Jesus on his own words in the Gospel of John

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.” (5:24-29)

“But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?” (5:47)

“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” (6:63)

“Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word.” (8:43)

“I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you.” (8:37)

“Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” The Jews said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon! Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘If anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death.’” (8:51-52)

“And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.” (10:16)

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (10:27)

“If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak.” (12:47-49)

“Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.” (14:10)

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (14:15)

“Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” (14:21)

“If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.” (14:23-24)

“Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.” (15:3)

“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (15:7)

“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (15:10-11)

“Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.” (15:20)

“For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.” (17:8)

“Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.'” (18:37)

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Your food is my food

What we’re willing to eat and drink with other people (not just tolerate the presence of, but participate in) has such deep significance. It says,

You are clean, and what you eat is clean.

You are with me, I am with you.

What you touch, I will touch.

What you eat, I will eat.

What you drink, I will drink.

Otherwise a theological and practical wall is raised between us and others. In this light, consider the significance of God showing a “sheet” to Peter with “all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air.” God says to him:

“Rise, Peter; kill and eat!” (Acts 10:13)

Go preach the precious gospel of Jesus to Cornelius, and have table-fellowship with him, and eat what he eats!

There is precious reconciliation in Christ at the dinner table:

“For [Jesus] himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.” (Ephesians 2:14-16)

And don’t let anyone give you trouble:

“Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.” (Colossians 2:16-17)

The inverse is also true: What other believers are sensitive not to eat, we are, in their presence, sensitive not to eat. Accommodate for the sake of love:

“It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.” (Romans 14:21)

Do what God ensured would be done

God is able guard it, therefore guard it:

“I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me… By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.” (2 Timothy 1:12,14)

Work it out, because God it at work in you:

“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you.” (Philippians 2:12-13)

Make it your own, because Christ has made you his own:

“I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” (Philippians 3:12)

Politics is tiny

Camille Paglia:

“We have a whole generation of young people who are clinging to politics and to politicized visions of sexuality for their belief system. They see nothing but politics, but politics is tiny. Politics applies only to society. There is a huge metaphysical realm out there that involves the eternal principles of life and death… Young people have nothing to enlighten them, which is why they’re clinging so much to politicized concepts, which give them a sense of meaning and direction.”

How the apostolic “elites” talked

“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst.”
— Paul, 1 Timothy 1:15

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God.”
— 1 Peter 3:18

“We love because he first loved us.”
— 1 John 4:19

More from Paul:

His “importance”: “But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.” (1 Timothy 1:16)

While stressing his apostolic legitimacy and direct authority from Jesus: “Even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8)

Expressing desire to come to the Romans: “I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.” (Romans 1:11-12)

Counting himself among the apostles: “I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” (1 Corinthians 15:8-9)

After showing his Jewish creds: “For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ.” (Philippians 3:8-9)

After boasting of his sufferings: “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.” (2 Corinthians 11:30)

While speaking of his ministry of proclamation: “For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.” (Colossians 1:29)

“All that I have commanded you”

I talked to a young man last night who had just returned from his LDS mission to Idaho. “Tell me about your mission.” He said that he shared the teachings of Jesus, and that families could be forever. I asked him, “What did Jesus teach?” “You mean like in the Four Gospels?” “Yeah.” He paused. “Well I spent most of my time reading the Book of Mormon. I really don’t know the Four Gospels that well.”

So I shared with them the Great Commission in Matthew. Jesus said to make disciples, “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28) Everything he commanded.

Then I shared Jesus’ parable in Matthew 13 of the four soils. The seeds that took root in healthy soil bear a ton of fruit: “Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” Jesus tells us how to be like this soil: “He who has ears, let him hear.” Be careful how you listen.

Then I shared Jesus’ words in John 15: Jesus said that if you abide in him, and he abides in you, you will bear much fruit. Not only that: “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

So I pleaded with this 21-year-old: Your LDS mission did not equip you to truly know the words of Jesus. Here is your challenge, your new mission. Don’t arrive at 30-years-old without knowing the words of Jesus. Become obsessively acquainted with them. Like a man who loves a movie and can complete its quotes.

Jesus said in Matthew 24, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” His words will last longer, and always be more important than anything your church, your heroes, your leaders, or your family tells you.

Know these words, not to be smart, not to be better than others, not to be puffed up with knowledge, but to build on a solid foundation. I told this young man: The older you grow, the more you will find your Solomon-like endeavors failing, the more you will ache to build something that lasts. A legacy, a productivity, an ambition that matters, a fruit that is satisfying, a house that stands. Jesus said, “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matthew 7)