On Various Subjects
RODGERS BAPTIST CHURCH
801 West Buckingham Rd. - Garland, TX 75040
37 "I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.
38 I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.
39 They answered and said unto Him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham.
40 But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.
41 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to Him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.
42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but He sent me.
43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.
46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?
47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God."
What if someone walked into your life, someone you have never seen or met before, and that person claimed to be a long lost brother or sister? Well, after you picked yourself up off the floor, you would most probably begin to ask questions so to validate this person's claims. One thing you would look for would be a FAMILY RESEMBLANCE. They say the acorn doesn't fall very far from the tree. Every family has certain characteristics, certain traits, that pass from generation to generation.
In our text, Jesus continues His confrontation with the Pharisees. These men hated Jesus for His claims to be the Son of God, and actually were seeking to kill Him. Time and time again, Jesus spoke of His Heavenly Father, that He was sent from the Father, that He was one with His Father in Heaven in His manner, mind, message and mission.
Of course the Pharisees choked on all of this. Blinded by unbelief, they could not see a FAMILY RESEMBLANCE. At every turn, the Pharisees challenged the claims of Jesus, and questioned His connection with God the Father. Besides, who needed this self proclaimed Messiah. They had their own connection with God. They prided themselves in that they were of the "seed of Abraham." Their father was Abraham. To the Jew, Abraham was the greatest figure in all religious history; and the Jew considered himself safe and secure in the favour of God simply because he was a descendant of Abraham. The admiration which the Jews gave to Abraham was perfectly legitimate, for he was and still is a giant in the religious history of mankind, but the deductions they drew from his greatness were very wrong. They believed that Abraham had gained such merit from his goodness that this merit was sufficient, not only for himself, but for all his descendants also. Literally, the Jew believed that he was safe and secure with God, simply because he was a descendant of Abraham.
In this passage, Jesus is dealing a deathblow to this all important claim held by the Jews in general and the Pharisees in particular. Truly, John has already dealt with it. Notice John 1:11-13. Speaking of Jesus and His earthly mission it says,"He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." Salvation does not come by merit. The human blood line that flows from Adam through every race, every nation, is tainted by sin. The Bible teaches that all have sinned, therefore all men must repent and believe in the atoning sacrifice available to all men through Christ Jesus, provided by the grace of God.
To this point, these Pharisees have been questioning the legitimacy of Jesus, His birth, His identity, and His mission. Now Jesus turns the tables and begins to question their own origin and identity. Basically the question Jesus puts to these religious but lost men is this, "Who is your father?"
Now, it is clear that Jesus did not question their physical, biological connection to Abraham. He says in verse 37, "I know that ye are Abraham's seed." There was no doubt that as Jews, these men, could trace their linage back to Abraham. What Jesus was challenging and questioning, was their spiritual claims and connection. The apostle Paul does the same thing in Romans 2:28-29. "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God."
With the skill and expertise of a prosecuting attorney, Jesus takes three bold steps in exposing their true spiritual heritage.
Jesus raises the question, "If you are the children of Abraham, then why don't you act like Abraham?" Notice verse 39. "They answered and said unto Him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham."
If someone claimed to be my long lost brother or sister, immediately I would begin to observe for any kind of a family resemblance. "Does this person look like me, act like me? Does this person have my good looks, my charm and grace, my wit and sense of humor, my..." Never mind. You know what I mean.
Jesus had a point. If they were connected to Abraham, if they reverenced Him as a great man, then he should be their mentor. What kind of man was Abraham?
Abraham was a man who believed God. In Genesis 15:6 we read of Abraham, "And he believed in the LORD; and He counted it to him for righteousness." Abraham was a man of faith. He is included in the hall of fame of faith in Hebrews 11. Notice what it says of Abraham in verses 8-11. "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised." When the Lord came to him and called him out of his country, kindred and father's house, Abraham believed. He believed the promises of God concerning a promised land and a promised seed through which would come a nation, and ultimately One who would bless all people, all nations!
Abraham was a man who received God. These Pharisees were seeking a way to kill Jesus, which was precisely the opposite of what Abraham did. When a messenger from God came to him, Abraham welcomed him with all eagerness and reverence. In Genesis 18:1-5 we read, "And the LORD appeared unto him (Abram) in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said." Abraham had welcomed God's messenger; the Jews of the present were trying to kill God's messenger. How could they dare claim themselves descendants of Abraham, when their conduct was so very different? By calling to mind the old story in Genesis 18, Jesus is implying that He too is the messenger of God. In verse 38 a, Jesus makes the claim explicit. "I speak that which I have seen with my Father." The fundamental thing about Jesus is that He brought to men, not His own opinions, but a message from God. He was not simply a man telling other men what He thought about things; He was the Son of God telling men what God thought. He told men the truth as God sees it.
Do you understand what Jesus is saying here? Jesus is saying, "You cannot be Abraham's children, really. Outwardly you are, but inwardly you are not because you do not do what Abraham did. You do not believe me. You will not receive me! There is no FAMILY RESEMBLANCE. There are no family traits!"
Everyone bears the traits, the characteristics of a family of origin. Its the law of genetics. We all look like, act like, somebody. We all reflect a particular genetic pool. It might manifest itself in big feet, large ear lobes, blue eyes, our stature, and personality.
Jesus did a little research on these Pharisees and discovered their family tree. He identified their father! In verse 41 a Jesus says, "Ye do the deeds of your father." Then notice verse 44. "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do." Whoa! Jesus told these men, "Your daddy is the devil!" How did He know? There was a FAMILY RESEMBLANCE! They bore seven characteristics found in Satan.
They would not give place to the Word of God. Notice verse 37. "I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you." The devil and his own hate the Bible because it reveals their sin and ultimate judgement. If you hate the taste of beef liver, there will not be a place for it on your plate! These men had no place for the words of Jesus!
They trusted in fleshly things, such as human birth, blood line, works, rituals and the like. Notice verse 39. "They answered and said unto Him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham." The devil will do anything to get your eyes off of the Savior. He will have you trust in lesser things, things that cannot, will not save! Some people trust in their own human goodness, some in their works, some in keeping certain religious rites and rituals, others in church membership. None of these will substitute for Jesus Christ alone!
They hated Jesus Christ, and sought to kill Him. Notice verse 40. "But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham." Verse 44. "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." The lost world crucified the Savior, and they still hate His people and influence!
They did not love Jesus Christ, His message, ministry or mission. Notice verse 42. "Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but He sent me." We must take the gospel of Jesus Christ into the world, on the job, in the schools, in the market place, because they have no heart, eyes, or ears for the things of God.
They did not understand the Word of God. Notice verse 43. "Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word." Unbelievers reading the Bible is like a young couple looking at their first sonogram. The Bible is a book breathed by God. Its pages will not yield to a person who does not have the breath of God within!
They were liars and loved lies more than the truth. Notice verse 44. "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." The lost world will not entertain an opinion based upon Biblical truth, but they will follow after every humanistic, godless theory.
They would not hear the Word of God. Notice verse 47. "He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God." They say that believers are closed minded, but its the world that is closed to Bible truth.
Think about it! Jesus is talking to clean living, law keeping, religious Pharisees! These men prided and paraded themselves as being close to God, and yet Jesus reveals them to be children of the devil! This proves that men need more than rites, relics, and religion. Religion can be rotten to the core! Its not about religion, but a living relationship with God through Jesus Christ!
Jesus brings this confrontation to a dramatic climax by directing three remarkable questions to these children of the devil. Jesus gives a pop test of sorts to these Jewish leaders, there in the courts of the temple. The people of Israel, many of them supporters of, and believers in, Jesus Christ are gathered around, and hanging on every word. The leaders particularly are very upset; they feel threatened. Now in an oral test, Jesus asks three questions of them, and pauses for an answer after each question.
The first question is given in verse 43 a. "Why do ye not understand my speech?" He waits for their response. There is nothing but silence, so He answers His own question in verse 43b. "even because ye cannot hear my word." He could read the anger, the resistance on their faces. They were threatened. They did not want to hear this, and He tells them why in verses 44-45. "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not."
Jesus strips away all the veils. He opens the door to the invisible kingdom, the spiritual struggle, under which all of us live. We will never understand life until we accept the fact that there are invisible realities, both good and bad, governing and controlling human life. Jesus lived continually in the realization that the invisible control center of earth was where the great issues of life were settled. He points out that there is a malevolent being, a hater of men, working behind the scenes; a murderer who wants to destroy human beings, and his process is to deceive them, to lie to them, to make them think and believe a lie. This was why these men did not understand His Word and His witness! They had been tricked; they had so long believed all the little lies that appealed to their pride and their ego that they were no longer capable of understanding and recognizing truth when Jesus spoke it. In II Corinthians 4:3-4, the apostle Paul recognizes this very thing! He says, "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."
Then Jesus asks the second question in verse 46 a. "Which of you convinceth me of sin?" This is surely one of the most, if not the most, remarkable challenges in all of human history. Here is a Man, who could stand up in public before not just His peers, but His enemies, and openly ask them, "Which one of you convicts me of sin? Speak up!" He pauses for an answer, but once again, there was nothing but silence! No one says anything! This is the unshakable rock upon which our Lord's testimony stands. The challenge issued by Jesus is this, "If you can find anything that I have done wrong, anything in all my thirty-three years on earth; if there is one of you who can stand up and say, 'You cheated me, you stole from me, you lied to me, you deceived me, you lived for your own self, you took away what belonged to another,' that would utterly demolish my claim to have come from God." Once again in a clear and dramatic way, Jesus is claiming nothing less than Deity! Jesus leaves humanity no middle ground. Either His is a liar, a lunatic, or He is Lord! He leaves us no other choice!
Then Jesus asks the third question in verse 46 b. "And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?" No one had answered when he asked, "Which of you convicts me of sin?" Their silence implied that no one could do so. So He asks, "If I tell you the truth, why do you not believe me?" There is a remorseless logic in His words. He has stripped away the veil that has hidden their hearts from themselves. He has revealed them, not as good and decent men who were free before God, but as slaves, bound with habits they could not break, slaves to sin, desperately needing the work of a Redeemer. So he states the case plainly in verse 47. "He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God."
The test did its work! Jesus revealed their hearts. However religious, these men did not know God!
Jesus still reveals the hearts of people today. He divides all humanity into two families; the family of God, and the family of Satan. Those in the family of God, no matter what their country, culture, color, or clime, all bear the traits, the characteristics that come with the second spiritual birth. It is faith in the finished work of Calvary that determines our spiritual family of origin. Romans 4:1-5. "What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." Who are you in relationship to Jesus Christ? Its time to discover your spiritual family tree. Is there a FAMILY RESEMBLANCE?