Those Who Love Jesus Keep His Commandments


by Mike Ratliff

Ἐὰν ἀγαπᾶτέ με, τὰς ἐντολὰς τὰς ἐμὰς τηρήσετε· (John 14:15 NA27)

“If you love Me, you will keep my commandments;” (a personal translation of John 14:15 from the NA27 Greek text)

In this post we will look at John 14:15-31, which is last part of the dialogue between our Lord and His disciples in the upper room after the Passover Feast just prior to His arrest in the garden on the other side of the Kidron Valley from Jerusalem (John 18). Never forget my brethren, our Lord did not come to bring all people together. His message was one of division. That was what He said. Also, as we saw in our last post, Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Life, His ministry was to reveal the Father (John 1:14, 18), to bring glory to Him. In this post we will see that our Lord even further defines who it is who are truly His.  Continue reading

Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Life


by Mike Ratliff

λέγει αὐτῷ [ὁ] Ἰησοῦς· ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ ὁδὸς καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια καὶ ἡ ζωή· οὐδεὶς ἔρχεται πρὸς τὸν πατέρα εἰ μὴ δι᾽ ἐμοῦ. (John 14:6 NA27)

Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and life; no one come to the Father except through Me.” (a personal translation of John 14:6 from the NA27 Greek text)

We continue with the time our Lord spent with His disciples in preparation for His separation for them as He was arrested, tried, crucified, died, and laid in a tomb. In John 13 He has told them that He is about to be betrayed by one of their number and that Peter this very night will deny that he ever knew the Lord at all. All of these are extreme jolts and tests of their faith therefore our Lord encourages them greatly. In this post we will look how He begins this by exegeting John 14:1-14.  Continue reading

Betraying Jesus


by Mike Ratliff

Ταῦτα εἰπὼν [ὁ] Ἰησοῦς ἐταράχθη τῷ πνεύματι καὶ ἐμαρτύρησεν καὶ εἶπεν· ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι εἷς ἐξ ὑμῶν παραδώσει με. (John 13:21 NA27)

Having said these things, Jesus was troubled in His Spirit and He testified and said, “Amen, amen I say to you that one of you will betray me.” (a personal translation of John 13:21 from the NA27 Greek text)

In our last post, Lord Do You Wash My Feet?, our Lord revealed that one of the twelve disciples was “not clean” in John 13:10 and then in 13:18 He revealed that this would fulfill Old Testament prophecies about an insider betraying Him. Now, we enter that part of John’s account of our Lord’s last Passover Feast in which His betrayer is set away to do his deed. In contrast, our Lord reveals that those who truly belong to Him follow the commandment from God to love one another. Then He reveals to Peter, even though Peter declares that he would rather die than leave the Lord, he will deny that he even knows Jesus three times this very night. Let us take a closer look.  Continue reading

Lord Do You Wash My Feet?


by Mike Ratliff

ἔρχεται οὖν πρὸς Σίμωνα Πέτρον· λέγει αὐτῷ· κύριε, σύ μου νίπτεις τοὺς πόδας; ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· ὃ ἐγὼ ποιῶ σὺ οὐκ οἶδας ἄρτι, γνώσῃ δὲ μετὰ ταῦτα. λέγει αὐτῷ Πέτρος· οὐ μὴ νίψῃς μου τοὺς πόδας εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα. ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς αὐτῷ· ἐὰν μὴ νίψω σε, οὐκ ἔχεις μέρος μετ᾽ ἐμοῦ. (John 13:6-8 NA27)

Then He came to Simon Peter who said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?” Jesus answered and said to Him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will understand after these things.” Peter said to Him, “Never will you wash my feet even into the age.” Jesus answered him, “Unless I wash you, you do not have a share with Me.” (a personal translation of John 13:6-8 from the NA27 Greek text)

As I write this and work on this translation of John 13:1-19 I am listening to a CD from Sovereign Grace music titled “No Greater Love.” Right now, my favorite song on that CD is playing which is titled “Know You.” Why am I sharing this? The heart that knows the Lord is so because the Lord knows that person by and through the power of the Cross. Those who are loved by the Lord through the work of the Gospel want deeply to know their Lord, to be with Him and they can never get enough of Him. That is what is expressed in that song and all through this CD. Now, remember what I have shared continually through this series, Christianity is true not because of feelings or by any esoteric values that I was attempting to describe above.  Continue reading

The Son of Man Must Be Lifted Up


by Mike Ratliff

νῦν κρίσις ἐστὶν τοῦ κόσμου τούτου, νῦν ὁ ἄρχων τοῦ κόσμου τούτου ἐκβληθήσεται ἔξω· κἀγὼ ἐὰν ὑψωθῶ ἐκ τῆς γῆς, πάντας ἑλκύσω πρὸς ἐμαυτόν. τοῦτο δὲ ἔλεγεν σημαίνων ποίῳ θανάτῳ ἤμελλεν ἀποθνῄσκειν. (John 12:31-33 NA27)

“Now is the judgment of this world. Now the ruler of this world will be cast out when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself.” And in this saying, He was signifying by what kind of death He was about to die. (a personal translation of John 12:31-33 from the NA27 Greek text)

We are in that six-day period leading up to our Lord’s last Passover feast. Of course, we know that He was also crucified just prior to the Sabbath of this week so in these last few days our Lord is done with the confrontational stands against the Jewish religious leaders. Now, He is preparing His disciples for what is coming. They still do not get it. Remember, we look at our Lord’s words of His sovereignty, His deity, and joyful submission to the authority to the Father who, in turn, joyfully gives Him all authority throughout creation because of His obedience. Yes, we see this, but remember, He had not yet gone to the Cross nor had He been resurrected. What is so puzzling to those of us who take God’s good doctrines to heart and defend His Gospel with our all is why there are so many wolves in sheep’s clothing in our time with their huge churches running amuck in the visible church causing, seemingly, much damage. What we must never forget my brethren is that our Lord has all this under control. We must stay the course in our obedience and submission to the Lordship of Christ in all things. Those who are in our Lord’s sheepfold are in no danger of being snatched away. Those falling away into apostasy were never in His sheepfold to begin with.  Continue reading

The Plots to Kill Jesus and Lazarus


by Mike Ratliff

Ἔγνω οὖν [ὁ] ὄχλος πολὺς ἐκ τῶν Ἰουδαίων ὅτι ἐκεῖ ἐστιν καὶ ἦλθον οὐ διὰ τὸν Ἰησοῦν μόνον, ἀλλ᾽ ἵνα καὶ τὸν Λάζαρον ἴδωσιν ὃν ἤγειρεν ἐκ νεκρῶν. ἐβουλεύσαντο δὲ οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς ἵνα καὶ τὸν Λάζαρον ἀποκτείνωσιν, ὅτι πολλοὶ δι᾽ αὐτὸν ὑπῆγον τῶν Ἰουδαίων καὶ ἐπίστευον εἰς τὸν Ἰησοῦν. (John 12:9-11 NA27)

Therefore, when the great crowd of Jews knew that Jesus was there, they came not because of Him only, but also because of Lazarus that they may see whom He raised from the dead. But the Chief Priests took counsel that they might kill Lazarus also because of him, many were going away and believing in Jesus. (a personal translation of John 12:9-11 from the NA27 Greek text)

The hard heart that is in the darkness of unbelief simply will not believe even when given irrefutable evidence. That is what the earthly ministry of our Lord was. He fulfilled those prophecies exactly of the Messiah that were given by those Old Testament prophets that the fathers of these very men also persecuted and killed. John made it clear in the dialogues and the examples of miracles by our Lord in the face of the opposition by these men that they were without excuse. The same is true today. Christianity is not a religion based on feelings or liver shivers or whatever. No, it is based on clear, irrefutable historical evidence of what our Lord did and said. Those who hated Him killed Him, but He was resurrected on the third day and Ascended into Heaven 10 days before Pentecost. All of this was witnessed by multitudes of people and no one has ever been able to prove any of it wrong. The evidences of the truth were all from eyewitnesses. The evidences of naysayers are all from people who hate the truth who were not even there. In any case, in this post we will look at some of the events that took place in the last few days before our Lord’s arrest and crucifixion as recorded in John 11:45-12:11.  Continue reading

Jesus and the Father are One


by Mike Ratliff

ἐγὼ καὶ ὁ πατὴρ ἕν ἐσμεν. (John 10:30 NA27)

“I and the Father are one.” (a personal translation of John 10:30 from the NA27 Greek text)

I read the following paragraph from one of my devotions the other day, “Visible disunity in the church is the worst it has ever been, but we must take care not to think that God’s people were once fully and visibly united on all matters of Christian living. Christians may have the Holy Spirit, but they are not free from sin in this life, and living in community with other believers always leads to disagreements…” Please notice that I am not writing this in defense of those certain so-called “Christian leaders” who “tweet” unbiblical and misleading things such as, “Spirit-led people can emphasize interpret & things differently. See FOUR Gospels! Your opinion isn’t the only Christian one.” My brethren, yes, there are four Gospels, but they are not four different “Christian opinions” nor are they in any way doctrinally opposed. That devotional that I quoted above went on to say that genuine Christians may indeed differ on many things, but not when it comes to true doctrinal issues such as the deity of Christ, the Gospel, our Lord’s Resurrection, Salvation by Faith through Grace alone, et cetera. As always, we must keep things in context. That passage I quoted above (John 10:30) seems enigmatic to some and I am sure some heretics have abused it, therefore, let us look at John 10:22-42.  Continue reading

The Good Shepherd


by Mike Ratliff

Ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ποιμὴν ὁ καλός. ὁ ποιμὴν ὁ καλὸς τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ τίθησιν ὑπὲρ τῶν προβάτων· (John 10:11 NA27)

I am the Good Shepherd. The good one lays down his life for the sheep. (a personal translation of John 10:11 from the NA27 Greek text)

In our last post, The Son of Man is the Good Shepherd, we looked closely at John 9 and the Lord’s healing of the man born blind. This caused a large confrontation with the Jewish religious leaders who could not refute the healing, but refused to believe that Jesus was from God because He healed the man on the Sabbath. Jesus absolutely refused to conform to their religious expectations in any way. There was not one iota of compromise in His method of ministry in order to be as “inclusive” as possible. No, after the fact, after these men had cast the man whom Jesus had healed out of the Synagogue, Jesus found and as we see in John 9:35-41,  this man believed and worshiped our Lord, but those who refused to believe, our Lord confronted further saying that they had no excuse for their unbelief since they claimed to believe the Law and the Prophets, which our Lord was fulfilling with His life and ministry. Then in John 10:1-6 He makes it very clear that all leaders like them are false shepherds of the people. He makes it clear that the true sheep hear the voice of the true shepherd and follow Him, referring to Himself. Now we come to John 10:7-21.  Continue reading

The Son of Man is the Good Shepherd


by Mike Ratliff

Ἤκουσεν Ἰησοῦς ὅτι ἐξέβαλον αὐτὸν ἔξω καὶ εὑρὼν αὐτὸν εἶπεν· σὺ πιστεύεις εἰς τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου; ἀπεκρίθη ἐκεῖνος καὶ εἶπεν· καὶ τίς ἐστιν, κύριε, ἵνα πιστεύσω εἰς αὐτόν; εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς· καὶ ἑώρακας αὐτὸν καὶ ὁ λαλῶν μετὰ σοῦ ἐκεῖνός ἐστιν. ὁ δὲ ἔφη· πιστεύω, κύριε· καὶ προσεκύνησεν αὐτῷ. Καὶ εἶπεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς· εἰς κρίμα ἐγὼ εἰς τὸν κόσμον τοῦτον ἦλθον, ἵνα οἱ μὴ βλέποντες βλέπωσιν καὶ οἱ βλέποντες τυφλοὶ γένωνται. (John 9:35-39 NA27)

Jesus heard that they threw him out and having found him said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” The man answered and said, “And who is He Sir, that I may believe in Him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen Him and you and He is the One speaking with you.” And he said, “I believe Lord.” And he worshiped Him. And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world that the ones who do not see may see and the ones who see may become blind.” (a personal translation of John 9:35-39 from the NA27 Greek text)

In the Word of God, light is associated God’s way, His truth, what is right, et cetera. Darkness is the antithesis of light in this sense. While those who walk in God’s light walk in His truth, those who walk in darkness, walk in ignorance of His truth, of His ways. Those who are of God’s light are growing in the knowledge of Christ while those who walk in darkness continue in their ignorance. In John 1:4-5 , the Apostle John said, “ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν, καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων· καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει, καὶ ἡ σκοτία αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν.” Or, “In Him was life and the life was the light of men; and the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” Jesus as the “light” brings to the dark world true knowledge, moral purity, and the light that shows the very presence of God. The darkness of this fallen world cannot comprehend, grasp, or overcome the light of our Lord.  Continue reading

The Devil is the Father of Those Who Cannot Bear to Hear Jesus’ Word


by Mike Ratliff

διὰ τί τὴν λαλιὰν τὴν ἐμὴν οὐ γινώσκετε; ὅτι οὐ δύνασθε ἀκούειν τὸν λόγον τὸν ἐμόν. ὑμεῖς ἐκ τοῦ πατρὸς τοῦ διαβόλου ἐστὲ καὶ τὰς ἐπιθυμίας τοῦ πατρὸς ὑμῶν θέλετε ποιεῖν. ἐκεῖνος ἀνθρωποκτόνος ἦν ἀπ᾽ ἀρχῆς καὶ ἐν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ οὐκ ἔστηκεν, ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν ἀλήθεια ἐν αὐτῷ. ὅταν λαλῇ τὸ ψεῦδος, ἐκ τῶν ἰδίων λαλεῖ, ὅτι ψεύστης ἐστὶν καὶ ὁ πατὴρ αὐτοῦ. (John 8:43-44 NA27)

“Why do you not understand what I say? Because you are not able to hear my words. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning and the truth is not in him. When he speaks a lie it is from his own character, because he is a liar and the father of lies.” (a personal translation of John 8:43-44 from the NA27 Greek text)

Christianity, true Christianity, is not about feelings or experiences as “proof” of its veracity. No, read the accounts given to us in the book of Acts and in the rest of the New Testament. It is all about real events that happened that were witnessed by real people. Jesus was a real person who walked and ministered. He was illegally arrested, tried, and executed. However, He was resurrected after three days and nights in the tomb. Real people witnessed all of these things. No one has ever been able to provide evidence to refute any of it. Paul said that Jesus’ resurrection is the key to our hope and if it is not true then our religion is false. The reason we can know that it was true is that we have the proof of eyewitness accounts of it in the Word of God. Therefore, when so called “christian leaders” in our time write books or give interviews or whatever in which they attempt to refute the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, His deity, or the fact of the His resurrection or even they try to simply cast doubt on any of it, we must understand that those we are listening to have a different spiritual father than genuine Christians.  Continue reading

Blessed is the One


by Mike Ratliff

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. (Psalm 32:1-2 ESV)

I debated with myself for a while about the title of this post. There is a part of me that still wants the name of it to be “What a Saviour!” My brethren, there is mischief afoot caused by a misunderstanding fostered by the deceit of the enemy of our souls. That mischief is to convince Christians that there is no need to hear the Gospel anymore now that they are safe in the arms of their Saviour. What rubbish! My times of struggling with my flesh and with overcoming the world always coincide when I am overwhelmed with discernment work or some other business that keeps me from simply expositing Sacred Scripture that points me to the Cross of the Christ. Also, proper worship should also do that very thing.  Continue reading

Life and Peace


by Mike Ratliff

τὸ γὰρ φρόνημα τῆς σαρκὸς θάνατος, τὸ δὲ φρόνημα τοῦ πνεύματος ζωὴ καὶ εἰρήνη· (Romans 8:6 NA27)

For the mind set on the flesh is death, but he mind set on the Spirit is life and peace. (a personal translation of Romans 8:6 from the NA27 Greek text)

Discernment work is no fun. I wonder at some who seem to thrive on it. I do not. I will take up the sword when necessary and will not hesitate to take that firm stand, but my heart yearns for that time of peace like I am in right now as I am working my way through Romans 8:1-11 in light of my reading Matthew Mead’s The Almost Christian Discovered. The other side of discernment work for me is dealing with the inevitable spiritual assaults that come through our enemy’s servants. Their nagging little cuts and slices are nothing compared to the power of our Lord. They are simply those ugly voices of small people who are being used to echo the accusing of our enemy as he attempts to derail us from exposing one of his favorites. Let us never forget that our God is Sovereign and Satan can do nothing to us unless God allows it.  Continue reading

The Aim of Our Charge


by Mike Ratliff

τὸ δὲ τέλος τῆς παραγγελίας ἐστὶν ἀγάπη ἐκ καθαρᾶς καρδίας καὶ συνειδήσεως ἀγαθῆς καὶ πίστεως ἀνυποκρίτου (1 Timothy 1:5 NA27)

But the aim of our charge is love out of a pure heart and a good conscience and faith without hypocrisy. (a personal translation of 1 Timothy 1:5 from the NA27 Greek text)

Before you read this post, if you have not read last night’s post, The Knowledge of God, please do so. It is also imperative that you listen to Chris Rosebrough’s and Phil Johnson’s analysis done to the interview of Rick Warren done by John Piper which I linked to in that post. I have read the posts and articles out there from quite a few well-meaning brothers and sisters in Christ who deeply desire for the controversy or rift resulting from the negative response from many of us who cannot accept Rick Warren’s ecclesiology and his friendship with the world and its ways to be healed. They view the efforts by John Piper to be the very thing to “heal” Rick Warren’s image with us. However, they are overlooking something that a commenter on last night’s blog said very well. He said:

“These “interviews” are meaningless and are usually not an accurate revelation of a person’s unvarnished beliefs. Watch what a person does apart from staged interviews and you will see more accurately, what he believes. What a person does is what he believes; everything else is just religious talk.”

There you go. Compare that with what the Apostle Paul said in the passage I placed at the top of this post. The genuine Christian walks with a heart that contains the love of God and that love flows outward. Our part is to walk in repentance so that our conscience is good. We do that by walking and relating to others by faith and that means without hypocrisy. If a person professes one thing, but his or her actions are quite different then you have a case of hypocrisy. That is our charge against Rick Warren in this case. He can do all the interviews with John Piper he wants. He can say he loves Jonathan Edwards and John Calvin all day, but that changes nothing. If he is not willing to turn from being ashamed of the Gospel and offended by the Cross of Christ and thereby not preaching the Gospel instead of promoting ecumenicism with partnership with Roman Catholic mystics, among countless other things that I do not have the space to go into here, then I will not relent. Continue reading

The Knowledge of God


by Mike Ratliff

ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῇ· εἰ ᾔδεις τὴν δωρεὰν τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τίς ἐστιν ὁ λέγων σοι· δός μοι πεῖν, σὺ ἂν ᾔτησας αὐτὸν καὶ ἔδωκεν ἄν σοι ὕδωρ ζῶν. (John 4:10 NA27)

Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God and who is the one saying to you, give me to drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.” (a personal translation of John 4:10 from the NA27 Greek text)

Yesterday evening, Chris Rosebrough and Phil Johnson got together and analyzed the Rick Warren and John Piper interview. You can listen to that here. I think their analysis is spot on and very valuable to the Church. I listened to this as I have been reading Matthew Mead’s The Almost Christian Discovered, which deals with professing Christians who are deceived into believing they are genuine believers when, in the end, they fail the test and are found to be false. My take on Rick Warren in the interview is that he is obviously a very intelligent man who knows a lot about theology. However, his handling of it reminds me of someone who knows a lot about theology, but not at the level of someone with whom he is constantly comparing himself, Jonathan Edwards. He is great about making lists and coming up with sermonettes, et cetera, but when it comes to actually revealing that he knows the difference between Justification and Sanctification, for instance, he simply blows smoke.  Continue reading