8 Marks Of The Church

The Son Confessing Church

 

INTRODUCTION

Urban Legends

 

The 999 phone charging myth is an urban legend, which claims that calling the police and fire services, then hanging up, charges mobile phone batteries.[1]

 

[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_urban_legends]

 

There are many common myths about the church that are misguided at best and dangerous at worst

 

BODY

  • Myth

    • You can believe what you want about Jesus and be a healthy church

    • This myth, if believed, can be dangerous because:

        • It can cause people to think they know Jesus when they really know “another Jesus” that’s not really Him

        • It can cause a church to be schizophrenic at best and apostate at worst when it comes to Jesus.

    • We know this is a myth because Jesus said a clear mark of a healthy church would be a church filled with people who confess correct things about His nature and character

 

Let’s pray

 

  • GOD

    • MARK: ​​ The Son Confessing Church

        • The Son Confessing Church and the Teaching of Jesus (John 10:37-39)

          • Background

            • Jesus has been teaching at the Temple area during the Feast of Dedication

            • The Jews gather around Jesus and ask Him a question and make a statement

              • “How long will you keep us in suspense?”

              • “If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”

            • Jesus’ response is that He had already told them, but they didn’t believe

            • The miracles He does in His Father’s name speak for Him

            • They did not believe Him, because they were not His sheep

            • Jesus then makes His confession and pleads with the Jews to believe

          • Just believe (vv. 37-39)

            • I wish we could have heard Jesus’ tone of voice at this point, because my guess is that His tone was one of pleading with the Jews to believe

            • Challenge

              • Don’t believe me

                • If I don’t do what my Father does, then don’t believe in Me

                • This would certainly be an indication that Jesus was not from God

                • He would have been a false prophet or teacher trying to direct them away from God

                • So, they obviously shouldn’t believe in Him or follow Him

              • Believe the miracles

                • While Jesus doesn’t say it directly here, He is saying to them, “Even though you don’t believe my words, believe the works (miracles) from the Father

                • “Jesus’ works were the window into his words.” ​​ [Borchert, The New American Commentary, John 1-11, 344]

                • PRINCIPLE #1 – God’s people recognize His Son through His miracles.

                • If you believe the miracles from the Father, you will understand that the Father is in me, and I’m in the Father

                  • “Interestingly, coming to understand is presented as the result, rather than condition, of believing.” ​​ [Köstenberger, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, John, 317]

                  • Sometimes we have to take the step of faith without having all of our questions answered and then we will be able to understand that Jesus’ works prove His words

                • PRINCIPLE #2– Jesus and God are One!

              • Even though Jesus is pleading with the Jews to believe in Him, they aren’t quite ready to take that step yet

            • Reaction of the Jews

              • They try to seize Jesus, either to stone Him or to arrest Him

              • Jesus escapes their grasp, because it’s still not God’s timing for Him to be put on trial and killed

          • Jesus was confessing that He is the Son of God that the Father is in Him, and He is in the Father – Jesus and God are One!

          • Jesus confessed His deity and exclusive claims about Himself

        • The Son Confessing Church and the Teaching of the Early Church (Acts 2:24-36)

          • Background

            • We saw last that Acts 2 retells the events that happened during Pentecost in Jerusalem

            • We know that the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles in power and enabled them to share the Gospel in the various languages of the people who had gathered in Jerusalem for the Feast of Weeks

          • Peter explains Jesus’ resurrection (vv. 24-32)

            • Peter is confessing Jesus’ resurrection, to the people gathered in Jerusalem

            • Jesus is alive!

            • He is the only person who died, was buried, came alive again, and is still alive today

            • The fact that He is still alive today sets Him apart from every other prophet, teacher, human being, or god

            • Peter explains that David, as a prophet, has died and was buried and his tomb is still there to this day

            • Peter and the other Apostles were witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection

          • Peter explains Jesus’ ascension and current position (vv. 33-36)

            • He is exalted to the right hand of God.

            • Footstool – this was a practice in the Orient where the conqueror would put his foot on the neck of the conquered.

            • God made Jesus both Lord, kü-rē-os, meaning he to whom a person or thing belongs; and Christ, khrē-sto’s, meaning anointed.

            • Peter is confessing the deity of Jesus Christ

          • The teaching of the early church is that Jesus was resurrected by the power of God and is still alive today and that God has made Him Lord and Christ (deity)

        • The Son Confessing Church and the Teaching of the Apostles (1 John 4:2-3; Philippians 2:5-11)

          • Teaching of the Apostle John (1 John 4:2-3)

            • John is helping believers everywhere to know how to discern whether a spirit is from God or not

            • Every spirit that confesses Jesus Christ is from God

            • Here we see that the confession or acknowledgement is that Jesus came in the flesh

            • This speaks of Jesus’ humanity

            • John mentions it again in his second letter, Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. ​​ Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. (2 John 7)

          • Teaching of the Apostle Paul (Philippians 2:5-11)

            • Paul teaches us that Jesus is God (deity)

              • Being in very nature God (v. 6)

              • Jesus Christ is Lord (v. 11)

            • He also teaches us that Jesus was human (vv. 7-8)

            • We also learn about Jesus’ substitutionary death (v. 8)

          • The Apostles’ confession is that Jesus is both God and man and that He died on a cross to take our punishment for sin

        • We have the teachings of Jesus, the early church, and the Apostles about this mark, but we also have a picture found in Revelation

    • METAPHOR: ​​ The Bride of Christ (Revelation 19:6-10)

        • This is the end of human history – the hope of every believer

          • Jesus is the Lamb, the Bridegroom

          • His disciples are His bride

          • The hope of every follower of Jesus Christ is to be invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!

        • “As the Bridegroom, Jesus has confessed His love for us and union with us, and as the Bride, we likewise confess our love for Him and union with Him. ​​ He has intimate knowledge of us – who we really are, and we have intimate knowledge of Him – who He really is.” ​​ [Matt Kyser]

        • How does this apply to us?

    • APPLICATION (how will we know if this mark of The Church marks Our Church?)

        • We will have intimate knowledge of and confess the deity of Jesus (John 1:1-4)

          • In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. ​​ He was with God in the beginning. ​​ Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. ​​ In him was life, and that life was the light of men. (John 1:1-4)

          • As disciples of Jesus Christ, we will confess that Jesus is fully God

          • He is not just another prophet, teacher, or good human being – He is God!

        • We will have intimate knowledge of and confess the humanity of Jesus (John 1:14)

          • The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. ​​ We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

          • While it may be difficult for our finite human minds to comprehend, Jesus is also fully man

          • He is fully God (100%) and fully man (100%) and yet He is one person

            • Colossians 2:9, For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,

            • Luke 24:39, Look at my hands and my feet. ​​ It is I myself! ​​ Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.

          • As human beings, we do not have to understand how Jesus can be fully God and fully man at the same time, we just have to believe

        • We will have intimate knowledge of and confess the sinless life of Jesus (Hebrews 4:15)

          • Scriptures

            • For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)

            • God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

          • Jesus was the only One who could take our punishment on the cross, because He was perfect, without sin

          • We are human and fallible, Jesus is both God and man and perfect

        • We will have intimate knowledge of and will confess the substitutionary death of Jesus (1 Peter 2:24)

          • He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:24)

          • But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. ​​ Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:26b-28)

          • But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)

        • We will have intimate knowledge of and confess the resurrection of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:3-8)

          • For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: ​​ that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. ​​ After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. ​​ Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. (1 Corinthians 15:3-8)

          • Jesus’ resurrection is what sets Him apart from everyone else – He is still alive today, interceding for us before the Father

        • We will have intimate knowledge of and confess the exclusive claims of Jesus (John 14:6)

          • Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. ​​ No one comes to the Father except through me. (Hebrews 4:15)

          • There are those in our culture today, that want everyone to believe that there are multiple ways to heaven and since God is loving, He will let everyone in to heaven

          • The old saying is, “all roads lead to heaven.”

            • That saying is false

            • I would modify the saying to say, “all roads lead to God.”

              • For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10)

              • You, then, why do you judge your brother? ​​ Or why do you look down on your brother? ​​ For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. ​​ It is written: ​​ “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess God.’” ​​ So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. (Romans 14:10-12)

              • “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. ​​ Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ ​​ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. ​​ Away from me, you evildoers!’” ​​ (Matthew 7:21-23)

              • During the final judgment, all the nations will appear before Jesus and He will separate the people like a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats (Matthew 25:31-46)

            • Jesus is the only way to heaven and the Father

          • We have to confess the exclusive claims of Jesus

        • Our desire is to have a church filled with people who confess correct things about Jesus’ nature and character

 

  • YOU

    • Idaville Member Survey from RESTOR Renewal Ministries

        • Four of the five questions from The Son-Confessing Church section of the survey were in the top ten of the least difficult for us as a church

          • That is encouraging, because it means that these are things we readily believe and embrace

          • “The people in our church believe that Jesus is the unique Son of God, fully God and fully man, and the way, the truth, and the life – no one coming into a relationship with the Father but through Him.” (1 of 10)

          • “I hear the name of Jesus consistently in sermons, teaching content, small groups and interpersonal conversations in our church.” (2 of 10)

          • “Our church consistently teaches on the Person and work of Jesus on the cross, connecting the truth of the Gospel with any particular passage or theme.” (3 of 10)

          • “The leaders in our church consistently and publicly point to Jesus as the Head and primary Leader of our church.” (6 of 10)

          • “It is obvious that love for and obedience to Jesus is the reason our church exists.” (12 of 12)

        • Encouragement and Challenge

          • If you believe and it is a settled fact in your heart and mind that Jesus is fully God and fully man, that He lived a sinless life and gave His life on the cross for you, that God raised Him from the dead and is still alive today, and that the only way to heaven and the Father is through a personal relationship with Him, then I want to encourage you to continue in that faith

            • These are the truths of Jesus that the world needs to hear

            • We have been called and commissioned to confess these truths where we live, work, learn, and play

            • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Commit to confessing the truths about Jesus to my family, friends, fellow students, and coworkers.

          • If you are struggling in your heart and mind about any of these truths, that Jesus is fully God and fully man, that He lived a sinless life and gave His life on the cross for you, that God raised Him from the dead and is still alive today, and that the only way to heaven and the Father is through a personal relationship with Him, then I want to challenge you to do a couple of things

            • Pray and seek the Lord’s face concerning the truth(s) that you are struggling with

            • Spend time reading the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and ask the Lord to make these truths evident to you through His Word

            • Reach out to Pastor Marc, myself, or another fellow believer, so we can walk alongside you as you pray and read God’s Word – accountability is so important

            • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Commit to praying, reading God’s Word, and reaching out to other believers concerning the truths of who Jesus is and what He came to earth to accomplish.

 

  • WE

    • Vision

        • Core Values

          • “We are a church that reaches out, spreading God's Word, God's glory, and God's promises to those that do not know Him.”

          • “Our leadership strives to be led more by Jesus, to lead more like Jesus, so we can lead more to Jesus.”

        • We are committed as a church and as leaders to confessing Jesus to those we live, work, learn, and play with

    • Traction

        • One of our annual goals for 2022 is to have a 10% increase in the number of people attending Sunday school and/or discipleship groups

        • Another annual goal is to have 10% increase in the pursuit of holiness as evidenced through salvations, baptisms, and accountability

 

CONCLUSION

“The greatness of God is most clearly displayed in his Son. And the glory of the gospel is only made evident in his Son. That's why Jesus' question to his disciples [in Matthew 16] is so important: ‘Who do you say that I am?’

 

The question is doubly crucial in our day, because [no one is as popular in the U.S. as Jesus]—and not every Jesus is the real Jesus. …

 

There's the Republican Jesus—who is against tax increases and activist judges, for family values and owning firearms.

 

There's Democrat Jesus—who is against Wall Street and Wal-Mart, for reducing our carbon footprint and printing money.

 

There's Therapist Jesus—who helps us cope with life's problems, heals our past, tells us how valuable we are and not to be so hard on ourselves.

 

There's Starbucks Jesus—who drinks fair trade coffee, loves spiritual conversations, drives a hybrid, and goes to film festivals.

 

There's Open-minded Jesus—who loves everyone all the time no matter what (except for people who are not as open-minded as you).

 

There's Touchdown Jesus—who helps athletes fun faster and jump higher than non-Christians and determines the outcomes of Super Bowls.

 

There's Martyr Jesus—a good man who died a cruel death so we can feel sorry for him.

 

There's Gentle Jesus—who was meek and mild, with high cheek bones, flowing hair, and walks around barefoot, wearing a sash (while looking very German).

 

There's Hippie Jesus—who teaches everyone to give peace a chance, imagines a world without religion, and helps us remember that ‘all you need is love.’

 

There's Yuppie Jesus—who encourages us to reach our full potential, reach for the stars, and buy a boat.

There's Spirituality Jesus—who hates religion, churches, pastors, priests, and doctrine, and would rather have people out in nature, finding ‘the god within’ while listening to ambiguously spiritual music.

 

There's Platitude Jesus—good for Christmas specials, greeting cards, and bad sermons, inspiring people to believe in themselves.

 

There's Revolutionary Jesus—who teaches us to rebel against the status quo, stick it to the man, and blame things on ‘the system.’

 

There's Guru Jesus—a wise, inspirational teacher who believes in you and helps you find your center.

 

There's Boyfriend Jesus—who wraps his arms around us as we sing about his intoxicating love in our secret place.

 

There's Good Example Jesus—who shows you how to help people, change the planet, and become a better you.

 

And then there's Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. Not just another prophet. Not just another Rabbi. Not just another wonder-worker. He was the one they had been waiting for: the Son of David and Abraham's chosen seed; the one to deliver us from captivity; the goal of the Mosaic law; Yahweh in the flesh; the one to establish God's reign and rule; the one to heal the sick, give sight to the blind, freedom to the prisoners and proclaim Good News to the poor; the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world.

 

This Jesus was the Creator come to earth and the beginning of a New Creation. He embodied the covenant, fulfilled the commandments, and reversed the curse. This Jesus is the Christ that God spoke of to the Serpent; the Christ prefigured to Noah in the flood; the Christ promised to Abraham; the Christ prophesied through Balaam before the Moabites; the Christ guaranteed to Moses before he died; the Christ promised to David when he was king; the Christ revealed to Isaiah as a Suffering Servant; the Christ predicted through the Prophets and prepared for through John the Baptist.

 

This Christ is not a reflection of the current mood or the projection of our own desires. He is our Lord and God. He is the Father's Son, Savior of the world, and substitute for our sins—more loving, more holy, and more wonderfully terrifying than we ever thought possible.”

 

Used by Permission

 

Source: Kevin DeYoung, "Who Do You Say That I Am?" from his DeYoung, Restless, and Reformed blog (posted 6-10-09)

 

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2009/august/1082409.html]

11

 

8 Marks Of The Church

The Spirit Filled Church

 

INTRODUCTION

Urban Legends

 

The Killer in the Backseat (also known as High Beams) is a common car-crime urban legend well known mostly in the United States and the United Kingdom. The legend involves a woman who is driving and being followed by a strange car or truck. The mysterious pursuer flashes his high beamstailgates her, and sometimes even rams her vehicle. When she finally makes it home, she realizes that the driver was trying to warn her that there was a man (a murdererrapist, or escaped mental patient) hiding in her back seat. Each time the man sat up to attack her, the driver behind had used his high beams to scare the killer, after which he ducked down.[38]

 

[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_urban_legends]

 

There are many common myths about the church that are misguided at best and dangerous at worst

 

BODY

  • Myth

    • If your church is filled with people, you have a healthy church

    • This myth, if believed, can be dangerous because:

        • It can cause us to focus more on how many people are in our church instead of how Jesus is at work in the lives of the people who are in our church

        • It can give a false sense of security to those who attend our church – that they are part of His Church simply because they show up to our church

    • We know this is a myth because Jesus said the first mark of a healthy church would be a church filled with people who are filled with His Spirit

 

Let’s pray

 

  • GOD

    • MARK: ​​ The Spirit Filled Church

        • The Spirit Filled Church and the Teaching of Jesus (John 3:5-7)

          • Nicodemus has come to Jesus at night

            • Jesus tells Nicodemus that he must be born again

            • Nicodemus is trying to understand how someone can be born again, physically

            • Jesus is helping Nicodemus to understand that He is not talking about being born again physically, but rather, spiritually (being born from above)

          • Born of water and spirit

            • Jesus uses the phrase born of water and spirit to mean the same thing as being born again or born from above

            • Jesus is not talking about baptism or two births here

            • Ezekiel 36:25-27, I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. ​​ I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. ​​ And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

            • “In essence God said, ‘You need to be clean on the inside – washed with water. ​​ You need your heart to come alive by my Spirit. ​​ Then, and only then, will you be able to obey me.” ​​ [Carter and Wredberg, 57]

          • Like gives birth to like

            • Flesh gives birth to flesh is simply referring to natural human birth – the physical

            • Spirit gives birth to spirit is the supernatural – the spiritual (born from above)

          • So, Jesus teaches us that we cannot participate in the kingdom of God unless we are born from above, meaning that we have the Holy Spirit living in us

        • The Spirit Filled Church and the Teaching of the Early Church (Acts 2:38-39)

          • Background

            • Luke explains in Acts 2 how the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles at Pentecost

            • He also retells Peter’s address to the crowd when they speculated that the Apostles had had too much wine

            • After Peter shares the Gospel with the crowd, they are cut to heart and ask him what they should do

          • Peter’s reply

            • Repent

              • Repenting is much more than just being sorry about our sin or being sorry that we got caught in our sin

              • Turning from sin – “changing the direction of your life from selfishness and rebellion against God’s laws.” [NIV Life Application Bible, p. 1948]

              • Turning to Christ – “depending on him for forgiveness, mercy, guidance, and purpose.” ​​ [NIV Life Application Bible, p. 1948]

              • It is recognizing that we are done with sin

              • Read Romans 6:1-14

              • Peter couples repentance with baptism

            • Be baptized

              • Baptism does not save us from our sins, that is what repentance does

              • Baptism identifies us with Christ and fellow believers

              • “It is a condition of discipleship and a sign of faith.” ​​ [NIV Life Application Bible, p. 1948]

              • I always refer to baptism as believers baptism, because it is a step of faith that shows outwardly what has taken place inwardly (repentance)

            • Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit

              • Peter experienced the gift of the Holy Spirit coming upon those who repented while visiting Cornelius

                • Cornelius had been visited by an angel and was told to send for Peter who was staying in Joppa

                • The Lord prepared Peter for this important evangelism task by giving him a vision of clean and unclean animals and telling him that what He has made clean in not impure

                • Peter returned to Cornelius’ house and shared about Jesus of Nazareth with Cornelius and everyone who was in his house

                • Peter explains that he and the other Apostles were witnesses to Jesus’ arrest, conviction, death, burial, and resurrection

                • While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. ​​ The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. ​​ For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. ​​ Then Peter said, “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? ​​ They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” ​​ So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. ​​ Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days. (Acts 10:44-48)

              • The gift of the Holy Spirit was not reserved just for the circumcised Jews

            • The promise is for everyone

              • While Peter was addressing primarily Jews from all over the diaspora (Roman Empire), he realized, even at Pentecost, that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is for everyone

                • It is for children, youth, adults, etc.

                • It is for those in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8)

                • It is for everyone the Lord calls – all ethnic groups

          • The teaching of the early church reminds us that the evidence of true repentance is the filling of the Holy Spirit and a desire to be baptized

        • The Spirit Filled Church and the Teaching of the Apostles (Titus 3:4-7)

          • God’s love expressed (v. 4)

            • The word “but” makes the transition to the discussion of how to deal with the sin that has enslaved us

            • God’s kindness and love appeared when He sent His Son Jesus from heaven to earth

            • God’s love was expressed for us through this act

              • Jeremiah 31:3, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.

              • God’s love for us never ends – He wants us to recognize our sin and turn to Him – to be in relationship with Him

            • We know God’s will concerning mankind

              • Some people will tell you that God’s will and purpose is to make their life miserable

              • Others will tell you that God is simply waiting for them to make a mistake, so He can discipline them

              • But, scripture tells us God’s will

                • Matthew 18:14, In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost. (He wants children to be saved from their sins)

                • 2 Peter 3:8-9, But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: ​​ With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. ​​ He is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. ​​ He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

              • His will is that everyone of us turns from our sin, repent, and seek His salvation

            • Jesus’ work

              • Jesus’ purpose was to seek and to save the lost

              • He did that by dying on a cross, taking our sin on His body, and paying the ransom so we could be saved

            • God accepted Jesus’ perfect sacrifice for our sin by allowing Him to come alive again

          • He saved us! (v. 5)

            • God is the One who initiated salvation for mankind

              • We can’t save ourselves

              • We can’t do enough good things to be saved by God

              • We can’t say enough good things, help enough people, give enough money, etc., to be saved by God

              • It was God’s mercy that saved us (mercy is not getting what we deserve)

              • Ephesians 2:8-9, For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.

            • How did God save us? (vv. 5b-6)

              • Through the washing of rebirth and renewal

                • Washing – some scholars believe this is referring to baptism, but baptism is not a part of salvation

                  • Baptism is an outward expression of an inward decision – letting others know publicly that you have asked Jesus Christ to save you

                  • “‘Washing’ here means ‘bathed all over.’ When a sinner trusts Christ, he is cleansed from all his sins, and he is made ‘a new person’ by the indwelling Holy Spirit.” ​​ [Wiersbe, 267]

                  • It is a spiritual cleansing that removes moral stains

                  • Psalm 51:7, Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

                • Rebirth is the result of washing – we are made new, our sins have been removed

                • Renewal – the process of moral renovation or transformation which follows the new birth [Stott, 204]

              • By the Holy Spirit

                • The washing that brings about rebirth and renewal comes by the Holy Spirit

                • God poured out the Holy Spirit on us generously through Jesus Christ

                • The Holy Spirit lives in us as a reminder and as evidence that we have been washed, made new, and transformed

                • The Holy Spirit is the One who helps us to understand Scripture

                • He is the One who reminds us of Scripture when we are tempted to do wrong

                • He is the One who prompts us concerning spiritual disciplines that will deepen our relationship with God

            • Why did He save us? (v. 7)

              • We see the purpose clause that begins with “so that” – it tells us why God saves us

                • Paul reminds us again that we have been justified by God’s grace

                • Justification is defined as “just as if I have never sinned”

                • That’s how God sees us through the blood of Jesus Christ – without sin

              • Become His children

                • God saves us so that we might become heirs

                • John 1:12-13, Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

                • God saved us so we could be part of His family

                • If we’re part of His family then we will be able to live with Him someday where He lives – heaven

              • Have hope of eternal life

                • As God’s children we have hope of eternal life

            • Eternal life is the kind of life we need here on earth to obey God and the kind of life we need to live with God in heaven someday

          • We learn from the teaching of the Apostles that God saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal that takes place by the Holy Spirit that lives within us

        • We not only see this mark proclaimed to us through teaching, but through a picture

    • METAPHOR: ​​ The Temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 1 Corinthians 6:9-20; 2 Corinthians 6:16)

        • Bible Project Video – “Temple” (Windows Media Player) ​​ [https://bibleproject.com/explore/video/temple/]

        • Imagery in Scripture

          • Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? ​​ If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)

          • Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? ​​ You are not your own; you were bought at a price. ​​ Therefore honor God with your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

          • What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? ​​ For we are the temple of the living God. ​​ As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” (2 Corinthians 6:16)

        • As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are God’s temple since the Holy Spirit lives within us

    • APPLICATION (how will we know if this mark of The Church marks Our Church?)

        • We will look like a new people (1 Peter 2:9-10)

          • But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9-10)

          • Our unity, pursuit of holiness, and love for one another will be evident to our community and those around us

        • We will have a new perspective (2 Corinthians 4:6)

          • For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)

          • We will recognize the glory of God as we shine His light to those around us

          • It is serving within our giftedness

        • We will walk in a new power (Acts 1:8)

          • “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

          • The Holy Spirit will give us boldness in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with those locally, domestically, and internationally

        • Our desire is to have a church filled with people who are filled with the Holy Spirit

 

  • YOU

    • Idaville Member Survey from RESTOR Renewal Ministries

        • Four of the five questions from The Spirit-Filled Church section of the survey were in the top ten of the most difficult for us as a church

          • “The people in our church understand what their spiritual gifts are and regularly use them to serve our church in tangible ways” (1 of 10)

          • “The people in our church consistently live out the ‘fruits of the Spirit’ in their everyday lives” (5 of 10)

          • “The people in our church know what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit” (6 of 10)

          • “Our church consistently teaches on the Person and ministry of the Holy Spirit in various teaching settings” (10 of 10)

        • How do we address these questions?

          • We have provided and will continue to provide a spiritual gift survey for every church attender

            • We will counsel with you about how to use your spiritual gifts in a tangible way to serve the church

            • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Take the spiritual gift survey and begin using my spiritual gifts in a tangible way to serve the church.

          • The fruit of the Spirit are found in Galatians 5:22-23a, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

            • How are you using the fruit of the Spirit in your everyday life?

            • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Choose at least one of the fruit of the Spirit and begin using it in my everyday life.

          • To be filled with the Holy Spirit means that we are transformed as disciples of Jesus Christ

            • We are dead to sin and alive to Christ – we longer desire to pursue the things of this world and the evil in it

            • Our thoughts, actions, and speech are controlled by the Holy Spirit

            • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Allow the Holy Spirit to control my thoughts, actions, and speech.

          • As leadership, we will make a concerted effort to highlight teaching about the Person and ministry of the Holy Spirit through messages and lessons

 

  • WE

    • Vision

        • One of the core values that we developed at the Dream Retreat is, “We are a church who encourages our members to discover, develop, and use their spiritual gifts.”

        • Under the growth strategy, proven process section we are committed to our membership knowing their spiritual gifts and using them

        • We are also committed to the fruit of the spirit being evident in our body

    • Traction

        • One of the annual goals for 2022 is to have 20% increase in volunteerism for the Wednesday evening and Sunday morning services

        • One of the quarterly goals is to have the Board of Administration take the spiritual gift survey

        • Another quarterly goal is to have you all take the spiritual gift survey

 

CONCLUSION

“I cannot make someone fall in love with Jesus.

 

It really came home for me, literally, with my own teenage daughter, who, 18 months ago, was not in love with Jesus. I spent nights crying, bawling, praying to the Lord. Here I am known for my ability to communicate, but there was nothing I could do for my own daughter that would make her fall in love with Jesus. Of course I could still guide and lead her, but I was powerless to convict her.

 

I prayed, ‘God, either your Spirit comes into her or your Spirit doesn't. It doesn't matter how great a dad I am. I cannot bring her to life.’

 

One day she came into my room and said, ‘You were right, Dad. The Holy Spirit was not in me. But now he is.’ She talked about how near she was to God and how everything had changed. My wife and I were skeptical. We wanted to see evidence of change. But 18 months later, I can say she really is a new creation. I didn't do that. It was the Holy Spirit.”

 

Condensed from our sister publication Leadership Journal, © 2010 Christianity Today International. For more articles like this, visit Leadershipjournal.net.

 

Source: Francis Chan, "Catching Waves," LeadershipJournal.net (posted 5-17-10).

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2010/june/3060710.html]

10

 

Can I Get A Witness?

The future. It might be one of the greatest obsessions of our society today. From an early age we are focused on our future. We ask ourselves, “What do we want to be when we grow up?” In school we are always working toward getting good grades so we can graduate and get a diploma. When I was in high school I had to decide whether to take college prep or business courses. If we go to college we have to decide what to major in or we are looking at getting the job that might have the best chance of getting us the most money. Then we think about the raise or the promotion or the next job and finally we are looking toward retirement. Next comes relationships. Will I get married? Who will I marry? Will I have children? How many children do I want to have and how many years between them? The future. Right now, the future seems to be at the forefront of our thoughts and our prayers. We think about a future after the coronavirus, hopefully, or our future with the coronavirus. We think about our future after the election or the future of our world as we deal with racism and other problems in our society.

One of the most famous predictors of the future is probably Nostradamus, a French astrologer and physician, born in 1503, whose prophecies earned him fame and a loyal following during his lifetime. In the centuries since his death, people have credited him with accurately predicting pivotal events in history, from the French Revolution to the rise of Adolf Hitler to the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and even the 2020 coronavirus.

In 1900, John Elfreth Watkins, Jr., made some pretty interesting and accurate predictions. Here are a few of his predictions, published in a 1900 issue of Ladies' Home Journal under the title "What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years." One, express trains will travel at speeds up to 150 mph. Today, the Acela express train hits top speeds of 150 mph and the bullet trains in Japan, glide along at 198 mph. Two, "Ready-cooked meals will be bought from establishments similar to our bakeries of today." Have you ever heard of Stauffer’s? The frozen-food industry is worth $33 billion today. Three, "Man will see around the world. Persons and things of all kinds will be brought within focus of cameras connected electrically with screens at opposite ends of circuits, thousands of miles at a span." Can you say “the internet.”

God through his Word also has a lot to say about our futures. There are over a hundred verses in the Bible that talk about the future in some way. Here are a few: Jeremiah 29:11 says, For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for prosperity and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. 1 Peter 1:3b-4 says, In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you. Proverbs 16:3-4 says, Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. The Lord works out everything to its proper end—even the wicked for a day of disaster. Lastly, Matthew 6:31 says, So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ and verse 34 says, Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

These verses tell us many things about our futures: that God has a plan for our futures and for our hope. If we trust, lean on and submit to the Lord he will make our paths (our futures) straight. We have a future inheritance in heaven waiting for us. Commitment to the Lord establishes our future. And lastly we are not to worry about our future because God has our futures in his hands.

This morning our passage comes immediately following what Pastor Stuart taught us last week. Jesus has just restored Peter and commissioned him to feed and take care of his sheep. Peter would serve the Lord and show his love for Jesus this way until his death. ​​ This morning, we are going to see that Jesus tells Peter what his future holds. Jesus will also give insight to Peter about John’s future and will show us that he holds the future of the church in his hands as well. As we study this passage in John 21:18-25, John wants us to understand that Jesus is the Lord of our futures. That’s our big idea this morning. From the verses that I just read and from our passage this morning we see that God and Jesus are supremely concerned about his people’s futures, knows His people’s futures and is Lord over his people’s futures.

Let’s pray: Almighty and All-Knowing God, we come before you this morning ready to be filled with your Holy Spirit, ready to learn from your Word and ready to share what we learn with those who need to hear it. Give us opportunities this week to share the Good News of your Son, Jesus Christ, with those who do not believe. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

We are going to be looking at three points this morning. First, Peter’s future, second, John’s future and third, the church’s future. We will start with Peter’s future which is found in verses 18-19. This is what God’s Word says, “Truly, truly I tell you, when you were younger, you used to put on your belt and walk wherever you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will put your belt on you, and bring you where you do not want to go.” Now He said this, indicating by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had said this, He said to him, “Follow Me!”

Jesus begins with “truly, truly” which emphasizes that he is about to say something significant to Peter. What he says to Peter was probably a well-known proverb in Jesus’ day. It contrasted the strength and freedom of youth to the frailty and limitations of old age. Two things are mentioned: the putting on of his belt or dressing himself and the walking or going where he wanted. Jesus is reminding Peter that “when he was young” he had freedom and independence. He led a somewhat carefree life as a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee. But “when he is old” someone else will dress him and take him where he doesn’t want to go. Jesus had just commissioned Peter to a future of serving Jesus by feeding and taking care of his sheep, but later there would come times of trouble and tribulation and at the end of his life he will “stretch out your hands.” The Greek words for “stretch out your hands” was used by early Christian writers to represent death on a cross.

John then goes on to tell us exactly what Jesus meant by “stretch out your hands” and it was to indicate the kind of death Peter would die that would glorify God. Now we don’t know exactly how Peter died but the tradition from Eusebius is that he was crucified upside down. Peter asked to be crucified upside down because he didn’t feel worthy of dying in the same way that Jesus had. We see from these verses that Jesus was the Lord of Peter’s future. He was not only Lord of Peter’s future in his ministry of feeding and taking care of Jesus’ sheep, he was Lord of his future in death as well. As soon as Jesus tells Peter he will die for his sake he tells him to “follow me.” It is used in the present tense meaning “keep on following.” Jesus meant that Peter was to continue to follow him no matter what for the rest of his life. He had followed in the past but not continuously. “Follow me” takes on a whole new meaning for Peter, in that, he would spend the rest of his life in faithful ministry to Jesus knowing that one day he would die a martyr’s death which would glorify God. ​​ 

This reminds us that there is a cost to our discipleship. There is a cost in following Jesus. We must decrease so Jesus can increase. We must daily surrender our will to Jesus’ will. Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” We must be willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of the Gospel. That includes, our safety, our security, our jobs, our families and even our lives if Jesus calls us to that. That brings us to the first next step on the back of your communication card which is to be willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as I follow Him in the ministry he has called me.

Our second point is John’s future which is found in verses 20-22. This is what God’s Word says, “Peter turned around and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them—the one who also had leaned back on His chest at the supper and said, “Lord, who is the one who is betraying You?” 21 So Peter, upon seeing him, said to Jesus, “Lord, and what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!”

After Jesus had reinstated Peter and commissioned him to feed and take care of his sheep it seems they began to walk down the beach possibly for a private moment together. After Jesus had told Peter he would be martyred for his sake Peter turned and saw the disciple that Jesus loved following them. We are also told he is the one who asked Jesus at the last supper who was going to betray him. He’s talking about John. These two specific identifications of John show the close relationships that John had with Jesus and with Peter. John 13:23-24 says, Lying back on Jesus’ chest was one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. 24 So Simon Peter nodded to this disciple and said to him, “Tell us who it is of whom He is speaking.” This signaling between Peter and John assumes a close relationship between the two disciples.

This may give us some insight into why when Peter saw John he asked Jesus the question, “What about him?” While we can’t be certain of the motivation for Peter’s question, he may have been concerned about John’s future because of their close relationship, especially after being told about his own. Maybe there was a sense of rivalry between the two reminiscent of the race to the empty tomb. Maybe Peter felt emboldened by his restoration and assumed he now had special privileges to ask certain things of Jesus. Whatever Peter’s motive, we get the sense from Jesus’ reply that it was not well-intentioned because he abruptly but mildly rebukes Peter. He makes it clear that John’s future is none of Peter’s business. The verb “remain” meaning “remain alive” has eschatological overtones in that if Jesus wanted John to live until he returned, talking about the Second Coming, that did not change the task he had given Peter. Even though Peter was the leader of the disciples there were some things he did not have the privilege to know. Peter’s attention was to be focused on himself and his duty and devotion to Christ not John’s.

Jesus wasn’t putting down either disciple. Peter was being called to pastoral ministry and a martyr’s crown and John was being called to be a historical and theological witness to Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Carson says, “The beloved disciple’s commission is not cast in terms as explicit as Peter’s because at this point Peter needed a new fresh commission since that was part of his restoration while the beloved disciple did not. John was giving faithful historical witness even at the present time and would continue to do so.” Jesus was the Lord of John’s future as he knew what John’s role was going to be to further his kingdom. That reminds us of our big idea that Jesus is Lord of our futures.

After his rebuke of Peter, Jesus tells him, “You must follow me.” The “must” is emphatic and the fact that Peter has now been told twice by Jesus to “follow him” is significant. Peter has been twice urged to do what John was already doing. Hoskyns says, “His obedience (John’s) is assured; it was Peter’s love that had been shown to be uncertain.” Jesus is reminding Peter that he has one duty and that is to follow Jesus and to follow him until his death.

We can learn a lot in the church today from this rebuke of Peter. It is interesting that Peter had to turn to see John following them. If Peter had kept looking forward or better yet kept his eyes on Jesus he would not have seen John and asked the question that received the rebuke from his Lord. As Christ followers we need to always be focused on Jesus and not on others. Our mission to Pursue, Grow and Multiply Disciples is too important to compare ourselves to, compete with or be critical of what other Christians or other churches are doing. If we are properly living out our call from God we should not have the time to question the ministry and stewardship of other Christ followers. Personal competition and rivalry destroy the work of the church. What we should be doing is encouraging, helping and serving with other Christians and other churches. That brings us to our second next step on the back of your communication card which is to keep my focus on Jesus and encourage, help and serve with other Christians as I pursue, grow and multiply disciples for his sake.

Our third point is the Church’s future and we see this in verses 23-25. This is what God’s Word says, Therefore this account went out among the brothers, that this disciple would not die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but only, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?” This is the disciple who is testifying about these things and wrote these things, and we know that his testimony is true. But there are also many other things which Jesus did, which, if they were written in detail, I expect that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.”

John was the only disciple not to die a martyr’s death and in fact was going to live to a very old age. This passage seems to prove that in the fact that the rumor that John would live until Jesus returned had spread throughout the church by the time his gospel was written. The longer John lived the more people would start to believe that what Jesus had said to Peter was a prophecy about John. As this rumor spread John felt he needed to correct people’s false beliefs because of the damage it could do to the future of the church. When John would finally pass away two things would happen. Those who were Christians at the time would be in for a shock and those who were enemies of the Gospel would call Jesus a liar. Imagine the impact for the church and for the world. John’s witness about Jesus being the Messiah and the Son of God would be damaged. The church would start to wonder about the truthfulness of Jesus and the disciples. The world would ridicule Christians and call Jesus a liar. Christianity may have ceased to exist. So John wants his readers to be clear about what Jesus did or did not say. The “but” is emphatic that Jesus did not say John would not die. He again states Jesus’ exact words to prove it is accurate. He is careful to say Jesus was speaking hypothetically only to deflect Peter misguided question. The word, “if”, made all the difference in Jesus’ statement. John was desperately concerned about the unity of God’s people and the oneness of Jesus’ flock. The Jesus whom both Peter and John served in different ways is passionately concerned about those things as well. Jesus cares deeply for his church and is the Lord of the future of the church.

John now turns his attention to his calling as a faithful witness to Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God. John was able to say that he saw all “these things”, and he wrote these things down. “These things” refer to his entire Gospel. We can’t be sure who the “we” are in “we know that his testimony is true.” He could be referring to the other disciples that witnessed the same events or it could refer to John’s followers in the Church of Ephesus where he resided until his death. Some commentators believe that these last two verses were written by someone else besides John, possibly these followers. Or it could have been just a literary device that John used like we see in John 1:14 which says, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us; and “we” saw His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

It would be nice to know who the “we” refers to but it must not have been important to the book or we would know. If the “we” means someone other than John than their testimony must have been very early because there has never been any doubt about it. Barrett (in Morris’ commentary) says, “The ‘we’ is to be taken with full seriousness; there exists an apostolic Church capable of verifying and affirming the apostolic witness.” If it is referring to someone besides John we don’t know who they are but they were there and that is what mattered.

John’s gospel is a record of what happened written down by a man who had seen it, but it was not exhaustive. John says that Jesus did many other things as well and if they were all written down there would not be enough room in the whole world to hold the books that would be written. This is playful hyperbole, a deliberate exaggeration for dramatic effect which was common in antiquity. John is not content to end his Gospel focusing on himself. He closes by saying his own work about the life of Jesus is only a small part of all the honor and glory due to the Son. John is not only stating the greatness of God here but also stating that the words and works of Jesus were much greater than what is contained in his gospel. But nevertheless, John is the final witness in a long line of witnesses that include John the Baptist and the miracles and signs that Jesus did while he was on the earth. And his Gospel is also a witness written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit presenting Jesus Christ as the Messiah the Son of God for the express purpose that all may believe.

Witnesses are important. A witness is defined as someone who sees, hears, or knows by personal presence and perception, to be present at (an event) as a formal witness, spectator, bystander, etc. or to bear witness to; testify to; give or afford evidence of. The word, “witness”, is significant in the Bible. The Israelites were to be witnesses to the world of the goodness of God. But where we really see its importance is in the New Testament. The Greek word for witness occurs thirty-four times; the verb form appears seventy-nine times; the nouns are used a total of fifty-seven times. This concept is found mainly in John and Acts which suggests that it was a vital reason for the Church's growth from a local Jerusalem group to a world-wide movement. The witness of those early Christians contributed to the explosion of the church and the belief that "Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God" through which believers found “life in His name.”

This witness was important because it was different from every other religion of the time, before it or since. In Jesus’ day there were the gods of the Greeks, the gods of the Romans, and both had their temples and priests. There were many philosophies of the day such as Gnosticism and Stoicism. Jesus Christ showed up on the earth in the midst of these pagan religions. He came as a baby born in a manger. He grew up learning carpentry from his earthly father, Joseph. He taught in the synagogue, ate with sinners, healed the sick and forgave sins. He claimed to be God and died on a cross. This was different in that no one ever shook the hand of one of the Greek gods or had lunch with a Roman god. Those deities never wore sandals or walked the same earth that humans did. Jesus Christ was a historical person who interacted with other historical people and those people were witnesses to this Jesus and made the claim that he was indeed the Son of God.

Christianity rests on the witnesses of these stories and events. If no one knew the events and witnessed to them, no one would be a Christian. Because of this we need to keep returning to the scriptures. The Bible will always remain central to the Church's witness, for it contains the story which brought the Church into being and will continue to nourish it to the end. The difference between the apostolic witness and all subsequent Christians through the ages is that they could speak of that "which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands” and the rest of us who were not present at the time must repeat the story and keep it living to the next generation. John’s Gospel that we have just finished studying is the witness that gets us from, Thomas, who believed because he had "seen" to "those who have not seen and yet believe.”

So what does all of this have to do with us? John, an eyewitness to the historical Jesus who died on a cross for everyone’s sins, wrote his gospel so that we “may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing may have life in his name.” Now that we have read and studied his gospel we too must be witnesses to an unbelieving world so that they may believe in Jesus as their Messiah, as the Son of God and by believing those who you share your testimony with will have life in his name. That brings us to the last next step on the back of your communication card which is to “be a witness for Jesus Christ and what he has done in the book of John and in my life so that others may believe and have life in his name.”

As Gene and Roxey come to lead us in a final hymn let’s pray: Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you that you not only have the futures of Peter, John and the Church in your hands but our futures as well. Help us to be faithful witnesses of your Word and of what you have done in each of our lives. Let us be bold in sharing our testimony to the salvation you have freely given us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Believe

Fireside Chat

(John 21:15-17)

 

INTRODUCTION

“The president wants to come into your home and sit at your fireside for a little fireside chat,” announced Robert Trout on the airwaves of CBS in March 1933. It was the first of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s famous radio talks addressing the problems and successes of the Great Depression, and later, World War II. President Roosevelt had not originally planned a title for these broadcasts, but the name “Fireside Chat,” coined by CBS station manager Harold Butcher in reference to the president’s conversational speaking style, stuck. During President Roosevelt’s twelve years in office, the Fireside Chats connected the White House to ordinary American homes as never before.1

Franklin Roosevelt took office at the start of the golden age of radio. When he was first elected in 1932, forty-one percent of U.S. cities had their own radio station. Five years into Roosevelt’s presidency, nearly ninety percent of the U.S. population had access to a radio. Radio was fast overtaking newspapers as America’s major source of news, as it did not require literacy to enjoy or even money to buy—just a friend or neighbor willing to let others tune in. Walking down the street in cities and small towns, one could hear music, radio dramas, comedy hours, or news drifting out of open windows. By the end of the decade, ninety percent of Americans said they would sooner give up movies than radio.2

The primacy of radio as a source of entertainment and news gave President Roosevelt an opportunity no U.S. president had yet had: to speak directly to broad sections of the American public without having his message filtered through the press. Presidents before him had always had to rely on newspaper reporters and editors to convey their words to the public, leaving their original message open to editorial slant or misquoting. Live radio, by contrast, left no room for misquotation.

 

During his presidency, Franklin Roosevelt used periodic Fireside Chats to tell the public what government was doing about the Great Depression and later, the second World War. During the years of the New Deal President Roosevelt addressed the nation on-air about twice a year, announcing each chat a week or two in advance to ensure a wide listenership. He defended government programs, answered his critics, expressed encouragement through difficult national times, and requested cooperation with his policies. 3

With the United States’ entry into World War II, President Roosevelt started to broadcast about every three months, feeling that it was important to update the public frequently on the progress of the war. His frustration with information provided by the press was constant throughout his time in office: a reporter once asked if he planned to discuss recent talks with Winston Churchill on air, to which the president replied, “It’s up to you fellows. If you fellows give the country an exceedingly correct picture, I won’t go on the radio.” 4

For many Americans, the Fireside Chats, delivered in President Roosevelt’s calm, measured voice, were a source of comfort—a reassurance that during the crises of the Great Depression and World War II, a steady hand was on the wheel. The first Fireside Chat, updating the electorate on what the federal government was doing to address the banking crisis of 1933, came just eight days into Roosevelt’s first administration, direct from the White House to half a million listeners. The sense of connection with the president was immediate. A flood of letters from citizens across the country inundated the White House Mail Room in the months after that first on-air address, most expressing strong support for the president’s words. One letter in particular summed up the general spirit of the response: “Think of having the president talk to us in our parlor…” 5

[https://www.whitehousehistory.org/the-fireside-chats-roosevelts-radio-talks].

 

BODY

  • ME

    • Campfires

        • Judy loves to have campfires

          • We’ve had many, here at the pavilion

          • We’ve also had several at various campgrounds

          • Sitting around campfire provides an incredible opportunity to relax and talk

          • We’ve had some really meaningful talks with our children and their friends around a campfire

        • Creation campfires

          • A least of couple of times we’ve had campfires at Creation Music Festival

          • Those campfires have brought out some deep conversations about the things of God as youth are away from their usual surroundings and perhaps more open to hearing from the Lord

 

  • WE

    • Creation campfires

        • How many of us have experienced those deep, meaningful conversations around a campfire at Creation?

        • Perhaps we remember a youth giving their life to Jesus Christ for the first time (can you remember their name(s)?)

        • Maybe it was a Creation campfire conversation that sparked the desire to enter full-time ministry

    • Personal campfires

        • Every one of us can probably think of a time when we had a meaningful conversation around a campfire

        • Even if it wasn’t around a campfire, we can probably recall a time when we had a deep conversation with someone about Jesus Christ and God

 

Jesus had a fireside chat prepared for Peter and the other disciples after their breakfast together on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. ​​ Peter had publicly voiced his allegiance to Jesus, even if everyone else fell away. ​​ He also publicly denied Jesus three times. ​​ With incredible mercy, Jesus wants to restore Peter publicly, so that he could carry on the mission of the Gospel. ​​ Through this fireside chat, Jesus helped Peter understand what his responsibility would be concerning taking care of His flock (sheep). ​​ The principle Jesus shared with Peter, included the other disciples and you and me. ​​ John wants us to understand that . . .

BIG IDEA – Loving Jesus means loving His people.

 

Let’s pray

 

  • GOD (John 21:15-17)

    • 1st Question & Answer (v. 15)

        • After breakfast

          • John lets us know when Jesus’ fireside chat took place

          • Jesus had prepared breakfast for them and had served them and cared of them

          • Jesus took care of Peter’s physical needs, before dealing with his spiritual needs

          • It’s interesting to note that Jesus modeled physically what He was going to challenge Peter to do spiritually

            • Jesus fed Peter and the other disciples, who were His sheep

            • He served them and took care of them as His sheep

          • Only after the disciples were taken care of, did Jesus move from the physical to the spiritual

        • Question

          • Jesus addressed Peter in the presence of the other disciples

            • “Peter had boasted of his reliability in the presence of his fellow disciples.” ​​ [Carson, The Pillar New Testament Commentary, The Gospel According to John, 675]

              • John 13:8, “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” ​​ Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

              • John 13:37-38, Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? ​​ I will lay down my life for you.” ​​ Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? ​​ I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!

              • John 18:10-11, Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. ​​ (The servant’s name was Malchus.) ​​ Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! ​​ Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”

              • Mark 14:29-31, Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.” ​​ “I tell you the truth.” ​​ Jesus answered, “today – yes, tonight – before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.” ​​ But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” ​​ And all the others said the same.

            • His denial of Jesus was done publicly

            • It stands to reason that his restoration, by Jesus, should also be done publicly [Carson, 675]

              • Jesus had met with Peter privately, prior this public restoration, to deal with Peter’s private sin

                • Luke 24:34, “It is true! ​​ The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.”

                • 1 Corinthians 15:5, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.

              • “Private sin should be confessed in private, public sins in public.” ​​ [Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, New Testament, Volume 1, 397]

          • Jesus uses Peter’s given name, Simon, which reminds us of when Jesus initially called him to follow (John 1:42)

            • Jesus does not call him Peter (the Rock) as this point, because he was broken

              • He had denied knowing Jesus three times

              • Luke 22:60-62, Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” ​​ Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. ​​ The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. ​​ Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” ​​ And he went outside and wept bitterly.

            • Jesus knew Peter’s strength and character and how he would lead the establishment of the first Christian church

              • Jesus knew the importance of restoring Peter, so that the other disciples would follow his leadership

              • Matthew 16:15-18, “But what about you?” ​​ he asked, “Who do you say I am?” ​​ Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” ​​ Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. ​​ And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”

          • “Do you truly love me more than these?”

            • Jesus is asking Peter if he loves Him more than the other disciples, who were present, love Him?

            • Before Peter’s denial of Jesus, he probably would have answered, “Yes!” (it would have been emphatic with confidence)

            • “Of course I love you more than these guys love you!”

            • That’s not the case as Peter answers Jesus

          • That’s what we see next

        • Answer

          • “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

          • Peter doesn’t try to compare his love for Jesus with any of the other disciples love for Jesus

          • He knows that his pride and arrogance got him in trouble before

          • “He does not try to answer in terms of the relative strength of his love as compared with that of other disciples. ​​ He appeals rather to the Lord’s knowledge. ​​ Despite my bitter failure, he says in effect, I love you – you know that I love you.” [Carson, 677]

        • Greek words for love

          • Some scholars and preachers have pointed out the use of two different Greek words for love, in Jesus’ questions and Peter’s answers

            • They attempt to make this difference more significant than it should be

            • In Jesus’ first two questions, John uses the Greek word agapaō, which has been considered to be the stronger form of, “to love” – it is self-giving and self-sacrificing love

            • In Peter’s response, all three times, and in Jesus’ final question, John uses the Greek word phileō, which is thought to be the weaker form of, “to love” – it is a friendship love or brotherly love

            • It would be nice to make a distinction between these two Greek words and apply that to our lives today, but we have to consider how these two words were used by John in the rest of his Gospel

            • He uses them interchangeably throughout his Gospel, so there really isn’t a distinction between the two Greek words [Michaels, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, The Gospel of John, 1043]

              • He uses both Greek words for the Father’s love for the Son [Michaels, 1043]

                • John 3:35, The Father loves (agapaō) the Son and has placed everything in his hands.

                • John 5:20a, For the Father loves (phileō) the Son and shows him all he does.

              • He also uses both Greek words for the disciples’ love for Jesus [see 14:15 (agapaō); 16:27 (phileō)] [Michaels, 1043]

              • He uses both for Jesus’ love for Lazarus [see 11:3 (phileō), 5 (agapaō)] [Michaels, 1043]

              • Finally, he uses both for Jesus’ love for “the disciple whom he loved” (see 13:23 (agapaō); 20:2 (phileō)] [Michaels, 1043]

            • The main point of the passage is that Jesus is restoring Peter after his denial and not the use of two Greek words for love

          • After Peter affirms his love for Jesus, Jesus gives him this command

        • Command

          • “Feed my lambs”

          • Lambs and sheep are again used interchangeably throughout the Gospel of John, so there probably isn’t some hidden meaning there that needs to be mined or harvested

          • Jesus had just fed Peter, physically, and now He is commanding Peter to feed His sheep, spiritually

          • This will be significant after Jesus ascends to heaven and Pentecost takes place

        • Jesus asks the same question a second time

    • 2nd Question & Answer (v. 16)

        • Question

          • The only difference in Jesus’ question, this second time, is that He omits, “more than these”

          • The restoration of Peter has begun its second phase

        • Answer

          • Peter’s answer is exactly the same as his first one

          • “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

        • Command

          • “Take care of my sheep”

          • The verb can also be translated, “Shepherd or feed”

        • Jesus completes the restoration of Peter by asking him the same question a third time

    • 3rd Question & Answer (v. 17)

        • Question

          • The only difference in the question this time is found in the Greek

          • Jesus uses phileō instead of agapaō

        • Answer

          • John tells us that Peter is hurt when Jesus asks him a third time

            • Why was Peter hurt or grieved?

            • “It was hardly because of the change in the Greek verbs. ​​ Besides, that argument would hardly be viable if the original conversation would have been in Aramaic. ​​ A mere glance at the text tells the reader the reason. ​​ Peter experienced a major ‘undoing’ (cf. Isa 6:5, KJV) of his self-assertiveness because Jesus asked him ‘the third time’ (21:17) about his love. ​​ The third time did it.” ​​ [Borchert, The New American Commentary, John 12-21, 335]

          • Peter adds an important part to his answer this time

            • PRINCIPLE #1 – Jesus is all-knowing (omniscient)!

              • “Lord, you know all things”

              • This is an important principle for followers of Jesus Christ to embrace

              • Psalm 139:1-4, O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. ​​ You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. ​​ You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. ​​ Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord.

              • There is nothing in our lives that Jesus does not know about

                • Whatever we’re struggling with (health, emotions, relationships, finances) Jesus knows about it

                • Some of us may feel like Jesus doesn’t know about our situation, because we feel like He is doing anything about it

                • That doesn’t void this principle or truth – our feelings don’t void truth

                • Jesus answers our cries with Yes, No, or Wait

                  • We never struggle with Yes

                  • We normally struggle with No and Wait

                • Sometimes the struggle is to strengthen us

              • Because Jesus is all-knowing, He knows what is best for us

                • He knows what will strengthen us and draw us to Him

                • He knows what we are able to handle with His grace

                • He knew how Job was going to react to the attacks from Satan

                • He knows how we’ll react to the attacks from Satan

                • We can trust Him to do what’s best for us, because He knows everything

              • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Trust in Jesus’ ability to know everything about me and what I’m going through and to guide me by His Spirit.

            • Even though Peter is hurt and grieved that Jesus asks Him the same question a third time, he affirms His love for Jesus based on Jesus’ knowledge of him

          • Jesus gives the same command again

        • Command

          • “Feed my sheep”

          • Jesus wants Peter to take care of the other disciples and the new converts that will be part of His flock

    • Command fulfilled

        • We know that Peter took this restoration seriously and understood his responsibility to take care of Jesus’ flock

        • 1 Peter 5:1-4, To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers – not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. ​​ And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

        • Read Acts 20:28-31

        • “Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd (John 10:11), the Great Shepherd (Heb. 13:20-21), and the Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4). ​​ Pastors are ‘under-shepherds’ who must obey Him as they minister to the flock. ​​ The most important thing the pastor can do is to love Jesus Christ. ​​ If he truly loves Jesus Christ, the pastor will also love His sheep and tenderly care for them.” ​​ [Wiersbe, 398]

          • Pastor Marc and I love Jesus Christ

          • We love all you very much and we strive to tenderly care for you

          • Loving Jesus means loving His people.

 

  • YOU

    • PRINCIPLE #2 – Jesus is merciful.

        • Mercy is the goodness of God providing a way for man’s guilt to be erased

          • Ephesians 2:4-5, But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.

          • Numbers 14:18, “The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. ​​ Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.

        • Peter experienced Jesus mercy as He gently restored him to leadership after his failure

        • You and I can experience the great mercy of Jesus when we fail Him

          • You and I are human and fallible

          • Even as followers of Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit living in us, we will sometimes choose to give in to sin’s temptation

          • When we acknowledge that sin and confess, Jesus promises to forgive us

          • 1 John 1:9, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness

          • Are you struggling with unconfessed sin?

          • Are you ready to experience Jesus’ mercy by confessing those sins to Him today?

          • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Confess my sins to Jesus and experience His mercy and forgiveness.

        • If you’re not a follower of Jesus Christ, you can still experience His mercy and forgiveness for the first time

    • PRINCIPLE #3 – Before Jesus can be followed and served, the sin in our lives has to be addressed.

        • Peter experienced that also through his restoration process

        • Jesus had met him privately prior to this public fireside chat

        • Jesus wants to meet you privately to deal with your sin, so you can follow and serve Him

          • You and I are born in sin (Rom. 3:23, 6:23)

          • Before we can follow and serve Jesus we have to recognized our sin (The Good Person Test)

          • Repentance is turning away from our sin and following Jesus and His ways

          • God loves us so much that He made a way to deal with our sin (Rom. 5:8; 1 Cor. 15:3-4)

          • Romans 10:9-10, 13, That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. ​​ For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved . . . for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

          • Are you ready to take that step today?

          • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Confess that Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised Him from the dead, so I can be saved from my sins.

 

  • WE

    • PRINCIPLE #4 – Following Jesus and loving Jesus mean accepting responsibility for Jesus’ people.

        • We know that God raises up some individuals to serve in spiritual leadership roles, but listen to what Paul says about their role as he writes to the Ephesian believers

          • Ephesians 4:11-13, It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

          • Spiritual leaders are to prepare God’s people for works of service that will build up the body of Christ

          • The various discipleship opportunities that Pastor Marc and I offer is to help prepare you all to serve one another

          • We also serve together with you through the various food pantries we help with

        • The Holy Spirit gives each follower of Jesus at least one, if not more, spiritual gifts to help serve the church and those who are part of it

          • Romans 12:4-6, Just as each one of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. ​​ We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.

          • 1 Corinthians 12:7, Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

        • Loving Jesus means loving His people.

        • #4 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Identify my spiritual gifts and commit to using them within the body of Christ, so that Jesus’ people will be taken care of.

 

CONCLUSION

.

10

 

Believe

A Fish Story

(John 21:1-14)

 

INTRODUCTION

“Koral Wira, 14, was fishing with her parents and a friend near Venice, Fla., when a barracuda went for her dad’s bait and ended up biting her instead. ​​ Her dad, Rob Parker, submitted these photos and Wira told the story.

 

After anchoring the boat 4 miles off shore, Parker baited his rod with herring. ​​ Wira switched seats to get out of the hot sun, and watched as her dad cast. ​​ Moments later, she heard a splash and saw a long silver flash in the air. ​​ A barracuda jumped from the water and opened its mouth. ​​ As it hit her left arm, it clamped down with razor teeth.

 

When the fish dropped off her arm, Wira said the angled bites made her skin look like raw hamburger meat from the middle of her bicep to below her elbow. ​​ She was more scared than in pain, she said.

 

As the barracuda flopped around the boat, Wira ran to the bow and ducked. ​​ Her mom and friend climbed onto their chairs and screamed, while Wira’s dad grabbed his filet knife and stabbed the fish behind the eye.

 

Wira looked down at the still fish and couldn’t believe it had bit her. ​​ It was 42 inches long and its blood and her own spotted the boat’s floor. ​​ Her dad cut the anchor with his filet knife and they zoomed back to the shore.

 

On the trip back, Wira pressed her dad’s Red Sox Shirt to her arm to slow the bleeding. ​​ Her friend was crying, but Wira said she was too shocked to be upset.

 

Parker opened the barracuda’s mouth to check out its rows of razor-sharp teeth. ​​ He noticed the fish had taken in his line, but the hook never penetrated. ​​ Parker said he suspected his bait herring attracted the fish, causing it to jump. ​​ When it flew out of the water toward the boat, it found his daughter instead.

 

Wira and her dad stopped for a quick picture [show picture] before jumping in the car and heading to the hospital. ​​ Wira said she wasn’t in pain at the moment, but she was still creeped out by the fish. ​​ Her arm needed 51 stitches, and doctors told her they had never treated a barracuda bite. ​​ Her stitches are out now, and she said her arm is healing.”

Field & Stream, “Leaping Barracuda Gashes Teenage Girl’s Arm,” July 28, 2010

 

[https://www.fieldandstream.com/photos/gallery/fishing/2010/07/barracuda-jumps-boat-chomps-koral-wiras-arm/].

 

BODY

  • ME

    • Catching a trout with my bare hands

        • Growing up, I hunted and fished with my father

        • On opening day of trout season, when I was probably 10 to 12 years old, we were fishing in Muddy Run over in Shippensburg

        • My Dad and I jumped out onto a small island in the creek

        • Laying in the water on the edge of the island was a beautiful rainbow trout

        • I got it to bite at a worm, but didn’t hook it

        • I tried every other bait we had available, but it wouldn’t bite at any of those

        • I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to catch it

        • That’s when my Dad mentioned putting the rag from the tackle box over the fish and picking it up with my hands

        • I didn’t know any better, so I did just that

        • After catching the trout with my bare hands, I raise it over my head and shouted, “I got it!”

        • It was an unconventional way of trout fishing and something I have never repeated

        • When we measured it, it was a 15-inch rainbow trout

 

  • WE

    • Fish story

        • Perhaps some of us have a fish story we could tell

        • It was something beyond the ordinary that happened while we were fishing

    • Other hard to believe stories

        • Some of us are not fishermen or fisherwomen, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have incredible stories to tell

        • Maybe those stories are about shopping, driving, hunting, our children, etc.

 

John adds an epilogue to his letter that accomplishes two primary things. ​​ It shows how Jesus restores Peter after his denial, and it addressed the rumor, that had been started, that John would not die before Jesus returned a second time. ​​ In the first section of this epilogue, we are going to learn about an incredible fish story that only happened through the sovereign will and power of Jesus. ​​ John wants us to understand that . . .

 

BIG IDEA – Following Jesus means having confidence in His sovereignty alone.

 

Too often, we have misplaced confidence in our own strength to accomplish what only Jesus can do through us and for us.

 

Let’s pray

 

  • GOD (John 21:1-14)

    • Jesus’ Appearance (vv. 1-5, 14)

        • Jesus’ third appearance to His disciples

          • John tells us that after Jesus appeared to the eleven disciples, with Thomas present, that He appeared a third time to the disciples

          • This appearance was different than the first two

            • It wasn’t in Jerusalem, but in Galilee

            • It wasn’t behind locked doors, but on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias

          • This shouldn’t come as a surprise to us, because of the words of the angel recorded by Matthew and Mark

            • Matthew 28:7, “Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. ​​ There you will see him.’ ​​ Now I have told you.”

            • Mark 16:7, “But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. ​​ There you will see him, just as he told you.’”

        • Sea of Tiberias

          • Multiple names

            • This was the Roman name for the Sea of Galilee [Borchert, The New American Commentary, John 12-21, 323]

            • Luke called it the Sea of Gennesaret (Luke 5:1)

            • In the Old Testament is was referred to as the Sea of Chinnereth, from the Hebrew kinnerot/kinneret meaning “harp.” (Numbers 34:11) [Borchert, 323]

          • Location

            • It was about 75 miles north of Jerusalem

            • It is surrounded by the hills of Galilee and Golan [show 3D map of Sea of Galilee]

          • John then tells us exactly how it happened

        • Disciples present

          • There were seven disciples that were present during this appearance

            • Simon Peter

            • Thomas (called Didymus)

            • Nathanael from Cana in Galilee [show map]

            • The sons of Zebedee, James and John (Mark 3:17)

            • Two unnamed disciples

              • It would not be inconceivable to consider Andrew and Philip as the two unnamed disciples, especially if we look at John 1

              • John 1:40-41, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. ​​ The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).

              • John 1:43-45, The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” ​​ Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. ​​ Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

          • While the disciples are waiting for Jesus to meet them in Galilee, they decide to go fishing

        • Peter’s proclamation

          • Peter announces to the other six disciples that he is going out to fish and the other disciples agree to go with him

          • Fishing at night

            • They were going out to fish at the preferred time

            • “Nighttime was the preferred time for fishing in ancient times, including first-century Galilee (e.g., Luke 5:5). ​​ That way, fish caught before daybreak could be sold fresh in the morning.” ​​ [Köstenberger, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, John, 589]

            • They were all seasoned fishermen, so they probably assumed they would be successful, but they were skunked

          • Unsuccessful

            • They didn’t catch anything

            • This wasn’t the first time they were unsuccessful

              • Luke tells us of another time, two years earlier, when they were unsuccessful

              • Luke 5:4-7, When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” ​​ Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. ​​ But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” ​​ When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. ​​ So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

            • “Brown notes at this point that in the Gospels the disciples never catch fish without Jesus’ assistance.” ​​ [Borchert, 326]

              • This doesn’t mean that they never caught fish without Jesus, but Scripture doesn’t record a time when they did

              • This brings to mind Jesus’ teaching about the vine and the branches

                • He said to His disciples “I am the vine; you are the branches. ​​ If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

                • Notice that Jesus said they could do nothing without Him

                • This was going to be an important lesson for the disciples to learn, because they wouldn’t be successful at fishing for men without remaining in Jesus and having Him remain in them

              • Application

                • The same is true for us

                • If we try to do anything for Jesus, but aren’t remaining in Him and He in us, we will be unsuccessful

                • Our evangelism efforts will not bear fruit

                • Following Jesus means having confidence in His sovereignty alone

                • When we try to do things in our own strength, we will fail

                • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Confess that I’ve tried to do things for Jesus in my own strength, and failed.

                • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Have confidence in Jesus’ sovereignty and not my own strength.

                • We have to learn the same lesson that the disciples learned – we can’t do anything apart from Jesus

            • The disciples were going to learn this lesson pretty quickly

          • Peter was the leader of this fishing expedition, when he announced that he was going out to fish

        • Jesus showed up, unannounced and unrecognized

          • Jesus arrived early in the morning when the disciples were probably wrapping up their fishing trip

          • The disciples didn’t realize it was Jesus

            • Scripture doesn’t tell us why they didn’t realize it was Jesus

            • It could have been that He was concealing His identity, like He had done with Mary Magdalene and the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, until the right time

            • It could also have been that there was mist on the sea and at 100 yards from shore the disciples couldn’t see Jesus clearly

            • We’re just not told the reason why the disciples didn’t realize it was Jesus

          • Jesus asked them a simple question

            • “Guys, how was the fishing? ​​ Were you successful?”

            • Their answer was “No.”

            • Last Saturday, while my buddy and I were deer hunting, we ran into another hunter and asked the question that every hunter asks another hunter, “Did you see anything?” ​​ He had seen three bucks earlier that morning. ​​ I had seen two does and my buddy had harvested a doe. ​​ Where we were hunting was doe only, so this other hunter had passed on the three bucks he had seen. ​​ So, he hadn’t been successful

        • Jesus’ next words would transform this failed fishing trip into a success

    • Jesus’ Command (vv. 6-9)

        • He told them to throw their net on the right side of the boat and they would find fish

          • We would be naïve to believe that Peter and the other disciples hadn’t already tried that at some point in the middle of the night

          • It wasn’t that they had exclusively fished off the left side of the boat all night

          • Perhaps Jesus was able to see a school of fish swimming on the right side of the boat

          • More likely, Jesus was supernaturally exercising His sovereignty, for their benefit

          • PRINCIPLE #1 – Jesus is sovereign!

            • Following Jesus means having confidence in His sovereignty alone.

            • They had been fishing all night, in their own strength, without success

          • Notice that Peter didn’t question this stranger, like he questioned Jesus two years earlier, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.” (Luke 5:5)

        • They were successful

          • Without question, they listened to the advice of this stranger and threw their net on the right side of the boat

          • Their net was so full of fish that they weren’t able to haul the net into the boat

        • Jesus revealed

          • John recognized the miracle that had just taken place and knew immediately who the stranger was on the shore – it was Jesus!

          • He tells Peter that the guy on the shore is the Lord!

          • “In characteristic fashion, the beloved disciple displays spiritual discernment, while Peter exhibits decisive action (Carson 1991: 671; cf. Ridderbos 1997: 660).” ​​ [Köstenberger, 591]

          • Peter immediately jumps into action

            • “Here Peter is wearing a worker’s smock (Gk. epedytes) on the boat, but he wants to swim to shore to meet the Lord. ​​ Because he is naked (Gk. gymnos) underneath the smock, when he hears that Jesus is on shore, he tucks or wraps his smock into his belt to give him a tight fit and leaps into the water.” ​​ [Burge, The NIV Application Commentary, John, 584]

            • “Greeting in general was a religious act which required that a person be clothed.” ​​ [Gangel, Holman New Testament Commentary, John, 386]

            • Peter leaves behind a net full of fish, which he has been laboring all night to catch, in order to be with Jesus

            • PRINCIPLE #2 – Jesus is pleased when we’re willing to leave everything for Him.

              • Would we be as willing, as Peter was, to leave something successful in order to follow Jesus?

              • Has there been a time when we’ve done that?

              • Perhaps Jesus is asking you to do that right now

              • Idaville Church has a rich history of sending out individuals, couples, and families into the mission field and ministry (Small’s, Stansbury’s, Runyan’s, etc.)

              • We need to continue that rich history

              • Maybe the Lord has been asking you to leave everything you are familiar with, including a successful job, in order to follow Him into full-time ministry

              • I want to encourage you to be obedient to that call

              • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Obediently leave everything, and enthusiastically pursue Jesus’ call on my life.

            • Peter immediately left a successful catch of fish to pursue Jesus

        • Other disciples brought the fish to shore

          • Notice that there were others available to handle the successful catch of fish

          • The same will be true when we follow God’s call on our lives – He will raise up others to handle what we’ve left behind

          • The other six disciples towed the net, full of fish, to shore (about 100 yards)

          • What they saw when they got to shore was reassuring and comforting

            • A hot breakfast was already prepared for them, after a long night of fishing

            • There was fish on the grill and bread available

        • Jesus cared about His disciples and wanted to provide for them

    • Jesus’ Provision (vv. 10-13)

        • Jesus encourages the disciples to bring some of the fish they have just caught

        • Peter returns to help bring the net ashore

        • John tells us a couple of things about the fish

          • First, they were large

          • Second, there were 153

            • It was common practice for the fishermen to count their catch, so the catch could be distributed evenly among them

            • This is perhaps why John even mentions the number of fish that were caught

            • There are all kinds of other explanations given for the number 153, but I believe the simplest explanation is the best – John wants us to know that this was a miraculous catch of fish, orchestrated by Jesus’ sovereign power

          • “The catch consists of 153 ‘great fish,’ ‘great’ implying not only ‘large’ but ‘good’ (as perhaps in Gospel of Thomas 8). ​​ None will be ‘thrown out’ (Mt 13:48), nor will any be lost, for ‘even with so many the net was not torn.’” [Michaels, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, The Gospel of John, 1038]

            • The symbolism found here is important

            • Jesus is continuing to prepare His disciples to spread the Gospel to every nation

            • Something supernatural happens beyond the miraculous catch of fish

              • In Luke 5:6 we see that the first miraculous catch of fish, caused the nets to break

              • Here in John 21:11 the net was not torn, even with so many fish in it

              • “The point is much the same as when Jesus, after the feeding of the multitude, told the disciples to ‘Gather the leftover broken pieces, so that nothing is lost,’ and ‘they gathered, and filled up twelve baskets with pieces left over’ (6:12-13). ​​ Here the conservation of fish, like the conservation of fragments there, hints at Jesus’ repeated promise that he will keep his disciples safe, and that none of those whom the Father has given him will ever be lost (see 3:16; also 6:39; 10:28; 17:12; 18:9). ​​ And what is true of them is true as well of ‘those who believe . . . through their word’ (17:20). ​​ As ‘fishers’ in the world, they will ‘go and bear fruit,’ and their fruit will last (5:16).” ​​ [Michaels, 1038-39]

              • Symbolically and visually, Jesus is sharing with His disciples what their mission will be and that it will be successful

              • The same is true for us

                • Jesus is sharing with us what our mission is – fishing for men/women

                • Jesus reassures us of the same thing – we will be successful

                • “When we were called to believe in Jesus, we were called to mission.” ​​ [J.D. Greear, RightNow Conference: Focus, November 05, 2020]

        • Jesus encourages His disciples to come have breakfast

          • Jesus provided for His disciples

          • He took the bread and the fish and served them

          • PRINCIPLE #3 – Jesus is our provider.

            • Jesus will provide for us too

            • Take a moment to think about a specific time that Jesus has been your provider

            • Perhaps it was in a supernatural way or in a simple common way

            • #4 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Make a list of the ways Jesus has provided for me and praise Him for that provision.

        • The disciples are speechless

          • They knew this stranger was the Lord, but there was some hesitancy

          • This was probably in fulfillment of John 16:23a, In that day you will no longer ask me anything.

 

What an incredible fish story John had to tell. ​​ Through it we realize that following Jesus means having confidence in His sovereignty alone.

 

  • YOU

    • Confess that I’ve tried to do things for Jesus in my own strength, and failed.

    • Have confidence in Jesus’ sovereignty and not my own strength.

    • Obediently leave everything, and enthusiastically pursue Jesus’ call on my life.

    • Make a list of the ways Jesus has provided for me and praise Him for that provision.

 

  • WE

    • As a body of believers, we can have confidence in Jesus’ sovereignty as we strive to accomplish the Great Commission

CONCLUSION

In the 2003 movie, Big Fish, “Edward Bloom, an entertaining and charismatic teller of tall tale, is a source of frustration to his only son, William who grew up believing his father’s stories until it became obvious they were lies. ​​ At Will’s wedding, Will feels embarrassed by his father telling the guests an impossible-sounding story about the day of Will’s birth, involving catching a giant catfish with his wedding ring as bait. ​​ Will feels that his father tells these huge lies just to get attention and confront him angrily about it. ​​ Edward denies his son’s accusations and they end up not speaking to each other for three years.”

 

Edward is diagnosed with cancer, which draws Will home from Paris with his pregnant wife. ​​ Will attempts to reconcile with his father and encourages him to tell the truth about all the stories. ​​ Will asks the doctor, who is attending to Edward, about his real birth story. ​​ The doctor tells him it was simply a normal birth that Edward missed because he was working.

 

“Later that night, Will finds Edward only partially conscious, and unable to speak at length. ​​ Since Edward can no longer tell stories, he asks Will to tell him the story of how his life ends. ​​ Will tells his father that he doesn’t know that story since Edward never told him what he saw in the glass eye. ​​ Edward keeps insisting and Will realizes it’s up to him to finish the story. ​​ Deciding to play along, Will tells his own impromptu tall tale: ​​ Edward regains strength, and he and Will escape from the hospital. ​​ Jumping into Edward’s old car, they speed up to a nearby river, where everyone Edward has ever met are waiting. ​​ Instead of a funeral, they are holding a goodbye party, and Edward happily bids them farewell as Will carries him into the river where Edward transforms into a giant catfish and swims away. ​​ Edward agrees with Will that this is exactly how he dies. ​​ Shortly afterwards, Edward dies. ​​ Will is the only one present for Edward’s death, and is both sad but also deeply happy that they finally connected at last.

 

At Edward’s funeral, Will, Josephine and Sandra along with Edward’s doctor are initially the only ones in attendance. ​​ Then a long line of cars, vans and buses arrive and it is here that Will becomes astonished to see all of the characters from Edward’s stories show up to pay their respects to Edward; Amos Calloway, Karl the Giant, Norther Winslow, Older Jenny, Mr. Soggybottom, Ping and Jing, Mayor Beamen of Spectre are all present. ​​ However, each one of them is slightly less fantastical than they’re described in Edward’s stories. ​​ For example, Karl is not a 12-foot giant, but is still quite tall at around seven feet; Ping and Jing are not conjoined twins, just identical. ​​ It finally becomes clear that Edward had simply combined his love of storytelling with his own reality, which finally makes sense to Will. ​​ When his own son is born, Will passes the stories on to him, remarking that his father became his stories – allowing him to live forever.”

 

IMDb, Big Fish, Synopsis

 

[https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0319061/plotsummary?ref_=tt_stry_pl].

 

While Edward’s fish story was fiction and not true, John’s fish story is fact. ​​ Jesus came alive again and appeared to His disciples in Galilee. ​​ His presence made the impossible possible. ​​ Following Jesus means having confidence in His sovereignty alone and not in our own strength.

11

 

Believe

Doubt Dissolved

(John 20:24-31)

 

INTRODUCTION

“Erik Weihenmayer, the blind mountaineer who recently successfully scaled Mount Everest, writes in Outside magazine:

 

A few days after I arrived in the Khumbu Valley for the Mount Everest climb, a rumor began circulating. Because I wasn't flopping on my face every few minutes, the Sherpas thought I was lying about my blindness. Women would approach me in the alleys of Namche Bazaar and wave their hands in front of my face. I'd feel the wind and flinch, which only confirmed their suspicions.

 

Finally, I resorted to drastic measures. I asked Kami Tenzing, our climbing Sirdar, into the kitchen tent. ‘Kami,’ I said, ‘I want to give you a message to take back to the Sherpas.’ I pulled down my left lower eyelid, leaned my head forward, and my prosthetic eye plopped into my palm. ‘I can take the other out if you want,’ I said. ‘No!’ he said firmly. ‘Not necessary.’”

 

Erik Weihenmayer, "Tenacious," Outside (December 2001), p.55; submitted by Dave Goetz, Wheaton, Illinois.

 

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2002/march/13545.html].

 

BODY

  • ME

    • Proving I’m not a robot

        • Setting up online accounts for any website has become more secure than in the past

        • Before, I just had to create a username and a password

        • Now, for most websites, I have to prove that I’m not a robot

          • I have to click the box beside the words “I’m not a robot [show image]

          • Then a pop up screen appears asking me to select the images with . . . (traffic lights, street signs, fire hydrants, bridges, etc.) [show image]

          • Websites do this to make sure that a live person is actually signing up for something instead of a computer bot

 

  • WE

    • Proving we’re not robots

        • How many of us have had to do that recently or in the past?

        • Most of us have had to go through checking the box and then clicking all the boxes with the requested image in it

    • Banking

        • Some of us don’t use a computer, but we’ve probably been to the bank to withdrawal money or cash a check

        • When we do that, the teller asks us for our ID, so we can prove that we are who we say we are

 

Jesus appeared to ten of His disciples on the day He came alive again. ​​ There was one disciple who was missing from that initial meeting. ​​ Pastor Marc shared last week that the wound made by the spear would have been a unique identifying factor, that it was Jesus who was appearing to them. ​​ No other person, who was crucified, had that unique mark. ​​ We’ll see today that the disciple, who missed the initial meeting, says he’ll never believe that Jesus is alive unless he can put his fingers in the nail holes and his hand in the spear hole. ​​ He wanted physical proof before he would believe. ​​ Jesus challenges him on this and speaks a blessing over those who believe without seeing. ​​ John wants us to know that . . .

 

BIG IDEA – Jesus is pleased when we believe without seeing.

 

Let’s pray

 

  • GOD (John 20:24-31)

    • Thomas’ Unbelief (vv. 24-25)

        • Who is Thomas

          • A twin

            • Thomas is Aramaic

            • Didymus is Greek

            • They both mean “twin”

            • We’re not told who his twin was

          • A disciple

            • He is one of the Twelve

            • Jesus had chosen him as one of His closest disciples

            • We know from church history that Thomas took the message of Jesus Christ to India and gave his life for the Gospel while there [Courson, Jon Courson’s Application Commentary, New Testament, 596]

          • A realist

            • John 11:16, Then Thomas (called Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” (this was in response to Jesus encouraging His disciples to come with Him to see Lazarus, who had died – Thomas realized the volatility of going back to Judea so soon after the Jews had tried to stone Jesus)

            • John 14:1-6, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. ​​ Trust in God, trust also in me. ​​ In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. ​​ I am going there to prepare a place for you. ​​ And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. ​​ You know the way to the place where I am going.” ​​ Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” ​​ Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. ​​ No one comes to the Father except through me.

          • As a realist, he would have been skeptical about the possibility of Jesus’ resurrection, which is why he may not have been together with the other disciples on that first day of the week – for Thomas, the three-year journey of faith was done – perhaps he was feeling hopeless and just wanted to be alone

        • Thomas absent

          • Last week, Pastor Marc shared with us the episode that Thomas missed

            • It was on the evening of that first day of the week – the day that Jesus came alive again

            • The disciples were behind locked doors for fear of the Jews and Jesus miraculously appeared to them and greeted them with “peace”

            • He showed them His hands and side

          • Thomas wasn’t with them when Jesus appeared to them

            • “Thomas is a good warning to all of us not to miss meeting together with God’s people on the Lord’s Day.” ​​ [Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, New Testament, Volume 1, 394]

            • Hebrews 10:22-25, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. ​​ Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. ​​ And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. ​​ Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

            • “Remember Thomas when you are tempted to stay home from church. ​​ You never know what special blessing you might miss!” ​​ [Wiersbe, 394]

            • Application

              • Think about a time when you didn’t “feel” like coming to church, but after you came, you left feeling refreshed, renewed, filled with joy, peace, comfort, and contentment

              • Early in my tenure here, we had a movement of the Holy Spirit that happened during second service that was powerful. ​​ A young man was listening to the message and as I was finishing up, he fell to his knees and began to flail around, knocking down some of the metal chairs. ​​ He stood up and came towards me. ​​ I embraced him as he kept repeating a man’s name. ​​ I asked him what we needed to know about that man. ​​ He eventually looked at me, blinked his eyes, and then said, “what just happened?” ​​ This young man had spoken with me, earlier in the week, about the man, whose name he was repeating. ​​ That man had been going through a difficult time and this young man was trying to help him. ​​ Something supernatural happened that day and not everyone in the church was there to experience it. ​​ The Holy Spirit of God was speaking through this young man and it was powerful!

          • Thomas had missed something supernatural and powerful and the other disciples tried to explain it to him

        • The disciples’ witness

          • Told

            • In the Greek this verb is in the imperfect tense, which means it is a continual or repeated action [Blue Letter Bible, https://www.blueletterbible.org/nasb/jhn/20/1/t_concf_1017025]

            • The other disciples didn’t just mention it to Thomas once, they kept on telling him

            • I can only imagine that the reason they kept on telling him is because he was shaking his head from side to side in disbelief

            • This didn’t make logical sense to Thomas, the realist

          • Seen

            • This Greek verb is in the perfect tense, meaning that it was an action completed in the past, once and for all, not needing to be repeated [Blue Letter Bible, https://www.blueletterbible.org/nasb/jhn/20/1/t_concf_1017025]

            • The disciples were telling Thomas again and again that they had seen the Lord – it was a fact – He was alive!

            • Application

              • PRINCIPLE #1 – God is pleased when we tell others about Jesus.

              • “The disciples who had experienced the surprising appearance of Jesus and his empowering commissioning were apparently enthusiastically ready to share the details of their postresurrection experience of ‘the Lord.’” [Borchert, The New American Commentary, John 12-21, 312]

              • I always enjoy being around new believers, because their enthusiasm for sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ is contagious

              • They aren’t complacent, apprehensive, or fearful about sharing it with anyone and everyone

              • For long-time believers, the enthusiasm seems to wear off, because they have been confronted with those who are skeptical and those who refuse to believe in Jesus – we are no longer enthusiastic and excited about sharing the Gospel

              • I believe the reason this happens in our lives is because we have a false idea of our role as messengers of the Gospel

                • We have this incorrect belief that if people don’t believe in Jesus, after we share the Gospel with them, that we have somehow failed God and Jesus

                • Our responsibility is not to convert and convince, but to communicate

                • 1 Corinthians 3:6-7, I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. ​​ So neither he who plants nor he who waters in anything, but only God, who makes things grow.

                • Planting and watering are both forms of communicating

                  • The planter is the one who shares the Gospel with an individual for the first time

                  • The waterer is the one who shares the Gospel with an individual a second, third, fourth, fifth, or more times

                • Whether or not someone believes in Jesus, when you share the Gospel with them, does not define success or failure

                • When we simply communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ with someone, we succeed in God’s eyes – He is pleased!

                • That should change everything for us

                • We should be excited and enthusiastic about sharing the Gospel

              • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Enthusiastically share the Gospel with my family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers.

                • There are resources available in the foyer this morning for you to pick up and use to share the Gospel

                • Take as many as you need or will use

                • Now that we know success is simply communicating and not convincing or converting, let’s plant and water with enthusiasm and watch as God makes it grow!

                • Who will you plan to share the Gospel with this week?

            • The other disciples were enthusiastically and repeatedly telling Thomas that they had seen the Lord – He was alive!

          • What we see with Thomas’ response is that he probably got tired of the other disciples repeatedly telling him they had seen the Lord

        • Thomas’ demands

          • Thomas wanted proof – he wanted to experience what the other disciples had experienced and even more

            • He didn’t just want to see Jesus’ hands and side

            • He wanted to put his fingers in the holes where the nails had been

            • He wanted to put his hand in the whole created by the spear

          • “Thomas’ words help to understand the difference between doubt and unbelief. ​​ Doubt says, ‘I cannot believe! ​​ There are too many problems!’ ​​ Unbelief says, ‘I will not believe unless you give me the evidence I ask for!’”  ​​​​ [Wiersbe, 394]

            • Some people are right there, right now

            • They are telling us that they will not believe in Jesus unless He gives them the evidence they are asking for

            • They want all their questions answered to their satisfaction

              • If God is all-loving, then why does He allow bad things to happen?

              • If God is all-powerful, then why doesn’t He stop bad things from happening?

              • God is both all-loving and all-powerful in addition to being sovereign, all-knowing, ever present, unchanging, infinite, holy, righteous, and so much more

              • It’s the arrogance of humanity to believe that we can understand all of who God is and how He operates as an infinite God

            • They want physical proof that God and Jesus exist

              • It’s the arrogance of humanity to demand that God provide the evidence we ask for before we will believe in Him

                • Isaiah 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. ​​ “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

                • 1 Corinthians 1:27-29, But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. ​​ He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.

                • Ephesians 3:20-21, Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! ​​ Amen.

            • Jesus is pleased when we believe without seeing.

          • Thomas’ declaration

            • Thomas tells the other disciples that he will not believe it without his demands being fulfilled

            • In the Greek there is a double negative, ou mē, which gives his declaration an emphatic push

            • It could be translated, “I’ll never believe it!” [Milne, The Bible Speaks Today, The Message of John, 302] or “I positively will not believe!” [Wiersbe, 394]

            • Thomas is saying, in no uncertain terms, that if his demands for proof are not met, he will never believe that Jesus is alive

        • Jesus is gracious with Thomas, and his demands, and does the supernatural again, within the week

    • Thomas’ Belief (vv. 26-29)

        • Thomas present

          • All of the eleven disciples were together in the same house one week later

          • Perhaps the other ten disciples told Thomas not to miss this Sunday gathering

          • Jesus again appears to His disciples, even though they are behind locked doors

          • He greeted them again with “peace be with you”

          • I’m sure they needed peace as he supernaturally gained access to the room they thought was secure

          • Jesus doesn’t waste any time in challenging Thomas

        • Jesus’ challenge

          • Jesus basically repeats Thomas’ demands back to him

          • “Here you go, Thomas! ​​ Put your fingers in the nail holes in my wrists. ​​ Put your hand in the spear whole in my side.”

            • PRINCIPLE #2 – Jesus is omnipresent

              • “Here Jesus is teaching a lesson of great import, for in repeating Thomas’s ultimatum, it’s as if He’s saying, ‘Boys, even though you don’t see Me, I’m with you always.’” ​​ [Courson, 597]

              • Because Jesus is omnipresent, He hears and knows our deepest desires

              • Application

                • This is a foundational truth principle for us as believers – Jesus is always present with us

                • No matter what we are going through, we can trust that He is here

                • Maybe you’re feeling lonely, anxious, depressed, overwhelmed, worried, fearful, unsure, or concerned

                • You may be struggling physically, emotionally, financially, relationally, and/or spiritually

                • Jesus is right there with you

                • Even if you can’t see Him or feel His presence with you, He is there

                • Hebrews 13:5-6, Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” ​​ So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. ​​ What can man do to me?”

                • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Claim the truth promise that Jesus is always present with me.

            • The second part of Jesus’ challenge is His exhortation for Thomas to stop doubting and believe

          • Stop doubting and believe

            • The literal translation of the Greek text would be, “Do not become unbelieving [apistos] but believing [pistos].” [Burge, The NIV Application Commentary, John, 562] or “Do not be unbelieving but believing.” ​​ [Carson, The Pillar New Testament Commentary, The Gospel According to John, 657]

            • Thomas wasn’t saying that he couldn’t believe, because there were too many problems (doubt), but rather that he would not believe (unbelief), without physical proof

            • “Authentic believing was the issue,” not doubt [Borchert, 314]

            • Hebrews 3:12-13, See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. ​​ But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

          • Jesus’ presence, challenge, and exhortation was enough for Thomas

        • Thomas’ confession

          • The only response that Thomas could have at this point was to confess who Jesus was – “My Lord and my God!”

          • Thomas’ confession accomplished two things

            • It recognized Jesus’ authority

              • Confessing that Jesus was his Lord, meant that Thomas was submitting to His authority as Master

              • We must do the same thing when we come to believe in Jesus – submit to Him as our Master

            • It recognized Jesus’ deity

              • PRINCIPLE #3 – Jesus is God!

              • Thomas knew that only God had the power to do the supernatural

              • God is the only One who is always present with us and knows everything about us, including our thoughts and desires

          • Thomas wanted physical, material proof that Jesus was alive

            • Most of the time we refer to Thomas as “Doubting Thomas” and can be pretty critical of him

            • He was in good company though, because Peter, John, and the other disciples didn’t believe the testimony of the women, including Mary Magdalene

            • Peter and John had to see the empty tomb for themselves – they wanted physical and material proof

          • Jesus then offers a blessing over those who would never experience the physical and material proof that Thomas and the other disciples did

        • Jesus’ blessing

          • Jesus tells Thomas that he believed, because He was granted the physical and material proof he had demanded

          • Jesus then blesses those who have not seen and yet have believed

            • If you have believed in Jesus, He was talking about you!

            • You can personalize that part of verse 29 today

            • “Blessed is _______ (your name) who has not seen and yet has believed.” ​​ [have everyone repeat the verse with their name in it]

            • Hebrews 11:1, Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

            • Jesus is pleased when we believe without seeing.

        • This naturally transitions to our belief

    • Our Belief (vv. 30-31)

        • More miraculous signs

          • John gives us some concluding remarks, which includes the theme verse for the entire Gospel of John

          • John lets us know that Jesus obviously did many other miraculous signs while His disciples were with Him

          • We don’t know how many miraculous signs Jesus did while on earth

          • It’s also probable that He did miraculous signs when His disciples were not with Him

          • John does not record the other miraculous signs

        • John’s witness

          • John records eight miraculous signs in his Gospel

            • Turning the water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana (John 2:1-11)

            • Healing of the nobleman’s son (John 4:46-54)

            • Healing of the lame man at the pool of Bethesda (John 5:1-17)

            • Feeding of the 5,000 (John 6:1-14)

            • Jesus walking on the water (John 6:15-21)

            • Healing the man born blind (John 9:1-12)

            • Death and resurrection of Lazarus (John 11:1-45)

            • Catching of fish (John 21:1-11)

          • These eight miraculous signs that John records are for the purpose of helping us to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God

          • When we believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, then we can have life in His name

            • The life that John is talking about is eternal life

            • He says it this way in John 3:16-18, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. ​​ For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. ​​ Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

            • We are all born in sin, Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned – for before the law was given, sin was in the world. (Romans 5:12-13a)

            • God sent Jesus to take our punishment for sin

              • God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Cor. 5:21)

              • He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:24)

            • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Believe in Jesus and receive God’s eternal life.

            • We have to believe without seeing the physical and material proof of Jesus’ resurrected body

            • We have to believe the eye witness accounts that are recorded in the Bible

          • Jesus is pleased when we believe without seeing.

  • YOU

    • Are you ready to enthusiastically share the Gospel?

    • Do you need to claim the promise that Jesus is present with you?

    • Are you ready to believe in Jesus without seeing Him and receive eternal life?

 

  • WE

    • Our mission is to pursue, grow, and multiple disciples for Jesus

 

CONCLUSION

“Jesus’ resurrection either happened or it didn't. It is objective reality; and so it cannot be true for one person and false for another. To prove this point, Sean McDowell related the following experiment:

 

I placed a jar of marbles in front of my students and asked, ‘How many marbles are in the jar?’ They responded with different guesses: 221, 168, and so on. Then after giving them the correct number of 188, I asked, ‘Which of you is closest to being right?’ While they all agreed that 168 was the closest guess, they understood and agreed that the number of marbles was a matter of objective fact and not one determined by personal preference.

 

Then I passed out Starburst candies to each student and asked, ‘Which flavor is right?’ As you might expect, they all felt this to be a nonsense question because each person had a preference that was right for them. ‘That is correct,’ I concluded. ‘The right flavor has to do with a person's preferences. It is a matter of subjective opinion or personal preference, not objective fact.’

 

Then I asked, ‘Are religious claims objective facts, like the number of marbles in a jar, or are they only a matter of personal opinion, like one's candy preference?’ Most students concluded that religious claims belonged in the category of candy preference. I then opened the door for us to discuss the objective claims of Christianity. I pointed out that Christianity is based on an objective historical fact—the resurrection of Jesus. I reminded them that while many people may reject the historical resurrection of Jesus, it is not the type of claim that can be ‘true for you, but not true for me.’ The tomb was either empty on the third day, or it was occupied—there is no middle ground. Before anyone can grasp the transforming power of the resurrection of Jesus, he or she must realize that it is a matter of objective fact, not of personal preference.”

 

Source:

Josh and Sean McDowell, “The Resurrection and You” (Baker Books, 2017), Pgs. 22-23.

 

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2019/february/resurrection-is-based-on-objective-facts-not-personal-opini.html].

12

 

Your mission . . .

Play video of MI tape recorder scene. The Mission Impossible TV shows or movies are about a group of spies that are part of an organization that doesn’t “exist” called the Impossible Mission Force. They are tasked with stopping enemy forces while also trying to prevent impending global disaster. They are given missions from a tape recorder that self-destructs five seconds after listening to it. They never turn down the impossible missions nor do they ever fail to complete the missions and save the world. But, of course, it is television. We can learn a couple of things from these missions. First, there is an importance to the mission. Normally, national security is at stake. Second, there is a cost to the mission. The cost could be captured by the enemy or to be killed, in which either case they would be disavowed. Third, there are resources for the mission. Their resources are the team they assemble to take on and complete the missions. They don’t work alone to get the missions done.

This reminds me of the many mission trips I have been on with Habitat for Humanity. The goal of Habitat for Humanity is to build affordable housing for families that need a home. The importance of those trips was to supply the labor and the money to make that happen. The cost of the mission trip was the money we raised for supplies, meals for the trip, and a donation to leave with the Habitat chapter we worked with. The resources of the mission were the tools and other supplies we took with us and, of course, the team of youth and adults that were assembled to do the work. I never went alone which was important because I know less than nothing about building a house or using a hammer. I always made sure I took people who understood all that foreign stuff. I spent many mission trips making lunches, picking up supplies or whatever else needed to be done besides construction. Also, Habitat for Humanity usually supplied a foreman on the worksite to teach us and guide us as to what needed to be done. Mission trips also take a lot of planning before they can happen. This is called the pre-mission stage which I will talk about later.

This morning we are going to see a group of people who were assembled to go on a mission trip. They have been in the pre-mission stage for the past three years. It may seem like an impossible mission to them but they do not turn the mission down and before their lives are over they will successfully complete the mission. There is an importance to their mission, a cost for their mission, and they are given resources for the mission. The reason we need to take notice to their mission is because it is also our mission, as Christians, today. What John wants us to understand from this passage is that our mission (should we decide to accept it) is of the utmost importance. That is our big idea and why the mission was so important for the disciples then and for us today is what we will learn from our passage this morning.

But before we open the scriptures let’s pray: Heavenly Father, as we open your Word this morning and glean your truth from it, we ask for the Holy Spirit to illuminate our hearts and minds to what you want us to know, learn and believe. Help us to use your word as a light for our path and as a sword to fight the world’s and Satan’s influence on our lives. Thank you for the privilege of studying your word and may we never take it for granted. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

I am going to continue to use the analogy of a mission trip as we look at this passage. There are two points, the pre-mission trip stage and the final countdown. The pre-mission trip is found in John chapter 20 verses 19 and 20. This is what God’s word says, 19 So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord.

Before you embark on a mission trip there are certain things you need to do to get ready. Those things will vary depending on the type of mission trip you are going on. ​​ You might need to learn a new language or you might need to learn how to be sensitive to the needs of the people you will be serving. You will also need to plan for what you will be doing on your mission trip and gather the needed supplies for it.

A number of years ago, our church took a mission trip to Mississippi to work with the Choctaw Indians. The plan was to build a pavilion for the church and to provide a VBS for the children. The planning for this trip took more than six months. We worked on lessons for the VBS and we decided who was going to take the lead in certain roles and who would be helping them. Those who were going to be building the pavilion had to decide what tools were needed and how much to bring because of limited vehicle space. We had to plan meals for each day which included what we were going to eat, who was going to be in charge of making each meal and who was going to be cleaning up after each meal. Planning also went into what the evening devotions were going to be. We also needed to do fundraising for this mission trip. We needed to pay for our meals, gas and other things including the supplies to build the pavilion and supplies needed for the VBS. We all sent support letters to family and friends and had a fundraising meal. Many of you sitting here this morning or listening online helped support that mission trip and it would not have happened if not for your support. Mission trips take planning-months and even years of planning depending on where you are going, what you will be doing and how much support you need to raise.

It was no different for Jesus’ disciples. For them the pre-mission trip stage had taken three years of planning. Jesus had called them to follow him and had then spent that time teaching them and preparing them for this moment. But even after three years of planning they were still not prepared to leave. Partly because their leader, their Rabbi, their Lord had just been crucified and they were not thinking about all the training and preparation they had gone through. But there was still some preparation and teaching that needed to be done to get the disciples ready to go on their mission trip.

The first thing that the disciples needed was to see the risen Jesus. They had heard from Mary that he was alive but they had yet to see him personally. In our passage, we see that on the evening of resurrection day the disciples are gathered together with the doors locked because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities. It doesn’t say exactly where they were but they may have been in the same place where the Last Supper was held before Jesus was crucified. All of a sudden Jesus was standing among them. He seemingly materialized right before their eyes and greeted them with “Peace be with you.” The disciples were probably not expecting this greeting from Jesus after abandoning him on Good Friday.

This greeting of “peace” or “shalom” was the common greeting of the day. It means more than the absence of stress, it means “well-being” or “may you be saved from trouble, may God give you every good thing.” When you say, “Peace be with you” to someone, you are wishing on them life at its best under the gracious hand of God. But what did Jesus mean here? Luke 24:36-37 says, “While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost.” I am sure that Jesus wanted to calm their fears but I think his greeting of “peace” had a deeper meaning, as well. Think about Jesus’ final words on the cross, “It is finished.” He had now completed what he came to earth to do. He became our sin so that we could be reconciled to God. There could now be peace between God and man. Peace is a gift of the kingdom of God and Jesus through his death and resurrection on the cross delivered that peace to the disciples. This was a promised peace as we see in John 14:27a, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.” Jesus promised to give them his peace and here he keeps his promise.

We also know from Luke that they were still frightened even after his greeting of peace. So Jesus showed them the physical proof of his resurrection so that they would believe that it was really him. Our passage says that Jesus shows them his hands and his side. John is the only one to mention the wound in his side. This would have been important in proving to the disciples that he was truly their resurrected Lord. Any other crucifixion victim could only have shown the wounds in their hands and feet. Jesus was unique in that he had the added wound in his side from the Roman soldiers’ spear. This demonstrates the sovereignty of God in that every little detail of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial and resurrection was taken care of by the Father.

After showing them his hands and side they believed that it was really him and were overjoyed. This was another fulfillment of a promise Jesus made to the disciples in John 16:22, which says, “So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” Again Jesus kept his promise. They are overjoyed, because now like Mary they had an encounter with the living, risen Christ. They are almost ready to go on their mission trip to change the world and spread the good news of Jesus Christ.

Why are these verses important for us? Because before we can go on our mission trip to pursue, grow and multiply disciples, there are a few things that must happen. We must first have a personal relationship with Jesus. We must have daily encounters with the living, risen person of Jesus Christ. That is where our faith is born and where it develops and matures. Without daily encounters with the living, risen Christ we can’t begin to understand the Great Commission and what it truly means for us and every Christian in the world. I think sometimes, we as Christians (me included), walk through our days on this earth like zombies, getting up, going to school or to work, going back home and we never think about or pursue our purpose and mission on this earth. Days turn to weeks, weeks turn to months and months turn to years and we are still in the pre-mission stage. Why is this? I believe it is because we don’t truly know and believe that Jesus is alive. We don’t believe that we have the same power in us that he had. We don’t live in that power because we have never experienced the resurrected, living, breathing Jesus Christ in our lives. Just like the disciples needed to know and believe that Jesus had risen from the dead before they could begin their mission, we need to know and believe that Jesus is alive and has the power to do anything and everything before we can ever go on the mission he has called us to. That brings us to our first next step which is to “know and believe that Jesus is risen from the dead and that we have the same power in us that Jesus has as we prepare to be on mission for him.”

Our second point this morning is the final countdown. As we come to T minus fifty days, Jesus commissions his disciples for the mission, empowers them for the mission and delegates his authority to them for the mission. We see this in verses 21-23, this is what God’s word says, 21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”

Jesus repeats “shalom” to the disciples which shows them how important his peace is and will be as they embark on their mission trip. They will need his peace as he sends them out into an unfriendly world to spread the gospel. Just as with the first mention of peace, he wants them to know that his peace comes as a result of his death and resurrection. No matter what they will go through, they can have hope in his resurrection and have the same power that raised Jesus from the dead to complete their mission.

Jesus now formally commissions his disciples just as he was commissioned by his Father. Just as Jesus was the Father’s hands and feet, the disciples are now Jesus’s hands and feet working in the world by being witnesses to the reality of God and the truth of Jesus’ words. This commission is given importance because it is linked to the mission of the Son. They are not Jesus’ replacement or substitute in the mission; their mission is the continuation of the same mission Jesus had on the earth. Westcott says, “The disciples were commissioned to carry on Christ’s work, and not to begin a new one.” Their mission proceeds from his and it is only now that Jesus has accomplished his part of the mission that the disciples are sent. Jesus’ mission continues and is effective in the ministry of the disciples. Their mission is of the utmost importance because it is the continuation of Jesus’ mission. (Big Idea)

This mission is stated in the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20 which says, 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” As Christians, we are also commissioned and commanded to continue the mission started by Jesus and continued by the disciples. It is important because we continue the very work on this earth that Jesus did while he was here.

After Jesus commissions the disciples, he gives them an important resource they will need to fulfill their mission. He empowers them with the Holy Spirit by breathing on them. Jesus breathing on the disciples would have reminded them of the creation of mankind in Genesis 2 when God breathed into Adam and he became a living being. John wants us to see that this is the beginning of the new life of believers in the risen Lord. This is not the baptism of the Holy Spirit that comes upon the disciples at Pentecost. This giving of the Spirit does not result in the same power we see in Acts when the Spirit is given then. Here Jesus is giving them an indwelling of the Holy Spirit that would remain in their hearts and prepare them for that moment fifty days later when the Holy Spirit would come upon them and make them effective witnesses to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I like how Carson and Greene explain this. Greene says, “Jesus conferred on them light and knowledge of divine truth which up until then they had not possessed. They were ignorant concerning the necessity for his death and the surety of his resurrection. But when he breathed on them he bestowed on them the Spirit of knowledge and understanding.” And Carson says, “This is symbolic in that Jesus is teaching the disciples who the Spirit is. Until they understood who the Spirit was they were in no position to receive his outpouring. The coming of the Spirit at Pentecost was dependent upon this action by Jesus.” Nothing less than the power which brought Jesus through his death and resurrection to the right hand of God the Father is the power given to the disciples to fulfill their mission.

After Jesus commissions and empowers the disciples, he delegates his authority upon them. We see this is verse 23 where he talks about the forgiving or not forgiving of people’s sins. Jesus is not giving the disciples the authority to forgive or not forgive people’s sins here. What he is saying is as they preach the good news of the gospel they have the privilege to let people know that Jesus has come to earth, died for their sins and can now be reconciled with God. The forgiving or not forgiving of people’s sins is the result of how they react to the gospel of Jesus Christ. They will either repent, be saved and their sins are forgiven or they will not accept the salvation of Jesus Christ freely given to them and their sins will not be forgiven. The passive voice implies it is God who is doing the acting and forgiving sins not the disciples.

As Christians we are all commissioned, empowered and delegated Jesus’ authority for the mission to Pursue, Grow and Multiply Disciples. This is what he has called and commanded us to do. It is of the utmost importance because we continue Jesus’ mission on the earth, but it is also important because it’s not national security at stake but the eternal security of every person on the planet, including our families, our friends, our neighbors, etc. There is a cost to be on this mission. There was a cost for Jesus which was his death on the cross. There was a cost for his disciples which for most of them was a violent death or at the very least persecution. And there is a cost for all of us to be on this mission which may include the loss of our families, our friends, our comfort, our wills and yes, even our lives for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Luke 9:23 says, 23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” And 2 Timothy 3:12 says, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” To be a disciple of Jesus, going out into the world on mission, is like carrying a cross as Jesus did to Calvary. We must be willing to even die for his sake as we fulfill the mission that Jesus has called us to. Lastly, we have the same resource to continue the mission of Jesus and the disciples which is the Holy Spirit. We have been given the very breath of the living, risen Christ in us and we have the same power available to us that rose Jesus from the grave. Wait for the tape recorder to pop up.

So, your mission, should you decide to accept it is to pursue, grow and multiply disciples for Jesus Christ. The eternal security of everyone on the planet is at stake. You may be persecuted and may even lose your life for your faith but take courage because Jesus Christ has overcome the grave and you have the power of the living, risen Christ breathed into you which is the Holy Spirit. Your mission though will never self-destruct. It will always be waiting for those who call themselves Christ followers. But this life at some point will self-destruct, and then it may be too late, if you decide today to put your mission off until the future. That brings us to the last next step on the back of your communication card which is to “accept the mission given to me by Jesus Christ to pursue, grow and multiply disciples.”

As Gene and Roxey come to lead us in a final hymn, let’s pray: Heavenly Father, we thank you for the mission you have given to us and commanded us to live out. Help us to believe that you are truly risen and that we have the same power within us that raised you from the grave. Help us to accept your mission of pursuing, growing and multiplying disciples. Help us to not delay our mission any longer and help us to be on mission for your honor and your glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen. ​​ 

Believe

Changing Our Minds

(John 20:10-18)

 

INTRODUCTION

“In 1949, researchers asked a group of students at Ivy League schools to perform a simple task: identify playing cards. There were just two catches. First, these cards were shown very quickly. Second, the researchers were using a deck of four ordinary playing cards and six ‘trick cards’ with odd colors and suits (red spades, black hearts, and the like).

 

The researchers discovered that it took the students four times longer to identify a ‘trick card’ than a normal card. The students’ brains struggled to process something as out-of-the-ordinary as a red six of clubs. Even after they had seen two or three trick cards, it still took extra time for them to identify trick cards.

 

In many cases, the students tried to ‘compromise’ what they expected to see with what they actually saw. For instance, when they saw a red six of clubs they described it as ‘the six of clubs illuminated by red light.’ In other words, the participants often couldn't accept the facts of what they just saw because they didn't expect to see it.

 

The researchers called their study ‘The Perception of Incongruity,’ which simply means that when we encounter something that doesn't fit our worldview, we have a strong tendency to ignore it. Or we tend to compromise to make it fit into our assumptions about how we think the world should work. The researchers noted that even smart people (like Ivy League students) fall prey to the perception of incongruity.”

 

Adapted from Joe Heschmeyer, "Demons, Playing Cards, and Telescopes," Strange Notions blog (7-14-14).

 

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2014/september/6092914.html].

 

BODY

  • ME

    • Brain Age for Nintendo DS

        • When our boys bought their Nintendo DS gaming systems, I would buy a game or two for myself

        • One of the games I really enjoyed at the time was Brain Age

        • There were all kinds of games that helped to determine the age of your brain (stroop test, speed counting, word memory, connect maze, calculations x 20, and number cruncher)

        • The one I found challenging and fun was the Stroop Test

          • The game would display one of four words and colors: ​​ blue, black, yellow, and red

          • One of these words would appear on the screen, in a random color which may not match the color denoted by the word

          • I had to say the color of the word, rather than the word itself (e.g., if the word Yellow appears in blue letters, the correct answer is “blue”)

          • [show image of stroop test in Brain Age game]

 

  • WE

    • Group Stroop Test

        • Let’s test our brains this morning to see how old they are

        • When you see the next slide, we are going to say the color of the font and not the word, reading from left to right and top to bottom

        • Let’s give it a try

        • [show stroop test picture]

        • That can be pretty difficult when our brain wants to think about reading the word instead of saying the color of the word

 

As we’ll see today, Mary Magdalene was struggling with “The Perception of Incongruity.” ​​ She had in her mind what she should have found at Jesus’ tomb and was struggling to get past what she thought was reality – “they” had removed His body and put it some place that she didn’t know about. ​​ She was unable to see and understand that Jesus had come alive again. ​​ John wants us to change our minds about Jesus’ resurrection. ​​ He wants us to . . .

 

BIG IDEA – Focus on where Jesus is instead of where Jesus was.

 

Let’s pray

 

  • GOD (John 20:10-18)

    • Where Jesus was (vv. 10-15)

        • The disciples went back to their homes

          • This is obviously referring to Peter and John who had run to the tomb, to see for themselves, that it was empty

          • It seems clear from what happens next that neither Peter or John shared with Mary what they concluded after seeing the linens that had been wrapped around Jesus body and the grave cloth that had been around His head

          • We know that John believed that Jesus had come alive again, but he hadn’t shared that belief with Mary

        • Mary remained at the tomb

          • Mary is crying

            • Mary is beside herself with concern for where Jesus’ body is

            • “Mary weeps, not because Jesus has died, but because his body has vanished; abuse of the dead was considered an abhorrent offense.” ​​ [Köstenberger, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, John, 567]

            • I tend to believe that Mary was still mourning Jesus’ death and the disappearance of His body is adding to her grief and despair

            • Not only has the One, who set her free from demon possession, died, but now His body has been removed and placed somewhere else

            • Her desire is to be near Jesus’ physical body and to properly complete the burial process, but that is now impossible

            • As I mentioned last week, the concept of Jesus’ resurrection, wasn’t even a part of her thought process

            • She was so focused on where Jesus was that she couldn’t think about where He said He would be after three days

            • While Mary wept, she bent over and looked into the tomb

              • She had already been in the tomb with the other women

              • Perhaps she’s checking one more time to make sure the tomb is actually empty

              • How many of us would admit that when we lose something, we go to the same places again and again to make sure the item isn’t there and we missed it

              • If you’re like me, you go back to the places where you normally leave the item, hoping that I just overlooked it the 5-10 times I’ve already been there before

              • It’s not there, because I didn’t put it back where I normally keep it – it’s lost!

              • Mary knew that Joseph and Nicodemus had placed Jesus’ body in this tomb, because she had followed them there and watched them do it

            • When Mary looks inside this time, she sees two angels

          • Two angels

            • John’s description of Mary seeing two angels in the tomb, makes it sound like she isn’t affected by that at all

              • John doesn’t say that Mary gasped and was shocked to see two people in the tomb, when it was empty before

              • She’s so focused on where Jesus’ body is, that she doesn’t seem to be phased by anything else

                • Perhaps we’ve all experienced this ourselves or with family members

                • We try to talk with them, but they are so focused on . . . (the game, the video game, a book, the sales flyer, the television show, etc.) . . . that they are oblivious to everything else going on around them

              • The angel’s question

                • The two angels ask Mary why she is crying

                • She is aware enough to answer their question

                • Her answer proves that she is focused on where Jesus was, but isn’t any longer

                • She basically tells them the same thing she told Peter and John – “They have taken my Lord away, and I don’t know where they have put him.”

                • We see Mary’s wholehearted devotion to Jesus when she says “my” Lord

                  • Last week we talked about Mary’s wholehearted devotion to Jesus, that was evident through her early morning trip to the tomb

                  • Here we see it again, when she says the Jesus is “her” Lord

                  • She was completely committed to Him

                  • We can learn from her example, again

                  • Can and do you call Jesus your Lord, because you have deep, intimate, personal relationship with Him

                  • Or, are you content to just call Him Lord, because You recognize that He spoke with authority and did miraculous things while on earth, but you don’t have a personal relationship with Him

                • God’s power at work

                  • “They do not solve the riddle of Jesus’ disappearance but by their question (“Woman, why are you crying?”) they suggest that sorrow is not what the present moment requires. ​​ But it is their presence that is telling. ​​ It has not been robbers who removed the body. ​​ Rather, what has happened here stems from God’s power.” ​​ [Burge, The NIV Application Commentary, John, 555]

                  • PRINCIPLE #1 – God is all-powerful!

                  • God’s power is revealed through the empty tomb

                  • Whether or not Mary is focusing her attention in the right direction doesn’t change this fact

            • Mary has laser beam focus as another character is introduced to her and asks her two questions

          • A gardener

            • Mary turns around and sees Jesus, but thinks He is the gardener

              • We’re not told why Mary doesn’t recognize Him

                • There are all kinds of ideas (she had experienced deep trauma; she couldn’t see clearly through her tears; it was still dark, because it was early morning; she was confused) [Gangel, Holman New Testament Commentary, John, 369]

                • I like a more simplistic explanation, that Jesus was in control of how and when He would reveal Himself to her

                • He did this with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:16) and with His closest disciples at the Sea of Galilee (John 21:4)

              • In Mary’s mind the only person who would be at the tomb early in the morning during the Feast, would be the gardener – perhaps this was when he usually came to garden tomb to maintain it [Borchert, The New American Commentary, John 12-21, 300; Köstenberger, 568]

              • She was so consumed by the idea that Jesus’ body was not in the tomb, where she thought it should have been, that resurrection never crossed her mind

              • That’s why she assumed the man standing behind her was the gardener

            • Jesus asks her two questions

              • “Why are you crying?”

                • This is the same question that the two angels had asked her

                • Again, Jesus is trying to get Mary to refocus her attention away from the empty tomb

                • She should not be sorrowful at this point, because the empty tomb means that Jesus has come alive again, just like He had said

                • Her response should be rejoicing

                • She should be focusing on the fact that Jesus is alive and right there with her, instead of lying dead in the tomb

              • “Who is it you are looking for?”

                • This question again should help to focus Mary

                • Jesus already knew, but wanted her to verbalize it

              • Mary’s response to the two questions

                • She thinks that Jesus is the gardener

                • Here is the irony, “The one whose body she is seeking is asked for a solution to the mystery of the empty tomb.” ​​ [Moloney cited by Köstenberger, 568]

                • She is asking everyone she comes in contact with, if they know where Jesus’ body is

                • She is even willing to follow them to the location and retrieve His body

                • Her words reveal her devotion. ​​ She never paused to consider how she would carry the corpse of a full-grown man or how she would explain her possession of it.” ​​ [Tenney quoted in Guzik’s commentary]

            • The concept of Jesus’ resurrection hasn’t even crossed her mind, because she is so focused on where Jesus was instead of where Jesus is

          • “Nothing that she has seen – not the stone rolled away from the tomb, not the sight of two angels in the tomb guarding an empty space, not even the sight of Jesus himself – has shaken her stubborn conclusion that he has been taken away and reburied.” ​​ [Michaels, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, The Gospel of John, 999]

            • PRINCIPLE #2 – Preconceived ideas can blind us to the truth right in front of us

            • There are those in our culture today, who say that they won’t believe in Jesus until God reveals Himself to them in a miraculous or supernatural way

            • Mary’s story and the religious leaders that John has introduced us to previously are evidence that we can see the miraculous and still not believe

              • Jesus asks us to take the step of faith to believe in Him without having all of our questions answered and perhaps without seeing or experiencing the supernatural or miraculous

              • Faith is believing in something we cannot see

              • Hebrews 11:1, Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

              • John 20:29, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

              • Salvation comes by believing in Jesus by grace through faith

              • Ephesians 2:8-9, For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.

              • So, if you want God to reveal Himself to you, if you want to experience the supernatural and miraculous, then believe in Jesus by grace through faith

              • Take that step of faith today

              • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Take the step of faith to believe in Jesus for salvation.

            • Mary had been around Jesus and His teachings for probably a couple of years

            • She was no less aware, that He had mentioned multiple times, that He would be killed, buried, and come alive again on the third day

            • She should have been focusing on where Jesus is instead of where Jesus was

        • At this point, Jesus reveals Himself to her

    • Where Jesus is (vv. 16-18)

        • Jesus uses Mary’s name

          • PRINCIPLE #3 – Jesus’ disciples know His voice, listen to His voice, and follow Him.

            • Jesus taught His disciples about this as John records it in 10:1-21 (Jesus is the Good Shepherd)

            • John 10:3-4, The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. ​​ He calls his own by name and leads them out. ​​ When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.

            • This happened once before in John 11:43-44a, When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” ​​ The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

            • Jesus called Mary by name and she knew His voice

            • Application

              • Jesus calls us by name, but do we know His voice, listen to His voice, and follow Him?

              • There are many things that can distract us from knowing and listening to the voice of Jesus and then following Him

              • Work; Technology (social media, video games, television, etc.); Family; Friends; School; Hobbies (hunting, fishing, shopping, camping, etc.); Sports

              • Different ring tones

                • With small computers in our pockets today (cell phones), we have the ability to customize our ringtones

                • We have a specific ringtone for our spouse, children, parents, boss, neighbor, and friends

                • When our phone goes off, we determine whether or not to answer, based on the ringtone

                • It would be interesting to see how each person here would respond if their cell phone rang during the service, based on a specific ringtone

                • For certain ringtones, we would fumble around to silence our phones, while for other ringtones, we would simply excuse ourselves, from the sanctuary, and answer the phone call

                • If Jesus called with His special ringtone how would you respond?

              • Three questions

                • Do you know Jesus’ voice?

                  • Yes! ​​ Then you have a personal relationship with Him and are one of His disciples

                  • No! ​​ Then you don’t have a personal relationship with Him and are not one of His disciples, which is why you don’t know His voice (what voice do you know? – science, philosophy, Google, friends, Satan?)

                • Are you listening to Jesus’ voice?

                  • As a disciple of Jesus Christ, you should be listening to His voice (we can hear Jesus’ voice through other believers, sermons, personal Bible study, small group Bible studies, Scripture memory, prayer, etc.)

                  • There are times in our lives when we don’t want to listen to the voice of Jesus (we may be anger, bitter, lonely, hurt, sad, anxious, depressed, and more)

                  • We know what the Bible says, but we decide not to listen to it and instead do our own thing

                • Are you following Jesus?

                  • If you know His voice and are listening to His voice, then you should be following what He is saying to you

                  • Most of us know what Jesus is asking us to do, but are we following Him – are we obeying Him

                  • Jesus may be asking you to follow Him into full-time ministry, into a volunteer ministry position, to share the Gospel with a coworker, to forgive a fellow believer, to forgive someone who has hurt you, to reconcile with a family member, etc.

                  • You know what He is asking you to follow!

                • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Listen to the voice of Jesus and obediently follow Him.

            • ​​ When Jesus said her name, Mary knew His voice and responded

          • Mary’s response

            • She turned her full attention to Jesus and no longer focused on where Jesus’ body was

              • She was able to focus on where Jesus is instead of where Jesus was

              • He is alive and with her, right there at the garden tomb

            • She addresses Jesus as Teacher

            • Imagine the joy she must have felt as this point, seeing Jesus alive

            • She had found Jesus’ body, but not in the condition/state that she had previously thought she would

            • There was no need to complete the burial process

          • Perhaps in her excitement, she rushed forward to touch Jesus

        • Jesus gives Mary a job to do

          • Jesus tells her not to hold on to Him, because He had not yet returned to the Father

            • Jesus is not giving her a prohibition against touching Him physically, because we know that, with Thomas, He encouraged him to touch the nail marks in His wrists and to put his hand in the whole in His side from the spear

            • Rather, Jesus is helping her understand that she will see Him again, but also that He has to ascend to heaven so the Holy Spirit will come and He has a job for her to do as His messenger

          • Jesus’ message for His disciples

            • Progression of relationship between Jesus and His disciples

            • Servants: ​​ John 13:16, I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.

            • Servants to Friends: ​​ John 15:15, I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. ​​ Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

            • Friends to Brothers: ​​ This shows the level of intimacy increasing in their relationship as He prepares to return to the Father

              • They will be the ones who will continue to communicate God’s redemptive plan through the Gospel of Jesus Christ

              • We see this progression of relationship through Jesus message for His disciples

              • Jesus is returning to His Father and their Father, to His God and their God

          • Mary obediently stops holding on to Jesus and returns to where the disciples are

        • Mary obeys

          • She tells them that she has seen the Lord!

          • We’re not told if they believe her or not

          • She also tells them everything that Jesus had asked her to relay to them

 

  • YOU

    • Are you ready to take the step of faith to believe in Jesus for salvation?

    • Are you ready to listen to the voice of Jesus and obediently follow Him?

 

  • WE

    • Is our focus on where Jesus is instead of where Jesus was?

 

CONCLUSION

“A friend of mine used to work as a denominational official in Minnesota. One of his jobs was to travel to little rural communities where they didn't have churches to do funerals. He would go out with an undertaker, and they would drive together in the undertaker's hearse. One time, they were on their way back from a funeral, and my friend, John, was feeling quite tired. He decided he would take a nap. Since they were in a hearse, he thought, Well, I'll just lie down in the back of the hearse.

 

Sounds like kind of a creepy thing to do, but this is a true story. The guy who was driving the hearse pulled into a service station, because he was running low on gas. The service station attendant was filling up the tank and he was kind of freaked out, because there was a body stretched out in the back. While he was filling the tank, John woke up, opened his eyes, knocked on the window and waved at the attendant. John said he never saw anybody run so fast in his whole life.”

 

John Ortberg, "The Empty Tomb: How Will You Respond?" Menlo Park Presbyterian Church.

 

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2015/march/3031615.html].

10

 

Believe

I Get It!

(John 20:1-9)

 

INTRODUCTION

“After analyzing 600 pages’ worth of arguments for and against the historicity of Christ's resurrection, Dr. Michael R. Licona concludes that ‘a good critical scholar must account for the facts with integrity’ even when the facts are ‘in tension with [our] desired outcome.’ Then he uses the following example from American history:

 

Long before John Adams became the second U.S. President, in 1770 he was a respected lawyer in New England, where the Boston massacre had just occurred. No lawyers would defend the British soldiers involved for fear of the American public, which had now grown even stronger in its anti-British sentiments. But Adams believed that everyone was entitled to a fair trial. He took the case, the public turned against him, and he lost more than half of his clients.

 

In a courtroom that was described as crowded and ‘electrical,’ Adams argued that the soldiers were innocent …. He then added, ‘Facts are stubborn things and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictums of our passions, they cannot alter the state of the facts and evidence.’

 

Dr. Licona concludes: ‘No matter how much one may loathe the idea that Jesus rose from the dead and fantasize about other outcomes, the historical bedrock remains the same …. Jesus’ resurrection is the best historical explanation of the relevant historical [evidence].’”

 

Michael R. Licona, The Resurrection of Jesus (InterVarsity Press, 2010), pp. 609-610.

 

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2011/april/3041811.html].

 

BODY

  • ME

    • Packing the court

        • I try not to listen or watch too much news – it tends to stress me out

        • With the upcoming election and the open seat on the Supreme Court, I kept hearing the comment about “packing the court”

        • I didn’t understand what that meant for a couple of weeks, until it was explained to me

        • I guess there is a movement toward adding more Justices to the Supreme Court with the intent of adding Justices that would favor one side of the isle over the other

        • The packing of the court would either balance the court or give a majority to one side or the other

        • Once it was explained to me, then I understood what was being said

        • I got it!

 

  • WE

    • All of us probably have an idea of something we didn’t get at first, but eventually understood once it was explained to us

        • Perhaps it was a math problem or equation

        • Maybe it was some political concept

        • Some people eventually understand philosophical questions, but probably most of us don’t (“If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?”)

        • The physics of how a curveball works with a baseball

        • Which bowl game actually determines the National Champions for college football (I still don’t understand that, but I’m not a sports guy)

        • How the coronavirus is spread?

    • There are laws and facts that explain every one of these things, that we may not understand at first, but the facts and the laws should move us toward belief

 

John has been guiding us through Jesus’ passion as He was tried, condemned, crucified, and buried. ​​ Now John shares with us the one thing that sets Jesus apart from all others. ​​ He shares some facts about Jesus’ resurrection. ​​ These facts drove John to believe. ​​ John wants us to . . .

 

BIG IDEA – Follow the facts to faith.

Let’s pray

 

  • GOD (John 20:1-9)

    • Mary’s belief (vv. 1-2)

        • First day of the week

          • By the time the Gospel writers are writing, the significance of Jesus’ resurrection has transformed how they refer to the day on which He came alive again

          • It was certainly the third day after Jesus’ crucifixion, but it was also the first day of the week

          • “Although the death of Jesus was absolutely crucial for salvation and the forgiveness of sins . . . ‘the hinge point of Christianity’ is the resurrection. ​​ Indeed, on the basis of the resurrection Christians have established their day of worship and praise of God (John 20:19, 26; cf. Rev 1:10).” ​​ [Borchert, The New American Commentary, John 12-21, 291]

          • We call Sunday, the first day of the week, and it’s when we gather together to worship and praise God

        • Early, while it was still dark

          • Mary was not alone when she went to the tomb early in the morning

            • It would have been out of character for a woman to be walking outside the city walls, by herself, while it was still dark

            • We know from the other Gospel writers that Mary had other women with her

            • Mary’s statement to Peter and John in verse 2 also tell us there were a group of women that went together, because she uses the word “we”

            • Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome had bought spices to anoint Jesus’ body (Mark 16:1-2)

            • There may have been more than just these three women

          • They were up early, probably between 3-6 am, and headed to the tomb

            • There was some urgency on Friday to make sure that the bodies of Jesus and the other two criminals were removed from the crosses before the special Passover Sabbath began, which is why the order to break their legs was given

            • Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus probably had to rush to prepare Jesus’ body for burial before sundown, and perhaps they didn’t finish it completely or didn’t do it as thoroughly as they would have liked

            • “On Friday Jesus was left of the burial preparation bench in the receiving room of the tomb chamber. ​​ No doubt the women thought they could return following the Sabbath, roll back the stone, and complete the burial, sliding Jesus’ body into one of the tomb’s burial niches.” ​​ [Burge, The NIV Application Commentary, John, 553]

        • Mary Magdalene’s background

          • While John doesn’t mention any other women, that doesn’t set his Gospel in opposition to the other Gospels – he is simply focusing on one character

            • She is first mentioned in John’s Gospel at the cross (John 19:25)

            • She is from the Galilean village of Magdala on the northwest side of the Sea of Galilee

            • She was the one whom Jesus freed from seven demons that possessed her

            • She was one of the women that followed Joseph and Nicodemus to the tomb to see where Jesus would be buried

            • She is mentioned in all four Gospel accounts of Jesus’ resurrection

            • Mary loved Jesus deeply

            • She was wholeheartedly devoted to Him

          • PRINCIPLE #1 – Our wholehearted devotion to Jesus brings joy to God’s heart.

            • Mary’s life was transformed through her relationship with Jesus

            • The same can and should be true of us

            • We should be wholeheartedly devoted to Jesus, because of what He has done for us

              • He left the glory and majesty of heaven to come to earth as a baby

              • He experienced the same things we’ve experienced as human beings (love, joy, laughter, loss, pain, suffering, temptation, and so much more)

              • He willingly died on a cross, as the perfect sacrifice for our sins, so we could be part of God’s family and be found righteous in His sight

              • Because of His ultimate sacrifice, we should be wholeheartedly devoted to Him

              • Nothing else should capture or captivate our hearts and minds like Jesus

              • The majority of our time should be devoted to pursuing Him and accomplishing His mission in this world – the Gospel

              • If we’re truly honest with ourselves, we would admit that we are not wholeheartedly devoted to Him

              • There are many other things that capture and captivate our hearts and minds

              • Take a moment to think about the things that have a higher priority in our lives, than Jesus

            • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Confess and repent of the things in my life that have a higher priority than Jesus and His mission.

            • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Commit to being wholeheartedly devoted to Jesus.

            • Mary’s relationship with Jesus had transformed her and she was wholeheartedly devoted to Him and because of that . . .

          • Mary was up early and at the tomb when she discovered that the stone had been rolled away

            • Luke tells us in his Gospel that the women found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus (Luke 24:2-3)

            • John doesn’t mention that Mary enters the tomb, but it seems logical that she would have, because of what she tells Peter and John

          • John shares Mary’s reaction

        • Mary’s reaction to finding the stone rolled away

          • She runs to find Peter and John

            • Two beliefs

              • Some believe that she ran to Peter’s house first, and then together they ran to John’s house

              • Most believe that Peter was staying with John at his house

              • It’s not really important whether they were staying together or in two separate houses

            • Significance of going to Peter

              • We shouldn’t too quickly gloss over the fact that Mary Magdalene went to Peter to report what she found

              • “Even after his denial of Jesus, Peter is still the leading figure among his disciples.” ​​ [Köstenberger, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, John, 562]

              • We know from Scripture that Jesus still considered Peter to be an important and vital part of His mission, because He restores him (John 21:15-17) and then uses him to preach the Gospel at Pentecost (Acts 2:14-41)

            • After she finds Peter and John, she shares what she believes happened

          • She shares her belief

            • They have taken the Lord out of the tomb

              • To understand what Mary believes we have to understand the culture of the day and then determine who she is talking about when she says “they”

              • Grave robbing

                • It was not uncommon for people to rob graves

                • They were looking for valuables (i.e. – expensive linen wraps, spices, jewelry, etc.)

                • It became such a problem that eventually Emperor Claudius “order capital punishment to be meted out to those convicted of destroying tombs, removing bodies or even displacing the sealing stones.” ​​ [Carson, The Pillar New Testament Commentary, The Gospel According to John, 636]

                • The Jewish religious leaders were aware of the common practice of grave robbery

                  • Read Matthew 27:62-66

                  • Read Matthew 28:11-15

                • Mary believes that someone has taken Jesus’ body – grave robbery has happened! (resurrection has not even crossed her mind)

              • “They”

                • When Mary says “they” she is most likely referring to the Jews and/or Romans

                • She believes the religious leaders have taken Jesus’ body, while the religious leaders believe the disciples could take Jesus’ body as a way to say that Jesus came alive again

                • Both sides were wrong

              • Mary believes the Jews have taken Jesus’ body and put somewhere, but they don’t know where

            • We don’t know where they have put him!

              • The “we” helps us understand that Mary was with other women at the tomb

              • It also helps us know that Mary identified herself with the other women

        • We know what Mary believed about Jesus’ resurrection, but what did Peter and John believe?

    • Peter and John’s belief (vv. 3-9)

        • Tomb Run

          • How many of you remember this game [show picture of Temple Run]

          • I’d never heard of this one, but it fits in with what Peter and John were doing [show picture of Tomb Runner]

          • Peter and John weren’t collecting tiles or diamonds on their way to the tomb, but they were trying to get there as quickly as possible

          • John tells us that he outran Peter, but he waited to enter the tomb until Peter arrived

        • Progression of “seeing” (understanding)

          • John visibly saw

            • In the NIV they don’t provide the translation for “saw”

            • In the NASB and most other translations they translate “saw”

            • NASB – “and stooping and looking in, he [John] saw the linen wrappings lying there. . .

            • The word “saw” in the Greek is ble’-pō (bleh-poe), meaning “to look at, to see visibly

            • John visibly saw the linen wrappings lying in the tomb where Jesus had been buried

          • Peter studied more carefully what he saw

            • When Peter arrived, he didn’t hesitate to enter the tomb, but walked right in

            • Peter also saw the linen strips lying there and the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head, folded nicely, but separate from the linen strips

              • This burial cloth had probably been rolled and wrapped around Jesus’ face to keep His mouth shut

              • Now it was folded nicely and laying separate from the linen strips that had been wrapped around His body

            • The Greek word for “saw” here is different than in verse 5

              • the Greek word is the-ō-re’-ō (thay-o-ray-o) which means, “to study more carefully

              • We get our English word “theory” from this Greek word

              • So, Peter is formulating a theory about what happened to Jesus’ body

                • He probably realizes that Mary’s belief is incorrect, because of the facts in front of him

                • Grave robbers would not have taken the body and left the expensive linens and spices

                • They certainly wouldn’t have taken time to carefully fold up the facial burial cloth and meticulously wrap the spices back up in the shape of Jesus’ body before leaving

                • They would have gone in and grabbed Jesus’ body, linens and all

              • Peter knows that the Jews and/or the Romans have not taken Jesus’ body – he knows that even some random grave robbers have not taken Jesus’ body

              • So, what has happened to Jesus’ body

            • Peter is formulating his theory when John enters the tomb

          • John comprehended what he saw

            • The Greek word for “saw” in verse 8 is ā’-dō (eye-doe) and means, “to perceive with intelligent comprehension

            • We get our English word “idea” from this, so it can also mean “I get it”

            • John saw the grave clothes and the head cloth and he believed that Jesus had come alive again

            • We’re not told if Peter believed at this point, but it’s not hard to see that he did believe that Jesus had come alive again

            • Both Peter and John had followed the facts to faith.

          • PRINCIPLE #2 – God is pleased when we see the empty tomb and believe that Jesus is alive.

            • There was a progression of “seeing” (understanding) for Peter and John as they examined the empty tomb

              • Where are you at in that progression?

              • Are you just seeing it for the first time, but not understanding?

              • Are you examining it more closely?

              • Are you at the “got it” stage, where you understand why Jesus had to come alive again?

            • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Follow the facts of Jesus’ resurrection and believe that He has risen from the dead.

              • Maybe you’re seeing it for the first time

              • You may be ready to study it more carefully for yourself (we’re here to help you with that)

              • Perhaps you’re ready to move to full comprehension (we’re here to help with that move also)

          • While they believed that Jesus had come alive again, they didn’t understand from the Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead

        • Jesus had to rise from the dead

          • Do you understand from the Bible that Jesus had to rise from the dead?

            • This is an important truth of the Gospel

            • Many self-proclaimed prophets have died, but none have come back to life

            • Jesus wasn’t a prophet – He was the Son of God

            • God allowed Him to come alive again proving that Jesus’ perfect sacrifice was full payment for our sins

          • Prophecy had to be fulfilled

          • Redemption had to be accomplished

            • 1 Corinthians 15:3-4a, For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: ​​ that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

            • Isaiah 53:5, But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

          • We know the disciples eventually understood

            • Luke 24:6-8, He is not here; he has risen! ​​ Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: “The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.” ​​ Then they remembered his words.

            • Luke 24:45-48, Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. ​​ He told them, “This is what is written: ​​ The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem. ​​ You are witnesses of these things.

          • They definitely took the Gospel to all nations!

          • We are commanded to do the same thing

 

  • YOU

    • Are you wholeheartedly devoted to Jesus and His mission? ​​ If not, what do you need to confess and repent of in order to be fully devoted to Him?

    • Have you followed the facts of Jesus’ resurrection and believed in Him as a result? ​​ If not, what level of seeing are you at (visible, studying carefully, comprehending) and are you ready to take the next step?

 

  • WE

    • Are we (Idaville Church) ready to obediently follow Jesus’ command to take the Gospel to all nations? ​​ (this is why Jesus had to rise from the dead, so that redemptions plan could be completed and the mission of the church established)

 

CONCLUSION

“Charles Colson, convicted for his involvement in the Watergate scandal as an assistant to President Richard Nixon, writes:

 

When I am challenged on the resurrection, my answer is always that the disciples and 500 others gave eyewitness accounts of seeing Jesus risen from the tomb. But then I'm asked, ‘How do you know they were telling the truth? Maybe they were perpetrating a hoax.’ My answer to that comes from an unlikely source: Watergate.

 

Watergate involved a conspiracy perpetuated by the closest aides to the president of the United States—the most powerful men in America, who were intensely loyal to their president. But one of them, John Dean, turned state's evidence, that is, testified against Nixon, as he put it, ‘to save his own skin’—and he did so only two weeks after informing the president about what was really going on—two weeks! The cover-up, the lie, could only be held together for two weeks, and then everybody else jumped ship in order to save themselves. Now, the fact is that all those around the president were facing was embarrassment, maybe prison. Nobody's life was at stake.

 

But what about the disciples? Twelve powerless men, peasants really, were facing not just embarrassment or political disgrace, but beatings, stonings, execution. Every single one of the disciples insisted, to their dying breaths, that they had physically seen Jesus bodily raised from the dead. Don't you think that one of those apostles would have cracked before being beheaded or stoned? That one of them would have made a deal with the authorities? None did. Men will give their lives for something they believe to be true; they will never give their lives for something they know to be false.

 

The Watergate cover-up reveals the true nature of humanity. Even political zealots at the pinnacle of power will, in the crunch, save their own necks, even at the expense of the ones they profess to serve so loyally. But the apostles could not deny Jesus, because they had seen him face to face, and they knew he had risen from the dead.

 

No, you can take it from an expert in cover-ups—I've lived through Watergate—that nothing less than a resurrected Christ could have caused those men to maintain to their dying whispers that Jesus is alive and is Lord. Two thousand years later, nothing less than the power of the risen Christ could inspire Christians around the world to remain faithful—despite prison, torture, and death. Jesus is Lord: That's the thrilling message of Easter. It's a historic fact, one convincingly established by the evidence—and one you can bet your life upon.”

 

Charles Colson, BreakPoint Online Commentaries (4-29-02); submitted by Cynthia Davenport-Herbst, Paris, Texas.

 

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2006/march/14007.html].

10

 

Joe & Nick’s Excellent Adventure

The movie Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure is a 1989 American science fiction comedy film starring Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter and George Carlin. It follows slacker friends Bill and Ted, who travel through time to assemble historical figures for their high school history presentation. Bill and Ted, are seemingly nondescript, unpopular, dim-witted high school students at San Demas High School. They have their own band called the Wyld Stallyns and even though they are not very good at playing, they dream one day of being a successful band. But they have a problem in that if they fail their history class project, Ted's father plans to ship Ted to a military academy in Alaska, which for all intents and purposes, would end their dream of being a band.

Unbeknownst to them, their success or failure in passing this history project has far-reaching consequences for the future. In the year 2688, humanity exists as a peaceful, utopian society due to the inspiration of the music and philosophy of Bill and Ted, seen and heard in their music performed as the band “Wyld Stallyns.” So, with a little help from Rufus from the future they are able to use a time traveling phone booth to accumulate historical figures such as Abraham Lincoln, Genghis Khan, Billy the Kid, Socrates and Napoleon, bringing them into the future, and passing their history project.

Doesn’t that plot remind you of the stories we find in the Bible. For instance, God’s people, the Israelites, are being held captive as slaves in Egypt for over hundreds of years. God uses Pharoah’s daughter to save a baby from the Nile River, uses her to raise and educate him in Pharoah’s household, so he can grow up and be the one to confront Pharoah as an adult to let God’s people go. Along the way, he murders an Egyptian, has to flee to the desert, where he meets God in a burning bush. He then spends years tending sheep before he returns to lead God’s people out of Egypt into the Promised Land. As they leave Egypt, God through the Ten Plagues, causes Pharaoh and the Egyptians, to not only beg them to leave, but to gift them all the gold and silver they can carry as they are leaving. It says “they plundered the Egyptians.”

We see God’s providence and sovereignty all through the Bible. We see time and time again how God can and has used anyone and everyone, from Pharoah, to Nebuchadnezzar, to Judas, to David, to Peter (and the list goes on), to fulfill his purposes. He can use those who believe in him and he can use those who don’t. He also can and will use us and probably already has. The first question for you this morning is not if God has used you but when in your life has he used you to fulfill his purposes. He may not have called you to start a band that will usher in world peace and a utopia, but I can bet he has called you and used you to fulfill his purposes somewhere along the way. Maybe he is using you right now to fulfill his purposes. Adults, it could be raising your kids or it might be in the job he has you in right now. Students, it might be with your classmates in school. I know God is using Christian students right now in our schools to spread hope and the gospel to those who don’t have it during this pandemic. Or maybe he is using you to reach out to your family and friends or maybe he is using you right now at Idaville Church to fulfill his purposes. The second question is have you noticed it? If so, what did you do? Did you ignore it or did you go all in? I believe it is important that we notice when God is using us and then follow him completely as he leads us in accomplishing his purposes for his kingdom.

In our scripture this morning we are going to see two people who also have an excellent adventure. For now, I will call them, Joe and Nick. They are seemingly insignificant, nondescript and unpopular among their peers. Joe is only mentioned in the Gospels and only in connection with one event. Nick is only mentioned in the Gospel of John and only on three separate occasions. They are wealthy men and part of an important and prominent group of Jews but they are also followers of Jesus. In fact we will learn that they are secret followers of Jesus while he is alive, but after Jesus’ death, God uses them to not only fulfill his purposes, but uses them to fulfill the scripture, as well.

That brings us to our big idea that John wants us to understand this morning which is God can and will accomplish his purposes through anyone and everyone. He can use those who don’t believe in him, such as Pharoah and Pilate. He can use those who know the scriptures but don’t believe in Jesus as the Messiah, such as Judas and Caiaphas. He can even use those who are secret disciples. He can and will accomplish his purposes through anyone and everyone and that includes you and me.

Let’s pray: Heavenly Father, I ask for the Holy Spirit to descend upon us this morning. I pray that we would have open hearts and minds to your Word and that it would seep deep down inside us. Use your Word to guide us, protect us, and correct us. And give us opportunities this week to share it with others who desperately need to hear it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I want to start by giving some background information on the two main characters in our adventure. I will start with Joseph of Arimathea. Joseph is found in all four Gospels but only in connection with this one event we will see this morning. Each of the Gospel writers gives us bits and pieces of the whole of what we know about Joseph. Matthew 27:57 says, “When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus.” Verse 60 says, “and laid it (Jesus’ body) in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock.” From these verses we learn that Joseph was a rich man, he had become a disciple of Jesus and that the tomb Jesus’ body was laid in was new and was Joseph’s own tomb.

Mark 15:43, says, “Joseph of Arimathea came, a prominent member of the Council, who himself was waiting for the kingdom of God.” The council spoken of here is the Sanhedrin, which was a kind of Supreme Court of the Jewish people. Caiaphas, who sent Jesus to Pilate to have him arrested, was the leader of the Sanhedrin at this time. We also learn that Joseph had been waiting for the Kingdom of God.

Luke 23:50-51, says, “And a man named Joseph, who was a member of the Council, a good and righteous man (he had not consented to their plan and action), a man from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who was waiting for the kingdom of God;” In addition to what we already know we see that Joseph was a “good and righteous man.” We also learn that he had not consented to the Sanhedrin’s plan and action of having Jesus arrested and crucified.

Finally, one last piece of the Joseph puzzle is found in our scripture this morning in John 19:38, which says, “After these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one for fear of the Jews.” He was a disciple of Jesus, but he was a secret disciple because he was probably afraid of losing his position, his prestige and his wealth.

That is all we know of Joseph of Arimethea from the Biblical text. The other main character in this adventure is probably more well known to us but we still have very little to go on. He is Nicodemus. We only find Nicodemus in the Book of John. He is not mentioned in the other Gospels as Joseph’s helper or even at all. John 3:1-2 says, “Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Jesus by night.” From this we learn that Nicodemus was a Pharisee. The Pharisees were a group of Jews who were considered to know the Jewish law the best and who legalistically kept every letter of it. They often opposed Jesus throughout His ministry and Jesus often strongly denounced them for their legalism. It is probable that both Joseph and Nicodemus were part of the Sanhedrin. We also learn that Nicodemus came to Jesus by night. In all probability, Nicodemus came at night so none of his fellow Pharisees would find out.

We also find Nicodemus in John 7:50-52, “Nicodemus (he who came to Him before, being one of them, meaning a Pharisee) said to them, “Our Law does not judge a man unless it first hears from him and knows what he is doing, does it?” They answered him, “You are not also from Galilee, are you?” Here we see the end of an incident where the chief priests and the Pharisees had sent officers to arrest Jesus and had come back empty handed. Nicodemus seems to stand up for Jesus or at least stand up for due process of the law. He says they should hear Jesus out first before they arrest him. You can see from their reaction to Nicodemus that his words were not taken seriously. To “be from Galilee” meant you were insignificant, you were nothing.

That is all we know about these two men so far: they were part of the group that condemned Jesus to die and were secret disciples. But God was able to use them to fulfill scripture and to accomplish his purposes. Maybe, this morning, you are a follower of Jesus but realize that you are following him in secret like Joseph and Nicodemus. Maybe you are afraid of what your friends, family, fellow students or co-workers will say. Maybe you are afraid you will lose friends if you profess to be a Christian. In fact, if your friends, family, fellow students or co-workers don’t know you are a Christian, that’s a problem. If you are living as a Christ follower, they should not be surprised to find out you are a Christian. That brings us to our first next step this morning which is to stop living my life as a secret follower of Jesus and start living as a bold disciple of Jesus Christ. ​​ 

Now, let’s turn to our scripture this morning, which we find in John 19:38-42. This is what God’s Word says, 38 After these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. So he came and took away His body. 39 Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. 40 So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. 41 Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42 Therefore because of the Jewish day of preparation, since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

Like Matthew, John tells us that Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but he goes on to say that he was a secret disciple because he was afraid of the Jews. We can assume that he was afraid of his position in the Sanhedrin, his possessions in that he was wealthy, and probably his prestige in being part of the ruling class of the Jews. But something happens between Jesus’ life and his death on the cross. Mark 15:43 tells us he boldly went before Pilate asking for Jesus’ body. Joseph finds a boldness that he didn’t have before. John makes it a point to tell us he was a secret disciple but he also presents him in a positive light in that he had the courage to ask Pilate for Jesus’ body when all the other disciples were hiding in the Upper Room. ​​ Now it is not written why Joseph asked for Jesus’ body but it could only have been for the purpose of burying it.

There are a number of important things we can learn from this. One, it was against Roman law to bury a crucified criminal. They would let them hang on the cross for the vultures, etc. to do their worst. It would have been a warning to others that this is what happens when you defy the Roman authority. Two, Joseph, by asking for Jesus’ body, could have easily been arrested for being a follower of a traitor to the Romans.

Three, we see the sovereignty of God in that Pilate granted Joseph’s request. This may have reflected his conviction that Jesus was innocent or he felt he was getting back at the Jewish leaders by allowing Jesus to be buried. No matter what he was thinking, God was in control, and Pilate granted Joseph’s request and Joseph goes to the cross and takes Jesus’ body.

In verse 39 we are introduced to the other character who joins Joseph in this adventure. That is Nicodemus. He is identified as the man who had earlier visited Jesus at night. He is also identified as Joseph’s helper in burying Jesus’ body. It says he brought about a hundred pounds of a mixture of myrrh and aloes, which they used to anoint Jesus’ body for burial. By today’s measurement the spices Nicodemus brought was more like sixty-five or seventy-five pounds but it was still a lot of spices. It seems like an extravagant amount to bury one body. In fact, that amount was normally only ever used to anoint the body of a king or a wealthy, prominent person for burial. This extravagance is reminiscent of the excessive wine leftover at the marriage feast in Cana. We also saw the same type of extravagance when Mary anointed Jesus feet with a pound of pure nard which was really expensive. These sixty-five to seventy-five pounds of spices might seem extravagant to us but John is making the kingship of Jesus clear. Jesus is not only the King of the Jews but the King of kings. He deserves this honor that is being shown to him.

The spices that Nicodemus supplied would have been used to bury Jesus’ body in the Jewish custom. The Jews didn’t embalm bodies like the Egyptians. They would wrap the body tightly with linen cloths adding the spices in and around the cloths as they wrapped it. They would then put more spices around and under the body after it was laid in the tomb. They used myrrh which was a fragrant, gummy resin which in powdered form was usually mixed with aloes, which was an aromatic powder made from sandalwood. The spices were to help with the smell as the body decayed.

From verse 41 we learn that in the place where Jesus was crucified there was a garden. John is the only Gospel writer to tell us that. We also learn that in the garden was a new tomb in which no one had ever been buried. We learned in Matthew 27:60 that this was Joseph’s tomb and that he was a wealthy person. This would have been a family tomb cut out from rock. It would have had shelves cut out inside to place multiple bodies of his family members. It would have also had a big stone that would have been rolled over the mouth to close the tomb. This is where Jesus’s body was being laid. Why would it have been important that Jesus’ tomb belonged to a wealthy person? The reason was because it fulfilled prophecy. Isaiah 53:9 says this, “His grave was assigned with wicked men, yet He was with a rich man in His death, because He had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in His mouth.” Seven hundred years before Jesus death, Isaiah wrote this about the Messiah being put to death with wicked men but being buried with the rich. Jesus was crucified between two thieves and as such should have been buried in a gravesite outside the city of Jerusalem with other criminals. Jesus’ family or disciples weren’t rich and could not have afforded a tomb like the one Joseph owned. Only by the providence and sovereignty of God was Isaiah’s words fulfilled.

Why would it have been important for Jesus to be buried in a new tomb where no one had ever been laid? The Jews would have felt that to bury a criminal in a family tomb would desecrate the other bodies in the tomb, but that is probably not why John wants us to notice the new tomb. Carson says, “More likely his purpose is to prepare for chapter 20: if on the third day the tomb is empty, only one body had disappeared, and only one person could have been resurrected.” God is sovereign and in control and he had it all worked out.

Again in verse 42 we see the providence and the sovereignty of God in that the tomb was close by where the crucifixion took place. The reason this was important was because it was the Jewish Day of preparation and the Sabbath, when all work had to cease, was due to start at sundown. Commentators believe that Jesus died around 3 PM and the Sabbath would start at 6 PM, which the Jews considered the end of the day and the start of the new one. There would have been 3 hours for Joseph to go to Pilate and ask for Jesus’ body, to take his body down off the cross, for him and Nicodemus to prepare his body and then lay him in the tomb. We know from Mark’s Gospel, that when Joseph asked for Jesus’ body, Pilate had to make sure he was dead before allowing him to take it. Mark 15:44-45, says, “44 Pilate wondered if He was dead by this time, and summoning the centurion, he questioned him as to whether He was already dead. 45 And ascertaining this from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph.” We don’t know how long that took, but I imagine it took some time to verify. The fact that the tomb was close by would have definitely helped as sundown was fast approaching.

But there was another reason why he needed to be buried before sundown on Friday. It was so Jesus’ words in Matthew 12:40 would be fulfilled, which says, “for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” The Jews counted any part of a day as being a full day, so for Jesus to be considered in the ground for three days he needed to be laid to rest on Friday. In his burial as well as his death, Jesus orchestrated all the details to accomplish God’s already revealed purpose. Just think about how completely God looked after every detail of his plan.

It is fascinating to see the providence and the sovereignty of God at work. He is always working out his purposes in your life and in my life. When I think about his providence and sovereignty in my life I just stand in awe of who God is. The lesson we can learn from Pharoah, Caiaphas, Judas, Joseph and Nicodemus, is that God’s can and will accomplish his purposes through those who are opposed to Jesus or through those who are followers of Jesus. (Big Idea). It is important to have eyes to see and ears to hear what God is doing in our lives and then get behind whatever he is looking to accomplish. That brings us to our second next step which is to be open to God’s purposes in my life and ask him to fulfill his purposes through me. As we know, God doesn’t need our permission in order to accomplish his purposes through us but imagine how much sweeter it would be if we were surrendered to his will.

Burge in his commentary talks about the contemporary significance of Jesus the King, the tomb and the cross and Joseph and Nicodemus in the Gospel of John. I want to conclude with this. We see that Jesus is a king that deserves a king’s burial. Herod the Great, who was despised by the people at the end of his reign, had an elaborate and expensive burial. The funeral bier was gold and embroidered with precious stones, his body covered with purple linens, a gold crown on his head and gold scepter in his hand. The procession was 1500 meters long and 500 slaves carried aromatic oils and spices.

We can compare this to Jesus: his was not a pauper’s grave, the wealthy man’s tomb was among other wealthy people’s tombs, and a religious leader brought a tremendous amount of burial spices to Jesus’ grave. Jesus was buried in a king’s hoard of spices. Jesus was buried in a “garden” which is the same setting for Israel’s kings such as David. Remember Jerusalem had their own burial places for criminals and according to Acts 1 that was where Judas finally found his grave. But Jesus is buried in splendor, in beauty, in an unused tomb, as if it had been carved for him alone. To be buried in a new tomb would have been a special honor reserved for kings. John wants us to understand that Jesus is the King of kings.

When it comes to the tomb, John does not seem to employ it in the same way the Synoptic Gospels do. They seem to employ the tomb as a prelude from which we await the resurrection. The tomb is shut, a guard posted and we await the angels to arrive and an earthquake to break open the grave that cannot contain its occupant. The tomb is linked to Easter Sunday. But in John there are no guards or heavy stone rolled in front. The tomb is the resting place for the great King, the culmination of his work on the cross. For John, the tomb and the resurrection is another step along the way as Jesus moves from earth to heaven. The tomb is not a place of depressing defeat. It too like the cross, is a place of glory and victory. Just as the trial and the cross shows us the victorious King of kings so does the tomb.

Finally, what can we make of Joseph and Nicodemus? In John 12:32 Jesus predicted that when he was lifted up he would draw all men to himself and now that he has been lifted up Joseph and Nicodemus have been drawn. They step out from their ambivalent positions at tremendous risk and publicly acknowledge Jesus’ honor. They risked their personal honor by protecting Jesus’ honor. To bury him like they did was a statement noted undoubtedly by their peers throughout Jerusalem.

When we look at Jesus’ disciples such as Andrew, Peter, Philip and Nathanael, we see the importance for the public visibility of faith among true disciples. As professionals with considerable social prestige, Joseph and Nicodemus were stepping into the circle of true discipleship, joining the community of the faithful. This is worthy of notice especially for those whom public visibility comes at some risk. John is setting before us a sterling example of two men who used their considerable resources to glorify Jesus and in doing so become genuine followers of Christ. ​​ I pray that you and I would be as bold in our Christian walk as we allow God to accomplish his purposes in our lives for his praise and his honor and his glory.

As Gene and Roxey come to lead us in our final hymn, let’s pray: Heavenly Father, we thank you for your Word. We thank you for its wisdom and its truth. Let us use your Word to show others of your love, your justice and your truth as we pursue, grow and multiply disciples. Now, as we leave this place of worship, we pray for protection from the evil one, for unity among our body, for your complete joy to be in us and for a desire for holiness as we live our lives for you. Help us to be bold disciples of Jesus Christ, in his name we pray, Amen