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An Example of Faith

AN EXAMPLE OF FAITH

John 4:46-54

Before we get into our study of the passage that was read I want to once again remind you why John wrote his gospel; and why this account of another miracle is recorded here in this chapter.

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.

With that in mind let’s look at John 4:46-54.

As this passage begins, John tells us that Jesus has come again to Cana of Galilee, the place where He performed His very first miracle; John 2.

And while Jesus is there a very interesting man comes from Capernaum to see Him.

And that makes this man even more interesting because the king over Galilee at this time is Herod Antipas.

And that make this man’s trip of 20 miles to find Jesus all the more interesting and impressive because none of the Herods have ever liked Jesus…in fact, they have openly opposed Him.

But this man was willing to run these risks and go to all this trouble…to find Jesus.

Now, let me make this point before we go on.

Some people, perhaps someone here this morning, would be embarrassed if their friends or family knew that they came to Christ because “real men don’t need Christ”; “religion is for women”; “I would be admitting weakness if I came to Christ.”

Well, the man in this account was a “royal official”; he was the king’s man and his only hope was to come to Christ and that is true for each and every one of us.

So, this Royal Official comes to Jesus and the passage says that he “was requesting” Jesus to come…

So this father who is a Royal Official travels this 20 miles…knowing what he is doing is not going to be pleasing to the king…and he persistently pleads with Jesus to come help him.

And before I go on let me say this…and I want to say this to all of our young people.

This dad loved his son and he wanted to bring Jesus to his son so his son wouldn’t die physically…

And I know how it is…

And the next time when mom came in and said, “Get up and get ready for church” we’d moan and groan…and we’d beg, “Do we have to?”

But let me tell you…my mom was just like your parents…and your parents are just like this dad…and when they bring Jesus into your life they do it because they love you…and because they know that Jesus can save…and they don’t want you to suffer the consequences of sin and die spiritually.

This dad showed a lot of love for his son in doing what he did and trying to bring Jesus to him.

Let’s go on.

This father pleads with Jesus “to come down and heal his son.”

This seems kind of uncaring.

You see, some people followed Jesus not because they were devoted to Him or loved Him.

And this nobleman hears these words and still he is persistent.

How I wish people everywhere had that attitude today.

This dad asks Jesus to “come down with me before my son dies.”

 And look what the dad does. The verse says, “The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and he started off.”

But John says, “He started off.”

It’s so different than what we see today.

Jesus tells this man to “Go his way”….and now look at verse 51.

 “And as he was now going down, his slave met him saying that his son was living. So he inquired of them the hour when he began to get better. They said therefore to him, “Yesterday at the 7th hour the fever left him.” So the father knew that it was at that hour in which Jesus said to him, “You son lives,” and he himself believed, and his whole household.

Now, look at vs. 53 again:  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.

This father, this Royal Official and his whole household believed; do you?

And for others, this miracles account is here to persuade you to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and in Him you can have eternal life.

Let’s close with 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.

Do You Wish To Get Well

DO YOU WISH TO GET WELL?

John 5: 1-9

Before we get into the passage that was read I want to remind you again why John wrote this gospel. In chapter 20:30-31 John says, “Many other signs (or attesting miracles) 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.”

 When John wrote his gospel most people saw Jesus primarily as a “miracle worker” and that is why they followed Him. (See Mark 1:38)

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.

Here in chapter 5 Jesus comes to Jerusalem; and there by the “sheep gate” is a pool called Bethesda.

Now some dismiss the idea that an angel stirred the pool because some of the ancient manuscripts do not contain the end of vs. 3-4.

So Jesus comes to this place and in vs. 6 Jesus asks a question to a man that the passage says had been sick longer than Jesus had 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.

But, sin can and sometimes does cause illnesses and injuries; (drunkenness, STD’s, outbursts of anger; greed; – we seldom if ever realize how damaging sin is; it destroys lives; it destroys marriages; it destroys families; it destroys health; and ultimately it condemns one to be lost eternally).

So Jesus seeing this man lying beside the pool asks the man “Do you wish to get well?”

And you would think today that most people  whose lives have been wrecked by sin; who have lost years of their life due to the consequences of sin; who are condemned eternally because of sin, you would think they would want to “get well” also.

In vs. 14, if this man “gets well” it is going to require some changes because Jesus says, “Do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse may befall you.” 

They want to “be well” but they won’t leave the drugs behind; they won’t leave the alcohol behind; they won’t leave the immorality, the sensuality, the love for money, the lust for worldly pleasures; the desires of the flesh; the impurity; the hatred; the strife; the jealousy; the idolatry; and the coarse jesting behind.

If you or I or anyone else decides to “get well spiritually”; if we decide to leave the sinful life behind; things will be much different; but just like for this man, things will be immeasurably better.

For some they may think, like this man, that they are “helpless” and their situation is “hopeless.”

 Listen, the word “unable” is never found on God’s lips.

In 1 Cor. 6:9 the apostle Paul says this: Do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

11  And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.

And whether or not you “get well” does not depend on what anyone else does. In vs. 7, every time the “water stirred” and this man tried to get in the water there was “no one to help him” or when he was trying to get in the water, “another stepped in before him.”

In some religious circles “getting well” is conditional on whether or not a member of the clergy prays for you; or whether or not a member of the clergy takes your confession; or whether or not a member of the clergy says the right words.

And it makes no difference what your parents, or other family members may or may not have done; Ezekiel 18:19-20 makes it clear that you are not held accountable for the sins of your father, and your father is not held accountable for any sins you may have committed.”

Jesus is not constrained by time; He is not limited by crowds; He does not work on a first come first saved basis; and He is not influenced by what someone else may or may not have done.

So, Jesus asks this man, “Do you wish to get well?”

So, Jesus asks us today, “Do you wish to get well?” Has sin crippled your life?

Most people today see Jesus as a “miracle worker.” Well, that is true, not in the sense that most people think; He may not make you rich and He may not make you well physically.

And if you have already been made well by the blood of Christ; well remember what Jesus said in vs. 14: “Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse may befall you.”

Let’s close with these words from John.

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 Raises Lazarus

JESUS RAISES LAZARUS

John 11

I appreciate you being here this morning; it is a special morning because like all other days it is a day which the Lord has made and we should rejoice in it; but Sunday’s are a little more special in that, as John says in Revelation 1:9, “It is the Lord’s day”; the day in which we are reminded each week of His rising from the grave.

I ask you to look at the first verse of the passage that was read; John 11:1. In the last 12 months this same thing that happened to Martha and Mary has happened to many of us; and we can be sure that this same thing will happen in the future.

So, in the depths of your grief where do you find any comfort, peace, or hope. Well, the same place that Martha and Mary found theirs.

For others, I hope you will let what John says here convince you to draw even closer to Christ.

11:1 Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” 

When this takes place Jesus is being rejected by almost everyone! It seems that He was an unwelcome guest in most homes with the exception of this one family who lived about 2 miles from Jerusalem.

But when Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” 

Understand, Jesus is not saying that Lazarus was not going to die at all. Lazarus will die; vs. 14; and so will we.

Now, can I share just a few of my personal thoughts with you on what we just read? This is not a commandment; maybe more of just a suggestion; something to think about.

Did you know that everyone in this auditorium this morning has some health issue they are dealing with?

And the same when it comes to death! Every one of us will die. If we glorify God in life, should we not glorify God death?

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was. 

Was Jesus reluctant to return? Did He not care? No, there is no doubt from vs. 35 that Jesus cared.

Then after this He *said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” The disciples *said to Him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone You, and are You going there again?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 

I have read several commentaries this week and none of them agree or seem to understand exactly what Jesus is saying.

11 This He said, and after that He *said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep.” 12 The disciples then said to Him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will [a]recover.” 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of [b]literal sleep. 14 So Jesus then said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him.”

Scripture indicates that “those who have died, all who are in the tombs, will on the last day, when the trumpet sounds, when the Lord returns, be raised, “those who did good deeds to a resurrection of life; and those who committed evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.”

And notice vs. 15 again. Jesus says, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him.”

And, look at vs. 16: Thomas therefore, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.”

Every one of us, every day, walk into “uncertainty”; we don’t even know what the next hour holds; perhaps illness and death.

 17 So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about [d]two miles off; 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary, to console them concerning their brother. 

 20 Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet Him, but Mary [e]stayed at the house. 21 Martha then said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” 

Jesus *said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha *said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”

 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Jesus does not mean that “everyone who lives and believes in Him will never die (physically).” Lazarus at the time was dead.

 27 She *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are [f]the Christ, the Son of God, even [g]He who comes into the world.”

28 When she had said this, she went away and called Mary her sister, saying secretly, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she got up quickly and was coming to Him.

30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha met Him. 31 Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and consoling her, when they saw that Mary got up quickly and went out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and [h]was troubled, 34 and said, “Where have you laid him?” They *said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. 

36 So the Jews were saying, “See how He loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind man, [i]have kept this man also from dying?”

38 So Jesus, again being deeply moved within, *came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39 Jesus *said, “Remove the stone.” Martha, the sister of the deceased, *said to Him, “Lord, by this time [j]there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus *said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” 41 So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes, and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the [k]people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me.” 43 When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.” 44 The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus *said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

In the last year illness and death have frequently come to our doors; the grief still lingers and will do so for some time; comfort in this life is hard to find.

And for everyone: This miracle is recorded here in a “one, final, climactic, undeniable, incomparable, indisputable effort to get you and I to put our faith in, and obediently follow Christ.

And remember this: if Jesus can raise Lazarus from the dead; I know that He can do the same for each one of us some day.

 

A Bizarre Teaching

A BIZARRE TEACHING

John 6: 52-60

If you would look once again at verse 53 and 54. Jesus is in the synagogue speaking to the Jews and He says: “Truly, Truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

 That’s pretty bizarre sounding isn’t it, this “Eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Jesus?”

What does Jesus mean by it?

And it is important that we understand what He is talking about because Jesus says it is a matter of “eternal life and death.”

First of all, Jesus is not teaching or endorsing the practice of cannibalism.

Also, in Genesis 9: 4 and Lev. 17: 10-12, the Jews were explicitly forbidden to eat blood.

Now, many people think that Jesus is referring to the Lord’s Supper here, the taking of communion.

Well, notice vs. 54 once again. Jesus says:  “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life.”

And notice the word “eats” and the word “drinks” both words are in the aorist or past tense…that means all you would have to do is take the Lord’s Supper one time and you would have eternal life.

But, the truth of the matter is, eternal life does not come simply by taking the Lord’s Supper.

In Luke 22: 17-22 where Christ institutes the Lord’s Supper. He takes the bread and He says, “This is my body (not flesh…body is a completely different term than that used here in John 6).

And, not only that, in Luke 22: 17-22 where Christ speaks of His supper, He makes no reference at all to what takes place here in John 6.

So, what is Christ talking about when He says that we must “eat of His flesh and drink of His blood” to have eternal life?

Well, first of all let’s look at who Jesus is talking to in all of this. Let’s go back a little to verse 26.

Now, notice in verse 26, the kind of people that have followed Him. Jesus says: “Truly, Truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves, and were filled.”

 Now, notice verse 28: “They said therefore to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”

 And then verse 30: “They said therefore to Him, “What then do You do for a sign, that we may see, and believe You?”

 And then verse 41 and 52 speaks of the “Jews” who grumbled against Him.

Do you see the kind of people Jesus is speaking to?

In verse 29 He says: “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”

Vs. 35:  Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

36: “But I said to you, that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe.

40: For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

47: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.

Jesus is talking to a bunch of lukewarm disciples as well as His enemies…and all through this discourse His purpose is to get them to believe in Him…to trust in Him…because it is only by believing in Him that they can obtain eternal life.

Now, let’s go back to verse 53 and 54. In verse 53 Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourself. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

Well, let’s compare these verses with what He has already said back up in verse 47. Notice what produces eternal life in this verse: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.”

Both.

Look at verse 34: “They said therefore to Him, “Lord, evermore give us this bread.”

 “I am the bread of life…”

Look what He says: “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”

Look at verse 47: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. 48 “I am the bread of life.

And now look at verse 51:  “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever;

And so, in verse 53 and 54 when Jesus says that we must “eat His flesh and drink His blood” He is telling these Jews that they must believe in Him or “trust” in Him or “rely” on Him in order to have eternal life.

Most people do not know or understand what it means to believe in Christ.

But this idea of “eating His flesh and drinking His blood” conveys more than that.

This idea of “eating His flesh and drinking His blood” conveys that believing consists of taking all of Christ in…and letting Him be a part of your very being.

This is not a passage on cannibalism.

There are 13 references in verses 26-58 to eternal life.

And this is a passage on how to obtain that eternal life.

And, it is allowing that belief to cause you to take Christ in…and be a part of your very being.

Now, let me ask, “Who or what are you eating of drinking of? Who are you taking in and letting them be a part of your being?”

Today, some eat and drink of some pleasure; or some entertainer; or some philosopher, or some author; or some group; or perhaps a sports team.

People eat and drink of these kinds of things and they walk away hungry and thirsty with no hope of eternal life…completely unfulfilled with life.

It is only when you eat and drink of the flesh and blood of Christ…only when you allow Him to change you, motivate you, guide you, and direct you, and let His values be your values that you will inherit eternal life.

Believing in Jesus is so much more than just saying, “I believe in Jesus.” A lot of people say that and simply because they are afraid of being lost…they want what Jesus can give them; while they want to give very little of themselves in return.

In this passage Jesus is speaking to some lukewarm disciples and to His enemies.

Most of His enemies refused.

What will it be for you today?

 

Jesus Cleanses The Temple

JESUS CLEANSES THE TEMPLE THE FIRST TIME

John 2:13-22

Before we get into the passage that was read I want to remind you why John wrote this gospel. Remember that John wrote his gospel account after all the other gospels were written and in John 20:30-31 John says,

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, let’s go to the passage that was read; John 2:13-17.

But, apparently this is not the only time that Jesus “cleansed 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 away may bring coins of a different currency all together) 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.