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How To Enter The Kingdom of God


John 3:1-7

We sing a song: “What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” 1 John 1:7; Rev. 1:5. According to scripture, when are those sins washed away?

Now, let’s look at the passage that was read. This is a very familiar passage…we have all read this…we have all heard it many times.

When it comes to the spiritual realm, there are only two kingdoms.

Then there is this kingdom spoken of here in John 3 by Christ…the Kingdom of God.

So, there are two kingdoms.

But, not only did Jesus come to provide a way for us….but He also came to tell us how to get out of the one and into the other.

Look at verse 1. “Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Him by night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with them.”

Now as you look at this I want you to notice some things.

  1. First of all, Nicodemus was a religious man!
  1. Not only was he religious, but it says that he was a “ruler of the Jews.”
  1. Not only that, if you go over into John 19:38-39 you find out that after Jesus died, this same man brought about 100 pounds of spices to embalm Jesus’ body with.

So what you have here is a man that had it all.

Now, a lot of people today would look at a man like Nicodemus and say “He’s going to heaven!”

But look what happens in verse 3.

Here was a perfect opportunity for Jesus to make an exception!

Look at verse 5: “Jesus answered, “Truly, truly I say to you, UNLESS one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.”

 Look at verse 7: “Do not marvel that I said to you, “You MUST be born again.”

This isn’t optional!

 A lot of people today think they are the exception to this.

But Jesus says, “Unless you are born again….unless you are born of the water and the Spirit, you cannot enter into the Kingdom of God!”

And the reason he won’t make an exception for you is because entrance into the Kingdom of God is not based on human performance.

Entrance is based on believing what Christ says here in vs. 3 and 5 and 7…and then doing what He says.

Just recently I talked with a fellow who had just recently gone to a relative’s funeral and he told me that because this relative was “a real nice and decent man” he had no doubts that he had gone to heaven.

If that is your thinking…if that is your idea….you keep in mind that Jesus himself said, “Unless you are born again, you will not enter into the Kingdom of God.”

So, what does Jesus mean in verse 3 when He says, “unless one is BORN AGAIN he will not see the Kingdom of God.”

There are several different ideas on this issue.

There are several different ideas but surely, in a matter as important as this one…Jesus didn’t have several things in mind.

Well, Jesus tells us in verse 5.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”

But they try to ignore…or excuse the being “born of water.”

For 1500 years after Christ said these words…no one disputed what Christ meant here by being “born of water.”

But let me show you a couple passages of scripture. Turn to Galatians 3:26.

“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”

Notice he says they are “sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”

And now look at verse 29: “And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.”

And some say, “Well, Nicodemus didn’t even know about baptism at the time.”

If you want to be “BORN AGAIN”…Jesus says you must be “born of water”…and the only water ever involved in anyone’s salvation in scripture is the water’s of baptism.

But Jesus says you have to be BORN OF THE SPIRIT ALSO.”

Well some think that this means that the Spirit “comes on you in a miraculous way” and makes you a child of God…and that man has no part in it.

So what does He mean when he says you must be “BORN OF THE SPIRIT”?

Anyone can be baptized…but just because you are baptized doesn’t mean that you are going to be saved.

There are only two kingdoms: the kingdom of darkness and the Kingdom of God.

The Miracle at Cana


John 2:1-11

John wrote this gospel to try, once again, to convince people that Jesus is  truly the Son of God.

But John not only gives us verbal testimony confirming that Christ is the Son of God but he also gives us physical signs or miracles. In this gospel he gives us 7 miracles that confirm who Jesus is and the first one is found here in chapter 2.

There are many things going on in our world and in our culture that can shake your faith; but what Jesus does here in these 11 verses will hopefully encourage you to stay faithful to Christ no matter what happens.

 So, let’s look at this first miracle; look at vs. 1-2.

And on the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee,

And it wasn’t just a celebration for the bride and groom; this was a celebration for everyone in the community.

And vs. 1 says that “the mother of Jesus was there; 2 and Jesus also was invited, and His disciples, to the wedding.”

 Now, some people think that Jesus should have been a “killjoy.”

But you know what, Jesus doesn’t do that.

Listen, God doesn’t want us to be miserable and walk around frowning all the time.

So Jesus is “invited” to this wedding

But Jesus was “invited” to this wedding and the fact that Jesus attended this wedding and the fact that He performed His first miracle at a wedding emphasizes the sanctity of marriage.

In fact, any society that honors marriage and the life-long commitment made and kept between a man and woman, and who rear children in the bond of love; that society will prosper; it will be secure; it will know peace.

So, Jesus attends this wedding; and His mother is there and that is no surprise because Mary had lived in Nazareth for several years; and Nazareth is only about 9 miles away and they would have known the people just up the road; possibly related to some of them.

So, this wedding celebration is in full swing; everyone is having a wonderful time; but then there is a PROBLEM. In vs. 3 the “wine runs out.”

Now, what about the wine? I think it is interesting that a lot of people do not even see the miracle that takes place; they don’t even see Jesus as the Son of God; what they see in this event is justification to drink! To imbibe alcohol.

In the world that these people lived in wine was made from all kinds of fruit; mostly grapes.

So, they run out of wine at this wedding celebration and that is a catastrophic embarrassment; and in vs. 3 Mary says to Jesus, “They have no wine.”

Well think about it this way. Jesus is somewhere around 30 years old and up to this time if Mary ever had a problem who do you think she turned to?

And look at vs. 4 how Jesus responds. Jesus says, “Woman…”

Because He is telling her that their relationship has changed; He is telling her that they don’t have the same relationship that they have had up until now; It’s over.

She is no longer in a position to act as an authority in His life; she is no longer in a position to tell Him what to do; to make suggestions to Him.

By the way, what Jesus does here refutes the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching of asking Mary to plead with Jesus for the things you desire because Jesus cannot refuse Mary; Mary is not in a position of authority over Jesus.

Then Jesus says in vs. 4, “My hour has not come.”

And with that Mary bows out and she says to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”

So Jesus takes care of the problem. Look at vs. 6: Now there were six stone waterpots set there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing twenty or thirty gallons each.

 Now, vs. 7: Jesus said to them, “Fill the water pots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.

Now verse 8: And He (Jesus) said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the headwaiter.” And they took it to him.

And another thing, you have a lot of people in attendance at this wedding and no one ever came back later and said, “This didn’t happen! This is a lie!” Surely if this didn’t happen someone would have said so.

And notice He tells them to “Draw some and take to the headwaiter. And they took it.”

 Now, vs. 9: And when the headwaiter tasted the water which had become wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew) the headwaiter called the bridegroom; 10 and said to Him, “Every man serves the good wine first, and when men have drunk freely, then that which is poorer, you have kept the good wine until now.”

There is a great principle based on these words.

So Jesus turns the water into wine and vs. 11 says:  This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.

 Now, let me separate you all in three groups. You will be in one of these three groups.

In vs. 11 it says that “His disciples believed in Him.” That is group number one.

Look at John 12:37: Though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him.” This is group number 2.

And then there is group number 3. In John 12:42: Nevertheless, many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue, 43 for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.

 Every one of us is in one of these three groups; We either believe; or we don’t believe; or we are not willing to pay the price to trust in Christ.

If you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; be steadfast in your faith.

If you are not sure about Jesus and you want to learn more; we are here to assist you in that as well.





Jesus Cleanses The Temple The First Time


John 2:13-22

As you read through the New Testament there are only a few instances where Jesus gets upset and what takes place in this passage is one of those instances. If you really want to upset Jesus do what these people were doing.

Now, you may have recognized this account as “Jesus cleansing the temple.”

Now, with that said we must keep in mind that Jesus would be unknown to these people.

So, let’s look now starting in vs. 13. John says: And the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.”

And Jesus would not be the only one who came to Jerusalem! This week was the most significant week of the spiritual year for the Jews.

But, look at vs. 14 at what Jesus found when He entered the Temple.

14 And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the moneychangers seated.

And it was permitted to make money offerings in the temple but only certain coins were approved (people coming from a distance may bring coins of a different currency all together; some coins may have had an image on them that was not acceptable) so the “moneychangers” would take the unapproved of coins and exchange them for coins that were approved.

But notice that Jesus found them “in the temple.”

 Now there may have been some other things going on that Jesus would not approve of.

And as far as the “moneychangers” were concerned, they would undervalue your “unapproved of coin” and charge you 3 of your coins for one of theirs.

But Jesus doesn’t mention those things here in John 2. Jesus does not object to any dishonesty taking place.

The New International Version says: How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!”

 Isn’t that true today? How many times in a week do you hear someone show disrespect to God by taking His name in vain?

 And these people had no respect or consideration for those who sincerely came to worship God.

These people selling the animals; and these moneychangers did not treat God with the respect that He deserves; and they didn’t show any respect or consideration for those who sincerely came to worship; and Jesus drives them out.

Now evidently, what Jesus does here doesn’t have much effect on the Jewish leaders or those selling and changing money because in 2 years He will do this all again.

In vs. 16, Jesus says, “Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a house of merchandise.” (The fact that Jesus refers to the temple as “His Father’s house”; that in itself speaks of a special relationship between Jesus and God. Jesus is referring to Himself as God’s Son, or the Son of God.)

And then in vs. 17 it says, His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Thy house will consume me.”

Now, let’s read verses 18-22. Keep in mind up to this time the Jews did not know who Jesus was and so they are somewhat amused by what He has just done. So they ask: vs. 18:

18 The Jews therefore answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, seeing that You do these things?”

 19 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”  20 The Jews therefore said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” 21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body. 22 When therefore He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture, and the word which Jesus had spoken.

 And as you think about that remember again the reason why John wrote this. John 20:30-31:

Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.





The Disciples Follow


John 1:35-42

 To begin I want to take you back to verses 29. John the author of this gospel wants everyone to believe that Jesus is the Christ, and that He is the Son of God; and to get people to believe, John gives us the eye-witness testimony of John the Baptist.

So, in vs. 29 John tells us that Jesus came to John the Baptist and John the Baptist sees Him coming and he cries out, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

 When John says that he is referring to a concept that every Jew would understand. They had been to the temple; they had seen the temple priests and what they do with a lamb; they may have even offered up a lamb as a sin sacrifice for themselves.

Now, we have no way of knowing if Jesus heard what John said but if He did it didn’t deter Jesus because when John says, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” he has just announced to Jesus and everyone there that would listen, “This man is going to die for the sin of the world.”

Now, what does it mean when John says, “He will take away the sin of the world”;

And when He takes away the sin of the world it is a provision that is so big, and so generous and that is so rich that He does it for the whole world.

So, John sees Jesus coming and look what he says starting in vs. 30:  John says, “This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’ 31 “And I did not recognize Him (John knew that there was a “Man” who ranked higher” than he did, he just didn’t know who he was.),

31 “And I did not recognize Him but in order that He might be manifested (revealed) to Israel, I came baptizing in water.”

32 And John bore witness saying, “I have beheld the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. 33 “And I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the one who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’ 34 “And I have seen, and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

Again, John says, “I did not recognize Him; John may have known Jesus, they were 2nd cousins; but when John says, “I didn’t recognize Him”, John is saying “I didn’t know that He was the Messiah, the Son of God; but when John saw the Spirit descend on Jesus and remain there, John realized who Jesus was and look at vs. 34.

We sing a song and what does it say: #176 Your only Son no sin to hide…

Now, let’s go to the verses that were read. Vs. 35:  Again the next day John was standing with two of his (John’s) disciples, 36 and he looked upon Jesus as He walked, and said, “Behold (Look), the Lamb of God!”

Vs. 37   And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38 And Jesus turned, and beheld them following, and said to them, “What do you seek? (What do you want?)

Why did Jesus ask this question? Did He not know the answer?

Many times God will ask the questions and He doesn’t do that because He doesn’t know the answer.

In the garden after Adam sinned, God said, “Adam, where are you? God knew where Adam was. He wanted Adam to think about how far he had moved from God.

Jesus said to His disciples, “Who do men say that I am?” He knew the answer. He wanted them to answer that and consider what people were saying.

In John 5, Jesus asks the paralyzed man, “Do you wish to get well?’ IF people didn’t understand what was going on they would think that is a very cruel question to ask.

So, sometimes God will ask the question to get us to think about our motives.

So, Jesus asks the disciples, “What do you seek?” or “What do you want?”; and look at what they say, “Where are you staying?”

And look at vs. 39. Jesus doesn’t give them information. Instead He gives them an invitation: “Come and you will see.”

 Vs. 39  They came therefore and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.

40 One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He found first his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which translated means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus.

 Jesus looked at him, and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).

43 The next day He purposed to go forth into Galilee, and He found Philip. And Jesus said to him, “Follow Me.” 

44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, of the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

 46 And Nathanael said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?”

Well, instead of arguing with Nathanael, Philip simply says, “Come and see. ” 

 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!”

  49 Nathanael answered Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel.”

 50 Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You shall see greater things than these.”  51 And He said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you shall see the heavens opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” 

So, let me ask, “Are the testimonies of these witnesses important? Sure they are! In fact, they are vital and let me give you two reasons why their testimony is so important.

30 Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

And here is the second reason why the testimony of these three witnesses is so important.

There are a lot of people, several right here in Brady who will tell you, “You know, Jesus was a good man, a good teacher, a good example, and we will even say that he worked a few miracles. But the Son of God, he is not! The Lamb of God, he is not! God in human form, he is not!”

So, who do you say Jesus is? Is He the Lamb of God who can take away your sin? Is He the Christ, the Messiah, the anointed One sent from God; is He the Son of God who is to be followed and obeyed?

Or is He nothing more than a good man; and is all of this just a fairy tale and myth?








The Testimony Of John


John 1:19-23

 Here in the Gospel of John, the word “Jesus” and the word “Christ” is found 170 times.

Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

Now, here in chapter 1, in the first 18 verses John introduces the Word to us and John says that the Word is the eternal God, the Almighty Creator in whom is life and light, and who came in the flesh.

But now, starting in vs. 19, in keeping with his purpose for writing this gospel, and to confirm what John has said about Jesus, John gives us the testimony of John the Baptist.

So, let’s look at what John the Baptist has to say about Jesus. Look with me at vs. 19 again.

And this is the witness of John when the Jews (this is the first time we see this term “Jews” used by John; and John will use this term 70 times in this gospel and  normally when John  uses this word “Jews”, he doesn’t use it to refer to the people of Israel as a whole. He uses it to refer to a particular group who is hostile toward Jesus).

And this is the witness of John when the Jews sent to him priests and Levites from Jerusalem (vs. 24 tells us that these priests and Levites were sent from the Pharisees. When it came to their religion, the Pharisees were very legalistic and strict and they often bound things on others that they themselves would not do. And, we can only imagine how intimidating this delegation of priests and Levites must have been in their long robes and priestly garb).

But these priests and Levites come from Jerusalem to John the Baptist and they ask him, “Who are you?” 20 And he confessed, and did not deny, and he confessed, “I am not the Christ.”

 But they ask him, “Who are you?” and he says, “I am not the Christ.”

Now, we have talked about this in a previous lesson, but one of the reasons that John the writer of this gospel gives this testimony of John the Baptist that “he is not the Christ” is because some of John the Baptists’ disciples would continue to follow him.

21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” (Malachi 4:5-6; God said He would send Elijah before the great and terrible day of the Lord) And he said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” (Deut. 18:15-19 – God promised that another prophet would come)  And he answered, “No.” 22 They said then to him, “Who are you, so that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?”

 Now, vs. 23. John says, “I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.”

Vs. 24 Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. (The Pharisees considered themselves to be the spiritual leaders of Israel and here John is, drawing large crowds of fellow Jews and baptizing them and the Pharisees want to know about him.)

25 And they asked him, and said to him, “Why then are you baptizing, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” (By what authority are you baptizing these people?)

Baptism was not a new practice in Judaism. It was a regular rite in the admission of converts from other religions.

26 John answered them saying, “I baptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know.

Vs. 26 He says, “I baptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know. 27 “It is He who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.”

 Now, contrast John’s words to some of our attitudes when we pray.

  Look at vs. 29: The next day he saw Jesus coming to him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

Vs. 30  “This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’ 31 “And I did not recognize Him (John knew Jesus; they were second cousins; at the time though John didn’t know that He was the Messiah) but in order that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water.” 32 And John bore witness saying, “I have beheld the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. (God gave John the Baptist the sure sign that Jesus was God’s Son.)

 33 “And I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the one who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’ 34 “And I have seen, and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

 So, this is John’s testimony; and in essence it is God’s testimony; and John knows that Jesus is God’s Son and the question is, do you and I?



The Word Became Flesh


John 1:14-18

I have heard it said in prayers; it has been mentioned Bible classes; even in sermons; I have heard it and heard it a thousand times or more but I am not sure I have we really comprehend its significance or appreciated it.

John 1:14  And the Word became flesh,  and dwelt among us,

And then John says that “the Word was with God”; the Word and God are not identical but they are ONE; the Word has the very same nature as God the Father.

And then John says that “the Word was God”; all that could be said about God may aptly be said about the Word; nothing higher could be said about the Word

And then John says that “all things came into being by the Word”; He is the Almighty Creator.

In the first 5 verses John declares the Word to be God.

 Let me put it this way to help you understand how amazing this was: Some of you may remember, in July 1969, one of the most momentous events in all of human history took place when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.

And as amazing as that was, here in this passage, you have the Word, the pre-existent One; the eternal One; the Omnipotent One; the Omnipresent and Omniscient One, coming in the flesh.

And 2 Cor. 8:9 tells us that He “gave up the riches of heaven in order that through His poverty we might be rich.”

And you talk about a giant leap for man-kind, His was a giant leap for mankind!

And let me tell you, this is the most important doctrine in the Christian faith.

If the Word was and is not God then we can just ignore John’s Gospel and his later epistles completely because that is the crux of his writings.

“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” is the most amazing thing that ever happened to mankind and this truth lies at the very heart of Christianity.

If I really think about this and understand it, it cements my devotion and commitment to Him.

Now, look at vs. 14 again: The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”

John says God has come close. He came in the flesh. And if people really want to find God all they have to do is find Jesus Christ and that is as near as your closest Bible. (He is also in the hearts of His disciples.)

 So John says that the “Word became flesh and dwelt among us” and that Word was God; but that is easy to say. Where is the proof?

 Well, from here on through the rest of the book John is going to give testimony that “the Word” was and is Jesus and that Jesus is God who came in the flesh.

So, look at the end of vs. 14: And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

 And look at what John says “they beheld”; and that word “beheld” is not speaking of a vision or a dream; this is speaking of something they literally saw!

 What does John mean when he speaks of seeing “His glory?”

Then you have the Transfiguration in Matthew 17 where Jesus was “transfigured and His face shone like the sun and His garments became as white as light.”

But then there is this also. In Mark 1:41 Jesus encounters a leper and vs. 41 says that Jesus “was moved by compassion” and reached out and healed that man.

And look again at John 1:14. John says that Jesus was  “full of grace and truth.”

 And we might ask, “What does His compassion, and His grace and truth have to do with John seeing His glory. Well, look at this from Exodus 33: 18.

Moses asks to see “God’s glory” and God says,  “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.”

And when John saw those same things in Jesus, when he saw the compassion, the grace, the love and care, then John realized that what he was seeing was the “glory of God.”

In vs. 15, John will once again use John the Baptist to confirm that the Word is Jesus, and that Jesus is God and He came to “explain God” to us. What He is like.

But here is the problem. People look at what Hollywood says about God; and they look at what some of these books say about God; at what philosophers say; what some songs say and then they say, “That is what God is like!”

Jesus defines God; He displays God’s glory; He dispenses grace and truth.

So it is amazing to me that the Word would become flesh and dwell among us; and it is the most important thing for us to believe.

So, why does John tells us all of these things? Here it is again:  John 20: 30 Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

 Your faith in Christ is not misplaced.

If you want eternal life; there is only One way to get it and that is through Jesus Christ. It is all about Jesus. And if you refuse to believe that He is God who came in the flesh there is no hope for you.








In The Beginning Was The Word


John 1:1-5

I appreciate _______ reading this passage of scripture and if I were to give you a simple summary of this gospel it would be this: “It’s all about Jesus!”

From the way that the apostle John introduces his gospel here with the words that were read, obviously John wants people to learn or at least be reminded of some things about Jesus.

In fact, look at what John says in chapter 20:30-31:

Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;

 31 but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

 And, just because John is writing so that “we believe”, that should not cause us to conclude that we do not need to hear what John says because we already believe.

So, John’s purpose for writing this gospel is to teach us and remind us that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you/I may have life in His name.”

John says, “In the beginning was the Word.”

So John says, “In the beginning was the Word.”

 So, why does John refer to Jesus as “the Word”, the Logos (Greek).

 So, John says in vs. 1:”In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

In fact, Jesus Himself actually confirms what John says here.  This is John 17:4-5: Jesus is praying here and, speaking to the Father, He says, “I glorified you on earth having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”

 And a little later in vs. 24 Jesus again says, “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for you loved Me before the foundation of the world.”

 In both of these passages Jesus is saying, “I was with you Father in that period before time began; I was there, I shared your glory” and those statements all help us to understand what John is talking about in vs. 1 when John says, “In the beginning was the Word.”

In fact, notice that there is no genealogy here in John’s gospel like in Matthew and Luke’s gospel accounts.

And notice also that John says that “the Word was with God.”

In fact, this phrase can be rendered, “The Word was face to face with God.”

And if you look at the end of vs. 1, John says, “…and the word was God.”

Now, look at vs. 2. John really wants us to understand the eternal nature of Jesus because in verse 2 John repeats the statement again, “the Word was in the beginning with God.”

Now, look at vs. 3. Speaking of Jesus, John says: All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

 16 For by Him (Jesus) all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities– all things have been created by Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

 Both John and the apostle Paul want us to know that Jesus is God because “He created all things.”

Now, look at vs. 4: In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.

However, because John has just spoken of Jesus as being the Creator, in this verse the word “life” more than likely speaks of “life”; Jesus is the creator and it is only because there is “life” in Him, that there is life in anything on earth.

But, if John does also have in mind here “eternal life” to pursue anyone or anything other than Jesus in who “life exists” is to pursue death.

And look at the end of the verse: “And the life was the light of men.”

But now, look at vs. 5: And the light shines in the darkness…

 Now, look at the second part of the verse: …and the darkness did not comprehend it.

Look at this in John 12:35. Jesus speaking to His disciples says, “For a little while longer the light is among you. Walk while you have the light, that darkness may not overtake you;

 So, what John is saying in chapter 1:5 is: And the light shines in the darkness and the darkness was not able to overtake or overcome it.

John 1:5  And the light shines in the darkness (continuous action), and the darkness did not comprehend or overcome it.

 So, I have to ask myself, “Am I letting the light that Jesus has given me; am I letting it shine in such a way that others can see my good works, and glorify the Father who is in heaven?”


The Witness


John 1:6-13

 Do you remember why John wrote this gospel?

 And we saw that last week in the first 5 verses of John 1 when John revealed Jesus to us as the eternal Word of God, the Creator of the Universe, and the source of life and Light.

In vs. 6 John tells us about another John, a man,  who “came” and  was “sent from God.”

Now, there is little doubt that John is talking about John the Baptist and John the apostle seems to intentionally make the point that John the Baptizer was a “man” who “came” and who was “sent from God as a witness of the light that all might believe through him” and I think there is a very good reason why John does that. .

Once again, John is saying, “It is all about Jesus!”

Sometimes, and I don’t expect anyone here to have this problem, but sometimes people get “preacher-itis.”

I remember a congregation where the preacher decided to leave and one of the sisters in the congregation went to one of the elders and said, “What are we going to do?” She was devastated.

It is not about the preacher; or an elder; or anyone else.

Now, look at vs. 9:  There was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.

But notice the last of vs. 9: “The true light which enlightens every man.”

And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil.

The Light shines everywhere; churches; Bibles; Bible in motel rooms; crosses in cemeteries; crosses on necklaces and earrings; remember the guy with the multicolored hair that would sit in the end zone of football games and hold up the sign that said, “John 3:16.”

The problem was and is, “men love the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds are evil.”

 Look at what the apostle Paul says in Romans 1: 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

The majority of the sinful acts we are seeing in our society today is not because the Light or the Truth has been hidden from them; it is because people love the darkness rather than the Light.

Now, back in chapter 1:10: He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.

And look at vs. 11: He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.

What is interesting is that animals are better than this; animals know their master but somehow humans don’t! Look with me at Isaiah chapter 1.

2 Listen, O heavens, and hear, O earth;  For the LORD speaks, “Sons I have reared and brought up, But they have revolted against Me. 3 “An ox knows its owner, And a donkey its master’s manger, But Israel does not know,  My people do not understand.”

This is crazy! These are dumb animals! They are not human beings! And yet they know their master and his manger while people don’t even recognize Him!

People have dogs. And they come home and their dog is so excited to see them! They jump up and down and jump up on your feet; and sometime they are so excited that they “leak.”

Dogs are smart enough to recognize their master but do humans?

12 But as many as received Him (the bulk of the people didn’t and haven’t received Him. But many did.)

…and to them He gave (grace…they didn’t earn it) the right (the authority-they have full authority to claim their exalted position based on His grace and His authority) to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.

And to “believe in His name” is not just simply uttering His name as though it is a password that opens up God’s blessing to you.

And look at vs 13. This right, this authorization to become a “child of God” is not based on blood lineage (not based on being born a Jew or a Gentile);

 It is only by the will of God and Jesus’ perfect life and works on the cross; and our receiving and believing completely in Him that anyone can be a “child of God.”  

Do you and I recognize our Master or are we dumber than an animal?

If you have drifted away from Christ; come back where you belong.







Confidence In Prayer


1 John 5:13-21

I think we have all prayed for something or for some situation…and what we prayed for didn’t come about…it seemed as though our prayer went unheard and did no good…and as a result our faith is shaken and we lose confidence in prayer.

13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life.

And John, here in this verse, says that the “things he has written to them about Christ and who He is”, he wrote those things so that they may “know”…and that word “know” is the Greek word “oida” which speaks of a “settled knowledge”…in other words…there is no doubt…no uncertainty…they can “know”, they can be confident that they have eternal life.

Now, what John is going to do is he is going let us know how our awareness of our present relationship with God contributes to “confidence in prayer.”

But, just because God does not answer your prayer the way you think He should does not mean that your fellowship with God is broken.

But we “know we have eternal life”…therefore look at vs. 14:

And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

And then after you ask…ask God to grant what you ask for…according to His will rather than yours.

Listen, we can pray for “anything”…but what often happens is we are motivated by selfishness; and when we don’t get our way we get upset; sometimes we turn away from God.

Remember when Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane? He asked God to “let this cup pass from Me.”

We can ask for anything…but then grant God the sovereign right to edit your requests.

You know, one of the things that we often pray for is rain, “Send us rain.” So we pray for rain.

But the point is, “according to His will” does not limit the “anything.”

And look at the very last phrase of verse 14: He hears us.

Now verse 15: And if (this is not an “iffy” issue. There is no doubt here…this is a “when”) When we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.

Now, let’s go to verse 16. In verse 16 John gives us an example of something that we might ask for.

16 If (when) anyone sees (you can see it…the characteristics are visible) his brother (this is key-this is a brother or sister in Christ) committing a sin not leading to death (God has not cut him off ) he (the one praying) shall ask and God will for (dative-“to”) him (the one who is praying) give life (not eternal life) to those who commit sin not leading to death. (God answers your prayer. The granting of life here has nothing to do with the sinning brother changing. It is given because the concerned brother asks for it.)

In this verse who is it that is “committing a sin not leading to death?” A brother.

So, his brother sees him committing sin or living in a way that could cause him to lose fellowship with God, and he asks God to “grant the sinning brother life, not eternal life, but an extension of his life” and God grants that request, because his concerned brother asks for it.

Let me see if I can put this in simpler terms to help you understand what John is saying.

Now, let’s read this verse again with those names:

If anyone (Pete) see his brother (Sam) committing a sin not leading to death, he (Pete) shall ask and God will for(to) him (Pete) give life to those (Sam) who commit sin not leading unto death.

Here is the deal…Pete is noble…and Pete sees Sam sinning…and Sam is in trouble…he is slipping away. 1 John 3:8-10.

“God, I have been watching Sam and Sam has been going places he shouldn’t and I am concerned. I do not want my brother to be lost. Please do not cut him off. I am aware that his sin is hostility toward you. I am aware that you cannot and will not tolerate the practice of sin. But please don’t cut him off. Let me work with him. Please extend his life. Please don’t cut him down but keep him alive. Let me work with him.”

 Now, when Pete gets through praying what do you think he is going to do?

This tells us something about the awesome power of prayer.

This is not a verse whose main point is a discussion of “sin leading unto death.”

 Now, look at the end of vs. 16: There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this.

Any sin can be unto death. What is important is the direction of the man’s walk when he sins.

I encourage each of you to study this for yourself; but what we do know for sure from this passage is there is power in prayer; and prayer may keep a struggling brother from being cut off.

Now, vs. 17:  All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not leading to death.

 Vs. 18: We know that no one who is born of God sins;

 Vs. 18: …but He who was born of God keeps him and the evil one does not touch him.

 19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. 20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding, in order that we might know Him who is true, and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. 21 Little children, guard yourselves from idols.

All through this letter John is trying to encourage those in Christ to remain faithful to Christ.

Today, that is still his primary concern. He is, all through this letter pleading with each of us to remain faithful to Christ.

If you have drifted away, come home.


One Sided Conversation


1 John 5: 1-12

This morning I want to try something with you that may possibly help you to understand what John is saying in this passage of scripture.

But first, to understand why John wrote, not only this chapter but the whole letter, you have to understand that John is dealing with some false teachings that were circulating in the first century; more specifically the teachings of the Gnostics.

Now here in chapter 5 we have what John says, but what makes this a little difficult to understand is, reading this is much like listening to a one-sided phone conversation.

Well, that is very similar to what we have here in these verses.

Whoever believes that Jesus  (human-Savior) is the Christ (Messiah)  is born of God; and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him.

First, John says, “Whoever believes” – that is a present indicative verb- that means “ongoing action” – it is a present, continuing faith that maintains the “new birth” status.

And look at the second part of the verse: and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him.

Look at vs. 2: By this we know that we love the children of God when we love God and observe His commandments.

Look at vs. 3:  For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

Again, this is John’s side of the conversation. What were the false teachers saying?

Apparently the Gnostics said they were born of God but they denied Jesus as being a man, they denied Him as the only Savior, they denied Him as being the Messiah, (they wanted to separate Him from the O.T. prophets) and they denied Him as being the Son of God…or deity.

And if you or I say, “I guess I will do what God says but I really don’t want to”…you and I might want to reevaluate our love for God.

Now, look what John says in vs. 4: For whatever (in vs. 1 John says, “whoever.” Here he says “whatever) is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world– our faith. 5 And who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

The victory over the world is not achieved by any other means; not by magical charms, or mystic séances, or by human performance.

Vs. 6    This is the one who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood.

Here in this verse John is dealing with the Cerenthian or Apollonarian Gnostic.

Well, in this verse John refutes that thinking. What John is saying is, Jesus Christ was human, He was deity and Messiah before, during and after baptism…and He was human, deity, and Messiah before, during and after the cross.

Now, how do you know that Jesus is the Savior, the Messiah, and the Son of God? Well, look at vs. 7: And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is the truth.

8 For there are three that bear witness, the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.

And the blood or the cross bears witness of who Christ was…a man (he died)…the Messiah (sent from God-sky turned dark at noon day)…Deity…(he rose from the grave. – Romans 1:4)

9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for the witness of God is this, that He has borne witness concerning His Son.

Look at these words of Jesus found in John 5:33-37 “You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. 34 “But the witness which I receive is not from man, but I say these things that you may be saved. 35 “He (John) was the lamp that was burning and was shining and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. 36 “But the witness which I have is greater than that of John; for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish, the very works that I do, bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me. 37 “And the Father who sent Me, He has borne witness of Me.

There is no doubt who Jesus is!

1 John 5:10 The one who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the witness that God has borne concerning His Son.

But the one who denies what God has said about Jesus; that person has made “God a liar.”

Now, look at vs. 11 And the witness (or testimony) is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son (No where or in nothing else).  12  He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.