Posts Tagged 'truth'

The Living Word: Sorrow’s Change

Sorrow’s Change

John 16:1-3; 12-24

Thomas Nast, famous artist of the late 1800’s, painted a huge landscape during an exhibition. Beautiful and detailed, the audience burst into applause. THEN… taking darker colors, he applied them most recklessly to the canvas. The landscape was totally obliterated, and nothing but a daub, such as a child might make, remained. The audience was silent… until he turned the painting vertically – and a beautiful waterfall, the water plunging over a precipice of dark rock was finally revealed. What is God painting in YOUR life?

How Can Sorrow Be Changed?

* Warned About Wandering ~ John 16:1-3

  • 1 “all this”=chap 14,15, after Last Supper
  • 2 we who follow the Way of Jesus will offend; some religious, some not; be ready!
  • 3 knowing ABOUT God isn’t the same as knowing God; we need to guard against that

* Careful Cultivation ~ John 16:12-19

  • 12/14 guide INTO truth: a journey, not a given; WHERE ARE YOU GOING IN TRUTH?
  • 15 we will LEARN together what God’s ownership of the universe means; WHAT ARE YOU LEARNING ABOUT GOD LATELY?
  • 16/19 Jesus foretells His death & resurrection; disciples don’t get it because they want specifics; HAVE YOU BEEN DEMANDING SPECIFICS FROM GOD?

* Act of Access ~ John 16:20-24

  • 20 this WAS fulfilled… and can still be true today! WHAT GRIEF OF YOURS COULD BE TRANSFORMED?
  • 21/22 our lives WILL have moments of sorrow and joy; LOOK TO THE JOY!
  • 23/24 “not ask ME” we’ll ask the Father directly; this is about a new way of prayer (not through sacrificial system, or priests, but DIRECTLY) and THAT is what makes our joy full; not WHAT we get but WHO we ask

Sorrow isn’t taken away; it matures over time into joy. Joy is connected to TRUST in God:

Until I learned to trust,
I never learned to pray;
And I did not learn to fully trust
Till sorrows came my way.

Until I felt my weakness,
His strength I never knew
Nor dreamed ’til I was stricken
That he could see me through.

Who deepest drinks of sorrow,
Drinks deepest, too, of grace;
He sends the storm so He himself
Can be our hiding place.

His heart, that seeks our highest good,
Knows well when things annoy;
We would not long for heaven
If earth held only joy.

Autumn Thoughts: The Kingdom of Truth

The Kingdom of Truth

John 18:33-38

There’s a lot of conversation these days in our political climate when the subject of “citizenship” comes up. Who belongs, and who doesn’t. This isn’t new. When Roman citizens moved throughout the known world, they would sometimes have to prove they belonged to the Empire. St. Paul, a Roman citizen himself, writing the Philippian Christians, said, “Our citizenship is in heaven.”

This idea doesn’t make sense to everyone; it certainly stumped Pontius Pilate. When Jesus was brought to him, he tried to figure it out…

To Make Sense of This Summons, Ask

* What Reason For Wrath? ~ John 18:33-35

setup: the next morning after the railroading; they’ve taken Him to Pilate, because the Jews can’t execute anyone; they want Him DEAD

  • 33 Pilate is seeking context; If Jesus CLAIMED this, it could be seen as sedition against Rome (a capital offense)
  • 34 Jesus figures out that this idea of sedition IS NOT from Pilate; it’s more likely that this charge was what the Sanhedrin could come up with to ensure Jesus’ death (THEY charged Him with blasphemy, not a capital offense in Rome)
  • 35 Pilate knows Jesus isn’t trying to overthrow Rome; so WHY are the Jewish leaders so upset with Him?

=> because they’re facing the King of Truth!

* What Kind of Kingdom? ~ John 18:36-38

  • 36 An Elsewhere Kingdom: worldly standards do not apply
  • 37 An Everyone Kingdom: all who listen to Truth are subjects in it
  • 38 An Evasive Kingdom: only those who are willing to chase after Truth will find it

If you are unwilling to see the Truth, He can stand right in front of you, and you’ll miss Him!


Prelude to the Passion: Eternal Declaration

Prelude to the Passion: Eternal Declaration

John 10:22-33

The Boston Globe, which carries a daily column designed to answer readers’ queries, listed the top ten unanswerable questions. Here’s one: “I am nine years of age and have a cat that eats regularly and needs to go on a diet. He also eats mice when he is out. How many calories in a mouse?”

This isn’t an unanswerable question at all – but what you’d have to do to the mouse to determine the answer will cost the mouse everything! Are we willing to pay the price to answer our deepest questions?

How Do We Answer Life’s Big Questions?

* Desire the Plain Truth ~ John 10:22-27

  • 22/3 notice the scene: this is not a story, but an historical event
  • 24 a direct request: not unreasonable, for those looking for Messiah
  • 25 if they weren’t going to be convinced by miracles, what good would words do?
  • 26 they don’t believe because they don’t belong
  • 27 this isn’t just a metaphor, it’s actual behavior: sheep respond to their shepherd, and run from others

* Accept the Plain Truth ~ John 10:28-32

  • 28/9 notice the echo: Jesus gives us eternal life, and no one can take us out of Jesus’ hand; God gives us to Jesus, and no one can take us out of the Father’s hand
  • 30 Jesus tells it plainly: He is one with the Father
  • 31 the Jews get it: they know **exactly** what Jesus is claiming
  • 32 His question is to get them to REFLECT on what He has DONE – can a mere man do the things Jesus did?

John 10:33 they ASKED Him to tell them plainly who He was. He did, and they couldn’t take it; can we?

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: 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!

Easter People: Tell The Truth

Acts 5:27-32~ The Truth WILL Get You Into Trouble With People (27-28)
Acts 5:27-32~ The Truth will not Always be Accepted by Power (29-30)
Acts 5:27-32~ The Truth Can Reach Those in Power (31-32)

Pastor Ed Backell

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