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Service Archives > 43 John - Believe:879 - 2009 > I Failed! Now What?

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I Failed! Now What? - John 21:15-19

Taught on | Topic: restoration | Keywords: Peter, restoration, failure, fail, love

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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4/22/2012
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I Failed! Now What?
John 21:15-19
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
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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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. Love Christ Supremely (vv. 15-17)

    1. A Probing Question

    2. A Pressing Reaction

    3. A Promising Commission

  2. Serve Christ Unswervingly (v. 18)

    1. At Every Age of Life

    2. At Every Stage in Life

  3. Follow Christ Continually (v. 19)

Restoring Hope:

  1. Why do you think Jesus asked Peter the question "Do you love Me?" rather than "Do you know Me?" or "Will you be faithful to Me?"

  2. If you were to "chart your own course" after being tossed and buffeted by a storm of your own failure, what would you do first? Second?

Detailed Notes

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  1. Introduction
    1. Restoration
      1. Vehicles
        1. Worn or wrecked
        2. Restored are sometimes better than new
      2. People
        1. Like vehicles: can get wrecked and need restoration
        2. People fail
    2. Failure
      1. Researchers say one of biggest fears is fear of failure
      2. Dream analysts tell us the most common dreams - anxiety dreams
      3. Failure occurs our entire lives; we aren't perfect
      4. "We all stumble in many things" (James 3:2)
      5. Peter
        1. Denied the Lord three times in one night
        2. Spiritual failure
        3. Denied that he even knew the Lord
        4. His failure became the fulcrum of his victory
          1. Preached on Pentecost, thousands came forward
          2. Opened the door of the gospel to Cornelius and the Gentiles
          3. Superintended the spread of the gospel north into Antioch of Syria
          4. Addressed the Council at Jerusalem (see Acts 15)
      6. "The real legacy of my life was my biggest failure—that I was an ex-convict. My greatest humiliation—being sent to prison—was the beginning of God's greatest use of my life; He chose the one experience in which I could not glory for His glory."—Chuck Colson
    3. Peter's conversation with the Lord
      1. Peter denied the Lord over a fire; Jesus restores Peter over a fire
      2. Conversation between Jesus and Peter alone
      3. Other disciples around
      4. We get to eavesdrop on their conversation
      5. Public conversation
        1. Previously a private conversation
          1.  "The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!" (Luke 24:34)
          2. "He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve" (1 Corinthians 15:5-6)
        2. Peter denied Jesus publicly; Jesus allows him to be restored publicly
          1. "A Man's repentance must be as notorious as his sin."—Charles Spurgeon
          2. Public denial requires public confession and public restoration
  2. Love Christ Supremely (vv. 15-17)
    1. A Probing Question
      1. Simon, son of Jonah
        1. Must have hurt Peter; his name before he met Jesus
        2. Remind Peter of who he really was
        3. Peter needed to learn: "Without Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5)
          1. Self reliance, self sufficiency a problem
          2. "He who looks up and admires his own halo gets nothing more than a pain in the neck."
      2. Do you love me more than these?
        1. These
          1. The fish, the boats, the nets, the lake: Are you willing to give it up?
          2.  The disciples: Do you love Me more than you love these disciples?
            1. Unlikely, Peter never had trouble loving the others too much
            2. He argued a lot
          3. Most likely: Is your love for Me greater than the love these others have for Me?
            1. Peter bragged that he did (see Matthew 26:35)
            2. Said he was willing to die for the Lord
        2. Three times
          1. Peter denied Jesus three times
          2. "Will you lay down your life for My sake? Most assuredly, I say to you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times" (John 13:38).
          3. Jesus allowed Peter to affirm his love three times
      3. Not: "Peter, do you know Me?"
        1. Peter denied knowing the Lord
        2. Not:  "Do you have the correct, doctrinal, theological stance?"
      4. Not: "Peter, will you work hard for Me?"
      5. The issue is how much you love the Lord
        1. The Lord wants your heart above all else
        2. Once He has your heart, He'll have your mind, your hands, etc.
        3. "Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life" (Proverbs 4:23)
    2. A Pressing Reaction
      1. Word Play
        1. Two of the Greek words for love used
          1. ἀγαπάω; agapaó - love of total commitment
            1. Jesus used this in the question twice
            2. Highest form of love
            3. Love of the will
            4. 100% love
          2. Φιλέω; phileó - regard with affection
            1. Peter's answer
            2. Fondness for you
            3. Friendship
        2. Jesus: "Peter, do you with a total commitment, 100%, super-duper love Me?" Peter: "Well you know Lord, I like you a lot."
        3. Peter's action and denial prove he didn't
        4. Third time, Jesus uses Peter's word, phileó
          1. Broke Peter's heart
          2. He wasn't sure
      2. Peter appeals to Jesus' knowledge
        1. Signifies a real change
          1. You know me, I'll be honest
          2. Previously, you really don't know me
      3. God wants us to make an honest evaluation of ourselves before Him
        1. We aren't very good at honesty
        2. Honesty should prevail around God's people
        3. The church is not a museum for saints, it's a hospital for sinners
    3. A Promising Commission
      1. Jesus doesn't reject Peter's honesty, He deals with it
      2. Jesus has a job for Peter
        1. Encouragement for a fallen leader
        2. Entrusted His flock, for whom He shed His blood, to Peter
      3. Births a supreme love for Christ
      4. "Whom having not seen you love" (1 Peter 1:8) agapaó
  3.  Serve Christ Unswervingly (v. 18)
    1. At Every Age of Life
      1. Addressed Peter's life, now addresses his death
        1. Stretch out refers to crucifixion
        2. According to Eusibius, Peter lived his life, in the end bound, girded, taken to Rome, stretched out on a cross, requested crucifixion upside down (not worthy to be crucified like the Lord)
        3. Not discouraging, but encouraging for Peter
          1. Peter once bragged that he would die for Jesus
            1. But he said to Him, "Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death" (Luke 22:33)
            2. Peter's second chance
            3. Successful
          2. Peter won't die when he is young
            1. "When you are old"
            2. When arrested, James beheaded, Herod planned to kill Peter: "Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison” (Acts 12:6)
            3. Peter knew he wouldn't die young
          3. Peter knew he would never deny the Lord again
    2. At Every Stage in Life
      1. "Then I saw the Interpreter take Christian by the hand and lead him into a place where was a fire burning against a wall, and one standing by it, always casting much water upon it, to quench it; yet did the fire burn higher and hotter.
        Christian:  What means this?
        Interpreter:  This fire is God’s work of grace in the heart. He who casts water upon it to put it out, is the devil; but you shall see why in spite of the water it still burns. So he led him to the other side of the wall, where he saw a man with a vessel of oil in his hand, which oil he continually cast, but secretly, into the fire.
        Christian:  What means this?
        Interpreter:  This is Christ, who continually, with the oil of His grace, maintains the work already begun in the heart. So in spite of what the devil can do, grace never dies out in the heart. The man behind the wall to keep the fire is to teach thee that it is hard for the tempted to see how this work of grace is kept alive in the soul." (Excerpt from The Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan)
      2. When you come to Christ in love, He gives you the strength and power to serve Him
      3. When you come to Christ, you surrender your life
        1. Surrender your control
        2. Willing to be controlled by His will
        3. Commitment
        4. "He who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me" (Matthew 10:38)
        5. May have to pay the ultimate price
        6. "Go into all the world" says nothing about returning
        7. When  person settles the issue of death, he is ready to live
  4. Follow Christ Continually (v. 19)
    1. Follow me
      1. Memory trigger
        1. Jesus said it earlier on the shores of the same lake
        2. "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19)
      2. Follow in the present tense: continually, actively, perpetually follow me
    2. Peter denied Jesus in Jerusalem; Jesus restored him at the lake
    3. Peter denied Jesus at night; Jesus restored Jesus during the day
    4. Jesus was denied three times by Peter; Jesus is affirmed three times by Peter
    5. When you feel far from God: you moved
    6. Jesus took a weak, failed apostle and made him one of his greatest ambassadors

Greek terms: ἀγαπάω; agapaó - love of total commitment; Φιλέω; phileó - regard with affection
Publications referenced: The Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan
Figures referenced: Chuck Colson; C. H. Spurgeon; Eusibius
Cross references: Proverbs 4:23; Matthew 4:19; Matthew 10:38; Matthew 26:35; Acts 12:6; Luke 22:33; Luke 24:34; John 13:38; John 15:5; Acts 15; 1 Corinthians 15:5-6; James 3:2; 1 Peter 1:8

Topic: restoration

Keywords: Peter, restoration, failure, fail, love

Transcript

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Let's pray.  Father, we do thank You that you have spoken clearly through the scriptures that we have seen to be trustworthy and come from You.  Of all the people, Lord, in the Bible that we relate to and there are a lot of them, perhaps Peter is the number one candidate.  We see so much of ourselves in Peter's words and his actions and I am so thankful for that brother, and one day we will be able to stroll the streets of glory with him and talk to him.  But until then, we have the record of what he went through and how You, Lord, restored him.  I pray, Father, that we would take great courage from it and encouragement in it.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

Would you turn to the screen for just a moment?  Let me show you a restored 1957 Chevy.  See all the guys starting right now to salivate just a little bit.  That is a classic.  That's a 1957 Chevy Bel Air.  It doesn't get anymore classic than that.  Next is a restored 1942 Harley-Davidson Flathead that still runs -- all restored.  Next is a 1955 restored human being.  I don't know if it's a classic yet but maybe it's old enough to qualify.

You know, there's something wonderful about seeing an old car or an old bike that has been wrecked and worn and is in failure get restored.  In fact, to see a restored vehicle is sometimes even better than a new car.  To think where it has been, what it has seen, what it has gone through and once marginalized and put off to the sideline then rescued, restored, brought back to its original luster, maybe even greater than that.  There's just something wonderful about that and inspiring about that.  And people, like vehicles, can get wrecked and need to be restored because people like vehicles fail.  We all do.

In fact, it's been said by researchers that one of human being's greatest fears in life is the fear of failure.  And dream analysts tell us that the most common dream are anxiety dreams, where there is an event where failure is possible -- a job interview you're going to face, a speech you have to give, a test you have to take.  And because you're facing that, there is anxiety that comes with it because you're afraid that you might fail and yet, failure has been a part of our lives since we were on this earth to begin with.

Think about it, the first time you learned how to walk, did you fall?  Who didn't?  You failed at that.  The first time you plunged into a swimming pool, you perhaps almost drowned.  You weren't perfect.  The very first ball that was thrown your way that you had to hit, you probably didn't hit it.  Did you ace every test you've ever took in life?  Did you get straight A's in every class throughout your educational career?  No, probably not.  If you did, nobody liked you, right?

Have you ever let someone down -- a spouse, a boss, a teammate?  And when failure happens, how do you feel?  You feel pretty rotten, don't you?  You feel broken inside.  James said we all stumble in many ways and though the Bible says that we fail, it doesn't take the sting away.  Now, for the apostle Peter who failed the Lord one night, three times, denying the Lord, he was at a low point.  He is with a spiritual failure.  He denied that he even knew Jesus Christ.

I struggled before with spiritual failure.  I remember after my brother died on a motorcycle, I somehow felt that I failed the Lord and failed my brother that I didn't win him to Christ, that I didn't do enough, that I didn't say enough, that I didn't act enough and that haunted me for months afterwards.  Now for Peter, his failure became the fulcrum of his victory.  That is what he learns from failure, he goes on to become very, very victorious and successful.  Peter is the one who preaches on Pentecost and thousands of people come forward.

Peter is the one that opened the door to Cornelius, the Gentile and the Gospel goes into that realm.  Peter is the one who helped superintend the spread of the Gospel north into Antioch of Syria.  Peter is the one who enacts the 15 addresses at the council of Jerusalem.  So for a guy who failed and denied the Lord, something happened to him to make him become very, very prominent in the Book of Acts.  He learned from his failure.

Chuck Colson who went to heaven just a few days ago wrote these words, "The real legacy of my life was my biggest failure -- that I was an ex-convict.  My greatest humiliation -- being sent to prison -- was the beginning of God's greatest use of my life.  He chose the one experience in which I could not glory and used it for his glory."  This is a message I'm calling, "I failed, now what?"  And these are the elements of being restored.  What does it mean to be restored with the Lord?

Peter denied the Lord over a fire.  Jesus restores Peter over a fire that he built on the shores of Galilee.  Now, what you and I are about to read is a conversation between two people, Jesus and Peter.  They're the only ones doing the dialogue.  They're the only ones engaging in the conversation and yet, there are other disciples around Peter looking over his shoulders so to speak and here we are.  We get the advantage of being able to eavesdrop on a conversation peering over Peter's shoulder as it were and find out what happened and what now?

So we're going to look at three elements that Jesus restores us too if we have fallen.  And the first is to love Christ supremely.  That's what he would want to restore to us, our love for him.  Verse 15, so when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me more than these?"  He said to him, "Yes, Lord.  You know that I love you."  He said to him, "Feed my lambs."  He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me?"  He said to him, "Yes, Lord.  You know I love you."  He said to him, "Tend my sheep."  He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me?"  Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, "Do you love me?"  And he said to him, "Lord, you know all things and you know that I love you."  And Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep."

Here's a question I have.  Why did Jesus have this conversation with Peter as others were listening?  Why not privately?  This sounds like the kind of conversation you have with somebody one on one, not where people are watching or listening.  Well, number one, we believe that it has already happened, that there has been a private meeting with Peter before this event.  And that is because in Luke 24, the message was, "The Lord has risen indeed and has appeared to Peter."  That happened before this event.  And that became an established fact in the Church.  So that when Paul writes to the Corinthians years later and he gives a synopsis of what we know, he said, "Jesus Christ died according to the scriptures, was buried and rose again according to the scriptures and has appeared to Peter and then to the 12."

So we believed that there was a private meeting between Peter and Jesus before this public meeting and probably, presumably, they hatched this out.  So why does he bring it up again then or why does he deal with it publicly?  Well here is the second reason.  The first, it's already been done privately.  The second is how did Peter deny Jesus?  Publicly, he did it publicly.  He did it as people were watching.  So the Lord allows Peter to confess and be restored publicly.

Listen to this, Charles Spurgeon said, "A man's repentance must be as notorious as his sin."  And since it was public denial, it requires public confession and public restoration.  Now, you'll notice in Verse 15, 16 and 17, there are three questions or really the same question asked three times.  And if you look a little more carefully, you'll notice there is three parts to each question.  There is the question itself, followed by the reaction of Peter, followed by the commission of Jesus.

"Peter, do you love me?"  "Yes."  "Feed or tend my sheep or my lambs."  Now, notice he calls him Simon, son of Jonah.  He doesn't say Peter but Simon, son of Jonah.  Now that itself must have hurt Peter because the word Simon is the old name before he met Jesus.  Jesus changed his name to Peter which means a small stone, see he's a small stone.  Now Peter spent his whole life trying to proof that he was a massive rock, a mountain of a man instead of a little pebble and that was part of Peter's problem.  And to remind Peter of who he really was, he calls him Simon, son of Jonah.

You see, Peter needed to learn something that he hadn't learned until he failed and that was what Jesus said to the disciples, "Without me, you can do what?  Nothing."  I don't know how many here believe that.  There are a few things I can do without him.  I live my life everyday without him.  That's part of the problem.  You're so self-assured and so self-sufficient.  And as somebody once said, "He who looks up and admires his own halo gets nothing more than a pain in the neck."  And Peter could be a pain in the neck sometimes, always assuring the Lord that he was better than the others.

Now, look at the question.  "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me more than these?"  What does that mean?  What are these?  What is he referring to?  Let me give you three options and I'll let you choose.  Option number one, Jesus was looking around at the boats, the nets, the fish, the lake and saying, "Peter, do you love me more than these, this stuff, the fish, the boats, the nets, the lake, your profession, your chosen career?  Are you willing to give it all up?  Are you wiling to let it go and lose that?  Do you really love me more than you love your occupation?"  That's one possibility.

Another possibility is the word "these" refers to the disciples and it could be stated, "Peter, do you love me more than you love these friends of yours?"  No, I don't think he meant that.  Because loving the other disciples more than Jesus was never a problem for Peter.  There has never a time where Peter said, "Do I love Thomas more or Jesus more?"  I mean these guys argued a lot, am I right?  So he probably didn't mean when he said "these" that, "Do you love me more than you love these?

Here's the third option and I leaned to this personally.  "Peter, do you love me more than these others love me?  Is your love for me greater than the love of all of these other guys for me?"  And the reason I believed that is what it means is because that is exactly what Peter bragged about.  That he loved Jesus more than these guys because when our Lord promised that everyone of his disciples were going to fail that night and were going to flounder and flee away, Peter said basically, "Well they might but I won't.  All of these maybe made to stumble because of thee but surely not I."  "I'm willing," he said, to go to prison even to death.  And in fact, he is saying, "I love you more than they do."

So three times he says, "Peter do you love me?"  "Yes Lord."  "Peter do you love me?"  "Yes Lord."  "Peter do you love me?"  Why three times?  Because Jesus was denied by Peter how many times?  Three times as Jesus predicted.  You're going to deny me three times this night.  So the Lord was so gracious to allow Peter three times just like he denied him to affirm his love for him.  Listen, anybody can fail.  Everybody will fail.  The issue becomes what do you do now that you have failed?  Once yo have fallen, where do you go from here?  I failed, so now what?  What do you learn from it?  How will you use that as a spring board rather than an anchor?

I have always loved the story about the little boy who fancied himself a baseball player and he went to the backyard one day and -- do you remember this guy where you just -- it's you and yourself and you throw the ball up and you try to hit it?  So he got out there with his baseball and his bat and he stood there and he announced.  Nobody was there to listen to him but he announced, "I'm the greatest batter in the world."  He threw up the ball and swung and missed it and said, "Strike one."  He then reached down and got some dirt and spit on his hand like the pro's do.  He grabbed the ball again and tried it the second time and he shouted, "I'm the greatest batter in the world."  Threw it up, swung, missed it and said, "Strike two."

Well he knew he had one more chance so, he took his time on this last one and announced again with a great confidence, "I am the greatest batter in the world."  Threw up the ball, swung, strike three, then he paused for a moment and he got a big smile on his face and he said, "Well, what do you know, I am the greatest pitcher in the world."  It's a good way to look at it.  I can't hit the side of a barn door, I must be great pitcher.  I've denied the Lord three times and I come to that point of failure.  So what is next?

Now, notice the question is not, "Peter, do you know me?"  Because he denied that he even knew the Lord but that's not the question.  It's not, "Peter, do you have the right intellectual doctrinal theological stands about who I am?"  That's not the question.  Neither did he say, "Peter, will you work hard for me?"  The issue is the issue of love.  The issue is being honest about how much you love the Lord because that's where you begin.  The Lord wants your heart before he wants anything else.  Once the Lord has your heart, he will have your mind, he will have your hands, he will have the rest of you but he is always after your heart.  That's why the Bible says, "Keep your heart with all diligence for out of your heart proceed the very issues of life."

So he says, "Do you love me?"  Notice the reaction.  "Yes Lord, you know that I love you."  Now, there are some interesting word play that you do not get from reading this in English that I need to tell you about that's in the original language.  In Greek, there are several words for love.  Two of them are used here.  There is the word "agape" or "agapao" and when Jesus asked the question, "Peter, do you love me?"  He uses that word "agapao," agape love.  That's the highest form of love.  That's the love of the will. That's the love of total commitment.  Let's call that for today's sermon's sake, 100% love, super duper love.  "Peter, do you 100% super duper love me?"  That's the question.  And Peter answered him and said, "Yes Lord, you know that I love you."

Now when Peter used the word love, he used a totally different word.  And this is what you have to realize.  The word wasn't "agapao," it was "phileo" which means I have a fondness for you, I have an affection for you, I have a friendship for you.  So this is how it goes, "Peter, do you with a total commitment, 100%, super duper love, love me?"  And Peter said, "Well, Lord, you know I like you a lot."  And he is being very honest.  He can't say, "Of course Lord, you know that I agape you.  I love you with a super duper love." because that would be a lie.  He just proved by his actions and his denial that he didn't.  "Lord, do you know that I am fond of you?"

So that happens twice, "Do you agape me?"  "I phileo you."  "Do you agape me?"  "I phileo you."  Now look at the third question, Verse 17, Simon, son of Jonah, now there's a change in vocabulary.  Jesus does not use the highest form of love agapao, he now descends to Peter's word, phileo.  And he says in the fact, "Peter or Simon, son of Jonah, are you fond of me?  Do you like me?  Is there an affection for me?"  I mean even the safe kind of love that you are now claiming is even that true and I think that broke Peter's heart because he wasn't sure.

And here's what I love about Peter, he appeals to Jesus' knowledge.  He says, "Lord, you know, you know.  I can't pull the wool over your eyes.  You know that I like you."  In the second time, "You know that I like you."  And then the third time, grieved in his heart because Jesus said, "Are you fond of me?"  He said, "Lord, you know all things and you know that I'm fond of you."  This signifies a real change in Peter, a good change.  "You know me, I'll be honest."  You know why that's a change?  Because before, in a fact, Peter was saying to Jesus, "You really don't know me."  Because when our Lord announced, "You are all going to be made to stumble tonight because of me.  Peter said, "Oh no, they might but I will not.  I will die for you."

So, what was he saying to Jesus effectively?  He was saying "Jesus, you don't know me because if you really knew me you wouldn't say that about me."  He is not saying that anymore.  He is saying, "You know all things and you know that I like you.  You know that I am fond of you.  So I'll be honest."  And that's what God wants.  God wants for us to make an honest evaluation of ourselves before God.  I think if God were to ask you "Do you love me?"  You would have to honestly say, "I like you, a lot.  I'm fond of you.  Because as I look at that course of my life and my thought and my actions and my commitment, it doesn't show that I have a 100% super duper love for you.  So, I'll admit I like you a lot."

And Jesus might even say "Really?  Is that even true?  Are you fond of me?"  But whatever it is, he wants us to honestly -- and we're not really good at honesty.  We're especially not good with each other.  In fact, I think the church is the worst place.  You get out of your car in the parking lot you see someone, "How are you?"  And they say, "Great."  It might not be true.  You see somebody else walking in "How are you doing?"  "Fine."  It may not be true.  You sit next to somebody "How are you doing?"  "Great, awesome."  Maybe a lie.

The reality might be she has three kids at home.  She's just struggling everyday to get by, this is so hard.  The reality might be he just lost his job.  He has no idea how his going to make the payment this month.  The reality might be that person feels so far from God, so removed, so isolated, so lonely but we say "Doing great".  There's one place where honesty should prevail a bit more.  It got to be around God's people.

Listen, the church is not a museum for Saints it's a hospital for sinners.  There are people saying, "I'm pretty beat up today.  Would you just pray for me or give me a word of encouragement?"  That's honesty and Peter has to learn that.  And so, Jesus gives him a commission three times.  This is the beauty of it.  Peter is honest, "I sure like you a lot."  You know what?  Jesus didn't say "Well Peter, if it's not a 100% then I'm done with you.  Thomas, come here let's try you now."

It's as if he says, "I can deal with just that 75% love.  You like me, you're fond me, great.  I have a job for you to do.  Tend, feed my flock."  That's so -- what encouragement to a fallen leader to hear these words "I'm not done with you".  In fact, "Peter, you love me a lot less than you thought you did?  Okay, now you're honest.  Now I'm going to entrust to you what is most valuable and precious to me and that is my flock for whom I shed my blood and I want you to pastor them, to shepherd them, feed them and tend them."

And I'll tell what that would do for Peter like for any of us.  It would birth within us and within him a love for Christ supremely.  His love for Jesus would grow and if you're ever wondering, did Peter ever make it to that 100% of agape love?  Yes, he did.  Read his two letters in the New Testament.  In one verse in particular where he said concerning Jesus whom having not seen yet we agape, love fervently.

So on number one, he would restore us to this, love Christ supremely.  Number two, serve Christ unswervingly.  Look at Verse 18.  "Most assuredly" Jesus said, every time he says that it's like "Listen up this is reality for you.  Most assuredly I say to you when you were younger, you girded yourself that is you got dressed and you walked where you wish.  You did whatever you wanted.  But when you're old, you Peter will stretch out your hands and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish."

Now, Jesus has spent a few verses talking about Peter's life.  Now, he addresses Peter's death, his martyrdom.  And the term for stretch out was a common Greek phrase that meant crucifixion to be stretched out the hands and the feet to be crucified on a cross.  In fact, Jesus is predicting Peter's death by crucifixion.  I think you're sort of stretching that verbally?  No, look at the next verse, Verse 19.  This he spoke signifying by what death he would glorify God.

According to history and in particular the church historian Eusebius tells us that Peter lived his life and in the end he was bound, girded, they took him to Rome to be crucified.  They stretched him out on a cross and before he died he said, "I have last request and that is that you crucify me upside down.  I am not worthy to be crucified like my Lord".  And that is how he died.

So what Jesus was in the fact saying is, "Petter, when you were young you did whatever you wanted but when you're old they're going to take you out like they did to me and they're going to kill you by crucifixion."  I know, some of you are thinking "You call this a restoration?  What are the good parts here?  That sound so depressing to tell somebody not only they're going to die but how they're going to die."

Well, if you think that, you misunderstand this.  This was not depressing for Peter.  This would be encouraging for Peter.  You go "How would it be encouraging?"  Well number one, because Peter once bragged that he would die for Jesus.  "I will go to prison and even death for you".  "Really?  Because when the pressure was on Peter you couldn't live for me, let alone die for me."  And after that failure, I bet Peter thought, "Lord, if I could only get a second chance."  And Jesus said, "You'll not only get a second chance, you'll be successful.  You'll be victorious.  You will stand for me when the heat is on and be victorious".

Number two, it proves something else.  It proves that Peter isn't going to die when he's young.  He's going to live a life until he's old.  Notice he says, "When you are old."  In the book Acts Chapter 12, it's a fascinating -- you don't have to turn there -- it's a fascinating story about Peter.  He is arrested.  James, his buddy is arrested and they cut James' head off.  They behead him.  Herod sees that it pleases the Jews so he plans to kill Peter but what is odd about the text it says, "So Peter at that night was fast asleep chained between two soldiers."

You know why that's weird?  Is if you knew you were going to die the next day probably the last thing you would be able to do is sleep.  I mean some of you can't sleep when you know you're going to live the next day.  If you think my head's on the line, I'm going to die tomorrow, you're going to be awake.  Not Peter, he is sleeping probably snoring.  He is fast asleep, chained between two soldiers.

Question.  How do you fall asleep thinking you're going to die?  Peter didn't think he was going to die.  Jesus made a promise, "When you are old."  So Peter went to sleep that night thinking, "I have years to live.  I'm going to get out of this somehow."  Jesus said, "When I'm old this is going to happen and I'm still young."  And history shows that for the next three decades Peter served the Lord faithfully.  And really that's the idea here.  "Peter you're going to die for me which means, you would have lived for me faithfully, unswervingly which will cause you to get arrested and will cause you to have to die for me."

So for Peter this was very encouraging because though he knew he was facing crucifixion one day when he's older.  He knew that he would never deny the Lord again like he had once before and that brought great hope to him.

I've told you before about Pilgrim's Progress and that it's a book that I recommend everybody to read at least once.  I started to read it again a couple of weeks back.  There's a scene in the book where Christian the main character comes to the house of somebody called "Interpreter".  And Interpreter takes him inside and shows him a fire burning against the wall, really in a fireplace that serves two rooms.  One in each side, open on both sides.  And the fire is burning, a wall is separating the two rooms and on one side in one room is a man with a picture water, pouring water on the fire and always pouring water on the fire.  The fire of the flames gets brighter and hotter and bigger.  And Christian doesn't know what it means to the Interpreter says, "This man with the water is the devil.  Now let me show you why the fire doesn't go out."

And he took him to the next room on the other of that wall and there was a man secretly pouring oil on the fire.  And Interpreter said to Christian, "That man is Christ and with the oil of the Holy Spirit he continually maintains the work already began in the hearts of his people."

So here's the truth.  When you come to Jesus in love and you love him at whatever level you are honestly before him and you're saying, "I love you this much," when you're honest about it and you love him.  He'll give you the strength and the power to serve him.  That's what he does for Peter.  There's a truth I want to just touch on before we go to the third and closing point.

When you come to Christ, you do something that isn't often discussed.  You surrender your life.  When you come to Christ you are saying I surrender my own control and I am willing to be controlled by an alien will.  That's commitment.  And Jesus said, "He who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me."  So that potentially you surrendering your life to Christ may cause you to have to pay the ultimate price.  Perhaps not in this country but I will say this, persecution isn't just coming, it's here and it's going to be increasing.

Have you ever thought about the Great Commission?  You know what the Great Commission is, right?  "Go into all the world."  Did you notice that Jesus never said anything about returning?  He just said, "Go".  He didn't say, "Go and then you'll come back and be furloughed and you'll retire."  He just said, "Go.  Go."  That's the commission.  And actually here's what I want to get across.

Actually, when a person settles the issue of death, he's ready to live.  You see if you know and you live with this, I know that when I die I know unequivocally I'm going to be in God's presence.  I'll be in heaven forever.  Boy, it caused you to live a little more courageously, a little more boldly, a little more without fear because if you know after this is heaven you'll live differently.

So, you want to get ready to live?  Be ready to die.  And so Peter is now ready to live because Jesus said, "Here's the end game and it looks pretty good.  So now he's ready to live."

So love Christ supremely, serve Christ unswervingly and third in this restoration, follow Christ continually.  Verse 19, that's the last verse we'll cover today.  This he spoke signifying by what death he would glorify God and when he had spoken this, he said to him, "Follow me."  Now I can just see a little smile appearing on Peter's face when Jesus said, "Follow me."

This is a memory trigger.  You know what a memory trigger is, right?  You heard a song and you're immediately transported back to the first time you heard that song, where you were, what you were doing, right?  Or you smell something cooking and that transports you back to your mother's kitchen for good or bad.  Those are memory triggers.  This was one of the earliest things Peter ever heard Jesus say to him at the shores of the same lake Jesus said to Peter and the other disciples, "Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men."

And now Jesus in the fact says the same thing "Follow me.  I will make you become shepherd of sheep, tend my sheep, feed my lambs.  Peter, you're going to start all over again follow me.  You fell down.  I'm going to take you right back to where we began, follow me.  Be my disciple."  And the word follow is in the present tense.  It means continually, actively, perpetually follow me.  Don't start, stop, start, stop, rededicate, stop, rededicate, stop.  Just follow me perpetually, continually.  That's what I want to restore you to.  Well Peter, it's like it was before.  "I want to give you a new start.

So to sum up this wonderful passage, Peter denied Jesus in the big City of Jerusalem.  Jesus restores Peter where he started at the lake in the countryside.  Peter denied Jesus at night, Jesus restored Peter during the day.  Three times Jesus was denied by Peter three times.  Three times Jesus is now affirmed by Peter for this new start.  He failed, he has fallen, he got up.  You have fallen?  You can get up.  You have failed.  I have failed.  We can learn from it and get up.  You say, "Yeah but I feel so far from God."  Well guess who moved?  God didn't.  And if you've moved from him then turn back toward him.

There is a man who visited his friend in a large American city.  What impressed the man visiting was that in the center of the town was an impressive park filled with trees, grass, fountains and lots of people on benches.  That was impressive enough.  He said he'd never seen a park quite like it but what impressed him even more is his friend who live there said, "Did you know that at one time this was the city dump?  But the fathers of this town had to foresight and the energy to pump money into it and to reclaim this land and restore it.  Here it is.  Beautiful.  Better than it was before".  That's the business God is in.

Jesus took a weak, failed apostle and made him one of his greatest ambassadors and he wants to do the same for you if you let him.

Let's pray.  Lord, we admit that honesty is not always our strong suit.  We go through emotions, but when it comes to really loving you supremely with that total 100% commitment, we have to admit we don't.  And that there are steps below that where we just have to say, "I sort of like you God."  And even with that, do you want us to come?  And even with that you will restore and you will use and you will bring us into a place where we can be your instruments once again.

I pray that we would let you do for us what you did for Peter and that is to restore.  I know Lord that I am addressing people today, some of which never have made a commitment to Christ.  They've been religious.  They thought about God but they have never come to a place where they have turned around and committed their lives to you.  I'm speaking to others who have tried that and that failed.  Their sporadic experiences of coming to church now and then, bringing a bible now and then, praying now and then and yet how you love and how you are willing to entrust all of us with your gracious work.

I pray we'd let you, I pray for men and women who have gathered here today who need to come to you for the first time or come back to you maybe for the second or third or fourth time.  Thank you for the chances.  If you're here this morning and you have never personally met Christ, you've never honestly given you life to Jesus, repented of your sin and turned to him as your saviour.  Or if you've had some experience in the past where it was good and you felt good and life was good for a few weeks but then it sort of passed away and you need restoration or you've just flat fail the Lord and you need to be restored.

If you'd be honest enough to admit that I'd love to pray for you this morning.  So I'm going to ask you if that described any of you to just raise your hand up and say, "I want to give my life to Jesus.  I'm ready to surrender my will to him.  Even in the broken state I am I will just surrendered to him."  If so, raise your hand up.  Raise it high enough so I can see it and I'll acknowledge you.  God bless you and you on my right side toward the back.  Anyone else?

Our Father, we pray for those whose hands have gone up and we pray that their lives would be different after today.  We all stumble in many things, Lord, restore these back to a place of usefulness, of discipleship and of love for you, 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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2/26/2012
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It's Done!
John 19:30
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While Jesus was doing His greatest work, He uttered His greatest words! Through the excruciating pain of a tormenting death, Jesus gave the most meaningful statements worthy of careful consideration. John records three of Jesus' seven statements uttered while on the cross. The sixth—and perhaps the most hopeful—is the one we consider today.
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3/4/2012
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Death Under Control
John 19:31-37
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Watching someone you love die is always a heart-wrenching experience, especially when the victim experiences great suffering. For the apostle John, the death of Jesus was likewise difficult-but he saw a glimmer of hope, a silver lining in the dark clouds of death. This death was long ago anticipated and was being carefully monitored from the control center of heaven. Today we see why that's important.
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3/11/2012
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Disciples on the Graveyard Shift
John 19:38-42
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You can find an unending supply of books, pamphlets, and articles on discipleship in Christian churches and bookstores. Many of them will be predictably regimented and conventional, giving solid biblical references and calling Christians to ardently follow Christ—all great stuff. But not everyone's spiritual journey is identical. Some disciples are unexpected, and so is their story. Here are two disciples of Jesus who've been in the background and now step forward to care for the body of Christ after His death. Let's allow their story to inspire us.
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3/18/2012
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A Not-Quite-Empty Tomb
John 20:1-10
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There was a lot of confusion happening on the first Easter morning. The resurrection had happened but it was neither expected nor accepted by all at first. Mary Magdalene ran to tell the disciples what she saw, and they ran to check out her report. What they saw was compelling evidence of a resurrection, but only one of them really connected all the dots. Let's see why.
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3/25/2012
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Hope Rekindled
John 20:11-18
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When people grieve, they usually run the gamut of the emotional spectrum, from denial to bargaining to despair to anger to eventually hope. Mary Magdalene was in hopeless despair as she stood weeping by the grave of Jesus. The resurrected Christ deals tenderly with this woman as he reveals Himself to her and conveys hope for her future. Let's glean some principles for dealing with brokenhearted people.
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4/1/2012
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From Closed Doors to the Open Road
John 20:19-23
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Our relationship with Jesus isn't a secret to be hoarded; it is a story to be heralded! The disciples were seated behind closed doors (sounds like a lot of churches). Jesus wanted them out, giving away what they had been given. Let's see how these early followers went from panic to peace, from perplexity to purpose, and from protection to power. It's a great journey. Are you up for it?
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4/8/2012
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Rise Up!
John 20:24-31
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The apostle Thomas has been noted for his skeptical attitude. In fact, we refer to a skeptic as a "doubting Thomas." In this message from John 20, we consider four ways Thomas was able to rise up from doubt and become a joyful follower of Jesus.
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4/15/2012
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Gone Fishing! (Relating to a Risen & Returning Lord)
John 21:1-14
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I am not a great fisherman. I don't do it often and when I catch something, it's pure luck! My dad was the opposite—he loved it and was great at it. At least seven of Jesus' disciples were fishermen and here we see them plying their trade after the resurrection. Some beautiful lessons can be discovered about how to live while we wait for Jesus to come back for us.
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4/29/2012
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Final Instructions
John 21:20-25
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
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.