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Service Archives > 43 John - Believe:879 - 2009 > Like Father, Like Son

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Like Father, Like Son - John 5:16-24

Taught on | Topic: Deity of Jesus | Keywords: deity, identity of Jesus, Sabbath, healing, worship

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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5/23/2010
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Like Father, Like Son
John 5:16-24
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
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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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 Father & Son Continually Work (vv. 17-18)

  2. The Father & Son Perform Wonders (vv. 19-22)

  3. The Father & Son Deserve Worship (v. 23)

  4. The Father & Son Determine Welfare (v. 24)


Making It More Than a Sermon:

  1. Why do you think these people were so determined to kill Jesus? Why did Jesus make such unmistakably clear claims even though it got Him deeper into trouble? What does this tell us about how to handle the truth?
  2. How does Jesus’ description of the relationship with His Father compare to John 1:1?
  3. If your father is still living, how could you make the relationship with him more special? Does Jesus’ relationship with His Father help you in relating to your earthly father?


Detailed Notes

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No person divided time except Jesus. Dates reference His first coming (BC - before Christ, AD Anno Domini, the year of our Lord). Encyclopedia Britannica devoted 20,000 words to Jesus; more than Aristotle, Alexander the Great, Buddha, Caesar, Cicero, Confucius and Mohammed combined. Scholars and skeptics debate: who is Jesus? The most important question on earth is: who am I in relationship to Jesus? He is the ultimate answer to all questions and issues. If there is one issue that the world consistently gets wrong it's the identity of Jesus:

  • A good man - John 7:12
  • John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the prophets - Matthew 16:14
  • Earthly king - John 6:15
  • Tax evader - Luke 23:2
  • Demon possessed - John 10:20
  • Illegitimate child of Mary - Jews in the Talmud
  • A prophet - Islam
  • Ascended master - other religions
  • Highest model of all religion - David Strauss
  • More than a man - Napoleon Bonaparte
  • Jesus Christ Superstar

Re-cap of John 5: Jesus attends a festival, probably Passover. He visits the Pool of Bethesda, and heals a man who had been sick for 38 years. The impotent man meets omnipotent man. It was the Sabbath. Although God's Law didn't prohibit doing good on the Sabbath, Jesus broke the man-made rules.  This angered the Jews, and they confront Jesus. Jesus reveals himself and His relationship with the Father; He claims to be God.

  1.  The Father & Son Continually Work
    1. Jesus talks of God as His own unique Father
      1. Kenneth Wuest - "God was His privately owned, unique Father, a Father in a way in which no one else had Him for a Father, making Himself equal with the Deity.
      2. Son of God
        1. Not "God is everyone's Father"
        2. Not "we are all children of God"
        3. Claiming to have the divine nature of God Himself
        4. False religions say Jesus didn't claim to be God, but even his enemies recognized the claim.
    2. Jesus Claimed to be the Eternal God in a human body
      1. Quencher of thirst  -  John 4:13-14
      2. Satisfier of hunger  - John 6:35
      3. Light of the world  - John 8:12
      4. Comes from heaven  - John 8:23
      5. Predated the existence of Abraham  - John 8:58/li>
      6. Door of salvation - John 14:6
      7. Exact representation of God the Father  - John 14:9
    3. According  to William Lane Craig the Deity of Christ was established Christology within 20 years of His earthly ministry
    4. God the Father never takes a day off (Sabbath is for man, not for God; He rested on the seventh day, because He was done with His work as Creator) Even when we are resting He is at work. We should stop worrying and let Him work.  (He never slumbers or sleeps - Psalm 121:4)
  2. The Father & Son Perform Wonders
    1. Healing was done by the Father and the Son   (Amen, amen - truly, truly)
    2. Jesus did not work independently of God, but in harmony with the Father
      1. What the Father is doing in heaven, the Son is doing on earth
      2. Greater works are to come
        1. Resurrection from the dead
          1. Lazarus - John 11
          2. Daughter of a religious leader (Mark 5:22-43)
          3. Son of a widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-14)
        2. Judgment of the world
        3. 37 miracles recorded
    3. Giver of life
      1. Physically as Creator
      2. Spiritually -everlasting life for anyone who believes in Him
    4. If you want to know what God is like, look at Jesus
    5. You pray to a God who stepped out of heaven in the body of Christ; He knows all about the pain of humanity with all the resources of heaven
  3. The Father & Son Deserve Worship
    1. Jews thought they were worshiping God, while rejecting Jesus
    2. If you don't honor both the Father and Son, you don't honor either
    3. Even the Father honored the son - Philippians 2:9
    4. Honor Him by receiving Him as Savior and please Him as Lord in your life
  4. The Father & Son Determine Welfare
    1. Know Jesus, know peace - No Jesus, no peace
    2. Know Jesus, know life - No Jesus, no life
    3. Everlasting life is as easy as believing, trusting and relying on what Jesus said about Himself as God
    4. If you don't believe, you'll die in your sins - John 8:24
Figures Referenced: David F. Strauss, Napoleon Bonaparte, Kenneth Wuest
Publications Referenced: Encyclopedia Britannica; "The New Testament: An Expanded Translation," by Kenneth Wuest
Hebrew terms: Amen- truly
Cross References: Psalm 121:4; Matthew 16:14; Mark 5:22-43; Luke 7:11-14; Luke 23:2; John 4:13-14; John 6:15; John 6:35; John 7:12; John 8:12; John 8:23; John 8:24; John 8:58; John 10:20; John 11; John 14:6; John 14:9; Philippians 2:9

Topic: Deity of Jesus

Keywords: deity, identity of Jesus, Sabbath, healing, worship

Transcript

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It can be safely said that no person ever divided time except one Person and that's Jesus Christ. He literally divided time so that when we write down the date, we are making reference to His coming the first time on this earth. We talk about BC, before Christ, and AD, Anno Domini which means the year of our Lord, and that's how we have divided time--according to Christ. Now not everybody buys into that. The first time I went overseas to Israel and I saw that they changed it in more recent history to BCE, which means before the Christian Era, now it's called before the Common Era, and then anything AD is CE or Common Era. Doesn't matter what you call it, however. The point still exists that that one Person divided time and that no check is valid, no document is considered legal, unless someone puts a date on it and, in effect, bearing witness and testimony to that fact, that that single Person divided time. Jesus Christ. Jesus is so important that the Encyclopedia Britannica devoted 20,000 words to a single article about Jesus Christ. You should know that that's more words than what they wrote about Aristotle, Alexander the Great, Buddha, Caesar, Cicero, Confucius, and the Islamic prophet Mohammed put together. 20,000 words. Through the centuries, scholars, skeptics, have debated and wondered well who is Christ exactly? Who really is Jesus? And that really is the central question. In fact, I would say that is the most important issue on earth, if I can be so bold. I don't think the most important question a person can ask is who am I, though we're fond of asking that question. I think the most important question is who am I in relationship to who He is and that's what I want to talk to you about today. Now if you were raised in a Christian church, you know that Christ is central to everything and He is the ultimate answer to all of our issues and all of our questions. You've grown up believing that. There was a Sunday school class and the teacher was talking about Noah's ark and she wanted to be very creative and get the students to interact and so the teacher said to the class, I will describe something and let's see if you can guess what it is. And so she began. First, I'm furry, I have a bushy tail, and I like to climb trees. And she waited. Nothing. Blank stares. They were catatonic. So she continued. I also like to eat nuts, especially acorns. Again--dead silence. She continued. I'm usually brown or grey but sometimes I can be black or even red. Nothing once again. Now the teacher is desperate and she turns to a perky four-year-old who usually came up with answers and said, Michelle? What do you think? Michelle looked around the room at the other students, very hesitatingly and said to the teacher, well, I know the answer has to be Jesus but it sure sounds like a squirrel to me. Now I've discovered something. This is just my personal discovery. If there's one issue the world consistently gets wrong, it's the identity of Jesus Christ. They get it wrong every year. Every year there's a news article at Easter or Christmastime or a new special documentary on the real, historical Jesus, they get it wrong inevitably and invariably--always! And that's nothing new. Ever since He was alive on the earth the first time, they got it wrong. For example in John chapter 7, some said He was a good man, others in the crowd said He was a deceiver. In Matthew 16, the disciples announced to Jesus that some people thought He was John the Baptist resurrected from the dead. Others said He was the prophet Elijah. Others said He was Jeremiah or another one of the prophets. In John chapter 6, after a miraculous lunch break that Jesus provided for them, they wanted to make Him a king, an earthly king, by force. That's what they thought he was: a politician! Luke chapter 23 they called Him a tax evader and one who subverts the Roman government. John chapter 10 some people said He was demon-possessed. In Mark chapter 3 even His own family tried to rescue Him and here's their words, His own family: He's out of His mind! Now all of those are wrong assessments of Christ. Traditionally, the Jewish people have regarded Jesus as an illegitimate child. That's what the Talmud says of Jesus: that He was the illegitimate son of Mary who they fancy was a hairdresser. I don't know where they got that idea. Islam regards and reveres Jesus as a prophet. Others have called Him an ascended master. Strauss, the German rationalist, said He was the highest model of all religion. Napoleon Bonaparte said whoever He was; He was more than a man. There was even a film 40 years ago in the 60s that said Jesus Christ was a superstar. All of those assessments consistently are wrong about the identity of Christ. Now let's recap before we get into that. And by the way, we're going to get into what Jesus says about Himself in a very shocking paragraph that will shock His own audience. But here's the recap because we've been away for a few weeks. Jesus, in John chapter 5, attends a festival at Jerusalem, probably the Passover. He happens to go down to a pool called the pool of Bethesda, and some of you were there at the pool of Bethesda about a week and a half ago. Well at that time there were hundreds of people who were sick, diseased; the King James calls them impotent folk, that is, helpless. There was one man who had a disease for 38 years. He caught Jesus' eye and Jesus walked up to the man who had a disease for 38 years and healed him. So it's a story of the impotent power who meets the omnipotent Man and that one man's life will never be the same. It was the greatest day in his life when Jesus healed him. But it happened to be the Sabbath day and that is where all the controversy happened because, though the Law of God did not prohibit doing good on the Sabbath day, by this time man-made rules and regulations had been added to God's Law so that Jesus evidently broke one of their rules regarding the Sabbath. And they are all upset and they confront Him and in the confrontation, Jesus doesn't back down but He reveals Himself and He speaks about four things. Four things about the relationship that He, Jesus, has with God in heaven whom He calls His Father. Four things about the relationship Jesus has with the Father all that lead to the inevitable conclusion that He is claiming to be God. Well let's begin by looking at verse 16 and we're gonna, by the way, read down to verse 24 today. But here's the first thing He says about the relationship with His Father: that both of them are working. They continue to work. The Father in heaven and the Son on earth continue to work no matter what day it is. Verse 16: "For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath." That's a pretty violent reaction, right? Not they were just mad at Him. Not they just rebuked Him. They want to kill Him! "But Jesus answered them," now listen to this and watch the reaction, "My Father has been working until now, and I have been working." Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God." That's called dropping the bombshell. They're already mad at Him. He says something that makes them infinitely more mad at Him and they will not be satisfied until two years later when they put Him on a cross. Now what they're so angry about is the way Jesus dares to talk about God in heaven. As His own unique Father. As His own unique Father. Now that's why it says in verse 18, You're calling Him Your Father making Yourself equal with God. Every now and then, I pull out a translation that I share with you called the Wuest translation. Kenneth Wuest was a Greek scholar and he came up with a wonderful translation that expands the meaning of the text so it's unmistakable as to what it says. Here's the Wuest translation of verse 18: He was saying that God was His privately owned, unique Father, a Father in a way in which no one else had Him for a Father, making Himself equal with the Deity. See when Jesus called Himself the Son of God, He didn't mean it in the Oprah Winfrey/Dr. Phil sense of the word where God is everybody's Father and we're all children of God. He meant it in the very narrow unique sense when He referred to Himself as One that has the very same nature as God Himself. See it's sort of like when my son was born 24 years ago. When Nathan was born, the day he was born, he had the nature of a man. He had a human nature. So Jesus is saying that He has the very nature, the divine nature, of God Himself. Do you know that verse 18 is one of the strongest verses in all of the Bible that attests to the deity of Jesus Christ and it's from the mouth of His own enemies? They knew exactly what He was saying He was and this isn't the first time they will make this remark. In John chapter 10 they'll say why is that You being a man are constantly making Yourself out to be God? I find this fascinating because the Jehovah Witnesses, the Mormon church, Oneness Pentecostals will all deny that Jesus ever claimed to be God and that baffles me because even His own enemies knew that He claimed to be God. That was their testimony. Now I have a question for you this morning. Can any of you think of a single passage in the Bible, just a single passage, just one, where Jesus said anything remotely like this: "Well I just want you to know that I'm really just another nice guy. That's all I am. I'm a model of religion. I'm here just to be a good example for people to follow"? Did He ever say anything like that? Never once. Well what did He say about Himself? Well He said a lot of things about Himself. Here's a sampling. To the Samaritan woman, remember what He said? Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. To the crowds in John chapter 6, He said I am the bread of life. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever. To the leaders in John chapter 8, He will say I am the light of the world. He who follows Me will never walk in darkness. He said also in that chapter, I am from above. I'm not from this world. And if you do not believe that I am the One I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins. He also said in that chapter, before Abraham was born, I existed. In John chapter 11, He will say I am the resurrection and the life, whoever believes in Me will never die. John chapter 14, the famous one, I am the way, the truth, the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me. And in that chapter, when Philip the disciple, finally says, look, Jesus, just show us the Father and that'll be enough for us! Jesus said, Philip, if you've seen Me, you have seen the Father. So tally all what I just said up. What Jesus claimed is that He was the quencher of thirst, He was the satisfier of hunger, He is the light of the world, He comes from heaven, He predated the existence of Abraham, He's the door of salvation, and the exact representation of God the Father. Do you see any room in there where He said, I'm just another nice guy? No! Here is… here's the bottom line I want to get to. Here's the inescapable reality. Jesus claimed to be the eternal God in a human body over and over and over and over again. That's the whole theme of the Gospel of John. He did it all the time--unmistakably. So if anyone denies that Jesus claimed that, they are denying the historical accuracy of the gospel record and they are setting themselves up as the better, higher source of truth than the biblical record. And what they are in effect saying is that they know much more about what happened 2,000 years ago than even the eyewitnesses themselves. And if anybody says that to you, the onus is on them to prove what they just said and they'll have a difficult time. Listen to the words of William Lane Craig, one of the greatest apologists in modern history: within 20 years of the crucifixion, a full-blown Christology proclaiming Jesus as God incarnate already existed. How does one explain this worship by monotheistic Jews of one of their own countrymen as being God incarnate apart from the claims of Jesus Himself? If Jesus never made any such claims, then the belief of the earliest Christians in this regard becomes inexplicable. Now what point is Jesus making to these guys when they're saying, it's the Sabbath day! The big point I want to apply this to us. Well, God the Father doesn't take the day off and neither do I. He has been working up until now and I do, too. you know that God never takes a Sabbath? He doesn't take the Sabbath. The Sabbath wasn't made for God it was made for man, Jesus said. Now some of you who know your Bibles will say now Skip, wait a minute, it says in Genesis that God created the heavens and the earth in six days and on the seventh day, God rested. But why did He rest? He rested, not because He was pooped. He didn't say, man, those elephants really took it out of Me! He rested because He was done. He was done as Creator. His work of being Creator was finished on that day and so, as to set a pattern for man's rest, He stopped. But He continued to work as He does today. He doesn't take the day off. He sustains the universe, He pours out love and mercy and rules and runs the universe and that means He's ruling and running your life. Here's the point. Even when you're resting, God is working. The Bible says in Psalm 121 He who keeps Israel never slumbers nor sleeps. He's always working. He's always busy. While you're resting, He's always working. So here's the question: why don't we rest more and let Him do His work? Why do we get into this thing… well it's a good day to worry a lot more than I've worried before? Yeah, I really have to worry about this because maybe God is taking a vacation today. He never does. He doesn't say, well, it's Sabbath today. I'm sorry, I would hear your prayers but I'm taking a break. He's always working--always caring for you. Never slumbers; never sleeps. That's number one. The Father and the Son are working--continually working. Number two He says about His Father and the Son: the Father and the Son, together, perform wonders. Because the man that was just healed was something that was done by both the Father and the Son. Watch this, verse 19: "Then Jesus answered and said to them," now they're all upset and He said to them, "Most assuredly," He'll say that twice in the passage, it's a Greek construct, verily, verily, we would translate it this way: ok, guys. Listen up very carefully. I'm gonna say something that's really heavy, really solemn. That's the idea. "Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son". See what Jesus wants them to recognize, they're all bent out of shape that Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath, what He wants them to know is this: what I just did in healing this man, I didn't do independently. It wasn't some independent act of compassion where I just saw somebody and I had to do it. It was something that was part of the will of My Father and We did it in harmony and in tandem together. He wants them to know that out of deep love that the Father has the Son and the Son has for the Father, that They work together so that what the Father is doing in heaven, the Son is cooperating and doing on earth. And, by the way, He says to them there's more to come. There's greater works that you may marvel. You think that was cool--Me healing this dude--you ain't seen nothing yet. I've just scratched the surface. He's going to do two things He mentions: resurrection from the dead and judgment of the world. And very soon after this, there will be three people, the Bible records that Jesus will resurrect. By the way, 37 miracles are recorded in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. That's just what's recorded. John said He did a lot more, but I didn't record them all because I recorded enough for us to believe. 37 miracles recorded. Three recorded miracles were resurrections from the dead. One of them was Lazarus. John chapter 11. He'd been dead three days. He wasn't mostly dead--he was all dead. in fact, his sister said, by now he stinketh! Don't you love that? That's the King James. By now he stinketh! Yeah, you betcha, there's a corruption that has set in. Jesus raised him up. The second was the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue in Capernaum up in Galilee and the third was the son of a widow from Nane, a village right outside of Nazareth. Raised him from the dead. and then a few years after that, He would resurrect Himself in correspondence with the Father. He said no man takes My life. I lay it down and I raise it up. So what you just saw Me perform in healing this man is just the beginning! I'm gonna raise people from the dead. I'm gonna raise from the dead and one day I'm gonna judge the entire world. He's committed all judgment, He said, to the Son. Now when Jesus said He gives life to people, I take this in a dual meaning. I can't prove this exactly but this is just Heitzig here, but I see it in a dual meaning. He gives life physically, as Creator, He can raise people from the dead, physically giving them resurrected life. But also spiritually because that term is often used interchangeably. He gives everlasting life. We'll see by the end of this passage that He gives everlasting life to anyone who believes in Him and I would say this: you haven't really lived until you've met Jesus. I saw a bumper sticker on a beat-up old car, this was years ago, I mean this was, I was single then so that was like decades ago. And I'll never forget it because this, the car was really beat-up, I mean really messed up, smashed in. and the couple that got out were a couple of young hippies and they were obviously very poor, but they had big smiles on their faces and a bumper sticker on their car that read "Without Jesus, You Ain't Livin'" Doesn't matter what car you drive or how much money you have, here we are in this beat-up old jalopy and we're livin'. Because He has given us life. So if we were to sum up what we just read so far, it's simply this: Jesus is telling them, if you want to know what God is like just look at Me. If you've seen Me, He will say to Philip, you've seen the Father. Do you know how profound that is? If you want to know what God is like, you look at Jesus. So when you see Jesus having compassion over a crowd of people, you're seeing the heart of God having compassion, wanting to restore people who've been broken and bruised by life. When you see Jesus reaching out and healing someone who is physically broken or needs a physical touch like this man, you're seeing the heart of God who's disturbed at seeing physical suffering upon the earth and is restless in the face of it. When you see Jesus weeping over Jerusalem, you're seeing the very heart of God who's weeping over a world that has rejected Him, knowing the pain and the anguish that it will cause them. Now what does that mean to us? This is sort of all theological, the Person and nature of Christ. What does it mean to us? Here's what it means personally, to you and I. When you pray to God, you're not just praying to a god who's been stuck up in heaven in an ivory tower who kind of peeks down on the earth and sees you in pain and says, oh, I'm so sorry that you're feeling that way today. But of course, I wouldn't know what that's like--I'm up in heaven. This is a real nice place, by the way, and one day you'll come here. No. You have a God who stepped out of heaven, embodied in the Person of Jesus Christ, so that when you talk to Him, you're dealing with Somebody who knows all about the pain of humanity, all about the pain and suffering of earth, but has all of the resources of heaven. That's very different and that sets believing in Jesus apart from believing in anyone or anything else. Very strong, powerful statements. Here's the third: again, He's following this theme. The Father and the Son. The Father and the Son. Like Father, like Son. Because all of this is true, the third statement is true, both the Father and the Son deserve worship. Verse 23, Jesus said that all, that means that all men, all people, ponte is the Greek word, it's inclusive of every single human, every person, "should honor the Son," and that's in the present, active, subjunctive, it means to continually honor, don't stop honoring, "that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him." Ok, now stop. Think about that statement. If everything Jesus said up till now is true, than this makes perfect sense, right? If Jesus is indeed on the same nature level as the Father, if everything God the Father and the Son, Jesus, do are in concert and harmony together, if Jesus is indeed God, then He deserves worship. And that's what He's saying. It's unmistakable what He's saying. By the way, this isn't the only time He said it. If you're thinking, well maybe this is sort of an ambiguous text and Jesus really; you know He said it before and after. Later on when He raises from the dead and He stands up in the Upper Room with Thomas, who remember what Thomas said, unless I can put my hands in His side and touch those wounds, I won't believe there's a resurrection! So Jesus shows up one day. Hi, Thomas! Remember the other day when you said that unless you touch the wounds, My wounds, and you just that to these guys, you didn't think I was there. I was here. I heard it all. Here--touch. See that it's Me. Remember what Thomas said to Him? He said my Lord and my God! Now did Jesus say no! No! I'm not! He absolutely stood there and accepted and received what was rightfully His and that is His honor as being Thomas's Lord and God. Here's another one. Jesus is leaving the temple and the children of the area start shouting out, as kids do, they often have more insight than adults, and they shouted Hosanna, which means 'save us now, Lord', Hosanna to the Son of David, Glory in the highest! And the leaders got all upset at what the children were saying and here's Jesus' response to that. He said, don't you ever read your Bibles? Have you never read out of the mouth of children you have ordained, or perfected, praise? He's saying, No. What they just said was perfect because I am who I always said that I am and that is God. D.A. Carson in commenting on this passage said, such a statement belongs either to one who is God or else one who is insane. Anybody who says oh, by the way, you need to honor Me just like you honor God the Father is either a nutcase or He's God! So let's, let's suppose that John was wrong. Let's suppose Jesus never said that. That's what a lot of skeptics like to say. Well, Jesus never claimed that but His disciples got all into this and they wrote it down. Well if that's true then you can't believe anything John wrote in this book. You might as well throw it out. It's untrustworthy because he's an untrustworthy witness. That means also, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and Revelation--scrap those from your Bible because you can't rely on those. But let's say Jesus said what John said that He said and he recorded it accurately and it's trustworthy. Let's say Jesus isn't who He said He is. That means He's a liar and then what are we doing here? Following somebody who's a megalomaniac or a liar. Or else, the third option, He is indeed God and He said what was true and this bent those guys all out of shape. That's the best option. Now here's the point here. The Jews thought they were worshiping God while they were rejecting Jesus. By the way, they still do. They think they're worshiping God but they reject Jesus. And this brings up, and really answers, a very sensitive question that some of us have dealt with and the question is this: what about all of those sincere people, they're very sincere, and they're spiritual, and they believe in God but they reject Christ. I don't really have to answer it. Jesus already did: that all should honor the Son as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Me. Question: what did they accuse Jesus of when He said He was God? Blasphemy. They said, You're blaspheming. And if He was a man who made these statements, He would indeed be blaspheming. But what He is saying is I'm not blaspheming, you're blaspheming. Because if I'm God and you don't honor Me like you honor God and God wants you to honor Me like you honor the Father, then you're the one who's guilty of blasphemy--not Me. It's a very powerful, powerful statement. And either Jesus is who He said He was or He is insane. It's very popular today to talk about God, spirituality. I'm a spiritual person. I have people tell me, I'm a spiritual person. I go, great. What's the spirit you believe in? Oh you know, I believe in the man upstairs. The great spirit. The architect of the universe. The ground of all being. Wonderful, I say. What do you think about Jesus? Umm… well you know I may not believe in Jesus the same way you believe. Ok, well, if you don't honor the Son, you don't honor the Father. I sat next to a man on the way to Israel this time, had a wonderful conversation. He was a Jewish man from Israel, immigrated to New York twenty years ago, he had a painting business, and he was this gregarious guy. We struck up a wonderful conversation. In fact, a friendship, we exchanged email addresses and when he found out what I did, because he asked me, well what do I do, I said I'm a minister, I'm taking a group of people to Israel, the conversation suddenly shifted. Now he wants to talk about God, which I was, believe me, I wanted to go there. So he's talking about God and God and God here and God kept the Jews and God and he was right on and, it's interesting, a couple seats in front of me was Kay Arthur, she's an author and she said Skip, the whole time I was praying for you when you were talking to this guy. So he found out that I wrote books, that I was an author, and he goes, oh I'd love to read one of your books. And I said, great, because I'll send you one--trust me. And he realized what he was asking. He goes, um, send me one of your books but, but not one that speaks too much about Jesus Christ. I said well I don't got one of those books. I'll send you what I got. It's not up to you to honor one or the other. If you don't honor both, you don't honor God. And why is that? Because God the Father Himself is the One who exalted Jesus. Paul writes in Philippians 2, God raised Him up to the heights of heaven and gave Him a name that is above every other name so that at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow in heaven or on earth and under the earth, every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. You know what Paul is saying? You're either gonna bow now--or later--but you will bow. You will bow now voluntarily or you will bow then in judgment. But you will acknowledge that He is who He said and who the Father said He is. Now here's the personal question: if He is who He said He is, is He supreme in your life? Do you honor the Son? You go, well how do I do that, Skip? How can I honor the Son? First way you can honor the Son is to receive Him as the Savior of your sins. And the second way is to please Him on an ongoing basis as God and Lord in your life. Those are the ways He can be honored by His people. Here's the fourth and final statement and we have to close. There's more to be said but not time to say it. Verse 24, Jesus says the Father and the Son, because of who they are in tandem will determine your welfare, your eternal welfare. Verse 24: "Most assuredly," there it is again, amen, amen, "I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has," present tense, "everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life." I read a simple statement years ago. I think this was on a bumper sticker as well, so now you know where I get my theology. It, it said two sentences: "Know Jesus, Know Peace." And underneath it, it said, "No Jesus, No Peace." Do you know Jesus? Then you'll know peace. If you say no Jesus--no peace. And you could translate a little bit differently that same idea here. Know Jesus, if you know Jesus, you'll know life. If you say no Jesus, there's no life. He says, "He who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment". Everlasting life is as simple as believing, trusting, relying on what Jesus said about God, about Himself. And He claims here, and elsewhere, to be the One who controls, by whatever choices you make, your eternal destiny. Again, John chapter 8, Jesus speaking, if you do not believe that I am the One I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins. There are some conversations I wish I could have been at when they went down--this is one of them. I would love to have watched the body language of the Jewish leaders as Jesus stepped up to the plate and said what He said. What was their response? We're told twice: they sought to kill Him. They will put Him on a cross and they will be so happy when they do. In other words, they're saying, we don't want this Messiah! We don't want this kind of person who claims this. We don't want this kind of Jesus. I wonder if that's your response. I wonder if your response if something like, I don't want this Jesus ruling over my life. I want my own space. Or if you will say, I want this Jesus to rule over my life and I will surrender to Him. You say, well Skip, aren't there more choices than that? You're just being very narrow-minded here and saying there's only two choices. You know why? Because there's only two choices. Jesus said--Jesus said--Jesus said, you're either for Me or you are against Me. That's what He said. There's no neutral ground. There's no in between. You say well I'm undecided. Well if you mean I'm undecided, I really want to know and I'm working daily to resolve that issue, that's one thing. But that's probably not what you mean. What most people mean, it's a smokescreen to say I've already decided, but it's just a lot more convenient to say I'm agnostic. I'm undecided. You've… to be undecided is to have decided you don't want Him. So once again, Jesus radically, He was a radical, forces us down to make a decision about His claims. As one person put it, one of the reasons people find it hard to be obedient to the commands of Jesus Christ is that they are uncomfortable taking commands from a stranger. If He's Lord and God in your life, taking His commands will be done out of sheer love and joy. But if He's a stranger to you, it'll just become routine religion. Over 30 years ago, there was a 17-year-old boy who was told about Jesus Christ personally and that 17-year-old boy reacted and said, what are you telling me about church and religion? I've heard that stuff all my life! That boy's name was Skip Heitzig. I had been to church all my life. I had heard all the stories. And I was an unsaved churchgoer. And then one afternoon, watching an evangelist on television, for the first time I heard the gospel explained to me in such a very unique and compelling and straightforward way that I simply prayed, I simply believed and trusted Jesus. And everything changed after that. And I'm here years later to say--it works! He still keeps His word! He has spoken life and I'm still alive in a very unique sense and I would say, like the bumper sticker, sorry, there it is again, without Jesus you ain't livin'. Bad English--great theology. Without Jesus you ain't livin'. My guilt was removed; guilt was gone.

Additional Messages in this Series

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