Today on Summit Life with J.D.
Greer. The single focus of the Bible is Jesus. And as we see the glory of Jesus in the pages of the Bible, we are transformed and we become people who seek glory because we love glory. We do righteousness because we love righteousness. And that does not come through religious to-do lists.
And it does not come by me giving you a motivational speech. It comes by you leaving this place in awe of the greatness of the glory of God who gave himself for you at the Gospel. Welcome back to Summit Life with Pastor J.D. Greer.
As always, I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch, and we're so glad that you're back with us today. We often refer to the first four books of the New Testament—that's Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—as the Gospels, right? But today, Pastor J.D. reveals that the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, is all one big story—the story of Jesus Christ. It's all the Gospel. And as we go deeper into understanding this message, that's when God can step in and transform our lives.
Pastor J.D. titled this message The Word, and it's part of our new teaching series simply called Gospel. John 15. The Gospel is not just the way that we begin in Christ. The Gospel is also the way that we grow in Christ. You see, for many of us in church, the Gospel functioned for us something like the diving board off of which we jumped into the pool of Christianity. It was a prayer that we prayed to invite Jesus into our life that began the Christian life. But now that we have become Christians, we are going to grow in Christ by all these different new things we're going to learn— precepts and principles and practical steps and how to do this, right?
And what I tried to show you was that that's not true. People start thinking you grow in Christ by learning, you know, five ways to be a better husband, and here's how you control your temper, and that's what it means to grow in Christ. What I tried to show you was that according to Jesus, the Gospel is not just the diving board off of which we jump into the pool of Christianity.
The Gospel is the pool itself. And so we grow in Christ never by going beyond the Gospel. We grow in Christ by going deeper into the Gospel. You see, it is as God enlarges your understanding of the glory of who he is in the Gospel as you see his holiness, as you see what your sin against him was really like, when you see how much generosity and mercy and grace that he showed to you. It is when you see those things in the Gospel that you begin to change. Not just your behaviors change, but you change.
Your desires change. And you begin to act righteously because you begin to love righteousness. Because see, there's something that the Gospel does that no religious to-do list can ever do, and that is that it changes your heart.
It changes your desires. God wants you not just to act righteously. He wants you to act righteously because you love righteousness. And the only thing that can produce that kind of change in the heart is the Gospel. So that's what Jesus tells in John 15. He tells us to abide in the Gospel.
Abide means literally to make your home in it, to dwell there. And as we do that, he says you will grow as the roots of our lives grow deeper in the Gospel. Spiritual fruit, spiritual behavior comes as naturally to us as roses on a rose bush. Listen, the hard part of Christianity is not earning God's love because God gives his love and acceptance as a gift in Christ. Christ did the work for you and he gives it to you as a gift. The hard part of Christianity is believing in that love, abiding in it, remaining in the presence of it. That's the hard part of Christianity.
It's not that you earn God's love, it's that you believe that it's been given to you. It's so counterintuitive. And so what these spiritual disciplines do is they keep you in the presence of that. I explained to you that they're like wires that connect us to the power of the Gospel. Wires don't have any power in themselves.
But wires connect you to the place from which the power comes. Well see, in the same way, listen to this, the same way spiritual disciplines have no power in themselves, but they keep us connected to the place that the power comes from, which is the Gospel. And that's what they help you abide in.
Do you get that analogy? Okay, so here's command number one that we see in John 15. Command number one, here we go, it's John 15 seven, which we're going to look at today. Abide, Jesus says, in my word.
That's his command. Abide in my word, 15 seven. If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish and it'll be done for you.
Abiding in the word of God is going to give you access to the power of God. He also says this to him just a few verses before. If you go back one chapter to chapter 14, verse 23. And by the way, you remember, in the original, you know, writing of this, there was no break between chapter 14 and 15. This was all part of one discussion. So right before this, Jesus had made this statement.
Look at this. If anyone loves me, he will keep my word and my father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word which you hear is not mine, but it's the father's who sent me. Okay, there are four things that Jesus is teaching us about his word, the Bible, in these verses that I want to develop for you. All right, they all kind of build on each other. I'm going to give them all to you right here. Don't try to write all these down because we'll go through them one at a time.
But for you Type A people that love to know where we're going, this is it. Then one of the first things Jesus does is he shows us the divine nature of the Bible. Shows us how he views the Bible.
It's divine nature. The second thing that he does is shows us the single focus of the Bible. Then the third thing he explains is the benefits of abiding in the Bible. And then the fourth thing that kind of flows out of these is he urges us toward a radical commitment to the Bible.
So here we go, number one. Jesus explains to us the divine nature of the Bible. This is in verse 24 of chapter 14. Jesus claims that the words that he speaks are not just the words of an enlightened man.
They're not heightened God consciousness. They are the very words of God. You see that in verse 24? The word which you hear is not mine.
It is the Father's who sent me. Now, this is not just an attitude that Jesus had toward his own words. If you have a red letter Bible, the word's in red. This is the attitude he had toward all of scripture.
Every word in the Bible, he said, is the word of God. The reason I point that out is because there's a lot of people who like to say that the Bible contains this kind of like enlightenment by God that's like God's ideas, but when it was recorded by human beings, it got mixed up with a little error. Because, you know, humans are perfect, and when they're writing it down, they got some stuff wrong. So you got God ideas mixed up with faulty human expressions. Because, I mean, you know, these authors had their own cultural biases and traditions, and sometimes they couldn't see out of them, and sometimes they just made mistakes.
But, of course, now we, 21st century Americans with the Internet, you know, we're all sophisticated, and we're scientific, and sometimes we just have to correct some of their archaic ideas or their historical inaccuracies because we know better. Jesus did not feel that way about the Bible. There are three words that we use to describe Jesus' attitude toward the inspiration of the Bible, inspiration meaning the fact that it's from God. There are three words we use to describe it that are a little nerdy and theological, but I would encourage you to write them down because they are very important. The three words are verbal, plenary, and infallible. Verbal, plenary, and infallible. Verbal means not just the ideas but the words themselves. Plenary, of course, means the whole of them, not a part of them. And infallible means that they are unable to lead us astray, that they are without error.
Right? Now, let me give you a couple examples of this that sort of put all of them together. Matthew chapter 19, Jesus is teaching something to his disciples, and he makes a quote from Genesis 2. And when he quotes from Genesis 2, he preface it by saying, God says, and then he quotes from Genesis 2, and if you go back and look at his quotation that he's making, it is clearly the words of the narrator of Genesis, we assume Moses. So what he is doing is saying that what Moses said, it's not even where God in Genesis is saying, thus says the Lord. It's what Moses is saying, and Jesus says what Moses says is what God says in Scripture. Here's another example, very important one, John 10, 33. Jesus is in an argument with the Pharisees about whether or not it's okay for people to worship him. And so Jesus, to show them that it is okay that they worship him, he quotes from the Psalms, Psalm chapter 82, and he says this, is it not written in your law? And then he quotes a verse from Psalm 82 that has one word in it that refers to the Messiah as being God.
Now here's what's significant about that. First of all, the book of Psalms is not the law, right? The Psalms are clearly songs that are written by Jewish people about God. It's not the laws that are coming from God. Secondly, he quotes Psalm 82, which is written by a guy named Asaph, who nobody's ever heard of. We don't know anything about Asaph. He's a lightweight.
He's JV. David is like the superstar of the Psalms. He didn't even quote one by David. And then he takes one word out of that Psalm and bases the argument for his deity upon it.
I love how Roger Nicole summarizes all this. He says, quote, Jesus Christ bases his argument for his deity on a single word and a secondary clause in an unimportant psalm by an obscure figure in the seemingly least authoritative part of Scripture, the Psalms. You know what the point is that I'm making? Every word Jesus viewed as being the words of God so that he could build an entire argument off of one word in one verse in an unimportant part of the Scripture, we think. Now some of you are like, well, okay, well, I understand that deals with the Old Testament, but I mean, you know, the Bible I got in my hands right here has a lot of books that are written after Jesus. You know, it's written by guys like Peter and Paul and Matthew and Mark and Luke and John. How do we know those guys got it right? I mean, maybe it was, you know, them trying to think about what they wanted Jesus to say, and maybe they had their own agenda. You ever heard that?
The dementia code. You ever heard that kind of argument? That people, you know, oh, well, it's not recorded accurately. It's what some people wanted Jesus to be. Well, that's a great question. A great question. Look in verse 26 of chapter 14.
You'll see something pretty interesting. Jesus says to the apostles, look at this, the Helper, 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've said to you. Well, didn't He just promise them? He promised them two things.
Did you catch it? Number one, He promised that the Holy Spirit would bring to their remembrance accurately everything that He taught them. That is His promise that they would record accurately the emphasis of His teaching. The second thing that He promised them, did you catch that, is that the Holy Spirit would teach them all things, which means that the Holy Spirit would clarify and deepen and help them apply Jesus' teaching to places that Jesus never really discussed. That's the Epistles of Paul. That's books like Revelation and Hebrews and James and Jude, which is why Peter and Paul refer to each other's writings as Scripture, the same name that Jesus gave the Old Testament. The whole point I'm making is the Bible is the very words of God, verbal, plenary, infallible, which means that you can trust it. And it means you can build your life on it.
And that's going to be the basis of everything else we talk about today. This is God's Word to us. We'll return to our teaching in just a moment, but I wanted to tell you about our new featured resource this month, meant to help you take this gospel study further. You know, it's one thing to know that honey is sweet, but it's quite another thing to let the sweetness of honey burst inside your mouth. Well, the gospel is the sweet message of the power of God, not just once, but always every single day. We know that in our head, but wouldn't it be better to experience it? Take the time to personalize these teachings that you're hearing on the program with an eight-session video-based Bible study featuring further teaching from Pastor JD. It comes with your generous gift to the ministry right now, so give us a call at 866-335-5220, or check it out at jdgrier.com.
Now let's get back to the conclusion of today's teaching. Here's Pastor JD. Did you know that if God speaks to you in a dream, and I think he does that from time to time, I wouldn't take that away from him, but if God speaks to you in a dream, you got a one in three chance of it being God. You're like, one in three? Yeah, it could be a hallucination. It could be something you ate that day that had some image come up in your mind that you think is God, but it's really not.
That happens. It could be an evil spirit. Satan loves to impersonate God, and the Scripture says sometimes he appears as an angel of light, and he will whisper in our mind and head as if he's God, and he loves to confuse us.
So it might be Satan, or number three, it might be God. If God speaks to you in a dream or a vision, you got a one in three chance of it being God. You pick up that book that you got in your hands and you read it, you got a one in one chance of it being God, because it is the very words of God. It has the authority of God. It is God's words.
It's always God. Number two, the divine nature of the Bible. Number two, the single focus of the Bible. This is verse seven. You see on verse seven, Jesus equates, look at it, his words abiding in us with us abiding in him.
See how he just kind of moves between those two, abiding in my words and abiding in me are the same thing? That's because the words of the Bible, listen, are always about Jesus. Everything in the Bible points to Jesus. Luke chapter 24, Jesus explained this in what had to be the greatest Bible study moment ever. Jesus is talking with his apostles, and it says that he begins with Moses and the prophets, and he explains to them how every story, every chapter, all of it is about him. How the point in everything that he has taught them is about him. That's because the point of the Bible is one, it's about Jesus. Every story of the Bible, every chapter of scripture is pointing you to Jesus. I try to show you that every time I preach.
I don't always do a great job. When we studied first and second Samuel together last year, which is about David. Remember how I explained to you that the point of those stories about David is not to give you is not to give you a new hero to emulate? I mean, sure, I get inspired by the story of David too, but that's not the main point. The main point of David's life was giving you a foreshadowing of a greater king who would come, who would fulfill what David foreshadowed, and then succeed where David failed.
These are just examples. Joshua and Judges in the Old Testament. In the Hebrew Canon, those are one book, so they go together. Joshua and Judges, if you're unfamiliar with the Bible, Joshua and Judges are always what Sunday school teachers teach from because they got the coolest stories in the universe. Joshua marching around, you know, the walls of Jericho, knocking the walls down. Then you got, you know, Judges, you got Samson, and you got all these cool, you know, battle scenes and battle stories, Gideon and all those things. The guy that I was reading who was explaining these books said, there's something we do wrong in Joshua and Judges in that we always end up taking these as like examples for us to go and face our enemies. He said, when you read Joshua and Judges, watch, there's a very clear progression that is developing.
Joshua, I mean, Joshua is like a man's man. He's a stud. He is the captain of the army. He's got swagger, and he commands things.
He's got a kicktail army that just goes through the land of Canaan, and they just, they just, they get it done. Judges opens up. Guess who the army, the captain of the army is in Judges?
Deborah, who's a woman. Now, I know in our politically correct culture, we're like, well, you know, it's all equal. But to the Hebrew people, that was, I mean, again, no offense, this is just their culture. That was a step down. When you go from Jack Bauer to Barbara Walters at the head of your army, step down, okay? So now you got a woman leading the army. Then a few chapters later, you got Gideon. Remember, he didn't even have the army.
He just takes 300. Then you got Samson, who doesn't have an army period. He just got the jawbone of a donkey and opens up a can of whoop trash on the Philistines, right? Then you got, after that, the book of Judges closes, and you go to David in 1st Samuel because that's the next book. David isn't even a strong guy like Samson.
He's just a teenage runt with a leather strap and five rocks. What's the whole point of that? What's the author's point of that?
What's the author trying to show you with this downward progression? He's trying to show them that Israel will not be delivered by economic, military, or political might. Israel is going to be delivered by one who comes in weakness, born in a manger, lives as a servant, dies as a criminal, and by himself defeats all of Israel's enemies and delivers them. The whole point of Joshua and Judges is not to give you cool battle heroes to emulate. The whole point of Judges is that Jesus overcame it, and you worship Him. The whole point of every story of the Bible is that not you leave with a list of what you're to do for God, but you stand in awe of what He has done for you. You are to leave worshiping and in love with Jesus, which is why I often explain to you the goal that I have in preaching for you is that you worship. The way I say it's like this, the goal of a lecture is that you leave with information. Isn't that what a lot of churches are? A good church service is where you copy down like five pages of notes.
Look how much I grew in Christ today. That's the goal of a lecture is that you leave with information. Then you got the goal of a motivational speech, which is action steps. That's what a lot of churches do. You always leave with a new to-do list of things that you need to be fixing and doing for God. The goal of a lecture you leave with information, the goal of a motivational speech is that you leave with action steps. The goal of a sermon is that you leave worshiping. You leave in awe of what God has done for you, because when you are in awe of what God has done for you, then what you are to do for God will come as naturally to you as roses on a rose bush or fruit on a vine. And one of my favorite verses where Paul explains preaching, he says this. I love this.
Look at this. To this day, whenever Moses is read, he's speaking about unbelieving people, unbelieving Jews in his generation. To this day, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their hearts.
But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord. Where?
Where? Where are we beholding the glory of the Lord? Look back in verse 15, in the reading of Moses and the prophets. With an unveiled face, now we are beholding in Moses and the prophets the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. Because this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. How are we transformed? The Spirit enables us to see the glory of Jesus as Moses and the rest of the Bible is read to us. And as we see the glory of Jesus in the pages of the Bible, we are transformed.
Not our behavior, but us. We are transformed and we become people who seek glory because we love glory. We do righteousness because we love righteousness. And that does not come through religious to do list.
It does not come through information and it does not come by me giving you a motivational speech. It comes by you leaving this place in awe of the greatness of the glory of God who gave himself for you at the Gospel. So the single focus of the Bible is Jesus. Here's number three. The benefits of abiding in the Bible. Jesus explains the divine nature of the Bible, then he explains the single focus, then he gives you the benefits of abiding in the Bible. I'm going to have to do these quickly, but I see three different ones in these verses.
They'll be A, B, and C. Here's A. A recreated heart. You have a recreated heart. That's verse five. Jesus says that when you abide in the Gospel, his Word, his life comes into your dead heart and begins to make it spiritually alive. The Gospel of John draws a really interesting parallel through the Word, Jesus, and through the first chapter of the Bible, Genesis 1.
Again, if you're not familiar with the Bible, this might be kind of new to you, but Genesis 1 opens up with these words. In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. How did God create the heaven and the earth? Did he get together some chemicals and potions and put them in a little Bunsen burner and mix them up? Is that how he did it?
No. He spoke. It says he spoke. He says first he created the earth and the earth was formless and void, and then he spoke into the formless void world, and as he spoke, light came out of darkness. Order came out of chaos.
Beauty came out of emptiness and ugliness. And as God spoke, everything came out of nothing, and it was good. So when John, the Gospel of John, rolls around, you ever see how the Gospel of John opens?
You've noticed this? In the beginning was the Word, a direct allusion back to Genesis 1. The Word now is Jesus.
Watch. Just like God's Word in Genesis 1 spoke beauty and order and life into darkness, chaos, and death, Jesus, the Word of God, is now going to speak beauty, order, and life into those of us whose souls are consumed by darkness, chaos, and death. It is the Word of God that is going to recreate life from death so that the Gospel of John ends with the most curious scene in the Bible to me, which is the last thing Jesus does with his apostles. You ever see this in John 21? You know the last thing he does after he, you know, gives them the words and he's about ready to go up?
It says that he looks at them and breathes on them. Now, how awkward is that? You know, it's like, you're like, is that like a Hebrew way of saying, you know, I love you, I'm going to miss you?
No. That's awkward then, just like it is now. You're like, hey, man, see you later.
Breathe in their face. But what Jesus says next is really important. He breathes on them and then he says, receive the Holy Spirit. You know what he's doing? He's going back and replaying Genesis 2.
Remember when Genesis 2, when God made man out of clay, Plato made him? The last thing he does, he breathes into his nostrils the breath of life and man becomes alive. Jesus is saying that he is going to breathe the Holy Spirit through his word into their hearts and those who are consumed by death, disorder, disease and chaos are going to have life and beauty come into their lives.
It recreates your heart. For those of you that have marriages that are in chaos and disorder, that are empty and void, you know what you need? You need the Word of God. Because no amount of counseling is going to be able to do for you what the Word of God can do in your heart, which is recreate beauty and order. For those of you that are in the confusion of unbelief, you're in depression, you are in sadness, you need to be liberated and set free, not just by new habits, but by the Word of God that creates everything out of nothing and creates life out of death. Are you ready for God to do a new thing in your life? You're listening to Summit Life, the Bible Teaching Ministry of J.D.
Greer. This month we're featuring a special new resource from Pastor J.D. that we believe will help you grow in your understanding of the Gospel message and transform your way of thinking. It's a video-based curriculum Pastor J.D. created simply called Gospel. The Gospel Bible study kit includes two DVDs, and five study guides, so you can complete the study with four of your best friends. It also comes with a copy of Pastor J.D. 's book titled Gospel. The objective of this Bible study is to help you simply abide in Jesus when you are captivated by the love of Christ. The natural results are patience, generosity, self-control, passion, and kindness.
You become more self-disciplined and less selfish. The entire curriculum kit is yours when you generously give to support this ministry today. Call 866-335-5220 or give online and request your kit at jdegreer.com. I'm Molly Vidovitch. Be sure to tune in next time when we'll continue this series diving deeper into the Gospel of God's transforming grace. That's our topic Tuesday on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
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