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Service Archives > 43 John - Believe:879 - 2009 > Four Part Harmony

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Four Part Harmony
John 14:15-18
Skip Heitzig

John 14 (NKJV™)
15 "If you love Me, keep My commandments.
16 "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever--
17 "the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
18 "I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.

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

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43 John - Believe:879 - 2009

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!

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

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

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Outline

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  1. The Father's Part—Provider

  2. The Savior's Part—Intercessor

  3. The Spirit's Part—Helper

  4. The Believer's Part—Conformer

Pondering the Principles:

  1. We often find it difficult to understand how God could be absolutely One and yet Three-in-One. Even though we may study the Trinity and wrestle with such theological subjects, the good news is that we need only be responsible for our part—showing we love God by obeying Him. How are you doing with your part?

  2. How much help do you experience from the Holy Spirit in your daily life? How do you know He is with you and in you? What telltale signs does He leave?

  3. When was the last time you thanked God for His provisions for your life? (See Psalm 103.)

Detailed Notes

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  1. Introduction
    1. Unity in the Trinity
      1. Eternal
      2. First revealed: "Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them" (Genesis 1:26-27).
      3. No dissension
    2. If our spiritual life is out of tune, who's singing off key? Us!
    3. This passage is the first time in John that Jesus introduces the concept of the Trinity
    4. Cannot unravel the mystery of the Trinity
    5. Unveil the ministry of the Trinity
      1. Father: Great Composer
      2. Jesus Christ: First Violin
      3. Holy Spirit: Conductor
    6. The church takes our cues from Him
      1. Our job is to cooperate
      2. We are not to rewrite the score, ad lib, try to be the conductor
    7. Ludwig Van Beethoven
    8. The genius is not so much in the capability as it is the cooperation
  2. The Father's Part—Provider
    1. The Father gives, supplies furnishes what is necessary; He is the source
    2. Yahweh Yireh; Jehovah Jireh - the Lord will provide (see Genesis 22:14)
    3. "Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;" —Doxology, Thomas Ken
    4. God provides:
      1. Life (see 1 Timothy 6:13)
      2. Satisfaction (see Ecclesiastes 2:26)
      3. Ability to work (see Deuteronomy 8:18)
      4. Salvation (see John 3:16)
      5. Holy Spirit (see John 14:16)
      6. "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32)
    5. In The Lord's Prayer, Jesus taught, "Give us this day our daily bread" (Matthew 6:11) we are to rely on Him for everything
    6. God treats us well
      1. "My cup runs over" (Psalm 23:5)
      2. "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" (Matthew 7:11)
    7. Our part
      1. To receive those gifts He provides
      2. Have you received His greatest gift, Jesus Christ?
  3. The Savior's Part—Intercessor
    1. Communicates with the Father as an equal
      1. Not inferior to superior, as we do
      2. As king to king
    2. V. 16 marks the intercessory work of Jesus for His followers
      1. The ministry Jesus has been performing for 2000 years
      2. Jesus talks to the Father about His disciples
        1. For the apostles (see John 17:9)
        2. For us: "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;" (John 17:20)
    3. The work of Christ
      1. Finished work: Jesus paid for our sins when He died on the cross "It is finished" (John 19:30)
        1. Can't add to it
        2. Can't take away from it
      2. Unfinished work: intercession
        1. "Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us." (Romans 8:34)
        2. "Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them." (Hebrews 7:25)
        3. "If anyone sins we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." (1 John 2:1)
          1. The enemy accuses us day and night (see Revelation 12:10)
          2. Jesus is our defense attorney
        4. His unfinished work is based on His finished work
  4. The Spirit's Part—Helper
    1. How the Bible speaks of the Holy Spirit
      1. A Person
        1. Jesus uses personal pronouns (Whom, Him, He) to describe Him
        2. Not a force, feeling, or mode of God
      2. God
    2. The Trinity is incomprehensible
      1. One God eternally existent in three persons
      2. Like putting the ocean into a hole; impossible to take the limitless and stuff it into something limited (Augustine of Hippo illustration)
    3. Παράκλητος; Parakletos - Helper
      1. Counselor, Comforter; One called alongside you to help you
      2. God knows we need all the help we can get; the Christian life is not easy
      3. "Watches, cars and Christians can all look chromed and shiny. But watches don't tick, cars don't go, and Christians don't make a difference without insides. For a Christian, that's the Holy Spirit. "—Tim Downs
    4. Another Helper
      1. In Greek, two words for another
        1. heteros - another of a different kind
        2. allos - another of the same kind
      2. Exactly like Jesus had been
      3. Not orphans (orphanos - orphans, fatherless, desolate)
    5. Permanent Helper - forever
      1. With you; comes after you to save you
      2. In you; sanctifies you
      3. Upon you; empowers you
    6. Reliable Helper
      1. The spirit of truth (v. 17)
      2. aletheias - truth
      3. The genuine source of truth
      4. Tells the truth about you and about God and His righteousness
        1. "Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.  And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come." (John 16:7-13)
        2. Apart from the Holy Spirit, no one can know the truth about their sinful condition, the righteousness of God, and what it takes to get to God
      5. How you can tell a person is filled with the Holy Spirit
        1. Holy
        2. Truthful (love truth, a balance of all Scripture, not focused on one truth)
    7. Exclusive Helper
      1. World cannot receive the Holy Spirit
        1. Don't believe in what they cannot see
        2. "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:14)
      2. The Holy Spirit opens eyes and hearts
  5. The Believer's Part—Conformer 
    1. Keep and obey the commandments (General lifestyle of obedience)
    2. If we are not obedient, we are fighting the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit
    3. "Once there was a tune and everyone knew how it went
      But as time went by, people began to forget
      Until at last no one could remember.
      And there was hatred, and wars, and death.
      Then one day somebody said, "How does the tune go?"
      "There is no tune, there never was; it's only a myth."
      These were the philosophers.
      "You mean there's no tune at all?"
      "Well, it doesn't really matter what tune you play
      As long as you play something."
      These were the religious leaders.
      And so the world played on.
      And there was hatred, and wars, and death.
      Then one day the people became weary of this song
      And they all sat down on the side of a hill
      And suddenly they heard a very strange voice
      And somebody said, "That sounds like the tune."
      "There is no tune, there never was, there never will be."
      "Well, it doesn't really matter what tune you play
      As long as you play something
      And you don't hurt anybody - especially me."
      But the people listened
      And a man appeared before them
      With a smile on his face
      And a sad look, too,
      And he was singing the tune.
      And some of the people began to sing along.
      And the people who loved Him
      Decided to follow him,
      But the people who hated him
      Decided to kill him. And they did.
      And when it was finished,
      They went back to their houses of philosophy and religion
      And they sat down to their tables to eat and drink.
      Suddenly, they were interrupted by a familiar voice
      And they ran to their windows and looked outside
      To see who it was. It was him.
      And they became confused and afraid
      And they wondered how they could be rid of him
      Once and for all.
      And while they were watching him,
      Something very strange happened.
      "How did he do that?"
      "I don't really know, but he's gone...
      And when trouble goes, you don't ask where.
      He'll never return again. I hope."
      Yet again they were interrupted.
      This time they ran out into the streets to lay hold of him
      But they couldn't find him.
      Just a lot of people smiling, and they all know the tune.
      And when the people made a mistake
      They stopped and they listened.
      That's how they knew the tune,
      Because they listened.
      And if you listen, you'll hear it.
      It's all around you.
      Just listen to your radio,
      Watch television,
      Listen to your leaders, to the authorities,
      To the governments, to the experts.
      But if you really listen,
      You can hear another tune,
      But you have to listen quietly,
      And you have to listen every day."—The Tune by Larry Norman

Hebrew Terms: יְהוָ֣ה יִרְאֶ֑ה; Yahweh Yireh; Jehovah Jireh - the Lord will provide
Greek Terms: Παράκλητος; Parakletos - Helper; ἕτερος; heteros - another of a different kind; ἄλλος; allos - another of the same kind; ὀρφανός; orphanos - orphans, fatherless, desolate; ἀληθείας; aletheias - truth
Publications Referenced: Doxology, Thomas Ken; The Tune, by Larry Norman
Figures Referenced: Augustine of Hippo; Tim Downs
Cross References: Genesis 1:26-27; Deuteronomy 8:18; Psalm 23:5; Ecclesiastes 2:26; Matthew 6:11; Matthew 7:11; John 3:16; John 16:7-13; John 17:9; John 17:20; John 19:30; Romans 8:32; Romans 8:34; 1 Corinthians 2:14; 1 Timothy 6:13; Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1; Revelation 12:10

Topic: Trinity

Keywords: trinity, obedience, Father, Son, Holy Spirit

Transcript

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Would you turn into your Bible this morning to John Chapter 14.  And once again, would you pray with me for this morning's study?

Lord, I almost said would you pray with me for this morning's meal.  That's a good way to describe studying the word.  This is a meal we're going to eat.  We want to be fed with scripture for our spiritual lives.  Lord, we are surrounded with so many other voices, so many other values.  I pray we would tune into you and that you would have the freedom apart from contradictory thoughts that my fellow heads have the freedom to speak to us.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

For years, musicians have told jokes about one another.  If you've ever played in any kind of a band, you know that band members have kind of cuts in jabs and jokes about different players, whether they are guitars players or drummers.  Drummers get the brand of the jokes and rightfully so and lead singers.  Lead singers sometimes get jokes told about them.  For example, how many lead singers does it take to change a light bulb, answer?  One.  He holds the bulb while the world revolves around him.  Question, what's the difference between a lead singer and a terrorist?  Answer, you can negotiate with a terrorist.  Question, how do you drown a lead singer?  Answer, put a mirror in the bottom of the pool.

So you can see that there's a little bit of tension, sometimes among musicians and it's all in fun.  On the other hand, what are the most pleasing sounds isn't just somebody with a lead voice, but people who harmonize together.

When you put a first and a third and a fifth in music and you make a whole chord vocally and then you add a fourth to that, so wonderful and pleasant to listen to -- a four-part harmony.  I want to talk to you today about four-part harmony.

And what I mean by that, not just the musical terms but principally, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit that's the trinity, and then you and I, that's our fourth part.  And how it all blends together to make beautiful music so that we can live a life that is pleasing to God.  Now you should something that there is always been unity and harmony within the Holy Trinity -- Father, Son and Spirit.

The first hint in scripture that we get of that is back in Genesis Chapter 1 where the Bible says, "And God said, let us make men in our image" and then it continues, "So in the image of God, He made men."  That's an inner Trinitarian communication.  That's the Father and the Son and the Spirit all agreeing together, "Let's work on a project.  Let's make humanity."

You never read of any dissention in the Trinity.  You never read of the Holy Spirit saying, "No, wait a minute.  I disagree."  Or the Son saying, "Let's take a vote on that."  They were all working in beautiful harmony together -- Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  And then there's the fourth part and that's us.  Let me put it to you this way.  If our spiritual life is out of tune, guess who's singing off key.  It's not the Father, its not the Son, it's the not the Spirit, it's us.

And with that in mind and understanding that this is the first time in the Gospel of John where Jesus introduces to his disciples the concept of the Trinity, let's read Verse 15 and a few verses afterwards.

John Chapter 14, beginning in Verse 15.  Jesus speaks, "If you love Me, keep My commandments.  And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever -- the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him, but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.  I will not leave you orphans.  I will come to"

And my goal this morning is practical.  I will not and cannot unravel the mystery of the Trinity.  I do however want to unveil the ministry of the Trinity.

To use our musical analogy, you might say that God the Father is the great composer, He writes the score.  Jesus Christ is the first violin in the orchestra, and the Holy Spirit is conductor and all of us, we, the church, God's people, we take our cues from Him -- God the Holy Spirit.  He's the conductor.  We're not the conductor.  Our part is to cooperate with the conductor not to rewrite the score, not to adlib as we go along, not to try to be the conductor.  It's always a failure.

Now, let me tell you a story about a great musician who tried to be a conductor.  He was indeed a great songwriter, composer, great piano player, but he wanted to be a conductor.  He was a lousy conductor.  First, whenever he would come to the soft passages in the song, he would crouch down really, really low.  So people in the back couldn't see him.  And when it was the lively part of the music, he would jump up and down and shout things out to the orchestra, which confused them.

He also forgot -- he had a bad memory in this kind of stuff.  He forgot on one occasion that he told the orchestra not to repeat a certain section and he forgot he told them that, so he repeated that section while they did not.  So there was this kind of crash and so he would say, "Stop, stop, you're wrong.  Do it again," when in fact he was wrong.

He also tried to conduct from a piano bench in a piano concerto, a big mistake.  On one occasion, he got up from the piano walking toward the orchestra, knocking over all the candles that were on the piano and knocking over a choir board.  He was a failure of being a conductor.

As time went on, he was losing his hearing and it got so bad that the orchestra wouldn't even follow him anymore.  They instead took their cues from the first violin.  Eventually, the orchestra begged that this conductor to quit, to give it up.  So Ludwig Van Beethoven did -- great musician, great composer, great piano player, horrible conductor.

See, the genius is not always in the capability as much as the cooperation working and blending together.

I sense this is the first time that Jesus mentions the Trinity -- Father, Son and Spirit, to the disciples.  Let's look at all three and all four parts to make beautiful music.  First of all, the Father's part.

Now, according to Jesus and this little section that we read, God the Father's part, is that He provides.  He is the provider.  Look at Verse 16, "And I will pray the Father," now watch this, "And He will give you another helper."  The word give means supply or furnish what is necessary.

You might say it's God the Father that provides the musical score.  In the Bible, God the Father, the first person of the Trinity, is always seen as the source -- the provider.  Did you know that one of the first names of God in the Bible, Genesis 22, Jehovah Jireh means "The Lord will provide"?  He's the Provider.  He's the source.  We sing a song called the "Doxology", praise God from whom all blessings flow.

According to the Bible, He's the provider of life.  1Timothy 6:13, "God who gives life to all things."  In the Bible, God is the provider of satisfaction in our daily lives.  Ecclesiastes Chapter 2:6, "He gives wisdom.  He gives knowledge and joy to those who are good in His sight."  He, God, is the provider of the ability to work and produce.  Deuteronomy Chapter 8:18, "It is God who gives you power to get wealth."  God is the source of salvation.  John 3:16, "For God so love the world that He gave, provided His only begotten Son."

And here Jesus says, "The Holy Spirit is going to be provided by the Father."  And just in case you're wondering if there's anything in life you'll need, there's Romans 8:32 which says, "And God, who did not spare His only Son but freely gave Him up for us, how shall He not with him freely give us all things."

So He gives us ability, capability, wisdom, joy, salvation, the Holy Spirit and everything else we need.  He's the great composer who gives love songs to the world and the greatest love song is Jesus.

And that is why, Jesus, when He teaches His disciples to relate to God the Father, they're told to relate to Him as the provider.  He taught them the Lord's Prayer.  We all know it by heart, "Our Father which art in heaven, hollowed be Thy name.  Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," here's the part "Give us this day our daily bread."  Why does Jesus want us to pray like that?  It's simple.  He wants us to place God the Father in His proper place, the source of everything, the provider of everything, even our daily sustenance.

I've often thought that that prayer seems irrelevant to western people.  People in the United States, we usually don't struggle with our next meal, "Give us this day our daily bread."  Our problem is often the opposite, we're on diets.  We're asking God to help us restrain ourselves from making a pig out of ourselves at the next meal.  But the idea of the prayer is that we place God in His proper position and status as the Lord, the provider, the source, the giver of all good things.  The truth is God treats us pretty good, doesn't He?  Amen, does He?  David said, "My cup runs over.  It runs over."

I read a story about a beggar begging for money at a train depot.  This beggar had left home as a young child, ran away from home and now he's a beggar.  People walk by and he says, "Spare change.  Can you spare some change?"  And one man walked by, "Can you spare some change?"  And the man turned around and the boy recognized that was his father.  And the beggar said, "Father, do you know me?"  He's father grabbed him and hugged him so close and said, "My son, you want spare change?  Everything I have is yours."  How ironic, here's a kid asking for a few pennies, here's a dad who's been looking for a son for years to give him everything.

And so Jesus said to his disciples, "If you, being evil, can give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father give good gifts to those who ask Him?"  So God is the provider.  He's the first in the four-part harmony.  He's the giver.  He's the source.

So what's our part if God is the giver?  We are the receiver.  We receive those gifts, unashamedly, unabashedly.  And here's my question to you, have you received God's greatest gift ye -- His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ?  Have you personally received Him as your own savior in your life as God's greatest gift?

Here's the second part and that is the part for the Son to play in this four-part harmony and His role is the intercessor, Verse 16, "And I, Jesus, I will pray the Father and He will give You another helper."  Now, you should know something, when Jesus talks about Him praying to the Father, it's not a word that is used of an inferior talking to a superior.  That's how we pray we're the inferior, God's superior, we pray to Him.  But this is a word that is used of two equals talking to one another, like a king who would go to another king and ask for terms of peace or ask for favors in exchange for something else.  "I will pray the Father.  I will prompt the Father," could be a translation and He will give you another helper.

Now, this verse is important.  This verse marks what we call the intercessory work of Jesus Christ for His followers.  Have you ever heard of that term -- the intercessory work of Jesus?  It's a ministry that Jesus has been performing for 2,000 years now.  It's His work for His disciple.  Intercessory work simply means Jesus talks to the Father about you.  Jesus talks to the Father about you.  It's not the last time we're going to read about it.  When we get to John chapter 17, Jesus praying to the Father says, "Father I pray for them," those are the 12 disciples, "For all of those that you have given Me out of the world for they are yours," as the prayer continues, He says "I pray not only for them, but also for all of those who will believe in Me through their word."  That's us.

That's the intercessory work of Jesus.  It's His unfinished work.  Even evangelicals talks so much about the finished work of Jesus and we should.  When Jesus died on the cross and paid for our sins, He said, "It is finished."  It's done.  You can't add anything to it.  You can't take anything from it.  It's a done deal.  It's paid in full.  It's finished.  That's the finished work of Christ.

But did you know there's an unfinished work of Jesus?  And that is His intercessory work for us before the Father.  In Romans 8 it says, "He is at the right hand of God and He makes intercession for us."  That helps actually.  It answers the question some of you may have had.  What's Jesus been doing up there for 2,000 years?  Since He ascended to heaven, what's He been doing?  Like waiting to return?  Well, part of His work is He's been talking to the Father about you.

Hebrew 7:25 tells us, "He ever lives to make intercession for us."  "Well, what kind of intercession?" you say.  Well, here's another answer 1 John Chapter 2, it says, "If we sin," and we do, "If we sin, we have an advocate with the Father, who is Jesus Christ the righteous."  You know what an advocate means?  A lawyer, or better yet a defense attorney.

Jesus Christ is your defense attorney before the judgment bar of God.  Now you might ask, "Why do I need a defense attorney?"  Are you kidding?  You need to ask that?  It's because we have an enemy the Bible says, Revelation 12, "The accuser of the brethren who accuses us before God," how often?  Day and night, day and night, and he didn't' have to make anything up about us, just state the facts.  He can point to you and me and go, "There's your Christian God and look at Him.  Look at Her.  Listen to Him.  Listen to her."  He's got the dirt on us.

And so then Jesus comes in as our defense attorney and can lean over on the judgment bar and lean into the Father and say, "Dad, based upon my shed blood -- my finished work, please forgive that one, they're mine."  So look at it this way, the unfinished work of Jesus, praying the Father, talking to the Father about you, the unfinished work of Jesus right now in heaven is based upon the finished work of Jesus on earth, on the cross.

How good does it make you feel to know that you're on Jesus prayer list?  It's pretty cool, right?  I mean, have you ever had somebody said, "I don't know what it is, but you've been on my mind all week long and I've been praying for you like everyday."  It makes you feel pretty good.  Oh, that is pretty good but you've been on His prayer list.  He has been talking to the Father about you and He does that as part of His ministry.

I heard a story about a man who is in front of the White House.  Now, this was a long time ago.  This was the Abraham Lincoln White House.  He was in front of the White House.  He was crying.  He was crying and a little boy walked up to him and said, "Why are you crying?"  The man said, "Because my son is going to be executed.  He deserted from his company."  This was the Civil War, "He deserted from his company.  He's going to be shot.  But if I could just see President Lincoln -- the guards won't let me in, but if I could just see President Lincoln, I know President Lincoln's reputation and I know he's a kind man and he would pardon my son if he knew all the facts of his desertion."

The little boy said, "Don't cry.  I'll take you to see the president.  He's my father."  And as the story goes, he got an audience with that president.  That man got an audience with President Lincoln and President Lincoln pardoned that man's son.

So two parts in perfect harmony together -- God the Father the provider, God the son the intercessor, here's the third, the Holy Spirit.

Now, "What is the Holy Spirit?" you might ask.  Wrong question, "Who is the Holy Spirit?" is the right question.  Because you'll notice in just a few verses that we've read, that Jesus uses personal pronouns to describe the Holy Spirit.  Notice them, "Whom" the Father will send, "Him", "He", all of those are words of personality.

Listen, the Holy Spirit is not some force or some feeling or some mode of God.  When the Bible speaks about the Holy Spirit, the Bible speaks in two ways -- the Holy Spirit is a person and the Holy Spirit is God.

The Holy Spirit is a person and the Holy Spirit is God, that's how the Bible speaks about them.

The Bible would say in a nutshell, there's only one God who eternally exists in three persons, one God existing in three persons.  Now, if you don't get that, don't feel disappointed.  How many of you don't get the Trinity, raise your hand.  I'll raise both my hands.  I don't completely get it.  I believe it.  It's declared.  I don't quite understand it.  So if you don't completely understand it, we'll talk more about the Trinity in weeks ahead, but don't feel bad.  Welcome to the company.

True story, Augustine of Hippo, you may remember that name.  He was one of the 4th Century church fathers in Northern Africa, Augustine of Hippo.  He's trying to figure out the Trinity.  He was a scholar, very bright man, very biblically astute.  He was reading and thinking and trying to figure it out.  He goes, "I got to understand Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."  He was at the beach one day trying to figure this out, contemplating the Trinity and he watched.  Augustine watches a little boy dug a hole in the sand and took a jar -- a clay jar, his little bucket, went to the ocean, filled that up with water, poured the water into the hole, went back to the ocean, got some water in it, poured water into the hole, went back to the ocean, got water, poured it in the hole, went back, you got the idea.

Augustine finally went up to the little boy and said, "What are you doing?"  And the little boy confidently declared, "I'm going to put that ocean in this hole."  A light went off in Augustine's mind, "Because that's what I've been trying to do.  I've been trying to take that ocean called God and put it into this hole.  My mind not going to fit, not going to work, impossible to take something totally limitless and stuff it into something limited my own head."

But I want you to know something about the Holy Spirit and we need to know who He is.  We need to know what He does and we need to know how He does it or else there's not going to be harmony.  Notice first of all the Holy Spirit is called "The Helper", Verse 16, "I will pray the Father and He will give you another helper."  The Greek word "Parakletos" translated helper, counselor, comforter.  The best meaning is this, "One who is called along side of you to help you."  You know what that tells me?  It tells me that God knows we need all the help we can get.  Would you agree with that?  Do we need all the help we can get?  Is the Christian life easy?  No, we need help.  It's the Holy Spirit who puts fuel in our gas tank so to speak.

Tim Down(ph) writes these words, "Watches, cars and Christians can all look chrome and shiny, but watches don't tick and cars don't go and Christians don't make a difference without insights.  And for a Christian, that is the Holy Spirit."  He's a helper.  Something else about the Holy Spirit, He's not just a helper, notice what Jesus calls Him, another helper.  "I'm going to pray the Father and he's going to give you another helper."

Now, I want you to get this.  You have to understand this to get the point.  In Greek, there are two words that are translated in English another but they're two different words.  There is "Heteros" which means "another of a different kind".  And second there's the word "Allos", which means "another of exactly the same kind'.

There's a big difference in those.  Here's an example.  You go to the store and you buy a CD.  You put the CD in your player and you're listening to it and you say, "I hate this.  I thought I like this artist but I hate this album.  I don't want this.  I'm going to take it back and get another."  You're going to use the word "Heteros", another, not of the same kind but a different kind, something that you would like.  But if you buy a CD, plug it in, listen to it, you go, "I love this."  And a friend listens to it and the friend goes, "I like it, too."  And you say, "Keep it.  I'll go buy another."  You'll use the word "Allos".  "I'll buy another one of exactly the same kind."  So you get the point now.

Jesus says, "I'll pray the Father and He will give you all, another comforter exactly like I've been to you.  You've been relying on Me.  You've been looking to Me.  I've comforted.  I've been a help to you.  I'm going away, but the Father will send a comforter, a helper, a counselor just like I've been to you."

Now on verse 18, He says, "I will not leave you orphans.  I will come to you."  What is that all about?  Well, did you know that in ancient Judaism, whenever disciples, pupils lost their Rabbi they were known as "Orphanos(ph)", orphans.  They were teacherless.  They were helpless.  The Rabbi has left them, "I'm not going to leave you orphans.  I'm going to come to you."  And that is by sending the Holy Spirit.

So we say helper, he's another helper.  Something else to notice about the Holy Spirit, He's a permanent helper.  Look at Verse 16 again, "I will pray the Father.  He will give you another helper that he may abide with you forever."  How long is forever?  Well, it's forever.  It's not, "He'll abide with you for three and a half years and then he's gone."  Or, "He'll get you jumpstarted in your Christian walk and then you're on your own."  He'll be with you forever.  He's a permanent helper.

You notice in verse 17 concerning the Holy Spirit Jesus says, "He dwells with you and shall be in you", with you, in you.  Later on in Acts 1 Jesus said, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you."  So notice that He'll be with you, He'll be in you, He'll come upon you.

Look at it this way.  The Holy Spirit comes after us to save us.  The Holy Spirit comes in us to sanctify us and then the Holy Spirit comes upon us to supercharge us, to get us ready and able to do his work, God's work in this world.  That's the relationship.  Something else to notice, the Holy Spirit is a reliable helper.  Look at verse 17.  He's called the spirit of what?  Truth, "Aletheia", He's reliable.  He's genuine.  He's the spirit of truth.  He's the source of truth and he'll tell you the truth.  He'll tell you the truth about you and about God and his righteousness.  He's the source of truth.  He's always about telling people the truth.  Not just about making him feel good but telling them the truth.

Now, I want you to turn with me to John 16, just a couple of pages to the right, John 16.  At our page we're going to forget everything today anyway by then.  So John 16 Verse 7, "Nevertheless, I tell you the truth.  It is to your advantage that I go away for.  If I do not go away, the helper will not come to you.  But if I depart, I will send Him to you.  And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgment.  Of sin because they do not believe in Me, of righteousness because I go to my Father and you see Me no more, of judgment because the ruler of this world is judged.  I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.  However, when He," here's the designation again, "The spirit of truth has come, He will guide you into all truth for He will not speak on His own authority but whatever He hears, He will speak and He will tell you things to come."

Apart from the Holy Spirit, no man, no woman can ever know the truth about their sinful condition and about the righteousness of God and what it takes to get to God.  So how can you tell if a person is filled with the Holy Spirit?  Now just think about that for a minute.  How can you tell if a person is filled with the Holy Spirit?  Will they become the lead singer?  No.  You can tell if a person is filled with the Holy Spirit, if he's the Holy Spirit, the person will be holy.  If he's the Spirit of truth, he will be truthful.  He will love the truth and it's not just one bit of truth, but the balance of truth.  If you want scriptural harmony, it's the balance of all the Bible truth.

Sometimes I need a person who zeroes in on one particular little truth that he or she emphasizes.  It's like playing one string on a guitar -- play them all, make beautiful music, let it all be balanced.  It's the spirit of truth.

Something else to notice about the Holy Spirit, He's an exclusive helper.  You'll notice He says, "The world can't receive Him."  The spirit of truth verse 17, "Whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees Him nor knows Him but you know Him for He dwells with you and will be in you."  The world can't receive the Holy Spirit, you know why? Because they don't believe in anything they can't see.

It's interesting that Missouri is called the "Show-Me State", and pardon if you're from Missouri but I've always enjoyed that.  I smiled whenever I see a licensed plate the "Show-Me State".  You know, the whole world is the "Show-Me State" when it comes to spiritual things.  The whole world says, "If I can't see it, I won't believe it."  Boy that's a shame.  In fact, that's not even good science.  Did you know that right now in this room there are pictures?  Right now, there are pictures.  You can't see them but they're floating through the air.

And there are sounds in this room.  You can't hear them but they're floating in this room.  You know what I'm talking about, right?  Radio waves, television waves.  If you had the right receiver and you could tune in to the frequency, you'd see and you'd hear they're actually here.  They're present with us.

Well, in 1 Corinthians it says, "The natural man," that's the unsaved person, "Cannot receive the things that the spirit of God their foolishness to him."  So it takes the Holy Spirit to open up the eyes of that person, open up the heart.  Have you ever talked to someone about the gospel and they don't get it and you go, "Don't you see?  Can't you see?"  No, they can't.  They lack the capability.  You might as well tell a blind man how beautiful the sunset was yesterday.  "Can't you see?"  No.

So the Holy Spirit has to sort of put in a new sim card into our unit, activate us spiritually, convict us of sin and righteousness and judgment.  So person the goes, "Lights on.  I get it.  I see it.  It's the work of the spirit."

So that's the third part of the harmony.  He's the helper and I've described in how many ways He helps.  But consider now as we close the fourth part of these four-part harmony and that's us.  Verse 15, here it is.  "If you love Me, keep my commandments."  Got it?  Does it all make sense now?  God's part, He's the provider.  He writes the score.  Jesus, He's the intercessor, the first violin.  Holy Spirit, He's the conductor.  He's the helper.  He's the comforter.  We, our part, we're the conformers.  "If you love me, you'll keep, you'll obey, and you'll do my commandments."

You know what that means?  It means that if we're not obeying Christ, if that's not our lifestyle.  I didn't mean you're perfect but you're general lifestyle, my general lifestyle is that an obedience to Christ.  If you're not being obedient to Christ, you are fighting the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, all three of them.  That's why there no harmony.  That's why it sounds out of tune because our part is to conform.  We're spoiling the melody.

Years ago, I had this cool coffee machine.  It was an espresso machine.  Actually, I could tell my life history based on the coffee machines that I've owned.  This was a gift that was given to me by a guy who had it.  He said he didn't want it.  It was the old school espresso machine with a little arm on it at a little chrome metal boiler.  You put water in it, plug in, put on the top and that water would boil and you'd press the coffee down, loved it.  You couldn't tell how much water was in the boiler so they put a little glass tube on the side connected to the boiler.  That was like the gauge.

So as the water was in the tube, so as the water in the boiler.  If the tube had water up to the top, the boiler was full.  If the line of the water in the glass tube was halfway, it was half full in the boiler.  If it was all the way down to the bottom in the glass tube, there was no water in the boiler.  It was the gauge.  How could you tell how much water is in the boiler?  Look at the gauge.  How can you tell if a person loves God?  Look at the gauge, and the gauge is obedience to Jesus Christ.  "If you love me, keep my commandments."

So the Trinity has always been in perfect harmony.  It's that fourth part that we have problems with sometimes.  Look at it this way.  My obedience to His voice will make the melody sweeter.  My disobedience to His voice will make the melody sourer.

So what does the world hear when you're around as they observe your lifestyle?  Does the world listen to the music that is produced and go, "Oh, I hate that," or they go, "Ah, that's music.  That's beautiful."  That's a question.  Are you out of tune?  Are you in tune?  Are you marching to His tune? 

I want to close with an illustration that one of my favorite musicians of years gone back who's now in heaven.  His name is Larry Norman.  He writes this and he did it in a song.  I'm not going to play the song.  I'll just read this to you. 

"Once there was a tune and everyone knew how it went.  But as time when by, people began to forget until at last no one could remember.  And there was hatred, and wars, and death.  And then one day somebody said, 'How does the tune go?' 'There is no tune, there never was, it's only a myth."  These were the philosophers.  'You mean there's no tune at all?' 'Well, it doesn't really matter what tune you play as long as you play something.'  These were the religious leaders."

"And so the world played on and there was hatred, and wars, and death.  Then one day the people became weary of this song and they all sat down on the side of the hill.  And suddenly, they heard a very strange voice and someone said, 'That sounds like the tune.'  'There is no tune, there never was, there never will be.'  'Well, it doesn't really matter what tune you play as long as you play something and don't hurt anybody, especially me.'  But the people listened."

"And a man appeared before them with the A smile on his face and a sad look, too.  And he was singing the tune.  And some of the people began to sing along and the people who loved him decided to follow him but the people who hated him decided to kill him, and they did.  And when it was finished, they went back to their houses of philosophy and religion and they sat down to their tables to eat and drink."

"Suddenly, they were interrupted by a familiar voice and they ran to their windows and looked outside to see who it was.  It was him.  And they became confused and afraid and they wondered how could they get rid of him once and for all.  And while they were watching him, something very strange happened.  'How did he do that?'  'I don't really know but he's gone and when trouble goes, you don't ask where.  He'll never return again, I hope."

"Yet again they were interrupted.  This time they ran out into the streets to lay hold of him but they couldn't find him.  Just a lot of people smiling and they all know the tune.  And when the people made a mistake, they stopped and listened.  That's how they knew the tune because they listened.  And if you listen, you'll hear it.  It's all around you.  Just listen to your radio, watch television, listen to your leaders, to the authorities, to the governments, to the experts.  But if you really listen, you can hear another tune.  But you have to listen quietly and you have to listen everyday."

God is singing His love song to the world and the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.  God so loved the world that He gave His son.  And if you really listen, you'll hear the tune.  And if you get your life in tune with His life, the harmony will be sweet and melodious.

Father, it is our prayer that our part would be that of conforming to your will by being obedient to our great Christ.  We pray, Father, that as we live today, if we haven't received Christ that we wouldn't leave this room without coming forward and talking to a pastor or a counselor, go to the prayer room and speak about spiritual things and we pray Lord that our lives as believers would always be in tune with you.  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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3/27/2011
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Betrayed!
John 13:18-30
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Relationships can withstand an enormous amount of pressure, but betrayal is sure to end most. The old English word means to hand over or to deliver. Think of it: while Jesus was about to deliver the world from sin and its destruction, Judas was about to deliver the Savior over to His enemies. If you've ever felt betrayed by someone, this study will have special application to you.
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4/10/2011
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A Brand New Way of Life!
John 13:31-35
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To follow Jesus is to have a brand new way of life. When these twelve men sitting around the dinner table started hanging around Jesus, they had no idea just how new and different their lives would become. At this final meal on that last night, they were still learning just how new their lives should be. (Jesus can still teach old dogs new tricks!) As present-day followers of Christ, let’s consider three aspects of life that become new once we become His disciples.
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4/17/2011
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F.A.Q.
John 13:36-38
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An old Persian Proverb reads, "It's harder to ask a sensible question than to supply a sensible answer." Many times our questions to God are reactive—based on a sort of knee-jerk reaction to painful circumstances. Peter asked Jesus two questions of this sort. But whenever we ask God questions we must hang around to get the supplied answers. The questions Peter asked are similar to ones we frequently ask. Let's consider and apply Jesus' outstanding answer
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5/1/2011
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A Theology for Messy Lives
John 14:1-6
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Life can be pretty messy sometimes: plans fail, people leave, money diminishes, and taxes rise. There are plenty of reasons to be troubled these days but there are better reasons not to be! Life was about to get real messy for those disciples around that Jerusalem dinner table. At times like that, there are some basic instructions we need to fall back on so our hearts inside us won't be swallowed up by the mess around us.
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5/8/2011
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How Can I Know God?
John 14:7-11
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What a thought—that a mere human can know God! The agnostic asserts this is impossible. The atheist insists that the very idea is an arrogant and purely metaphysical pursuit. But one of the reasons Jesus came was to reveal God's character and nature clearly and perfectly! Let's consider two roadblocks to knowing God and four resources that help us know Him better.
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5/29/2011
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Privileges of God's Employees
John 14:12-14
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Most companies have benefits for employees: things like overtime pay, health insurance, and sick pay. In 2 Corinthians 6:1, Paul calls us "workers together with Him" (NLT renders it "God's partners"). We have been called to a high and lofty task—to be His representatives here on earth. You might say we're part of the "family business." So what has God called us to do? And how has He provided for us in terms of resources? In short, what are the benefits of being God's employees?
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6/12/2011
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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
Skip Heitzig
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I am not a great fisherman. I don't do it often and when I catch something, it's pure luck! My dad was the opposite—he loved it and was great at it. At least seven of Jesus' disciples were fishermen and here we see them plying their trade after the resurrection. Some beautiful lessons can be discovered about how to live while we wait for Jesus to come back for us.
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4/22/2012
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I Failed! Now What?
John 21:15-19
Skip Heitzig
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One of life's harshest realities is failure. The very sound of the word seems harsh to our sensibilities. We even harbor the age-old axiom, "Failure is not an option!" But failure is an option; in fact, it's a certainty. But discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping-stones to victory. In a post-resurrection interview, Jesus restores Peter with a fresh commission. If you have failed in your spiritual experience (and who hasn't), these principles will inspire.
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4/29/2012
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Final Instructions
John 21:20-25
Skip Heitzig
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As John closes off his singular testimony of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, he features some closing words of Jesus and Peter about himself (John). These final sentences provide some instructions for us as we await Christ's return. How should we live in light of who Jesus is, what Jesus did, and when Jesus will return?
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There are 95 additional messages in this series.