Becoming like Jesus Series (Part 29)
(Driving to Rochester - talking on the phone... missed exit... suddenly realized I did not recocnize the terrain... what to do??? momentary panic... fortunately next exit also goes to Rochester... few extra miles and new scenery... but still made it to destination.
Signs - pictures of funny signs ---- they can be interesting... misunderstood... hard to understand... misleading... or perhaps even obvious...
If we are unable to understand the signs, we ultimately lose our way...
Jesus performed signs - why? to convince people that He was who He said He was...
Apostles performed signs - why? To convince people that the message they brought was genuine
Down through the ages God gives us signs! - OT signs - Moses to Pharoh - Prophets to Israel - (mt Carmel)
like traffic signs the intent is to direct us (or at times correct us) along the path of life... but what happens when we miss them or worse yet when we ignore them? WE find ourselves LOST!
Sermon text John 12:37-50
Key verse v. 37.
Two points to consider:
1. Causes of Unbelief (37-43)
(why we miss the signs)
A. Blind eyes & hard hearts (37-41)
- define both of these terms are consistently used metaphorically in scripture in reference to "dulling of the mind"
- working with rock - shovel & rake - how callouses are formed - constant wearing
Each time we ignor an the Lord's attempt to get our attention, we become a little more "callous" toward Him... essencially our heart get's "harder" toward Him.
Is that Him hardening our heart or us?? does it matter?
B. the fear factor (42-43)
- could be seen in our reluctance to admit sin - we are afraid of what others might think if they knew we struggled with that issue... is that any different than the Jewish leaders who believed but did not admit it because they were afraid the Pharisees would put them out of the synagoge.
- am I a closet Xian for fear of what others in or out of the church might think?
- Have I been a "Pharisee" in the way I treat others in and out of the church?
- could we be doing more to make this a "Safe Place" to admit our addiction to sin...
- addiction to sin (celebrate recovery)
2. Consequenses of Unbelief (44-50)
(what happens when we miss the signs)
A. Can't see the Father (44-45)
- Those who refuse to believe in Jesus - cannot see God
- While they are two disticnt persons...they are one and the same... we can't have one without the other...
- we can not have a relationship with God without a relationship with Jesus - we can not have a relationship with Jesus without having a relationship with God... and later in Ch 16 we will discover that there is a third person called the Holy Spirit that is also intricately involved in this relationship.
B. Live in darkness (46)
- Jesus came as "Light" - why? so that those who believe could walk in the Light.
- In many respects He illuminates our path - Ps 119:105 "thy word is a "Lamp" to my feet a "Light" to my path... John 1:1 "In the beginnig wsa the "Word" - who is the Word? Jesus - Isn't is amazing how scripture all fits together... when we begin to understand it?
- 2nd consequense of unbelief is that we live in darkness - stumbling around tryng to find our way through life...
C. Bring judgment on self (47-49)
- v. 47 I find this vesre very interesting... Jesus does not Judge the person who does not keep His sayings...why (aka John 3:17) He didn't come to judge but to "save" the world.
- who is the head of the church? Jesus
- the church is called what? The body of Christ
- so the church then is literally the representation fo Christ to the world...
- in light of this verse - what is the job of the church then - NOT to judge but to - SAVE
- So our mission as the church - as the body of Christ is NOT to Judge... how hard is that...
So what will happen to those who reject the saying of Jesus?? v. 48.
- they will be judge by - WHom?? the word Jesus spoke (which really encompasses all His teaching)
- when will that judgment take place? At the last day!
- So what happens to those who choose not to believe.... they bring judgment on themsleves - Jesus did not judge them... I dont think it's our place as His church to judge them... I do think it is our place however, to attempt to convince them to believe as long as there is time before that "last Day".
D. Miss eternal life (50)
- the ultimate result of unbelief is eternal "death"
- Jesus concludes with this statment... "I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told me." v. 50.
- "His commandment = eternal life
- "what is that command - according to v. 49 - All the things the Father commanded Jesus to say and to speak - so essencially His entire message.
- if we believe the message of Jesus - we have eternal life... if we choose not to believe it we do not have eternal life.
- so which is it for us? Do we believe it? Or don't we? and if we believe it... how is it evident in the way we live?
- you might be herre today and never have made a conscious decision to believe that the things Jesus taught are true... perhaps you feel the Spirit of God tugging at your heart this morning urging you to make that choice... you know it's true... you want become a follower of Jesus... but you've never made achoice to do that... why not do it now... it doesn't matter if you are 5 or 85, it doesn't matter where your from or what you've done... the joy and peace of eternal life can be yours right now if you want it...
- perhaps you are here today and you have made this choice years ago, but you have drifted... you know you are not REALLY following Jesus with all your heart... could this be the day that you come back to that peace and joy you once knew? Allow the Lord to give your belief in Him and overhaul. Get a fresh start... Remember Jesus did not come to judge you, but to SAVE you...
- if either of those situtionas describe you here today... I going to ask you to do this... after we close and dismiss, would you seek out myself or one of our elders and just ask us to pray with you in regard to your situation... we'll be around for a while for fellowship - just whatever you do... don't IGNORE the prompting of the Lord - becuase each time we do that, we become a little more callous to Him - eventually you may not notice Him at all.