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Service Archives > 43 John - Believe:879 - 2009 > Betrayed!

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Betrayed!
John 13:18-30
Skip Heitzig

John 13 (NKJV™)
18 "I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, 'He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me.'
19 "Now I tell you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe that I am He.
20 "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me."
21 When Jesus had said these things, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me."
22 Then the disciples looked at one another, perplexed about whom He spoke.
23 Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.
24 Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask who it was of whom He spoke.
25 Then, leaning back on Jesus' breast, he said to Him, "Lord, who is it?"
26 Jesus answered, "It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it." And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.
27 Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, "What you do, do quickly."
28 But no one at the table knew for what reason He said this to him.
29 For some thought, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus had said to him, "Buy those things we need for the feast," or that he should give something to the poor.
30 Having received the piece of bread, he then went out immediately. And it was night.

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

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43 John - Believe:879 - 2009

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.

"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.

FREE - Download Entire Series (MP3) (Help) | Buy series

Outline

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  1. The Prediction of Betrayal (v. 18)

    1. What Jesus Knew

    2. What Jesus Did

  2. The Paradox of Betrayal (vv. 19-20)

    1. Greater Trust in Savior

    2. Greater Trust in Scripture

    3. Great Thrust in Service

  3. The Proximity of Betrayal (vv. 21-30)

Pondering the Principles:

  1. How had Satan's grip on Judas developed? (See 6:70; 12:4-6; 13:2, 27.) What did Jesus mean by “What you do, do quickly”?

  2. When have you felt that you have betrayed someone? What did you do when you found out just how bad it was? What did God teach you in that situation?

  3. Has God ever prepared you for something you didn't see coming at the time? What was it?

Detailed Notes

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  1. Introduction
    1. Worst crime ever committed was selling out the Son of God for thirty pieces of silver (about $25)
    2. None of the apostles knew Judas would betray until that night (Jesus declared it to John and Peter)
    3. Judas
      1. His name
        1. From the word "Judah"
        2. Means praise (his parents probably hoped he would grow up to praise the Lord)
        3. Now a synonym for "traitor" (A "Judas" is someone who betrays a friend or comrade)
      2. Traditions
        1. In England, on Ash Wednesday (the beginning of Lent), drag a jack o' lantern figure through the streets, shooting it to pieces
        2. In Spain, Portugal, and Latin America, on Good Friday, a life-size straw or wood figure taken into the streets, spit on, kicked, cursed; called "Punishing Judas"
      3. Judas is the man who betrayed Christ: the betrayer
    4. Betrayal
      1. Causes marriages to split apart
      2. Causes friendships to be severed
      3. Causes nations to split
      4. Causes war to start
  2. The Prediction of Betrayal (v. 18)
    1. What Jesus Knew
      1. He wasn't surprised
      2. He quoted Psalm 41
        1. David wrote about a friend who betrayed him: Ahithophel
          1. When David's son, Absalom, rebelled, Ahithophel acted as a traitor
          2. Ahithophel hung himself
        2. "Lifting up heal" means to kick a person when they are down; a violent kicking, as in the neck
      3. Omniscient (He knows everything at all times); not a helpless victim of the crime
        1. The woman at the well: "Jesus said to her, 'Go, call your husband, and come here.' The woman answered and said, 'I have no husband.' Jesus said to her, 'You have well said, 'I have no husband,' for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.' The woman said to Him, 'Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.'" (John 4:16-19)
        2. The man with the withered hand: "But He knew their thoughts." (Luke 6:8)
        3. Demon-possessed man:"Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw. And all the multitudes were amazed and said, 'Could this be the Son of David?' Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, 'This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.' But Jesus knew their thoughts." (Matthew 12:22-25)
        4. Jesus knew everything that was going to happen
          1. That Peter would deny Him
          2. That Thomas would doubt Him
          3. That Judas would betray Him
      4. His knowledge did not soften the blow
        1. We often emphasize Jesus' Deity, but neglect His humanity
        2. "He was troubled in spirit" (v. 21)
          1. ταράσσω - tarasso- agitated, troubled
          2. "For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin." (Hebrews 4:15)
    2. What Jesus Did
      1. "I know whom I have chosen" (v. 18)
        1. Sovereign election
        2. Jesus gave Judas the opportunity to believe
      2. "Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles: Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called the Zealot; Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot who also became a traitor." (Luke 6:12-16)
      3. Why was Judas chosen as an apostle?
        1. To fulfill Scripture
        2. To love anyone at all is to be vulnerable
          1. You must take risks, even if it means being hurt
          2. Impossible to ensure you won't get hurt
          3. When you commit yourself to anyone there will be pain somewhere
          4. Anybody can love an ideal person; the challenge is to love the real person
          5. You will be betrayed; someone will take advantage of you
          6. Jesus continually demonstrated love to Judas
  3. The Paradox of Betrayal (vv. 19-20) (See Romans 8:28)
    1. Greater Trust in Savior
      1. Jesus told them in advance so they could see His claims were true
      2. As the idols were tested: "Let them bring forth and show us what will happen; Let them show the former things, what they were, That we may consider them, And know the latter end of them; Or declare to us things to come. Show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods; Yes, do good or do evil, That we may be dismayed and see it together." (Isaiah 41:22-23)
      3. Purpose of prophecy: to drive us to trust Him even more
    2. Greater Trust in Scripture
      1. Jesus quoted Psalm 41 to demonstrate His betrayal was predicted in advance
      2. After the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, the apostles recognize this was prophecy fulfilled: Study the Old Testament
      3. Prophecy transforms the way we look at Scripture; showcases its reliability
      4. The Word of God enables us to get through unstable times
      5. We should pass on a lifestyle of confidence in the Scripture (i.e., John Newton, parents had helped memorize Scripture and died when he was six years old. Lived with relative, hard life, joined Navy as a teen, went AWOL; joined the slave trade, in a storm about to sink, Scripture came to mind, and he understood it for the first time; cried out to God, life spared, gave life to Christ, wrote Amazing Grace.
    3. Greater Thrust in Service
      1. The apostles
        1. Jesus announced his death; troubled apostles
        2. Jesus announced the betrayal from among that group; casts discouragement among them
        3. Jesus reassures them, this doesn't change things: Their position and importance to His plan is so valued that when people receive them it is as if they receive God Himself.
      2. A betrayal by one person does not diminish our responsibility or our calling
      3. Hypocrisy should cause us to run to Christ, not run away
      4. In the midst of betrayal, ambassadors will go out
  4. The Proximity of Betrayal (vv. 21-30)
    1. Apostles reclining on left side around the U shaped table (triclineum)
    2. Jesus announced that one would betray Him; each apostle responded, "Is it I?" (Matthew 26:22)
    3. Guests of honor on Jesus' right and left side
      1. John on his right; leaning toward Jesus
      2. Judas on his left; leaning away from Jesus
    4. It was night
      1. John uses metaphor of light and darkness throughout this gospel
      2. Darkness had settled on Judas' soul
      3. Movement away from Christ is stepping into darkness
    5. Jesus reached out to Judas until the end
    6. Peter Miller (walked sixty miles to ask George Washington for the pardon of his enemy

Greek Terms: ταράσσω - tarasso- agitated, troubled
Figures Referenced: John Newton; Peter Miller; George Washington
Cross References: Psalm 41; Isaiah 41:22-23; Matthew 12:22-25; Matthew 26:22; Luke 6:8; Luke 6:12-16; John 4:16-19; Romans 8:28; Hebrews 4:15

Topic: Betrayal

Keywords: betray, betrayal, Judas, Last Supper, omniscience

Transcript

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Let's pray together:  Lord it's just great to be together, some have gathered in this auditorium and some are next door in the hub a part of us.  Some are outside under the sun who are listening.  Some are online or on radio.  How we thank you that we have the technology that enables all of that.  We're even more thankful that your Holy Spirit can go above and transcend any barrier that we might have.  If there is a barrier in our heart of any kind we pray it would be removed and you would have the opportunity to share with us with our hearts, your truth, your secrets, and your will, in Jesus name, Amen.

We hate it whenever we hear stories of injustice where the criminal goes free and the bad guy doesn't get caught, the good guy gets victimized.  On the other hand we love it whenever we hear stories of the bad guy getting caught and justice being served.  I heard a story about a man, from Charlotte, North Carolina who bought a box of very rare and expensive cigars.  And then when he bought them he took out an insurance policy on those cigars and insured them among other things against fire.  Within one month after having smoked all of those fine expensive cigars and before he had even made one premium payment on his policy he filed a claim against the insurance company.  And I'll read you the story.

In the claim, he stated the cigars were lost in a "series of small fires."  The insurance company refused to pay, citing the obvious reason: that the man had consumed the cigars in a normal fashion.

The man sued and won.  In delivering the ruling the judge agreed with the insurance company that the claim was frivolous.  But the judge stated nevertheless, the man held a policy from the company in which it had warranted the cigars were insurable and also guaranteed it would insure them against fire, without defining what is considered to be unacceptable fire, and was obligated to pay the claim.

Rather than endure a lengthy and costly appeal process, the insurance company accepted the ruling and paid $15,000.00 to the man for his loss of the rare cigars in the fires.

We read that and we go "Man, we don't like that but hold on the best part is yet to come.

After the man cashed the check, the insurance company had him arrested on 24 counts of Arson.  With his own insurance claim and the testimony from the previous case being used against him, the man was convicted of intentionally burning his insured property and was sentenced to 24 months in jail and a $24,000.00 fine.

Yeah, baby.  We love those stories.  The worst crime ever committed was selling out the son of God for about 25 bucks, 30 pieces of silver.  No one in the room that night had any idea that it was Judas.  No one had any clue it was Judas Iscariot until this night.  On this night Jesus will declare to his disciples at least to one of them, John and the Peter who it was.  Now Judas is a wonderful name, Judas comes from the word Judah which means praise; it's a great name to have.  I'm sure that when he was born his parents though our hope's is that this child will grow up to praise the Lord.  But as time went on the name Judas would appear in dictionaries, they're still there today, as a noun, as synonym for a traitor.  A Judas is someone who betrays a friend or a comrade.

Of all the baby dedications I have ever done, I've done a lot.  I had never yet dedicated a Judas.  There are just certain names people stay away from.  No parent in their right mind would name their child Judas because of what this one person did 2000 years ago.

In England there was an old tradition on an Ash Wednesday the beginning of lent of taking a Jack O Lantern figure dragging it out to the streets and then shooting it to pieces.  And that figure was called Judas.  In Spain and in Portugal, in Latin America there is in some places still the practice of taking a life like straw or wood figure.  Taking it to the streets, kicking it, spitting on it, cursing at it, etc. etc. and that is called on Good Friday punishing Judas.

So we're going to read about Judas Iscariot the man who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.  And we're going eavesdrop on a conversation that our Lord has with his most intimate friends in John Chapter 13.  Judas the man who betrayed Jesus, the betrayer of Christ what a horrible word that, betrayal.  Marriages are spilt apart because of betrayal.  Friendships are separate because of betrayal.  Nations have split and wars have begun because of betrayal.

Interesting this week I was in a grocery store getting a few items and as I was waiting to make the payment, my eyes went left and I glanced at those magazines, those very reliable magazines news magazines.  And I don't know the names of the magazines but what struck me is that on three different magazines the word betrayal appeared.  There were three totally different stories.  One was called "Lies and Betrayal."  The other one was called "Bachelor Betrayed."  And the other one was simply "Betrayal."  As we look at our paragraph beginning in John 13 at verse 18, there are three things I want you to notice with me about this paragraph.  Number one is the prediction that Jesus makes of the betrayal that is going to happen.  Jesus selects an Old Testament scripture of Psalms shows that it was fulfilled and what Judas was about to do, he predicts it, he knew all about it.

Number two I want you to notice the paradox of betrayal.  That as bad as it was, it would still be used to serve the disciples, those who didn't betray Jesus.  It was going to be used for something good.  Third and finally I want you to notice the proximity of the betrayer himself and where he was at the table.  Let's begin in verse 18; I do not speak concerning all of you.  I know whom I have chosen.  But that the scripture may be fulfilled, he who eats bread with me has lifted up his heel against me.

What interest us at first is that Jesus was not surprised that Judas was about to betray him, in fact Jesus pulls out a scripture that shows that it was predicted by something that happened in the old testament.  Now he is quoting Psalm 41.  And let me tell you about Psalm 41, David wrote that song.  And he wrote it about a man that he loved, a man that was his friend, a man that sat at his table and had his own bread but a man who betrayed David by the name of Ahithophel.  Ahithophel the trusted councilor of David, you remember the story how David had a son named Absalom who rebelled and tried to use usurp the kingdom.  But if there was one person David knew he could trust it was one of his closes associates named Ahithophel.  But Ahithophel was a traitor and by the way afterwards, went out and hang himself like Judas would.

That's a very interesting story and the idea of lifting up your heel is to kick a person while he is down.  If what Absalom would do to David wasn't bad enough, Ahithophel kicked David while he was down.  It's a violent kicking, it's like when your enemy is on the ground and you lift up your bow heel and just thrust it into his throat, into his neck, that's the idea of betrayal here.

Now why is this important?  Now why does John bring it up?  Here is why.  Jesus Christ knew everything that was going on around him at all times.  He was omniscient, right?  One of the things we discover in the gospel of John is he wants us to know that Jesus was in total control, nothing surprised him, he wasn't some helpless victim of a unsuspecting crime, he knew it all in advance.  He was omniscient.

And so think back a few chapters to John Chapter 5 when Jesus was interviewing a woman at the well of Samaria.  And she was giving him cute little answers and trying to be really smart and terse.  Finally Jesus just cut to the chase and said "Hey, go call your husband."  And she said "I don't have a husband."  And then Jesus went for the jugular, "You're right you've had five husbands in your lifetime and now you're living with a man outside the bonds of marriage with a man who is not your husband."  Boy, did she sober up quick?  She said "Sir I perceive your profit."  Yeah, duh, what gave it away?

In Luke Chapter 6, Jesus in the synagogue and there is people watching him because in that synagogue was a man with a withered hand.  And they wanted to see if Christ would heal that man.  And the Bible says "Jesus, listen to this, knowing their thoughts" said "Which is it better to do on the Sabbath day?  Heal life or to destroy it?  To do good or to do evil?

On another occasion Matthew Chapter 12, there was man who is demon possessed.  He was mute, he was deaf.  Jesus healed him, delivered him of the demon.  And as soon as that man was cured and Jesus delivered him, well some of the audience said "Well this man Jesus just cast demons out by the name of Beelzebub the prince of demons."  Once again we read this, but Jesus knowing their thoughts said on to them a house that is divided against itself cannot stand. 

So once again here he knew that Judas was going to betray him.  Can you imagine living like that?  Knowing every bad thing that's going to happen to you in the future or around you?  Knowing that child is going to get in that horrible traffic accident?  Knowing that that parent is going to come down with those diseases?  Knowing that Peter is going to deny you?  Knowing that Thomas is going to doubt you?  Knowing that Judas is going to betray you?  Can you imagine living that way?  Jesus knew it all.

And here is what I want you to see.  Just because Jesus knew what was coming that didn't soften the blow for him, look at verse 21.  When Jesus had said these things he was troubled in Spirit.  There is that word again, trouble, to be shaken agitated emotionally.  And he testified and he said "Most assuredly I would say to you, one of you will betray me.

Sometimes we so emphasize the deity of Jesus Christ that we neglect to think about his humanity.  We say, "Well you know he is God in a human body.  So he knew everything that was happening and somehow he was detached from all the bad stuff and sort of a he wasn't bothered by some of the things you and I are bothered with.  It's not true.  He lived in that awareness but he was deeply troubled and agitated.  As the writer of Hebrews put in Hebrews 4 he was in all points tempted like we are, yet without sin.  So that's what he knew.  What I also want you to notice is what Jesus did.  Look at one word in verse 18 the word chosen.  I do not speak concerning all of you for I know whom I have chosen.

Now that's a word of sovereign election.  He knew that not everybody in that group believed and Judas was that one.  I know whom I have chosen.  But -- and I don't want to get sidetracked on that because we talked about divine election on other occasions.  But Jesus certainly gave Judas lots of opportunities to believe and Jesus had chosen Judas to be in that elite group called Apostles.  Of all of the disciples he was one of the Apostles.

Listen carefully as I read a portion of Luke Chapter 6.  Jesus went out to a mountain to pray and he continued all night in prayer to God.  And when it was day he called his disciples to himself and from them he chose twelve whom he also named apostles.  Simon, who he named Peter and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who also became a traitor.

Question, if Jesus knew what Judas was going to do to him why did Jesus chose him as an apostle to begin with?

If Jesus spent all night in prayer to the father before choosing the twelve, why was Judas on the list?  Well there are two reasons; reason number 1 is what stated in the text to fulfill scripture.  Jesus lived in that total awareness of what is happening and he knew this was to fulfill scripture.  Here was the mechanism, this betrayer, this betrayal by which Jesus would go to the cross to pay for the sin of the world.

Number two reasons number two more on a human level.  To love anyone at all is to be vulnerable.  To love anyone at all is to take risks even if it means being hurt.  I had someone asked me one time, well Skip I really want to love someone but how can I know if I make a commitment in love to another person I want to make sure I don't get hurt, how can I be certain I don't get hurt?  My answer, good luck with that one, in fact I think that's impossible because as the old song says "Love Hurts."  And if you're going to commit yourself in a relationship to any other person, like let's say a marriage relationship there is going to be pain somewhere along that road.  That's why people say vows to each other.  They don't say "For better or for best, for richer or for riches, until we all live happily ever after on the white picket fence."

Now because to love and ideally anybody can love and ideal person.  The challenge is to love the real person.  And in that giving of love there is vulnerability and pain that you incur, I suppose Jesus could have been like Donald Trump and said "Judas you're fired."  And all the apostles said "Yeah, at least we're not." now celebrity apostle.  The truth is you will be betrayed, somebody will take advantage of you, here is the question, what do you do?  Answer, choose to love them anyway, chose to love them anyway.  I'm choosing Judas, I know he is going to betray me it fulfills the scripture.  Nobody knew that Judas was betraying Jesus until that night which means Jesus continually showed loved overtly, outwardly, publicly to Judas so that nobody caught on, amazing.

Let me tell you a true story about, the alcoholic wife of a Christian husband.  This wife had an affair with this mans best friend ten years prior.  He didn't find out about it for ten years when he found out about it he was angry, he as bitter, he felt betrayed by his wife and betrayed by his best friend.  And he thought my family is falling apart because of her.  The kids are distanced to her.  Everything that I've loved is broken apart because of this horrible situation.  He felt so angry and so betrayed.

I want you to listen to this man and what his reaction was the first time he met his best friend after knowing this information.  He said "I suddenly remembered the words father, forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors."  And so he said "With a sob in my soul, I reached out my hand and grabbed his, and for the first time in my life I knew what it was to forgive.  I felt a tremendous sense of release as the unbearable weight of bitterness was lifted from my heart.  This freedom enabled me to renew my love for my wife, and to overcome the barrier that had arisen between us.  When I said to her, 'I forgive you and I will accept you just as I did when I pledged to love and cherish you until death,' it was then that the healing process began its wonderful work."

Do you understand that that man had to make a choice that he didn't feel like making?  But he made that choice and that began a healing process in his life.  So here Jesus knowing all about Judas, showing it's been predicted even in the Old Testament choosing to love anyway, that's number one, the prediction of betrayal.

Second thing I like you to notice is the paradox of betrayal.  Look at verse 19, now I tell you before it comes that when it does come to pass you may believe, he's saying to his disciples around that table.  You may believe that I am he most assuredly I would say to you, he who receives whom ever I send receives me and he who receives me receives him who sent me.

Now these are amazing words.  These are Romans 8:28 kind of words.

There are such tremendous lessons in them.  There are three benefits Jesus would say to me telling you this in advance.  Reason number or benefit number one, is that it will produce a greater trust in Me, your Savior.  Notice that Jesus said, "When it does come to pass you may believe that I am He."  He didn't say, "Now I'm going to tell you who the betrayer is so that when you find out you can take him outside and beat the living daylights out of him."  Peter would have loved that.

Now, I'm going to tell you in advance so that when you understand and see this thing coming to pass before your very eyes, all of the claims that I have made about myself, all of these years I've been with you, you'll know they're true.  Basically, this is exactly what God and the Old Testament does.  God in the Old Testament challenges all of the false gods and goddesses the people who worshiping who were false gods.  And He basically says, "Okay, can you guys predict the future?  Because I can and people can know that I am real because of my ability to predict the future before it happens."

So listen to Isaiah Chapter 41.  God says to the false gods and goddesses, "Declare to us things that are to come, tell us what future holds, so that we may know that you are gods."  In other words, put your prophecy where your mouth is.  If you think your god and we're to believe in you, you tell us the future because that's what I can do.  And by the way, that's the purpose of prophecy.  Purpose of prophecy isn't to satisfy curious minds about the future so they can draw colorful charts as catalogical charts at the end of books.  But rather to drive us to trust God even more.

There's a second reason that sort of follows us up on the first one.  Not only will that produce the greater trust in the Savior, it produces a greater trust in the Scripture.  Jesus quotes Psalm 41, says He, "This has been predicted long before it happened.  This happened to David with Ahithophel.  And so it was Ahithophel who betrayed David so Judas will betray me Jesus." Now this is what happened to the Apostles.  After all the smoke cleared, after Jesus death and burial came His resurrection and then His ascension into Heaven and after all of that emotional smoke cleared, all of that confusion, you got to know that those Apostles went right back to their Old Testaments Scriptures and started studying them.

What else could be fulfilled, well, what else is written about?  And as you start listening to their sermons in the book of Acts in reading their letters in the New Testaments, that's exactly what they did.  They start realizing that so much of this was spoken of in advance and their love for the Scripture went sky high.  And that's one of the side benefits here.  Fulfilled prophecy transforms the way we look at the Scripture.  It showcases its reliability.

I think it's safe to say that everybody in this room right now realizes that we're in pretty unstable times in the world.  Right?  And if you've seen the news broadcast in the last month, even one of them, you realize that we've been in economic down turn in our country and around the world for sometime, number one.  And number two, there seems to be political freefall happening over in the Middle East, nation after nation after nation, can't even keep tract of it.  And there's an earthquake and a tsunami in Japan and experts are saying depending on what happens with those four reactors, it could become the worst catastrophe in our recorded history.  It has that potential.  So what do you do in unstable times like that?  What, what enables you and I to marshal through this times with confidence and a smile knowing where we're going?  It's this book, it's the Scriptures.  It's the words of God.  It drives us back to the scriptures.  It drives us back to the word of God and we see, "Hey this was talked about."  And we're seeing a fulfillment of it around us.

Parents, let me encourage you, if you're going to leave something to your children, leave them the confident lifestyle that comes from believing the book that God has given.  Leave them that.  Pass that on to them.  Well, I want to make sure they have a good education and a healthy bank account.  Okay, cool, that could be lost tomorrow.  But give them something that will outlast and that is a confidence in the word of God.

One of my favorite stories is about John Newton.  John Newton raised in a Christian home, his parents died when he was a child, six years of age, both parents died.  His parents, up until age six have been giving him Scriptures helping him memorize Scriptures.

Parents die at age six.  At age six, he goes to live with a relative.  Didn't get along with the relative, has a hard teenage life, as you can imagine the loss of both parents.  He decides to join the British Navy as a teenager.  So he's in the British navy, he's' really not good, he went AWOL, left the Navy joins the slave trade.  Now he's trafficking in human slave trade around the world making money out of them.  Long story short, after years of working with slaves, he's coming home to England on a boat, the boat encounters a storm, he thinks he's going to die, as he's going under all of those Scriptures that his parents taught him as a young child come flashing into his mind.  He hadn't thought about them for years.

Not only do those Scriptures come to mind but he understood what they meant for the first time and he cries out to God.  God spares his life, he gets home to England, gives his life to Christ and John Newton gave us one of the most amazing songs, Amazing Grace.  How the sound that saved a wretch like me.  What his parents planted in that young man's heart blossomed later on.  Greater trust in the Savior, it'll give you a greater trust in the Scripture.

And number three, the paradox of this betrayal.  The side benefit, the third one, a greater trust in their service.  Look at Verse 20. "Most assuredly I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me."  What on Earth is that statement doing there?  That -- that's what I said when I first read it this week, I thought, "That didn't seem to fit here.  This is sort of disconnected."  It doesn't seem to fit what has gone on before and what comes afterwards.  I mean He just -- He just predicted who's going to betray Him and then it says, "Now, whoever I send" -- excuse me, what's going on here?  Now follow this.  Jesus has been announcing His death, that didn't settle well with the disciples.  Now, he announces His betrayal among that group that cast a discouragement upon the group, a wet blanket of emotional discouragement.  And they're probably thinking, "Oh man, there's a betrayer in our group, well this whole thing that is going down?"  I mean, maybe there's no future, there's no hope at all, I mean, there's no chance at all for any kind of service beyond this.  We're going down.  And if one man, if one person among us can betray Jesus, maybe all of us could do that.  Maybe it's all over.

And what Jesus is saying to them is, "Oh no, this doesn't change things one bit, in fact I'm going to send you out, so that anybody who receives you it says, if they have received me personally and my Father personally."  Your position is so important.  Jesus lifts them up, right, before their eyes.  And says, your position, your importance to my plan is so valued, that the people receive you it says, if they receive God Himself.

The betrayal of one person should not diminish our responsibility or our calling.  You see that sort of what happened to till we go, "Oh there's so many hypocrites in the church."  I've heard that for so long.  Yeah, I went to church 40 years ago and one Sunday I met a hypocrite.  That's all I needed, I've never back since.  Are you nuts?  Yeah, I agree, one hypocrite is one to many.  But rather than seeing a hypocrite or somebody who have betrayed Jesus rather than running away, what it should cause you to do is run toward Him.  To sort of dig your heels in and then go, "Man I want to serve the Lord with even greater trust than ever before."

Let me tell you little personal story.  When I was going to college for radiology, I had a friend who went to seminary.  He shows up with my house one day, my apartment.  Knocks on the door, opens his trunk, pulls out a bunch of books that he have gotten in seminary and decides he's going to give them to me.  Oh, I was in -- I was stoked.  I wanted all the books that he had to offer but I said, "Now, why are you giving them to me, is that that you're done with them?"  He goes, "I don't believe anymore."  What do you mean you don't believe anymore?  He had gone to this liberal seminary that told them why he shouldn't believe all the books he was reading.  And why he shouldn't believe the Bible, and why he shouldn't believe Christ and he emerged from that liberal institution not knowing what he believed and so confused, he just said, "I don't believe anymore you can have all these stuff."

When he left, I bowed my head and I said, "Lord, I want to stay closer to Jesus and serve Him more and tell more people, because I don't want to end up like that."

And so what Jesus is telling them after He says there's a betrayer here and the Scripture even predicts it.  Before they can go, Oh! man, He just lifts them up and says, "Ah, but in the midst of a betrayer there are ambassadors that I will send out." And He acknowledges the importance of that position.

Now let me close with one final piece of this.  We've seen that prediction of betrayal, the paradox of betrayal.  I want to close with this, the proximity of the betrayer.  Now, watch this, Verse 21, "When Jesus had said these things, He was troubled in spirit and testified and said most assuredly I say to you, one of you will betray me, one of you."  According to Matthew when they heard that, they started asking, "Is it I?  Is it I?  Lord is it I?" Even Judas said, "Is it I?"  Hypocrite!  And the disciples looked to one another perplexed about whom He spoke?  Now, there was leaning on Jesus bosom.  One of His disciples whom Jesus loved, who's that?  That's John, he's the author of the book.  And the guy that Jesus loved.  Not saying Jesus didn't love anybody else, He just wrote that Jesus loved him.

Simon Peter therefore motioned to Him, to ask who it was, of whom He spoke.  Sounds just like Peter.  "Find out who it is."  Then leaning back on Jesus breast, he said to Him, "Lord who is it?"  Jesus answered, "It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I've dipped it."  And having dipped the bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.  Now, after the piece of bread, Satan entered him.  Jesus said to him, "What you do, do quickly."  But no one at the table knew for what reason He said this to him, nobody's suspected Judas.  For some thought that because Judas had the money box that Jesus has said to him, "Buy those things we need for the feast."  Or that he should give something to the poor.  Having received the piece of bread he then went out immediately and it was night.

Now to understand this, remember what I told you last week and maybe a couple of weeks before that, that rather than thinking of the last supper like Leonardo da Vinci painted it with Jesus standing or sitting there on a chair and all the disciples sitting next to him on His chairs, that they reclined when they ate.  They laid on the left on a pillow or on a couch of some kind.  So, they were leaning on the left arm, their head would be leading toward the left, their right hand would be free to eat.  And they were all around a U-shape table known as the triclinium, the triclinium.  The host, Jesus, would have been right in the middle of that U at the bottom or the top depending on how you want to look at it, He'd be right there in the middle.  On His right hand side was John.  Now whoever sat at the right hand and the left hand of a host at the Passover were the guest of honor.  And John, his mother a couple of days before that said, "Jesus, I want to make sure my two boys sit one at your hand and one at your left hand in the Kingdom."  They might not get that wish but at least John is sitting at the right hand of the Last Supper.  And so, John is leaning on his left toward Jesus and if you're at one under the table looking down, it would appear as if John's head was leaning against Jesus breast.  That's why when John wanted to talk to Jesus all he had to do is do this and he was right at His heart, right at his face, real close.  They were leaning toward each other.

So, here's Jesus on His right hand is John, next to John is Peter because Peter was first to John's find who it is or that would have been a sin, we find out what Peter did when Jesus was arrested in the garden of Gethsemane and he cut off the guys ear, he'd have been all over Judas to that night.  He'd jumped over the table and been all over him like white on rice.  And Peter wants to find out who it is.  John says, "Lord who is it?"  Jesus says, "The one that I dipped the morsel and give it to."  Who would that be?

Verse 26, "It is he to whom I give a piece of bread when I have dipped it."  And he dipped the bread and gave it to Judas Iscariot the son of Simon.  What that means is that Simon or is that Judas was sitting was sitting at the left hand of Jesus.  If John was leaning in toward Jesus breast, Jesus was leaning his head in toward Judas's breast.  Now, those two places of honor have to be given by the host.  So I presume before the dinner began, Jesus walks up to John and says, "Johnny, I want you to sit in my right hand tonight. 

I know your mom wants you to have that in the Kingdom but tonight you're going to sit next to me in the Last Supper.  And He walked over to Judas, Judas, he knew all about Judas he knew all about the betrayal.  "Judas I want you in this place of honor at my left hand right next to me."

So, that Jesus Christ was leaning in toward Judas's heart which is where He wanted to be.  It was Jesus' way of reaching out to Judas all the way until the end, giving him His love, His mercy, His forgiveness.  Friend I want you next to me tonight.  And he would have as a -- as a token of honor, given him the morsel.  And Judas would have taken it and then passed it down the line.

If you were to describe where you are with God right now, would you say that you're like John leaning towards Jesus?  Or you're like Judas leaning away from Jesus?  Where are you at?  Notice how it ends in this paragraph, having received the piece of bread, he then went out and out immediately and it was night.  I don't think John just threw that, and it was night and because he wants you to know that the sun had set and if you're going outside tonight bring a torch with you.  Knowing the way John writes, he uses the metaphor of light and darkness a lot, right?

Chapter 1, "In Him was life and the life was the light of men and the light shines in the darkness and the darkness comprehended it not."  And he uses this, he's the only who points out that Jesus said I'm the light of the world.  So, for John to say and it was night, I think what John wants you to know is that darkness had settled on Judas's soul and that any movement away from Christ to stepping in the darkness,  Satan had entered him, he left the room and it was night.  Question as we close, is darkness creeping over your heart, over your soul, is it night in your soul?  If so, let me just say that, Jesus like with Judas is still reaching out and will ever reached out until the very bitter end.

I close with a story I read this week, comes from the revolutionary war.  There was preacher, during the revolutionary war named Peter Miller, very effective Godly man.  Well, he had an enemy.  He have several but there was one that stood out, he was unbelieving man who hated Peter Miller's preaching, hated his testimony.  And this unbeliever was eventually arrested and charged with treason and sentenced to hang.  When Peter Miller found out about this, he walked 60 mile, 6-0 miles to appeal that man's case before the President, President George Washington.  Washington looked over the appeal and he says, "I'm sorry, based on the evidence for treason, I cannot release your friend."  Peter Miller said, "My friend?  He's my worst living enemy."  Washington put his pen down looked up and said, "You mean to tell me you walked 60 miles for the release not of your friend but of your enemy?"  The reverend said that's right.  Washington said, well, that puts it in whole different light, I'll grant your request, I'll release him into your recognizance.

Miller went to the place where the execution was about to take place, got there just in time they were putting the man upon the scaffolding.  The news was set.  And when that unbelieving man saw that preacher out on the crowd, he said, "Ah! Old Peter Miller comes to take revenge and watch his enemy die."  Not knowing that in his hand was a signed pardon for his released.  And he walked up on that scaffold and gave it to him.

Whatever you think of Jesus Christ, all He wants is just sort of mess my life up and ruin everything, I'm all about, my fun.  Know that in His hand is your pardon.  And it could change your life, that you got to receive it.  And I don't know if you're leaning toward Him today, if you're leaning away from Him.  But if you're leaning away from Him, He still seeks to draw you in to His heart and get inside your heart.  Let's pray for that.

Father in Heaven, as we close our service we think of what could this personally mean to some here who aren't walking with Christ.  Who have heard the name and have even decided to be among the company of those who believed and loved that name.

But they themselves have not personally trusted in Jesus.  And so, Lord I pray, that as You reach out Your pardon to them this morning, wanting them to be brought to that place of honor, You're guest of honor.  I pray that some would receive Jesus.  Some would come back to Christ that they have been moving away from Him, they would come back to Him.  Some perhaps have just played the part. They played the religious part, singing the songs, owning a Bible, coming to the place of worship.  It is just not real in their daily life.  Would You do Your work of drawing that man, that woman, that boy, that girl, that young one, that middle age one, that older one to You, to Your side to Your heart.  I know that You stand at the door of our hearts and You knock and I pray that someone open the door, in Jesus name, Amen.

Additional Messages in this Series

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10/25/2009
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Believe:879
John 20:30-31
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Is your faith in need of bolstering? Do you find yourself saying "Help my unbelief?" The book of John presents a unique, up close and personal look at the life of Christ, focusing on Jesus as God Incarnate. As we dive into a thorough study of each of John's 879 verses, we'll walk with disciples who were eyewitnesses of His ministry, His death, and His resurrection, and we'll experience abundant life in His name.
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11/1/2009
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The World's Most Important Word
John 1:1-5
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It may be difficult to say what the most important word is in any language, but not for the Apostle John. He begins his gospel with the identification of Jesus as, "The Word." Starting with the very beginning of beginnings, John shows us the fundamental truths about the Jesus that he writes about in the rest of this book. The language is simple and unmistakable and yet the truths presented are deep and extremely profound. Let's see how John presents Jesus and Who Jesus is according to one who was closest to Him.
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11/15/2009
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Step Into Son-Light
John 1:6-13
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I love early mornings when sunlight first comes up over the eastern sky. But if you’ve ever had the experience of the sun suddenly shining into your eyes (like when you turn westward while the sun is going down), it's not so pleasant. Most people wince when light is shined in their eyes. Jesus is presented here as being "the light of men" and "shining in darkness". But the world cries out, "Turn off that light!" How can Jesus enlighten your life and how will you respond to Him?
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11/22/2009
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One of a Kind!
John 1:14-18
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It is a mistake to think of Jesus as "one among many" options in the pantheon of deities. He is unique, matchless, unrivaled, singular, and incomparable. From His birth to His Resurrection, there is no one who even comes close to the majestic Christ. Jesus was One-Of-A-Kind! Let’s consider four distinct ways that Jesus was unique and what these mean to us today.
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12/6/2009
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The Greatest Man Meets the Greatest Lamb
John 1:19-34
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Everyone is good at something, maybe even great at something. Maybe you're a great artist or a great mom or even a great leader. Jesus said that John the Baptizer was the greatest man who had ever lived (Matt. 11:11). But John knew Jesus to be the greatest One ever—past, present and future - the Sacrificial Lamb sent to remove sin. Today we discover from John the Baptist how to witness for Christ and we look at the identity and the activity of this most unusual man.
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12/13/2009
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Are You a Follower-Really?
John 1:35-42
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You can't make it through much of the Bible without coming to the word Disciple. Just the four Gospels alone use this term 228 times. Basically a disciple is the follower of a teacher: one who observes, learns, and practices what the teacher shares. We now come to the first time John uses this term in his book. So today we assess ourselves by asking, "Are YOU a follower?" Lets look at five characteristics of the first disciples of Jesus and see if they’re reflected in our lives.
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1/3/2010
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Finding the God Who Found You
John 1:43-51
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When the first disciples encountered Jesus, they chose to follow Him--only to discover that they had already been chosen by Him! Without getting drowned in that theological tide pool, let's consider and marvel at how both of these realities work together. The Bible teaches that God sovereignly elects people for salvation while at the same time teaches our responsibility to believe in Christ. Let’s see how both Philip and Nathanael encountered Jesus for the first time.
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1/10/2010
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The Wedding Guest
John 2:1-12
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How cool (and also potentially scary) would it be to have Jesus as a guest at your own wedding! The unnamed couple at the village wedding of Cana had that privilege. Jesus was the wedding guest who brought the best gift. His first miraculous sign was performed while celebrating that marriage. But far more than just attending a nuptial party, Jesus demonstrated who He was in relation to four entities: His mother, the moment, a miracle, and His men.
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1/17/2010
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Trouble in the Temple
John 2:13-22
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A hymn by Charles Wesley begins, "Gentle Jesus, meek and mild, look upon a little child..." It’s a beautiful song with a beautiful thought. However, Jesus is anything but gentle and mild in John chapter two. Here in the temple at Jerusalem, He displays His righteous anger as He overturns tables and beats the religious businesspeople with whips! But Jesus was using this trouble in the temple to predict a greater sign—the triumph of His own physical temple—His bodily resurrection!
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1/24/2010
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Uncommitted!
John 2:23-25
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These three verses are some of the most unusual in the New Testament. They describe a scene in the life of Jesus that explains His popularity and fame. The response of people to the miracles of Jesus is understandable. What is not readily understandable is Jesus' response to the interested and excited crowd. Though they believed in Him, He was not too energized over their kind of faith. Understanding this will help us to understand Jesus and His mission.
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1/31/2010
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Nick at Nite!
John 3:1-8
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The meeting of Jesus and Nicodemus at night is one of the most famous and compelling stories in Scripture. This man's inner curiosity and spiritual thirst drove him to want to know more. What he heard puzzled and astonished him, but he heard from Jesus' own lips the only way to be saved. Jesus' words here divide all of humanity into two groups: those who are born again and those who are not.
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2/7/2010
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Extreme Makeover: Soul Edition!
John 3:9-21
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For years ABC has aired two different versions of a show called Extreme Makeover. One is a total body makeover designed to enhance the physical beauty of a selected individual. The other is a Home Edition that rebuilds or adds to a struggling family's residence. But only Jesus can give the soul a makeover; only Jesus can ready a person for eternity. Here Jesus answers Nicodemus' question of how a person can have the New Life that comes from the New Birth.
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2/14/2010
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God's Valentine
John 3:16
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Today we take a look at the Bible's most famous verse and probe its depth while preparing to take the Lord's Supper together. Though most everyone knows this verse, John 3:16 is much more than just a slogan; it is a summary statement of God's love through Jesus Christ. This single verse of scripture gives us the salient truths of God's plan of salvation in abridged form. Let's consider God's great plan for us as we unpack it phrase by phrase.
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2/21/2010
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To Grow Up, You Must Grow Down!
John 3:22-30
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"They that know God will be humble, and they that know themselves cannot be proud!" That's what British Puritan John Flavel once said. And that’s how John the Baptist once lived! John the Baptist and his followers provide some great applicational fodder for how Christians should get along and humble themselves before one another and God. For any Christian believer who wants to spiritually grow up and grow strong, he must first grow down.
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2/28/2010
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The Nail Everything Hangs On
John 3:31-36
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Imagine if everything you valued was in a sack, hanging on the wall from one nail. It surely must be a strong nail, or you're lost! If life could all be boiled down to one thing or one word or one most important principle, what would it be? What is the irreducible minimum for everything and everyone? John answers that here, saying that Jesus Christ is the nail that everything hangs on. He determined what has been and what will be. Thus our knowledge of Him and relationship to Him is paramount above everything else.
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3/7/2010
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Refreshment!
John 4:1-14
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You know the feeling of swallowing ice-cold water on a hot day or after a savory meal—it's refreshing! That cool, invigorating sip revitalizes you from the inside out and makes you say, "Ahh!" Well, that experience is not limited to the physical realm, but is even more satisfying in the spiritual realm when dealing with Living Water. Jesus came to give thirst-quenching spiritual life to every parched soul on the planet. When was the last time you drank deeply?
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3/14/2010
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How to Lead People to Water
John 4:10-30
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The world is thirsty and doesn't even know it, or won't admit it, or will look to be satisfied by everything else but Jesus Christ. So your job and mine is to lead them to water (living water, that is). Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman illustrates perhaps the best approach for personal evangelism to be found anywhere. Leading someone to the place of spiritual satisfaction is a process that rests upon two pillars—the pillar of attitude and the pillar of approach:
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3/21/2010
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What God Really Wants
John 4:20-24
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Worship conferences, worship seminars and worship experiences abound within the landscape of the American church, but in all these there's something that seems to be always lacking—worship is confined to the activity of singing songs. When the subject is brought up in this chapter, Jesus talks plainly and openly about true worship: what it is and what it isn't. Let's explore these few verses to discover what God is seeking after and how to be part of fulfilling that.
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3/28/2010
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Spiritual Farming 101
John 4:28-42
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Farmers live for the harvest season--a time when their crops are taken in and profits are made. But crops don’t grow on their own. Seeds must be sown and plants must be garnered by a whole group of active farm workers. God is the head Farmer and we are His farmhands, all working together to produce a bumper-crop of people who believe that Jesus is the Savior--Are you in?
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4/18/2010
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Everyone Needs a Faith-Lift!
John 4:43-54
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Like any muscle in our physical body, our faith too must be exercised in order for it to develop. Faith is developed in virtually every circumstance in life, but especially in hard times. Peter put it best, "These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold--and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold" (1 Peter 1:7). Let's look at a real-life story of one who came to Jesus in his trial and had his faith lifted to a higher dimension.
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4/25/2010
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Healing Misery with Mercy
John 5:1-16
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One of Jesus' most distinguishing characteristics in His earthly ministry was His mercy toward people who were hurting. This is not astonishing, for the prophet Micah announced that "God delights in mercy" (Micah 7:18). Jesus standing among the squalid misery of sickness and hopelessness while at a feast in Jerusalem is a perfect setting to show how Christians can show mercy to a world in misery. But be warned: not everyone will be sympathetic to your cause!
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5/23/2010
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Like Father, Like Son
John 5:16-24
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The most important question you could ever ask is not, "Who am I?" but rather, "Who is Christ?" That was the supreme question Jesus presented to His disciples when He said, "Who do you say that I am?" (Matthew 16:15). Jesus made the most astonishing claim ever when He confronted the Jewish leaders of Jerusalem here in John 5. What do these claims have to do with us today? Absolutely everything!
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5/30/2010
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Everyone Lives Forever
John 5:25-29
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My mom used to wake me up early every morning with her sweet voice saying, "Rise and Shine!" It took a few times but I eventually got up out of bed. As Jesus declares that He will be in charge of the future judgment, He too will usher the call to everyone who has died to "Rise up!" But not everyone will rise up to shine; some will rise up to suffer. Let’s consider three inevitable and unalterable truths about the future for all of us: We will all die, we will all be judged, and we will all rise again to live forever... but where?
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6/6/2010
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Why Should You Believe?
John 5:30-47
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The theme of John's gospel is "believe." The whole reason he wrote this book is so that people who read it will believe in Jesus (see John 20:31). But why should they believe? And even more applicable, why should we believe? After all, the events of the New Testament are over 2,000 years removed from us today. Jesus' confrontation with the religious leaders in John 5 tells us why we should believe. Like a skilled lawyer, Jesus calls upon four witnesses to testify to His claims and these four give the reasons for our believing in Jesus Christ.
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6/13/2010
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Lessons From a Picnic
John 6:1-14
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This story ranks in the "top ten" of the most famous miracles of Jesus Christ. In fact this is the most famous of all His miracles as it alone is recorded by all four gospel accounts. But this is far more than a Sunday school tale. This extraordinary picnic was not just a free meal for five thousand folks; it provided lessons for both ancient and modern disciples. Here are four profound truths that emerge from this lakeside lunch.
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6/20/2010
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What Storm Goers Need to Know
John 6:15-21
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Have you ever been on the ocean in a raging storm? If so, you know that a well-trained crew follows an immediate protocol until the storm is over. Their knowledge and experience about violent weather are invaluable for those who want to survive. Using the story of Jesus walking on the waves to His disciples, let’s discover a few things about the stormy trials of life.
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7/4/2010
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The Right Thing, The Wrong Way
John 6:22-29
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Our text reads that crowds of people came "seeking Jesus." That sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? And yet Jesus challenges them as to their motive because they were seeking Him (the right thing) in order to satisfy themselves only (the wrong motive). Let’s consider three monumental truths about how people interact with spiritual things in general and Jesus Christ in particular. Let’s also reconsider the starting point for anyone who wants anything to do with Christ.
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7/11/2010
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Wonder Bread!
John 6:30-50
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The Hostess Company has for years advertised that its Wonder bread "helps build strong bodies 12 ways" and that just two slices has the calcium of eight ounces of milk and the fiber of 100% whole wheat. Wow! The crowd that Jesus was speaking to would have loved that! But our Lord presents something to them far greater than what they were wanting. He knew what they needed.
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7/18/2010
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Plain Truths About the Bread of Life
John 6:51-71
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Mark Twain once remarked that "A lie can travel halfway around the world while truth is still lacing up its boots!" This section of John's Gospel has generated much confusion and misunderstanding. Even Jesus' original audience had trouble understanding His meaning, and when they did, they found the truth was difficult to bear. These "hard truths," however, are "the words of eternal life" (v. 68). Let's look at these four realities today.
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8/1/2010
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Seeing Jesus Through the Fog
John 7:1-13
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There was always a fog surrounding Jesus! It was a fog of uncertainty, of unbelief, and of conflicting opinion. He was misunderstood about both His mission and His message. His friends, His family, and His foes were often bewildered about who He was and what He was doing. That remains true even today. But in this passage our view becomes clearer. Jesus had clearly defined objectives that He reveals here and they are extremely practical for us today.
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8/8/2010
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Follow Jesus But Don't Be Religious
John 7:14-24
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Jesus clashed with religious leaders more than any other group of people. He went against their spiritual grain and challenged their legalistic ideas. Christ made it clear that He hadn’t come to establish a new religion but rather to show the way to God His Father. He didn’t give people another “system of beliefs and practices”; instead He said that He Himself was the way, truth, and life. In this public confrontation, we learn how to follow Christ in truth and not be religious.
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8/15/2010
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Standing by a Waterfall (Dying of Thirst)
John 7:25-53
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All the diverse and assorted experiences offered by this world can never satisfy the deepest longing of the human soul. What we really want isn't what we really need. The rest of John chapter 7 illustrates this truth. In the midst of a crowd of people clamoring for deep spiritual satisfaction stands the only One who can provide it. He offers them the drink that really satisfies and all but a few refuse it, preferring rather to die of thirst. How painfully ironic!
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8/22/2010
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Scribbling on the Ground
John 8:1-11
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Can you imagine what a surviving copy of Jesus' autograph would be worth today? Or what about a letter to His disciples? The fact is, there is no existing document or copy of anything Jesus ever wrote. We only have this story of Him scribbling something in transient dust on the Temple stones. Though John doesn't tell what Jesus wrote that day, his account does reveal a lot about Jesus Himself and how He interacted with three different kinds of folks.
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8/29/2010
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Blinded by the Light
John 8:12-20
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When the sun shines right in your eyes, your immediate inclination is to squint, turn away, or put sunglasses on. Light can be blinding! Though light penetrates our world, providing illumination and energy for our very existence, big doses of it can be difficult to handle. That's true spiritually as well. Jesus, by His teaching and work, illuminated this world darkened by sin. Some rejoiced in that light, able to see where they were going. But others, who'd been so accustomed to spiritual darkness, could only wince when Jesus was around.
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9/5/2010
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The Worst Way & Best Way to Die
John 8:21-30
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One person put it this way, "Death is the big flaw. Sometimes we can postpone it, lessen its physical pains, deny its existence—but we can't escape it!" Since that is universally true, why don't people take death seriously enough to plan for it? While we are alive in this world, everyone should be thinking more about the next. But what's the best (and worst) way to die?
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9/19/2010
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The Best Way & Worst Way to Live
John 8:31-36
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Everyone has an opinion on what "The Good Life" is. For some, it's financial independence. For others, it’s autonomy from government control. For still others, it’s the ability to do whatever you want whenever you feel like it. Jesus offers a different kind of freedom and a better brand of life. Here Jesus tells us what the best way to live really is: It’s the freedom to be a genuine disciple. And He tells us what the worst way to live really is: It’s the slavery of a sinful lifestyle. Today consider how free you really are and what areas of life you may still be in bondage to.
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9/26/2010
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The Devil's DNA
John 8:37-47
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Your body has 100 trillion cells. Inside each one is a nucleus and in each nucleus are DNA molecules. DNA is like an instruction manual for life with densely coded information telling each cell what to do. A simple paternity test would prove that my father was really my father. Here Jesus gives His audience a spiritual paternity test that reveals their spiritual father to be the devil himself. No matter what your physical ancestry, you can always tell one's spiritual heritage.
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10/3/2010
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Who IS This Guy?
John 8:48-59
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Jesus had friends and He had enemies. But besides those, He also had some "frenemies" (enemies who pretended to be friends). To this crowd who at first pretended to believe (v. 31) Jesus is both confrontational and controversial. This paragraph highlights three possible identities of Jesus: two of them were his enemies' accusations and one was Jesus' own claim.
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10/10/2010
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Life Hurts! Where's God?
John 9:1-12
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"Why is there so much pain in the world?" is the most frequently asked question ever! We hate it when we, or those we love, are in pain. Today we see Jesus confront a hurting world. As we do, consider these words by Elizabeth Elliot (whose husband was murdered): "If God is in charge and loves us, then whatever is given is subject to His control and is meant ultimately for our joy."
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10/17/2010
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The Truth About Your Neighbors
John 9:13-34
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Those of us who are Christians live in a sea of unbelievers who work with us, live next to us, shop where we shop, and send their kids to the same schools. Some have a mild case of unbelief disguised by religious practices. Others are more demonstrable in their agnosticism or atheism. Let's watch a local Jerusalem neighborhood struggle against faith in spite of clear evidence.
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10/24/2010
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Got Any Blind Spots?
John 9:35-41
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When you drive, you encounter "blind spots"—it could be part of your own car or it could be a tree that hides traffic on the other side. Those blind spots hinder both progress and ultimately, safety. When Jesus healed a blind man in Jerusalem, the same man was also healed of his spiritual blindness. But others who thought their spiritual perception was keen were as blind as a bat! As we consider this story, can you think of any blind spots in your spiritual journey?
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10/31/2010
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The Good Shepherd (and a bunch of happy sheep!)
John 10:1-10
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This is one of the most beloved passages to be found anywhere in Scripture. But it's not a stand-alone passage: The healing of the blind man in chapter 9 was more than a miracle. It was part of the process of Jesus forming His flock. The leadership had cast the healed man out of the synagogue. Jesus found him, accepted him, saved him, and placed him in His own fold.
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11/21/2010
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What's So Great About the Good Shepherd?
John 10:11-21
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"What's so great about being a Christian?" some people ask. The answer lies in the kind of care, provision, and protection we get from Jesus Christ, our Shepherd. Have you ever stopped to make a list of the benefits that are yours as a follower of Christ? Consider this short list of advantages that you, as a child of God, have. When was the last time you thanked Him for being your Shepherd? This would be a great week to do that!
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12/5/2010
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To BElieve or Not to BElieve...
John 10:22-42
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"In all unbelief there are two things: a good opinion of one's self and a bad opinion about God."— Horatius Bonar. It's true, isn't it? Humanism is man-centered and rejects God's existence or His relevance. But Jesus appealed to two things: the plain evidence of His supernatural works and the testimony of those who witnessed them. Jesus here asserts His deity, and the reaction is predictable—some believed while others did not believe. Which camp do you fall into?
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1/9/2011
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The Great Physician's Patient Dies
John 11:1-16
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When a doctor loses a patient on the operating table, there is a deep sense of remorse and sadness in the surgical theater. Doctors are trained to save lives but sometimes even the best trained physicians are unable to control complications that lead to death. But here we discover that Christ, the Great Physician, not only knows that His patient is sick--He allows him to die! Here are three principles about Divine Medicine that we can all learn.
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1/16/2011
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A Tale of Two Sisters
John 11:17-32
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In 1859 Charles Dickens wrote his famous work, A Tale of Two Cities, set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution. The story before us is set in Bethany near Jerusalem and highlights the personal relationship that two sisters had with Jesus Christ. Their broken hearts provide an excellent platform to consider how Christ deals with people in grief and loss. Let's actively probe not only their responses but ours to the incredible promise Jesus makes.
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1/23/2011
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The Strangest Funeral Ever
John 11:33-44
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According to one source, there are approximately 2 million funerals in America per year, which means that about 5,479 funerals take place every single day! Most of those funerals are pretty typical: a formal service followed by an interment. But the funeral service we're looking at was really different--and not just because of a resurrection. Here Jesus does three things that are pretty normal for most people at a funeral, but strikingly odd for Jesus.
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1/30/2011
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What to Do with Jesus?
John 11:45-57
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Any lawyer can tell you that whenever the star witness is a resurrected corpse, you have a pretty good case! But Lazarus being alive from the dead doesn’t seem to persuade everyone. And so the big issue becomes what shall we do with Jesus? The decisions made here set the clock in motion for an impending hate crime—the crucifixion of Christ. But from heaven’s vantage point, this is all part of God’s plan for redemption. Let’s see the responses and how we can make a difference.
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2/6/2011
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A Meal to Reveal the Heart
John 12:1-11
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If you were to step into the home of Simon at Bethany (Mark 14:3) on that night, you would've seen Jesus and His disciples along with Lazarus and His two sisters reclining at a low table for a meal in honor of Christ. But if you were to step into the hearts of those people, you would discover they were all very different from each other. Those inside the house and outside represent the gamut of feelings about Jesus—from adoring love to intense hatred. What a complicated meal!
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2/13/2011
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A Day, a Donkey, a Deliverer, and a Decision
John 12:12-19
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2000 years ago, on the final Sunday of Jesus’ earthly life before His crucifixion, He did the most unusual thing—He sat on a donkey and was carried into the city of Jerusalem in parade fashion. This formal presentation of Him as Deliverer was both profound and predicted. What’s the significance of such an act as this? What overarching principles emerge for us today? We’ll dig in and discover them, but today you’ve got to write them down yourself:
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2/20/2011
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Living the Right Life
John 12:20-26
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If this sermon was a book and I wanted to sell lots of copies, the title would cause it to fail. Now if it were entitled "Living the High Life" or "Living the Successful Life," then I may have a winner. But many have lived with both success and riches who didn't live right! So what is the right life? Or to frame it with a better question: What kind of life is most pleasing to God? Through a series of paradoxes, John gives us the answer—it wasn't the answer most people are looking for!
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2/27/2011
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Cross-Culture
John 12:27-36
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The term cross-culture emerges from the social sciences and typically refers to interaction of one culture or language with another. But that's not how I'm using it today. I'm thinking of it in the biblical sense, the salvation sense. Jesus' whole life was immersed in the culture of the cross and He referred to His impending death on the cross as "His hour." Let's consider today the culture of the cross of Christ: what it meant to Jesus personally and the world ultimately.
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3/6/2011
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Believe It or Not!
John 12:37-50
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Most of you reading this are believers. Some are not. Both are dangerous positions to take but for different reasons—vastly different reasons! This paragraph in John's Gospel is the summary of all that has been written, from chapters 1 through 13. It reviews the two different responses people have to Jesus and then gives us Jesus' own synopsis on faith and unbelief. Today you will be able to understand the real differences and consequences of faith and unbelief.
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3/13/2011
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A Night Unforgettable
John 13:1-5
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Some days are frozen in time because of the magnitude of an event. You will always remember September 11, 2001 and where you were when the towers fell. The night America bombed Baghdad or the night John Lennon was murdered may be permanent memories captured in your mind. This was the final night Jesus spent with His own disciples and it would be unforgettable. Let’s discover how what seem like ordinary moments can be extraordinary appointments.
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3/20/2011
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Basin Theology 101
John 13:6-17
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At the final Passover meal that Jesus shared with His closest friends, He gave new meaning to the bread and wine, using them to point to His upcoming sacrificial death on the cross. Today we share Communion as a church family and reflect on that meal, as well as the lessons Jesus was teaching His first followers. After dinner Jesus took a basin of water and began to wash the feet of his students and taught them life principles about stooping, cleansing and serving.
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4/10/2011
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A Brand New Way of Life!
John 13:31-35
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To follow Jesus is to have a brand new way of life. When these twelve men sitting around the dinner table started hanging around Jesus, they had no idea just how new and different their lives would become. At this final meal on that last night, they were still learning just how new their lives should be. (Jesus can still teach old dogs new tricks!) As present-day followers of Christ, let’s consider three aspects of life that become new once we become His disciples.
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4/17/2011
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F.A.Q.
John 13:36-38
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An old Persian Proverb reads, "It's harder to ask a sensible question than to supply a sensible answer." Many times our questions to God are reactive—based on a sort of knee-jerk reaction to painful circumstances. Peter asked Jesus two questions of this sort. But whenever we ask God questions we must hang around to get the supplied answers. The questions Peter asked are similar to ones we frequently ask. Let's consider and apply Jesus' outstanding answer
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5/1/2011
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A Theology for Messy Lives
John 14:1-6
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Life can be pretty messy sometimes: plans fail, people leave, money diminishes, and taxes rise. There are plenty of reasons to be troubled these days but there are better reasons not to be! Life was about to get real messy for those disciples around that Jerusalem dinner table. At times like that, there are some basic instructions we need to fall back on so our hearts inside us won't be swallowed up by the mess around us.
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5/8/2011
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How Can I Know God?
John 14:7-11
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What a thought—that a mere human can know God! The agnostic asserts this is impossible. The atheist insists that the very idea is an arrogant and purely metaphysical pursuit. But one of the reasons Jesus came was to reveal God's character and nature clearly and perfectly! Let's consider two roadblocks to knowing God and four resources that help us know Him better.
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5/29/2011
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Privileges of God's Employees
John 14:12-14
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Most companies have benefits for employees: things like overtime pay, health insurance, and sick pay. In 2 Corinthians 6:1, Paul calls us "workers together with Him" (NLT renders it "God's partners"). We have been called to a high and lofty task—to be His representatives here on earth. You might say we're part of the "family business." So what has God called us to do? And how has He provided for us in terms of resources? In short, what are the benefits of being God's employees?
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6/5/2011
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Four Part Harmony
John 14:15-18
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Some of the best moments on American Idol aren't the solo performances, but when all the singers join together and blend their voices in harmony. There's nothing sweeter than well-trained voices blended together in first, thirds, and fifths. Spiritual harmony is much the same—when believers blend with the triune Godhead there is an alignment that results in a deep sense of fulfillment. And what is the note we are to sing in this spiritual song? It is the note of loving obedience!
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6/12/2011
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Promises, Promises!
John 14:19-26
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Someone once mused, "Promises may get friends, but it's performance that keeps them." No wonder God has so many friends! He makes promises and keeps them. On this final night that Jesus spent with His friends, as both sorrow and confusion assailed them, Jesus made several promises that would sustain them in the days, months, and years ahead. What about you? Will you dare to trust the promises of God? It's the only way to see if they really work.
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6/26/2011
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Peace Where You Least Expect It
John 14:27-31
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On countless American gravestones this epitaph could be written: Hurried, Worried, Buried. What a sad way to live! Fear, anxiety, and distress have literally become part of our national culture. Odd, isn't it? Though we have such abundance in this country, most don't experience abundant life—especially as Jesus described it. Sure, everyone has his or her share of trouble and anxieties, but let's consider one of the greatest gifts Jesus gives to followers—the gift of peace!
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7/3/2011
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Life-Lessons from Grape-Growers - Part 1
John 15:1-7
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My parents grew grapes on their little plot of land in Southern California. There weren't many, but enough for me to know that getting fruit at harvest depended on three things: the solid connection of branch to vine, the vigilant care of the workers, and the consistency of those things over time. Jesus, walking with the disciples toward the Garden of Gethsemane, gives life lessons to His men using the familiar example of growing grapes. With that analogy in mind, let's consider the three ways our relationship to God is described by Jesus.
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7/10/2011
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Life-Lessons From Grape-Growers - Part 2
John 15:8-11
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As we grow older, we mature. In our spiritual lives we should become spiritually mature. The Bible calls it being fruitful. Spiritual fruit is the indication that we're truly connected to Christ. But there are others, as we'll see today. Last week we examined how the relationship with Christ is described (Connected to Christ, Cared for by the Father, and Consistent Over Time). Today let's consider how this relationship is demonstrated. When we're rightly connected to God we'll be:
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7/17/2011
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What a Friend We Have in Jesus
John 15:12-17
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We can get through almost anything in life with friends to share our sorrow and divide our grief. A Chinese word for friend is peng-yu and it has a much fuller meaning than in English. It means "one who brings completion and sums up beauty." The ancient Hebrews saw true friendship as an ideal to pursue and a blessing to enjoy. In these final moments with His followers, Jesus uses a most tender term for their relationship—they were friends! What does that friendship look like?
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7/24/2011
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Why Does Everyone Hate Me?
John 15:18-25
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There is a flipside to being a friend of Jesus. That's true of any friendship. Whenever you ally yourself and make friends with someone, you will incur some enemies because of it. Likewise, some who don't like Jesus won't like us either—and we discover there are quite a few who don't! Let's find out why, and how we can raise our heads high and prevail.
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7/31/2011
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Two Thirds Is Not Enough
John 15:26-16:15
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We love God the Father who created us and God the Son who redeemed us, but what about the Holy Spirit? We hear His name a lot, but who is He? What exactly does He do? What does He want from us? The Holy Spirit is the "quiet One," active in the life of believers but sometimes not acknowledged as being vital. Oswald Chambers noted, "The Holy Spirit cannot be located as a guest in a house. He invades everything!" Today, we consider Him and His role in our lives.
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8/7/2011
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The Holy Hound of Heaven
John 16:5-11
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Having understood Who the Holy Spirit is (Person not just power; Deity not just dignitary) we now find out what He does in the world of unbelieving people. Since the greatest gift God ever gave to the world was His only Son (John 3:16) it stands to reason that the greatest sin one can commit is to reject the Son (John 16:9). How does the Holy Spirit both sentence the world as prosecutor and lead people away from judgment? And what role do we play in all of this?
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8/14/2011
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When Sorrow Turns to Joy
John 16:16-22
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The flamboyant baseball-legend-turned-preacher Billy Sunday stated, "If you have no joy in your religion, there's a leak in your Christianity somewhere!" That's not to say that life is all laughs. Hardly! Jesus anticipated His followers' deep sorrow. He predicted it. But He also assured them that their experience of sadness would be eclipsed by a greater experience of lasting joy.
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8/21/2011
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How to Send Knee-Mail
John 16:23-28
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Today you can be anywhere in the world and send or receive messages digitally via email. Sending email has eclipsed traditional mail for years now. Sending knee-mail is similar (you can be anywhere)—but with better results! You don't need wifi or a modem; you don't need an electronic device or a computer. Before Jesus left His disciples, He wanted them to get "online" with the Father and stay connected through the simple yet powerful means of prayer.
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9/4/2011
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I've Fallen, but I CAN Get Up!
John 16:29-33
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I would rather fail in a cause that will ultimately succeed than to succeed in a cause that will ultimately fail! So said President Woodrow Wilson. Our Lord knows us better than we know ourselves and is not surprised by our weaknesses. We all fall and fail, even though we may commit to standing strong. What can we learn about ourselves and our God in such valleys? Even more, what kind of restoration can we hope for after our bout with failure?
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9/18/2011
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Holy Eavesdropping
John 17:1
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Imagine if you could sit and listen to Jesus talking to His Father—what would Jesus say to Him? In this prayer (which comprises all of John 17) we step onto holy ground. His instruction to His followers is now over. His preparation of them is done. He now turns His attention heavenward to talk directly to His Father about Himself, about His disciples, and about His future church. This prayer is unique for four reasons:
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9/25/2011
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The Gifts That Keep On Giving
John 17:1-5
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It's possible to give without loving but it's impossible to love without giving— Richard Braunstein. Part of God's nature is that He shows His love by His generous gifts. "For God so loved the world that He gave..." (John 3: 16). Here, in the opening lines of Jesus' prayer to His Father, He requests a gift from His Father and acknowledges three other gifts—two given to the Son by the Father, and one given by the Son to us. These are the gifts that keep on giving!
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10/2/2011
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How Followers Are Formed
John 17:6-10
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Okay, so which is it? Did I choose God or did God choose me? Perspective is everything! If you look at it from the divine viewpoint, you'll say God chose. If you're looking at it from a human viewpoint, you'll say we do the choosing. But why can't both be true? I suppose you can sit around, scratch your head, and try to ponder such imponderables, or you can sigh happily and say with a grateful heart, "I'm elated that He chose me!" But you should also ask yourself another question while you're at it—What am I going to do about it now?
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10/9/2011
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Missionaries or Monasteries?
John 17:11-19
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How can you leave your mark on the world? Most everyone wants to be remembered for some contribution made to society. Well, Jesus wants us to do that, too. In fact, He prays for that. God wants you to make an imprint on life's road so people will say, "Hey look! God's kids were here!" We can't do that by isolating ourselves. We have marching orders!
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10/23/2011
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Listen Up! Jesus is Praying—for YOU!
John 17:20-26
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What's God's general will for you? Look no further than this text! Now as we listen to Jesus pray for us, we also find what our priorities in life are to be. These words are the "Last Will and Testament" of Jesus Christ. So pay close attention and you'll get it right from the heart of Jesus Himself.
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10/30/2011
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I've Got It Under Control
John 18:1-11
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Sometimes life appears to be spinning out of control. Events happen we didn't plan for, people do things we didn't expect, we find ourselves in places we never thought we'd be in. But though you can't always control what happens to you, you are responsible for what happens in you (attitudes and responses). What do we really believe about God's authority and power in our lives? Is there ever a time when God can't say, "I've got it under control"?
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11/20/2011
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The Darkest Night!
John 18:12-27
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On a dark spring night in Jerusalem, it seemed everyone was against Jesus Christ. The religious system had long been opposed to and jealous of His burgeoning ministry. The mock trial designed to get rid of Jesus was only going through the technical motions to achieve their end. And Peter, Jesus' closest friend, was in a downward process of disassociating himself from Him. But in the midst of the darkest night, the sunrise of God's grace was beginning to shine!
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1/8/2012
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A King, a Kingdom, and a Courtroom
John 18:28-40
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What kind of a King is Jesus, and what is the nature of His Kingdom? And what does it mean to pray, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done"? These are the questions faced in the text before us. As Jesus nears the cross, a nation denies His reign over them, while a Roman ruler questions Him and then cynically admits his own confusion and despair.
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1/22/2012
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How Do You Handle Jesus?
John 19:1-16
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Pontius Pilate was like every other person who has ever lived. The fundamental question of his life was, "What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?" (Matthew 27:22). Everyone has to deal with Jesus, to decide about Him and His claims. In one setting, we can see how one man (Pilate) was influenced to deal with Jesus in three different ways. These three ways are how many people today still choose to deal with Jesus Christ.
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1/29/2012
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Execution of a King
John 19:17-22
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Regicide is the official word used for the execution of a king. Most countries reserve the stiffest of punishments for subjects or assassins who would kill their royalty. John records the execution of the King of kings on a Roman cross outside the city of Jerusalem. But the rest of Scripture reveals that it was more than an execution; it was sacrifice that brought salvation. The next few weeks, we will consider the cross in depth and what it means for the world and for us.
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2/5/2012
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The Cross on the Billboard of Eternity
John 19:23-24
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Did you know that the cross of Christ was always God's plan from the very beginning? It wasn't a reaction to mankind's rejection of His Son, nor was it an accommodation to a Roman and Jewish miscarriage of justice. It was according to "the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God" (Acts 2:23). Today we will take a journey back and connect the dots of God's unfolding plan of the cross throughout the ages.
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2/12/2012
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How to Love Your Mother
John 19:25-27
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A mother's love for her children is distinctive and irreplaceable. To watch a child suffer is crushing and almost intolerable for any mom. In this touching scene revealed in three verses, we not only see Mary, the mother of Jesus, at the foot of her Son's cross, we also learn how Jesus cared for His mother. Even from His place of extreme suffering, Jesus was thinking of others and His love for Mary is noteworthy for us.
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2/19/2012
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iThirst
John 19:28-29
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The world is filled with Apple's i-technology, which delivers on its promise to make connectivity and information readily accessible. But there is a deeper need within everyone, a thirst to be right with God, that no app or gadget can fulfill. How ironic that Jesus, the great Thirst-Quencher, would Himself be thirsty. It was part of the great exchange—His temporary thirst enabled yours to be quenched eternally!
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2/26/2012
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It's Done!
John 19:30
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While Jesus was doing His greatest work, He uttered His greatest words! Through the excruciating pain of a tormenting death, Jesus gave the most meaningful statements worthy of careful consideration. John records three of Jesus' seven statements uttered while on the cross. The sixth—and perhaps the most hopeful—is the one we consider today.
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3/4/2012
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Death Under Control
John 19:31-37
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Watching someone you love die is always a heart-wrenching experience, especially when the victim experiences great suffering. For the apostle John, the death of Jesus was likewise difficult-but he saw a glimmer of hope, a silver lining in the dark clouds of death. This death was long ago anticipated and was being carefully monitored from the control center of heaven. Today we see why that's important.
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3/11/2012
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Disciples on the Graveyard Shift
John 19:38-42
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You can find an unending supply of books, pamphlets, and articles on discipleship in Christian churches and bookstores. Many of them will be predictably regimented and conventional, giving solid biblical references and calling Christians to ardently follow Christ—all great stuff. But not everyone's spiritual journey is identical. Some disciples are unexpected, and so is their story. Here are two disciples of Jesus who've been in the background and now step forward to care for the body of Christ after His death. Let's allow their story to inspire us.
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3/18/2012
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A Not-Quite-Empty Tomb
John 20:1-10
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There was a lot of confusion happening on the first Easter morning. The resurrection had happened but it was neither expected nor accepted by all at first. Mary Magdalene ran to tell the disciples what she saw, and they ran to check out her report. What they saw was compelling evidence of a resurrection, but only one of them really connected all the dots. Let's see why.
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3/25/2012
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Hope Rekindled
John 20:11-18
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When people grieve, they usually run the gamut of the emotional spectrum, from denial to bargaining to despair to anger to eventually hope. Mary Magdalene was in hopeless despair as she stood weeping by the grave of Jesus. The resurrected Christ deals tenderly with this woman as he reveals Himself to her and conveys hope for her future. Let's glean some principles for dealing with brokenhearted people.
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4/1/2012
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From Closed Doors to the Open Road
John 20:19-23
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Our relationship with Jesus isn't a secret to be hoarded; it is a story to be heralded! The disciples were seated behind closed doors (sounds like a lot of churches). Jesus wanted them out, giving away what they had been given. Let's see how these early followers went from panic to peace, from perplexity to purpose, and from protection to power. It's a great journey. Are you up for it?
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4/8/2012
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Rise Up!
John 20:24-31
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The apostle Thomas has been noted for his skeptical attitude. In fact, we refer to a skeptic as a "doubting Thomas." In this message from John 20, we consider four ways Thomas was able to rise up from doubt and become a joyful follower of Jesus.
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4/15/2012
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Gone Fishing! (Relating to a Risen & Returning Lord)
John 21:1-14
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I am not a great fisherman. I don't do it often and when I catch something, it's pure luck! My dad was the opposite—he loved it and was great at it. At least seven of Jesus' disciples were fishermen and here we see them plying their trade after the resurrection. Some beautiful lessons can be discovered about how to live while we wait for Jesus to come back for us.
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4/22/2012
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I Failed! Now What?
John 21:15-19
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One of life's harshest realities is failure. The very sound of the word seems harsh to our sensibilities. We even harbor the age-old axiom, "Failure is not an option!" But failure is an option; in fact, it's a certainty. But discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping-stones to victory. In a post-resurrection interview, Jesus restores Peter with a fresh commission. If you have failed in your spiritual experience (and who hasn't), these principles will inspire.
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4/29/2012
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Final Instructions
John 21:20-25
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As John closes off his singular testimony of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, he features some closing words of Jesus and Peter about himself (John). These final sentences provide some instructions for us as we await Christ's return. How should we live in light of who Jesus is, what Jesus did, and when Jesus will return?
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There are 95 additional messages in this series.