Helping you grow closer to God
Download the Chip Ingram App
Jesus Unfiltered – Love Resources on sale now.
About this series
Jesus Unfiltered - Love
When we get past the poetic, ideal of love and dig down to the practical, day-to-day details, “love” begs some questions: What does it really mean? How does it think? How does it behave? In this third volume of his series Jesus Unfiltered, Chip Ingram explains, through John chapters 11-15, what love really looks like for those who call Jesus, Lord.More from this series
We are at the height of hypocrisy to talk about loving and seeing God work outside our doors and going public out there if we have yet to obey the first command and be public with God’s family.
When Jesus hears me and you say, “I love You,” He looks and says, “Oh, these are My followers. These are My sons and daughters that give extravagant gifts to Me. For love, not tax deductions.
These are the people that unashamedly, in the marketplace, winsomely, lovingly, not over-the-top, not religiosity, not better-than, not self-righteously, but they just winsomely acknowledge that I am the Lord of their life and they are public with their faith. They profess Me when it’s unpopular. They profess Me even if it’s illegal.
The third event is when a group of Gentiles or Greeks come and they ask Jesus a question. And this question will, literally, click in or put the firing pin, if you would, in to a prophetic moment that all the time that has been prepared for Jesus coming to the earth, it would signal, “It has now been activated.” It is going to happen; it’s going to happen in the next seven days. Do you remember in chapter 2 where His mother said to Him, “Son, they have run out of wine. Could you do something with it?” “My hour has not yet come.”
Chapter 7, do you remember when they wanted to make Him king by force? And it says He slipped through the crowd because His hour had not come. You might remember when His brothers said, “Hey,” they didn’t believe in Him at the time, “Hey, you’re such hot stuff, you’re doing miracles out there, why don’t you go to this Passover?”
And He says, “You all go ahead. Anytime is good for you. My hour has not come.” When these Gentiles want to see Jesus, they are what are called, “God-fearers.” They are people who were Gentiles and Greeks and they were so attracted to the Jews and their love and the monotheism instead of all these idols, that they had become proselytes who are following Judaism. And now there is a Messiah, and they want to meet Him.
And, see, Jesus came for the whole world. And when these non-Jews take these steps, it’s almost like, bam! It goes into process.
Follow along as we read. We pick it up at verse 20, “Now there were some Greeks among them who went up to worship at the feast. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee with a request, ‘Sir,’ they said, ‘we would like to see Jesus.’ Well, Philip went to tell Andrew; and Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.”
Now, hear His reply to this. It is quite unusual. “Jesus replied, ‘The hour has come. For the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a grain of wheat falls unto the earth and die, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it will bear much fruit. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves Me must follow Me; and where I am, My servants also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves Me.’”
Now, there’s this prophetic moment, “Now my heart is troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour?’ No. It was for this very reason that I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your Son.”
This request, bam! It starts. And Jesus is thinking, Oh. He’s like you. You know that feeling we have, like, Do it God’s way? Do it my way? Because He was fully God but fully man, He felt that. He is tempted like us. Everything in Him said, Oh, should I…? I can’t bail out. This is why. This is My purpose.
Notice how God the Father confirms it, because, yes, He was God. But everything Jesus did, He did it in dependence on the Father and the power of the Holy Spirit. He lived the Christian life the way He modeled for us.
He didn’t just rip off His robe and have a big “S” on His chest when it got tough and said, “Well, I’m God.” He did it as being fully human. And so, He needed affirmation like we do.
So notice what happens, “Then a voice came from heaven: ‘I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.’ And the crowd that was there heard it and said they thought it thundered. Others said, ‘No, an angel has spoken to Him.’ Jesus said, ‘This voice was for your benefit, not Mine. Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out,’” speaking of Satan. “But when I am lifted up,” John always uses this of going to the cross.
And the word, it’s interesting, there’s a prefix, it’s literally being lifted up and lifted out of. So it prefigures not only the cross, but He is going to be lifted out of the earth in the resurrection. “‘I will draw all men to Myself.’ He said this to show the kind of death that He was going to die.”
Something big is happening here. This request, the hour has come. If you, most of us are Gentiles, some of you are from a Jewish background, but if you were a Gentile and went to the Passover and you heard about all these miracles, and then you met Him and you said, “Hey, we would like to meet You and ask a few questions,” would you expect the answer to be, “Unless a grain of wheat fall unto the earth and die, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it will bear much fruit”?
Would that ring with, Oh, wow! Right? And we don’t even know whether He ever met with them.
See, what this was was this is a prophetic moment to put something in gear. Now Jesus is explaining to His disciples, “The only way for God’s purposes to be fulfilled,” first, He is speaking of Himself, “I must die so that others can have life.” When He dies on the cross, He pays for the sins of all people of all time. And when He rises from the dead, He proves it’s true.
Being fully man, He could die. Being fully God, His death had infinite value to cover the sins of all people of all time, that whosoever would believe and trust in Him would have eternal life.
But He doesn’t stop with – it’s a principle as well as a truth. And then what does He say to them? “If any man, if any woman, if you want to save your life,” use of the word, we get “psychology,” – psykhe or soul.
If you want to save the real part of you that really matters, “Anyone who seeks to save his life, he will lose it. But if anyone is willing to lose his life,” zoë, your physical life, “he’ll save it.”
And He is saying that, I am calling you to follow Me, and where I am going is to the cross. And the only way people will have life is if I go to the cross and I die. Then I will rise. And He is saying, The only way that you will have real life: joy and peace and purpose and God’s plan for your life is you die.
And there is a very narrow path of following Him, and there is a wide path that everyone says, “Here is what you get, here is what you do, this is what matters. And Jesus is a little thing over here.” He says, If you try to stay in control and do your life your way and not follow Me, you’ll lose your life.
And then He goes on, “Those who are mine, who serve Me, they must be with Me.” Well, where is He going? He is going to the cross.
See, the day of the last thirty to forty years of evangelical Christianity in America, pray a prayer, I love Jesus, try and be a little bit nicer than other people, give a little money here and there, and Jesus is your self-help genie, and what He really wants to do is make you prosperous and happy and you never get sick and everything turns out right and if you’re single you meet Mr. Wonderful, and if you’re married, this is an amazing marriage with no problems whatsoever, and all your kids turn out absolutely wonderful, and they go to Ivy League schools and then they just love you, love you, love you, love you. And everything is perfect.
And you know that’s not true, but the gospel of American Christianity has been, by and large, Jesus plus something that He could work out for your agenda will make you happy.
I’ve got news. That doesn’t work in Iran, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, China, Sudan, or Syria. It’s Jesus plus nothing. And, by the way, it doesn’t work in America. And we are now entering into a phase in American life where some intellectual commitment that I “believe in Jesus and I am going to try and be a nice person,” is not the gospel. He is saying, “Will you follow Me?”
See, what happens is we get expectations about: This is what it means to follow Him. And we want to follow Him as long as He makes our life work out on our terms, on our schedule, right? We’re human! Everybody does that.
In fact, watch the text. This group of people has the idea, as we have mentioned, that, “You’re going to come and pull down Rome.” And now He is talking about being lifted up and dying. And so they are going to say, “No, wait a second!”
“The crowd spoke up, ‘We have heard from the Law that the Christ will remain forever. So how can you say the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?’”
And He answers, “Jesus told them, ‘You are going to have the light with you a little while longer. Walk while you have the light before the darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where He is going. Put your trust in the light.” What has He said about Himself? “I am the Light of the world.”
“‘…while you have it, so that you may become sons of light.’ When He had finished speaking, Jesus left and He hid Himself from them.”
See, we can have this picture of what following Him is, but it really is, very subtly, is following Him on our terms. And what He is saying to them and what He is saying to us is once you receive eternal life, there needs to be a moment in your life and mine where we bow the knee and we say to Him, I surrender and I am going to follow, and I don’t know what it means. But I want You to know that my future and my relationships and my finances and my dreams, I believe that You are so good and so loving and so holy that Your purposes for me are better than what I could come up with. And so I trust You.
And often, He just is so kind, so kind, He brings great people into your life. And for some of you, He has made you upwardly mobile, and He has opened great doors. But that’s not part of the package. That’s just grace and blessing.
Because I don’t know what next week is going to be, I don’t know what next year is going to be, and neither do you. But if it’s based on what you get, and trying to manipulate Him, you will have one of those days, and I hear many Christians where, “I believed in Jesus and then my mom got cancer. I believed in Jesus until one of my friends got hit by a drunk driver.” Oh, so I believe in Jesus as long as my life works out my way, on my schedule, on my terms in a fallen world?
And God is way bigger than that. In fact, notice what happens. He is now going to speak to this group of people who have had all this truth. The Jewish leaders, most Jewish leaders, a rabbi would have all the Old Testament memorized. They know the truth, know the truth, know the truth, know the truth. But they refuse to obey. So watch what happens.
“Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs,” – how many people do you need to raise from the dead or heal before people get that You’re the Man? “they still would not believe in Him.”
If you have your own Bible, would you underline, “would not”? Not, “did not,” not, “could not,” they would not. Here are the facts, here’s the data, here’s the truth. They wouldn’t. And for those who refused to, they are hardening their heart.
“This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet, ‘Lord, who has believed our message, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?’ For this reason, they could not believe, because as Isaiah says elsewhere, ‘He has blinded their eyes and deadened their heart, so they can neither see with their eyes, or understand with their hearts, nor turn, and I would heal them.’ Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and he spoke about it.”
This is reference to these Jewish leaders. They have seen miracles, He has taught, He has raised people from the dead. Here’s the deal: When you have a lot of truth and you reject it and reject it and reject it, what happens is it’s harder and harder to hear God’s voice. It’s harder and harder to get in touch with God. And when you have that much truth and you reject, reject, reject and your heart gets hard, at some point in time, like with Pharaoh – Pharaoh hardened his heart and then God hardened it – and now they have come to the point of no return. That’s a very dangerous place to be.
But there is good news. Notice the next group of people, “Yet at the same time, many even among the leaders believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they wouldn’t confess their faith, for they feared they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise from God.”
And it’s like this last plea. Jesus shouted, “When a man believes in Me, he does not believe in Me only, but in the One who sent Me. When he looks at Me, he sees the One who sent Me. I have come into the world as light so that no one who believes in Me should stay in darkness.” God loves people.
Notice what happens, “As for the person who hears My words but does not keep them, I do not judge Him; I did not come in to judge the world but to save it. There is a judge for the one who rejects Me and does not accept My words.”
Here’s what judges you, “The very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. For I didn’t speak on My own accord, but the Father who sent Me commanded Me what to say and how to say it. I know this is His command and it leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told Me to say.”
When Jesus hears you driving in the car and you’re overwhelmed and some reason by how good He is good, and you say, I love You. Or when you are praying and you have one of those deep times with God and you say, I love You. Or when you’re in a big, big jam and you just think, Oh, God, I love You. Help me!
Jesus would say, As we go on the journey together, I measure and feel like you really love Me when, from your heart, you make extravagant gifts to Me. From your heart, when you give public acknowledgement that I am the Lord of your life, and even appropriately at work and with your neighbors and at the gym. And even…
Here’s the application: Love gives sacrificially of your life, even at the cost of your life. And so this isn’t trite religion. This is a person, this is the Creator of the universe who came to this earth. And has called then and has called now, “Will you follow? Because where I am, My servants need to be.”
And have you ever surrendered your life to Him? Have you ever said to Him, I really am all in? And whatever that means. And, by the way, if part of your emotions right now aren’t, Man, that is scary, then you are not listening, because if it’s not scary, if there’s not a sense of, Whoa, what if He…
Because I don’t know what He will ask. I know He will test all of us. But here’s what I can say. The offer goes something like this: “In view of all of God’s great grace, I command you, I urge you, I plead with you, offer your body as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to Him. This is your spiritual or reasonable act of service.” That’s what God really wants.
“And don’t be conformed any longer to this world and the world system, but be transformed from the inside out by the renewing of your mind, so that your life,” on Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday and morning and at work and with your kids and in your singleness, “that your life could prove or demonstrate to everyone what God’s will is, that it’s good.” The word means, “beautiful,” “fragrant.”
“…that it is acceptable,” in other words, you’ll love it, “and that it is perfect.” And the word “perfect” has this idea of it’s according to a design, that it’s exactly right for who God made you to be and what He wanted you to do.