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Service Archives > 43 John - Believe:879 - 2009 > Refreshment!

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Refreshment! - John 4:1-14

Taught on | Topic: Spiritual Refreshment | Keywords: refreshment, salvation, Nicodemus, Samaritan, Samaria

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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3/7/2010
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Refreshment!
John 4:1-14
Skip Heitzig
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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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43 John - Believe:879 - 2009

43 John - Believe:879 - 2009

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

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

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Outline

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  1. The Need is Universal (vv. 1-4)

  2. The Task is Formidable (vv. 5-7)

  3. The Heart is Insensible (vv. 8-12)

  4. The Savior is Capable (vv. 13-14)


For Home Fellowships:
  1. When were you most thankful for a drink of water? Why? When did you last experience a satisfying drink of Living Water? Why is water a good metaphor for spiritual life?

  2. How is the universal need for the quenching of spiritual thirst seen in our culture?
  3. Do you notice any similarities in how people respond to Christ today and how the Samaritan woman responded to Him?

Detailed Notes

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Jesus doesn't offer more stuff; what He promises is refreshment. "Living water" is inward spiritual quenching of the life thirst of the individual. True refreshment is a spiritual condition, not a physical, emotional, or psychological condition. (Acts 3:19)

  1. The Need is Universal (vv. 1-4)
    1. Everyone has a need for spiritual refreshment
    2. Jesus needed to go to Samaria
      1. Long way around
      2. Not a place a Jew would want to go
        1. Samaritan history of wrong worship
          Jeroboam instituted calf worship, animosity between the northern and southern kingdoms. 722 BC the Assyrians took the Northern kingdoms captive resulting in intermarriage and muddling between the Jews and other nations and religions. 586 BC Babylon destroyed the temple. The Samaritans wanted to help rebuild it, but the Jews wouldn't allow it. 330 BC the Samaritans built a rival temple on Mount Gerizim, instituting a rival worship system.
        2. Jews would go the long way to avoid Samaria
        3. People in Samaria needed the gospel
    3. Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman
      1. He was a Jew; she was a Samaritan
      2. He was a Pharisee; she had a rival religion
      3. He was a politician; she had no status
      4. He was a scholar; she was uneducated
      5. He was highly moral; she was immoral
      6. He was named; she was nameless
      7. He was a man; she was a woman
      8. He came at night; she came at noon
      9. He sought Jesus; Jesus sought her
    4.  Nicodemus represents the truth that no one is above the need for the gospel
    5. Samaritan woman represents that you can't be too low to be noticed and wanted by Christ
    6. Opposites with common ground: their need for Jesus (Romans 3:23, Isaiah 53:6)
  2. The Task is Formidable (vv. 5-7)
    1.  Jesus and his disciples walked to Samaria in the heat of the day, wearing sandals, they were weary
      1. Tired while serving others
      2. Jesus was always surrounded by others; He worked late into the night and rarely had time alone
    2. Jesus reached out to people even on the edge of physical exhaustion
    3. To do something great requires great energy
    4. Have you ever wearied yourself in the pursuit of the souls of others?
      1. Why would a missionary weary self to reach others?
        1. Because Jesus said Go! (Matthew 28:19)
        2. Most of the world doesn't know the gospel
        3. It's been 2000 years, but most people haven’t heard the gospel
      2. We can't all go across the world, but we can go across the street
  3. The Heart is Insensible (vv. 8-12)
    1. Jesus moves the conversation to deeper spiritual levels
    2.  The Samaritan woman doesn't understand it
      1. Sarcastic tone
      2. "If you knew"
      3. Living water, flowing water
        1. Not stagnant in a cistern
        2. Moving in a stream
        3. Old Testament references (Psalm 42:1-2, Isaiah 12:3, Jeremiah 2:13)
    3. People are thirsty
      1. They don't admit it
      2. They don't recognize it
    4. Both Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman respond to Jesus in a literal way because spiritual truth is foolishness to the natural man (1 Corinthians 2:14)
  4. The Savior is Capable (vv. 13-14)
    1. What  He promises, He can perform
    2. Attempting to quench spiritual thirst with worldly things is futile
      1. Satisfaction doesn't come naturally
      2. "If only" syndrome
    3. Permanent refreshment
      1. Comes from Jesus, supernaturally
      2. When Christ is in you, you don't have to look on the outside
Figures Referenced: William Phelps, Oswald Sanders, R. Kent Hughes
Cross References: Psalm 42:1-2, Isaiah 12:3, Isaiah 53:6, Jeremiah 2:13, Matthew 28:19, Acts 3:19, Romans 3:23, 1 Corinthians 2:14

Topic: Spiritual Refreshment

Keywords: refreshment, salvation, Nicodemus, Samaritan, Samaria

Transcript

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Some of the most powerful figures in the Bible are people whose name we never learn. Two thieves, a boy with a lunch, and a woman at the well are all anonymous persons who left a permanent legacy. Over the centuries, the Samaritan woman who met Jesus at the well has taught untold lessons through her brief conversation. We don't know her name, but here are some things we do know.

It was the middle of a hot day in Samaria when a troubled woman came to draw water, perhaps to avoid the looks and gossip of other women. But while she came to find a well of water, she encountered a well of grace. We discover that a woman from the wrong place with a bad past was changed by an encounter with Jesus. This is the longest individual recorded conversation with the Lord in Scripture, but Jesus made short work of getting to the heart of the matter, as He will for you today.

With that brief bio in mind, let's launch into another study in our Believe Eight-Seven-Nine series with Pastor Skip.

John chapter four. Let's go ahead and pray together.

Lord, it's just great to gather together as a family of believers who love You and love Your work among us in so many different ways. Thank You for all that You're doing, all that You have done. Thank You, Lord, for the well of living water that Jesus will speak about in our text this morning, that we have taken from and been satisfied and are satisfied on a daily basis because of that. Thank You for this great, great experience called salvation, and that it includes us, and that we're part of Your plan that is an eternal plan. We thank You for it. In Jesus' name, amen.

You know, satisfaction doesn't come naturally. That is, our entire culture is built upon the idea that you should be dissatisfied until you get certain things added to your life. Once upon a time, there was a little boy who lived in a small, shabby cottage. He was a very discontented boy. He would wake up in the morning and look around his surroundings and he would say, "I can never be happy here, ever!" What made it worse is that in the evening, every evening, he would look out across the valley and he could see way in the distance a big, beautiful mansion with golden windows. He saw it every evening. He looked at his own shabby little shack and he looked at that mansion with golden windows and one day he decided to make the day-long journey all the way across the valley to that mansion with golden windows. And so he walked and he walked and he got there at the end of the day. It was evening. And he was so disappointed because it wasn't a lovely mansion, it was an old barn. And the windows weren't gold, it was just the reflection of the sun in the afternoon on the windows. It appeared gold to him from across the valley. He was disappointed but he couldn't return. He had made the journey and he spent the night there in the barn. The next day he got up and as the morning sun was coming up and he looked back across the valley at his own shabby little shack atop that hill, he noticed that his own house had golden windows. It was the same allurement that drew him to that barn. It cured him of that dissatisfaction.

It's the myth of the greener grass. It says wherever happiness is, it's not where I am. So I've got to be wherever that happiness is. I need satisfaction. Now, advertisers in our country are banking on your dissatisfaction. Millions of dollars are poured into marketing research to make American viewers of television unhappy with their lives until they buy the product. And so the commercial is crafted with that in mind. And boy, is it working! About a hundred years ago, the average American could come up with a list of seventy, seven zero, needs in his or her life. Seventy. Today the list is around five hundred. Boy, have things changed! I read an article about an American company that set up shop in Panama years ago. They set up shop in Panama, but they had a problem. They couldn't keep workers. Workers kept quitting and here's why. The economy down in Panama at that time was a barter economy. They didn't have cash for service. But this American company every week was giving cash to their employees. So in one week's period of time, the employee had so much cash in his hand, more than he'd ever see in a lifetime, he quit. He had enough, he thought. I have cash. I'm rich! So after a week or two, that worker would quit. They kept losing employees. So the American company did something ingenious. They bought each of their employees, gave one, each a Sears catalog. Now they were seeing things and dreaming of having things they never knew about! And they kept the employees working.

We encounter in John chapter four, a woman, a gal, that Jesus meets who has long given up on any notion of having a happy, satisfied, little life. She is hardened by the time Jesus meets her. Uh, she has an edge to her; it's all over the tone of the story. By the time Jesus meets the woman at the well, she is like twenty miles of bad road, by the time she meets Jesus. Verse one says, "Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples)," and we already covered that in a previous study, "He left Judea and departed again to Galilee. But He needed to go through Samaria. And so He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, nearing the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, 'Give Me a drink.' For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, 'How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?' For Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans." Now that's a footnote by John. "Jesus answered and said to her, '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.' The woman said to Him, 'Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob?'" Can you imagine somebody asking Jesus that question? "'Who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his 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.'"

You notice that Jesus doesn't offer this woman more stuff? Doesn't offer this woman, um, I'm going to fulfill five hundred of your needs or, here's a Sears catalog? What, what He promises this woman is one word, summed up: refreshment. Refreshment. That's the name of this message this morning. Refreshment. Now the refreshment, couched in the term "living water" is a spiritual, inward condition. It is not a physical condition. It, it's not an emotional or psychological condition. It's an inward, spiritual quenching of the life thirst of an individual. It doesn't come from having things; it doesn't come from doing things. And it doesn't come from stopping to do things. William Phelps wrote this: "If happiness truly consisted in physical ease and freedom from care, then the happiest individual would neither be a man nor a woman. It would be, I think, the American cow." He's got a point. True refreshment, satisfaction, is an inside job. It's a spiritual reality. In Acts chapter three, Peter will address the nation and say much the same thing. He'll say, "Repent and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out that times of refreshment may come from the Lord." Refreshment.

Now there are four realities about this refreshment, about this living water. First, I want you to notice, and we'll go back over the text that we read, the need is universal. Everybody has this need. Everybody wants this. It's a deep, human need. Doesn't matter your age, your gender, your economic status. It's a universal need. You'll notice in verse three that Jesus left Judea. That's south, that's Jerusalem area. And He departed again to Galilee. Now that's north. Verse four, "But He needed to go through Samaria." Okay, He's been down south and we've covered chapters one through three, Jesus down in Judea, and, uh, there was one notable person that met with Jesus that John writes about in chapter three who was a leader down in Judea, Jerusalem. His name is Nicodemus. Chapter three is about Nicodemus. He's the first great example that John gives us about a person who needed to hear the gospel and needed a Savior. That was Nicodemus. But John wants you to know, and here's the reason for chapter four and this story, he wants you to know that there's a lot of other people besides Nicodemus in Judea who also need to hear the truth of the gospel, like this unnamed woman in Samaria. And that's the reason verse four is stated the way it is. It says, "But He needed to go through Samaria."

Now to a Jewish person two thousand years ago hearing that, they would go, "Huh?! He needed to go through Samaria?" That's like telling somebody now, um, I need to go to Juarez to go to Los Angeles. And you go, huh? Why? That's the long way around. Why would you do that? And that's the way the Jews felt two thousand years ago about Samaria. It, it was, it was, um, not a place anybody wants to go if you're Jewish. Now I've got to tell you why that is because John says the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. You need to know why. The Samaritans, for seven, eight hundred years, had a history of doing worship wrong. It all started when Solomon was the king of Israel and after Solomon the kingdom split. Do you remember that? South and north, Judea and Israel. Two separate countries, if you will. Well, Jeroboam took over the northern part and Jeroboam, uh, instituted calf-worship. Two golden calves. One was set up at the top of the nation, Dan, and one right in the middle of Samaria. That's where it started, the rivalry, the animosity between south and north started. Years passed by and in 722 BC the great Assyrian Empire took the northern country of Israel and Samaria captive and effectively took their best population out of the country and brought them to Assyria. What they did is repopulate Samaria with other foreign nationals that they had taken from other countries they had conquered. So now you have a mixture of Jew and Gentile, and with the Gentile different gods and goddesses and worship systems that got melded into their own worship system. And with their intermarriage of Jew and Gentile in Samaria, over time, those down south began to look at those up north as a bunch of half-breeds. They're not true; they're not like us; they're not really Jewish people. It got so bad that when, in 586 after the temple fell and the Jews went into captivity in Babylon, I know I'm going through a lot of history, when they came back to rebuild their temple, you may remember that in the book of Nehemiah, some of the Samaritans wanted to help. Remember what the Jews said in s-, in Judea? No way. You will not have a part of building this Jewish temple in Judea. The Samaritans weren't allowed. The animosity was so divisive that in 330 BC the Samaritans built a rival temple in Mount Gerazim, which is right where Jesus is at in Samaria, Sychar. Right above this setting was a temple on Mount Gerazim. It was a rival worship system. They made up their own stories about Abraham coming there to offer his son Isaac, not Jerusalem. So when it says, "He had to go through Samaria," the Jewish person would go, "Why would He want to go there?! Why would He need to go there?" Because for most Jews traveling to Galilee, they would go way around Samaria. They would go east of the Jordan River, go north, and at Perea, they'd hang a left and you're in Galilee. It was the long way around but it was worth it to avoid all the cooties that you would get going through Samaria.

But John wants us to know Jesus needed to go through Samaria because people in Samaria need the gospel as much as people in Judea. That's why he wants us to know that. The need is universal. Now here's what's interesting to me. You couldn't find two more polar opposites in human beings than Nicodemus, the Jew of Judea, and this unnamed woman of Samaria. Totally opposite from each other. I wrote a list. He was a Jew, she was a Samaritan. He was a Pharisee, she belonged to a rival religion. He was a politician, she had no status whatsoever. He was a scholar, she was uneducated. He is highly moral. The woman is immoral, as you will see next time. He has a name, Nicodemus. She's nameless, we don't know her name. He was a man, she was a woman. He came at night, she came at noon. With Nicodemus, Nicodemus came seeking Jesus. With this woman at the well, Jesus came needing to go through Samaria, seeking the woman. So you got two people that John wants us to know about next to each other, in three and four. You've got Nicodemus who represents that no one is too high and mighty and lofty so as to be above the need for the gospel. The woman represents you can't sink too low to be noticed and wanted by Christ. Beautiful in their juxtaposition to each other.

So you have two opposites. But they have a common ground and the common ground is their need. Nicodemus needs Jesus; the woman at the well needs Jesus. The Bible says in Romans chapter three verse twenty-three, "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." Nicodemus has and the woman has. Isaiah fifty-three tells us, "All we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned everyone to his own way." Whether it's the way of religion, like Nicodemus, or it's the way of loose living, like the woman in Samaria. They've gone their own way and they have a common need and that is for Christ. I love what somebody wrote: "If our greatest need would've been for information, God would've sent us an educator. If our greatest need would've been technology, God would've sent us a scientist. If our greatest need was money, God would've sent us an economist. But our greatest need was forgiveness, and so He sent us a Savior." Here's the Savior going to Jer, Jerusalem, Judea, and now to Samaria. The need is universal.

Look at the next few verses, beginning in verse five, there's a second great reality about this spiritual refreshment, living water. And that is the task is formidable. "He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey," picture in your mind Christ tired, "sat thus by the well." The idea of the wording is He just sort of plopped down in exhaustion. "It was about the sixth hour," so it's the hottest part of the day. "A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, 'Give Me a drink.' For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food." Now Samaria isn't a place that the disciples would've thought, let's go on vacation to, let's have a little R and R and fun in the sun at Samaria. But they went there and they walked there. Now some of us are going to be in Israel in a few weeks. We're going to be, uh, in a bus. It's a small country but we're still going to ride an air-conditioned bus. But Jesus and His disciples didn't have Team Jesus Bus going through Israel. They're on foot. They're climbing up the Judean hills and the Samaritan hills and it's hot. And by the way, they have sandals. You know, no Dr. Scholl, uh, lifters in the back, or I guess it would be Dr. Schlomo lifters back then. And they're weary, they're exhausted, they're thirsty. And just let that phrase sink in, "wearied from His journey."

So on one hand Jesus needed to go through Samaria but in so doing He was weary because of the journey. So here you have Christ tired while He is serving others. As I read the gospels, and you probably have noticed it, too, especially in the Gospel of Mark, there's such a rapid pacing of Jesus' life as told by the gospel writers, that it seems that Jesus barely had two minutes to rub together for His own quiet. He was always surrounded with people, crowds pressing Him. Um, He'd work into the night, long hours. Uh, when He was alone with His disciples, He was mentoring them. He's, they have questions for Him. In fact, I sometimes think if I were Jesus I'd say, "Peter, if you give Me one more question... it's just gonna be like too much." So He rarely had any time alone unless He carved it out early in the morning or late at night with His Heavenly Father. The point I want to make is that Jesus reached out to people even when He was on the edge of physical exhaustion. I read something by Oswald Sanders, it stuck out to me. He said, "The world is run by tired men." Men and women, I mean that generically. Those who are tired. I would say that there's a ring of truth to that. I would say it is that way in the church world. R. Kent Hughes, in his commentary, writes, "Most souls are won by tired people. The best sermons are preached by tired men. The best camps are run by exhausted youth pastors. The third world is being evangelized by tired missionaries. The Christian organizations of our world are being run by tired men and women." Hey, you show me a really great VBS, vacation Bible school, and I'll show you a whole bunch of tired women. Because to do something great like that requires great energy. You think Olympic athletes just showed up at Vancouver out of nowhere and thought, I could do that. No, they, they've worked hard all their lives and especially in the days before, their energy was focused. And some of them on the edge of exhaustion. Here's a question that I have for all of us. Have you ever wearied yourself in the pursuit of the souls of other men and women? Have ever been a place where you're uncomfortable, hot, or just tired from communicating truth to other people? Missionaries make a life of this. In fact, we marvel at missionaries. And quite honestly, when we see somebody willing to leave our country and go to another country, the question is always, Why are you doing this? Why would you go to a place where it's going to be very difficult and hot and hard and there's persecution? Why would you do that? There's one simple answer. 'Cause Jesus said, "Go." That's why. He said go. Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. And He went Himself and it was not easy.

I've told you this before, it bears repeating. Right now the population of this dirt clod we call the earth floating through space? Six point eight billion people on it. Six point eight billion people. The task of evangelism on that little ball is enormous because most of them don't know what we know in terms of truth or Christ. So it's been estimated that if you took all of the unsaved, lost people on planet earth and they formed a line, the line would go around, single-file line, around the earth, around the whole earth, thirty times. And the line is growing twenty miles longer every single day. The task is enormous. It's huge. Now I don't say that to make you feel guilty, but to warn us a church to not let church become all inward-oriented. Many churches turn inward. It becomes a "bless-me" club. That's your job, pastor, here I am to be blessed, now bless me! And all of the energy and focus and programs are for the benefit of only those who come weekly. In 1963, it took the world two to three hours to hear about the death of John F. Kennedy when he was assassinated in Dallas. In 1999, it took the world two to three minutes to hear of the death of JFK, Jr. when his plane went down in the Atlantic. Well, it's been two thousand years since Jesus died on a cross and rose from the dead and we have a lot of technology today at our disposal. Most people around the world haven't heard it.

I read something recently: fifty-one percent of the population on planet earth, fifty-one percent, just slightly over half, but it's significant, fifty-one percent have tasted Coke. Coca-Cola. Talk about a strategy for marketing. You know, here's a corporation that says, we've got to get everybody to drink Coke. Fifty-one percent of earth has tasted Coca-Cola. Now I know that things go better with Coke, but things go really better with Christ. Eternally. And so here we have this task and I know that we can't go, all of us, across the world. But how about just across town? How about just across the street? Or how about just being partners with those who are willing to go across the world, to be their prayer support and their financial support? That's part of the process. Here's a third reality about this refreshment and living water and that is the heart is insensible. What I mean is simply without feeling. They're numb to their own condition. The world needs it, it's a universal need, it's a formidable task because there are so many people, but the human heart is hardened to it, as revealed here in this woman. Verse seven: "A woman of Samaria came to draw water." Now watch. "Jesus said to her, 'Give Me a drink.' The disciples had gone away into the city to buy food," verse nine. "Then the woman of Samaria said to Him," now listen to her tone. See if you can pick it up. "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?" John writes, "For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus answered and said to her, '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.' The woman said to Him, 'Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and 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 his livestock?'"

Now, it's a simple conversation and Jesus begins it with a simple request. Give Me a drink. Then He quickly moves the conversation into deeper spiritual levels as we go. All the while He's doing that, the whole concept of the spiritual level, the metaphor of living water, does this to her. Phewww. Right over her head. She's going, listening, phoom! Right over. Doesn't even get it. And she is revealing that she doesn't even get it. Listen to her tone: "How is that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink of water?" So Jesus says in verse ten, "If you knew," which implies that she doesn't know. She doesn't get it. Now there's something that would help at this point. Two thousand years ago in Jewish vernacular, you know what living water was? Nothing more than flowing water. It was a contrast to water in a well or water in a cistern that didn't move. It was collected, but it was standing water; it was stagnant water. Living water was water on the move. A stream of water was living water. So that's what she's thinking of. Jesus is meaning it spiritually but she's taking it very, very literally. Like she's saying, "Well where is this stream, tell me where the stream is, Jacob didn't find the stream. He wouldn't have dug this hundred foot well if he found the stream. So You found this little living water stream, where is it?" She doesn't get what Jesus is saying to her, yet. Now, if she would've known her Bible just a little bit better she would've picked up on it. Because all throughout the Old Testament, there is this analogy of refreshment, using the term water. But it speaks of the inner refreshment of the soul. Psalm forty-two, "As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul after You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, the Living God." Isaiah chapter twelve promises, "You will drink deeply from the fountains of salvation," that's all a spiritual metaphor. Here's the best Old Testament passage. It fits right in with this. In Jeremiah chapter two, listen to what God says. He says, "For My people have committed two evils. Number one, they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living water, and they have dug out for themselves cisterns that are broken cisterns that can hold no water." They've rejected Me, the fountain of living water. They've dug out their own experiences, these wells, these cisterns, and they're broken 'cause they can't even hold water. But she, again, is like, here's the woman and here's what Jesus said. Phoom! Flew right over her head.

Now what she reveals here is the condition I believe of every human heart. And here it is. People are massively thirsty but they don't admit it. Many of them, frankly, don't even realize it. They're not even in touch with the need. Do you find it interesting that both Nicodemus and the woman reacted to what Jesus said to each of them in a very wooden, literal kind of a way? Remember Nicodemus? Jesus said, "Nicodemus, you must be --"? Born again. He goes, "Well, how can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb and be born?" Phoom! And here's the woman at the well going, "Where's that stream, I can't see that stream." Now that is typically the condition of people today. We live in a culture that is a post-Christian culture. I hope you know that. It is a post-Christian culture. It is a mechanistic, materialistic culture that says science has all the answers, there's no room at all for spirituality, there's no room for God. Well that's what the Bible predicts. First Corinthians two, Paul writes, "For the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God. They are foolishness unto him. Neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned." Did you get that? What is spiritual truth to the average natural man or unbeliever? Foolishness. Pah! You know how the world views us, right? We're, we're like, the lights are on but nobody's home. We're, like, dim-witted. We're mental midgets in their view. We're not thinking people. A bunch of idiots to believe that stuff. I got this the first day of college. My integrated zoology professor, first day of class, stood up and these were his first words, "How many people in my class are stupid enough to believe in creation?" That was his fir-, that was his opening remark. I'm a brand-new Christian, I put my hand up. I'm dumb enough to believe it. Right over here. Dumb. Believe it. There's maybe two other students but they sort of went like this. That's what we're up against.

Have you ever shared with somebody the gospel and they don't get it? They don't see it. You've labored and the way you crafted your talk, your, your witness to them, you're thinking, this is good! I'm good! And they're going, huh? And you're wondering, why don't they get it? It's the same reason a blind person doesn't get a beautiful sunset. You could all day, "Isn't that great? Look at the hues, the colors, look at the, the marvelous clouds." They don't have the faculties to enjoy it. They lack capacity. If you were to describe a beautiful symphony to somebody who's deaf, they have other wonderful capacities but that's the one capacity that they lack. It's very difficult to convey the sound nuance to that person. And so it is very difficult, because of the insensibility of the heart, to tell people the truth unless God opens up that heart. Which He will to the Samaritan woman before the day's end. Now. Here's the fourth and final reality about the spiritual living water, this refreshment. The Savior is capable. He can do it. What He promises, He can perform. And He will in this woman's life.

Verse thirteen, He says, here's the, here's the promise, two of them: "Jesus answered and said to her, 'Whoever drinks of this water [that's her water, that's the water from the well] will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst.'" The New Living Translation says, "The water that I give him will take away his thirst altogether." "But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life." You could take verse thirteen as the banner statement to write above every earthly pursuit. Think about it. Every earthly pursuit, short of Christ, you could write over that pursuit, "Drink of this water and you'll thirst again." Well if I only, if I only had that person, I could marry her or him. Drink of this water and you will thirst again. Oh, if, if only I made that much money. Drink of this water and you'll thirst again. Oh, if I could only live in that neighborhood. Drink of this water and you'll thirst again. Whatever it is, that's the banner statement for that experience. You'll just get thirsty again. The attempt to quench spiritual thirst with worldly things is like what happens to those ill-fated sailors when they're out at sea and they run out of food and water. You've heard the stories. They get so desperate you know what they drink? Ocean water. It's the last desperate measure to get water into their system. But it's salty water, as you know, and it makes their condition worse and worse and worse and worse and more desperate and it can kill them.

Now this whole search begins when we're quite young. It's part of the human condition. That's why I began with a statement: satisfaction doesn't come naturally. It comes supernaturally. When we're kids, you remember back, you were a kid and you were part of the if-only syndrome that followed you through life. If only. So you were a kid and you go, if only I were a teenager, life would be good! Then you get there. It's not enough. Now you're a teenager and you say, if only I had a car. And though, you get there, you get a car. You're a teenager, you got a car, but you also got parents. So now you're saying, if only I was out of the house, on my own, in college. And so you get there. It's still not enough. Because now you're thinking, if only I could get married. So you get there, you get married. So now it's, if only I had children, I'd be happy. And so you get there. And then it's like, if only my children would grow up and get out of the house, I could have some peace and quiet called retirement. And on and on and on it goes. It's rather like eating Chinese food for dinner. Doesn't matter how much you have, a couple hours later you're hungry again. Drink of this water and you'll thirst again. But Jesus is capable of fulfilling the promise. Not only to give you refreshment, but did you notice what He said? It's permanent refreshment. He says, "You're not just gonna be refreshed; it's permanent." Because He says, look at the end of verse 14, "The water that I will give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life." That's a perpetual spring. It's not like a well, standing, stagnant water, like in a cistern. This is the living water, the stream of water that bubbles up continually. And it's within you. That's because when Christ is within you, when you receive Christ in you, that's the source of it all, that's where the living water comes from. So if it's within you, you don't have to keep looking without you, on the outside. That search is over. It's a spring of water.

I recently got a new puppy at home. Um, it's a little Welsh terrier, he's about six, seven months old now. His name is Mack. And Mack is the happiest creature on planet earth. You know how dogs are. I marvel at how happy he is, that little tail goes wagging. You know, when I come home, if I've been gone all day and I come home, it's like I hung the moon, because, "You came home! Y-you came home!" And the tail, it's like, wow! Right? It's like, you feel great, so much. And I was watching him this week wagging that little tail, just getting so happy at nothing. And it reminded me of a story of a little boy who was promised a puppy and he was taken into the pet store. His dad said, "You can have any puppy you want." And looked around and he saw this once dog wagging its tail and he said, "Daddy! I want the one with the happy ending!" And you know what? If we could take every human being into the store of life and say, what life do you want? they would inevitably say, I want the life with the happy ending. You can have it. In fact, it doesn't just have to be a happy ending, it can be a refreshed, satisfied middle, as well. Please understand, I'm not promising you a Sears catalog or five hundred of your greatest needs met. I'm talking about an inward, spiritual refreshment that comes from having Christ within. Oh, you'll have the happy ending, that'll come with it. But you'll have the happy, satisfied, refreshed middle to go along with it.

I can just hear Jesus saying to some of us what He said to this woman, "If you only knew." If you only knew the gift. And some of us are still listening, going, phoom! Oh, if you only knew. That's what He promises. But I do have a concern. Um, because some of you are believers and you're thinking, yeah, I hear what you're saying, but you know what? I, I'm a Christian, Skip, and I haven't been really, I haven't been satisfied, I haven't been refreshed. I'm not gonna try to analyze you all, but I will say this. If it were just a well, you could cover it up. If it's a spring, you can't cover that up. If it's a well, you can put dirt in it and nobody sees it. But if it's a spring and you cover it up with dirt, eventually it's going to reveal itself, right? It's gonna, water's gonna keep coming up. And sometimes believers try to cover up the spring and all you do when you put dirt over a spring is make a muddy mess. When all the while you should be drinking deeply from that spring, get back to that spring, go back to Him, drink deeply from Him and taste that satisfied life again. And it could be that some of you have just made a mess of your lives and you need to get back to Him. Let's pray for that as we close.

Our Father in heaven, You are the source of living water. You said that to Jeremiah. You said Your people had dug out wells, cisterns. They've looked for refreshment in other places, but they're empty, they're cracked, they don't hold water. They don't hold the satisfaction necessary to warm the heart. You, on the other hand, promise not a well, not a cistern, not a cup, not a bucket, but a fountain, something that bubbles up, it's continual, it's perpetual. I pray that we as Your people would tap into that, not trying to get fulfilled from any other place. And I pray for those who may not know You personally, who've never really gotten this whole idea of satisfied living on earth. And some of them, like this woman, are a bit hardened to that. Would You do a work in their hearts like You did in this woman's heart? In Jesus' name, amen.



Additional Messages in this Series

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10/25/2009
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Believe:879
John 20:30-31
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Is your faith in need of bolstering? Do you find yourself saying "Help my unbelief?" The book of John presents a unique, up close and personal look at the life of Christ, focusing on Jesus as God Incarnate. As we dive into a thorough study of each of John's 879 verses, we'll walk with disciples who were eyewitnesses of His ministry, His death, and His resurrection, and we'll experience abundant life in His name.
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11/1/2009
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The World's Most Important Word
John 1:1-5
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It may be difficult to say what the most important word is in any language, but not for the Apostle John. He begins his gospel with the identification of Jesus as, "The Word." Starting with the very beginning of beginnings, John shows us the fundamental truths about the Jesus that he writes about in the rest of this book. The language is simple and unmistakable and yet the truths presented are deep and extremely profound. Let's see how John presents Jesus and Who Jesus is according to one who was closest to Him.
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11/15/2009
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Step Into Son-Light
John 1:6-13
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I love early mornings when sunlight first comes up over the eastern sky. But if you’ve ever had the experience of the sun suddenly shining into your eyes (like when you turn westward while the sun is going down), it's not so pleasant. Most people wince when light is shined in their eyes. Jesus is presented here as being "the light of men" and "shining in darkness". But the world cries out, "Turn off that light!" How can Jesus enlighten your life and how will you respond to Him?
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11/22/2009
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One of a Kind!
John 1:14-18
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It is a mistake to think of Jesus as "one among many" options in the pantheon of deities. He is unique, matchless, unrivaled, singular, and incomparable. From His birth to His Resurrection, there is no one who even comes close to the majestic Christ. Jesus was One-Of-A-Kind! Let’s consider four distinct ways that Jesus was unique and what these mean to us today.
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12/6/2009
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The Greatest Man Meets the Greatest Lamb
John 1:19-34
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Everyone is good at something, maybe even great at something. Maybe you're a great artist or a great mom or even a great leader. Jesus said that John the Baptizer was the greatest man who had ever lived (Matt. 11:11). But John knew Jesus to be the greatest One ever—past, present and future - the Sacrificial Lamb sent to remove sin. Today we discover from John the Baptist how to witness for Christ and we look at the identity and the activity of this most unusual man.
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12/13/2009
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Are You a Follower-Really?
John 1:35-42
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You can't make it through much of the Bible without coming to the word Disciple. Just the four Gospels alone use this term 228 times. Basically a disciple is the follower of a teacher: one who observes, learns, and practices what the teacher shares. We now come to the first time John uses this term in his book. So today we assess ourselves by asking, "Are YOU a follower?" Lets look at five characteristics of the first disciples of Jesus and see if they’re reflected in our lives.
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1/3/2010
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Finding the God Who Found You
John 1:43-51
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When the first disciples encountered Jesus, they chose to follow Him--only to discover that they had already been chosen by Him! Without getting drowned in that theological tide pool, let's consider and marvel at how both of these realities work together. The Bible teaches that God sovereignly elects people for salvation while at the same time teaches our responsibility to believe in Christ. Let’s see how both Philip and Nathanael encountered Jesus for the first time.
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1/10/2010
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The Wedding Guest
John 2:1-12
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How cool (and also potentially scary) would it be to have Jesus as a guest at your own wedding! The unnamed couple at the village wedding of Cana had that privilege. Jesus was the wedding guest who brought the best gift. His first miraculous sign was performed while celebrating that marriage. But far more than just attending a nuptial party, Jesus demonstrated who He was in relation to four entities: His mother, the moment, a miracle, and His men.
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1/17/2010
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Trouble in the Temple
John 2:13-22
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A hymn by Charles Wesley begins, "Gentle Jesus, meek and mild, look upon a little child..." It’s a beautiful song with a beautiful thought. However, Jesus is anything but gentle and mild in John chapter two. Here in the temple at Jerusalem, He displays His righteous anger as He overturns tables and beats the religious businesspeople with whips! But Jesus was using this trouble in the temple to predict a greater sign—the triumph of His own physical temple—His bodily resurrection!
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1/24/2010
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Uncommitted!
John 2:23-25
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These three verses are some of the most unusual in the New Testament. They describe a scene in the life of Jesus that explains His popularity and fame. The response of people to the miracles of Jesus is understandable. What is not readily understandable is Jesus' response to the interested and excited crowd. Though they believed in Him, He was not too energized over their kind of faith. Understanding this will help us to understand Jesus and His mission.
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1/31/2010
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Nick at Nite!
John 3:1-8
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The meeting of Jesus and Nicodemus at night is one of the most famous and compelling stories in Scripture. This man's inner curiosity and spiritual thirst drove him to want to know more. What he heard puzzled and astonished him, but he heard from Jesus' own lips the only way to be saved. Jesus' words here divide all of humanity into two groups: those who are born again and those who are not.
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2/7/2010
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Extreme Makeover: Soul Edition!
John 3:9-21
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For years ABC has aired two different versions of a show called Extreme Makeover. One is a total body makeover designed to enhance the physical beauty of a selected individual. The other is a Home Edition that rebuilds or adds to a struggling family's residence. But only Jesus can give the soul a makeover; only Jesus can ready a person for eternity. Here Jesus answers Nicodemus' question of how a person can have the New Life that comes from the New Birth.
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2/14/2010
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God's Valentine
John 3:16
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Today we take a look at the Bible's most famous verse and probe its depth while preparing to take the Lord's Supper together. Though most everyone knows this verse, John 3:16 is much more than just a slogan; it is a summary statement of God's love through Jesus Christ. This single verse of scripture gives us the salient truths of God's plan of salvation in abridged form. Let's consider God's great plan for us as we unpack it phrase by phrase.
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2/21/2010
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To Grow Up, You Must Grow Down!
John 3:22-30
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"They that know God will be humble, and they that know themselves cannot be proud!" That's what British Puritan John Flavel once said. And that’s how John the Baptist once lived! John the Baptist and his followers provide some great applicational fodder for how Christians should get along and humble themselves before one another and God. For any Christian believer who wants to spiritually grow up and grow strong, he must first grow down.
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2/28/2010
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The Nail Everything Hangs On
John 3:31-36
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Imagine if everything you valued was in a sack, hanging on the wall from one nail. It surely must be a strong nail, or you're lost! If life could all be boiled down to one thing or one word or one most important principle, what would it be? What is the irreducible minimum for everything and everyone? John answers that here, saying that Jesus Christ is the nail that everything hangs on. He determined what has been and what will be. Thus our knowledge of Him and relationship to Him is paramount above everything else.
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3/14/2010
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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
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
As John closes off his singular testimony of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, he features some closing words of Jesus and Peter about himself (John). These final sentences provide some instructions for us as we await Christ's return. How should we live in light of who Jesus is, what Jesus did, and when Jesus will return?
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There are 95 additional messages in this series.