Why You Don't Believe Part 2

I do not receive honor from men.  But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?
— John 5:41-44 NKJV

Ouch Jesus! Now Your saying that they don’t have the love of God, which is to say love for God, in them. See, now You’re going to loose Your following on Twitter. You see, when Jesus said in verse 38 that they “do not have His word abiding in” them and now in verse 42 that they “do not have the love of God in” them, He is referring to the same reality that happens when you approach Scripture in order to seek the revelation of God’s character. Which is why reading and studying Scripture with a primary focus on Jesus is so important, because He is the most vivid, express revelation of God’s character, which is love. And when you see in Scripture His love for you revealed in Jesus, it awakens love for Him in your heart. This is why Jesus said He came in the Father’s name, because, Biblically speaking, for Jesus to come in Yahweh’s name was to reveal His character of infinite love in His power, authority and word embodied in human flesh. Yet, because they didn’t really love Him, they wouldn’t receive the honor of Himself, veiled in the Person of His Son. And this is the core of the Gospel, which can be summarized as the Love of God revealed in Jesus & Him crucified for Your salvation. However, the Jews didn’t want this kind of Gospel emphasis. They would rather receive someone coming in their own name and with their own agenda! And this is why many of us won’t believe, because… 


This is a MUST WATCH message that highlights, with crystal clarity, what I’m describing in this blog!

When I was growing up if you preached about grace, the love of God or had an overall Gospel emphasis, you were considered liberal and just giving people the milk of the word. They were wondering when you were going to give them the “meat,” which for them meant, when were you or someone you requested, going to preach about end time Bible prophecy, the Sanctuary, the Three Angel’s Messages, etc. The tragic thing is that they didn’t realize that the entire Bible, including these things, are all various angles through which we are invited to see the main thing, which is the love of God revealed in Jesus. The Gospel.

Friends, the name of God and Bible doctrines are both intended to reveal a compelling picture of God’s character of love and are supposed to be approached and taught that way. Jesus, Himself, modeled this for us in His life and ministry. Yet often out of ignorance to the Gospel framework of the Bible’s unfolding story, we rather receive a disconnected assortment of texts that sound like familiar truths, using a proof text method that removes Scriptures from it’s larger context and Gospel emphasis. When Scripture is used this way, you can almost make it say anything that suites your opinions. And this is the kind of teaching the Jews were more willing to receive. Commenting on this story and the teachers the Jews would rather receive and honor, Ellen White says they…

…flattered their pride by sanctioning their cherished opinions and traditions. But the teaching of Christ did not coincide with their ideas… They were not acquainted with God, and to them His voice through Christ was the voice of a stranger.
— Desire of Ages p.212 

You see, when the Gospel becomes the lens through which you read Scripture and understand doctrine, you avoid pit falls like thinking the 144,000 are a literal number of the only people that will make it through the time of trouble and be saved based on their ability to produce a state of sinless perfection without an intercessor. Rather, you become clear that people are saved in the end of time the same way they are saved at any other time; by grace through faith in the blood of the Lamb. This everlasting gospel is received by a great multitude from every people group around the world, that John finally sees, after initially only hearing their symbolic description of 144,000, representing the new spiritual Israel. They are the beautiful harvest and culmination of the work of the Gospel to bring both Jew and Gentile into one Kingdom under their Messiah, Jesus Christ. Secure in their salvation through Jesus and daily seeking the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, He seals them into the truth of the Gospel, protects them from the plagues, manifests Christ’s presence to them and matures them all the way until Christ returns. That’s why He stops His intercessory work, because He will be on His way to rescue His bride!

Circle A - left; Circle B - right

Circle A - left; Circle B - right

You really just have two choices as to the kind of Adventism you’re going to experience. You’ll either have one (Circle A - left) where Jesus is somewhere within your Adventist theology and practice; where the Gospel is just one of the subjects of many in your Bible studies. Kind of like “Where’s Waldo”, someone has to look for where Jesus makes a guest appearance! Then you start to receive whatever “independent ministry” fits your brand of Adventism. Or you’ll have the experience (Circle B - right) where Jesus is the root, center and substance of all that permeates your theology and practice; where every doctrinal Bible study is just another angle through which to explain the beauty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Now Jesus just has one more obstacle to our fully trusting in Him, that He needs to place in its proper context in verse 45… 


CJ Cousins

Follower of Jesus, Husband, Father and Associate Pastor for Younger Generations at Vienna SDA Church.