What's that Smell? Part 2 (The Gospel of John Week 9)

Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning November 4th, 2018.

These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.
https://www.bible.com/events/504728

We are still in our study series on the book of John. We have gotten to the place in Jesus’ ministry where he is bringing men to be with Him, to be students of His teachings.
Look at it this way:
Jesus - Teacher/Rabbi, Disciples - Students.

Today I can’t help but seem a little weird in naming our sermon and no matter how I try, I keep coming back to this title: What do disciples smell like?

So before I totally lose you this morning, let me get to the Text.

II Corinthians 2:14-17 NKJV
14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.

I want us to dissect this passage this morning to gain a greater understanding of what God wants to do in us and through us.

This goes back to our study of John.

John 1:43 NIV
43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”

Jesus called out 12 disciples with the purpose of transforming them in to world changers. These disciples were not just learning what the Rabbi knew, He was transforming them into being and doing the will of God in their daily lives, in their walk, in their coming and their going.

Simply stated: Jesus said - follow me.

What did that mean? What was Jesus really saying?
Come, walk like I walk
Come, talk like I talk
Come, gain understanding and think like I think
Come, surrender your will to walk a new path and own path
Come, walk in the ancient way
Come, walk on the good path
Come, find the path of peace for your soul
Come, join God’s plan
Come, bring God's presence into the moment
Come, bring glory to God
Come smell like me

TRIUMPH

In 2 Cor. 2: 14 it reveals that this path always leads us in triumph in Christ

Triumph = victory.

This victory lies in two places:

1. When we die - we have a place with God because Jesus conquered death and the grave.

2. The present age:

1. When we live for God, walk in His Word, obey the Spirit of God and do not quench His power, our life focus and purpose changes.

2. The feeling of failure is so common in our thinking that it conquers us. We feel like we are not getting ahead most of the time. It’s like the demands from life control us, instead of us being the head, we feel like the tail.

3. Worry, doubt, fear, anxiety are the common symptoms of this problem.

4. BUT Christ died for us, was buried for us, is alive for us, sent the Holy Spirit to us and sits now at the right hand of God for us, interceding for us and is saying: Do the Father’s Will.

>He even taught His disciples to pray like this and it is still just as relevant now as it was then:

>Pray: May Your Kingdom come and Your will be done in earth (me and you) as it is in heaven.

>Victory looks like doing the Father’s will

>Leave the results up to HIM!!!

FRAGRANCE

When we walk in the Father’s will on the path He’s laid out - in step with the Holy Spirit, we become a pleasing aroma to God. We smell like JESUS. For it is God’s will to change the atmosphere of the moment with His presence, with His love, with the fragrance of Christ and bring His peace.

Look again at Cor. 2:14-152

"and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing."

Fragrance is a powerful atmosphere changer.

>“According to some studies, yes, fragrance can both affect and change your mood. Not only does fragrance affect mood, but it can actually enhance work performance and behavior in various ways.”

>“Certain fragrances may trigger certain feelings and emotions for different people. What might bring peace and serenity to some, many not be the same for others.”

This past week Becky and I had the wonderful privilege of going up to Chattanooga to spend a few days with our dear friends that many of you know and love as well, Dwayne and Lynn Wilkerson. We attended the Ruach Leadership Conference. They so graciously put us up in a nice hotel for the time we were there. On Thursday night, Becky and I got back to the hotel at about midnight and when we walked down the hallway to our room, it absolutely stunk. I mean stunk! Then we opened the door to our room and it stunk. Somewhere around our room there was a strong stinking smell of cigarette smoke. Musky, nasty and not whatsoever pleasing aroma. That smell had moved from the hallway into our room. It changed my mood, and there by I changed my location to another room and a totally different floor.

>Smells can have a powerful effect on us.

>Certain smells carry us to another place and time.

Places of tranquility

Places of peace and nostalgia

Places of delight

We are now in the season of PUMPKIN SPICE Season.

>What is so special about PUMPKIN SPICE?

>Why do we love this scent s much?

Could it be that this particular smell makes us reminiscent of times with family, happy moments of love and laughter?

Verse 14 says:

and through us (The Holy Spirt) diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.

God wants to transform us and work through us in such a way that we:

1. we bring His presence into the conversation, into the room, into the environment we are walking in.

2. God wants to be known through us - to reveal His love, compassion, comfort

>Isaiah 40:1 - Comfort, comfort my people

>2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV) 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

REJECTION: This passage also tells us that some will receive it and like it and some want. But it isn’t our chose as to where we bring it. We are simply to diffuse the aroma of Christ every where and not be people pleasers. Again, leave the results up to God. Be driven by love and obedience and not praise, plaudits or acceptance. Don’t be forceful. You never know the affect to are having because you don’t know what God is doing in a persons heart.

Who can do this? Who can smell like Christ?

verse 16: And who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.

Another words, who can do this? Who can smell like Christ? Who can be God’s voice in the storm? the love in the loneliness, the comfort in the pain? the companion in the wilderness?

That is an important question.

Who can? We can.

1. When we have experienced the love of God through Christ in our own lives and when we surrender our will, our walk, our ways to His Divine leading, allowing His love to prevail in our words, in our actions - then we are diffusing His love to those around us.

2. How do we get change to His scent?

>Surrender our life to His ways.

>In John and through the other Gospels, we see that Jesus called out disciples to come, walk/live as He walked and be what He was. Jesus showed us how to live in relationship with the Father and bring Him glory which absolutely was pleasing, like a pleasing aroma.

John 17:4 (NIV) 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.

We too are called to walk in Jesus ways. Be a true disciple - know and be what the Teacher knew and was. Jesus wanted to transform His followers and He wants to transfer you. Are you wiling to obey?

1 John 2:3-6 (NIV) 3 We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. 4 Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.

Friends, the only way we can be and do what God has called us to be and desires us to do is:

>Surrender to His will

>Learn of His ways (Study, commit to the Text)

>Be who Christ sent you to be as His ambassador

>Walk in the leading go the Holy Spirt

>PRAY and earnestly seek His face, desiring His presence be ever powerful in you so that He will be known through you.

CLOSING THOUGHTS:

1.Whatever you are drinking from will pour through you.

Jesus said He was living water. (JOHN 7:37-39)

The Disciple drank and were poured out. He said streams of living water will pour out of you. They did… you and I are proof.

2, Whatever the atmosphere you are hanging out in will be on you and you will diffuse that smell - like SMOKE.

Be the fragrance of Christ. Get in the presence of God: the Word and the Holy Spirit working in you. Worship and pray… He will transform you and diffuse the scent of His presence everywhere you go.

Oh God, we love you. May Your Kingdom come and Your will be done. We need Your power and presence in this chaotic world. God, transfer me, use me and help me see the opportunities You lay before me each day to bring Your love and diffuse Your aroma of comfort and compassion.

What's that Smell? (The Gospel of John Week 8)

Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning October 28th, 2018.

These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.
https://www.bible.com/events/504728

We are still in our study series on the book of John. We have gotten to the place in Jesus’ ministry where he is bringing men to be with Him, to be students of His teachings.
Look at it this way:
Jesus - Teacher/Rabbi, Disciples - Students.

Today I can’t help but seem a little weird in naming our sermon and no matter how I try, I keep coming back to this title: What do disciples smell like?

So before I totally lose you this morning, let me get to the Text.


II Corinthians 2:14-17 NKJV
14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.

I want us to dissect this passage this morning to gain a greater understanding of what God wants to do in us and through us.


This goes back to our study of John.

John 1:43 NIV
43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”


Jesus called out 12 disciples with the purpose of transforming them in to world changers. These disciples were not just learning what the Rabbi knew, He was transforming them into being and doing the will of God in their daily lives, in their walk, in their coming and their going.

Simply stated: Jesus said - follow me.


What did that mean? What was Jesus really saying?
Come, walk like I walk
Come, talk like I talk
Come, gain understanding and think like I think
Come, surrender your will to walk a new path and own path
Come, walk in the ancient way
Come, walk on the good path
Come, find the path of peace for your soul
Come, join God’s plan
Come, bring God's presence into the moment
Come, bring glory to God
Come smell like me


TRIUMPH

In 2 Cor. 2: 14 it reveals that this path always leads us in triumph in Christ

Triumph = victory.

This victory lies in two places:

1. When we die - we have a place with God because Jesus conquered death and the grave.

2. The present age:

1. When we live for God, walk in His Word, obey the Spirit of God and do not quench His power, our life focus and purpose changes.

2. The feeling of failure is so common in our thinking that it conquers us. We feel like we are not getting ahead most of the time. It’s like the demands from life control us, instead of us being the head, we feel like the tail.

3. Worry, doubt, fear, anxiety are the common symptoms of this problem.

4. BUT Christ died for us, was buried for us, is alive for us, sent the Holy Spirit to us and sits now at the right hand of God for us, interceding for us and is saying: Do the Father’s Will.

>He even taught His disciples to pray like this and it is still just as relevant now as it was then:

>Pray: May Your Kingdom come and Your will be done in earth (me and you) as it is in heaven.

>Victory looks like doing the Father’s will

>Leave the results up to HIM!!!


FRAGRANCE

When we walk in the Father’s will on the path He’s laid out - in step with the Holy Spirit, we become a pleasing aroma to God. We smell like JESUS. For it is God’s will to change the atmosphere of the moment with His presence, with His love, with the fragrance of Christ and bring His peace.


Look again at Cor. 2:14-152

"and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing."

Fragrance is a powerful atmosphere changer.

>“According to some studies, yes, fragrance can both affect and change your mood. Not only does fragrance affect mood, but it can actually enhance work performance and behavior in various ways.”

>“Certain fragrances may trigger certain feelings and emotions for different people. What might bring peace and serenity to some, many not be the same for others.”


This past week Becky and I had the wonderful privilege of going up to Chattanooga to spend a few days with our dear friends that many of you know and love as well, Dwayne and Lynn Wilkerson. We attended the Ruach Leadership Conference. They so graciously put us up in a nice hotel for the time we were there. On Thursday night, Becky and I got back to the hotel at about midnight and when we walked down the hallway to our room, it absolutely stunk. I mean stunk! Then we opened the door to our room and it stunk. Somewhere around our room there was a strong stinking smell of cigarette smoke. Musky, nasty and not whatsoever pleasing aroma. That smell had moved from the hallway into our room. It changed my mood, and there by I changed my location to another room and a totally different floor.


>Smells can have a powerful effect on us.

>Certain smells carry us to another place and time.

Places of tranquility

Places of peace and nostalgia

Places of delight

We are now in the season of PUMPKIN SPICE Season.

>What is so special about PUMPKIN SPICE?

>Why do we love this scent s much?

Could it be that this particular smell makes us reminiscent of times with family, happy moments of love and laughter?


Verse 14 says:

and through us (The Holy Spirt) diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.

God wants to transform us and work through us in such a way that we:

1. we bring His presence into the conversation, into the room, into the environment we are walking in.

2. God wants to be known through us - to reveal His love, compassion, comfort

>Isaiah 40:1 - Comfort, comfort my people

>2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV) 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

REJECTION: This passage also tells us that some will receive it and like it and some want. But it isn’t our chose as to where we bring it. We are simply to diffuse the aroma of Christ every where and not be people pleasers. Again, leave the results up to God. Be driven by love and obedience and not praise, plaudits or acceptance. Don’t be forceful. You never know the affect to are having because you don’t know what God is doing in a persons heart.


Who can do this? Who can smell like Christ?

verse 16: And who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.

Another words, who can do this? Who can smell like Christ? Who can be God’s voice in the storm? the love in the loneliness, the comfort in the pain? the companion in the wilderness?


That is an important question.

Who can? We can.

1. When we have experienced the love of God through Christ in our own lives and when we surrender our will, our walk, our ways to His Divine leading, allowing His love to prevail in our words, in our actions - then we are diffusing His love to those around us.

2. How do we get change to His scent?

>Surrender our life to His ways.

>In John and through the other Gospels, we see that Jesus called out disciples to come, walk/live as He walked and be what He was. Jesus showed us how to live in relationship with the Father and bring Him glory which absolutely was pleasing, like a pleasing aroma.

John 17:4 (NIV) 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.

We too are called to walk in Jesus ways. Be a true disciple - know and be what the Teacher knew and was. Jesus wanted to transform His followers and He wants to transfer you. Are you wiling to obey?

1 John 2:3-6 (NIV) 3 We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. 4 Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.


Friends, the only way we can be and do what God has called us to be and desires us to do is:

>Surrender to His will

>Learn of His ways (Study, commit to the Text)

>Be who Christ sent you to be as His ambassador

>Walk in the leading go the Holy Spirt

>PRAY and earnestly seek His face, desiring His presence be ever powerful in you so that He will be known through you.

CLOSING THOUGHTS:

1.Whatever you are drinking from will pour through you.

Jesus said He was living water. (JOHN 7:37-39)

The Disciple drank and were poured out. He said streams of living water will pour out of you. They did… you and I are proof.

2, Whatever the atmosphere you are hanging out in will be on you and you will diffuse that smell - like SMOKE.

Be the fragrance of Christ. Get in the presence of God: the Word and the Holy Spirit working in you. Worship and pray… He will transform you and diffuse the scent of His presence everywhere you go.

Oh God, we love you. May Your Kingdom come and Your will be done. We need Your power and presence in this chaotic world. God, transfer me, use me and help me see the opportunities You lay before me each day to bring Your love and diffuse Your aroma of comfort and compassion.



The Thrill of Discovery (The Gospel of John Week 7)

Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning October 21st, 2018.

These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.
https://www.bible.com/events/500878

John 1:35-42 NIV
35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” 37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” 39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon. 40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).42 And he brought him to Jesus.Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).


There is an exciting thrill we get when we discover something great. Facebook is full is people sharing things they’ve discovered, seen, encountered or experienced.
>a great vacation spot
>a new recipe
>a new restaurant
>a beautiful sunset
>mission trips with all the beautiful families
>newborns
>that new item you’ve wanted for a while…

We love sharing what we are excited about. We see this in the passage of John:
vs. 41: “The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.”


Andrew had longed for the Messiah. He’d been taught in synagogue that the Messiah would come and end the Roman oppression. He’d learn the prophecies from Isaiah, and Jeremiah. When John the baptist come along, Andrew went with him. Looking and listening to discover the one. Then there He was, Jesus. In verse 38 and 39 we see the encounter. He’d just spent the day with Jesus and was confident that he had found him… He was so sure he had to share the news. The thrill of discovery was all over him.


There is very little the Bible tells us about Andrew but what it does tell us is this… Andrew brought people to Jesus. And like Andrew, we have a message to share.


1. FAMILY
John 1:35-42 – Family
The first thing that Andrew did after he met Jesus was tell his brother.
>Like Andrew, we have met Christ and we need to let our other family members know.

It is hard to witness to family members.

Some reasons why it is difficult (from Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry):

1. Family and friends are those who know us the best. So, many Christians refrain from spiritual conversation with them because they fear being labeled as hypocrites.

2. Family and friends are more comfortable giving Christians a sharp retort or an angry response.

3. Christians are fearful of the repercussions they may face as a result of sharing the gospel with family and friends. Unlike with a stranger who the Christian may see only once in his lifetime, a family member and friend are seen frequently. If a gospel conversation goes bad, the tension created in the ongoing relationship could become very uncomfortable.

4. Christians are fearful of doing anything to jeopardize the friendship or relationship they worked so hard to cultivate. Sadly, this mindset brings to light an inescapable truth. Many who believe they are engaged in “friendship evangelism” care about their friendships and relationships more than they care for the eternal soul of their friend or family members.

Witnessing to family members is not easy; but it is absolutely necessary. Swallow your fears and love them more than you love yourself.

>Be wise in your presentation.
>Be Honest and transparent.
>Pray in preparation and wait for the right opportunity to speak to them.
>Don’t save it all for one conversation.
>Remember who you are speaking to and who you are speaking about. (Programmed evangelism isn’t the best with family). Be aware that asking grandma if she is a Christian at the Thanksgiving table isn’t the best.

Talk with me… I’ve got a lot of good resources and encouragement to give you.


Campus Crusade for Christ Link
Here is a good source with thoughtful ideas regarding sharing the Gospel with relatives.
https://www.cru.org/us/en/blog/share-the-gospel/evangelism/how-to-talk-to-family.html


2. THE YOUNG

John 6:1-14 NIV
1 Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), 2 and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. 3 Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. 4 The Jewish Passover Festival was near. 5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. 7 Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” 8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” 10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. 12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. 14 After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.”


“Here is a boy…”
We may overlook this simple statement but what was going on? Andrew talked with a young boy, maybe he knew him, maybe he didn’t. What we do see is that Andrew brought him to Jesus.

>We need to do the same.
>We need to engage the young ones, the children, and get to know them… we need to bring them to Jesus.
>It’s not just the parent’s responsibility.
>Each of us driven by the love we have for God and the love we have for others, have been given a wonderful privilege of sharing God’s love with another generation.

If we don’t, what will be the result?(Most likely - Judges 2:10-15)


Judges 2:10-15 NIV
10 After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. 11 Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. 12 They forsook the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They aroused the Lord’s anger 13 because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. 14 In his anger against Israel the Lord gave them into the hands of raiders who plundered them. He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist. 15 Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the Lord was against them to defeat them, just as he had sworn to them. They were in great distress.


The world is promoting strongly the thrill of everything except a relationship with God. We need to bring these young ones to Jesus. Encourage them, teach them and be a role model, mentor for them. They will become what is modeled before them…


3. OTHERS (OLDER, DIFFERENT - WHOEVER) - We need to bring others to Jesus


John 12:20-22 NIV
20 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.


>Andrew was willing to bring the Greeks to Jesus even when the Greeks were not respected by Jews.
>We cannot limit the Gospel of God to our particular race, culture or convenience. It is for all people.
>We need to engage people with love of God wherever we are and be sensitive to Holy Spirits leading to talk with people about Jesus.
>Unfortunately we tend to be closed off from the potential opportunity because of fear - not knowing what to say, apathy - not caring about the need, or busy-ness- not taking the time to see the need of others.
>Slow down, listen, engage. Share God’s love in the simple ways. Most people are open to being encouraged. Look for those opportunities.


CLOSING THOUGHTS
We don’t have any great sermons from Andrew or really even know a whole lot about him. But what we do know is, he brought people to Jesus. That is quite significant.

We are called to do the same. Again, back to a very familiar passage that has been passage for us to walk out:


2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.


Who are “those” in verse 4?
1. We must bring our family to Jesus
2. We must bring different age groups to Jesus
3. We must bring others to Jesus

We need to get excited about Jesus, who He is and what He has done for us.

Lord help us see and be excited about who we are called to be so that we will share what we’ve discovered.

What Do You Want? (The Gospel of John Week 6)

Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning October 14th, 2018.

These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.
https://www.bible.com/events/496861

John 1:35-42 NIV
35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” 37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” 39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon. 40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).

Today we are going to key in on a simple, but powerful question that Jesus asked: "What do you want?"

We hear this all the time, every where we go:
How can I help you?
What can I do for you?
How may I serve you?
What can I do for you today?

We are constantly questioned by people in some way or another, “What do you want?”
We give our request to meet our particular need and go on with life….

But what about when Jesus asks the question?

Diving in deeper:

To understand what is really going on we must first reexamine to time and setting:
Place: In Bethany - John Baptizing and spreading the word in the region “Make straight the way of the Lord.”


The tension and need of the day throughout the nation of Israel:
Deliverance from the great oppressors - Rome. The typical citizen of Israel longed for relief - longed for the Messiah to come and reestablish a strong Israel where pagan religions and oppression ends.


The culture
is moving from devotion to living God’s way to living their own way. The idea of looking after yourself, taking care of yourself, doing what you felt good about - seeking entertainment, (this mindset was ever increasing. Hellinism was becoming more tolerable and many are more dependent upon what they can produce with their own hands than having a dependance upon God. The devotion to the temple is just that, go to the temple and do the prescribed practice. The Essenes go as far as to say the Temple - a place of worship, sacrifice and community isn’t functioning in accordance to God’s will and therefore is broken and not necessary to attend.

It is in this climate and culture that Jesus came. He came. This particular day he went to John.
John sees Jesus and proclaims “Look, the Lamb of God!”
This was a powerful statement. Those in attendance had to take notice. Imagine that moment. What confidence do you put in his words? Is John truly from God?

Other prophets had made great claims through the ages. Even God spoke out against them:

Ezekiel 13:1-4 NIV
1 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who are now prophesying. Say to those who prophesy out of their own imagination: ‘Hear the word of the Lord! 3 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing! 4 Your prophets, Israel, are like jackals among ruins.


The only way to know if a prophet is a true prophet, examine his words and see, verify. Does what he say come to pass?


So what we see here is this short passage is Andrew following Jesus, examining Jesus. To the point, Jesus stops and turns to them and ask -

WHAT DO YOU WANT?
What a question….what a powerful question.


Then Andrew ask Jesus - Rabbi, where are you staying? Then Jesus simply answers, “come and you will see.”

“So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him.

SUMMARY
Andrew was looking for something… more specifically, he was looking for someone.
Someone who would:
-Conquer Rome, bring order to Israel’s chaos.
-Bring relief from the burdens of life.
-Realign the direction of the nation (from Hellenism to a life devoted to God)
-Restore the Nation of Israel under their own king


For us, let’s think about Jesus’ question for ourselves:
WHAT DO YOU WANT?

What is it that you are really looking for in life? What is that you really want? What do you really need?

So much, (maybe everything we do) of what we pursue goes to the core, the underlying truth of what we are really wanting. I believe Jeremiah 6:16 really hits the nail on the head.

Jeremiah 6:16 NIV
16 This is what the Lord says:“Stand at the crossroads and look;ask for the ancient paths,ask where the good way is, and walk in it,and you will find rest for your souls.But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’


Do you hear Jesus’ question in this?
What do you want? Do want rest for your soul? Peace for your soul?

I believe that is what we all deeply want! We just don’t know how to really find it.
In order for us to survive this land of confusion we either muddle through it selfishly or reach out for a life preserver. Unfortunately what many reach for is just another form of confusion, just more entertainment or pleasure rather than getting to the heart of the most pressing problem or issue.

True surrender comes through identifying the biggest challenge... My inner thoughts and outward actions aligning to God's heart and His way. Few ever identify the real issue, most travel the course of least resistance and find something a little more appealing than their current problem without regard to God's way.

But what did Jesus say? What did he tell them to do to find the answer?

"Come" - walk with me, be with me, listen to me, spend your time with me, focus your walk (your life) in me

"And you will see" - You will find what you are truly looking for - rest for your soul. A peace that the pleasures of this world cannot bring.

Andrew spent a day with the Lord and walked away convinced that He was the long awaited Messiah. The one He was looking for… the one to bring peace to Israel.


When’s the last time you spent a whole day in worship, prayer and the word? When the last time you spent a day with God?

Make it happen!
Make it a priority!
If not, you may find yourself like Israel in the latter part of Jer. 6:16
"But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’"


What do you want?
Only true peace - wholeness and inner joy, comes from God. Jesus is the one who gives you access to this. Will you surrender to His way? Walk His path and allow Him to renew your mind, strengthen your spirit and bring peace to your soul.

The Day I Quit Church

Audio from Associate Pastor Josh Carpenter on Sunday morning October 7th, 2018.

These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.
https://www.bible.com/events/491601

+During the last 20 years we've seen "frequent" church attendance drop from 3 times per week to 3 times per month.
+Still 73% of Americans identify as Christians
+55% of Americans still attend church to some degree

 My own early ideas of church:
+Only what pleased me (the dynamic styles of teaching and worship)
+Knowledge without depth or surrender
+Commitment was earned through entertainment

Instead of going to church we need to be planted in the House of God.

 Psalm 92:12-15 NIV
12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; 13 planted in the house of the Lord,they will flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They will still bear fruit in old age,they will stay fresh and green, 15 proclaiming, “The Lord is upright;he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”

 To Flourish
Hebrew used here: parach
The idea: a primitive root that breaks forth into a bud; To fly, like eagles wings spread out

The Palm and the Cedar

Palm.jpg

+The Palm was widely used in the decoration of the Temple; a symbol of uprightness; a symbol of victory (Roman games); a symbol of victory over oppression (Jesus' Triumphal Entry)

Cedar Lebanon.jpg

+The Cedar was highly sought after in ancient woodworking; naturally resistant to insects and rot; a pleasant look and smell; used for longevity; Used extensively in Solomon's temple

+Both are evergreens

A planted person is compared to trees that produce year round

2 Corinthians 4:16 NIV
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

What happens to a seed that goes unplanted?
+unfruitful
+unproductive
+goes dormant
+unsatisfied

A seed can only grow if its planted

Matthew 13:1-7 NIV
1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.

Going to church is not the same as being planted.

Matthew 13:8 NIV
8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

What does it look like to be planted?

1. Your roots grow down deep

Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV
7 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,whose confidence is in him. 8 They will be like a tree planted by the waterthat sends out its roots by the stream.It does not fear when heat comes;its leaves are always green.It has no worries in a year of droughtand never fails to bear fruit.”

Two types of trees come to mind when reading this passage:

The Acacia and the Redwood

Acacia Tree.jpg

The Acacia Tree
+Long root depth gives the ability to survive in the deepest deserts with little rainfall

redwoods.jpg

The California Redwood
+Can be 30 stories tall
+Lateral roots can spread over 100ft from the trunk
+Roots intertwine with other Redwoods for stability

2. You produce fruit

Jeremiah 17:8 NIV
8 They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.It does not fear when heat comes;its leaves are always green.It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

Galatians 5:22-23 NIV
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

A tree doesn't grow in month.

The best time to plant a tree: 20 years ago!

The best time for you to be planted in God's house: right now!

Thanks for spending some time in the Word with us.

If you feel like you've been consuming church rather than being planted, today is the day to get on God's path.

We're here to pray for you and walk with you. You can send in a prayer request on our website as well: www.thechurchofjoy.org/prayer. There are so many great opportunities to plug in at Joy.

If you feel that Joy isn't the home for you, we are happy to help you find where God wants to plant you. We're all on the same team and we want God's will for you life!

For your week
Take a look at this 7 day devotional about serving:

Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. He came to serve, not to be served. As His followers, we know we've been called to do the same. In a culture that is plagued with consumerism, we believe that when we give our life away, we actually find life. Read below to hear more about what the Bible says about serving.

https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/3646-next-steps-serve

The Gospel of John Week 5

Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning September 30th, 2018.

These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.
https://www.bible.com/events/488868

John 1:29-34 NIV

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”

 

In our previous message, last Sunday, we saw where John the Baptist comes on the scene saying that He was not the Messiah, Elijah, or the Prophet. He simply states (John 1:23-24) “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’” (we saw where John - the Baptizer, was quoting from Isaiah 40.) In Isaiah 40 we not only hear that one is coming as a pre-runner of Jesus to prepare for His arrival, we also heard a more detailed description of the one that was to come. With that in mind, John continues to minister.

 

TODAY we are going to examine this interesting phrase vs 29 “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

 

Note: This was not an isolated instance, John stated it the next day as well:

John 1:35-36 (NIV) 35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”

 

"Lamb of God"

We are going to examine:

1. Why this phrase - metaphor - Where did it come from?

2. What was so important about a blood sacrifice?

3. What does it mean to us?

 

1. Where did John come up with this phrase? Where did it come from?

WHERE DID JOHN GET THIS IDEA OF THE MESSIAH WOULD BE LIKE A LAMB TO BE SACRIFICED?

>I believe John again is quoting from a passage in Isaiah. As you study the Bible as “One” book you can connect these quotes. Look for it, you’ll find it…

>I believe John being reminded of the truth in Isaiah 53 and therefore is responding to that truth.

 

Isaiah 53:1-12 NIV

1 Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. 4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. 9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. 11 After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

When John called Jesus the “Lamb of God,” again I believe he is reaching back into Isaiah 53. This is a powerful truth about Jesus. Those in attendance most likely knew this prophecy by heart. Again, I believe that this is a remez, a harkening back to a great truth.

2. Why a blood sacrifice?

The first time we see this is in Genesis 3, Adam and Eve have sinned, they were naked and ashamed. The Word says From the time in Genesis 3:21 “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.”

The wages of sin is death - so God, in his gracious love chose an innocent animal to atone for their sin by shedding it’s blood and clothed them for they were no longer pure and holy. There sin was atoned for in the action of “covering” there bodies. (notice also, man tried to cover his sin, but it was unacceptable - in Gen. 3:7 it says that “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” Mans efforts to make peace with God and take care of sin falls short.

God provided what was needed to atone for sin, not what man provided.) This is also seen in Genesis 22:6-8 (NIV) 6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” 8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.

Do you remember the old hymn - Power in the Blood? How about this power: Exodus 12:21-23 (NIV) 21 Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. 22 Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. None of you shall go out of the door of your house until morning. 23 When the Lord goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down. Death was held off because to the blood covered them…

What is so special about the blood?

1. Leviticus 17:11 “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.”

2. In accordance to Levitical law, the practice then to atone for one’s sin was practiced daily in the temple. By the time of Jesus’ day, it was routine, a cultural norm.

3. In Leviticus 4, 5, 6 you find how God wanted sin atoned for. The sacrificed lamb (or sometimes goat) must be without defect, spot, or blemish. It must be holy.

 

3. What does it mean to us? It means everything.

The great truth in this is that it is for us as well. Not the sacrifice of animals, but the atonement in blood - specifically the blood of Jesus - for He became the Lamb of God who bore our sin and shame. He died our death as payment for our sin.

 

Paul said it this way:

1. Romans 3:23-25 (NIV) 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.

>Jesus is the One given by God to save us. Jesus is our Savior.

 

THE GREAT TRUTH: 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 (NIV) “…Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,..”

 

How can we respond in order to receive God’s gracious gift of atonement for our sin?

Romans 10:9-14 (NIV) If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

 

Once we surrender our life to Jesus, we commit our life to a mission (an instrument of righteousness)

Romans 6:11-14 (NIV) count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

 

Communion

In closing today: we are going to remember and celebrate the provision (great gift) God gave us - His Lamb, our Savior - Jesus Christ.

 

1 Corinthians 11:23-27 (NIV)

23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

 

When we remember we are also, embracing God truth of who Jesus is, what He did and we are proclaiming the power of atonement through His death. Our proclamation - our lived out testimony is our mission that we share till our our breath is no more or till Christ returns.

 

May we remember, embrace and proclaim Jesus - The Lamb of God. Our Redeemer!!!

 

Thanks for connecting to this sermon today. I pray that you are stirred deeply and embrace the great truth found in Jesus. As you go about life this week, I encourage to to take communion for a week - daily. Reflecting on these passages. Allow this truth to entwine with your heart and mind. Your faith will increase and your worship will intensify. May all of this burst forth in your daily walk - revealing Jesus.

 

(A great song to worship God through - Worthy of Your Name (by Passion))

The Gospel of John Week 4

Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning September 23rd, 2018.

These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.
https://www.bible.com/events/484855

You and I live in this time and place on a big ball called earth. A little planet in the vast cosmic universe. Our mission is simple: survive. From the moment you entered this world, every system and cell is striving to survive and live. But in this world we face challenges, hurdles, struggles, problems. Some small and easily solved, some bigger and maybe impossible to solve… unless. The maker of the “unless” - We almost take this for granted… But He is there… And He took care of the greatest of all our needs.

Here’s the problem: SIN SEPARATES US FROM GOD

Romans 5:12 NIV
12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—

>In the Gospel of John we see God intervening and providing the ultimate solution to the worst problem imaginable - life without God’s presence, life without His glory.

Let’s examine a narrative that John is giving us:

John 1:6-8 NIV
6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

God sent John to be a forerunner witness.

SENT: God sent John for a purpose… revealed in verse 7: “He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

John - A WITNESS: Gives a testimony of what they know to be true.

vs 15: John testified, cried out…John 1:15 (NIV)

What was John’s Message?

John 1:15 NIV
15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ ”)

John 1:19-28 NIV
19 Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. 20 He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.” 21 They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”He said, “I am not.”“Are you the Prophet?”He answered, “No.” 22 Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’ ” 24 Now the Pharisees who had been sent 25 questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 “I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. 27 He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” 28 This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

John prepared the way. in verse 23 we here the main point and purpose of His message: “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”

>John is reaching right into the very WORDS of God and speaking them as a testimony of who he is and what his purpose is.

>The moment he spoke this one this one sentence, the whole Text in Is. 40 came to the mind of the listeners. I am sure they not just knew this one sentence but the knew the whole prophecy. Let’s look at it…

Isaiah 40:1-10 NIV
1 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. 2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. 3 A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. 5 And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” 6 A voice says, “Cry out.” And I said, “What shall I cry?” “All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field. 7 The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass. 8 The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” 9 You who bring good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!” 10 See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.

John came to comfort His people. TO bring the great news that the Light - the one to bring light in the darkness, the Lamb of God - the one who would take on all the sin of man and die the ultimate death - the SAVIOR has arrived.

This message came at a great cost to John. To live this testimony out and share it boldly, came with a great price.

John possessed three inner qualities that kept him of point in order to fulfill what God sent him to do.

SELF DENIAL

>When the religious leaders came and questioned John, they wanted to know who he was. “Are you the Messiah? Are you Elijah? Are you the prophet?” He answered no to all these questions. “Well then, who are you?”

>Now John could have said, “I am John the Baptist. I am the forerunner of Christ and I have come to prepare a people for the Lord. I am His greatest prophet and the Messiah is my cousin.” John could have answered any number of ways to draw attention to himself, to steal the glory, but he didn’t do that at all.

>Notice his answer in verse 23. John said, “I’m just a voice.”

>That’s it! Just a voice. Just a messenger. Just a witness.

>Listen, until we come to the place in our lives that all we care about is promoting Jesus, then we’ll continue to try to steal the show. There must be this inner quality of self-denial in our lives. Our lives are to be about Jesus, but so often we make it about us.

SERVANT’S HEART

>When John said that he was just a voice, what he was saying was that he recognized that Jesus was Lord and he was not.

>God had called and commissioned him to do this thing; and he did it. John never changed course, he never decided that this wasn’t what he wanted to do – rather, he spent his entire life preparing for this calling and gave his life in pursuit of it.

>The issue that we need to come to grips with is who is in charge of our life. When we make Jesus the Lord of our life, then it follows that His interests are to become our interests, and His commands are to be followed to the best of our ability.

>A person with a servant’s heart is a person who has the best interests of others on their mind. You see, personal recognition, personal pleasure, personal anything is never the first concern – they serve out of a genuine and Godly concern for others.

ABSOLUTE SURRENDER

>The Pharisees wanted to know why John was doing these things if he wasn’t the Messiah or one of the other men.

>When John began baptizing Jews, many of them took offense to the act. The Pharisees strongly objected to it. You see, the Jews considered themselves to be God’s chosen people, but then here comes this man who tells them that they are strangers to the grace of God and were aliens, separated from God because of their sin. They needed to repent and be baptized so they would be ready for Christ’s coming.

>The Pharisees found that message offensive. How dare anyone come along and suggest that they need repentance and ritual cleansing in the Jordan! They were God’s people! Or so they thought.

When they asked John why he was doing all this then, he again proclaimed Christ – His authority came from God, and then he added that while they were so worried about his authority, they really needed to be concerned with the One who was coming that John wasn’t even worthy to untie his shoes.

>John’s encounter with Christ reinforced his view that he was at his very best nothing in comparison with the Savior – all he could offer was absolute surrender to the will of God and let God have His way in his life.

CONCLUSION:

Now you think about these qualities of

1. self-denial,

2. a servant’s heart

3. absolute surrender.

John possessed these qualities.

What about us… do you remember the beginning words of Isaiah 40?

“Comfort, comfort my people”

What if we saw others the way God really intended us to see them. See our neighbor as ourselves. (Love your neighbor as you would like to be loved)

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

May we earnestly ask God to strengthen us, change our selfish mindset and use us for His name sake and for His glory.

One Without a Guide, A Foster Care Focus

Audio from special guest speaker Wayne Naugle on Sunday morning September 18th, 2018.

Wayne is the founder of Families4Families, a non-profit private foster care agency, whose mission is to place children in loving Christian foster homes and provide excellent support for the foster families themselves.

Families4Families (F4F) works directly with DFCS to place children, they offer full training and support to become a foster/adoptive family. F4F has partnered with the Church of Joy to help raise up foster families to help meet the critical need in our district.

Join us at Joy on Sunday September 30th from 4-6pm for a Foster Care information session, where F4F will answer every question you have concerning fostering, adoption, respite care and support. This is the first step!

F4F will also be offering IMPACT training classes at Joy: October 19-21 / November 2-4. These are the required training hours to be approved to house foster children. More info on these sessions will be provided at the information meeting.

The Gospel of John Week 3

Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning September 9th, 2018.

These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.
https://www.bible.com/events/476101

John 1:1-4 NIV
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

John 1:14 NIV
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Review from Last week:

JOHN comes out in chapter 1 with POWERFUL statements. Before we look at these statements we need to understand how John is framing these proclamations.

The Bookends:
INCLUSIO

An inclusio is a literary device where the writer states a theme or idea at both the beginning and end of a story. It's intended to introduce and conclude a main point. Everything in-between is to be read with the inclusio theme in mind. When you think of inclusio, think bookends.

Matthew

Inclusio Theme: God is present with us in the person of Jesus Christ

1:18, 22-23

18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about:…

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

28:18-20

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

We find inclusios in each of the gospels. Let's look:

Mark

Inclusio Theme: The identity of Jesus-- He is the Son of God

1:1 The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God,...

15:39 And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”

Luke

Inclusio Theme: The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah fulfills what was promised in the Old Testament

1:1-4

1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

24:44-47

44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

John

John’s inclusio theme: Anyone who puts their faith and trust in Jesus will receive eternal life.

1:12

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

20:30-31

Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

BELIEVE (to trust in, have faith in) HIS NAME. Not in the name of some pagan god, but the one revealed in truth.


SO WHAT IS IN A NAME?

In Jewish thought, a name is not merely an arbitrary designation, a random combination of sounds. The name conveys the nature and essence of the thing named. It represents the history and reputation of the being named.

This is not as strange or unfamiliar a concept as it may seem at first glance. In English, we often refer to a person's reputation as his "good name." When a company is sold, one thing that may be sold is the company's "good will," that is, the right to use the company's name. The Hebrew concept of a name is very similar to these ideas.

An example of this usage occurs in Ex. 3:13-22: Moses asks God what His "name" is. Moses is not asking "what should I call you;" rather, he is asking "who are you; what are you like; what have you done." That is clear from God's response. God replies that He is eternal, that He is the God of our ancestors, that He has seen our affliction and will redeem us from bondage.

John’s inclusio is all about revealing who Jesus is and the fulfillment of us believing in Him and the work He did.

The first name John calls Jesus is THE WORD:

JOHN IDENTIFIES JESUS IS THE WORD (1:3-4, 14)

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.


I. Let’s unpack this: Jesus - The Word

A. So as John began his gospel he begins by telling us that “In the beginning was Jesus, and Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God.”

>Therefore, Jesus’ existence didn’t begin at his earthly birth, but was from the beginning.

B. But in addition to just being there in the beginning, Jesus was an agent of creation.

1. John declared that “Through him all things were made, without him nothing was made that has been made.” (John 1:3)

2. Paul said the same thing about Jesus in Colossians 115-17, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

Did you catch all that? “For by him all things were created…He is before all things.” Both things point to Jesus’ eternal nature.

3. The writer of Hebrews began his letter with these words, HEBREWS 1:1-2, (ESV) “1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.”

4. So from those verses, we discover that Jesus’ pre-existence precedes the creation of all things.

C. Not only do these New Testament passages speak of Jesus’ role in creation, there is evidence in the Old Testament as well.

1. Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

2. The Hebrew word for “God” that appears here is the word “Elohim.”

3. It is a plural noun meaning “Mighty Ones,” a family of Mighty Ones, acting as one.

4. God has chosen to express His personal nature in terms of a family relationship of equal personalities equaling the one God.

5. That’s why in Genesis 1:26 we read, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image. In our likeness…’”

6. In Genesis 3:22 after the fall of man we read, “And the Lord God said, ‘The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil.’”

7. And in Genesis 11, we see that after the flood the people were all staying in one place and pride was becoming a problem, so God said, “Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” (Gen. 11:7)

8. So we see all these instances when God is describing himself in the plural.

9. The Father and The Son and the Holy Spirit were there in the beginning making man in their likeness, and disciplining humankind when they needed it.

D. Jesus made numerous other statements during His ministry that pointed to his pre-existence.

1. In John 6:62, (ESV) Jesus asked: “Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?”

>Where had Jesus been before he came to earth? He had been with God.

2. In John 8:58, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, Before Abraham was born, I am!”

>If Jesus had been born thousands of years after Abraham, how is it that he was existing before Abraham was born?

3. John the Baptist had said that Jesus preceded him even though Jesus was born after him, “This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’” (John 1:30)

4. In John 17:5 Jesus said, “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.”

>Obviously, Jesus knew where He had been and what His glory had been like.

E. Paul helps us understand this truth:

When Paul looked at where Jesus had been and what he gave up to come down here, he declared, (Philippians 2:5-11) “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

1. Jesus was God and was with God, but he willingly gave up that position and lowered himself and became obedient to death on a cross.

2. But after leaving His heavenly place, God exalted Him back to that highest place.

F. From all of this evidence, can there be any doubt about Jesus’ eternal pre-existence? I don’t think so!

1. So His story did not start with His birth, like ours does.

2. His story has no beginning, because He has no beginning.

G. Now you might be thinking, “Ok, V, Jesus is eternal, but what does this have to do with me?

1. What is the significance of Jesus’ pre-existence?

2. Well, let me tell you it is a big deal and has immense implications.


II. The Significance of Jesus’ Pre-existence.

A. First, and Foremost, Jesus’ pre-existence proves that He is God.

1. As God we know that we can trust Him and that His promises are true.

2. As God we know that He has the power to help us and save us.

3. I think you would agree with me that this is pretty important stuff!

B. Second, Jesus’ pre-existence shows that He cares for us.

1. Our God is not a god who, as the deists claim, created the world, wound it up and set it off into space to run without God’s attention.

2. No, our God is a God who takes an intense interest in His creation.

3. Our God is a God who loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son.

4. If Jesus did not care, He would never have come to earth, leaving the glory of heaven.

5. And he certainly would not have subjected himself to the abuse and suffering of crucifixion, if He did not love us.

6. Our eternal God stepped into time and space so that we might know Him, and inherit eternal life through Him.

7. He really does love us and his kindness ought to lead to our repentance, and our reliance on Him.

C. Third, Jesus’ pre-existence means that there is a plan.

1. Jesus came from glory and wants to bring you and me into that glory.

2. Jesus said in John 17:24, “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.”

3. The love of God and plan of God have been in place since before the creation of the world.

4. Peter explained that plan in 1 Peter 1 with the following words, “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.” (1 Peter 1:18-20)

5. God’s plan was in place for a long time. It was an expensive plan and a loving plan.

6. John wrote, “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:9-10)

7. And this life that God wants to give us is more glorious than any of us can imagine.

8. 1 Corinthians 2:9 reads, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”

9. And how wonderful and exciting is that?!!!

CLOSING THOUGHTS:

A. So as we strive to see Jesus ever more clearly, we begin with a glimpse of His pre-existence.

1. Before He ever put a foot on this earth, He was alive and well.

2. He was reigning with God in all their Glory.

3. He was creating and sustaining all things.

B. His pre-existence is so important because it proves He is God, shows that He cares for us, and means that there is a wonderful plan.

C. As John completes the opening to his Gospel, he says, “In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” (John 1:4-5)

1. Jesus, indeed, is the life and light of men.

2. But sadly, so many people resist the life and light that Jesus offers.

3. Let’s be sure that we are not among that group of people.

4. Let’s allow the life and light of Jesus to come into our lives, and save us and transform us.

5. John wrote, “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)

6. Won’t you put your trust in Jesus and become a child of God? There’s nothing better!

Further Bible Study on John:

CRU has developed a great 12 week study on The Gospel of John. Dig deeper, grow stronger, and bring God glory.

https://www.cru.org/us/en/train-and-grow/bible-studies/no-one-understands-jesus-12-week-study-in-the-gospel-of-john.html

The Gospel of John Week 1

Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning August 26th, 2018.

These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.
https://www.bible.com/events/468166

1 Kings 8:27 NIV
27 “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!

Solomon asked this question as he dedicated the temple.
"Will God really dwell on earth?"
This is a good question, indeed!

1. God had dwelt with Israel-
God’s glory had dwelt in the Tabernacle: Ex. 40:34
The Israelites finished the tabernacle as instructed by Moses… Once completed:

Exodus 40:34-36 NIV
34 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35 Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.

2. God dwelt with His people in the Temple:

1 Kings 8:10-11 NIV
10 When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the Lord. 11 And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled his temple.

3. But God’s glory departed from Israel because of their disobedience:
Ezek. 9:3
Ezek. 10:4, 8
Ezek. 11:22-23

Ezekiel 9:3 NIV
3 Now the glory of the God of Israel went up from above the cherubim, where it had been, and moved to the threshold of the temple. Then the Lord called to the man clothed in linen who had the writing kit at his side

Ezekiel 10:4-8 NIV
4 Then the glory of the Lord rose from above the cherubim and moved to the threshold of the temple. The cloud filled the temple, and the court was full of the radiance of the glory of the Lord. 5 The sound of the wings of the cherubim could be heard as far away as the outer court, like the voice of God Almighty when he speaks. 6 When the Lord commanded the man in linen, “Take fire from among the wheels, from among the cherubim,” the man went in and stood beside a wheel. 7 Then one of the cherubim reached out his hand to the fire that was among them. He took up some of it and put it into the hands of the man in linen, who took it and went out. 8 (Under the wings of the cherubim could be seen what looked like human hands.)

Ezekiel 11:22-23 NIV
22 Then the cherubim, with the wheels beside them, spread their wings, and the glory of the God of Israel was above them. 23 The glory of the Lord went up from within the city and stopped above the mountain east of it.

For many years God was silent. His glory did not appear. Then the marvelous thing happened.

4. The Glory of God came to His people again, in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ.
The writers of the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) have given us “snapshots” of our Lord’s life on earth. Though the Gospels give us a good picture of the life and ministry of Jesus, we still don’t know it all, even John said this:

John 21:25 NIV
25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.

There is still much that we do not know... I will say this, there is more here in the Gospels than we will have time in our life to understand and live out.

A Quick Comparative Look:

Matthew wrote with his fellow Jews in mind and emphasized that Jesus of Nazareth had fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies and that He was the Messiah.

Mark presented the Servant, ministering to needy people.

Luke wrote his Gospel for the Greeks and introduced them to the sympathetic Son of man.

But John had a different focus and purpose. The Holy Spirit inspired his words to be for both the Jews and the Gentiles. John presented Jesus as the Son of God.

We know that John had (non-Jews) Gentiles in mind as well as Jews, because he often “interpreted or ("which means") Jewish words and customs for his readers: (a few examples)
John 1:38, 41-42
John 5:2
John 9:7
John 19:13, 17
John 20:16

John 1:38-42 NIV
38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” 39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon. 40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).

John 5:2 NIV
2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades.

John 9:7 NIV
7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

John 19:13 NIV
13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha).

John 19:17 NIV
17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).

John 20:16 NIV
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

John’s emphasis to the Jews was that Jesus not only fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies, but He also fulfilled the types.

TYPES: Typology is a special kind of symbolism in Jewish writing. (A symbol is something which represents something else.) We can define a type as a “prophetic symbol” because all types are representations of something yet future. More specifically, a type in scripture is a person or thing in the Old Testament which foreshadows a person or thing in the New Testament. For example, the flood of Noah’s day (Genesis 6-7) is used as a type of baptism in 1 Peter 3:20-21.

John uniquely reveals Jesus as:
>The Lamb of God (this is language regarding the sacrificial lamb)
>Jesus is the Ladder from Heaven to earth (John 1:51/ Gen. 28)
>Jesus is the New Temple (John 2:19-21)
>Jesus gives new birth (John 3:4)
>Jesus is the one lifted up (John 3:14)
>Jesus is the bread of God that came down from Heaven (John 6:35)

The first three Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) major on describing EVENTS in the life of Christ, John emphasized the MEANING of these events. For example, all four Gospels record the feeding of the 5,000.

SEE: (Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:31-44; Luke 9:12-17)They all read about the same way…

Matthew 14:13-21 NIV
13 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. 15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.” 16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” 17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. 18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Mark 6:31-44 NIV
31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” 32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33 But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things. 35 By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. 36 Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?” 38 “How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.”When they found out, they said, “Five—and two fish.” 39 Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42 They all ate and were satisfied, 43 and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. 44 The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.

Luke 9:12-17 NIV
12 Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.” 13 He replied, “You give them something to eat.”They answered, “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.” 14 (About five thousand men were there.)But he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 15 The disciples did so, and everyone sat down. 16 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people. 17 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.

John start out by telling you the event as well: John 6:1-25

John 6:1-25 NIV
1 Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), 2 and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. 3 Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. 4 The Jewish Passover Festival was near. 5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. 7 Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” 8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” 10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. 12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. 14 After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself. 16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, 17 where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. 18 A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. 19 When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. 20 But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” 21 Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading. 22 The next day the crowd that had stayed on the opposite shore of the lake realized that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not entered it with his disciples, but that they had gone away alone. 23 Then some boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the people had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24 Once the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus. 25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”

But John does something that the other Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) did not do: John emphasized the MEANING of these events. See John 6:26-35

John 6:26-35 NIV
26 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” 28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” 29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” 30 So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.” 35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

Last thought for this morning:
There is one MAJOR theme that runs throughout John’s Gospel: Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and if you commit yourself to Him, He will give you eternal life (John 20:31).

We will explore this truth as we unpack the amazing book.

Next week we will look into the first chapter at the seven names and titles of Jesus that identify Him as eternal God.

Spend some time in John this week. Start by praying… enjoy reading it… don’t get bogged down in list and comparisons yet. Just read it and soak it in.

Romans 10:17 NIV
17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

 

True Spiritual Grit

Audio from Associate Pastor Josh Carpenter on Sunday morning August 19th, 2018.

These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.
https://www.bible.com/events/463246

Are you relentless in your pursuit of Christ, even in the face of adversity? Let's talk about what it means to have True Spiritual Grit.

“The ability to persevere in pursuing a future goal over a long period of time and not giving up… it's having stamina. It's sticking with your future, day in and day out, not just for a week, not just for a month but for years, and working really heard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like a marathon not a sprint.” - Angela Duckworth, PhD. Professor of psychology, The University of Pennsylvania

You may not find the word 'grit' in your Bible, but you'll see true grit in the language used.

1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV
58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Matthew 24:12-13 NIV
12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.

God's Word is full of examples of real people with real grit:
◦Noah spends decades building a huge ship as he waited for God’s wrath to be poured out on the earth.
◦Abraham and Sarah lived like strangers in a foreign land, waiting a quarter century for God's promised child to be born.
◦Jacob serving his devious uncle Laban 20 years waiting for God’s promised inheritance.
◦Joseph languishing in an Egyptian prison as he waited for God to make him a ruler, even over his brothers.
◦Moses leading the stiff necked Israelites in the desert 40 years waiting for God’s promised land (and not getting in himself!).
Don’t forget Gideon, Samson, David, Samuel, the Prophets, Mary, the Disciples, Paul Read Hebrews 11

Examples of Jesus' true grit
◦Matthew 4:1-2 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
◦Matthew 8:20 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
◦John 15:18 If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.
◦Luke 22:42-44 Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

1. A disciple of Christ must possess true spiritual grit.

1 Peter 4:12-13 NIV
12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

The days ahead hold many trials.
Verse 12: "Do not be surprised..."
Greek: xenizō
To stay as a guest, to be lodged also to be shocked

Instead be armed with the mind of Christ.

1 Peter 4:1 NIV
1 Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin.

A mindset of Faith in God vs. a mindset of Entitlement

1 Corinthians 15:10 NIV
10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.

2.True spiritual grit is grown in us.

What generates perseverance in us?

James 1:2-4 NIV
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Spiritual grit grows in adversity.

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1 Peter 4:14-16 NIV
14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.

A type of grit can grow by choosing to live apart from God's way. Suffering because of ungodliness doesn't grow perseverance, it's pain that's wasted.

Psalm 66:10 NIV
10 For you, God, tested us;you refined us like silver.

We're only saved from the fire, by walking through the fire.

Hebrews 12:7-8 NIV
7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.

3. True spiritual grit gets results.

Endurance despite opposition
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NIV
8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

An example of denying self
Matthew 16:24 NIV
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

A strong finish to our race
2 Timothy 4:7 NIV
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Consider this one week devotional from the YouVersion Bible App:
https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/3594-victory-through-weakness

The Thrill of Generosity

Audio from Associate Pastor Josh Carpenter on Sunday morning July 29th, 2018.

These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.
https://www.bible.com/events/452109

The words thrill and generosity aren’t often paired together. How could giving be considered exciting?

2 Corinthians 9:6-15 NIV
6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written:“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;their righteousness endures forever.” 10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

2 Corinthians 8:2 NIV
2 In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.

This is what we do: God's people give above and beyond with joy in our hearts. Why? Because God has given generously to us!

2 Corinthians 9:6-7 NIV
6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

1. The thrill of doing work

2 Corinthians 9:8-9 NIV
8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written:“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;their righteousness endures forever.”

Colossians 3:17 NIV
17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Genesis 18:1-8 NIV
1 The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. 2 Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground. 3 He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by. 4 Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. 5 Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant.”“Very well,” they answered, “do as you say.” 6 So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. “Quick,” he said, “get three seahs of the finest flour and knead it and bake some bread.” 7 Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it. 8 He then brought some curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree.

 

2. The thrill of giving my wealth

2 Corinthians 9:10-11 NIV
10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

Matthew 25:23 NIV
23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

3. The thrill of sharing my wisdom

2 Corinthians 9:12-13 NIV
12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.

A Need for Spiritual Revival

Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning July 22nd, 2018.

These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.
https://www.bible.com/events/449982

Psalm 1:1-3 NIV
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, 2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,and who meditates on his law day and night. 3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.

Last week my dad’s church had nightly revival services. His twin brother was the guest speaker each night. From last Sunday night to Thursday night, the families of Westminster Baptist Church gathered at 7pm, sang songs, heard some good singing by different ones, mom and dad, uncle Ron and aunt Joyce, then Uncle Ron preached followed by a closing song.

Many of us have been to revival services like this through the years, even gathered at Mt. Zion campground a couple of weeks ago.

Why? What is the purpose in these services that we call REVIVAL?

Now some may say in these churches, “Well we’ve always done it and it’s what we do in July.” Maybe, but why?

What is the purpose for REVIVAL?

One resource I read said it this way:

Revival refers to a spiritual reawakening from a state of dormancy or stagnation in the life of a believer. It encompasses the resurfacing of a love for God, an appreciation of God's holiness, a passion for His Word and His church, a convicting awareness of personal and corporate sin, a spirit of humility, and a desire for repentance and growth in righteousness. Revival invigorates and sometimes deepens a believer's faith, opening his or her eyes to the truth in a fresh, new way. It generally involves the connotation of a fresh start with a clean slate, marking a new beginning of a life lived in obedience to God. Revival breaks the charm and power of the world, which blinds the eyes of men, and generates both the will and power to live in the world but not of the world.

We need REVIVAL. Our lives need revival. Our homes need revival. Churches need revival. Christians throughout this community, and across this land need revival.

God, through His Holy Spirit, calls us to revival in a number of situations. Christ's letters to the seven churches reveal some circumstances that may necessitate revival. In the letter to Ephesus, Christ praised the church for their perseverance and discernment, but He stated that they had forsaken their first love (Revelation 2:4-5 4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place).

Many times as the excitement of acceptance to Christ grows cold, we lose the zeal that we had at first. We become bogged down in the ritual, going through the motions, but we no longer experience the joy of serving Christ. Revival helps restore that first love and passion for Christ. The cares and worries of life can beat us down, leaving us emotionally, physically, and spiritually exhausted. Revival can lift us up to new hope and faith.

Sometimes in life we don’t walk the right path, or delight in the God’s Word. We don’t enjoy talking with Him or worshiping Him. We don’t study His Word, learn His Word, meditate on His Word.

The result, we are like a tree planted by the streams of water but we fail to drink. We wither and we don’t prosper.

Years ago I took CPR and and became a CPR/EFR instructor. In Emergency First Response training, it prepared you for situations where you may find someone lying unconscious and needing assistance. SO you go over, assess the situation, call 911, if know heart beat and their are not breathing you start CPR. If you have a AED you hook the up and press the button waiting to see it they need to be shocked back to bring their heart back into rhythm. This person needs REVIVAL. To be brought back to life.

Have you ever felt that way? Maybe not where your heart has literally stopped, but where you feel you need a Spiritual shock to restart your passion. Maybe you feel this way right now.

-God wants your to know Him. Walk with Him, Live in Him. He wants to strengthen you with His presence and His Word.

-God has provided streams of living water for us to drink from.

-Notice in verse 3 (Ps. 1) it did not say “STREAM” but “STREAMS”

-There is so much for us to drink from it pours over us like a great cascading river.

(All the water flowing over Niagara falls is noting compared to God’s provision of living water.)

So how can we be revived?

Some may think we need a revival service. Well, there's nothing wrong with that. But the provision for revival can be fulfilled in our daily walk.

1. It starts with REPENTANCE. (Getting on the right path)

We walk toward what our eyes focus upon. Jesus gave us the direction of His focus when He was teaching His disciples how to pray and focus their lives:

Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV) “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

2. Acknowledge who owns the day, in see it a provision and a blessing.

Mathew 6:11 Give us today our daily bread.

-In Exodus God told Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt so that they could go and worship Him. But the people grumbled, grew weary, became like those trees that didn’t drink from the streams of living water. They simply wanted physical provision and nothing more.

-God wanted them to a people that had faith in Him. To know that man does not live by bread alone, physical food, but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

-He wanted them to be strong and find nourishment in His presence, in His way of life, in His precepts. That is why He told Joshua in Joshua 1:7-9 (NIV) 7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’

Jesus echos the same for us in Matt. 6:33

Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV)
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

CLOSING Thoughts:

As you leave here today and start your week. Read and reread this passage. Meditate on it. Think about the need for spiritual revival in all the areas of your life. Where do streams of living water need to flow into your life. As God reveals them to you, redirect your walk toward Him. Drink from His living water.

John 7:37-38 (NIV) 37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”

Start your day off in God’s presence, talk with Him, worship Him. Open His Word. I good place nourishing book to read is John. Read it and reread it. Meditate on it. Ask God to help you be nourished in Him.

Moved with Compassion

Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning June 24th, 2018.

These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.
https://www.bible.com/events/435034

Colossians 4:5-6 NIV
5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

In our summer series "Live to Share" we are studying and exploring - What does it really look like to make the most of every opportunity we have to share Christ's love and care for others in such a way that they see and feel God's love?

Sharing God's love can place us at the crossroads of self centered actions or Christ centered actions. The deciding factor could be - COMPASSION. Do you have it for others around you? It is as simple as this...

Compassion Defined:
-sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it
-motivates people to go out of their way to help the physical, mental, or emotional pains of another.
The origin of the word helps us grasp the true breadth and significance of compassion. In Latin, 'compati' means "suffer with." Compassion means someone else's heartbreak becomes your heartbreak. Another's suffering becomes your suffering. True compassion changes the way we live.

Jesus showed us how to live. For 3 1/2 years His public ministry portrayed love and obedience in action.
EXAMPLES OF JESUS COMPASSION
1. Matt. 9:35-36
2. Matt. 14:13-14
3. Matt 15:32
4. Matt. 20:30-34
5. Luke 7:12-15
6. John 11:33-38

Matthew 9:35-36 NIV
35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Matthew 14:13-14 NIV
13 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

Matthew 15:32 NIV
32 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.”

Matthew 20:30-34 NIV
30 Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” 31 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” 32 Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. 33 “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.” 34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.

Luke 7:12-15 NIV
12 As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” 14 Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” 15 The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.

John 11:33-38 NIV
33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.“Come and see, Lord,” they replied. 35 Jesus wept. 36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” 38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance.

What did Jesus understand about their (our) suffering that made Him compassionate?-

Hebrews 4:15-16 NIV
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

This identification of one's suffering and feeling as your own goes echos back to what God told Israel. God told Israel to remember their days of suffering and be compassionate to the sojourner, the marginalized, the outcast. Remember that you too once suffered as slaves.
Deut. 5:15
Deut. 15:15
Deut. 16:12
Deut. 24:18-22
Ex. 6:6

We too need to remember our suffering and our deliverance:
Ephesians 5:8
Titus 3:3-5
Col. 1:21-22

Ephesians 5:8 NIV
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light

Titus 3:3-5 NIV
3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,

Colossians 1:21-22 NIV
21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—

What inhibits us from showing compassion?
1. Matt. 24:12 (We can grow cold and cynical)
2. Matt. 7:1-5 (Judge wrongly & inappropriately) - Examine yourself - 2 Cor. 13:5
3. Judges 2:10-15 (Forget who we are and whose we are)

Lessons from the Tamarisk Tree

Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning June 17th, 2018. The Church of Joy in Williamson, Georgia. www.TheChurchofJoy.org

These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.
https://www.bible.com/events/431556

When you read the Bible you find that it has a great deal to say about fathers. You will find many teachings and many directions and many words of guidance. One particular action done by a father has recently struck me and has had a powerful effect on me.

Genesis 21:33-34 NIV
33 Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the Lord, the Eternal God. 34 And Abraham stayed in the land of the Philistines for a long time.

The back story and scene:

Genesis 12:1-9 NIV
1 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. 2 “I will make you into a great nation,and I will bless you;I will make your name great,and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you,and whoever curses you I will curse;and all peoples on earthwill be blessed through you.” 4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there. 6 Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him. 8 From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord. 9 Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev.

Abram(ham) went to Egypt for a while during a great famine but later returned with Lot his nephew. The had to part because of how large their flocks were growing then:

Genesis 13:14-18 NIV
14 The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. 15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. 16 I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. 17 Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.” 18 So Abram went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he pitched his tents. There he built an altar to the Lord.

This is the area where Abraham planted the Tamarisk tree.
So Abraham plant a tree, what’s the big deal?

It appears that Abraham did not simply plant any tree upon arriving in Beersheba. He planted special tree to bring comfort and relief to the one who would live in the harsh desert environment. To a Bedouin or a Jew of the Middle East, the saying is this, “you don’t plant a tamarisk tree for yourself, you plant it for generations to come”. SO what is Abraham saying in planting this tree? I believe He is saying: “Okay, I believe you God. This is my land and for generations to come, my family is going to be here.”

How much of what we do in life is done for just ourselves? Our comfort, our profit, our satisfaction?

Do we do anything to bless or plant a seed for the generations that are to come? Is there anything that you are currently involved in that will outlive you?

We need to plant seeds of faith. A Godly heritage of walking with God is greater than any earthly possession.

Again I encourage you to plant good seeds of faith, water it, work it…your family needs to:
>Hear you pray, see you pray
>See you and hear you worship God
>See you and hear you read the Bible.
>See you and hear you be compassionate and share God’s love with others
>Be part of your walk with God. They need to see you walking “in step” with the Bible.
>Be with you are you come to church. Being part of the Body of Christ, encouraging, equipping and walking out life together is a gift that God has blessed us with in the Church.

Abraham knew the harshness of the desert climate. He knew that other generations would have to face the same heat, trials and desert challenges. So he planted the Tamarisk tree to bring the relief and comfort. He cared about their future

What are you planting, growing and working on that will help and bless your family for generations to come?