A Secret Faith is No Faith At All John 19:38-42

Having A Secret Faith

Those who claimed Jesus’ body were part of same Sanhedrin that condemned. The first was Joseph of Arimathea, whom John calls “a disciple of Jesus.” But he was secret disciple too “afraid of the Jews” to follow Jesus openly.

John 12:42-43 “Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue;”

A Secret Faith Is No Faith At All

His closest friends had abandoned him in the Garden of Gethsemane. One of his trusted friends had betrayed him to his enemies.

The voices that shouted “Hosanna!” became taunts of “Crucify Him!”  The friend who said, “I will never leave you” then denied him 3 times.

Jesus died virtually alone, and afterwards his body remained all alone.

What changed them?  The Cross!

Maybe it was the gentle and dignified way Jesus faced his fate.

Maybe it was the forgiveness offered to the mob calling for blood.

Maybe it was the haunting cry, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?

Maybe it was the quake that shook earth or torn veil that shook Judaism.

Maybe they had to agree with the pagan Centurion’s confession.

Summary:

Do you co-workers know about your faith?

Do the ones you go to school with know about your faith?

Do they know favorite sports team, music and movies but nothing about your Lord?

The cross demands that we make a choice—you can’t keep faith hidden.

If you avoid faith discussions, maybe yours is secret faith—no faith at all.

Have you decided, really decided to follow Jesus this morning?

 

What is Truth?

John 18:38 , Pilate asks Jesus about truth.  I believe that there is absolute truth.

Jesus says in John 8:32 “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

God is a God of love.  He is also a God of His word.  He is both good and severe.  Romans 11:22

There are things that our society says is moral and socially acceptable. But at the same time God says that these things are immoral.

Sometimes truth is hard to determine. Consider the story of Micaiah Read I Kings 22:2-17    Now if you were one of those two kings who would you have believed? How can we be sure of truth?

We have to develop a thorough understanding of the Word of God ourselves.  Truth must always agree with God’s Word or it’s not truth at all.

I John 4:1 “do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

We Need to Commit ourselves

To seeking the truth. 2 Timothy 4:3-4

To believing the truth.

To living the truth.

Read Ephesians 4:14-15

John 8:31-32  Jesus says: “If you abide in my word you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

The main reason people prefer to have a relative truth is so they can justify not following the commands of God.  *Key to today’s lesson.

Summary

There is truth—absolute truth—and there are things out there that aren’t true.  There are men and women who should be listened to and false prophets who need to be avoided.

Sometimes it is hard to know the difference.  Keep in mind that the Micaiahs of our world do not usually win popularity contests.  Their message may be painful to accept, but if it comes from God it is our responsibility to listen to and to put it into practice in our lives.

 

We send out this publication bi-monthly into the surrounding community around our building.  It is a free publication to help introduce you to the church that meets on Beattie Road.

Questions?  Request Material?  Call us at 435-2193 and we will get your request out quickly.  Thanks for checking us out.

The God of the Towel John 13:1-17

Jesus is aware that the time of his earthly ministry is over (John 12:23 READ)

The time had come for his supreme work to be accomplished (John 12:27 READ)

Here John says that Jesus “showed them the full extent of His love” (13:1 READ)

The full extent of Jesus’ love is seen in the cross, but He begins with a towel. (13:2-5 Read)

Luke 22:24 “A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest”

To Wash shows honor, respect and esteem

Abraham offered water to wash the three strangers feet (Genesis 18:3)

Abigail went to David and offered to his wash feet (1 Samuel 25:41)

Mary had just washed Jesus feet with perfume and her hair (John 12:3)

 

So maybe they were sitting back waiting to be honored by someone else

Maybe it never occurred to them that they should honor someone else

Jesus was Self-Aware of His Mission John 13:3

Read Philippians 2:5-11 (Pew Bible 1248)

He “existed in the form of God” (NAS) or “Though he was God” (NLT)

His equality wasn’t “something to be used for his own benefit” (NCV)

Simon Peter’s Response (13:6-9) He knew that something wasn’t right with all of this. He knew that Jesus shouldn’t be the one washing their feet.

Point: We should be looking to service and not for status (John 13:12-17 READ)

We could practice foot washing as a religious ritual, but that’s optional

What isn’t optional is humbling ourselves to serve one another (Gal 5:13 “For you were called to freedom, brothers.  Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” )

If Jesus humbled Himself to serve, then so should we (Matt 20:27-28 READ) Pew Page 1049

God will make sure we have the gifts we need to serve others (1 Pet 4:10 “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace;”)

Summary: Serving Takes Love

But we can be so distracted by the trivial and miss opportunities.

We assume that someone else will take care of it.

We are afraid some may take advantage of us in some way.

Some must deal daily with very real hardships and difficulties.

There are many reasons NOT to serve and one good reason to serve—Jesus.

 

The Good Shepherd John 10:1-5

God as Shepherd in the Bible

Two of best loved psalms present God as shepherd (23:1 The Lord is My Shepherd I shall not want…, 100:3 we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture).

 Jeremiah promised that God will gather his people as shepherd (Jer. 31:10 ‘He who scattered Israel will gather him, and will keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock’)

 Jesus shows God’s care for the lost in terms of a Shepherd (Lk. 15:4  What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?)

 Peter shares God’s pastoral responsibility with elders (1 Pet 5:2, 4 shepherd the flock of God, that is among you, exercising oversight…and when the chief shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.)

The Good Shepherd Provides  vs. 9-10

 Jesus is the gate of his sheep fold—image is about more than an entrance.

1) Protection: Jesus gives us salvation and therefore he gives safety.

2) Provision: It is in Jesus that we come and go to have our needs met.

The Good Shepherd Sacrifices vs. 11-13

Shepherds who know their sheep will put themselves on the line.  Remember how David fought lions and bears to protect his sheep?  While David put himself on the line, Jesus put Himself on the Cross!

I John 3:16-18 Pew Bible Page 1303

 The cross of Christ was not one-time static event in history—it is our life.                                                      1) It calls us to accept God’s grace and follow the Good Shepherd daily.                                                            2) It calls us to a life of self-sacrifice and surrender as we live with others.                                                         3) It calls us to give up pride, conceit, and our demands to get our way.

The Good Shepherd Knows the Sheep and is Known by them  vs. 14

The first century shepherds knew their sheep by name.  What kept the sheep in line was the sound of the shepherd’s voice.

The Good Shepherd knows all of his sheep, even when we don’t. (John 10:16)  Christianity is Exclusive—only those who know the Shepherd.  But it is also Inclusive—ALL those who know the Shepherd.

Do You Know the Shepherd’s Voice?

Psalm 23   The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.

He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

 

To Whom Shall We Go? John 6:60-69

Background of Text

In 6:1-15, Jesus feeds 5,000 people.  This is a highly significant event, one of the few that all four gospels share.  It is such a big deal that in verse 15 the crowd tries to make Him their king.

Jesus begins with a spiritual object lesson from the feeding of the 5,000.  Notice v. 35; vs. 45-46; v. 50; vs. 54-56; v. 60; vs. 61-63.  Can you explain what is happening in these verses? 

Jesus refuses to follow their tradition or their expectation. So the crowd leaves Him and would follow no more.

The Text  John 6:60-69

Peter speaks up for Jesus: vs. 68-69. I think that Jesus is talking about commitment, not the communion. 

He is saying to these people who have never heard of the communion yet, “to be a disciple, we must be completely committed to Him.”

We Need to See Jesus as our Spiritual Food and our Spiritual Drink

Application:

Some see Jesus as a fountain of financial blessings to the faithful.  And yet we read Mark 10:21; Matthew 6:24

Some see Jesus who never asks anything of His followers:  And yet we read John 21:15-19 and see that we must love Him more.

So What Are We Going  To Do With Jesus?

Are we going to leave Him too?  Peter says “Where will we go; you have the words of life!” 

We conform to Him.  We absorb Him. We become Him.  That’s my choice.  I choose to follow Jesus!

 

What Does It Mean to be Born Again? John 3:3-8

What Does It Mean To Be Born Again?

It is a decision made by a person to accept Christ.

I John 5:1 “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.”

The new birth is a willingness to act on that decision.

1 John 2:29 “If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.”

1John 3:9 “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.”

1John 4:7 “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.”

It is accepting that the power of that change is God’s.

John 1:12-13 “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”

We would be presumptuous to say that we fully understand who God accomplishes our salvation, but we do know that it is part of His action toward us.

John 3:8 “The wind blows were it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Decision-Change-Accepting

The new birth is a process that begins with faith and then transforms us. It is accepting the power of God as seen in the sacrifice of Christ. This power is open to all, and that invitation is open today.

Have you been born again? Have you come to Jesus believing, confessing, repenting and submitting to baptism? If not, you have not become new, you have not been born again, something that Jesus tells us is essential if we are to live with God.

 

Where Faith Becomes Family