Our God gives!
Discover what God has given to you to help you share the gospel
Just recently, in looking at John’s gospel I’ve been struck by something he reveals about who God is.
I believe if we understand this aspect of God’s character it’ll have huge implications for us as we seek to share the gospel with our friends
Our God who gives
Okay, here’s the headline – our God is a God who gives. Why not grab a Bible and check it out with me?
We’re going to dive in at Chapter 5 and verse 19 but let me bring you up to speed. Jesus has just healed a guy, but because he’s done so on the Sabbath he gets a load of grief from the Pharisees. He defends himself by essentially saying, ‘Look! My Father is at work and so am I!’ (v17). Now, obviously that’s a pretty beefy claim (v18) so now Jesus defends that too. Take a read of verse 19 through to verse 30. As you do, ask yourself ‘What does the Father give to the Son?’ Write all of these things down! Then scroll down and take a look at what I came up with…
WAIT… did you actually make your list or are you just skipping ahead? Open your Bible and make your list!
Okay, so this this is awesome! Here’s my list:
- Everything he does! (5:19) – Does that feel like a bit of a cheat? Well I feel justified as John says it twice (v30)!
- Love (20).
- Ability to raise the dead (21).
- Authority to judge (22).
- Having life in himself (26).
- This one’s a bit harder but you could argue the Father gives his reputation for if the Son is not honoured neither is the Father. (23)
It’s pretty crazy isn’t it? We have a God who in and of himself gives all these things and more to his Son. Cool eh?
Jesus gives the Spirit
Okay, keep that note and scroll on down to Chapter 16… Have you got there? Okay, go back up two verses as that’s where the chapter should start! Here Jesus is talking to his disciples, he’s preparing them for the time after he has ascended so they can witness to the world - a bit like a witness would testify in court (15:27).
Anyway, here they are promised the gift of the Holy Spirit (AKA “the advocate.”) Now here’s the cool thing, as you read this passage you see bits of it that sound almost the same as Jesus did back in chapter 5. The Spirit will only speak what he hears (13), the Spirit will receive from Jesus, who received from the Father (15), the Spirit is sent (15:26 and 16:7) just as Jesus is sent (5). The parallels are uncanny… and that’s the point!
This giving is not just something the Father does, but also what the Son does. And yet, if it weren’t already cool enough, that giving extends to you too.
We should give to others
John 15:27 states that just like the Spirit testifies, Christians are to do the same (starting with the disciples and continuing on). Verse 3 is another parallel with Jesus in chapter 5; in 5:23 Jesus states that the way he is honoured honours the Father, in 16:3 dishonour comes to the disciples because the Father is not known. It’s almost as if Jesus’ mission is the model for the Spirit’s mission and our mission (in fact that’s kind of exactly what he says in 20:21!).
You see this gets very real, very quickly. God’s a God who gives, and being like him means giving to others! Our evangelism is simply an extension of what Jesus was doing.
When you reach out to your friends about Jesus or open the Bible with somebody what you’re doing is an extension of who God is. In John we see this happening all the time. Jesus meets all kinds of different people and they all have different reactions to him. But one thing is common to everyone who believes in him, they all talk about it (1:20, 41; 4:39; 53; 9:30-33)!
Now maybe you are looking at that list of examples and thinking, “That’s all about individuals standing up and being counted for being Christian it sounds great but it’s kinda lonely!”
If so let me encourage you, sometimes being a Christian is about being a lone-wolf, but far more often it’s about doing mission together. John 16 is addressed to a group; essentially to the church as a whole, and it’s them that Christ calls to testify about him. One way to get involved in mission at at school or university is to get alongside others doing the same. So, check out the Christian group on campus and get stuck into a local church.
School or university can be a challenging place. Some of you reading this will be looking at this and thinking “Look, I just want to fly under the radar. I don’t want any grief, I’m here to learn, I’ll be a Christian but do so on the downlow.”
I completely understand that feeling. If you feel like that, imagine how the disciples in John 16 must have felt. There they are, not heading to school or university but heading to a world that will soon crucify their leader, hearing that same leader telling them that that same world will reject them and looking at a church that is smaller than it will ever be.
On the other hand, look at what they are promised. The very Spirit of God will be at work in the world! They are given a wonderful gift, just as their saviour has been given gifts from the Father, and they are going to give the gift of the gospel to the world. Perhaps even cooler, what they are doing originates in the very heart of who God is.
When you share the gospel with others, you emulate the very beating heart of God. So give the gift of the good news to others!