Hello and welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Sunday afternoon Bible study. Today we are going to have Study #2 of “I have Given You an Example.” We will begin by reading John 13:6-17:
Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean. So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
I will stop reading there. We are primarily looking at the statement Christ made in John 13:15:
For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
We are not looking into the washing of the feet, but we are looking at the example of Christ’s life, ministry and his death on the cross and even at His resurrection and we will see that the elect people of God are called upon to follow the example of His suffering and His death when Jesus says, “Take up the cross,” because that was His death. The people that are called upon to share in the suffering of His death will also share in the resurrection.
I think it is commonly thought among the people of God that when you are saved you become a “son of God,” and that is true, but according to the Bible there is another aspect of being a “son of God.” There is an official declaring of it or there is a point when God declares of those that He has saved, “These are my sons.” We can know that because when we turn to Romans, chapter 8 it says in Romans 8:29:
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate *to be* conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the “firstborn among many brethren” or the ?“only beloved Son of God” and it is really focusing on Christ’s resurrection from the dead. That is the only possible manner in which Christ could be declared the Son. He had no beginning point because He is eternal God from eternity past and when we think of a son we think of it as someone who is begotten of men, because that is how it is in the world. That is why so many Muslims and others have difficulty in understanding that Jesus is God because He is the Son. They have it stuck in their minds that to be a son you must be “begotten,” and if you are begotten you have a beginning. It is the one that beget Him that they would think of as God, so they think the Father is God because He begat the Son.
However, their error is that they do not understand what God means when He refers to the Lord Jesus Christ as “my beloved Son.” The Bible does define what God means by this in a couple of places. It says in Colossians 1:17-18:
And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. There it is. In Romans 8, verse 29 we read that He is the “firstborn among many brethren,” and it is, without doubt, referring to the fact that Jesus was the firstborn from the dead; that is, He resurrected and rose from the dead. The way that God looks at the whole process of Christ dying and resurrecting from the dead is that when He died it was annihilation. He ceased to exist. Christ died for the sins of His people from the foundation of the world and then He rose from the dead, returning to life and His soul was somehow restored. I do not know how that is possible and I do not think we can even delve into that area and try to understand it, but God views the rising of Christ from the dead as a “birth.” It is as if He is a new creature, so He becomes the Son and the Father raised Him from the dead and, therefore, that act or raising Christ from the dead is as if He was “begotten.” The Father begat the Son, as we are told in Romans 1:4:
And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: It is that process of being the “firstborn” from the dead. It says in Revelation 1:5:
And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead…
There it is again. He is the “first begotten of the dead,” but He is also the “firstborn of many brethren,” so as the people of God are saved we experience the resurrection of the soul, but in God’s salvation program He reserves a final “resurrection,” the resurrection of our bodies for the time of the conclusion of this earth. That will be the time the elect will be given new resurrected bodies. We are aware of that, but most of us have always looked at this as if it is just something that is going to happen; when the time comes and it is all over, God will just immediately equip us with new resurrected bodies. We looked at this “resurrection from the dead” as sort of a formality. The Lord has to do it because He has saved us and, yet, we see in the example of Christ an example for the entire company of elect, but that resurrection is not a simple matter. First you must suffer. You must “die.” And that prepares you or positions you to enter into the proper place where you can be resurrected.
So the example of Christ, as we saw in our last study, was that He ministered for three and one half years and during that time He healed many people. Finally, He was betrayed by Judas and by the nation of Israel and He was turned over into the hands of the world (Rome) that had nothing to do with outward representation of God’s kingdom, except that Rome was ruling over Israel at that time. Christ suffered and died in the streets of Jerusalem, being crucified, and then He rose from the dead.
We see the pattern, as God speaks of the “two witnesses” that would witness for 1,260 days or three and one half years and they were also betrayed. I always wondered about how God referred to Satan as the “son of perdition.” For instance, we read in 2Thessalonians 2:3-4:
Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
We know this refers to Satan who entered into the churches and ruled during the little season of the Great Tribulation at the end of the church age, but what is interesting is that Satan is called “that man of sin” and “the son of perdition” and, yet, Jesus said in John 17:12:
While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.
Jesus ministered for three and one half years. The two witnesses ministered for three and one half years. Then there was betrayal. It was Judas who betrayed Jesus. What does the Bible tell us about Judas? It tells us he was filled with the spirit of Satan. Satan overtook the Apostle Judas and turned him against Christ. Judas was the one that brought the authorities and sold Him to them. It was Judas who started everything in motion concerning Christ’s suffering and the time He began to be scourged and spit upon, so “the son of perdition” in the life of Christ toward the end of His ministry was instrumental in bringing about the final suffering and death of Christ. Remember He is our example. The Lord Jesus is our pattern.
Likewise, at the end the three and one half years, who betrayed the “two witnesses”? It was “the son of perdition” or “the man of sin,” as he entered into the corporate churches, just as he entered into Judas. Through false apostles and his emissaries of deceitful workers they began to drive out the true believers. The suffering of the elect that related to the “two witnesses,” the witness of the Bible, began to be made manifest at the end of their ministry. So we see many similarities. During Christ’s ministry, He physically healed the sick and performed miracles and during the two witnesses’ ministry they healed the sick spiritually and performed miracles of salvation. Both were betrayed. Christ was betrayed by national Israel and the elect were betrayed by the New Testament apostate corporate church.
In addition, we should not miss the similarity of the world’s role at that time. Rome had taken over Israel at the time of Christ and when Satan was loosed, he ruled over the world and it was as though the corporate church body became another province of the kingdom of Satan as they came under the overall rule of the Babylon of this world. That is why the churches and congregations began to act like the world because they became a part of the world, the kingdom of Satan.
The parallels go on and on. For instance, God said in Hebrews 13:12-14:
Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.
Christ went outside Jerusalem and He died “without the gate,” outside the city. Likewise, at the time of the end, God called His people out of the corporate church. What typified the corporate church? It was Jerusalem. There is the “Jerusalem above” that represents the eternal city and the elect can never leave that city, but there is also “Jerusalem below” with which the corporate churches identify. So Christ went out of Jerusalem and “suffered without the gate” and God called His people out of the churches when He opened the Scriptures and revealed the command for His people to depart out of the midst and flee Judea, as we read in Matthew 24. That is exactly where the people of God went – they all left. The whole body of Christ came “out of Jerusalem.” One very important reason that the elect had to come out of the corporate church (Jerusalem below) was to be in the proper location for what was coming next. Because Jesus suffered without the gate, the body of Christ must follow His example and when the Great Tribulation concluded they would be outside the corporate church to experience the reviling and suffering they must experience.
Again, if you want to be resurrected…and who does not? Who would not want to live forever in a new resurrected body in a perfect new creation with perfect joy and peace? Everyone desires that, but it is not like God just “snaps the finger” and resurrects us, but there is a “process.” It is through much tribulation that we enter into the kingdom of God, so the process is to go “outside the camp” and to suffer and experience the example of the things that Jesus experienced. That is why Christ told us to take up our cross and follow Him. We read this before, but let me read it again in Philippians 3:10:
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection…
Yes, we all want to know him and the power of resurrection. You can almost hear multitudes of people saying, “Yes, Lord, I want to know you and the power of your resurrection.” But notice what it says next, in Philippians 3:10:
… and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
Now a great many people would hesitate and say, “Well, let us not get carried away. I want to know the power of your resurrection, but as far as suffering and death…” You know, people are very hesitant to desire those kinds of things. It is not what the scores of millions in the corporate church signed up for, because they signed up for “easy believe-ism” and they signed up for wonderful things because God has a wonderful plan for them that is all “feel good” and positive. You can sing rock songs and yell out, “Praise the Lord!” every now and then. Of course, that is not the true Gospel. Here is a good statement concerning the true Gospel that is also in the Book of Philippians. It says in Philippians 1:29:
For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
It is “given,” so it is a gift. It is given in behalf of Christ. It is to given to us to “believe on him,” as it tells us in Ephesians 2, verses 8 and 9. That is the only way someone can become saved. If it is not “given” and it is just someone’s own belief, that is not salvation. God has to give the faith of Christ to His people, but not only that, it adds, “But also to suffer for his sake.” The Apostle Paul was used by God as a pattern or example to the believers and it goes on to say in Philippians 1:30:
Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
Paul was referring to his suffering in Christ and the believers will also suffer. It is part of the “gift” and it is part of the overall package God has given to His people. He gives the gift of repentance, the gift of faith and the gift of suffering. We normally do not look at suffering that way. We look at it as a terrible and negative thing and something that we never want to experience. We want no part of it and we do not like being even a little bit discomfited and we do not like to experience even a little affliction. We do not like the little setbacks in our day, for example. We have no patience or tolerance for affliction and suffering. It is true of people of the world, but it is also true of God’s elect because we are still in our bodies. Our physical bodies do not want to suffer. Our bodies were not really created for suffering.
When God created man, He created him good and He created the world good. Were Adam and Eve suffering in the beginning before they sinned? No – they were not suffering. Everything was like what people would like it to be today. It is rather ironic that even though man wants nothing to do with God, it is through his rebellion that he suffers. It was through the initial rebellion that suffering was brought upon mankind and, yet, man still has that original desire for “peace” and “joy” and “comfort,” where everything is good. That is what people really want. They want their original state and condition. Suffering is not natural to the way God created everything, but it is a natural consequence of sin. The Lord told Eve after they sinned that she would have difficulty in birth and Adam would have work in the sweat of his brow to produce things from the ground, so right away things began to be difficult and full of trouble and that is how the Lord sums up man’s life in this sinful world in Job 14:1: Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.”
This is our typical lot in life, for all human beings. No one escapes, even though some people look at the super rich and famous and they think that these people are not troubled. That is really the attraction of great wealth and fame and fortune. It is the idea, “These people have somehow made it back to the original point of creation where they are not troubled any longer – they have it good. They are not afflicted like the rest of us and they are not going through all these hard things because they have it good.” But it is not true of anyone. It is not true. The riches will not satisfy. That is why these billionaires have to keep making more billions and it never satisfies them in any meaningful way, but that is all part of the affliction. It is all the result of sin in this world. There is always suffering for everyone throughout our lives, even though we do not want it and we try to run from it. That is why people drink. That is why people do drugs. They try to alter their minds. But what do drugs and alcohol bring? It brings a good or happy feeling and a temporary avoidance of suffering. It is not surprising that when people like alcoholics and drug addicts begin to feel a little trouble in life or something goes wrong in a relationship, they have to try to escape that awful feeling of suffering. It is a natural consequence of sin that the more people try to avoid suffering and they sin in another area, they inevitably suffer more. For the drug addict and the alcoholic that is trying to escape suffering, they set themselves up for more suffering because now they have lost their job or they have no money and cannot pay the bills. They have lost their wife or husband and are out on the streets and they become even more lonely than ever and it just goes on. The avoidance of suffering just leads to more suffering.
Let me read this verse again, in Philippians 3:10:
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
We are being made “conformable to his image,” and that image includes His death, so the people of God are fashioned or formed or molded into an image conformable to the Son of God, who suffered, died and rose again. Likewise, as part of that image, the people of God will follow the example of the Lord Jesus Christ and be formed in like circumstances in order to experience the resurrection, but first they must suffer and die. Of course, when God shut the door of heaven at the beginning of Judgment Day, He brought the world into the condition of “hell,” which is death, and this has set up the people of God to be made conformable to Christ’s suffering and death.
Then it says in Philippians 3:11:
If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
It says, “If by any means,” and the most important thing for us is to be resurrected because we are still in our physical bodies that are dying. We are all going to die, so if we are not resurrected and if we do not rise from the dead and come back to life, we would be dead forever and ever and ever. We would be annihilated and cease to exist. Of course, that places a great importance upon that resurrection and if we were sane and in our right minds, we would do everything possible to “attain unto the resurrection of the dead,” because that is the supremely important thing above all things. Everything else is temporal. Everything else is vanity because of death. Death would eventually turn everything into vanity. That is part of the wisdom that God gave Solomon: “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.” Why would we would want to concentrate on and lift up as the most important things in life the things of this world that are part of a temporal existence? Clearly, eternity is much greater than a few short years of time on earth and in order to enter into eternity, one must be resurrected: “If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” Even if that meant suffering and dying in an image conformed to the Son of God.
Let us go to Hebrews, chapter 12. This actually is not the study I wrote out. I have gone in a direction I did not plan for here, but let us just keep going because we are too far along to go back now. Let us look at Hebrews 12:1-2:
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…
Notice that statement, “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” Why does God tell us to look to Jesus? He is our example. It goes on to say in Hebrews 12:2-4:
… who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.
The Lord told us to look to the Lord Jesus Christ and, especially, to His time on the cross. He endured the cross, despising the shame, but now He is set down on the right hand of God, which means He resurrected. He died and rose from the dead and we are to consider Him, “lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”
Also, you and I “have not yet resisted unto blood.” This means we have not spilled our blood to the point of death because “the life is in the blood.” We have not died for the sake of the will of God like Jesus died for the sake of the will of God. Actually, He died twice, did He not? He died at the foundation of the world to make payment for sin and then He entered into the world and died on the cross in a tableau – He died again to illustrate His first death. Just imagine the incredible obedience it required for the Lord Jesus to die and suffer a second time just to demonstrate or illustrate to the people of God so we could see worked out in time and history the suffering, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Because we are slow of heart to see these things, it was necessary to give us a record on the pages of the Bible where we could see what God means by the atonement and all these things. That is tremendous obedience, not only to become sin and to pay for sins once, submitting Himself to the wrath of God and dying for us, but He entered into the world and suffered and died a second time to “paint a picture” of what happened at the foundation of the world, demonstrating what it meant to be the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Yet He truly suffered. We read the language in the Garden of Gethsemane that He truly suffered – He was sorrowful unto death and in agony.
It is just awful language of suffering that Jesus experienced. Because we are called upon to take up our crosses and follow Him, we must keep in mind that we “have not yet resisted unto blood.” We have not died and given our lives as He gave His life.
From that discussion of the suffering and death of Christ where God tells us to consider Him, notice what comes next in Hebrews 12:5-7:
And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
It is rather unusual how God connects chastening with a discussion of Christ’s suffering and, yet, He does. Then God tells us not to faint when we are chastened because He chastens and scourges every son whom He receives. We are called upon to endure chastening. If you do not endure you are not a son and it actually makes that point in Hebrews 12:8:
But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
The word “partakers” is interesting. It says in 1Peter 4:13:
But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
In Hebrews it said that if we are not partakers of chastisement, we are “bastards, and not sons.” Remember, it said in Romans 8:29 where it said Christ was the “firstborn of many brethren.” How did Jesus get to be the Son of God? It was through the resurrection from the dead, the firstborn from the dead, as it tells us in Romans that He was declared to be the Son of God through the resurrection from the dead. We are the “many brethren,” so Christ went through the process of death, resurrection and was then declared to be the Son of God. God’s people must identify with Him in suffering as we are “partakers of Christ’s suffering,” and that is why it speaks of being chastened and scourged. The word “scourged” was used of Jesus before He went to the cross – He was scourged. Likewise, the people of God are “scourged,” in that we suffer a like suffering through our experiences and it places us in a proper position as we endure chastisement. Remember that Matthew 24 says that he who endures to the end shall be saved. God has set up a program in the Day of Judgment in which His people, as it were, will take up the cross and follow Christ’s example of suffering and death and if we endure to the end, we will be declared sons of God. At that point, we will all have been chastised and scourged. We will all have been partakers of Christ’s suffering to be called the sons of God. He was the firstborn from the dead and we follow.
There is still a good deal of information for us to look into in this regard and we may do one more study on this subject. As I mentioned earlier I was planning on going a different direction with this study, but I got carried away with the idea of the resurrection.
God did not reveal all the information about May 21, 2011 to us and He held back part of the information. He gave us the most important information and that was that it was Judgment Day and it meant there was no more salvation, but He held back the spiritual aspect of the judgment, knowing what would happen to His own people when He withheld that information. He did not grant us understanding in regard to the nature of the five months and we thought it would be a literal period of time and we thought the end of the world would come after that point and that compounded things, but it served God’s purpose. On May 21, 2011 when a great earthquake did not occur and then when the world did not end on October 21, 2011 these things accomplished God’s purpose. I am sure of this.
God allowed these things to happen to set the stage for testing and trying us. We thought that all along, as we knew the gold, silver, precious stones and the wood, hay, stubble were put to the fire to answer the question of endurance, but, more than that, the Lord set the stage for the elect to “lose everything,” in a manner of speaking. We lost the corporate church, just as Israel turned against Christ. The churches turned against the believers. The world was mocking us and ridiculing us. The people of God lost a faithful ministry that had comforted them for many years and a faithful man of God was soon taken away through a stroke and, finally, through his death. The people of God, it seemed, lost credibility. They seemed to have lost everything. God ended His salvation program.
All these things were set up by God to accomplish His final purpose of bringing the true body of Christ into the Day of Judgment to make our appearance before the judgment seat of Christ in order to demonstrate suffering and death unto the point of resurrection. It was just like Jesus when the time came that He was to be taken. They had gone into the Garden and there was an initial resistance as Peter cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant and then the disciples fled and the Lord Jesus went alone, forsaken by His disciples, forsaken by Israel and forsaken by the world. There was no one with Him. He was a solitary figure. He was isolated and we can see the loneliness of the Lord Jesus as He entered into that final stage and He suffered greatly. It says in Hebrews 5:8:
Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
He was already “a Son,” because He had already risen from the dead before the foundation of the world. Yet, He “learned obedience by the things which he suffered.” I am sure that is what God has done in our lives. God set up all these circumstances and events in order to teach His people obedience in like manner that Christ learned obedience. We are going to be instructed in obedience that we will learn as we experience these things that God has given to us to suffer for Christ’s sake.