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Service Archives > 43 John - Believe:879 - 2009 > How to Love Your Mother

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How to Love Your Mother
John 19:25-27
Skip Heitzig

John 19 (NKJV™)
25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold your son!"
27 Then He said to the disciple, "Behold your mother!" And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.

New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.

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43 John - Believe:879 - 2009

A mother's love for her children is distinctive and irreplaceable. To watch a child suffer is crushing and almost intolerable for any mom. In this touching scene revealed in three verses, we not only see Mary, the mother of Jesus, at the foot of her Son's cross, we also learn how Jesus cared for His mother. Even from His place of extreme suffering, Jesus was thinking of others and His love for Mary is noteworthy for us.

"But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name" John 20:31.

Believe:879 is an epic journey through the book of John led by Pastor Skip Heitzig of Calvary of Albuquerque. As we explore each of the 879 verses of this gospel, we'll grow in grace and in our knowledge of Jesus Christ. From His pre-incarnate existence, to His public ministry, through His death and His resurrection we'll traverse familiar territory and embark on new adventures of faith.

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Outline

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  1. Some Brave-Hearted Women Standing (v. 25)

    1. His Mother's Sister

    2. Mary, the Wife of Clopas

    3. Mary Magdalene

  2. A Broken-Hearted Woman Suffering (vv. 26-27)

    1. A Prediction is Fulfilled

    2. Compassion is Extended

    3. Provision is Made

Some Thoughts to Take with You:

  1. Have "more important things" sidetracked you from caring for members of your own family? How can Jesus' provision for His mother at the cross help you adjust your view of what is important?

  2. If you had a chance to live life over again, how would you want your relationship with your parents to be different? How could you pass along these ideas to your children?


Detailed Notes

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  1. Introduction
    1. Mothers
      1. Special bond between a mother and her son
      2. No love like the love of a mother
        1. "A face only a mother could love"
        2. Distinct, unfailing
      3. Worst experience for a mother to see her child die
    2. Mary
      1. Her Son is perfect; committed no crime
      2. Son of God
      3. Remembered the past
        1. Angel spoke to her
        2. Angels announced His birth to shepherds
        3. Magi came to visit Him
    3. This story appears only in John
      1. John was there
      2. John was entrusted with the care of Mary
      3. Begins with "Now" (better translated "But")
        1. Adversative conjunction
        2. Strong contrast
        3. Four soldiers gambling contrasted four believing women
    4. Final words of Jesus
      1. Seven statements made during six hours on the cross
      2. Final words are significant
        1. As people live differently, they die differently
        2. How we die is based on how we live and our belief system
      3. As He does His greatest work on earth, He utters His greatest words on earth
      4. "Windows into the heart of God"—Warren Wiersbe
    5. Witnesses at the crucifixion
      1. Bloody, agonizing scene
      2. Four women and one man present
      3. In Jesus' greatest trial, women are there
      4. The apostles are missing
        1. Only John is present
        2. Peter: "Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!" (Matthew 26:35)
    6. Faithful women throughout the Bible
      1. Old Testament
        1. Miriam, the sister of Moses, worship leader
        2. Deborah, political leader
        3. Abigail, wife of David
        4. Esther, influential queen of Persia
        5. Huldah, the prophetess
      2. New Testament
        1. Lydia, first European convert
          1. Paul had a vision of a man from Macedonia
          2. Finds Lydia and a group of women at the river
        2. Paul names many women
          1. Priscilla
          2. Julia
          3. Junia
          4. Euodia and Syntyche "Women who labored with me in the gospel" (Philippians 4:3).
      3. Women in ministry
        1. Often first to respond to needs and projects
        2. Often first to seek counsel
        3. "How are our churches beautified, our sick tended, our poor fed, our children taught and cared for and civilized? Do you think the masculine element goes for much in these things? No; women are the Church's strong rock. As they were the last at the foot of the cross, so they have become the first at the altar."—Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Hostages to Fortune
    7. Mary's in the Bible
      1. Three named Mary in this scene
      2. Six or seven women named Mary in the New Testament
      3. Jewish women named after Miriam
  2. Some Brave-Hearted Women Standing (v. 25)
    1.   His Mother's Sister
      1. Salome (see Mark 15:40)
      2. Wife of Zebedee
      3. Mother of James and John
      4. "Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom" (Matthew 20:21)
    2. Mary, the Wife of Clopas
      1. Clopas
        1. Perhaps Cleopas
        2. Conversation on the road to Emmaus (see Luke 24:13-53)
      2. Mother of James the less
        1.  Son of Alphaeus
        2. Alphaeus variant of Clopas
      3. The other Mary, who stood vigil at the tomb
    3. Mary Magdalene
      1. Infamous
      2. Sordid background
      3. Cleansed by Jesus
      4. Present at the tomb
      5. From Magdala
      6. Seven demons cast out
      7. "Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much" (Luke 7:47)
      8. Probably the woman who washed Jesus feet with her tears and hair (see Luke 7:37-38)
  3. A Broken-Hearted Woman Suffering (vv. 26-27) Mary
    1. A Prediction is Fulfilled
      1. "Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, 'Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord'), and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, 'A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.' And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: 'Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation'" (Luke 2:22-30)
      2. Mary saw many troubles in Jesus' life
        1. Herod tried to kill Him
        2. Flight into Egypt
        3. People wanted to throw Him over a cliff
      3. The crucifixion is the sword Simeon spoke of
      4. Suffering
        1. Some of the greatest Bible figures suffered
          1. Job
          2. Joseph, Jeremiah,
          3. Paul: "For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake" (Acts 9:16)
        2. God knows in advance
        3. God told us in advance
          1. "All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution) (2 Timothy 3:12).
          2. "In the world you will have tribulation" (John 16:33)
        4. Nothing comes into our life unless it first passes through His hands
    2. Compassion is Extended
      1. Suffering is all-consuming, self-absorbing
        1. Anger
        2. Irritable
        3. Question God
      2. Jesus' statements are focused on others
        1. "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do" (Luke 23:34)
        2. "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43)
        3. "Woman, behold your son!" (v. 26).
      3. Winston Churchill addressing the British Royal Air Force: "Never in the history of mankind have so many owed so much to so few."
      4. Rather: Never in the history of all the world have so many owed so much to one Man
    3. Provision is Made
      1. "Woman, behold your son!" (v.26)
        1. "Honor your father and your mother" (Exodus 20:12)
        2. Jewish family law: Phrase indicates custody given to another
        3. John gives Mary's care to John
      2. Jesus has four brothers (plus sisters), why not entrusted to them?
        1. None yet believe
        2. John is there
      3. What became of Mary (according to tradition)
        1. Mary lived in John's second home in Jerusalem for 11 years; died at 59
        2. John brought Mary with him to Ephesus
      4. Jesus on the cross
        1. As God, He deals with eternal matters
        2. As Man, He teaches us to honor our mothers and fathers
  4. Application: Four Ways to Love Your Mother
    1. Love her verbally
      1. Say, "I love you"
      2. Woman
        1. Dear woman
        2. Term of respect; ma'am
      3. "Dear Abby: I enlisted shortly after Pearl Harbor. Thirty-six days later, I was on my way to the Philippines. En route, the Philippines fell to the Japanese, and we were routed to Australia. Eleven days after we landed, I met the most beautiful girl in the world.
        On our first date, I told her I was going to marry her. I did, 18 months later, while on a 10-day R-and-R leave from New Guinea.
        After more than 57 years of marriage and two children, my beloved 'Mary' died five days before Christmas. Although we agreed that our ashes were to be scattered over the mountains, I found I could not part with hers.
        While Mary was alive, she would frequently say, 'You don't know how much I love you.' I'd reply, 'Likewise.' I never said, 'I love you.' Now her ashes are on my dresser, where I tell her several times a day how much I love her, but it's too late. Although I wrote poetry to her, I could not bring myself to say the three words I knew she wanted most to hear.
        As my dearest was dying and we thought she was comatose, I told her, 'There aren't enough words to tell you how much I love you.' A few hours later, she whispered, 'Not enough words' and died. The reason I'm writing is to urge men to express their feelings while their loved ones are alive. Many men are reluctant to express the depth of their feelings.
        —Missing Mary in Colorado"
    2. Love her physically
      1. Jesus made physical provision for Mary
      2. Give her a hug, kiss, or rub her neck
    3. Love her patiently
      1. Like Jesus at the wedding in Cana
      2. Jesus walked patiently through life with Mary
      3. Motherhood is the toughest job in the world
    4. Love her honorably
      1. "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you" (Exodus 20:12).
      2. No conditions
      3. Only commandment with a promise

Publications referenced: Hostages to Fortune, by Mary Elizabeth Braddon; "Dear Abby" Chicago Tribune, byJeanne Phillips
Figures referenced: Warren Wiersbe; Winston Churchill
Cross references: Exodus 20:12; Matthew 20:21; Matthew 26:35; Mark 15:40; Luke 2:22-30; Luke 7:37-38; Luke 7:47; Luke 23:34; Luke 23:43; Luke 24:13-53; Acts 9:16; Philippians 4:3; 2 Timothy 3:12

Topic: Cross

Keywords: Mary, mother, mom, moms

Transcript

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Good morning to you.  I know that your worship folder sounds like a message that should be preached in May around mother's day, how to love your mother but it happens to be the text we're working our way through in the Gospel of John.  So turn in your Bibles to John Chapter 19.  I hope you enjoy God's little gift of snow cap this morning on your way in.  Would you join me as we pray?

Lord, we give you our very selves.  We place you at the center of our meeting this morning.  This gathering is about you. The words and the songs were sung about you and to you.  The message we're about to hear we believe is a message from you.  Help us, cause us to approach it that way in reverence, with respect and as part of our worship.  In so doing, we say that what you have to say to us in the pages of scripture is all important.  It's worth all of our concentration so we place ourselves before you as living sacrifices.  And we pray that you would meet us on the meeting ground of the Bible and teach us your truth in Jesus' name.  Amen.

A few years ago, my mother died and I miss her.  I miss seeing her face.  She had such a great smile, always smiled.  I miss hearing her voice, her encouraging words.  I miss feeling her love.  I miss my dad as well, but there is something special about a bond between a mother and her sons and my mom had four sons, no girls.  I was the youngest of four boys.  Very special time that we, sons, had with our mom.

There was a teacher teaching her Sunday school class a lesson on magnetism and demonstrated the magnet.  So she took out a magnet, described how it worked, tried to make it simple.  It was a class of second graders.  The next day, she offered a test.  It was a written test and one of the questions on the tests was, "My name has six letters.  The first letter is M.  I pick things up.  What am I?"  Teacher was astonished that half the class got it right, the other half of class, mostly boys, put the word mother instead of magnet.  Makes sense, begins with M, picks things up, that's mom.

(Laughter)

There is no love in the world like the love of a mother.  She will love her child no matter what they do.  You've heard the old saying it's a face only a mother could love.  That's because a mother's love is so distinct and unfailing.

Not long ago on television, a documentary hosted convicted criminals who are on their way to be executed.  The date was said or it was going to be in the future.  They were hardened criminals.  They interviewed these men on death row and their moms.  And the interviewer was astonished that practically every single mother of these criminals said, "Oh, but he's such a good boy."  And the interviewer is thinking like, "What do you mean a good boy?  He killed 37 people with an axe."  "I know," she would say, "But he has such a good heart."

(Laughter)

It's hard to imagine anything worse for a mother than to watch her child die.  That's the worst experience for a mom.  It was much worse for Mary because her son was perfect.  Her son committed no crime.  Her son was the son of God.  And as she would stand at the cross and look up and see him bleeding and suffering, all of those thoughts would come to mind of those past experiences throughout the years.  This was the child the angel spoke to me about.

This was the child announced by the angels to the shepherds of Bethlehem.  This was the child that the Magi came to visit and now this.  We pick it up in Verse 25.  Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother and his mother's sister, Mary, the wife of Clopas and Mary Magdalene.  Four women are mentioned.  When Jesus therefore saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing by.  Based on our studies so far, we believed that's John, the apostle.  He said to his mother "Woman, behold your son."  And then he said to the disciple "Behold your mother."  And from that hour, that disciple took her to his own home.

Those verses and this story appear in no other Gospel than the Gospel of John.  They are particular to the Gospel of John.  It's understandable as to why John was there.  John was the one that was entrusted with the care of Mary for years to come and so John writes about this.  You will notice in Verse 25, the very first word of the sentence is what?  What's the word?  "Now."  Other translations use the word "But" and that would probably be a better word.  It's an adversative conjunction in the Greek language.  Simply put, it's a word of strong contrast.

When the author wants to speak about something but then quickly turned the tables and contrast that with something else, he or she will use an adversative conjunction.  So that's what John is doing.  He has been writing about the other people at the cross.  The soldiers gambling, there were four of them.  But now he wants to contrast that to four believing women at the foot of the cross besides this John who is going to take her.  So we have five people, four of them are women.  We're going to focus on the women.

These are the final words of Jesus.  All together, seven statements are made by Christ during a six-hour period that he hangs on the cross.  Three of them are made in the first three hours and then there is darkness. The last four are made in the second half before his death.  A person's final words are significant.  I don't think of a person's first words are all that significant.  I know parents think they are but they're pretty much all the same, right?  I mean all of us probably said the same thing.  It was variation of -- something like that.  Could have been dada, mama or whatever, but it wasn't some great articulate statement.  But a person's last words are significant.  And that is because as people lived differently, people die differently.  And they die based upon how they have lived and their belief system.  And it's very telling a person's final words.

Ill never forget walking into a local hospital.  A dear woman, a part of this fellowship for many years, she had hours to live.  I walked in the room.  It was dark.  It was quiet.  I walked in, I made myself known, she recognized me and she sat up in the bed, put her hands up and said "I'm ready to go."  I thought great final words.

We're reading the last words of Jesus Christ.  Look at it this way.  While he was doing his greatest work on earth, he is uttering his greatest words on earth.  Wherein words because these seven statements of Christ's windows into the heart of God.

What we are going to do this morning in looking at these three verses divide our time.  We want to consider the brave-hearted women that stood there at the cross and then a broken-hearted woman who suffered at the foot of the cross named Mary.  Verse 25 introduces us to whole lot.  There stood by the cross of Jesus his mother.  Let's just push her aside for a moment and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas and Mary Magdalene.

Now, would you agree that for anyone to witness a crucifixion would be very difficult?  It was a bloody scene, you'd have to endure that moans and groans and agonizing cries of the victims.  It would be dangerous to be there because if you're that related and that close to somebody who is a hardened criminal and suffering for it, maybe you're a suspect as well.

So it would be very difficult for anyone.  But what I find interesting is that of all of the people that would be standing at the foot of the cross of Jesus, there's four and women and one man.  That's a very interesting thought in and of itself.  I know that when I turn on television and look at those medical programs, surgical programs, I love them.  My wife can't stand them.  She'll get up, she'll close her eyes, she'll want to turn the channel, she can't stay even if it's a stage setting and it's not a real blood, she just cannot endure that.  So it will be difficult for anyone.  What's amazing that of the anyone that is there, there are four women at the cross.  In other words, in Jesus' trial and hour of need, the women are there.

Where are the apostles?  Where is Andrew?  Where is Bartholomew?  Where is Peter?  Peter was the guy who said, "Even all of these will probably forsake you but you can count on me.  Ill die with you."  Okay, where are you?  Everybody left except one and that is John, but there are these faithful women.

Now that's not surprising if you know the Bible.  There are faithful women all throughout the Bible and I just want to underscore that because sometimes, the Bible gets attacked as being this male dominant book and women are left out.  Well, just read it and you'll find that's not true.  We have great women in the Old Testament like Miriam, the sister of Moses, one of the great worship leaders of the Old Testament.  Deborah, a political leader during the judges the time of Israel.  Abigail, one of the wives of David who turned the tide on the nation.  Esther, who became a queen of Persia, a Jewish gal, very influential.  Huldah, who is called a prophetess in the Old Testament.  Prominent figures, you turned up the New Testament, you find the same thing.  Guess who the first convert was in Europe?  A woman named Lydia.

What's funny about that story is that Paul gets a vision of a man from Macedonia saying, "Come over and help us."  He goes to Macedonia, he finds a woman.  In fact, a bunch of them at the river praying and Lydia, God opened her heart to receive the things that were spoken by Paul.  And then you read the letters of Paul and he mentions not only men but women who were partners with him.  Women like Priscilla, Julia, Junia, Euodia, Syntyche.  If you're looking for Bible names for your daughters, you may want to skip that last one.

(Laughter)

But of those two women, Euodia, Syntyche, Paul says to them and I quote, "these are fellow workers with me in the Gospel."  That's how prominent they were.  And you can carry that through our Church history and I would say even from my perspective as a pastor, I have noticed over the years that when we have projects or need volunteers that usually the first ones who respond are woman, usually the first ones to call in when a husband and wife are experiencing marital difficulty and they want an appointment with the pastor, typically the wife will call.

When author writes, how are our churches beautified, our sick tended, our poor fed, our children taught and cared for and civilized?  Do you think the masculine element goes for much in these things?  No, women are the church's strong rock.  As they were last of the foot of the cross so they had become first at the altar.

Look back in Verse 25 and you'll notice something.  Three women in that one verse are named what?  Mary.  So I think we can all agree that Mary was a pretty common name back name back then right?  A lot of gals were named that.  In fact, not just three but in the New Testament, there at least six or seven women named Mary.  It was a common Jewish thing to call your daughter after Miriam, that sister of Moses in the Old Testament.

So for just a moment again, push Mary, the mother of Jesus aside and look at the next three on the list in Verse 25.  First of all, standing there at the cross it says it's his mother's sister.  We know that her name is Salome from Mark Chapter 16.  Salome, the wife of Zebedee, the mother of James and John, two apostles of Jesus, they had a fishing business up there in Galilee.  This was the woman who came to Jesus and asked a special favor.  "Hey Jesus, in your kingdom, could you make sure that my two boys, James and John, one sits on your right hand, one sits on your left hand.  I want to make sure they get good seats, could you do that for me?"

Of course the other guys found out that their mom had to talk to Jesus about it and they never heard the end of it.  Well, she is there at the cross.  Next on the list is Mary, the wife of Clopas.  Well, who's Clopas?  I don't know but there is the mention in Luke 24 of a disciple of Christ named Cleopas, perhaps the very hint of that word.  One of the disciples walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus that Jesus comes up incognito and has a conversation with.  We looked at that last week.  It could be the same one but if we were to compare the other Gospel account especially the Gospel of Mark, this gal is the mother of James the Less.  Does that ring a bell?  James the Less, he was one of the 12 apostles and he is called James the less, the son of Alphaeus.

Alphaeus is a Hebrew variant of the term Clopas.  That might not be significant to you but what is significant is that she is called by Luke, the other Mary.  I don't know, if I were Mary, I would enjoy that term, the other Mary.  But because there were so many Marys hanging around, she was called the other Mary.  She was the one who stood vigil at the tomb of Jesus and was there at resurrection morning dawn of first light with Mary Magdalene.  So you got Mary, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary.  So she is the other Mary

Last on the list is Mary Magdalene.  The most famous of the other Marys in the New Testament or should I say infamous.  She had a sorted background.  She led a life of sin and she was cleansed by Jesus and she became an ardent follower and so she is prominent on all the resurrection accounts, you will find Mary Magdalene.  She is called Mary Magdalene because the town she grew up in is called Magdala.  You can see the ruins of it on the Sea of Galilee today.  If you come to Israel with us in a dew months, remind me, I'll point it out to you.  We will take the boat ride by it, about two miles north of Tiberias.  That's where Mary Magdalene grew up.

The Bible says out of her were cast seven demons.  What a background she had.  Jesus said, "Because she has been forgiven much she loved much."  It could be that Mary Magdalene was even the woman that comes she is unnamed but in the Gospel, who comes to Jesus and cries over the feet of Jesus and wipes his feet with her hair.  Because she is unmentioned, we don't know but many suspect it's Mary Magdalene.

So that's these women, these three women broken-hearted but brave-hearted women standing at the cross.  Let's shift our focus to one woman, Mary, the mother of Jesus, the broken-hearted woman suffering at the cross.  Verse 26, when Jesus therefore saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing by, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold your son."  He wasn't saying of himself, look, look what they are doing to me behold your son, he was saying that of John.  I'll explain why in a minute.  And then he said to the disciple, "Behold your mother."  And form that hour, the disciple took her to his own home.  Of all of the people at the cross watching that day, this was the hardest on Mary, the mother of Jesus.  That was her son.  That is her son.  Going through that, look how their treating him.

And Jesus has said a few things on the cross to other people.  He announced to the crowd praying to his Father, "Father, forgive them, they don't know what they're doing."  To the man's crucified next to him, "Today, you will be with me in paradise."  But now, he catches sight of his mother and he turns his attention toward her.  As Mary is looking up at the cross and hearing this, it is fulfilling a scripture.  It is actually fulfilling a prediction that is mentioned in the scripture.

Thirty three years before this when Jesus was still a baby, Joseph and Mary walked into the temple with baby Jesus to dedicate him.  There was an old man in the Bible tells his name Simeon remember the story?  And Simeon, it says was waiting for the Lord's Messiah and God had made him a promise that he wouldn't die until he saw God's Messiah.  What would it been like to be Simeon walking in the temple everyday and you're seeing all these moms and dads with their babies and you're like going, "I wonder if that's the one?  No, no, no, maybe that's the one."

Everyday looking, scanning until one day, this poor couple from Galilee strolls into the temple and it's the spirit of God that moves him toward them and I imagined Simeon walked up to Joseph and Mary and smiled real big and said, "Excuse me, do you mind if I held your baby for just a moment?"  Mary is thinking, "Well, he's an old guy but he seems pretty stable.  Sure, I'll let him hold my baby.  He looks tame."  So he takes Jesus and probably lifts him heavenward and says bursts out and pray saying, "I can die a happy man now Lord for my eyes have seen your salvation, a light to the gentiles and the glory of your people Israel."

Joseph and Mary were blown away.  They're going "Huh?  What?  What on earth is he talking about?" And then there were more stunt as Simeon looked toward Mary and said, "This child is destined for the rise and fall of many in Israel and a sign which will be spoken against."  And he said, "A sword will pierce your own soul also."  Joseph and Mary walked away from that.  Mary probably said, "Joe, what was that all about?"  "I don't know, just keep walking, just keep walking, just keep him.  Get out of here."

(Laughter)

Mary would see a lot of troubles in her life.  Herod tried to kill Jesus.  They were displaced to Egypt.  One day in Nazareth when Jesus preaching in the synagogue, the people tried to throw him over the cliff.  But on this day as she is looking up at her bloodied crucified son, the memory of what Simeon said came to her mind.  "This is the sword that he spoke about that is piercing my soul and ripping it apart."  A prediction was made.

Now, I'm spending time on this for this reason.  I want to speak to fellow sufferers for just a moment and I want you to take comfort in the fact that some of the greatest people in the Bible and out of the Bible have been sufferers.  Job, Joseph, Jeremiah, Paul the apostle, in fact, when Paul was still Saul of Tarsus and a man came to him representing the Lord God, he said, "Go tell Saul how many things he is going to suffer for my sake."  Many of the greatest people who ever lived have suffered great things and God knew about it in advance.  In fact, God told you in advance that you would suffer.

I know that you have probably promises in the Bible that are your favorite.  Probably, here's a couple that aren't.  Number one, all those who lived Godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.  I don't know how many of you have that underlined in their Bible.  I love that promise but it is a promise.  Jesus said, "In this world, you will have tribulation."  That's a promise.  And the reason I am telling you that should comfort you is simply that the God that you served knew about your suffering in advance, predicted it in advance and he wants you to know that nothing, nothing is allowed to come into your life unless it first comes to his hands and he observes it and approves it and monitors it as it goes into your life.

The second thing that is note worthy about Mary here and Jesus speaking to her is the compassion that is extended, the compassion that is extended.  To be crucified -- oh let me back up.  To suffer physically at all in any way is a very all consuming self-absorbing exercise.  Typically, people who suffer are thinking about themselves.  I've been with people who are in extreme pain and all they can think about because their nerves are on edge is their pain, their suffering.

I've seen them get angry.  I've seen them get short with people.  I've seen them question God.  What's not worthy is Jesus on the cross suffering excruciatingly the raw back that has been torn open by the flagellum is going up and down on that wood as he is trying to take in a breath.  So far, all of his thoughts had been toward other people.  The three things that he had said so far are for other people.  "Father, forgive them", to the man next him, "Today, you will be with me in paradise."

And now the third statement on the cross, "Woman, behold your son.  Son, behold your mother."  It's amazing really.  It's amazing that Jesus in that kind of excruciating suffering is focused toward others, not himself.  Winston Churchill was addressing the British Royal Navy, now the British Air Force, Royal Air Force and he made a statement.  It became one of his most famous statements.  He says, "Never in the history of humanity of humanity have so many owed so much to so few."  I would look at the cross of Christ and say never in the history of all the world have so many owed so much to one man, Jesus Christ who though absorbed in his own suffering is fully absorbed in the future of others.

The third thing to notice is that provision is made.  Now look at the statement in Verse 26.  "Woman, behold you're son."  And the statement of Verse 27 to the disciple, "Behold you mother."  You know what Jesus is doing right there?  He is fulfilling the Fifth Commandment.  The Fifth Commandment is Exodus 20 Verse 12 which says, "Honor your father and your mother."  The way Jesus phrases this was the common way that custody would be given by one person to another.  "Behold your son.  Behold your mother," is from an old Jewish family law and on the cross for the very short breath that Jesus has, he utters that to give his mother into the custody of John.

Now, I have a question for you.  According to scripture, Jesus has four other brothers, stepbrothers.  We know that Joseph and Mary had Jesus, she was born of her, she was a virgin and was born a virgin birth.  Joseph had nothing to do with the conception of Christ, but he was the caregiver and caretaker but the Bible says after Jesus was born, Joseph and Mary had a normal family.  They got together, they had four boys besides sisters they're named in the Bible.

So my question is if you're going to give your mother into the custody of someone, why didn't he give them into the custody of any of his brothers?  Two reasons, number one, none of them were believers yet.  They become believers after the resurrection of Christ, ardent believers.  Even one of them was a prominent leader in the early church but at this point, none of them are believers.  So he is not going to give his mom into the hands of a non believer.

Number two, John is right there.  John, the one that laid his head on breast of Jesus, who loved Jesus so much, who dared to show up at the cross.  He is right there.  So Mary is placed into his care and we're told then from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.  Now, let me give you a couple of traditions.  I don't know if either of them is true.

One tradition says that John had second home in Jerusalem.  We know he is from Galilee, he's a fisherman.  He had a second home at the foot of Mount Zion in Jerusalem and Mary lived there for 11 more years and died at age 59.  We don't know if that's true or not.

The other tradition that I lean more toward is because John eventually will go to Asia Minor, to Ephesus and pass through a church there that he probably brought Mary with her and she died in Ephesus.  That's a longstanding tradition.  That's not important.  Here's what's important.  Jesus dying on a cross as God, He is dealing with eternal matters, but as man, He is teaching us how to love our mother.  He is giving to us an example of what it is to honor your father and you're mother.

Now, the name of the message as you can see is how to love your mother.  So let close by giving you four ways based on Jesus to love your mother.  Number one, love her verbally.  Say the words to her, "Mom, I love you."  And don't say-- don't you already know that?  I don't know.  When was the last time you told her?  Love her verbally.  Jesus said, "Woman, behold your son."  You go, "What kind of a statement is that woman?  It sounds so aloof, so detached.  Why wouldn't he say, "Dear mother."

Well, it's translated in some translations "Dear woman" it's a term of respect.  It would be the equivalent of it in English saying ma'am or Missies.  It's a term of honor and respect, regard.  Woman, behold your son, it was tender.  So Jesus using the official formula of the ancient Jewish law says, "Woman, behold your son."

Now men are funny creatures and I can speak based on my own experience as a man.  I am one and I've spoken to a lot them and men are funny because sometimes they'll go, "Well, you know I never really have to tell my wife I love her because I told her that a long time ago and if I changed my mind, I'll let her know."  (Laughter)  Or more typical, "No, I'm not one to say it.  I'm one to show it."  Good for you.  Glad you do that.  Now learn to say it.  Now learn to say the words to people that you do have around your life including your wife, including your mother.  Everybody needs to hear those words.  Children need to hear it, dads need to hear it and moms need to hear it.

I'm going to read you something from a soldier who enlisted in the military.  He writes to Abby.  "Dear Abby, I enlisted shortly after Pearl Harbor.  Thirty six days later, I was on the way to the Philippines.  In route, the Philippines fell to the Japanese and we were routed to Australia.  Eleven days after we landed, I met the most beautiful girl in the world.  On the first date, I told her I was going to marry her.  I did, 18 months later.  After more than 57 years of marriage and two children, my beloved Mary died five days before Christmas. Although we agreed that our ashes were to be scattered over the mountains, I found that I could not part with hers.  While Mary was alive, she would frequently say to me you don't know how much I love you.  I would reply, likewise.  I never said I love you."

"Now her ashes are on my dresser where I tell her several times a day how much I love her but it's too late.  Although I wrote poetry to her, I could not bring myself to say the three words I knew she wanted most to hear.  As my dearest was dying and we thought that she was comatose, I told her there aren't enough words to tell you how much I love you.  A few hours later, she whispered, not enough words and then she died.  The reason I'm writing is to urge men to express their feelings while their loved ones are alive.  I don't know why but many men are reluctant to express the depth of their feelings."

Men, please don't tell me, "Well, I'm not just wired that way."  First of all you're not wired at all, you're a human being.  (Laughter)  What you mean by that is I'm just not comfortable with that and I am urging you, get comfortable with it.  Figure that piece out.  So love her verbally.

Second, love her physically.  Here is Jesus making sure that physical provision would be made for his mother.  Love her physically.  When was the last time you hugged your mother if she is still alive without her saying, "Give me a hug," or kissed her, rubbed her neck?  Think of it, she was the first person who touched you, she wrapped you in her womb for nine months and when you were born, you were her first priority in life.  And she cuddled you and snuggled you and she wiped your little cheeks.  She laid kisses on you.  She rubbed your little feet.  She changed your diapers.  She potty trained you.  She held the Kleenex so you'd blow your nose.  She wiped food off your mouth probably way too long.  Should have been -- and it's like you're 10 years old and she is wiping food off your face, you're 15 years she is wiping food off your face.  Am I right?

So it means more to your mom if you would sit with her and grab her hand and just rub her arm.  Mean more to her than flowers, candy, a dinner or a diamond necklace.  Well I don't want to go too far.

Third, love her patiently.  Love her patiently.  At the beginning of Jesus' ministry when he was at Cana of Galilee and the wine ran out, Mary went to Jesus and said, "The wine ran out," thinking, "Do a trick."  Which he did but Jesus said to her, "Woman, what is their concern have to do with me?  My hour has not yet come."  And he did it in a different way than she suggested.

So my point is that he was patiently walking through life with Mary as he is revealing who he is to her and disciples and everybody else.  Love her patiently.  The toughest job in the world is the occupation of being a mom.  The commitment to motherhood is astounding.  I so admire mothers.  My hat really goes off to working mothers.  One of the worst mistakes a man can ever say to a woman is do you work or do you stay at home?  As if staying at home isn't work.  The only worst thing you can ask a woman is how far along is she when you're not even a hundred percent she is pregnant.  Bad for him.

Fourth and finally, love her honorably.  Love her honorably.  On the cross, Jesus is honoring his father and his mother.  Exodus 20 Verse 12, love her honorably.  And if you were to say, "Well, I would but she was never very honorable."  Go back and read the text in Exodus.  There is no condition attached to it.  It didn't say love and honor your father and your mother if they're honorable, if they're cool, if they're nice, if they bought you the car when you were younger.  Just honor your father and your mother, period.  There is attached and it's the only commandment that attaches a promise to it.  That you may live long on the earth and enjoy the land that the Lord is giving you.

So what are the examples we have of Jesus dying on the cross as God enacting the greatest sacrifice and transaction and humanity is man teaching us how to love and honor and respect and be patient with mom?

          Would you pray with me?  Lord, help us to never to be too busy for important relationships.  To never hold back words of commitment or comfort, words of love from anyone.  Especially, help us to never be too busy for mom.  Lord, we thank that if you could take the time and you would make the effort for Mary on the cross at your death, help us to love our mother, significant others in our lives while we have them in our life.  You said that all men will know that we're your disciples by the love that we have for each other and I pray that that would be shown especially in the love in our families.  Help us Lord, bless that in Jesus' name.  Amen.

Additional Messages in this Series

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10/25/2009
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Believe:879
John 20:30-31
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Is your faith in need of bolstering? Do you find yourself saying "Help my unbelief?" The book of John presents a unique, up close and personal look at the life of Christ, focusing on Jesus as God Incarnate. As we dive into a thorough study of each of John's 879 verses, we'll walk with disciples who were eyewitnesses of His ministry, His death, and His resurrection, and we'll experience abundant life in His name.
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11/1/2009
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The World's Most Important Word
John 1:1-5
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It may be difficult to say what the most important word is in any language, but not for the Apostle John. He begins his gospel with the identification of Jesus as, "The Word." Starting with the very beginning of beginnings, John shows us the fundamental truths about the Jesus that he writes about in the rest of this book. The language is simple and unmistakable and yet the truths presented are deep and extremely profound. Let's see how John presents Jesus and Who Jesus is according to one who was closest to Him.
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11/15/2009
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Step Into Son-Light
John 1:6-13
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I love early mornings when sunlight first comes up over the eastern sky. But if you’ve ever had the experience of the sun suddenly shining into your eyes (like when you turn westward while the sun is going down), it's not so pleasant. Most people wince when light is shined in their eyes. Jesus is presented here as being "the light of men" and "shining in darkness". But the world cries out, "Turn off that light!" How can Jesus enlighten your life and how will you respond to Him?
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11/22/2009
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One of a Kind!
John 1:14-18
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It is a mistake to think of Jesus as "one among many" options in the pantheon of deities. He is unique, matchless, unrivaled, singular, and incomparable. From His birth to His Resurrection, there is no one who even comes close to the majestic Christ. Jesus was One-Of-A-Kind! Let’s consider four distinct ways that Jesus was unique and what these mean to us today.
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12/6/2009
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The Greatest Man Meets the Greatest Lamb
John 1:19-34
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Everyone is good at something, maybe even great at something. Maybe you're a great artist or a great mom or even a great leader. Jesus said that John the Baptizer was the greatest man who had ever lived (Matt. 11:11). But John knew Jesus to be the greatest One ever—past, present and future - the Sacrificial Lamb sent to remove sin. Today we discover from John the Baptist how to witness for Christ and we look at the identity and the activity of this most unusual man.
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12/13/2009
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Are You a Follower-Really?
John 1:35-42
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You can't make it through much of the Bible without coming to the word Disciple. Just the four Gospels alone use this term 228 times. Basically a disciple is the follower of a teacher: one who observes, learns, and practices what the teacher shares. We now come to the first time John uses this term in his book. So today we assess ourselves by asking, "Are YOU a follower?" Lets look at five characteristics of the first disciples of Jesus and see if they’re reflected in our lives.
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1/3/2010
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Finding the God Who Found You
John 1:43-51
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When the first disciples encountered Jesus, they chose to follow Him--only to discover that they had already been chosen by Him! Without getting drowned in that theological tide pool, let's consider and marvel at how both of these realities work together. The Bible teaches that God sovereignly elects people for salvation while at the same time teaches our responsibility to believe in Christ. Let’s see how both Philip and Nathanael encountered Jesus for the first time.
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1/10/2010
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The Wedding Guest
John 2:1-12
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How cool (and also potentially scary) would it be to have Jesus as a guest at your own wedding! The unnamed couple at the village wedding of Cana had that privilege. Jesus was the wedding guest who brought the best gift. His first miraculous sign was performed while celebrating that marriage. But far more than just attending a nuptial party, Jesus demonstrated who He was in relation to four entities: His mother, the moment, a miracle, and His men.
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1/17/2010
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Trouble in the Temple
John 2:13-22
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A hymn by Charles Wesley begins, "Gentle Jesus, meek and mild, look upon a little child..." It’s a beautiful song with a beautiful thought. However, Jesus is anything but gentle and mild in John chapter two. Here in the temple at Jerusalem, He displays His righteous anger as He overturns tables and beats the religious businesspeople with whips! But Jesus was using this trouble in the temple to predict a greater sign—the triumph of His own physical temple—His bodily resurrection!
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1/24/2010
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Uncommitted!
John 2:23-25
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These three verses are some of the most unusual in the New Testament. They describe a scene in the life of Jesus that explains His popularity and fame. The response of people to the miracles of Jesus is understandable. What is not readily understandable is Jesus' response to the interested and excited crowd. Though they believed in Him, He was not too energized over their kind of faith. Understanding this will help us to understand Jesus and His mission.
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1/31/2010
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Nick at Nite!
John 3:1-8
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The meeting of Jesus and Nicodemus at night is one of the most famous and compelling stories in Scripture. This man's inner curiosity and spiritual thirst drove him to want to know more. What he heard puzzled and astonished him, but he heard from Jesus' own lips the only way to be saved. Jesus' words here divide all of humanity into two groups: those who are born again and those who are not.
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2/7/2010
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Extreme Makeover: Soul Edition!
John 3:9-21
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For years ABC has aired two different versions of a show called Extreme Makeover. One is a total body makeover designed to enhance the physical beauty of a selected individual. The other is a Home Edition that rebuilds or adds to a struggling family's residence. But only Jesus can give the soul a makeover; only Jesus can ready a person for eternity. Here Jesus answers Nicodemus' question of how a person can have the New Life that comes from the New Birth.
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2/14/2010
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God's Valentine
John 3:16
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Today we take a look at the Bible's most famous verse and probe its depth while preparing to take the Lord's Supper together. Though most everyone knows this verse, John 3:16 is much more than just a slogan; it is a summary statement of God's love through Jesus Christ. This single verse of scripture gives us the salient truths of God's plan of salvation in abridged form. Let's consider God's great plan for us as we unpack it phrase by phrase.
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2/21/2010
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To Grow Up, You Must Grow Down!
John 3:22-30
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"They that know God will be humble, and they that know themselves cannot be proud!" That's what British Puritan John Flavel once said. And that’s how John the Baptist once lived! John the Baptist and his followers provide some great applicational fodder for how Christians should get along and humble themselves before one another and God. For any Christian believer who wants to spiritually grow up and grow strong, he must first grow down.
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2/28/2010
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The Nail Everything Hangs On
John 3:31-36
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Imagine if everything you valued was in a sack, hanging on the wall from one nail. It surely must be a strong nail, or you're lost! If life could all be boiled down to one thing or one word or one most important principle, what would it be? What is the irreducible minimum for everything and everyone? John answers that here, saying that Jesus Christ is the nail that everything hangs on. He determined what has been and what will be. Thus our knowledge of Him and relationship to Him is paramount above everything else.
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3/7/2010
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Refreshment!
John 4:1-14
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You know the feeling of swallowing ice-cold water on a hot day or after a savory meal—it's refreshing! That cool, invigorating sip revitalizes you from the inside out and makes you say, "Ahh!" Well, that experience is not limited to the physical realm, but is even more satisfying in the spiritual realm when dealing with Living Water. Jesus came to give thirst-quenching spiritual life to every parched soul on the planet. When was the last time you drank deeply?
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3/14/2010
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How to Lead People to Water
John 4:10-30
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The world is thirsty and doesn't even know it, or won't admit it, or will look to be satisfied by everything else but Jesus Christ. So your job and mine is to lead them to water (living water, that is). Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman illustrates perhaps the best approach for personal evangelism to be found anywhere. Leading someone to the place of spiritual satisfaction is a process that rests upon two pillars—the pillar of attitude and the pillar of approach:
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3/21/2010
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What God Really Wants
John 4:20-24
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Worship conferences, worship seminars and worship experiences abound within the landscape of the American church, but in all these there's something that seems to be always lacking—worship is confined to the activity of singing songs. When the subject is brought up in this chapter, Jesus talks plainly and openly about true worship: what it is and what it isn't. Let's explore these few verses to discover what God is seeking after and how to be part of fulfilling that.
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3/28/2010
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Spiritual Farming 101
John 4:28-42
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Farmers live for the harvest season--a time when their crops are taken in and profits are made. But crops don’t grow on their own. Seeds must be sown and plants must be garnered by a whole group of active farm workers. God is the head Farmer and we are His farmhands, all working together to produce a bumper-crop of people who believe that Jesus is the Savior--Are you in?
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4/18/2010
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Everyone Needs a Faith-Lift!
John 4:43-54
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Like any muscle in our physical body, our faith too must be exercised in order for it to develop. Faith is developed in virtually every circumstance in life, but especially in hard times. Peter put it best, "These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold--and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold" (1 Peter 1:7). Let's look at a real-life story of one who came to Jesus in his trial and had his faith lifted to a higher dimension.
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4/25/2010
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Healing Misery with Mercy
John 5:1-16
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One of Jesus' most distinguishing characteristics in His earthly ministry was His mercy toward people who were hurting. This is not astonishing, for the prophet Micah announced that "God delights in mercy" (Micah 7:18). Jesus standing among the squalid misery of sickness and hopelessness while at a feast in Jerusalem is a perfect setting to show how Christians can show mercy to a world in misery. But be warned: not everyone will be sympathetic to your cause!
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5/23/2010
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Like Father, Like Son
John 5:16-24
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The most important question you could ever ask is not, "Who am I?" but rather, "Who is Christ?" That was the supreme question Jesus presented to His disciples when He said, "Who do you say that I am?" (Matthew 16:15). Jesus made the most astonishing claim ever when He confronted the Jewish leaders of Jerusalem here in John 5. What do these claims have to do with us today? Absolutely everything!
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5/30/2010
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Everyone Lives Forever
John 5:25-29
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My mom used to wake me up early every morning with her sweet voice saying, "Rise and Shine!" It took a few times but I eventually got up out of bed. As Jesus declares that He will be in charge of the future judgment, He too will usher the call to everyone who has died to "Rise up!" But not everyone will rise up to shine; some will rise up to suffer. Let’s consider three inevitable and unalterable truths about the future for all of us: We will all die, we will all be judged, and we will all rise again to live forever... but where?
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6/6/2010
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Why Should You Believe?
John 5:30-47
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The theme of John's gospel is "believe." The whole reason he wrote this book is so that people who read it will believe in Jesus (see John 20:31). But why should they believe? And even more applicable, why should we believe? After all, the events of the New Testament are over 2,000 years removed from us today. Jesus' confrontation with the religious leaders in John 5 tells us why we should believe. Like a skilled lawyer, Jesus calls upon four witnesses to testify to His claims and these four give the reasons for our believing in Jesus Christ.
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6/13/2010
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Lessons From a Picnic
John 6:1-14
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This story ranks in the "top ten" of the most famous miracles of Jesus Christ. In fact this is the most famous of all His miracles as it alone is recorded by all four gospel accounts. But this is far more than a Sunday school tale. This extraordinary picnic was not just a free meal for five thousand folks; it provided lessons for both ancient and modern disciples. Here are four profound truths that emerge from this lakeside lunch.
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6/20/2010
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What Storm Goers Need to Know
John 6:15-21
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Have you ever been on the ocean in a raging storm? If so, you know that a well-trained crew follows an immediate protocol until the storm is over. Their knowledge and experience about violent weather are invaluable for those who want to survive. Using the story of Jesus walking on the waves to His disciples, let’s discover a few things about the stormy trials of life.
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7/4/2010
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The Right Thing, The Wrong Way
John 6:22-29
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Our text reads that crowds of people came "seeking Jesus." That sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? And yet Jesus challenges them as to their motive because they were seeking Him (the right thing) in order to satisfy themselves only (the wrong motive). Let’s consider three monumental truths about how people interact with spiritual things in general and Jesus Christ in particular. Let’s also reconsider the starting point for anyone who wants anything to do with Christ.
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7/11/2010
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Wonder Bread!
John 6:30-50
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The Hostess Company has for years advertised that its Wonder bread "helps build strong bodies 12 ways" and that just two slices has the calcium of eight ounces of milk and the fiber of 100% whole wheat. Wow! The crowd that Jesus was speaking to would have loved that! But our Lord presents something to them far greater than what they were wanting. He knew what they needed.
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7/18/2010
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Plain Truths About the Bread of Life
John 6:51-71
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Mark Twain once remarked that "A lie can travel halfway around the world while truth is still lacing up its boots!" This section of John's Gospel has generated much confusion and misunderstanding. Even Jesus' original audience had trouble understanding His meaning, and when they did, they found the truth was difficult to bear. These "hard truths," however, are "the words of eternal life" (v. 68). Let's look at these four realities today.
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8/1/2010
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Seeing Jesus Through the Fog
John 7:1-13
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There was always a fog surrounding Jesus! It was a fog of uncertainty, of unbelief, and of conflicting opinion. He was misunderstood about both His mission and His message. His friends, His family, and His foes were often bewildered about who He was and what He was doing. That remains true even today. But in this passage our view becomes clearer. Jesus had clearly defined objectives that He reveals here and they are extremely practical for us today.
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8/8/2010
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Follow Jesus But Don't Be Religious
John 7:14-24
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Jesus clashed with religious leaders more than any other group of people. He went against their spiritual grain and challenged their legalistic ideas. Christ made it clear that He hadn’t come to establish a new religion but rather to show the way to God His Father. He didn’t give people another “system of beliefs and practices”; instead He said that He Himself was the way, truth, and life. In this public confrontation, we learn how to follow Christ in truth and not be religious.
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8/15/2010
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Standing by a Waterfall (Dying of Thirst)
John 7:25-53
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All the diverse and assorted experiences offered by this world can never satisfy the deepest longing of the human soul. What we really want isn't what we really need. The rest of John chapter 7 illustrates this truth. In the midst of a crowd of people clamoring for deep spiritual satisfaction stands the only One who can provide it. He offers them the drink that really satisfies and all but a few refuse it, preferring rather to die of thirst. How painfully ironic!
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8/22/2010
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Scribbling on the Ground
John 8:1-11
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Can you imagine what a surviving copy of Jesus' autograph would be worth today? Or what about a letter to His disciples? The fact is, there is no existing document or copy of anything Jesus ever wrote. We only have this story of Him scribbling something in transient dust on the Temple stones. Though John doesn't tell what Jesus wrote that day, his account does reveal a lot about Jesus Himself and how He interacted with three different kinds of folks.
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8/29/2010
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Blinded by the Light
John 8:12-20
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When the sun shines right in your eyes, your immediate inclination is to squint, turn away, or put sunglasses on. Light can be blinding! Though light penetrates our world, providing illumination and energy for our very existence, big doses of it can be difficult to handle. That's true spiritually as well. Jesus, by His teaching and work, illuminated this world darkened by sin. Some rejoiced in that light, able to see where they were going. But others, who'd been so accustomed to spiritual darkness, could only wince when Jesus was around.
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9/5/2010
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The Worst Way & Best Way to Die
John 8:21-30
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One person put it this way, "Death is the big flaw. Sometimes we can postpone it, lessen its physical pains, deny its existence—but we can't escape it!" Since that is universally true, why don't people take death seriously enough to plan for it? While we are alive in this world, everyone should be thinking more about the next. But what's the best (and worst) way to die?
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9/19/2010
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The Best Way & Worst Way to Live
John 8:31-36
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Everyone has an opinion on what "The Good Life" is. For some, it's financial independence. For others, it’s autonomy from government control. For still others, it’s the ability to do whatever you want whenever you feel like it. Jesus offers a different kind of freedom and a better brand of life. Here Jesus tells us what the best way to live really is: It’s the freedom to be a genuine disciple. And He tells us what the worst way to live really is: It’s the slavery of a sinful lifestyle. Today consider how free you really are and what areas of life you may still be in bondage to.
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9/26/2010
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The Devil's DNA
John 8:37-47
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Your body has 100 trillion cells. Inside each one is a nucleus and in each nucleus are DNA molecules. DNA is like an instruction manual for life with densely coded information telling each cell what to do. A simple paternity test would prove that my father was really my father. Here Jesus gives His audience a spiritual paternity test that reveals their spiritual father to be the devil himself. No matter what your physical ancestry, you can always tell one's spiritual heritage.
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10/3/2010
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Who IS This Guy?
John 8:48-59
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Jesus had friends and He had enemies. But besides those, He also had some "frenemies" (enemies who pretended to be friends). To this crowd who at first pretended to believe (v. 31) Jesus is both confrontational and controversial. This paragraph highlights three possible identities of Jesus: two of them were his enemies' accusations and one was Jesus' own claim.
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10/10/2010
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Life Hurts! Where's God?
John 9:1-12
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"Why is there so much pain in the world?" is the most frequently asked question ever! We hate it when we, or those we love, are in pain. Today we see Jesus confront a hurting world. As we do, consider these words by Elizabeth Elliot (whose husband was murdered): "If God is in charge and loves us, then whatever is given is subject to His control and is meant ultimately for our joy."
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10/17/2010
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The Truth About Your Neighbors
John 9:13-34
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Those of us who are Christians live in a sea of unbelievers who work with us, live next to us, shop where we shop, and send their kids to the same schools. Some have a mild case of unbelief disguised by religious practices. Others are more demonstrable in their agnosticism or atheism. Let's watch a local Jerusalem neighborhood struggle against faith in spite of clear evidence.
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10/24/2010
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Got Any Blind Spots?
John 9:35-41
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When you drive, you encounter "blind spots"—it could be part of your own car or it could be a tree that hides traffic on the other side. Those blind spots hinder both progress and ultimately, safety. When Jesus healed a blind man in Jerusalem, the same man was also healed of his spiritual blindness. But others who thought their spiritual perception was keen were as blind as a bat! As we consider this story, can you think of any blind spots in your spiritual journey?
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10/31/2010
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The Good Shepherd (and a bunch of happy sheep!)
John 10:1-10
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This is one of the most beloved passages to be found anywhere in Scripture. But it's not a stand-alone passage: The healing of the blind man in chapter 9 was more than a miracle. It was part of the process of Jesus forming His flock. The leadership had cast the healed man out of the synagogue. Jesus found him, accepted him, saved him, and placed him in His own fold.
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11/21/2010
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What's So Great About the Good Shepherd?
John 10:11-21
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"What's so great about being a Christian?" some people ask. The answer lies in the kind of care, provision, and protection we get from Jesus Christ, our Shepherd. Have you ever stopped to make a list of the benefits that are yours as a follower of Christ? Consider this short list of advantages that you, as a child of God, have. When was the last time you thanked Him for being your Shepherd? This would be a great week to do that!
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12/5/2010
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To BElieve or Not to BElieve...
John 10:22-42
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"In all unbelief there are two things: a good opinion of one's self and a bad opinion about God."— Horatius Bonar. It's true, isn't it? Humanism is man-centered and rejects God's existence or His relevance. But Jesus appealed to two things: the plain evidence of His supernatural works and the testimony of those who witnessed them. Jesus here asserts His deity, and the reaction is predictable—some believed while others did not believe. Which camp do you fall into?
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1/9/2011
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The Great Physician's Patient Dies
John 11:1-16
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When a doctor loses a patient on the operating table, there is a deep sense of remorse and sadness in the surgical theater. Doctors are trained to save lives but sometimes even the best trained physicians are unable to control complications that lead to death. But here we discover that Christ, the Great Physician, not only knows that His patient is sick--He allows him to die! Here are three principles about Divine Medicine that we can all learn.
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1/16/2011
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A Tale of Two Sisters
John 11:17-32
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In 1859 Charles Dickens wrote his famous work, A Tale of Two Cities, set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution. The story before us is set in Bethany near Jerusalem and highlights the personal relationship that two sisters had with Jesus Christ. Their broken hearts provide an excellent platform to consider how Christ deals with people in grief and loss. Let's actively probe not only their responses but ours to the incredible promise Jesus makes.
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1/23/2011
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The Strangest Funeral Ever
John 11:33-44
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According to one source, there are approximately 2 million funerals in America per year, which means that about 5,479 funerals take place every single day! Most of those funerals are pretty typical: a formal service followed by an interment. But the funeral service we're looking at was really different--and not just because of a resurrection. Here Jesus does three things that are pretty normal for most people at a funeral, but strikingly odd for Jesus.
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1/30/2011
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What to Do with Jesus?
John 11:45-57
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Any lawyer can tell you that whenever the star witness is a resurrected corpse, you have a pretty good case! But Lazarus being alive from the dead doesn’t seem to persuade everyone. And so the big issue becomes what shall we do with Jesus? The decisions made here set the clock in motion for an impending hate crime—the crucifixion of Christ. But from heaven’s vantage point, this is all part of God’s plan for redemption. Let’s see the responses and how we can make a difference.
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2/6/2011
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A Meal to Reveal the Heart
John 12:1-11
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If you were to step into the home of Simon at Bethany (Mark 14:3) on that night, you would've seen Jesus and His disciples along with Lazarus and His two sisters reclining at a low table for a meal in honor of Christ. But if you were to step into the hearts of those people, you would discover they were all very different from each other. Those inside the house and outside represent the gamut of feelings about Jesus—from adoring love to intense hatred. What a complicated meal!
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2/13/2011
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A Day, a Donkey, a Deliverer, and a Decision
John 12:12-19
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2000 years ago, on the final Sunday of Jesus’ earthly life before His crucifixion, He did the most unusual thing—He sat on a donkey and was carried into the city of Jerusalem in parade fashion. This formal presentation of Him as Deliverer was both profound and predicted. What’s the significance of such an act as this? What overarching principles emerge for us today? We’ll dig in and discover them, but today you’ve got to write them down yourself:
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2/20/2011
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Living the Right Life
John 12:20-26
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If this sermon was a book and I wanted to sell lots of copies, the title would cause it to fail. Now if it were entitled "Living the High Life" or "Living the Successful Life," then I may have a winner. But many have lived with both success and riches who didn't live right! So what is the right life? Or to frame it with a better question: What kind of life is most pleasing to God? Through a series of paradoxes, John gives us the answer—it wasn't the answer most people are looking for!
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2/27/2011
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Cross-Culture
John 12:27-36
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The term cross-culture emerges from the social sciences and typically refers to interaction of one culture or language with another. But that's not how I'm using it today. I'm thinking of it in the biblical sense, the salvation sense. Jesus' whole life was immersed in the culture of the cross and He referred to His impending death on the cross as "His hour." Let's consider today the culture of the cross of Christ: what it meant to Jesus personally and the world ultimately.
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3/6/2011
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Believe It or Not!
John 12:37-50
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Most of you reading this are believers. Some are not. Both are dangerous positions to take but for different reasons—vastly different reasons! This paragraph in John's Gospel is the summary of all that has been written, from chapters 1 through 13. It reviews the two different responses people have to Jesus and then gives us Jesus' own synopsis on faith and unbelief. Today you will be able to understand the real differences and consequences of faith and unbelief.
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3/13/2011
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A Night Unforgettable
John 13:1-5
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Some days are frozen in time because of the magnitude of an event. You will always remember September 11, 2001 and where you were when the towers fell. The night America bombed Baghdad or the night John Lennon was murdered may be permanent memories captured in your mind. This was the final night Jesus spent with His own disciples and it would be unforgettable. Let’s discover how what seem like ordinary moments can be extraordinary appointments.
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3/20/2011
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Basin Theology 101
John 13:6-17
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At the final Passover meal that Jesus shared with His closest friends, He gave new meaning to the bread and wine, using them to point to His upcoming sacrificial death on the cross. Today we share Communion as a church family and reflect on that meal, as well as the lessons Jesus was teaching His first followers. After dinner Jesus took a basin of water and began to wash the feet of his students and taught them life principles about stooping, cleansing and serving.
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3/27/2011
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Betrayed!
John 13:18-30
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Relationships can withstand an enormous amount of pressure, but betrayal is sure to end most. The old English word means to hand over or to deliver. Think of it: while Jesus was about to deliver the world from sin and its destruction, Judas was about to deliver the Savior over to His enemies. If you've ever felt betrayed by someone, this study will have special application to you.
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4/10/2011
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A Brand New Way of Life!
John 13:31-35
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To follow Jesus is to have a brand new way of life. When these twelve men sitting around the dinner table started hanging around Jesus, they had no idea just how new and different their lives would become. At this final meal on that last night, they were still learning just how new their lives should be. (Jesus can still teach old dogs new tricks!) As present-day followers of Christ, let’s consider three aspects of life that become new once we become His disciples.
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4/17/2011
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F.A.Q.
John 13:36-38
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An old Persian Proverb reads, "It's harder to ask a sensible question than to supply a sensible answer." Many times our questions to God are reactive—based on a sort of knee-jerk reaction to painful circumstances. Peter asked Jesus two questions of this sort. But whenever we ask God questions we must hang around to get the supplied answers. The questions Peter asked are similar to ones we frequently ask. Let's consider and apply Jesus' outstanding answer
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5/1/2011
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A Theology for Messy Lives
John 14:1-6
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Life can be pretty messy sometimes: plans fail, people leave, money diminishes, and taxes rise. There are plenty of reasons to be troubled these days but there are better reasons not to be! Life was about to get real messy for those disciples around that Jerusalem dinner table. At times like that, there are some basic instructions we need to fall back on so our hearts inside us won't be swallowed up by the mess around us.
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5/8/2011
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How Can I Know God?
John 14:7-11
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What a thought—that a mere human can know God! The agnostic asserts this is impossible. The atheist insists that the very idea is an arrogant and purely metaphysical pursuit. But one of the reasons Jesus came was to reveal God's character and nature clearly and perfectly! Let's consider two roadblocks to knowing God and four resources that help us know Him better.
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5/29/2011
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Privileges of God's Employees
John 14:12-14
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Most companies have benefits for employees: things like overtime pay, health insurance, and sick pay. In 2 Corinthians 6:1, Paul calls us "workers together with Him" (NLT renders it "God's partners"). We have been called to a high and lofty task—to be His representatives here on earth. You might say we're part of the "family business." So what has God called us to do? And how has He provided for us in terms of resources? In short, what are the benefits of being God's employees?
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6/5/2011
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Four Part Harmony
John 14:15-18
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Some of the best moments on American Idol aren't the solo performances, but when all the singers join together and blend their voices in harmony. There's nothing sweeter than well-trained voices blended together in first, thirds, and fifths. Spiritual harmony is much the same—when believers blend with the triune Godhead there is an alignment that results in a deep sense of fulfillment. And what is the note we are to sing in this spiritual song? It is the note of loving obedience!
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6/12/2011
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Promises, Promises!
John 14:19-26
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Someone once mused, "Promises may get friends, but it's performance that keeps them." No wonder God has so many friends! He makes promises and keeps them. On this final night that Jesus spent with His friends, as both sorrow and confusion assailed them, Jesus made several promises that would sustain them in the days, months, and years ahead. What about you? Will you dare to trust the promises of God? It's the only way to see if they really work.
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6/26/2011
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Peace Where You Least Expect It
John 14:27-31
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On countless American gravestones this epitaph could be written: Hurried, Worried, Buried. What a sad way to live! Fear, anxiety, and distress have literally become part of our national culture. Odd, isn't it? Though we have such abundance in this country, most don't experience abundant life—especially as Jesus described it. Sure, everyone has his or her share of trouble and anxieties, but let's consider one of the greatest gifts Jesus gives to followers—the gift of peace!
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7/3/2011
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Life-Lessons from Grape-Growers - Part 1
John 15:1-7
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My parents grew grapes on their little plot of land in Southern California. There weren't many, but enough for me to know that getting fruit at harvest depended on three things: the solid connection of branch to vine, the vigilant care of the workers, and the consistency of those things over time. Jesus, walking with the disciples toward the Garden of Gethsemane, gives life lessons to His men using the familiar example of growing grapes. With that analogy in mind, let's consider the three ways our relationship to God is described by Jesus.
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7/10/2011
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Life-Lessons From Grape-Growers - Part 2
John 15:8-11
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As we grow older, we mature. In our spiritual lives we should become spiritually mature. The Bible calls it being fruitful. Spiritual fruit is the indication that we're truly connected to Christ. But there are others, as we'll see today. Last week we examined how the relationship with Christ is described (Connected to Christ, Cared for by the Father, and Consistent Over Time). Today let's consider how this relationship is demonstrated. When we're rightly connected to God we'll be:
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7/17/2011
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What a Friend We Have in Jesus
John 15:12-17
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We can get through almost anything in life with friends to share our sorrow and divide our grief. A Chinese word for friend is peng-yu and it has a much fuller meaning than in English. It means "one who brings completion and sums up beauty." The ancient Hebrews saw true friendship as an ideal to pursue and a blessing to enjoy. In these final moments with His followers, Jesus uses a most tender term for their relationship—they were friends! What does that friendship look like?
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7/24/2011
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Why Does Everyone Hate Me?
John 15:18-25
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There is a flipside to being a friend of Jesus. That's true of any friendship. Whenever you ally yourself and make friends with someone, you will incur some enemies because of it. Likewise, some who don't like Jesus won't like us either—and we discover there are quite a few who don't! Let's find out why, and how we can raise our heads high and prevail.
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7/31/2011
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Two Thirds Is Not Enough
John 15:26-16:15
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We love God the Father who created us and God the Son who redeemed us, but what about the Holy Spirit? We hear His name a lot, but who is He? What exactly does He do? What does He want from us? The Holy Spirit is the "quiet One," active in the life of believers but sometimes not acknowledged as being vital. Oswald Chambers noted, "The Holy Spirit cannot be located as a guest in a house. He invades everything!" Today, we consider Him and His role in our lives.
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8/7/2011
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The Holy Hound of Heaven
John 16:5-11
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Having understood Who the Holy Spirit is (Person not just power; Deity not just dignitary) we now find out what He does in the world of unbelieving people. Since the greatest gift God ever gave to the world was His only Son (John 3:16) it stands to reason that the greatest sin one can commit is to reject the Son (John 16:9). How does the Holy Spirit both sentence the world as prosecutor and lead people away from judgment? And what role do we play in all of this?
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8/14/2011
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When Sorrow Turns to Joy
John 16:16-22
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The flamboyant baseball-legend-turned-preacher Billy Sunday stated, "If you have no joy in your religion, there's a leak in your Christianity somewhere!" That's not to say that life is all laughs. Hardly! Jesus anticipated His followers' deep sorrow. He predicted it. But He also assured them that their experience of sadness would be eclipsed by a greater experience of lasting joy.
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8/21/2011
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How to Send Knee-Mail
John 16:23-28
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Today you can be anywhere in the world and send or receive messages digitally via email. Sending email has eclipsed traditional mail for years now. Sending knee-mail is similar (you can be anywhere)—but with better results! You don't need wifi or a modem; you don't need an electronic device or a computer. Before Jesus left His disciples, He wanted them to get "online" with the Father and stay connected through the simple yet powerful means of prayer.
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9/4/2011
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I've Fallen, but I CAN Get Up!
John 16:29-33
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I would rather fail in a cause that will ultimately succeed than to succeed in a cause that will ultimately fail! So said President Woodrow Wilson. Our Lord knows us better than we know ourselves and is not surprised by our weaknesses. We all fall and fail, even though we may commit to standing strong. What can we learn about ourselves and our God in such valleys? Even more, what kind of restoration can we hope for after our bout with failure?
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9/18/2011
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Holy Eavesdropping
John 17:1
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Imagine if you could sit and listen to Jesus talking to His Father—what would Jesus say to Him? In this prayer (which comprises all of John 17) we step onto holy ground. His instruction to His followers is now over. His preparation of them is done. He now turns His attention heavenward to talk directly to His Father about Himself, about His disciples, and about His future church. This prayer is unique for four reasons:
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9/25/2011
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The Gifts That Keep On Giving
John 17:1-5
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It's possible to give without loving but it's impossible to love without giving— Richard Braunstein. Part of God's nature is that He shows His love by His generous gifts. "For God so loved the world that He gave..." (John 3: 16). Here, in the opening lines of Jesus' prayer to His Father, He requests a gift from His Father and acknowledges three other gifts—two given to the Son by the Father, and one given by the Son to us. These are the gifts that keep on giving!
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10/2/2011
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How Followers Are Formed
John 17:6-10
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Okay, so which is it? Did I choose God or did God choose me? Perspective is everything! If you look at it from the divine viewpoint, you'll say God chose. If you're looking at it from a human viewpoint, you'll say we do the choosing. But why can't both be true? I suppose you can sit around, scratch your head, and try to ponder such imponderables, or you can sigh happily and say with a grateful heart, "I'm elated that He chose me!" But you should also ask yourself another question while you're at it—What am I going to do about it now?
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10/9/2011
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Missionaries or Monasteries?
John 17:11-19
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How can you leave your mark on the world? Most everyone wants to be remembered for some contribution made to society. Well, Jesus wants us to do that, too. In fact, He prays for that. God wants you to make an imprint on life's road so people will say, "Hey look! God's kids were here!" We can't do that by isolating ourselves. We have marching orders!
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10/23/2011
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Listen Up! Jesus is Praying—for YOU!
John 17:20-26
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What's God's general will for you? Look no further than this text! Now as we listen to Jesus pray for us, we also find what our priorities in life are to be. These words are the "Last Will and Testament" of Jesus Christ. So pay close attention and you'll get it right from the heart of Jesus Himself.
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10/30/2011
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I've Got It Under Control
John 18:1-11
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Sometimes life appears to be spinning out of control. Events happen we didn't plan for, people do things we didn't expect, we find ourselves in places we never thought we'd be in. But though you can't always control what happens to you, you are responsible for what happens in you (attitudes and responses). What do we really believe about God's authority and power in our lives? Is there ever a time when God can't say, "I've got it under control"?
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11/20/2011
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The Darkest Night!
John 18:12-27
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On a dark spring night in Jerusalem, it seemed everyone was against Jesus Christ. The religious system had long been opposed to and jealous of His burgeoning ministry. The mock trial designed to get rid of Jesus was only going through the technical motions to achieve their end. And Peter, Jesus' closest friend, was in a downward process of disassociating himself from Him. But in the midst of the darkest night, the sunrise of God's grace was beginning to shine!
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1/8/2012
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A King, a Kingdom, and a Courtroom
John 18:28-40
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What kind of a King is Jesus, and what is the nature of His Kingdom? And what does it mean to pray, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done"? These are the questions faced in the text before us. As Jesus nears the cross, a nation denies His reign over them, while a Roman ruler questions Him and then cynically admits his own confusion and despair.
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1/22/2012
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How Do You Handle Jesus?
John 19:1-16
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Pontius Pilate was like every other person who has ever lived. The fundamental question of his life was, "What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?" (Matthew 27:22). Everyone has to deal with Jesus, to decide about Him and His claims. In one setting, we can see how one man (Pilate) was influenced to deal with Jesus in three different ways. These three ways are how many people today still choose to deal with Jesus Christ.
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1/29/2012
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Execution of a King
John 19:17-22
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Regicide is the official word used for the execution of a king. Most countries reserve the stiffest of punishments for subjects or assassins who would kill their royalty. John records the execution of the King of kings on a Roman cross outside the city of Jerusalem. But the rest of Scripture reveals that it was more than an execution; it was sacrifice that brought salvation. The next few weeks, we will consider the cross in depth and what it means for the world and for us.
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2/5/2012
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The Cross on the Billboard of Eternity
John 19:23-24
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Did you know that the cross of Christ was always God's plan from the very beginning? It wasn't a reaction to mankind's rejection of His Son, nor was it an accommodation to a Roman and Jewish miscarriage of justice. It was according to "the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God" (Acts 2:23). Today we will take a journey back and connect the dots of God's unfolding plan of the cross throughout the ages.
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2/19/2012
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iThirst
John 19:28-29
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The world is filled with Apple's i-technology, which delivers on its promise to make connectivity and information readily accessible. But there is a deeper need within everyone, a thirst to be right with God, that no app or gadget can fulfill. How ironic that Jesus, the great Thirst-Quencher, would Himself be thirsty. It was part of the great exchange—His temporary thirst enabled yours to be quenched eternally!
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2/26/2012
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It's Done!
John 19:30
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While Jesus was doing His greatest work, He uttered His greatest words! Through the excruciating pain of a tormenting death, Jesus gave the most meaningful statements worthy of careful consideration. John records three of Jesus' seven statements uttered while on the cross. The sixth—and perhaps the most hopeful—is the one we consider today.
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3/4/2012
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Death Under Control
John 19:31-37
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Watching someone you love die is always a heart-wrenching experience, especially when the victim experiences great suffering. For the apostle John, the death of Jesus was likewise difficult-but he saw a glimmer of hope, a silver lining in the dark clouds of death. This death was long ago anticipated and was being carefully monitored from the control center of heaven. Today we see why that's important.
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3/11/2012
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Disciples on the Graveyard Shift
John 19:38-42
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You can find an unending supply of books, pamphlets, and articles on discipleship in Christian churches and bookstores. Many of them will be predictably regimented and conventional, giving solid biblical references and calling Christians to ardently follow Christ—all great stuff. But not everyone's spiritual journey is identical. Some disciples are unexpected, and so is their story. Here are two disciples of Jesus who've been in the background and now step forward to care for the body of Christ after His death. Let's allow their story to inspire us.
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3/18/2012
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A Not-Quite-Empty Tomb
John 20:1-10
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There was a lot of confusion happening on the first Easter morning. The resurrection had happened but it was neither expected nor accepted by all at first. Mary Magdalene ran to tell the disciples what she saw, and they ran to check out her report. What they saw was compelling evidence of a resurrection, but only one of them really connected all the dots. Let's see why.
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3/25/2012
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Hope Rekindled
John 20:11-18
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When people grieve, they usually run the gamut of the emotional spectrum, from denial to bargaining to despair to anger to eventually hope. Mary Magdalene was in hopeless despair as she stood weeping by the grave of Jesus. The resurrected Christ deals tenderly with this woman as he reveals Himself to her and conveys hope for her future. Let's glean some principles for dealing with brokenhearted people.
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4/1/2012
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From Closed Doors to the Open Road
John 20:19-23
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Our relationship with Jesus isn't a secret to be hoarded; it is a story to be heralded! The disciples were seated behind closed doors (sounds like a lot of churches). Jesus wanted them out, giving away what they had been given. Let's see how these early followers went from panic to peace, from perplexity to purpose, and from protection to power. It's a great journey. Are you up for it?
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4/8/2012
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Rise Up!
John 20:24-31
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The apostle Thomas has been noted for his skeptical attitude. In fact, we refer to a skeptic as a "doubting Thomas." In this message from John 20, we consider four ways Thomas was able to rise up from doubt and become a joyful follower of Jesus.
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4/15/2012
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Gone Fishing! (Relating to a Risen & Returning Lord)
John 21:1-14
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I am not a great fisherman. I don't do it often and when I catch something, it's pure luck! My dad was the opposite—he loved it and was great at it. At least seven of Jesus' disciples were fishermen and here we see them plying their trade after the resurrection. Some beautiful lessons can be discovered about how to live while we wait for Jesus to come back for us.
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4/22/2012
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I Failed! Now What?
John 21:15-19
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One of life's harshest realities is failure. The very sound of the word seems harsh to our sensibilities. We even harbor the age-old axiom, "Failure is not an option!" But failure is an option; in fact, it's a certainty. But discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping-stones to victory. In a post-resurrection interview, Jesus restores Peter with a fresh commission. If you have failed in your spiritual experience (and who hasn't), these principles will inspire.
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4/29/2012
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Final Instructions
John 21:20-25
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As John closes off his singular testimony of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, he features some closing words of Jesus and Peter about himself (John). These final sentences provide some instructions for us as we await Christ's return. How should we live in light of who Jesus is, what Jesus did, and when Jesus will return?
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There are 95 additional messages in this series.