Posts Tagged 'John'

The Living Word: The Best Morning EVER

The Best Morning EVER

John 20:1-18

I had a number of disturbing conversations this week; people were so intent on proving themselves right, that they were unwilling to even entertain the idea that they might in the slightest way be wrong. The SCARY thought is that some people interacting with me might have thought the same thing!

How Do We Miss What God Is Doing?

* We LOOK But Don’t SEE ~ John 20:1-9

  • 1/2 Mary jumps to the wrong conclusion
  • 3/7 Peter saw lots of details
  • 8 but John BELIEVED (he trusted Jesus)
  • 9 I think this is key: they didn’t understand from Scripture; each relied on their own interpretation of what they experienced (not necessarily bad, but shouldn’t be the ONLY interpretive method)

Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

* We HEAR But Don’t LISTEN ~ John 20:10-18

  • 10/13 Mary notices details (v12) but doesn’t understand
  • 14 confused? distracted? EVER HAPPEN TO YOU?
  • 15 the RISEN CHRIST stands in front of her, and she can only imagine a dead body; the world STILL has this problem
  • 16 but Jesus calls her BY NAME
  • 17/18 and gives her a mission; WHAT IS YOUR MISSION?

Jesus STILL CALLS US BY NAME – will we cling to our old dead understanding? Or will we hear Him calling TODAY?

The Living Word: Samaritan Setup

Samaritan Setup

John 4:1-15
C.S. Lewis said, “You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn’t you then first discover how much you really trusted it?”
Belief without Trust isn’t Belief at all.

To Understand the Benefits of Believing, Look at:

* The Setting of Samaria ~ John 4:1-6

  • 1/3 concern: a movement of people seeking a connection to God that bypasses the Temple/Organized Religion; this Scripture isn’t about being “a better church goer”
  • 4/6 The physical setting: about 2 days walk from Jerusalem

* An Unconventional Conversation ~ John 4:7-10

  • 7/8 Jesus needs this woman’s help; she’s the only one there with a bucket; WHAT DO YOU HAVE THAT JESUS CAN USE?
  • 9 woman knows Jesus is breaking social convention; she’s asking about His motives; WHAT DOES JESUS ASK YOU TO DO THAT IS UNCONVENTIONAL?
  • 10 “if you only knew what was really going on with you and God” you would ASK; WHAT DO YOU ASK GOD FOR? WHAT **SHOULD** YOU BE ASKING FOR?

* An Understandable Curiosity ~ John 4:11-15

  • 11 her 1st Question: How can you meet my needs?
  • 12 her 2nd Question: Who Are you?
  • 13/14 Jesus answers her need; WHAT NEED CAN JESUS ANSWER FOR YOU?
  • 15 Notice she doesn’t get her 2nd Q answered BEFORE she trusts Jesus to meet her needs; She trusts before she knows. DO YOU?

Can this be our example? Can we meet other’s needs BEFORE we lead them to faith in Jesus? Is that part of the process?

Out of the Ordinary: Squint or Shut?

Out of the Ordinary: Squint or Shut?

John 5:35-47

A worker in a lighting store tells this about her customers: one day, a customer is standing, looking at lights. She approaches and asks if he needs help. He ANGRILY replies, “No, you’re the 4th person to ask me that today! I just want to look at the light! Leave me alone!”

She walks away, and seeing another customer, asks the same question. HIS response: “Nah, I’m just looking right now, but you know, you’re the 3rd person to ask me that. What great customer service you have!”

When People React to God’s Light, Ask

Where’s The Spotlight? ~ John 5:35-38

  • 35 God’s light can shine from anyone, and even the world can see it
  • 36 BUT-what does God’s light shine ON? The ministry of Jesus
  • 37/38 and not everyone is willing to recognize His Ministry; they can see, but they won’t FOCUS

Why the Scorn? ~ John 5:39-42

  • 39/40 The Bible teaches that we need to SURRENDER to Jesus…
  • 41/42 …which only happens because of the Love of God placed IN US. If someone refuses to surrender to Christ, they can “say” they love God… but “it ain’t necessarily so”

When To Surrender? ~ John 5:43-47

God’s light IS shining: are we squinting? Are we shutting our eyes? Or are we sharing what we’ve seen?

The Road To Resurrection: Short Sighted

The Road To Resurrection: Short Sighted

John 8:48-59

I broke my glasses last week, and took the opportunity to get a new eye exam. I now have a new eyeglass prescription – takes some getting used to!

The Spiritually Short-sighted Can’t

Keep The Whole Picture In Focus ~ John 8:48-53
(they can see the Big E, but not the fine print)

  • 48 follow up from last week: they can’t even concede that they DON’T serve God; instead they flip the idea (Samaritan=ungodly mish-mash of pagan/Caananite and old Jewish teaching)
  • 49/51 The RESULT of Actual Truth: Eternal Life
  • 52 short-sighted: Jews only focused on physical reality, when Jesus has been talking about spiritual reality the whole time

=> extension cord example: the END isn’t the point – the LENGTH is!

  • 53 Remember this question: it’s the setup for the entire Gospel truth!

See The Crucial Details ~ John 8:54-59
(focus on the unimportant and miss the rest)

  • 54/5 notice: Jesus does what He asks US to do: Keep God’s Word (cf. v51)
  • 56 cf Gen 12:3; “he saw it and was glad” =Jesus KNEW Abraham’s inner state
  • 57 again, His detractors are short-sighted, only focusing on their life of flesh
  • 58 Jesus’ use of “I am” is a direct reference to Exodus 3, when Moses asked God’s name, and God replied with “I AM WHOM I AM”
  • 59 The Jews KNOW what Jesus meant, and thought it was blasphemy – and deserving of death. IT’S NOT BLASPHEMY BECAUSE IT IS TRUE

Just like the crowd waving the Palm Branches, we can look at Jesus with a distorted viewpoint (like a pair of glasses with the wrong prescription). If we want to understand Jesus, we have to take a longer look…

The Road To Resurrection: Ancestry Test

The Road To Resurrection: Ancestry Test

John 8:31-47

I was raised to believe I was part Native American. I used a DNA testing service, and the results of my ancestry test showed otherwise. I had lived my whole life thinking I belonged to a group when the truth showed me something different…

The Difference Between Believing and Knowing

Actual Truth Sets Us Free ~ John 8:31-38
(not unfounded personal belief)

  • 31 speaking to those who believe He’s Messiah, but they don’t yet understand what that MEANS
  • 32 John puts in a pun: logos/word and logos/God; Jesus IS the truth and HE sets us free (not knowledge)
  • 33/37 those who have a different understanding of Messiah miss what He’s saying; He didn’t come to set them free militarily (which is what they thought), but spiritually free from sin
  • 38 with these words, Jesus makes a distinction between belonging to God and belonging to Satan

Actual Lineage Sets Our Path ~ John 8:39-47
(not pretending to be something we’re not)

  • 39/41 Some can belong to Satan and not even know it!
  • 42/46 Defining marks of belonging to the devil: 1) don’t love Jesus; 2) unable to hear Jesus’ word clearly; 3) want to put themselves first over God
  • 47 EMPHASIZE: God chooses whom He will to bring into His family

(cf. Ephesians 1:5: He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will–)

If you belong to God, you’ll want to understand more and more about Jesus; If you DON’T – what does that mean for you?

The Road To Resurrection: Testimony of Two

The Road To Resurrection: Testimony of Two

John 8:12-20

A man decided to leave the wife of his youth; my pastor confronted him, and warned him of the consequences of his sin. Instead of repenting, the man decided that he was wiling to pay the cost of a broken marriage and shattered relationships with his children for his affair. The man couldn’t stand being told the truth, and he left the church… and his family.

Why Is Jesus Rejected?

Some Can’t Stand The Truth ~ John 8:12-16

  • 12 Jesus is the SOURCE of the Light of the World; we reflect Him
  • 13 Pharisees reject truth because of a Rabbinical technical rule (not Torah)
  • 14 Jesus’ answer is also technical: He’s testifying about what He KNOWS because of where He’s BEEN – this is a valid point for Pharisees
  • 15/16 Second technical point: Jesus is testifying on behalf of the Father: He’s passing along God’s message (like a prophet would)

Some Won’t Come To The Truth ~ John 8:17-20

  • 17 (cf Num.35) Jesus knows the content of the Law (what they’re trying to use to shut Him up)
  • 18 His rabbinical answer: two witnesses ARE involved – Jesus & Father
  • 19 they ask because they want to assume Jesus’ earthly father (possibly calling Jesus paternity into question) They’re being deliberately dense here; Jesus calls them on it (you don’t know the Father)
  • 20 These are fighting words BUT NO ONE SEIZED HIM… YET

Make no mistake: Jesus knew the world preferred darkness to His light; nevertheless, He came to light our way with His presence. Some will simply refuse to see the light no matter how brightly it shines. Shine it anyway!

The Road To Resurrection: Contains Potholes

The Road To Resurrection: Contains Potholes

John 7:40-52

Have you heard about Domino’s Pizza “Paving For Pizza” advertising campaign? It’s gaining mindshare by fixing potholes in towns all across America. Is this a good or bad idea? Depends on your point of view, and how much you like pizza…

Problems With Potholes During Our Journey Of Faith

Thrown By A Wrong Theory ~ John 7:40-44
(we can’t rely on mere human knowledge)

  • 40 cf. Deut 18.15-18; Jesus’ reference to speaking from God would certainly call this prophecy to mind {some rely on tradition about Jesus}
  • 41/42 Messiah comes from Bethlehem (Micah 5:2); they thought Jesus was BORN in Galilee since He lived there {some rely upon hearsay about Him}
  • 43 they made up their minds on PART of the story; we still do this today! {without the whole story, they’re stuck}
  • 44 the crowd couldn’t decide who He was… so they couldn’t decide what to do. THIS is true today, too!

Stuck With A Wrong Source ~ John 7:45-52
(we can’t rely on sheer human power)

  • 45/48 POWER frustrated when they can’t control Jesus for their own ends
  • 49 POWER dismissive of those who DO follow Christ
  • 50/51 notice SOME in power still investigate Jesus (but it’s rare)
  • 52 POWER gets stuck in hearsay too!

We must NOT assume that a life with Jesus is going to be a life without difficulty. Our Road to Resurrection Contains Potholes – how we DEAL with these difficulties shows what we really believe about God.

The Road To Resurrection: A Fountain of Faith

The Road To Resurrection: A Fountain of Faith

John 7:14-24, 37-39

How does Jesus challenge the crowd as He starts His journey to the cross? His words to those watching witnesses can still affect how WE are challenged 2000 years later…

How Can Faith Flow?

Weigh the Word ~ John 7:14-18

  • 14/15 people LISTENED to Jesus, and wondered
  • 16/17 Jesus’ teaching is from God
  • 18 how to tell? Ask “who benefits”?

Search the Word ~ John 7:19-24

  • 19/20 Israel considered themselves “godly”, but were ready to kill Jesus when He went against what they THOUGHT the Law said (cf. 5:18)
  • 21/23 consider the actual content of Scripture
  • 24 Ask “Is This ALL of the Word”?

Believe the Word ~ John 7:37-39

  • 37 Jesus still extends this invitation TODAY
  • 38 cf. Ezekiel 47/Rev. 22: Living Water
  • 39 HOW TO KNOW YOU’RE SAVED: the Spirit makes us yield fruit that helps others

Consider the kid’s song: “River of Life” – makes the lame to walk (us) and the blind to see (us) opens prison doors, sets the captives free (us) We’ve been set free… to set others free!

The Road To Resurrection: Tabernacles and Time Tables

The Road To Resurrection: Tabernacles and Time Tables

John 7:1-13

You’ve heard of the old saying, “You learn something new every day”? But what if you’re not paying attention? Can you be lost in everyday life, and unaware of what’s actually going on? The Bible certainly shows that’s true…

What Lenten Lessons Can We Learn?

Track The Right Time ~ John 7:1-9

  • 1 “this” – feeding 5000, “I am bread of life”; Jesus had called for radical commitment to Him – accept Him to live forever, or reject Him
  • 2/5 His half-brothers don’t believe He’s Messiah; they just want Him gone. At this point, they’ve rejected Him
  • 6 Jesus knows He’s got a kairos moment coming; not so for the brothers
  • 7 Jesus’ own brothers are part of the world system (at this point; at least 2 of Jesus’ brothers become His followers after His death)
  • 8/9 “right time”=completed intended moment; how do you know when a baby will be born? When it arrives! Jesus was waiting for His just-in-time moment to show Himself as Messiah

Recognize The Right Role ~ John 7:10-13

  • 10 Jesus observes the Feast, but doesn’t make a show of it
  • 11 Why watch for Jesus? They’re more interested in being entertained than being challenged. Is it so different today? How do people react when challenged to accept Christ on HIS terms?
  • 12 the world doesn’t know what to make of Jesus; they like some of His teachings, but to surrender their lives to Him is often too much
  • 13 fear of displeasing the powerful; do we struggle with this?

It’s tough to tell the truth about God to those who aren’t interested, or even worse, are opposed to it — ESPECIALLY those who already think they know what God is all about. In this narrative, Jesus models for us reliance upon God’s timing: we prepare ourselves for our mission, so when God says NOW, we’re ready.

Bread From Heaven: Derailed by the Details

Bread From Heaven: Derailed by the Details Sermon Audio Here

John 6:56-69

On July 24, 2013, a train carrying 218 people in eight carriages derailed in northwestern Spain, killing 79 people and hospitalizing another 66. Shortly after the wreck, the driver, Francisco Jose Garzon Amo, told officials, “I can’t explain it. I still don’t understand how I didn’t see …. I just don’t know.” He said the journey was “going fine” until the train hit a curve. At that point Garzon said to himself, “Oh my God, the curve, the curve, the curve. I won’t make it.”
Despite Garzon’s initial confusion and surprise, there is a simple explanation for the crash. Video footage revealed that the train was going as fast as 119 mph before it hit the deadly curve. That’s more than twice the speed limit for that section of the track. So it wasn’t just the speed that caused the accident. It was the combination of the speed and the location of the track. The train was designed to reach speeds of over 130 mph. But Garzon, who was a 30-year employee of Spain’s national rail company, simply ignored the boundaries in which those high speeds were to be used.

To Keep From Being Derailed By The Details

Remember It’s Not SUPPOSED to be Easy!
John 6:60-64

  • v60 It IS hard, make no mistake!
  • v61 Jesus KNOWS it’s hard for us
  • v62 What kind of proof do you require to trust?
  • v63 fleshly “proof” doesn’t count; trust the Spirit
  • v64 Not all will believe; Jesus knows this

Don’t Fight God’s Direction
John 6:65-69

  • v65 God enables us to follow Jesus
  • v66 if it’s merely our idea, we’ll fade away
  • v67 remember: Jesus takes our belief PERSONALLY
  • v68 What’s our alternative? NOTHING
  • v69 Reaffirm our faith: Jesus is the Messiah

Let us reaffirm our faith by using the Apostle’s Creed, a short-hand summation of what was taught by the Apostles about Jesus the Messiah.

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
     creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
     who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
     and born of the virgin Mary.
     He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
     was crucified, died, and was buried;
     he descended to hell.
     The third day he rose again from the dead.
     He ascended to heaven
     and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
     From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
     the holy catholic* church,
     the communion of saints,
     the forgiveness of sins,
     the resurrection of the body,
     and the life everlasting. Amen.

*that is, the true Christian church of all times and all places

Pastor Ed Backell

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