About Worship Bible Camp Outreach Sermons Links Contact
About Worship Bible Camp Outreach Sermons Links Contact

True Or False

TRUE OR FALSE

John 6:22-27

Every one of us has at some time taken a “true or false test.” Is that true or false?

First question: The letter H is between the letters G and J on a keyboard? True

I stuck this last question in because most people think He is or at least they treat Him like He is a genie in the bottle.  And let me tell you why.

Remember why John wrote this gospel? 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.

But, that is not the way most people feel about the miracles. For most people the miracles draw them to Christ, but for all the wrong reasons.

In vs. 22 it says that “the next day”, that is the day after Jesus fed 20 to 25 thousand people who had followed Him to the other side of the Sea of Galilee.

John tells us. They are still there because “there was no other small boat there, except one. And Jesus had not entered with His disciples into the boat, but that His disciples had gone away alone.”

 If you remember, and you can read about it in the first 15 verses of this chapter, but Jesus had performed this massive miracle and fed everyone, and then He told His disciples to “get in the boat and go” and they did because that is what disciples do. They obey Christ.

And the crowd knows that Jesus didn’t leave with His disciples.

But they wake up the next morning after the miracle the night before and Jesus is not there!

So, why are there more people there?

Now, look at vs. 24:  When the multitude therefore saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they themselves got into the small boats, and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.

 Vs. 25:  And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did You get here?”

So, they ask this question and Jesus never answers it. He ignores it.

So, they ask Jesus, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” and instead of answering their question Jesus gets right to the point. Look at vs. 26:

 John 6:26  Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, (Here is the truth! Jesus is making a critical statement here) I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs (not because you saw the miraculous feeding and healing that took place and those things have convinced you that I am the Son of God. You are not here because you followed the signs that pointed to Me as Savior and Messiah and Lord).

You are here; vs. 26:  because you ate of the loaves, and were filled.

Out of all of these people apparently no one learned what the miracles were intended to teach them; that He is the Son of God and that by believing you can have life in His name.

I am sure that most of you have experienced this. And I don’t mean to be negative or critical about people. We often try to help people with the hope that they will come to know Christ but unfortunately the help we try to give them is not what they want.

I can’t tell you the number of times that someone has come to the office during the week and they want help; they need gas or food or help with their rent; or they need some place to stay.

But we know that they will probably never come to our services? Once in a great while you will have someone who will come once or twice. But it is rare for someone to consistently attend.

We have conducted a food pantry, a clothing room, and given money to Helping Hands and as far as I know we have not garnered anyone from those efforts.

I am not against youth groups, or clothing rooms, or food pantries, or Bible camps, or other acts of fellowship and evangelism.

Here in this passage this huge crowd of people didn’t come to Christ for the right reason. They came just to have their needs satisfied.

And one thing we need to realize about this passage. Jesus knew what was really in their hearts and minds.

So, Jesus knows what is in their hearts and minds; the only reason they are seeking Him is because they “ate the loaves, and were filled.”

Now, look at vs. 27:  “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man shall give to you, for on Him the Father, even God, has set His seal.”

 Now, don’t misunderstand. Jesus is not saying here that we shouldn’t “work for our food.”

But just as Jesus has said, “If a man will not work, let him not work” Jesus also said, “That man shall not live by bread alone” and that is Jesus’ point here.

Now, look at vs. 27 again:  “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life…

 Well, look at the rest of the verse: Which the Son of Man shall give to you, for on Him the Father, even God, has set His seal.”

 And this isn’t a hollow declaration. This isn’t a false claim. God has “set His seal” or authenticated Jesus as the source of this food that endures to eternal life.

And if you look at vs. 35 Jesus tells you what that food is;  vs. 35 Jesus says, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

But, if you don’t have Christ you have no hope and that is what these people were doing; they were ignoring who Christ was and the eternal salvation that was in Him, all for a few fish and crackers.

So, let me give you one more true or false question: True or False: Jesus is Lord and not you or I.

These people in John 6 thought they were Lords. They wanted Jesus to do what they; wanted and they were willing to settle for physical food.

Heads Up

 

Heads Up

John 6:16-21

When someone gives you a “heads up”, what are they doing?

When we were baptized, according to Acts 2:38, our sins were forgiven.

But, in John 6 and Mark 6 and Matthew 14 Jesus gives us a “heads up” when it comes to being a disciple which may cause some to think twice before following Christ.

If you remember from last week Jesus has just performed a massive miracle when He fed a huge crowd from 5 loaves and 2 fish.

But the reality is Jesus comes to no man on man’s terms.

So, Jesus withdrew to the mountain away from this crowd that wants to force Him to be king.

 Now, in Matthew’s and Mark’s account of this they both say that Jesus “made” His disciples get in the boat!

Apparently there were some things that Jesus wanted His disciples to learn about being a disciple.

Listen, up to this point Jesus’ disciples have not personally experienced much in the way of difficulties; they have experienced some hardships while traveling with Jesus; some sore feet from walking; and in Matthew 10 when Jesus sent them out “to preach that the kingdom of heaven is at hand” He warned them that they would be rejected, and be hated, and perhaps even be persecuted.

But, telling is much different than showing.

And they do. They get in the boat! And that is what Jesus wants us to learn: disciples obey even when they don’t fully understand.

Jesus “makes His disciples” get in the boat, it is dark, and “the sea began to be stirred because a strong wind was blowing.”

Look at vs. 19: When therefore they had rowed about 3 or 4 miles…

 47 And when it was evening, the boat was in the midst of the sea, and He (Jesus) was alone on the land. 48 And seeing them straining (tormenting; painfully struggling) at the oars, for the wind was against them, at about the fourth watch of the night, He came to them,

Being a disciple of Christ, obeying Christ can lead us into some pretty scary circumstances; seemingly overwhelming circumstances, some discouraging circumstances all because you are doing what the Lord told you to do.

There will always be “waves” to toss us; and batter us; and threaten us. (Doctrine; fads; opinions).

For these disciples it was a struggle and it will be for us too.

So, the disciples are out on the sea, they are straining against the wind and the waves and in Mark 6:48 Mark tells us that “Jesus could see them straining at the oars.”

Look at this in Psalm 33:18. The writer says the “Lord’s eyes are on those who fear Him and whose hope is in His unfailing love.”

And look at vs. 19 again in John 6. Jesus sees them struggling and look what He does.

When therefore they had rowed about three or four miles, they beheld Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat; and they were frightened.

And the same is true for you and I.

Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 28:19-20:  “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. “

In Hebrews 13:5 the Lord said: “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,”

So Jesus sees them struggling; and He comes to them; and notice how He comes: Walking on the sea!

Do you remember what Jesus said in Matthew 28:18 right before He sent these same disciples out in what we call the “Great Commission?”

And the first thing you and I need to recognize as a disciple is when we find ourselves in a difficult situation because we are obeying what Christ has commanded is Who has dominion; Who is Sovereign over the circumstances that we are facing.

And then we must do what they did. Jesus walks on the sea; He draws near to the boat; they are frightened (Mark says they thought He was a ghost) and they cried out; and in vs. 20 He speaks to them and says, “It is I; do not be afraid.”

 I don’t know if it is pride or stubbornness or something else but far too often we face a difficult situation and we fail to let Jesus come into the boat. (Marriage; parenting; job; life)

And look at the end of vs. 21. They receive Jesus into the boat; and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.

Now, John leaves out one of the most interesting parts of this story. In Matthew’s account found in chapter 14 starting in vs. 25 Matthew says:

25 And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were frightened, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” 28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But seeing the wind, he became afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” 31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”  32 And when they got into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!”

The Hebrew writer says in Heb 10:35:  Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.

So, these are all things we learn in disciple school.

 

 

 

Feeding of the Five Thousand

THE FEEDING OF THE FIVE THOUSAND

John 6:1-14

The verses that were read are commonly referred to as the “Feeding of the Five Thousand” and this is one of the most familiar stories in the Bible.

Well it is. This is another sermon on the feeding of the 5000. But this story is important for several reasons.

And this miracle that Jesus performs is massive because of the sheer number of people who were participants of this miracle.

This miracle has never been denied until more modern times when critics have decided that it really wasn’t a miracle at all. They say that what happened is a little boy gave up his lunch and said, “Wow, let’s all share.” And so everybody reached into their knapsacks and pulled out whatever they had and you had this great experience of sharing. (Mark 6:38)

All four gospel writers use this miracle of feeding of the 5 thousand to show and prove that Jesus is who He claimed to be.

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.

So this is a very familiar story; it is a massive miracle; it is an undeniable miracle; it is a very important story because is proves who Jesus is;

Now, in vs. 1, Jesus is no longer in Jerusalem like He was in chapter 5. He is now in Galilee and in this story He has gone to the “other side of the Sea of Galilee.”

One, He is very much aware that the Jewish leaders back in Jerusalem want to kill Him; He is also aware that John the Baptist has been executed (Matthew 14:13) so to avoid an untimely death He leaves Jerusalem and comes to Galilee.

And when they get there vs. 3 tells us that Jesus went up on the mountain and there sat with His disciples.”

 And John says in vs. 4 that “the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand.”

But, then in vs. 2, we are told that Jesus was being followed by a great multitude.

Notice in vs. 2 why these people are following Jesus: because they were seeing the signs which He was performing on those who were sick.

So, if someone came along who could heal all their diseases; and then feed them too…

So, that is what these people do.

Now, look at vs. 5:   Jesus therefore lifting up His eyes, and seeing that a great multitude was coming to Him, said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, that these may eat?”

  6 And this He was saying to test him; for He Himself knew what He was intending to do.

 Look at vs. 8:  One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, 9 “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so many people?”

So, in vs. 10 Jesus tells His disciples to have the people sit down. (In Matthew, Mark and Luke’s accounts the disciples wanted to send the people away.)

Then In vs. 11 Jesus takes the loaves and fish, gives thanks for them, then He distributed the fish and loaves to those who were seated; and they all had as much as they wanted.

And crackers that were never baked; 5 crackers in which the grain had never been crushed.

And in vs. 12, when the people were filled, Jesus told the disciples to “Gather up the leftover fragments that nothing may be lost.”

This is a stunning miracle! How in the world could any of these people possibly exhibit any lack of faith in Jesus? He had healed their sick; He had fed them all; this was a massive miracle!

In fact, look at vs. 14: When therefore the people saw the sign which He had performed, they said, “This is of a truth  the Son of God, the Savior of the world.”

 No, they said, “This is of a truth God in human form; teach us and we will obey!”

 Look at what it says: When therefore the people saw the sign which He had performed, they said, “This is of a truth the Prophet who is to come into the world.”

And look at vs. 15: Jesus therefore perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force, to make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone.

Here in this story Jesus demonstrates His power to show that He is deity hoping these people would listen to and obey His word; but it seems that no one did?

Perhaps years later when some of these people saw this man who had fed them from 5 loaves and 2 fishes being crucified and then 3 days later be raised from the dead; maybe then they realized who He really is. I hope so. But it wouldn’t surprise me if they didn’t.

Four Witnesses

Four Witnesses

FOUR WITNESSES

John 5:31-40

One of the most puzzling things to me as a preacher and a follower of Christ are those individuals who have heard the word, they have heard that sin condemns them to be lost eternally, and they know that the only escape from that condemnation is Jesus, and yet they consistently refuse to obey Him.

  • And I don’t know what their hang-up is?

I often wonder, and I am sure that some of you who have tried to bring friends or family to Christ only to fail, I am sure some of you have wondered the same thing, “Am I not saying the right things; “Am I not speaking clearly.” “What am I doing wrong?”

  • “Do I need to be bolder or do I need to be less bold?” “More emotional?”
  • “Am I too boring? Do I need to be more charismatic? Do I need to jump up and down and scream and yell and say, “You have no guarantee of tomorrow!”
  • It is puzzling to me why some individuals are so hesitant to respond to Christ, especially when they know they should.

It may be puzzling, but it shouldn’t be surprising because that is one of the ongoing issues all the way through this gospel.

  • In fact, that is exactly the issue here in this passage of scripture that was read.
  • This passage indirectly asks, “Why are you rejecting Christ?” while at the same time telling those who are trying to bring others to Christ, “That in spite of your best efforts and wishes that if you don’t succeed in bringing someone to Christ then more than likely it is not your fault.”

Let’s look at the passage that was read.

In this chapter Jesus heals a man who had been sick for 38 year.  But the problem is, He healed the man on the Sabbath and some of the Jews didn’t like it and in vs. 16 these Jews begin persecuting Jesus.

  • And starting in vs. 17 and running all the way to the end of vs. 47 Jesus tries to tell these Jews who He is. He tries to tell them that He is equal to God, that He can do nothing separate and apart from God, and God has given Him the authority to execute judgment.
  • And in declaring His deity, in declaring that He is God, in order to get these Jews, as well as anyone else to believe and obey Him, Jesus provides witnesses to prove or confirm who He is.

Now, it is not necessary for Him to provide witnesses. But, in vs. 31, He knows the Jews are not going to accept His claims just because He makes them because in Deuteronomy 19:15 they are told that “unless a testimony is confirmed by two or more witness, that testimony is to be considered as “not true.”

But it isn’t necessary for Jesus to provide witnesses because Jesus says in chapter 8:14 that “Even if He bears witness of Himself, His witness is true;

  • But here in vs. 31 He defers to these Jews and provides witnesses in an effort to convince them that He is God.
  • And as you read through the following verses Jesus tells you who His witnesses are.

Look at vs. 33:   You  (the Jews) have sent to John, and he has borne witness (perfect tense: speaks of a past completed action with results continuing to the present) to the truth.

  • John the Baptist is His first witness.
  • In John 1:6-8; and in chapter 1:15 and in chapter 1:19-34 John the Baptist testified to who Jesus is!
  • And that testimony, though made in the past is continuing to the present; it has not changed and it has not been retracted.

And look what Jesus says about John in vs. 35:  "He was the lamp that was burning and was shining and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.

  • During his ministry John was shining like a lamp guiding the way for the people.
  • And while John was doing that the Jews “were willing to rejoice.”
  • While John was preaching repentance and baptizing the people, the people were attracted to him.
  • They thronged to him and rejoiced at the “good news” of the hope that he brought to them.
  • As a shining lamp he bore witness to the “light of the world” even though he wasn’t the light; John 1:8.
  • And the Jews even told the people He was a prophet from God!

 And if you look at vs. 34 you find John the Baptist’s witness or testimony directed the people to Jesus and salvation.

  • John didn’t get his message from reading tea leaves or by contemplating the stars or reading horoscopes.
  • He didn’t make it up himself or consult demonic powers.
  • He was commissioned by God “to make ready the way of the Lord.”

So, if you want a witness to confirm who Jesus is and that He is the One sent from God to “take away the sins of the world”, there is John.

But now you need another witness to convince you to follow Christ, well look at vs. 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.

  • John’s testimony was verbal; the “works” or signs that Jesus performed were visual and that is why they were greater!
  • Jesus often spoke to the people and they might believe what He said or at least think about it; but when they saw a miracle; when they saw a man who had been sick for 38 years get up and walk; or when they saw a little girl raised from the dead; or when they saw Jesus control a storm with His voice; or cast out the demons in a demon possessed man that is a more convincing testimony.

In fact, do you remember why John wrote this gospel? 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.

  • All the miracles that Jesus performed and there were a lot of them.
  • All of those miracles were intended to convince people that Jesus is the Son of God and they still are intended for that.
  • After all the miracles that Jesus performed no one ever came back and denied them.
  • And those miracles testify that Jesus is God!
  • And I am confident that our Lord is puzzled why the miracles have not caused some to obey Christ.

And now the third witness; vs. 37: “And the Father who sent Me, He has testified of Me.

  • Do you remember what God said when Jesus was baptized and the Spirit descended on Him like a dove?
  • If you look at the second half of this verse, these Jews had never heard the voice of God speak to them or seen Him in any form; but Jesus did! Why, because Jesus is God’s Son.

And that brings us to the final witness that Jesus mentions in this passage, the scriptures. Look at vs. 39:  "You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me;

  • The reason the Jews “searched the scriptures” is because they thought the Law was the source of eternal life. They thought they could save themselves by keeping the Law.
  • But the scriptures manifested to them that they could not save themselves by keeping the law, Deut. 27:26; if they violated the Law one time they were guilty of the whole law; and therefore they would needed a Savior; a spotless Lamb to atone for their sins.
  • If they had sincerely studied the scriptures then they would have recognized Christ when He came on the scene.

So you have 4 witnesses; John the Baptist, the “works” that Jesus performed and will perform; God the Father, and the Scriptures; to confirm that Christ is God; that Christ has the authority to raise the dead and give life; that He has the authority to judge and give eternal life or to raise people to judgment.

  • Those are the 4 witnesses, all come from God and you would think that these Jews, just like some today, wouldn’t hesitate; they wouldn’t put it off; they wouldn’t refuse; you would think they would immediately humble themselves and follow Christ.
  • So, what did they do?

Look starting in vs. 40: You are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life.

  • These Jews, as well as people today, don’t refuse to come to Christ because of the teacher; they had the best teacher that anyone could possibly have.
  • They couldn’t plead ignorance because He just told them.
  • They couldn’t say that God didn’t choose them be saved, just like all of us God gave His Son so we could be saved.
  • They couldn’t blame it on a lack of provision.
  • They couldn’t blame it on a lack of evidence.
  • They only one they could blame it on was themselves and the unwillingness to come to Christ.

Some of us think that we are to blame when someone doesn’t come to Christ or isn’t baptized.

  • And I guess is some situations that could be true.
  • But every individual is ultimately responsible for their own salvation; and if you are I or Jesus tries to teach them and they reject the truth it is on them.

And look at this. Jesus says “You were unwilling.”

  • “You don’t want to.” “You have no desire to.” It is not “You are unable to.” It is “you are unwilling.” It is that simple.
  • People make all kinds of excuses: “I have some things I want to do first!” “I am not sure I agree with what the Bible says.” “I like to party and drink; chase the women.” “My parents didn’t come to Christ and they were ok, I will be too.” “I don’t have time.” “I’ll lose my friends.” “Old Pete made me mad.” “Those people are just a bunch of hypocrites.”
  • People make all kinds of excuses but when it comes right down to it, they are just “unwilling.”

And look what it will cost them. Look at the end of the verse: “That you may have life.”

  • That is what puzzles me.
  • People will do a lot of things to save their life: wear seat belts; have a colonoscopy; learn how to swim; call for an ambulance; conceal carry; eat healthy; stop smoking; quit drinking; all kinds of things to save their life.
  • But they can find all kinds of excuses to not save their spiritual life.

Let’s read the rest of this passage. Vs. 41, Jesus says: I do not receive glory from men; 42 but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves. 43 "I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another shall come in his own name, you will receive him. 44 "How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another, and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God? 45 "Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope. 46 "For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote of Me. 47 "But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?" 

 It is puzzling why some individuals who know, won’t. What we all must do in those instances is keep trying; keep pounding on that old rock because some day it might crack; and in some instances it may be that we just need to move on to someone else.

  • Don’t get discouraged. Keep trying.

For some, perhaps today is the day. You never know when the Lord will come back. And if your hang-up is some matter of doctrine, let’s  study about it and let God tells us what to do.

 

 

Resurrection Day

RESURRECTION DAY

John 5:28-29

Last week I talked to you about what Jesus says here in these verses; we talked about the “last day” when the Lord will return and the final resurrection and judgment will take place and there will be a resurrection to life; and a resurrection to judgment (condemnation).

So, we talked about those things last week but there are some other things that we need to learn or be reminded of when it comes to the final judgment and the two resurrections.

So, if you would look with me at Matthew 25 starting in vs. 31.  In this passage Jesus gives a dramatic, symbolic description of the final judgment. Look at what He says:

“When…not “if” but “when.” We can count on this happening!

In 1 Cor. 15 starting in vs. 35 the apostle Paul says that when the Lord comes again that “those who have died will be raised with an imperishable body…and we don’t know for sure what that will be like; 1 John 3:2…

So, back to Acts 17: 31: God has fixed a day (it is set) in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”

So in Matthew 25:31 Jesus says “When?”

But, look at what Jesus says in Matthew 24 starting in vs. 42: Therefore, be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. 43 “But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. 44 “For this reason you be ready too; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.

Now, vs. 45:   “Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 “Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. 47 “Truly I say to you, that he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48 “But if that evil slave says in his heart, ‘My master is not coming for a long time,’ 49 and shall begin to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards; 50 the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know, 51 and shall cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; weeping shall be there and the gnashing of teeth. 

Look at what the apostle Paul says in 1 Thess. 5: 2-3 “the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night (you don’t know when He is coming). 3 While they are saying “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.”

So, no one knows when the Lord will come back again. And there is something else that no one knows. Look at James 4:13 says “no one knows what their life will be like tomorrow.  We are like a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”

So, everyone wants to know “when.” But no one knows “when” the judgment will take place except for God.

Well, we are nearer to the end than we were yesterday.

So, back to Matthew 25:31 and Jesus’ symbolic description of the final judgment:

 When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 “And all the nations (all people) will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. 34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

 Now, look at vs. 41:  “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;

And now vs. 46: And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

So, how do we or anyone make sure they are ready for the final judgment? How do we assure ourselves of being resurrected to life? Well, because God desires that all men would be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 4:4) you can find the answer to that question in every book of the New Testament.

John 5:24  “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears (this is not just a general hearing. This is an effectual hearing; a hearing that causes a change in you; a transformation; it speaks of hearing and obeying His word: obeying whatever He commands)  My word, and believes Him who sent Me,

 His word, the Bible, is not just intended to tell you how to be a good person. It does that for sure.

 Now, look at vs. 28-29: Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs shall hear His voice, 29 and shall come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.

But, once you have been saved by your faith and obedience to Christ, if you or I don’t do those things that are “good” in the eyes of God; if we continue to do that which is “evil” there will be no resurrection to life.

So, a day of judgment is coming, we don’t know when. But when it comes there are only two possibilities: a resurrection to life or a resurrection to judgment or condemnation.

 

 

 

 

 

Two Deaths Two Resurrections

TWO DEATHS TWO RESURRECTIONS

John 5:25-29

This is a very interesting passage of scripture because in these few verses Jesus speaks of two deaths, one that has already taken place for all of us with the exception of the young,  and one which will take place for everyone.

So, to begin let me explain the first death and resurrection that Jesus mentions here.

Now, in the overall context of this chapter Jesus is telling these Jews who, in vs. 16, were persecuting Him for healing a man on the Sabbath who had been sick for 38 years.

25 “Truly, truly, I say to you…

So He says, “I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear shall live.”

Now, in this verse you might think that Jesus is talking about the final, end of the world resurrection of the dead when He returns someday.

Look what He says again: “An hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.”

And this isn’t a general hearing; this is effectual hearing of the heart; this is not just receiving information, this is receiving information that causes a transformation; that causes changes.

But, what if an individual is dead in their sins and does not “hear Jesus’ voice; does not hear His word; He refuses to hear; He refuses to let that word transform Him; what happens?”

Jesus says basically this same thing in vs. 24. Look what He says: Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has (present tense) eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed (past completed action) out of death (spiritually dead because of sin) into life.

 So,  every one of us when we were old enough to know what sin is, when we committed that sin we were separated from God, we were spiritually dead (Eph. 2:1); but when we “heard His voice; when we heard the word and obeyed that word; and let that word transform us; we passed out of death into life.”

Now, look at the second death and resurrection mention in this passage. Look at vs. 28.

“Do not marvel at this (this points back to vs. 26-27 where Jesus says that “His Father gave Him the prerogative of bestowing life to all things; and to have authority to execute judgment. Once again Jesus is saying that He and the Father are One.

So, He says, “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs shall hear His voice, 29 and shall come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.

 Here is the second death and resurrection mentioned in these verses and this one is about the final, end of time resurrection and judgment.

So, we could discuss it all day long what exactly is that going to be like and what kind of body we will have; but what we do know for certain is “everyone who has or will ever live on this earth will be raised from the dead.”

And the second possibility is a “resurrection to judgment”, a word that could also be translated “condemnation.”

So the two possibilities that Jesus speaks of here in vs. 28-29 is a “resurrection to life, and a resurrection to judgment” and do you know what is going to determine which of the two it will be for you and I?

If you or I are not raised to life in vs. 25, then we will not be raised to life in vs. 28-29 either.

So, I am going to ask each of you to hear the voice or word of Christ again and if your desire is to be resurrected to life, will you come afterwards.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.

 Rom 10:9 If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved;

 Acts 2:38-39 “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

 1 John 1:7 If we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

 

 

 

 

Jesus Is God

JESUS IS GOD

John 5:17-20

Up to this point in the gospel of John everyone and everything has declared Jesus to be God.

And this discourse is here for two primary reasons. One: to confirm and bolster the faith that many of us already have.

The second reason for this discourse is to convince non-believers that Jesus is God; not just a man, not just a good man, not just a noble man or even a highly spiritual sensitive man, and not a lunatic or liar as some would have you believe, but God.

So, what Jesus says in this discourse confirms our faith and will hopefully convince others to believe.

When you come to vs. 16. Jesus has just healed a man who has had an illness for 38 years. And in vs. 16 the Jews are angered and are persecuting Jesus because He did this on the Sabbath.

17 But He answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.”

 When Jesus says, “My Father…” this is not talking about being the physical offspring of God. Jesus is not saying that He is God’s child physically.

And, Jesus is not saying what we say when we acknowledge God as our “heavenly Father.”

When Jesus says, “My Father” He is saying that He has a like nature, the same qualities as God.

He is not saying that He is another, different God.

These Jews who are persecuting Jesus, if they understood who He is would regret treating Him like they are and that will be true of anyone who denies Him today.

So Jesus says, “My Father is working until now…”

 And then Jesus says shockingly, “And I Myself am working”.

As a man coming into the world He fulfilled the Law and obeyed the Sabbath.

Look at this, in Hebrews 1:3 we are told that Jesus “upholds (sustains) all things by the word of His power.”

If these Jews understood who He is they would regret treating Him like they were and that will be true of anyone who denies Him today.

So, in vs. 18 the Jews “were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.

Now, look at vs. 19: Jesus therefore answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.

 And look at what He says, “the Son can do nothing of Himself unless it is something He sees the Father doing;

 In this situation with the Jews getting so upset about Him healing a man on the Sabbath, He did not do that on His own authority; He did it in complete submission to God the Father!

 Theologians through the years have discussed whether or not it was possible for Jesus to sin, because in their minds they see a difference between God the Father and God the Son.

Look at vs. 20: “For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and greater works than these will He show Him, that you may marvel.

And these Jews were stunned by what Jesus did for and what He told this man who was sick for 38 years; but Jesus tells those Jews, “You haven’t seen anything yet!”

Look at vs. 21: For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes.

And notice where it says that “the Son also give life to whom He wishes.” That is simply saying that the miracle of giving life is not something that man commands; it is an exclusive power that only the Son has.

Now, let’s read verses 22-24: 22 “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, 23 in order that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father.

He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

So, these Jews are persecuting Jesus which means they are persecuting God!

Well, we are told. Look with me at Acts 2:36: Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and [ai]Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.”  Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” 38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 

 

 

 

 

Do Not Sin Anymore

DO NOT SIN ANYMORE

John 5: 1-9

When John wrote his gospel most people saw Jesus primarily as a “miracle worker” and that is why they followed Him. (See John 4:48)

But Jesus was not primarily a “miracle worker” and performing miracles was not the primary purpose of His ministry.

And once again, that is what we have here in John 5; another miracle intended to convince us that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.  So, let’s look at the story.

Here in vs. 1 Jesus comes to Jerusalem; it is feast time (don’t know which feast it is. According to Deut. 16:16 the Jews were to observe 3 major feasts each year) and there by the “sheep gate” (this is the gate in which the sheep used for sacrifices were brought into the city) is a pool called Bethesda (means house of mercy).

Now if you look in your Bible you will see that vs. 3 and 4 are enclosed in parenthesis.

So Jesus comes to this place and in vs. 6 Jesus asks a question to a man that has been sick longer than Jesus has been alive! This man had been sick for 38 years.

Now, do not think that you or anyone else is sick because of some sin you have committed. These bodies are flesh and blood and they simply get sick.

Remember also that there is another force that is active in this world and Satan will do anything to get you to curse God and die.

However, it is true that sin can and sometimes does cause illnesses and injuries; (drinking {the number of lives lost every year because of drinking; marriages; financial ruin; addictions caused by drinking}, immorality {STD’s}, drugs, anger; hatred, jealousy, idolatry, greed – we seldom if ever realize how damaging sin is; it destroys lives; it destroys marriages; it destroys families; it destroys health; it makes people stupid; and ultimately it condemns one to be lost eternally).

But, don’t conclude from this story that as soon as your sins are forgiven (if that is what Jesus did for this man. We are never told if Jesus forgave this man’s sins. But if Jesus did forgive this man’s sins) do not conclude that Jesus is going to miraculously take the physical consequences of your sins away.

Remember again, the primary purpose of this story is to convince us that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and by believing that we may have life in His name. The primary purpose is not for people to seek Christ only to get a miracle.

So, Jesus sees this man lying beside the pool and He asks the man “Do you wish to get well?”

Now, vs. 7, look at this man’s response to Jesus: The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”

 

Vs. 8: Jesus said to him, “Arise, take up your pallet, and walk.”  9 And immediately the man became well, and took up his pallet and began to walk.

 And you would think that everyone would be astonished and amazed, and excited!

Now it was the Sabbath on that day. 10 Therefore the Jews (this would be the Jews who opposed Christ) were saying to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not permissible for you to carry your pallet.”

But the Jews had added dozens and dozens of restrictions and binding commands to the point that the Sabbath had become oppressive and people couldn’t keep it.

So, these Jews are not happy for this man; they are not impressed with what Jesus has done; and they tell this man that he is violating the Sabbath.

11 But he answered them, “He who made me well was the one who said to me, ‘Take up your pallet and walk.'”  12 They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your pallet, and walk’?”  13 But he who was healed did not know who it was; for Jesus had slipped away while there was a crowd in that place.

Now, look at vs. 14: Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse may befall you.

In Romans 6 the apostle Paul tells those who have been “baptized into Christ Jesus that they have been baptized into Jesus’ death and just as Jesus was raised from the dead, they too, having be buried with Him in baptism, are to walk in newness of life.” (They have a new life in Christ.)

Through Christ and in Christ those followers of Christ that Paul is speaking to have been given a new life, a new beginning. That is something a lot of people would like to have.

Well, those followers of Christ in Romans 6 had a new beginning, and this man in John 5 had a new beginning, and those of us who have been baptized into Christ have a new beginning, and anyone who comes to Christ and is baptized will have a new beginning.

Now, look at vs. 15: The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.

But, the reality is, people, perhaps even some who are His followers today, betray Him every day in different ways. Is this man anymore ungrateful than people are today?

Now, vs. 16: And for this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath.

17 And He answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.” 18  For this cause therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.

So, is Jesus just a miracle worker? Is He a blasphemer? Or is He the Christ, the Son of God?

 

Saving Faith

SAVING FAITH

John 4:46-54

Here in this passage we are told that Jesus “came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine.”

But for just a minute, how do you think people would respond if He came here to Brady?

And you may be thinking, “That is a dumb question!” Is it? Because just like Jesus “came again to Cana” He will come back again, and 1 Thess. 5 says that He will “come like a thief in the night”; no one knows when He will come.

So, in John 4:46 Jesus “comes again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water to wine.”

And in vs. 47 when this official heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Jesus, and was requesting Jesus to come down (to Capernaum: Cana was in the hill country; Capernaum was by the sea) and heal his son; for his son was at the point of death.

In vs. 45 John says that the Galileans received Jesus, “having seen all the things He did in Jerusalem at the feast.” They received Jesus because of the miracles He had performed!

 And that is what motivates a lot of people today to come to Christ: desperation; and it is often the only thing that will cause them to seek Christ.

But today desperation often causes people to seek after Christ: they are in a desperate situation because of their health; because of their finances (we often see this with benevolence); desperate because of their marriage; because of their family; or because a loved one is near death.

But, if desperation is what causes them to seek after Christ, that is good; it may be that sometimes God allows people to go through desperate situations to get them to seek after Christ.

So, they come to Christ. But, what do they do when their desperate situation improves and they are no longer desperate? Have they only come to Christ because they too see Him as nothing more than a “miracle worker?”

And what do they do if Jesus doesn’t do what they want Him to do: the “son dies” anyway; their health only gets worse; their financial situation doesn’t get any better; their marriage doesn’t improve and falls apart; their family troubles persist?

You see, this story isn’t about Jesus performing miracles. This story is about faith and the difference between a superficial, shallow, conditional faith that sees Jesus as nothing more than a miracle worker;  and a real, unconditional, saving faith; a faith that sees Him as the Son of God and  is steadfast no matter what happens.

So this royal official desperately comes to Jesus and asks Jesus to heal his son. Now look at vs. 48: Jesus therefore said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe.”

Do you remember what John said 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.

Jesus did not come to be a miracle worker. Jesus came to “save that which is lost” and He used His miraculous powers to confirm who He was and to confirm His message and He did so, so that people might believe in Him and obtain eternal life.

 Let me ask you this: If Jesus actually performed miracles for people today, if He made the lame walk, the blind to see, removed the diseases, and raised the dead, would people be faithful to Him?

Does Jesus still work miracles today?

People may reject these kinds of things as miracles but, I Thess. 4:16-18 tells us that there is one great miracle that will take place and everyone will see it.

1 Thess 4:16  For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord.

I do not believe that men have the ability to perform miracles. That time has come to an end; Acts 8:14-18; 1 Cor. 13:8.

So, Jesus says to this royal official, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe.”  “Are you only wanting a miracle like everyone else?”

 Vs. 49:  The royal official said to Him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” 50 Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your son lives.”

Now, look at the second half of the verse: The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he started off.

51 And as he was now going down, his slaves met him, saying that his son was living. 52 So he inquired of them the hour when he began to get better. They said therefore to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” 53 So the father knew that it was at that hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives”; and he himself believed, and his whole household.

“So that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.”

 Are you or I only looking for a miracle worker? Or are we looking for eternal life?

 

 

 

 

The Savior of the World

THE SAVIOR OF THE WORLD

John 4:27-42

I want you to notice vs. 42 again. When John wrote this gospel account some 40 years after Jesus was crucified this verse, this declaration must have shocked and horrified the Jews! Look at what it says:

 And they were saying to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.”

John the Baptist had told the Jews this when he said in chapter 1:29 that “Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

So, you have John the author of the gospel and an apostle, and John the Baptist, a prophet, declaring Jesus as the Savior of the world and we are not surprised by that!

Here in vs. 42 you have a group of people from a village in Samaria called Sychar…

Now, I mentioned that this is a monumental declaration. Let me tell you why. You can put the emphasis of this declaration two ways.

But there is another emphasis to be made from this declaration and that is: for the whole world there is only one Savior!

And, what that means is, all religions of the world that do not point you to salvation in Christ are, boldly put, Satanic deceptions; all of them!

So, how is it that this hated group of Samaritan villagers with whom vs. 9 says that the “Jews have no dealings with”, how is it that they are the ones who make this declaration that Jesus is the Savior of the world and not the high priest of Judaism, or the chief priest of the Sadducees, or the Pharisees?

Now, there is something here in vs. 27 that I want you to notice. It seems that there is an ongoing process in all of this that causes these Samaritans to declare that Jesus truly is the Savior of the world.

Listen, Jesus has walked about 20 miles; He arrives at exactly the right moment to encounter this woman who, oddly enough, comes at the 6th hour to get water and she comes when His disciples are gone!

If the disciples arrive earlier Jesus’ conversation with this woman gets interrupted and perhaps this woman doesn’t go back into Sychar to tell the people there.

So, what is taking place here, is God working everything, every moment, every detail, everything to converge exactly the way it did to fulfill His divine purpose.

Now, look again at vs. 27. The disciples come and they marvel that Jesus had been speaking with a woman, and yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or “Why do You speak to her?”

 Even though they are new disciples and even though they haven’t been with Jesus very long, they are learning what all disciples of Christ, including us, need to learn and that is trust.

So in vs. 28 when the disciples return the woman leaves her water pot, and goes into the city and speaks to the men.

But she comes to the men and in vs. 29 she tells the men of the city “Come, see.”

So in vs. 30 “the men of the city go out to meet Jesus.”

And notice how vs. 31 begins: In the meanwhile…

Vs. 31: In the meanwhile the disciples were requesting Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32  But He said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about. 33 The disciples therefore were saying to one another, “No one brought Him anything to eat, did he?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to accomplish His work.

And if He did sit down and eat, and the men from the city show up, how would it go if He told the men from the city, “You guys just hold on, I will be with you in about 20 minutes.  I have to finish eating?”

So, Jesus continues to teach His disciples, look at vs. 35: “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.

 36 “Already (the NIV says “Even now.” The harvest is now. Don’t wait. Don’t delay.) “Even now he who reaps is receiving wages, and is gathering fruit for life eternal; that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.

 37 “For in this case (in this situation where the men from Sychar are coming) the saying is true, ‘One sows, and another reaps.’

 38 “I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” 

 Many times I have heard this passage taught that this is talking about the world as a whole and that the world is “white for harvest” and Christians have been disappointed because they go out and try to bring others to Christ with the idea that they will have a lot of success.

39 And from that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all the things that I have done.” (Who sowed seed?)

  40 So when the Samaritans came to Him, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of His word;

 42 and they were saying to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.”

 The Jews didn’t believe this. They still don’t today. Do we?

And always be watchful for those who are ready to be harvested. In fact, it may be that someone here this morning is ready to come to Christ, to confess Him as Lord and be baptized into Him for the forgiveness of your sins, and to put away the old self and walk in the light as He is in the light.