Classic Christianity – Book of John Part 49 (07-23-19)
So often as we live this new life in Christ Jesus, we forget or lose sight that Jesus really is our life. We forget to thank God even of the simple things of life, such as food, shelter and clothing and the air we breathe. Everything we have is from God. In past generations, woman and the elderly were respected. While in a crowded waiting room, waiting for the doctor, there are no seats available and a woman or elderly man walks in, it was quite common and a natural thing to do to give up your seat. There was a greater moral climate that even lost church goers had quite a moral nature about them. There was, in general, respect for those in authority over us, whether police officers or the president of the United States. It has gotten far worse than in Bob George’s time on earth. We have those athletes who have no respect for even our country, for what men in previous generations did to fight for us to have the freedoms and opportunities we enjoy.
In Jesus day, and even in our day today, people scoff at the name of Jesus. The Jews even wanted to stone Jesus to death, for they thought it outlandish that Jesus, whom they saw as a mere man, claim to be God. To them that was blasphemy for Jesus to proclaim himself to be God. If he is God, and he is, then that is not blasphemy. Can you believe in Jesus based on the words he spoke? If you cannot believe his words, can you believe him based on the miracles performed through him that no ordinary man can do? If you cannot believe him, can you believe the testimony of those who walked with Jesus or saw him? We have the scriptures today that record the words of those eyewitnesses of Jesus, and they are those who believed based on the testimony they heard. John the Baptist spoke of Jesus and men who heard him speak said that what John said of Jesus was true. So they believed when they heard Jesus speak and observed what he did.
You never know when your testimony of Jesus, God will use to open a blind man’s eyes. I am not talking about a physically blind person, but about when a man spiritually blind comes to understand the truth of Jesus and believe. Not a man who can say “Jesus, Jesus” but who can understand that Jesus is God, that he died, was buried and rose again to personally save him. That is, you were dead in sin, darkened in your understanding, but then you identified and came to believe that Jesus died to take away your sins, never to be remembered anymore. He reconciled you and the entire world unto himself when he died on the cross 2000 years ago. He did this in order to be raised from the dead to give new life to man, you included. So you believed Jesus and received eternal life Jesus offered for you. You came alive in Christ Jesus.
Bob shared the testimony of a young lady, who after being separated from her husband, and having children by him, how she became reconciled back to her husband, after not seeing him for over 4 years, not even knowing where he was. She had become a born again believer and since God reconciled her, the thought came that she should call her husband so he can be reconciled to. Bob retells the conversation she had with her husband. Her husband heard a man under the car telling him about Jesus and did not understand what he was telling him. Then he met a man at a grocery checkout counter and still did not understand. Then his former wife whom he has not heard from in over 4 years calls him and tells him what Jesus did for her. He is dumb-founded and wonders why such strange things are happening. He is not understanding the message of Jesus yet. She invites him to hear another message of Jesus at a conference she is attending. He comes and their children are so happy to see their dad again. He hears the message of Jesus again and this time he comes to understand the truth and believe. In a few short weeks, they are back married again and see their children grow up together as a family. God has reconciled the world to himself. When you are reconciled to God, and come alive in Christ Jesus, you are also being changed from within so that lives are reconciled. Jesus has given us the ministry of reconciliation.
Before we get started with the gospel of John, let us pause and give thanks for the many things we have to give thanks for. Every breath and bite of food we take is because of the life of Christ Jesus. So many times this is forgotten. So many times people do not know the Lord Jesus as the personal savior and do not understand those who do. They do not understand those who are in Christ Jesus. The natural man does not understand spiritual things and the natural man does not understand the spiritual man. They do not understand us.
1 Corinthian 2:14
14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.
1 John 5:20
20We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
What separates us from the world around us is the truth we possess. Throughout scripture Jesus keeps teaching us truth and truth until we understand what truth is. We are going to be stumbling the rest of our lives on every wind of doctrine and will not have stability in our lives. We will be led astray by every wind of doctrine until we hear the truth, and hold firmly to the truth and are set free.
I am not anti-prayer. I talk to God all the time. If someone was observing the conversation between God and me and me and God, I think someone can figure out who has the best thing to say.A man was at a meeting with a group of men. A man was there with all kinds of trials and tribulations. Although his story was sad, he wanted us to join with him in a pity party. This man claims to be a born again Christian, continuing to go to a Catholic church he belongs to. The conversation went like this, “We prayed and prayed and what is wrong with my prayers”. This carried on for quite some time. Bob was getting tired of hearing this and felt like he was ready to explode and had to say something. Bob spoke up, “God has given us two ears and one mouth and wants us to use it proportionately. I do not know why or understand how anyone expects to grow by talking to God at the exclusion of listening to Him. If I do not know any better, it is not very impressive to anybody, including you, and even less to God. We put all the emphasis on ‘praying and praying’, and I am not against prayer, but I am praying what God has taught me. I, like you, have taken time in my life to absorb this book. I know what is in it and I know the meaning that God has given to us for I have relied on God to reveal it to me. I rely on the Holy Spirit to teach me because I do not have the intelligence to understand God on my own. I cannot even comprehend a professor let alone God. All we are doing is talking to God, praying and praying. Sir, you need to stop talking and start listening. You have got to hear the word of God.” The man replied, “Well, I did not study the word of God.” Bob replied, “I know you didn’t. I can tell by listening to you. We sit around and just talk about those kind of thing”
Bob lived in a generation where father’s spent very little time with their children. You would never observe a dad play ball with his children in his generation. They did not have television in that generation of his father. You honor that man. Bob observed one time Bob played basketball with him. He did not expect him to play with him. Bob understood that and did not expect him to play. He had other children to play. His father expected him to play. Today, he is glad dads are involved with their children. But whether dads are involved with you or not, we are to be honoring our parents. We are to be thanking God for what God has given us in regard to the parental guidance we got in growing up.
When Bob grew up, people had respect for women. Bob recalls, “If I was on a bus or train or the doctor’s office and a woman came in and there were no seats, we were trained to get up and give up your seat for a woman. We were to respect our elders in the same way. If an older person came in and there were no seats you were to give up your seat for him”. There was respect for your elders. A woman and elderly person are to be respected. That is lost in this generation. We are to respect the law. We were taught to respect the law. How can you respect them when we have a court case, and you are told how crooked and wicked they are? You respected the president. You and I have no convincing to believe Bob George as a republican. Besides moral failures, Bob thought President Clinton was a good president. He also thought President Bush was a good president. Nevertheless, whether we believe that to be true or not, we are to honor their position of authority.
Consider the words of the apostle Peter.
1 Peter 2:16-17
16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God‘s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor. 18 Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.
1 Peter 3:15
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
We are to respect our parents today. There is a certain honor and respect by the fact they brought you into this life. Some of you have had lousy parents. But whether good or bad, you have in to say they are someone precious. When he dies, he is missed. These things are important for us to understand. There are people worthy of honor because they are parents or a president of the United States or hold an office worthy of honor. Would you like to get back to those days when people honored and respected one another?
The only way to get back is to get back to truth of Christ Jesus. Even though in Bob’s family, his father did not believe until on his death bed, as Bob shared truth with him, leading him to Christ, he was a man worthy of respect. In previous generations, people were church going people, people who honored God. They did not deny God. His father was a very good and moral man and honoring man. Bob could not understand how anyone could be as moral as he was. Bob said he sure wasn’t. Even those his father is no longer alive, Bob said that not a day goes by he wants to pick up the phone and call him. Bob said he honored him when he was here. We were taught to respect and honor our parents. We have to teach people. Jesus is our teacher. That is why they called him rabbi, which means teacher. He came to teach us things. The reason he came and did what he did was to teach us who he is and who he came to do for us. He was about to do something we could not do for ourselves so we too could be whole.
As we study through the book of John, we have begun to understand the teachings of Christ and why he came here. There was unbelief. He healed this blind man from birth and gave him sight. All the religious world were full of knowledge but not biblical truth. They knew what the Old Testament said but did not know what it meant. Maybe they too were spending too much time talking instead of listening. Jesus Christ came to reveal the meaning of the word of God. They knew what it said. They had much of the Old Testament memorized and could beat any of us but they did not know what it meant. That is what Christ came to do, to show us the meaning of the word of God.
22 Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” 31 Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him
So Jesus declared himself to be God, and these people picked up stones to stone him because he, according to them was a mere man, claiming himself to be God. Yet Jesus was not a mere man. He just healed a man who was blind from birth, and he was over 40 years old. They did not believe because they are not his sheep. They were proud and not humble and so could not receive truth from Jesus, who is God himself speaking right in front of them.
If God came to this earth for the purpose of telling us to have a knowledge of who God is and a knowledge of how to get saved, in that we are lost, is it important to know who is talking to you? Bob recalls a program on religion he had been listening to. Several born again believers on there and then some real smart guys. One smart guy said, “any religion that says there is only one way to get to God, I do not want any part of that”. That is a man with a stone head and a stone heart and no knowledge of who Jesus is even though he mentions the name of Jesus. Jesus does not want people walking around saying, “Jesus, Jesus”. He wants people to know who He is. That is why Jesus went through these things with these people.
We have no doubt who Jesus was claiming himself to be, that he is God. They heard him loud and clear. There are only three choices. He is a lunatic, a liar or Lord, who he claimed to be. You have no other options than that. How can an imposter be a good teacher? How can a lunatic be a good teacher? He claimed himself to be God and the people heard him claim himself to be God and they picked up stones to stone him.
31 Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” 33 “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”?
What do they call those people in England. They call them lord of this and lord of that. Thy call someone ‘lord Baron’.
35 If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came – and Scripture cannot be set aside – 36 what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?
Jesus is saying scripture is inerrant. So we know we have in our hands the word of God.
36 what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? 37 Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. 38 But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”
Jesus is saying, “at least believe in the miracles you can see even if you do not believe in what I am saying.” Jesus really wants people to know that the Father is in him and he is in the Father. He wants people to know that he is God. Jesus is saying, “If you are not going to believe testimonies that I say then at least believe by the miracles you have seen.” Does God want us to know and understand that “I am in the Father and the Father is in me”? Jesus is just telling us, “I want you to know and understand that I am the only way. It is just the truth. I am telling you ‘I came from the Father’”.
No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.
46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father.
Jesus is saying, “I am God and I am telling you I have been sent to show you and help you come alive spiritually. I want you to know and understand the Father is in me and I am in the FAther.”
39 Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.
After all this testimony they tried to seize him and stone him to death. Is that not something! To see the face of God on the face of the earth and wanting to stone him to death!
People can sit and listen about Jesus. The only difference from today‘s world is they were looking at him. You hear his same words today and what are people doing with such words? Ignoring his words! Maybe I ought to quit ignoring what he says, take heed and be saved.
40 Then Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing in the early days. There he stayed, 41 and many people came to him. They said, “Though John never performed a sign, all that John said about this man was true.” 42 And in that place many believed in Jesus.
Many times we talk to someone about Christ Jesus and they do not respond. Yet other times they hear someone else talk about Jesus and they say, “That was the same message Brad had said” and then they accept the word as truth and believe and are saved.
Bob recalls an example of this when he was at a conference and a young lady came to ask him a question. Bob retells this story. One young lady, now a believer, came in with two beautiful children. She was talking about her and her husband‘s divorce. She realized that she was not the best spouse and he was not the best husband either. She thought maybe they should get back together. Bob asked her, “Has he been remarried”. She replied, “I have not heard from him for 4 or 5 years.” Bob says, “Well, at least get a hold of him and see if he knows the Lord. You may not want to get remarried but at least get reconciled.” She says, “Well, I have not heard from him in 4 or 5 years and we have these children together and maybe we ought to get back together. The only person I knew who might know where he is was his grandmother.”
She retells what happened. “I called the grandmother. We talked for awhile and then I asked, ‘Do you happen to know where the husband is?’ The grandmother said, ‘Yes, he is sitting at the table talking to me. Would you like to talk to him?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ and I got on the phone and started talking to him. I said, ‘I do not know why I am calling but that we should be reconciled. We have children together and you have not seen them. I have come to Christ and know Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I know forgiveness in Christ that is in me and I want you to know God has forgiven you.’ He said, ‘I do not know what is happening. I go to work’’ He was an auto mechanic. ‘I am under a car and a man is babbling to me about Jesus under the car with me. I go to the checkout counter and a person is there talking to me about Jesus. I have not talked to you in 5 years and now you are talking to me about Jesus. I do not know what is going on.’”
Bob tells her, “We are going to do another seminar the following week. Why don’t you call him back and invite him to come to the seminar?” She said, “okay”. So she called him. About a week later, he shows up. The children were so happy to see their daddy. He came to Jesus. She later tells Bob, “About 3 weeks later I married him. We have teenagers today.”
What happened? Testimonies of Jesus. A man under the car told him about Jesus. He did not come to Jesus but something was registering. A person at the checkout counter told him about Jesus. He did not come to Jesus but something was registering. Finally someone told him about Jesus and it started registering.