Six Key Teachings

Six Key Teachings – How Jesus Prepared His Disciples for Easter

John was the closest disciple to Jesus.  Imagine that.  There were the 72, the 12, the 3, and then the 1.  John knew Jesus the most intimately.  He rested his head against Jesus’ chest, heard his heartbeat [image] and had the most intimate access to Jesus (“ask him”).  It’s no surprise that John records the most intimate conversations and teachings of Jesus, as well.  (It’s also interesting that all the other disciples were martyred at an early age.  John was the only disciple to live to old age -> Letters, Revelation.)

Today as we move through Lent and prepare our hearts for Easter, let’s look at how Jesus prepared His disciples for Easter.  Today, let’s look at six key teachings that Jesus gave his disciples (from John 14,15,16) during the Passion Week.

Key Teaching #1: Jesus is the only way to the Father. 重要な教え#1:イエスは父なる神への唯一の道
“I am the way, the truth and the life.  No-one comes to the Father except through me”. (John 14:6)
Jesus was not just a good teacher, just a miracle worker, just a prophet or just another way to get right with God.  He was, and is, the only way for people to access God the Father.

This is a foundational teaching of the Christian faith – it’s the first thing Jesus wanted His disciples to know when teaching them – and it’s essential to the Easter message.  The death of Jesus was so awful that if there had been any other way for people to get right with God, God would not have had His Son put to death.  It was the only way.
In fact Jesus prayed in the garden, “Father, if it’s possible, may this cup be taken from me…”  (Matthew 26:39) but it was not possible because there was no other way.  There was no Plan B.  Jesus was the only one who could take our sins away.  No-one else was righteous.  No-one else was good enough.  It had to be Jesus.  Jesus is the only way to the Father.

Key Teaching #2: The Father will send the Holy Spirit 重要な教え#2:父なる神は聖霊を送ってくださる
“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth…[this] 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.” (14:16,26)

It’s inadequate to say that this promise was fulfilled at Pentecost, as though it were a one-time only giving.  The fulfilling of this promise began at Pentecost and continues to this day.  God still gives the Holy Spirit 神は今でも聖霊を与えてくださいます
– to counsel us, 私たちに助言するため
– to comfort us, 私たちを慰めるため
– to lead us in truth (not for writing the scriptures as with the disciples, but for understanding them), 私たちを真理に導くため
– to equip us, 私たちを備えるため
– to embolden us, 私たちを勇気づけるため
– to speak on our behalf in prayer 私たちに代わって祈りをとりなすため
– to seal (protect) us 私たちを守るため
– to fill us with joy, and 私たちを喜びで満たすため
– to be with us forever. 私たちと永遠にともにいるため

This is the difference between a merely historical faith and a living faith.
We have the death of Jesus (the historical reality).  This removes our sins from us and makes us right with God.
But we also have the gift of the Holy Spirit (the current reality).  This gives us new life for today. And this was a key teaching for Jesus to leave with us.

Key Teaching #3: I am the Vine, you are the Branches 重要な教え#3:わたしはぶどうの木で、あなたがたは枝です
“I am the true vine, my father is the gardener… you are the branches.” (15:1,5)

This comes with a warning: “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit.” (15:2)
Remember, these are the branches that are “in Christ”.  Every fruitless branch will be cut off, not just a few.  
So we need to remain in Christ to live our lives fruitfully.  “No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.” (15:4)
To do this, Bible reading, prayer and fellowship are all important.  But these don’t guarantee that you will be fruitful. We’re not taught to produce the fruit of the scriptures or the fruit of prayer or the fruit of fellowship, however important and good these things are.  We are to produce the fruit of the Spirit.  It’s the fruit of the Spirit that marks us as being in Christ.  We are to display the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control – not by trying harder, but by allowing the Holy Spirit to transform our minds, fill our hearts and guide our wills to be like Jesus.

Key Teaching #4: You will be hated. 重要な教え#4:あなたがたは憎まれる
(Take Mike’s lead and end the sermon here?)
With these key teachings, Jesus is setting us up to be hated by the world.  Make no mistake.  That’s how controversial these teachings are.これらの重要な教えで、イエスは私たちが世に憎まれるようにしているのです。
When you speak and live the truth that Jesus is the only way to God, expect to be called names.  
When you speak of the Holy Spirit of God living in you and leading you, expect to be mocked.  
When you speak of not being able to do anything worthy apart from Christ, expect the world to ridicule and pity you.  
If you are living as a disciple of Christ, there will be some who will hate you.

A couple of things to keep in mind:
– It’s not really you they hate, it’s God. “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” (15:18)

Key Teaching #5: The Holy Spirit will work in the world 重要な教え#5:聖霊は世にはたらく
Don’t despair.  “When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgement.”(16:8)
We can rest in this.
We are called to testify as to what God has done on the cross and what Jesus is doing in our lives.  神が十字架の上でなさったこと、イエスが私たちの人生になさっていることを証するように私たちは召されています。
The Holy Spirit convicts people of sin.  Sometimes we get it the wrong way around.  We want God to testify as to what He has done, and we want to point out the sin in others and try to convict them of it.  聖霊は人に罪の意識をもたせます。
Let the Holy Spirit do His work.  
Apart from the Spirit, people cannot see their sinfulness or their need for a saviour.
Apart from the Spirit, people cannot see that good works cannot undo their sinfulness and make them right before God, and that only Christ’s death on the cross can do that.

Jesus wanted his disciplines to know that he has not left us alone to do His work.  The Holy Spirit is working in the world.
Key Teaching #6: Your grief will turn to joy 重要な教え#6:あなたがたの悲しみは喜びに変わる
“Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.” (16:20)

– I think of how the disciples must have felt as Jesus was dying; and then how they must have felt when they saw Him risen again three days later.  Can you imagine it? Grief to joy.
– I think of Corrie ten Boom who was imprisoned in a Nazi death camp but survived to forgive her oppressors and live a life of joy in Christ.  Grief to joy.
– I think of Jim Cymbala who lost his daughter to the world for years.  Really lost.  He and his wife lived in grief as they were serving God.  But God intervened miraculously and changed his daughter’s heart and today she lives for Jesus and ministers for him.  Grief to joy.
– I think of a friend in Canada who this week wrote, “I lost one of my very best friends to cancer last June …but her faith in Christ became stronger and even in the midst of her struggles and pain, she let herself shine in Jesus everywhere she went and everyone she came across.”
– I think of how the Japanese disciples at the time of persecution three hundred years ago were slowly and painfully killed.  They died in grief but they were resurrected in joy.

This teaching Jesus gave his disciples that “Your grief will turn to joy” goes beyond the days of the death and resurrection of Christ.  This is the essence of life in Christ, now and always.  The joy and victory of the resurrection is for us today, too.

Let’s quickly review these six key teachings that Jesus left us:

Key Teaching #1: Jesus is the only way to the Father.
Key Teaching #2: The Father will send the Holy Spirit
Key Teaching #3: I am the Vine, you are the Branches
Key Teaching #4: You will be hated.
Key Teaching #5: The Holy Spirit will work in the world
Key Teaching #6: Your grief will turn to joy