“If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching.”

With the highly schismatic Emerging Church movement continuing to mount its attack on the veracity of the Bible we take another look at how Christ Jesus the Lord handled the Word of God. As we do we go to the Gospel of John chapter 10, and we’ll pick it up in verse 30 for context. As one minister so very aptly put it, a verse out of context is a pretext for a proof-text. The Apostle John is giving us his own eyewitness account of Jesus as He was walking through the Temple during the Feast of Dedication; you may know it as Chanukkah, and John tells us the Jews gathered around Him. The term – the Jews here of course refers to the Jewish religious leaders, and these authorities demand that Jesus tell them plainly if He is indeed Messiah–the Christ.

And we pick up a key part of the Master’s cogent response in John 10:30 – I and My Father are one. Again the Jews picked up stones to stone Him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone Me?” “We are not stoning You for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but blasphemy, because You, a mere man, claim to be God. Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods?’ If He called them ‘gods’, to whom the Word of God came – and the Scripture cannot be broken – what about the One Whom the Father set apart as His very Own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse Me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son?’”

There’s a whole lot going on here in this passage of God’s Word. But since our focus here is on our Lord’s use of Scripture I’m just going to make a couple of quick points in passing. Verse 30 Jesus says – I and My Father are one. Here is a direct claim to Deity, i.e. to be God, from our Lord. This is quite clear from the way these Jewish leaders react in the next verse 31 – Again the Jews picked up stones to stone Him – for blasphemy. And from what they say in verse 33 – We are not stoning You for any of these [great miracles],” replied the Jews, but for blasphemy, because You, a mere Man, – [what] – claim to be God. This is an important verse to understand as you share your faith with those who deny the Deity of Christ. And you can believe me, they are indeed legion.

“I and My Father Are One”

These would be people who are unbelievers and skeptics or people involved with the liberal theology of apostate “Christian” denominations, the New Age movement or non-Christian cults like Christian Science and the Jehovah’s Witnesses. When you are talking with these people who believe that Jesus never claimed to be God you can point out this verse to them. John 10:30 where Jesus Christ of Nazareth is quoted as saying – I and My Father. Notice it’s not your Father, not our Father – but – I and My Father are one. And if you check any good commentary you will see that Dr. Leon Morris is correct when he writes about this verse – “The [original] Greek [means] – ‘one thing,’ not ‘one person.’ The two are one in essence or nature,…” (NIV Study Bible, p.1617).

The great Apostle Paul understood this as well. Here is what God the Holy Spirit reveals through him – For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form. And what this means is that everything that God is, everything that makes Him Who He is, lives is in the Man Jesus Christ of Nazareth. So we now come full circle back to John 10:30, now you can see why Jesus says – I and My Father are one. He couldn’t say your Father to these mere human beings here because they didn’t possess the nature of Deity. Does this make sense now? In no uncertain terms, Jesus has told these Jewish authorities here in John 10 that He is the Messiah–God Himself in human flesh.

And now the whole superstructure of Satan’s lie that the so-called “historical Jesus” never claimed to be God comes tumbling down. The truth is, the facts are there for people who want to see them. Now let’s look at what else we can learn about how Jesus approached Holy Scripture from our passage in John chapter 10 and see if we can understand what it means to emerge with obedience to God’s Word. In verse 34 now we’ll see the Master appeal to Holy Scripture to make His point in response to the Jewish religious authorities who were questioning Him.

Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods?’ If He called them ‘gods’, to whom the Word of God came – and the Scripture cannot be broken – what about the One Whom the Father set apart as His very Own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse Me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son?’”

Here in verse 34 when Jesus asks them – “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods?’” – the Master is quoting from Psalm 82:6. “Why is this important?” Because one, it shows us that the term your Law refers to the whole Old Testament. You may recall there are three sections of the Hebrew Bible – “the Law” – “the Prophets” – and – “the Writings”. Well here Jesus asks – “Is it not written in your Law” – and then quotes from the last section of that Hebrew Bible – “the Writings”. This shows that our Lord considered our Old Testament to be one set of Holy Scripture–the very Word of God Himself. And as eminent biblical scholar Dr. F.F. Bruce tells us:

“‘Your Law’ (verse 34) is here a comprehensive term for the Hebrew Bible [The Jews] acknowledged its authority, and should therefore accept the implications of what it said. ‘Scripture cannot be annulled’ or ‘made void’ (Mark 7:13); it cannot be set aside when its teaching is inconvenient. What is written remains written” (The Gospel And Epistles Of John, p.235).

“It Is Written”

And we know from historical research that we have in our hands today the exact same Scriptures that Jesus is referring to here in John’s eyewitness account. So much for those who try to say that “no one can really know anything for sure,” or “there’s no right answers in this life.” Christ Jesus says there is. Now a second reason why it’s important to know that our Lord is quoting from Psalm 82:6 is that it shows us that Jesus considered God’s Word as the final source for Truth. In other words: “God said it; I believe it; That settles it.” Of course whether we believe it or not truly doesn’t matter, but here we see where this type of phrase originates. If only more people in the Purpose Driven Church and the Emerging Church understood that in the first place, then they would see there is very good reason why I teach as I do.

Verses 34 and 35 again – Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods?’ If He called them ‘gods’, to whom the Word of God came – and the Scripture cannot be broken. I stop right here to point out that Jesus equates your Law–their Hebrew Scriptures–our Old Testament here in verse 34, with the word Scripture in verse 35. To explain the rest of what’s going on in this passage of the Bible will take more space than I have here. But we’ll let Dr. Edwin Blum of Dallas Theological Seminary wrap this section up for us. He points out that:

Jesus’ response to [the religious leaders’] objection requires a bit of insight into the methods of argument common in Rabbinic discussions. You see first Jesus directed them to the Old Testament: in your Law. Normally “the Law” refers to the first five books… here it means all the Old Testament, for Jesus quoted from the Psalms. It was [their] Law in the sense that they gloried in their possession of it, and also in the sense that they should submit to its authority over them.

Basically Jesus was using Holy Scripture to nail them into a theological corner. And finally Dr. Blum emphasizes how the Master used the Word of God to add to the finality of the absolute truth He was teaching them. “Jesus added to His argument the words, and the Scripture cannot be broken, so that no one could evade its force by saying an error was in the Scriptures. This important text clearly points up the inerrancy of the Bible (The Bible Knowledge Commentary, NT, p.312, emphasis his). This reminds us of the way Christ dealt with the Devil as this serpent tempted our Lord in the desert in Matthew 4:1-11. The Master met each advance of the enemy with a solid thrust of the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, and Jesus said – “It is written.”

We see in the Bible from actual eyewitness accounts, by Matthew and the John for example, very clear examples of how Christ Jesus of Nazareth handled the Holy Scriptures of His day, which of course is now our Old Testament. Finally as we close this out, let me draw your attention to one more place in the Gospel of John. We go to chapter 14 and verse 24, where Jesus says:

“He who does not love Me will not obey My teaching. These words you hear are not My own; they belong to the Father Who sent Me. All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My Name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:24-26)

Let’s look at verse 24 again. The Master says – “He who does not love Me will not obey My teaching.” This would seem to be evident, and would tie in with what He said earlier in His ministry – “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will know them” (Matthew 7:15-16). So Jesus tells us here that people like this do not love the things of God so they will not obey My teaching. In the last part of verse 24 Jesus of Nazareth informs us – These words you hear are not My own; they belong to the Father Who sent Me. Now let’s think about this; the Master has told us His words are as good as Holy Scripture because they belong to God the Father. And as such they too are the Word of God. Can you see it; to not obey our Lord’s teaching is to deny God and to ignore Holy Scripture.

They will turn away their ears from the Truth

So the choice that is before those in the new evangelicalism of the Purpose Driven Church, the Emergent Church, and the Word Faith Church is really crystal clear. One can either believe Jesus–Almighty God Himself come in human flesh–and the Master was quite clear about how we’d know if someone was belongs to Him – “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching” (John 14:23). Or you can cooose to believe the musings of mere creatures, sinful men and false teachers like Rick Warren and Brian McLaren and Joel Osteen who – will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will [continue to] gather around them[selves] a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will [keep] turn[ing] their ears away from the Truth and turn aside to myths (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

You see it was God Himself Who warned us two thousand years ago that these people who have invented this counterfeit Christianity we see today would be coming. And while these so-called “ministers” of the Gospel accuse those of us who continue in the historic orthodox Christian faith of following fables, it is really they themselves who have invented the American mythology of the non-existent “gospel” of the new evangelical ecumenical Christianity Lite.

How much better that after time in the closet of prayer we should come emerging with obedience to Gods Word…