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Service Archives > 43 John - Believe:879 - 2009 > The Gifts That Keep On Giving

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The Gifts That Keep On Giving - John 17:1-5

Taught on | Topic: Deity of Jesus | Keywords: glory, authority, humanity, eternity, gifts, when God prays

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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9/25/2011
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The Gifts That Keep On Giving
John 17:1-5
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
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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43 John - Believe:879 - 2009

43 John - Believe:879 - 2009

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

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

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Outline

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  1. The Gift of Glory

  2. The Gift of Authority

  3. The Gift of Humanity

  4. The Gift of Eternity

Pondering the Principles:

  1. How would the Father glorifying Jesus help Jesus glorify the Father? How do you define "glory" as used in this passage?

  2. If John 17 were the only verses from the Bible that you had, what would you conclude about Jesus' relationship to the Father?

  3. When you think of yourself as a love-gift from the Father to Jesus, how do you feel?

Detailed Notes

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  1. Introduction
    1. "And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' " (Acts 20:35)
    2. Giving is sometimes stressful
      1. Herb Forst's list of what not to buy for your wife
        1. Don't buy anything that plugs in. -- Anything that requires electricity is seen as utilitarian.
        2. Don't buy clothing that involves sizes. -- The chances are one in 7,000 that you will get her size right, and your wife will be offended the other 6,999 times. "Do I look like a size 16?," she'll say. Too small a size doesn't cut it either. "I haven't worn a size 8 in twenty years!"
        3. Avoid all things useful. -- The new silver polish advertised to save hundreds of hours is not going to win you any brownie points.
        4. Don't buy anything involving weight loss or self-improvement. -- She'll perceive a six month membership to a diet center as a suggestion that she's overweight.
        5. Don't buy jewelry. -- The jewelry your wife wants, you can't afford. And the jewelry you can afford, she doesn't want.
        6. Don't spend too much. -- "How do you think we're going to afford that?" she'll ask.
        7. Don't spend too little. -- "Is that all I'm worth to you?"
      2. According to American Express survey: the worst gift is fruitcake
      3. What people do with unwanted gifts:
        1. 30%: hide it in the closet
        2. 21%: return it
        3. 19%: give it away
    3. No problem for God to find the perfect gift: He knows what we need
    4. "Give" or "given" found 17 times in John 17
    5. It's okay to pray for yourself: Jesus did it
    6. Jesus' entire life marked by prayer
      1. General
        1. He prayed all night (see Luke 6:12)
        2. He prayed early in the morning
      2. Specific: we too ought to be specific
  2.  The Gift of Glory
    1. The Glory of the Cross (v. 1)
      1. Planned since the beginning
      2. His death opens the door of salvation
      3. How Jesus' death is glorious
        1. Some are not appreciated until after death
          1. Edmond Stanton: "There lies the greatest leader of men this world has ever seen" of Abraham Lincoln
          2. Centurion: "Truly this was the Son of God!" of Jesus Christ (see Matthew 27:54)
      4. Reveals there is no limit to which God would go in demonstrating His love
        1. Demonstrates the mercy kindness grace and love of God
        2. If Jesus had stopped short of the cross, there would have been a limit
        3. "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32)
    2. The Glory of Heaven (v. 5)
      1. Pre-existent glory shared with the Father
        1. He left heaven to come to earth
        2. He endured rebellion, sin, and hatred: "He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him." (John 1:11)
      2. Jesus longed to go back to heaven
      3. Glimpses of Jesus' glory on earth: Transfiguration : "As the men watched, Jesus' appearance changed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothing became dazzling white." (Matthew 17:2 NLT)
      4. God answered Jesus prayer
        1. "Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:9-11)
        2. "Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!" (Acts 7:56)
        3. "'Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!' And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: 'Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!'" (Revelation 5:12-13)
        4. "The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light." (Revelation 21:23)
      5. Jesus is home and he promised: "I go to prepare a place for you." (John 14:2)
  3.  The Gift of Authority (v.2)
    1. Jesus had all authority: "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth." (Matthew 28:18)
    2. His authority displayed
      1. He spoke with authority:
        1. "And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes." (Matthew 7:28-29)
        2. He commanded thousands of people outdoors with His voice
      2. He forgave with authority:
        1. To the paralytic: "Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, 'Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.' And at once some of the scribes said within themselves, 'This Man blasphemes!' But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, 'Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, 'Arise and walk'? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins'--then He said to the paralytic, 'Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.'" (Matthew 9:2-6)
        2. The people knew they were indeed forgiven
      3. Authority over the natural world
        1. Miracles
        2. Heal the sick
        3. Raise the dead
        4. Calmed the storm: "Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, 'Peace, be still!' And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, 'Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?' And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, 'Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!'" (Mark 4:39-41)
      4. Authority over the supernatural world
        1. Delivered those oppressed by demons
        2. "What a word this is! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out." (Luke 4:36)
      5. Authority over life and death
        1. Others
        2. His own: "Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father." (John 10:17-18)
      6. Authority over judgment: "For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son," (John 5:22)
      7. How should you respond to His authority?
        1. Willingly
        2. "It matters not how strait the gate,
          How charged with punishments the scroll.
          I am the master of my fate:
          I am the captain of my soul." Invictus by William Henley
  4. The Gift of Humanity (v. 2)
    1. "As many as you have given" seven times in this passage
      1. "I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word." (John 17:6)
      2. "I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours." (John 17:9)
      3. "Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are." (John 17:11)
    2. You are a love gift from the father to the Son
      1. The church; the called out ones
      2. "On this rock I will build My church" (Matthew 16:18)
      3. "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field." (Matthew 13:44)
        1. Not us finding God and getting rid of everything for Him
          1. Cannot buy God
          2. Don't have enough to sell
          3. Jesus unlocked the meaning: the field is the world.
        2. A picture of God buying the world through His Son's blood for the treasure, which is you and I
          1. "For the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2)
          2. He saw you and thought it's worth the pain
  5.  The Gift of Eternity (vv.2-3)
    1. This is a gift we receive from Jesus
    2. Eternal life
      1. More than longevity
      2. αìώνιον; aiōnion-eternal; ζωὴν; zōēn-life
        1. age abiding life
        2. quality that begins now and continues forever
      3. "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." (John 10:10)
        1. Life to the max
        2. Life to the brim and overflowing
      4. "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation"--Henry David Thoreau
      5. Relationally
        1. Know the Father
        2. Know the Son
        3. A personal experiential relationship with Him
    3. A gift is only worth something if you receive it
    4. "In front of me were two small children - a boy of about 10 and a younger girl about 5. The boy wore a ragged coat. Enormously large, tattered tennis shoes jutted far out in front of his much too short jeans. He clutched several crumpled dollar bills in his grimy hands. The girl's clothing resembled her brother's. Her head was a matted mess of curly hair. Reminders of an evening meal showed on her small face. She carried a beautiful pair of shiny, gold house slippers. As the Christmas music sounded in the store's stereo system, the girl hummed along off-key but happily.
      When we finally approached the checkout register, the girl carefully placed the shoes on the counter. She treated them as though they were a treasure. The clerk rang up the bill. 'That will be $6.09,' she said. The boy laid his crumpled dollars atop the stand while he searched his pockets. He finally came up with $3.12.
      'I guess we will have to put them back,' he bravely said. 'We will come back some other time, maybe tomorrow.'
      With that statement, a soft sob broke from the little girl. 'But Jesus would have loved those shoes,' she cried.
      'Well, we'll go home and work some more. Don't cry. We'll come back,' he said.
      Quickly I handed $3.00 to the cashier. These children had waited in line for a long time. And, after all, it was Christmas. Suddenly a pair of arms came around me and a small voice said, 'Thank you, Sir.'
      'What did you mean when you said Jesus would like the shoes?' I asked.
      The small boy answered, 'Our mommy is sick and going to Heaven. Daddy said she might go before Christmas to be with Jesus.'
      The girl spoke: 'My Sunday school teacher said the streets in Heaven are shiny gold, just like these shoes. Won't mommy be beautiful walking on those streets to match these shoes?'
      My eyes flooded as I looked into her tear streaked face. 'Yes,' I answered, 'I am sure she will.' Silently I thanked God for using these children to remind me of the true spirit of giving."--
      Author Unknown

Greek Terms: αìώνιον; aiōnion-eternal; ζωὴν; zōēn-life
Figures Referenced: Herb Forst; Edmond Stanton; Henry David Thoreau
Publications Referenced: Invictus by William Henley

Cross References: Acts 20:35; Matthew 7:28-29; Matthew 9:2-6; Matthew 13:44; Matthew 16:18; Matthew 17:2; Matthew 27:54; Matthew 28:18; Mark 4:39-41; Luke 4:36; Luke 6:12; John 1:11; John 5:22; John 10:10; John 10:17-18; John 14:2; John 17:6; John 17:9; John 17:11; Acts 7:56; Romans 8:32; Philippians 2:9-11; Hebrews 12:2; Revelation 5:12-13; Revelation 21:23

Topic: Deity of Jesus

Keywords: glory, authority, humanity, eternity, gifts, when God prays

Transcript

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Why don't we pray and then we'll get started?  Father we do thank you, for the way you have showered so many blessings upon us, gifts that you've given to us.  Lord as we're about to enter a season that we will call Thanksgiving, we pause this morning and we thank You just for the way You've treated us as Your children.  We honor You in this service of worship, this is about You.  The songs are about You, the giving that we give is about You.  We do Lord, anticipate that You will also give to us as well but we're here because we love You.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.

Jesus said, "It's more blessed to give than it is to receive."  We know that to be true but we also know that giving can sometimes be stressful, dangerous even.  If you're a husband trying to find for your find for your wife the perfect gift, let me explain.  A man, by the name of Herd Foster from New York, submitted this little piece to the Reader's Digest, the things not to buy your wife.

Number one; don't buy anything that plugs in.  Anything that requires electricity is same as utilitarian.  Number 2; don't buy a clothes that involved sizes.  The chances are one in 7,000 that you will get her size right and your wife will be offended the other 6,999 times.  "Do I look like a size 16?"  She might say, too smaller size won't cut it either.  I haven't worn that size in 20 years.

Number three; avoid all things useful.  The new Silver Polish advertise to save 100 of hours is not going to win you any points.  Number four; don't buy any thing that involves weight loss or self improvement, she'll precede a six-month membership to a diet center or a health club as a suggestion that she is overweight.  Number five; don't buy jewelry.  The jewelry your wife wants, you can't afford.

And the jewelry you can afford, she doesn't want.  Number six; don't spend too much.  "How do you think we're going to afford that?"  She'll ask.  Number seven; don't spend too little.  She won't say anything but she's going to think, "Is all that I'm worth?

I also came across something put up by American Express Corporation.  They did a survey asking people, what is the worst Christmas gift you could ever receive?  I was amused; I was interested to discover that what tops the list as the worst Christmas gift is a fruitcake.  In fact, it is higher as the worst gift that even the category called, "No gift at all."

It's worst to get a fruitcake than no gift at all.  In the survey American Express said, "What do you do with a bad gift?  How do you dispose a bad gift?"  30% said, "Hide it in the closet."  21% said, "Return it." 90% said, "Give it away."

So now I'm thinking back to the fruitcake, there's a good chance that if you get a fruitcake this Christmas, it's recycled which explains why those things tastes so bad.  I'm just putting it all together.  It's not easy for us to find the perfect gift.  It's no problem for God to find the perfect gift.  God knows exactly what we need.

Now, all of that is an introduction for what we're about to look at in John 17 because in this chapter, the word give or given in one of those two forms is found no less than 17 times in this single chapter so it is a major theme.  We're going to look at the first five verses.  We just touched on verse one last week, I mentioned we could spend a year, I will spare you that going through this chapter but we will spend some weeks on it.

In the first five verses, Jesus asks for a gift, requests something from the Father.  And then He mentions three other gifts that are given, two from the Father to the son, one from the son to you and I.  So these are gifts that keep on giving.  But just notice that word and how often it is used.  Let's just look at the first eight verses, we won't go to the chapter but I want you to observe with me.  Jesus spoke these words.

Lifted up his eyes to heaven and said, "Father, the hour has come.  Glorify your son that your son may also glorify You.  As You have given him authority over all flesh that he should give eternal life to as many as You have given him and this is eternal life that they may know You, the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.  I have glorified you on the earth.  I have finished the work which You have given me to do.  And now, oh Father, glorify me together with Yourself with the glory which I had with You before the world was.  I have manifested Your name to the man that you have given me out the world.  They were Yours, You gave them to me.  And they have kept Your word."

"Now they have known that all things which you have given me are from you for I have given to them the words which you have given me and they have received them and they have known surely that I came forth from you and they believe that you sent me."  And on and on and on it goes through the chapter.  By the way, it's okay to pray for yourself.  Jesus did it, it is not unspiritual.  Jesus' entire life was marked by prayer generally as well as specifically.

Generally, we know that he prayed on one occasion all night.  On another occasion, they got up early in the morning.  So His whole life was marked generally by dependence upon the Father prayer.  His life was also marked by prayer specifically.  Here He gets very specific.  And I think when we pray, we ought to be specific.  I don't think a prayer like, "Well Lord, you know every need spoken and unspoken, so just bless everyone everywhere with everything."  We'll cut, we'll cut it, it won't really do much good, be specific.

What of you were to try that at a restaurant, what if you walked into a restaurant and said, "I have a general food need, bless me."  It would know what to give to you.  You are specific, you point to a menu and you say "This and I'll have that."

Jesus is specific.  And verses 1-5 he prays for himself.  I mentioned, He request one gift and he mentions three others.  Let's go through them.  First of all, the gift of glory, verse one.  Father the hour has come, here's the request.  Glorify your son that your son may also glorify you.  Now, tie that verse together with verse five and now, oh Father, glorify me together with yourself with the glory which I had with you before the world was.  Now, we have a couple things going on here.  Jesus prays for glory and when he does, he has two different things in mind.  Number one; he has the glory of the cross, I'll explain.  Number two; he has the glory that will come after the cross, heaven.  That's verse five.

The glory of the cross, I think is mentioned in verse one.  Glorify me Father.  The hour has come, glorify your son that your son may glorify you.  He is thinking and we touched on this last week.  The glory moment of the cross has come.  Father, we plan this since the beginning of time and now we're here.  This is it, its glory hour; it's the time for the countdown.  Let's get on with it because he knows that he's dying on the cross will open the door to the salvation of millions of people for the next few thousand years.  So he prays for the glory of the cross.

Now you might be thinking, how is the death of Jesus Christ glorious?  Well that's not really hard to understand even from a human view point is it?  Some men are not appreciated until after they die.  They're not appreciated in life but if they give their life as a soldier of for some cause, once they die, they are nobler in death than they ever imagine being in life.

Abraham Lincoln had lots of enemies, very vocal enemies.  One was his minister of war Edwin Stanton who made no bones about criticizing the president publicly on many occasions, called him a crude and an uncouth man.  But when Lincoln was shot and Edwin Stanton stood over the body of Abraham Lincoln.

With tears in his eyes, he looked down and said, "there lies, the greatest leader of men, this world has ever seen."  What Stanton did not acknowledge in life, he now acknowledged in Lincoln's death.

When Jesus died on the cross, there was a Centurion who watched the whole thing and as soon as Jesus was dead, he said, "Surely, this man was the son of God."  He didn't say that while he was alive he didn't see that while he was alive but now he sees it.

So that's not hard to understand how a person in death can be seen as more glorious.  But that's not really the glory of the cross that Jesus is speaking of.  What he was speaking of is the fact that this will bring God ultimate glory because it will demonstrate once and for all that there's no limit to which God would go in demonstrating his love.  That his mercy, his kindness, his grace, his love will even go to the nth degree.

If Jesus would've just come to this earth and stop short of the cross, let's say he would've come to this earth and just smiled a lot in pep little kids on the head and said a few nice words and lived an exemplary life and did not die on a cross, then we could say, "Aha! There is a level of love to which God will not go for us.  He will not die, he will not give his life, he will not sacrifice his son but now it's different.  Now we can see the Father who would look down and his son as he's on a cross bleeding, covered with the spit of the man he came to save and we go, his love knows no limit.

And truly we would say what Paul the apostle said in Romans chapter 8, "If God did not spare his only son but gave him up for us.  How will the not then freely give us all things?"  If he will give us that gift, sky is the limit.  Glorify your son, that's the first meaning of the gift of glory.  The second is different.  Look at verse five a little more carefully.  Now Father, glorify me together with yourself with the glory which I had with you before the world was.  He's talking now about a prehistoric, preexistent glory that he shared with the Father.

It's hard for us to imagine, we can only dimly imagine what it's like to leave heaven and come to earth.  The closest I ever came is the time I went to India; I have never been to a third world country.  I've been to other places, I've never been to a third world country and India is as third world as they get.  When we were flying into Mumbai which used to be called then Bombay, I remember as we are flying in, I said to a passenger, I said, "Now we're way up in the air." we're still circling I said, "What is that smell?"  We're up in the sky he said, "You are smelling the city of Mumbai."  I said, "You've got to be kidding."  Because there's the slum down there with over 1 million people just in the slam, not the city was millions in the city.  Just the slum of the city has over a million people, I did a little research.  It's so congested that's slum there in some places there's 18,000 people per acre.

Living in on top of each other and little plastic bag walls and cardboard walls and the squalor and the and the fizzes in the streets next to their water supply and it's just -- it's unbelievable to touch down and then to walk and I walk through those slums.  And I thought, this is their daily existence, it's only my temporary inconvenience but it's their daily existence.  And I thought I cannot wait to leave this place.  I want to go back home, I've never know -- all I knew was America.

Okay, so now, that's just a dim little insight into leaving the glories of heaven and coming to a feeding trough that's where the manger is a feeding trough of animals in Bethlehem to go from glory from the throne to the manger.  And it's much more than just that.  It's what Jesus had to put up with for 33 years.  What he had to see in terms of rebellion and sin and hatred against God and his ways and certainly against himself is God's son.  Jesus came unto his own, the bible says.  His own people and his own did not receive him.

So here is Jesus longing for that glory back, longing to go back to where he had come from the glories of heaven.  That's what he knew, that was home turf.  Sometimes we get a little glimpse into the glory of Jesus while he was on earth.  Think back to the transfiguration of Mathew 17.  Remember the story of Jesus takes a few of these disciples and on top of a high mountain he has transfigured with Moses and Elijah, that's what the bible says.

"Jesus' appearance changed so that his face shown like the sun and his clothing became dazzling white."  We read that and go, "Wow!  That's a miracle.  How cool would that be to see the miracle?"  I look at it differently; I don't think it was a miracle that he shined then.  I think it was a miracle that he didn't shine all the time.  But it just leaked out every now and again like here.  That's the glory he longed for in verse five.

Question, did the Father answer his prayer?  Oh, yes he did.  Jesus died, rose from the dead, ascended into heaven and Paul the apostle said in Philippians 2, "God has highly exalted him and given him a name that is above every name.  That if the name of Jesus every name should bow in every tongue should confess.  The first murderer, Steven when he was about to be stoned, the bible says, he looked up and he saw heaven open and said, "Look, I see Jesus standing at the right hand of God."  He saw him in his glorified state not the serving state.

And when we get to heaven, in Revelation chapter 5 tells us what the anthem of heaven will be like, worthy is the land, here's the glory, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing."  In every creature in heaven, on earth and under the earth and as such as are on the see all that is in them I heard saying blessing and honor and glory and power be to him who sits on the thrown and to the lamb, forever and ever.

Now, put verse five, couch verse five now in that.  "Give me the glory that I had with you before the world ever was."  Fast forward.  There's coming a day in heaven when the New Jerusalem will be the capital city and John said, "That city has no need of sun or moon for the glory of God illuminates it and the lamb is its light."

So why is Jesus longing for that glory?  Because that's home man, that's his home turf, that's his environment, that what he knew that's why he refer -- we call it heaven, he refer to it as my Father's house.  In my Father's house there are many mansions.  God, I want to glorify you and then I want to go home, that's what he's praying.  And today, that's where he is, he's back home.  And he's made a promise to you, he said, "I am going to prepare a place for you."  That is what I want you to just think of.  If Jesus Christ who had come from glory to the earth for 33 years in a temporary situation long to go back to glory, long to go back to heaven.

Just think about that.  If you have a loved one who has died or is dying who was a believer.  That's where they're going to.  If Jesus knew it was what it was like in it long for with that kind of death, how cool it must be.  That's why I believe I've said it before but I believe that that the last breath on earth as labored as it might be as painful as it might be and I've watched my own family take those last breaths.

I'm convinced that they know Christ immediately their next breath is "Wow!" something like that.  I've heard people saying, oh, heaven it's going to be so boring, I don't want to sit on the cloud and play a harp.

But guess what, I don't either.  A guitar maybe, a harp no, a ukulele I can do that but not a harp.  It's not going to be boring it's going to be glorious, that's why when people who know Christ die, I am sad, not for them I'm sad for the family, I'm sad for us, I'm sad for the loss.

But for that person who is in the presence of God, I envy them.  I don't go, "that poor person, he died, he's in heaven".  Oh yeah, I'm real sad for that.  I cannot be sad.  The worse thing that happened to them had turned out to be the best thing.  They're in glory.

We suffer.  I'm not minimizing that but not that person.  The gift to glory to Jesus Christ for he mentions three others here's the second the gift of the authority, verse two.  "As you have given Him that is you Father have given the Son, Him authority over all flesh".  Now stop right there.  This is a gift Jesus in prayer acknowledges the Father has given him authority over all flesh.  How much authority did Jesus have over all flesh?  Good answer, all.  Because before he leaves the earth, Matthew 28, he says to his disciples these words, "All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth."  That covers it all every bit of it.

Think of the authority that was displayed in Jesus' life.  First of all when Jesus taught people, he taught with authority.  He gave the Sermon on the Mount, and on Matthew chapter seven at the very end, it says these words, "And the crowds were amazed at his teaching because he taught them as one having authority and not as describes.  His voice had to be something to command thousands of people without a PA system.  No I cheat, I have microphone and a speaker system, that's very helpful.

But Jesus had thousands of people outdoors with ambient noise and his voice had to command them and there must have been a certainty and the persuasiveness and the power to the tone of his voice when he spoke and I can imagine that when I read Jesus' saying anything.  He spoke with authority, not as the scribe.  In other words, he didn't hide behind the opinions of the scribes, he'd say things like you've heard that it was said by those of old, but I say unto you and he mailed it.  He spoke with authority.

Second, he forgave people with authority.  He never said, "Well I hope you can get forgiven for that".  He said to a paralyzed man one day, "Your sins are forgiven you.  Be of good cheer."  And people around heard them, they said, "Who does this guy think he is?  God?"  Only God can forgive sins.  And Jesus said, "How come you guys are thinking evil thoughts just so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins" and he said to the paralytic, "You're healed, rise, take up your bed and walk".

I want to show you that I have power on this spiritual realm by making it as well as the physical realm that nobody else could do.  So when Jesus said, "I forgive you", or "You are forgiven", there was that air of certitude in his voice that caused the persons to walk with their heads raised and walk away, I'm forgiven.

Also Jesus had authority over the natural world.  If you read any of the gospels you will come across miracles.  He will heal the sick, he will raise the dead, on one occasion he spoke to a storm and said, "Peace, be still" and it just calm right down.  Remember the disciples said, "What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"  Ever thought what it was like to be a disciple, as you are learning, you're coming the grips with, it's dawning on you.  I'm dealing here with God in a human body the kind of power and authority that he displayed.

Not only that but he showed that he had authority not only over the natural world but over the supernatural world.  People who were oppressed by demons, he would cast them out.  One day he was in a synagogue and a guy there in the worship service was possessed.  And Jesus cast the demon out, the people there said, "What a word is this for with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits and they come out."

They knew about dark forces, they just didn't know what to do with them.  And here comes this guy with one sentence and taken care of.  Power, authority now only that, but Jesus had power over life and death.

Not just other people but his own.  Jesus on one occasion after telling the fact that he's going to go to be crucified and that he arise from the dead.  Then he explained that he himself has sovereign authority and control over his own life and death.  Listen to these words to John chapter 10.  "I laid down my life only to take it up again.  No one takes it from me but I lay it down of my own accord.  I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again, this command I have received from my Father."

So he has all authority.  Oh I left one out.  He has authority over judgment.  Jesus said in John 5, "The Father judges no one but he has entrusted all judgment to his Son."  Now in hearing those words, after noting that Jesus had authority over every other realm, natural world, supernatural world, et cetera, et cetera, now when Jesus says, "Oh by the way, I also have authority over judgment."  He would be who've the person listening to those words to get right with Jesus.  It would be who've of the person listening to those words to say not how can I escape his authority because you can't.

All authority means all authority.  No, rather you should say, "How should I respond to it?"  And I'll give you the answer.  You should respond to it willingly, voluntarily.  If he has all power and all authority and will ultimately be your judge and the bible says, "One day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess", why not do it willingly now, instead of by force later?

When I was preparing this message, a line came to my mind from William Henley's famous poem called "Invictus" which says, "It matters not how strait the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul".  Yeah right.  You might feel that way temporarily, but Jesus says "I have authority over all flesh".  It was a gift that he acknowledged the Father has given him.

So we covered two, the gift of glory he asked for.  The gift of authority, he acknowledges that he has.  Here's the third, the "Gift of Humanity".  Oh, this is a good one.  Look at verse two again, "As you Father, have given him Jesus the Son, authority over all flesh that he should give eternal life", now watch this, "to as many as you have given him".

I went through this chapter and I found that phrase seven times here as many as you have given him.  I don't want to dig all seven up because of time but I want you to notice a few.  Look at verse 6, "I have manifested your name to the men you have given me out of the world.  They were yours, you gave them to me.  They have kept your word".

Verse 9 "I pray for them.  I do not pray for the world but for those you have given me for they are yours".  Verse 11, "I'm no longer in the world but these are in the world and I come to you holy Father, keep through your name those whom you have given me."

May I ask you something, fellow Christians, if you are a Christian?  Have you ever though of yourself as being a love gift from the Father given to the Son that is exactly what you are?  Now from an earthly perspective, when we come to Christ, when we received Christ, we say it this way.  "I've given my life to God, that's not how God sees it".  God sees it?  No.  I the Father have given your life to my Son.  You see God the Father knew that his Son needed a group, a people.  Jesus called it the Church.  "Upon this rock, He said, I will build my church", means called out ones, called out from humanity to be the micro cost of humanity, a believing ones.

You are a love gift; give your life to Christ.  God gives you the Christ.  That's from heaven's perspective, you are a love gift.  Jesus gave this parable.  "The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field when a man has found it, he hides it.

And then in his joy, he sells of that he has and he buys that field".  And what is that a parable about, I've heard people say, "Oh that's a parable of us finding God, and we get word of everything to have God.  He's worth us giving worth of everything to have him".  I don't think that's the meaning of the parable.  First of all, you can never buy God.  Second of all you don't have enough worth anything to sell to get him.  Third, when Jesus unlocks the meaning of the parable, he said this, "The field is the world."  The field is-- you don't buy the world to get God.  Here is a picture of God not you and me, it's a picture of God buying the world through his Son's blood on the cross so that he can find the treasure in the field which he says, it's you and I.

We are the treasure, it's his people, it's his church, it's the treasure.  It's worth it for the joy that was set before on and the bible says, "Jesus endured the cross despising the pain.  He saw you and he thought, "Is this worth the pain, they will be mine".  The Father gave you to the Son as the gift of humanity.

Here's the fourth and final gift.  It's the "Gift of Eternity".  Now this one's different from the previous three.  The first one is the gift Jesus asked for from the father, the second two are simply acknowledgments that the father has given authority and humanity to Jesus, but this fourth gift is the gift that we get from Jesus.  Verse 2 "As you have given authority over all flesh that he should give eternal life to as many as you have given him" and then in verse 3, it's explained, "and this is eternal life that they may know you the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent".

So do you see the difference here, this is the gift we received from Jesus, "Oh, there are many more gifts than this, but this is the first one, others follow".  The first one, the most important one is we get the gift of eternal life.  Now let's put it all together, let's connect all these dots of what we've been talking about this morning.  Jesus says, "Father I want my glory back so that that would bring ultimate glory to you".  How?  How will that work?

Simply by Jesus exercising his authority that came from the Father, he'll raise himself from the dead then taking the humanity called the Church that he's going to work with and with his authority and with the humanity that God has given him, he's going to take that into eternity.  And that would be theme that runs throughout this chapter.

That he would give eternal life to his many as the father has given to him and a word about that term, Eternal Life.  When we hear about eternal life, you know what we typically think of?  We think about life that goes on and on and on and on and sort of like the eveready bunny, just keeps going and going and going and going that's eternal life, it's life that just keeps going and going and going, it's longevity.  That really doesn't quite cut it.  The word in Greek the two words "aionia zoi", I like to look at it better than saying eternal life age abiding life.  It is a quality of life that begins now.  And it does go on and on and on but it's the quality that begins now and continues forever.

And you need to see it that way.  Because technically, every person on earth even the most wicked person has eternal life, their life would go and on and on and on, but not in heaven.  This is something different.  This is a quality of life that begins now and carries all throughout eternity.  And I think I would tie this phrase eternal life with something Jesus said in John Chapter 10.  "I have come", he said "that they might have life and have it more abundantly," I like to say, "to the max".  One translation says "to the brim and overflowing".

I've come that you might have life that means now, to the brim and overflowing.  Henry David Thoreau said, "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation".  Jesus said, "but my plan is that they would have life to the brim and overflowing".  I wonder if you live in Thoreau's camp or Jesus' camp.

Eternal life.  Now notice something in verse 3.  Jesus describes eternal life not chronologically, not expansively, but relationally.  Look at how he defines it.  And this is eternal life that they may know you.  Se that's something now, not that they will know but that they may know you the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sinned, when the bible here talks about knowing God it does not mean knowing information about God or having an awareness of God, it means a personal experiential relationship with God.

Eternal life begins now by knowing God through Jesus Christ and it lasts forever and ever and ever.  It's when you receive the gift and then there's more to follow.  By the way, a gift is only worth something if you receive it, am I right?  If somebody says, "Here's a gift", and you go "huh" and you don't grab it, receive it, open it, use it, so what?

So Jesus is willing to give, verse 2 eternal life.  And he will give it to all those the Father has given to him.  That's election.  The gift has to be received and then there's more to follow.  I want to close to the little story I came across.  It was about a man who went shopping, it's Christmas time, not now but when the story took place few days before Christmas and this guy recognizes that there's some people in his Christmas list that he didn't buy for and so now he's a little bit guilty and he thinks, "Okay I have to go to the store and pick up that last minute gift", you know that's like.

Okay, the malls are crowded the store he goes is super crowded, he can't find the parking space, finally finds one, as he is walking he's thinking, "My feet are tired, why did I pick this day?  Why am I doing this?"  The lines are long, he stands in a long cashier line and as he was standing there.  There's two little kids in front of him.  He guesses the boy is about 10 and the little girl probably a sister is about 5.  And what he notice is, is just how filthy they are.  Disheveled, her hair is messed up, there's remnants of whatever meal they last ate on their mouths, their clothes don't fit, they're dirty, so obviously they haven't had new ones for a while.

And finally the line moved towards the cashier now waits on these two children.  Here's the story.  That would be $6.09 the cashier said.  The boy laid his crumpled dollars on top of the stand while he emptied his pockets.  He finally came up with $3.12.  "I guess we'll have to put them back", he bravely said, "we will come back some other maybe tomorrow".  With that statement, a soft sob broke from the little girl "but Jesus would have loved those shoes", she cried.  "Well, we'll go home and work some more, don't cry, we'll come back", he said.

Well quickly, I handed $3 to the cashier, these children had been in line a long time and after all it was Christmas.  Suddenly, pair of arm comes around me and a small voice said, "Thank you, sir".  I looked down.  "What did you mean when you said, Jesus would like the shoes?" I asked.  The small boy answered, "Our mommy is sick and going to heaven.  Daddy said she might go before Christmas to be with Jesus".  Then the girl spoke, "My Sunday school teacher said the streets in heaven are shiny gold like these shoes, won't Mommy be beautiful walking on those streets to match these shoes?"  My eyes flooded as I looked into her tear-streaked face. "Yes, I said, I'm sure she will".

Finally, I thank God for using these children to remind me of the true spirit of giving.  God gave the greatest gift.  It's the gift that keeps on giving.  It's the gift of his Son on a cross that allows him to give eternal life and many more follow.  It begins now but enables us to walk the streets of heaven forever.  Lord, thank you for the gift.

Thank you for your Son.  And thank you for that most famous of all verses that some said of so perfectly, "For God so loved the world, that He gave his Son".  Here Jesus acknowledges that Father, here we are talking to you even as Jesus was talking to you 2000 years ago.  As he was asking for that gift of glory, acknowledging the gift of authority and humanity, we're thankful for the gift of eternity.  For eternal life, age abiding life begins now and carries us all the way to those streets of gold that that little boy and girl spoke of.  Lord I do pray, we do pray for anyone with us this morning who doesn't know Jesus.

That that information they know about you, they know about him, they have an awareness of a historical figure by that name, but that knowledge is not personal, it is not experiential.  I pray Lord that that would be changed that some would receive the gift of eternal life.  Open the package, delight in its content, live the life as a follower of Christ.  I pray Father that people who come here will not be content with just coming to church but be content with nothing less than walking with Christ and knowing God and knowing Christ.  In Jesus' name. Amen.

Additional Messages in this Series

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