What Do You Believe About
The Doctrine of Christ?
Sin originated in the garden of Eden with a lie. Satan lied to Eve, which led to her and her husband’’s transgression of God’’s law. Satan is the father of lying, as John 8:44 tells us, "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."
Satan’’s lying spirit is infused into the entire human race. A lie is a contradiction of truth. "Lie" and "truth" are never compatible. A lie to be believable must rest close to the truth. Satan, the originator of the lie, would not totally remove truth. Instead, he would integrate together a truth and a lie. In his subtleness, he was able to deceive Eve by using as much truth as needed and as little lie as possible. Satan did not need a blatant lie for it to be effective; for he knew that any departure from truth would constitute a lie. Though the lie has a common occurrence, God’’s attitude towards the lie has not changed. Revelation 21:8 reveals to us God’’s intense hatred of the lie, "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."
In John’’s gospel, Christ reveals Satan as the originator of the lie and contrasted Himself as the embodiment of truth (John 8:44; 14:6). It is obvious to the student of the Scriptures that there has been an ongoing conflict throughout the ages. After the incarnation of Christ, the conflict focused on the places where Jesus walked and worked. Great tension increased with every activity of Jesus. The words, "belief," "believe," "truth" and "judgment" appears often in the Book of John to not only support that Jesus was true but the truth.
The healing of the impotent man prompted the questions concerning His deity. The next question pertained to Christ and His doctrine. Someone said that doctrine is ones "do-trend" or the trend of what one does. Certainly the Book of John serves the purpose of revealing Christ and His "doings." Jesus’’ brethren asked Him to show Himself to the world, "If thou do these things." In saying this their attitude revealed unbelief. It was indicated by their use of the word, "If" (v. 4).
May we consider the way the Lord ministered to their unbelief, as we examine first:
I. THE SUBTLE SUGGESTIONS OF THE UNBELIEVERS vv. 1-9
The brethren mentioned were His unbelieving kinsmen. Their suggestions were an attempt to force Christ to show His powers. They had heard the reports, but had no confidence in what they had heard. It was their desire to be shown; then if they were convinced that His works were real they would believe upon Him. At least that appears to be their motive in requesting Jesus to go into Judaea. Their suggestions were demonic. Another consideration is that this was a diabolical scheme of Satan’’s to get Jesus to go to Judaea in hopes that He would be filled. The duce to Satan’’s involvement is hinted at by the use of the word "If." On at least three other occasions "If" was used by Satan. The first occurrence was at the beginning of Jesus’’ earthly ministry during His temptations by the devil. Luke 4:3, "And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread." Notice, "If thou be the Son of God"; then verse 9 reads, "And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence." Again, "If thou be the Son of God." The second event where the language of unbelief was used is when Peter walked upon the water. Matthew 14:28, "And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water." His sinking may have been in association with his doubt …… "if it be thou." The Lord had already told Peter that it was Him in verse 27, "Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid."
When the brethren said, "If thou do these things, show thyself to the world" they must have also known the danger that Jesus knew. In verse one, Jesus, "would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him." A careful examination of the text indicates that Satan is suggestion through the brethren that Jesus go to Judaea. Satan wants Jesus dead.
Their suggestions were deadly. Satan, John 8:44 tells us, was a murderer from the beginning. He will use any means to bring about death or harm to God’’s choice servants. When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Herod attempted to locate Jesus, not to worship but to kill him. Herod, when unable to locate Jesus, angrily had all the children in Bethlehem who were two years old and younger slaughtered. Satan also tried to kill Jesus during his temptation (Matthew 4:6). The brethren appealed to Jesus by suggesting that no one did in secret what Jesus was doing. "Show the world," they said. "Let the world see what you can do," "Put yourself in the lights." What the brethren said to Jesus is so typical of the suggestions that Satan makes today. Many servants of the Lord have succumbed to the subtle suggestions of Satan. They begin by receiving the recognition and the accolades of men. Yet this recognition comes with a great price. The price is "compromise." Someone said that an example of compromise is "the act of dividing a piece of cake where everybody things he is getting the biggest piece." A compromised position with the world is a no win situation. The brethren were attempting to get Jesus to compromise His agenda for the purpose of meeting theirs and Satan’’s agenda. Jesus did not compromise at all.
Their suggestions were denied. Jesus always stayed focused, or as rendered in the Book of Ruth, "stedfastly minded." II Corinthians 5:17 tells us to be steadfast, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." Jesus denied the suggestions of His brethren, seeing through their diabolical scheme. Jesus had come for the purpose of doing His Father’’s will and that alone. Everything that He did was on His and also His Father’’s schedule. Verse six tells us this, "Then Jesus said unto them. My time is not ye come: but your time is always ready." This verse reveals that Jesus knew what the end result of their suggestion would be. . It could have meant His death.
However, it may have been possible that they, under the influence of Satan, did not realize the end results of their suggestion. In their mind they may have only been trying to get real proof of who Jesus was. Satan certainly uses people to touch other people. Satan even uses people to murder other people. One of the greatest danger of the alcohol and drug users is that Satan uses them while intoxicated to do his bidding. Many miserable souls wake up with no recollection of what they did the night before. Police records testify that most of the criminal activity taking place is in association with alcohol and drug use. Satan is able to take a person like this and influence him with great east. As believers we need to put on the "whole armor of God" lest we also succumb to Satan’’s plays in perhaps other ways.
II. THE STIRRING SURPRISE OF THE UNBELIEVERS vv. 10-18
Jesus remained in Galilee until after the brethren left. He then secretly went to the feast The Jewish authorities were looking for Him there. The Scriptures tell us that there, "was much murmuring among the people concerning him" (v. 12). The group murmuring seemed to be split in their opinions of Jesus. Some thought Him to be a good man. Others thought Him to be a deceiver. Yet no one would openly divulge their feeling for fear of the Jews.
It must be terrible to have an opinion yet be to afraid to express it. The fear that gripped; the hearts of the people originated in Satan. "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (II Timothy 1:7). Though the people were afraid, Jesus was not. His going to the feast in secret was not a result of fear. He was operating on His schedule. Verse 14 tells us that midway through the feast, the Lord went into the Temple. The feast of the Tabernacles lasted eight days. According to our text, the feast has been going on for about four days. Where did His doctrine come from? The Jews marveled; they could not understand one who had not been formally taught speaking as He did. They certainly did not realize that the one who knows all was their teacher. There was not one discipline of truth that the Lord could not expound upon. As creator God, He knows the origin or the worlds; the mystery of the universe, the chemistry of the body, the effects of sin, the composition of the atom, and the energy that the atom contains. He knew Einstein’’s theory of relativity before Einstein was even thought of. There was no legal question that He could not answer. He understands all the legal questions pertaining to the law. He is proficient in questions concerning the psychological.
While in the Temple His teachings were likely confined to the theological. Yet He was teaching those things that should have been learned only through other teachers. They marveled that He taught, "…… having never learned" (v. 15).
Whose is His doctrine? Jesus said, "My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me" (v. 16). The teachings that Jesus delivered were heavenly in origin. He was a messenger delivering another’’s message. As the triune God, Jesus was also delivering His own message. For His message and the Father’’s are the same. Those of us who have been privileged to preach the gospel must admit that we deliver another’’s message, but as we embrace it as truth; it becomes our message as well. As gospel ministers we should feel the weight of delivering the message in such a way as to give all the glory to God alone. The Holy Spirit reminds me often that we are so prone to want the glory for ourselves. May God help us to give the glory to Him!
Who can know His doctrine? Doing the will of God is the key to knowing His doctrine (v. 17). Jesus was telling the people that the privilege knowing the doctrine could belong to anyone who would do the will of the Father. Jesus was the perfect example as doing His Father’’s will. He was always, "about His Father’’s business" (Luke 2:49). Doing the Father’’s business should be the purpose of every church. There should be a strong desire with great purpose to preach doctrine. Many churches know nothing of the Lord’’s will because they have taught their own doctrines rather than the doctrine of Christ. A strong church must be correct in its doctrine. We need to preach unapologetically the doctrine of Christ. The last days are marked by a departure from the faith as I Timothy 4:1 tells us, "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils."
One thing for sure, Jesus was not a wimp. He, in His own time, with courage and truth confronted those who questioned Him. In some instances, if it were more appropriate, He would remain silent. Even then His silence spoke volumes. There were those in Jerusalem who recognized the courage of Jesus when they said, "…… he speaketh boldly" (v. 26).
He rebuked them. He said that a person could have the doctrine of the Father by keeping it. Then, He rebuked those who gave glory to Moses by telling them that they did not even keep Moses’’ law. He also accused the law breakers of going about trying to kill Him (v. 19). Things have not changed that much today. We are so prone to excuse our own failures while magnifying the failures of others. But in this case, Jesus had done no wrong at all. The rebuke by Jesus causes the people to answer, "…… Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee?" (v. 20).
He responds to them. All the questions and the tension was a result of the "one work" of healing the impotent man on the Sabbath. The Jewish authorities had already made His "crime" punishable by death. In their minds Jesus was a guilty criminal for doing good. He reasons with them on the basis that Moses’’ law permitted circumcision on the Sabbath. He told them that circumcision was permitted and was good. He then reasoned that the healing of a man competency was also good and that it did not constitute the breaking of the law of Moses. Some of them recognized the boldness of Christ. When men have the truth as their sole authority, they, like Christ can also speak boldly.
He reminds them. Jesus cried aloud reminding them that they knew Him but did not know the Father. Jesus was saying in effect that they knew Him only as the natural Son of Mary and Joseph but did not know Him in a spiritual, saving relationship. Jesus declared, "But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me" (v. 29). In the business world we talk about the "bottom line." This is the "bottom line" in this study. Unless you know the Lord Jesus by faith you do not really know Him. One may be religious and moral but still lost. Years ago Dr. John r. Rice preached a sermon entitled, "Religious but Lost." I am afraid many today are just that: RELIGIOUS BY LOST.
Sermons From Pastor Max Alderman, Ph.D.