March 20, 2017
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
I have heard it said more than once by those who embrace the “Name it, Claim it, and Frame it” thinking – “God said it! Just believe it, and it’s yours!” Such thinking is based upon accepting the promises of God unconditionally – without being aware of the fulfillment conditions surrounding such promises! For instance, Jesus, in John 15:16 (ISV), “…whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give it to you.” But our featured Scripture encompasses three surrounding verses that set specific conditions to be met – if the promise (above) is to be fulfilled! Let’s Look Around this one verse. Here is I John 15:14 through 17 (International Standard Version):
You are My friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you
servants anymore, because a servant does not know what his master
is doing. But I have called you friends, because I have made known
to you everything that I have heard from My Father. You have not
chosen Me, but I have chosen you. I have appointed you to go and
produce fruit that will last, so that whatever you ask the Father in
My name, He will give it to you. I am giving you these command-
ments so that you may love one another.
Here are some of the conditions to the fulfillment of verse 15: “…whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give it to you.”
• I John 15:14 – “You are My friends if you do what I command you.” To be a true friend, it is always a two-way street!
✞ Jesus is the friend of sinners! He said this in John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” We were not His friends when He laid down His life for us – we were counted as enemies of God! (See Romans 5:6; Ephesians 2:12; Colossians 1:21). But by His sacrifice on the cross, Jesus took away that condition that caused our alienation from God – sin – and gave us the new nature that responds to our Creator (see Romans 8:6-8; I Corinthians 5:17, 21; Ephesians 2:13). I believe the proper interpretation of Hebrews 12:2 highlights this very idea: “…Jesus…who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame….” What was that joy that held Him through the torture of the cross? It was the joy of seeing all those enemy sinners being reconciled to God and becoming His friends!
✞ Our part in this friendship is to do what He commands us – to obey Jesus! As He tells us in John 14:15, “If you love Me, keep my commandments.” His chief commandment is found in I John 3:23: “And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.” If we are to expect God to do whatever we ask the Father in Jesus’ name, we need to be in obedience to Him! Look Around and see the conditions attached to Jesus’ promise!
• John 15:15 – “…I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from My Father.” A true friend is trusting, and shares his or her secrets with you. Jesus has shared with us the secrets of God! They are revealed in His Word, the Bible! We are told in Romans 16:25 and 26:
…the revelation…of Jesus Christ…was kept secret since the world began
but now has been made manifest…by the prophetic scriptures…the com-
mandment of the everlasting God, made known for the obedience of
God has given us His revelation – His Word! Our job is to do what Paul tells us in Colossians 3:16: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly...”! (See also Deuteronomy 11:18-21; Psalm 1:2). So Look Around to this condition! Be diligent in seeking to master the Bible! If that is our pursuit, then we can expect the fulfillment of His promise in John 15:16: “…whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give it to you.”
• John 15:16 – “I have appointed you to go and produce fruit that will last….” The third condition to His promise involves producing fruit ! Jesus said in the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:3 through 8 and 18 through 23) that the seed sown on good soil represents, “…the person who hears the word, understands it, and produces a crop that yields 100, 60, or 30 times what was sown.” (verse 23 – International Standard Version). What is the fruit of which the Lord is speaking? Some say it is people won to Him. But I believe it is the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22 and 23 (English Standard Version): “…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control….” If you have these nine manifestations of the fruit of the Spirit in your life, you will be very attractive, and you will win people to Christ! And that fruit will last because anyone putting their saving faith in the Lord has eternal life! (See John 5:24; I John 5:11-13). So Look Around for the conditions, and be determined to produce fruit that will last, and God will fulfill to you Jesus’ promise of John 15:16: “…whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give it to you.”
• John 15:16 – “…whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give it to you.” Do you see the condition right in the middle of this promise? “…in My name…” means according to My will, My person! For Jesus purpose is plainly revealed in what He said in Luke 19:10: “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” His very name Jesus means Jehovah saves! (See Matthew 1:21). Look Around at the conditions, and align yourself to His name! As it is written in Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”
• This also fulfills what He tells us in the last part of our featured Scripture: “I am giving you these commandments so that you may love one another.” How much should we love one another? This much – according to I John 3:16: “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” Jesus was willing – and did – lay down His life for us! If we are willing to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters in Christ, that is the ultimate sacrifice! Everything else we might be called to do for them is a lessor sacrifice.
So Look Around all the promises of God that are too often lightly claimed! There are a lot of conditions involved! But if we fulfill those conditions, we can then claim those promises!