- Away from God we have no direction/revelation
- Away from God we have no moral compass
- Away from God we have no salvation
In response to God’s victory through Jesus:
- We love Jesus
- We trust Jesus
- We surrender everything to Jesus.
- In our weakness we step out in faith (c. 31-33)
- In our weakness we point to the Lord’s power to deliver (v. 34-37)
- In our weakness we rely on the Lord’s power to deliver (v. 37-40)
- In our weakness Jesus is the greater David.
- Saul and Israel’s Situation is Mankind’s Plight- We need a Messiah like Jonathan.
- We must not be like Saul.
- We need to be like Jonathan.
- During times of trial, our faith is tested. V. 1-7
- God’s word must never be compromised. V. 8-15
- Apart from God there is no hope. V. 16-23
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The way John formats his Gospel is intentional and it strikes three notes of application.
- There is not entitlement with God. We saw this first with Nicodemus- he must be born again. His ancestry does not have any bearing on his relationship with God. His nationality and ethnicity do not save him, new birth is required. The Jew’s are God’s people but if they reject Jesus Christ, they are way worse off than the outcasts of society that accept Jesus, namely Samaritans and by implication Gentiles.
- Faith in Jesus must be real and genuine. We see this reality again and again. We see false faith like the authorities in 12:36-43 quoted above who “believed” in him yet did not “confess him” because “they loved the glory that comes from man more than glory that comes from God. Then we also see real (John 3:16) faith in John the Baptist, the Samaritan woman, the disciples, the official in today’s sermon, the man who will be healed in the sermon next week, and many more. These people are willing to give up all they have to follow Jesus because they see their savior as priceless.
- Real Faith leads to persecution. What I love about John is that it is written to persuade unbelievers to repent and follow Jesus Christ yet he never shrinks back from making clear, following Jesus involves suffering rejection, persecution, and difficulty. Not only does John make clear that becoming a Christian involves that, it requires The Pharisees in John 12 quoted above are portrayed by John as unbelievers who reject Jesus because they did not want to give up what they have. Being a disciple of Jesus (being a Christian), requires giving up your life for Jesus Christ. Anything less than that is superficial, fake, and worthless in the sight of God.
In the Book of John, so far, we have witnessed spiritual blindness over and over. Jesus again and again, speaks about spiritual realties yet people fail to understand what he is saying.
- Jesus said to the Jews “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his body. (John 2:19-22)
- Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Truly, truly, I say to you unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God,” Nicodemus said to him, “Haw can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” (John 3:3-4). Jesus was talking about being spiritually reborn of water and spirit like Ezekiel prophesied (Ezekiel 36:25-27).
- Jesus tells the Samaritan woman that he can give her living water welling up to eternal life, and she responds by saying, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep…I want it so that I don’t have to draw water anymore. (John 4:10-15) But Jesus was speaking about the Holy Spirit who proceeds from him bringing spiritual life.(John 7:38-39)
- Later, when the disciples tell Jesus to eat, he says “I have food to eat that you do not know about” and the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them that hisfood is to do the will of him who sent him and to accomplish the father’s work”.
Do you see how in each of them, there is a blindness to spiritual things? WE also suffer from spiritual blindness. Apart from the Holy Spirit, we are hopeless in understanding the things of God. This is where prayer and meditation and a reliance of God’s word come into play. Apart from God’s power, we are blind. Let each and every one of us rely on the Holy Spirit every time we read the Bible, and hear it preached falling on our faces pleading for the ability to understand and be changed.
A helpful evangelism tract from our denomination: What do you understand it takes for a person to go to heaven? Some people say that it is by doing good things. Some say if the good they do out weighs the bad. Some say it is by being religious or being a member of a church. The Bible answers this question: F.A.I.T.H.
F is for FORGIVENESS: We cannot have eternal life and heaven without God’s forgiveness. “In Him (Jesus) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” (Eph 1:7a)
A is for AVAILABLE:
Forgiveness is available.
It is – AVAILABLE. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). It is available for all – BUT NOT AUTOMATIC. Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mat 7:21a).
I is for IMPOSSIBLE: It is impossible for God to allow sin into heaven. GOD IS LOVE. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…” (John 3:16). But, GOD IS ALSO JUST. “For judgement is without mercy” (James 2:13a). MAN IS SINFUL. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). But how can a sinful person enter heaven, where God allows no sin? The answer is found in T.
T is for TURN: If you were driving down the road and someone asked you to turn, what would he or she be asking you to do? To change direction. The Bible uses the word repent to mean a turn or a change in direction. Turn means repent. TURN from something – sin and self. “But unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3b). TURN to Someone: trust Christ only. “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried , and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor 15:3b-4).
H is for HEAVEN:
Heaven is eternal life …
HERE … “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). And HEREAFTER. “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:3). HOW? How can a person have God’s forgiveness, heaven, eternal life, and Jesus as personal Savior and Lord?
FAITH can also mean … “Forsaking All I Trust Him.”
A few weeks ago, I introduced the church to chiasms in the Bible. For those of you who did not see that note, let me remind you what a chiasm is: a pattern within a passage in which the second half parallels the first half, but in reverse order. For instance a verse, chapter, or book may be laid out in a pattern of A-B-C-D-C-B-A. Remember that the first ‘A’ corresponds with the last ‘A’, ‘B’ with ‘B’, etc. Whatever lies at the center is the main point. The whole book of Daniel consists of two-interlocked chiasms. But Daniel 3 presents us with a chiasm inside a chiasm—a main point (in the chapter) inside a main point (in the book). The main point in Daniel 3 comes when they confess their faith in God (point ‘D’ below).
|A Nebuchadnezzar’s decree to worship the golden image (vv.1-7)|
|B The Jews accused (vv.8-12)|
|C The Jews threatened (vv.13-15)|
|D The Jews confess their faith (vv.16-18)|
|C The Jews punished (vv.19-23)|
|B The Jews vindicated (vv.24-27)|
|A Nebuchadnezzar’s decree honoring the Jews & their God (vv.28-30)|
*Chiasm from Lucas, Ernest C., Daniel. InterVarsity Press, 2002.
What you and I are to primarily take away from this chapter is that we must confess our faith and trust in God no matter what the circumstance or consequence. Perhaps you will not be as well liked or respected or even privileged if you take a stand by confessing your faith and trust in God. But you must do so anyway. God is able to deliver; maybe He will, maybe He won’t. That’s up to Him. Don’t play God by being overly concerned with the results or consequences. Do what you know to be right and let God do the rest. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew God’s Word; they knew it was necessary to obey it. They knew that God had the power to deliver; they also knew that He had the right not to deliver. You are to confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead. If you do this, you will be saved (Rom 10:9). This happens every day in a million tiny ways. Confess Christ, and no other.