The Gospel Of John – Lesson Eleven – “Living Water/Worship” – John 4:13-26

This article is part 10 of 12 in the series The Gospel Of John

I. There are certain TRUTHS which a person cannot just “accept,” he must discover, explore and experience them. Two of the main themes are God’s grace, and along with that the Holy Spirit.
Where you find one, the other is sure to “follow” if not only in the shadows of prophecy.

A. The Samaritan woman had taken the words of Jesus literally, to mean physically thirst quenching water. “Living water” refers (physically) to water which is running, moving, like a fresh water spring. This water is not stagnant, or found in a cistern. It is a percolating pool from the subsoil. Jesus was speaking on a different level and using “water” metaphorically, however the need which the woman had and which mankind has… is real. Jesus knew very well, that they were not on the same page…

(One day while living in Royston, Ga., Mom and Dad were sitting on the front porch relaxing. They were about 10 feet apart, sitting their high back rockers. Mom had a new ‘Walkman’ with ear phones and was listening to the Lawrence Welk Band. Dad was listening to the sounds of nature (crickets). Mom said to dad, “Isn’t that beautiful!” Dad responded, “Yes sweetheart, and just think, they do it all with their legs.” Dad used this story to illustrate how often we are not on the same page with someone we are trying to communicate with. This leads to misunderstanding of course.)

The Samaritan lady was not on the same page with the Master, but He fixed that. He was speaking of that which satisfies the heart and soul…spiritual water or the Holy Spirit.

B. “Our father Jacob”. The Northern tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh were largely the ones who would later be carried away into captivity. The ones who remained of course intermarried with those that were moved into that area. Results are the Samaritans. They still claimed to be people of God. Muslims claim Ishmael is the true heir of Abraham’s blessings (not Isaac), and call God “Allah”. All who are not Muslim, they claim are ‘infidels’. Christians call God… God (YaHWeH) pronounced Yahweh (Jehovah). Christians point to Abraham as their ‘father’, to whom God gave the promises based on his FAITH (NOT LAW). (Genesis 12:1-4; 15:6; Romans 4). All others are considered ‘unbelievers’ and need the cleansing blood of Jesus to be saved. However, simply being of the physical lineage of Abraham (which Jews of Jesus’ day claimed) was of no help spiritually. “And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.” (Matthew 3:9; cf. Luke 3:8; I Peter 2:5).

C. “Are you greater than our father Jacob?” This was her question to Jesus. The answer obviously is YES! While there are many who are considered great in the Old Testament (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses etc…) none are like Jesus! Their place and part in God’s plan to save mankind all point to the actual Savior… Jesus!

D. Jesus had another way of looking at the word ‘water’. “And He said to me, “It is done, I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost” (Revelation 21:6). “For the Lamb in the center of the throne shall be their Shepherd, and shall guide them to the springs of the water of life; and God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Revelation 7:17). What a loving Father we have! What a Savior we have! This alone should and is so reassuring… but there is more, He is more.
Jesus says I AM LIVING BREAD! (John 6:48-51); I AM LIGHT! (John 8:12); I AM THE DOOR FOR THE SHEEP! (John 10:9); I AM THE SHEPHERD! (John 10:11-14); I AM THE RESURRECTION/LIFE! (John 11:25-26).

Dad liked “Popeye,” the old cartoon which some of you remember from your childhood days. Popeye would always have a pipe in his mouth, and would be walking down the road after giving “Bluto” a beating, and sing “I’m Popeye the sailor man…I am what I am, I’m Popeye the sailor man.” (Don’t forget the “toot-toot” from the pipe). There was no glossing over who he was, and he was not ashamed of it. Popeye was genuine… Jesus is the real thing… He is genuine and unashamed… “I am what I am…”

II. “No more thirst!” “Blessed are those that hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6). These are the ones who do not have a “DRUG PROBLEM.”
“I had a drug problem”
“I had a drug problem when I was a young person.
I was drug to church on Sunday morning;
I was drug to church on Sunday night;
I was drug to church on Wednesday night;
I was drug to Sunday school;
I was drug to Vacation Bible School;
I was also drug to the woodshed when I disobeyed my parents,
told a lie, brought home a bad report card or didn’t speak with respect.
Those drugs are still in my behavior
in everything I do, say, and think.
They are stronger than cocaine, crack or heroin.”
(Author unknown)
(Copied from James Woodruff’s book “Sayings That Saved My Sanity,”
pg. 31).
I no longer have a “drug problem,” because these habits are now part of an insatiable thirst to grow in His grace! Jesus says, all who “hunger and thirst FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS shall be SATISFIED.”

It is no longer a “hunger and thirst” which cannot be satisfied, or quenched… The Word became flesh, Jesus came to this earth… and in HIM all is satisfied. He is food enough for the soul. He is water enough for the soul. I am not “drug” any longer… I RUN TO THE WATER HOLE! I RUN TO THE DINNER TABLE! The “river of water of life, clear as crystal (flows) from the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Revelation 22:1). Don’t ask nor expect the world to understand that… THEY CANNOT. Do not ask nor expect the world to appreciate and live like that THEY CANNOT!

III. “True Worship.” WHILE FOCUSING ON TRUTH IN WORSHIP WE HAVE ALL BUT MISSED OUT ON THE SPIRITUAL SIDE OF IT. LEGALISM AND INSTITUTIONALISM HAS ALMOST KILLED THE HEART AND JOY OF WORSHIP. Jesus says “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). Worship in truth without the spirit aspect is false worship. Spiritual worship without truth is also false worship. Seeking to find balance in scriptures is not all that difficult. We just have to lay aside some of our pre-determined ideas… and go back to the scriptures, not forgetting the foundational principle of GRACE. This means understanding that we are accepted in Christ, filled with the Spirit, growing in grace, and are not perfected under any other premise than His blood and righteousness. To be saved by grace, does not stop at the waters of baptism… Our obedience to God is far from perfect… and this includes our worship… (I think I’ll stand on that.) We are saved by GRACE… and whatever “works” and “worship” which comes from grace, comes BECAUSE we are going to heaven, not in order to GET THERE! Worship is NOT A PERFORMANCE, NOR PART OF THE PLAN OF SALVATION. Worship is the result of one being saved by grace, and a life surrendered to Him. PLACES ARE NOT IMPORTANT (Vs. 20-21), but the heart is! Truth in worship is important and so is spirit. We do not worship on a “better to be safe than sorry” basis, but on a “saved by grace” basis!

Quit debating about the ACTS of worship, and WORSHIP GOD! Everyday worship Him. Riding in the car, worship Him. If the radio is playing or a tape or CD with good “Christian music,” SING ALONG and PRAISE GOD! Give as the occasion arises, and be blessed in your giving. Study and pray as you go through life… Every day is a day to rejoice in the Lord!

What makes worship FALSE?!
1. The OBJECT (Matthew 4:9-10; 6:19-24)
2. HEARTS that are wrong (Matthew 13:15; 15:8, 18; 22:37; 24:48).
– GRUDGES (Matthew 5:23-24).
– BITTERNESS (Matthew 6:14-15).
3. (You can add some more things here I am sure…)

We are speaking to born again people here… Because we are in Christ… we worship… sense we are His temple… and priests… we offer ourselves as a living sacrifice every day, in every way we can.

Living water and worship… both are mentioned in one chapter and spoken to the same lady… and in this scribe’s mind, if our worship is not fed by the streams of this “living water,” it will be dry and unsatisfying to say the least. Both are connected!

Grow in grace!

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The Gospel Of John – Lesson Ten – “No Walls” – John 4:1-12

This article is part 12 of 12 in the series The Gospel Of John

I. Background:
During ancient times… walls made the city. No walls! No city! Life without walls back then was no life, no protection! WALLS however did not always have to be made of stone and mortar. Even now, walls are erected between people. Invisible walls, but very real! Walls keep people apart. Walls keep prejudice and hate alive. Walls have to be examined, one by one. Some need torn down… Some are useful… This is a study of one WALL between the Jews and Samaritans.

Palestine – a country 120 miles North to South. There were three divisions: North Galilee, South Judea and in between Samaria. There was a centuries old feud between the Jews and the Samaritans (mixed breed). It was three days journey from Judea to Galilee through Samaria. It was six days to Galilee crossing the Jordan when by-passing Samaria and then re-crossing the Jordan. At Sychar, the road forks, and we find (still there) Jacob’s well. Read the story of Jacob’s well in Genesis 33:18-20. Jacob gave it to Joseph. Joseph, at his death, was taken and buried in Palestine (Joshua 24:32), and along with this historic well, there are still many Jewish memories. The well is more than 100 feet deep. It is not a spring, but it bubbles, ‘percolates’ (according to dad’s visit there and gathering information). Jesus is sitting – resting on the well. It is about the 6th hour of the day (NOON TIME). The disciples… they had gone to get food.
Then comes the Samaritan woman. She is from Sychar which is about a mile and a half away. Quite a journey to get water! She may have been an outcast or not. She had been married five times and was living with a man now. Perhaps she gave up on marriage.

1.) “Give me a drink” Jesus asked. She was shocked that he even spoke to her. he was a Jew, and the expected ‘I’m better than you’ attitude was expected… but not received.
Jesus then engages her in conversation about ‘living water’. She is puzzled. Of course she wants this water, but doesn’t understand it. “Give me some of this water!”

2.) Few stories reveal love, kindness, acceptance, like this one does between Jesus and the Samaritan woman. Few stories reveal the humanity of Jesus like this one. Do you get thirsty? Jesus was thirsty! Do you get tired and need to sit? Jesus got tired and needed to sit! His warmth and love are so obvious here. He still loves… YOU!

3.) The walls people build for one reason or another… Jesus seems to ignore! NO WALLS! NO BARRIERS! NOTHING BETWEEN JESUS AND YOU… which he cannot overcome. (Ephesians 1:10; 3:1-6; Revelation 5:9,12).

Samaritans were the half breeds (II Kings 17:6; 17:24). They were the result of inter marriage. They had lost their racial purity. It was as if these people were dead! The Northern Kingdom had been carried off into captivity. They never came back.

II. BEGINNING OF THE “WHOSOEVER WILL”
“God, so loving the world.” “Standing at the door… still knocking” Where “walls” exist communication stops. Jesus came to tear down walls… to communicate good news. “Whosoever will” means just that, “WHO SO EVER.” Are you a racist? Are you a bigot? Are you afraid when too many of a different color of skin become members of your congregation?! Do you get upset when Christians of a different culture become your church leaders? Shame on you! Period! Go to your Father in Heaven and explain this.
Amazing grace is not just for you… it is for everyone!

Matthew 11:28-30 “Jesus says COME!” “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you (all) rest.29 Take my yoke upon you (all) and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you (all) will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Amen walls!!!

Matthew 9:20-22 Jesus wants your “Touch”!  “Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak.21 She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” 22 Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.” Don’t get in the way of someone ‘touching Jesus’!

Galatians 4:4-7 God is your “Abba”! ” But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. 6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.” This adoption is for WHOSOEVER WILL!!!

Galatians 3:26-29 “You are all sons of God..”So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

NO MORE WALLS! Years ago, I was with mom and dad when we went to hear Marshall Keeble. These were the days of segregation, and “eeny, meeny, miny, moe…” These were days of hate and prejudice. But not with mom and dad… We went and loved the worship, the clapping, singing, praising… and the preaching… Brother Keeble once said to a ‘racist brother'(?) who said, “We don’t have to teach black people.” His response was, “Brother we may not be a ‘nation’ but we are all God’s “creatures”, and Jesus says, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15)(KJV).

The world is drowning in prejudice, racism, hate and bigotry… but LET THIS NOT ONCE BE NAMED AMONG THE PEOPLE OF GOD!

The feast is spread… The invitation is for EVERY MAN WOMAN AND CHILD THAT CAN UNDERSTAND HOW LOST THEY ARE WITHOUT JESUS  AND TURN TO HIM AND BE BORN AGAIN OF WATER AND THE SPIRIT, (John 3:3-5; Acts 2:37-39).

Grow in grace!

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The Gospel Of John – Lesson Nine – A Man Without Envy – John 3:22-36

This article is part 1 of 12 in the series The Gospel Of John

It is not easy to play second fiddle, to be ‘second best’! Popularity is important to us all, and we are sorely tempted with jealousy when faced with this situation. King Saul is one example. “Whatever Saul sent him to do, David did it so successfully that Saul gave him a high rank in the army. This pleased all the people, and Saul’s officers as well. 6 When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and tambourines and lutes. 7 As they danced they sang, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.” 8 Saul was very angry; this refrain galled him. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?” 9 And from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David” (I Samuel 18:5-9).

John was a good man, a great prophet… and he had a marvelous mission, but he was not the One, and he knew it. “He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light” (John 1:8). John was a ‘herald‘! He did not go through the streets of Jerusalem crying out, “Hear ye! Hear ye!”… He cried out in the wilderness of Judea! Multitudes came to see and hear him! He was an ‘announcer‘… His message was loud and always clear (cf. Luke 3:7-18). He fearlessly proclaimed his message no matter who was in his audience (cf. Luke 3:19-20). He knew ‘his place’ and did not have a problem with ‘walking in the shadow’ of Jesus. He was a ‘fore runner‘, coming just ahead of Jesus and prepared the way for him, just like the ancient ones prepared a road for a coming king to travel on. John had no problem with jealousy… he was happy to say the least. He was humbled to be the one to declare “Look, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).  His task was to bring Israel and Jesus ‘together’.

Our text: “After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. 23 Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were coming and being baptized. 24 (This was before John was put in prison.) 25 An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. 26 They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.” 27 To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. 28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ 29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30 He must become greater; I must become less.” 31 The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33 Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them” (John 3:22-36).

1. JESUS CHRIST – FIRST – HIGHEST – THE BRIDEGROOM
A. John simply wants and is satisfied with doing his part, playing his role, having his place in the plan. Did John have his doubts? Sure, but not about his role in God’s plan.
1.) Matthew 11:1-11 “After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee. 2 When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples 3 to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” 4 Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”
(Jesus now stands up for John to the crowds as one who) 7 As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 8 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces.
9  Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is the one about whom it is written: ‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ 11 Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”
2.) Mark 1:4-11 “And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. 6 John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” 9 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
3.) John was special even before he was born (i.e. while in Elizabeth’s womb). Luke 1:41 “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.” Then in verse 76, Zechariah prophesies, about his new born son John, “And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him.” In Luke 1:15-17 it says of John, “for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.
16  He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God.
17  And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
B. Things to notice:
1.) John was not jealous! His disciples… may be another question (John 3:26)
2.) John recognized Jesus ministry was from God, (John 3:27) (cf. Ephesians 5:31-33).
3.) John was HUMBLE + SUBMISSIVE which equaled him being an OBEDIENT SERVANT. Charles Hodge in his work “My daily walk with God”, puts it like this, “H + S = OS.” (Page 23). James says, “Humble yourselves in the presence of God and he will exalt you” (James 4:10). John is the picture of this. So when you think of humility…  think of John (but not only him)! His focus was on the One who was to come after him… not on himself. He wasn’t trying to please the crowds… he spoke the message with boldness. There was nothing ‘fake’ about John. He wore NO MASK… he was the genuine article… “Humility shouts, “To God be the glory!” (Philippians 4:20). Humility shouts, “There He is, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
4.) The church (body of Christ) is a ‘chaste virgin to Christ’ (It may sound a bit redundant, but His body belongs to Him! (2 Corinthians 11:2). It was the same with God and Israel (Exodus 34:15; Deuteronomy 31:16; Psalms 73:27; Isaiah 54:5).
5.) “Best man” in Jewish custom represents a HIGH POSITION since he is the ‘liaison’ between the bride and groom. He arranged the wedding. Dealt with invitations and presided at the wedding feast. He also GUARDED the bridal chamber!
5.) HE MUST INCREASE- I must decrease… These were the words and attitude of Jesus.

II. SPIRIT – WITHOUT MEASURE (Jesus holds nothing back)
Dad seems to shift his consideration at this point in his lesson, and deals with Jesus and the Spirit. That Jesus is supreme… there is no question! John records his first hand message of the Divine Messenger…
“The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony.
33  Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit” (John 3:31-34).
A. All authority has been given to Him, (Matthew 28:18-20).
B. He alone is worthy to ‘break the seals’ of Revelation, (Revelation 5:1-5).
C. He is the FIRST AND THE LAST (Alpha and Omega) (Revelation 1:9-18).
D. He came to fulfill the purpose and plan of His Father…(John 12:23-32).

III. HE THAT BELIEVES – SON – ETERNAL LIFE
A. Take a look at mark 16:15-16 “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”
B. Many have taken this and other verses on “belief”, to an extreme, and said that all one needs to do is ‘believe’. This is not true.
1.) Refer back to the study of the new birth of water and Spirit (John 3).
2.) Eternal life – Is the life of God… He offers it to all through Jesus.
3.) Those who come to the Father through Jesus, are all… ALL ONE. Yes i understand that brethren have argued, divided the body of Christ (not denominationalism). But I don’t think God recognizes “ANTI”, “LIBERAL”, “ONE CUP”, “INSTRUMENTAL OR NON”. These along with all the other divisions… ALL ONE BODY, (Ephesians 2:11-22; 4:1-4).

Grow in grace!!! (Next Lesson: “NO WALLS” )(John 4:1-12)

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The Gospel Of John – Lesson Eight – “Snake and Savior” – John 3:14-21

This article is part 11 of 12 in the series The Gospel Of John

This lesson begins with a look with “Types and Anti-types”. What’s that?! This simply means we are looking at ‘prophesy’ and ‘comparison’, but in a special way. I found this somewhere… see if it helps. “A ‘Type’ is: A biblical person, place, or thing described in the Old Testament, prefiguring a future biblical person, place, or thing, described in the New Testament or ‘anti-type’. Anti-type is the answer or counterpart of the type. Comparing antitype to type is like comparing an image to a shadow.” Of course in our study we are excited to see what is the “answer” or “counterpart” of the type…

Now look at some examples of this:
TYPE ——————————- ANTI TYPE
Adam (Read Romans 5:15-17) JESUS CHRIST
Noah (Read I Peter 3:20-21) Baptism
Moses (Read Acts 7:37) Prophet – JESUS CHRIST
First (Old) Covenant (Read Hebrews 8:7-13) – Second (New) Covenant
Melchizedek (Prophet/Priest/King) – JESUS CHRIST
(Read Genesis 14:18-19; Hebrews 7:1-3; Hebrews 5:6,10)

There are other examples (like I Corinthians 10:1-11), but lets go back to our text in John 3:14-21. “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man (Jesus) must be lifted up, (15) that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life. (16) 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. (17) For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (18) Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but he who does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and anly Son. (19) This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. (20) Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. (21) But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what what he has done has been done through God.”

1. Type and Anti-type – In my opinion, Jesus is still speaking with Nicodemus, and he points him back to a figure he is well acquainted with… a snake in the wilderness (Numbers 21:4-9)… lifted up on a pole so that all who had been bitten by serpents (because of their rebellion), could look upon the snake, AND BE HEALED. Thus the ‘snake’ represents God’s salvation. Israel had already been ‘baptized’ in the cloud and
sea, when they passed through the Red Sea on dry ground (I Corinthians 10:1-12). But they were a stubborn, even though they were God’s people.
A. Later we find that the snake which was raised up in the wilderness was being an object of worship (II Kings 18:1-5), so it was destroyed. You see, the bronze snake was only a symbol… God wanted them to LOOK IN FAITH. There was nothing in the snake… God saved those of faith, and it’s the same today. (More on that shortly.)
B. “Lifted up” (Gk. verb “Hupsoun”) “Lifted up on the cross”, and “Lifted up in glory when he ascended to the Father (Acts 1). It was not a ‘snake’ this time… It was Jesus (praise his name) and all who come to Him would be healed, not from the bite of a snake, but healed from the bite of THE Snake (Satan). In John 8:28 Jesus says, “When you have LIFTED UP the Son of Man, then you will know that I am then one I claim to be, and that I do nothing on my own but I speak just what the Father has taught me.” Look at John 12:32 “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth WILL DRAW ALL MEN TO MYSELF.” Acts 2:32-33 “God has RAISED this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the FACT. EXALTED to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.” Acts 5:31″God has EXALTED him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel.” Now look at Philippians 2:9 “Therefore God exalted him to the HIGHEST PLACE.” Praise God!!!
C. “Believe” (This is simply FAITH and TRUST.) We see here and believe, that Jesus was ‘God in flesh’… that Jesus is the Son of God (the ONLY ONE, chosen one, unique one, “only begotten of the Father”), and that God is a loving Father and what Jesus says is true! (Believe it!)
2. Eternal life (Everlasting life) Life from God himself is given to all who come to Jesus!
In Jesus we find (1) PEACE WITH GOD (Philippians 4:7), (2) PEACE WITH MANKIND (Romans 15:19), (3) PEACE WITH LIFE (Romans 8:26-28; Philippians 4:19), (4) PEACE WITH OURSELVES (Philippians 3:8-10, 13-15; 4:13).
3. John 3:16 (Using the King James Version) “For (because)… God (the Author/Origin)… So loved (more than anyone could)… The world (the unlovable)…That He gave (the action of real love)… His (not yours)… Only begotten Son (one and only)… That (for this reason)…Whosoever (including the best and the worst and everyone else)… Believeth (trusts)… In Him (Jesus Christ)…Should not perish (what we deserve)… But have (by grace)…(Everlasting) Eternal (from now on)… LIFE (what we definitely don’t deserve).” (The mainspring of His grace is His love!)
4. Judge (Jesus is Savior and Judge). He said, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:17). That’s the WHY of Jesus coming. Yet all that He did caused men to make a decision… and still does… John 9:39 “For judgment I come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” He came to seek and save, to heal and lift up, yet when he did… many turned away from him. In essence judging themselves because of his words and works.
Dad once visited a museum (not sure where), but as he went in he saw this sign, “THE PAINTINGS HERE ARE NOT ON TRIAL… YOU ARE!”

Paul says in Ephesians 2:8-10 “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith —and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God (9) not by works, so that no one can boast, (10) For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do goo works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Romans 4 Paul uses the example of Abraham. As you read this chapter… change the word “WORK(S)” with MERIT which will help in your understanding. This word is contrasted with “CREDIT” (NIV).
Now let’s use the KJV for a bit for verses 1-8 “What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? 2 For if Abraham were justified by works (MERIT), he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. 3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted (CREDITED) unto him for righteousness. 4 Now to him that worketh (MERIT) is the reward not reckoned of grace (GIFT), but of debt. 5 But to him that worketh (MERIT) not, but believeth (TRUSTS) on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted (CREDITED) for righteousness. 6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works (MERIT), 7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute (CREDIT) sin.
Read the whole chapter this way…

The big question is and always will be… WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH JESUS?

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The Gospel Of John – Lesson Seven – “Nicodemus” – John 3:1-13

This article is part 9 of 12 in the series The Gospel Of John

Nicodemus is known as the ‘one who came to Jesus by night’, yet no one really knows why! Many have speculated to no end.
I. THESE THINGS WE KNOW:
A. He was wealthy! (John 19:39)
Rich people know other rich people. They often run together and join the same clubs and frequent the same social events. Sometimes they go to the same church. Nicodemus accompanied Joseph of Arimathea to obtaim permission to take the body of Jesus and bury it. (Joseph was another ‘secret’ disciple of Jesus.) Nicodemus had brought a mixture of Myrrh and Aloes, “about 75 pounds, and together they wrapped Jesus’ body and buried it.)
B. He was also a “Pharisee” (“Chaburah” which means “Brotherhood”.) The Pharisees spent their entire life in studying and observing every detail of the law, (as well as making sure everyone else did the same.) There were approximately 6,000 Pharisees, and they were considered the ‘best’ in the country. They were orthodox and could quote the first five books of Moses, which they considered the complete will of God. They considered themselves ‘perfect’ as regarding law keeping.
C. He was a ‘ruler’ (“archon”) – One of seventy who made up the Sanhedrin, which was the Supreme court of the Jews. They claimed jurisdiction over all Jews throughout the world. One o’f their duties was to examine every ‘so-called’ prophet and determine whether they were TRUE OR FALSE prophets.
D. He came to Jesus by night. I doubt that this was due to his busy schedule… and more likely because he had much to loose by being an admirer of Jesus of Nazareth. So he exercised caution… He seems to have been a troubled man, and one who ‘thought for himself’. Night time was also a good time to get Jesus by himself and just talk. Reading from verse 1-21, one is amazed to see the depth of the private, one on one study which Jesus had with this man.

II. “YOU’RE A GREAT TEACHER”
(Jesus did to this man what He can do to everyone… HE CHANGED HIM!)
Often when we think of ‘change’, it is OUTWARD. We change our looks with loosing weight, face lifts, make-up, exercise, new clothes and so on. Jesus is not so interested in the outside as He is the inside… the heart, mind and soul.
He speaks to nicodemus about the NEW BIRTH. There are a few passages which help with this which we will be looking at besides this text, but this is the key to them all.
A. “Born again” (Gk. “Anothen” born from above).
This is important because it deals with real change… Here’s what I think (ie. my opinion). 1.) It means ‘from the beginning, radical, complete,  2.) “Again” in the sense of a ‘second time’. 3.) “From above” – From God. While it is difficult to get all of this into one English word… The phrase “BORN AGAIN” OR “BORN FROM ABOVE” seems to be the best way to describe what Jesus is telling Nicodemus and US!
B. Let’s look at some passages carefully:
1.) John 3:3-5 (These are Jesus’ words) “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is BORN AGAIN.” “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is BORN OF WATER AND THE SPIRIT.”
2.) I Peter 1:3, 22-23 “Praise be to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy he has given us NEW BIRTH into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…” “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been BORN AGAIN, not of perishing seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” ,
3.) James 1:18 “He chose to give us BIRTH through (by way of) the word of truth that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created.”
4.) Titus 3:5 “He saved us not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of REBIRTH and RENEWAL by the Holy Spirit, whom he POURED OUT on us generously THROUGH Jesus Christ our Savior.”
5.) Romans 6:1-11 (Read)
6.) I Corinthians 3:1-2 “Brothers, I could not address you as SPIRITUAL, but as worldly – mere infants in Christ….”
7.) II Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if anyone is in Christ – he is a new creature; the old has gone and the new has come.”
8.) Galatians 6:15 “Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.”
9.) Ephesians 4:22-24 “You were taught , with regard to your FORMER WAY OF LIFE, to put off your OLD SELF, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be MADE NEW in the attitude of your minds; and to PUT ON the NEW SELF, created to be LIKE GOD in true righteousness and holiness.”
10.) Hebrews 5:12-14 “In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need mild, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.”
Read and re-read these passages. As Hodge has said, “Familiar passages need to be studied again.” Here the writer(s) speak refer to our new birth… our ‘spiritual birthday.’
Here we find references to the SOURCE, the POWER, the LOVE and MERCY and the means by which we learn about this new birth. We also read of INFANTS in Christ and MILK. This is for the NEW BORN… and those who are not growing up properly. Here we read about the before and after (birth), dead and alive. Buried and raised to walk a NEW LIFE. We read about baptism which symbolizes a point where this birth takes place… but there is more to come…

III. THE NEW BIRTH IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
A. Born INTO the kingdom (grace rule) of God (through Jesus) “For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves. In whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13-14).
B. Born INTO the family of God as ‘children’ (I Timothy 3:15 Speaks of “God’s household, which is the church of the living God…”; “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like LITTLE CHILDREN you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).
C. Born into the ‘body’ of Christ. “And God placed all things under his feet  and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his BODY, the fulness of Him who fills everything in every way” (Ephesians 1:22-23). “Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church….” (Ephesians 5:25-27). “For we were ALL baptized by one Spirit into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and we were ALL given the one Spirit to drink” (I Corinthians 12:13). We are given a new heart/spirit (Ezekiel 36:26).
D. “Pneuma” – (Gk. “spirit or wind”). “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, You must be born again. The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with EVERYONE born of the Spirit” (John 3:6-8). Thus it is hard… very hard to explain everything about the Spirit of God. Basics, we know! Even the birth of a human is hard to explain everything. Basics we know! (Don’t put the Spirit in a ‘box’!) We may not know everything, but we know the Spirit works… we can see the effects!!!
E. “Water and Spirit”. The “water” IS baptism in water. This is “for the remission of sins”, a sense of ‘cleansing’. The ‘Spirit’ IS also referring to baptism in the Holy Spirit. Yet (this is important), there is only one birth… two elements… ONE BIRTH. The Holy Spirit is the life Giver, and source of power for the Christian life. (DON’T GET HUNG UP ON THE WORD ‘BAPTISM’ when referring to the Spirit (cf. Jno. 3:3-5). I can baptize someone into water and raise him up… Jesus gives the Spirit and the Spirit gives life (anew). We are not dealing with gifts FROM the Spirit here… what we are speaking of and what Jesus spoke to Nicodemus about… is THE NEW BIRTH… a new beginning. This birth involves water and Spirit… The Spirit is referred to in Acts 2:38-39 as a GIFT. Jesus speaks of the Spirit as the activating, renewing, regenerating element in this NEW BIRTH.

Beloved in the Lord… The bible does not teach water birth ONLY nor does it teach SPIRIT birth ONLY… The Bible teaches both water and Spirit INVOLVED IN ONE BIRTH. A Spirit-less water birth is powerless providing no life. A water-less Spirit birth is useless sense one cannot separate these two elements from the NEW BIRTH.

John 3:3-5 (These are Jesus’ words… not mine!) “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is BORN AGAIN.” “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is BORN OF WATER AND THE SPIRIT.”

Why fear what the Master says? Why deny what Jesus plainly teaches? Just because there is misunderstanding and false teaching on the subject doesn’t mean we have to deny the very power of the Christian’s life!
Christian, you have been baptized in water and the Spirit! Call it “the gift of the Spirit” (Acts 2:38-39), call it the “out pouring” (Acts 2). It all refers to the same thing… God through Jesus gives His people the Spirit of God!

Good books to study:
The BIBLE! (I used the New International Version for this study. I like it. Use what you like.)

“The Holy Spirit Makes No Earthly Sense” by Terry Rush
“Christian You Are Biaptized in Water and the Holy Spirit” by Robert Gibson
“The Holy Spirit” by Richard Rogers
“How The Holy Spirit Works in the Life of the Christian Today” by Jack Exum

I would enjoy hearing from you on this and other studies on this web site… God bless you in your search for truth. Grace and peace! By the way… don’t be surprised if I don’t update this and other articles… I just keep studying.

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The Gospel Of John – Lesson Six – “The New Temple” (John 2:18-25)

This article is part 8 of 12 in the series The Gospel Of John

   Right on the ‘tail end’ of Jesus ‘cleansing the temple’, the Jews, who were the religious leaders in my opinion, asked Him for a “sign”. I mean, when someone comes in and just takes over as Jesus did… it makes one wonder “Who does he think he is?!” I guess they figured they deserved a miracle after He had turned over tables, and driven the money makers out. If Jesus had done this, in essence he would be saying “See!! I am the Son of God!” But he didn’t perform a miracle. Instead Jesus speaks on a level that his challengers are definitely not on.
The only “sign” (which by the way is the greatest) He offers was still in the future… “Destroy this temple, and in three days I WILL RAISE IT UP” (vs. 19). Obviously they were shocked and puzzled. It took 46 years to build the only temple they cared about. Obviously to us, Jesus was speaking about his death, burial and his resurrection. The disciples later remembered his words after Jesus was raised from the dead (vs. 22). This fulfilled all kinds of scriptures given by the Old Testament prophets like David, Isaiah, and others.
Jesus did perform miracles (vs. 23), and many did believe on Him at that time as a result. Jesus was popular, but He knew what people thought. He knew how fickled people are. You have probably seen this in your life, where people who loved you once had become your enemy ‘over night’. It is a good lesson to keep in mind, but it’s not the one we are after.
A word about “SIGNS” or “MIRACLES”. Jesus performed MANY, MANY miracles. More than are recorded in the Gospels (John 20:30-31). But what is meant by a “sign”? Well, there are three Greek terms which come into play which we need to keep in mind. 1.) “Teras” which means amazing, staggering or marvelous. That would fit what Jesus did for sure.
2.) “Dunamis” which gives us our word for ‘dynamite’, but basically refers to ‘extra ordinary power’! That also would fit what Jesus showed in his miracles. Remember he raised the dead, cast out demons, healed the sick… INSTANTLY!!! That is POWER! STAGGERING, AMAZING POWER!!!
3.) “Semeion” which means ‘a sign’. The difference and reason for the word used in this context seems to be pointing to the PURPOSE of the miracle. A ‘sign’ reveals would POINT TO SOMEONE. In this case, Jesus when he gave people a ‘sign’ it would be a miracle with a purpose of pointing people to His Divinity. A ‘sign’ revealed the PERSON, NATURE AND CHARACTER of Jesus. It told people WHO HE WAS (the Son of God). It showed people WHAT HE WAS (powerful). It revealed his NATURE (Divine love). Later he would tell Phillip, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father (John 14:9). So Jesus revealed a lot when He performed a miracle.
The greatest SIGN was his resurrection. On this ONE SIGN, all of Christianity stands! The resurrection of Jesus is the cap stone, and the foundation and everything in between!!! Take a look at the preaching of the apostles and other disciples and the part the resurrection played in their message.
1. PETER – Acts 2:29-39
2. PETER – Acts 3:12-16
3. PETER – Acts 4:8-12
4. PETER AND THE APOSTLES – Acts 5:29-32
5. STEPHEN – Acts 7
6. PHILLIP – Acts 8:12, 26-39
7. SAUL/PAUL – Acts 9:1-6, 20
8. PETER – Acts 10:33, 38-40
9. PAUL – Acts 16:14-16
10. PAUL AND SILAS – Acts 16:25-34
11. PAUL – Acts 18:8; I Corinthians 1:14-17
12. PAUL – Acts 19:1-7
The point is just this… if anyone can prove Jesus was NOT RAISED FROM THE DEAD… then these people and all others who proclaim Jesus as God’s Son, are deceived at best and liars at worst. This would prove Jesus is just a man who did good things, and proclaimed a great message, but that would be the end of it. All their preaching would be just deceiving words.
BUT HE WAS RAISED, AND HE IS THE SON OF GOD! As a sideline… the question begs to be answered… why would so many in those early days and years of Christianity give their lives for a lie?
How important is it to ‘be on the same page’ with someone? How easy is it for people to get distracted, or misunderstood? Well, why do you think I take so much time to explain what I am trying to ‘say’? So you will be on the same page.
When Jesus spoke of “destroy this temple and I will raise it up in three days”, the religious leaders totally missed it!!! They could not see that Jesus was offering them the ultimate, undeniable, un-get-over-able miracle… his resurrection. It shows how they already had their minds made up and were against him all the way… He could have done a miracle… but He had already done this. Still they didn’t accept him. They were not on the ‘same page’ with Jesus… this is obvious.
Mom and dad were sitting on their front porch in Royston, Ga., and mom was listening to Lawrence Welk on her Walkman. Dad was on the other side of the porch and was listening to the crickets. Mom (with her Walkman still on) said to dad, “Honey, isn’t this beautiful?” Dad replied, “Yes, and just think, they do it all with their legs!?
Well, I smile every time I remember this story dad told about he and mom, but it teaches a valuable lesson. Be sure you are on the ‘same page’, when studying the Bible, or when listening to your wife or husband… Be sure you are on the ‘same page’ with God’s Word, His plan, His will, His life…

“Dear Father,
We are so grateful for your Son, who came to this earth and lived a life so we could read, and see in our minds eye just how great You are, how loving You are. We are so grateful for Jesus, who was raised from the dead, and gives us expectation for the same victory one day when we leave this world. Guide us through our study of your Word, even make us humble and willing to accept your Word. Keep us always in Your love. In Jesus Name…. Amen.”

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The Gospel Of John – Lesson Five – “Jesus Got Angry” – (John 2:12-22)

This article is part 7 of 12 in the series The Gospel Of John

How many times have we all regretted times when we got angry and said or did things which we regretted? Think back for a moment… a harsh word, a reaction which was perhaps physical in nature, a ‘look that would kill’, a hand motion that was rude and hurtful. Anger is a human emotion. It is not wrong in itself any more than other feelings which we have. “Let humans be human”, and so we are. The problem comes when anger controls, rules and dominates to the point that sin is the result.
Jesus came to raise us to a higher level. His life is our ‘creed’ and example. From Him we gain a perspective on life unlike that of the ‘world’. It is from Jesus that we learn how to react and deal with life as one who is in an intimate relationship with the Father. The closer we follow the Master, the more we think like the Master… the  more we yield to His indwelling Spirit… the more we will be in control.
James encouraged Christians to “… be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires” (James 1:19-20).
It is true that of the many, many scriptures which speak of “anger”, that all are not bad. God got angry at sin, wickedness and rebellion. People are said to get angry for a good reason. Punishment and retribution are not always bad and unjust. There is only one letter differentiating “anger” and “danger”. Anger’s danger is when it gets out of control, and leads to sin. Genesis speaks of an early example of ‘anger’, in Cain…. 4 And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. 6 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him” (Genesis 4:4-8).
Here we find some good lessons about anger which we will come back to after we look at Jesus.
Jesus got angry. How angry? Don’t know… but angry enough! Jesus had travelled from Capernaum to Jerusalem for the Passover. He then went to the Temple Courts and what He saw and experienced there was just unreal to him. He was shocked and upset to say the least. He found God’s house, His Father’s house, a House of worship and prayer… being desecrated. Now during the times of Ptolemy IV Philopater (221 – 203 B.C.) and Ptolemy V Epiphanes (203 -180 B.C.) both hated the Jews. They persecuted the Jews for about 40 years during their reigns and they desecrated their temple. I believe this was done by offering a pig on the altar. Jesus now comes to the temple, and here is what he found… “In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money” (John 2:14). What is so wrong with that?! I mean Christians hold yard sales, have parties on ‘church grounds’. “Not the same” someone says. While others may say… “Yep! The same!” Well, actually it doesn’t seem like the same thing. Jews would come to worship and bring their offerings, and it seems the offerings were never good enough. The people had to buy from those who were selling in the court area. By the way, they should not have been there in the first place. Who knows maybe the religious leaders got a ‘cut on the action’.
Jesus’ reaction…  “So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market” (John 2:15-16). Wow! Jesus had a temper? No, Jesus had a deep love for His Father, and tremendous respect for the Temple. He knew its purpose! All that was going on, completely destroyed and desecrated the temple just as bad as offering a pig on the altar. Did they care? They didn’t seem to. What was going on was just one more thing which kept God on a back burner.  Insulting His Father brought an immediate response… This, by the way, was referred to in Psalms 69:9 “for zeal for your house consumes me and the insults of those who insult you fall on me.”
Think on this… There are many things which are worthy of a defensive response. When someone insults your wife, husband, children, family, your integrity, your honesty, the church, and the list goes on. The key is in who is being insulted or wronged. Anger is a natural, human response…. But when it leads to sin… it is wrong.
One area where anger is especially dangerous is when our OWN pride comes into play. It is kinda hard to write on this… because I cannot cover all the bases… Jesus spoke about loving enemies (Luke 6:27), doing good to those who treat you wrongly (Luke 6:27-28), turning the other cheek (Luke 6:29), right? Further, the Master speaks of when someone “takes” from a Christian (wrongly) and says, “do not stop him” (Luke 6:29). Christians were insulted, mocked, persecuted for their beliefs, and explicit instructions were given regarding how we should think about this (Luke 6:35; Matthew 5:11-12). When Jesus was being arrested, Peter took out his sword and cut off the ear of Malchus… Jesus rebuked him for this and healed Malchus. The Christian life is one which ‘speaks against’ the wickedness of the world. Taking a stand for Jesus means one is standing against the world. The world hated Jesus and will hate Christians (John 15:18-19). What should be our reaction? Anger?! Should one strike out?! Get even?! Listen to Paul, “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:16-21). Then in Ephesians he says, “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27  and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:26-32).
Yes Jesus got angry… but did not sin. He was standing up for the holiness of God. Should we turn over tables and chase out money changers? Well, if the same situation existed today, we should definitely say something about it. We should definitely make a stand against it. There is a time for anger… just remember, be angry for the right reason, but don’t give Satan a “foothold” in your life.

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The Gospel Of John – Lesson Four – “The Wedding” – John 2:1-11

This article is part 6 of 12 in the series The Gospel Of John

Mom and dad – Married June 25, 1948 – At their 50th anniversary… Still newlyweds!!!

Jack Exum and Ann Exum ("Here take that")

Jack Exum and Ann Exum (“Here take that”)

   Weddings are … marvelous. Full of dreams and promises, gifts and cards, flowers… illuminated with the light of joy and hope for the future… a future together. As recorded in Genesis “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). The idea is that the wedding is but the beginning of a life long journey of two people in love, a male and female… they become one flesh. Weddings in whatever country, with whatever customs and rituals… mark the beginning for the couple.
   In Cana, a city in Galilee, there was a wedding. It customarily lasted for days, like in Indonesia. The wedding followed the feast. There was no honeymoon (dad jokingly said that the ‘honeymoon’ was the time between “I DO” and “YOU’D BETTER”.) Jesus’ mother was there along with Jesus and his disciples. Something went wrong and the wine ran out. Now I am not going to try and convince you that the wine was not really wine. It is my opinion that it was sense this was a wedding celebration.  Who serves grape juice at a wedding anyway?  I guess I’ll leave debating about “wine or grape juice” for others to do. Anyway, Jesus handled the situation beautifully.
   Jesus doesn’t seem comfortable in performing the miracle, sense it seems to be outside the time frame He has in mind. However, it was His mother that asked him.  Joseph is not there… maybe he had died. Mary was ‘mom’ to Jesus… and she had a special ‘pull’. She tells the servants just to do whatever He says, and they do. Fill up the six stone jars that were nearby with water. How big were the jars? Well, big enough, because they used the water stored there for ceremonial washing, bathing etc…. The measurement ‘a firkin’ was about 9 gallons, which equaled 54 gallons of water. The Jewish tradition was to wash quite often, and it was a real chore to go and get the water, so it would be done maybe once a week or two. They filled and when they took some out to serve the guests…. well you guessed it… Jesus never did anything half way… The wine was the best they had ever tasted. Some even wondered why it was saved for serving last.
This was the first miracle of Jesus, and it was done to show his glory to his disciples.
   Mom always had the ‘pull’ with dad. When we were in trouble we always went to mom. When we wanted something really special we would go to mom and she would go to dad. Mom had ‘pull’ with dad. No, we didn’t get everything we wanted… we always had what we needed. Mom was so special. She was also ‘in charge’.
   When we were younger of course her word was ‘command’, but later she understood that things had changed. All accept two things…. LOVE AND RESPECT. We never lost our LOVE AND RESPECT for mom and dad. Even though there were a lot fewer ‘commands’ there were ‘requests’. She knew that all she had to do is call and ask, and whatever it was, it was done. Not out of fear, not out of manipulation… but out of LOVE AND RESPECT we still did things for them. Especially when they got older.  Are your parents still alive? If so, always remember… to LOVE AND RESPECT. I’m sure you cannot turn water into wine… but to her you are the one. One day she will be gone… cherish the memories, help when you can… You will never regret helping her… The memories will be a great comfort… Is your mother gone? Then cherish the memories.
   What Jesus did, He did because his mother asked him…  He told her that His hour had not come…(John 2:4), this was the beginning of his miracles in Cana… Perhaps it was not what he had planned to do…he was very focused on doing the will of the Father… Now, while there are other lessons one can learn here… one thing I have learned here is, there is never a wrong time to do a right thing.

      
  
 


       

  
  

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