Monday, April 27, 2015

In Search of Jesus

Deut. 18:15,18-19 - reason people expected that prophet to come.  No wonder they asked John if he was him.  Were sure that Jesus was him.
John 6:14-15
John 6:22-31 - day after feeding and walking on water - Vs. 29 - believe in Him (Jesus)
Ex. 16:4, 14-15, 31
John 6:32-69 - Vs. 33, Vs. 35 - I AM the 'spiritual' bread of life.  People had no problem with Jesus' miracles, had problem with Jesus' message.

In Search of Jesus - John 6:24
Question:  What happens when you find Him?

3 Groups:

1) the Jews - those people who denied Christ, denied His miracles, wanted nothing to do with Him -
John 6:41 - denied, explained away, took offense at Him

2)  The disciples - John 6:60 - they eagerly accepted Him and followed Him UNTIL it became inconvenient, uncomfortable, challenging - example:  "shallow soil" - Matt. 13:20-21

3)  The Twelve - ALSO confused, challenged.  They were as clueless as everyone else regarding: "eat my flesh and drink my blood" ....... but they STAYED!!  because of enormous amount of evidence backing who He was, who He said He was!

#1.  The drawing of the Father - John 6:44

#2.  the motive of the seeker - John 6:26 - compare Phil. 3:19 --  "King" to serve?  or serve them?

#3.  The decision to trust - in light of the evidence
                                      - in spite of the mystery

To be saved you need a ........ C A T - (content, assent, trust)

Heb. 4:1-2 - 1st. generation Israel
                    1st. generation Christians
                   21st. century seeker
           All need the same C A T -  must understand gospel message and who Jesus is, must agree with the gospel message and who Jesus is, then must trust Him - as Savior and Lord, ie:  who He is.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Lessons From the Lake

John 6:16-21

The miracle shows Jesus' authority over nature (creation) (natural law(s) )
Examples:  water into wine, healings, the feeding of the 5000, Walking on water!!

Another instance ... NOT recorded in John:  Mark 4:35-41 - different instance.  different time, preceded the feeding of the 5000.

BUT, this time, John 6:16-21 -  .... Jesus is NOT WITH THEM!!!!  They are in the storm, by themselves, Jesus is back on the shore.

For a fuller picture:  Matt. 14:22-24
                               Mark 6:47-48
                               Matt. 14:25-33 - 3 - 6 AM - 4th. watch
                               Mark 6:51-52

The Primary teaching??  truth?  = "Jesus is LORD" - Has the authority!!! - John 20:31

Are there any secondary truths - ie:  things taught and/or illustrated in the story that are relevant and useful for followers today?

Here are 3 divisions - Lessons from the Lake
1)  the disciples
2)  Jesus
3)  Peter

I.  The Disciples
Where are they in the storm/ in the dark, in a mess!!  (all in the same boat!)
Same as for us:  storms vary from scary to LIFE-THREATENING to sometimes LIFE-TAKNG!!

Why are they there because Jesus "sent them
Usually a "mess" = our own doing (foolish and/or sinful behavior)
Sometimes = GOD'S WILL - can be right in the middle of God's will for you and still end up in a storm.
There's lots of gospel taught these days that say if following Jesus, never will have these storms.  Not true!!

What are they doing "straining" (against the oars) - (about 6 - 9 hours worth)
against the wind
according to (last) instructions Jesus gave them.
Good example:  Jeremiah - preached 40 years against total opposition

When did this occur? - "immediately" after the feeding of the 5,000.
Often (not always) = a revelation leads to a test - to see if we got it.

II.  Jesus... what was he doing?
1)  Praying
2) Seeing - physical or "divine" sight?
3) Coming
4) Saving
Question:  Does He always pray, see, come, save?
Answer:  Yes... BUT ... "saving" may not meet OUR definition of saving.
Heb. 11:32-39
He has promised He would look after and save all those who believe in Him, but not always physically.  There are NO promises He will save us from sickness, cancer, hardship, death, etc.  Again, there are no promises of deliverance and saving from our storms the way we define deliverance and saving.

We use the examples listed here in John to show God's power and victory and control.  Not to say that "Peter walked on water, so if I have faith, I can, too."

III.  Peter:  on one hand he had faith enough to get out and walk.  However, not enough faith to continue walking.
Note:  1)  he got out!!! (that's way ahead of most of us)
          2)  he got permission first!!!!

There are 2 factors:
1)  Peter's faith - faulty but very REAL!! (can we expect more?)
2)  Jesus' faithfulness!! - which  NEVER falters!!!!   - John 10:27-30 - we are human beings - our faith is faulty, but when my faith falters, He is always faithful!!!

In  So............ how "in Him" are you????

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Feeding of the 5000

Are at least 35 recorded miracles in the four gospels.
Only ONE miracle is recorded in ALL 4 gospels - The Feeding of the Five Thousand

Thousands of people saw the miracle, all ate their fill, all KNEW where the bread and fish came from.

Purpose of Miracles -
1)  to Validate the Message and the Messenger - Jesus CAN be believed.
2) Herald His authority
AND sometimes,
3)  provide instruction and inspiration for His followers

The 5,000 does all this, so we need to:

1)  examine the event
2) watch for inspiration/instruction
3) apply it to us, TODAY!
John 6:1-13
Mark 6:30-34
Luke 9:11
Mark 6:35-44

This miracle validates the messenger and shows His Authority over everything in creation, BUT also = a Model of Instruction for disciples.

Is 1 year => Jesus' death and departure
is 1 year => disciples left with "the Great Commission"

Question #1 = HOW?? - with their meager resources?  with their limited abilities?

Question #2 = How do you and I carry on this tradition?  meet this challenge? fulfill our "commission"?
HOW do I serve God/minister on His behalf?  Make A Difference for the ETERNAL KINGDOM?

How do I make a big splash when I'm a little frog?   Deliver a feast with cornbread and fish sticks?

This = model, NOT a formula.  Not math/science, NOR Magic!!   = model/guidelines, memorable lessons

#1.  Recognize the Need(s) - are hurting, needy people everywhere
Requires looking beyond self, and into soul. - STOP, LOOK, LISTEN

Disciples saw ________???  Jesus saw "sheep without a shepherd" - we tend to look first at self.

#2.  Accept Responsibility - "send away" vs. "you give them"
the word = ABLE to respond - on one hand, not responsible for all, however, clearly responsible for some!!
Our problem is not too much responsibility, but too selfish to respond!
Ability to respond,makes me responsible - not for everything, but as are able!

#3.  Count your Loaves
on one hand, recognize your abundance - resources, abilities, opportunities
on the other hand, recognize your insufficiency - (examples:  death bed, funeral, etc) - we are inadequate to deal with eternal, spiritual things.

So.. #4.  Present your Loaves - to the multiplier!!

Then.... #5.  Distribute the Loaves! - do what supposed to do, no guarantee of results
ie:  Action - go and do - deliver what you have
Remember:  "GO ..... and I'll go with you" - ministry on purpose (M.O.P.)

#6.  Leave the Results to God - miracle?  multiply? effect?  Make A Difference?
Contrast our part (prepare, go, do),  His part - example Jeremiah - 40 years preaching faithfully and not a single convert.

#7.  Feed on the Fragments - (12 baskets?)
ministry = combo of depletion (wears you out) and sustenance (doing will of Him who sent me) - John 4:34

Question:  Who fed the Crowd?  Jesus?  or disciples?  or BOTH??  Jesus did it with disciples, not without

The model, mode, method remains unchanged - you do you part, He does His part.

Every born again believer has a call to ministry. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Witnesses for Jesus

Previous text = healing on the Sabbath
with Jews' challenge and Jesus' claims of authority to:
1)  give life
2)  raise the dead
3)  judge man
These being the prerogative of GOD ALONE!!    John 5:18 
The Jews understood Jesus' claims as claim to Deity!!

NOW - Jesus defends His claims by witnesses to testify.  Deut. 19:15 - 2 or three witnesses

Witnesses for Jesus - John 5:31-47

#1.  John 5:33 - John the Baptist - recognized as a prophet and accepted as such.  1st. on in 400 years.
John 5:35 - accepted for a while.  until????  the problem was not with John's message.  Problem was with John's Messiah!!  The message was fine as long as it was about the Messiah they wanted and expected.

#2.  John 5:36 - Jesus' works. 
Especially the miracles - John 10:24-25 - the miracles speak on His behalf.  Validation of message and messenger.  Miracles could never be worked by man alone.

#3.  John 5:37 - The Father (God)
His testimony found - 1) in His works - John 3:1-2
                                 2) in His Word(s) - fulfilled prophecy - John 5:39
                                 3)  in His Presence - convicting, calling, the Voice

#4.  Jesus Himself - on one hand IF His testimony stood alone...?!   However, it doesn't stand alone!

NOTE:  These testimonies still stand.
(IF valid then in AD 30 - then Still valid today in 21st. century)  - the truth doesn't change

But, TODAY we have additional witnesses, testimonies.  The weight is heavier on us than on those in 1st. century.

Today we have the witness/testimony of:

#5.  The Resurrection - the pinnacle piece of evidence that Jesus was who He said He was.
Which is more than He rose from death.  He rose glorified!! - Rom. 1:4

#6.  The Word of the Apostles
example:  1 John 1:1-3 - "seen & heard" - we SAW the Risen Christ!!!

#7.  The many Martyrs - (martyrs - person who testified, witnessed) - The Word then and now  - Acts 1:8
All Christians are called to testify and witness to the risen Lord. 
Example:  G. K. Chesterton's "democracy of the dead" - previous 20 centuries - Question:  Do these people's voices not matter?

NOTE:  these witnesses are Convincing , but NOT compelling - ie:  they are not irresistible, but do not FORCE belief.
Why is there NOT more compelling evidence?  - Scripture - because God WANTS THOSE WHO WANT HIM!!!

BUT - 3 witnesses still to come --- which WILL BE compelling!!
(unfortunately, then it will be too late!!!)

#8:  The Demons - on one hand, they have already testified - Mark 1:23-24
                But, they WILL do so openly for all to see - "every knee" - most of us have not seen this yet.

#9.  The Doomed - (damned) - Rev. 20:11-13

#10.  Death - 1 Cor. 15:24-26 - we succumb to death.  It is the last enemy to be destroyed!!

One more verse:  John 5:34 - loose paraphrase:  "I don't need their testimony.  Mine stands on its own...
BUT ... I mention, point to, call attention to these .. "that you might be saved!"
In the end it is Your decision, Your choice, Your call.

His LORDSHIP stands without any testimony!  He's either LORD or He's not.  There's no third option!!!