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Cross-Culture
John 12:27-36
Skip Heitzig

John 12 (NKJV™)
27 "Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour.
28 "Father, glorify Your name." Then a voice came from heaven, saying, "I have both glorified it and will glorify it again."
29 Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, "An angel has spoken to Him."
30 Jesus answered and said, "This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake.
31 "Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.
32 "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself."
33 This He said, signifying by what death He would die.
34 The people answered Him, "We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever; and how can You say, 'The Son of Man must be lifted up'? Who is this Son of Man?"
35 Then Jesus said to them, "A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going.
36 "While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light." These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them.

New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.

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43 John - Believe:879 - 2009

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.

"But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name" John 20:31.

Believe:879 is an epic journey through the book of John led by Pastor Skip Heitzig of Calvary of Albuquerque. As we explore each of the 879 verses of this gospel, we'll grow in grace and in our knowledge of Jesus Christ. From His pre-incarnate existence, to His public ministry, through His death and His resurrection we'll traverse familiar territory and embark on new adventures of faith.

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Outline

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  1. The Cross-Culture and Christ (vv. 27-30)

    1. The Pain of It

    2. The Glory of It

  2. The Cross-Culture and the World (vv. 31-33)

    1. The World is Judged by It

    2. The World's Ruler is Cast Out by It

    3. The World's People Can be Saved by It

  3. The Cross-Culture and the Crowd (vv. 34-36)

    1. Confused by Hearsay

    2. Confirmed by Jesus

Detailed Notes

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  1. Introduction
    1. The cross misunderstood
      1. For some: a tragic event; a murder
      2. For some: repulsive; the celebration of a Man who shed His blood in a public arena
      3. For most: a religious symbol that may or may not have power today
      4. A symbol to work some sort of "magic" for those who wear it or hang it in their house
    2. Conquest mentality
      1. 2000 years ago in and around Jerusalem, wanted Messiah to come to rule and reign; to conquer enemies
      2. When Jesus said "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified" thought:
        1. Glory of conquest
        2. A political deliverer
        3. Prosperity now
    3. Jesus was speaking of the glory of the cross; His own death. The cross permeates the New Testament
      1. "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)
      2. "But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." (Galatians 6:14)
      3. "For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." (1 Corinthians 2:2)
    4. Rituals of the church communicate the death of Christ
      1. Baptism
        1. Underwater: the death and burial of Jesus (See Romans 6:3)
        2. Out of water: the resurrection
      2. Communion: "Proclaim the Lord's death till He comes." (1 Corinthians 11:26)
    5. Some churches deviate from the message of the cross
      1. Pull out songs about the blood and cross of Christ
      2. Hip and relevant
      3. Celebrate personal satisfaction, your best life now
    6. "I simply argue that the cross be raised again at the centre of the market place, as well as on the steeple of the church. I’m recovering the claim that Jesus was not crucified in a Cathedral between two candles, but on a cross between two thieves, on a town garbage heap at a crossroads of politics so cosmopolitan they had to write His title in Hebrew and Latin and Greek. And the kind of place where cynics talk smut and thieves curse and soldiers gamble. Because that is where He died and that is what He died about. And that is where Christ’s people ought to be and what church people ought to be about."—George McLeod
    7. The setting
      1. Jesus has entered Jerusalem
      2. Days before His death
      3. The disciples had gotten him a donkey
      4. Crowds gathered shouting "Hosanna!" (Save now!)
      5. Jesus comes into the temple
      6. High hopes "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified"
      7. Let down: He speaks of His death
  2. The Cross-Culture and Christ (vv. 27-30)
    1. The Pain of It
      1. Matthew, Mark, and Luke give details about His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane
      2. John reveals Jesus' anguish going on days before the Garden, arrest, trial, and  crucifixion
      3. Troubled: ταράσσω - tarasso: to agitate, stir up, trouble (See John 5:4)
      4. Agitated because of the Cross; He knows and has always known
      5. On the cross He will bear the sin and guilt of every person past, present, and future.
      6. "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:21)
      7. "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse (for us for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree')" (Galatians 3:13)
      8. In the Garden, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," (Mark 14:34 NIV)
      9. "And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground." (Luke 22:44) (hematidrosis)
      10. The real anguish would be separation from the Father on the cross
        1. In the Garden Jesus calls the Father "Abba!"  (See Mark 14:36)
        2. On the Cross, Jesus calls Him, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46)
    2. The Glory of It
      1. He could have gotten out of it. "Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?" (Matthew 26:53)
      2. This was His life's work: "Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." (Revelation 13:8)
      3. The center of God's plan.
        1. If Jesus did not die, there would be no substitute for sin
        2. If there were no substitute for sin, there would be no salvation from our sin
        3. If there were no salvation from our sin, there would be no hope
        4. If there were no hope, there would be no future
      4. His deepest motivation was to glorify the Father
      5. "Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2)
      6. God's voice from heaven
        1. One of three times
          1. At Jesus' Baptism "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:17)
          2. At the Transfiguration: "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!" (Matthew 17:5)
          3. Now: "I have both glorified it and will glorify it again." (John 12:28)
        2. Authenticates Jesus as God's Son
  3. The Cross-Culture and the World (vv. 31-33)
    1. The World is Judged by It
      1. The first act of the cross
      2. World: κόσμος - Kosmos - the world system; thought and ideology controlled by the devil, poised against God
      3. When the world put Jesus on the cross, it was judging itself. "But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would never have crucified our glorious Lord." (1 Corinthians 2:8 NLT)
      4. The issue is always the same: What are you going to do about Jesus?
        1. Pontius Pilate (See Matthew 27:17)
          1. Crucifies him
          2. The scene will be reversed: Jesus the judge, Pilate on trial
        2. What you do with Jesus will determine your destiny.
    2. The World's Ruler is Cast Out by It
      1. Satan is the prince of this world
      2. The beginning of the end for the devil
      3. Five "casting outs" of the devil
        1. Cast out of heaven as a permanent resident (See Isaiah 14; Ezekiel 28)
        2. At the cross, the power to destroy lives was taken from him. (The roaring lion de-fanged: [See 1 Peter 5:8])-Christians immune
        3. During tribulation cast from heaven to earth permanently (See Revelation 12:10)
        4. At the end of the tribulation, cast into the bottomless pit during the Millennial Reign of Christ
        5. Cast after that into the lake of fire
    3. The World's People Can be Saved by It
      1. Lifted Up
        1. Not lifted up in worship
          Lift Jesus higher, lift Jesus higher
          Lift Him up for the world to see.
          He said if I am lifted up from the earth,
          I will draw all men unto me.
        2. Lifted up in crucifixion
          1. By the act of being a substitute I will draw all men to Me
          2. "Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up." John 3:14) (See Numbers 21)
          3. Believe they are sinners
          4. Believe that by faith it will work
      2. The cross draws people to Jesus (forgiven and a fresh start)
      3. Easier for people to believe that if they look to themselves they will be saved (earning a place in heaven)
      4. Pride of men causes them to look away from the solution that God offers
  4. The Cross-Culture and the Crowd
    1. Confused by Hearsay
      1. Remembering the Scriptures that speak to the glorious reign of Messiah
        1. Son of Man(Daniel 7)
        2. "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever."  (Isaiah 9:6-7)
        3. Political Ruler
      2. Neglected to think of the suffering Messiah
        1. "But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53:5)
        2. Crucifixion described in Psalm 22
        3. Pierced: (See Zechariah 13,14)
      3. Confused by the two comings of Christ
        1. Most people are confused about Jesus
        2. Most people are confused about the cross
    2. Confirmed by Jesus
      1. God doesn't want anyone confused about it
      2. In the midst of our culture stands the cross

Greek Terms: ταράσσω - tarasso: to agitate, stir up, trouble; κόσμος - Kosmos - the world system; thought and ideology controlled by the devil, poised against God
Figures Referenced: George McLeod
Publications Referenced: "Lift Jesus Higher"
Cross References: Numbers 21; Psalm 22; Isaiah 9:6-7; Isaiah 14; Isaiah 53:5; Ezekiel 28; Daniel 7; Zechariah 13,14; Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5; Matthew 27:17; Matthew 27:46; Mark 14:34; Mark 14:36; Luke 22:44; John 3:14; John 5:4; John 12:28; Romans 6:3; 1 Corinthians 2:2; 1 Corinthians 2:8; 1 Corinthians 11:26; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 2:20; Galatians 3:13; Galatians 6:14; Hebrews 12:2; 1 Peter 5:8; Revelation 12:10; Revelation 13:8

Topic: Cross

Keywords: cross, crucifixion

Transcript

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Let's pause and pray.  Father we place our bodies before you as living sacrifices, that's what Paul told us to do.  That's an ongoing process.  We ask father that our minds, our thoughts that you would capture them and help us to focus upon what your word wants us to focus on, what you have declared in this book.  We can easily get distracted or we can be tempted to say what we feel like saying but we're going to read what you have declared and at a very important point in Jesus' life, days before his death, what he is focusing on.  And that is the cross, help us to understand a bit more, how important that event was and is for us.  In Jesus' name we pray.  Amen.

I believe that the cross of Christ is greatly misunderstood.  For some people, it was a tragic event, it was a -- it was something that was an unearthly sense, a tragedy, a murder took place, an unfortunate occurrence.  Other people are repulsed by the whole idea of a man being celebrated who shed his blood in that public arena around Jerusalem.  And that we would still be celebrating that, that repulses many people.

Most people see the cross as merely a religious symbol that may or may not have some power for their lives even today.  I heard about an American soldier who during wartime, he was being shot at, he jumped into a foxhole and his immediate inclination was to use his hands and dig down into the dirt and get as deep as possible.  While he was digging down for further protection he felt something metallic, he dug it out and was a cross, it was a crucifix, a silver crucifix.

A few moments later, in dropped another soldier into the foxhole and the first looked up and noticed it was the chaplain.  And the first soldier said, "Boy, am I glad to see you!" and he held up the crucifix he goes, "How do you work one of these things anyway?"  That's how a lot of people feel about the cross, it's simply a symbol that should be able to work, some kind of magic for those who wear it or hang it up in the house or sport it in some way.

If we go back 2000 years to Jerusalem, we discover that the people who were in Jerusalem, around Jesus Christ had by in large a conquest mentality.  That is, they wanted their Messiah to come to rule and to reign to conquer their enemies.  It was a conquest mentality so that when Jesus stopped in the temple and He said, as we discover last week around verse 23, He said, "The hour has come for the son of man to be glorified, their hope shots skyward." they thought this is it.  He's going to establish the Kingdom.  The disciples must have thought, "We're going to have position of authority in the Kingdom.  He's going to be glorified."  But what Jesus was speaking about was something different than what they were thinking.

They were thinking of the glory of conquest, a political deliverer, somebody who would give them material prosperity now.  What Jesus was speaking about, was the glory of the cross, about his own death.  I want to talk to you today about that kind of culture, the cross culture, the culture of the cross.  The culture of the cross is something that not only motivated Jesus but it permeates the entire New Testament.

Galatians 2:20 Paul writes, "I am crucified with Christ.  Nevertheless I lived, but it's not I who lives its Christ who lives in me."  Again Galatians 6:14, "But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of Christ."  First Corinthians 2, "I am determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified."  So you see just by a sampling of verses, the entire church is to be a cross-culture, because even the rituals we performed as a church speak to that, baptism speaks about it.  We take a person and we put them under the water and that is because Paul said "when you're baptized, you're baptized into the death and burial of Christ and then the resurrection."  So that when a person is taken in place underneath the water, that's like dying and being buried, when they come back up it's a the symbol of resurrection.

Communion speaks of his death.  Paul said, "When you take communion, you are proclaiming the Lord's what?  You proclaim the Lord's death until he comes."  So it's that constant proclamation of the sacrifice of his death on the cross, it is a cross culture.  Unfortunately the last several years have seen a very interesting trend in many churches.  I would say mostly in America but around the world.  And that is the tendency to want deviate from the cross culture and to celebrated a different kind of a culture.  So some churches will even tell their worship leaders to pull out some of the songs and hymns that speak about the blood of Christ, the cross of Christ.  It's so bloody, it's so violent, let's not focus on that.  Other churches want to be more hip and more relevant and they celebrate themes like personal satisfaction, your best life now or some kind of focus other than the New Testament focus.

George McCloud wrote these words, I'll share them with you this morning.  "I simply argue that the cross be raised again at the center of the marketplace as well as steeple of the church, I'm recovering the claim that Jesus wasn't crucified in a Cathedral between two candles but on cross between two thieves on a town garbage heap, at the crossroads of politics so cosmopolitan that they had to write His name in Latin and Hebrew and in Greek, at the kind of place where cynics talked smut and thieves curse and soldiers gamble.  That is where he died and that is what he died about.  And that is where Christ's men ought to be and what church people ought to be about.  In other words, Christians are to live in the cross culture.  We glory in the cross of Christ because of what it means to us."

Well let's just retrace our steps and get setting here.  Jesus has entered Jerusalem, it's days before the crucifixion itself.  He's coming from the East, from the Mountain of Olives.  As he was walking up to the peak to the Mount of Olives; the disciples got Him a young donkey, a colt.  As he was leaving Bethany going towards Jerusalem, cresting the top of the mount of Olives, a crowd of people gathered around him and behind him and another crowd came out of the golden gate in Jerusalem, because they heard about Lazarus and they wanted to see Lazarus and the one who raised him from the dead.

As all this people gathered together, shouts of Hosanna went out from the crowd.  "Hosanna, save now!"  Jesus comes into the temple.  As he is in the temple, a crowd of Greeks are there to have an interview with him, and Jesus speaks to perhaps the disciples and the Greeks behind him and the crowd who was gathered some words that indicate that he is going to die on the cross.  They had high hopes, when he said "The hours come, the son of man is going to be glorified."  They thought awesome!  This is it.  And then Jesus said to them "Unless a grain of wheat fall into the grown and dies it abides alone, if it dies it brings forth fruit."  He was speaking about His death.

Now beginning in verse 27, Jesus gets more personal and talks about the cross culture in relationship to himself and that's what we want to look at, the cross culture in Christ, number one, the cross culture and the world, number two and the cross culture and this crowd, number three.  Verse 27, he speaks of Himself.  "Now, my soul is troubled and what shall I say father save me from this hour?  But for this purpose I came to this hour."  And stop right there.  Think of that first little phrase, "Now my soul is troubled."  He just blurts that out.  He's obviously dealing with something deep and emotional.  And he's not afraid to tell everybody, "Now my soul is troubled."

Here's something interesting about the gospel of John.  Mathew, Mark and Luke will give details about the suffering of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane.  John keeps out most of those details but what John does is let's us in on the mental anguish that is going to the mind, the heart, the very core of Christ days before the Garden of Gethsemane, days before the trial, the arrest and the crucifixion, it begins here.

Now my soul is troubled, the word teraso means to shake or to stir up.  If you recall in John chapter 5, remember when that man at the pool of the Bethesda was waiting by the waters and he said he was waiting for the stirring of the water, same word teraso, to be agitated or shaken up.  When our Lord uses it of himself, he is speaking of a spiritual and emotional agitation.  He's saying, "I'm distressed, I'm disturbed, I'm unsettled, I'm shaken up, I'm stirred up."  Why?  Why He's is so agitated?  Short answer, the cross, the cross.

In a few days, he knows and by the way he knew this is entire life, he knows that in the few days, the Roman whip is going to lay open his back and his subcutaneous tissues will be exposed and the kind of pain that accompanies that.  He knows the great spikes will be driven through his wrist.  He knows that the crown of thorns will be on his head.  He has predicted this.  And by the way, they were thought that probably Jesus was mentally crucified thousands of times in his life, every time he'd look at his hands and feet, he knew what is going to happen to him.

But now those days approaching, as he comes into Jerusalem for the final time, he says "Now, my soul is troubled."  But if we just think it's the physical anguish, we do him injustice.  What really was troubling his soul is that he knew that on that cross, God the Father would dump all of the sin and all of the guilt of every single person, past, present and future in that moment upon Christ.  And he would bear not only their sin but the guilt of their sin.  I know people who go crazy with their own guilt.  Imagine having all of the guilt of all of the sin on the sinless son of God.  Paul said it this way in Corinthians, "God made him who knew no sin to be sin for us."  Imagine that?  Paul even said in Galatians, "Christ redeemed us from the curse of a law by becoming a curse for us."  Just think of Jesus being a curse and that just simply meant that the all of the sin of mankind that curse of sin would fall upon him.

So here is Christ, emoting, telling us that he is walking right into the midst of this cross culture.  Now my soul is troubled and this troubling, this agitation that he's expressing will continue and continue throughout his trial.  In the Garden of Gethsemane, Mark says, "Jesus said, my soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death."  In Luke's gospel chapter 22 says, "Jesus prayed more fervently and he was in such agony of spirit that sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood."

A scientist called this, doctors called this hematidrosis.  It's a condition where the blood vessels the capillaries that sort of like a net around the sweat glands, constrict under deep emotion like a soldier going to a battlefield if he knows he's going to die or a person who knows he's going to be sentenced to death.  There is this phenomena where that blood shoots into the sweat glands and a person actually sweats drops of blood, a deep anguish and emotion.  Now, my soul is troubled.

But I got to tell you something, the real pain, the real trouble, the real anguish would be in that moment on the cross when because of the sin laid upon him and he would be separated from his father.  He had never known that experience ever before, ever.  And the anxiety of that is falling upon him.  Jesus and the Father were one, they did everything together, every thought was processed with each other.  There was always fellowship.  Even in the garden, Jesus will cry out, "Abba" or dearest Father or even daddy, but on the cross he will say, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

So that is the cross culture and that's the pain of it.  But notice what He say' as He goes on, now my soul is trouble and what shall I say, Father save me from this hour?  Is that I'm going to say now?  Is that I what I'm going to pray as I am facing the cross?  Am I going to say, I can't do, get me out of this?  You know he could have.  In Matthew, Jesus said, "Don't you know Peter, that I could call on twelve legions of angles right now to deliver me?"

Now the question, Jesus asks here is meant to be rhetorical, what shall I say, Father save me from the hour -- this hour?  The implied answer is no.  And then he says, "But for this purpose, I came to this hour."  Father glorify your name, and then a voice came from heaven saying, "I have both glorified and will glorify it again."  Therefore, the people who stood by and heard it said that it thundered.  Other said an angel has spoken to him.  Jesus answered and said, "This voice did not come because of me but for you."  So here's Christ expressing the anguish of soul and he goes, "Look, I'm turning away from this thing.  I'm not leaving the cross culture, I came for this very thing, I want to bring glory to my Father in heaven."  This was his life's work.

You recall Revelation 13 describes Jesus as the lamb slain from the foundations of the world.  That was all part of the plan.  I've come for this.  This is my hour that you might be glorified through my death.  Father glorify yourself.  That was his life's work.  So, everything in Jesus life is focused on this cross culture, it's permeating his very thought process, he's dominated by it.  And that's very important, I don't want you to miss this, I don't want you to think that the cross, oh yes, Jesus died on the cross, this is the very center of it all, the very center of the universe, the very center of God's plan, because if Jesus did not die, there would be no substitute for sin.  If there were no substitute for sin, there would be no salvation from our sin, that there will no salvation from sin, there would be no hope.  If there was no hope, there would be no future but hell.  That's why our Lord said, "This is it, man this is why I've come."  This is the center of it all.

So, he's expressing his anguish but he's also anticipating the glory, verse 28 that will come from this.  What do you think drove Jesus forward?  What was the deepest motivation?  It's told right here, to glorify his Father.  Did you know that Jesus was always motivated?  They impetus of his life was to bring glory to the Father, in life and in death.  Father Glorify your name.  Knowing that, when Jesus would die, the Father would be able to invite people from all manner of life to come into heaven through believing in his son.

The rite of Hebrews put it this way, it's a beautiful verse, Hebrew 12:2, "Who for the joy, that was set before him, he endured the cross despising the shame."  It was no cakewalk, he didn't enjoy it, he endured it, it was horrible.  On a human level, on a spiritual level of separation, he endured it.  But there was a joy mingled within and the joy was giving glory to the Father and the joy was seeing you, and you, and you, and you, the day you received Christ being able to go to heaven.  I pushed them forward.

So there's the anxiety of it, but there's the anticipation of giving glory to the Father.  Now, we read something and I just want you to get this that here is Jesus saying these words and he looks up, presume and he says "Father glorify your name" and then an audible voice from heaven comes, whoa!.  So only the third that ever happened, three times in Jesus life in ministry an audible voice from the Father comes from heaven.  Number one, it is baptism.  He said, "This is my beloved son and whom I am well pleased."  The second one was at the transfiguration, Matthew, Peter, James and John went up to a high mountain, Jesus was gloriously transfigured before them.  Peter starts rambling on and on above building three condominiums and finally God interrupts him and said, "Uh-hmm, this is my beloved son, listen to him."  The third time is here, one of three times.

You know, why God did that?  You know why God spoke from heaven?  To authenticate his son, because some people will say, "And I just wish God would just like speak from heaven and say Jesus is the one, got to follow Him."  Well that's what he did.  At his baptism, he made it unmistakable and the disciples were wondering, "Hmm, could this be the one?"  "This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased," the voice from heaven, to make it unmistakable that that was the one God was sending.  And here at his death, an audible voice.

And notice what Jesus said, "This voice didn't come because of me but for your sake."  You know what that means?  In a few days, their spirits are going to be so crushed, they're going to be so doubting that this whole cross thing was even part of God's plan.  God wants the disciples to know now, it's all part of the plan boy's, I'm in total control.  This Jesus going to the cross bit was all part of my agenda from the beginning.  That's was Jesus meant.  It's for your sake.  So you'd hear it with your own ears that the cross is what the focus of heaven and the focus of the savior was as well.

          So, that's the cross culture and Christ. Now, let's think about the cross culture and the world.  What does the cross mean to the world?  It means three things according to Jesus, the cross has three effects, number one, the world is judged by it.  Verse 31, Jesus continues, "Now is the judgment of this world."  Stop, that's the first effect of the cross upon the world.  The cross judges the world.  Now you know what the world means in the bible sense, the word cosmos, world, typically means the system of thought and ideology controlled by the devil, involving millions people who are in rebellion against God.  That system is called the cosmos or the world.  It doesn't mean the earth or the creation, it means that, that ordered philosophical system poised against God.  Jesus says, "Now is the judgment of this world."  When the world put Jesus Christ on the cross, it was judging itself.  You might say it was signing its own death warrant.

First Corinthians chapter 2:8, "The rulers of this world have not understood it, for if they have they would not have crucified our glorious Lord."  So, they were saying, get rid of him, we don't want a spiritual kingdom, we want a physical kingdom and if it's not going to bring us that, the same crowd would say, "Crucify him."  When the world put Jesus on the cross, he was being judged, because you see, the issue, the question for the world is always the same.  What are you going to do with Jesus?  What are you going to do about Jesus?  What you say about Jesus?  That's what Pilate was confronted with in that final tribunal, that courtroom scene when Pilate was face-to-face with Jesus and he knew that these were false charges he said, "What will I do with Jesus who is called the Christ?"  What did he do?  He effectively sentenced him to be crucified.  And then he walks off the pages of history.  But one day, Pilate and Jesus will meet again at another courtroom scene but the roles will be reversed, Jesus the judge and Pilate on trial.  What will I do with Jesus who is called Christ?  Well whatever you do will be your judgment.  He will determine your destiny.

I heard about a young man who moved to a big city, it was the first time he had been in the city.  He wasn't use to the traffic pattern, etc.  He was about to cross the street not looking both ways, a truck was coming and he was about to walk into oncoming traffic when a hand reached out and grabbed him.  There was a sweet old gentleman who pulled him back on to the sidewalk.  Two weeks later, that same young man was in a courtroom.  He was being indicted for theft charges, he had been stealing.  As the young man looked up he noticed the judge seemed very familiar.  He thought, that's the man who saved me two weeks ago, pulled me out of oncoming traffic.  He even said to the judge, "You're the man who saved me, surely, you can do something now, pull a few strings."  The elderly judge said, "Two weeks ago young man, I was your savior, today I must be your judge."

So that's the first effect that the cross has on the world.  Number one, the world will be judged by it.  Number two, the ruler of the world is cast out.  Look what it says, "Now is the judgment of this world," verse 31, "And now, the ruler of this world will be cast out."  Who is he speaking about?  The ruler of this world.  Satan the devil, the bible calls the devil, the prince of this world or the god of this world, this world system.

Well, this makes sense that the world is being judged, that the one who controls the world that is going to have some kind of ramification as well and that's Satan.  He is going to be cast out.  In other words, this is the beginning of the end for the devil, the grip that Satan has had upon humanity will be broken by the cross.

So now there's going to be other options for people.  If they want to live forever, all they have to do is trust this one who died for them and they will live forever.  So Satan's power effectively is being dismantled.

Now if I'm counting correctly, I discovered there are five casting outs of the devil in the Bible.  Let me see if I can recall them.  Number one is when he was cast out of heaven as a permanent resident.  He was the anointed cherub who covers, he got really pride for God said you're out of here and he was -- he became the devil at that point.  That's Isaiah 14, Ezekiel 28, that's number one.

Number two, the second casting out is here at the cross, the power of Satan was taken from him to destroy lives.  So the devil is a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour at the cross he was defanged.  Now he might try to gum you to death but Christian you're immune from him.

The third casting out will be during the great tribulation period when Satan is cast from heaven to the earth.  You're going to -- wait a minute, I thought he was cast out from heaven from the beginning.  Yeah he was, he's a permanent resident but do you know that the devil has access to heaven today?  The bible says he's the accuser of the brethren who accuses the brethren before God day and night.  Incessant, he still has access.  He still can get an audience with God.

The fourth casting out will be at the end of the tribulation period.  He is cast into the bottomless pit for a thousand years during the millennial reign of Christ upon the earth and the fifth and final one is when he is cast after that into the lake of fire.  So he's on his way down and this is the beginning of the end.  That's the second effect.  The third effect of the cross upon the world as mentioned in verse 32 and verse 33 and that is the world's people can be saved by it.  The world is judged by it, the ruler of the world is cast out by it but the world's people can be saved by it, verse 32.

He says, "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all peoples to myself."  I don't know how many times that verse has been taken out of context because people will think, let's lift Jesus up, let's just lift Him up and worship because He said if I be lifted up I'll draw all people to myself.

There's a song put out some years ago called Lift Jesus higher.  Lift Jesus higher, lift Jesus higher, lift Him up for the world to see for he said if I be lifted I'll draw all men to me.  I shutter every time I hear that song because obviously whoever wrote that song didn't read the next verse.

It says in verse 33, "This he said signifying by what death he would die."  Did you get that? I'm speaking about the cross, the horrible, violent, ignominious method of crucifixion.  He didn't mean lift Jesus higher and in some ethereal and femoral kind of worship way.  He says if I be lifted up on a cross to suffer and die by that act of being a substitute, I will draw all men to myself.

Let me drag your memory.  Go back a few verses in your mind to the little conversation Jesus had with Nicodemus.  Remember what he said to Nicodemus?  He said, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness even so the son of man must be lifted up."  Who is he talking about? He's talking about Numbers 21 to the fourth book in the Bible.  The book of Numbers, the children of Israel were out in the wilderness and snakes came in to the camp and started biting them and they started dying.  And the reason for that is they retreated to their number one favorite past time, complaining, whining, griping against God.  God had enough evidence and said, "I'm sending snakes in to bite them, get rid of them."  Well in the midst of that, our Lord said to Moses, "Moses, in order to save these people you take a brass serpent and you put on a pole and you wrap it around the pole and you hold it up and as men and women looked toward that you hold it up and say, hey look over here.  If they look over there they'll stop dying, they'll be cured."  You say, "What kind of a cure is that?  What kind of medicine and science is behind that?"  None, it's a miracle.

For people to look at that serpent they had to believe, they had to believe two things.  They had to believe number one, that they were sinners because it was their sin that caused this so they're taking a look away from what caused this to a cure.

Number two, they had to simply believe that by looking, by faith as God said it's going to work and you know what happened?  It worked.  People started looking at that brass serpent and boom!  They started being healed left and right.  Well that's what Jesus means.  If I'd be lifted up off the earth, on a cross like that brass serpent on a pole as the sin bearer for the sins of men and women throughout all the ages, whoever looks by faith to me will be saved.

I'll draw people, all kinds of people to myself.  You know what draws people to Jesus?  This, the cross draws people to Jesus.  You say oh no, the cross is so repulsive it draws people away from Jesus, not it doesn't.  People love to know they're forgiven.  People love to know that they can have a do over, a fresh start, a fresh slate and that's what draws people to Jesus.  Now granted it's not easy, well it is easy.  I mean all we have to do is believe but you know for men and women it's not easy in this sense, it's much easier for people to believe that if they look to themselves to their own good works to their own religious affections.  I work hard, I go to church I do good things, I'm earning a place in heaven.

It's much easier for people to think that way.  It's much harder for people to admit I am a sinner, I have to look away from myself and I have to look to the one who paid the price for me.  The pride of men causes them to walk away from the solution that God offers.  I heard about an agnostic professor who went to Fiji Islands and he noticed that these Fijians lived in sort of a modern culture.  They have been affected by Western Missionaries.  There were churches and the agnostic professor said to the chief of the tribe, "You know I'm so sorry for you that you've been duped by those western missionaries who came years before.  You've been taken by them.  Nobody believes that stuff anymore.  They don't believe the Bible anymore, we know better."

The professor said, "That old thread bear story of a man dying on the cross for the sins of the world, shutting his blood is so outmoded and so outdated I'm so sorry that you've been taken in by its fiction."  The chief of the tribe smiled and said, "Come and follow me I want to show you something."  He took him over to a rock, he said "You see that rock?  This is where we used to bash in the heads of our victims before as cannibals when we ate them."  Well he had the professor's attention.  He said, you see that oven next to it?  After we smash their heads and we put them in the oven and we roast and then we'd eat them.  He said, "Let me tell you something sir, we're it not for the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and the death of Jesus on the cross that changed us from cannibals into Christians, you'd be our supper by now."  I'll tell you right then and there that agnostic professor was very thankful that he was talking to a group of believers and not cannibals.

The gospel, the cross changes people not just cannibals but businessmen, housewives from all walks of life, I will draw all men to myself.

Let's finish up with the third, the cross culture and the crowd.  Verse 34, the people that is the people in that crowd disciples, the Greeks, the people in the temple area who were around listening, the people answered him, "We have heard from the law that the Messiah remains forever."  Now watch this, why did they think this?  We've heard that the Christ from the law, the Bible remains forever, how can you say the son of man must be lifted up?  Who is this son of man?  Now obviously this crowd is confused.  They're confused because they have read the Bible, the have heard the rabbis give interpretations.  They know what Daniel chapter 7 we quoted that last week says about the son of man.  The son of man is the Messiah, Daniel saw a vision of him in chapter 7 being ushered before the ancient of days to the son of man was given a kingdom that will be an everlasting kingdom.  They no doubt for the scriptures in the Bible like Isaiah chapter 9 unto us a child is born, unto us the son is given.  His name will be called wonderful council or mighty God everlasting father prince of peace listen to this and at the increase of his government and peace there will be no and.  That's what they were thinking.

That's what this means when they said, "We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever how can you say the son of men must be lifted up?"  They missed something, they were thinking of all of those scriptures that speak of the glorious reign of the Messiah, that's what they were waiting for a political ruler which he will be he when he comes the second time by the way.  But they neglected and think about all of those other text of scriptures from their law that speaks of the suffering Messiah, the dying Messiah like Isaiah 53, he was wounded for our transgressions, he was crushed for our inequities, the chest ties one of his piece was upon him.  Neglected to read Psalm 22 which describes crucifixion hundreds of years before crucifixion was even invented, scriptures like Zachariah chapter 13 and 14 they will look upon me whom they have fears and they will mourn for him as one who mourns for his only son.

Clearly the Bible spoke about both a suffering Messiah and a glorious reigning peaceful Messiah so clearly there must be two comings.  They didn't see the gap between the first and the second coming, they were confused.  Most people are confused about Jesus.  Most people are confused about the cross.  True story, a woman in Denver went into a jewelry store to buy a cross she said to the jeweler I want to buy a gold cross on a chain.  Kid you not, the jeweler showcased all of the crosses and asked the woman, "Now do you want the plain one or do you want the one with a little man on it?"  Isn't that tragic?  The glorious sin bearer of the world Jesus Christ has now been regulated to a little ornamental cross as the one with the little man on it.

People are so confused about the cross.  God doesn't want anybody here to be confused about it.  God sent his son into this world to bear your sin and my sin.  He lived in that cross culture because that's the only place where there's hope.  I close with this this morning.  A man fell into a pit and he couldn't get out.  A subjective person came along and said, "I feel for you down there on that pit."  An objective person came along and said, it's logical that someone would fall into a pit.  An adherent of Christian Science said, "You only think that you're in a pit."  A Pharisee said, "Only bad people fall into pits."  A mathematician calculated how he fell into the pit, a news reported wanted the exclusive story on his pit, a legalistic Christian said, "You deserve your pit."  Confucius said, "If you would have listened to me, you would have not been in that pit."

Buddha came along, saw the man and he said, "Your pit is only a state of mind."  A realist comes along and says, "Yup that's a pit."  A scientist calculated the pressure necessary pounds per square inch to get him out of the pit.  A geologist told him that he should appreciate the rock strata that is in the pit.  An evolutionist came along and said, "You are a rejected mutant destined to be removed from the evolutionary cycle."  In other words, you're going to die in that pit so that you can't produce any pit falling offspring.  The county inspector asked if he had a permit to dig a pit.  A professor gave him a lecture on the elementary principles of the pit.  A self-pitying, no pun intended, a self-pitying person said, "You haven't seen anything until you have seen my pit."

A charismatic from the faith movement came along and said, "Brother just confess that you're not in that pit."  An optimist said, "Things could be worse."  A pessimist said, "Things will get worse."  Finally Jesus came along and seen the man took him by the hand and lifted him out of the pit.  Jesus stands alone in his ability to deliver people from the guilt of sin and drop people to himself in the midst of our culture stands the cross culture, the gospel.

Heavenly father, as we close this morning we are thinking of these words of our Lord Jesus that if I be lifted up, I will draw all men all kinds of people, all manner of persons to myself.  That must have been the joy that was said before him to glorify you Father by enabling people like us to be called sons and daughters of the living God.

We've looked to you by faith, we believe that Jesus' death on the cross was enough, for that transaction for you to allow us to get into your heaven.  I pray for anybody who is here today who hasn't made the decision to look to Jesus by faith.  They're looking to themselves, their works, their religion, their belief, their intellect, all of those are not smart moves.  Pride and some has weld up and refuses to look outside of themselves to the one who could make a difference, enable them Lord to look to Jesus Christ today, so in his name we pray, 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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1/30/2011
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What to Do with Jesus?
John 11:45-57
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Any lawyer can tell you that whenever the star witness is a resurrected corpse, you have a pretty good case! But Lazarus being alive from the dead doesn’t seem to persuade everyone. And so the big issue becomes what shall we do with Jesus? The decisions made here set the clock in motion for an impending hate crime—the crucifixion of Christ. But from heaven’s vantage point, this is all part of God’s plan for redemption. Let’s see the responses and how we can make a difference.
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2/6/2011
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A Meal to Reveal the Heart
John 12:1-11
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If you were to step into the home of Simon at Bethany (Mark 14:3) on that night, you would've seen Jesus and His disciples along with Lazarus and His two sisters reclining at a low table for a meal in honor of Christ. But if you were to step into the hearts of those people, you would discover they were all very different from each other. Those inside the house and outside represent the gamut of feelings about Jesus—from adoring love to intense hatred. What a complicated meal!
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2/13/2011
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A Day, a Donkey, a Deliverer, and a Decision
John 12:12-19
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2000 years ago, on the final Sunday of Jesus’ earthly life before His crucifixion, He did the most unusual thing—He sat on a donkey and was carried into the city of Jerusalem in parade fashion. This formal presentation of Him as Deliverer was both profound and predicted. What’s the significance of such an act as this? What overarching principles emerge for us today? We’ll dig in and discover them, but today you’ve got to write them down yourself:
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2/20/2011
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Living the Right Life
John 12:20-26
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If this sermon was a book and I wanted to sell lots of copies, the title would cause it to fail. Now if it were entitled "Living the High Life" or "Living the Successful Life," then I may have a winner. But many have lived with both success and riches who didn't live right! So what is the right life? Or to frame it with a better question: What kind of life is most pleasing to God? Through a series of paradoxes, John gives us the answer—it wasn't the answer most people are looking for!
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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
Skip Heitzig
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Our relationship with Jesus isn't a secret to be hoarded; it is a story to be heralded! The disciples were seated behind closed doors (sounds like a lot of churches). Jesus wanted them out, giving away what they had been given. Let's see how these early followers went from panic to peace, from perplexity to purpose, and from protection to power. It's a great journey. Are you up for it?
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4/8/2012
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Rise Up!
John 20:24-31
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The apostle Thomas has been noted for his skeptical attitude. In fact, we refer to a skeptic as a "doubting Thomas." In this message from John 20, we consider four ways Thomas was able to rise up from doubt and become a joyful follower of Jesus.
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4/15/2012
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Gone Fishing! (Relating to a Risen & Returning Lord)
John 21:1-14
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I am not a great fisherman. I don't do it often and when I catch something, it's pure luck! My dad was the opposite—he loved it and was great at it. At least seven of Jesus' disciples were fishermen and here we see them plying their trade after the resurrection. Some beautiful lessons can be discovered about how to live while we wait for Jesus to come back for us.
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4/22/2012
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I Failed! Now What?
John 21:15-19
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One of life's harshest realities is failure. The very sound of the word seems harsh to our sensibilities. We even harbor the age-old axiom, "Failure is not an option!" But failure is an option; in fact, it's a certainty. But discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping-stones to victory. In a post-resurrection interview, Jesus restores Peter with a fresh commission. If you have failed in your spiritual experience (and who hasn't), these principles will inspire.
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4/29/2012
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Final Instructions
John 21:20-25
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As John closes off his singular testimony of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, he features some closing words of Jesus and Peter about himself (John). These final sentences provide some instructions for us as we await Christ's return. How should we live in light of who Jesus is, what Jesus did, and when Jesus will return?
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There are 95 additional messages in this series.