Digging The Word
"I rejoice in your word like one who discovers a great treasure." - PSALM 119:162

Friday, January 16, 2015

Living Water

Jesus will refresh better than anything else you may try.

 
John 4:7-14  Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, "Please give Me a drink."  8  He was alone at the time because His disciples had gone into the village to buy some food.

9  The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, "You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are You asking me for a drink?"

10  Jesus replied, "If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask Me, and I would give you living water."

11  "But sir, You don't have a rope or a bucket," she said, "and this well is very deep. Where would You get this living water?  12  And besides, do You think You're greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can You offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?"

13  Jesus replied, "Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again.  14  But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life."

What is Jesus doing in Samaria? The good news of the Messiah wasn't accepted in Jerusalem, the religious leaders were already upset because Jesus cleaned house at the Passover, Jesus ministry is just beginning and he is already being rejected by the Jews.

There was a man in our previous study of the gospel of John, a seeker named Nicodemus came to Jesus, he was a religious man, moral, rich and powerful man, he came to Jesus to learn more. Jesus taught Nicodemus and explained the concept of spiritual birth. The next person to have an encounter with Jesus is a woman that is quite a contrast to Nicodemus.

Psalms 63:1-3  A psalm of David, regarding a time when David was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, You are my God; I earnestly search for You. My soul thirsts for You; my whole body longs for You in this parched and weary land where there is no water.

How could he talk to a woman? How could Jesus talk to a Samaritan woman? And to make it worse a woman that is an outcast among her own people! It was bad enough to be rejected by the Jews but she was rejected by her own people as well. She had a divine appointment with Jesus, he is there at the right time and he is alone because he sent his disciples away to shop for food.

I have to wonder about these guys. How uncomfortable were they with traveling through Samaria? Did they leave Samaria to get food from a better neighborhood? It seems odd to me that none of them stayed behind with Jesus but Jesus was very intentional about being alone for this encounter.

Unlike Nicodemus, she didn't seek out an opportunity to talk to Jesus, she didn't have any idea who he was and he was so hot and tired that he didn't look like he could have anything to offer to the Samaritan woman. The only thing she had in common with Nicodemus was that they both took Jesus teaching literally. He couldn't understand how to be born again and she couldn't understand how she could have water that would satisfy her thirst forever.

We are all like the Samaritan woman... don't be offended, we are all thirsty and we are looking for a way to get relief. Having a dry mouth is the least of your worries, as our physical thirst gets worse it can cause weakness, dizziness, confusion and fainting. Imagine your spiritual thirst causing all of those same symptoms.

Finally she has met a man that could meet her ultimate need, a man that could satisfy, Jesus saw beyond her sin to the root of the problem. Her ultimate need wasn't found in short term physical pleasure, the ultimate need wasn't to clean up her life, Jesus saw that she had a longing that wasn't being met by the men in her life.

Never Thirst Again

Revelation 21:6  And He also said, "It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega--the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life.
The offer is an eternal one, this refreshing gift from God will never run dry. Jesus told the woman at the well "It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life." All of our solutions to stop our thirst are just a cheap temporary substitute that will leave you feeling like an addict that needs another hit.

Satan wants us to miss the living water, he wants us to look through our box of idols and try a different one, he wants us to talk back at God and doubt his goodness. We look at our circumstances and put our trust in ourselves to bring short term satisfaction when God has a much better solution that will last for eternity. (Exodus 17:1-7, Numbers 20:1-11).

Rick Warren said "The only one who can quench that thirst is the one who said, “I thirst.” Jesus thirsted on the cross so you don’t have to thirst. He paid for what you don’t have to pay for. He became thirsty so you never have to be thirsty again."
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Monday, January 5, 2015

Who Is The Greatest?

Jesus is more than an ordinary man.

 
John 3:30-36  He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.  31  "He has come from above and is greater than anyone else. We are of the earth, and we speak of earthly things, but He has come from heaven and is greater than anyone else.  32  He testifies about what He has seen and heard, but how few believe what He tells them!

33  Anyone who accepts His testimony can affirm that God is true.  34  For He is sent by God. He speaks God's words, for God gives Him the Spirit without limit.  35  The Father loves His Son and has put everything into His hands.  36  And anyone who believes in God's Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn't obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God's angry judgment."

If you go through the Bible or the world history books you will find some pretty amazing men have walked on this planet. Great men have come and gone but the baby born in a manger changes everything. All of a sudden the legacy of greatness that so many men have had all looks like nothing in comparison.

There have been pharaohs and kings that have built huge empires, there have been civil right leaders that have shown great compassion, and there have been great writers, theologians and philosophers that have given us some deep thinking.

The Time magazine "100 Most Significant Figures in History" include these men in the top ten:
  1. Jesus
  2. Napoleon
  3. Muhammad
  4. William Shakespeare
  5. Abraham Lincoln
  6. George Washington
  7. Adolf Hitler
  8. Aristotle
  9. Alexander the Great
  10. Thomas Jefferson
These days we glorify great athlete's and pay huge sums of money for the privilege of being in the same building with them. I think that we don't realize that we are implying that they are great by our willingness to give them our money.

Do you remember the one athlete that told us over and over again that he is the greatest?

Muhammad Ali isn't even on the Time magazine list of 100 Most Significant Figures in History. That should seem ridiculous to anyone that really believed the things that he said about himself.

It seems that his words did not convince us. If you look up Muhammad Ali quotes you will find that he said:

"At home I am a nice guy: but I don't want the world to know. Humble people, I've found, don't get very far."

"My only fault is that I don't realize how great I really am."

Where is he today? I had to look him up on the internet to see if he is still alive. They say he is.

In this study of the book of John I have seen that John has been giving a great amount of evidence to prove that Jesus is the Son of God. After John spent three years with Jesus we should be interested in his opinion of Jesus and why he came to believe in who Jesus is. It is only the end of chapter three and the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of proving John's thesis.

Why is Jesus so great?


Jesus has a heavenly origin
Jesus is from heaven he's the greatest, superior to everything else. He is the only man that has experienced having a home in heaven. That should make us consider what he says it takes to live there with him. (John 1:18, 17:5)

Jesus has a heavenly message
Jesus has talked to God and he has come with God's message, he has told us about what he has seen and heard but we think that we know better than this heavenly eyewitness. (John 8:26-28, 15:15)

Jesus has the Holy Spirit
I recently wondered if Jesus had the Holy Spirit in him in pretty much the same way that we do. After studying these scriptures it seems clear to me that God the Son had God the Holy Spirit within him. The Holy Spirit within Jesus gave him wisdom that an ordinary man wouldn't have, Jesus being fully human relied on the Holy Spirit and he demonstrated for us how to live with the Holy Spirit in control. (Isaiah 11:2-5, 42:1, Luke 4:18, John 1:32)

Jesus has heavenly authority
The creator of the universe didn't look like he had authority when he was beaten and crucified but three days later we learn the truth. Jesus told his disciples in the great commission that he had all authority and since he just came back to life I think that all of them were sure that he did. Jesus came to redeem, defend and to save us and he proved that he has the power and authority to do it. (Matthew 28:18, John 5:22-27, 13:3, 17:2, Ephesians 1:20-22)

Jesus is not just a good teacher, good teachers don't claim to be God.

Jesus is not just a good example, good examples don't run around with sinners, drunks and tax collectors.

Jesus is not a religious paranoid, a fanatic. Mad men don't speak those words, mad men don't have those clear thoughts and mad men don't show that kind of love.

Jesus is not a religious phony, phonies don't rise from the dead.

Jesus is not a phantom, you don't nail a phantom to a cross and it doesn't have blood to shed.

Jesus is not a myth, myths don't set the calendars for history.

Jesus is God in a body come to this world to show us what God was like and then to redeem us. He's God.

Who is the greatest? The book of John makes it obvious. Jesus is the "God-man." Jesus came with a great purpose. Jesus showed us a better way to live and he gave us the only way to live forever with him.

Who is your Savior? Is it you? You don't make a very good savior, you don't have the credentials that Jesus has. Based on the testimony of the men that were with Jesus everyday for three years I can accept the fact that Jesus is God, he spoke the words of God, and he was sent to be my Savior.

Thank you Lord for revealing yourself to man and making our relationship a peaceful one. I could never have peace with you without the work of your son on the cross.
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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Found: God's Will

Finding the direction and purpose that God has for your life.

 
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  6  Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.

Matthew 12:48-50  Jesus asked, "Who is My mother? Who are My brothers?"  49  Then He pointed to His disciples and said, "Look, these are My mother and brothers.  50  Anyone who does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother!"

Most of us acknowledge that God has a plan for the life of every believer but with all of the different possible directions that you could go in life you may think to yourself, how can I possibly know which way God wants me to go?

There are a lot of blog post, books and sermons about this topic yet we don't seem to know what it is most of the time. It is as if God has made it really hard to know what he wants, his will seems to be hidden from us, but if he is really interested in me doing his will then why would he make it so difficult?

Some of us expect God to throw his will in our face and make it really obvious through a dramatic experience or worse yet we fear that he will speak to us through a tragic event. We don't ask because we are scared of how he will answer, and not only that but he may answer by telling us to do something we don't even like to do.

Jesus told us that the people that have the closest relationship with him, the people that are his mother, sisters and brothers are the people that do his will. That should be great incentive to be in the center of his will. 

John MacArthur tells us in his book, "Found: God's Will," that God will make his will clear to his people if they are living for him.

Five things that you must be in order to know the will of God.


BE SAVED


Romans 8:7-8  For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God's laws, and it never will. That's why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.

The crucial first step, without this you can never know how to please God, you must be saved. It is the most important thing that you need to know about God's will. In our own natural state that we were born in we can never please God and we will never really care about pleasing God therefore we won't know anything about his will or place any value on it.

God loves everybody in the world so much that he had a plan that would keep them from his wrath. He made all of us and wants to be involved in our life in a greater way than we can be without his Son. (John 3:16, Acts 17:26-28)

Jesus sheep know his voice and after he gathers them together he walks ahead of them so that they can know where they should go. (John 10:4)

BE SPIRIT FILLED


Ephesians 5:17-18  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.  And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.

2 Peter 1:3  By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know Him.

It sounds harsh but Paul says that if you do not understand what God's will is then you are foolish. If you think about it it would be crazy to life your life without understanding what you were created for. God didn't create anything without purpose and if you decide that you don't care what that purpose is then your life will be a waste.

The spirit filled life: Living each moment as if you were in the presence of Jesus. With the same power as if Jesus was standing next to you. - John MacArthur

Being spirit filled and allowing him to be in charge is a basic of God’s will, it is the source of power and the good news is that you already have him in you. Isn't it crazy to ask God for what you already have? (Acts 1:8, Romans 8:9, 1 Corinthians 6:19)

BE SANCTIFIED


1 Thessalonians 4:3-7  God's will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin.  4  Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor-- 5  not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and His ways.  6  Never harm or cheat a Christian brother in this matter by violating his wife, for the Lord avenges all such sins, as we have solemnly warned you before.  7  God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives. 8  Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God, who gives His Holy Spirit to you.

Paul gives us four principles:

✔  Sanctification - You shouldn't expect God to answer your prayers asking to know his will if you are living in sin.

✔  Control your body - Sexual sin is obvious but what about gluttony? What about your tongue?

✔  Subdue your passions - Christianity picks you up from the gutter it lifts you up so stay up! Don’t let sin drag you back down.

✔  Treat others fairly - Don’t harm anyone, don't cheat, and don’t use people sexually or in business or any other way.

BE SUBMISSIVE


1 Peter 2:12-15  Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when He judges the world.  13 For the Lord's sake, respect all human authority--whether the king as head of state,  14  or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right.  15  It is God's will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you.

God's will for all of us is to be salt and light and as such we should be the best citizens of our community and the best employees where we work. You know that a follower of Jesus is usually in the spotlight and the world is looking for an opportunity to point out our flaws.

BE SUFFERING


Romans 8:23  And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as His adopted children, including the new bodies He has promised us.

Living a Godly life will bring suffering, despite what Joel Osteen tells you, God isn't interested in making you comfortable and fulfilling all of your dreams. The Bible never shows God's people living a life of ease for very long.

If God's people would have refused to face trials and suffering then the gospel would have never gone beyond the Holy Land. One of the problems of evangelism today is that we are not bold enough to push through to the presentation of the gospel, we are okay with people knowing that we go to church but we don't go all the way in presenting the gospel because we don't want to offend anyone.

Be Yourself

Romans 12:1-2  And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice--the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him.

Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
The point of John MacArthur's book is that if you are saved, spirit filled, sanctified, submissive and suffering then God’s will is going to be very clear to you. If all five of these are evident in your life then you can do anything that you want to do since the person that is really in control of your life and your desires is Jesus.

The Bible says that God will give you the desire of your heart but that isn't a blank check that any person that claims to be a Christian can cash. We like to ignore the fact that God gives generously to the people that delight in him. As Paul says in Romans it is the people that have become a living and holy sacrifice, the people that God has transformed, those are the people that are going to know God's good and pleasing and perfect will. (Psalm 37:4)

If you are the right you, then you can follow your desires and you will fulfill his will, you will be able to make the right choices without hesitation.

This blog is completely not for profit and as such I do not receive any compensation for a favorable review of John MacArthur's book.
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