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To Keep You From Falling

John 16:1 (ESV) -- I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away.

When I was growing up, my parents let me and my sister stay home by ourselves sometimes. They both worked and we would stay home during the summer on occasion. It never failed that they would give us some sort of instructions before leaving the house that day. “Clean your room before we get home.” “Don’t go outside for any reason.” “Pick up any messes you make before we get off work.” Any number of these kinds of commands or warnings were issued to us. What was the goal of these words? To shape our behavior. The words were meant to create a response. 

This principle is seen in our text today. Jesus spent a large amount of His teaching in John 15 outlining difficulties and troubles the disciples would experience. He talks about the world hating them. They would be arrested. Then we read in John 16:1, “I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away.”

Jesus tells the disciples that the purpose of letting them know about these troubles is to keep them from falling away. He shares about the troubles coming their way in advance of the troubles, so they stay the course. He is preparing them. Why do Jesus’ words have this effect on the hearers? Because it keeps them from being surprised or caught off guard. When these things happen, they’ll remember that Jesus told them they would. They won’t feel forgotten or forsaken, they’ll remember His words, that they are experiencing these things because they belong to Him. It will embolden them to stay the course. 

Jesus gives all sorts of warnings in Scripture like this. The apostles Paul, Peter, and John do as well. The purpose of these warnings is to help us stay the course. They produce steadfastness and confidence in the Lord as we endure trials. These warnings shape our behaviors to persevere. As we live our lives today, we remember the Lord prepared us for troubles. Nothing strange or foreign is happening. We expect this, because our Savior told us in advance. We know we are in good company because they hated Him first. 

Reflection & Journal:
- What are some examples of warning passages that are meant to help us stay the course?
- How are Jesus’ warnings of tribulation to come a help for believers to not fall away?
- What are some modern troubles that we can endure because our Lord prepared us for them?

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