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Seeing Jesus Through the Fog - John 7:1-13

Taught on | Topic: Discipleship | Keywords: disciple, discipleship, evangelism, God's timing, Daniel's prophecy

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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8/1/2010
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Seeing Jesus Through the Fog
John 7:1-13
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
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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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. His Unwavering Priority (vv. 1-2)

  2. His Unbelieving Family (vv. 3-5)

  3. His Uncompromising Chronology (vv. 6-9)

  4. His Uncommitted Assembly (vv. 10-13)

Making it more than a Sermon:
  1. Which best describes you: A. Spectator, B. Disciple, C. Disciple-maker, D. Disciple and Disciple-maker?

  2. Do you have family or friends who think your beliefs are foolish? How does this affect your relationship with them? What does Jesus’ model teach us?

  3. Think of the choices you’ve made in the last year. Were they always the best choice? What constitutes a good choice/bad choice?

Detailed Notes

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There is fog on the heart of many concerning Christ. The fog of unbelief: His own brothers don't believe in Him; the fog of hatred: His enemies and their growing animosity toward Him; the fog of religion: believing He is a good man, or a good religious figure; the fog of media: a promotion that He is a guru, illusionist, or attempted to procreate with Mary Magdalene a race to take over the world.
  1. His Unwavering Priority (vv. 1-2)
    1. After these things - meta tauta
      1. Gap of time representing at least six months (compare John 6:4: Passover with John 7:2: Feast of Tabernacles)
      2. Fill in the gap with Matthew 15-18 (spending time with His disciples)
        1. Caesarea Philippi (Who do men say that I am?)
        2. Transfiguration
        3. Who is the greatest in the kingdom?
        4. Parables unlocked to His disciples
    2. He spent two days with 15,000 people; he spent 6 months with His disciples
    3. Training His disciples to be unleashed; discipleship was His strategy to spread His message. Matthew 28:18-20
      1. Paul followed this model with Titus and Timothy
      2. Paul taught this model 2 Timothy 2:2
      3. We should follow this model
        1. Mass evangelism, unlimited budget, 1000 converted a night, 35 years, 365,000 new believers, we would be further behind at the end because of the birth rate
        2. Only believer on earth, lead one to Christ per year, and each year after each believer does so, within 50 years the whole world could be won to Christ.
    4. The success of a church is not the size of the congregation, but the depth of the discipleship.
    5. Application: How long have you been a Christian? Where are your disciples?
      1 Corinthians 4: 16; 1 Corinthians 11:1; Acts 2:42
  2. His Unbelieving Family (vv. 3-5)
    1. Jesus' brothers (half brothers)
      1. Sons of Joseph and Mary
      2. James, Joseph, Simon, Judas – Matthew 13:55
    2. Go Down to Jerusalem - why?
      1. They remember he lost many disciples, bolster his popularity ratings
      2. They, like other Jews, are waiting for a political messiah; forcing that role and personal benefit
      3. They weren't convinced; IF you do these things, they didn't believe John 6:30
    3. Jesus brothers were unbelievers
      1. Proximity is no guarantee of spirituality
      2. To what extent? Mark 3:21
    4. Application: The hardest group to witness to is your own family.
    5. They eventually believed Acts 1:14
      1. James 1 Corinthians 15:7; Pastor of the church in Jerusalem, wrote James
      2. Jude wrote Jude
  3. His Uncompromising Chronology (vv. 6-9)
    1. Jesus is always on a divine timetable – John 7:30; John 8:20; John 13:1; John 17:1; Mark 14:41
    2. Jesus' whole life was moving toward the cross; six months from this time. Galatians 4:4-5
    3. Daniel predicted the time of Messiah exactly– Daniel 9:25-26
      1. 483 years from the commandment to restore Jerusalem, made by Artixerxes March 14, 445 BC
      2. Sir Robert Anderson counted from that time, 483 years, 360 days per year according to the Babylonian calendar, 173,880 days, arriving at April 6, 32 AD
      3. The day Jesus revealed Himself as Messiah: April 6, 32 AD
    4. Application: Your timing and God's timing may be different. Jesus is always right on time.
  4. His Uncommitted Assembly (vv. 10-13)
    1. The Jews were his enemies; they sought to kill Him
    2. Some said he was a good man; He wasn't, He was God
    3. Some said he was a deceiver
    4. Application: Who do you say he is? John 6:69


Greek Terms: meta tauta-after these things

Figures Referenced: Sir Robert Anderson; Charles Spurgeon; C.S. Lewis

Cross References: Daniel 9:25-26; Matthew 13:55; Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 3:21; Mark 14:41; John 6:4; John 6:30; John 6:69; John 7:30; John 8:20; John 13:1; John 17:1; Acts 1:14; Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 11:1; 1 Corinthians 15:7; Galatians 4:4-5; 2 Timothy 2:2

Topic: Discipleship

Keywords: disciple, discipleship, evangelism, God's timing, Daniel's prophecy

Transcript

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Let's go before the Lord in prayer. Heavenly Father, Solomon tells us that a wise man will hear and will increase in learning. And that a man of understanding will attain wise counsel. We pray that we would be those wise men and women who listen and not just for the sake of hearing, but for the sake of receiving truth implanted in our souls that becomes our very life and changes the way we view the world. We pray Lord that indeed you would speak and that as you speak, we would respond, in Jesus name, Amen.



Question, what is the foggiest place on planet earth? Now, if you've heard this message before this weekend, you can't cheat. What's the foggiest place in the world? Somebody said England. Any other takers? What? San Francisco, that's actually a good close second or third. The foggiest place in the world, does somebody else have one? What? I didn't hear that. Seattle, that's a good. You have to shout it out from up here. Good guesses but you're all wrong.



And of course, it's sort of a disadvantage to ask people in a place where it's sun shiny 310 days a year, with the foggiest place in the world is. The foggiest place on planet earth is a place in a Canada, off in Newfoundland Coast called the Grand Banks of Newfoundland in Canada where the Labrador Current from the North meets with the Gulf Stream from the South giving a total of 206 days of fog a year. It's the foggiest place on earth.



And actually that was trick question, because spiritually speaking; the foggiest place in the world is the human heart. When it comes to seeing truth and especially the identity of Christ, the human heart is foggy concerning him. Now fog can be beautiful. It renders things in sort of a magical soft way but it can also be dangerous because it hampers visual perception. You can't tell how close you are to that car or far you are to that car and that's why whenever it gets foggy in places that get fogged, authorities are always worried about pileups on the freeway. I read recently about a 200 car pileup in India injuring hundreds of people and killing several.



In Chapter 7 of the gospel of John, "There's a fog that has settled in on the hearts of people concerning Christ." First of all, there's the fog of unbelief, his brothers, his own brothers don't believe in him. Second, there's a fog of hatred. The enemies of Jesus have a growing animosity and it intensifies in Chapter 7. And then, let's call it a fog of religion where people would look at Jesus and say, "Well, he's a good man". That's about as far as we can go. He's a good religious figure.



Now, a lot of people would prefer to see Jesus in the foggy manner they have concocted him to be. They think he looks more beautiful that way. You've all heard people say, "Well, I picture Jesus as such and such" that's because He's more beautiful they think in that light but it's far more dangerous. I'm going to add to that little list of foggy notions and for our day and age, let's add the fog of media. Have you notice that at least twice a year on big Christian Holidays, Christmas and Easter that the media likes to put out some new story or new documentary about the real Jesus. We've discovered, nobody else has but we have the real Jesus and they come up with some new notion. There's the study stream of new ideas. Some of those notions are, he was a guru or he was an illusionist that's where all the miracles came from was just illusion.



Third one that I heard of about is that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and trying to procreate a secret lineage to rule planet earth. So we need the fog lifted and that's where John comes in the book of John, the gospel of John, He's all about lifting the fog and in Chapter 7, there's another installment of lifting the fog and seeing Jesus for who he really is. So let's read John Chapter 7 beginning in Verse 1 down to Verse 13.



After these things, Jesus walked in Galilee for he did not want to walk in Judea because the Jew sought to kill him. Now the Jews feast of tabernacles was at hand. His brothers therefore said to him, "Depart from hearing, go into Judea that your disciples may also see the works that you are doing". For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world. For even His brothers did not believe in him.



And then, Jesus said to them "My time is not yet come. You're time is always ready. The world cannot hate you but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil. You go up to this feast, I am not yet going up to this feast for my time has not yet fully come." When he said these things to them, he remained in Galilee. But when His brothers had gone up, then He also went up to the feast not openly but as it were in secret. And then the Jews sought him at the feast and said, "Where is He?" And there was much complaining among the people concerning Him. Some said he is good, other said no. On the contrary, he deceives the people. However, no one spoke of him for fear of the Jews.



Now in lifting the fog this morning, there are four things I want you to notice and first of all, in the first couple of verses is Jesus' unwavering priority. I'll explain what I mean by that. John begins the chapter with a famous Johnism, I call it. And here it is "After these things." John likes that phrase. In Greek, its "Metatalta", it's a transitional phrase. But 15 times in John's writings, the gospel of John and the book of Revelation, he uses that "after these things." And of course, that prompts us to asks, what things? Very good, what things? Well, we would assume all the things in Chapter 6 but we have a problem. There's a gap of time between the close of Chapter 6 and the beginning of Chapter 7 that represents six months at least. How do I know that?



Well, if you go back to Chapter 6 Verse 4, it says now the Passover, feast of the Jews was near. Okay, that's Chapter 6, that's Passover. Now our chapter, Chapter 7 Verse 2, now the Jews feast of tabernacles was at hand. Okay, so Passover takes place in the spring, our March or April. Tabernacles take place in the fall around our October. So there is a six-month gap between the setting of Chapter 6 and the setting of Chapter 7 of which John says absolutely nothing to us about what was happening in Jesus life. He's silent.



Now I got to tell you in defense of John that John wasn't trying to give us a chronology of events of Jesus life. But rather an anthology of events that is select events and speeches of Jesus to show who he was that mend my believed. That's the whole idea of the gospel of John. But there's a six month gap that is in those words "after these things" Jesus walked in Galilee.



Now to fill in the gaps, if you want to know what he did and to me it's quite interesting. You have to go to the gospel of Matthew and look at Chapters 15, 16, 17, and 18. Those four chapters along with the parallel in Mark Chapter 7, 8 and 9 fill in the blanks. Let me tell you what he was doing in those six months.



He was spending it with his disciples. Now follow me on this. Spending with His disciples, He moves around Galilee, He goes up North a little bit, He goes east a little bit but He's generally in the North. But He's not much with the crowds but He's with His disciples. For example, he goes to Cesaria Philippi up north with only His disciples and He says to them, "Who do men say that I am?" and then He ask, "Who do you say that I am?" He wants to build his identity into His men.



Then He takes three of them on top of a mountain and He has transfigured before just those three disciples. Then there's an argument among His disciples. Who's the greatest in the kingdom? Jesus gives a little discourse on the greatest in the kingdom, just to His disciples. Then he gives a list of parables that are really unlocked only to His disciples. Now here's the point, I want you to see and I'll apply it. In Chapter 6, Jesus spends two days with 15,000 people. And then He spends six months with his disciples.



What does that tell us about His priorities? The unwavering priority of Jesus is to train those disciples to be unleashed in the world. That's a monumental truth. Let me go about this, another way. Have you ever wondered why Jesus spent three and a half years in public ministry and that's not a long time, just three and a half years but why three and a half years? I mean, some people say, "Well, Jesus came just to die on the cross and pay for our sins." Well, that's true but that's not all.



If that were true, well He only needed a weekend for that. Die, go in the grave, rise from the dead, but He didn't. He spent three and a half years. And yes, He was teaching the crowd and yes He was doing miracles but by enlarge, He spent that time training his disciples. Question, did Jesus know that His message was a message that the whole world needed to hear? Yes or no? Yes, He did. The whole world Jesus knew. Everybody needs to hear this message.



Okay, so if that's true, then what was His strategy to get that accomplished? Discipleship. Did Jesus hold mass meetings? You know why didn't He start up a tire inside and work His way down the coast and then go to Cesaria Philippi and work His way around, Galilee and then to the Decapolis and then all way down to Jerusalem just holding mass meetings where Jesus does of feeding 5,000 here, of hundred thousand here and then people are odd and then he can talk to them. He doesn't do that.



What He does is He pours his life into reproducing that life in the lives of his disciples. And he tells them to do the same thing, right, going to all, the world to make disciples of all the nations teaching them to observe or whatever I have commanded you. That's his priority. And years later, there was apostle called Paul. He wasn't part of the original 12 but He so believed in this principle that He did it with Titus. He did it with Timothy and then He told Timothy to do it with others. The classic passage of that is 2 Timothy Chapter 2 Verse 2.



Paul says, "The things that you have heard from me among any witnesses commit this to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." Now this concept of the discipling another person, also works very well in evangelizing the world. There's a staggering set of statistics I've shared before but it is better repeating now because it just so mind blowing.



If we had an unlimited budget, which we don't by the way, but if we did and we could have -- do mass evangelism. Every night and fill a stadium with 50,000 people, so every night, we're going to do advertising and we're going to bring in bands and we're going to have stadium evangelism and fill it 50,000 seat arena packed every night for 35 years. So let's supposed we have the budget to just rent stadiums around the world. Every night for 35 years and let's supposed that every night during those 35 years, 1,000 people give their lives to Christ. You know that would be glorious.



It would mean that in one year, we've had 365,000 thousand brand new believers. Well do you know that if we could do that for 35 years, at the end of the 35 years, we'd be further behind the tasks of world evangelism than the day we started? You go, how do you figure that? Simple, the birthrate, the exponential birthrate right now on planet earth would far exceed those who are trying to bring into the kingdom to offset that. You go, that sort of a depressing thing, I mean, so what do we do now?



Okay, listen carefully. If you were the only Christian on earth and you made a commitment and you said "God by your grace, would you help me personally lead one other human being to Christ in the next 12 months?" And let's say that happens, so after one year, now there are two Christians on earth. And then year two, both of you decide, let's lead somebody to Christ, so first year you have two Christian, second year, four then eight then 16, then 32, 64. The exponential growth of that approach would mean that within 50 years, within a half of century, the whole world could be one to Christ. That's one on one. So here is Jesus for two days. He spends it with 15,000 people for six months. He builds himself into the life of his disciples. That he's his priority that something anybody can do.



By the way, that's the success of a church. The success of a church isn't the size of its congregation; it's the depth of its discipleship. Anybody can get a crowd, you know that. It just takes a money and ingenuity. Yeah, give out free food, have a good music and have harmonica playing monkeys and people will come just to watch the show.



But to make a disciple takes a life poured into another life. And that should be a priority. I have two questions to ask you at this point. How long have you been a Christian and where are your disciples? How long have you been a Christian and where are your disciples? You say, "Skip that sounds so arrogant. What are you, my disciples?" You might take the higher road, "I don't have any disciples. I make them all Disciples of Christ." Listen, Paul the apostle said the reason that the church was so good and working so great is because they followed him as he followed Christ. He wrote to them and said "And you became followers of us and of the Lord, twice to the Corinthians." Paul said "Imitate me; follow me as I imitate the Lord."



Do you know there's nothing wrong with following someone if that someone is following Christ, it's a model. It's something Paul did. Now I want to say something to you if you happen to be a ministry leader in any capacity whether a pastor, assistant pastor, bible study leader, group leader, home fellowship leader, missionary. Don't worry about the size of it. You concentrate on depth and let God worry about that breath. You concentrate on discipleship and let God do the math. Isn't that a biblical principle, Acts Chapter 2, you know the verse in Verse 42 and they devoted themselves continually to the apostle's doctrine, fellowship, breaking a bread and prayers. That's discipleship.



Then it says, "And the Lord added daily those who were being saved." They concentrated on depth and God worried about the breath of it. I also I want to say this and here's really the reason I'm bringing this point out. Anybody can do this. I can't be a musician or I can't be preacher or I can't do that. This is something everybody can do, no matter how restrictive your life is. Let's say you work at a job and you have so many commitments and you think I don't have the time, but if you're tethered to a job there maybe another believer that you work with or unbeliever that you could lead to Christ in the next year and then disciple that person.



And what if you're a stay-at-home mom and you're raising children, perfect, disciple those children. As you follow the Lord, they'll follow you and you'll launch them with that. There was one woman who put over her kitchen sink a clever sign, "Divine service, rendered daily three times here." You get her drift. This is my service to the Lord. I do it three times when I prepare meals for my children and family.



So he's unwavering priority to build himself in the life of his men. Now look at his unbelieving family. That's the second; he's unbelieving family verse three. His brothers therefore said to him, "Depart from here and go into Judea that your disciples also may see the works that you are doing. For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world. For even his brothers did not believe in him."



And when he says brothers, these were the half-brothers of Jesus, because you remember Jesus was born miraculously by being begotten by the Holy Spirit in the virgin womb of Mary. But after Jesus was born, the bible seems to indicate that Joseph and Mary had normal husband and wife relationships and sisters and brothers, half-brothers, half-sisters were born to Jesus. We're even given a list of their names in Matthew Chapter 13. Jesus after speaking at his hometown in Nazareth in the Synagogue, somebody said, isn't this the carpenter's son? And isn't this his mother Mary? And aren't these his brothers, James, Joseph, Simon and Judas, four younger brothers.



If that's a chronological list and it almost certainly is because in ancient times, they would put the oldest first and the youngest is last. That means that James had the only big brother in the world who was perfect. Now, just think about being James for just a minute. Imagine your brother never sinning. That would post some serious issues in your relationship. That would complicate matters as I'm sure it did here. So here are his brothers and we know they are four of them because they're named in the gospels. James, Joseph, Simon and Jude and they give Jesus this suggestion, "go down to Jerusalem" and why would they give this suggestion? I think of three reasons, three possibilities.



Possibility number one, they remembered that he had just lost a whole bunch of disciples back in Chapter 6 when it says, "Many of his disciples turned away and stopped believing or following him." And it could be that they are saying, "Look you want to get them back and you want to bolster your falling popularity ratings, go do something big in Jerusalem where everybody hangs out." That's possibility number one.



Possibility number two, they're like every other Jewish person 2,000 years ago in Israel was waiting for a political Messiah. Remember Chapter 6, they wanted to make him a king. Well, if his brothers were thinking that Jesus would go down to Jerusalem do something so magnanimous that would cause a revolt, he would take over the country as the political leader over until Rome. And since we're his brothers, we might have a great position on staff, sort of a coattails mentality.



Possibility number three and I tend to lean toward this. They just wanted to be convinced. They weren't convinced. The keyword in Verse 4 is the work "if". Did you notice that? And they said, "If you do these things, show yourself to the world." They didn't believe in him. It's like they're saying, "Look, you're up here in the Boondocks up where nobody really is in the Galilee region, all by yourself and your few disciples, go show yourself to the Sanhedrin. Go show yourself to all of the people gathered from all over the world in Jewish central headquarters and do something spectacular." They didn't believe in him.



Sort of like the crowd in Chapter 6 that said, "What sign will you perform that we may see and believe?" Okay, just think of this for a minute. Even Jesus' brothers were unbelievers. I'm having you dwell on that because I have a hunch that some of your relatives are unbelievers. And you've tried everything, you'd witnessed to them, you've given them tapes hundred years ago and they were tapes, CD's, more recently, or MP3's, you've given them books to read, you've put tracks in their sandwiches or whatever it would take to get their attention to know avail and you still feel really bad and guilty about that.



Once again, Jesus own brothers were unbelievers. You know what that tells me? Proximity is no guarantee of spirituality. Even Jesus' own disciple Judas Iscariot was an unbeliever. Yet he had 12 disciplines but one of them didn't believe and we'll show that later on.



Proximity is no guarantee of spirituality. They didn't believe. If you're wondering to what extent did they not believe? Well, in Mark Chapter 3 when Jesus is so busy with ministering the people that he doesn't take time to eat and his family finds out about it. You know what they said about Jesus? His family said, "He's out of his mind." That's what it says in Mark 3, he's out of his mind. The king James is even more graphic. He's beside himself.



Ever seen a person like they might be in a park and there's nobody there but they are talking to somebody? Some imaginary person, they're really talking to themselves beside themselves? He's nuts. He beside himself, he's loony. They did not believe. I hope this is an encouragement if you do have unsaved family members because you have found out that the hardest group in the world to witness too is your own family, right? You should also be encouraged to know that these four brothers didn't all stay unbelievers. They eventually believed.



In fact, they show up in Acts Chapter 1 Verse 14 in the upper room when they're all gathered together with the apostles. The mother of Jesus it says and his brothers. They are there. They have become believers. You want to know what it was that caused them to be converted, his resurrection--the resurrection when their older brother got up from the dead that's when they went "okay". Well, this is real and they believe in him.



In fact, did you know that Paul the apostle writes about that oldest of the younger brothers, James' conversion? 1 Corinthians 15, Paul writes "Christ was raised on the third day and appeared to Peter and then to the 12, after that he appeared to more than 500 at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep then he appeared to James." special appearance. "Hi James" "Oh-ooohh" James believed.



You know what happened to James? He became the pastor of the church in Jerusalem. Acts Chapter 15, James is the guy who's working with the eldership there. He's the pastor in the Jerusalem. You know what else James did? He wrote a book in the new testaments called "The Book of James". And fourth on the list, Judas is also Jude, he wrote the Book of Jude. Not Hey, Jude, Jude. you want to know what's even cooler? When they begun their books. You know how James begins his letter? He didn't say, "James, the younger brother Jesus." No name dropping. "James upon servant of Jesus Christ," that's conversion.



When the younger brother says I'm a slave of Jesus Christ, he's humble because he'd realize he had been unbeliever all those years and now he believed. So if you're family is not saved, please say my family isn't saved yet. Don't forget that word; throw that in because God has all sorts of ways of pulling that off. So His unwavering priority, His unbelieving family, the third thing in the lifting of this fog is His uncompromising chronology. Go with me to Verse 6, then Jesus said to them after they suggested he leave and go down to Judea. "My time has not yet come, your time is always ready. The world cannot hate you..." see they were part of system. They're unbelievers like everybody else. "The world cannot hate you, you're part of them. But it hates me because I tell up the truth. I testify that his works are evil. You go up to this feast, I am not yet going up to this feast for my time has not yet fully come." And when He had said these things to them, he remained in Galilee.



There's an over arching theme that everybody who reads the bible, the new testaments picks up on in Jesus' life. And that is He was always on a time table, always on a divine time table. If you have the idea that Jesus sort of gets up in the morning and go, "What will I do today?" I know I'll go to Capernaum. I've always wanted to check that place out. You got it wrong. Every second of His life was a timing issue, everything. He was on a divine time table. I want to show you that. Here's a sampling of verses that bear that out.



In John Chapter 7 Verse 30, they sought to take him but no one laid a hand on him because his hour had not yet come. John Chapter 8 Verse 20, "No one laid hands on him for his hour had not yet come." John Chapter 13 Verse 1, "Jesus knew that his hour had come that he should depart from the world. John Chapter 17, "Jesus prays, Father, the hour has come." Glorify your son that your son may glorify you. In the garden of Gethsemane when he was suffering, he praised, "Behold the hour is at hand and the son of men is being betrayed." And what hour exactly was Jesus referring too? His death--his whole life was moving toward the cross and it was all at the right time.



So when his brother said "Go show yourself, you know, make a public display of who you are." Jesus said it's not the right time. You know when the right time would be, six months from this point. Because six months from this point, the feast of tabernacles would be the next Passover and that's the Passover where Jesus publicly for the very first time in his ministry, publicly reveals himself to the nation, remember what happened? He crest the amount of Olives and he says to His disciples, "Hey, go to the next town and get me a donkey." And He wouldn't because He wanted a donkey ride. He was fulfilling Zechariah's prophecy; the Messiah will come in a donkey gentle.



And that's when the people started to publicly praising him, putting palm branches at his feet and saying "Hosanna to the son of David, blessed is you who comes in the name of the Lord." And within a few days, he would be killed because that was the right time. It's all at timing issue. Galatians Chapter 4 Verse 4 and 5, Paul said, "At the fullest of the time or exactly the right time, God sent forth His son, born of woman, born under the law to redeem those who are under law," it was just the right time. It's all about the right time.



In fact get this, Daniel the prophet hundred of years before predicted exactly when the Messiah would come. Did you know that? In Chapter 9 Verse 25, 26 right on there. The prophet says, "From the going forth of the commandment..." Listen to this one, "From going forth of the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Messiah, the Prince would be 483 years." What kind of a prophecy is that? That's exact time. Well, the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem is given by art excerpts, on March 14, 445 BC. Well, there's a guy who was the head of Scotland yard some years ago named Sir Robert Anderson and he did decided he was going to take that prophecy and break it apart.



So he calculated from March 14, 445 BC and he counted 483 years, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, 6, 7, 8--483 and then he did broke it down into days using the Babylonian 360-day calendar. And he came up with 173,880 days, so he starts at March 14, 445 BC, he goes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7--173,880, boom and he stops. And he goes now, what day would that be? And he found out the calendar year was April 6, 32 AD. He goes so. Let me tell you so. April 6, 32 AD just happened to be the day Jesus said to his disciples, "Go get me that donkey in the next town." And he sat on it on that very day exactly on time predicted by Daniel the prophet. And the prophet said, when he comes, he says, after that the Messiah will be cutoff, killed to the exact day.



Why am I belaboring this? Simply to say this, your life will go a whole lot better if you just recognize that your time and God's time maybe two different things. How many of you believe God's always on time? Show off hands. You believe God's always on time. How many of you believe or have ever wondered if God's on time? Okay, you're honest. That's honest. you're honest. We've all been in situation, God you are the perfect timing, why didn't do you something at that time? So we can be either like Jesus' brothers and say, well, you got to do this now or you can say, you know, what my brother is God. He knows the best time. And we can just leave our lives into the hands of God. Charles Bridget reminded us, there are no loose threads in the providence of God, no stitches are dropped, no events are left to chance, the great clock of the universe keeps good time and the whole machinery of providence moves with unerring punctuality.



Jesus is always right on time. I'm so glad. Of all that's going on in the world, of all that's going on at your house, of all that's going on my house, isn't it great to know that His always on time and His in control?



Here's the fourth and we'll close with this, his uncommitted assembly. Once he gets to Jerusalem, listen to this crowd, Verse 10. "When His brothers are gone up and he also went up to the feast not openly but as were in secret Kryptos as the Greek the word, that is not an open show or fun fare then the Jews sought him at the feast and said where is he? And there was much complaining, whispering, it could be translated. Among the people concerning him, some said his good, other said, no, in the contrary, he deceives the people. However, no ones spoke openly of him for fear of the Jews.



There seems to be a few different people in this assembly once you get to Jerusalem. Number one, there's a group called the Jews. Now the Jews in Verse 11, the Jews sought him, reference that with Verse 1 again. It said the Jews sought to kill him. These are his enemies. So his brothers go up to the feast and they would naturally expect to find Jesus because in those days family is always traveled together in caravans So his brother show up and they recognize him and they go, where is he, because they want to kill him. And actually and literally, is where is that one? Where is that guy? They want to kill him. There are enemies.



But notice says the second group, some said well, his good, other said no, in contrary, he deceives the people. Both of these groups, all three of them were in the fog. He's good, no, he deceives the people. So what's the right answer? Was he a good man? Or he is a deceiver? What's the right answer? It's a trick question. I'll give that you right at the beginning. Who was right? Neither one--neither one. He wasn't a good man, you know why? Good man, don't say the things Jesus said. Good man, don't run around saying I'm God and if you don't believe with that, you'll die in your sins. Good men, don't do that. Only God does that.



Neither of them we're right; you know what the right answer is? It's the answer that Peter had in the previous chapter, Chapter 6 Verse 69, "We know and have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of the Living God." It's the right answer. Yet today, you have groups of people that say, well, I think Jesus is sort of a forest, in fact, who really is ruin the world as fundamental religion like all these literalist that believe in Jesus Christ. Or they say, "Well, I think he was just a good man. He was just a good guy. He's a good example, somebody to look up to." CS Louise, in one of his classic moments, he wrote so lucidly he said. "Either this man was and is the son of the God or else He is a mad man or something worst. You can shut Him up for being a fool. You can spit at Him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God."



But let's not come up with any patronizing nonsense about him being a great human teacher. He's not left that open to us. He did not intend too. Ain't that the truth, do you find Jesus ever doing anything except dividing people? Because I don't think that I've come up to bring peace on earth. I've come to bring that peace but a sword to divide people. And then he said if you're not for me, you are against me--against me. Jesus is the son of God. Do you know him?



As the fog had been lifted from you're eyes, so you see him for what He is or maybe that fog has settling in a long time. And you kind of like it that way because the fog make things so pretty. It's also so very dangerous to try to navigate your life through the fog of unrealistic notions about Christ. Well, on that note, let's pray.



Our heavenly Father, there is not a page in the gospel of John that doesn't clear things up on the identity of Jesus Christ. Whatever notions the media would bring forth, whatever notions about him being just a good person or a deceiver or a number of other things, the fog is lifted in this gospel. Jesus talks about who he is over and over and over again. And over and over and over and over again, more and more people reject him but not all--not all. Some like Peter would say we know something. We know something. You're Christ. You're the son of God.



Many who have started like the brothers of Jesus who didn't believe in him came to the point where they say, now I'm just a bondservant. What a transformation. Well, we want to close saying to you that you're timing is perfect though we sometimes we'll chafed against that. And we just pray Lord that you would reenact your will for us in your perfect time--in your perfect time.



And then finally, we want to pray for those relatives of ours, we've been praying for, wrestling with over and prayer for years who don't know you yet. We pray Lord that we would be able to see the fruit of our prayers even the fruit of our labor as we see them come to Christ as we're loving with them and patient with them and reveal the truth. And I pray Lord that we will pour our lives into the life of another person.



But first we would be all that we should be before you and our order to reproduce something of quality and somebody else. Make us disciples of men and of women, in Jesus name, Amen.

Additional Messages in this Series

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10/25/2009
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Believe:879
John 20:30-31
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Is your faith in need of bolstering? Do you find yourself saying "Help my unbelief?" The book of John presents a unique, up close and personal look at the life of Christ, focusing on Jesus as God Incarnate. As we dive into a thorough study of each of John's 879 verses, we'll walk with disciples who were eyewitnesses of His ministry, His death, and His resurrection, and we'll experience abundant life in His name.
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11/1/2009
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The World's Most Important Word
John 1:1-5
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It may be difficult to say what the most important word is in any language, but not for the Apostle John. He begins his gospel with the identification of Jesus as, "The Word." Starting with the very beginning of beginnings, John shows us the fundamental truths about the Jesus that he writes about in the rest of this book. The language is simple and unmistakable and yet the truths presented are deep and extremely profound. Let's see how John presents Jesus and Who Jesus is according to one who was closest to Him.
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11/15/2009
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Step Into Son-Light
John 1:6-13
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I love early mornings when sunlight first comes up over the eastern sky. But if you’ve ever had the experience of the sun suddenly shining into your eyes (like when you turn westward while the sun is going down), it's not so pleasant. Most people wince when light is shined in their eyes. Jesus is presented here as being "the light of men" and "shining in darkness". But the world cries out, "Turn off that light!" How can Jesus enlighten your life and how will you respond to Him?
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11/22/2009
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One of a Kind!
John 1:14-18
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It is a mistake to think of Jesus as "one among many" options in the pantheon of deities. He is unique, matchless, unrivaled, singular, and incomparable. From His birth to His Resurrection, there is no one who even comes close to the majestic Christ. Jesus was One-Of-A-Kind! Let’s consider four distinct ways that Jesus was unique and what these mean to us today.
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12/6/2009
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The Greatest Man Meets the Greatest Lamb
John 1:19-34
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Everyone is good at something, maybe even great at something. Maybe you're a great artist or a great mom or even a great leader. Jesus said that John the Baptizer was the greatest man who had ever lived (Matt. 11:11). But John knew Jesus to be the greatest One ever—past, present and future - the Sacrificial Lamb sent to remove sin. Today we discover from John the Baptist how to witness for Christ and we look at the identity and the activity of this most unusual man.
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12/13/2009
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Are You a Follower-Really?
John 1:35-42
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You can't make it through much of the Bible without coming to the word Disciple. Just the four Gospels alone use this term 228 times. Basically a disciple is the follower of a teacher: one who observes, learns, and practices what the teacher shares. We now come to the first time John uses this term in his book. So today we assess ourselves by asking, "Are YOU a follower?" Lets look at five characteristics of the first disciples of Jesus and see if they’re reflected in our lives.
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1/3/2010
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Finding the God Who Found You
John 1:43-51
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When the first disciples encountered Jesus, they chose to follow Him--only to discover that they had already been chosen by Him! Without getting drowned in that theological tide pool, let's consider and marvel at how both of these realities work together. The Bible teaches that God sovereignly elects people for salvation while at the same time teaches our responsibility to believe in Christ. Let’s see how both Philip and Nathanael encountered Jesus for the first time.
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1/10/2010
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The Wedding Guest
John 2:1-12
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How cool (and also potentially scary) would it be to have Jesus as a guest at your own wedding! The unnamed couple at the village wedding of Cana had that privilege. Jesus was the wedding guest who brought the best gift. His first miraculous sign was performed while celebrating that marriage. But far more than just attending a nuptial party, Jesus demonstrated who He was in relation to four entities: His mother, the moment, a miracle, and His men.
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1/17/2010
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Trouble in the Temple
John 2:13-22
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A hymn by Charles Wesley begins, "Gentle Jesus, meek and mild, look upon a little child..." It’s a beautiful song with a beautiful thought. However, Jesus is anything but gentle and mild in John chapter two. Here in the temple at Jerusalem, He displays His righteous anger as He overturns tables and beats the religious businesspeople with whips! But Jesus was using this trouble in the temple to predict a greater sign—the triumph of His own physical temple—His bodily resurrection!
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1/24/2010
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Uncommitted!
John 2:23-25
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These three verses are some of the most unusual in the New Testament. They describe a scene in the life of Jesus that explains His popularity and fame. The response of people to the miracles of Jesus is understandable. What is not readily understandable is Jesus' response to the interested and excited crowd. Though they believed in Him, He was not too energized over their kind of faith. Understanding this will help us to understand Jesus and His mission.
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1/31/2010
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Nick at Nite!
John 3:1-8
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The meeting of Jesus and Nicodemus at night is one of the most famous and compelling stories in Scripture. This man's inner curiosity and spiritual thirst drove him to want to know more. What he heard puzzled and astonished him, but he heard from Jesus' own lips the only way to be saved. Jesus' words here divide all of humanity into two groups: those who are born again and those who are not.
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2/7/2010
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Extreme Makeover: Soul Edition!
John 3:9-21
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For years ABC has aired two different versions of a show called Extreme Makeover. One is a total body makeover designed to enhance the physical beauty of a selected individual. The other is a Home Edition that rebuilds or adds to a struggling family's residence. But only Jesus can give the soul a makeover; only Jesus can ready a person for eternity. Here Jesus answers Nicodemus' question of how a person can have the New Life that comes from the New Birth.
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2/14/2010
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God's Valentine
John 3:16
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Today we take a look at the Bible's most famous verse and probe its depth while preparing to take the Lord's Supper together. Though most everyone knows this verse, John 3:16 is much more than just a slogan; it is a summary statement of God's love through Jesus Christ. This single verse of scripture gives us the salient truths of God's plan of salvation in abridged form. Let's consider God's great plan for us as we unpack it phrase by phrase.
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2/21/2010
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To Grow Up, You Must Grow Down!
John 3:22-30
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"They that know God will be humble, and they that know themselves cannot be proud!" That's what British Puritan John Flavel once said. And that’s how John the Baptist once lived! John the Baptist and his followers provide some great applicational fodder for how Christians should get along and humble themselves before one another and God. For any Christian believer who wants to spiritually grow up and grow strong, he must first grow down.
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2/28/2010
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The Nail Everything Hangs On
John 3:31-36
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Imagine if everything you valued was in a sack, hanging on the wall from one nail. It surely must be a strong nail, or you're lost! If life could all be boiled down to one thing or one word or one most important principle, what would it be? What is the irreducible minimum for everything and everyone? John answers that here, saying that Jesus Christ is the nail that everything hangs on. He determined what has been and what will be. Thus our knowledge of Him and relationship to Him is paramount above everything else.
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3/7/2010
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Refreshment!
John 4:1-14
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You know the feeling of swallowing ice-cold water on a hot day or after a savory meal—it's refreshing! That cool, invigorating sip revitalizes you from the inside out and makes you say, "Ahh!" Well, that experience is not limited to the physical realm, but is even more satisfying in the spiritual realm when dealing with Living Water. Jesus came to give thirst-quenching spiritual life to every parched soul on the planet. When was the last time you drank deeply?
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3/14/2010
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How to Lead People to Water
John 4:10-30
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The world is thirsty and doesn't even know it, or won't admit it, or will look to be satisfied by everything else but Jesus Christ. So your job and mine is to lead them to water (living water, that is). Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman illustrates perhaps the best approach for personal evangelism to be found anywhere. Leading someone to the place of spiritual satisfaction is a process that rests upon two pillars—the pillar of attitude and the pillar of approach:
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3/21/2010
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What God Really Wants
John 4:20-24
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Worship conferences, worship seminars and worship experiences abound within the landscape of the American church, but in all these there's something that seems to be always lacking—worship is confined to the activity of singing songs. When the subject is brought up in this chapter, Jesus talks plainly and openly about true worship: what it is and what it isn't. Let's explore these few verses to discover what God is seeking after and how to be part of fulfilling that.
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3/28/2010
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Spiritual Farming 101
John 4:28-42
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Farmers live for the harvest season--a time when their crops are taken in and profits are made. But crops don’t grow on their own. Seeds must be sown and plants must be garnered by a whole group of active farm workers. God is the head Farmer and we are His farmhands, all working together to produce a bumper-crop of people who believe that Jesus is the Savior--Are you in?
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4/18/2010
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Everyone Needs a Faith-Lift!
John 4:43-54
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Like any muscle in our physical body, our faith too must be exercised in order for it to develop. Faith is developed in virtually every circumstance in life, but especially in hard times. Peter put it best, "These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold--and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold" (1 Peter 1:7). Let's look at a real-life story of one who came to Jesus in his trial and had his faith lifted to a higher dimension.
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4/25/2010
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Healing Misery with Mercy
John 5:1-16
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One of Jesus' most distinguishing characteristics in His earthly ministry was His mercy toward people who were hurting. This is not astonishing, for the prophet Micah announced that "God delights in mercy" (Micah 7:18). Jesus standing among the squalid misery of sickness and hopelessness while at a feast in Jerusalem is a perfect setting to show how Christians can show mercy to a world in misery. But be warned: not everyone will be sympathetic to your cause!
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5/23/2010
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Like Father, Like Son
John 5:16-24
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The most important question you could ever ask is not, "Who am I?" but rather, "Who is Christ?" That was the supreme question Jesus presented to His disciples when He said, "Who do you say that I am?" (Matthew 16:15). Jesus made the most astonishing claim ever when He confronted the Jewish leaders of Jerusalem here in John 5. What do these claims have to do with us today? Absolutely everything!
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5/30/2010
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Everyone Lives Forever
John 5:25-29
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My mom used to wake me up early every morning with her sweet voice saying, "Rise and Shine!" It took a few times but I eventually got up out of bed. As Jesus declares that He will be in charge of the future judgment, He too will usher the call to everyone who has died to "Rise up!" But not everyone will rise up to shine; some will rise up to suffer. Let’s consider three inevitable and unalterable truths about the future for all of us: We will all die, we will all be judged, and we will all rise again to live forever... but where?
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6/6/2010
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Why Should You Believe?
John 5:30-47
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The theme of John's gospel is "believe." The whole reason he wrote this book is so that people who read it will believe in Jesus (see John 20:31). But why should they believe? And even more applicable, why should we believe? After all, the events of the New Testament are over 2,000 years removed from us today. Jesus' confrontation with the religious leaders in John 5 tells us why we should believe. Like a skilled lawyer, Jesus calls upon four witnesses to testify to His claims and these four give the reasons for our believing in Jesus Christ.
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6/13/2010
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Lessons From a Picnic
John 6:1-14
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This story ranks in the "top ten" of the most famous miracles of Jesus Christ. In fact this is the most famous of all His miracles as it alone is recorded by all four gospel accounts. But this is far more than a Sunday school tale. This extraordinary picnic was not just a free meal for five thousand folks; it provided lessons for both ancient and modern disciples. Here are four profound truths that emerge from this lakeside lunch.
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6/20/2010
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What Storm Goers Need to Know
John 6:15-21
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Have you ever been on the ocean in a raging storm? If so, you know that a well-trained crew follows an immediate protocol until the storm is over. Their knowledge and experience about violent weather are invaluable for those who want to survive. Using the story of Jesus walking on the waves to His disciples, let’s discover a few things about the stormy trials of life.
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7/4/2010
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The Right Thing, The Wrong Way
John 6:22-29
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Our text reads that crowds of people came "seeking Jesus." That sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? And yet Jesus challenges them as to their motive because they were seeking Him (the right thing) in order to satisfy themselves only (the wrong motive). Let’s consider three monumental truths about how people interact with spiritual things in general and Jesus Christ in particular. Let’s also reconsider the starting point for anyone who wants anything to do with Christ.
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7/11/2010
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Wonder Bread!
John 6:30-50
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The Hostess Company has for years advertised that its Wonder bread "helps build strong bodies 12 ways" and that just two slices has the calcium of eight ounces of milk and the fiber of 100% whole wheat. Wow! The crowd that Jesus was speaking to would have loved that! But our Lord presents something to them far greater than what they were wanting. He knew what they needed.
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7/18/2010
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Plain Truths About the Bread of Life
John 6:51-71
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Mark Twain once remarked that "A lie can travel halfway around the world while truth is still lacing up its boots!" This section of John's Gospel has generated much confusion and misunderstanding. Even Jesus' original audience had trouble understanding His meaning, and when they did, they found the truth was difficult to bear. These "hard truths," however, are "the words of eternal life" (v. 68). Let's look at these four realities today.
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8/8/2010
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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.