states that in order to know “the doctrine,” one must desire to be doing the will of God. This is the only way the Lord sent forth his gospel for its designed effect. For he clearly instructed his apostles to go forth and teach others that which he had first commanded those apostles to do. They understood that he meant they had to be obeying his command while preaching it to others, if they expected it to have its powerful effect. And he warns of those who speak the gospel truths, but do not live them in Matthew chapter twenty three. Matthew 23:2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: 3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
The gospel is only effectually progressed from one living by faith, to another who is granted the gift of faith by that spiritual word! Romans 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. And that word of God is associated with his ‘sent’ preachers. Romans 10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent?
Dear Ones, failure in these things aids in the reprobation of religious souls! Titus 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. They aid in the danger of self deception! James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
And we not only learn in verse seventeen that the gospel is only effectually passed on from those obeying Christ who instruct others to that obedience, but we also learn in verse eighteen that there is also a matter of properly dealing with the glory! And this, most assuredly qualifies the type of men called to preach. Only very few of those used to write the scriptures were formally educated. The criteria was that they be filled with the Spirit, not that they be formally educated.
1 Corinthians 1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
And just why did the Lord do it this way?1 Corinthians 1:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. Let’s reread John 7:18. He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him. True preaching can only be accomplished by one who is aware of the glory and seeks it only for his master! Isaiah 42:8 I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. 48:11 For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another.
Sin originated within the human race by a coming short of the glory that God intended for them! Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Man was made in the image of God in order to reflect God’s glory to all the created order! But he fell short of doing that.
And that glory can only be recovered by One who is the mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. (1 Tim. 2:5). John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
The first Adam lost that glory by sin. But the last Adam recovered it for believers among mankind by his total and absolute obedience to the Father! John 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
Seeing the glory is required for regeneration. John 2:11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him. It is also that which provides sanctification. 2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. And it shall be in seeing the Lord Christ in his glorified body that shall be the means of our glorification! 1John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
Therefore the Lord Christ has set it forth that the proper discernment for knowing that he is Lord of lords is in having the inner willingness to do God’s will, and by a proper relationship with the glory of God. And Nicodemus, having given the wrong reason for his knowing that Jesus was a teacher come from God, was quickly told that he needed to be born again! John 3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
And this is the same issue with Christ in his not responding with a commitment to those who thought themselves to be believers in him! For they, like Nicodemus, based their belief upon him from the influence that his miracles had on their affections. John 2:23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. 24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, 25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.
The witness of true salvation is within the heart of the individual believer. And it will work itself out in order to be seen that it was God who worked it in! 1 John 5:10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.
Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Luke 8:15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
Pastor Gene Breed. August 8, 2014