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Service Archives > 43 John - Believe:879 - 2009 > Wonder Bread!

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Wonder Bread! - John 6:30-50

Taught on | Topic: Salvation | Keywords: Bread of Life, election, free will, freewill, predestination, Calvinism, salvation, I AM

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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7/11/2010
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Wonder Bread!
John 6:30-50
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
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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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 Menu—What is This Bread?

    1. It's a Person, Not a Food

    2. It's the Source of Life

  2. The Meal—How is the Bread Enjoyed?

    1. Divine Election—Drawn & Given

    2. Human Choice—Come & Believe

  3. The Master Plan—What Will This Bread Do?

    1. It Will Save You

    2. It Will Satisfy You

    3. It Will Secure You


Making it more than a Sermon:
  1. What kind of bread best describes your spiritual life? (e.g., fresh baked whole wheat, day-old white, sourdough, crusty)? Why?

  2. How satisfied are you with your spiritual diet plan? How many spiritual meals do you enjoy a week?

Detailed Notes

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John follows a pattern in his writing. John uses a sign as a set-up for the sermon.  A demonstration followed by a declaration. The signs in Jerusalem recorded in John 2 were a set up for Jesus' discussion with Nicodemus in John 3. In John 4, the sign of Jesus being able to read and tell the intimate details of the Samaritan woman's life were the set up for His talk to her about drinking living water. In John 5, Jesus' healing of the man at the Pool of Bethesda was the setup for the talk about the four-fold witness of who Jesus Christ is.  Jesus feeding of the 5,000 (15,000 or so)  in John 5 was the set up for this long message about the Bread of Life. John covers the miracles quickly to get to the details of what Jesus said. Miracles reveal Christ's power, but words reveal the plan, the purpose,  and the person.

  1. The Menu--What is This Bread?
    1. It's a Person, Not a Food vss. 33, 35
      1. Comparing Jesus to Moses - Deuteronomy 18:15 
        1. They ask Jesus for a sign
        2. They had just seen a sign
        3. Moses fed them every day, thought he  must be better than Jesus
      2. Manna
        1. God brought it, not Moses
        2. Physical food, with no eternal purpose
        3. True Spiritual nutrition found in living person, not a loaf of bread
      3. I AM the Bread of life
        The first of seven I AM statements. (Light of the World - John 8:12; Door to the Sheepfold - John 10:7; Good Shepherd - John 10:11; Resurrection and Life - John 11:25; the Way, the Truth, the Life - John 14:6; True Vine - John 15:1)
    2. It's the Source of Life Life - Zoe - eternal life spiritual life  (bios- physical life; psuche-conscious, personality) John 14:6; John 10:10
  2. The Meal--How is the Bread Enjoyed? Vss. 36, 43, 37
    1. Divine Election Drawn & Given
      1. The Father's divine invitation
      2. Divine viewpoint
      3. Divine sovereignty
      4. A love gift from the Father to the Son
    2. Human Choice--Come & Believe
      1. You have to come
      2. Human viewpoint
      3. Human choice
        Prevenient gracebefore man can seek God, God must seek him. God draws people and enables them to make their own choice and believe in Him. Instead of fighting about these views, we should respond with a glad heart (rejoice that He has chosen you) and a gabby mouth (tell as many people as you can to believe in Christ).
  3. The Master Plan What Will This Bread Do?
    1. It Will Save You - vs. 47
      1. Everlasting life, salvation
      2. Are you saved? Come to Christ - Matthew 7:13
        1. Separate from sin; repentance
        2. Submit to Christ; faith
    2. It Will Satisfy You - vs. 35
      1. Longing in the heart of every person for profound satisfaction
      2. God put that restlessness there - Romans 8:20
    3. It Will Secure You vs. 40
      1. I will raise him up on the last day (three times)
      2. Iron-clad guarantee

Figures Referenced: Henry Thoureau; Billy Sunday; Charles Spurgeon; Elvis Presley; Albert Einstein; Ferdinand Marcos; Nicolas Cage
Cross References: Deuteronomy 18:15; Matthew 7:13; John 8:12; John 10:7; John 10:10; John 10:11; John 11:5; John 14:6; John 15:1; Revelation 3:20
Greek Terms: zoe- eternal life, spiritual life; bios- physical life; psuche-  conscious, personality

Topic: Salvation

Keywords: Bread of Life, election, free will, freewill, predestination, Calvinism, salvation, I AM

Transcript

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Hey did you know that cookbooks are some of the most widely published and widely read books? I didn't know that till this week. Cookbooks. That must be because we love to eat. That's true, isn't it? We all love to eat. Then the U.S. Census Bureau tells us that the largest category of establishments in America, the largest category, is the category called eateries. Eateries. Restaurants, cafes, bistros. Largest category of establishments in America. That must be because we love to eat.



And then if you look at the Bible, it's interesting that so often the Bible, even Christ Himself, uses analogies from food. This being one of them: I am the bread of life passage. The other most famous one is found in Revelation chapter 3 verse 20: behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone will open the door, I will come in and eat with him--sup with him. Jesus must know that we love to eat. And it's true. We do love to eat and because we love to eat, it shows. And so we have to fight the other battle, don't we, of the dieting? In fact, did you know because we love to eat, that dieting is a 35 billion dollar per year industry in our country? And it amazes me that diets come out all the time, these new diets. It's the same rhetoric but with a new label.



When I cruise, and I'm not a good T.V. watcher, I'm a bouncer; I spend a few seconds on each channel. The more channels, the better. But I'll hear these advertisements: New! Miracle Diet Pills! Eat Anything You Want and Shed Those Unwanted Pounds! But Wait... There's More! Act Now and We'll Double the Order! You know how that goes. One man went to a doctor for advice. He wanted to get on a diet. He knew that he should. He was afraid of what his doctor would tell him so he asked his doctor to devise a diet that would let him eat anything he wanted. Well the doctor smiled at his patient and thought about it a moment and he said ok, try this. Go ahead and eat whatever you want and eat as much as you want but don't swallow. That's your diet. Another man said I have the best diet in the world. I eat like crazy one day and then I starve myself the next. His friend said well that's interesting. How do you feel? He said I feel good every other day.



But now imagine having a bread that tastes incredible, that makes daily life wonderful, that saves you, secures you, and makes you live forever, and is non-fattening. That would indeed be wonder bread. That would indeed be the best kind of life and meal to have. And that's what we want to look at in our verses today.



Now I want to give you a little heads up because I think it'll help you understand the Gospel of John in general. John chose us a pattern or at least this is a pattern of John's writing. When he describes a miracle, he describes a miracle but then he describes in great detail the sermon that comes after the miracle. So we have a sign first and then a sermon. In fact, the way John writes it, the sign is a set-up for the sermon. There's first some miraculous work that Jesus does, a demonstration, followed by a declaration. Here's a few example that you've already noticed. In John chapter 2, all the signs that Jesus did in Jerusalem was a set-up for the speech that He gives to Nicodemus on what it is to be born again. That's John chapter 2 and 3. In John chapter 4, the sign of Jesus being able to read and tell all of the intimate details of the Samaritan woman's life, that's a miracle, was a set-up for His message to her on drinking living water, remember that? Then in John chapter 5, there's the miracle of the man at the pool of Bethesda who was there 38 years. Jesus healed him, that sign was a set-up for a long message Jesus gave to the audience on the fourfold witness of who Jesus Christ was. Now we have the same pattern. Jesus feeds the 5,000, better yet the 15,000 or so, and that sign was a set-up for a long message on the bread of life. Now this is unique to John.



And here's something else. When John writes about miracles, he adds less details than the other Gospel writers. He just basically says this miracle happened, matter-of-fact, but this is what He said afterwards. Whereas the other Gospel writers fill in more details. So it's almost as though he wants to get through the miracle quickly and give you what is most important--the sermon. It's not really what He did that he focuses on, but what He said after what He did. That's very important. Now why would he hurry through the miracle and spend all the time on the words? Well it's simple. Because the miraculous signs merely reveal Christ's power but the words that Jesus says afterwards reveal His plan, His purpose, and His person. See if you have a miracle but no explanation about the miracle, it's like that was cool! That's about it. That was powerful. That demonstrates who He is but he explains who He is and His plan and His purpose in His words.



So we want to look at verse 30 through 50 today and we want to look at 3 ingredients. The message is wonder bread. We want to look at the menu. What is this bread? We want to look at the meal. How do we enjoy this meal? How do we approach this table? And then finally, the master plan. What will this bread do for us? Verse 30: "Therefore they said to Him, "What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'" Then Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." Then they said to Him, "Lord, give us this bread always." And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day." The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, "I am the bread which came down from heaven." And they said, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, 'I have come down from heaven'?" Jesus therefore answered and said to them, "Do not murmur among yourselves. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall be taught by God.' Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die."



Now let's just get in our minds the flow of events so we know where we're at. Jesus, the day before, fed the 5,000, only the men were counted so that's why we say there were at least 15,000 people that Jesus miraculously fed. Well that was in the evening time. After that was done, Jesus marches His disciples to the shore of the Sea of Galilee, puts them in the only boat that is there, sends them away into a storm that would come later. Meanwhile, Jesus climbs back up the hill by Himself, away from the crowd, with His Father and He prays. Sometime in the middle of the night, in the fourth watch, Jesus meets His disciples by simply walking on the water to them and as soon as He gets in the boat, the boat is again miraculously at their destination. That would be Capernaum. The next day, in Capernaum, that crowd looking for Jesus searches for Him, finds Him in Capernaum, and confronts Him. And we saw that last time, last week, when we were together.



Now this follows. And Jesus talks about the bread of life. So let's look at that. That's on the menu. What is the bread of life? Jesus says, and I'll just point out two places, verse 33: "For the bread of God is He," it's a person, "who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." Verse 35: "I am the bread of life." Now why does He say that? He says that because they come asking Him a question, right? Verse 30 is the question they ask. I want you to notice this. "What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do?" That's the question they ask Jesus. Ok, so what's wrong with that question? They just saw the most humongous sign the day before and they're going, we want a sign! You know, it's like so what part of the miraculous free lunch didn't you guys get? You just saw a sign! We want a sign.



But this time they are comparing Jesus to Moses. Now why are they doing that? Well Moses did that, what are You gonna do for us? Here's the reason they did it. Because they remembered that Moses, in Deuteronomy chapter 18, you can look at it later, predicted that the Messiah would come. And here's the language he used. He used for the Lord your God will send to you another Prophet like me, Him you shall listen to. That was the prediction of the coming Messiah. All the rabbis interpreted it as such. So he predicted another Prophet like him. That's why in verse 14 of John chapter 6, they said truly, this is the Prophet who is to come. This is the guy Moses said would come. But in asking Jesus the question and saying what they said to Him, they are marginalizing what Jesus just did the day before in His miraculous feeding. You know what they're saying; they're going, well you know, Moses fed us every day for forty years! So you had a good start yesterday but keep it coming. So Moses must be greater than You are.



Now something else you may not know. The rabbis taught that when the Messiah comes, He will give manna to people just like Moses had done. Well they lived with that thinking so now they're asking, so You fed us one day, by the way, Moses brought it from heaven; You just took existing materials and reproduced it. So they're marginalizing Jesus' miracles. Now go back in your mind to the manna in the wilderness. That was the stuff that fell from heaven everyday and it was like little tiny balls. It looked like coriander seed, the Bible says. And they could take it and they gathered it. They could grind it, they could shape it, they could bake it, they could do a number of things with it, and I suppose you'd have to get very creative since it's the same meal everyday for forty years, right? I'm sure Mrs. Moses had her book, 1,001 Ways to Prepare Manna. There's manna soufflé, there's manna casserole, manicotti would be a favorite. For dessert, of course, it would be bamanna bread. Sorry. And so Jesus responds to this question and He corrects their thinking in three ways. He says number one, it was God that brought manna down from heaven--not Moses. Moses walked outside of his tent every day, looked around, and went wow like everybody else did. He didn't do it--God did it. That's number one. Number two, the manna was just physical food that sustained their physical life but had no value for any eternal purpose. That's why He says in verse 49: Your fathers ate manna and they're dead. All it did was temporarily sustain them physically. And number three, the true spiritual nutrition that you need is found in a living Person not a loaf of bread.



And He said I am, I am the bread of life. Now that statement, I am, is something I want you to take note of because you will find in the Gospel of John there are seven I am statements of Jesus. This is number one. I am the bread of life. Number two will be found in chapter 8. I am the light of the world. And then number three will be in chapter 10: I am the door to the sheepfold. And then the next one is I am the Great Shepherd or the Good Shepherd, also in John chapter 10. And then the next one is I am the resurrection and the life, John chapter 11. And then the next one is I am the way, the truth, and the life, John chapter 14. And the seventh one is I am the true vine, that's John chapter 15. This is the first one. I am the bread of life.



So Jesus says that to them and then you'll notice verse 34: "Then they said to Him, "Lord, give us this bread always." You see, they still do not get it. They are still thinking in physical terms. Physical bread. You know, here's Jesus talking about bread, it's wonder bread, it's the best bread, I have super bread. And they're going great, that's fantastic, so hook us up! This guy's a walking bakery! Give us this bread always! Now you've had this experience, haven't you, that you've shared with people and you've talked to them about spiritual truth and spiritual life and it's like, they're like deer in the headlights. They don't get it. They do not connect. They don't have the capacity spiritually speaking to understand. That's what's going on here. Jesus speaks to them about real life.



Now speaking of life, look at verse 33 again: "For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." Think about that for a moment. The bread that Jesus is speaking about isn't the bread they're speaking about, right? They're speaking about physical loaves of bread. He's speaking about Himself--a whole different kind of bread. Now when He talks about life, He's talking about a different kind of life. They're thinking physical life. He's thinking in different terms, right?



Now this is so important and I've shared with you before, it bears repeating, the word that Jesus uses here is very particular. It's the Greek word zoie. Now listen carefully. There's three Greek words translated the same one English word, life. One word is bios; we get the word biology or biosphere from it. It's physical life. It's physical, natural human life. Bios. It's where most people spend most of their energy and concern. A Gallup poll asked people if you could change one thing about your life what would it be? Almost universally, the answer was my appearance. Not my personality. Not my spiritual being. But my appearance. That's number one. Number two, the second Greek word is psyche, we get the term psychology from it or whatever, that preface, psychology, psychoanalysis, psychotic. It means your personality, your inner life, your thought life. But the third word is this word. It's zoie. And this is a word that takes our focus off of the earth and sends it heavenward. It's more eternal life. It's a quality of life that is spiritual life that will last forever. That's the word that Jesus uses here. Zoie. The life that I give is real life.



Now Jesus uses this term not only here but a number of places. One of the most famous ones is I am the way, the truth, and the? Zoie. Life. More than biological or thought life--the life! And I think there's one thing Jesus said in John 10 that sort of sums it all up nicely. He said I have come that they may have life [zoie] and have it more abundantly. Or in super abundance. Or to the max. Or overflowing. Or to the brim. That's the kind of life He's speaking about. I've come so that the whole world might have real life. To the brim. Overflowing. Now how many people do you know that really live like that? To the brim! Overflowing! Life abundantly. Henry David Thoreau once said most men lead lives of quiet desperation. Not to the brim.



Here's the sad thing. So many people connect Christianity with the very opposite of living life to the brim. They see Christianity as something that really takes the flavor out of life, that takes life away from you. I remember when I first became a Christian, I told an acquaintance of mine that I had committed my life to Christ and I am now serving Christ. He turned to me and said oh, I'm so sorry to hear that. Now he was being very snide but I knew what he was saying. He was saying well I guess your fun life really ends, doesn't it? You can't really have any fun anymore because now you're a Christian. I had to assure him the fun has just begun. This is real life. And I think Christians ought to portray that if indeed they're feasting on this bread. Billy Sunday used to say if you have no joy, there's a leak somewhere in your Christianity. Life! So that's the menu. That's what that bread is. It is Christ Himself and He gives life.



Now let's consider the meal. How do we approach the table? How do we enjoy this meal? Can we only get there by invitation? Or can anyone, at anytime, just choose to go and enjoy it? Well let's look at verse 36: "But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." Now let your eyes go down to verse 43. Jesus said stop murmuring among yourselves, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught by God.' Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me." Now He seems to be saying that on one hand, you can only come to this table by invitation of the Father. He has to call you. He has to draw you. On the other hand, He seems to be saying that you just have to believe. You have to come. That it's a human choice. And you would actually be very true in observing that because both of those truths are written into what we just read. Both are true. It's the same truth from two different viewpoints. One is a divine viewpoint; the other is a human viewpoint.



From the divine perspective, God elects you and chooses you and draws you. It's God's doing. It's His sovereignty. And that's found in some of these phrases like 'whom the Father has given to Me' or 'no man can come unless the Father draws him'. That's the divine perspective. But the human perspective is that we make a choice. That's found in some of the language like 'he who comes to Me' or 'believe Me' or 'you do not believe in Me'. So there's two things in play, right? Divine sovereignty and human choice. And they do not contradict. In fact, this is one of the very unique places in Scripture where both of them are found in the same exact verse. Same breath. Both truths are taught. Look at verse 37: "All that the Father gives Me will come". That's election. It's whom the Father gives to the Son. Have you ever thought of yourself as a love gift to the Son? Isn't that a wonderful thought? Every Christian in redemptive history and the purpose of redemption is to collect a group of people and the Father gives that group of people, called the Bride of Christ, the church, to His Son as a love gift. You're part of that love gift. But that's divine election. "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me". But look at the very next phrase: "And the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out". Now that's human choice.



There's a doctrine, and I hope you love doctrine by now and don't hate that word, I love the word, there's a word called prevenient grace. Prevenient grace. Some of you have heard of it. It's the teaching that says, before man can seek God, God must have sought the man or woman. And in seeking the man or woman, God elects, predestines, chooses, and draws from the world, but also enables that person to make their own choice and come to Him and cooperate with Him. And both are true, by the way. And I know that mystifies a lot of people. well, how can both be true? Well here's a little analogy I've always loved. Last week I got on an airplane at LaGuardia Airport in New York and I flew to Dallas. That flight was put on the books before I even chose to get on it. The FAA, the Federal Aviation Administration, had determined the destination and the time of that flight. But there were a lot of people on board who made the choice to get on that plane. Number one, they chose to fly. Number two, they chose what airlines to fly on. Number three, they chose what date to fly on. And then once they got on the airplane, they weren't like chained up and prisoners of predestination. Those people on board could get up and go to the restroom, they could sit and read a book, they could talk to one another, they could eat like a whole bag of peanuts about that big, all four peanuts, but they were making choices. While they were living with those choices, all the while that plane was flying to a predestined port. And so both were cooperating together.



So what do we do about these two seemingly contradictory truths? I know what we can do. Let's fight about it! Let's have the Calvinists versus the Arminians and they'll draw theological swords and they'll fight it out. They've been doing that for a long time. That really hasn't worked. That hasn't got us anywhere. I don't think that's the best way to do it. I think the best thing to do is twofold. Number one, have a glad heart. Have a glad heart. You know, instead of looking and trying to debate people who don't agree with this point of theology or that point of theology, why don't you just sit back and enjoy the fact that you've been chosen by God? Instead of going, I don't understand, how can God elect? How can God predestine? How can God choose? Get a clue! He chose you! Be really stoked about that. Eat up. Enjoy that bread. A glad heart. Number two, have a gabby mouth. What I mean by that is tell as many people as you can to believe in Jesus Christ. Let the word out. I was in a cab, several cabs, in New York City. I was telling every cab driver about Christ. Where you from? Because you know what? It's like the world converges there and these taxi drivers are from all over the globe. It was world evangelism in like a week. And I would sow a seed. I'd plant a seed. So have a glad heart, have a gabby mouth, tell as many people as you can to believe in Christ, and I should add, by the way, in so doing, you will discover whom God has chosen. Maybe not that day but maybe later on that seed will stick.



Someone remarked to Charles Haddon Spurgeon, if you've heard me for any length of time you know how much I love to quote Charles Spurgeon, by the way, Charles Spurgeon was a devout Calvinist though he was very balanced. Somebody said to him, if I believed the way you believed about election, I could never preach the way you preach. That man said that because Spurgeon would call people to Christ, tell them to believe in Christ, tell them they need to make a choice about Christ. So this person said, if I believed the way you believed about election, I'd never preach the way you preach. Listen to his answer. Spurgeon said if the Lord had put a yellow stripe down the backs of the elect, I'd go up and down the street lifting up shirttails to find out who had the yellow stripe and then I'd give the gospel to them. But God didn't do it that way. He told me to preach the gospel to every creature and that whosoever will may come. That's a good, balanced response.



So we've looked at the menu, the bread of life, we've seen the meal and how it is enjoyed, let's consider now the master plan. What will this bread do? What are the benefits of it? I remember as a kid when I heard about Wonder Bread, some of you remember the commercials, Wonder Bread builds strong bodies twelve ways! I never knew what those twelve ways were. I just knew twelve ways. And I went to their website the other day and I discovered they're still touting how good even their white bread is. This has been official. You'll get all the calcium, all the vitamins, you'll need!



Well what will this super bread, this wonder bread that Jesus talks about do for people? Well number one, it'll save you. It'll save you. Verse 47: "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life." That's salvation. You'll have life because Jesus was the One who conquered death for you. And He promises life. It'll save you. Are you saved? Are you sure you're saved? I remember the first time somebody asked me, are you saved? I didn't have any clue what they were talking about. They said, are you saved? I said, from what? What do I need to be saved from? And then they explained to me about how we've all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and what needs to happen and as they explained it to me it's like, well, I'm not in how you describe it. You say well what does one have to do to be saved? Verse 37, Jesus said, "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me". You have to come to Him. And I think that verse was the great hope of Jesus. He knew that when He shared His truth, when He would preach, that not everybody would listen to Him. That many would turn Him off. That many had no desire at all to listen to that sermon. But He knew that some would. And He knew that some would respond. And that's the hope of every preacher who pours his life out and his heart out in a message is that he knows not everybody's gonna be into it but he knows some will. And all that will, will come to Him.



Well what does it mean to come to Jesus? Because Jesus isn't like physically here on the earth anymore so how can anybody come to Him? Well to come to Jesus implies, though it's not written here verbatim, in the rest of the New Testament we discover it means you turn away from sin and you turn to Christ. That's repentance and faith. That you separate yourself from your past sin and you submit yourself to Jesus Christ. That's coming to Christ. You have to surrender, submit, but also separate from sin. Charles Spurgeon, again, said you and your sin must separate or you and your God will never come together. Because remember what Jesus said at the end of His famous Sermon on the Mount? He said enter into what kind of gate? The narrow gate. The narrow gate. For wide is the gate that leads to destruction and many people enter therein, but narrow is the way that leads to eternal life and very few people will enter in that gate. It's a narrow gate. In fact, it's so narrow it's like a turnstile. It only admits one person at a time. There's no two-for-one special. There's no family deal. If you believe then We'll just automatically save your whole family. Every person comes one by one and the kingdom of God is built one person at a time. But if you come to Jesus by separating from sin and submitting to Christ, repentance and faith, it'll save you. You will have eternal life.



Second thing this bread will do is it will satisfy you once you come. Verse 35: "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst." There is a deep longing in the heart of every single person on earth to have the profound hunger that they have satiated--satisfied. They're looking for something beyond this life that'll satisfy them. there's a deep longing. Everybody has it. Even great entertainers have that longing. Elvis Presley, the night before he died, he wrote a letter. It was found in the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel. Among the things he wrote in the letter, like I don't want to be around people, ironically he said I am so alone. I feel so alone. Even great scientists have that longing. Albert Einstein wrote a letter to his friend. He said it's ironic that I am so known universally but so lonely inside. Even great politicians have that deep longing. Ferdinand Marcos who was once the president of the Philippines wrote in his memoirs at the time, his second term of president, he said I am the president. I am the most powerful man in the Philippines. But he said I feel within myself a discontent. Well even Solomon said that, right? He was the King of Israel. He had it all. He wrote a book about it and he said over and over again, vanity, vanity, all is vanity! It's all empty.



Nothing on earth satisfies. Did you know that the United States has the highest per capita rate of boredom in the world? Now we have the most artificial amusements of any country in the world, but we have the highest rate of boredom. How many times have your kids said, I'm bored! Or you said, I'm bored! Or they all said, let's move to another place where there's more things to do because it's so boring here! And so you move there and you do all those things and guess what? I'm bored! Because that hole deep inside isn't filled by things and attractions but by this bread. Is your thirst quenched? And if your thirst is quenched, if your hunger is satiated, and you're a Christian, do you live like that? Do you show that? Are you the kind of Christian who just sort of walks around, head down, hi, I'm a Christian, life's a drag, can't wait till I get outta here and go to heaven. If it's good news--show it! Show what's so good about it. By the way, you know who put that hole inside of us? And by the way, Nicolas Cage said something interesting, the actor, he said there must be a hole in the soul of my generation. Bingo. And Nic, guess who put the hole there? God did. That's how it got there. God put the hole in the soul of every person. Did you know that? Romans chapter 8 said all of creation was made subject to emptiness, futility, vanity. God made us subject to it. Why would He do that? So that in our hunger we would feast on the bread of life. That's what this message is all about that Jesus gives.



So it will save you, it will satisfy you, and third and finally, and we'll close, it will secure you. Verse 40, Jesus said: "And I will raise him up at the last day." I'll raise him up at the last day. Hmm. He says that three times in our text. He says something and then He goes, oh and I'll rest him up in the last day. He says something else, oh and I'll raise him up on the last day. And oh, by the way, I'll raise him up on the last day. Three times. Now why does He do that? Because He's giving to us this iron clad guarantee that eternal salvation is for all true believers period. It's so iron clad that even when you die and you will, unless the Lord comes back first, there'll be a resurrection of your physical body. Even in the face of death, it's a guarantee. It's secure.



So it is true, we do like to eat, but have you noticed that not everything we eat satisfies us? You ever had a meal you go... not so much on that meal. Uh... A show of hands--honest hands. How many of you have ever eaten at 31 Flavors ice cream? Raise your hand. Ok. Pretty good, huh? Can I know you're gonna say it's not my favorite, my favorite... don't care. How many of you have eaten, now show of hands, at 567 Flavors? Ok. So I didn't think so. Unless you lived in Venezuela. There's a guy in Venezuela named Manuel Olivares who started an ice cream joint. He offers 567 flavors of ice cream, including onion. Yeah. Chile. See, some of you, New Mexico, it's like... yeah? And our question would be what? Red or green? Onion, chile, beer. I'm looking around to see how many guys are into that. Eggplant ice cream, smoked trout... ha ha ha! Spaghetti and parmesan, chicken with rice, and spinach. Now can I just say some flavors are just wrong? That's wrong! Can you go into a restaurant and say or ice cream joint and say, I'd like two scoops of your onion and one scoop of smoked trout? Not gonna happen! It wouldn't be satisfying. It wouldn't be fulfilling. In fact, even Olivares said many of my flavors have failed. Duh! Like his avocado. He said I had to throw ninety pounds of avocado ice cream away--it wasn't smooth enough. Ick. And probably after thirty minutes, it would turn brown like avocados do. But guaranteed this bread will satisfy and save and secure you. It will give you the kind of life that people are searching for. Jesus will never fail you. As a friend, as a source of nourishment, or as the dispenser of truth.

Additional Messages in this Series

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10/25/2009
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Believe:879
John 20:30-31
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Is your faith in need of bolstering? Do you find yourself saying "Help my unbelief?" The book of John presents a unique, up close and personal look at the life of Christ, focusing on Jesus as God Incarnate. As we dive into a thorough study of each of John's 879 verses, we'll walk with disciples who were eyewitnesses of His ministry, His death, and His resurrection, and we'll experience abundant life in His name.
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11/1/2009
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The World's Most Important Word
John 1:1-5
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It may be difficult to say what the most important word is in any language, but not for the Apostle John. He begins his gospel with the identification of Jesus as, "The Word." Starting with the very beginning of beginnings, John shows us the fundamental truths about the Jesus that he writes about in the rest of this book. The language is simple and unmistakable and yet the truths presented are deep and extremely profound. Let's see how John presents Jesus and Who Jesus is according to one who was closest to Him.
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11/15/2009
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Step Into Son-Light
John 1:6-13
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I love early mornings when sunlight first comes up over the eastern sky. But if you’ve ever had the experience of the sun suddenly shining into your eyes (like when you turn westward while the sun is going down), it's not so pleasant. Most people wince when light is shined in their eyes. Jesus is presented here as being "the light of men" and "shining in darkness". But the world cries out, "Turn off that light!" How can Jesus enlighten your life and how will you respond to Him?
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11/22/2009
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One of a Kind!
John 1:14-18
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It is a mistake to think of Jesus as "one among many" options in the pantheon of deities. He is unique, matchless, unrivaled, singular, and incomparable. From His birth to His Resurrection, there is no one who even comes close to the majestic Christ. Jesus was One-Of-A-Kind! Let’s consider four distinct ways that Jesus was unique and what these mean to us today.
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12/6/2009
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The Greatest Man Meets the Greatest Lamb
John 1:19-34
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Everyone is good at something, maybe even great at something. Maybe you're a great artist or a great mom or even a great leader. Jesus said that John the Baptizer was the greatest man who had ever lived (Matt. 11:11). But John knew Jesus to be the greatest One ever—past, present and future - the Sacrificial Lamb sent to remove sin. Today we discover from John the Baptist how to witness for Christ and we look at the identity and the activity of this most unusual man.
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12/13/2009
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Are You a Follower-Really?
John 1:35-42
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You can't make it through much of the Bible without coming to the word Disciple. Just the four Gospels alone use this term 228 times. Basically a disciple is the follower of a teacher: one who observes, learns, and practices what the teacher shares. We now come to the first time John uses this term in his book. So today we assess ourselves by asking, "Are YOU a follower?" Lets look at five characteristics of the first disciples of Jesus and see if they’re reflected in our lives.
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1/3/2010
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Finding the God Who Found You
John 1:43-51
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When the first disciples encountered Jesus, they chose to follow Him--only to discover that they had already been chosen by Him! Without getting drowned in that theological tide pool, let's consider and marvel at how both of these realities work together. The Bible teaches that God sovereignly elects people for salvation while at the same time teaches our responsibility to believe in Christ. Let’s see how both Philip and Nathanael encountered Jesus for the first time.
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1/10/2010
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The Wedding Guest
John 2:1-12
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How cool (and also potentially scary) would it be to have Jesus as a guest at your own wedding! The unnamed couple at the village wedding of Cana had that privilege. Jesus was the wedding guest who brought the best gift. His first miraculous sign was performed while celebrating that marriage. But far more than just attending a nuptial party, Jesus demonstrated who He was in relation to four entities: His mother, the moment, a miracle, and His men.
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1/17/2010
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Trouble in the Temple
John 2:13-22
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A hymn by Charles Wesley begins, "Gentle Jesus, meek and mild, look upon a little child..." It’s a beautiful song with a beautiful thought. However, Jesus is anything but gentle and mild in John chapter two. Here in the temple at Jerusalem, He displays His righteous anger as He overturns tables and beats the religious businesspeople with whips! But Jesus was using this trouble in the temple to predict a greater sign—the triumph of His own physical temple—His bodily resurrection!
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1/24/2010
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Uncommitted!
John 2:23-25
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These three verses are some of the most unusual in the New Testament. They describe a scene in the life of Jesus that explains His popularity and fame. The response of people to the miracles of Jesus is understandable. What is not readily understandable is Jesus' response to the interested and excited crowd. Though they believed in Him, He was not too energized over their kind of faith. Understanding this will help us to understand Jesus and His mission.
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1/31/2010
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Nick at Nite!
John 3:1-8
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The meeting of Jesus and Nicodemus at night is one of the most famous and compelling stories in Scripture. This man's inner curiosity and spiritual thirst drove him to want to know more. What he heard puzzled and astonished him, but he heard from Jesus' own lips the only way to be saved. Jesus' words here divide all of humanity into two groups: those who are born again and those who are not.
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2/7/2010
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Extreme Makeover: Soul Edition!
John 3:9-21
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For years ABC has aired two different versions of a show called Extreme Makeover. One is a total body makeover designed to enhance the physical beauty of a selected individual. The other is a Home Edition that rebuilds or adds to a struggling family's residence. But only Jesus can give the soul a makeover; only Jesus can ready a person for eternity. Here Jesus answers Nicodemus' question of how a person can have the New Life that comes from the New Birth.
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2/14/2010
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God's Valentine
John 3:16
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Today we take a look at the Bible's most famous verse and probe its depth while preparing to take the Lord's Supper together. Though most everyone knows this verse, John 3:16 is much more than just a slogan; it is a summary statement of God's love through Jesus Christ. This single verse of scripture gives us the salient truths of God's plan of salvation in abridged form. Let's consider God's great plan for us as we unpack it phrase by phrase.
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2/21/2010
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To Grow Up, You Must Grow Down!
John 3:22-30
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"They that know God will be humble, and they that know themselves cannot be proud!" That's what British Puritan John Flavel once said. And that’s how John the Baptist once lived! John the Baptist and his followers provide some great applicational fodder for how Christians should get along and humble themselves before one another and God. For any Christian believer who wants to spiritually grow up and grow strong, he must first grow down.
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2/28/2010
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The Nail Everything Hangs On
John 3:31-36
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Imagine if everything you valued was in a sack, hanging on the wall from one nail. It surely must be a strong nail, or you're lost! If life could all be boiled down to one thing or one word or one most important principle, what would it be? What is the irreducible minimum for everything and everyone? John answers that here, saying that Jesus Christ is the nail that everything hangs on. He determined what has been and what will be. Thus our knowledge of Him and relationship to Him is paramount above everything else.
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3/7/2010
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Refreshment!
John 4:1-14
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You know the feeling of swallowing ice-cold water on a hot day or after a savory meal—it's refreshing! That cool, invigorating sip revitalizes you from the inside out and makes you say, "Ahh!" Well, that experience is not limited to the physical realm, but is even more satisfying in the spiritual realm when dealing with Living Water. Jesus came to give thirst-quenching spiritual life to every parched soul on the planet. When was the last time you drank deeply?
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3/14/2010
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How to Lead People to Water
John 4:10-30
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The world is thirsty and doesn't even know it, or won't admit it, or will look to be satisfied by everything else but Jesus Christ. So your job and mine is to lead them to water (living water, that is). Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman illustrates perhaps the best approach for personal evangelism to be found anywhere. Leading someone to the place of spiritual satisfaction is a process that rests upon two pillars—the pillar of attitude and the pillar of approach:
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3/21/2010
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What God Really Wants
John 4:20-24
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Worship conferences, worship seminars and worship experiences abound within the landscape of the American church, but in all these there's something that seems to be always lacking—worship is confined to the activity of singing songs. When the subject is brought up in this chapter, Jesus talks plainly and openly about true worship: what it is and what it isn't. Let's explore these few verses to discover what God is seeking after and how to be part of fulfilling that.
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3/28/2010
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Spiritual Farming 101
John 4:28-42
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Farmers live for the harvest season--a time when their crops are taken in and profits are made. But crops don’t grow on their own. Seeds must be sown and plants must be garnered by a whole group of active farm workers. God is the head Farmer and we are His farmhands, all working together to produce a bumper-crop of people who believe that Jesus is the Savior--Are you in?
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4/18/2010
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Everyone Needs a Faith-Lift!
John 4:43-54
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Like any muscle in our physical body, our faith too must be exercised in order for it to develop. Faith is developed in virtually every circumstance in life, but especially in hard times. Peter put it best, "These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold--and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold" (1 Peter 1:7). Let's look at a real-life story of one who came to Jesus in his trial and had his faith lifted to a higher dimension.
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4/25/2010
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Healing Misery with Mercy
John 5:1-16
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One of Jesus' most distinguishing characteristics in His earthly ministry was His mercy toward people who were hurting. This is not astonishing, for the prophet Micah announced that "God delights in mercy" (Micah 7:18). Jesus standing among the squalid misery of sickness and hopelessness while at a feast in Jerusalem is a perfect setting to show how Christians can show mercy to a world in misery. But be warned: not everyone will be sympathetic to your cause!
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5/23/2010
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Like Father, Like Son
John 5:16-24
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The most important question you could ever ask is not, "Who am I?" but rather, "Who is Christ?" That was the supreme question Jesus presented to His disciples when He said, "Who do you say that I am?" (Matthew 16:15). Jesus made the most astonishing claim ever when He confronted the Jewish leaders of Jerusalem here in John 5. What do these claims have to do with us today? Absolutely everything!
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5/30/2010
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Everyone Lives Forever
John 5:25-29
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My mom used to wake me up early every morning with her sweet voice saying, "Rise and Shine!" It took a few times but I eventually got up out of bed. As Jesus declares that He will be in charge of the future judgment, He too will usher the call to everyone who has died to "Rise up!" But not everyone will rise up to shine; some will rise up to suffer. Let’s consider three inevitable and unalterable truths about the future for all of us: We will all die, we will all be judged, and we will all rise again to live forever... but where?
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6/6/2010
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Why Should You Believe?
John 5:30-47
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The theme of John's gospel is "believe." The whole reason he wrote this book is so that people who read it will believe in Jesus (see John 20:31). But why should they believe? And even more applicable, why should we believe? After all, the events of the New Testament are over 2,000 years removed from us today. Jesus' confrontation with the religious leaders in John 5 tells us why we should believe. Like a skilled lawyer, Jesus calls upon four witnesses to testify to His claims and these four give the reasons for our believing in Jesus Christ.
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6/13/2010
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Lessons From a Picnic
John 6:1-14
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This story ranks in the "top ten" of the most famous miracles of Jesus Christ. In fact this is the most famous of all His miracles as it alone is recorded by all four gospel accounts. But this is far more than a Sunday school tale. This extraordinary picnic was not just a free meal for five thousand folks; it provided lessons for both ancient and modern disciples. Here are four profound truths that emerge from this lakeside lunch.
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6/20/2010
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What Storm Goers Need to Know
John 6:15-21
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Have you ever been on the ocean in a raging storm? If so, you know that a well-trained crew follows an immediate protocol until the storm is over. Their knowledge and experience about violent weather are invaluable for those who want to survive. Using the story of Jesus walking on the waves to His disciples, let’s discover a few things about the stormy trials of life.
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7/4/2010
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The Right Thing, The Wrong Way
John 6:22-29
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Our text reads that crowds of people came "seeking Jesus." That sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? And yet Jesus challenges them as to their motive because they were seeking Him (the right thing) in order to satisfy themselves only (the wrong motive). Let’s consider three monumental truths about how people interact with spiritual things in general and Jesus Christ in particular. Let’s also reconsider the starting point for anyone who wants anything to do with Christ.
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7/18/2010
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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.