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You Have the Words of Life Chapter 5

You Have the Words of Life Chapter 5

June 23, 20170 Comments

The almost final editing of my latest book, “You have the Words of Life” continues here on Online Ministry Training:

John Chapter 5

1 After these things, there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now in Jerusalem by the sheep gate, there is a pool, which is called in Hebrew, “Bethesda”, having five porches. 3 In these lay a great multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, or paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water; 4 for an angel went down at certain times into the pool, and stirred up the water. Whoever stepped in first after the stirring of the water was healed of whatever disease he had. 5 A certain man was there, who had been sick for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had been sick for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” 7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I’m coming, another steps down before me.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Arise, take up your mat, and walk.” 9 Immediately, the man was made well, and took up his mat and walked. Now it was the Sabbath on that day. 10 So the Jews said to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath. It is not lawful for you to carry the mat.” 11 He answered them, “He who made me well, the same said to me, ‘Take up your mat, and walk.’” 12 Then they asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your mat, and walk’?” 13 But he who was healed didn’t know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a crowd being in the place. 14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “Behold, you are made well. Sin no more, so that nothing worse happens to you.” 15 The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. 16 For this cause the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill him, because he did these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is still working, so I am working, too.” 18 For this cause therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath, but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God. 19 Jesus therefore answered them, “Most certainly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father doing. For whatever things he does, these the Son also does likewise. 20 For the Father has affection for the Son, and shows him all things that he himself does. He will show him greater works than these, that you may marvel. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom he desires. 22 For the Father judges no one, but he has given all judgement to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who doesn’t honor the Son doesn’t honor the Father who sent him. 24 “Most certainly I tell you, he who hears my word, and believes him who sent me, has eternal life, and doesn’t come into judgement, but has passed out of death into life. 25 Most certainly, I tell you, the hour comes, and now is, when the dead will hear the Son of God’s voice; and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, even so he gave to the Son also to have life in himself. 27 He also gave him authority to execute judgement, because he is a son of man. 28 Don’t marvel at this, for the hour comes, in which all that are in the tombs will hear his voice, 29 and will come out; those who have done good, to the resurrection of life; and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgement. 30 I can of myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge, and my judgement is righteous; because I don’t seek my own will, but the will of my Father who sent me. 31 “If I testify about myself, my witness is not valid. 32 It is another who testifies about me. I know that the testimony which he testifies about me is true. 33 You have sent to John, and he has testified to the truth. 34 But the testimony which I receive is not from man. However, I say these things that you may be saved. 35 He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. 36 But the testimony which I have is greater than that of John, for the works which the Father gave me to accomplish, the very works that I do, testify about me, that the Father has sent me. 37 The Father himself, who sent me, has testified about me. You have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his form. 38 You don’t have his word living in you; because you don’t believe him whom he sent. 39 “You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and these are they which testify about me. 40 Yet you will not come to me, that you may have life. 41 I don’t receive glory from men. 42 But I know you, that you don’t have God’s love in yourselves. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you don’t receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. 44 How can you believe, who receive glory from one another, and you don’t seek the glory that comes from the only God? 45 “Don’t think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you, even Moses, on whom you have set your hope. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote about me. 47 But if you don’t believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”

“Do you want to get well”?

John 5:5-6
5 A certain man was there, who had been sick for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had been sick for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

Sometimes we get so used to the way we are living, even if it is not good, that it starts to seem normal. The bad becomes familiar, and we settle for familiar instead of what is good all the time.

The word translated sick could mean many things; invalid, diseased, weakness. There was something wrong with this man, it had been that way a long time, he was near a place known for healing, but in thirty-eight years he had never been healed. He had a lot of excuses, but his excuses allowed him to continue on in the sick way he had been living.

I love the fact that Jesus saw him. There were a lot of sick people there in all sorts of conditions, but Jesus sees this man and goes to talk with him and extends the Kingdom of God to him by asking him the amazing question – “Do you want to get well”?

What a great question. Do you want to get well? Are you willing to do whatever it takes? To walk away from the familiar? To have faith? To trust in God? To do what He says? Or, maybe, you don’t want to get well, you would just like to feel better? You don’t really want to change. You would just like a better result than you are getting now. Isn’t there something that would allow me to keep doing what I want, but not have these consequences? Do you want to get well? Really? Maybe it is time to stop making excuses.

John 5:7
7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I’m coming, another steps down before me.”

I can’t do it. I am all alone. Someone else gets there first. It’s not fair. It’s too hard. What if it doesn’t work? What if I can’t do it? It’s not my fault. It’s your fault. It’s the world’s fault. I am in pain. Nobody cares. I can’t change. I have tried before. What difference does it make? I will fail.

Jesus didn’t help him to the pool. Jesus didn’t even offer to carry him to the edge. Jesus told him what he needed to do. Get up. Pick up your mat. And walk. And as he did it, Jesus made him well.

If you really want to get well, you need to listen to Jesus, put your faith and trust in Him, and do what He says. It is all about doing the next right thing.

John 5:14
14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “Behold, you are made well. Sin no more, so that nothing worse happens to you.”

The battle ground for life, is played out in the choices we make to do what Jesus says or to do what we want instead. One way leads to life. Real life. Abundant life. Now and forever life. A life of purpose and meaning and mission. The other way leads to a false life, an in-valid life. A life that leaves you alone, afraid, ashamed and constantly looking for something to fill the emptiness or to relieve the pain. Do you want to get well? Jesus wants to help. He extends the Kingdom of God to us.

You Have the Words of Life Chapter 4

You Have the Words of Life Chapter 4

June 16, 20170 Comments

The almost final editing of my latest book, “You have the Words of Life” continues here on Online Ministry Training:

John Chapter 4

1 Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus himself didn’t baptize, but his disciples), 3 he left Judea, and departed into Galilee. 4 He needed to pass through Samaria. 5 So he came to a city of Samaria, called Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son, Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being tired from his journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour. 7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. 9 The Samaritan woman therefore said to him, “How is it that you, being a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. So where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father, Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself, as did his children, and his livestock?” 13 Jesus answered her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never thirst again; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I don’t get thirsty, neither come all the way here to draw.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You said well, ‘I have no husband,’ 18 for you have had five husbands; and he whom you now have is not your husband. This you have said truly.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour comes, when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, will you worship the Father. 22 You worship that which you don’t know. We worship that which we know; for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah comes, he who is called Christ. When he has come, he will declare to us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who speaks to you.” 27 At this, his disciples came. They marveled that he was speaking with a woman; yet no one said, “What are you looking for?” or, “Why do you speak with her?” 28 So the woman left her water pot, and went away into the city, and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything that I did. Can this be the Christ?” 30 They went out of the city, and were coming to him. 31 In the meanwhile, the disciples urged him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you don’t know about.” 33 The disciples therefore said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work. 35 Don’t you say, ‘There are yet four months until the harvest?’ Behold, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and look at the fields, that they are white for harvest already. 36 He who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit to eternal life; that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. 37 For in this the saying is true, ‘One sows, and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you haven’t labored. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” 39 From that city many of the Samaritans believed in him because of the word of the woman, who testified, “He told me everything that I did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they begged him to stay with them. He stayed there two days. 41 Many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of your speaking; for we have heard for ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.” 43 After the two days he went out from there and went into Galilee. 44 For Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country. 45 So when he came into Galilee, the Galileans received him, having seen all the things that he did in Jerusalem at the feast, for they also went to the feast. 46 Jesus came therefore again to Cana of Galilee, where he made the water into wine. There was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum. 47 When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to him, and begged him that he would come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48 Jesus therefore said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders, you will in no way believe.” 49 The nobleman said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” 50 Jesus said to him, “Go your way. Your son lives.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way. 51 As he was now going down, his servants met him and reported, saying “Your child lives!” 52 So he inquired of them the hour when he began to get better. They said therefore to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour, the fever left him.” 53 So the father knew that it was at that hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives.” He believed, as did his whole house. 54 This is again the second sign that Jesus did, having come out of Judea into Galilee.

John 4:23
23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.

The Father is seeking people who will worship in spirit and truth. He is not seeking perfect people. He is seeking lost and broken people who will give their lives and love to Him. In the last chapter we talked about Nicodemus meeting Jesus. The Samaritan woman that Jesus meets in this chapter is at the opposite end of the spectrum. Nicodemus was a religious and political leader who was well respected in his community. The woman at the well, was a Samaritan. The Samaritans were considered outcasts by the established religious community. Beyond that, the woman was apparently an outcast within her own community. Drawing water was something that was usually done together by the women in the community. It would have been a way to make the work of drawing water a time for socializing and catching up with one another. But this Samaritan woman came by herself to draw water from the well. Let’s dig into this encounter:

John 4:7-10
7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. 9 The Samaritan woman therefore said to him, “How is it that you, being a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”

Jesus is offering the Kingdom of God to this woman just like he did with Nicodemus. He has said to both of them (in very different ways because they were in very different situations) that God deals with people on the basis of grace. Our relationship with God is not about what we do, but on what God is willing to do for us. Jesus looks past people’s situations and brokenness and sees the beauty of their potential. He does not treat them according to the labels that society and even the religious community puts on them.

John 4:16-19
16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You said well, ‘I have no husband,’ 18 for you have had five husbands; and he whom you now have is not your husband. This you have said truly.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.

According to these verses, there are a lot of different labels that we could hang on this woman. Jesus doesn’t label her, He is saying that He knows about the life she is living and yet He is still offering her the hope of life, just as he had to Nicodemus.

John 4:23-24
23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

In His encounter with Nicodemus, Jesus stressed the fact that everyone stands condemned before God (John 3:18). Nicodemus, a religious man, would have thought that his strict keeping of the law was enough and did not recognize his need for God’s grace. The woman at the well, however, was well aware that she was a sinner. And amazingly, Jesus didn’t talk to her about condemnation, He talked to her about worshipers. Why the different approach? Nicodemus needed to see himself as a sinner in order to understand grace. The Samaritan woman, who knew she was a sinner, needed to see herself as a person of worth and value. Even though she was considered an outcast by the established religious community, and was an outcast in her own community, the Father was inviting her into relationship with Him.

John 4:25-26
25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah comes, he who is called Christ. When he has come, he will declare to us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who speaks to you.”

The woman at the well gets it. She heads into town and becomes a very effective evangelist.

John 4:28-30
28 So the woman left her water pot, and went away into the city, and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything that I did. Can this be the Christ?” 30 They went out of the city, and were coming to him. 39 From that city many of the Samaritans believed in him because of the word of the woman, who testified, “He told me everything that I did.”

This woman went from town outcast, to having a significant part in sparking a revival there. That’s a great picture of the life He is calling us all to live. His amazing grace says to each one of us, no matter how we might compare to Nicodemus or the Samaritan woman, “You matter to Me. I want you to be a worshiper.”

You Have the Words of Life Chapter 3

You Have the Words of Life Chapter 3

June 12, 20170 Comments

The almost final editing of my latest book, “You have the Words of Life” continues here on Online Ministry Training:

John Chapter 3

1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 The same came to him by night, and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do, unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Most certainly, I tell you, unless one is born anew, he can’t see God’s Kingdom.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Most certainly I tell you, unless one is born of water and spirit, he can’t enter into God’s Kingdom. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Don’t marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’ 8 The wind blows where it wants to, and you hear its sound, but don’t know where it comes from and where it is going. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 9 Nicodemus answered him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and don’t understand these things? 11 Most certainly I tell you, we speak that which we know, and testify of that which we have seen, and you don’t receive our witness. 12 If I told you earthly things and you don’t believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven, but he who descended out of heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven. 14 As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through him. 18 He who believes in him is not judged. He who doesn’t believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God. 19 This is the judgement, that the light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does evil hates the light, and doesn’t come to the light, lest his works would be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his works may be revealed, that they have been done in God.” 22 After these things, Jesus came with his disciples into the land of Judea. He stayed there with them, and baptized. 23 John also was baptizing in Enon near Salim, because there was much water there. They came, and were baptized. 24 For John was not yet thrown into prison. 25 There arose therefore a questioning on the part of John’s disciples with some Jews about purification. 26 They came to John, and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified, behold, the same baptizes, and everyone is coming to him.” 27 John answered, “A man can receive nothing, unless it has been given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves testify that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before him.’ 29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. This, my joy, therefore is made full. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease. 31 He who comes from above is above all. He who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 What he has seen and heard, of that he testifies; and no one receives his witness. 33 He who has received his witness has set his seal to this, that God is true. 34 For he whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for God gives the Spirit without measure. 35 The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand. 36 One who believes in the Son has eternal life, but one who disobeys the Son won’t see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”

John 3:3
3 Jesus answered him, “Most certainly, I tell you, unless one is born anew, he can’t see God’s Kingdom.”

In order to be able to see the Kingdom of God we must be born anew, or born again. What does it mean to be born again? Lets look more closely at Nicodemus and see if we can get an idea.

John 3:1
1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.

Nicodemus represented the best in the nation. He was a teacher, a Pharisee, and a member of the Jewish ruling council known as the Sanhedrin. He wants to meet with Jesus so he goes to see Him at night because he doesn’t want anyone else to know.

John 3:2-4
2 The same came to him by night, and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do, unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Most certainly, I tell you, unless one is born anew, he can’t see God’s Kingdom.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?”

Nicodemus seemed to be a person that had it all together and yet Jesus tells him he needs to be born again. He has religion, position and power, but he has no spiritual life. He is spiritually dead.

When we are born again we are not becoming religious, we are getting a brand new life. To be born again is to be spiritually born. We become spiritually alive. We are not spiritually alive until we come to know Jesus.

John 3:5-6
5 Jesus answered, “Most certainly I tell you, unless one is born of water and spirit, he can’t enter into God’s Kingdom. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. Every person is living flesh, but not every person is living spirit. You are born as living flesh, but you must be born again to become alive spiritually. When you are born again you are given a new nature by the Spirit. A brand new nature is being formed and developed in you as you yield to and cooperate with the Holy Spirit in your life.

Ever wonder what became of Nicodemus? I think we get an idea from something that happens at the crucifixion after Jesus gives up His spirit and dies. When almost everyone else had run away, Nicodemus arrives on the scene with Joseph of Arimathaea and together they publicly take care of the body of Jesus.

John 19:38-42
38 After these things, Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked of Pilate that he might take away Jesus’ body. Pilate gave him permission. He came therefore and took away his body. 39 Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred Roman pounds. 40 So they took Jesus’ body, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury. 41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden. In the garden was a new tomb in which no man had ever yet been laid. 42 Then because of the Jews’ Preparation Day (for the tomb was near at hand) they laid Jesus there.

I think Nicodemus got it. I think Jesus encounter with Nicodemus resulted in a brand new life for the Kingdom of God.

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