Wednesday, October 26, 2016

John 4:31-54

John 4:31-38 – The Harvest

The disciples wanted Jesus to eat.  Jesus said that He had food that they knew nothing about.  “My food, is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.”John 4:34.  He spoke of the harvest, fields, crop, sower, reaper and wages.  He said the fields were ripe for the harvest. (John 4:34-38)

The fields and crops are the people of the world.  The harvest is those who are ready to receive the truth.  People are searching and are hungry for something or someone to believe in.  They may not realize it, but deep down they are not satisfied and are searching.

The sower and the reaper in this case is Jesus, but all believers are sowers.  We plant the seed of the gospel.  We may or may not reap the results right away.  The reaper is one who actually sees the person come to believe in Christ.  The wages are the joy, blessings, rewards, and satisfaction in seeing someone saved.  Jesus says one sows and one reaps the harvest.  It’s encouraging to know that even though we may not see the fruits of our labor those seeds we planted will grow and mature and someday that person that we’ve witnessed to and prayed for will be saved.

How are you doing the work God has given you? 
Who in your life is ripe for the harvest?

John 4:39-42 – The Belief

The Samaritan woman took the gospel to her town and many Samaritans came to see Jesus.  They spent time with Him and because of His Words, they became believers.  They called Him, “The Savior or the world”. (John 4:39-42)

The town’s people saw a change in the woman and they had to see for themselves.  It started with seeds she planted.   Through her planting their souls were harvested.

How are you planting the seeds of the gospel?
What keeps you from telling others about Jesus?
Do you feel you are not knowledgeable enough?  She didn’t have all the answers or a lot of Bible knowledge, but she told others.  So you don’t have an excuse.  Even when we don’t speak the words, we are still giving testimony by our actions. 

So many people today here in America with all kinds of opportunities are rejecting Jesus.  But people in the more backward countries who are less fortunate and don’t have the opportunities we have, are hearing about Jesus and accepting Him almost without question.  It’s just like the Jews rejecting Jesus and people like the Samaritans accepting Him.

How often do you spend time with Jesus?

John 4:43-54 – The Faith

 Jesus revisited Cana in Galilee where He had turned water into wine.  A royal official whose son was sick in Capernaum approached Jesus and begged Him to come and heal his son.  Jesus answered him by saying that unless you people see miraculous things you will never believe.  The official begged Jesus again to come before his sons dies.  Then Jesus said to go and his son will live.  Then on his way home his servant met him and said that his son was healed. (John 4:46-51).
News about Jesus had spread so this official traveled from Capernaum to the Cana in Galilee to see Jesus.  He worked for the government so he had authority over Jesus, but he was humble and realized that Jesus had a different kind of authority.  Probably a crowd had gathers because of Jesus using the words “you people” in verse 48.  The official didn’t get angry and leave.  The official acted in faith by going home.  To believe is to act and that’s just what he did.  He had faith when he believed Jesus could help his son, faith by believing Jesus’ words, and faith when saw his son healed.  Then his whole family believed.  This is real faith to believe in a miracle before you see it. 

The official realized that the exact time Jesus told him “your son will live” was the exact time his fever broke so all his household believed.  This was Jesus’ 2nd miracle in Galilee.  (John 4:53-54).

We learn in this passage that Jesus was compassionate.  He can do all things.  He can change lives.  We need to give our concerns and problems to Him, believe, and He will do the rest.  You won’t receive, if you don’t ask.

What miracle has God done in your life? 
Where is Jesus calling you to prove your faith?

I am sure the official had some doubts, but Jesus challenged his faith.  True faith is not absence of doubts – it’s acting in spite of it.  True faith is believing God and courageously acting on His Word.

Next week we will study the rest of John 5.  Have a blessed day and thanks for visiting my site.  Hope to see you here next time.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

John 4:1-30

John 4:1-30 - The Samaritan Woman  
Since Jesus was becoming well known, the Jewish leaders were jealous.  Jesus knew this so He left Judea for Galilee.  The most direct route was through Samaria.  Most Jews didn’t go this way because Jews and Samaritans were enemies.  Since this was a must shorter route and that’s the way they went.  Jacob’s well was there and when Jesus became tired, He sat down by a well while the disciples went into town to buy food.  (John 4:1-6) 

The Jews and the Samaritans shared the same ancestors, but had a long history of hate dating back to 2 Kings 17:25-34.  The King of Assyria brought pagan people to Samaria where the Jews had lived before they were taken captive.  Many Jews had remained there and married these Samaritans who worshipped false gods.  When the captive Jews were freed, they returned.  They didn’t want to share in rebuilding the temple with the Samaritans, because of the Samaritan’s worship practices.  They rejected most of the Old Testament.  They worship not only God, but pagan gods.  So hatred developed.

John said Jesus had to go through Samaria.”  Jesus didn’t share this hatred for Samaritans.  He knew they needed to know how to be saved, too.  Jesus loves and cares for all people no matter who they are or what they’ve done.  He meets each of us exactly where we are.  Jesus went out of His way to seek this Samaritan woman.

Jesus was human and was tired and needed a drink so He sat down by the well to rest.  This shows us Jesus’ humanity.  He gets hungry, thirsty, sleepy and tired.  In John 19:28 He said He was thirsty and Matt. 8:24 tells us He was asleep.  He is 100% God and 100% human. 

A Samaritan woman came to the well to draw water.  “Jesus said to her, Will you give me a drink?” John 4:7.  The woman said He was a Jew and asked why He asked her for a drink.  He answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”John 4:10.  She told Him He had nothing to draw the water with and the well was deep.  Where could He get this living water? (John 4:7-12)

The well was the place where women gathered to talk as they drew the needed water, but women probably didn’t want to socialize with this woman because they had no respect for her.  She had been married many times and was living with a man.  Jesus talked to her which was unusual, because Jews didn’t talk to Samaritans and they didn’t talk to strange women in public.  Jesus and the woman had something each of them needed.  His body needed water to stay alive and she needed the Holy Spirit to stay alive.

“Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.  Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’”John 4:13-14.  Jesus explained the difference between physical water and this living water He was offering.  Our bodies get thirsty, but physical water is only temporary.  The water Jesus offers gives permanent satisfaction.  It’s a gift from God.  It is the free salvation available to all who believe.  “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”Rom. 6:23.  It’s tied to the identity of Jesus.  It’s available to all who ask.  Jesus gives it gladly.  With physical water, you become thirsty again.  This living water is permanent satisfaction.  It’s God’s Holy Spirit.

People today thirst for things that don’t satisfy.  They thirst for power, success, money, popularity, and material things.  What do you thirst for in your life?

She asked Jesus, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”John 4:15.  Jesus told her to call her husband and come back.  She told Him she had no husband.  Jesus told her she was right and that she had had 5 husbands and the man she lives with was not her husband. (John 4:15-18)

The woman didn’t want to have to come and draw water every day.  She wanted life to be easier.  Jesus doesn’t offer us an easy life.  He offers us a changed heart and helps us overcome our difficulties.  Being a Christian is not easy. 

She then thought He was a prophet since He knew her past.  Then she changed the subject and talked about the correct place to worship God.  Jesus told her it didn’t matter where you worship, but that it was the attitude that mattered.  She said she knew the Messiah is coming.  Jesus said, “I who speak to you am he.”  (John 4:19-26).        

Have you ever ask God for this living water?

Jesus knew the woman was sinful and confused.  She didn’t understand, but had the desire to know the truth.  The only religion she knew was a mixture of Judaism and paganism. 

 “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”John 4:24. 

What does worshipping in spirit and in truth really mean? 
I think to worship in spirit means that we must be born-again or born of God.  Then we have His Holy Spirit in us.  True worship flows from the heart and is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit.  We must have the right and joyous attitude and engage the whole heart in worship. 

To worship in truth means to submit to the truths of the Bible.  The Samaritan woman worshiped God according to her traditions, which was false worship.  You need to actually know God and what His truths are.  You can have knowledge of the truth, but if you don’t know Him you can’t truly worship Him.  Therefore, worshipping in spirit and in truth go together.  

God doesn't want us to worship on the outside for others to see.  God knows our minds and hearts.  He knows if we are worshipping Him in the right way.  Some worship God for selfish reasons wanting Him to do something for them.  Some worship because they think it’s their duty.  Some are present during a worship service, but are not worshipping.  They could be daydreaming or even sleeping during the message or during prayer.  Some look at church as a social place.  Our worship should be offered to please God.  He wants us to worship Him because of who He is.

How do you worship?
What is your attitude when worshipping?
Do you worship with a sincere heart?

The disciples returned and were amazed to see Jesus talking to a Samaritan woman.  They did not question him.  She left her water jar and returned to her village.  There she witnessed to the people.  Her heart was filled with joy and her guilt was taken away so she had to tell others her story.  “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did.  Could this be the Christ?” John 4:29.  Then people went to the well to see for themselves. (John 4:27-30)

Who do you need to tell about Jesus?

We all have a thirst that can’t be satisfied with anything other than Jesus Christ.  Our greatest need is to know Him.  He comes to us as He did the Samaritan woman.   We are sinful and dissatisfied, but Jesus offers forgiveness and living water which is eternal life.

Next week we will study the rest of John 4.  Have a blessed day and thanks for visiting my site.  Hope to see you here next time.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

John 3


J0hn 3:1-21 – Jesus Teaches Nicodemus

While Jesus was in Jerusalem for the Passover celebration, a man named Nicodemus who was a Pharisee and a member of the Jewish council came to Jesus in the night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God.  For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.”  Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”  Nicodemus asked, “How can a man be born when he is old?”  Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit, Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”  (John 3:1-6)

The Pharisees was a religious group and very stringent about keeping laws and traditions. Since Nicodemus was a part of that group, he probably came to Jesus during the night to conceal his conversation with Jesus for fear the other Pharisees would see.  He didn’t fear coming to Jesus.  Remember, we can come to Jesus anytime, day or night without fear.  He is always there waiting for us to talk with Him.

Nicodemus came to Jesus because of His signs and wonders.  He thought the kingdom of God was coming through these signs.  Nicodemus showed respect for Jesus by calling Him Rabbi.  Nicodemus asked Jesus several questions, but didn’t seem to understand Jesus’ answers.  He should have understood since he knew the Old Testament prophecies, but He needed to be convinced or he wouldn’t have asked so many questions. 

Jesus explained it to him.  Jesus told him that he must be born again to see the kingdom of God.  If not, you are spiritually dead and will be condemned for your sin.  You will be separated from God and cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.  Many people today don’t understand this either.  I think it’s because they are blinded by sin, too proud or even too stubborn.

Flesh here refers to the physical body - to our will, emotions, and all that we are.  It is subject to weakness and death.  Only God can make us spiritually alive.  We become a new creation in Christ.  He creates in us new emotions and new attitudes.  The Bible calls this “the new self”.

Are you looking for Jesus when it’s safe?
Do you want a relationship with Him only on your terms?

What does it mean to be “born again”?  It is a 2nd birth, a supernatural mystery.  Your 1st birth was from water by your mother’s womb and you become a child of your parents.  To be born again is to be born by the Spirit of God.  The Holy Spirit enters and permanently indwells in each believer.  This is a requirement to enter the kingdom of God.  You are born again when you believe.  Believing is being sorry for your sins and realizing you can never be good enough for God.  You have a change of heart.  You know you deserve punishment, but Jesus suffered that punishment on the cross on our behalf.  When you believe in Jesus and have true faith in Him, you became a new person.  You become a child of God and are a part of His family.  This gives you inheritance in heaven.  When we are born of the Spirit, we no longer live to please ourselves.  We live to please God. 

Are you like Nicodemus, religious but not born again?
Do you have true faith in Jesus Christ?

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” – John 3:16-18.  (This is the first Scripture I learned as a child.  I love these verses.) 

This is the most quoted verse in the Bible.  Probably because it is filled with hope knowing God loves us and chose to save us by sending Jesus to us despite our sin.  He came to save the lost.  If you truly believe, you will put God first in your life.  You love Him more than anything else.

Jesus didn’t come to judge you.  He came to save you from judgment.  You have brought judgment on yourself by your evil deeds and you have fallen short of perfection.  Jesus isn’t going to condemn you for that - He’s trying to save you from it.

God is holy and cannot accept us, because we sin.  God send Jesus to the world, because He is a fair God.  If we do wrong, we deserve punishment for that sin.  Jesus suffered our punishment.    God’s loves us.  That is His nature.  Everything He does is because He loves us.  He gave us His most precious thing He had - His Son.  If there were any other way, He would have not sacrificed His Son in such a horrible way.

Do you love enough to send your son to die for others?  God did.  That shows just how much love God has for all of us.

If we accept the gift of His Son, Jesus we will have eternal life.  This gift is free.  We can’t earn eternal life.  The only way to have this free gift is to believe and know that Jesus is God.  Believing is more than just knowing Jesus is God.  Even Satan knows who Jesus is.  We must trust Him, believe His Words in the Bible are true, and obey him.

There will come a time when Jesus will come to judge the world.  Our eternal destination will be determined – heaven or hell.  Salvation is so simple.  Believe and trust in Jesus.  It includes commitment and obedience.  To believe in Him brings peace, joy, and hope.  It assures us of eternal life with Him.  It doesn’t mean we have to be perfect, because we are not perfect and in this life we will never be.  BUT at the judgment believers will NOT be held accountable for our sins.  Jesus took our sins away on the cross.  THANK YOU, JESUS!

Have you made Jesus your Savior?
If not, will you get on your knees and ask Him to come into your heart?

Jesus called Himself Light in verse 19.  He goes on to say that men love darkness because their deeds are evil.  They don’t come to the light because their deeds will be exposed.  Those who live by the truth, come into the light.  Then it can be seen that what He has done was done through God. (John 3:19-21)  I really hate paraphrasing God’s Word.  Please read the actual verses for yourself.

John 3:22-36 – John the Baptist’ Testimony

Jesus’ disciples were baptizing people as well as John the Baptist.  People seem to be going to Jesus’ disciples for baptism instead of John so John’s disciples were concerned.  John was not envious.  He knew God had given him special job by preparing the way for Jesus to come.  He had done his job and he was not jealous, but happy people where receiving Jesus. (John 3:22-30)  John’s position was, “He must become greater; I must become less.”John 3:30.  What a great example of perfect humility.

Are you envious of someone else’s position?
Are you satisfied that you are doing just what God intended you to do?
Do you take the glory for yourself or give it to God?

(John 3:31-36) – This passage emphasizes clearly that God’s Son is superior to everyone.  He is above all.  Jesus knows what heaven is like and came to tell us the truth about God.  John tells us that God loves His Son and has put everything in His hands.  “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”John 3:31.

God gave us freedom of choice.  We can believe in Jesus and receive eternal life in heaven or we can reject Him and have eternal life in Hell.

What is your choice?

Lesson Principles:
To enter the kingdom of God, you must be born again.
People will die eternally without faith in Jesus Christ.
Being born-again is God’s solution to our need for love and life.
God gives believers in Jesus new life that involves new thinking, new destiny, and new focus.
As our love for Jesus increases, self-focused living decreases.

Next week we will study John 4.  Have a blessed day and thanks for visiting my site.  Hope to see you here next time.

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