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Service Archives > 43 John - Believe:879 - 2009 > The Nail Everything Hangs On

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The Nail Everything Hangs On - John 3:31-36

Taught on | Topic: Supremacy of Jesus Christ | Keywords: believe, eternal, life, origin, heaven, truth, deity, supremacy

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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2/28/2010
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The Nail Everything Hangs On
John 3:31-36
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
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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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. He Descended from Heaven - His Origin (v. 31)

  2. He Declared to our World - His Proclamation (vv. 32-33)

  3. He Dominates the Universe - His Dominion (vv. 34-35)

  4. He Determines Your Destiny - His Reception (v. 36)


For Home Fellowships:
  1. How important is a person's view of Jesus Christ? How does that establish a person's eternal fate? Why is believing such an essential attribute of a person's life?
  2. How could a person getting a greater, grander view of Jesus help him/her become a more humble person (v. 30)? Do you think prideful people have a high or low view of Jesus?
  3. How does verse 36 summarize the entire third chapter of John?

Detailed Notes

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There is a disagreement about who is speaking in verses 31-36.  No punctuation marks in the original text, translators took the initiative to identify the speaker as John the Baptist, but the style and grammar match John the apostle.  Verse 30 ends the words of John the Baptist, and the remainder is the editorial comment of John the apostle.  He is saying there is no use hanging your life or trusting in anything beside Christ.

  1. He Descended from Heaven - His Origin (v. 31)
    1. Jesus Christ is God in a human bodyJohn 1:1, 14
    2. Jesus emphasizes his origin is heavenJohn 6:32, 38,50-51, 58
    3. Included in the creeds of the church (Nicene Creed at the Council of Nicaea in 355)
    4. He came from heaven to save His people from their sins, He was born to die
  2. He Declared to our World - His Proclamation (vv. 32-33)
    1. His testimony is from heaven
    2. His words are more important than any others
    3. First-hand knowledge, full knowledge, superior knowledge
      1. Moses and the certificate of divorce
      2. Noah and the flood
      3. Abraham, "Before Abraham was, I am!"
    4. "No one" receives his testimonyliterary hyperbole, vs. 33 says some do
    5. God doesn't give a command without also giving the power to obey it
  3. He Dominates the Universe - His Dominion (vv. 34-35)
    1. Jesus possesses unlimited, unmitigated, unrestricted measure of the Holy Spirit -Isaiah 61
    2. Not merely a man filled with the Holy Spirit,
    3. Perfect God-man uniquely operating in full power of the Holy Spirit
    4.  He is above all things from creation to consummation of the universeJohn 1:3, John 5
      1. Created the universe, took chaos and made the cosmos
      2. Sustains and maintains the universeHebrews 1:3, Colossians 1:17
      3. He will end it
  4. He Determines Your Destiny - His Reception (v. 36)
    1. Invitation and Warning
    2. Believe
      1. Have life presently
      2. Life will last forever
    3. Do not believe
      1. Don't have life
      2. Presently under the wrath of God, perpetual condemnation
Publications Referenced: "The Atom Speaks, and Echoes the Word of God" by D. Lee Chesnut
Cross References: John 1:1, 3, 14, 5, 6:32, 38, 50-51, 58, Romans 3:4, Colossians 1:17, Hebrews 1:3

Topic: Supremacy of Jesus Christ

Keywords: believe, eternal, life, origin, heaven, truth, deity, supremacy

Transcript

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Believe:879. How far will you go to find the truth? A journey through the gospel of John, with Skip Heitzig.

Turn in your Bibles to John chapter four this morning. It's the passage we looked at last week, but from a different angle this week.

Let's pray together. Lord, we believe that this book is Your Word, and that You have preserved it, inspired it, and it's Your desire to apply it to our lives. Lord, we pray that You would do that, and even, even through all of the inadequacies of the teacher this morning. We pray that Your Holy Spirit would be the One who ultimately is the teacher. You'd instruct us, not only that, You'd inspire us, Father, to be about Your business, getting the gospel out. In Jesus' name, amen.

I wanna take a little survey here this morning, an informal survey. I need all of your participation. This is a census, you have to be involved in this, um, for accuracy purposes. Um, how many of you came to faith in Jesus Christ by watching television, some program on television? Show of hands. Okay. Just a few people, very few. How many of you by listening to something on the radio, you listened to the radio and you received Christ? Show of hands. Okay. How many of you received Christ at a church service? Hands up. Lot of 'em. How many of you came to faith in Christ because of the witness of another person in your life, somebody personally led you to faith in Christ? See, that's what I thought. The last two were the greatest response, and this is what I've discovered, both personally as well as from sharing the gospel. I personally came to faith in Christ, it was by watching television but it was way after somebody shared with me one-on-one how to receive Christ and why I should. And I've had the opportunity personally to lead men and women to Christ over the years, sometimes at a Bible study, sometimes at a crusade, but the greatest thrill is one-on-one. There's just no greater joy than when a conversation leads to a conversion. It's a wonderful, wonderful experience.

The question for this morning is, How do you do that? What is the method? What is the approach? Is there one, and is there a biblical model? And the answer is a resounding yes. And it comes from Jesus' example Himself with the woman at the well of Samaria. Something about this woman, it's obvious but it should be said, this gal was not predisposed to hearing the message. She was not raised in a Christian home, she did not have the environment that would lend itself to believing what she was about to enter into. She was hardened by life, she was calloused by the experiences of life, but through this encounter and no doubt one of the reasons Jesus shares it is to show us how He led her to water, to living water.

Back in 1949 there was a guy named John Currier, and he was sentenced to life imprisonment because he was convicted of murder. He was living out his life sentence when after several years he was paroled to a work farm environment, and a work farm near Nashville, Tennessee. Then in 1968, his sentence was terminated, and a letter was sent to him to tell him he was a free man. He never saw the letter. He never got it. He never was told about it, he never read it, and so he stayed working on the farm for ten more years, until finally a state parole officer heard about it, and he personally told him about it, found the letter, showed it to him. John Currier was released. Here's the question that follows that story. Would it matter to you if somebody sent you an important message, the most important message of your whole life, but year after year after year after year it wasn't delivered? It would totally matter, like it mattered to John Currier.

And so that is really the thrust of today's message, is delivering the message. We have the greatest message the world has ever known, it's the life-changing gospel of Christ. We need to deliver it. Evangelism Explosion, a great outfit, has said ninety-five percent of all churchgoing Americans have never led another person to faith in Christ. Well, as we look at John chapter four, I want to talk to you today about two principles: first is your attitude, and my attitude, and number two is the approach. The attitude and the approach. Both are important. Attitude, all important. Your attitude will show. People will know if you care about them or you don't care about them. Even a dog knows if you care about it or not. And people will certainly pick up on the fact that you really love them or you don't so much. People don't know how much, or don't care about how much you know until they know that you care. And that's first and foremost. And then there's the approach. And I know a lot could be said about what is the proper approach to an unbeliever. And there are classes and there are seminars and there's a whole host of sometimes complex approaches to a person. And by the way, I'm for all of them, anything that will motivate a believer to share his or her faith with somebody else. But I believe in keeping it simple. And what I love about this passage is we have these two things only. And granted, I'm gonna define and describe them so there's three things hanging off of each one. But simply, the attitude of love and then the lingering approach. Here's what I mean by lingering approach. It's the approach that says, I'm gonna stick with this person awhile, I'm not gonna give up, I'm not gonna say, Well, the soil's too hard, I'm gonna bag this one and try somebody else. It's, I'm gonna enter into a conversation, in fact, a relationship, God willing, that will over time allow me to lead this person to Christ.

Now let's look at verse ten, and we'll go to verse thirty. And here's something you'll notice, we're gonna cover a few verses that we looked at last week but from a different angle, and we'll even cover next week some of the verses that we look at today more in depth. But verse ten to verse thirty. "Jesus answered and said to her [that's the woman at the well of Samaria], 'If you knew the gift of God and who it is who says to you, "Give Me a drink," you would have asked Him, and He would've given you living water.' The woman said to Him, 'Sir, You have nothing to draw with. The well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and livestock?' Jesus answered and said to her, 'Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again. But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.' The woman said to Him, 'Sir, give me this water so that I may not thirst nor come here to draw.' Jesus said to her, 'Go, call your husband, and come here.' The woman answered and said, 'I have no husband.' Jesus said to her, 'You have well said, "I have no husband," for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband. In that you spoke truly.' The woman said to Him, 'Sir, I perceive that You're a prophet. [Talk about the understatement of the century.] Our fathers worshiped on this mountain and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.' Jesus said to her, 'Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship. For salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. For the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.' The woman said to Him, 'I know that Messiah is coming, the one who is called Christ. When He comes, He will tell us all things.' Jesus said to her, 'I who speak to you am He.' And at this point His disciples came and they marveled that He talked with a woman, yet no one said, 'What do you seek?' or 'Why are you talking with her?' The woman then left her water pot and went her way into the city and said to the men, 'Come see a man who told me all the things I ever did. Could this be the Christ?' They went out of the city and they came to Him."

Let's begin with the attitude, shall we? A loving attitude. Start asking God to give you a loving attitude toward people who are lost. Here's the problem with some of us: some of us have been saved so long, we forget what it's like to be lost. Ask God to give you a love for those who are lost. We can't do what we're called to do without love. Now let's say you're a doctor. Theoretically, you could practice medicine without love. You might not love your patients, you're in it for the money, most doctors, however, don't do this, but it's possible, technically, to approach a patient and treat a patient without having a depth of love for that person. If you're a lawyer you can do your job without love for your clients. If you're an engineer, same is true. But you cannot, I cannot, do what we're called to do in reaching the world successfully without love. Jesus was filled with love for this woman. And there's three things I want you to notice about His loving approach.

His love transcends culture. Transcends culture. Remember how we talked last week about the Jews and the Samaritans, there was a rift between them? And in verse four it says Jesus needed to go through Samaria? But then in verse seven even the woman remarked, um, "Why are You asking a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?" And then John says, "for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans"? We covered that last week. And we noted something and I just sort of reinforce it and add to it a little bit today. Um, two thousand years ago, strict Jewish people didn't even like Gentiles, non-Jewish people. They didn't like 'em. They didn't hang with them. Least they didn't like the Samaritans because the Samaritans had defected from the true Jewish religion and had their own rival system. So listen to some of the comments by the ancient rabbis. Here's one, and I quote, "Gentiles are created by God to fuel the fires of hell," closed quote. Here's another one, "There is joy in heaven when one sinner is obliterated from off the face of the earth," closed quote. Jesus said just the opposite, didn't He? There's joy in heaven when one sinner repents. But when it came to the Samaritans, there had been this longstanding rift and animosity. In fact, a popular prayer two thousand years ago was this, "Lord, do not remember the Samaritans in the resurrection." So, needless to say, Jews and Samaritans didn't hang together. They didn't high-five each other on the street. They didn't Facebook each other. They didn't Twitter each other. They were on the outs with each other. There was no contact whatsoever. So when we read again a reminder in verse four, "He needed to go through Samaria," that's a statement about His love and His loving attitude as much as it's a statement about anything else. He needed to go 'cause He loves everyone, of any culture, of any country, in any time---He loves everyone.

There's a song you may have learned as a child or you taught it to your children. "Jesus loves the little children, all the little children of the world." That's true. He does love little children. But you know what else? He loves adults, too. And teenagers. You go, really? Yeah. And college students. And white-collar workers and blue-collar workers and drug addicts and prostitutes. He loves them all. In fact, He loves them as much as He loves you or me or Billy Graham. In fact, in reading through the gospels, it says though He goes out of His way to love them. Matthew eighteen, Jesus said, "If a shepherd has a hundred sheep and one wanders away and is lost, what will he do? Won't he leave the ninety-nine others and go out into the hills and search for the lost one? And if he finds it he will surely rejoice over it, more than over the ninety-nine that did not wander away. In the same way, it is not My Father's will that even one of these little ones should perish." I have a question I want you to just answer privately in your own heart. Is there a culture that you have trouble with? Are you prejudiced in your heart against a people group? Has that been something passed down to you from your parents or grandparents or in some of the circles you've hung out with and you say certain remarks and have certain feelings that are just flat out wrong? For white people it could be a prejudiced against blacks or Hispanics, but it doesn't end there. I know many Hispanics that have prejudices against white people, etcetera, etcetera. So then, ask, if you're not sure if you are or if that's a problem, just ask somebody who loves you and is close to you and is honest with you, and just say, "Do you see that defect in my life?" They'll tell you. Am I prejudiced in any regard? Then ask God to give you a transforming love, a real love, for those people. Did you know that Mahatma Gandhi, the great Hindu leader and social worker, almost became a Christian? He wrote in his autobiography, he was reading the gospels, he was so impressed with Christ, that he wanted to convert to Christianity and he thought Christianity would be the answer to India's caste system. But you know what kept him from being a Christian? Christians. Christians did. He said that he was going to church one Sunday for instruction on Christianity and baptism and he was stopped at the door. He was refused a seat in that church and the person at the door said, "Go and worship with your own kind." He left that church never to return to another church in his life. And he wrote in his autobiography, "Well then, if Christians have caste differences, I might as well remain a Hindu." Do you have a caste system in your heart? Does that need to be torn down? Then just start right there and ask Jesus to give you the kind of love for people that would transcend their culture and your cultural differences.

Second thing to remark about Jesus' love is it's a love that transcends gender. Gender. Now we may not have that problem but, then again, we might. Jesus was a Jew and she was a Samaritan. Jesus was a man and she was a woman. And back then those were huge differences. Even the woman said, "How is that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?" And did you notice, by the way, in verse twenty-seven, at this point His disciples came and they marveled that He talked with a woman! That's funny to our ears but here's the disciples, here's Peter, James, John, they got halos on, they're coming up the hill and there's Jesus talking to a woman and they go, "Huhhh! He's talking to a chick!" You know why that is? 'Cause they didn't talk to women. Strict rabbis had instructed younger rabbis never talk to a woman in public, even your own wife, even your own daughters, because it could be a distraction and even keep you from the study of the Torah which could eventually send you to hell. Wow! The rabbis said, and I quote, "Let a man burn the words of the Law rather than teach them to a woman." Women were subservient; they were hidden. Even Abraham, when strangers were invited into his tent, Sarah was hidden away from sight in the next quarter of the tent. Oh and by the way, when they traveled together and there was a donkey, guess who rode the donkey? The man rode; the woman walked. So I know the artist's depiction of Joseph walking alongside Mary is a beautiful one but he'd have been the laughingstock of everyone in those days. That was just not culturally done. And in fact, did you know there was a group of people, this is going to crack you up, they were known as "bruised Pharisees," or actually, "bruised and bleeding Pharisees"? Because whenever they saw a woman publicly they closed their eyes. They'd shut their eyes. They didn't want to look at another woman. They didn't want to be tempted. So can you imagine what that would do? You're walking along the street and you see a woman, you close your eyes, you keep walking, you're going to what? You're going to hit a wall, you're going to hit a house, you're going to get beaten up. Can you imagine if that happened today, how many beat up people there would be?

Now the point is that Jesus obviously did not care about these stupid social customs of man versus woman. It was a person. It was a human being. It was one of His created beings. And she lived in Samaria and she needed the truth and He cares about people, all people. Women, understand something. It's not the Christian church that has kept women subjugated and kept them as slaves and Gloria Steinem and a movement of women who just suddenly, baloney, thank God for sending Christ who liberated women and raised them up to the standard that makes them all equal. That's what the New Testament says. Paul writes in Galatians, "there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ." That is Bible. That is Bible. So, His love transcends gender. Now unfortunately, some men still want to disparage women in our culture, in our day. Oh yes. I hear the conversation sometimes, just how they refer even to their wife, I've heard men say, "Well, you know, my wife, she's not that smart, she just doesn't make choices well." You sure you want to admit that, seeing that she said yes to your proposal of marriage? I don't think you want to get that out. Because she made a decision to marry you. There was a legend about Adam having a conversation with God and he was so enamored with Eve and he said, "God! She's wonderful! Why did You make her so soft and so beautiful?" God said, "So that you'd love her." And then he lowered his voice and said, "God, so, why'd You make her so dumb?" And God said, "So that she would love you!" Don't quote me on that; it's just a legend.

The third thing to notice about Jesus' love is that it transcends character. Now, this wasn't just a woman, this was a woman of ill repute. I'll remind you again of the verses we looked at. Verse sixteen where Jesus said, "Go, call your husband and come here," and she says, "I don't have a husband," verse eighteen, Jesus says, "You've had five husbands." Now she's working on number six, she's forgetting the legalities, she's just living with them. "The one whom you now have is not your husband. In that you have spoken truly." So here's a woman who has been around a lot of men and she has a sordid character. That's why she comes to the well at noon. That's why she doesn't come in the morning or at night. That's when everybody else came. But she comes at noon because she doesn't want to be around the taunts and those respectable people that would notice her as a woman of ill repute. I'm picturing her as a young girl. I can just imagine the, fell in love, head over heels with some guy up there in Sychar and she just saw him as, you know, wow! He hung the moon! Then he marries her, she lives with him and time goes on and she gets really disillusioned and eventually it breaks up. And she's heartbroken but then somebody else comes along and she's enamored with him and this is the one! It takes two. Maybe the second time! And she marries him and then they break up and then three, and four, and five! And now she's just living, cohabitating, with a man who is not her husband.

Now here's what I simply want you to notice. Jesus did not seem to have a hang-up talking to her. Not just a woman, this kind of a woman. And the point is obvious. There's no one who is too awful, too sinful, too low, too marginalized, for Jesus to love, to be concerned with and to be touched by His love and grace. As somebody said, the love of God is like the Amazon River. It flows down to water one daisy. Everybody else thought she was a weed. Jesus sees her as a flower and gives her the attention. Here's on one hand the religious leaders who will close their eyes and rather walk into a wall than talk or look at a woman and here's Jesus, with love in His heart. His love that would transcend her gender and culture and character and talk to her. There's a lesson for us. Somebody once said, I forget who, but it, it, uh, it's so good, how many prodigals are kept out of the kingdom of God by those unlovely characters who profess to be inside? You can push people off at arm's length because we forget what it's like to be this lost. So that's the loving attitude.

Now let's look at His approach. And I call it a lingering approach because you'll notice in the conversation that all of this woman's cute, little, terse, smart remarks don't ever give Jesus the occasion to say, "I'm done with you, I'm out of here." He stays with her. In fact, what He does is, by, by three little things He reels her in beautifully. He appeals to her curiosity first. Then He appeals to her inner craving, her thirst. And then He appeals finally to her conscience, her guilty conscience. Now you've got to understand something when you deal with unsaved people. Lost people don't know they're lost. You'll, you'll rarely enter into a conversation with somebody and that person will go, "Yeah, I know that I'm lost and on my way to eternal damnation and I need a Savior." The only time people really get in touch with their lostness is when they're found and they look back and go, man, was I lost! I was so bad off and now I realize that I was lost but now I'm found, I was blind but now I see. But by and large, lost people don't know that they're lost. They don't know they're hungry because they've never had a meal. They don't know they're thirsty because their thirst has never been quenched by the living water. Billy Graham said the most devastating effect of sin is that we're blinded to it. Here's a woman blinded to it. Here's Jesus about to open her eyes to it. First thing He does, go back to verse ten, He appeals to human curiosity. Now this is what advertisers call a hook. Verse ten Jesus said, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.'" It's a mysterious statement. To some, it's an ambiguous statement. It's not clear cut in her mind what He's speaking about. He doesn't say, "Do you know who I am? I am the incarnate Son of God come to refresh you spiritually by forgiving you of your sin." He didn't say that. He just says, "If you only knew the gift of God and who it is who's talking to you, you'd have asked Me and I'd have given you living water." That's a hook. He's producing a curiosity in her. It's the kind of a statement that would make her go, hmm. I wonder what that means. I wonder what it's all about. It's just enough information to whet her appetite. We could do this. We could do this. Let's say you're standing in line at a supermarket and there's a few people in front of you, there's all the newspapers and there's bad news like every day, and somebody looks at the headlines and they just remark out loud, "What is this world coming to?" You know, you could say something like, "Well, it seems as though this world is right on schedule." And they'll go, "Huh? What did he mean by that, what did she mean in saying that?" I think that would be a better approach than saying, "Well actually, I'm glad that you ask. This is what the world is coming to. It's coming to judgment and God's coming back and He's going to get you and here's the four spiritual laws." You could do all that or you could simply send out a statement that peaks their curiosity, makes them marvel, and gets them interested to say, "What do you mean by that? Could you tell me more? What do you believe in?"

I was reading a book by G. Campbell Morgan, one of my favorite expositors who's now in heaven, and he's commenting on a phrase in Acts chapter two about the people of Jerusalem. It says they were all amazed and marveled. Here's the disciples giving testimony and the people in Jerusalem were all amazed and they marveled. Here's what Morgan said, commenting on that: "The trouble too often is that the world is not at all amazed, not at all perplexed, because there's nothing to amaze them and nothing to perplex them. The work of the church is to perplex the city and make the city listen." Awaken their need by curiosity.

Here's the second thing Jesus does in His approach is He appeals to her spiritual craving. Now she doesn't know what it is but He's unearthing that. Verse eleven, "The woman said to Him, 'Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then are You going to get this living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob?'" and we read that so many times last week and this week. Verse thirteen, "Jesus answered and said, 'Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again.'" That's the hole in the ground, that's the well. "But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life." Now, Jesus knew this woman had a deep longing in her heart. And she's thinking, who does this dude think He is? Greater than Jacob? And she knows this is a very unusual man that she's talking to. But the statements begin to percolate and touch her deeply and go below the surface. She's coming to grips with, "Yeah, you know I've wanted that refreshment all my life." And here's the point. Human beings, all human beings, have an enormous thirst for spiritual things. They do. They're thirsty. There's this hope, there's the idea that there must be something more than what I've already experienced on earth right now. It's what one author called a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every human being. That's a great description, isn't it? Every person has a God-shaped vacuum that cannot be filled by any created thing. Paul the apostle put it this way, "The creation," that's all of us, "the creation was subjected to futility, emptiness, not willingly but because of Him who subjected it in hope." In other words, and I'll paraphrase it, God put in every human being a hole in their soul. We're born with a hole in the soul. So we walk around going, yeah, that was fun, that was good, that tasted good, that person's nice. There's gotta be more! There's gotta be more! Here's a woman preoccupied with a hole in the ground, that's the well, Jesus is all about the hole in her soul, getting her in touch with her spiritual thirst. You can have that thirst quenched, sweetie. You don't ever have to thirst again. Living water. So try that next time. Start with a statement that makes people wonder, curious. Follow that up by taking the conversation to a deeper level, like, "Are you really, honestly fulfilled? Are you really happy? Deep inside do you feel like your thirst is quenched?" That's where Jesus is taking her.

Third and finally, He appeals to a guilty conscience. It's pretty obvious as you go through this. In verse sixteen, He's doing something fascinating to me. Of course, He knows all things so He can pull this off quite easily. He said, "Go, call your husband, and come here." So here's Jesus saying, look, I'll just wait right here, go back to town, go get your husband, come back. We'll talk. And she said, the woman said, and she had no clue what's coming next, "I have no husband. I'm not married." Jesus said to her, "Well, you have said well, 'I have no husband,' for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband. In that you spoke truly." And her response, "Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet." Now do you see what's happening? Up till now Jesus has been indulging her cynicism and her flippant, little, cute little remarks, 'cause He knows she's speaking from her pain, from her callousness, from her hurt. But now it's time to go for the jugular. Now it's time to penetrate that thick, crusty defense and go right to the heart. He's gotten her curious, He's getting her in touch with her spiritual thirst, and now He gets personal. And with one statement, one sentence, "Go call your husband." It's like a sharpshooter aiming for the heart, just one arrow. Phoom! And that one statement, "go get your husband," was enough to evoke a flood of memories, past failures, past broken relationship, one after another till she finally gave up and said, "I'm not gonna even go to the judge and get a certificate or a license. We'll just live together." Go call your husband. Then Jesus said what He said and she immediately thought, How does this stranger know such intimate details about my life? He must be a prophet. I have a question. Why did Jesus go there? Why did He do this? Why would He dare pull off a scab to such a deep wound? Just to make her feel bad? No. To get her to see her great need. See, she's hiding behind her little statements and she's been around men and, "Well, where are you gonna get that living water? Oh, show me where that is! Well I don't have a husband." "You're right. You have five. And you're living with a man in sin." Whoa! This is called the uh-oh moment. This is where you know you're busted, you go, uh-oh. He gets very personal because here's the point, here's the truth. She'll never drink from living water unless she says, "I'm really thirsty and everything I've tried in the past, including these men, have not fulfilled my thirst." That's why. That's why. The same is true today. Before anyone seeks a Savior from sin they have to admit that they're? A sinner. They don't admit that they're a sinner if you just pat them on the back, "Oh, you're a good person, you're a nice person, you just keep feeling good, fuzzy thoughts and be sincere." There has to be a point where a person is confronted with their sin to see the need of having their sin dealt with. And so curiosity, thirst, and then, very personal, the guilty conscience. The broken law.

Now, for this woman it was her relational baggage. It wouldn't be the same if He was addressing somebody else in the same manner. He might walk up to some and instead of saying, "Go call your husband," He might say, "Um, go get your income tax returns and come back. I'd like to review them with you." Or He might say to somebody else, "Um, go get your internet activity records this past week. Let's talk." Or He'd say, "Your phone records, bring them here. I want to talk to you about them." See, it sort of depends on what the hang-up is, what the sin, where the failure is. Jesus gets very personal here with this woman's one, huge issue. And then finally she says, "Could this be the Christ?" And many Samaritans, including this woman, will believe. Well, you can lead a Samaritan to water but you can't make her drink. She will drink, I believe. And it's because Jesus loved and lingered. His attitude was one of love, His approach was one of sticking with her, staying with her, and taking her through this process. Hey, let's do the same. Go out and engage in holy gossip. Let's call it that. Holy gossip. It goes like this, "Psst! Have you heard what Jesus has done in my life? I want to tell you about it." Start there. J.C. Ryle, Bishop Ryle of Liverpool, said, "The highest form of selfishness is a man content to go to heaven alone." See, this is what happens, we church people, we're saved, we're so happy we're saved, and then we get fed and we grow and we get more fed and more studied up and, and better equipped and this seminar and that teaching and we get just so big, we forget what it's like to be lost. You know how to get in touch with it? Just go hang around with more lost people. You get in touch with it really quick. And let's not be content to go to heaven alone. "I'm glad I'm going to heaven." Yeah, but there's, drag a few people with you.

I want to close with a story I read this week. Fritz Kreisler. Fritz Kreisler was a renowned violinist from Germany. Wherever he would go he attracted large crowds and he made huge sums of money playing the violin. Most of the money, unfortunately, he gave away. So when the time came for him to buy the most exquisite violin he had ever seen in his life, he had no money. Well, he raised the money. He told the person selling it, hold it for me. I'm gonna raise the funds. He did, went back, the violin was already sold to a collector. So Fritz Kreisler went to the home of the collector and told him who he was. "I'd like to buy your violin." The collector didn't need the money and he wanted the violin and he said, "I'm sorry. I don't want to part with it. It's now my prized possession. I'm not gonna sell it to you." Kreisler was about to turn and go and leave, then he had a thought. He thought, I'll try this. He said, "Listen, before you consign that violin to eternal quiet, could I just play it once?" He said, "Sure, have at it," gave him the violin, put the bow in his hand. And he played so beautifully, filled the room with such emotional music, that the collector said, "I have no right to keep that to myself. It's yours, Mr. Kreisler. You can have it." And then he said, "Take it into the world and let people hear it." I think Jesus would be saying to us today through this message, "Take it, it's yours. Take it into the world and let people hear it, let people hear My message, how much I love them."

Let's pray for that today. Father, we begin with our attitude and we pray that culture or gender or character or finances or part of town or parts of the world or things that divide us between ourselves would be dealt with in our lives so that we will love as You loved, that the attitude of love that would cause Jesus to have to go through Samaria would cause us to have to talk to a person who doesn't know You, or a city that doesn't know You, or a culture that doesn't know You. Lord, as this woman was turned away by so many 'cause she was a Samaritan and a woman and a woman of ill repute, all of those three strikes, she was out in their eyes. And here is Jesus giving her a whole new at bat, and willing to start afresh. Then, Lord, I pray you'd help us in our approach with the unbeliever, not only the attitude, but the approach, that the, the words that we say, the hooks that use, would peak curiosity, stimulate interest, awaken need and thirst to the place where finally sin is dealt with. Lord, it's so simple. An attitude and then an approach. The model of Jesus. Lord, I pray that we would be faithful to take it and let the people, let the world hear the glorious truth of salvation. Lord, You once used Balaam's donkey to speak. Certainly, You can use us, in our communities, and our families, and our world. 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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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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4/22/2012
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I Failed! Now What?
John 21:15-19
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One of life's harshest realities is failure. The very sound of the word seems harsh to our sensibilities. We even harbor the age-old axiom, "Failure is not an option!" But failure is an option; in fact, it's a certainty. But discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping-stones to victory. In a post-resurrection interview, Jesus restores Peter with a fresh commission. If you have failed in your spiritual experience (and who hasn't), these principles will inspire.
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4/29/2012
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Final Instructions
John 21:20-25
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As John closes off his singular testimony of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, he features some closing words of Jesus and Peter about himself (John). These final sentences provide some instructions for us as we await Christ's return. How should we live in light of who Jesus is, what Jesus did, and when Jesus will return?
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There are 95 additional messages in this series.