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Service Archives > 43 John - Believe:879 - 2009 > What to Do with Jesus?

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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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1/30/2011
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What to Do with Jesus?
John 11:45-57
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
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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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. Division—People Are Divided over Christ (vv. 45-46)

  2. Discussion—People Will Often Discuss Christ

    1. Some Are Afraid (vv. 47-48)

    2. Some Are Calculated (vv. 49-52)

    3. Some Are Indifferent (vv. 55-57)

  3. Determination—Some People Are Determined against Christ (vv. 53-54)

Talking Points:

  1. Who was your rival in school? How serious was this rivalry? How do feel about him/ her now? Could you ever be that person’s friend?

  2. In witnessing, how do you determine when it is best to be silent or to speak up? What help does this passage give you in making this decision?

  3. When was the last time you took someone to lunch to have a discussion about Jesus?


Detailed Notes

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Our choices are powerful and consequential: good or not good. Someone once said, "We make our choices and then our choices turn around and make us." Anytime a notable event happens, it takes time to process. We think it over and frame some kind of decision about that event so we can deal with it.

In his book One Solitary Life, James C. Hefley stated, "I am within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that ever were built, and all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that One Solitary Life." How has He affected people? What are the common choices and decisions people make regarding Him? What do then do with Jesus? How can we help them make the right choice?

  1. Division--People Are Divided over Christ (vv. 45-46)
    1. Many Jews believed
    2. Some did not believe
      1. Would expect all would believe (not an evangelistic crusade, church service, or merely hear of them miracle; they saw the resurrection of Lazarus with their own eyes!)
      2. It is the hardness of a human heart that rejects an alien will ruling over them; it doesn't matter what they see.
        1. They accuse Christians of being predisposed to belief
        2. Unbelievers are predisposed to not believing
        3. Children of Israel
          Parting of the Red Sea
          Mann from heaven every day
          Water from a Rock
          Pillar of cloud and pillar of fire led them through the wilderness
          Their hearts were hardened
        4. When Jesus fed the multitudes with loaves and fish, soon after: "From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more." (John 6:66)
        5. Rich man and the poor beggar: "But he said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.' " (Luke 16:31)
      3. According to Princeton University Religion Research Center, 82% of American adults agree with the statement: "Even today, miracles are performed by the power of God."
        1. They are not all believers
        2. Miracles don't cause belief
      4. Some didn't just not believe, they told the Pharisees
        1. Took the healed blind man to the Pharisees (See John 9:13)
        2. Afraid to believe or do anything unless sanctioned by religious authority
        3. It is a mistake to live your life through the lens of other people's approval
          "Fearing people is a dangerous trap," (Proverbs 19:25)
          What is your personal conviction based upon the truth of God's Word?
          What does the Bible say?
    3. Division is not always a bad thing
      1. "Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword." (Matthew 10:34)
      2. When people are clearly divided they know where they stand
      3. "He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad." (Matthew 12:30)

  2. Discussion--People Will Often Discuss Christ
    1. Some Are Afraid
      1. Saducees
        1. Council - Συνέδριον - sunedrion  Sanhedrin , seventy ruling elders of the Jews
        2. Probably a smaller meeting of representatives
        3. Don't deny the miracle occurred, but must decide how to deal with it
        4. Sadducees
          Not spiritual, liberal in their thinking
          Didn't believe in the Old Testament except the first five books
          Didn't believe in angels, spirits, or the resurrection
          Political more than religious figures
          Rich aristocracy of Jerusalem
          Bowed to what Rome wanted to keep their position and money intact
      2. Pharisees
        1. Strictly religious
        2. Believe the Bible and oral traditions
      3. Sadducees' and Pharisees' hatred for Jesus exceeded their hatred for each other
        1. Set aside their differences to come against Jesus
        2. Didn't want to allow Jesus to get in the way of their interests
        3. Their politics and status were at stake and were more important than spiritual truth or eternal life
        4. "Whoever seeks God as a meanstowarddesired endswill not findGod. God will not be used." --A.W. Tozer
    2. Some are Calculated
      1. Caiaphas - High Priest
        1. Blasphemous statement "Either Jesus must die, or this nation is going to die"
        2. God spoke prophecy through the blasphemy
      2. All around us, discussions are going on
        1. People are vocal and unafraid to express their opinions
        2. We should not be afraid to weigh in on the discussion
        3. Average human will speak 370, 110,001 words. Commit to allocating some each day to tell others about Christ
        4. "Anyone who has ever read the Bible knows that God wants us to be involved with spreading his good news far and wide. Nothing is more fulfilling than seeing ordinary people turned into extraordinary followers of God. Atheists who become missionaries. Once wayward kids who are now inspired worship leaders. Hardened inmates who become compassionate pastors.  Former drug abusers who rescue the lives--and souls--of addicts. Is there anything better? That somehow, in some way, God might take this seemingly routine day and surprise me with an opportunity to tell someone about the good news that has the power to turn their life inside out. " The Unexpected Adventure: Taking Everyday Risks to Talk with People about Jesus By Lee Strobel and Mark Mittleberg
  3. Determination--Some People Are Determined against Christ (vv. 53-54)
    1. Plotted to put Jesus to death
    2. Set the gears in motion for the crucifixion of Christ
    3. Wanted to save their nation
    4. Thought they had eliminated Him, he came back to life and started something they were unprepared to deal with
      1. Thousands converted to Christianity
      2. In 70 A.D. ,Rome destroyed their city and their temple
        1. According to Josephus, You couldn't tell a temple once stood there
        2. "The very steps they took to save their nation were the steps that destroyed their nation." --William Barclay
        3. John wrote his gospel in 90 A.D., 20 years after the destruction: the irony would not be lost on the readers at that time.
      3. Christianity continued to spread
    5. Schemes to get rid of Jesus
      1. Rome blamed the atrocities of their nation on the Christians (fed to Christians to lions, burned them at the stake, Caesar Nero used them as torches to light his garden, put believers in animal carcasses and let wild dogs hack them to pieces, molten lead was poured on them, etc. )
      2. Diocletian - another wave of persecution (ministers imprisoned and killed, churches destroyed)
      3. The more they were attacked the more they grew
      4. Worldview of Christianity became the dominant view in the Roman Empire
      5. 16th century, Friedrich Nietzsche wrote The Antichrist -called Christians sick , despicable animals
      6. 18th century Voltaire: "Christianity is the most ridiculous, the most absurd, and bloody religion that has ever infected the world."
        1. Predicted his writings would eliminate Christianity in Europe
        2. Within twenty years of his death, the Geneva bible society bought his home, and used it as a center to distribute Bibles
    6. "Surely the wrath of man shall praise You;" (Psalm 76:10)
    7. New atheism
      1. Outspoken against Christianity, want to eliminate it
      2. Books by Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, etc.
    8. If you oppose Christ, you stand in the company of Caiaphas, Pontius Pilate, Caesar Nero, Diocletian, and what you try will not work. God will make it grow bigger.
    9. "The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the LORD and against his anointed one.'Let us break their chains,' they cry, 'and free ourselves from this slavery.' But the one who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them." (Psalm 2:2-4 NLT)
    10. "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."  (Matthew 5:13-15)
      1. Salt
        1. The world is corrupt
        2. Salt prevents decay
        3. Without you the world will decay faster than without your presence
        4. Salt stops corruption
        5. Salt adds flavor
      2. Light
        1. The world is dark
        2. Light dispels darkness
        3. Light shows the way out of darkness
    11. "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." --Edmund Burke
    12. The only thing necessary for evil to abound and Satan to triumph is for God's men and women to say and do nothing.
    13. You must be engaged, because even among the most ardent unbelievers there may be a defector or two.
      1. Joseph of Arimathea
      2. Nicodemus

Application:

  1. People are divided over Christ, so make sure you are very for Him.
  2. People often discuss Christ, so weigh in on the discussion.
  3. People are often determined against Christ. Don't let that scare you; live to see defectors.

Greek Terms: Συνέδριον - sunedrion  Sanhedrin , seventy ruling elders of the Jews
Figures Referenced: A.W. Tozer; William Barclay; Edmund Burke; Voltaire
Publications Referenced: One Solitary Life by James C. Hefley; The Unexpected Adventure: Taking Everyday Risks to Talk with People about Jesus By Lee Strobel and Mark Mittleberg; The Antichrist By Friedrich Nietzsche
Cross References: Psalm 2:2-4; Psalm 76:10; Proverbs 19:25; Matthew 5:13-15; Matthew 10:34; Matthew 12:30; Luke 16:31; John 6:66; John 9:13

Transcript

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Would you turn in your Bibles to John Chapter 11.  I know that sounds like a rerun but I promise you it's the last time you'll hear me say that for sometime, John Chapter 11.  We finish it up.  Let's pray together one more time.

Father in heaven, we pause before we open the book because it's our way of saying we depend on you, we submit ourselves to you, we gladly remain under the principles of truth that we're about to discover.  Many of these truths we have heard and we know, but many of them have not been appropriated by us.  Help us to do that, Lord.  And the reason we're here, the reason we gather to worship, the reason come week by week and read this book and sing these songs is because it's our way of saying we need you every hour.  And like Peter said, "Where else would we go?  You alone have the words of eternal life."

As we examine this portion, part of our worship is that we listen to what your spirit might be saying.  We are determined to sit undistracted and listen and focus, Lord, on these great truths from this incredible Book of John.  Thank you for his testimony and his life, in Jesus' name.  Amen.

Our choices are both powerful and consequential.  I know that you can all think back to choices that you made in your life and you thought that was a good choice and I bet there are some others that you wish you could have a do over because you don't think they're really that good.

Somebody once said we make our choices and that our choices turn around and they make us.  When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead and everybody who saw that now had to make a choice.  The choice is what are we going to do with Jesus?  What will we now say about him?  What will our decision be concerning him in light of what we just saw because the last thing they expected to see was that dead Lazarus get up from the grave.

I heard a story of an airline that landed in Dallas, Texas.  And the baggage handlers went to the special part of the aircraft where special baggage is kept and they found an animal carrier and inside was a dog, but it was a dead dog.  Well, they panicked and they thought a lawsuit was impending.  So they went and told the owner whose name was written on the dog carrier, they said, "You know, your dog has been sent to a different destination.  We messed up but we're tracking it and we promise we'll get him back and we'll deliver the dog to your house later on in the day."

In the meantime, they disposed off the dead animal and they bought a brand new, live, same sized dog and put in the crate. Thinking they were in the clear, they delivered the dog to the woman's house in the afternoon, she took one look in the crate and she said, "That is not my dog.  My dog is dead and I was bringing it home for burial."

[Laughter]

Oops.  The last thing that woman expected to see was an alive dog.  And the last thing the people in Bethany were expecting to see was an alive Lazarus.  It's the last thing they expected.  Now anytime a notable event happens, it takes time to process that event.  We have to get our minds around that incredible event, we cogitate, we mull over it, and we then we frame some kind of a decision about that event that happened so that we can deal with it.

Now in this case, the star witness is a resurrected corpse and they can see that he's alive.  He's eating in the café across the street.  What will they do with that star witness?  You would think that with that kind of evidence this would be an open and shut case, everybody's going to follow Christ after this who saw it.  That is not the case.  That is not the case.

In his classical book One Solitary Life, James Hefley wrote, "I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that were ever built, all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned put together have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has this one solitary life." speaking of Christ.

I believe he's right.  No one has affected life on the earth like Jesus, but how has he affected, how has this one solitary life affected people?  What are the common ways that people deal with Christ?  What are common choices, decisions that people make regarding him?  What do they do with him?  And how can we help them make the right choice?  Is that even possible?  All of that is tucked away I believe at least in seed form, in nascent form in this last paragraph of John Chapter 11.  You're about to read the sequel of the resurrection of Lazarus.  It's the sequel.  It's what happens now.  It's what they do now.  This is the effect of that.

Verse 45, "Then many of the Jews would come to Mary and had seen the things Jesus did believed in him.  But some of them went away to the Pharisees and told them the things Jesus did.  Then the chief priest and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, "What shall we do for this man works many signs?  If we let him alone like this, everyone will believe in him and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation."  And one of them Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, "You know nothing at all nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people and not that the whole nation should perish."

Now this he did not say on his own authority, but being high priest that year, he prophesized that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for that nation only, but also that he would gather together in one the children of God who scattered abroad.

Then from that day on, they plotted to put him to death.  Therefore, Jesus no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went from there into the country near the wilderness to a city called Ephraim and there remained with his disciples.  And the Passover of the Jews was near and many went from the country up to Jerusalem before the Passover to purify themselves.

Then they saw Jesus and spoke among themselves as they stood in the temple.  What do you think?  That he will not come to the feast?  Now both the chief priest and the Pharisees had given a command that if anyone knew where he was, he should report it that they might seize him.

I've given you three words in your worship folder that sum up this last paragraph and I've attached principles.  The three words are division, discussion, determination, those three words sum up the sequel of the resurrection of Lazarus.  Division, discussion, determination, but I want to hang our thoughts on the principles that emerged from those words and here's the first one.

People are divided over Christ.  They were then, they are now.  I want you to notice in verse 45, it says, "Many," notice that word, "Many of the Jews who had come to Mary and had seen the things Jesus did believed in him."  We're not surprised with that.  They saw a resurrection and they saw with their eyes and processed the event in their minds and thus they believed in their heart, which is the theme of the Gospel of John that we might believe.  So John writes and we're not surprised when we find in every chapter this group believed, this group did not believe, it's all about belief.

Many believe what we are surprised, at least I am, is the next verse, but some of them went away to the Pharisees and told them the things Jesus did.  Implying some did not believe, many believed, some did not and those that did not went in snitch to the Pharisees.  That's surprising.  After seeing such a miracle as a resurrection, wouldn't you expect to read and all of them believed in Jesus after seeing this.

Now if this were an evangelistic crusade that we were reading about and the evangelist got up and called people forward, I would have expected to read and many believed in Jesus but some did not.  If this was a church service and the teacher or preacher is giving a message and calls for a response, I wouldn't be surprised to read "Many believed, some did not."  Or if this group, if it said, "And they heard" not seen.  "They heard that a guy named Lazarus was raised from the dead.  I would have expected to read "Many believed, but some did not."

But to see a resurrection with your own eyes, to witness a once putrefying, decaying corpse get up and move and have new flesh and life again, you would expect to read that all believed.  How is it that they didn't all believe after seeing this?  This is interesting to me.  It can only be one answer.  It's the hardness of the human heart that rejects an alien will ruling over them.  That's the bottom line.  It didn't matter what miracle a hardened heart sees, they'll interpret it differently.  Often unbelievers accuse Christians of being predisposed to believe, "They believe anything."  You kind of want to believe.  That's the accusation.

Well, I would contend that unbelievers don't believe because they're predisposed to not believing.  So it doesn't matter what they hear or what they see.  The miracle itself isn't enough to do the trick.  There are great examples of that in the Bible.  Children of Israel, what did they see?  Well, to start out, they saw a body of water open up.  I've never seen that.  They saw that.  They saw men that had come from heaven everyday.  I've never seen that.  They saw that.  Water came from a rock.  I've never seen that.  They saw that.  Everyday and every night there was this pillar of cloud and fire that would lead them to the wilderness.

You know what the Bible says though?  It says, "But they hardened their heart."  They hardened their heart.  How about a few chapters back when Jesus fed the multitudes with a loaves and fish?  They were so excited to have a free lunch.  But once Jesus started preaching truth, right after that free lunch it says in the Bible, "Many went back and walked with him no more."

And here's the classic example.  Jesus tells a story in his own words.  He says there was a rich guy and there was a poor beggar and both of them died and the rich guy went to Hades and the poor beggar went to Abraham's bosom and was comforted.  And in torment, the rich guy cried out, "Father Abraham, send that poor beggar, rise him from the dead, raise him from the dead and send him back home to my father and my brothers because they'll believe if they saw a miracle like that."

Jesus said that Abraham said, "Oh no, they won't, they have Moses and the prophets."  If they won't listen to them, here it is, if they won't listen to them, neither will they be persuaded the one rises from the dead.  Lazarus has risen from the dead and this group won't believe in him.

According to Princeton University Religion Research Center, they issued a statement and they asked people to respond to the statement, "Do you agree with the statement?  Do you not agree with the statement?"

Here's the statement by Princeton.  Even today, miracles are performed by the power of God.  That was the statement and then they asked, "Do you agree or disagree?"  Even today miracles are performed by the power of God.

How many do you think in that poll agreed?  You might be surprised, 82% of American adults in that poll agreed that even today miracles are performed by the power of God.  I've got to tell you something, 82% of American adults do not follow Christ.  Though they may make a statement like that, miracles don't cause belief if the heart is hardened against God.  They may reinterpret it a number of ways.

Now you'll notice that this group didn't just not believe, they went to the Pharisees and snitched.  They told the whole event to the Pharisees.  "You wouldn't believe what happened.  Let me just tell you what happened."  Why did they do that?  It's curious but we've seen it before.  I want to remind you of it.  Few chapters back, John Chapter 9, Jesus heals a blind guy.  As soon as the blind guy is healed, some of them the Bible says, "They brought the man who is formerly blind to the Pharisees."  Same idea.

They brought the blind guy to the Pharisees.  Here, they tell the Pharisees about Lazarus.  It's as if they're afraid to do anything or believe anything unless that it's sanctioned by the religious authority.  The religious authority has to tell me if it's okay for me to believe I saw this miracle.

I wanted this so bad when I as 18 years age.  I was asked to stand in front of a catholic synod.  I grew up in the church.  It was a group convening priests and nuns.  See, they had all heard that there was a group of young kids who were turned on to Jesus Christ and read their Bibles and were in love with Jesus.  And there was this Jesus movement and they wanted to get their minds around that event.

So they asked me to appear before this synod, priest, nuns, and lay leaders including my own dad.  So I told my testimony of what happened to me and I was just so excited for the opportunity to tell them about Jesus and what he did in my life.  And the only response I got is, "Well, the official position of the church is..."  And so I'd go on and tell them a few more things that I read in the Bible and how excited I am about Jesus and "Well, the church officially teaches that."

And honestly at 18, I didn't care what the church officially taught.  I cared about what God officially thought and said.  But sometimes we are so afraid to do anything at all unless it's sanctioned by the authority that we deem the authority.  Now that's not a bad idea.  It's good to have accountability, but if the authority doesn't match what the book says and you're more caring about the authority rather than what God says, that's a problem.

Here's the mistake.  The mistake is to live your spiritual life through the lens of other people's approval.  That's a mistake.  Well what would they think or what would they say?  The Bible says in Proverbs 29, "The fear of man brings a snare."  A better translation, "The fear of man is a dangerous trap."

Sometimes people will ask me after a service or between services or during the week, they say, "Skip, what is the Calvary's official position on this person or that belief?"  And I always think that's the wrong question.  A better question is what is your personal conviction based upon the truth of God's word?  What does the Bible say?  What is the official position of the church or my official position is irrelevant, who cares.  What the Bible says is most important.

You see, people are a lot like boats.  They don't do well when directly pushed by winds behind them into one direction.  So there is division.  People are divided over Jesus.  That's not always a bad thing.  In fact, Jesus said, "Don't think I've come to bring peace on earth.  I haven't come to bring peace but a sword to divide people."  And the reason for that is when people are divided over Jesus clearly, then that person knows where they stand.  There's no ambiguity at all that's why Jesus said things like, "If you're not for me, you are against me.  If you don't help gather, then you actually scatter.  If you're not part of this process, then you are working against it."

So he divided people.  People are divided over Christ.  Here's the second principle.  People will often discuss Christ.  Now there's a discussion going on here.  In fact there are two discussions.  The first discussion is a leadership meeting in verse 47 down to verse 50.  The elite leaders of the Jewish religion have gathered together to discuss Jesus.

The second discussion are on the streets of Jerusalem beginning in verse 55 to 57, notice that.  These are people bantering back and forth.  The discussion is about Christ.  What do we do with him?  And some are afraid that if we let him go, it's bad news.  Others are cold calculated, want to do amend.  We'll read that.  We'll get there in a minute.  And in the last discussion they're sort of indifferent.  It's like, "Well, yeah, I'm interested but I'm not committed."

Look at verse 47, the first discussion.  "Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council."  Stop, the word council is the Greek word Synedrion, we get the translation the Sanhedrin, you've heard that term, yes?  It's the 70 ruling elders of the Jews.  That's the council Synedrion.  Probably this is the sub-committee of the 70, the official representatives of the Sanhedrin in a smaller meeting.  They gathered a council and they said, "What shall we do?"

Board meetings and council meetings always start with that question.  What do we do now?  We gathered together, we got to do something, what do we do?  This man works many signs.  Notice, they don't deny the miracle.  They can't deny the miracle.  There's Lazarus eating a falafel across the street.  He's alive.  They don't deny it, but now they got to deal with it.

If we let him alone like this, everyone will believe in him.  Boy, that would be great, wouldn't it?  And the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.  And one of them, Caiaphas being high priest that year said to them, "You know nothing at all nor do you consider that it's expedient for us that one man should die for the people and not that the whole nation should perish."  Now this he did not say in his own authority, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation.  Not only for that nation, but also that he would gather together in one the children of God who are scattered abroad.

Okay, what are they discussing?  They're discussing Jesus in relation to their politics and religion.  What will we do with Jesus in terms of our politics and religion?  Let me explain.  Notice the words chief priests.  Chief priest were Sadducees.  There were two basic parties Pharisees and Sadducees.  These are the Sadducees.

Now the Sadducees really weren't spiritual people.  Honestly, they were very liberal in their thinking.  They did not believe in the Bible, the Old Testament, except for the first five books of Moses.  They didn't believe in angels.  They didn't believe in sprits and here's the clincher, they did not believe in resurrection.  They didn't believe in it.

They were political figures more than religious figures.  They were rich.  They were the aristocracy of Jerusalem.  They closely bowed to whatever Rome wanted to keep the position, their position, and their money in tact.  Those were the Sadducees.

Next, you'll notice Pharisees.  These were not political.  They were very strictly religious.  They believed all of the Bible and even the oral writings about the Old Testament.  They were very strict.  But here's what's important.  You got Sadducees and Pharisees together.  Why is that odd?  Because they hated each other, they hated each other.  They didn't get along at all.  But they hated Jesus more than they hated each other and they were willing to settle their differences and get together in council against Jesus because they hated him so much that their hatred for him was more than their hatred for each other.  Here's their bottom line.

Their bottom line is we can't let Jesus get in the way of our interests.  We can't let Jesus ruin our cause.  Their politics and their status were at stake and to them that was more important than spiritual truth or eternal life.  This is not so different than today.  Some people use Jesus as a pawn, a puppet to further their cause.

I'm always interested when a movie star or a rock star receives an award and goes, "I want to thank God."  And that could be a good thing.  Maybe they really thank God, but I'm always curios what is your definition of God?  What is your relationship with God like?  Because sometimes God is thrown out because other people who really are followers of God now become fans of anybody who says that.  They just garnered more support.

I'm always interested that during election time, politicians bring out the God card, the Jesus card, the church card, the spiritual card because they know that it will get more votes.  They should be aware of what A.W. Tozer wrote and he said, "Whoever seeks God as a means toward a desired end will not find God.  God will not be used."  So that's that first discussion.  What do we do with Jesus?  What's cool is in the middle of the discussion comes a few words by Caiaphas, who is a Sadducee, a high priest, a few words that articulate a clear, biblical, truth of the atoning sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

Now what Caiaphas said was blasphemous.  It was sinister.  He was saying, "Look, you guys, you don't know anything at all.  Don't you get it?  It's simple.  Either Jesus has to die or this nation is going to die.  Either we kill him or we're all gone, this place, the temple, our nation, our position, its expedient that one man die for the nation."

John writes a footnote.  What he did know is that God turned the blasphemy into a prophecy that articulated the substitutionary death of Jesus for the nation, but not only the nation but for the world that all the sons of God who are scattered abroad would be gathered together.  So he writes that footnote.

Here's the big point I want to get across.  All around us are discussions going on everyday, all the time, in coffee shops every morning, in the gym that you workout in, in the bank line that you do your business at, in cafes and restaurants discussions are going on and they are discussions about everything, politics, economics, aging parents, technology, and spirituality.  People are discussing spirituality.  They're discussing it in all those places.  They're discussing it online.  And I've discovered that most people because sometimes I'll overhear conversations before I butt into them.

[Laughter]

I'll hear people talk about spirituality, talk about Jesus or talk about God and I noticed that they're vocal and they're not afraid to express their opinion.  They're not afraid.  So why should we be afraid?  To weigh in on the ongoing discussion and that's my plea, weigh in on the discussion.  I found out that the average human being in an average lifetime will speak an average of 370,110,001 words in a lifetime.  That translates out to be according to this research for males.  They will speak a little over 6000 words a day, for females around almost 9000.  I'm not going to go there.  That's the research.

[Laughter]

The point I want to make is how about allocating some of those words to weigh in on this discussion.  How about saying some of the words that come out of my mouth will be words telling others about the savior, looking for opportunities?

In a little book that I got from Lee Strobel, he wrote it called "The Unexpected Adventure."  He writes, "Anyone who has ever read the Bible knows that God wants to be involved with spreading good news far and wide.  There's nothing more fulfilling than seeing ordinary people turned into extraordinary followers of God, atheists who become missionaries, once wayward kids who are now inspired worship leaders, hardened inmates who become compassionate pastors, former drug abusers who rescued the lives and souls of addicts.  Is there anything better that somehow, in some way God might take this seemingly routine day and surprise me with an opportunity to tell someone about the good news that has the power to turn their life inside and out?"  Weigh in on the discussion.

So those are the first two words that sum up the sequel.  Division, people are divided over Christ.  Discussion, people are discussing Christ.  Here's the third, determination.  Verse 53 and 54 are the verses I want to use to bring this to a close, verse 53.  "Then from that day on they plotted to put him, Jesus, to death.  Therefore Jesus could not longer walk openly among the Jews, but went from there into the country near the wilderness to a city called Ephraim and there he remained with his disciples."

Now this official edict, if you want to call it that, this decision begins the time clock toward the cross.  It is this decision that begins the countdown, sets the gears in motion for a hate crime, kill Jesus.  Get rid of Jesus.  It's interesting.  This proves that they had already decided on the case before it went to trial.  The trial won't be for several chapters.  They've already decided on the case, kill him.  It was a hung jury.

Why did they agree to this?  Why do they want to get rid of Jesus?  Why this determination?  Because they said we want to save this place, our nation and this place.  We want to save our nation.  We want to be patriotic.  Get rid of Jesus so we can save our country.  Question, did it work?  Did they save their country?  No, they didn't.  Boy, did it backfire because what happened, though they eliminated Christ, they thought -- see three days later he came back.  He came back from the dead.  And that started a firestorm they were unprepared to deal with.

As people all over Jerusalem by the thousands converted to follow Christ after even he ascended into heaven.  And they started telling everybody else so much so that the Jews expelled them from their lands, but this independent spirit, this rebellious spirit started fomenting around the people and among the people so that Rome, in 70 A.D., came in to call(ph) that, destroying their city and destroying their temple.

Josepha said the destruction was so bad you couldn't even tell a temple once stood there.  You could pull a plow on the temple mount.  They destroyed it.

William Barkley puts it this way, the very steps they took to save their nation were the steps that destroyed their nation.  "We've got to save our nation, let's kill Jesus."  They eliminate Jesus, he comes back from the dead, makes things worse.  Now, the temple is destroyed and the city is destroyed.  It didn't work.

Okay, here's a piece of information that I don't want you to miss.  John wrote this book, we believe around 90 A.D. The temple was destroyed about 70 A.D.  It means 20 years past from the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple to the first readers of this gospel of John.  And you know they could see the irony in that as they read, "Huh, those guys wanted to kill Jesus to save their temple and save their nation and it's been destroyed for 20 years.  Meanwhile, Christianity has spread everywhere."

Some folks are determined to get rid of Jesus.  History is filled with those decisions and filled with their schemes and filled with their vitriol.  Rome blamed the atrocities of their nation on the Christians, fed them to the lions, burned at the stake, Caesar Nero would take believers and tie them to poles and pour tar on them while they're alive and set them to flames so they would be torches for his garden at night until they died.

He took the carcasses of animals, gathered the animals, put believes inside, sewed it up and let dogs, wild dogs hack them to pieces.  Molten led was poured on them on and on and on.  Years later, the emperor Diocletian came in and another wave of hatred and persecution erupted.  Ministers were in prison, killed, churches destroyed, but the more they were attacked, the more they grew and they couldn't get rid of them and let's kill them, they grew, let's get them, and they grew.  So much so that eventually, the world view of Christianity became the dominant view in the Roman Empire.

Some people are determined against Christ and it continued through history.  The 16th century saw men like Friedrich Nietzsche who wrote a book called Anti-Christ -- he wrote a lot of books, but one called Anti-Christ in which he called Christians sick animals, despicable animals.  He said a lot of things that I don't have time to tell you about.

In the 18th century, the French outspoken Atheist, Voltaire said, "Christianity is the most ridiculous absurd bloody religion that has even infected the world."  He said, he predicted that his writings would so change Europe, his, Voltaire's writings, would so change Europe and eliminate Christianity from the European continent.

What is ironic, I am told one of the stories is that within 20 years of his death, the Geneva Bible Society bought his home and used it as a center to distribute Bibles through Europe.  So ironic.  I love what Psalms 76 says, "Surely even the wrath of man will praise thee 'O Lord."  Even the wrath of man will praise Him.

Now today, we are faced with what we could call a New Atheism.  It's new, it's new and improved, it's repackaged but it's one the move.  In fact, it's changing the way America thinks.  Up until now, it's been really fractional but things are changing.  And you can tell their changing by how many weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List, let me rephrase that, how many months some of these Atheistic books are at the top of the charts.  It means a lot of people are buying them and reading them, outspoken against Christianity, wanting to eliminate it altogether.

Books by Richard Dawkins, and Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and on, they're coming, they're here.  If you oppose Christ, you stand in the ignominious company of people like Pontius Pilate, Caiaphas, Caesar Nero, and Diocletian.  You just got to know something; whatever you're trying won't work.  It's been tried, didn't work.  In fact, the more you push, God just has ways to make it grow bigger.

In Psalm 2, listen to this, it's just set up so neatly.  Psalm 2, I'll read it to you.  "The kings of the earth prepare for battle, the rules plot together against the Lord and against his anointed one.  Let us break their chains, they cry, and free ourselves from this slavery but the one who rules in heaven lasts."  The Lord scuffs at them.  Get the picture?  Here's man, shaking his fist to God and God goes, "Whatever.  Bring it on."

I want you to look at one last text as we close and we'll close with this.  Turn to Mathew Chapter 5.  I want you to look at the verses because with all that we just said, we now come to what this means to us.  What do we as believers do?

Mathew 5, Sermon on the Mount.  Jesus says in verse 13, "You are the salt of the earth but if the salt looses its flavor how shall it be seasoned?  It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.  You are the light of the world, a city that has set on a hill cannot be hidden nor did they light a lamp and put it under a basket but put it on a lamp stand and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let you light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."

There are two metaphors that Jesus used that not only describe his followers, but imply something about the world.  If you are salt, it's because the world is corrupt, the chief use of salt 2,000 years ago was to be rubbed in the meat to prevent decay.  Him using that metaphor, "You're the salt of the earth" implies, without you, this world is going to decay faster than it would if you were present.

And then the second one, "You are light" implies that the world is what?  Dark.  So salt stops corruption, salt adds flavor, and salt quenches thirst.  Question, does that describe you?  Light dispels darkness and light shows the way out of darkness.  Does that describe you?  I think you know where I'm going with this.  I'd sum it all up by saying this, be engaged.  Be engaged in this.  You all know probably that famous statement by Edmund Burke who said, "The only thing necessarily for evil to occur or for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."  I would rephrase that a little bit for our purpose, the only thing needed for evil abound and Satan to triumph is for God's men and women to say and do nothing.  Be engaged.

I heard about a company that makes blank bumper stickers.  It's for people that don't want to be involved.  You can't do that.  You can't do that.  You know why you can't do that?  You can't do that because even among the most ardent unbelieving group, there might be a defector or two.  Did you know that in that council, sitting in the council that made the decision "Let's kill him" has had a couple of members that were defectors.  Joseph of Arimathea was on the Sanhedrin, he will defect.  Nicodemus who came to Jesus by night will defect.  Defectors among unbelievers.

So, I'll sum it up by saying this.  People are divided over Christ.  So make sure you're very, very for him.  Number two, people often discuss Christ.  So weigh-in on the discussion, it will be great adventure.  And number three, people are often determined against Christ.  Don't let that scare you.  Live to see defectors.  Are there any letters you need to write or e-mails you need to send or friends you need to invite over to your house for a backyard barbeque to discuss spiritual things, seeds that could be sown?  Maybe so.  Be engaged.

And could it be also that you just sort of had enough of that unbelieving world because all the philosophies and world views that they position in posture and poise don't really do anything for you.  They run their course so quickly, they add such a depressing element to them, there's no fulfillment, there's no future, there's no hope in them and maybe you're thinking, "Yeah, I want to defect from the kingdom on darkness and come to the light."  I hope so.

Let's pray.  Heavenly Father, we thank you that John gave to us the sequel that shows us how people process the event and what they thought about it, what they believed about it, what to do with Jesus because it gives to us a pattern that we find to be very similar in our own contemporary generations of how people respond to Christ even today, very, very similar.  It helps us know who they are, what they talk about, what they think about, and to do about it.  I pray you help us not to be postured.  I know those of us in church work can get so introspective and introverted in just about our business rather than about the family business, kingdom business, to go into all the world and preach the gospel business.

Lord, I pray that we would be at least open this week to using some of our words to weigh in the discussion in a compelling way.  I pray for anyone, Lord, who's gathered here this morning who doesn't know Christ.  They're tired of the darkness, they're tired of the uncertainty, they're tired of the question marks, they'd like more certitude, more reality.

Lord, open their hearts and help them to defect from the kingdom of darkness.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

Additional Messages in this Series

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10/25/2009
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Believe:879
John 20:30-31
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Is your faith in need of bolstering? Do you find yourself saying "Help my unbelief?" The book of John presents a unique, up close and personal look at the life of Christ, focusing on Jesus as God Incarnate. As we dive into a thorough study of each of John's 879 verses, we'll walk with disciples who were eyewitnesses of His ministry, His death, and His resurrection, and we'll experience abundant life in His name.
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11/1/2009
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The World's Most Important Word
John 1:1-5
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It may be difficult to say what the most important word is in any language, but not for the Apostle John. He begins his gospel with the identification of Jesus as, "The Word." Starting with the very beginning of beginnings, John shows us the fundamental truths about the Jesus that he writes about in the rest of this book. The language is simple and unmistakable and yet the truths presented are deep and extremely profound. Let's see how John presents Jesus and Who Jesus is according to one who was closest to Him.
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11/15/2009
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Step Into Son-Light
John 1:6-13
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I love early mornings when sunlight first comes up over the eastern sky. But if you’ve ever had the experience of the sun suddenly shining into your eyes (like when you turn westward while the sun is going down), it's not so pleasant. Most people wince when light is shined in their eyes. Jesus is presented here as being "the light of men" and "shining in darkness". But the world cries out, "Turn off that light!" How can Jesus enlighten your life and how will you respond to Him?
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11/22/2009
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One of a Kind!
John 1:14-18
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It is a mistake to think of Jesus as "one among many" options in the pantheon of deities. He is unique, matchless, unrivaled, singular, and incomparable. From His birth to His Resurrection, there is no one who even comes close to the majestic Christ. Jesus was One-Of-A-Kind! Let’s consider four distinct ways that Jesus was unique and what these mean to us today.
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12/6/2009
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The Greatest Man Meets the Greatest Lamb
John 1:19-34
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Everyone is good at something, maybe even great at something. Maybe you're a great artist or a great mom or even a great leader. Jesus said that John the Baptizer was the greatest man who had ever lived (Matt. 11:11). But John knew Jesus to be the greatest One ever—past, present and future - the Sacrificial Lamb sent to remove sin. Today we discover from John the Baptist how to witness for Christ and we look at the identity and the activity of this most unusual man.
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12/13/2009
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Are You a Follower-Really?
John 1:35-42
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You can't make it through much of the Bible without coming to the word Disciple. Just the four Gospels alone use this term 228 times. Basically a disciple is the follower of a teacher: one who observes, learns, and practices what the teacher shares. We now come to the first time John uses this term in his book. So today we assess ourselves by asking, "Are YOU a follower?" Lets look at five characteristics of the first disciples of Jesus and see if they’re reflected in our lives.
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1/3/2010
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Finding the God Who Found You
John 1:43-51
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When the first disciples encountered Jesus, they chose to follow Him--only to discover that they had already been chosen by Him! Without getting drowned in that theological tide pool, let's consider and marvel at how both of these realities work together. The Bible teaches that God sovereignly elects people for salvation while at the same time teaches our responsibility to believe in Christ. Let’s see how both Philip and Nathanael encountered Jesus for the first time.
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1/10/2010
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The Wedding Guest
John 2:1-12
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How cool (and also potentially scary) would it be to have Jesus as a guest at your own wedding! The unnamed couple at the village wedding of Cana had that privilege. Jesus was the wedding guest who brought the best gift. His first miraculous sign was performed while celebrating that marriage. But far more than just attending a nuptial party, Jesus demonstrated who He was in relation to four entities: His mother, the moment, a miracle, and His men.
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1/17/2010
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Trouble in the Temple
John 2:13-22
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A hymn by Charles Wesley begins, "Gentle Jesus, meek and mild, look upon a little child..." It’s a beautiful song with a beautiful thought. However, Jesus is anything but gentle and mild in John chapter two. Here in the temple at Jerusalem, He displays His righteous anger as He overturns tables and beats the religious businesspeople with whips! But Jesus was using this trouble in the temple to predict a greater sign—the triumph of His own physical temple—His bodily resurrection!
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1/24/2010
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Uncommitted!
John 2:23-25
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These three verses are some of the most unusual in the New Testament. They describe a scene in the life of Jesus that explains His popularity and fame. The response of people to the miracles of Jesus is understandable. What is not readily understandable is Jesus' response to the interested and excited crowd. Though they believed in Him, He was not too energized over their kind of faith. Understanding this will help us to understand Jesus and His mission.
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1/31/2010
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Nick at Nite!
John 3:1-8
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The meeting of Jesus and Nicodemus at night is one of the most famous and compelling stories in Scripture. This man's inner curiosity and spiritual thirst drove him to want to know more. What he heard puzzled and astonished him, but he heard from Jesus' own lips the only way to be saved. Jesus' words here divide all of humanity into two groups: those who are born again and those who are not.
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2/7/2010
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Extreme Makeover: Soul Edition!
John 3:9-21
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For years ABC has aired two different versions of a show called Extreme Makeover. One is a total body makeover designed to enhance the physical beauty of a selected individual. The other is a Home Edition that rebuilds or adds to a struggling family's residence. But only Jesus can give the soul a makeover; only Jesus can ready a person for eternity. Here Jesus answers Nicodemus' question of how a person can have the New Life that comes from the New Birth.
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2/14/2010
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God's Valentine
John 3:16
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Today we take a look at the Bible's most famous verse and probe its depth while preparing to take the Lord's Supper together. Though most everyone knows this verse, John 3:16 is much more than just a slogan; it is a summary statement of God's love through Jesus Christ. This single verse of scripture gives us the salient truths of God's plan of salvation in abridged form. Let's consider God's great plan for us as we unpack it phrase by phrase.
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2/21/2010
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To Grow Up, You Must Grow Down!
John 3:22-30
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"They that know God will be humble, and they that know themselves cannot be proud!" That's what British Puritan John Flavel once said. And that’s how John the Baptist once lived! John the Baptist and his followers provide some great applicational fodder for how Christians should get along and humble themselves before one another and God. For any Christian believer who wants to spiritually grow up and grow strong, he must first grow down.
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2/28/2010
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The Nail Everything Hangs On
John 3:31-36
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Imagine if everything you valued was in a sack, hanging on the wall from one nail. It surely must be a strong nail, or you're lost! If life could all be boiled down to one thing or one word or one most important principle, what would it be? What is the irreducible minimum for everything and everyone? John answers that here, saying that Jesus Christ is the nail that everything hangs on. He determined what has been and what will be. Thus our knowledge of Him and relationship to Him is paramount above everything else.
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3/7/2010
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Refreshment!
John 4:1-14
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You know the feeling of swallowing ice-cold water on a hot day or after a savory meal—it's refreshing! That cool, invigorating sip revitalizes you from the inside out and makes you say, "Ahh!" Well, that experience is not limited to the physical realm, but is even more satisfying in the spiritual realm when dealing with Living Water. Jesus came to give thirst-quenching spiritual life to every parched soul on the planet. When was the last time you drank deeply?
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3/14/2010
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How to Lead People to Water
John 4:10-30
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The world is thirsty and doesn't even know it, or won't admit it, or will look to be satisfied by everything else but Jesus Christ. So your job and mine is to lead them to water (living water, that is). Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman illustrates perhaps the best approach for personal evangelism to be found anywhere. Leading someone to the place of spiritual satisfaction is a process that rests upon two pillars—the pillar of attitude and the pillar of approach:
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3/21/2010
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What God Really Wants
John 4:20-24
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Worship conferences, worship seminars and worship experiences abound within the landscape of the American church, but in all these there's something that seems to be always lacking—worship is confined to the activity of singing songs. When the subject is brought up in this chapter, Jesus talks plainly and openly about true worship: what it is and what it isn't. Let's explore these few verses to discover what God is seeking after and how to be part of fulfilling that.
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3/28/2010
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Spiritual Farming 101
John 4:28-42
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Farmers live for the harvest season--a time when their crops are taken in and profits are made. But crops don’t grow on their own. Seeds must be sown and plants must be garnered by a whole group of active farm workers. God is the head Farmer and we are His farmhands, all working together to produce a bumper-crop of people who believe that Jesus is the Savior--Are you in?
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4/18/2010
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Everyone Needs a Faith-Lift!
John 4:43-54
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Like any muscle in our physical body, our faith too must be exercised in order for it to develop. Faith is developed in virtually every circumstance in life, but especially in hard times. Peter put it best, "These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold--and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold" (1 Peter 1:7). Let's look at a real-life story of one who came to Jesus in his trial and had his faith lifted to a higher dimension.
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4/25/2010
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Healing Misery with Mercy
John 5:1-16
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One of Jesus' most distinguishing characteristics in His earthly ministry was His mercy toward people who were hurting. This is not astonishing, for the prophet Micah announced that "God delights in mercy" (Micah 7:18). Jesus standing among the squalid misery of sickness and hopelessness while at a feast in Jerusalem is a perfect setting to show how Christians can show mercy to a world in misery. But be warned: not everyone will be sympathetic to your cause!
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5/23/2010
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Like Father, Like Son
John 5:16-24
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The most important question you could ever ask is not, "Who am I?" but rather, "Who is Christ?" That was the supreme question Jesus presented to His disciples when He said, "Who do you say that I am?" (Matthew 16:15). Jesus made the most astonishing claim ever when He confronted the Jewish leaders of Jerusalem here in John 5. What do these claims have to do with us today? Absolutely everything!
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5/30/2010
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Everyone Lives Forever
John 5:25-29
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My mom used to wake me up early every morning with her sweet voice saying, "Rise and Shine!" It took a few times but I eventually got up out of bed. As Jesus declares that He will be in charge of the future judgment, He too will usher the call to everyone who has died to "Rise up!" But not everyone will rise up to shine; some will rise up to suffer. Let’s consider three inevitable and unalterable truths about the future for all of us: We will all die, we will all be judged, and we will all rise again to live forever... but where?
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6/6/2010
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Why Should You Believe?
John 5:30-47
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The theme of John's gospel is "believe." The whole reason he wrote this book is so that people who read it will believe in Jesus (see John 20:31). But why should they believe? And even more applicable, why should we believe? After all, the events of the New Testament are over 2,000 years removed from us today. Jesus' confrontation with the religious leaders in John 5 tells us why we should believe. Like a skilled lawyer, Jesus calls upon four witnesses to testify to His claims and these four give the reasons for our believing in Jesus Christ.
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6/13/2010
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Lessons From a Picnic
John 6:1-14
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This story ranks in the "top ten" of the most famous miracles of Jesus Christ. In fact this is the most famous of all His miracles as it alone is recorded by all four gospel accounts. But this is far more than a Sunday school tale. This extraordinary picnic was not just a free meal for five thousand folks; it provided lessons for both ancient and modern disciples. Here are four profound truths that emerge from this lakeside lunch.
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6/20/2010
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What Storm Goers Need to Know
John 6:15-21
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Have you ever been on the ocean in a raging storm? If so, you know that a well-trained crew follows an immediate protocol until the storm is over. Their knowledge and experience about violent weather are invaluable for those who want to survive. Using the story of Jesus walking on the waves to His disciples, let’s discover a few things about the stormy trials of life.
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7/4/2010
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The Right Thing, The Wrong Way
John 6:22-29
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Our text reads that crowds of people came "seeking Jesus." That sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? And yet Jesus challenges them as to their motive because they were seeking Him (the right thing) in order to satisfy themselves only (the wrong motive). Let’s consider three monumental truths about how people interact with spiritual things in general and Jesus Christ in particular. Let’s also reconsider the starting point for anyone who wants anything to do with Christ.
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7/11/2010
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Wonder Bread!
John 6:30-50
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The Hostess Company has for years advertised that its Wonder bread "helps build strong bodies 12 ways" and that just two slices has the calcium of eight ounces of milk and the fiber of 100% whole wheat. Wow! The crowd that Jesus was speaking to would have loved that! But our Lord presents something to them far greater than what they were wanting. He knew what they needed.
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7/18/2010
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Plain Truths About the Bread of Life
John 6:51-71
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Mark Twain once remarked that "A lie can travel halfway around the world while truth is still lacing up its boots!" This section of John's Gospel has generated much confusion and misunderstanding. Even Jesus' original audience had trouble understanding His meaning, and when they did, they found the truth was difficult to bear. These "hard truths," however, are "the words of eternal life" (v. 68). Let's look at these four realities today.
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8/1/2010
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Seeing Jesus Through the Fog
John 7:1-13
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There was always a fog surrounding Jesus! It was a fog of uncertainty, of unbelief, and of conflicting opinion. He was misunderstood about both His mission and His message. His friends, His family, and His foes were often bewildered about who He was and what He was doing. That remains true even today. But in this passage our view becomes clearer. Jesus had clearly defined objectives that He reveals here and they are extremely practical for us today.
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8/8/2010
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Follow Jesus But Don't Be Religious
John 7:14-24
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Jesus clashed with religious leaders more than any other group of people. He went against their spiritual grain and challenged their legalistic ideas. Christ made it clear that He hadn’t come to establish a new religion but rather to show the way to God His Father. He didn’t give people another “system of beliefs and practices”; instead He said that He Himself was the way, truth, and life. In this public confrontation, we learn how to follow Christ in truth and not be religious.
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8/15/2010
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Standing by a Waterfall (Dying of Thirst)
John 7:25-53
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All the diverse and assorted experiences offered by this world can never satisfy the deepest longing of the human soul. What we really want isn't what we really need. The rest of John chapter 7 illustrates this truth. In the midst of a crowd of people clamoring for deep spiritual satisfaction stands the only One who can provide it. He offers them the drink that really satisfies and all but a few refuse it, preferring rather to die of thirst. How painfully ironic!
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8/22/2010
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Scribbling on the Ground
John 8:1-11
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Can you imagine what a surviving copy of Jesus' autograph would be worth today? Or what about a letter to His disciples? The fact is, there is no existing document or copy of anything Jesus ever wrote. We only have this story of Him scribbling something in transient dust on the Temple stones. Though John doesn't tell what Jesus wrote that day, his account does reveal a lot about Jesus Himself and how He interacted with three different kinds of folks.
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8/29/2010
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Blinded by the Light
John 8:12-20
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When the sun shines right in your eyes, your immediate inclination is to squint, turn away, or put sunglasses on. Light can be blinding! Though light penetrates our world, providing illumination and energy for our very existence, big doses of it can be difficult to handle. That's true spiritually as well. Jesus, by His teaching and work, illuminated this world darkened by sin. Some rejoiced in that light, able to see where they were going. But others, who'd been so accustomed to spiritual darkness, could only wince when Jesus was around.
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9/5/2010
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The Worst Way & Best Way to Die
John 8:21-30
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One person put it this way, "Death is the big flaw. Sometimes we can postpone it, lessen its physical pains, deny its existence—but we can't escape it!" Since that is universally true, why don't people take death seriously enough to plan for it? While we are alive in this world, everyone should be thinking more about the next. But what's the best (and worst) way to die?
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9/19/2010
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The Best Way & Worst Way to Live
John 8:31-36
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Everyone has an opinion on what "The Good Life" is. For some, it's financial independence. For others, it’s autonomy from government control. For still others, it’s the ability to do whatever you want whenever you feel like it. Jesus offers a different kind of freedom and a better brand of life. Here Jesus tells us what the best way to live really is: It’s the freedom to be a genuine disciple. And He tells us what the worst way to live really is: It’s the slavery of a sinful lifestyle. Today consider how free you really are and what areas of life you may still be in bondage to.
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9/26/2010
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The Devil's DNA
John 8:37-47
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Your body has 100 trillion cells. Inside each one is a nucleus and in each nucleus are DNA molecules. DNA is like an instruction manual for life with densely coded information telling each cell what to do. A simple paternity test would prove that my father was really my father. Here Jesus gives His audience a spiritual paternity test that reveals their spiritual father to be the devil himself. No matter what your physical ancestry, you can always tell one's spiritual heritage.
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10/3/2010
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Who IS This Guy?
John 8:48-59
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Jesus had friends and He had enemies. But besides those, He also had some "frenemies" (enemies who pretended to be friends). To this crowd who at first pretended to believe (v. 31) Jesus is both confrontational and controversial. This paragraph highlights three possible identities of Jesus: two of them were his enemies' accusations and one was Jesus' own claim.
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10/10/2010
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Life Hurts! Where's God?
John 9:1-12
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"Why is there so much pain in the world?" is the most frequently asked question ever! We hate it when we, or those we love, are in pain. Today we see Jesus confront a hurting world. As we do, consider these words by Elizabeth Elliot (whose husband was murdered): "If God is in charge and loves us, then whatever is given is subject to His control and is meant ultimately for our joy."
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10/17/2010
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The Truth About Your Neighbors
John 9:13-34
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Those of us who are Christians live in a sea of unbelievers who work with us, live next to us, shop where we shop, and send their kids to the same schools. Some have a mild case of unbelief disguised by religious practices. Others are more demonstrable in their agnosticism or atheism. Let's watch a local Jerusalem neighborhood struggle against faith in spite of clear evidence.
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10/24/2010
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Got Any Blind Spots?
John 9:35-41
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When you drive, you encounter "blind spots"—it could be part of your own car or it could be a tree that hides traffic on the other side. Those blind spots hinder both progress and ultimately, safety. When Jesus healed a blind man in Jerusalem, the same man was also healed of his spiritual blindness. But others who thought their spiritual perception was keen were as blind as a bat! As we consider this story, can you think of any blind spots in your spiritual journey?
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10/31/2010
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The Good Shepherd (and a bunch of happy sheep!)
John 10:1-10
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This is one of the most beloved passages to be found anywhere in Scripture. But it's not a stand-alone passage: The healing of the blind man in chapter 9 was more than a miracle. It was part of the process of Jesus forming His flock. The leadership had cast the healed man out of the synagogue. Jesus found him, accepted him, saved him, and placed him in His own fold.
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11/21/2010
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What's So Great About the Good Shepherd?
John 10:11-21
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"What's so great about being a Christian?" some people ask. The answer lies in the kind of care, provision, and protection we get from Jesus Christ, our Shepherd. Have you ever stopped to make a list of the benefits that are yours as a follower of Christ? Consider this short list of advantages that you, as a child of God, have. When was the last time you thanked Him for being your Shepherd? This would be a great week to do that!
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12/5/2010
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To BElieve or Not to BElieve...
John 10:22-42
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"In all unbelief there are two things: a good opinion of one's self and a bad opinion about God."— Horatius Bonar. It's true, isn't it? Humanism is man-centered and rejects God's existence or His relevance. But Jesus appealed to two things: the plain evidence of His supernatural works and the testimony of those who witnessed them. Jesus here asserts His deity, and the reaction is predictable—some believed while others did not believe. Which camp do you fall into?
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1/9/2011
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The Great Physician's Patient Dies
John 11:1-16
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When a doctor loses a patient on the operating table, there is a deep sense of remorse and sadness in the surgical theater. Doctors are trained to save lives but sometimes even the best trained physicians are unable to control complications that lead to death. But here we discover that Christ, the Great Physician, not only knows that His patient is sick--He allows him to die! Here are three principles about Divine Medicine that we can all learn.
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1/16/2011
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A Tale of Two Sisters
John 11:17-32
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In 1859 Charles Dickens wrote his famous work, A Tale of Two Cities, set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution. The story before us is set in Bethany near Jerusalem and highlights the personal relationship that two sisters had with Jesus Christ. Their broken hearts provide an excellent platform to consider how Christ deals with people in grief and loss. Let's actively probe not only their responses but ours to the incredible promise Jesus makes.
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1/23/2011
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The Strangest Funeral Ever
John 11:33-44
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According to one source, there are approximately 2 million funerals in America per year, which means that about 5,479 funerals take place every single day! Most of those funerals are pretty typical: a formal service followed by an interment. But the funeral service we're looking at was really different--and not just because of a resurrection. Here Jesus does three things that are pretty normal for most people at a funeral, but strikingly odd for Jesus.
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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
Skip Heitzig
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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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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.