testing for truth

©2020 dan bulkley | ask@lifefellowship.org

today’s key passage:

john 7:1-18

After this, Jesus went around in Galilee, purposely staying away from Judea because the Jews there were waiting to take his life.2 But when the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles was near, 3 Jesus’ brothers said to him, “You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples may see the miracles you do. 4 No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 For even his own brothers did not believe in him.

6 Therefore Jesus told them, “The right time for me has not yet come; for you any time is right. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil. 8 You go to the Feast. I am not yet going up to this Feast, because for me the right time has not yet come.” 9 Having said this, he stayed in Galilee.

10 However, after his brothers had left for the Feast, he went also, not publicly, but in secret. 11 Now at the Feast the Jews were watching for him and asking, “Where is that man?”

12 Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, “He is a good man.”

Others replied, “No, he deceives the people.” 13 But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the Jews.

Jesus Teaches at the Feast

14 Not until halfway through the Feast did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach. 15 The Jews were amazed and asked, “How did this man get such learning without having studied?”

16 Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. 17 If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. 18 He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.

a closer look: john 7:15

john 7:15

The Jews were amazed and asked, “How did this man get such learning without having studied?”

cross references

john 12:49-50

For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. 50 I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”

john 14:24

He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

a closer look: john 7:16

john 7:16

Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me.

cross references

isaiah 50:4-5

The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue,

to know the word that sustains the weary.

He wakens me morning by morning,

wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.

5 The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears,

and I have not been rebellious;

I have not drawn back.

mark 1:35-38

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”

38 Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else–to the nearby villages–so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”

acts 4:13

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.

a closer look: john 7:17

john 7:17

If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.

cross references

hebrews 11:6

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

i john 2:27

As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit–just as it has taught you, remain in him.

john 6:45

It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.

ii timothy 2:7

Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.

proverbs 1:23

If you had responded to my rebuke,

I would have poured out my heart to you

and made my thoughts known to you.

philippians 3:15

All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.

isaiah 1:18-19

“Come now, let us reason together,”

says the Lord.

“Though your sins are like scarlet,

they shall be as white as snow;

though they are red as crimson,

they shall be like wool.

19 If you are willing and obedient,

you will eat the best from the land;

isaiah 30:15-21

This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:

“In repentance and rest is your salvation,

in quietness and trust is your strength,

but you would have none of it.

16 You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’

Therefore you will flee!

You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’

Therefore your pursuers will be swift!

17 A thousand will flee

at the threat of one;

at the threat of five

you will all flee away,

till you are left

like a flagstaff on a mountaintop,

like a banner on a hill.”

18 Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;

he rises to show you compassion.

For the Lord is a God of justice.

Blessed are all who wait for him!

19 O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you.20 Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

psalm 119:96-102

To all perfection I see a limit;

but your commands are boundless.

Mem

97 Oh, how I love your law!

I meditate on it all day long.

98 Your commands make me wiser than my enemies,

for they are ever with me.

99 I have more insight than all my teachers,

for I meditate on your statutes.

100 I have more understanding than the elders,

for I obey your precepts.

101 I have kept my feet from every evil path

so that I might obey your word.

102 I have not departed from your laws,

for you yourself have taught me.

proverbs chapter 8

Does not wisdom call out?

Does not understanding raise her voice?

2 On the heights along the way,

where the paths meet, she takes her stand;

3 beside the gates leading into the city,

at the entrances, she cries aloud:

4 “To you, O men, I call out;

I raise my voice to all mankind.

5 You who are simple, gain prudence;

you who are foolish, gain understanding.

6 Listen, for I have worthy things to say;

I open my lips to speak what is right.

7 My mouth speaks what is true,

for my lips detest wickedness.

8 All the words of my mouth are just;

none of them is crooked or perverse.

9 To the discerning all of them are right;

they are faultless to those who have knowledge.

10 Choose my instruction instead of silver,

knowledge rather than choice gold,

11 for wisdom is more precious than rubies,

and nothing you desire can compare with her.

12 “I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence;

I possess knowledge and discretion.

13 To fear the Lord is to hate evil;

I hate pride and arrogance,

evil behavior and perverse speech.

14 Counsel and sound judgment are mine;

I have understanding and power.

15 By me kings reign

and rulers make laws that are just;

16 by me princes govern,

and all nobles who rule on earth.

17 I love those who love me,

and those who seek me find me.

18 With me are riches and honor,

enduring wealth and prosperity.

19 My fruit is better than fine gold;

what I yield surpasses choice silver.

20 I walk in the way of righteousness,

along the paths of justice,

21 bestowing wealth on those who love me

and making their treasuries full.

22 “The Lord brought me forth as the first of his works,

before his deeds of old;

23 I was appointed from eternity,

from the beginning, before the world began.

24 When there were no oceans, I was given birth,

when there were no springs abounding with water;

25 before the mountains were settled in place,

before the hills, I was given birth,

26 before he made the earth or its fields

or any of the dust of the world.

27 I was there when he set the heavens in place,

when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,

28 when he established the clouds above

and fixed securely the fountains of the deep,

29 when he gave the sea its boundary

so the waters would not overstep his command,

and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.

30 Then I was the craftsman at his side.

I was filled with delight day after day,

rejoicing always in his presence,

31 rejoicing in his whole world

and delighting in mankind.

32 “Now then, my sons, listen to me;

blessed are those who keep my ways.

33 Listen to my instruction and be wise;

do not ignore it.

34 Blessed is the man who listens to me,

watching daily at my doors,

waiting at my doorway.

35 For whoever finds me finds life

and receives favor from the Lord.

36 But whoever fails to find me harms himself;

all who hate me love death.”

john 1:47-49

When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.”

48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.

Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”

49 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”

james 1:21-25

Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.

hebrews 5:13-14

Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

i thessalonians 5:21-22

Test everything. Hold on to the good. 22 Avoid every kind of evil.

job 34:3-4

For the ear tests words

as the tongue tastes food.

4 Let us discern for ourselves what is right;

let us learn together what is good.

acts 17:11

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

psalm 119:140

Your promises have been thoroughly tested,

and your servant loves them.

jeremiah 44:28

Those who escape the sword and return to the land of Judah from Egypt will be very few. Then the whole remnant of Judah who came to live in Egypt will know whose word will stand–mine or theirs.

i kings 22:28

Micaiah declared, “If you ever return safely, the Lord has not spoken through me.” Then he added, “Mark my words, all you people!”

deuteronomy 18:18-22

I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. 19 If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account. 20 But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death.”

21 You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?” 22 If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.

ii timothy 3:14-17

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.