How to Know If God’s Love Is in You John 5:30-47 Turn with me in your Bibles to John 5. We are going to be finishing up John 5 today but before we do that we need to know where we are landing because we are starting in the middle of a conversation. A conversation which resulted from Jesus healing a man on the Sabbath. The Jews are upset at Jesus because he did something that they believed to be a breach of God’s law – he healed a guy who had been lame for 38 years and then he told him to pick up his bed, another no-no, and to walk. Now Jesus didn’t respond to the Jews’ anger as we might expect, as he did in other accounts, rather he uses this as an opportunity to talk about why he healed this man on Sabbath, because of his unity with the Father. He makes it clear that whatever his Father does, he does, and the short version is, “My father is working to redeem what has been broken by sin, and I am working to that same end.” And he ramps it up more by teaching that because he does what the Father does, and because the Father loves him, he has given him authority to do two things – to give life and to condemn. Jesus gives the good news that all who will hear his voice today will live, but that there is coming a day when everyone will hear his voice, be raised and be judged, held account. Those that have evidence of life, will live forever, and those that have evidence of spiritual death will be condemned. This is where we jump back into Jesus’ teaching moment. And Jesus is going to continue his teaching by pointing out that this judgment he has been given is just because he always seeks to do the will of God. But who is Jesus to make this claim? Where are his credentials? Jesus knows that anybody could go around and make crazy claims, so in our passage today, likely building on the Jewish understanding of the need for multiple testimonies, Jesus is going to show that this authority is not on the basis of his own word alone. Rather he appeals to a threefold witness to who he is: testimony of John, the testimony of the Father through his works and the testimony of Scripture. And it is in this that his conflict with those who wished him dead is going to come to a confrontation. He is going to tell them what is going on in their heart, that they don’t know God and they don’t have the love of God in them because despite this three-fold testimony to who Jesus is, they refuse to believe – and Jesus is going to go a step further and give us an idea of why they don’t believe. Now as we see this happen, please keep in mind this. One of the things Paul helpfully points out to us in his letter to the Romans is that when you strip away the trappings of culture and get down to the heart, there is just not that much different between us as people. And I point that out, because Jesus is going to expose their heart-reason for their unbelief and this speaks to us as well. So let’s walk through this passage now, by starting with looking at verses 30-35 where he appeals to his first witness. I. You believed in John, so why don’t you believe what he spoke about me? 30"I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. 31If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true. 32There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he bears about me is true. 33You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. 34Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. 35He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. Jesus does nothing independent of the will of his Father – this he does of necessity not only because of his divinity, but also his perfect humanity. The statement in verse 30 is meant to show what he has been trying to prove, that everything he does is a reflection of who God is and what God does. Therefore, he should be able to call God to witness as proof of who he is because the one who knows God will inevitably see his stamp upon the Son. This should have been obvious to them and he starts to show them why. And in the process he reveals their foolishness, or should we say their wicked refusal to see the truth and respond. He starts this by calling his first witness to the stand, John the Baptist, and the reason he does is because of what he says in verse 35. “You (the Jews) for a while were willing to rejoice in his light.” Basically he is saying, “You affirmed him as a prophet, but then apparently when he spoke about me you chose not to believe him.” They were selective in their hearing. Notice in verse 34, and keep this in mind as Jesus gets more intense in his confrontation, his heart in this. He is reminding them of this because he wants their eyes to be open. He wants them to be saved. This confrontation is a loving enterprise. They flocked out to hear John speak, but they walked away unchanged. They heard only what they wanted to hear and they left the rest. Each of these areas of confrontation leaves a challenge for us, if we will see it. Why are we here this morning? Like the Jews who came to John, are we willing to rejoice in the light on Friday only to live in practical unbelief? Are we content to come and hear the word, only to leave unaffected? Are we selective in what we will hear? Like these people, we may ignore aspects of what we hear, or refuse to be shaped by all of who Jesus is, but whether we approve of him or not, does not change who he is. Jesus points to this in verse 34. Jesus is who he says he is, whether or not any man approves or applauds. Because he has a higher testimony that he can appeal to and that is what he does next. (Which is his main point all along). As we look at this next portion, consider this. That God is who he is, Jesus is who he is, whether you choose to agree with me as a person or not. What I appeal to you from is greater than my own opinion. II. You claim to know God, but you don’t believe in the one who does his works 36But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. 37And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, 38and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. 39You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. The ministry that Jesus was doing, including healing on the Sabbath, was pointing to God’s character, it was a reflection of what God is doing in the world. All that Jesus would do would be the unveiling of God’s plan of redemption, something that any who really knew God would have been aware of. In verse 37-38 he is saying, you don’t receive me because you don’t know God! You don’t know him. Because if you did, you would have seen me and declared, “This is a perfect copy. The exact imprint of his nature!” The reason they didn’t recognize Jesus is because he looked just like God and they didn’t know God. How were they supposed to know the Father and his testimony of the Son? The clue is found in verse 38. “You do not have his word abiding in you.” It was through the Word of God that God was known and therefore how the Son was known. The Father bore witness to the Son every time he held out a future hope to his people. When it says that the Scriptures bear witness about him or down in verse 46 that “Moses wrote about me”, Jesus could certainly be referencing Deuteronomy 18:15 where there is a promise of a prophet like unto Moses, that is part of it. But the whole of what Moses wrote, all that the prophets foretold, all the types and shadows, were pointing to Jesus. From the promise of the seed of the woman, to the longing hope of Lamech for someone to bring relief, to the ram given in place of Isaac, to the deliverance of God’s people from death through the suffering of Joseph, to the Passover lamb, the deliverance of Israel from bondage at the hand of Moses, the rise of King David. All of these things were pointing to Jesus. The Law itself begged for relief! The Gospel of the Old Covenant was the hope that God has promises that were to come through the Messiah, the suffering servant, the Redeemer, Immanuel. (1 Peter, Hebrews 11, Simeon). These people Jesus is speaking to had the Scriptures. Where God is seen and heard. But yet they had never seen him or heard him. That is frightening, beloved. Note, these are people “who search the Scriptures”. They are not ignorant of their content. But they are ignorant of the God found therein. They are ignorant of the state of their own hearts. Or else they would have looked and longed for him to come. Jesus says, “You search the Scriptures for eternal life, but you miss the fact that life is standing right in front of you. You are right to look to the Scriptures, but you do not understand yourselves, because you do not know the God who the Scriptures reveal.” The Scriptures were meant to drive them to Jesus, to cause them to long for his coming. But they refused because they thought that life was found elsewhere. Brothers and sisters, passages of Scripture like this should awaken us to evaluate where we look for life. Because it is entirely possible to know the word, and we should know the word, but for it to be of no use to us because we have already driven the very subject of the Scriptures away. We have already, in our heart, decided that Jesus is not who the word testifies him to be. Christ is not our greatest treasure, though the word testifies that he is. Christ is not our only hope, though the Word testifies that he is. Christ is not the most beautiful thing in the universe to us, though his word portrays him as such. Christ is not the Lord of our lives, though his Word says he is the King of kings and Lord of lords. Calvin says “How can that man have the word of life abiding in him who drives from him the life itself?” How can you say that you have the word of life abiding in you, but you walk out these doors blind and deaf to the word, it does not resonate in your heart and echo through your thoughts, affections, and actions. Look at verse 39 and 40! (Pause) Beloved, you have the Scriptures. They point to the one who has life in himself. Yet what are you going to for life? Is it to him? What you hope in, what you dwell on, what you pursue, what you talk about, what you invest in, the life you live is the clearest indicator of what or whom you are going to for life. Why did they miss it? What do we not see? What is at heart of our problem? Jesus has already made it clear that lack of evidence isn’t the problem. And what we see in our next verse gets to the heart of why they, even with all this evidence, did not receive him. It gets to the heart of it. And what we find is why the love of God was not in them which tell us how to know if the love of God is in us. Because it is that, my friends, that makes all of the difference in how we relate to Jesus. III. How to know if the love of God is in you 41I do not receive glory from people. 42But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. 43I have come in my Father's name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. 44How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? Jesus is saying in verse 41, “I don’t need you to affirm me (verse 42) but the fact that you don’t glorify me for who I am shows that you do not have the love of God in you.” Why? Verse 43. “I have come in the name of the Father and you don’t receive me. It isn’t because of a lack of evidence, it isn’t because the Scriptures don’t teach about me, it is because of something that is in your heart. It is because the love of God is not in you, rather you are filled with the love of yourself.” How do I get that? 43 and 44. You will receive anyone who will affirm, applaud, glorify you, comfort you in your sin, and make much of you. (Pause) Just think about that, brethren, for a moment. (One of the problems Israel had…) False teachers make us feel good about ourselves. They affirm our dreams and priorities. What is interesting about that, is that in Deuteronomy 13:3, God tells Israel that he will allow false prophets, false teachers, to come to test whether or not they truly had the love of God in them. These people didn’t believe the truth because they didn’t love God. Jesus is telling them that “the reason you cannot believe, is because you seek the glory of man. Your pride, your independence, your desire to rule your own life, and to be affirmed and praised is why you do not believe.” Love of God means treasuring God from the heart as your greatest prize, the opposite of which is treasuring yourself. Love for God is expressed in seeking the glory of God and desiring his love and approval above all. To love God is not to focus on hating yourself, but because all loves fall into place in orientation to our supreme love, if we focus on loving him supremely everything else will be in right order. Love of self is expressed in seeking self-glory, and affirmation of our wisdom and independence. Consider verse 44. Where do you seek glory from? Will you go after whatever will promote you and tell you that what you are doing is right and good, will you only listen to those that will tell you that what you believe is true? Or do you bow your ear to God, abandon pursuit of glory from men and only care for how you are regarded by God? One of the greatest evidences that the love of God is not in you, is that you seek the honor of people more than God. You care, even in religious exercise, more about what people think than about what God knows. (Notice the difference between these people and the Samaritan woman.) It is impossible for saving faith to grow in the soil of self-glory. Saving faith springs from the desperate knowledge that I am lost, broken, incapable of guiding myself, in need of someone not to serve me, but to save me from myself. The problem with us is not lack of evidence. It is lack of love – or perhaps misdirected love is a better way to think about it. The Scriptures become pliable, Christianity becomes self-serving, and church becomes convenient because we don’t get who God is and what he is doing and the reason we don’t is because we don’t love him. So how do you know if the love of God is in you? You believe what the Scriptures say about him. You set your hope there. You build your life on that. This passage highlights our need for the power of God to save us, because Jesus stacks up all of these things – John, his miracles, the Scriptures – all revealing who he is, and yet they refused to believe. Unbelief is not due to a lack of evidence, ultimately unbelief is an issue of the heart. People don’t believe because they don’t want to believe. Why? Because they want glory for themselves. I want to close with these last words of Jesus in this discourse… 45] Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. 46] For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. 47] But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?" This is a serious indictment. A damning observation. In their blindness and hardness of heart, Jesus tells them that the very thing they hope in will rise up and accuse them one day. Because the fact that they didn’t believe Jesus, showed they didn’t really believe Moses. They refused to see what God was doing, and instead made his precious promises into a tool for their own kingdom. Could it be, that the very thing that you claim to hope in will rise up and condemn you one day? Will the words of Moses, and the prophets, and apostles, one day be called as evidence that the love of God was not in you, because in your pursuit of making something of yourself in this world you missed the entire point of the Scriptures? Imagine if you were to go your whole life, claiming that Christ is your all, in the meantime blind to the fact that your life bears little resemblance to his, that your love for him and submission to his Lordship is scantly seen. “There is no other way in which men can be prepared for receiving the doctrine of the Gospel, than by withdrawing all their senses from the world, and turning them to God alone, and seriously considering that it is with God that they have to do, that, forgetting the flatteries by which they are accustomed to deceive themselves, they may descend into their own consciences. We need not wonder, therefore, if the Gospel in the present day find so few persons willing to be taught, since all are carried away by ambition. Nor need we wonder if many apostatize from the profession of the Gospel, for they are hurried away by their own vanity and fly off. So much the more earnestly ought we to seek this one thing, that, while we are of little value and despised in the eyes of the world, and even overwhelmed within ourselves, we may be reckoned among the children of God.” This is the reality that must grab us, and pull us from the rush of self-seeking destruction. Christian, and unbeliever alike, hear this. Jesus is speaking to us through his word, showing us who he is, not to be cruel and contrarian. Not to be controversial for controversy sake. No. Remember verse 34, look there. He says these things, he shows us himself and calls us to believe, to trust, to submit to who he is so that we may have life – so we may be saved! If we are honest we should all be moved to repentance by this text today, and it is a good thing if we are. Because it is in that place that we come to know the love of God in Christ, which springs up into the love of God within us, which yields a life that doesn’t seek to make much of us, but to gladly magnify the glory of our Savior, receiving our glory, our honor, our purpose, our rest, our all, by faith in him. Yes. We look to the Scriptures and they testify to our helplessness and desperate need for a Savior, for someone to take away our guilt, for someone to make us clean, for someone to give us life. And they also tell us that there is such a one. Jesus did all that he did so that we could behold him and know love and love as we ought to love. As we see his amazing love displayed on the cross, when we are thrilled with our hope demonstrated in an empty tomb, then ignited with love, we love and we trust and we live. Let’s Pray.