Are You Listening?

shutterstock_323884097.jpgJohn 5:30-47

30 “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. 31 If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true. 32 There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he bears about me is true.33 You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. 34 Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. 35 He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. 36 But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, 38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. 39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. 41 I do not receive glory from people. 42 But I know that you do not have the love of God within you.43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. 44 How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”


You just got done reading the Word of God.

Let that sink in for a moment.

The same God who spoke the galaxies into existence and simply breathed to give life to mankind is the same God who spoke the words you just read, written through men.  Sometimes people get frustrated and ask, “Why won’t God just speak to me!?”  He is speaking.  He is speaking to you right now.  The real question is, are you listening?

The fact that you are reading this right now means that you are at least hearing.  That is a great start.  But the real power comes from listening (which means doing).  Consider these words of James; “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (1:22)

What have you been hearing over and over again from God that now it is time to start doing?

In the passage we just read, Jesus reveals the purpose and the message of all Scripture.  Reread verse 39 & 40.  All Scripture is meant to point us to trust in Jesus for life.  To believe is to trust and to trust is to obey.  Don’t just hear God’s Word, do what it says.

Pray for wisdom and courage today.  Pray that your faith would move from hearing to truly listening.  Pray that Jesus would reign in every area of your life.

 

 

Who Is This Jesus?

 

shutterstock_340358900.jpgJohn 5:19-29 (ESV)

19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. 22 The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.”


 

“Who is this Jesus?” It is the most important question you will answer in your life. Some say he was a liar. Others say he was crazy. While others say he is God. Your answer will determine your life here on earth and beyond.

Here John begins to present the evidence of who Jesus is. He doesn’t beat around the bush. He starts with Jesus saying he does the works of the Father. They work in unison. What the Father does, the Son does. This is more that synchronized swimming at the Olympics. Jesus is making a huge statement. They are one. But he doesn’t stop there.

If someone doesn’t honor the Son than they don’t honor the Father. WOW. Jesus was saying for his Jewish audience that he is God. It doesn’t get much clearer. But he goes on to say the Father has given the role of judge over to the Son. It’s a role only God can do.

Then in verses 25-29, Jesus declares he is the author of the spiritual resurrection to life here on earth and the physical resurrection at the end of the age.

It’s like driving over a hill to see only one billboard. It reads for all to see “Jesus is God.” But the question then comes, do you continue to drive towards the truth that Jesus is God or make a U-Turn? There are only two choices. To drive towards the sign is to meet, know, and follow him for the rest of your life. It will change your life forever.

Commit your life to follow Jesus, God’s Son. Read his Word, the Bible, talk to him in prayer, and then obey. Thank him for his gracious gift of salvation and share the good news to those round you.

Get Up And Move

shutterstock_58650610.jpgJohn 5:1-15

Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals.Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. [4] One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 10 and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”

11 But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’

12 So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?”

13 The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.

14 Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well.


Jesus is the most controversial, brilliant and loving person in human history.  Not only did He claim to be equal with God, but He also proved He was God by these “signs” that John describes in his Gospel and His death and resurrection.

Can you imagine being this man at the pool?  Nearly four decades had passed and this man had been sick, and invalid, as John writes.  So much time had gone by that his routine had become his religion.  His reason for living has become attached to his routine.  Little did he know that on this day, Jesus would not only change his world but He (Jesus) would once again show the world who He is.

In this passage we see a pretty bizarre response to this amazing miracle of Jesus.  Instead of awe, Jesus received anger.  Does God ever do things in your life that you wish would have been done differently?  Let’s be honest, we probably all wish God would follow our lead sometimes instead of His.  We must remember that God is a good, good Father.

Or maybe we have been like the man by the pool.  Have your routines become your religion?  When was the last time you asked yourself why you do the things you do?  Take a moment this week to examine that and see if there are any areas in your life where Jesus is telling you to “get up and move”.   This may come in simple ways:  sharing a kind word with your spouse, setting aside intentional time with your children, or even praying for someone else this week.  It might be a step in the direction of serving through opportunities around you, going on a missions trip, or maybe inviting someone with you to church this week.  The Christian life is a response to the love, mercy and grace of Jesus.  It is this response that moves us toward following Him.

Today’s prayer:  God, make me see what you see.  May I receive each day as a gift and remember that you are a good, good Father. Give me courage to get up and move as you tell me.

Miracles All Around Us

shutterstock_320076941.jpgJohn 4:46-54

46 Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine.And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. 47 When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death.

48 “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”

49 The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”

50 “Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.”

The man took Jesus at his word and departed. 51 While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. 52 When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.”

53 Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and his whole household believed.

54 This was the second sign Jesus performed after coming from Judea to Galilee.


What signs and wonders have you seen or experienced in your life?

What do those signs tell you about Jesus and the things to come?

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the things of this world.  Our goal becomes perfection in this life.  But the goals of Jesus are far greater and will last for eternity.

God still does miracles today, including the commonly overlooked miracle of transforming a life.  There are millions of stories unfolding right now as you read this of individuals who were far from God but now live as a new creation, changed from within the depths of their very soul.  These are all miracles of God bringing people from death to life.  If you have put your trust in Jesus, you are one of those miracles.  You are one of those stories.

In this account, Jesus heals the official’s son, first physically and then spiritually.  Jesus is the ultimate Healer.  What area of your life do you need healing today?

Pray that Jesus would work to bring healing to this area of your life.  Know that if it’s not good, then God is not done.  One day Jesus will bring complete healing to every area of your life.  And on that day, like in creation before the fall, you will look with God and see that it is “very good”.  Praise Jesus for His ministry of healing.

 

Could This Be?

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In John Chapter 4 Jesus encounters a Samaritan woman with a rough past.  She’s an outcast.  She has a label.  But Jesus cuts through her shame straight to her heart and replaces her shame with hope.  The story continues…


 

John 4:28-42

28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him.

31 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”

32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”

33 Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”

34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35 Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36 Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37 Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. 38 I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”

39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers.

42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”


Are you afraid of dying?

If so, why?

A couple weeks ago, Pastor Robert shared a video during his sermon about a teenager named Clayton. Clayton had leukemia and was dying. People asked him if he was afraid of dying, and he said yes. He was afraid for the people he was leaving behind who didn’t know where they would be going after they died. He’s afraid for people like you and me.

We all know that we will die one day. But we don’t live in such a way that reflects that. Clayton knew he was dying soon and lived intentionally, sharing the gospel, and challenging those around him to put their faith in Jesus.

Why don’t we all do that? Because we’re too busy. Busy working, trying to pay off our mortgage, finding a spouse, going to family gatherings, checking Facebook, working on science fair projects, being polite. Our lives aren’t in order just yet, but once they are- we will get right on that ‘sharing the gospel’ thing.

The lady at the well was sold out for Jesus. She wasn’t entirely sure who he even was: “Could this be the Messiah?” but she knew he was amazing. And she shared her testimony with those around her, even though all signs were pointing at her being a social outcast. Because of her boldness and her total disregard of what others might think about her, “many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him.” She didn’t have all the answers, she didn’t have her life in order, she didn’t even have a good reputation. She had faith though, and she needed to share that with others.

Point people to Jesus. Tell them your testimony! Invite them to church. Then you can be a part of people being able to say: “we no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

Take some time to reflect on your testimony. If you’ve never done it before- write it out. It doesn’t have to be long and eloquent. Why do you believe in God? How do you know he is real?

Pray that God would reveal to you people that you should share your testimony with. And then pray that God would give you courage to go and share it.

He Must Increase

shutterstock_350316134 (1).jpgJohn 3:22-36

22 After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he remained there with them and was baptizing. 23 John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because water was plentiful there, and people were coming and being baptized 24 (for John had not yet been put in prison).

25 Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification. 26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” 27 John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ 29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom.The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”

31 He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony. 33 Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. 34 For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. 35 The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.


John gets it.

Everything is about Jesus.  Our gifts, our influence, our abilities, EVERYTHING is meant to point back to the One Who made us.  He must increase, but we must decrease.  Either our lives will be all about us or all about Him.  Our lives can’t be ALL about both.  One of those will eventually have to give way to the other.

Take a moment to do a personal inventory.  What part of your life is currently all about you?

For John’s disciples, the work of baptizing and the growing reputation of their leader was all about them.  But John knew his job was to support the bridegroom.  His job was to use his work and his reputation to point more and more people to Jesus.

What would it look like, in the area you identified, for you to decrease the focus on you and to increase the focus on Jesus?

If you get a chance tonight take a look at the full moon.  It is absolutely beautiful. But it is interesting to note that the moon doesn’t actually produce any light.  It only reflects the light.  The moon itself is completely dark.  When the moon is dark (a “new moon”), none of the sun’s light is being reflected to the earth so it goes entirely unnoticed.

By ourselves our lives are dark.  What makes our life beautiful is when we reflect the Son.  Jesus is the light of the world.  Our job is to reflect His light.  He must increase.  We must decrease.

“Jesus, help me to reflect you in every area of my life.  Help me to see where I must decrease so that you may increase.  Help my life to be all about Your glory.  Amen.”

 

For God So Loved

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John 3:16-21 (ESV)

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” 


A child received hope when her father calls to say he will be home tomorrow after a long journey away. A parent embraces the doctor’s hopeful words when he says their child will recover. During WW2, General MacArthur told the Philippine people he would return to free them. Words can give hope. John wrote the book of John that people would believe Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of the world. In John 3:16, we find no greater words of hope ever written or spoken.

Look at where John starts, God’s motivation – God loved. He didn’t say, the people of the world deserved deliverance so I will do something. In Romans 5:8, Paul goes further to say, while we were yet sinners Christ died. This is huge! While we were still in rebellion against God, God loved.

Then look at what his love motivated him to do. He gave his best – His only Son. Are you getting the picture of how much God truly loves you? Despite what you have done he gave his best.

In verses 17-18, John says we were already condemned in our sin. Christ’s coming was about love and grace. We were walking in darkness so God sent his Son that we might walk in the light.

John in verses 19-21 says something very important about what it means to believe. To believe is to turn from the darkness and walk in the light. Saving faith impacts how we live. It’s not just a mental agreement about the facts of what God did. True faith impacts how we live. In the New Testament, believe and repent, turn to walk in light, is two sides of the coin of salvation.

But in his grace, God said the only condition to receive such a gift is to believe. Every other religion in the world has a “get your act together” clause in small print on the contract for eternal life. God’s gracious gift of his Son for eternal life is faith alone. Believe in such a way that your life is a response to God’s gracious gift of salvation.

Prayer: Take a moment to thank God for his great love. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you today to live a life that reflects God’s love through you to those around you.