Gospel Of John – Lesson Three – John 1:35-51 – “Glory Of The Ordinary”

This article is part 3 of 3 in the series The Gospel Of John

After Jesus was immersed by John in the Jordan, Jesus ministry begins his ministry, and is soon lead into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan (Lk. 4:1-13). Our text begins with Jesus’ first disciples who were motivated by the repeated identifying remark of John, “Look, the Lamb of God!” Following this, two (one specifically named) begin to follow after Jesus. “What do you want?” Jesus asks them. They reply, “Rabbi, where are you staying?” Jesus replies, “Come, and you will see.” So it begins…

1. Let’s begin by answering the question, “What were the Jews looking for in Messiah?” ______________________________________________________________________
2. Enter: “ANDREW, Simon Peter’s brother.” You would think Jesus would have gone after the most educated, and respected, with a livelihood that was admired. This doesn’t seem to be the case with Jesus. WHY? ______________________________________________________________________
3. Jesus choosing the “ordinary” says what to us today?
______________________________________________________________________
4. Learning some things about Andrew:
A. He is seemingly always in the shadow of his “big brother” Peter. (Always “Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother…”)
B. Andrew, a devoted “follower” of John, and was eagerly looking for the Messiah (vs. 37-40).
C. Andrew was an “introducer,” or “connector.” (vs.41; 6:8-9; 12:22)
What attitude do we need to be an “introducer” like Andrew? ______________________________________________________________________5. From the article “Glory of the Ordinary,” (At the bottom) what are some “things learned” that are particularly important and helpful to you… and WHY?
______________________________________________________________________6. Enter: PHILLIP and NATHANAEL, who were from the same town as Andrew and Peter, and were similarly fishermen by trade. Phillip was like Andrew in that he “found Nathaniel.”
A. Why do you think Phillip went to Nathanael? _____________________________________________________________________
B. When he told Nathanael about Jesus what was his reply? ______________________________________________________________________
C. What can we learn from Phillip’s answer to Nathaniel? How would you characterize Nathanael?______________________________________________________________________
D. Enter: RACISM/PREJUDICE: What is the problem with “assuming” or “broadly characterizing a group of people? ______________________________________________________________________
E. Consider: “Not very many people have ever been argued into Christianity.” What has characterized our approach to the lost in the past? What should we avoid? ______________________________________________________________________
F. How have we (according to the article) “clouded the way with things that are secondary, and can be answered after one comes to Jesus?” ______________________________________________________________________
G. How does Jesus deal with Nathanael? (Vs 47-51) ______________________________________________________________________

The Glory Of The Ordinary by Jack Exum
Christ emphasized the individual. He surrounded himself not with the rich of the world, or those upon whose shoulders had fallen the mantle of political power, but with just the ordinary. Worldly honor and true humility rarely run in the same veins. So today, God still seeks men of service rather than those who aspire to honor and power.
Such a man was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.
Little is said of Andrew except he was a fisherman by trade. No, don’t feel sorry for Andrew… he was one of the first to answer the call of the Master, and before his conversion he was a disciple of John the Baptist. He had heard no lectures on personal evangelism, nor did he have special instructions on soul-winning. He had no degrees from a Bible College or a Certificate from a Preacher’s School. However, John, in his gospel, seems to fear no one would know just who Andrew was, so he is introduced as “Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother”.
Few would recall that it was Andrew who brought Simon Peter to Jesus. What was Andre’s ‘secret method’ of soul winning? How many would love to ‘find’ a ‘Simon Peter’ today who would later be a elder in the church, a preacher, writer, and later give his life for Jesus.
What indeed was the method of Andrew? Here it is in John’s words, 41 “The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus” (John 1:41-42). He did more with five words than many do with thousands. Then “he brought him to Jesus.”
Things learned: Soul winning is not about programs, (although they are helpful to an extent). Not about making sure people know “what we are against” or “having the right answers to all the issues.” Come to think about it, these things just seem to ‘get in the way’ and have little to do with “bringing someone to Jesus.”
How many have tuned away from Jesus, simply because we have clouded the way with other things which are secondary, and can be answered after one comes to Jesus?
Andrew simply went and found his brother, and told him about the greatest thing to ever happen to him, “WE HAVE FOUND THE MESSIAH”. As Charles Hodge repeats over and again in his book, “Amazing Grace”, “Tell people what God did before you tell them what to do.” What a message, what a mission!
After Andrew, and Peter, there was Phillip, and then Phillip meets Nathanael, who doubts anything good can come out of Nazareth. Overcoming prejudice is a big problem for the soul winner. There are many things to overcome without bringing in additional ‘issues’ to make sure people understand and believe everything. Be patient with people, give them a chance to grow in grace. Just think about those who are saved throughout the Book of Acts… were these made to wait until they understood everything about worship, church organization, Lord’s Supper before being saved? Of course not… it was just ORDINARY people sharing JESUS with others. Jesus commission to disciples is to “go”…”make disciples” and then “teach” all that Jesus had commanded (Matthew 28:18-20).
Soul winning is about bringing the lost to Jesus. Jesus is NOT ORDINARY… He is the Great Healer, the only Savior. Jesus can use ordinary people. Just ‘go and find your brother and tell him, “I have found Jesus!” Tell him the good news that Jesus has come. Remember… “Tell people what God did, before you tell them what to do!”

Share Button

Gospel of John – Lesson Two – John 1:6-7, 15, 19-36 -“Big John”

This article is part 2 of 3 in the series The Gospel Of John

Text: John 1:6-7, 15, 19-36
(and other passages)
* No disrespect to John, but I would be a bit nervous about meeting this guy (Rough wilderness life! Lived off the land, dressed/Camel’s hair! Definitely not politically correct!)

Gathering some FACTS and THOUGHTS

1. After reading the text and other passages listed below: How would you characterize John’s preaching. ______________________________________________________________________
2. What was Jesus’ impression of John? Matt. 11:7-11 ______________________________________________________________________
3. Why do you think so much time is dedicated in John’s Gospel to John the baptizer? (Could it be that there were some followers of John who placed too much emphasis on him instead of who John was pointing to?)
______________________________________________________________________
4. After reading John 1 and 5:33-35, what OTHER possible problem is John dealing with in his Gospel (not Gnosticism)? ______________________________________________________________________
5. John, the prophet who was like Elijah (Luke 1:12-17).
Read about Elijah (I Kings 17- 2 Kgs. 2)
How would you describe Elijah? How was John like Elijah? ______________________________________________________________________6. WHY is it noteworthy that John is first mentioned in Jesus list of witnesses mentioned in John 5:31-47? ______________________________________________________________________7. What were the dominant topics of John’s preaching? Mark 1:4-8; Lk. 3 ______________________________________________________________________
8. How did people react? ______________________________________________________________________
9. How did leaders react and how did John respond? Why? ______________________________________________________________________
10. John’s baptism and that of Jesus are different… HOW? Lk. 3:16 ______________________________________________________________________
11. Explain the Chaff/Fire and the Wheat/Barn significance in Luke 3:15-17 in light of the text?
a.) Who received the baptism of FIRE?
b.) Who received the baptism of SPIRIT? (You may want to pursue deeper study on this particular point by comparing it with John 3; Acts 2:38-39.)
c.) How does this apply to those who rejected Jesus as opposed to those who became believers in Jesus?
______________________________________________________________________

Applications: John, BOLD and HUMBLE
* What are some lessons we learn from how John carried out his mission which we can apply to ourselves?
* How was John’s humility seen, and what can we learn about true humility from John?
* What should we expect when reach people for Jesus? How should we respond?

Share Button

Our “Miss Precious” Is Gone

Miss Precious

Miss Precious (Mom and Dad’s poodle) lived for 16 years… She will always be in our family’s memory.
Passed away May 2018.

It has been a day now since she was gently put to sleep. Tears were shed and “good-byes” said to a sweet little Toy Poodle that had lived and been loved for 16 people years (80 doggy years). This means she almost lived as long as Dad did (he lived 81 years.)
Mom and Dad were feeling something was missing in their lives and so they went “dog hunting,” and they found a playful snow white little poodle. Of course Mom said “She was “just precious.” The name “Miss Precious” stuck, and they brought her home to their place in the Eastside Village in Lake City, Florida. Miss Precious was playful, spoiled, picky and quite feminine in her doggy ways. She slept with mom and dad each night, and had to be fed at a certain time of the day. She was indeed a one owner dog, and when left alone after Mom and dad passed, she changed, her world changed. For a short time she and Molly (their cat) stayed in Mom and Dads house until Wiwik and I adopted them both into our family. “Molly,” is still with us, and sweet as ever. Both Miss Precious and Molly were “greeted” by our own dog (a Weenie dog) named Little bit. Later came “Rudy” (Bob’s dog). It just seemed that we were the ones who ended up with animals left behind. Our family changed for sure.
Miss Precious was never really a “fighter.” We had to do her fighting for her, and eventually Little bit accepted her as part of the family.
So from 2010 till 2018 we were blessed with this sweet little Poodle. Eventually she was afflicted with spasms like epilepsy, and with tears we had to put her down. The picture above is her last picture. Sorry about this being such a short article, but memories of her last days are just painful. I will see if Dad has something he wrote about her.
I guess one must accept what comes our way when it comes to pets.
God is Good!
Grow in grace!

Share Button

SPECIAL: MP3 (Long Play Album) “Winning Over Worry”

Here is the first LP lesson which the author made back in 1972. It has been digitally formatted into MP3 for easy listening ‘on the go.’ This lesson is still desperately needed today and I can’t wait till the word gets out that it is available thru this website. It is a message of hope and encouragement for all who suffer with anxiety, who constantly wring their hands and wonder if they will make it thru the day.

(The following is from the back cover of the album.)

“Millions today are saddled with the problem of anxiety and worry. Barrels of barbiturates and tons of aspirin are consumed daily by those unable to cope with life. In fact, the total annual cost for 100 million prescriptions for ‘pill packing Americans’ is nearly 2 billion dollars  We are paralyzed by fear. People need help and need it desperately.

Books, articles and speeches, seem to be restricted to diagnosis. We suffer from the paralysis of analysis. We need prescription. We need the answer in terms easily understood and readily applied.

Jack Exum presents on this recording a message which has thrilled audiences around the world. The message comes from God’s Word and from a burning and burdened heart. A heart that understands the “worry is a prayer to the wrong god – it is listening to the voice of fear instead of the voice of faith.”

YOU CAN WIN OVER WORRY. There is an answer – there is a way: A Biblical formulae for victory over the vicious problem of worry. “Winning Over Worry” is a record of hope with a faith approach to life. It deals with problems – not pills. It is down-to-earth, easy to understand and listen to and is a must for those who seek the key to successful living.”
Cover design by: Jerry Harris
Written material is by: Bill Tyner

Share Button

SPECIAL: MP3 (Long Play Album) “All The Way Is A Long Long Time”

SPECIAL – “All The Way Is A Long, Long Time” Finally this long play album is being made available here in MP3! In a day and time when older generation can hardly recognize the new, when morals and values have sunk to an unexpected low, this digitally formatted MP3 rendering of “All The Way Is A Long, Long Time,” could not be more needed. Used to be we never spoke about this but now, when the mystery and wonder is all but destroyed, we desperately need to get this message out!!! It is my prayer that this will be a blessing to all who hear.

(The following appears on the back of the cover.)
“The story you are about to hear. All the characters herein named are from real life. It involves true sexuality from beginning to end. No punches are pulled, no stone left unturned, but straight frank, honest words are shared.

If you want a preacher to preach to you, then leave this record alone. If you are looking for self-pity, or an excuse to continue the destruction of life, this story is not for you.
On the other hand, if you are looking for some of the answers about love, sex, and marriage, then this is it.

Jack Exum has been on a speaking tour for nearly a decade. He has presented this story around the world (in 25 countries) and to overflow audiences in most of the States at home. From Junior High thru Universities, from country settings, to civic auditoriums, this message of simple wisdom has gone into the lives of thousands.

Is sex something we DO or is sex something we ARE? That’s the real question. This L/P deals directly with the gut issues of human sexuality. You have the master story-teller in your hands. Take him home and hear for yourself the message that is destined to help you form strong convictions about life and its real meaning.

Share Button

Restoring Baptism!

Dad often said, “I DON’T BELIEVE IN BAPTISM, I BELIEVE IN JESUS… HE COMMANDED IT, SO I DO IT!” Having said that (and hopefully gotten your attention), Mike Kellett mentioned 7 things for studying the Scriptures which I like. In short they are:
1. Context is king 
2. Establish “What it means then and there, before what it means here and now. (This includes researching the cultural history as well.)
3. Scriptures have a “center of gravity”. (All Scripture is inspired of God, but not all Scripture are equally important.) (Seek BALANCE and don’t pit one Scripture against another.)
4. Must strive to be “full of grace and truth (genuineness).”
5. Look for harmony with other texts (Matthew 12:1-7).
6, Must involve the Holy spirit, and be humble (in searching the Scriptures.)
7. Parallel (contributing) Scriptures must be considered.

There is no doubt as to the meaning of “Baptism” as well as it’s purpose in the New Testament. “Restore” it, by “understanding what it meant then and there, before teaching it here and now.” Faith finds it power in the object. Don’t believe in “repentance, confession, or baptism… BELIEVE IN JESUS, and do what He says. You cannot separate “baptism” from faith, grace, remission of sins, nor the Spirit. These don’t contradict each other, they “work” together. “We have heard the glorious sound, JESUS SAVES, JESUS SAVES…” Don’t forget it!

The word “baptism” is transliterated or taken from the Greek word “baptizo”. It is “from “bapto,” to dip. Immerse, submerge for a religious purpose, (John 1:25).” (The Complete Word Study Dictionary New Testament” by Spiros Zodiates). It was understood then, and it should be understood now, to mean the same thing. The purpose is made clear in Acts 2:38, “Repent and be baptized, everyone of you in the name (possession of) Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Dad went somewhere to preach and he noticed the banner above the baptistery which proclaimed only the first part of Acts 2:38. He got up and said, “What happened to the rest of the verse? Don’t you believe that too?” Pretty tough! Not many preachers would do that. The point is, we tend to over emphasize “baptism” we leave people thinking that we believe in “water regeneration,” which we DO NOT! Jesus taught in John 3:5 “I tell you the truth, NO ONE can enter the kingdom of God (be saved) UNLESS he is born of water and the Spirit.” Seeking balance and harmony in Scriptures force me to the understanding of ONE BIRTH, with TWO ELEMENTS. I can only baptize in water, but I cannot give the Holy Spirit. You cannot put one before the other, but then you cannot separate them. Jesus is the Giver. Restoring “baptism” involves two elements in the ONE BAPTISM (Ephesians 4). “A Spiritless water birth is no more beneficial than a waterless Spirit birth.” As Dad put it, “water without the Spirit gets one wet, without the life giving power of God.

Yes, restore BAPTISM!

Share Button

“Tinkle,Tinkle” You Are Gone!

Jack Exum

Jack Exum

It really happened back in the early days of Dad’s preaching career… when, I could not say. I remember sitting with Dad in his office in Lake City and he told me that one day many years before, when he was a young minister that he went to visit one of the members of the local church where he served. He knocked on the door, and a rather stately older Christian lady came to the door and invited him in. They sat for a time talking, and he asked to use the restroom. No problem… he went, shut the door behind him and used the bathroom. Well, afterwards he came out, and thanked her, saying how much he enjoyed visiting and hoped to see her in church soon. He then left to visit another member of the church.

All was well, or so he thought. Later that week, he was asked by the leaders to come to their meeting and he obliged. In the meeting they mentioned that one of the members had complained that he had visited her and went to use the restroom, and that when he did “he made sounds.” To use mom’s terminology, he “tinkled.” Well, things digressed from there and because of this, he was asked to leave, and find employment somewhere else. “Tinkle, tinkle… you are gone!”

There are many reasons why preachers loose their jobs. Some are very justified… Some reasons are no more than excuses of weak leaders who have not learned or are not willing to deal with some disgruntled brethren.

So it seems to this scribe, that perhaps it behooves ministers to be careful how they “tinkle,” or “beef up” their preaching a bit on the need for brethren to “grow up,” or encourage leaders to stand up and support the minister when dealing with the immature within the congregation who have little more to do than pick at everything and complain when something doesn’t go the way they want. Another thought is, don’t be so quick to move at the first sign of trouble… Work through it, deal with it (properly), and get on with the work of the minister. Sometimes brethren don’t need to “get their way,” sometimes they just need to grow up, and get busy in the service of the Lord. Then maybe little things won’t bother them so much.

Grow in grace!

 

Share Button

Rudy Snores!

RudyRudy is not my dog! He came “in the baggage” with my brother who recently (within the last 6 months) came to live with my wife and I (and our dogs and cat).
Now at first, Rudy stuck pretty close to Bob and sometimes still does, however, he has become quite adept at sleeping in our bedroom, and “yips” or barks to get into bed with us. When he does, he tries to dig in under the blankets to get warm. Sometimes he meets with opposition with Little Bit (our 20 pound weeny dog), who promptly lets him know “who’s boss!”
The problem is that Rudy snores! I don’t mean a little bit (no pun intended), he snores loud and continuously. Try sleeping with that in your ear! He gets restless about every five minutes for the first half hour, so he is continually moving about seeking a new spot or position. It usually takes me about five minutes to get the idea, HE HAS TO GO! So, off the bed he goes. Then he finds some pants or shirt or towel on the floor, and wallows out a sleeping place and goes to sleep. THE SNORING CONTINUES!
I have thought of getting a C-Pap for Rudy. I wonder if they make C-Paps for little dogs. Probably not. Trying to imagine getting a mask on the little snorer(?), and then try and get the right settings so “the poor wee dog” doesn’t “blow up” like a balloon. This is more than I can handle, so I am thinking of getting some ear plugs.
Now Rudy is in my office, on a special chair, with cushions, SNORING and he has precipitated this article.
An application:
Usually when we get married, we don’t see all the faults etc… “We’re in love!” Over time, the faults seem to get a bit annoying… “Honey, would you mind…”
Since marriage is a covenant, and you promise to God, and your spouse DIVORCE is not on the table. Then you have to work through the little and the big things. (Even snoring!)
Relationships bring many blessings, but they bring many challenges as well. Tolerating and learning to “love above the fault line,” is so important, in relation to church as well.
Jesus knew what it was like to “be stuck” with someone like I am “stuck” with Rudy. His disciples were not bargains for sure. He chose them, worked with them, taught them, corrected them, loved them… to the end (and beyond).
The best example was Jesus giving his life for them, but a good example is when he was eating the Passover with them just before His crucifixion, and since no one wanted to do the honors, He gets up from his place at the table, lays aside his garments, and girds himself with a towel, and gets a basin of water and begins washing their feet. We know the story well… but we don’t like the implications. John 13 records it all, as he goes from one pair of smelly feet to the next, and He even washed Judas’ feet! Hard to imagine, right? If it were me I would be tempted to break a toe or something… But he washed his feet just as gently and tenderly as he did the others.
Then he came to Peter’s feet.  Peter pulls back, and refuses. “No Lord, you’re not washing mine!” What’s the matter Peter… you got six toes on your foot? Are you too good to have your feet washed? Jesus tells Peter, this is an “either – or” situation… Either you allow me to wash your feet or else YOU HAVE NO PART IN ME. What does that mean? It must be pretty important, right?
Sometimes we are not very consistent. We insist on doing or not doing because, “that’s what it says!” We want to be exactly correct on “what is” and “what is not commanded,” because we want to be saved, thinking “perfect performance means we’re heaven bound.” Wrong! Heaven is a grace thing.. not a perfect performance thing. When we come to things like washing feet… we say, “Oops, this is figurative.” “This is cultural” “Jesus didn’t literally mean “wash feet.” Well what did He mean? Was it their culture? Yes. Why did they do this? They wore sandals, and walked dusty roads.  Yet he says “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you” (John 13:14-15). If we lived in a culture where this was done, we would do it… but not to be saved. The question then is, why is this so vital that He said what He said to Peter? My opinion is that He is addressing the underlying problem of Peter (and many of us today)… PRIDE! This is something so vital both to family, and church, that He says “”If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” If we were in a culture similar to that of Jesus time, and foot washing was the norm of hospitality, What would you think about someone who would say, “You ain’t washing my feet!” Got a problem right? In the family, and in church, we got a problem when PRIDE rears its head.
How do you love someone (or something) like Rudy? Learn the lesson of HUMILITY! Learn to SERVE! Get self out of the way, and GROW in this not so easy attitude or mind set. Yet Jesus learned… Jesus let go of… He was willing to “take on” and even to wash feet, because he loved.
Getting a basin of “God’s grace,” and washing the dirtiest feet, is not a matter of bragging, but just learning to love someone (or something) “anyway.”

 

Grow in grace brethren…
Rudy

Share Button