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iThirst
John 19:28-29
Skip Heitzig

John 19 (NKJV™)
28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, "I thirst!"
29 Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth.

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

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43 John - Believe:879 - 2009

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!

"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. What Jesus Knew

    1. All Things Were Accomplished

    2. Authority of Scripture

  2. What Jesus Said

    1. Shows the Cross' Intensity

    2. Shows Jesus' Humanity

    3. Shows Jesus' Humility

  3. What Jesus Did

    1. A Sacrifice

    2. A Substitute

Cross-Thoughts:

  1. How old were you when you first became aware of the fact that someday you would die? What caused this awareness? What are the last words you want to say before you die? Why those?

  2. What does the Christian faith offer that no other religion does? With whom will you share your faith this week?

Detailed Notes

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  1. Introduction
    1. Technology is unable to meet our deepest needs
    2. Only God can meet our most profound thirst
      1. He is our manufacturer
      2. He became one of us
    3. "I thirst": The shortest of Jesus' seven statements on the cross
    4. Crucifixion statements
      1. Between 9 am and noon
        1. Intercession: "Then Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do'" (Luke 23:34)
        2. Salvation: "And Jesus said to him, 'Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise'" (Luke 23:43)
        3. Affection; Provision: "Woman, behold your son!" (John 19:26)
      2. Noon
        1. Pervasive darkness and silence
        2. "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46)
      3. Near the end of six hours
        1. "I thirst!" (John 19:28).
        2. "It is finished!" (John 19:30)
        3. "Father, 'into Your hands I commit My spirit'" (Luke 23:46).
    5. John's theme: Jesus—God in a human body
    6. Full composite in four Gospels
      1. Matthew
        1. Jesus' legacy
        2. King of the Jews
      2. Mark
        1. Jesus' humility
        2. Servant
      3. Luke
        1. Jesus' humanity
        2. Son of Man
      4. John
        1. Jesus' deity
        2. God in human flesh
        3. Human suffering
        4. Divine sovereignty
  2. What Jesus Knew
    1. All things were accomplished
      1. Jesus is omniscient
        1. Aware of everything around Him
        2. Knew what people were thinking and their motivations
        3. Knew the time and plan of the redemptive calendar
        4. Examples
          1. "Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man" (John 2:23-25)
          2. "When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, 'Does this offend you?'" (John 6:61)
          3. "Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God" (John 13:3)
          4. "'A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father.'  Then some of His disciples said among themselves, 'What is this that He says to us, "A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me"; and, "because I go to the Father"?' They said therefore, 'What is this that He says, "A little while"? We do not know what He is saying.' Now Jesus knew that they desired to ask Him, and He said to them, 'Are you inquiring among yourselves about what I said, "A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me"?'" (John 16:16-19)
          5. "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." (John 21:17)
      2. Human responsibility and divine sovereignty
        1. "Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death" (Acts 2:23).
        2. "God never burglarizes the human will. He may long to come in and help, but he will never cross the picket line of our unwillingness." —James Jauncey
      3. Except Psalm 69:21: "They also gave me gall for my food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink."
        1. Messianic Psalm
        2. Describes the suffering of the coming Messiah
        3. Sour wine; cheap wine, what the soldiers drank
        4. Administered with hyssop
          1. Jewish reader would remember the Passover
          2. Blood, lamb, salvation
          3. Passover was happening at that time
    2. Authority of Scripture
      1. In the New Testament, Jesus referred to the Old Testament 64 times
      2. The Word of God
      3. Inerrant
      4. Examples of His view
        1. "But He answered and said, 'It is written, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God"'" (Matthew 4:4)
        2. "The Scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35)
        3. "The Scriptures must be fulfilled" (Mark 14:49)
        4. Five occasions, questions like, "Have you not read?"
        5. "For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled" (Matthew 5:18)
      5. If you can't trust Jesus in what He said about the Bible, how will you trust Him in anything else?
      6. References to the Old Testament
        1. God created man (see Matthew 9:4)
        2. Worldwide flood (see Matthew 24:37-39)
        3. Jonah swallowed by a fish (see Luke 11:29-32)
        4. Sodom destroyed (see Luke 17:29)
        5. Manna from heaven (see John 6:58)
  3. What Jesus Said ("I thirst" Διψῶ; Dipsō)
    1. Shows the Cross’ Intensity
      1. Intense dehydration
      2. "The unnatural position made every movement painful; the lacerated veins and crushed tendons throbbed with incessant anguish; the wounds, inflamed by exposure, gradually gangrened; the arteries, especially of the head and stomach, became swollen and oppressed with surcharged blood; and, while each variety of misery went on gradually increasing, there was added to them the intolerable pang of a burning and raging thirst." —The Life of Christ, by Frederic Farrar
      3. Spikes planted in wrist where radius and ulna come together
      4. Spike in the feet
      5. Pulling and pushing up spikes
      6. Muscles become paralyzed, making it almost impossible to exhale
    2. Shows Jesus’ Humanity
      1. Irony
        1. The Giver of life experiencing death
        2. The Quencher of thirst experiencing thirst ("If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water" [John 7:37-38])
        3. Creator of the universe with parched lips
      2. First heresy introduced was Gnosticism
        1. Attack on the humanity of Christ
        2. Theanthropos
          1. Θεός; theos - god
          2. ἄνθρωπος; anthrōpos - man
          3. Jesus had undiminished deity while having unprotected humanity
          4. Fully God; fully man
      3. "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh" (1 Timothy 3:16)
      4. "For unto us a Child is born [humanity], unto us a Son is given [deity];" (Isaiah 9:6)
      5. Examples
        1. Jesus got tired: He slept in a boat, sat down at the well
        2. He got hungry and thirsty
        3. He shed tears
      6. What Jesus knew proves His deity
      7. What Jesus said demonstrates His humanity
    3. Shows Jesus’ Humility
      1. "He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross" (Philippians 2:8)
      2. Offered sour wine twice
        1. Refused it when mixed with gall
        2. Analgesic to deaden the pain
          1. Jesus had undiminished senses to feel the full wrath of God on sin in His own body
          2. Now all is accomplished; He takes the wine (without narcotic) to quench His thirst
      3. "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will" (Matthew 26:39).
  4. What Jesus Did
    1. A Sacrifice
      1. What Jesus endured
        1. Darkness
        2. Separation from the Father: "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46).
        3. Raging Thirst
      2. What every lost soul will endure for an eternity
    2. A Substitute
      1. Took hell that we might have heaven
      2. Took thirst that our thirst might be quenched
      3. Took separation that we never have to be separated
      4. Took death that we might have life
      5. "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone" (Hebrews 2:9)
      6. "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:21)
      7.  At the cross, God treated Jesus as if He had committed every sin by every person who ever lived
      8. God treated Jesus like you and I deserve to be treated, so He could treat us like Jesus Christ deserves to be treated
  5. Application
    1. Our pursuit is our deep spiritual thirst
      1. "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life" (John 4:13-14)
      2. He took that thirst so we could be eternally quenched
    2. At the Feast of Tabernacles
      1. Once a day for seven days (twice on the eighth day), priest filled a pitcher of water from the pool of Siloam and poured it out at the base of the altar: symbolic of God bringing refreshing water from a rock in the wilderness
      2. Silence the last time as they meditated on God's provision and anticipated the coming of Messiah
      3. "On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, 'If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink'" (John 7:37)
    3. The final invitation: "And the Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come!' And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely" (Revelation 22:17)

Cross-Thoughts:

  1. How old were you when you first became aware of the fact that someday you would die? What caused this awareness? What are the last words you want to say before you die? Why those?
  2. What does the Christian faith offer that no other religion does? With whom will you share your faith this week?

Greek terms: Διψῶ; Dipsō - I thirst; Θεός; theos - god; ἄνθρωπος; anthrōpos - man

Figures referenced: James Jauncey

Publications referenced: The Life of Christ, by Frederic Farrar

Cross references: Psalm 69:21; Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 4:4; Matthew 5:18; Matthew 9:4; Matthew 24:37-39; Matthew 26:34; Matthew 26:39; Matthew 27:46; Mark 14:49; Luke 11:29-32; Luke 17:29; Luke 23:34; Luke 23:43; Luke 23:46; John 2:23-25; John 4:13-14; John 6:58; John 6:61; John 7:37-38; John 10:35; John 13:3; John 16:16-19; John 19:26; John 19:28; John 19:30; John 21:17; Acts 2:23; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 2:8; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 2:9; Revelation 22:17

Topic: Cross

Keywords: thirst, deity of Jesus, humanity of Jesus, crucifixion

Transcript

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Let's pray together.  Lord, there are some sins that require careful consideration.  And this is one of them.  We linger at the foot of the cross.  The writer of Hebrews said that we should consider him who suffered hostility by sinful men.  But Lord, it's difficult to do that.  In our natures, we repel from such imagery and such thoughts as painful execution over many hours.  The only way we can handle it is to take a little bit each week and let it soak in. And so doing Father, as our minds are transported to another time and another place as the shadow of the cross falls even upon us in a modern setting, I pray that we would have an appreciation for You and Your love for us like never before.  Thank you for so many that has come, so many hungry hearts.  Your word declares that You are a rewarder of those who diligently seek You.  We are trusting that You will do that again among us in Jesus' name.  Amen.

The world we live in today is the world of "I."  I'm not just speaking about selfishness.  I'm not just speaking about me, myself and I.  But I mean, we live in a world of iPhones, iPods, iPads, iMax, iTunes, iWork, iLife, iCloud, I could go on but I won't. It's Apple technology and boy they did a good in distribution and marketing.  Seventy-three million iPhones have been sold worldwide.  Some of you have that item.  Guess how many iPods have been sold worldwide, 250 million.  Twenty-five million iPads, 14 billion applications, they call them apps have been downloaded to these mobile devices.  In the iTunes world, 10 billion songs have been downloaded.

So what's with the "I" part of it?  Well, Steve Jobs back in 1998 was describing his products in the use of the letter I as the Apple platform signature letter.  And in trying to describe what it means he said, "The meaning of I is included in such words like internet, individual, inform, instruct and inspire."  So the whole point of the I is that you are individually tailoring your technological needs to service your lifestyle, your desires and they would even say your needs. So, we're going to make products for you to consume technologically that will satisfy your deepest needs or desires or lifestyle.

Now, Apple has a tagline to describe that individuality.  The tagline is, "There's an app for that" or "We have an app for that."  So the commercials will say, "You want to write a book?  We have an app for that.  You want to take creative pictures?  There's an app for that.  Do you want to find out the temperature of any city at anytime?  There's an app for that.  Do you want to play Angry Birds in traffic?  We have an app for that."  So they have all these applications that you can download and utilize for your lifestyle. But technology is unable to meet our deepest needs.  The deepest and most profound thirst that we all have only God has an app for that. Technology does not.  God does for two reasons.

Number one, He is our manufacturer.  He knows what we need more than we know what we need.  He made us.  Number two, because He became one of us and lived a human life and experienced human experiences like even what we're about to read, thirsting.  He can service the deep needs of the human heart.  Again, we step into the scene of the cross.  We look at Verse 28 and 29, which records the shortest of the seven statements that Jesus made on the cross.

After this, Jesus' knowing that all things were now accomplished that the scripture might be fulfilled said, "I thirst."  Now, a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there and they filled a sponge with sour wine and put it on hyssop, and they put it to his mouth.  Let me give you a little thumbnail sketch of what happened at the crucifixion of Christ so that you just have it fixed in your mind.  It was about a six-hour episode.  We believe that Jesus was placed on the cross about nine o'clock in the morning.  And from nine to noon while He hang there those three hours, He made three statements from the cross.  The first was a statement of intercession.  As He prayed to His father concerning the crowd that was there He said, "Father, forgive them.  They don't know what they're doing."

The second was a statement of salvation as He turned to the criminal next to Him and said, "Assuredly I say to you today, you will with me in paradise."  The third statement was a statement of affection and provision.  That's one that He gave to His mother that we read last week as He saw Mary at the foot of the cross and John, that's who we presume was the disciple whom Jesus loved.  Jesus looked down and said, "Dear woman, behold your son" and then to John, "Behold your mother."  After that around noon, a pervasive darkness covered the land.  There was silence on the cross.  Jesus said nothing except perhaps one statement that broke the silence.  It was a cry of separation as He said, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" The last three statements were after that three-hour period of darkness just before His death.  He uttered three things.  "I thirst.  It is finished."  And then finally, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit."  Those are the seven sayings of Christ while He was hanging on the cross when He died.

We've been studying the Gospel of John for two years and I know some of you are going, "I know, I know."  But it has given us some advantage in studying at this slowly in this deliberately all.  What is it? Eight hundred and seventy-nine Verses of John.  We discovered that one of John's mega themes is he wants to introduce Jesus Christ as being God in a human body.  That's one of his designs.  He does it a lot, every chapter.  Here is God in a body of flesh.  It's when we put all four gospels together that we get the full composite picture of Jesus and I'm glad we have four gospels.  Because, it's like the Holy Sprit is the set director and He films the scene from four different camera angles to get the full picture.  And as just a camera placed in one setting will give you a different expression on the face or a different new wants or a different emphasis.  So the Holy Sprit does that with Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Matthew presents Jesus in his legacy as the King of the Jews. Mark presents Jesus in His humility as a servant.  Luke presents Christ in His humanity as the son of man.  He loves that phrase, but it's John who singularly portrays Jesus in his deity as God in human flesh.  And even now when we come to this fifth statement of Christ hanging on the cross, "I thirst."  We see a mixture of humanity and deity of human suffering and God being in control in His sovereignty.  We are going to look in these two verses at three things I want to draw your attention to. We want to look at what Jesus knew, what Jesus said and what Jesus did.  Those three elements comprise this message, "I thirst."  Let's look at what Jesus knew, Verse 28.  After this, that is after Jesus gives Mary into the care of John.  "After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished that the scripture might be fulfilled said, 'I thirst." Somethings else that we have discovered have we not in going to the Gospel of John is that, John wants us to realize that Jesus knew everything.  He was fully aware of everything around Him.  That He displayed the characteristic of being omniscient. He knew stuff.

He knew what people were thinking.  He knew what motivated people when they came to Him.  He knew what time it was on the redemptive calendar and what God's plan was at all times.  He knew it all.  Let me try a couple examples.  John Chapter 2, Jesus performs miracles.  We're told that many believed in Him when they saw the miracles that He did.  But John writes, "Jesus would not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men and He knew what was in men."  In John Chapter 6, we're told that Jesus gave a message.  It was a pretty tough message to listen to and some of the disciples among themselves were complaining and they said, "Well, that was a tough, tough message to understand.  Who can get that?"  They complained.  It offended them.

The Bible says, "Jesus knowing that His disciples were complaining, went over to them and said, 'Hey!  Does that offend you what I just said?"  It will be tough to hang around a guy like that wouldn't it?  Always knew what you were thinking and would call you on when you thought it.  In the 13th Chapter of John, it's the last supper.  It's about to begin.  John begins the Chapter, "And Jesus knowing that the hour had come for Him to depart this world and go to the Father."  He knew exactly what time it was on the redemptive calendar.  In that same upper room in John 16, Jesus makes a statement that made the disciples go, "Huh?"  He said, "A little while, and you see Me no more; and again in a little while, you will see Me."  And they went, "Huh?"  They didn't get it.

So as Jesus knew in himself that they went, "Huh?"  They didn't say that but He knew that hey wanted to ask Him about that.  So He said, "You are wondering what I meant by that aren't you?"  And He told them.  He knew that. And then, finally we get to Chapter 21 which we haven't gotten into yet, but we will.  And, it's after the resurrection.  Christ and Peter are together and Jesus asked Peter that famous question.  "Peter, do you love me?"  He asked him three times.  Remember? The third time He asked him the question peter said, "Lord, You know all things and You know that I love You."  It took Peter a long time but now he figures it out, "You know everything."  It's one of John's themes.  Here is Jesus.  He knew everything.  He was fully aware of what time it was, what is happening, what people's motives are and what they are thinking.  So here is Jesus, even on the cross knowing that all things are accomplished. Meaning, every single thing up to that point in redemptive history have all been lined up and accomplished except one scripture is left unfulfilled and that is Psalm 69 Verse 21, "And so, we are told that the scripture might be fulfilled."  He said, "I thirst."

Okay.  Pause for just a moment.  Step back from the cross, because as you look at that crucifixion of Christ, you can look at it from one side or another.  Please, look at it from both sides simultaneously.  See, there are two sides of it.  There's the human side.  There is the divine side.  There is the human responsibility.  There's the divine action.  From the human viewpoint, this is a mistrial.  This is a misjustice happening.  This is men plotting and hating and Judas betraying and Jewish leaders lying, and Pontius Pilate cooperating with their scheme, all from a human level.  But from the divine level, it was planned all along.  It was God's design all along.  It was predicted all along.

Now, listen to what Peter will say in Acts Chapter 2 as he preaches to the Jerusalemites and he combines these two truths.  He speaks about Jesus being crucified.  This is what he said.  "Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by your wicked hands and crucified and put to death." You see how he puts two of those truths together.  You're responsible for what you did but this was God's plan all along.  God's plan all along doesn't preclude your human responsibility and both human responsibility and divine sovereignty were wrapped around the same chord as we look at Jesus hanging on the cross.

I read something that I committed to memory.  I'll share with you now.  James Jauncey, author writes this.  He said, "God will never burglarize the human will.  He may want to come in and help, but He will never cross the picket line of our unwillingness."  Isn't that good?  In other words, here is God allowing human choices to be made.  At the same time, He is behind the scenes sovereignly operating and allowing those choices to be made.  Though, ultimately driving the car where it needs to go.  But he will never burglarize the human will.  He'll never cross the picket line of our unwillingness. So we have human responsibility.  We have divine sovereignty.  Now, that the scripture might be fulfilled, we're told in Verse 28.  He said, "I thirst."  I mentioned that scripture was Psalm 69.  Don't turn there now but look at it later.  It's a messianic Psalm.  It describes the suffering of the coming messiah like Psalm 22 did.  And in Verse 21, it describes a scene.  It says this and I quote "They gave me gall for my food and to quench my thirst they offered me sour wine to satisfy my thirst," or vinegar but it's sour wine.  Some translation put it differently.

The sour wine was, well it was just a cheap wine.  It's what the Roman soldiers drank.  The legionnaires would have a pitcher of sour wine.  It's like the worst of the wines.  I don't know.  I don't know much about it but it be like boons farm, all right.  Some of you are like going, "I know what that is." So I'm a little worried about this. So this is like the cheap wine that the Roman soldiers in carrying out their duties of execution would have at that place and they offered it to Jesus to drink at the time.  It also said that they administered that to Him with hyssop. John records that.  Hyssop was a weed.  It had long shaft or reed and it had a spongy end, really grew like a weed around Jerusalem among the crevices of the rock.  So they will just pull out a piece and use it.

So they're just pulling out the hyssop but the Jewish mind and the Jewish reader in hearing hyssop would go all the way back to Exodus 12 in hearing hyssop.  Because hyssop is what God told that children of Israel to dip in the passover blood, the blood of the lamb and wipe on the lentils and their door post of their home so that the death angel will passover.  Every Jewish ear would think Passover, blood, lamb, salvation, how fitting.  The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world being crucified in what festival?  Passover was happening at the very moment this is going on.  So, every single thing is being fulfilled and accomplished according to plan even Psalm 69 and even the new ones and the typology of the hyssop being used for this event.  The scripture might be fulfilled he said, "I thirst."

I want you to step back again from the scene and consider Psalm. This is something I think every single Christian needs to consider.  Have you ever considered what Jesus' relationship was to the scriptures?  That is what He said about the scriptures, how He would refer to the scriptures.  And the reason every Christian should examine that is because I fear that Jesus' view of the scripture and in His case, it was the Old Testament at that time.  Now, Jesus' view of the scripture is far different from many who claim to follow Jesus. You know that 64 times or 64 places in the New Testament Jesus referred to Old Testament scripture and always as the word of God and as always, it's something that was inherent and perfect and would never be broken.  For instance, He quotes Deuteronomy 8 saying, "Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God."  That's what He said.  He affirmed that.  In John Chapter 10, Jesus said about the scripture.  "And the scriptures cannot be broken."  I wonder if you believe that.  He said concerning the scriptures in the Gospel of Mark and the scriptures must be fulfilled.  On five occasions, Jesus Christ asked the Jewish leaders questions like this.  "Have you not read?"

"Haven't you read what Mosses wrote?  Haven't you read what David said as if holding them accountable for reading and believing the scriptures?"  But, the passage of all passages that came form the mouth of Jesus were these words. "Till heaven and earth pass away not one jot or one title," that is the smallest Hebrew letter in the alphabet or the stroke of the pen will pass form the law.  "Tell everything is fulfilled."

So you have a lot of people that say, "Yeah I don't know if I really believe the Bible as the word of God in errant and all that stuff, but I love Jesus," really?  If you can't trust Jesus in what He said about the Bible are you going to trust them in anything else?  Because the one you claimed to follow was one who said the word of God cannot be broken.  And incidentally, the Jesus you claimed to follow in Matthew 19 said that God created man in the Garden of Eden.  In Matthew 24, said there was a worldwide flood that happened.  In Luke Chapter 11, claimed that Jonah was swallowed by a great fish.  I know it's a fishy story for a lot of people but for Jesus, it was scripture.  He said that Sodom was an actually place that literally God destroyed and man have fell fro heaven.  All of those miraculous things Jesus said happened.  That's the Jesus that we follow, that's His relationship to the scripture and we are reminded of that here as Jesus hang on the cross and knew all things were accomplished that the scripture might be fulfilled said, "I thirst."

Let's look at that on what he said.  Two words, I thirst one word in Greek, dipso.  Dipso, one single word, it's the shortest of the statements that Jesus made on the cross.  Now when we hear those words, the vale is pushed back and we understand something about the cross.  First of all, it shows us the cross is intensity.  It reminds us that victims of crucifixion went through physiological phenomena of dehydration, intense dehydration.  That the tissues of the body become emptied of their fluids and those tissues sent messages to the brain over and over again.  "I'm dehydrated.  I thirst."  I'm going to read the words of Frederick Farrar who wrote the classic work on The Life of Christ describing what happens at crucifixion.  "The unnatural position" that is of the crucified victim.  "The unnatural position made very movement painful; the lacerated veins, the crushed tendons throb with incessant anguish; the wounds, inflamed by exposure, gradually gangrened."  That is when the victim took several days to die Jesus took hours.  "The arteries, especially at the head and the stomach became swollen and oppressed with surcharged blood, and while each variety of misery went on gradually increasing, there was added to them the intolerable pang of a burning and raging thirst."

Farrar and other medical experts tell us that crucifixion was by first planting the spikes, the tapered spikes in the wrist where the radius and all the bones come together to form a hook, so that the victim can hang without shredding through the tendons and the flesh.  And then, the spikes were administered to the feet.  And so, throughout the crucifixion, the victim would be pulling up and pushing up on those spikes.  After awhile, the muscles became paralyzed.  The pectoral muscles of the chest, the inner costal muscles between the ribs there was a paralysis.  So, it was easy to take in a breath almost impossible to exhale and the only way to exhale was to pull up painfully or to push up painfully on the spikes to let a breath out.  So this shows us that now at this period, almost the end of the crucifixion Jesus can't make many words come out so He gives one word, "Dipso.  I thirst."  It speaks of the intensity of the cross.  It also tells us of the humanity of Jesus.  How ironic, how ironic that the giver of life is experiencing death that the quencher of human thirst, the one who said, "Whoever thirst let them come to Me and drink out of his inner most being will flow rivers of living water.  I am the living water."

That one is thirsty.  The creator of the world has parched lips.  It speaks of the humanity of Jesus Christ.  I've discovered something about us even angelical Christians were really good at defending the deity of Christ.  We have been traditionally typically, but we're a little sketchy when it comes to talking about the humanity of Jesus.  Did you know that the first assault on Christian doctrine, the first heresy introduced into the church?  It was not an attack on the deity of Christ.  It was an attack on the humanity of Christ.  It was called Gnosticism.  And so because of that whole debate, the theologians introduced us to a new term about Jesus.  Here is the term, theanthropas.  Jesus Christ is the theanthropic son of God.  It comes from two Greek words Theos, God and anthropos, man.  Jesus is both God, Theos and man, anthropos.  So His nature is a theanthropic nature.  Meaning, Jesus has undiminished deity while having unprotected humanity, fully God, fully man, dying on a cross and in His humanity saying, "I thirst."

Now, do I get that?  Do I totally understand that?  I don't. I got to confess that to you.  So like, "Oh yeah men, I got this down.  I kept my mind wrapped around this whole nature of God."  I do not. That's why Paul said, "Great is the mystery of godliness." God was manifest in the flesh.  It's like, "Man that's like, it will blow my mental fuse." That's why Isaiah in speaking of Jesus coming, puts both natures together in one verse.  "For unto us, a child is born."  That's humanity.  "Unto us, a son is given."  That's deity "And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."  Both natures are included in the prophetic single verse.  Here is Jesus dying on the cross, thirsty as a man.  Jesus got tired.  He slept in the boat.  He got fatigued.  He had to sit down at the well.  In John 4, "He is thirsty, he got hungry.  He shed tears at the Lazarus funeral."  So, put it this way.  What Jesus knew on the cross proves His deity.  He knew all things about to ready to be accomplished.  He knew that.  That's deity.

But what He said demonstrates His humanity, "I thirst." It's also this.  Pulling back the vale shows us not only the intensity of the cross, the humanity of Christ but the humility of Christ, the humility of Christ. Paul said, "Jesus humbled himself to the point of death even the death on the cross."  Jesus became at this point our sacrifice, our substitute.  He humbled himself.  What does it mean He humbled himself?  And how does this show his humility this way?  Jesus was offered sour wine, not once but twice.  If you put this together with what Matthew Chapter 27 tells us, we're told that at the very beginning of the crucifixion, they offered Him sour wine mixed with gall and He refused it, remember that?

He refused it because gall was an analgesic.  It was a painkiller.  It produces a narcotic effect in the body deadening the pain and most criminals were given a narcotic.  In other words, the soldiers got him stoned.  Why not, they're dying.  It's like putting a patient on morphine before they die.  Jesus refused it.  He refused it.  Why?  Because He wanted to make sure that, His senses would be undiminished, so that He could feel the full wrath of God upon sin in His own body.  And He didn't take it, but now all things are accomplished.  All things are over so He takes the sour wine to quench His thirst without the narcotic involved.  That shows His humility.  In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed this prayer, "Father, if it's possible let this cup pass from Me.  Never the less not my will but Your will be done.

The cup He was speaking of there was the cup of suffering.  Jesus wouldn't let any human cup diminish that cup of suffering.  So He pushed it away.  He refused it at first.  And now, He takes it without the narcotic.  That's what Jesus knew.  That's what Jesus said, close with what Jesus did.  Now, a vessel of sour wine was sitting there and they filled the sponge with sour wine and put it on hyssop, put it to his mouth.  So when Jesus received the sour wine He said, "It is finished" and bowing His head.  He gave up His spirit.  That verse we'll concentrate on next time.

Jesus has fully drunk the cup of suffering, now He drinks the cup to quench His thirst.  He becomes the sacrifice.  He becomes the substitute.  What did Jesus endure on that day?  Well, He endured darkness for three hours.  He endured separation from His father.  He cried, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me?"  Momentarily, He was separated from the father in close fellowship. Darkness, separation and burning raging thirst, what is that sound like?  Darkness, separation, burning raging thirst, it sounds like hell. That's what Jesus endured for you and I. Jesus endured what every lost soul will endure for eternity apart from Christ.  He took hell that you might have heaven.  He took thirst that your thirst might be quenched.  He took separation from the Father that you would never have to be separated from Him.  He took death that you might have life.

The writer of Hebrews says, "Jesus Christ by the grace of God tasted death for every man."  He tasted death so you wouldn't have to taste death.  That's what the substitute is all about.  That's what the sacrifice is all about.  There's one scripture that I think puts it all together better than any other text in the bible.  It's 2 Corinthians Chapter 5 Verse 21.  Let me just speak it to you.  "God made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in him."  Once again, "God made him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in him."  Let me translate that to you my way.  At the cross, God treated Jesus as if He had committed every single sin by every single person whoever lived.  Or I put it to you in another way, God at the cross treated Jesus like you and I deserve to be treated.  So that He could treat us like Jesus Christ deserves to be treated.  God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us.  That's what He did.  That's what He did.

"I thirst."  That's God's app for your thirst.  You could write "I thirst" over your life because you do thirst and so do I.  It describes our pursuit.  It describes our life.  It's the banner statement of who we are, "I thirst."  We have a deep spiritual thirst.  Every human being has it.  Jesus said to the woman at the well of Samaria, "If you drink to this water you'll thirst again."  You can write that over every status symbol, over everything you own or every pursuit in your life, over every degree you are trying to get, "Drink of this water, you'll thirst again."  Jesus on the cross "I thirst" is his app for you thirst.  He took the thirst so that you could be quenched of your thirst spiritually, eternally.

One final thing to think of as we close, it's fascinating when you think that just a few months before this event that we are reading about in the same city of Jerusalem, a couple hundred yards away in the temple. It was the feast of tabernacles. The Jewish nation was celebrating God's provision of their forefathers in the desert.  Everyday during an eight-day feast, thousands of people gathered in the temple.  The high priest would take a pitcher of water down to the pool of Siloam, put water on it and walk up to the temple with the whole crowd of people, pour the water at base of the altar.

And people would shout and they would cry praises to God, all symbolic that God brought refreshing water out of the rock in the wilderness providing for their great, great, great, great grandparents.  And it was a water libation ceremony, everyday in the temple.  On the last day of that feast, what John calls the Great Day, the eighth day of the feast. The priest took that pitcher down to the pool and walked up to the altar twice, shouts of praise went up.  But on the very last time, it was a time of silence. As the people would meditate on God's goodness in the past by quenching the thirst of their forefathers, but also anticipating the coming of messiah who would eternally quench their thirst. And as they were meditating and contemplating in silence, the Bible says in John 7.  Jesus stood up and cried out, 'If anyone is thirsty let them come to me and drink."  And all the heads went.  To find out, "Who just said that?  We're meditating.  This is like church.  We're suppose to be quite."  And He cried that out and the people looked at Him and He made that promise.  He said, "For out of his inner most being will flow rivers torrents of living water."

You know what the last invitation of the bible is, the last invitation?  Whoever is thirsty let him come and drink of the water of life.  Our substitute died and was thirsty, so that you and I would never have to be.

Lord, when we say thank you, when we say praise You those words just seem to fall flat after considering the great sacrifice You made. The substitutionary sacrifice that You made and that You would humbly take the full brunt of that suffering, the intensity of that pain, undiminished, unprotected so that we would never be separated, so that we would never be thirsty.  So that we might never die eternally, so that we might never experience the hell that You did.  Our Father, we thank you.  Then I pray for anyone here today who has never said "yes" to Jesus, the real Jesus the historic living Jesus.  That their life would be surrendered to You in His 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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2/12/2012
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How to Love Your Mother
John 19:25-27
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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.
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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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