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Service Archives > 43 John - Believe:879 - 2009 > I've Fallen, but I CAN Get Up!

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I've Fallen, but I CAN Get Up!
John 16:29-33
Skip Heitzig

John 16 (NKJV™)
29 His disciples said to Him, "See, now You are speaking plainly, and using no figure of speech!
30 "Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from God."
31 Jesus answered them, "Do you now believe?
32 "Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.
33 "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."

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

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43 John - Believe:879 - 2009

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?

"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. Our Faith is Unreliable: Bragging (vv. 29-30)

    1. "We Know"

    2. "We Believe"


  2. Our Failure is Understandable: Blundering (vv. 31-32)

    1. Confused

    2. Scattered


  3. Our Future is Unmistakable: Blessing (v. 33)

    1. Promise of Peace

    2. Promise of Victory

But Wait, There's More!


  1. What do you think these disciples really understood?

  2. What area of your life is the least peaceful right now? Why? What would bring peace to this area? What will you do this week to further that peace?

  3. When were you tempted to run away from your God-given responsibility? What was the result?

Detailed Notes

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  1. Introduction
    1. Failure
      1. We all fail, fall, and struggle
      2. Failure should be an instructor, never an undertaker
      3. The disciples would fall
        1. Their faith would be shaken
        2. Doubt would fill their minds
        3. Their failure was not permanent: they would get up and stand strong again
      4. We all start life as failures
        1. Walk: fall down
        2. Swim: nearly drown
        3. Swing at a ball: miss
      5. None has maintained a perfect witness for Jesus Christ: key is getting up
      6. Abraham Lincoln
        1. Failed as a businessman in 1831
        2. Defeated for Legislature in 1832
        3. Elected to Legislature in 1834
        4. Sweetheart died in 1835
        5. Nervous breakdown in 1836
        6. Defeated for Speaker of the House in 1838
        7. Defeated for Congress in 1843
        8. Elected to Congress in 1846
        9. Defeated for Congress in 1848
        10. Defeated for Senate in 1850
        11. Defeated for Vice Presidency in 1856
        12. Defeated for Senate in 1858
        13. Elected President
      7. When you fail, you can get up and have a deep sense of peace and victory
    2. Context: Upper Room Discourse  (John 13-16)
      1. One of the longest recorded messages Jesus gave His disciples
      2. Passover night
      3. Half presented in the Upper Room at the Passover meal
      4. Walking toward the Garden of Gethsemane (John 15-16)
      5. Jesus has said a lot
        1. Most the disciples confessed they didn't understand
        2. They now assert they do understand
        3. Jesus predicts they will fail, fall, be scattered
        4. Ultimately they will have His peace, His victory
  2. Our Faith is Unreliable: Bragging (vv. 29-30)
    1.  "We Know"
      1. He has told them He is leaving in figurative language: "'A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father.'  Then some of His disciples said among themselves, 'What is this that He says to us, 'A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me'; and, 'because I go to the Father'?' They said therefore, 'What is this that He says, 'A little while'? We do not know what He is saying.'" (John 16:16-18)
      2. Jesus explains more plainly:
        1. "'These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father.'" (John 16:25)
        2. "'I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.'" (John 16:28)
      3. Disciples boldly say they know and believe
        1. When Confused
          1. Didn't tell Jesus
          2. Told each other: "Then some of His disciples said among themselves, 'What is this that He says to us, 'A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me'; and, 'because I go to the Father'?'" (John 16:17)
    2. "We Believe"
      1. Faulty assertion
        1. Their faith was not as strong as they thought it was
        2. They will be confused and scattered
        3. "Peter answered and said to Him, 'Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.'  Jesus said to him, 'Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.'  Peter said to Him, 'Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!' And so said all the disciples." (Matthew 26:33-35)
      2. They meant well, but their faith was weak and unreliable
        1. Their  belief was attached to an unrealistic expectation
        2. Believed Jesus would immediately set up His Messianic kingdom
        3. "Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, 'Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?'" (Acts 1:6)
    3. We say we believe in God and know certain theological truths: Be careful!
      1. "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall." (1 Corinthians 10:12)
      2. "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." (Proverbs 16:18)
      3. We may believe in things Jesus never promised
        1. New Christians: no troubles
        2. According to Religion Watch: "Pentecostals are three times more likely than other Christians to experience major depression, according to a Vanderbilt University study. The overall group, in this case 2850 North Carolinians over a 6-month period experienced serious depression at the rate of 1.7%; whereas the rate among Pentecostals was 5.4%. Researchers surmise that the higher rate may be partly because people who are already depressed may be attracted to Pentecostalism's emphasis on physical and spiritual healing."
      4. What exactly do you believe?
        1. What He said?
        2. All His promises?
        3. A select one?
        4. Something He never said
      5. When expectations aren't met, we may be sorely disappointed
  3. Our Failure is Understandable: Blundering (vv. 31-32)
    1. Confused
      1. Do you?
        1. They would doubt
        2. When He is on the cross, the doubt takes over
        3. Disciples on the road to Emmaus: "We had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel." (Luke 24:21 NIV)
      2. Our confusion
        1. "There is a window in your heart through which you can see God. Once upon a time the window was clear. Your view of God was crisp. You could see God as vividly as you could see a gentle valley or hillside. The glass was clean, the pane unbroken. You knew God. You knew how he worked. You knew what he wanted you to do. No surprises. Nothing unexpected. You knew that God had a will, and you continually discovered what it was. Then, suddenly, the window cracked. A pebble broke the window. A pebble of pain…. Whatever the pebble’s form, the result was the same—a shattered window. The pebble missiled into the pane and shattered it.… Before your pain, the view was clear; God seemed so near. After your pain, well, he was harder to see. He seemed a bit distant . . . harder to perceive. Your pain distorted the view—not eclipsed it, but distorted it." -- Max Lucado
        2. Hold fast!
          1. When you come out of faith-shaking storms, it's clearer and better
          2. False expectations are pushed away
    2. Scattered
      1. Σκορπίζω; skorpizó - disperse, scatter abroad (as of sheep)
      2. They were together, but when Jesus is arrested they will run
      3. "Strike the Shepherd, And the sheep will be scattered;" (Zechariah 13:7; see also Matthew 26:31 and Mark 14:27)
      4. They said they "We know, we believe;" Jesus said, "You will leave me alone."
        1. Leave Jesus to His enemies;
        2. What of their knowledge and belief?
      5. Jesus reaction
        1. He didn't castigate them
        2. He was compassionate and broken-hearted
      6. Jesus knew they would fail Him
        1. Your faith is weak
        2. You will run away
        3. Predicts their recovery and peace
      7. In a trial, do not walk away from the company of God's people
        1. Run to God's people
        2. A soldier who goes on his own isn't safe: he is either killed or captured
  4. Our Future is Unmistakable: Blessing (v. 33)
    1. Promise of Peace
      1. These things (all He has spoken)
        1. He loved them (demonstrated by washing their feet)
        2. Heaven
        3. They would do greater works than He
        4. The Holy Spirit would work powerfully through them
        5. How to talk to God
      2. Despite hostility, tribulation, persecution, and confusion, you can have peace and victory
      3. Peace defined:
        1. Absence of conflict (inadequate)
        2. Presence of God in the midst of conflict
        3. Peace in the Midst of the Storm, (painting) by Jack. E. Dawson
    2. Promise of Victory
      1. θλῖψις; thlipsis - pressure, tribulation
      2. "I have overcome the world"
        1. Past tense
        2. He would go to the cross and conquer sin
        3. He will conquer the world at His Second Coming
        4. I guarantee it; it's as good as done
        5. Satan uses the world to overcome you; Jesus has overcome the world
        6. We are still attacked in the death throes of a defeated enemy
      3. How to live in a world that gives us tribulation
        1. Victim - overcome by the world
        2. Victor - overcome the world
          1. Compensation (inadequate) - clench fists, grit teeth, look toward heaven
          2. Transformation - in the midst of tribulation, roots go deep, find refreshment
        3. "As they pass through the Valley of Baca, They make it a spring; the rain also covers it with pools." (Psalm 84:6)
        4. Ted and Dorothy Hustead of Wall Drug
          1. Drought of 1832
          2. Signs as far as New York and Paris
          3. Live by motto "Pain is inevitable, misery is optional"

Greek Terms: Σκορπίζω; skorpizó - disperse, scatter abroad (as of sheep); θλῖψις; thlipsis - pressure, tribulation
Figures referenced: Abraham Lincoln; Max Lucado; Ted and Dorothy Hustead
Publications referenced: Religion Watch, published by Religioscope Institute; Peace in the Midst of the Storm, by Jack. E. Dawson
Cross references: Psalm 84:6; Proverbs 16:18; Zechariah 13:7; Matthew 26:31; Matthew 26:33-35; Mark 14:27; Luke 24:21; John 16:16-18; John 16:25; John 16:28; Acts 1:6; 1 Corinthians 10:12

Topic: Upper Room Discourse

Keywords: failure, peace, victory

Transcript

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Father, we stand before you as a sign of respect that we believe and we trust that you are the sovereign of our lives that not only do you hold the world in your hands, you hold our world in your hands.  Where your kids and as children in their family we're all at different levels of growth, some of us are still babes in the faith, so excited about coming to Jesus and having deep questions answered.  Others of us are more in the adolescent young-adult stage as John described them young man in the faith.  And still others are fathers and mothers, even more mature but no matter how far we've grown, Lord next to the Lord Jesus, we see how far we have yet to grow so Lord grow us up.  We pray.  We pray that as faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by your word that the truth of the Gospel of John would permeate our thinking.  And as the way we live our relationships, how we do business, how we worship, how we react to a world around us.  These are things Lord that we trust you for; that we believe you for our faith is a real and vital one.  And so we pray that this would be one more installment in growing us up to be like Christ.  In His name, we pray.  Amen.

Thank you.  Please have a sit.  I've asked you to turn in the Gospel of John Chapter 16 where we finish that Chapter today you've heard me say turn to the Gospel of John now for almost two years.  It will be two years next month that we began our study in this Gospel.  And I have never been more excited about going through a book like I have going to the Gospel of John.  Inch by inch, paragraph by paragraph, digging deeply at least as deeply as we can, I honestly could've gone a lot slower.  There's just so much in it.  But for the sake of time, we would love to finish this book before the Lord comes back.

We find ourself in Chapter 16.  We going to begin in verse 29 and go down to verse 33 as we finish this Chapter today.  We all fail in life, all of us.  Failures are real experience it's a real world for us.  We fall, we struggle with certain issues but here's the deal, failure should be an instructor but never an undertaker.  It should never do sand.  We fall, but we can get back up, that's the good news.

You recall, some of you at least that there was a commercial some years back when I said the tag line more of you are going to remember I hope.  That there was a TV commercial for a medical alert pendant and the tag line was, "I've fallen and I can't get up."  Do you remember that?  Anybody here, two people?  Okay thank you for the rest of you engaging.  So the commercial showed a woman named Mrs.  Fletcher who had fallen in her kitchen.  She was an elderly woman and she presses the medical alarm pendant dispatcher and the other end answers and she says, "I've fallen and I can't get up."  Sorry, that was my imitation.  The dispatcher assures her that somebody is on the way that she indeed will get up.  You can get up again.  That's the whole story of the commercial.

The disciples of Jesus were in for a fall, their faith would soon be shaking to the core, doubt would fill their minds.  They would fail.  But it would not be a permanent fall and it would not be a permanent failure, they would get up again.  They could stand that strong again.  If you think about it, we all started life as failures.  The first time you tried to walk, you fell or you made it a few steps and your parents thought you were the cats, "Meow".  Look three steps, you did that now you'd be considered an under failure.  You fell back down.  That's how you started life.  The first time you'd tried to swim, you probably almost drowned.  The first time you took a little baseball bat in your hands and swung a ball, I'll bet you missed.  And I bet that you did not make straight A's on your first report card.  If you did, nobody liked you after that point in your life.

And I am sure that you, we, all of us have never maintained a perfect witness for Jesus Christ.  We all know what failure is, we all know what falling is.  The key though is getting up.  I'm going to tell you about a man who failed and got back up and failed and got back up and failed and got back up and failed and finally got back up.  He was a businessman and he failed in business in 1831.  He was defeated for the legislature in 1832.  He was elected to the legislature in '34.  his sweetheart died in 1835, he had a nervous breakdown in '36 was defeated for speaker of the house in 1838, defeated for congress in 1843, eventually elected to congress in '46, again defeated for congress in 1848, was defeated for the senate in 1850, was defeated for the vice presidency in 1856, and for the senate in 1858.  But this man, Abraham Lincoln eventually was elected as president.  At fist he failed and got up, and failed, and got up, and failed, and got up.

I know that I'm speaking to people who have failed somewhere or with someone, maybe even with the Lord.  Not only can you get back up, you can have a deep sense of peace in your life and have victory.  And that's the trust of this final paragraph in verse 29, his disciple said to him, "See now you are speaking plainly." and using no figure of speech.  And now we are sure that you know all things and have no need that anyone should question you.  By this, we believe that you came fort from God.  Jesus answered them, "Do you now believe?  Indeed, the hour is coming, yes has now come that you will be scattered each to his own and will leave Me alone.  And yet I am not alone because the Father is with me.  These things I have spoken to you that in Me, you may have peace.  In the world, you will have tribulation but be of good share I have overcome the world."

Let me bring you up to speed in terms of context.  This has been the Upper Room Discourse in Chapters 13, 14, 15 and 16 of the Gospel of John would've the longest recorded messages that our Lord gives to His man.  It has been in an upper room, part of it has been.  That's why it's called the Upper Room Discourse but not all of it.  It was the past overnight and half of what He spoke was in this upper room at the meal.  And the end of Chapter 14 however Jesus said, "Arise, let us go from here."  So they all got up and they left.  So the Chapter 15 and 16 is spoken while their walking somewhere through Jerusalem down toward the garden of Gethsemane.

Now Jesus has said to them a lot of things and most of which, they did not understand at the moment.  They interrupted him a few times while he spoke the message revealing that they didn't understand but now you just read it.  They assert that they suddenly do understand.  "We're sure." they say, "We know and we believe who you are."  As sure as that sounds, Jesus immediately predicts that they're going to fail, they're going to fall or that they're going to be scattered.  But, ultimately, eventually they will have his peace and his victory.

So what I want to do is go back through this final paragraph with you this morning.  That's all that we'll cover just this paragraph that we read.  And I want to give to you out of the text three principles, three relational principles.  These are principles about human failure and divine restoration, three relational principles.  We're going to look at their bragging, we're going to look at their blundering, and we're going to look at the blessing that Jesus promised.

Here's the first principle.  Our faith is unreliable.  I've written that for you in your worship folder today as well.  You have the outline.  Our faith is unreliable.  Go back to verse 29 and notice the disciple speak they said to him, "See, now you are speaking plainly, and you are using no figure of speech, now we are assure." literally, "now we know that you know all things.  And have no need that anyone should question you.  By this, we believe that you came forth from God".

Do you hear that?  Now we know, now we believe.  That's their assertion.  Now we know, now we believe.

In this speech so far, our Lord has told them that he is leaving but the language that he employed when he told them that was an always strait forward.  It was a little bit cryptic, it was figurative language.  And they didn't always understand.  Now I know we've all ready read some of this but we really have to connect the few dots to really understand what did disciples are saying to Jesus.  Jesus said he was leaving but he was speaking figuratively and they didn't get it.

Go back with me to verse 16.  Jesus speaks a little while and you will not see me.  And again a little and you will see me because I go to the father.  And some of his disciple said among themselves, "What is this that he says to us?"  'A little while and you will see me and again a little while and you will see.  It's not see me and then see me and because I go to the father'.  They said therefore, "What is this that he says to us a little while?  We do not know what he is saying".

Jesus now explains that to them more plainly.  He gives an example of a woman having a baby.  She's in pain and sorrow and then she has a baby and she is happy.  And that's where you guys are going to be like, "I'm going to be gone, I'm going to be killed, I'm coming back, you'll see me again."  Then notice verse 35, "These things I have spoken to you in figurative language.  But the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language but I will tell you plainly about the father."  Verse 28, "I came forth from the father."  That's pretty plain and simple.  "And I have come into the world.  Again I leave the world and go to the father." now that they understood, that they understood.  Now the fog is lifting that's why immediately they say as we read in verse 29 the disciple said, "see; now you are speaking plainly and using no figure of speech."  They're going, "Oh, okay now I get it.  Wow! I understand it.  Now we know that you know all things, and now we believe."

Why did they make so bold to say faith?  Well because when they were confused, the first time about what Jesus said, "Now you see me, now you don't".  They never said that to Jesus that they were confused.  They only said it to each other.  Look at verse 17 more closely, some of his disciple said among themselves, "What is this that he says to us?"  So picture this.  John leaning over to peter, "What did he just say?  I don't get it."  They're probably whisper to each other in low tones.  Jesus was probably far removed in distance.  They thought he can't hear us; we're expressing our confusion only to each other.  But look at verse 19 Jesus knew that they desired to ask him and he said to them, "Are you inquiring among yourselves about what I said a little while?"  So that he explains it more plainly.

So here are the disciples, realizing, "We didn't tell him, we just told each other, we whispered it to each other but he knew we did.  He knows our secret thoughts, he can read our minds and now we know that you know all things.  If you know that, then you know everything."  That's what they're saying.  "So we know that you know all things and we believed." they said, "We believe that you came forth from God."  That strong assertion of faith is faulty.  Here's why, because their faith is on its strong as they thought it was.  "We believe, we know." immediately Jesus says, "Actually, you're going to be scattered.  You're going to be confused and you're going to be scattered."

Now on that night, though it's not recorded here, there were some other bold assertions of faith.  And one came from peter himself.  Peter to Jesus aside this night and he says, "Jesus, I just want you to know that even though everybody else might forsake you like this other disciples.  I know they are bit flaky but remember I'm Peter, I'm the rock.  You called me that.  I'm rocky.  "I will not ever stumble because of you."  Jesus said, "Well Peter actually the truth is before the morning, before the cock roars you're going to deny me three times that you even knew me."  And Peter immediately reacted and said, "Even if I have to die with you, I will not be made to stumble."

Great thing to say, they all meant very well but their faith was very weak and unreliable.  And here's why.  They say we believe but what they believe is attached to an unrealistic expectation.  What they believe is that Jesus, so he said he's going to go and go die and go to a Cross.  He has said that to them.  They still believe he's going to set up immediately his messianic kingdom.  They are not thinking he's going to die ration but then will live for 2000 years.  That is not on the radar screen.  That after he rises from the death in Acts one, they say, "Will you now restore the kingdom to his real?"  That's what they anticipate.  Let's apply that to ourselves.  We say we believe in God to great thing to say it.  We say we know certain fix theological truths; it's a great thing to say.  But be careful.

Paul wrote in first Corinthians Chapter 10, "Let him who thinks he stands take heed, less he fall."  I just think we remember at time in my Christian walk when I thought I had really grown in my faith that it was strong but I was up for a real challenge.  Because I have seen God moved and provide and my faith was fixed.  I was like a movable.  I had no clue how after that point my faith would be shaking to the very core of what I believed.  I had spoken a bit presumptuously.

In Proverbs 16, you know it well, pride; the writer says goes before destruction a haughty spirit before a fall.  Or here's another scenario.  We say we believe about what we believe are things that Jesus never promised.  I've met people that say, "Now that I'm a Christian, I think that everything just going to go perfectly in my life.  I'm never going to be sad, all my bills are going to be paid now matter how much I spend, the sun is always going to shine, and I'm going to have perfect teeth because all the evangelist on TV look like they do.  And I've had people ask me, "Have you had your miracle today?" I mean talking about having a daily miracle, first of all if it's happening everyday it's probably not a miracle.  It's just what happens everyday.

But my question to these people that are expecting their miracle everyday is what if the miracle doesn't happen one day.  You take your ball and go home?  You'll be only disappointed and you believe something he never promises that you'd ever have.  I read something, I want to just share with you this morning.  No casting any stones and any belief system this is just article out of the paper.  It's called religion watch.  And this article says, "Pentecostals are three times more likely than other Christians to experience major depression." according to Vanderbilt University study.

The overall group in this case 2850 north Carolinians over a six month period experienced serious depression at the rate of 1.7% whereas the rate among Pentecostals was 5.4%.  Researchers summarized that the higher rate maybe partly because people who are all ready depressed are attracted to Pentecostalism's emphasis on spiritual and physical healing.

So when we say we believe, the question is, "What exactly do you believe?"  Do you believe what he said?  Do you believe all of the promise that you said?  Or do you believe just certain select ones and make that say something he never really said?  And so that if your expectations aren't met, you will be surely disappointed and take your ball and go home.  So Jesus immediately -- looks at verse 31 after they make that statement, he answer them, "Do you now believe?" and then predicts their fall. 

So let's move from the first principle to the second one.  And the second one is our failure is understandable.  He asked him the question.  And then he says in verse 32, "Indeed the hour is coming."  You could substitute the word, "indeed." for the word, "in fact".  Now you say you believe, you say you know, do you really?  Because in fact the hour is coming yes says now come.

And I don't know that perhaps Jesus lifted up his eyes and so them to distance coming across Jerusalem, holding torches Judas and the roman soldiers.  And he said, "The hour is coming, in fact it has all ready come that you will be scattered each to his own and will leave me alone.  And yet I am not alone because the father is with me."

So get the picture.  For these disciples, it was like the fog was lifting finely, that's how they felt.  They felt this have been a very dark and confusing night but now we understand what you just said and we know that you know all things in we take our belief in you.  The fog is now lifting and Jesus then immediately then predicts, "Well that's wonderful however, a storm clouds are about to brew over your heads.  That's going to cause you to run away.  They're going to flee."  And that instinct of self preservation is going to kick in.  So two things are implied here.  Number one: you, my, disciples are about to be very confused.  And that's implied in the question of the verse 31.  They say, "We believe." Jesus said, "Do you now believe?" because within hours, they're going to doubt again.  And once Jesus was put on the Cross, and even on resurrection day when many don't know he has risen from the dead.  Those doubts will take over.

Let's fast forward to Jesus walking on the Emmaus road.  This is after the resurrection.  There's two disciples walking on the road who don't know that He has risen from the dead.  Remember the story?  Jesus walks up to them incognito they don't recognized them.  And Jesus comes up to those, "Hey guys, what's happening?"  I'm paraphrasing.  What's happening is isn't in the text.  And they go, "Yeah you're like a stranger around here, don't you know what's been happening?  How that Jesus, this one that we believed in, the one that we hope would redeem Israel, how he died.  And it's been three days since he died?  " And listen to what they said, "We had hoped that he would be the one."  Did you hear that?  That's past tense.  Not, "We we're hoping that any moment he's going to rise from the dead."  No it was over for them.  They're hopeless dead, when he died, their hope died.  When that tomb was sealed, their hopes were gone.  "We had hoped he would be the one."

We believe, do you believe?  Do you really believe?  In the few hours they would be utterly confused.  I know that I'm speaking this morning to some very confused disciples of Jesus Christ.  And one time, everything was clear.  You had handle, you knew theology and you knew the truth and it was laid out and you could go to bed every night.  I know this.

But something happened along the way.  I mean put it the way one author puts it he says, "There's a window in our hearts through which we view God.  And one time the window was very clear and God was very crisp in our view."  But he said something happened.  A pebble struck the window and it shattered a pebble of pain.  And now everything is seen through that fractured lens it's not as clear anymore.  Some of you are in that kind of a storm.  You believe so clearly, you could see so crisply not so much today.  And I just say please hold fast, hold on.

Dear Christian; when you whether those kind of storm that kind of faith shaking endeavor or storm.  Will you come out the other end?  And you after of a period of evaluation, what do I really believe, who really am I?  It's cleared at the other end.  It's better, you're settled.  When you go through enough stuff and you see God's promises and you push away the false expectations, you'll see just like today, it rain last night and it's clear in Albuquerque but after a rain, it's really clear, right?  That's what is like after one of these trials.

The second thing Jesus predicts is that there are going to be scattered.  Look at it.  Indeed the hour is coming, now it's come and you will be scattered.  Escorpizo(ph) means to run away like scared little sheep dispersed in all directions.  You're going to high tail it; you're going to think only about yourselves.  That's the idea here.

Now right now, they're together, all the disciples in this wonderful fraternal fellowship.

But as soon as those soldiers come and they arrest Jesus and they're looking around and who else to get bailed just all run away in different directions.  And they will be fulfilling the scripture actually from the Prophet Zechariah and both Matthew and Mark will speak to that in their accounts that when the disciples scattered, this is to fulfill what was written by Zechariah, strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered.  And these disciples will be scattered.

Another word I want to draw your attention too in verse 32.  Look at the word alone, Jesus said, "And you will leave me alone."  I want you to compare of that to what they said.  "We know you know everything and we now believe that you came from God."  Jesus said, "You're going to leave me alone."  See the way of those statements post to one another.  You're going to leave me alone, now when they scatter in all directions and leave Jesus alone, they're going to leave Jesus to his enemies.  What then if they're love for him, what then if there belief in him, what then if there commitment and knowledge of him?  Where is -- no I'm sure of the Jesus didn't castigate them like I just castigated them.  I think that Jesus tone was probably though I can't prove it was probably very compassionate when he said, "In fact, you're all going to be scattered."  He answer his heart was breaking as he knew what failure that they would experience coming on.

Here's the point.  Jesus knew they would fail him.  Now here they say, "We know that you know everything."  And Jesus said, "You're right.  I know everything.  I am a mission, in fact I know so much and what I really know is your faith was week and you're going to run away.  That's what I know."  But then he goes on to predict their recovery and their peace. 

Something I need to be set before I move on to the last and final point.  Whatever you do, when you're on a trial do not run away from the company of God's people.  These guys who were together run away, they ran away in all different directions, apart from each other, never in a trial or at temptation run away from God's people.  I've speak to who will say, "I haven't been in church like for two years because I've been going through some deep and dark and hard trials."  And I go I just -- it's unbelievable to me.  Because when I go through to deep and dark and hard trials, I need to run to God's not away from them.

Soldier in a fierce battle.  If he goes out on his own he runs away, he's either killed or captured.  He's not safe; you need other soldiers and so run to the company of other believers.  Run to those who can help hold your faith up at that time.

Let's look at verse 33 and we'll close this off.  And here's the third principle.  Our future is unmistakable.  Now we come to the blessing part.  After the bragging, after the blundering comes the blood stink.  Jesus said, "These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace."  In the world you will have tribulation but be of good cheer I have overcome the world.  I love that verse, its one of my favorite verses.  I know you hear that a lot.  I have a lot of favorite verses.  This is one of them.

This is Jesus wrapping up the entire Upper Room Discourse.  This is the final cap, this is the final word.  After all that he has said in four Chapter, he leaves them with this.  After predicting their failure, he now bides them in a promise.  That their faith is well said but boating in something that's really not there in fact you're going to fail and you're going to leave me alone but I'm telling you all this because you can be peaceful and you can have victory and me, I've overcome the world.

Now when Jesus says these things I have -- what does he talking about, what things?  Actually I think he means all that he spoken that entire nigh in this Upper Room Discourse.  So now is the time to go over them briefly before we closed.

One of the things Jesus said in Chapter 13 is how much he loved them.  And he showed them by washing their smelly feet that night.  They got down and start washing their feet.  And that was a metaphor of his servant's heart for them.

And he said, "I've done this for you, do you want to do that for one -- that's one of the things.  Another thing in Chapter 14 is He told them about have any called at my Father's?  He said, "I've come from there; I'm going to there and it's there that I am preparing a place for you."  I told them about heaven.  He then told them one of the other things is that, "all the works that I've done I'm about to leave but greater works that I have done, you're going to do it.

And then He told them about the Holy Spirit who is going to be inside of them to enable that to happen.  And the Holy Spirit would be moving powerfully through them and the spirit of God would convict the world of sin and righteousness and judgment because of them.  Finally you told them how to talk to God.  You've come to me and every time you had a problem, you talk to me but now you can go directly to the father in my name, all of that or these things that Jesus has spoken to them.

So the bottom line then here's what we get to at the bottom line.  Despite all of the hostility and persecution and tribulation that is in the world that they're about to walk out into and all of the confusion that's on their minds at the present and will come in the near future.  They can still have a sense of peace and eventually be victories over it.

Now listen, a lot of people think that peace is the absence of conflict.  Do you ask people, "Define peace?"  He would say, "It's the absence of conflict."  Because in their minds, they say, "I just need a little peace."  You know I mean, "Get the dogs out of here, get the kids out of here.  Don't let anybody call me.  I need peace man, I need space."  That an inadequate definition of peace.  It is not the absence of conflict.  Here's the better definition, "Peace is the presence of God even in the meets of conflict."

In the world you will have tribulation but cheer up boys I've overcome the work.  I've spoken these things to you that you might have peace.  I love that.  There's a painting in the museum, its labeled peace.  When you look at it, you wonder where's the peace?  It's a storm setting, it's ocean with waves bouncing up high, and lightning is in the entire seen.  The waves are crashing on the rocky shores.  Spray is everywhere, it's a violence seen and it's called peace.

You have to look closely to understand because half way up the cliff and a little whole in the rock is a bird, a mother bird with her baby birds all sleeping in the nest.  They're sleeping, she's watching.  It's called peace.  The reason they're sleeping is because she's there.  It's her presence that brings them peace.  I don't care what's going on around them but right there with them in the nest is mom.

In this world you will have tribulation "thlipsis" it the Greek word that means to be squeezed, pressured, and distressed.  But he says, "I've overcome the world, I've concurred the world."  Notice how we puts up -- he speaks of it in the past tense in that interesting.  Because it really has and yet been accomplish, he's going to go to the Cross and concur the world by concurring people sin and bringing peace spiritually.  He will one day concur the world physically by his second coming.  That's still some time off.

But he speaks up that's all ready done.  I've overcome the world, I've concur the world.  In other words, I guarantee it; it's as good as done.  That's what he is saying to them.  And this is be of good cheer, I've overcome.  Satan and the world.  Now the world Satan is the world to overcome you.  Jesus has overcome the world.  I know you're thinking, well it that's true how come I'm still getting attacked if Satan and the world are still concurred, why do I still feel this way?

And go through these things.  I'm going to give you the answer.  Have you ever seen a mortally wounded animal?  Just before it finally dies, it goes after something around it.  I have a friend of mine who is a hunter loves it and he has hunted bear before and he told me a story that he fired a shot at a bear, pretty close range got it right in the heart.  The bear kept coming at him.  Shot it again in the heart, bear kept coming at him, shot her the third time, about two feet before him, the bear fell down.

I think I would have falling down on that point.  I all ready lost them.  That's the death rows of a morally wounded animal.

All that is happening around you and the world, all of the hustles you get those are the death rows of the defeated enemy.  Jesus said, "I've overcome the world."  I want to close with this topic.  How do we live overcoming lives in a world that gives us tribulation?  Because you only have one of two choices either you're going to be a victim or the victor.  You're either going to be overcome by the world or you've overcome the world.  Those are your choices.

So how do you overcome the world?  Well there's two ways Christians have done this in the first way I find inadequate.  I'll call back compensation.  Compensation is where the Christian says, "the world is really bad and normally and filled with bad things and tribulation and so what I'm going to do is I'm going to compensate by I'm just going to clench my fist and grip my teeth and think heaven is in the end.  And I'll just make it through because there's haven and maybe I'll dies soon and I'll just go to heaven.

Okay if you want to live that way, have at it.  It's inadequate in my view.  That's compensation a better way is transformation.  Transformation is defined that even in the myths of the tribulation itself, your roots can go deep in the ground and find refreshment even in the fire.  In the world, you will have tribulation.  And me he says same verse you will have peace.

See those two phrases in the world in me, in the world in me.  These disciples would have all of this tribulation of the world happening around them.  Jesus is promising that none of it has to happen inside of them because they are in Christ wild in the world.  And when you're in Christ, you're on the one who is concurred all and gives refreshment now.

There's of psalm it might be psalm maybe four, I just don't have it at the tip of my mind.  But I think it psalm maybe four David is described being people going up to pilgrimage in Jerusalem for the festivals.  And he says something interesting and he says, "As the pilgrims are walking up towards Jerusalem, when they go through the valley of Baca they make it to spring.  I've always wondered at that verse.  Baca means dry, bearing and around Jerusalem, before you get there, you go through some pretty hot dry desert.  No water.  He doesn't say who and going through the valley of Baca find a spring.  He says, "They make that dry place a spring."  That's transformation.  That's transformation.  I'm in Christ and the Lord is with me and the myths of the fire.  That's a better way.

I close with this I know I've said I close a couple of times but you know Paul the Apostle would often say finally my brother and then keep writing so I have a scripture present.

In 1832, there was a sever drought and a famine in South Dakota.  Locust had come in and strip the crops bare it did not rain for a long time, temperature sort over 100 degrees for weeks.  The people were economically depressed.  In South Dakota is the little town called wall South Dakota.  On a good day, there are about 800 people that live there.  In wall South Dakota, I've been there.  What's interesting about the town is there's a drugstore call Wall Drug.  It's been there for years.

And back in the 1930's Ted and Dorothy Hustead who owned them were believers in Christ.  They knew the time is economically depressed.  And they thought, "How can we get people to our drugstore?"  And so they thought of something in genius that they made road signs and went out 25 miles in each direction and put up a sign that said, "25 miles ahead Wall Drug free water."  Now drug has been giving out free water for generations it was not any big thing.  But nobody advertise them.  They advertise it, "25 miles.  Free water.  Free ice water".  And people look to the sign, "that's kind of weird, let's go find out what's that about." so more people showed up.  So they though, "This is cool let's put more sign, so 10 miles out, 5 miles out and you get put up signs like, "hold on, just five more miles, free water, Wall Drugstore, wall south Dakota."  So people are just like, "Okay I got to check this place out."  Well they got so carried away and so crazy with the signs.  They put a sign in the Albany New York.  Wall Drugstore, 1250miles, something like that.

1725 miles, that's the mileage.  Could you not, I saw a sign in Paris France that said, "Wall Drug." and like 12,000 miles that direction.  Crazy but here's what happens.  Today in that town of 800, 15,000 people a day come to Wall Drug.  It's enormous.  Ted and Dorothy Hustead live by a motto.  Here it is.  "Pain is inevitable misery is optional".  In the world you'll have tribulation pain is inevitable but you can have peace in misery is optional.

Are you in Christ?  Make sure you're in Christ.  Some of you are in church but who are not in Christ.  Some of you are in denomination; "I grow up this way." you are not in Christ.  Some of you are in a theological belief system who are not in Christ.  Make sure you're in Christ.

Father we thank you that in Jesus Christ are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  All that we need is found in him.  He is the fountain head of every blessing, of every good thing.  And that's why Paul said, "I've shined my own righteousness that I might be found in Christ in him.  So Lord I pray that your people as we bring this Chapter to a close, all of those who have gathered with evaluate their lives and make sure that they're in Christ.  And then we would all further evaluate and for going through a confusing time during the storm what it is we really believe.  What it is you really said?  What it is you've really promise to come up the other end stronger and clearer.  Please father, strengthen the hands and live of you flak.  It's for Christ's sake we pray.  Amen.

Additional Messages in this Series

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