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Sermons on John

IN THE WORLD BUT NOT OF THE WORLD

In the World, but not of the World!
These are hard sayings and for many of us difficult to understand. Yet, at the same time, it is imperative that we take a closer look at the words spoken by our Savior Jesus Christ during His great intercession recorded here in the Gospel of John.
During His earthly ministry, Jesus was constantly a witness of God’s faithfulness. Whatever He said, whatever He did on this earth, it always pointed to the Father’s faithfulness.
Let me explain a very difficult subject regarding glory. When we seek glory, we do so at the expense of the glory of God. Not so with Jesus, because the glorification of the Son is the glorification of the Father. In other words, when the Son is exalted, so is the Father, because they are ONE. Here in this prayer, Jesus simply asked the Father for His glory back because He knew that He must be lifted up on the cross in order to be lifted up in the sight of the angels.
Jesus was ready to go home to be with His Father once again because His work on earth for which He came was about to be finished. He was the witness of the Father’s faithfulness without exception. He finished the work the Father has given Him.
According to Jesus own words found in verse 17, sanctification comes through the Word of God. The Word of God is the instrument God uses to separate us from this world system we are living in. It is that truth that eventually defines godly relationships. Or saying it another way, you cannot have godly relationships without being in the truth. And you cannot understand what a godly relationship looks like without understanding the content of the Gospel, the Word of God.
Neither can you and I understand what it means to LIVE IN THE WORLD BUT NOT BE OF THE WORLD apart from understanding the Word of God. It is the Word of God that will separate us, that will sanctify us, that will protect us from the Evil one.
This world may call us whatever they want, but a Christians true IDENTITY is not found in this world, but is FOUND IN CHRIST ALONE. We may live in spiritual Babylon today, but we are not OF SPIRITUAL BABYLON.
Understanding and Obeying the truth, the Word of God, will sanctify us, will separate us, will protect us from ever becoming a part of spiritual Babylon, becoming a part of this world. Daniel understood this and so should we. We are living in this world to glorify God. We can endure all things THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS US. Daniel could endure, so can we. Daniel never compromised the Truth, instead he studied and obeyed the truth.

I Also Send You

What a week it has been for those who followed Jesus and those who came to the temple in Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. Three full days have passed since the masses demanded that their King should be crucified. The Romans, as prophesied in Scripture long ago, did the gruesome task and killed the Prince of Peace, not knowing that with it they would zeal their own fate as a nation.
We need to understand that Jesus work on the cross was finished just prior to giving up His Spirit into the Father’s hand. There was no more punishment to be paid for our sins. IT IS FINISHED.
Letting Jesus body hang on the cross for a longer time period or to be thrown on the garbage dump WAS SOMETHING THE HEAVENLY FATHER WOULD NEVER HAVE ALLOWED TO HAPPEN TO HIS SON. The work was done. And it is here where two disciples, secret disciples, stepped in and asked for the body of Jesus from Pilate.
Mary Magdalene is the person from whom Jesus cast out 7 demons. She was the first person mentioned to be at the tomb which was at that time already empty. When the angels asked the question: WOMEN, WHY ARE YOU WEEPING? She did not reply because of GRIEF.
Mary recognized the risen Lord when He called her by name. She recognized HIS VOICE. A typical characteristic of a sheep in relation to the shepherd. In other words, John did not write these words of God on paper that people might believe the right things, that they might be orthodox, or that their theology might be sound.
He did not call Jesus Master or Teacher or Messiah. Thomas called Him Lord, which is the same word translated from the GREEK Old Testament YAHWEH. Thomas confessed that Jesus was Yahweh, His God, standing before him in the flesh. Thomas confessed the deity of Jesus Christ. Jesus never rebuked him for it.
Listen, there is a more important purpose, a purpose beyond coming to the knowledge of the truth of Christ.
“…and that believing you may have life in His name”.
That’s exactly what Jesus said earlier, found in John 10:10b
“ I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

God’s Appointed King

Probably over one billion people on this earth will celebrate Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday over the next eight days. However, way too many do not understand the historical and spiritual significance of what truly took place over 2000 years ago in and around Jerusalem. The Apostle John is giving us many details of these days Jesus was spending with them, and all four gospels record the event described in our text.
6 days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. Needless to say, people heard about what Jesus had done and wanted to come and see this resurrected Lazarus for themselves.
When I observe what is going on in the USA today I cannot help to believe that the church in this country has been placed on a reservation. We are allowed to exist, we are allowed to practice our faith, and we are allowed to pray in our churches. But we are forbidden from moving off the reservation and into the public square to make public proclamations of faith. We are not allowed in a public event to pray in the name of Jesus. The sad part of all this is that not just secularist are howling when we dare wander off the reservation to proclaim Jesus as the ONLY SAVIOR OF THE WORLD, but most mainline denominations do the same. WHY? Because they also, like the religious leaders of Jesus’ days, enjoy peace on the reservation and they certainly do not want to become targets of the RULING GOVERNMENT. We do not want to disturb the peace and want to live in peace and enjoy prosperity even if it means that we have to live on the reservation.
Mary saved this perfume for Jesus burial, but somehow she was not willing to wait until they buried Him. She wanted to give this gift to Jesus NOW. Mary knew that she could minister to the poor tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. But Jesus would not be here always. As Lazarus was watching, the one who just a few weeks ago was rotting away in a tomb, Mary poured this costly perfume on the feet of Jesus.
I wonder how many times we are busy trying to do some humanitarian outreach in the name of Jesus, while totally ignoring to love, worship and exalt Him with our devotion.
The people’ interest in Jesus is based upon a false expectation. Jesus is God’ appointed King, and as such, he does never come to do the masses’ bidding. He came then to Jerusalem to fulfill the Father’s mission, much more glorious than any of us could ever envision.
They rejected Him, because their expectations were not met. Yet through it all, he brought salvation to all people. He became the chief cornerstone.

WHAT SIGN Do You Show Us?

Last Sunday we heard John the Baptist introduce Jesus to the Jews by proclaiming: BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD WHO TAKES AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD.
Every miracle, every sign Jesus performed during His entire ministry on this earth was done so with a very specific purpose. God never does anything without a specific purpose. In this case, the Apostle John is revealing to us that Jesus did this signs and miracles not for their own sake but to point to something that was SIGNificant. These signs always pointed to Jesus Himself, the only one able to represent God’s kingdom. The only one God the Father ever said: THIS IS MY BELOVED SON IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED.
Why did God chose a wedding for His son to perform the first sign during His earthly ministry? And why did God chose to turn water into wine for thirsty guest? Why not turning water into grape juice?
WHAT SIGN?
He became the only acceptable sacrifice for our sins. He has done away with the Old Testament requirements. No animal sacrifices, no temple tax, now show bread, no altar of incense, no Holy of Holies, no ark of the covenant. He nailed it to the cross for good. He is the firstborn of many brethren. NOW THE CHURCH IS THE TEMPLE OF THE LIVING GOD.
What sign do you show us? For you and me, it means to be reminded that we are the newly raised temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in us, and because of that we are here to glorify God in our body and in our spirit.
Jesus’ signs pointed toward something much more SIGNificant than the sign itself, it pointed toward the glorious truth WHO HE REALLY IS, the Redeemer, the Savior of the World, the Only begotten Son of God, fully man, fully God. The KING OF GLORY.

The Lamb Of God

Why did John call for a water baptism?
The ritual of water baptism was applied to Gentiles, unclean people, who wanted to convert to Judaism. Ritual baptism was never administered to Jews, only to non-Jews who converted to Judaism. Why? Because Gentiles were considered unclean and needed to go through a purification rite, to take a bath – in order to be welcomed and received into the covenant community of Israel.
However, John the Baptist primarily directed his calls for repentance to Jews. With that, he told Israel “the Messiah is about to arrive but you are not ready for Him. It is you, the people of Israel,that are unclean. That’s the reason why John called the Jews to submit to a ritual of cleansing that up to this point had been administered only to Gentiles. The typical procedure when a Gentile was going through the proselyte baptism, he was never baptized by a Levite or by a priest, who normally performed all the other purification rites in Israel. The convert was to baptize himself. No wonder the religious leaders asked themselves: Who does this man think he is, to call us, the children of Abraham, to undergo a cleansing rite?
The Lamb of God is also prefigured in the Passover, when God prepared to bring His final plague on the Egyptians, the death of every firstborn male of the Egyptians, including the crown prince of the Pharaoh (Exodus 12:3-31). Just as the blood of the lamb caused the people of Israel to be spared from God’s wrath, the Lamb of God redeemed His people from the penalty that was due for their sin.

Under The INFLUENCE

WE CAN LIVE OUR LIFE UNDER TWO KINDS OF INFLUENCES. And whatever we choose, one or the other, will not just have a major impact how we live, how we behave, how we interact with one another, but also HOW WE INFLUENCE ONE ANOTHER.
John 6:63 says it is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing.
In other words, the Holy Spirit makes life worth living. The flesh, this world, and all religious activities apart from the Spirit of God are of no help at all.
This whole world is under the influence of the wicked one. Jesus introduces to us the ruler of this world as the Father of lies. In other words, the whole world is under the influence of the master LIAR. We are being bombarded daily with news on TV, Internet, Facebook, text messages, phone calls, magazines and books produced by people that are under the influence of the ruler of this world. They are being used by Satan to conceal the truth, to hide the truth, to distort the truth, to make the lie look like the truth. Notice have Jesus introduces the Holy Spirit as the SPIRIT OF TRUTH, which the world cannot receive. Those who are of the world are being influenced by the ruler of this world and are unable to see the truth.
The Holy Spirit was in control of Jesus life. It is this same Holy Spirit whom the Father sent to us as our helper to make us see the truth.
The world cannot see the truth. They are under the influence of the ruler of this world and life and act accordingly. They have given the ruler of this world control over their lives. The child of God is confronted with this truth and must make a decision to GIVE TOTAL CONTROL OF THEIR LIFE OVER TO THE SPIRIT OF THE LIVING GOD. You can decide to give some control to the Holy Spirit, and leave the rest under the influence of the ruler of this world. Such a Christian life is a very hard life indeed. Full of worldly influence, full of schisms, battles of confusion, anxieties, depressions and despair.
Notice that no one had to force these new converts to read the bible, to show up for fellowship, to participate in a meal together, or to encourage them to pray.
WHY? Because a Holy Spirit controlled Christian does not have to be forced to read the Bible or to pray. The Holy Spirit gives them the understanding of truth and the more they understand the more hungry they become. Remember the Old Testament saints proclaimed HOW SWEET GOD’S WORD IS TO THEM. You come under the influence of the WORD OF GOD because the Holy Spirit gives you understanding, which allows you to apply the Word of God in your life. You can literally see it at work. SUCH ACTIVITY GLORIFIES JESUS.
We need to come under the influence of the Holy Spirit, the one who searches all things, the deep things of God, the hidden things of God. And it is then when we surrender control of our life to the Holy Spirit, that we are able to influence the world around us by letting His light shine through us. There is just no other way.

What Shall We Do?

It is extremely valuable for all of us the be reminded why we are here on this earth, why we have been called into His kingdom and why we have been placed by the Holy Spirit into this local church, Victory.
God the Father sent His son Jesus Christ to this earth with a VERY SPECIFIC PURPOSE. Everything God does He does with a specific purpose in mind. As His children, we ought to follow His example.
The Apostle Paul reminds us that we SHOULD HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST. During His earthly ministry, Jesus constantly reminded His disciples and His followers that He came WITH A PURPOSE. No one could side track him, no one could lead Him down another path.
If we want to believe in Him, we must embrace everything He ever said.
If we want to believe in Him, we must accept the Word of God as THE WORD OF GOD and not the Word of Man.
If we want to believe in Him, we must OBEY HIS WORD, not the words of man, religious leaders or denominations. OBEYING HIS WORD IS ALL THAT COUNTS.
We need to be reminded of this simple truth on a regular basis. Victory is not hear to entertain you. We are not here to make you feel good or to tell you what an incredible species you are. We are not in existence to make a social impact or to lead political rallies. That’s not the local churches job. Our job is to lead you to Christ and once you are in the kingdom of Christ, to equip you for the work of the ministry, to do the works of God.
This is the work of God that you believe in Him whom He sent.

God Recovers It All

Glory to God in the highest, AND ON EARTH PEACE, good will toward men! Is there peace on earth today?
Has there ever been peace on earth since that announcement was made?
Satan is stealing SPIRITUAL TREASURES – THINGS THAT HAVE VALUE WITH GOD AND ARE OF ETERNAL SIGNIFICANCE. It is these spiritual treasures GOD CAME TO RECOVER. That’s the reason why Jesus came to this earth. Because God created them to worship and enjoy Him forever.
And it is this truth that has been stolen from the people’s consciousness AND JESUS CAME TO RECOVER IT ALL.
What did Satan STEAL FROM YOU? • What about YOUR FIRST LOVE?
There is no limit and no end to the power he wants to exhibit in our lives. Listen, God can and will keep his people on fire for him. Just don’t believe the lie that we have to mellow down.
• What about YOUR FAITH?
There is a silent theft going on in our spiritual walk: Satan steals our faith.
We once totally depended on God for everything. Circumstances could not bring us down, we simply trusted God to bring us through it all. What happened to your faith? Satan knows that NOTHING IS AS IMPORTANT AS GENUINE FAITH IN A BELIEVERS LIFE. He knows that once he is able to rob us of our faith, we immediately will develop a mindset of self-effort.
God wants YOU TO RECOVER IT ALL. David learned the powerful truth that GOD RECOERS IT ALL. He has a way of getting back what has been ripped off. What the enemy steals, God alone is able to recover. That’s why Jesus came to this earth. You can recover the faith, the childlike trust in the risen, supernatural Jesus Christ – the kind of faith that changes the way you live, talk, and feel.

What’s Your Plan?

Most people will go through life without having ever taken the time to really forge a PLAN FOR THEIR LIFE. What do I want to do with the rest of my life? Some say, well, I don’t plan anything because GOD IS IN CHARGE OF MY LIFE.
If Jesus would have lived on this earth with such an attitude, you and I would spend eternity in everlasting hell fire.
I am so thankful that God the Father has a plan for His entire creation, and especially for me personally.
To find the Biblical answer to what God’s plan is for you and me, we need to turn to John 1:1-14.
Let’s look at the Christian landscape of today, we see similar patterns.
People today can get very excited about Jesus if they see
• That he can benefit them
• That everything will be going great if they “accept Him”
• That He can fix them and solve their problems
What will happen, what will be their plan when Jesus DOES NOT HEAL THEM, DOES NOT GIVE THEM THE BENEFITS THEY DEMAND, DOES NOT FIX THEIR PROBLEMS AND DOES NOT HEAL THEIR MARRIAGE?
The statement: HE WHO HAS SEEN ME HAS SEEN THE FATHER… forms the foundation of all Christian talk about God. It is the incarnation that makes this possible. Excitement about Christmas and that Jesus was born in Bethlehem 2000 years ago, does not mean that we UNDERSTAND WHO GOD IS.
Listen, God’s supreme revelation of Himself is the incarnation, the Word becoming flesh and speaking to us at our level of UNDERSTANDING.