Four Part Harmony
|John 14 (NKJV™)|
|15||"If you love Me, keep My commandments.|
|16||"And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever--|
|17||"the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.|
|18||"I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.|
New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.
Some of the best moments on American Idol aren't the solo performances, but when all the singers join together and blend their voices in harmony. There's nothing sweeter than well-trained voices blended together in first, thirds, and fifths. Spiritual harmony is much the same—when believers blend with the triune Godhead there is an alignment that results in a deep sense of fulfillment. And what is the note we are to sing in this spiritual song? It is the note of loving obedience!
"But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name" John 20:31.
Believe:879 is an epic journey through the book of John led by Pastor Skip Heitzig of Calvary of Albuquerque. As we explore each of the 879 verses of this gospel, we'll grow in grace and in our knowledge of Jesus Christ. From His pre-incarnate existence, to His public ministry, through His death and His resurrection we'll traverse familiar territory and embark on new adventures of faith.
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Pondering the Principles:
Hebrew Terms: יְהוָ֣ה יִרְאֶ֑ה; Yahweh Yireh; Jehovah Jireh - the Lord will provide
Greek Terms: Παράκλητος; Parakletos - Helper; ἕτερος; heteros - another of a different kind; ἄλλος; allos - another of the same kind; ὀρφανός; orphanos - orphans, fatherless, desolate; ἀληθείας; aletheias - truth
Publications Referenced: Doxology, Thomas Ken; The Tune, by Larry Norman
Figures Referenced: Augustine of Hippo; Tim Downs
Cross References: Genesis 1:26-27; Deuteronomy 8:18; Psalm 23:5; Ecclesiastes 2:26; Matthew 6:11; Matthew 7:11; John 3:16; John 16:7-13; John 17:9; John 17:20; John 19:30; Romans 8:32; Romans 8:34; 1 Corinthians 2:14; 1 Timothy 6:13; Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1; Revelation 12:10
Keywords: trinity, obedience, Father, Son, Holy Spirit
Would you turn into your Bible this morning to John Chapter 14. And once again, would you pray with me for this morning's study?
Lord, I almost said would you pray with me for this morning's meal. That's a good way to describe studying the word. This is a meal we're going to eat. We want to be fed with scripture for our spiritual lives. Lord, we are surrounded with so many other voices, so many other values. I pray we would tune into you and that you would have the freedom apart from contradictory thoughts that my fellow heads have the freedom to speak to us. In Jesus' name, Amen.
For years, musicians have told jokes about one another. If you've ever played in any kind of a band, you know that band members have kind of cuts in jabs and jokes about different players, whether they are guitars players or drummers. Drummers get the brand of the jokes and rightfully so and lead singers. Lead singers sometimes get jokes told about them. For example, how many lead singers does it take to change a light bulb, answer? One. He holds the bulb while the world revolves around him. Question, what's the difference between a lead singer and a terrorist? Answer, you can negotiate with a terrorist. Question, how do you drown a lead singer? Answer, put a mirror in the bottom of the pool.
So you can see that there's a little bit of tension, sometimes among musicians and it's all in fun. On the other hand, what are the most pleasing sounds isn't just somebody with a lead voice, but people who harmonize together.
When you put a first and a third and a fifth in music and you make a whole chord vocally and then you add a fourth to that, so wonderful and pleasant to listen to -- a four-part harmony. I want to talk to you today about four-part harmony.
And what I mean by that, not just the musical terms but principally, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit that's the trinity, and then you and I, that's our fourth part. And how it all blends together to make beautiful music so that we can live a life that is pleasing to God. Now you should something that there is always been unity and harmony within the Holy Trinity -- Father, Son and Spirit.
The first hint in scripture that we get of that is back in Genesis Chapter 1 where the Bible says, "And God said, let us make men in our image" and then it continues, "So in the image of God, He made men." That's an inner Trinitarian communication. That's the Father and the Son and the Spirit all agreeing together, "Let's work on a project. Let's make humanity."
You never read of any dissention in the Trinity. You never read of the Holy Spirit saying, "No, wait a minute. I disagree." Or the Son saying, "Let's take a vote on that." They were all working in beautiful harmony together -- Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And then there's the fourth part and that's us. Let me put it to you this way. If our spiritual life is out of tune, guess who's singing off key. It's not the Father, its not the Son, it's the not the Spirit, it's us.
And with that in mind and understanding that this is the first time in the Gospel of John where Jesus introduces to his disciples the concept of the Trinity, let's read Verse 15 and a few verses afterwards.
John Chapter 14, beginning in Verse 15. Jesus speaks, "If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever -- the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him, but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans. I will come to"
And my goal this morning is practical. I will not and cannot unravel the mystery of the Trinity. I do however want to unveil the ministry of the Trinity.
To use our musical analogy, you might say that God the Father is the great composer, He writes the score. Jesus Christ is the first violin in the orchestra, and the Holy Spirit is conductor and all of us, we, the church, God's people, we take our cues from Him -- God the Holy Spirit. He's the conductor. We're not the conductor. Our part is to cooperate with the conductor not to rewrite the score, not to adlib as we go along, not to try to be the conductor. It's always a failure.
Now, let me tell you a story about a great musician who tried to be a conductor. He was indeed a great songwriter, composer, great piano player, but he wanted to be a conductor. He was a lousy conductor. First, whenever he would come to the soft passages in the song, he would crouch down really, really low. So people in the back couldn't see him. And when it was the lively part of the music, he would jump up and down and shout things out to the orchestra, which confused them.
He also forgot -- he had a bad memory in this kind of stuff. He forgot on one occasion that he told the orchestra not to repeat a certain section and he forgot he told them that, so he repeated that section while they did not. So there was this kind of crash and so he would say, "Stop, stop, you're wrong. Do it again," when in fact he was wrong.
He also tried to conduct from a piano bench in a piano concerto, a big mistake. On one occasion, he got up from the piano walking toward the orchestra, knocking over all the candles that were on the piano and knocking over a choir board. He was a failure of being a conductor.
As time went on, he was losing his hearing and it got so bad that the orchestra wouldn't even follow him anymore. They instead took their cues from the first violin. Eventually, the orchestra begged that this conductor to quit, to give it up. So Ludwig Van Beethoven did -- great musician, great composer, great piano player, horrible conductor.
See, the genius is not always in the capability as much as the cooperation working and blending together.
I sense this is the first time that Jesus mentions the Trinity -- Father, Son and Spirit, to the disciples. Let's look at all three and all four parts to make beautiful music. First of all, the Father's part.
Now, according to Jesus and this little section that we read, God the Father's part, is that He provides. He is the provider. Look at Verse 16, "And I will pray the Father," now watch this, "And He will give you another helper." The word give means supply or furnish what is necessary.
You might say it's God the Father that provides the musical score. In the Bible, God the Father, the first person of the Trinity, is always seen as the source -- the provider. Did you know that one of the first names of God in the Bible, Genesis 22, Jehovah Jireh means "The Lord will provide"? He's the Provider. He's the source. We sing a song called the "Doxology", praise God from whom all blessings flow.
According to the Bible, He's the provider of life. 1Timothy 6:13, "God who gives life to all things." In the Bible, God is the provider of satisfaction in our daily lives. Ecclesiastes Chapter 2:6, "He gives wisdom. He gives knowledge and joy to those who are good in His sight." He, God, is the provider of the ability to work and produce. Deuteronomy Chapter 8:18, "It is God who gives you power to get wealth." God is the source of salvation. John 3:16, "For God so love the world that He gave, provided His only begotten Son."
And here Jesus says, "The Holy Spirit is going to be provided by the Father." And just in case you're wondering if there's anything in life you'll need, there's Romans 8:32 which says, "And God, who did not spare His only Son but freely gave Him up for us, how shall He not with him freely give us all things."
So He gives us ability, capability, wisdom, joy, salvation, the Holy Spirit and everything else we need. He's the great composer who gives love songs to the world and the greatest love song is Jesus.
And that is why, Jesus, when He teaches His disciples to relate to God the Father, they're told to relate to Him as the provider. He taught them the Lord's Prayer. We all know it by heart, "Our Father which art in heaven, hollowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," here's the part "Give us this day our daily bread." Why does Jesus want us to pray like that? It's simple. He wants us to place God the Father in His proper place, the source of everything, the provider of everything, even our daily sustenance.
I've often thought that that prayer seems irrelevant to western people. People in the United States, we usually don't struggle with our next meal, "Give us this day our daily bread." Our problem is often the opposite, we're on diets. We're asking God to help us restrain ourselves from making a pig out of ourselves at the next meal. But the idea of the prayer is that we place God in His proper position and status as the Lord, the provider, the source, the giver of all good things. The truth is God treats us pretty good, doesn't He? Amen, does He? David said, "My cup runs over. It runs over."
I read a story about a beggar begging for money at a train depot. This beggar had left home as a young child, ran away from home and now he's a beggar. People walk by and he says, "Spare change. Can you spare some change?" And one man walked by, "Can you spare some change?" And the man turned around and the boy recognized that was his father. And the beggar said, "Father, do you know me?" He's father grabbed him and hugged him so close and said, "My son, you want spare change? Everything I have is yours." How ironic, here's a kid asking for a few pennies, here's a dad who's been looking for a son for years to give him everything.
And so Jesus said to his disciples, "If you, being evil, can give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father give good gifts to those who ask Him?" So God is the provider. He's the first in the four-part harmony. He's the giver. He's the source.
So what's our part if God is the giver? We are the receiver. We receive those gifts, unashamedly, unabashedly. And here's my question to you, have you received God's greatest gift ye -- His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ? Have you personally received Him as your own savior in your life as God's greatest gift?
Here's the second part and that is the part for the Son to play in this four-part harmony and His role is the intercessor, Verse 16, "And I, Jesus, I will pray the Father and He will give You another helper." Now, you should know something, when Jesus talks about Him praying to the Father, it's not a word that is used of an inferior talking to a superior. That's how we pray we're the inferior, God's superior, we pray to Him. But this is a word that is used of two equals talking to one another, like a king who would go to another king and ask for terms of peace or ask for favors in exchange for something else. "I will pray the Father. I will prompt the Father," could be a translation and He will give you another helper.
Now, this verse is important. This verse marks what we call the intercessory work of Jesus Christ for His followers. Have you ever heard of that term -- the intercessory work of Jesus? It's a ministry that Jesus has been performing for 2,000 years now. It's His work for His disciple. Intercessory work simply means Jesus talks to the Father about you. Jesus talks to the Father about you. It's not the last time we're going to read about it. When we get to John chapter 17, Jesus praying to the Father says, "Father I pray for them," those are the 12 disciples, "For all of those that you have given Me out of the world for they are yours," as the prayer continues, He says "I pray not only for them, but also for all of those who will believe in Me through their word." That's us.
That's the intercessory work of Jesus. It's His unfinished work. Even evangelicals talks so much about the finished work of Jesus and we should. When Jesus died on the cross and paid for our sins, He said, "It is finished." It's done. You can't add anything to it. You can't take anything from it. It's a done deal. It's paid in full. It's finished. That's the finished work of Christ.
But did you know there's an unfinished work of Jesus? And that is His intercessory work for us before the Father. In Romans 8 it says, "He is at the right hand of God and He makes intercession for us." That helps actually. It answers the question some of you may have had. What's Jesus been doing up there for 2,000 years? Since He ascended to heaven, what's He been doing? Like waiting to return? Well, part of His work is He's been talking to the Father about you.
Hebrew 7:25 tells us, "He ever lives to make intercession for us." "Well, what kind of intercession?" you say. Well, here's another answer 1 John Chapter 2, it says, "If we sin," and we do, "If we sin, we have an advocate with the Father, who is Jesus Christ the righteous." You know what an advocate means? A lawyer, or better yet a defense attorney.
Jesus Christ is your defense attorney before the judgment bar of God. Now you might ask, "Why do I need a defense attorney?" Are you kidding? You need to ask that? It's because we have an enemy the Bible says, Revelation 12, "The accuser of the brethren who accuses us before God," how often? Day and night, day and night, and he didn't' have to make anything up about us, just state the facts. He can point to you and me and go, "There's your Christian God and look at Him. Look at Her. Listen to Him. Listen to her." He's got the dirt on us.
And so then Jesus comes in as our defense attorney and can lean over on the judgment bar and lean into the Father and say, "Dad, based upon my shed blood -- my finished work, please forgive that one, they're mine." So look at it this way, the unfinished work of Jesus, praying the Father, talking to the Father about you, the unfinished work of Jesus right now in heaven is based upon the finished work of Jesus on earth, on the cross.
How good does it make you feel to know that you're on Jesus prayer list? It's pretty cool, right? I mean, have you ever had somebody said, "I don't know what it is, but you've been on my mind all week long and I've been praying for you like everyday." It makes you feel pretty good. Oh, that is pretty good but you've been on His prayer list. He has been talking to the Father about you and He does that as part of His ministry.
I heard a story about a man who is in front of the White House. Now, this was a long time ago. This was the Abraham Lincoln White House. He was in front of the White House. He was crying. He was crying and a little boy walked up to him and said, "Why are you crying?" The man said, "Because my son is going to be executed. He deserted from his company." This was the Civil War, "He deserted from his company. He's going to be shot. But if I could just see President Lincoln -- the guards won't let me in, but if I could just see President Lincoln, I know President Lincoln's reputation and I know he's a kind man and he would pardon my son if he knew all the facts of his desertion."
The little boy said, "Don't cry. I'll take you to see the president. He's my father." And as the story goes, he got an audience with that president. That man got an audience with President Lincoln and President Lincoln pardoned that man's son.
So two parts in perfect harmony together -- God the Father the provider, God the son the intercessor, here's the third, the Holy Spirit.
Now, "What is the Holy Spirit?" you might ask. Wrong question, "Who is the Holy Spirit?" is the right question. Because you'll notice in just a few verses that we've read, that Jesus uses personal pronouns to describe the Holy Spirit. Notice them, "Whom" the Father will send, "Him", "He", all of those are words of personality.
Listen, the Holy Spirit is not some force or some feeling or some mode of God. When the Bible speaks about the Holy Spirit, the Bible speaks in two ways -- the Holy Spirit is a person and the Holy Spirit is God.
The Holy Spirit is a person and the Holy Spirit is God, that's how the Bible speaks about them.
The Bible would say in a nutshell, there's only one God who eternally exists in three persons, one God existing in three persons. Now, if you don't get that, don't feel disappointed. How many of you don't get the Trinity, raise your hand. I'll raise both my hands. I don't completely get it. I believe it. It's declared. I don't quite understand it. So if you don't completely understand it, we'll talk more about the Trinity in weeks ahead, but don't feel bad. Welcome to the company.
True story, Augustine of Hippo, you may remember that name. He was one of the 4th Century church fathers in Northern Africa, Augustine of Hippo. He's trying to figure out the Trinity. He was a scholar, very bright man, very biblically astute. He was reading and thinking and trying to figure it out. He goes, "I got to understand Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." He was at the beach one day trying to figure this out, contemplating the Trinity and he watched. Augustine watches a little boy dug a hole in the sand and took a jar -- a clay jar, his little bucket, went to the ocean, filled that up with water, poured the water into the hole, went back to the ocean, got some water in it, poured water into the hole, went back to the ocean, got water, poured it in the hole, went back, you got the idea.
Augustine finally went up to the little boy and said, "What are you doing?" And the little boy confidently declared, "I'm going to put that ocean in this hole." A light went off in Augustine's mind, "Because that's what I've been trying to do. I've been trying to take that ocean called God and put it into this hole. My mind not going to fit, not going to work, impossible to take something totally limitless and stuff it into something limited my own head."
But I want you to know something about the Holy Spirit and we need to know who He is. We need to know what He does and we need to know how He does it or else there's not going to be harmony. Notice first of all the Holy Spirit is called "The Helper", Verse 16, "I will pray the Father and He will give you another helper." The Greek word "Parakletos" translated helper, counselor, comforter. The best meaning is this, "One who is called along side of you to help you." You know what that tells me? It tells me that God knows we need all the help we can get. Would you agree with that? Do we need all the help we can get? Is the Christian life easy? No, we need help. It's the Holy Spirit who puts fuel in our gas tank so to speak.
Tim Down(ph) writes these words, "Watches, cars and Christians can all look chrome and shiny, but watches don't tick and cars don't go and Christians don't make a difference without insights. And for a Christian, that is the Holy Spirit." He's a helper. Something else about the Holy Spirit, He's not just a helper, notice what Jesus calls Him, another helper. "I'm going to pray the Father and he's going to give you another helper."
Now, I want you to get this. You have to understand this to get the point. In Greek, there are two words that are translated in English another but they're two different words. There is "Heteros" which means "another of a different kind". And second there's the word "Allos", which means "another of exactly the same kind'.
There's a big difference in those. Here's an example. You go to the store and you buy a CD. You put the CD in your player and you're listening to it and you say, "I hate this. I thought I like this artist but I hate this album. I don't want this. I'm going to take it back and get another." You're going to use the word "Heteros", another, not of the same kind but a different kind, something that you would like. But if you buy a CD, plug it in, listen to it, you go, "I love this." And a friend listens to it and the friend goes, "I like it, too." And you say, "Keep it. I'll go buy another." You'll use the word "Allos". "I'll buy another one of exactly the same kind." So you get the point now.
Jesus says, "I'll pray the Father and He will give you all, another comforter exactly like I've been to you. You've been relying on Me. You've been looking to Me. I've comforted. I've been a help to you. I'm going away, but the Father will send a comforter, a helper, a counselor just like I've been to you."
Now on verse 18, He says, "I will not leave you orphans. I will come to you." What is that all about? Well, did you know that in ancient Judaism, whenever disciples, pupils lost their Rabbi they were known as "Orphanos(ph)", orphans. They were teacherless. They were helpless. The Rabbi has left them, "I'm not going to leave you orphans. I'm going to come to you." And that is by sending the Holy Spirit.
So we say helper, he's another helper. Something else to notice about the Holy Spirit, He's a permanent helper. Look at Verse 16 again, "I will pray the Father. He will give you another helper that he may abide with you forever." How long is forever? Well, it's forever. It's not, "He'll abide with you for three and a half years and then he's gone." Or, "He'll get you jumpstarted in your Christian walk and then you're on your own." He'll be with you forever. He's a permanent helper.
You notice in verse 17 concerning the Holy Spirit Jesus says, "He dwells with you and shall be in you", with you, in you. Later on in Acts 1 Jesus said, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you." So notice that He'll be with you, He'll be in you, He'll come upon you.
Look at it this way. The Holy Spirit comes after us to save us. The Holy Spirit comes in us to sanctify us and then the Holy Spirit comes upon us to supercharge us, to get us ready and able to do his work, God's work in this world. That's the relationship. Something else to notice, the Holy Spirit is a reliable helper. Look at verse 17. He's called the spirit of what? Truth, "Aletheia", He's reliable. He's genuine. He's the spirit of truth. He's the source of truth and he'll tell you the truth. He'll tell you the truth about you and about God and his righteousness. He's the source of truth. He's always about telling people the truth. Not just about making him feel good but telling them the truth.
Now, I want you to turn with me to John 16, just a couple of pages to the right, John 16. At our page we're going to forget everything today anyway by then. So John 16 Verse 7, "Nevertheless, I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away for. If I do not go away, the helper will not come to you. But if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgment. Of sin because they do not believe in Me, of righteousness because I go to my Father and you see Me no more, of judgment because the ruler of this world is judged. I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He," here's the designation again, "The spirit of truth has come, He will guide you into all truth for He will not speak on His own authority but whatever He hears, He will speak and He will tell you things to come."
Apart from the Holy Spirit, no man, no woman can ever know the truth about their sinful condition and about the righteousness of God and what it takes to get to God. So how can you tell if a person is filled with the Holy Spirit? Now just think about that for a minute. How can you tell if a person is filled with the Holy Spirit? Will they become the lead singer? No. You can tell if a person is filled with the Holy Spirit, if he's the Holy Spirit, the person will be holy. If he's the Spirit of truth, he will be truthful. He will love the truth and it's not just one bit of truth, but the balance of truth. If you want scriptural harmony, it's the balance of all the Bible truth.
Sometimes I need a person who zeroes in on one particular little truth that he or she emphasizes. It's like playing one string on a guitar -- play them all, make beautiful music, let it all be balanced. It's the spirit of truth.
Something else to notice about the Holy Spirit, He's an exclusive helper. You'll notice He says, "The world can't receive Him." The spirit of truth verse 17, "Whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees Him nor knows Him but you know Him for He dwells with you and will be in you." The world can't receive the Holy Spirit, you know why? Because they don't believe in anything they can't see.
It's interesting that Missouri is called the "Show-Me State", and pardon if you're from Missouri but I've always enjoyed that. I smiled whenever I see a licensed plate the "Show-Me State". You know, the whole world is the "Show-Me State" when it comes to spiritual things. The whole world says, "If I can't see it, I won't believe it." Boy that's a shame. In fact, that's not even good science. Did you know that right now in this room there are pictures? Right now, there are pictures. You can't see them but they're floating through the air.
And there are sounds in this room. You can't hear them but they're floating in this room. You know what I'm talking about, right? Radio waves, television waves. If you had the right receiver and you could tune in to the frequency, you'd see and you'd hear they're actually here. They're present with us.
Well, in 1 Corinthians it says, "The natural man," that's the unsaved person, "Cannot receive the things that the spirit of God their foolishness to him." So it takes the Holy Spirit to open up the eyes of that person, open up the heart. Have you ever talked to someone about the gospel and they don't get it and you go, "Don't you see? Can't you see?" No, they can't. They lack the capability. You might as well tell a blind man how beautiful the sunset was yesterday. "Can't you see?" No.
So the Holy Spirit has to sort of put in a new sim card into our unit, activate us spiritually, convict us of sin and righteousness and judgment. So person the goes, "Lights on. I get it. I see it. It's the work of the spirit."
So that's the third part of the harmony. He's the helper and I've described in how many ways He helps. But consider now as we close the fourth part of these four-part harmony and that's us. Verse 15, here it is. "If you love Me, keep my commandments." Got it? Does it all make sense now? God's part, He's the provider. He writes the score. Jesus, He's the intercessor, the first violin. Holy Spirit, He's the conductor. He's the helper. He's the comforter. We, our part, we're the conformers. "If you love me, you'll keep, you'll obey, and you'll do my commandments."
You know what that means? It means that if we're not obeying Christ, if that's not our lifestyle. I didn't mean you're perfect but you're general lifestyle, my general lifestyle is that an obedience to Christ. If you're not being obedient to Christ, you are fighting the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, all three of them. That's why there no harmony. That's why it sounds out of tune because our part is to conform. We're spoiling the melody.
Years ago, I had this cool coffee machine. It was an espresso machine. Actually, I could tell my life history based on the coffee machines that I've owned. This was a gift that was given to me by a guy who had it. He said he didn't want it. It was the old school espresso machine with a little arm on it at a little chrome metal boiler. You put water in it, plug in, put on the top and that water would boil and you'd press the coffee down, loved it. You couldn't tell how much water was in the boiler so they put a little glass tube on the side connected to the boiler. That was like the gauge.
So as the water was in the tube, so as the water in the boiler. If the tube had water up to the top, the boiler was full. If the line of the water in the glass tube was halfway, it was half full in the boiler. If it was all the way down to the bottom in the glass tube, there was no water in the boiler. It was the gauge. How could you tell how much water is in the boiler? Look at the gauge. How can you tell if a person loves God? Look at the gauge, and the gauge is obedience to Jesus Christ. "If you love me, keep my commandments."
So the Trinity has always been in perfect harmony. It's that fourth part that we have problems with sometimes. Look at it this way. My obedience to His voice will make the melody sweeter. My disobedience to His voice will make the melody sourer.
So what does the world hear when you're around as they observe your lifestyle? Does the world listen to the music that is produced and go, "Oh, I hate that," or they go, "Ah, that's music. That's beautiful." That's a question. Are you out of tune? Are you in tune? Are you marching to His tune?
I want to close with an illustration that one of my favorite musicians of years gone back who's now in heaven. His name is Larry Norman. He writes this and he did it in a song. I'm not going to play the song. I'll just read this to you.
"Once there was a tune and everyone knew how it went. But as time when by, people began to forget until at last no one could remember. And there was hatred, and wars, and death. And then one day somebody said, 'How does the tune go?' 'There is no tune, there never was, it's only a myth." These were the philosophers. 'You mean there's no tune at all?' 'Well, it doesn't really matter what tune you play as long as you play something.' These were the religious leaders."
"And so the world played on and there was hatred, and wars, and death. Then one day the people became weary of this song and they all sat down on the side of the hill. And suddenly, they heard a very strange voice and someone said, 'That sounds like the tune.' 'There is no tune, there never was, there never will be.' 'Well, it doesn't really matter what tune you play as long as you play something and don't hurt anybody, especially me.' But the people listened."
"And a man appeared before them with the A smile on his face and a sad look, too. And he was singing the tune. And some of the people began to sing along and the people who loved him decided to follow him but the people who hated him decided to kill him, and they did. And when it was finished, they went back to their houses of philosophy and religion and they sat down to their tables to eat and drink."
"Suddenly, they were interrupted by a familiar voice and they ran to their windows and looked outside to see who it was. It was him. And they became confused and afraid and they wondered how could they get rid of him once and for all. And while they were watching him, something very strange happened. 'How did he do that?' 'I don't really know but he's gone and when trouble goes, you don't ask where. He'll never return again, I hope."
"Yet again they were interrupted. This time they ran out into the streets to lay hold of him but they couldn't find him. Just a lot of people smiling and they all know the tune. And when the people made a mistake, they stopped and listened. That's how they knew the tune because they listened. And if you listen, you'll hear it. It's all around you. Just listen to your radio, watch television, listen to your leaders, to the authorities, to the governments, to the experts. But if you really listen, you can hear another tune. But you have to listen quietly and you have to listen everyday."
God is singing His love song to the world and the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. God so loved the world that He gave His son. And if you really listen, you'll hear the tune. And if you get your life in tune with His life, the harmony will be sweet and melodious.Father, it is our prayer that our part would be that of conforming to your will by being obedient to our great Christ. We pray, Father, that as we live today, if we haven't received Christ that we wouldn't leave this room without coming forward and talking to a pastor or a counselor, go to the prayer room and speak about spiritual things and we pray Lord that our lives as believers would always be in tune with you. In Jesus' name, Amen.