25 February 2013

THE HEART OF MAN & THE OMNISCIENCE OF GOD



John 2:23-25

JESUS KNOWS WHAT IS IN MAN?  That’s a scary thought this morning isn't it? LET THAT SOAK IN FOR A MOMENT! “Jesus knows what is in man”  If you stop and ponder that statement for a moment….it should cause us to tremble with fear and awe towards a holy God who knows everything about you and me. THINK ABOUT IT....
  • A holy God knows what you are thinking and feeling at this moment
  • A holy God knows what you did and said yesterday and still allows you to breath
  • A holy God knows your pain and suffering
  • A holy God knows where you’re going to be after this service is over
  • A holy God knows how you feel towards others in the sanctuary
  • A holy God knows if you truly want to be here this morning
  • A holy God knows if you’re truly His and where you will spend an eternity

As it is written in 2 Chon 16:9  “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him…..” God is seeking those who are sincere and upright in heart; whose graces are sincere and sincere, though they are not complete or perfect, nor are they free from sin, but who, with the heart, sincerely believe in God. It isn’t that God just knows about you or knows of you like a distant friend or Facebook friend. He KNOWS you! He knows the intimate thoughts and desires of your heart. Again that’s scary for a great majority of people who claim His ace and His name in there life. See! Everything comes down to this fundamental principle in the Christian life! Everything in our life is a heart issue…….How we live and act in our marriage, with our children or our personal life all display what’s truly in our heart. As Jesus said in Luke 6:45 “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

We come to the close of chapter 2 and we see a window into the heart of Christ, in what He saw, in the people around him. (v23-v25). This passage yet again affirms the supremacy and deity of Christ. See! The people were amazed at His miracles, but Jesus knew the heart of the people. Jesus looks for genuine conversions rather than enthusiasm. Think about that for moment! The heart of man displays the soul of man according to the scripture.

THE SCRIPTURE DESCRIBES THE HEART AS A WINDOW INTO OUR SOULS.

The heart is used as a picture of our sin………

Gen 6:5 “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

The heart is a picture of God’s remorse……….

Gen 6:6 “And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.”

The heart is a picture of a wrong relationship with God…….

Matt 15:8 “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;”

The heart is a picture of our unbelief…….

Rom 1:21 “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

The heart is a picture of our depravity……

Jer 17:9-10 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? Jer 17:10  "I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”


BUT THERE IS ALSO ANOTHER PICTURE GOD USES TO DESCRIBE THE HEART IN SCRIPTURE

The heart is a picture of God’s forgiveness……

Eze 36:26 “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”

The heart is a picture of perseverance……

Ps 27:14 “Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!”

The heart is a picture of genuine Christian love…….

1Peter 1:22 “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,”

The heart is a picture of genuine brokenness over sin…….

Ps 51:17 “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”

The heart is a picture of those who will see God…….

Matt 5:8 "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”


Let me ask you! Do you want to see God? IF so what does your heart truly tell you? JESUS KNEW THE HEART MAN! So be very careful in these last days. As Solomon wrote in Prov 4:23 “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” Remember the heart is? “desperately wicked” Which means? We desperately need saving from ourselves because we are easily deceived by our own hearts. Jesus knew the heart of man way before He took on a body of flesh!
  • He knew the reception He would receive from the people when He came.
  • He knew why Andrew and his friend were following Him.
  • He knew Peter would go on to preach the message ever told.
  • He knew Nathanael was under the fig tree
  • He knew what they were doing the temple area on the day of Passover
  • He knows who will come to Him in repentance and faith.
  • He knows your heart!

John MacArthur said “although many claimed to believe, Jesus knew that mere intellectual assent proves nothing; even the demons have such faith. Like the seed that fell on rocky and thorny ground, those who possess such faith hear the Word, and initially receive it with joy. But because their hearts are never truly changed, they fall away when affliction comes, or when worldly riches beckon. Without question, the difference between spurious faith and dead faith; between the wicked, who “go away into eternal punishment” and “the righteous who enter eternal life”; between those who will hear “well done, good and faithful slave….enter into the joy of your Master” and those who will hear, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” Jesus did not embrace the false faith manifested by those who witnessed His signs, because He knew all men and therefore did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man.”
  • Jesus knows the true state of every heart
  • Jesus knows whose hearts are truly committed to Him.
  • Jesus knows your heart! Does that concern you this morning?

WHAT IS YOUR HEART SAYING ABOUT YOU THIS MORNING? Please be serious about this question, because God is!
  • Is there something you need to confess this morning?
  • Is there someone you need to say sorry or get right with?
  • Is there a relationship that you need to display more grace and mercy towards?
  • Is there a Saviour that you truly need to know…meaning the only one that truly knows your heart! The Lord Jesus Christ

Thank you Lord for knowing my heart and knowing what I need for this day. Thank you Lord for knowing my heart and saving my wretched soul from myself. GOD IS GOOD! Always remember as we leave this placed!  Jesus KNOWS what is in man!

A PASSION FOR THE HOUSE OF GOD



John 2:13-22

God is very particular! Throughout the scriptures we see over and over again God’s plan, purposes, and commands to those who truly are His. For example in the Old Testament. We see the particular instructions to what He wanted in the Tabernacle. We see particular instructions to who was allowed in the holy of holies. We see particular instructions to how the people where to approach a holy God. In the The New Testament! We see the requirements of genuine worship "spirit and truth". We see God’s plan and desire for His bride throughout the age in the church. We see the passion for His word and to desire of practical holiness of His children. Sadly though as we are about to see this morning in John’s gospel, we see the same thing going on today in so many churches across Canada and the United States, and now is reaching other countries. I think it comes down to this fundamental question? The church has no passion or awe for God and His church. WHAT DO I MEAN BY THIS? The church today's tries so hard to impress and mislead people especially young children and teens. We try to make the church more hip and cool by dumbing down the message so that they can understand it; but all this is doing is treating our younger generation with contempt, disrespect for the ability to understand the severity of the gospel message. We even see this happening more and more with adults. The dangers of this is that the church isn't doing these people any favours…it’s only crippling them to what we call “genuine worship”

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE CHURCH TODAY?
  • Entertainment and theatrics has taken over the house of God.
  • The message has been watered down to a 1o minute sermonette.
  • There is no mention of repentance or a turning away from sin.
  • Legalism and bondage set by men in the church
  • They only reach the surface of the flesh.
  • They are the images of men and not of God
  • They are man centered and not Christ centered.
  • Lifeless religion filled with carnal living.

Remember what Jesus said to the religious leaders? In Matt 23:27 Jesus said "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness.” They had no real, genuine passion or zeal for God’s house! But they thought they were genuinely saved……deceived by their own hearts. Psalm 69:1-13 “To the choirmaster: according to Lilies. Of David. Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck.  I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me. I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God. More in number than the hairs of my head are those who hate me without cause; mighty are those who would destroy me, those who attack me with lies. What I did not steal must I now restore? O God, you know my folly; the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you. Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel. For it is for your sake that I have borne reproach, that dishonor has covered my face. I have become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons. For zeal for your house has consumed me, and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me. When I wept and humbled my soul with fasting, it became my reproach. When I made sackcloth my clothing, I became a byword to them. I am the talk of those who sit in the gate, and the drunkards make songs about me. But as for me, my prayer is to you, O LORD. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.”

David had a passion for God’s house, his passion was so evident that it became a reproach to his family and friends. It was a passion that ate at his soul continually though his life. Why was David so passionate about God’s house? He knew who he loved….the God of the bible. A God who is very particular! Especially when it came to worship…..His house. Which brings us to our portion of John’s letter this morning……What is happening? (v13)
  • It’s time of Passover where the Jews prepare, sacrifice and commemorated Israel’s deliverance from bondage in Egypt.
  • It was celebrated annually on the fourteenth day of Nisan [March/April]
  • It was to take place on that day between 3:00pm and 6:00pm
  • Lambs were slaughtered and the Passover meal was to be eaten.

So in obedience Jesus went to Jerusalem to observe the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread which immediately followed. So there is nothing unusual or uncommon that we see here from the opening remarks of John’s gospel! This would have attracted thousands, if not millions of Jews scattered around the region. So picture for yourself thousands of people scattering around trying to prepare for one of the biggest celebration in a sense to the Jewish nation. But something goes south rather quick as Jesus enters the court yard to the Temple. (v14) “in the temple”

LET’S STOP THERE! What’s wrong? What’s causing Jesus to be upset at this moment? Every person required a sacrifice [an animal] ok I get that! Men were selling animals to mostly people who lived far away, which made sense to get one in Jerusalem, instead of bringing one yourself from a faraway land. Not only that, there was also a Temple Tax that was required at this time. Money changers were set up so people could exchange there funds for the currency that was required at that time. And at this time silver was the Pharisee’s desired chose of currency because of its weight.

OK YOU’RE PROBABLY THINKING TO YOURSELF WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL? They were providing animals for the sacrifice and money changers were there to exchange currency for the people. They were doing a good service. NO, the problem wasn't what they were providing! The problem was that these men were robbing and extorting money from poor families and travellers that came a great distance to celebrate their freedom. The Pharisee’s and the merchants were robbing people of their hard earned money. John MacArthur says in his commentary………”the merchants sold them the animals required for the sacrifices at greatly inflated prices. The moneychangers also provided a necessary service. Every Jewish male twenty years of age or older had to pay the annual temple tax. But it could be paid only using Jewish or Tyrian coins [because of the purity of their silver content], so foreigners had to exchange their money for acceptable coinage. Because they had a monopoly [control] on the market, the money changers charges and exorbitant fee for their services [as high as 12.5 % according to FF Bruce].” They did this to make a buck for themselves, and to top it off they were doing in an area that the bible declared to be “holy ground.”

Why do I say this? (v15-v16) Jesus had a “zeal for His Father’s house” as David did when he wrote his psalm of adoration. Go outside the court yard in the merchant areas and do this …….not here in my House! This was the place that the LORD God established for His people to worship and pray. Just as the church today is the established place where we come together to worship and praise His name. Remember what the Pre-Incarnate Christ said to Moses…….Exo 3:4-5 “When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here I am." Then he said, "Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground." It wasn’t the ground that was holy it was the essence and presence of God that was holy. This place we come together and worship is to be a place where God has sanctified and set apart for His glory through corporate worship of His saved ones.

Think about for a moment! Do you know how hard it must have been for those who faithfully came to the temple to pray and worship? Especially, when you have the sounds of animals being slaughtered in the background by the Priests. This was going on in the background as some people were trying to worship God. And we need to understand! The temple was RESERVED for worship ONLYGod’s temple, His church is to be a place where we can find rest and peace as we [individually] prepare our hearts to worship. Jesus was extremely upset about how they were mistreating His Father’s house. (v15). This event, this wickedness was no different than Eli’s sons who were treating the Lord’s house in the same manner for their personal pleasure and gain. 1 Sam 2:12 “Now the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the LORD. And it went on to say “Thus the sin of the young men was very great in the sight of the LORD, for the men treated the offering of the LORD with contempt.” 1 Sam 2:17

I truly believe the church of Jesus Christ is being used as a business or worse yet as a prostitute these last days by the devil and his schemes.....if you don’t believe me think about this statement by J. C. Ryle, in 1858 “The devil, that malicious spirit, is unwearied in his efforts to do us harm. He is ever watching for our stumbling, and seeking occasion to destroy our souls. But nowhere perhaps is the devil so active as in a congregation of Gospel hearers. Nowhere does he labour so hard to stop the progress of that which is good, and to prevent men and women being saved. From him come wandering thoughts; drifting imaginations; listless minds; dull memories; sleepy eyes; restless nerves; weary ears; and distracted attention. In all these things Satan has a great hand. People wonder where they come from, and marvel how it is that they find sermons so dull, and remember them so badly! They forget the devil. Let us take heed that we are not wayside hearers. Let us beware of the devil. We shall always find him at Church! He never stays away from public ordinances. Let us remember this, and be upon our guard. My question for us to think about is……..Would Jesus take a whip to the churches around the globe today? Sadly I think we all know the answer to that question!
  • The church is not treating His house as a place of worship….instead we have turned it into a house of entertainment
  • The church has turned His house into the local community center.
  • The church has turned His house into a place that would put Canada’s Wonderland to shame.
  • The church has turned His house into a place that really doesn`t know or demonstrate what they truly believe.

SEE! God is very particular about how we are to worship Him in this place. This is holy ground in a sense, set up for our adoration and praise towards a holy God, who is worthy of all our adoration and praise. This is our [my] Father’s house……..this is the house that he ordained for His worship through the word. This struck a chord with His disciples! (v17) as they remembered David’s psalm and passion for God. Zeal here means:  Jealousy or to be hot……In this case Jesus was passionately hot for the honor of God's house. It’s an extraordinary concern for the temple of God; passionate concern that the worship there should be pure, and such as God would approve. Jesus had a righteous indignation which stems from a commitment to God’s holiness. Jesus suffered as a result, personally feeling the pain when His Father was dishonoured. Jesus had a zeal for pure worship....and this is a great concern for me in the church of Jesus Christ. WHY DID JESUS DISPLAY HOSTILITY TOWARDS THESE MEN AND THE TEMPLE? So that He could speak these words of truth! (v18-v22) Jesus was speaking about His ultimate sacrifice and resurrection from the dead. Not the physical Temple that was still under construction. His death was the ultimate sacrifice which would render [supersede] the Jerusalem temple obsolete. His resurrection as triumphant Lord would lay down the new spiritual Temple in its place namely, the church. Where our true worship begins and ends with! The sinless Lamb of God who takes away our sins. LET ME ASK YOU A PERSONAL QUESTION THIS MORNING AS WE CLOSE! What would Jesus find if He opened the doors of our church?

WOULD HE FIND?
  • Religion (it’s something we are to do on Sunday’s)
  • Deception (looking to cheat others at any cost)
  • Ritual (we follow tradition because it’s what our parents did)
  • Personal gain (what’s in it for me because that’s all I care about)
  • Prosperity (A love for money...how can I profit from this)

OR WOULD HE FIND:
  • A heart that desires to glorify God and to magnify His precious Name.
  • A heart that desires to elevate Jesus above everything else.
  • A heart that desires to fall passionately in love with Jesus more and more each day.
  • A heart that desires to use His house as a place of reverence and worship.

We are to be obedient............We are to be loyal to our Master..........How? Its summed up in this one sentence! “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thess 5:16-18. A passion for my Father’s house because this is His will for me and you………Let’s Pray

11 February 2013

GRIPPED BY THE GLORY OF THE SON



John 2:1-12

The Bible is full of accounts that teach and edify us, in our day to day routine. And what’s beautiful is that though we benefit from the precious pages of scripture; they ultimately display and speak about the glory that belongs ONLY to God.

FOR EXAMPLE:
  • The Creation Account in Genesis
  • The Deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt
  • The Glimpse of God's glory by Moses
  • The Conquest of the Israelites over larger nations to receive the Promise Land by Joshua
  • The Contest on Mt Carmel between Elijah and the false prophets of Baal
  • The Promise of a Savior by Isaiah
  • The Visions of  the Future by Ezekiel
  • The Protection of Daniel in the Lion’s Den
  • The Promise of Restoration of Israel by Zechariah and the list could go on and on, this is just a small portion to the Glory of God
Glory by definition is all that God is, in all of His Character, Deity, in all of His Person, in all of His Attributes. "the Father of glory" describes Him as the source from whom all Divine splendor and perfection proceed in their manifestation, and to whom they belong. Basically "Glory means All That God Is"

HIS GLORY IS EXHIBITED IN:
  • His Name    (Deut 28:58)
  • Him Majesty    (Job 37:22)
  • His Power   (Ex 15:1)
  • His Works    (Ps 113:3)
  • His Holiness    (Ex 15:11)
HIS GLORY IS DESCRIBED AS
  • Great    (Ps 138:5)
  • Eternal    (Ps 104:31)
  • Highly Exalted    (Ps 8:1)
WE AS CHRISTIANS GET TO SEE THE GLORY OF GOD THROUGH HIS CREATION. In Ps 19:1 “……The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.” In Roman’s we read “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” Rom 1:20

NOW WE COME TO A PASSAGE THAT DISPLAYS THE WONDROUS POWER OF OUR LORD. And what’s amazing is that John, James, Peter, Andrew, Philip and Nathanael had the wonderful privilege to see God in action displaying His glory. This being the first of 7 miracles that John records in His gospel letter! See we need to stop and remind ourselves that only God can create something from nothing! SO I ASK THE QUESTION! WHY DID JESUS DO THESE MIRACLES? We find the answer to this question, found in (v11) “This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him. Jesus wanted to manifest His Glory to a fallen and broken world and especially for His disciples to know Him for who He was and is. Jesus did this to reveal and authorize His Deity.

THIS IS IMPORTANT FOR US TO UNDERSTAND……Why? Because many people even today claim to be Jesus or can perform many miracles as Jesus did. And Jesus even warned His followers to be very careful of this in the future…..Matt 24:3-12 “As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" And Jesus answered them, "See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains." Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake.  And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” John identifies this miracle in his gospel that constitute “a sign" or "a conformation" of who Jesus truly was and is still today…….."GOD" As we continue through this gospel we will see that each of the 7 miracles were very different! No two were alike!

LET’S GO BACK TO THE BEGINNING OF THIS EVENT AT THE WEDDING SUPPER. A wedding celebration was considered to be the grandest event, especially among the poor. Typically Hebrew wedding ceremonies took place late in the evening following a feast fit for a King and Queen. But something was about to go south for this family and the newly married couple. Mary said “they have no more wine” (v3). In Jewish wedding feasts wine was essential, not so guests could drink to excess…..but because it was a symbol of exhalation and celebration [a symbol of joy]. Kent Hughes said in his commentary “it was so important to have enough wine. Why? A lawsuit could be instituted if no wine was provided.”This event or soon to be disaster provided that setting for the Lord’s first miracle. AND THROUGH THIS MIRACLE WE SEE JOHN'S GOSPEL TEACHES US A COUPLE OF IMPORTANT TRUTH ABOUT OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. Jesus’s power over the elements......Jesus’s confirmation of His Deity.

JESUS PERFORMED THIS MIRACLE IN ORDER TO MANIFEST "REVEAL" HIS DIVINE GLORY TO A FALLEN AND BROKEN WORLD

WHAT DO I MEAN BY FALLEN AND BROKEN?
  • We are universally lost
  • We are spiritually ignorant
  • We are naturally rebellious
  • We are morally corrupted
  • We are dead in our sins and trespasses
  • We are totally depraved
  • We are wicked at heart

There is not one single person who has ever lived that is righteous, apart from the sinless Lord Jesus! NO ONE! 2 Cor 5:21 “For He made Him (meaning Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. The world is totally wicked and depraved and very much lost and in desperate need of Him! 

Mary immediately went to the right person who could do something about this problem (v3). Only Jesus can bring something from nothing! Again this miracle displays His Power over the elements, proving His Deity. This miracle displayed and spoke of His Glory. As Ps 145:11 says “They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom, And talk of Your power,”. THE AMAZING THING IS THAT ONLY A FEW REALIZED WHAT HE JUST DONE (V9) I can only imagine the look on the faces of these men who did what Jesus instructed them to do. It is estimated that He produced over 180 gallons of wine.

Wine in the Greek (means oinos) which means wine. This word “oinos” is used more than 230 times in the scriptures. AGAIN THIS IS WHERE WE GET HUNG UP ON THE IDEA THAT JESUS IS PROMOTING ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES. On the contrary Jesus is displaying the best for last! (v10). The bible nowhere claims that drinking alcoholic beverages is a sin! I know this may shock some of you, but you will not find anywhere in Scripture that speak of abstinence….except in the life of a Levite or Elder [pastor teacher]

YOU WILL READ PASSAGES THAT WARN US ABOUT TO MUCH CONSUMPTION…….

Prov 20:1 “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise”

Eph 5:18 “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery [in excess or rioting], but be filled with the Spirit,”

1 Cor 6:9-10 “….do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

Titus 2:3 “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good,”

1 Tim 3:1-3 “The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.

Drinking excessively leads to heart ache and sorrow for the soul. BUT REMEMBER WHAT PAUL SAID TO TIMOTHY!

1 Tim 5:23 “(No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.)”

1 Tim 4:4 “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,”

Noah planted a vineyard [Gen 9:20] Again Jesus isn’t promoting or endorsing  Budweiser commercials. This saddens me personally, because we lose focus and the blessing of this miracle over our humanism and bad hermaneutics’ to the text before us. Instead what we should be doing as good stewards of the word is to allow the text to speak for itself….. according to the scriptures. He did all of this to show His supernatural, one of a kind power; something that can only be done the God Himself. The second reason for this miracle was in order men might believe mainly at this time His disciples]

JESUS PERFORMED THIS MIRACLE TO OPEN THE EYES OF HIS DISCIPLES

Believing in your heart by putting their faith to action. This is a divine schedule decreed by God before the foundations of the world. Jesus did this glorious and supernatural act of water into wine, so that the faith of these men might grow and believe and never doubt the claims of whom Jesus was and is.
  • The Word whom became flesh
  • The Lamb of God
  • The Son of God

DO YOU KNOW THAT GOD DOES THIS TO US TODAY, BY THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT! How? Through His revelation (the Bible). You want to hear God speak to you…..open up His book and read the pages before you. This is His desire that we never doubt, but believe by reading and mediating on His precious Word. REMEMBER THOMAS when he doubted his friends about Jesus resurrection…a man who witnessed these miracles and more than what the bible records…..John 20:26-31 “And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, "Peace to you!"  Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing." And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!"   Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."  And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”

See John wrote “this was the first of His signs” (v11) When John uses the word “sign” he always uses it with the idea of a miracle that conveys deeper teaching. The miracle of Christ was not simply to gain attention or achieve credibility. The miracle served to authenticate Christ as who He claimed to be, and to display to His disciples a foretaste of what's in store in the future. He did this to show His disciples and confirm to them who He was and is…. GOD in the flesh. Why? We live in a world that is lost and wicked, and in a desperate need of His redeeming grace. How do we believe? By believing who He claimed to be like He did with the disciples. Rom 10:9-13 “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  For the Scripture says, "WHOEVER BELIEVES ON HIM WILL NOT BE PUT TO SHAME." For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For "WHOEVER CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD SHALL BE SAVED."


(v11) ".... And His disciples believed in Him"

He gets the Glory, because He is glory in itself
He gets the Praise for His glory
He gets the Credit for your salvation
All we need to do is believe and walk by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ


The Problem: We are out of wine; the world is dead in trespasses and sins. The Solution: The Miracle of the wine is power over the elements, to display His glory to a fallen and broken world. The Result: The conformation of His Deity and strengthening of His disciple’s faith in Him. THE SCRIPTURES USE WINE AS A SYMBOL FOR JOY! In Ps 104:15 “and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man's heart.” Judges 9:13 says “But the vine said to them, 'Shall I leave my wine that cheers God and men and go hold sway over the trees?'” The rabbis had a contemporary saying “without wine, there is no joy.” What John is trying to tell us this morning is that…… “a life without Christ is like a wedding without wine.” Disastrous and devastating. True joy only comes from God and His redeeming and sanctifying work found in the Son of God. WHY DID JESUS PERFORM THIS MIRACLE? To manifest "reveal" His Glory to a Fallen and Broken World and that men might believe. He has revealed Himself through this miracle, so that His disciples would “believe”. And for us today, Jesus has given His written word, to shine a light into our dark and depraved hearts….by revealing the miracle of salvation. 2 Cor 4:6 “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

See this was just the beginning of what the disciples were in for, this goes the same for us if we are a Christian here this morning! They were going to see things that no else in this depraved world would ever see. We need to understand something as we close the glory of our Lord was before time began and will continue into the future, and well into eternity! As the prophet Isaiah said “And one cried to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!" And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.” Isa 6:3-4. “Not to us. But to Your name be the glory"

05 February 2013

ESTABLISHING THE CHURCH ONE DISCIPLE AT A TIME




John 1:35-51

When we come to a passage like this I’m reminded of the blessed event that took place for a 120 people waiting and praying in an upperoom. Which most scholars say that this was the place Jesus broke bread with His disciples, before being arrested in the Garden of Olives. We read in Acts 1:13-15  “And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James.  All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120)…”
What were they waiting for? The Holy Spirt and the beginning of the Church age.

Why is this event important to our portion of scripture this morning? Because the event we are going to be looking at this morning is the beginning stages to the day of Pentecost. The beginning of the established church age which continues still today. Isn’t that amazing that we are the continuation of the first church some 2 thousand years ago? It’s remarkable…it’s amazing…it’s supernatural. Throughout history, through much persecution, major doctrinal battles…..that the church continues to grow one person at a time still today. See! Let’s put ourselves in the in the shoes of these first called out ones this morning.
  • Times were very tough financially, government corruption, socially and morally.
  • Families and neighboring nations were hostile and somewhat violent towards one another
  • Crime was on the increase
  • Taxes were forcing families to lose everything, even their children
  • False religion was ramped and overruling in many cases
  • It was a corrupt and bankrupt society
  • Sound familiar?

This was a tough time to build and establish the church! Jesus would have his work cut out for him [figuratively speaking]. This portion of John’s letter is an amazing illustration of what the church was built for! To grow [mature] believers to reach out to others [lost sinners] with the message of the gospel. Think about it! The church [meaning locally] didn't all of a sudden become this massive congregation of 200 to 500 people meeting each and every Sunday. Yes, Peter proclaimed the greatest message ever told which touched and transformed the lives of thousand’s. But the when a church is planted it began just like John explains here in this passage! One person at a time….in this case 2!

Look what says in the [v35-v39] These two men were intrigued or curious to what this Jesus was all about. They were automatically taken back by what John said in the opening verse! [v35] “Behold the Lamb of God”. You can sort say their hearts were being softened by the that biblical statement from John the Baptist. Again remember what John said to the religious elite “I’m just a voice”. And voice only John was……because they immediately left there friend to follow this Jesus fellow. Something compelled them to follow Jesus for quite some time! Why? In [v38] Jesus says “What are you seeking?”. They wanted to know and hear more for this one whom John declared to be the “Lamb of G0d”

The same curiosity, passion and desires are happening today! Otherwise you wouldn’t be here. People around the globe are being transformed by the supernatural power found in the gospel message. This was God’s plan all along when it came to redemption…..saving lost sinners by transforming their blacken heart with a new one. Building the church one sinner at a time. I think the modern day church has missed this simple truth. There are thousands of how to grow or do church …some are good and some are completely humanism. Some are like how to be a successful CEO in a company! This isn’t a business this rescue mission for lost souls. And the fundamental error to most of this quick fixes or building bigger churches is that they forgot how the church was established. People being transformed by the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in the gospel message. It’s that gospel power that puts a burning passion inside of you and there is no way can contain it or bottled up!

Why do I say this? [v40-v42a] Andrew is so excited he had to tell his brother all about their stay with Jesus! Now….scripture doesn’t give us the details to their stay with Jesus but it must life changing at least for one of them! Why? The first thing Andrew wanted to do, was to do what? Share the glorious news with his very brother first. See we need to understand in this present church age……..it’s not programs, stately buildings that grow churches! It’s people. It’s people who follow Jesus because their lives have been passionately transformed. See! To follow although usually means to ‘follow as a disciple” it also can mean “to examine something more closely” as we see here in this passage.

We need to understand something! Andrew and Peter weren't yet officially followers of Jesus until He called them out by their boat one day. In Luke 5:1-11 “On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon's, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch." And Simon answered, "Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets." And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, " Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord." For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men." And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.”

These men established the church 2000 years ago and they turned the world upside down. And when you’re passionately in love with Jesus of the gospel; word gets out rather quickly. Look what we see next the following day [v43-46] Right out the gate we see Jesus approaching Phillip and Jesus says “Follow Me” Wasn’t this you? When the gospel finally tugged at the strings of your heart? It was for me!………I couldn’t what to tell my wife! I couldn’t wait to go to church and be with other people whose lives were changed by this message. One by one the church was being established…….First Andrew, Simon [whose name was changed to Cephas [Peter in the Greek] and then it’s reached Phillip and now the news has travelled to Nathanael.

Now Nathanael was a different kind of character! What do I mean by this? By the response he gives to his friend Phillip in [v46]. Nathanael was devote Israelite who took things seriously especially when it came to there writings and teachings of the Old Testament. Nathanael was a Galilean who despised people from Nazareth. But Nathanael soon changed his tune when the Lord displayed His Omnipresence "When you were under the fig tree, I saw you".

It’s as the Psalm that David wrote……

Ps 139:1-4 “……O LORD, You have searched me and known me.  You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.

Think about that statement for a moment!
  • Maybe Nathanael was just reading the story that Jesus spoke of in Jacob’s Ladder.
  • Maybe Nathanael was contemplating being baptized by John the Baptist.
  • Maybe Nathanael was thinking about the coming Messiah.
  • Maybe Nathanael was praying and asking God to reveal the Messiah to him.

Whatever it was that humbled Nathanael under the weight of that statement….everything changed for himHave you ever had one of those moments? A heart that is filled with discouragement, doubt, frustration and all of a sudden you read something or the phone rings and it’s a person who says “I was thinking of you today and the Lord just laid on my heart to talk to you” Those moments are supernatural moments! Just like the one we read here in the scriptures. I personally can recall a few of those moments in preparation for ministry and during ministry! 

That’s what makes God so awesome! That’s why I love the church so much! It filled with unique individuals whose lives have been transformed by His grace one person at a time. These men knew what it meant to count the cost for the sake of the gospel….for the sake of establishing the church. As Jesus said to Peter “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matt 16:18. These men were nobody special as they began a journey that would establish the church to what it is today. What’s amazing is that they were just “a voice” like John! A voice that says “He must increase and I must decrease” as John the Baptist did when Jesus came upon the scene. These first disciples turned the world upside down for the glory of the gospel…..and it cost them there lives……

Peter a fisherman, stopped everything and followed
Preached a sermon on the day of Pentecost
Healed a lame man at the gate of the temple
Raised Dorcas from the dead
Wrote 2 New Testament epistles
His life ended by be crucified upside down in Rome

Andrew a fisherman stopped everything and followed
Preached in Asia Minor, and Greece and was crucified at Patros in Achaia

James a fisherman stopped everything and followed
He was a man of passion and zeal, he was also sensitive and graceful to all that came in his path. He had one desire proclaim the Love of Christ to the world
He was the first of the apostles to be martyred
He was executed by Herod Agrippa

John a fisherman stopped everything and followed
Participated in the healing of the lame man at the temple
Followed up Philip's work in Samaria
Wrote the Gospel, three epistles and the Book of Revelation
Was exiled to the island of Patmos and died a natural death in Ephesus

Philip was most likely a fisherman, stopped everything and followed
Friends of James and John
Attended the same synagogue as Peter and Andrew
Philip was used greatly in the spread of the early church
He was crucified Hierapolis in Asia Minor

Nathanael was most likely a fisherman (he was also called Bartholomew)
Very close friend to Philip almost like brother relationship
He was brought to Jesus by Philip
He ministered in Persia and India and took the Gospel as far as Armenia
He was martyred in Armenia

Matthew a tax collector stopped everything and followed
Loved the Lord, he embraced the outcasts of his world
A man of great faith and complete surrender to the Lordship of Christ
Writer of the Gospel of Matthew
Earliest traditions indicate he was burned at the stake

Thomas also known as "doubting Thomas" followed the Lord
He somewhat a worry wart, tended to be very anxious.
He anticipated the worst of times
Thomas cared the Gospel as far as India
He was speared to death for his faith

James son of Alphaeus also followed the Lord
Persistently confused with James the brother of Jesus in early church tradition
Some say he could have been Matthew's brother due to their name of their fathers Alphaeus (Mark 2:14)
Ministered in Syria and Persia
Some say he was stoned; others say he was beaten to death.

Simon the Zealot stopped everything and followed the Lord.
Zealot's were Politically minded, a group of extremists in every sense, a people who hated the Romans and killed Jews. He was a loyal, passionate and full of courage who loved the Lord
Simon took the Gospel north and preached in the British Isles
Like so many other Simon disappears from biblical record
All accounts say he was killed for preaching the Gospel

Judas not the Iscariot also known as "Thaddaeus" followed the Lord
Often been confused with Jude the brother of Jesus
Tradition associates his ministry with Edessa, a royal city in Mesopotamia, in the region of Turkey today
He was tendered hearted who followed his Lord faithfully to the end
Tradition says he was clubbed to death for his faith

Judas Iscariot the traitor handled the money for the group
He followed Jesus willingly
The betrayer of Jesus
Satan resided in him and Bible says he hung himself (Matt 27:3-5)

With the exception of Judas the traitor all these men went on to be used for the Lord in a mighty way impacting countries and most of all souls for His Kingdom. They did this to establish the church…one person at a time. None of them special or unique...Everyday people with real problems and issues in life...None of them looked back or walked away weeping. Jesus Said “….But Jesus said to him, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God……” Luke 9:62. These men counted the cost to follow by faith in the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

The question for us is………Are we as excited as Andrew and Phillip were to tell their closest friends? Or are we more excited about last night’s hockey game and the upcoming Super Bowl? These men followed and asked for nothing in return [fame, fortune] but the one they did do was be a voice to a fallen generation. The voice that would one day lead many to Christ to build the church on the foundation of the scriptures.