Monday, May 25, 2015

Promise, Controversy, and Answer

This follows Jesus' rebuke to followers wanting re-do of 'feeding of the 5000' miracle.

John 7:1-53 - Jesus' brothers did not believe He was Son of God, but DID believe the miracles.

I.  Another Promise - John 7:37-38

Jewish feast/water procession (huge part of the festival at the end of the 7 days) --> Jesus' declaration - John 7:7-8 (not time for me to reveal self),  John 7:21 - references healing of lame man at Bethsaida.

John's explanation:  John 7:39
Holy Spirit flowing FOR The believer for eternal life - compare:  John 4:13-14
Holy Spirit flowing FROM the believer to touch other lives - comp.  1 Pet. 4:10

Question:  Is it working??? - If it's not, then why do we see such a widespread growth of Christianity world-wide?
Example:  Christianity Growth Stats: 
YEAR                               Non-Christians to Christians
AD 100                                    360:1
AD 1000                                  220:1
AD 1500                                  69:1
AD 1900                                  27:1
AD 1992                                    2:1

We recognize not everyone who claims Christianity is born again, however, claims Christianity as religion of choice.

(Which leads to)
II.  Another Controversy  (dispute/division) - John 7:40-43
Question:  Jesus came to Unite??   or  Divide?? 
Answer:  BOTH!!
Extensive material in Galatians, Ephesians for examples

On one hand, THE family/bride/church/ - the dividing wall (Ephesians)  mother/Father (Galatians)
On the other hand, Matt. 10:34-36 - Jesus creates controversy and division
Why??? Because there are ONLY 2 ways - Matt. 7:13-14
to choose is to divide (separate) - It's Christ or the world.

(but also gives....)
III.  Another Answer (solution/means of deciding)
Already have --- miracles/prophets/teachings - to prove who Jesus is.
Now add.... John 7:17 - obedience ==> more knowledge
                                   - submission ==> more illumination
Light received increases light.  BUT, light rejected increases darkness

CLOSE:  John 7:53 - They didn't leave their decision(s) at the temple!!! 
Point being:  your decision(s) goes home with you!!!!  To work with you!!! To school with you!!!  You can't make a decision and then leave it at the church!!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Benefits of a Christian Home

A definition of a Christian Home:
#1 - wherein Christ is recognized as Savior and Lord by (at least) some
of the members of that home.
#2.  His Word is recognized as Authoritative
#3.  An attempt is made to LIVE accordingly - as if Jesus really IS Lord

On one hand, this doesn't guarantee that this will make a perfect home.   (human nature, frailty, individual choice, free will), BUT does have great benefits, advantages.

Also have:
1)  A Divine Presence - Mark 6:1-6 - God's power was not lessened, but He won't violate peoples' free will.
He is omnipresent (everywhere, all the time), but is most active where He is MOST welcome!!  (received, accepted)
Eph. 3:16-17 - "dwell".     If you are only Christian in the family, make Him Lord in your heart.

2)  An Authoritative Moral Code - Prov. 12:15, 28:26 - (in own wisdom, insights)  The way of a fool always seem right to him, thus, the reason for an authoritative Moral Code..
which = from God and = for all.
Contains  - instruction (for all areas of life)
               - challenge to provide
  (should have this in Christian home)
3)  A Visible Model.   So we have both:  A)  instruction   AND   B) demonstration

Touchstone Verse:  Prov. 14:1 - "build" (edify) - doesn't just happen!
1)  decision - planning, intent
2)  self-discipline - effort - doesn't happen in a day, week, month
3)  skill - need to prepare self, learn how to do
4)  on-going effort - dealing with eternal beings

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The "I Am"s of Jesus

John 7:1 - stayed away from Judea (Jerusalem & surrounding area) - because Jews there wanted to kill Him.
Why such hostility?  Problem was not His miracles - they all recognized the miracles.  Problem = His Claims!!   

Claims of Jesus:   already seen in book of John to this point.
1)  God is my Father - in unique, special way
2)  I came from above - (and you folks are from below)
3)  God has sent me into the world - special ambassador, spokesperson for God
4)  I always (and only) do my Father's will - knows that will perfectly
5)  I can forgive sins - (claim to Deity)
6)  I have temple authority
7)  I am Lord of the Sabbath - very sacred to Jews
8)  I can grant life (deathlessness) - physical life and eternal life
9)  I will raise the dead  - general resurrection
10)  I will judge all men - God committed all judgment to Me
11)  If you believe Moses, you'll come to me.
       If you believe God, you'll come to me.
12)  If you don't believe in me, you'll die in your sins - John 8:23-24

Add to this the "I Am"s of John.

A.  John 6:35 - Bread of Life
B.  John 8:12 - Light of the world - 1st. thing God created
C.  John 10:7-9 - I am the gate for the sheep
D.  John 10:11 - I am the Good Shepherd
E.  John 11:23-26 - "I am the resurrection and the life"
F.  John 14:6 - I am the way, the truth, and the life.
G.  John 15:1-2, 5 - I am the Vine, you are the branches

Add:  John 8:54-59 - with Ex. 3:13-14 - expressing eternal existence, claim to Deity, I AM that I AM.
Stoning - reserved for severe crimes - one being blasphemy.  This claim qualified as blasphemy to the Jews.

Will examine these as we come to them.  Today, an intro and general overview of I AM claims:

The "I AM" claims are:

#1.  Direct claims - ie.  from lips of Jesus Himself - not disciples' or apostles' interpretation

#2.  Personal claims - Example:  not come to me and I'll show you the door, but I AM the door, the light, the way, etc.
Point:  this is more than religious belief.  It = personal relationship - not just understand, but experience
Point:  benefits Not just from His teaching, but from Him!

#3.  Very Exclusive claims - uses definite article.  Contrast:  a door with the door - classic verse:  John 14:6
Second sentence of this verse nails it down.

#4.  offensive claims (directly from the mouth of Jesus) - both then and now.
IF ... the message is offensive, THEN the messenger is offensive!!  (evangelism)  as followers we have no room for compromise.   The offense of the 21st. century has been the norm throughout most of previous 2000 years.

#5.  veiled claims - (contrast hidden claims) - veiled so that those who want to find the truth, will find it, and those who don't, won't.
Requires:  a)  Presence and activity of Holy Spirit - 1 Cor. 2:9-10
but also b) content of the gospel message - Rom. 10:14 - (bridge illustration, wordless book, Roman Road, etc.)

#6.  powerful claims - Rom.1:16-17 - simple gospel = power of God for salvation for all

1)  Are these claims true?  - (Liar, Lunatic, Lord????)

2)  Will you (do you) accept them (stand, embrace)? - which is more than believe them.  It = believe HIM!!  (personal)   (trust them vs. Him)

3)  Will you share them???? (we are obligated) = Rom. 1:14

This is a very offensive time to share the gospel, but we are obligated to share it.