The Gospel of John
(James J. Barker)


Lesson 39

REMOVING THE CLOKE THAT COVERS SIN

(John 15:15-27)



INTRODUCTION:


1.    Everybody knows what a cloak is: a loose outer garment, perhaps a cape.

2.    But our Lord uses the word “cloke” in a different way here in John 15:22.  Webster’s Dictionary gives this second definition: “something that covers or conceals; disguise; pretense.”

3.    In fact, in the original 1828 Noah Webster’s Dictionary, it gives two Scripture verses to illustrate the meaning of the word “cloke.”

·        “Not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness” (I Peter 2:16).

·        “But now they have no cloak for their sin” (John 15:22).

4.    Our Lord often referred to the pretense of the religious leaders of His day. He described them as “wolves in sheep’s clothing,” and “whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness” (Matthew 7:15; 23:27).

5.    By the way, the most popular cloke is the religious cloke.  Everyone wants just enough religion to be respectable but they do not want to receive Jesus Christ as their Saviour.

6.    How tragic!  Enough religion to be accepted by the world, but not enough to be accepted by God!

7.    Here in John 15:22, our Lord makes this startling statement.  He said, “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin.” So people cover their sin with religion!   This was the case of Saul of Tarsus (Phil. 3:4-8).

8.    Week after week, people walk into a church service like this.  Some get under conviction and get right with God.

9.    Some get angry and vow never to return.  Some are confused because sin has clouded their minds and they have a hard time understanding the Bible.  Some are so full of religion that the devil has them brainwashed.

10. Some procrastinate and put off salvation.  They are waiting till they get the “right feeling.”  Unfortunately, for many “the right feeling” never comes and so they die and go straight to hell.

11. Many things are happening while God’s Word is proclaimed but one thing is certain.  As the Word of God is preached, the Holy Spirit is removing the cloke that covers sin (John 15:22).

 

I.     REMOVING THE CLOKE THAT COVERS SIN: THIS INVOLVES CONFLICT WITH THE WORLD

1.    We must always remember that this world has never been a friend of grace.  This world hates Jesus Christ; therefore this world has no use for His followers (15:18, 19).

2.    Years ago back in England, a lady expressed the opinion that if our Lord were to come to London, He would not be treated as He was in Jerusalem, but instead He would be enthusiastically received.

3.    She appealed to the famous writer Thomas Carlyle, who happened to be sitting nearby. She asked him if he agreed with her.  He replied, “No, madam, if Christ came to London today they would take Him to Newgate and hang Him.”

4.    Carlyle was quite right, and we must take note of what our Lord says here in 15:20, “Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord.  If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you…”

5.    So we are to expect opposition from the world (cf. Matt. 10:24-28).

6.    FB Meyer wrote, “Between such irreconcilable opposites as the Church and the world, there cannot be but antagonism and strife.  Each treasures and seeks what the other rejects as worthless.  Each is devoted to ends that are inimical to the dearest interests of the other.  Each follows a prince, who met the prince of the other in mortal conflict.  Let us thank Him who out of this world chose us for Himself” (Gospel of John).

7.    It has always been this way.  Cain killed Abel.  Joseph was cast into prison by Potiphar’s wife.  King Ahab hated the prophet Micaiah because he preached the truth. David was hunted by Saul. Jeremiah was thrown into a dungeon.  Herod had John the Baptist’s head cut off.  Stephen was stoned to death.  Way back in Genesis 3:15 God said He would put enmity between the devil’s seed and the seed of the woman (Christ).

8.    I remember a few years back, the old Queens Theater was being used as a concert hall (it is now being used by a Pentecostal church).  There were hundreds of people waiting on line one night to see Johnny Cash and so I passed out Gospel tracts.  Many of the people mocked me and one man told me he had no use for Jesus Christ but he loved Johnny Cash!

9.    Why do worldly people hate the Lord Jesus Christ?  Because they are alienated from God, estranged from God.  Our Lord said: “Because they know not Him that sent me” (John 15:21).

10. There are many people who reject Jesus Christ and yet they claim to love God.  Our Lord said they really hate God (15:23).

11. Oh, they love some phony god of their imagination – some vague, distant Santa Claus-type god that never judges sin and he does not care how they live.  He’s way out in space somewhere or maybe they think he is “in their heart” and so they pray to him (cf. II Cor. 11:3, 4).

12. You may have heard about a new TV show called “The Book of Daniel.”  The show is written by a homosexual Roman Catholic. 

13. It is about an Episcopalian priest with a drug problem.  His wife has a drinking problem.  Their 23-year-old son is a homosexual. Their 16-year-old daughter is a drug dealer, and their 16-year-old adopted son is having sex with the Episcopalian bishop's daughter. At the office, the priest's lesbian secretary is sleeping with his sister-in-law.

14. I could tell you more but you get the idea.  The show is filthy. But what makes the show even more detestable is that one of the recurring characters on the show is supposed to be the Lord Jesus Christ.

15. The actor portraying Jesus reacts to the teenage daughter selling drugs by saying, “She'll be fine, she's a good girl,” and to a high school boy engaging in premarital sex by remarking, “He's a kid, let him be a kid.”

16. This is the kind of “Jesus” that the world will accept – a hippie Jesus who condones sin.  But that is not the Jesus of the Bible.

17. The Mormon Jesus is not the Jesus of the Bible.  Their Jesus was married to Martha and Mary.

18. The JW Jesus is not the Jesus of the Bible.  Their Jesus is not God but they teach that he is actually Michael the archangel.

19. The fact is that there are actually many false Jesus’ but sinners do not want anything to do with the real Jesus.   They hate the real Lord Jesus Christ (15:18). 

20. They may be religious, but they hate the true God of the Bible.  Romans 1:30 refers to them as “haters of God.”  John 3:19 and 20 says, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.”

21. Our Lord said that this unrelenting hatred towards Him was a fulfillment of OT prophecy – “that the word might be fulfilled” – “They hated me without a cause” (John 15:25; cf. Ps. 35:19; 69:4).

22. Man’s inhumanity to man is wicked and inexcusable.  But how can we describe man’s hatred towards the Lord Jesus Christ?  It shows us how utterly corrupt and depraved man really is.

 

II. REMOVING THE CLOKE THAT COVERS SIN: THIS INVOLVES THE CONVICTING WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

1.    The Lord Jesus Christ said that He would send the Holy Spirit “from the Father” (John 15:26). Note the Trinity in 15:26.

2.    The Spirit of God takes the Word of God, which testifies of the Son of God (15:26b).  And this how we become the children of God (cf. John 1:12, 13).

3.    It is the Spirit of God that convicts us and regenerates us (cf. John 3:6-8).

4.    The reason so many professing Christians are not genuinely saved is they have never been under real Holy Spirit conviction (John 16:8-11).  Therefore they have never been regenerated by the Holy Spirit.

5.    Underneath the cloke there are church members who live just like the world. They watch the same movies and TV shows.  I wonder how many Christians watched that horrible “Book of Daniel.” 

6.    Many Christians associate with worldly unsaved people, and some even do the same wicked things the unsaved do.

7.    Some Christians don’t pray and some seldom read the Bible and they do not realize that soon God is going to take the cloke away for all to see. 

8.    Again let me challenge you to read the Bible through this year.

 

III. REMOVING THE CLOKE THAT COVERS SIN: THIS INVOLVES THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL

1.    In John 15:26 and 27 our Lord referred to the witness of the Holy Spirit and the witness of the apostles.  The apostles were to preach the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit.  This is the message of the book of Acts.

2.    The apostles were to witness for Christ and so are we. This old world loves its sin and there is only one remedy for sin: the preaching of the Gospel.  It is significant that this ministry of the Holy Spirit is foretold in the context of persecution (15:20; 16:2).

3.    Persecution comes when Christians witness for Christ.  The devil does not care much about worldly churches, but he hates soulwinning churches.

4.    I read the other day that in North Korea the communists are burying Christians up to their necks.  Then they are running them over with steamrollers. Meanwhile here in America most churches are dancing to rock and roll music and playing games.

5.    Some Christians never win souls but put all their time and effort into politics.  But politics cannot fix this mess we’re in.  More government programs will not solve this world’s problems.  You can search the New Testament and you will never see the apostles getting involved in politics or looking to the government for help.

6.    Beloved, this sin-loving, Christ-rejecting world needs the Gospel!

7.    Jesus said: “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit…” (John 15:16).

8.    Jesus said: “Go and bring forth fruit.”   Let’s keep the GO in the GOSPEL!  Multitudes are lost and on their way to hell.  There is only one remedy – the Gospel.   Our Lord said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15, 16).

 

CONCLUSION:


1.    Harry Ironside told a true story about a missionary in Africa who had a little mirror hung up on a tree outside his cabin.  One day a lady, some sort of a leader in one of the tribes, walked by and saw her reflection in the mirror.

2.    This is what she saw: an ugly-looking woman with hideous paint smeared all over her face.  As she gazed at her own grotesque countenance, she yelled out: “Who is that horrible-looking person inside that tree?”

3.    The missionary told her there was no one in the tree but that she was looking at her own reflection.  She insisted that the missionary sell her the mirror but he said he did not want to sell it.  She begged him to sell it to her so to avoid trouble he gave her a price and she bought it.

4.    Then, after buying the mirror, she said: “It will never make faces at me again!” and threw it down on the floor and broke it to pieces.

5.    Beloved, this is the way people treat the Bible and this is the way they treat the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Word of God shows sinful man the way he really is and man resents that.

6.    They want to keep their sin covered up nicely with a cloke.  And if you try and remove that cloke they will get enraged.



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