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Missionaries or Monasteries?
John 17:11-19
Skip Heitzig

John 17 (NKJV™)
11 "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.
12 "While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
13 "But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.
14 "I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
15 "I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.
16 "They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
17 "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
18 "As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.
19 "And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.

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

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43 John - Believe:879 - 2009

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!

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

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

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

Outline

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  1. We're in a Dangerous Position

  2. We're Given God's Protection

  3. We Need Spiritual Preparation

  4. We've Been Called to Permeation

Stuff to Think About:


  1. In what ways have Christians you've known made a positive impact on their culture?

  2. How does it make you feel that you're sometimes treated like the Lord you serve? (See John 15:19-21.)

  3. In what ways does the world influence you? How do you influence the world?

Detailed Notes

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  1. Introduction
    1. At times, the world is intimidating
      1. "The world is too big for us. Too much is going on. Too many crimes. Too much violence and excitement. Try as you will, you get behind in the race in spite of yourself. It's a constant strain to keep pace --- and still, you lose ground. Science empties its discoveries on you so fast that you stagger beneath them in hopeless bewilderment. The political world now changes so rapidly you're out of breath trying to keep pace with who's in and who's out. Everything is high pressure. Human nature can't endure much more!”— Atlantic Journal, June 16, 1833
      2. "Energy Crisis Looms: World May Go Dark since Whale Blubber so Scarce"— Boston Globe, November 13, 1857
        1. Some left Boston
        2. Others stayed the course, worked toward alternate forms of energy
    2. Pressures make us isolationists or integrationists
  2. We're in a Dangerous Position
    1. "These are in the world" (v. 11)
      1. "World" used 12 times in these 9 verses
        1. "In the world" 5 times
        2. "Of the world" 5 times
      2. "World" Defined
        1. Physical world: God's creation
          1. "God, who made the world and everything in it" (Acts 17:24)
          2. "The earth is the Lord's, and all its fullness" (Psalm 24)
          3. As believers, we appreciate the created world more; we know the One Who created it
        2. Mankind; humankind
          1. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
          2. "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:39)
          3. We shouldn't place our love for the environment or people above our love for God: "To love the world and fail to love god would be like a bride, who being given a ring by her bridegroom loves the ring more than the bridegroom who gave it. Of course, she should love what the bridegroom gave her, but to love the ring and despise him who gave it is to reject the very meaning of the ring as a token of his love."—Augustine
        3. An ethical system
          1. κόσμος; Kosmos-world; a way a set of values, principles, activities arranged in an order with their own way of thinking, standards, and philosophies
          2. A world system whose values, standards and ideas are controlled by the Devil
          3. "The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving" (2 Corinthians 4:4 NASB)
    2. Occupational Hazard to following Jesus: hated by the world
      1. Viewed as ignorant, arrogant, intolerant, blind
      2. The moment you say you love Christ, there is a target on you
  3. We're Given God's Protection
    1. Keep; kept- guarded
    2. Jesus prays not for escape, but integration
    3. Isloation: effort to stay pure
      1. Some ate in the fields like cows
      2. Some didn't change their clothes or bathe
      3. Simeon Stylites
        1. Lived 30 years on a 60 foot pillar
        2. One who tried to emulate him: "I soon perceived it a difficult thing to be a saint while living with your own family. Now I see why Simeon Stylites and Jerome went out to the desert."
    4. Jesus prays the perfect will of God: You can be sure it will be answered
      1. "I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day." (2 Timothy 1:12)
      2. "Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;" (Philippians 1:6)
      3. "Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith," (Hebrews 2:12)
    5. "None of them is lost except the son of perdition" (v. 12)
      1. You have to want to be kept
      2. Judas Iscariot was never a true believer; He didn't follow Christ
    6. Security of the believer
      1. Knowing God keeps us produces stability
      2. Not knowing God keeps us produces instability
      3. God's preserving hand is not based on you or your activity, but on God
  4. We Need Spiritual Preparation
    1. Don't just make it through
      1. Finish well
      2. Be prepared to make a difference
    2. By the truth
      1. Steady doses of sanctifying truth in order to make an impact
      2. Sanctify-consecrate, set apart, dedicate, prepare
        1. In the world, not of the world
        2. Kept from the evil around you
        3. Stand against the world that hates you
      3. To know it and believe it is compelling and attractive
        1. "Set a man on fire and people will come to watch him burn"—C. H. Spurgeon
        2. Deist philosopher David Hume
          1. Didn't believe in Christ, salvation, atonement
          2. Went to hear George Whitfield: "You don't believe a word he says" "No, but he does"
        3. Billy Graham: "The Bible says..."
    3. Anchored to the Bible
      1. "Double minded man, unstable in all his ways" (James 1:7)
      2. "The Bible that is falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn't"—C.H. Spurgeon
  5. We've Been Called to Permeation
    1. Graduation
      1. He takes you out: salvation
      2. He cleans you up: sanctification
      3. He puts you back: evangelism
    2. How Christians relate to the world
      1. Isolate (monastic)
      2. Insulate (Pharisees)
        1. The separated ones
        2. Didn't evangelize
      3. Vegetate
        1. Apathetic Christians
        2. Focused on personal comfort
      4. Imitate
      5. Permeate
        1. Called out
        2. Make an impact
    3. Salt of the earth
      1. Put into corrupted meat to preserve it
      2. Contact without contamination
    4. Our place
      1. In the Word
      2. In the world
        1. Christian needs both
        2. Like codfish:
          1. Frozen: no flavor
          2. Sea water only: mushy
          3. With catfish: fresh, firm, flavorful
        3. “There was a very cautious man
          Who never laughed or played
          He never risked, he never tried,
          He never sang or prayed.
          And when he on day passed away,
          His insurance was denied,
          For since he never really lived,
          They claimed he never really died."

Greek Terms: κόσμος; Kosmos-world;
Publications referenced: Atlantic Journal; Boston Globe
Figures referenced: Augustine, Simeon Stylites; C. H. Spurgeon; David Hume; Billy Graham
Cross references: Psalm 24; Matthew 22:39; John 3:16; Acts 17:24; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Philippians 1:6; 2 Timothy 1:12; Hebrews 2:12; James 1:7

Transcript

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Turn in your bible to John chapter 17 this morning as we continue our study in the Gospel of John.  We've been in and out two years we're already almost in chapter 18.

I found a cartoon that said, "The rat race is over, the rats won." It was a little commentary on how intimidating the world can seem sometimes.  It can seem scary to us.

I want to read news article to you.  The world is too big for us, there's too much going on, too many crimes, too much violence.  Try as you will, you get behind in the race.  It's an incessant strain to keep pace, you still you lose ground.  Science empties its discoveries on you so fast that you stagger beneath in hopeless bewilderment.  The political world is new scenes so rapidly you're out of breath trying to keep pace with who's in and who's out.  Everything is high pressure.  Human nature can't endure much longer.  That's an article from June 16, 1833.  It's a news article written 178 years ago that sounds like it could've written this week, political intrigue, wars going on, information explosion, et cetera.  The deal is, is that in every generation with our own context, we see the world as filled with pressure.  It's not a friendly place we discover.

Here's another headline from the Boston Globe, this is November 13th, 1857, listen to this.  Front page: "Energy crisis looms." Energy crisis looms, here's the subheading though.  "The world may go dark since whale blubber is so scares."

Now, what do you with headlines like that? What did people do with headlines like that? Energy crisis looms, oh no, no whale blubber.  Well they did a few things.  Some people actually left Boston, they thought, if there's no whale blubber, I'm a toast, I'm going to the country, I'm going to get a wood burning stove, I'm going to become very independent, other people decided "Let's stay in town, let's be a part of the solution, let's work toward alternate forms of energy.  Let's work this thing through; maybe we're too dependent upon whale blubber." You see the pressures in our world tend to make us either isolationist or integrationist.  On one hand, it will make some people flee "I'm leaving, I've got to get out, I've got to join the monastery." Other people will say "I want to be a missionary.  I want to do something about this."

We're on John chapter 17, we begin in verse 11.  Jesus is praying to his Father, it's the high priestly prayer Jesus talking to God, the Father about His disciples.  We get to eavesdrop on a little of that language and here in the prayer we're about to see that Jesus is speaking about the relationship His followers have with the world that is around them.  Basically Jesus says "Father, I know I'm leaving soon, I'm out of here, but these guys, my disciples, they got to stay and the world is pretty hostile.", they're going to find it a "not friendly environment" and so there are some things that he prays about.

Look with me in verse 11 of John 17.  Now, I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, keep through your name those whom you have given me that they maybe one as we are.  While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name.  Those whom You gave Me, I have kept and none of them is lost except the son of Perdition that the scripture might be fulfilled, but now I come to you and these things I speak in the world that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.  I have given them your word and world has hated them because they are not of the world, just I am not of the world.  I do not pray that you should take them out of the world but you should keep them from the evil one.  They are not of the world just as I am not of the world.  Sanctify them by your truth, Your word is truth as You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world and for their sakes, I sanctify myself that they also maybe sanctified by the truth.

That's the text, now let's pray.  Father in heaven, we do pray in the name of Jesus just like Angel prayed a moment ago.  She remarked on the fact that You pray for us and we think that You are thinking of your disciples, those that followed You then and Your disciples now, those who follow You here are now us and You could see what we need and You could pray for what was most important, in effect what is Your will for us.  So help us Lord as we now examine and unpack the truth of the paragraph that we are eavesdropping on to understand our relationship with the world that we live in, in Jesus' name, Amen.

Now in the paragraph that we just read, I want to give you four principles that come out of the text that speak about how we relate our relationship to the outside world.  I'll give them to you, one, two, three; four they're in your worship folder as well.  Number one, we live in a dangerous place or we're in a dangerous position.

As I read through what you and I just read a moment ago, I counted 12 usages of a single word.  The word "world" is repeated 12 times in nine verses, the world, the world, the world, that's what He's praying about, the disciples in the relationship with the world.  Five times a phrase appears in the same paragraph.  It's the phrase "in the world", they are in the world.  Another five times the phrase "of the world" appears.  They are not of the world, Jesus says, five times.

So here to sum it up, Jesus says "here's the relationship, here's the position and this is why it is dangerous." They're "in the world" but they're not "of the world" and to top it all up if you look down on verse 14, something else.  The world has hated them, you get the picture.  You're in it, you're not of it, the world hates you.  It's hard to be in something that you're not a part of that hates you.

Now here's the question.  What does Jesus mean by the term "the world"? It's an important question because 209 times the New Testament uses the word "world".  It's used three different ways.  It's used one way here, but it's an important question to ask.  What does the New Testament mean, principally when it refers to the world? Because a "for in it" and "not of it", we got to know what it is.  Here's a couple more usages, Paul will say this in the Book of Romans.  Don't be conformed to this world or don't let the world squeeze you into its mold, one translation puts it.

John will write in I John, I think chapter 2, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.  Whoever or if anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." So it behooves us to know exactly what the bible means by the term "the world if we're not to love it." And if we love it, it means that we're not loving God, so what is it? Well I mentioned the bible uses it three different ways.  Number one, it speaks of the physical world, the world of God's creation.

In Acts chapter 17, Paul addresses the crowd and he says "God who made the world and everything that is in it." It is the created world that God made.  So when the bible says "don't love the world", it doesn't refer to the physical world, it doesn't mean that you're to hate rocks and trees and grass and you're suppose to stand in front a tree and go "I hate you." Somebody says "what are you doing?" well the bible says "don't love the world"; well it doesn't mean it that way because Psalm 24 says "the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof." In fact I believe that once you become a Christian, you actually appreciate the created world more than you did before because now you have a relationship with the one who made it.  Now you look at it through different eyes.  Now the environment that you're in, you go "wow this is a gift from God."

I don't know how unbelieving scientist do it, they have to look around at the marvelous beauty, order and design and say "what a beautiful accident." Now we know who did it, we love God for it.  So it means number one, the created world, the physical world, the universe.

A second way the term is used is to speak of the world of mankind, human kind, people.  John said co quoting Jesus "for God so loved the world." What did he mean? Wasn't the created physical universe as much as the people who occupy the planet, God loves people.  So when the bible says "you and I are not to love the world" it can't mean we're not to love the world of people right? If God loved the world of people, then we would love the world of people and Jesus said you are to love your neighbor as your self.  So we're called to love people.  But here's the danger, the danger is that, yes we appreciate the physical universe has made, yes we love people in the world but any time we place the environment or other people above our love for God, we're in trouble.

Some people talk all about the environment.  The environment, the environment, the environment and people, people, people, good, great, but don't that eclipse your love first of all for God. 

Agustin wrote these words.  To love the world and fail to love God would be like a bride who being given a ring by her bridegroom loves the ring more than the bride bridegroom who gave it.  Of course she should love what the bridegroom gave her, but to love the ring and despise him who gave it is to reject the very meaning of the ring as a token of his love.

So we've covered two usages of the term "the world", the physical world, the world of people.  Here's the third usage, it's the most prominent usage in the New Testament.  It is the way Jesus intends it primarily here.  It's the world as an ethical system.  The word "kosmos", which is the Greek word for world, we get the word cosmic from it or cosmopolitan from it, comes from a verb that means to set things in order or to arrange.  So the term, the idea of the world is the world system.  The way the values, the way the principles, the way the activities are all arrange in order with their own way of thinking, standards and philosophies.  So its the world system.

So here we are in a physical world surrounded by a world of people but dominated by a world system, get this, a world system who's values, standards, and ideas are controlled by the devil.  Now for some people there's an immediate disconnect "whoa", that's exactly what the bible says.  The bible calls Satan in II Corinthians "the god of this world who has blinded the minds of those who believe not." So here we are in the physical universe filled with the world of people, dominated by a system that is opposed to the values and standards of God, that's the world we're not to be conformed to, that's the world we're not to led by, that's the world we're not to love and when we do, it's dangerous.  So here we are, we're in, we're not of it.  And that poses; let's call it an occupational hazard.  If you love Jesus, there's an occupational hazard to following him.  Look at verse 14 "the world has hated them", that's the occupational hazard.

The world has hated them because they are not of the world.  See as long as you're in this world but you don't share their system of values, their ethics, then you are ignorant, arrogant, intolerant and blind, that's how they view it.  "You're so intolerant because you don't agree with me" tell will say or they will mean.  So you're in it, you're not of it and because you're not of it, they don't like you.  Now you can be an atheist, that's okay.  You can be an agnostic, that's okay.  You can be foul mouth, that's okay.  You can drink a lot, that's okay.  You can be sexually promiscuous, that's okay.  You can even be mildly religious but as the moment, as long as you say "I love Christ," there's a target on you.

The world hated them because they are not of the world.  So you see this principles stated pretty strongly here and elsewhere.  We're in a dangerous position.  Let me give you the second principle.  Now it's important at this point to get reassured a little bit because though we're on a dangerous position, we're given God's protection.  There's a word that is also repeated a few time, it's the word "keep" or "kept", means guarded.

Verse 11, Jesus said, "Father keep them, keep them, guard them." And then later on He says, "I don't pray that you take them out of this world but that you keep them, protect them, guard them."  Please notice that.  When Jesus prays for His men who are in this world hated by the world he doesn't pray a prayer of escapism.  He doesn't say, "Father help them all to find the nice little cave somewhere where they can store food and ammunition and well blubber for the future.  It's not a prayer of escape, it's a prayer of integration, it's a prayer of being a missionary they're here, they're in it they're hated by all, keep them.

Years ago when Church history there was the idea that if you leave the world, leave the world of people and isolate yourself in the desert or in the four restaurant of monastery that's the only way you're going to be able to manage and cope.  It was the whole movement during church history called the monastic movement a movement toward monasteries or isolationism.  People withdrew to stay pure and there's all sorts of interesting stories of how people suck to escape some lead in the fields and grace like cattle because they thought that's holiness.  I'm eating like a cow, I'm holy.  Really?  I think it's weird.

One person was regarded have the reputation for being so orderly holy because he never changed his clothes and he never bathed, I don't want to be that holy.  Probably the most famous story and antiquity comes from the fifth century a monk by the name of Simeon Stylites who lived for 30 years on top of a 60 foot high pillar.  He became a tourist attraction that he would be up there day and night, day and night.  Managed to get food then go back up day and night for 30 years I lived the top of the pillar and it just so impressed people wow and I got must be really holy.

And so others sucked to immolate them and there's a story of one who was a wannabe kind of a recluse and he solve what Simeon Stylites have done except he didn't have a pillar and he lived in the city, so what he did is he took a chair and put it on his kitchen table that was his pillar, put a sheet around him like a contemplation cloth and he just sought this, so this is it and everything was good till his family came home and so what are you doing up there sitting on the chain on the kitchen table and he got down and he writes later on these words.  I soon proceed it's a very difficult thing to be a saint while living with your own family.  Now I see why Simeon Stylites and Jerome went out to the dessert.  Listen, we don't need to saints on pillars, we need saints by in desks and then hospitals and then the work force integrating with our culture besides that you can do all of those things there's a question yourself away and still be a very worldly person.

If you read the stories of those recluses and those monks they battle so often with lust and bad thoughts and to counteract the bad thoughts they had why they were alone in their room they would sometimes go out and throw themselves into a foreign bush, so as not to have bad lustful thoughts now, they have to think about the wounds they have incurred which I never thought was a good idea because it will always be a dead give away right as to what you've been thinking lately you come back to the monastery and say dude your mind is been in the gutter oh.  No really I just fell.

Verse 11, Luke at it with me, "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.  I love that it means protect that's then how you be render."  Verse 12,  While I was with them in the world I kept to them in your name, those of you who kept me I have kept and non of them is lost except the son of perdition that the scripture might be fulfilled."  Verse 15, "I do not pray that you should take them out of the world but then you should keep them from the evil one."

Now Jesus said, "I did it, I kept them."  While I was with them I made sure they were protected, I kept them but now that I am leaving them, it's really important Father that you take and maintain that and that you keep them."

Now we mentioned before the first time that if Jesus is praying this and it's praying the perfect will of God, you can be assured it's going to be answered.  So please let this be an assurance to you.  Some timid Christians will sometimes say, "Oh how do I know I even get and make it true."

And I often will smile and say because I know Him.  I know Him and he can keep you and he will keep you.  The bible promises that you'll make it true.  Paul wrote to Timothy and he said, "I know whom I have believed, I love that, not I know what I believe I know whom I have believed and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed to him until that day.  And if you have committed you to him, he will keep you till the very end.  Whatever God starts he finishes, right.  He who has began a good work will complete it.  He's the author and the finisher of our faith.  God does not like me; I have so many unfinished projects here and there and everywhere.

And it's not like God goes, "Oh yeah, you I forgot about you but I can get to you for a while I'm so busy over here whatever God starts he finishes.  And some of you say wait a minute I'd looked at Verse 12 too, what about that guy because Jesus said I kept and none of them is lost except we're uncomfortable with that word except whom.  The son of perdition that the scripture might be fulfilled that's Judas Iscariot.  And so you might be wondering, why didn't Jesus kept him?  Listen you got I want to be kept.  Judas never did, he wasn't kept because he never wanted to be kept.  There's evidence that he was never a true believer it is a sort of one of allow the crowd, he just went to Church, just open the book into the right verse saying the right songs, his heart was never changed, his heart was never touched, he didn't' follow Christ.  He just went along for the joyride but those I truly believed I have kept and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, Judas Iscariot that the scripture might be fulfilled.

Now knowing that God keeps us produces stability, not knowing that God keeps us produces instability.  There's a lot of unstable Christians because they just haven't got the grip on God's preserving, keeping, protecting hand that is not based on you, or your nature, or your activity but God's.  You know what's like, it's like if you go on a trip, you got to go all planned out and then you discover you take in the wrong turn and you're lost now and now you panic, well you might not panic.  I did.

I have moved to Albuquerque, I hadn't seen much of the state.  Our son was born and he was a little baby and I said to my wife, let's see the state.  Let's go down the white sand.  Now you would think, that's pretty easy and you'd never get lost there but I did and I took the wrong turn and I end up from a little town called "Carrizozo" ever been there.  I had never been there and I thought I had been transported 200 years back to the Wild Wild West because my son is in the back seat and he was vomiting.  So I knew he had a fever.  My car was on the blink so I needed to get a car fixed and I needed to find a doctor neither was a possibility where I was.  They said we don't have a doctor on these parts; a nurse comes twice a week that's it.  And you can get car fixed for about a 150 miles.  So now I started panicking because I thought I was on the right road on the right track everything was flowing the way I wanted to now it's very disorienting.

That's what believers are like who don't have a firm grip on the keeping power of God, so we're in a dangerous position but we're given God's protection in this world.  Here's the third principle, we need spiritual preparation.  We need spiritual preparation.  Not to know about you but I am glad and I am grateful and I thank God that I'm going to be kept in this world that I have that promise but frankly that's not enough.  I want more; I don't want to just make it through to the end.  I want to make it through well.  I want to finish well.  I don't' want to just get to heaven and go, "Men amidst, awesome" I'll be saying that but I want to say by God's grace while I was here I was ready for the test and prepared for the test to make a difference.  Now is that possible?

In a single word by the truth that's the word, truth.  You and I need steady doses of sanctifying truth if we're going to make it any impact at all in this world.

Look at the 17th verse; notice the prayer Jesus rays to his Father.  "Sanctify them I know that's an old fashioned bible word that means consecrate them set them apart, dedicate them it could also be translated, prepare them, move them aside and prepare them get them ready.  Sanctify them by your truth, your word is true.  Verse 19, "And for their sake I sanctify myself that they maybe sanctified by the truth.  It's the truth.

This is how you can be in the world and out of the world.  This is how you can be kept from the evil that is all around you by the truth.  This is how we can stand against a world that hates our Gospel and hates those of us who preach it.  And if we're going to make any impact in this dangerous world it's because of the truth.

You got to know it and believe it, you know there's something compelling even attractive about a person who believes the truth with such deep conviction, it moves people when they find that kind of authority and authenticity.  Charles Haddon Spurgeon used to say sediment on fire and people will come to watch him burned.  There was a man named David Hume, if you took philosophy you know him well.  He was a philosopher, he claimed to be a DS here and believed in a deity of Christ he didn't believe in the person of Christ, he didn't believe in salvation etcetera, he didn't believe in the cross and atonement didn't believe the bible has inspired and one evening he was going to the streets of London, and somebody recognized him and he said, "You're David Hume aren't you?"  So he said yes I am.

To where you off to, he said, I'm going to hear to George Whitfield to preach and the man was taken to back and he said George Whitfield but you don't believe the word he says, he goes no I don't but he does.  And there's just something compelling that David Hume out of his house to listen to somebody who really believed what he preached.  Set a mount on fire and people will come to watch him burn and the same has been true with Doctor Billy Gram all these years who stood in and stadiums around the world and from his youth all the way to his old age he always said, "the bible says" and often quoted reframed, "the bible says", "the bible says" and it's the truth that he passionately believed people are drawn to that.

So the truth is what preserves you, it's what prepares you, this world system will eat you alive if you don't get teetered and anchored to biblical truth.  If you are like wow, I don't really know what I believe, I don't' really know if that's true and that James put a beautifully a double minded man is on stable and all his ways and if you're doubled minded about the bible, you'll be like a bowie bouncing up and down in the sea, right?  But the whole to it firmly, is what prepares you and I to do something in this world.

Again Charles Spurgeon, do it said, "So many cool things, eh said a bible that is falling apart usually belongs to somebody who isn't."  I like that.  I look at a person's life they're just on course confidence trusting the Lord look at their bible they've been in and a lot pretty be that problem and then what it means she go take your bible home and run over with your car and tear a few pages out and right a bunch of stuff and go see spiritual.  But this is why we tell people buy a bible, own a bible bring a bible to Church, read it frequently so it becomes yours, it's the truth you refer to that is how you will be prepared constant study doses of sanctifying truth prepare a year.

So, our position we're in the world not of that.  Our protection, God promises to keep you like Jesus kept his own, our preparation the word of God, that's why we come every week.  We get fed, get prepared.  And the fourth is really it ties it all together, to me this is the past part, this is the graduation part, this is where you graduate because what good is it to be so prepared and so protected if you're not going to really do anything with it.  And this is the permeation face, that's the fourth principle we've been called the permeation, look at Verse 18.

As you sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.  Let that phrase just sort of sip into your heart for a minute, think of that, break it up.  Jesus recognizes I have been sent into this world by my Father, I'm on a mission from God, he knows what the cross is all about, he knows why he's here.  I've been sent by you Father.  In the same way that I've been sent on a mission, I have commissioned them, I have sent them into the world.

Now, would you allow me to have you look at the verse along side of that to compare one verse with this verse because I want you to see something I think it's vital. Go back to verse six part of the same prayer.  I have manifested your name to the men whom you have given me out of the world, out of the world.  They were yours, you gave them to me and they have kept your word.  Now look at verse 18, as you sent me into the world, I have send them into the world.  See how this all works?  He takes you out of the world spiritually, that's salvation.

You're not part of the world, you're part of the kingdom of God, and you're part of the church.  Different value system, different way of living, taking you out of the world, that's salvation he's claimed you up, that's sanctification then he puts you back into the world, that's mission, that's impact, that's evangelism.  Out clans and then hey guess what, you're going back and now you can really affect it.

I want to close by having you with me in your mind just compare different ways through out history, up to this present time that Christians have related to the world and we'll end on this one.  Read briefly, number one, historically one of the means that Christians have related to their world is to isolate.  To isolate, isolate themselves, that's the whole monastery idea.  World is bad, I have to leave all of it and I have to find a lonely quiet place and be away from it for me to even cope as to isolate.  That's what monasteries are all about.  It seemed to serve some well, I don't think it's the appropriate response.  I've even heard that idea in conversations, we had conversations some years back and I remember someone said to me, "Skip would it be cool if every neighbor in your neighborhood love Jesus."  And if guy at the post office and at the grocery they were all Christians and everybody in the police force and the fire -- all of them love Jesus and everybody in the town you lived in.  If everybody was a Christian, think how cool that would be.  I said, "Friend you just described heaven."  That's the millennium you're talking about.  And that's wonderful but that are not going to happen.

And to say, "let's go create one doesn't serve this world then its good."  That's number one to isolate.  Response number two is to insulate, the world is bad, I've got to protect myself, protect my family from all the bad influence to the world so I'll just kid for we're here but not really here.  And so all be over here and I'll point my finger in at world and say, "Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad."  But I wont really do anything about it because I'm insulated from it.

There was a group in the New Testament that tried that, they were called Pharisees.  That's what they were called.  Pharisees is the word that means The Separated Ones, they were insulated from the world, separated from the world.  They would walk to the streets of their town, especially Jerusalem with their robes tightly around their bodies, heads down so its not to make eye contact with the gentile, robes close to them so the wouldn't touch you or I aren't got codices.  So that's how they would be insulated from it.  Oh by the way, the Pharisees pointed out the world and said, "Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad."  But never once do you read of a Pharisee doing evangelism, never once, never reaching out to win us all.

A third response is to vegetate, not isolate, not insulate but to vegetate, this is the apathetic Christian, whatever worlds going to hell I'll let it.  All I care about is personal comfort along the way I just want my share now.  It's a very, very sad state when a person comes to the "Vegetate phase".

A fourth response, a believers has been not to isolate, no to insulate, not to vegetate but to imitate.

And this is the believer who says, "Well you know what?  If we're ever going to reach the world, we really have to be worldly and be a world like.  And once they see whereas cool as they are, then they're going to listen to us."  No they won't, you have no message for them at this point.  None because they can get you anywhere else, they can get your message anywhere else.  It's when you're different it's with the word Holy means sanctified.  So in start contrast to where they're at that they may listen.  They won't listen if you're just like them.  What are they changing from and changing to.

The fifth responds and the final one is the best one.  It's the bit look of once that when Jesus prays for is not to isolate, its not to insulate, its not to vegetate, its not to imitate, it's to permeate.  It's to get called out of the world system, get saved and cleanse by Jesus, and put right back in to make a difference to make an impact.

Those as I prayed it, I don't pray you take them out of the world physically.  You keep them from the evil one.  And verse 18, "I sent them into this world."  Jesus will say, "You are the salt of the earth."  Get that picture salt would be pushed into corrupted meat to preserve it.  It is contact without contamination.  Its making a difference.

So to summed it up, our place is the believer in this world its too fold where have be in the word and were to be end the world.  Now, one or the other, both in the word, in the world so if you're just in the world, all week long around the world listening to what the world says, listen at the world amuse if its in the worldly stuff, and you're not in the word, you're going to become like the world.  Because you're in the world not in the word but if you're in the word all week, the word the bible, the prayer, that's good.  I do it all the time but if you don't make contact with the world, you get fat and sassy.  Spiritually speaking.

The Christian needs the word but the Christian also needs the world.  You understand? The Christian needs the word but the Christian needs the world.  If I were known interesting illustration.  Years ago when they were trying to bring cud fish from the east coast out to the west because an appetite had developed for it here.  They first tried shipping it out frozen, they would freeze it, ship it out fought out, eat it.  But they discovered it last to lot of its flavor from what they remember having it fresh out of the sea in the east coast.

Number two, they try to ship it in tanks of seawater but it was more expensive took a lot longer but the time it got here, the fish was mushier.  Mushier, it just didn't work.  They try and this is where they succeeded, they tried by putting it in tanks of sea water bunch of the cad fish but inserting into the tanks, one or two catfish which is the natural enemy of the codfish so that from the east coast to the west, the entire journey, the catfish was chasing the codfish all around the tank, all around the tank, all around the tank but the time they got here, fresh, texture, firm, flavorful.

Found out that the codfish needs a catfish.  Christians need the word, the Christians the world.  We need to be in the word and then send into the world to make a difference.  When you live that way, you're really living.  I'm going to read a little poem as we close. There's just four lines, don't worry.

There was a very cautious man who never laughed of played, he never rest, he never tried, he never saying, or prayed.  And when one day he passed away, his insurance was denied for sins he never really lived they claim he never died.  If you really want to live not just exist or make it through to heaven by the grace of God.  You want to live, get turn loose for Jesus.  We've been in the word, now the salt shaker gets turned upside down and the salt gets poured out into the community.  And that's where we make impact.

Would you stand with me and we'll pray.  Lord, we're yours, we're your people, we're simple people, we're sinful people whom you have saved, who've taken us out of the world.  We're in it but we're not of it, we don't belong to it, it's not our home, we have a very different kingdom and a different set of values and a different king.  We thank you lord that you have called us, that you are keeping us and that you will prepare us.  And now lord as you send us, I pray the great things would be accomplished as we become your instruments, 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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9/25/2011
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The Gifts That Keep On Giving
John 17:1-5
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It's possible to give without loving but it's impossible to love without giving— Richard Braunstein. Part of God's nature is that He shows His love by His generous gifts. "For God so loved the world that He gave..." (John 3: 16). Here, in the opening lines of Jesus' prayer to His Father, He requests a gift from His Father and acknowledges three other gifts—two given to the Son by the Father, and one given by the Son to us. These are the gifts that keep on giving!
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10/2/2011
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How Followers Are Formed
John 17:6-10
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Okay, so which is it? Did I choose God or did God choose me? Perspective is everything! If you look at it from the divine viewpoint, you'll say God chose. If you're looking at it from a human viewpoint, you'll say we do the choosing. But why can't both be true? I suppose you can sit around, scratch your head, and try to ponder such imponderables, or you can sigh happily and say with a grateful heart, "I'm elated that He chose me!" But you should also ask yourself another question while you're at it—What am I going to do about it now?
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10/23/2011
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Listen Up! Jesus is Praying—for YOU!
John 17:20-26
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What's God's general will for you? Look no further than this text! Now as we listen to Jesus pray for us, we also find what our priorities in life are to be. These words are the "Last Will and Testament" of Jesus Christ. So pay close attention and you'll get it right from the heart of Jesus Himself.
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10/30/2011
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I've Got It Under Control
John 18:1-11
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Sometimes life appears to be spinning out of control. Events happen we didn't plan for, people do things we didn't expect, we find ourselves in places we never thought we'd be in. But though you can't always control what happens to you, you are responsible for what happens in you (attitudes and responses). What do we really believe about God's authority and power in our lives? Is there ever a time when God can't say, "I've got it under control"?
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11/20/2011
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The Darkest Night!
John 18:12-27
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On a dark spring night in Jerusalem, it seemed everyone was against Jesus Christ. The religious system had long been opposed to and jealous of His burgeoning ministry. The mock trial designed to get rid of Jesus was only going through the technical motions to achieve their end. And Peter, Jesus' closest friend, was in a downward process of disassociating himself from Him. But in the midst of the darkest night, the sunrise of God's grace was beginning to shine!
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1/8/2012
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A King, a Kingdom, and a Courtroom
John 18:28-40
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What kind of a King is Jesus, and what is the nature of His Kingdom? And what does it mean to pray, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done"? These are the questions faced in the text before us. As Jesus nears the cross, a nation denies His reign over them, while a Roman ruler questions Him and then cynically admits his own confusion and despair.
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1/22/2012
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How Do You Handle Jesus?
John 19:1-16
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Pontius Pilate was like every other person who has ever lived. The fundamental question of his life was, "What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?" (Matthew 27:22). Everyone has to deal with Jesus, to decide about Him and His claims. In one setting, we can see how one man (Pilate) was influenced to deal with Jesus in three different ways. These three ways are how many people today still choose to deal with Jesus Christ.
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1/29/2012
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Execution of a King
John 19:17-22
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Regicide is the official word used for the execution of a king. Most countries reserve the stiffest of punishments for subjects or assassins who would kill their royalty. John records the execution of the King of kings on a Roman cross outside the city of Jerusalem. But the rest of Scripture reveals that it was more than an execution; it was sacrifice that brought salvation. The next few weeks, we will consider the cross in depth and what it means for the world and for us.
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2/5/2012
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The Cross on the Billboard of Eternity
John 19:23-24
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Did you know that the cross of Christ was always God's plan from the very beginning? It wasn't a reaction to mankind's rejection of His Son, nor was it an accommodation to a Roman and Jewish miscarriage of justice. It was according to "the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God" (Acts 2:23). Today we will take a journey back and connect the dots of God's unfolding plan of the cross throughout the ages.
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2/12/2012
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How to Love Your Mother
John 19:25-27
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A mother's love for her children is distinctive and irreplaceable. To watch a child suffer is crushing and almost intolerable for any mom. In this touching scene revealed in three verses, we not only see Mary, the mother of Jesus, at the foot of her Son's cross, we also learn how Jesus cared for His mother. Even from His place of extreme suffering, Jesus was thinking of others and His love for Mary is noteworthy for us.
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2/19/2012
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iThirst
John 19:28-29
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The world is filled with Apple's i-technology, which delivers on its promise to make connectivity and information readily accessible. But there is a deeper need within everyone, a thirst to be right with God, that no app or gadget can fulfill. How ironic that Jesus, the great Thirst-Quencher, would Himself be thirsty. It was part of the great exchange—His temporary thirst enabled yours to be quenched eternally!
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2/26/2012
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It's Done!
John 19:30
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While Jesus was doing His greatest work, He uttered His greatest words! Through the excruciating pain of a tormenting death, Jesus gave the most meaningful statements worthy of careful consideration. John records three of Jesus' seven statements uttered while on the cross. The sixth—and perhaps the most hopeful—is the one we consider today.
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3/4/2012
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Death Under Control
John 19:31-37
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Watching someone you love die is always a heart-wrenching experience, especially when the victim experiences great suffering. For the apostle John, the death of Jesus was likewise difficult-but he saw a glimmer of hope, a silver lining in the dark clouds of death. This death was long ago anticipated and was being carefully monitored from the control center of heaven. Today we see why that's important.
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3/11/2012
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Disciples on the Graveyard Shift
John 19:38-42
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You can find an unending supply of books, pamphlets, and articles on discipleship in Christian churches and bookstores. Many of them will be predictably regimented and conventional, giving solid biblical references and calling Christians to ardently follow Christ—all great stuff. But not everyone's spiritual journey is identical. Some disciples are unexpected, and so is their story. Here are two disciples of Jesus who've been in the background and now step forward to care for the body of Christ after His death. Let's allow their story to inspire us.
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3/18/2012
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A Not-Quite-Empty Tomb
John 20:1-10
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There was a lot of confusion happening on the first Easter morning. The resurrection had happened but it was neither expected nor accepted by all at first. Mary Magdalene ran to tell the disciples what she saw, and they ran to check out her report. What they saw was compelling evidence of a resurrection, but only one of them really connected all the dots. Let's see why.
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3/25/2012
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Hope Rekindled
John 20:11-18
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When people grieve, they usually run the gamut of the emotional spectrum, from denial to bargaining to despair to anger to eventually hope. Mary Magdalene was in hopeless despair as she stood weeping by the grave of Jesus. The resurrected Christ deals tenderly with this woman as he reveals Himself to her and conveys hope for her future. Let's glean some principles for dealing with brokenhearted people.
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4/1/2012
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From Closed Doors to the Open Road
John 20:19-23
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Our relationship with Jesus isn't a secret to be hoarded; it is a story to be heralded! The disciples were seated behind closed doors (sounds like a lot of churches). Jesus wanted them out, giving away what they had been given. Let's see how these early followers went from panic to peace, from perplexity to purpose, and from protection to power. It's a great journey. Are you up for it?
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4/8/2012
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Rise Up!
John 20:24-31
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The apostle Thomas has been noted for his skeptical attitude. In fact, we refer to a skeptic as a "doubting Thomas." In this message from John 20, we consider four ways Thomas was able to rise up from doubt and become a joyful follower of Jesus.
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4/15/2012
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Gone Fishing! (Relating to a Risen & Returning Lord)
John 21:1-14
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I am not a great fisherman. I don't do it often and when I catch something, it's pure luck! My dad was the opposite—he loved it and was great at it. At least seven of Jesus' disciples were fishermen and here we see them plying their trade after the resurrection. Some beautiful lessons can be discovered about how to live while we wait for Jesus to come back for us.
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4/22/2012
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I Failed! Now What?
John 21:15-19
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One of life's harshest realities is failure. The very sound of the word seems harsh to our sensibilities. We even harbor the age-old axiom, "Failure is not an option!" But failure is an option; in fact, it's a certainty. But discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping-stones to victory. In a post-resurrection interview, Jesus restores Peter with a fresh commission. If you have failed in your spiritual experience (and who hasn't), these principles will inspire.
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4/29/2012
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Final Instructions
John 21:20-25
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As John closes off his singular testimony of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, he features some closing words of Jesus and Peter about himself (John). These final sentences provide some instructions for us as we await Christ's return. How should we live in light of who Jesus is, what Jesus did, and when Jesus will return?
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There are 95 additional messages in this series.