JESUS! In Word and Song



“[H]e was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes” (Matt 7:29 ESV). “The people were astonished at Jesus’ teaching. In contrast to their rabbis, who merely cited the opinions of other rabbis, Jesus’ teachings had inherent authority, the authority of God himself.”1

“Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:14-15 ESV).

The kingdom of God is the central theme in Jesus’s teaching. Jesus taught that the kingdom of God had come, and that he, as the incarnate and divine Lord, was its ruler. This kingdom challenged the standards of the kingdoms of men and called its citizens to live in radically different ways.2

“[T]here is no teaching of Christ contained in all four Gospels [w]ith one exception. Only one verse of teaching is to be found in all four Gospels.”3

“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matt10:39 ESV).

“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it” (Mark 8:35 ESV).

“Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it” (Luke 17:33 ESV).

And John records the same teaching during JESUS’ final week before His crucifixion: “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25 ESV).

“This was a principle that He had taught [His followers] on at least three separate occasions previously. Obviously it was very important.”4

This paradoxical saying reveals an important spiritual truth: those who pursue a life of ease, comfort, and acceptance by the world will not find eternal life. On the other hand, those who give up their lives for the sake of Christ and the gospel will find it.6

“Lose your life. Hate your life. This was the foremost and most-repeated word of our Master.”5 And, what does “losing your life” look like? “[It’s] when God has more of your heart than any creature in the world has.“7

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(14) JESUS Teaches

            1. ESV Study Bible, English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2001, ESV Text Edition: 2011) 1958.

            2. Benjamin L. Merkle, “The Teachings of Jesus,” 2021, The Gospel Coalition, 5 February 2021

            3. Bob Sorge, “Jesus’ Most Common Teaching,” 3 November 2014, Bob Sorge, 5 February 2021

            4. Thomas Constable, “Commentary on John 12:25,” 2012, Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable, 6 February 2021, brackets mine

            5. Bob Sorge, “Jesus’ Most Common Teaching,” 3 November 2014, Bob Sorge, 5 February 2021

6. John MacArthur, One Perfect Life (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2012) 228.

            7. Jeremiah Burroughs, Gospel Worship (Orlando, FL: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 2006) 77.

            8. Matthew 5:21-48.

            9. “And he marveled because of their unbelief. . . .” (Mark 6:6 ESV).

            10. “And he said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’” (Luke 7:48 ESV).

            11. “The LORD God has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word . . .” (Isaiah 50:4 ESV).

            12. Bob Sorge, “Jesus’ Most Common Teaching,” 3 November 2014, Bob Sorge, 5 February 2021

            13. “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25 ESV).

            14. Jeremiah Burroughs, Gospel Worship (Orlando, FL: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 2006) 77.

            15. “The Spirit of the LORD God is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor . . .” (Isaiah 61:1 ESV).

            16. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4 ESV).

            17. “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves . . .” (Matthew 10:16 ESV).

            18. “The world . . . hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil” (John 7:7 ESV).

            19. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden . . .” (Matthew 11:28 ESV).

            20. “ . . . I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29 ESV).


“Why did Jesus send his disciples into that storm? [Mark 6:45-52] He did it for the same reason he sometimes sends you into storms—because he knows that sometimes you need the storm in order to be able to see the glory. For the believer, peace is not to be found in ease of life. Real peace is only ever found in the presence, power, and grace of the Savior, the King, the Lamb, the I am. That peace is yours even when the storms of life take you beyond your natural ability, wisdom, and strength. You can live with hope and courage in the middle of what once would have produced discouragement and fear because you know you are never alone. The I am inhabits all situations, relationships and locations by his grace. He is in you. He is with you. He is for You. He is your hope” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Feb 26th).

Welcome Cross

Trials must and will befall;

But with humble faith to see

Love inscribed upon them all,

This is happiness to me.

Trials make the promise sweet;

Trials give new life to prayer;

Trials bring me to his feet,

Lay me low and keep me there.

William Cowper (ref#224, song #282).

“You may be walking in darkness, or in light; you may be mourning in the valley, or rejoicing on the mount; now conquering, now foiled; now weeping, now rejoicing; yet it is still well with you as a pardoned, justified, saved sinner. Nothing can touch your interest in the Savior” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Feb 27th).

“Awake, O north wind, and come, O south wind! Blow upon my garden, let its spices flow” (Song 4:16 ESV). “Anything is better than the dead calm of indifference. He makes both affliction and consolation draw forth the grateful fragrances of faith, love, patience, hope, resignation, joy, and the other fair flowers of the garden” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, March 1st AM).

“Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever” (2 Cor 4:16-18 MSG).

“The straight way of the Lord is this: Not only has God changed me profoundly in this crucible of affliction, but He is also going to deliver me in His time and way” Bob Sorge (ref#197, p16).

“All outward distress, to a mind at peace, is but as the rattling of the hail upon the tiles to him that sits within at a sumptuous feast” Robert Leighton (ref#333, p188).


“[W]e would like to go to heaven upon a bed of roses, and so we pay more attention to one cross than to a hundred blessings. So unkindly do we deal toward God. Is God indebted to us? Does He owe us anything? Those that deserve nothing should be content with anything” Richard Sibbes (ref#225, Feb 28th).

Because he is zealous to rescue you from you, God’s care can be violent. He rips you from what is dangerous to give you what is better” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Oct 1st).

“The clinging desperation and trembling uncertainty feels bumpy to us but it’s smooth to God” Bob Sorge (ref#197, p22).

“We all chase a vision of what we would like life to be. We all fantasize and imagine. [C]ombine it with the selfishness of sin, and it will surely get you and me into trouble. Here’s what happens: it’s not just that you have a dream, but that your heart gets captured by your dream. It becomes your definition of ‘life.’ You no longer hold your dream with open hands. What was once a desire has morphed into a demand, and it won’t be long before you view that demand as a need. This thing that you once wished that you had becomes your nonnegotiable, the thing that you are unwilling to live without. Soon you’re unhappy, not because life has been hard or God has been unfaithful, but because this thing that is effectively and functionally ruling your heart lies beyond your grasp. You are despondent and discouraged. You envy people who seem to have captured their dreams. You wonder why you’ve been singled out. You wonder why God has forgotten you. Dream? Yes, but when your dream becomes a ruling thing, it wreaks havoc on your spiritual life” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Sept 11th).

“If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction” (Ps 119:92 ESV).

“[I]f you [when undergoing these trials] [are] deficient in wisdom, keep on presenting [your] request in the presence of the giving God” (James 1:5 Wuest).


“God left him to himself, in order to test him and to know all that was in his heart” (2 Chron 32:31 ESV).

“[T]he fruitful branch ‘he purgeth,’ or pruneth—stripping it of what is rank and luxuriant, freeing it from those barren shoots that absorb the sap, and hinder real fruitfulness. [T]he ways in which he does it [is] by afflictions and chastisements and above all, by the effectual operation of his Spirit” Charles Ross (ref#241, p121).

“It is for discipline that you have to endure” (Heb 12:7 ESV).

“The LORD is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the LORD and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him” (Deut 13:3 ESV).

“[G]reat fruitfulness sprang from [the believers] great afflictions. In the very act of going to Christ, just as he is, the believer brings forth fruit. For what marks the frame of the soul traveling to the cross, but self-distrust, self-abasement, deep conceptions of its own nothingness, and high views of Christ’s sufficiency? Is this not precious and costly fruit? I know of none more so” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Aug 21st).

“To prepare us for Glory, God first of all fills in the valleys of our lives. This refers to the low places in our hearts that need to be filled with confidence in God” Bob Sorge (ref#197, p16).

“You have tried my heart, you have visited me by night, you have tested me” (Ps 17:3 ESV).


“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid” (Prov 12:1 ESV).

“Out of heaven [God] let you hear his voice, that he might discipline you” (Deut 4:36 ESV).

“If God has brought you into the desert, His heart intention for your desert is that a highway of holiness might be built in your heart upon which He can ride as He comes to you with deliverance power” Bob Sorge (ref#197, p16).

“God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? [God] disciplines us for our own good, that we may share his holiness” (Heb 12:7,10 ESV).

“[B]ecoming more deeply schooled in the lesson of God’s holiness is worth all the discipline you have ever passed through. One very common cause of all our declensions from the Lord will be found wrapped up in the crude and superficial views that we entertain of the character of God as a God of infinite purity. He wants His people to study and to learn this truth, not by sermons, books, hearsay nor theory but in the school of loving chastisement—personally and experimentally. Thus, seeing this divine perfection more closely and through a clearer medium, the believer is changed more perfectly into the same moral image. ‘He for our profit that we might be partakers of his holiness’ (Heb 12:10)” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, June 1st).


[W]e do not understand the proper distinction between God’s provision and our own responsibility for holiness. ‘What am I to do myself, and what am I to rely on God to do?’” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p10).

 “God is always self-consistent and true to His way. He works only through man, but He demands things be done His way” Bob Sorge (ref#197, p14).

GOD said the following to Jeremiah and He also says this to us, His children: “[D]ress yourself for work; arise, and say to them everything that I command you. Do not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them. And I, behold, I make you this day a fortified city, and iron pillar, and bronze walls. [T]hey will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, declares the LORD, to deliver you” (Jer 1:17-19 ESV).

“Ours is the duty, but His is the strength” Richard Steel (ref#225, April 18th).

“[T]he victory won by Jesus must be enforced by us. John Wesley wrote: ‘All this is indeed the work of God. It is God alone who can cast our Satan. But he is generally pleased to do this by man, as an instrument in his hand’” Doug Newton (ref#166, p91).

“[You] are responsible, although you have received all your strength from Christ to do it. [T]he sun works as an universal cause, and the tree as a particular cause. Christ works as an universal cause, and you work as a particular cause” William Bridge (ref#225, Oct 24th).

“He waits to work alongside man until man conforms to His way” Bob Sorge (ref#197, p15).

“[M]ay the LORD do what seems good to him” (2 Sam 10:12 ESV).

“[W]ork at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord” (Heb 12:14 NLT).

“’Purse holiness, for without holiness no one will see the Lord.’ The word pursue suggest two thoughts: first, that diligence and effort are required; and second, that it is a lifelong task” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p10).

“[H]e is unchangeable, and who can turn him back? What he desires, that he does. For he will complete what he appoints for me” (Job 23:13-14 ESV).


“The Third Person of the Holy Trinity agreed to sanctify the object of the Father’s eternal choice, and of the Son’s redemptive satisfaction” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p21).

“The Spirit sets apart God’s people into the sphere of the holy so that believers are now holy and righteous in their standing before God, and they grow in actual holiness in their lives” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2405).

“The Spirit dwells in men, clothes Himself with consecrated humanity, and accomplishes extraordinary things through quite ordinary people on the simple conditions of abiding surrender, implicit obedience, and simple faith” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p66).

“[T]he gracious Holy Spirit pledged Himself to sanctify wretches, and frame and fit them to be partakers of holiness, and live forever in God’s spotless presence” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p21).

“[The Spirit] comes to the things that are weak and despised and dignifies them with His Glory. Before Glory comes, the church will have to elevate those things that are despised by the world, such as modesty, chastity, inner beauty, self-effacement, willingness to serve, and willingness to be in the background. These are the kinds of values the Holy Spirit is exalting” Bob Sorge (ref#197, p17).

“[The Spirit] clothes Himself with sanctified men and women. The Spirit of the Lord clothed Itself with Gideon (Judges 6:34), He did not come upon him like a garment, but the Spirit clothed Himself with Gideon as with a garment” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p54, 60).


GOD accuses:

“I had planted you like a choice vine of sound and reliable stock. How then did you turn against me into a corrupt, wild vine” (Jer 2:21 NIV)?

“[H]e does not regard any who are wise in their own conceit.’” (Job 37:24 ESV).

“[P]ride, private agendas, personal ambitions, self-promotion, self-reliance, self-determination, rebellion, competitiveness, etc. God is setting His face against flowery orations, hype, and personality-driven leadership styles that get God’s people enamored with the messenger instead of the Sender” Bob Sorge (ref#197, p18).

“If we have to bear the ridicule of the world, that is not so hard. Its flattery, its soft words, its oily speeches, its fawning, and its hypocrisy are far worse. Our danger is that we would grow rich and become proud, that we would give ourselves up to the trends of this present evil world and lose our faith. If wealth is not our trial, worldly care is just as dangerous. If we cannot be torn in pieces by the roaring lion, we may be hugged to death by the bear. The devil does not care which it is, as long as he destroys our love for Christ and our confidence in Him” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, April 26th PM).

“There is scarcely any sin more natural to us than pride, and no pride worse than spiritual pride. But good works are rewarded solely out of God’s mercy and grace; and therefore not out of man’s merit” Edward Veal (ref#225, p315).

“The fact is that sin is a bigger disaster than we think it is and grace is more amazing than we seem to be able to grasp that it is. The thought that any fallen human being would be able to perform his or her way into acceptance with God has to be the most insane of all delusions. Yet we all tend to think that we are more righteous than we are” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Jan 5th).

“The armor-bearer of sin is self-confidence” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Jan 17th PM).

GOD’s call to repentance:

“If you change your heart and return to me, I will take you back. Then you may serve me. And if you speak things that have worth, not useless words, then you may speak for me. I will make you strong as a wall as strong as a wall of bronze. I will rescue you and save you” (Jer 15:19-20 NCV).

Our response:

“Let us lie down in our shame, and let our humiliation cover us; for we have sinned against the LORD our God. And we have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God.” (Jer 3:25 NASB).