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Service Archives > 43 John - Believe:879 - 2009 > It's Done!

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It's Done! - John 19:30

Taught on

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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2/26/2012
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It's Done!
John 19:30
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
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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43 John - Believe:879 - 2009

43 John - Believe:879 - 2009

"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. The Statement is Meaningful

    1. Used by Servants

    2. Used by Priests

    3. Used by Artists

    4. Used by Merchants

  2. The Speaker is Purposeful

    1. His Purpose Always in Mind

    2. His Priorities Always in Line

  3. The Significance is Wonderful

    1. His Sufferings were Finished

    2. The Old Covenant was Finished

    3. Satan’s Authority was Finished

    4. Our Redemption was Finished

Cross Thoughts:

  1. How do you explain to an unbeliever the necessity of Jesus’ death on the cross?

  2. Celebrate Communion with your family or a few friends this week.

Detailed Notes

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  1. Introduction
    1. Charles H. Spurgeon
      1. Metropolitan Tabernacle
        1. 1800s
        2. Seated 5000
        3. No public address system
        4. Pulpit at the second of three levels
      2. Pastor's college: extemporaneous preaching
    2. John Knox
      1. St. Giles Cathedral
      2. Clear and scathing preaching
    3. The greatest pulpit: the cross
      1. Jesus the greatest Preacher
      2. Greatest sermon from the cross
      3. Hung for six hours
      4. Seven short statements
        1. Monumental thoughts of forgiveness, provision, and salvation
        2. John records three: third, fifth, sixth
    4. Sixth statement: "It is finished!"
      1. Not: "I'm finished" as if His life was over
      2. Not: "We're finished" as if all He worked for and invested in is done
      3. Matthew, Mark, and Luke add that when He cried out, he dismissed His Spirit and died
      4. Not as a victim, but as a Victor
  2. The Statement is Meaningful
    1. "It is finished"
      1. Τετέλεσται; tetelestai - to complete, to bring to an end, to accomplish, to perfect
      2. Τελέω; teleó - I accomplish, pay
    2. Historical use
      1. Used by Servants
        1. Accomplish something asked by the master
        2. "I've done everything you told me to do."
        3. Jesus
          1. On four occasions, Isaiah predicted Jesus as God's ultimate Servant
          2. Servant of the Lord, who accomplishes the tasks of the Master
          3. "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45)
          4. "Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?" (Luke 2:49)
      2. Used by Priests
        1. When animals brought for sacrifice
        2. Male lamb without blemish (see Exodus 12:5)
        3. Perfect, a suitable lamb for sacrifice
        4. Jesus, the perfect sacrifice
          1. "You were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (1 Peter 1:18-19)
          2. His enemies knew He was perfect
            1. Sanhedrin hired false witnesses to make false accusations
            2. Pilate: "I find no fault in Him" (John 18:38; John 19:4; John 19:6)
            3. "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood" (Matthew 27:4)
      3. Used by Artists
        1. Sculpture or painting completed
        2. Detailed work
        3. The picture complete
        4. Old Testament
          1. Details
          2. Not complete
        5. Jesus completes the picture: "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill" (Matthew 5:17)
      4. Used by Merchants
        1. When a debt was paid in full
        2. We are debtors
          1. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23)
            1. We owe an insurmountable debt
            2. Bankrupt
          2. "For the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23)
        3. Jesus paid our debt in full
  3.  The Speaker is Purposeful
    1. His Purpose Always in Mind
      1. Jesus lived with priorities
      2. "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work" (John 4:34)
      3. "I have finished the work which You have given Me to do" (John 17:4)
      4. "After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished" (John 19:28)
    2. His Priorities Always in Line
      1. World's steps to personal success
        1. Set goals
        2. Take concrete steps to achieve goals
        3. Objectively evaluate steps along the way
      2. Jesus' life
        1. Not self-focused
        2. For the Father
        3. Poured out His life for others according to God's will
      3. How was it finished in just three and a half years?
        1. Did what the Father gave Him to do
        2. Evaluated everything in the light of eternity
      4. "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness" (Matthew 6:33).
      5. Over the doorways in a Milan cathedral
        1. All that pleases is but for a moment
        2. All that troubles is but for a moment
        3. Nothing is important except that which is eternal
  4. The Significance is Wonderful
    1. His Sufferings were Finished
      1. Crucifixion
      2. Beaten
      3. Crown of thorns
      4. Betrayal
    2. The Old Covenant was Finished
      1. Anticipated the new covenant
      2. "Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah--not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the : I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people" (Jeremiah 31:31-33)
      3. "But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second" (Hebrews 8:6-7)
      4. "For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ" (John 1:17)
      5. The Law points out our faults
        1. We haven't kept God's perfect standard
        2. Like looking in the mirror
        3. Has no power to change you
        4. "For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all" (James 2:10)
    3. Satan’s Authority was Finished
    4. Our Redemption was Finished
      1. Embrace the new covenant: receive Christ
        1. Cannot add to it
        2. Cannot improve it
        3. Not a joint effort
        4. Believe in Him
      2. "It's too late for you to do anything; Jesus has already done it all!"—Alexander Wooten
      3. "And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit" (John 19:30)
        1. He bowed His head, then died
        2. He put His head down and dismissed His spirit
      4. "No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again" (John 10:18)
      5. God finishes everything He starts
        1. "Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross" (Hebrews 12:2)
        2. Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43)
      6. Although the work is finished, we may have unfinished business
        1. 1829 George Wilson failed to accept a pardon from Andrew Jackson; Supreme Court Justice John Marshall ruled "A pardon has no value unless it is accepted by the criminal"
        2. We must receive Christ.

Greek Terms: Τετέλεσται; tetelestai - to complete, to bring to an end, to accomplish, to perfect; Τελέω; teleó - I accomplish, pay
Figures Referenced: Charles H. Spurgeon; John Knox; Alexander Wooten; John Marshall
Cross References: Exodus 12:5; Jeremiah 31:31-33; Matthew 5:17; Matthew 6:33; Matthew 27:4; Mark 10:45; Luke 2:49; Luke 23:43; John 1:17; John 4:34; John 10:18; John 17:4; John 18:38; John 19:4; John 19:6; John 19:28; Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23; Hebrews 8:6-7; Hebrews 12:2; James 2:10; 1 Peter 1:18-19

Transcript

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Let's pray.  Father we want to thank you.  This is a privilege.  It's a privilege Lord that we live in a country where we have the freedom of assembly.  We have the freedom of worship.  It's what this great country was founded upon.  But, even greater than the freedom to worship according to the dictates of our own heart.  We worship according to the dictates of your revealed word.  We feel like we have been on holy ground as we, a bit at the shadow of the cross and week by week taking a different scene.  We feel ourselves standing next to John and Mary and the other women gazing up the large stones of the city behind us, the olive trees around us, the horrible sounds of agony before us and we consider the one who paid the price on our behalf.

Many of us, most of us are familiar.  Some of us may not be with the scene.  But help us all be gracious to all as we enter into it and we consider a fresh the work of Jesus for us.  It's in His name we pray, Amen.

A few years back, I had the privilege of visiting London and going to the Church of Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  Of course, he is been long gone and the church itself has been destroyed and rebuilt.  It was destroyed by a fire and other events that happened, but the façade of the Metropolitan Tabernacle is still intact in some of the auxiliary buildings. The main sanctuary itself is there but it's not the same as it was in Spurgeon's day.  I stood in that pulpit and I just imagined what it was like to be listening over a hundred years ago to Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  He really had the first mega church in the 1800s.  It sat 5000 people, no PA system. 

So, the way it was constructed I hear was there were three levels.  There was a ground level then there was a balcony level that went all the way around.  And then, there was a third balcony that also went all the way around.  The pulpit was constructed in an unusual manner.  It was at the second balcony level, so you'd walk up a stairway from the first level to the second balcony and jutting out over the main floor and at the level of the second balcony was the pulpit from Spurgeon would preach and then he could even look up to the third level. 

Well, Spurgeon had not only a church but he had a pastor's college.  He taught young men in the ministry and he believed that young men in the ministry should be taught the art of extemporaneous preaching.  That is, you give them a text and they're ready at any moment to think on their feet, to be led by the spirit that they should know enough bible truth to able to be given a passage and preach.  So often in his midweek studies, Spurgeon would hand a sheet of paper to one of the students in his school who were sitting in the congregation.

The only prep time they would have to give the message is the time from their seat up the stairs to the pulpit and preach.  On a midweek service, Charles Spurgeon scribbled Luke 19, Story of Zacchaeus on a sheet of paper and it was handed to one of the young college students.  The only time he had to prepare was a few songs in the song service and his journey from his seat up to the pulpit.  How intimidating it would be to be given a passage of scripture standing in front of an audience of people and speak on it and especially intimidating when Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the Prince of preachers was in the front row looking up at you.

The young man who was given a text on Zacchaeus from Luke 19 was himself a short fellow.  So, he climbed up the stairs into the pulpit and he said, "The text that I've been given to preach on this evening is the Gospel of Luke Chapter 19, the story of Zacchaeus.  And like our eloquent pastor has taught us so well, I have three points to bring to bear on this passage.  Point number one, Zacchaeus was a wee little man just like I am, a wee little man.  Point number two, Zacchaeus was up a tree even as I, myself, I'm up a tree."

And point number three, the Lord looked up and said, "Zacchaeus, come down from that tree."  And I feel that's what the Lord is telling me.  And he scampered out of the pulpit immediately. 

He was a clever student.  And to the delight and the applause of the congregation, he made an impression.  I thought of that when I was standing in Spurgeon's pulpit and I thought of another pulpit I had seen and wondered about in Edinburgh, Scotland, the pulpit of John Knox, the Scottish reformer, Saint Giles Cathedral on the Royal Mile and knowing what I know about Knox and how clear and even scavingly he preach.  And I thought of some of the sermons against Mary the Queen of Scotts, priests from that pulpit and how that got them into trouble time and time again during that era.

But, the greatest pulpit ever was constructed from two pieces of wood hastily put together in the form of a cross.  Jesus, the greatest preacher whoever lived preached the greatest sermon ever heard from that pulpit that He was nailed to for six hours.  He gave seven short statements, short statements but big ideas, monumental thoughts of forgiveness and provision and salvation.

John records three of the statements that Jesus made from the cross.  The third statement, the fifth statement and the sixth statement made on the cross John records and we will consider the sixth statement made in Verse 30 of Chapter 19.

So, when Jesus had received the sour wine He said, "It is finished."  And bowing His head.  He gave up His spirit.  I don't know about you and your life and your organizational skills, but for me just to read, "It is finished," brings a sense of conviction.

Do any of you have unfinished projects in your life?  I mean I automatically go to the leaves in my backyard under all those bushes.  I'm going to get to them, but I just haven't yet.  Or my garage, boy it's collected lots of junk and it needs organization and cleaning.  I'm going to get to it.  Just don't know when.  I have a closet that I just stuffed junk in.  It's like my one little closet that I can get to someday.  The day hasn't arrived yet.  I'm waiting for the day.  Unfinished task, unfinished business, we're getting to tax season.  This year, I'm not going to file for an extension.  I want to get it done.  In fact, we have a phrase that has been coined in our culture.  It's sort of a blue color phrase and we have one guy trying to tell another guy to finish the task.  He said, "Get it done."  "Yeah, I'm going to do that."  "We'll, get it done." 

On the cross Jesus said the words, "It is finished."  Now, in hearing the words to the uninitiated, it might sound like, "Well, that is typical of anyone dying.  It's the end of His life.  It's finished.  It's over.  I'm out of here.  I'm dying."  But, Jesus doesn't say, "I'm finished."  As if, my life is over.  He's not saying, "We're finished."  As if to say all that, I have worked for and invested in the last few years, it's done now.  He said, "It is finished."  What does He mean by that?

You should also know that Matthew, Mark, and Luke add an important notation.  It says when Jesus cried out and it doesn't say what He cried out, only John does.  When He cried out that, then He dismissed His sprit and He died.  What Jesus cried out was, "It is finished."  These are not the words of a victim.  These are the words of a victor.  This is somebody who has crossed the finished line and says, "It is done."

Well, we want to consider that single statement and the single verse in John Chapter 19.  I'm going to look with you first of all at the statement itself then at the speaker then at the significance.  The statement that Jesus made, "It is finished."

The statement is meaningful.  Three words in English, one word in Greek, it is finished is the translation of the single word in Greek, Tetelestai.  Tetelestai or telos, it means to complete, to bring to an end, to accomplish or to perfect.  All of that is embodied in the word.  You really don't get the gist of the depth of the meaning, so I want to take you back in history.  Allow me to do that as I tell you four different ways it was used in antiquity, four different groups that used determine how fitting then it is for Jesus to say.

First of all, servants use the term.  In a day of slavery 2,000 years ago when a servant did a task, accomplished something that the master asked him to do, he would go back to the master and give the announcement, "Tetelestai."  In other words, "Master, I've done everything you've told me to do.  I brought to an end the job you gave me to do."  It's accomplished.  It's done.  How fitting then, because Isaiah the Prophet, on four different occasions predicted that Jesus the messiah would be God's ultimate servant.  He speaks about the servant of the Lord who accomplishes the task of the master, even Jesus himself when He comes on the scene in the Gospel of Mark.  He makes His announcement that "The Son of man has not come to be served but to serve and give His life a ransom for many."  Even when He was a little boy, 12 years of age at the temple he tells His mother "Don't you know that I must be about my father's business?"  I'm like a servant on a mission accomplishing the will of the master saying, "It's done."  It's finished.  So servants used it.

A second group that used the term "Tetelestai," the word or the equivalent of the word were the priests.  You know, if you and I lived a couple of thousand years ago or three thousand years ago and there was a temple or tabernacle, if you wanted to bring an animal for sacrifice, you couldn't just get any old animal.  You couldn't like say "Hey, there's like a stray cat in the back of the house.  Let's just bring that up.  I've always wanted to get rid of that thing.  Let's just bring that for a sacrifice."  It couldn't be done.  First of all, it had to be a lamb.  And for this 12, it says that the lamb had to be a male lamb without blemish.  So, you would bring you lamb to the priest.  The priest would examine your lamb.  He would look for flaws, inherent or acquired.  If there were no flaws, he would say the equivalent in Aramaic or in Hebrew the equivalent of the Greek, "Tetelestai."  It's perfect.  It's the suitable lamb for sacrifice.

Again, how fitting that Jesus would say, "Tetelestai?"  For Peter, he says, "You and I were not redeemed with corruptible things like silver or gold.  We were redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, a lamb without spot, without blemish."  You know that even Jesus' enemies knew that He was perfect.  Youknow that the Sanhedrin had the higher false witnesses to bring false accusations against Jesus because He did nothing wrong.  Even Pilate said several times, "I find no fault in Him."  Even Judas Iscariot admitted, "I have betrayed innocent blood."

There's a third group of people that used it.  Artists use the term "Tetelestai."  When an artist was making a painting or a sculpture, when the artist was done, here, she would step back form the work of art.  And if it was completed, all the color was there, all the detail, all the finishing touches and a good craftsman put details and touch in it.  Here, she would step back and say "Tetelestai."  It is finished.  The picture is complete, was the idea.  The picture is complete.

Hey, when I read the Old Testament, I find lots of details, lots of touches, lots of prophecies about the messiah, shadows, ceremonies, lots of stuff.  But when I read it, I get the idea that something's missing.  The picture is not complete.  It's predicting something that hasn't come yet.  But when I read the New Testament and Jesus steps into the picture, now the picture is compete.  Jesus said, "I didn't come to destroy the law or the prophets.  I came to fulfill, to complete the picture."  So the picture is now all completed. 

There's a fourth group that used the term, merchants and bankers.  Once you paid off your bill or your debt to the bank or to a merchant, they would give you a little sheet that would read at the top Tetelestai.  In fact, did you know that we have found, not we and not like I've done it.  But, archaeologists have found, scholars have found papyri, ancient papyri for people who have paid their taxes off and across the top of the papyrus, it reads Tetelestai.  Paid in full was the idea, paid in full.  So, merchants or bankers would use the term Tetelestai to simply say, "Your debt has been paid off in full."  How fitting for Jesus to say it from the cross.  Because, I don't know if you know this or not, most of you do.  We are debtors.  All of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  That's an insurmountable debt.  You can never pay that.  You're bankrupt.  The wages of sin is death.  So we have a debt we can't pay and we look at this huge pile of debt. It's like, "There's no way I can pay the off."

Jesus comes along and announces form the cross, "Paid in full."  It's done, Tetelestai.  So as the servant, he's fulfilling the wishes of his master.  As the priest, he is offering himself as the perfect sacrifice.  As the artist, he is completing the picture.  And he is paying off in full, our debt.  The statement is meaningful.  The second thing in looking back at the text is just hearing the statement as we read it.  It tells us something about the speaker himself that here's a man who lived with purpose, with goals, with priorities.  So, when Jesus had received the sour wine He said, "It is finished" and bowing His head.  He gave up His spirit.

He lived with purpose.  He lived with priorities and those priorities, that goal comes out in so many other statements that He made in His life.  Here's one.  Remember the time when Jesus goes to Samaria, He goes to the well of Samaria, there's that woman at the well of Samaria, and Jesus talks with her?  The disciples have gone into the town to buy food.  They get back.  The woman leaves to tell her friends and family what's happening.  The disciples knowing that Jesus is tired like they are and needs something to eat, they say "Here's some food.  You ought to eat it."  And He says, "I have food to eat that you don't know anything about."  And they looked at each other like, "What does that mean?  Did somebody like gave Him a hamburger while we were gone, excuse me, a falafel while we were gone?"  And Jesus explains himself, "For my food is to do the will of Him who went Me, and to finish the work.  To do it and to finish it, I'm living with the purpose.  I have a goal.  I am on track.  I am going somewhere and I live by priorities and I'm going to finish the task."

Fast forward to John chapter 17, we reviewed it in depth, the high priestly prayer of Jesus.  Jesus lifts up His eyes and he says, "Father, the hour has come.  Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.  I have glorified you on the earth.  I have finished the work which you have given Me to do."  He knows He is right at the end.  He has hours left to live.  Everything the Father has given Him and now He anticipates the end of it and He said, "I finished the work."

Then look down on our text and go back to Verse 28 and notice these words again, if you will. Verse 28, "After this, Jesus knowing that all things are now," what?  It is accomplished.  Same word, "Telos," accomplished.  That the scriptures might be fulfilled, the same word, "Telos."  He says, "I thirst."  He drinks it and then He says "Tetelestai."  It is finished.  Here's a man who lived and spoke and moved with purpose.  He had goals in mind and now He saying, "It's done."

I was reading a magazine.  I was on the way back from Dallas, Texas a while back and the magazine cover had an article entitled "The Power to excel."  And, it was an article about several books out on finding the goals that you set in life.  So, I read the article and read some of the titles of the book and if memory serves me, the books were called The Power of Purpose, Iron Will, Self-discipline, The Magnificent Obsession, The Physiotherapy of Achievement.

All of these books and they basically had the same idea all the way through them.  Here's the idea.  If you want to be successful in life, say these authors, you number one, set a goal.  Number two, you make concrete steps to achieve your goal.  And number three, you evaluate those steps along the way objectively.

So, I was thinking about that that this whole philosophy about achieving your goal and I thought, "How different from Jesus?"  Oh, He had his goals and He had the steps to get there and He evaluated those steps but how different because Jesus' whole life and goal and purpose was not for self, was not self-oriented, was not self-centered, was not for self-aggrandizement but for the Father.  It was all about pouring His life out for others according to the will of the Father so that the end of His life He could say, "It is finished."  I have a question for you.  How can anyone say, "It is finished" after three and a half years of ministry?  Three and a half years, that's a very short span to do much of anything.  But after three and a half years on the cross he says, "It's done.  It's finished.  Everything you've given me to do, I've accomplished."

Now, Jesus I grant you did many wonderful things.  He healed many people but for every person He healed, there were ten unhealed people.  There were still broken lives and broken bodies throughout all of Israel, let alone the world.  So how can you say at the end of three and a half years, "I've done it all?"  Here's how.  Because He said, "I've done everything you have given me to do Father.  This is what you have called me to do.  Here is my goal.  Here is my priority and that's it."  So, the goals He was accomplishing were goals given to Him by the Father and ever too, He evaluated those goals in the light of eternity, not the temporary.

Boy, I tell you what.  If we can grab a hold of that, there is freedom in that.  What has God called you to do?  This is a good time to ask yourself, what are your goals in life?  How is the spiritual goal thing coming for you?  How is to seek first the Kingdom of God going?  What are your goals?  What are you pursuing?  Is it worth it?  And, what are you going to do when you achieve it?  I read a statement made by Lewis Sperry Chafer, the one time president of Dallas Theological Seminary.  He said that he had a friend who chased so many insignificant things in life.  He said he reminds me of a bulldog chasing a freight train.  I wonder what he's going to do when he catches it.  What's the dog going to do when he catches the train, attack it?  When you achieve your goal, what then?  Is it worth the pursuit?  I guarantee you, if you have the right goals, it's well worth the pursuit.

Let me tell you a little illustration that might help you arrange your goals and think about it this week.  In Milan Italy, there is a Cathedral.  And there's an entrance to the Cathedral that has three doors on the same wall.  It's a three-portal entryway and over every doorway, each of three, there's an inscription above it.  And so, as you're going up the steps into the Cathedral, over the right hand portal, it says "All that pleases is but for a moment."  On the left hand portal is inscribed, "All the troubles is but for a moment."  Over the main, the largest, the central door, the central archway are these words.  "Nothing is important except that which is eternal."  Everything that pleases, everything that troubles is so momentary.  The most important goals that you can make and set are eternal goals, spiritual goal.  Here is Jesus, a man of purpose who lived His whole life for the goal of pleasing the Father and pouring out His life saying, "After three and a half years of ministry, accomplished, done.  It is finished."

Now finally, I want to look at the significance of the statement.  The significance is wonderful.  Well, he still haven't really answered the question, it is finished.

What is "it?"  If it is finished, it doesn't mean I am finished or we are finished or this movement is finished.  He says, "It is finished."  What does He mean by "it?"  What's finished exactly?  Well, first of all Jesus' suffering is about over.  That's about to come to an end.  Man has done his worst.  They pinned Him on a cross.  They beat Him up with a whip.  They put a crown of thorns.  Judas betrayed Him.  All of that is over now.  In a few moments, he'll be cradled in the arms of his Father.  Finished, are the sufferings of Jesus on the cross.  Momentarily, He'll be with his Father.  The second thing that is finished is the Old Covenant, the Old Testament.  Now, do you know that the Old Covenant predicted, anticipated the New Covenant?  Jeremiah 30, God said, "Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel and with my people."

And so the writer of Hebrews says, "God takes away the first that He might establish the second."  That's the New Covenant.  So the Old Covenant is finished.  And boy am I glad.  Because as I read just the Old Testament without the grace, because that's what it says in John Chapter 1.  "For the law came by Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ."  As I read the law of the Old Testament, it's like looking at a policeman with this finger pointing at me.  "You went too fast.  You didn't make the turn right.  You were texting as you drive," not that I do that.  I read the bible.  I read the Old Testament and all this, "You shall not.  You shall not.  You shall do this.  You shall not."  And I go, -- because the law points its finger and says, "You haven't kept God's perfect standard."  The law is like looking at a mirror.  We hate mirrors.  That's why we want the mirrors that have the lights that are placed just so, maybe on the side, maybe a little bit lower, maybe shining up just a little bit and that's the mirror we want for our house, because it brings flattering light to it.  We go, "What?  I don't look so bad.  I look good."

You read the law of God.  It won't flatter anyone.  It tells you the truth and it says.  "Basically and spiritually, you're ugly.  I'm ugly.  We're all hopeless."  So, the very law that is the mirror and that point at your wrong.  At the same time, it has no power to do anything about it, just like the mirror in your bathroom can't cleanse you.  You never take it off the wall and start scrubbing with the mirror.  It has no power to do that.  It just simply says, "Here's the truth about you."  So, I am glad that the Old Covenant is done.  It's finished and we have the New Covenant, the grace and truth that comes through Jesus Christ.

Every now and then, I meet a person who says, "I live by the Ten Commandments."  I love those conversations.  Really, you live by it?  "I live by the Ten Commandments.  That's my religion."  So you're telling me you haven't broken the Ten Commandments?  "Oh no, well.  I mean I have broken a few of them.  I've lied.  I stole something when I was younger.  Taking the Lord's name in vein, I have done that a few times.  But I've never murdered anybody."  Okay, but you admit you are a lawbreaker because the bible says if you offended one, you're guilty of breaking all of it.  You're a lawbreaker.  So you say you live by the Ten Commandments, you just don't keep them.  And then I've had people say, "Well, you know I'm really good of sort of talking my way out of things and I figure that I have done my best.  And, when I see God face to face, I can sort of talk my way through this.  Can I just say that's a bad plan?"  It's a really bad plan.

The best plan is to let the law go, the Old Covenant go, embrace the New Covenant of free, forgiveness and grace.  You receive Christ as your savior and let it be done.  It is finished.  It brings us to the fourth and final thing, and really the cracks.  Here's the center of what Jesus meant when He said, "it is finished."  Our redemption, our salvation is done.  It's finished.  You can't add to it.  You can't improve upon it and it's not a joint effort.  It's not like, "Well God, you do your part and I'll do my part."  Do you know what your part is?  Believe.  That's your part.  They asked Jesus, "What must we do to work the works of God?"  Jesus said, "This is the work of God that you believe on Him whom He has sent.  That's your part."

Cool story.  A guy came to an evangelist named Alexander Wooten.  He was an eccentric evangelist years ago.  And he said using the biblical phrase, "What must I do to be safe?"  And Alexander Wooten looked at him and said, "It's too late."  The man was shocked.  "It's too late?  you mean I can't do anything?"  Wooten said, "It's too late.  It's already been done.  You can't do anything.  It's already been done for you.  The only thing left for you to do is to believe that it's done."  It's a finished work.  You don't add to it.  You believe by faith.  And when you come down while your life will change, but you come that way.  It's done.  It is finished, Tetelestai.  Our redemption, our salvation, is done.  Now, I'll finish out the verse.  I noticed something that I found peculiar.  I want to share it with you.  The end of Verse 30 it says, "In bowing His head, He gave up His spirit."  You know what.  It's a little odd because that's different from how you and I would die.  If we were standing up or pinned to something or sitting in a chair with our head erect it would read this.  "He died and then bowed His head."  Once you die, the head would slump forward but not with Jesus.  He bowed His head first, then, He died.

It tells me his head has been erect to the entire time and I did a little investigation.  The way the word is rendered in the original, it's Jesus put His head, nestled His head downward.  It wasn't a slump.  It was a deliberately slow placing of the head.  And so it says, "In bowing His head, He gave up."  Dismissed is the literal word, dismissed His spirit.  So, here's Jesus on the cross.  He bows His head slightly and He says to His spirit, "You can go now."  That's exactly what He said would happen.  He said, "Nobody takes my life from me.  I lay it down of myself.  I have the power to lay it down, and to take it up again."  And here is Jesus laying it down.  Placing His head down and were dismissing His spirit and dying.

So, here's the deal.  God finishes everything He starts.  He's not like me and my garage and my leaves and my closet and my taxes.  God finishes everything He starts.  Jesus is the author and the finisher of our faith who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross.  Have you ever thought of joy and a cross?  You know what the joy was for Jesus, being able to say to you and me, "You're forgiven.  Come hang with me for eternity."  That brought Him joy.  I believe the first taste of that joy is when He said to the man next to Him, "Today, you'll be with me in paradise."  Talk about being in the right place, at the right time.  That man got it.  "You'll be with me in paradise."  You know what you're in the right place at the right time.  Because, although it's a finished work, some of you have unfinished business with God.  He's giving you the author of forgiveness.  The only thing missing is you haven't received it.  He's giving you the gift of eternal life, you just haven't personalized it yet.  What He's done is finished, but you have unfinished business with God.

We end with the true story, 1829 George Wilson, convicted of murder.  He was robbing the US Mail.  He killed the federal worker.  He was arrested and sentenced to execution by hanging.  That's how they did it then.  Some of his friends appealed to the president at that time, Andrew Jackson to release George Wilson.  To the shock of everybody, Andrew Jackson signed his release.  He wrote with his own hands that that man was a freeman signed a pardon.  But, the criminal George Wilson, according to history would not accept the pardon.  So now the President, Andrew Jackson turns to the Supreme Court to make the decision.  Chief Justice John Marshall puts forth a rendering that would become historic.  John Marshall said, "A pardon has no value unless it is accepted by the criminal.  A pardon has no value unless it is accepted by the sinner."  Jesus was willing to say, "It is finished, but not everybody is willing to say, 'I believe."  So finish the business.

Father, we thank you that we have been able to consider a single statement, a single word, pregnant with significance, filled with meaning and application showing us that our savior lived with that goal, set by you and moved toward the accomplishment of that goal and tell He could say, "It's done."  Thank you Lord that it is so complete, that none of us can improve upon it or add to it.  We can simply believe that it has been done for us and come to you by faith.  If you've come this morning and you have not finished that business with God, you have not received Jesus as your savior, it's not personal.  Some of you come to church.  Some of you love church.  Some of you love the songs.  You love being around with people who love the Lord.  You just haven't made a personal commitment to Christ yourself.  That's what's lacking.  Know that the gift is extended, that the forgiveness is offered, but it must be received or it is invalid for you.  How monumental that everyday, after week, after month, after decade, we're given chances to respond to the Gospel and more amazing but so many people don't.

And now today, here in the right place at the right time and God is knocking on the door of your heart again.  Some of you remember a decision made in years past, not follow-through, you're not following Jesus, but you want to come back to Him or you need to come to Him to begin with.  It's not about being religious.  It's not about joining a church.  It's about knowing Him and if you are willing to do that as He is willing to receive you as our heads are bowed and we're praying, I'd like to pray for you.  I need to know who you are and if you're willing to turn your life to Christ today, would you raise your hand up in the air, so I can see it.  I'll acknowledge you and I'll pray for you, and we will as well.  Couple of you way in the back, God bless you.  Right in the middle, God Bless you.  Anyone else?  Raise your hand up.  Slip it up.  Don't be afraid.  God bless you sir on my right, right up in the front.

Lord, it's our prayer for people around this auditorium.  You know them by name.  You know every thought they have ever thought.  You know their deepest need even at this point and how happy, how thrilled you are at this moment to receive them to become children of God.  And so, we pray for each hand, each life that is represented by the hand and we pray that we pray Father that these men and women would live today different than how they came in knowing that life, eternal life has been freely given to them and they can live differently now.  Thank you Lord that you have ended Satan's grip upon our lives the Old Covenants condemnation of our lives and finished the redemption.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Additional Messages in this Series

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