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Service Archives > 43 John - Believe:879 - 2009 > Standing by a Waterfall (Dying of Thirst)

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Standing by a Waterfall (Dying of Thirst) - John 7:25-53

Taught on | Topic: Refreshment | Keywords: refreshment, Feast of Tabernacles, faith, thirst, water, blessing

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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8/15/2010
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Standing by a Waterfall (Dying of Thirst)
John 7:25-53
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
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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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. Thirsty People Are Confused

    1. The Local Citizens (vv. 25-31)

    2. The Leading Critics (vv. 32-36)

    3. The Lingering Crowd (vv. 40-53)

  2. Thirsty People Are Called (vv. 37-39)

    1. To Take the Plunge

      1. Thirst

      2. Come

      3. Drink

    2. To Enjoy the Results

      1. Become Contented

      2. Become a Conduit


Making it More than a Sermon:
  1. In what ways have you been confused about Jesus? What voices are arguing in your life? What are they saying? Is He trying to say anything in the midst of your confusion?

  2. What things have you tried for quenching your deepest thirsts? What are the results?

Detailed Notes

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Water is necessary for human life. It regulates temperature, flushes out waste, helps process food, and keeps tissues in working condition. When we are really thirsty the only thing on our minds is getting that thirst quenched. Here is a crowd of people dying of spiritual thirst, Jesus, the source of all refreshment, steps in and makes the best offer ever heard, but they didn't understand.

Hydrology is the study of the distribution, movement, and availability of water on the earth. This is a study in spiritual hydrology. An abundance of refreshment stands in the midst of people dying of thirst. This isn't the first time Jesus uses the metaphor of water for spiritual refreshment. See John 4:10-13.

The people are confused about what will refresh them. They have never experienced true refreshment, so they can only conjecture what it's like. The thirsty are called by Christ to drink deeply. People try various means to be refreshed. The philosophy of this world: is that all there is?

Jeremiah 2:13 - "For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns--broken cisterns that can hold no water."
  1. Thirsty People Are Confused
    1. The Local Citizens (vv. 25-31)
      1. From Jerusalem
      2. Have heard of the leaders' plot to find and kill Jesus
      3. Think Jesus can't be Messiah; they know where he is from.
      4. Believed no one would know where Messiah is from
        1. Not biblical
        2. Babylonian Talmud
        3. More recently Trypho second century CE "But Christ--if He has indeed been born, and exists anywhere--is unknown, and does not even know Himself, and has no power until Elijah come to anoint Him, and make Him manifest to all."
    2. The Leading Critics (vv. 32-36)
      1. Pharisees and the officers they sent to arrest Jesus
      2. Jesus tells them He comes from the Father to earth and now announces he is going back to the Father.
        1. They think He is going to the Diaspora.
        2. They misunderstand what He means to do, why He is there, and what He is saying.
        3. Jesus means He is going to heaven
        4. Could also mean that they seek a savior, but the Savior they are rejecting will be gone and it will be too late.
          1. Passing opportunity
          2. The Bible encourages us to make choices now. 2 Corinthians 6:2
    3. The Lingering Crowd (vv. 40-53)
      1. People from all over the world
      2. Confused about who Jesus is (prophet, messiah, good man, deceiver, Galilean, good speaker)
      3. Division (schisma-a split) due to the confusion
      4. With little effort, they could have found out He is from Bethlehem and lineage of David.
      5. Just a little incentive could solve the problem of those who don't know what they believe about Jesus.
        1. Veracity of New Testament documents.
        2. Historicity of Christ
        3. Overwhelming evidence
      6. Said no prophet would come out of Galilee (Jonah)
      7. Their confusion reveals their messianic thirst.
        1. After the Babylonian captivity there was a growing expectation for the messiah
        2. When Romans occupied their land, expectations heightened
      8. Their dehydration affects how they think
      9. Stages of dehydration
        1. dipsea - common thirst
        2. hyperdipsea - intense bouts of extreme thirst
        3. polydipsea- sustained thirst - drink anything
      10. People drink from many wells to satisfy spiritual thirst (money, sex, status, substance)-they don't satisfy thirst or bring satisfaction, they are poison
      11. Pleasure doesn't satisfy, we thirst for a clean conscience, only the treasures of Heaven satisfy. – "The Applause of Heaven," by Max Lucado
  2. Thirsty People Are Called (vv. 37-39)

    Last Day of the Feast of Tabernacles: seven-day feast in which the people would go to the temple every morning with citrus fruit and foliage (palm, willow, and myrtle) in their hands (symbolic of the fruitful land and the wilderness wanderings). The priest had a golden pitcher, walked to Pool of Siloam, fill with water and pour out on the stones of the altar. –Isaiah 12:3 Last day of the feast another priest met him with wine (representing joy) and priest marched around the altar seven times. The shouts would grow louder and louder as the priest raised the pitcher, and then silence. At that point Jesus cried out (krazo - to scream), "If anyone thirst let him come to Me and drink," making a huge spiritual and psychological impact.

    1. To Take the Plunge
      1. Thirst
      2. Come - make the move
      3. Drink- receiving Christ personally, placing faith in Him
    2. To Enjoy the Results
      1. Become Contented
        1. Satisfaction comes from having water and drinking it
        2. Only the first step
      2. Become a Conduit
        1. Not just blessed, but a blessing to others
        2. Not just a gulper, but a gusher
        3. Seek first the kingdom–Matthew 6:33
        4. Three kinds of faith
          1. faulty - unbelievers (even demons believe in God James 2:19)
          2. firm - trust wholly in Christ (justification)
          3. flowing - Holy Spirit has empowered, to pass on refreshment to others

Greek terms: schisma-a split; krazo - to scream
Publications referenced: "History of Messianic Speculation in Israel from the First to the Seventeenth Centuries," by Abba H. Silver; "The Applause of Heaven," by Max Lucado; "The Silver Chair," by C.S. Lewis;
Figures referenced: Peggy Lee; Trypho
Cross References: Isaiah 12:3; Jeremiah 2:13; Matthew 6:33; John 4:10-13; 2 Corinthians 6:2; James 2:19

Topic: Refreshment

Keywords: refreshment, Feast of Tabernacles, faith, thirst, water, blessing

Transcript

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Well this is a bottle of water and we’re told and we know that water is necessary for our existence; our human life depends upon water. And as the old Sprite commercial used to say, obey your thirst. We’re all about that. People carry more water today than any other time because we recognize how vital water is to us. It regulates body temperature. It flushes out waste. It helps us process food. It keeps all of our tissues in good working condition. So we obey our thirst.


There’s a story of a man who was dying of thirst in the Sahara Desert crawling along the sand and suddenly a man on a camel came by, it was a salesman, and the man dying of thirst reached up his hand and said, water! I need water! The man on the camel said, well I don’t have any water but I’ll sell you a necktie. The dying man said necktie?! I’m dying of thirst! The man on the camel said, they’re only four dollars. Again the dying man said, I don’t need a necktie—I’m thirsty! The man said, ok, ok, two four seven dollars, that’s my lowest price. Again the dying man said, you don’t get it. That won’t help me. I’m dying of thirst. I need water. The man on the camel said, I can’t help you. I don’t have any water—just ties. And he rode off. As the day wore on and that thirsty man kept crawling, kept crawling, finally he came to an oasis. Beautiful oasis filled with people. He crawls and finds this beautiful, elegant restaurant, goes to the front door, sees the head waiter and says water! I need water! And the head waiter said well, sir, I’m sorry but this is a fine restaurant. You can’t get in without a necktie. Yeah.

You know, if you’ve ever really been thirsty nothing matters except getting your thirst quenched. Am I right? You don’t care about anything else when you’re dying of thirst, let alone what’s the appropriate attire for dinner that evening. We come to an interesting scene in John chapter 7 beginning in verse 25 down to the end of the chapter. It’s as if you have a crowd of people who are dying of spiritual thirst. In walks, in their midst, walks the source of all refreshment, makes the best offer they’ve ever heard. They want to stand around and talk about neckties.

Now there is a scientific study called hydrology. Hydrology is the study of water or, more appropriately, the study of the distribution, movement, and availability of water on the earth. That’s hydrology. Look at this as the study in spiritual hydrology. This unusual phenomenon of an abundance of refreshment. A waterfall, so to speak, in the midst of people who are dying of thirst. So the name of this message is “Standing by the Waterfall Dying of Thirst”.

Now you should also know that John chapter 7 isn’t the first and only time that Jesus speaks of water as the metaphor for spiritual refreshment. Back in chapter 4, the woman at the well of Samaria, remember the story? She’s drawing water out of the well and Jesus says if you drink of this water you will thirst again but whoever drinks of the water that I will give will never thirst. So that same idea comes here in John chapter 7 now as we begin in verse 25.

And before we read, let me just kind of tell you how we’re gonna slice it up. We want to look at really only two things today. The people and the promise. The people involved, and there are three different groups of people, all with different and confusing ideas about Christ and about what they need, and then there is the promise in the midst of it. And so by giving it a little more flair than just that kind of a division and wanting to divide it more applicationally, the two things we want to look at are simple. Thirsty people are confused and number two, thirsty people are called. They’re confused about refreshment, they’re confused about the need for refreshment and what will refresh them. Thirsty people are confused and there’s a good reason for it. Having never tasted of the source of refreshment, all they can do is conjecture about it, talk about it, wonder about it. In the midst of that comes Christ. And the second point is that thirsty people are called. He calls people to drink deeply and to be refreshed and to end their thirst.

In my parents’ day and age, there was a song that was popular by a gal named Peggy Lee called “Is That All There Is?” And the refrain in the song goes like this: is that all there is? Is that all there is? Because if that’s all there is, my friends, then let’s keep dancing. Let’s break out the booze and have a ball. And that sort of sums up the philosophy of this world because everybody has gone through this life and they’ve asked the question: is that all there is? So they try a new experience and they go, is that all there is? They try some new relationship and they go, now is that all there is? And it reminds me of what God said to the prophet Jeremiah in chapter 2 of Jeremiah verse 13. God said My people have committed two evils. Number one, they’ve forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters. Number two, they have dug for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water. Isn’t that ironic? They’re standing next to an artesian well, dying of thirst, digging for water in the ground. That’s the same phenomenon we have here.

Let’s begin in verse 25 and notice how thirsty people are confused and, as I mentioned, there’s three groups of people. the first group are the local citizens of Jerusalem and this is what we find: “Now some of them from Jerusalem said, “Is this not He whom they seek to kill? But look! He speaks boldly, and they say nothing to Him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is truly the Christ? However, we know where this Man is from; but when the Christ comes, no one knows where He is from.” Then Jesus cried out, as He taught in the temple, saying, “You both know Me, and you know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know. But I know Him, for I am from Him, and He sent Me.” Therefore they sought to take Him; but no one laid a hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come. And many of the people believed in Him, and said, “When the Christ comes, will He do more signs than these which this Man has done?”

Ok, these are the local residents who live in Jerusalem. and the word on the street, and they know it, is that the leadership in this town is trying to find Jesus because they want to kill Him because they say that He’s claiming to be their Messiah. They want to kill Him. Now this group says, well, now wait a minute. This can’t be the Messiah because we know where He’s from and when the Messiah comes, nobody knows where He’s from. Question: where’d they get that idea? Because it doesn’t come from the Bible. It comes from an old idea that just sort of gathered steam as it went along. It was written in the Babylonian Talmud. Rabbi Zara said the Messiah will come unaware. Just like show up and nobody will know His background, His genealogy, or where He’s from. We know where this guy’s from so He can’t be it. So they’re confused about Him. now sometime later, Trypho in the second century who opposed Christians, also said and I’m quoting, Christ, if He is indeed born and exists anywhere, is unknown and does not even know Himself and has no power until Elijah comes and makes Him manifest. They’re confused about Him.

Let’s look at the second group. We go now to verse 32. This is a different group. These are the critics, the leading critics, of Jesus, the Pharisees and the officers they send. “The Pharisees heard the crowd murmuring these things concerning Him, and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take Him. Then Jesus said to them, “I shall be with you a little while longer, and then I go to Him who sent Me. You will seek Me and not find Me, and where I am you cannot come.” Then the Jews said among themselves, “Where does He intend to go that we shall not find Him?” Does He intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? What is this thing that He said, ‘You will seek Me and not find Me, and where I am you cannot come’?” Now these are the officers. The officials sent by the Pharisees to arrest Jesus. Jesus tells them again, He’s told them many times, He comes from heaven. He comes from above. The Father has sent Him. And that He’s going back to where He was sent. Where I’m going you cannot come. Well they’re confused because they think, does that mean, like, He’s leaving Jerusalem and He’s gonna go to the Greeks?

Now the Dispersion that it mentions here in our text is the Diaspora and the Diaspora are those Jewish people who have been dispersed throughout the world for a number of reasons. In this case, they’re living around Greek culture, Hellenistic culture. And so they’re thinking so this guy’s leaving Jerusalem. He’s gonna go find pockets of Greek culture where there are Jews. He’s gonna teach them. Again, they’re totally confused about what He’s meaning to do, why He’s there, and what He’s saying. What He’s saying is I’m going back to heaven. For that reason, you won’t find Me.

I think it could mean something deeper. It could also mean, in that statement, that there’s going to come a time when you’re gonna seek a Savior but the Savior whom you are now rejecting will be gone from your midst and that opportunity will be too late. You know, there is such a thing as a passing opportunity. That’s where the Bible always encourages us to make choices now. Today. While we have the opportunity. Don’t let it slip by. Classic passage, 2 Corinthians 6: Behold, now is the accepted time. Behold, now is the day of salvation. Now is the time. Here is the offer. Take it. There’s an old adage that goes like this: there is a time, we know not when, a line we know not where, that marks the destiny of man betwixt sorrow and despair. There is a line, though by man unseen, once it has been crossed, even God in all His love have sworn that all is lost. Here is your opportunity. Here I am. You’re living, you’re breathing, you can make choices. Make them now before it’s too late.

There’s a third group that we want to look at. Go down now to verse 40 and we’ll begin our reading there. This is the rest of the crowd, the lingering crowd. Not just Jerusalemites, not just officers and Pharisees. There are people from all over the world. So it’s a mixed bag. “Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, “Truly this is the Prophet.” Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Will the Christ come out of Galilee?” Three different opinions in those verses. “Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was? So there was a division among the people because of Him. Now some of them wanted to take Him, but no one laid hands on Him. Then the officers came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why have you not brought Him?” Now watch this. These officials were sent to arrest Jesus. They come back empty-handed. This is what they told the Pharisees: “The officers answered, “No man ever spoke like this Man!” Then the Pharisees answered them, “Are you also deceived? Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him? But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.” Nicodemus (he who came to Jesus by night, being one of them) said to them, “Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?” They answered and said to him, “Are you also from Galilee? Search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee.” Think they like Galileans? Nah, they don’t. “And everyone went to his own house.”

Talk about a cacophony of confusing opinions. I just looked through this chapter and I wrote down all the different opinions about Christ. Here they are: He’s a Prophet. He’s the Messiah. He’s just a good man. He’s a deceiver. He’s a Galilean. He’s a great speaker. Different opinions about Him. That’s why in verse 43 and it’s key: Now there was a division among the people because of Him. Schisma is the Greek word—a split decision. Due to the confusion that they had, nobody could make up their mind really about who He was.

Now did you notice that they mentioned He was from Galilee? But at the same time, they go, can’t be the Messiah because the Messiah must be born in? Bethlehem. And Jesus was born in? Bethlehem. But they’re not, they don’t know that. They just know He’s from Galilee. Ok, so, so here’s what I discovered I’m going through this. A very, even slight, just a little bit of incentive, could’ve solved the problem. All they would have to do is just ask a few people questions because Bethlehem’s five miles away from Jerusalem. It was pretty public knowledge. They didn’t know that knowledge. All they had to do is just a little bit of research and they would’ve said, oh! Wow! He was really born in Bethlehem and He’s from the lineage of King David. Huh.


And this reminds me of so many people who, when you talk to them about God, especially Jesus, they go well, you know, I’ve always been interested but I’m sort of agnostic. That’s sort of everybody’s favorite word. Oooh. And what I mean is, I’ve heard these things, I’ve heard those things, but, you know, I just really haven’t made up my mind. Here’s the deal. Just a little bit of incentive in their lives to do a little bit of research could solve the problem. Honestly. I’m challenging you, if you’re teetering about the person of Jesus Christ, do a simple little bit of research on the historicity, the veracity, of the New Testament documents and specifically, the claims of Christ. The evidence is out there. You will discover it’s not only ample evidence; it’ll be overwhelming evidence for you to trust in and believe in Christ.


But did you notice in verse 52 they made a statement of which they were wrong about? Look: Search and look. No prophet has arisen out of Galilee. Sounds pretty authoritative, doesn’t it? Search! Look! Check it out! There’s been no prophet out of Galilee. So, it, when I read this it makes me think the guys who said it, why don’t you search and look? Because you ever heard of a guy named Jonah? Jonah was a prophet who came out of? Galilee. Gath Epher. He was born in Gath Epher. Five miles from Nazareth, where Jesus was raised, incidentally. Search and look—there’s been no prophet that’s come out of Galilee. Bzzz… got that answer wrong. We have an expression in English. There are none so blind as those who will not see. There are none so deaf as those who will not hear. There’s some people, when you talk to them about spiritual things, it’s fingers in the ears and la, la, la, la… that’s how they live their lives. They don’t want any other input—and they’re thirsty.


Here’s a group of people, a few different groups of people, all of this confusion reveals their thirst, their Messianic thirst. They have longed for a deliverer. Now here’s something I want you to note. It’s true historically. After the captivity, when they came back from Babylon and settled in Israel again, there was a growing Messianic thirst. Deliverer—we want a deliverer. We want somebody, that Messiah promised, we want Him to come. And then when the Romans occupied their land, which is the setting here, that thirst heightened to, I’m gonna say, almost a fever pitch. There’s a book called The History of Messianic Speculation in Israel. Long title. By a rabbi, Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, and he says, and I quote: Prior to the first century, C.E., of the Christian era, Messianic interest was not excessive. But the first century, especially the generation before the destruction of the second temple [that’s this exact time] witnessed a remarkable outburst in Messianic emotionalism.


So that’s what I want you to understand about this crowd of people: officers, Jerusalemites, visitors. There was this heightened thirst and expectation. Messiah… the Messiah… we want Him to come… but who is He? In steps the Messiah. In their midst. In the temple. And they’re looking at each other talking neckties when He offers them the water of life. Just think back one chapter, one chapter, chapter 6. That group in Galilee, some of them are here at the Feast, wanted to take Jesus by force and make Him a what? King. Deliverer. Their Messianic king. Jesus didn’t come to be a king, a politician. He came to be their Savior first of all. But they’re so thirsty that I’m gonna say they’re dehydrated.


I don’t know if you know about dehydration but it affects the way people think and how they react. I did a little bit of study this week and followed the process of a person who is really thirsty and thirsting to death. Stage number one: udypsia. Udypsia is the normal, everyday, common thirst. It’s where you go, I’m thirsty. You recognize you need some water. Now if you don’t get water and you keep that up, you’ll enter phase number two: hyperdypsia. And these are intense, though temporary, bouts of extreme thirst. If you still don’t get water over a period of time, you’ll enter into stage number three which is polydypsia. This is a sustained, intense craving but it’s the stage, and this is why it’s called polydypsia, it’s the stage at which a person will drink anything to quench their thirst. They’ll look at ocean water, knowing it’s salt, and they’ll drink it because they’ve become almost delusional wanting to quench that thirst.


These people are dehydrated. They’re willing to gravitate to any, um, idea of what their Messiah ought to be based on folklore, etcetera, etcetera, having never tasted from the refreshing well of Christ. All they can do is, in their confusion, speculate.


Well things haven’t changed for 2,000 years. Think of all of the different wells people are willing to drink out of to satisfy the thirst that every human being has. Money. I get enough money, I’ll be satisfied. Sex. If I have enough sex, I’ll be really happy. Status. Substance—drugs, alcohol. People do these things to, to kill the pain and to bring satisfaction. Ironically, none of them ever do bring satisfaction, do they? In fact, not only do they not satisfy, they’re poisonous. They create a deeper intense longing that that experience just accentuates but never satisfies. It’s easy to prove. Ask the drug addict. Somebody who’s now addicted to drugs, who started taking them just because it felt so good. Now they’re addicted. Hey, how’s that satisfaction thing going for you? Not too good. Ask the alcoholic addicted to that substance. Ask the sex addict or the person addicted to power or money who’s chasing that rabbit. Hey, how’s that satisfaction thing going for you? Not too well.


Max Lucado tells us why in his fine book The Applause of Heaven. He writes: False fountains pacify our cravings with sugary swallows of pleasure. That’s so descriptive. Sugary swallows of pleasure. But there comes a time when pleasure doesn’t satisfy. There comes a dark hour in every life when the world caves in and we’re left trapped in the rubble of reality, parched and dying. We are very thirsty. But not for fame, possession, passion, or romance. We’ve drunk from those pools. They are salt water in the desert. They don’t quench. They kill. No, we’re thirsty for a clean conscience. We crave a clean slate. We yearn for a fresh start. The problem is the treasures of the earth don’t satisfy. The promise is the treasures of heaven do satisfy. So number one is the crowd—all those people.


Now listen to the promise and that is found in verse 37. Thirsty people are called. “On the last day, that great day of the feast,” ok, stop right there. I’ve got to give you the setting so that you understand the impact of what you’re about to read. Because otherwise you just read it and go, yeah, yeah, yeah, ok, cool. But you’ve got to get the impact. Here’s the setting. It’s the Feast of what? Tabernacles or booths. It’s a seven day feast. It lasted all week long. Every day, every morning, thousands of people go up to the temple area, the courts, and they’d be met by a priest. Now the people when they came, they had in their left hand a piece of citrus fruit, symbolic of the fruitful land that God gave them. in their right hand, they had branches of three different trees: a palm branch, a willow branch, and a myrtle branch, or pieces of it, emblematic of the stages of the wilderness wanderings before they got into the Promised Land. So citrus fruit; foliage. Thousands of them are there. They’re singing songs. The priest meets them. he has a golden pitcher. They all take a procession from the temple area down to the pool of Siloam. The priest takes the golden pitcher, dips it in the water of the pool of Siloam, marches back up to the temple, they’re singing psalms, he takes the water and pours it on the stones of the altar. And as they witness this, the crowd sings in unison a passage from Isaiah chapter 12 that says: with joy you will draw waters from the well of salvation. Now the pouring of the water was symbolic of the water that God gave from the rock itself in the desert, remember the story? So that was their daily routine. But on the last day of the Feast, the final day, it says that great day of the Feast; see what it says in verse 37, that great day? Something different happened. What happened is the people would meet at the temple, the priest would meet them there, they’d go to Siloam, they’d get the water, they’d come back, they’d do the deal but the priest would march around the altar not once, but seven times on the last day. Seven times. Why seven times? Well they marched around Jericho seven times before they entered the land. As they were entering, and that was the first place, so seven times around the altar, they’re singing psalms, fruit in one hand, branches in the other hand, singing Isaiah 12 with joy you will draw water from the well of salvation. But this time, on the sixth march around the altar, the priest with the golden pitcher was met by another priest with a pitcher of wine. Water and wine. Wine symbolic of joy. God has given us joy—refreshment! Then the priest with the pitcher of water would ascend the steps of the altar. As he would get up and start walking, every step the people shouted louder and louder. And then he would pause at the top and lift the pitcher of water up slowly and with every little millimeter of movement the crowd shouting would get louder and louder and louder until the pitcher was at the very top that that priest could reach, then there was a hush over the crowd. Ok. That’s the last day of the feast. That’s what’s happening.


So can you picture that in your mind? Pitcher goes up, pitcher goes up, there’s a hush now over the crowd. Now let’s read. “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.” Can you imagine how powerful at that exact moment spiritually and psychologically the impact that would have on the crowd? “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”


Please notice it doesn’t say that Jesus stood up and said something to them. He didn’t say anything—He cried out. Crodzo is the word. It’s the cry of a raven. It’s when somebody has to shout so loud as to command attention. There’s a big crowd there. He doesn’t have a PA system and that hush over the crowd has fallen, but there’s a huge crowd. And so Jesus cries out, if anyone is thirsty! All the heads go… choom. And they’re staring at Him. He has commanded their attention. I love this fact that Jesus commands the scene. He’s not some anemic milk toast Messiah. He has a loud voice and He commands and controls the situation. And in that, He makes a promise.


Thirsty people are called. Number one, to take the plunge and to get refreshed. Look at the promise in verse 37: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.” There’s three words that sum it up: thirst, come, drink. First thing that is necessary is you have to realize you’re thirsty. Because only thirsty people drink water. Only people who know they have a spiritual need ever seek to get it refreshed. You know, there’s a lot of people that go through their lives and every experience they, they encounter, everyday—they’re not satisfied. They’re just thirstier. They’re thirstier and thirstier and… look at life and honestly, there are some people, life is just insipid and bland and tasteless and whatever. They’ve come to that point.


You know, there was a point in my life when, after moving to New Mexico, I got so used to the food here that no other food would quite do it. Anybody know what I’m talking about? So I first came here and the food is like way too hot. I couldn’t eat this stuff. Then it’s like a transformation took place. This food is so good, you go anywhere else and every other food is boring! Where’s the chile? Where’s the red or green? It got so bad, I kid you not, I’d travel with little bottles of Tabasco sauce or chile powder because I had to have the kick. Food just didn’t taste good—it was bland. Life is bland. People are thirsty. But they have to recognize that thirst.


Second word: come. “If anyone is thirsty, let him come”. Here’s Jesus. He’s saying I’m here. Now come. Make the move. You’ve come to this ceremony in the temple, now come to Me. Third word is drink. This speaks of receiving Christ personally, not ceremonially, not superficially—personally. When you drink, it’s personal. I can easily demonstrate that. That didn’t do you any good. Sure tasted great to me. Because drinking stuff is personal, right? The idea of drinking Christ or drinking from this living water is, is personally coming and placing your faith in Him. If I stand here and I’m holding this water and I announce to you, man, I’m so thirsty! I’m really thirsty! Eventually, you’re gonna say drink! Because having this water and not drinking does me no good whatsoever. You may have come—but are you drinking? Are you personally taking in that refreshment? You recognize you’re thirsty. You’ve come. But are you drinking? And notice anyone can do it. Notice it says in verse 37: “If anyone thirsts”. I love this. There’s no social, educational issues that are involved. Young, old—anyone. Male, female—anyone. Educated, uneducated—anyone. “Anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.”


Look at the last two verses. I’m gonna show you something that I think may surprise you. I say surprise you because this is where most people end their thinking. They’re thinking, yes, I’ve heard this before. If I come to Jesus Christ, I’ll be satisfied. And that’s sort of where we preach the gospel and stop. Come to Christ and you’ll be satisfied. Oh, friend, that’s just the beginning. We just have gotten started. It’s so much more than about you being satisfied. First 38: “He who believes in Me”. Show of hands, honest show of hands right now, how many in this room believe in Christ? Show me your hands. Ok, great. Put them down. That means this is for all of us. “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” Wow! Did you get that? The promise isn’t just that we’ll be blessed. The promise is that we’ll become a blessing to others.


Here’s the point. Don’t just be a gulper. Be a gusher. See, God never intended that we just store up this pool of living water, salvation, truth. Because it’ll stagnate. Living, flowing, abundant streams that come out from us. Now this is where modern Christianity, in my opinion, is highly lacking because modern evangelical Christianity has made it all about your sad, poor life and you need to come to Jesus and really live the life and really be satisfied. And it’s almost as if some people believe Jesus never really said seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all things will be added to you. It’s as if some people believe He said, seek first to be personally contented and personally satisfied, and if you have any time at all left over, and it’s not too terribly inconvenient for any of you, could you please do something for the kingdom of God? Right? No, He said come to Me and be satisfied. That’s just the first step. Now come and be a conduit to export the water that has gone into your life into the lives of others.


You know, there’s three kinds of faith. Three kinds of faith. Let’s see which one you are. First of all, there’s faulty faith. Faulty faith is the faith of the unbeliever. He hasn’t personally committed himself to Christ. He may believe there’s a God. He may believe there’s a Christ. But he’s there, like the crowd, confused. That’s faulty faith. This is the faith of the demons. Doesn’t the Bible say the demons believe and do what? They tremble. So every demon in hell knows God is real, knows Jesus Christ is the answer, knows that if you come to Him by faith your sins will be forgiven. They know that. That’s faulty faith. They haven’t done anything about it.


Number two, there’s firm faith. That’s where you trust, not in yourself, not in your religious stuff, but you trust wholly in Christ and His finished work for your salvation. Now you’re on a firm foundation. That’s called justification. That’s firm faith. You have faulty faith; you have firm faith. Every single Christian has firm faith. If you truly believe in Christ, that’s firm faith.


But there’s a third. It’s called flowing faith. Flowing faith. That is where the Holy Spirit empowers you to pass on this refreshing gift to other people. So here’s my question: do you have flowing faith? Are you saved? I’m saved. Are you satisfied? Very. Great. Now what are you doing with it? Are you sent? Are there rivers of living water? Are you showing that satisfaction to other people? And they go, I, I want that. In fact, I’m gonna submit this to you. I believe this with all my heart. Your satisfaction contentment level never gets higher than when you make it not about you and all about Him and all about His kingdom and you become an instrument to lead others to Christ. The joy level is outrageous when you’re part of that enterprise.


There’s a commercial and you’ve seen it, I know. I can’t escape it. It’s cleverly written though it’s a beer commercial. It’s a Dos Equis commercial. It’s called “The Most Interesting Man in the World”. Has anybody ever seen it? Ok. You can’t escape it. It’s everywhere. And here’s this bearded guy, sort of middle aged, he’s the most interesting man in the world and they say, the most interesting man in the world. His personality is so magnetic; he can’t even carry credit cards. These outlandish claims. Or the most interesting man in the world: even his enemies carry his phone number as an emergency contact. And the most interesting man in the world, in this commercial, always ends every commercial by saying? Stay thirsty, my friends. That’s the big tag line. Stay thirsty, my friends. Here is the most refreshing Man in the world—Jesus. And He doesn’t say stay thirsty, My friends. He says get your thirst quenched, My friends. I’ll quench your thirst. And you will be satisfied and be satisfying to other people. You may have been drinking from every conceivable well out there—and wholly unsatisfied. Standing next to a waterfall dying of thirst.


I close with a little, um, bit from C.S. Lewis’ book The Silver Chair. You know I love C.S. Lewis. His Chronicles of Narnia, the book The Silver Chair, hosts Aslan the lion and a girl named Jill and Jill sees Aslan, freaks out, and runs away. Like a lot of people run away from Christ. She’s running away, she runs so far, so hard, that she’s dying of thirst. She’s out in the forest somewhere. Aslan is there. Here’s the story: Are you not thirsty? Said the lion. I’m dying of thirst. Said Jill. May I, could I, would you mind going away while I drink? Said Jill. The lion answered this only by a look and a very low growl. As Jill gazed at this momentous bulk, she realized she might as well have asked the whole mountain to move aside for her convenience. The delicious rippling noise of the stream was driving her nearly frantic. Will you promise not to do anything to me if I do come? Said Jill. I make no promise. Said the lion. Jill was so thirsty that, without noticing it, she had come a step nearer. Do you eat girls? She asked. I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings, emperors, cities, and realms. Said the lion. He didn’t say it as if he were boasting or as if he were sorry or as if he were angry. He just said it. I dare not come and drink. Said Jill. Then you will die of thirst. Said the lion. Oh dear! Said Jill, coming another step nearer. I suppose I must go look for another stream then. There is no other stream. Said the lion. It never occurred to Jill to just believe the lion. No one had ever seen the stern face could ever do that and her mind suddenly made itself up. It was the worst thing she ever had to do, but she went forward to the stream, knelt down, and began scooping up the water in her hand. It was the coldest, most refreshing water she ever tasted.


Here’s the message. If you’re gonna come to drink of refreshing water, you come on the Lion’s terms. You come on Aslan’s terms. You come on Christ’s terms. Here He is in their midst. I am the living water. If you drink, you’ll be refreshed. But you must thirst, you must come, and you personally must drink.

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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8/1/2010
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Seeing Jesus Through the Fog
John 7:1-13
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There was always a fog surrounding Jesus! It was a fog of uncertainty, of unbelief, and of conflicting opinion. He was misunderstood about both His mission and His message. His friends, His family, and His foes were often bewildered about who He was and what He was doing. That remains true even today. But in this passage our view becomes clearer. Jesus had clearly defined objectives that He reveals here and they are extremely practical for us today.
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8/8/2010
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Follow Jesus But Don't Be Religious
John 7:14-24
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Jesus clashed with religious leaders more than any other group of people. He went against their spiritual grain and challenged their legalistic ideas. Christ made it clear that He hadn’t come to establish a new religion but rather to show the way to God His Father. He didn’t give people another “system of beliefs and practices”; instead He said that He Himself was the way, truth, and life. In this public confrontation, we learn how to follow Christ in truth and not be religious.
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8/22/2010
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Scribbling on the Ground
John 8:1-11
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Can you imagine what a surviving copy of Jesus' autograph would be worth today? Or what about a letter to His disciples? The fact is, there is no existing document or copy of anything Jesus ever wrote. We only have this story of Him scribbling something in transient dust on the Temple stones. Though John doesn't tell what Jesus wrote that day, his account does reveal a lot about Jesus Himself and how He interacted with three different kinds of folks.
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8/29/2010
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Blinded by the Light
John 8:12-20
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When the sun shines right in your eyes, your immediate inclination is to squint, turn away, or put sunglasses on. Light can be blinding! Though light penetrates our world, providing illumination and energy for our very existence, big doses of it can be difficult to handle. That's true spiritually as well. Jesus, by His teaching and work, illuminated this world darkened by sin. Some rejoiced in that light, able to see where they were going. But others, who'd been so accustomed to spiritual darkness, could only wince when Jesus was around.
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9/5/2010
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The Worst Way & Best Way to Die
John 8:21-30
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One person put it this way, "Death is the big flaw. Sometimes we can postpone it, lessen its physical pains, deny its existence—but we can't escape it!" Since that is universally true, why don't people take death seriously enough to plan for it? While we are alive in this world, everyone should be thinking more about the next. But what's the best (and worst) way to die?
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9/19/2010
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The Best Way & Worst Way to Live
John 8:31-36
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Everyone has an opinion on what "The Good Life" is. For some, it's financial independence. For others, it’s autonomy from government control. For still others, it’s the ability to do whatever you want whenever you feel like it. Jesus offers a different kind of freedom and a better brand of life. Here Jesus tells us what the best way to live really is: It’s the freedom to be a genuine disciple. And He tells us what the worst way to live really is: It’s the slavery of a sinful lifestyle. Today consider how free you really are and what areas of life you may still be in bondage to.
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9/26/2010
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The Devil's DNA
John 8:37-47
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Your body has 100 trillion cells. Inside each one is a nucleus and in each nucleus are DNA molecules. DNA is like an instruction manual for life with densely coded information telling each cell what to do. A simple paternity test would prove that my father was really my father. Here Jesus gives His audience a spiritual paternity test that reveals their spiritual father to be the devil himself. No matter what your physical ancestry, you can always tell one's spiritual heritage.
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10/3/2010
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Who IS This Guy?
John 8:48-59
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Jesus had friends and He had enemies. But besides those, He also had some "frenemies" (enemies who pretended to be friends). To this crowd who at first pretended to believe (v. 31) Jesus is both confrontational and controversial. This paragraph highlights three possible identities of Jesus: two of them were his enemies' accusations and one was Jesus' own claim.
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10/10/2010
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Life Hurts! Where's God?
John 9:1-12
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"Why is there so much pain in the world?" is the most frequently asked question ever! We hate it when we, or those we love, are in pain. Today we see Jesus confront a hurting world. As we do, consider these words by Elizabeth Elliot (whose husband was murdered): "If God is in charge and loves us, then whatever is given is subject to His control and is meant ultimately for our joy."
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10/17/2010
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The Truth About Your Neighbors
John 9:13-34
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Those of us who are Christians live in a sea of unbelievers who work with us, live next to us, shop where we shop, and send their kids to the same schools. Some have a mild case of unbelief disguised by religious practices. Others are more demonstrable in their agnosticism or atheism. Let's watch a local Jerusalem neighborhood struggle against faith in spite of clear evidence.
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10/24/2010
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Got Any Blind Spots?
John 9:35-41
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When you drive, you encounter "blind spots"—it could be part of your own car or it could be a tree that hides traffic on the other side. Those blind spots hinder both progress and ultimately, safety. When Jesus healed a blind man in Jerusalem, the same man was also healed of his spiritual blindness. But others who thought their spiritual perception was keen were as blind as a bat! As we consider this story, can you think of any blind spots in your spiritual journey?
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10/31/2010
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The Good Shepherd (and a bunch of happy sheep!)
John 10:1-10
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This is one of the most beloved passages to be found anywhere in Scripture. But it's not a stand-alone passage: The healing of the blind man in chapter 9 was more than a miracle. It was part of the process of Jesus forming His flock. The leadership had cast the healed man out of the synagogue. Jesus found him, accepted him, saved him, and placed him in His own fold.
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11/21/2010
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What's So Great About the Good Shepherd?
John 10:11-21
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"What's so great about being a Christian?" some people ask. The answer lies in the kind of care, provision, and protection we get from Jesus Christ, our Shepherd. Have you ever stopped to make a list of the benefits that are yours as a follower of Christ? Consider this short list of advantages that you, as a child of God, have. When was the last time you thanked Him for being your Shepherd? This would be a great week to do that!
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12/5/2010
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To BElieve or Not to BElieve...
John 10:22-42
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"In all unbelief there are two things: a good opinion of one's self and a bad opinion about God."— Horatius Bonar. It's true, isn't it? Humanism is man-centered and rejects God's existence or His relevance. But Jesus appealed to two things: the plain evidence of His supernatural works and the testimony of those who witnessed them. Jesus here asserts His deity, and the reaction is predictable—some believed while others did not believe. Which camp do you fall into?
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1/9/2011
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The Great Physician's Patient Dies
John 11:1-16
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When a doctor loses a patient on the operating table, there is a deep sense of remorse and sadness in the surgical theater. Doctors are trained to save lives but sometimes even the best trained physicians are unable to control complications that lead to death. But here we discover that Christ, the Great Physician, not only knows that His patient is sick--He allows him to die! Here are three principles about Divine Medicine that we can all learn.
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1/16/2011
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A Tale of Two Sisters
John 11:17-32
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In 1859 Charles Dickens wrote his famous work, A Tale of Two Cities, set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution. The story before us is set in Bethany near Jerusalem and highlights the personal relationship that two sisters had with Jesus Christ. Their broken hearts provide an excellent platform to consider how Christ deals with people in grief and loss. Let's actively probe not only their responses but ours to the incredible promise Jesus makes.
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1/23/2011
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The Strangest Funeral Ever
John 11:33-44
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According to one source, there are approximately 2 million funerals in America per year, which means that about 5,479 funerals take place every single day! Most of those funerals are pretty typical: a formal service followed by an interment. But the funeral service we're looking at was really different--and not just because of a resurrection. Here Jesus does three things that are pretty normal for most people at a funeral, but strikingly odd for Jesus.
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1/30/2011
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What to Do with Jesus?
John 11:45-57
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Any lawyer can tell you that whenever the star witness is a resurrected corpse, you have a pretty good case! But Lazarus being alive from the dead doesn’t seem to persuade everyone. And so the big issue becomes what shall we do with Jesus? The decisions made here set the clock in motion for an impending hate crime—the crucifixion of Christ. But from heaven’s vantage point, this is all part of God’s plan for redemption. Let’s see the responses and how we can make a difference.
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2/6/2011
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A Meal to Reveal the Heart
John 12:1-11
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If you were to step into the home of Simon at Bethany (Mark 14:3) on that night, you would've seen Jesus and His disciples along with Lazarus and His two sisters reclining at a low table for a meal in honor of Christ. But if you were to step into the hearts of those people, you would discover they were all very different from each other. Those inside the house and outside represent the gamut of feelings about Jesus—from adoring love to intense hatred. What a complicated meal!
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2/13/2011
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A Day, a Donkey, a Deliverer, and a Decision
John 12:12-19
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2000 years ago, on the final Sunday of Jesus’ earthly life before His crucifixion, He did the most unusual thing—He sat on a donkey and was carried into the city of Jerusalem in parade fashion. This formal presentation of Him as Deliverer was both profound and predicted. What’s the significance of such an act as this? What overarching principles emerge for us today? We’ll dig in and discover them, but today you’ve got to write them down yourself:
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2/20/2011
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Living the Right Life
John 12:20-26
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If this sermon was a book and I wanted to sell lots of copies, the title would cause it to fail. Now if it were entitled "Living the High Life" or "Living the Successful Life," then I may have a winner. But many have lived with both success and riches who didn't live right! So what is the right life? Or to frame it with a better question: What kind of life is most pleasing to God? Through a series of paradoxes, John gives us the answer—it wasn't the answer most people are looking for!
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2/27/2011
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Cross-Culture
John 12:27-36
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The term cross-culture emerges from the social sciences and typically refers to interaction of one culture or language with another. But that's not how I'm using it today. I'm thinking of it in the biblical sense, the salvation sense. Jesus' whole life was immersed in the culture of the cross and He referred to His impending death on the cross as "His hour." Let's consider today the culture of the cross of Christ: what it meant to Jesus personally and the world ultimately.
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3/6/2011
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Believe It or Not!
John 12:37-50
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Most of you reading this are believers. Some are not. Both are dangerous positions to take but for different reasons—vastly different reasons! This paragraph in John's Gospel is the summary of all that has been written, from chapters 1 through 13. It reviews the two different responses people have to Jesus and then gives us Jesus' own synopsis on faith and unbelief. Today you will be able to understand the real differences and consequences of faith and unbelief.
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3/13/2011
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A Night Unforgettable
John 13:1-5
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Some days are frozen in time because of the magnitude of an event. You will always remember September 11, 2001 and where you were when the towers fell. The night America bombed Baghdad or the night John Lennon was murdered may be permanent memories captured in your mind. This was the final night Jesus spent with His own disciples and it would be unforgettable. Let’s discover how what seem like ordinary moments can be extraordinary appointments.
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3/20/2011
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Basin Theology 101
John 13:6-17
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At the final Passover meal that Jesus shared with His closest friends, He gave new meaning to the bread and wine, using them to point to His upcoming sacrificial death on the cross. Today we share Communion as a church family and reflect on that meal, as well as the lessons Jesus was teaching His first followers. After dinner Jesus took a basin of water and began to wash the feet of his students and taught them life principles about stooping, cleansing and serving.
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3/27/2011
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Betrayed!
John 13:18-30
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Relationships can withstand an enormous amount of pressure, but betrayal is sure to end most. The old English word means to hand over or to deliver. Think of it: while Jesus was about to deliver the world from sin and its destruction, Judas was about to deliver the Savior over to His enemies. If you've ever felt betrayed by someone, this study will have special application to you.
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4/10/2011
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A Brand New Way of Life!
John 13:31-35
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To follow Jesus is to have a brand new way of life. When these twelve men sitting around the dinner table started hanging around Jesus, they had no idea just how new and different their lives would become. At this final meal on that last night, they were still learning just how new their lives should be. (Jesus can still teach old dogs new tricks!) As present-day followers of Christ, let’s consider three aspects of life that become new once we become His disciples.
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4/17/2011
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F.A.Q.
John 13:36-38
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An old Persian Proverb reads, "It's harder to ask a sensible question than to supply a sensible answer." Many times our questions to God are reactive—based on a sort of knee-jerk reaction to painful circumstances. Peter asked Jesus two questions of this sort. But whenever we ask God questions we must hang around to get the supplied answers. The questions Peter asked are similar to ones we frequently ask. Let's consider and apply Jesus' outstanding answer
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5/1/2011
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A Theology for Messy Lives
John 14:1-6
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Life can be pretty messy sometimes: plans fail, people leave, money diminishes, and taxes rise. There are plenty of reasons to be troubled these days but there are better reasons not to be! Life was about to get real messy for those disciples around that Jerusalem dinner table. At times like that, there are some basic instructions we need to fall back on so our hearts inside us won't be swallowed up by the mess around us.
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5/8/2011
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How Can I Know God?
John 14:7-11
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What a thought—that a mere human can know God! The agnostic asserts this is impossible. The atheist insists that the very idea is an arrogant and purely metaphysical pursuit. But one of the reasons Jesus came was to reveal God's character and nature clearly and perfectly! Let's consider two roadblocks to knowing God and four resources that help us know Him better.
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5/29/2011
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Privileges of God's Employees
John 14:12-14
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Most companies have benefits for employees: things like overtime pay, health insurance, and sick pay. In 2 Corinthians 6:1, Paul calls us "workers together with Him" (NLT renders it "God's partners"). We have been called to a high and lofty task—to be His representatives here on earth. You might say we're part of the "family business." So what has God called us to do? And how has He provided for us in terms of resources? In short, what are the benefits of being God's employees?
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6/5/2011
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Four Part Harmony
John 14:15-18
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Some of the best moments on American Idol aren't the solo performances, but when all the singers join together and blend their voices in harmony. There's nothing sweeter than well-trained voices blended together in first, thirds, and fifths. Spiritual harmony is much the same—when believers blend with the triune Godhead there is an alignment that results in a deep sense of fulfillment. And what is the note we are to sing in this spiritual song? It is the note of loving obedience!
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6/12/2011
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Promises, Promises!
John 14:19-26
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Someone once mused, "Promises may get friends, but it's performance that keeps them." No wonder God has so many friends! He makes promises and keeps them. On this final night that Jesus spent with His friends, as both sorrow and confusion assailed them, Jesus made several promises that would sustain them in the days, months, and years ahead. What about you? Will you dare to trust the promises of God? It's the only way to see if they really work.
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6/26/2011
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Peace Where You Least Expect It
John 14:27-31
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On countless American gravestones this epitaph could be written: Hurried, Worried, Buried. What a sad way to live! Fear, anxiety, and distress have literally become part of our national culture. Odd, isn't it? Though we have such abundance in this country, most don't experience abundant life—especially as Jesus described it. Sure, everyone has his or her share of trouble and anxieties, but let's consider one of the greatest gifts Jesus gives to followers—the gift of peace!
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7/3/2011
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Life-Lessons from Grape-Growers - Part 1
John 15:1-7
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My parents grew grapes on their little plot of land in Southern California. There weren't many, but enough for me to know that getting fruit at harvest depended on three things: the solid connection of branch to vine, the vigilant care of the workers, and the consistency of those things over time. Jesus, walking with the disciples toward the Garden of Gethsemane, gives life lessons to His men using the familiar example of growing grapes. With that analogy in mind, let's consider the three ways our relationship to God is described by Jesus.
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7/10/2011
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Life-Lessons From Grape-Growers - Part 2
John 15:8-11
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As we grow older, we mature. In our spiritual lives we should become spiritually mature. The Bible calls it being fruitful. Spiritual fruit is the indication that we're truly connected to Christ. But there are others, as we'll see today. Last week we examined how the relationship with Christ is described (Connected to Christ, Cared for by the Father, and Consistent Over Time). Today let's consider how this relationship is demonstrated. When we're rightly connected to God we'll be:
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7/17/2011
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What a Friend We Have in Jesus
John 15:12-17
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We can get through almost anything in life with friends to share our sorrow and divide our grief. A Chinese word for friend is peng-yu and it has a much fuller meaning than in English. It means "one who brings completion and sums up beauty." The ancient Hebrews saw true friendship as an ideal to pursue and a blessing to enjoy. In these final moments with His followers, Jesus uses a most tender term for their relationship—they were friends! What does that friendship look like?
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7/24/2011
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Why Does Everyone Hate Me?
John 15:18-25
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There is a flipside to being a friend of Jesus. That's true of any friendship. Whenever you ally yourself and make friends with someone, you will incur some enemies because of it. Likewise, some who don't like Jesus won't like us either—and we discover there are quite a few who don't! Let's find out why, and how we can raise our heads high and prevail.
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7/31/2011
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Two Thirds Is Not Enough
John 15:26-16:15
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We love God the Father who created us and God the Son who redeemed us, but what about the Holy Spirit? We hear His name a lot, but who is He? What exactly does He do? What does He want from us? The Holy Spirit is the "quiet One," active in the life of believers but sometimes not acknowledged as being vital. Oswald Chambers noted, "The Holy Spirit cannot be located as a guest in a house. He invades everything!" Today, we consider Him and His role in our lives.
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8/7/2011
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The Holy Hound of Heaven
John 16:5-11
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Having understood Who the Holy Spirit is (Person not just power; Deity not just dignitary) we now find out what He does in the world of unbelieving people. Since the greatest gift God ever gave to the world was His only Son (John 3:16) it stands to reason that the greatest sin one can commit is to reject the Son (John 16:9). How does the Holy Spirit both sentence the world as prosecutor and lead people away from judgment? And what role do we play in all of this?
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8/14/2011
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When Sorrow Turns to Joy
John 16:16-22
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The flamboyant baseball-legend-turned-preacher Billy Sunday stated, "If you have no joy in your religion, there's a leak in your Christianity somewhere!" That's not to say that life is all laughs. Hardly! Jesus anticipated His followers' deep sorrow. He predicted it. But He also assured them that their experience of sadness would be eclipsed by a greater experience of lasting joy.
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8/21/2011
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How to Send Knee-Mail
John 16:23-28
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Today you can be anywhere in the world and send or receive messages digitally via email. Sending email has eclipsed traditional mail for years now. Sending knee-mail is similar (you can be anywhere)—but with better results! You don't need wifi or a modem; you don't need an electronic device or a computer. Before Jesus left His disciples, He wanted them to get "online" with the Father and stay connected through the simple yet powerful means of prayer.
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9/4/2011
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I've Fallen, but I CAN Get Up!
John 16:29-33
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I would rather fail in a cause that will ultimately succeed than to succeed in a cause that will ultimately fail! So said President Woodrow Wilson. Our Lord knows us better than we know ourselves and is not surprised by our weaknesses. We all fall and fail, even though we may commit to standing strong. What can we learn about ourselves and our God in such valleys? Even more, what kind of restoration can we hope for after our bout with failure?
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9/18/2011
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Holy Eavesdropping
John 17:1
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Imagine if you could sit and listen to Jesus talking to His Father—what would Jesus say to Him? In this prayer (which comprises all of John 17) we step onto holy ground. His instruction to His followers is now over. His preparation of them is done. He now turns His attention heavenward to talk directly to His Father about Himself, about His disciples, and about His future church. This prayer is unique for four reasons:
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9/25/2011
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The Gifts That Keep On Giving
John 17:1-5
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It's possible to give without loving but it's impossible to love without giving— Richard Braunstein. Part of God's nature is that He shows His love by His generous gifts. "For God so loved the world that He gave..." (John 3: 16). Here, in the opening lines of Jesus' prayer to His Father, He requests a gift from His Father and acknowledges three other gifts—two given to the Son by the Father, and one given by the Son to us. These are the gifts that keep on giving!
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10/2/2011
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How Followers Are Formed
John 17:6-10
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Okay, so which is it? Did I choose God or did God choose me? Perspective is everything! If you look at it from the divine viewpoint, you'll say God chose. If you're looking at it from a human viewpoint, you'll say we do the choosing. But why can't both be true? I suppose you can sit around, scratch your head, and try to ponder such imponderables, or you can sigh happily and say with a grateful heart, "I'm elated that He chose me!" But you should also ask yourself another question while you're at it—What am I going to do about it now?
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10/9/2011
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Missionaries or Monasteries?
John 17:11-19
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How can you leave your mark on the world? Most everyone wants to be remembered for some contribution made to society. Well, Jesus wants us to do that, too. In fact, He prays for that. God wants you to make an imprint on life's road so people will say, "Hey look! God's kids were here!" We can't do that by isolating ourselves. We have marching orders!
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10/23/2011
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Listen Up! Jesus is Praying—for YOU!
John 17:20-26
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What's God's general will for you? Look no further than this text! Now as we listen to Jesus pray for us, we also find what our priorities in life are to be. These words are the "Last Will and Testament" of Jesus Christ. So pay close attention and you'll get it right from the heart of Jesus Himself.
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10/30/2011
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I've Got It Under Control
John 18:1-11
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Sometimes life appears to be spinning out of control. Events happen we didn't plan for, people do things we didn't expect, we find ourselves in places we never thought we'd be in. But though you can't always control what happens to you, you are responsible for what happens in you (attitudes and responses). What do we really believe about God's authority and power in our lives? Is there ever a time when God can't say, "I've got it under control"?
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11/20/2011
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The Darkest Night!
John 18:12-27
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On a dark spring night in Jerusalem, it seemed everyone was against Jesus Christ. The religious system had long been opposed to and jealous of His burgeoning ministry. The mock trial designed to get rid of Jesus was only going through the technical motions to achieve their end. And Peter, Jesus' closest friend, was in a downward process of disassociating himself from Him. But in the midst of the darkest night, the sunrise of God's grace was beginning to shine!
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1/8/2012
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A King, a Kingdom, and a Courtroom
John 18:28-40
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What kind of a King is Jesus, and what is the nature of His Kingdom? And what does it mean to pray, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done"? These are the questions faced in the text before us. As Jesus nears the cross, a nation denies His reign over them, while a Roman ruler questions Him and then cynically admits his own confusion and despair.
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1/22/2012
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How Do You Handle Jesus?
John 19:1-16
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Pontius Pilate was like every other person who has ever lived. The fundamental question of his life was, "What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?" (Matthew 27:22). Everyone has to deal with Jesus, to decide about Him and His claims. In one setting, we can see how one man (Pilate) was influenced to deal with Jesus in three different ways. These three ways are how many people today still choose to deal with Jesus Christ.
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1/29/2012
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Execution of a King
John 19:17-22
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Regicide is the official word used for the execution of a king. Most countries reserve the stiffest of punishments for subjects or assassins who would kill their royalty. John records the execution of the King of kings on a Roman cross outside the city of Jerusalem. But the rest of Scripture reveals that it was more than an execution; it was sacrifice that brought salvation. The next few weeks, we will consider the cross in depth and what it means for the world and for us.
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2/5/2012
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The Cross on the Billboard of Eternity
John 19:23-24
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Did you know that the cross of Christ was always God's plan from the very beginning? It wasn't a reaction to mankind's rejection of His Son, nor was it an accommodation to a Roman and Jewish miscarriage of justice. It was according to "the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God" (Acts 2:23). Today we will take a journey back and connect the dots of God's unfolding plan of the cross throughout the ages.
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2/12/2012
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How to Love Your Mother
John 19:25-27
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A mother's love for her children is distinctive and irreplaceable. To watch a child suffer is crushing and almost intolerable for any mom. In this touching scene revealed in three verses, we not only see Mary, the mother of Jesus, at the foot of her Son's cross, we also learn how Jesus cared for His mother. Even from His place of extreme suffering, Jesus was thinking of others and His love for Mary is noteworthy for us.
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2/19/2012
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iThirst
John 19:28-29
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The world is filled with Apple's i-technology, which delivers on its promise to make connectivity and information readily accessible. But there is a deeper need within everyone, a thirst to be right with God, that no app or gadget can fulfill. How ironic that Jesus, the great Thirst-Quencher, would Himself be thirsty. It was part of the great exchange—His temporary thirst enabled yours to be quenched eternally!
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2/26/2012
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It's Done!
John 19:30
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While Jesus was doing His greatest work, He uttered His greatest words! Through the excruciating pain of a tormenting death, Jesus gave the most meaningful statements worthy of careful consideration. John records three of Jesus' seven statements uttered while on the cross. The sixth—and perhaps the most hopeful—is the one we consider today.
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3/4/2012
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Death Under Control
John 19:31-37
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Watching someone you love die is always a heart-wrenching experience, especially when the victim experiences great suffering. For the apostle John, the death of Jesus was likewise difficult-but he saw a glimmer of hope, a silver lining in the dark clouds of death. This death was long ago anticipated and was being carefully monitored from the control center of heaven. Today we see why that's important.
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3/11/2012
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Disciples on the Graveyard Shift
John 19:38-42
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You can find an unending supply of books, pamphlets, and articles on discipleship in Christian churches and bookstores. Many of them will be predictably regimented and conventional, giving solid biblical references and calling Christians to ardently follow Christ—all great stuff. But not everyone's spiritual journey is identical. Some disciples are unexpected, and so is their story. Here are two disciples of Jesus who've been in the background and now step forward to care for the body of Christ after His death. Let's allow their story to inspire us.
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3/18/2012
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A Not-Quite-Empty Tomb
John 20:1-10
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There was a lot of confusion happening on the first Easter morning. The resurrection had happened but it was neither expected nor accepted by all at first. Mary Magdalene ran to tell the disciples what she saw, and they ran to check out her report. What they saw was compelling evidence of a resurrection, but only one of them really connected all the dots. Let's see why.
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3/25/2012
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Hope Rekindled
John 20:11-18
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When people grieve, they usually run the gamut of the emotional spectrum, from denial to bargaining to despair to anger to eventually hope. Mary Magdalene was in hopeless despair as she stood weeping by the grave of Jesus. The resurrected Christ deals tenderly with this woman as he reveals Himself to her and conveys hope for her future. Let's glean some principles for dealing with brokenhearted people.
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4/1/2012
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From Closed Doors to the Open Road
John 20:19-23
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Our relationship with Jesus isn't a secret to be hoarded; it is a story to be heralded! The disciples were seated behind closed doors (sounds like a lot of churches). Jesus wanted them out, giving away what they had been given. Let's see how these early followers went from panic to peace, from perplexity to purpose, and from protection to power. It's a great journey. Are you up for it?
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4/8/2012
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Rise Up!
John 20:24-31
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The apostle Thomas has been noted for his skeptical attitude. In fact, we refer to a skeptic as a "doubting Thomas." In this message from John 20, we consider four ways Thomas was able to rise up from doubt and become a joyful follower of Jesus.
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4/15/2012
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Gone Fishing! (Relating to a Risen & Returning Lord)
John 21:1-14
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I am not a great fisherman. I don't do it often and when I catch something, it's pure luck! My dad was the opposite—he loved it and was great at it. At least seven of Jesus' disciples were fishermen and here we see them plying their trade after the resurrection. Some beautiful lessons can be discovered about how to live while we wait for Jesus to come back for us.
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4/22/2012
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I Failed! Now What?
John 21:15-19
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One of life's harshest realities is failure. The very sound of the word seems harsh to our sensibilities. We even harbor the age-old axiom, "Failure is not an option!" But failure is an option; in fact, it's a certainty. But discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping-stones to victory. In a post-resurrection interview, Jesus restores Peter with a fresh commission. If you have failed in your spiritual experience (and who hasn't), these principles will inspire.
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4/29/2012
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Final Instructions
John 21:20-25
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
As John closes off his singular testimony of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, he features some closing words of Jesus and Peter about himself (John). These final sentences provide some instructions for us as we await Christ's return. How should we live in light of who Jesus is, what Jesus did, and when Jesus will return?
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There are 95 additional messages in this series.