Series: John's Gospel - Looking at the lamb
Slide show to accompany this series about John's Gospel. (Version 1, posted 19 Jan 2019)
Have you ever been somewhere and wondered what is going on behind the scenes?
John's Gospel starts behind the scenes - looking way back into eternity.
In this message, we look at one of the most beautiful portions of scripture and are introduced to someone called The Word who has existed since, for ever.
As people start to meet Jesus and discover who he is, at the beginning of John's Gospel, they cannot keep it to themselves:
They have to tell someone.
Good News is for sharing.
And we too are called to discover and tell.
We look at seven steps to seeing God change a situation:
Seven steps to seeing God's Best.
And we discover that Jesus is the Best.
Maybe you have tried the rest:
Now it's time to believe in the Best!
What are you zealous about?
What things will you allow to consume you?
What was Jesus zealous about?
What consumed Jesus?
We look at why the temple was so important to Jesus, and end by seeing that he is The Temple.
What does it mean to be Born Again?
Why do we need to be Born Again?
Why does Jesus refer to an Old Testament event, when he teaches Nicodemus about being Born Again?
We end our message with a piece of drama - as we try to imagine what it must have been like for Nicodemus.
We are all going through transition:
Whatever our age and stage in life, we are constantly in transition.
This gets even more complicated, when the society we live in, is also in transition.
There's lots going on in this chapter of John's gospel:
And there's lots going on in this message too.
We talk about teenagers, communism, weddings and the "whoever era."
Do you want to see a miracle?
A miracle of grace?
We are now in John chapter 4 and we see the grace of God:
Transforming individuals and transforming communities.
Are we ready to take Jesus at his word?
Are we ready to live by faith?
Or will we settle for an existence ruled by doubts?
Let's pray that God will use us, to share the power, compassion and love of Jesus.
Unity, love and Salvation - or the My Way attitude?
Jesus says: By myself I can do nothing.
What does he mean?
What is his agenda?
What are his priorities?
What comes to mind, when you hear of a privileged child?
We meet a child today, who is privileged:
Not because of what he has:
But because he gives, what he has, to Jesus.
We also ask the question:
What did Jesus mean when he said: Let nothing be wasted?
We may have many good ideas… but are they part of God’s plan?
Are they good ideas... or God's idea?
The people in our passage today, had some interesting ideas:
Let’s make Jesus king by force
Let’s follow Jesus – to get a free lunch
Let’s ask Jesus for a sign
We explore these ideas, and see that they were not God's idea:
They were not part of God's plan
Do you want to leave too?
Who will you go to?
What will you be leaving behind?
These are some of the questions that Jesus's disciples faced all those years ago:
And we face the very same questions today.
In our passage today, people are trying to influence Jesus
But his desire is to do the will of his Father - and to get it right:
The right timing
The right source of teaching
The right motivation
The right action
The right way to judge
Jesus knows that he is not heading for The X Factor
In everything, he is aware of The Cross Factor
Has the festival left you thirsty?
Has religion left you dry?
Jesus invites us to come to him and drink
Doing religion is tiring
Doing religion makes us thirsty
Religion without relationship makes us into Pharisees
Jesus invites us into relationship with him
How do we answer difficult questions?
How did Jesus answer questions?
Did he answer all questions in the same way?
Or did he vary his approach: according to the question: according to the person asking, and according to their motivation?
What can we learn from Jesus?
Jesus says: I am the Light of the World.
When did the light first appear?
What about eternity?
How can we walk in the light?
What is truth?
Who is telling the truth?
The Truth is a person
The Truth declares a reality
The Truth presents a dilemma
The Truth requires a response
Imagine being born blind.
Imagine having your eyes opened - as an adult.
In our passage today - Jesus heals a blind man.
It is a great narrative and the man's faith and courage is a challenge to us all.
Slightly longer than usual - this recording includes a joint reading and feedback from the church.
The thief comes only to steal, to kill and destroy.
Jesus came to bring us Life:
Who is the thief?
What does the thief do?
What forms does the thief take today?
Who did the Pharisees follow?
Who are we going to follow?
Is Jesus the Messiah?
What have sheep got to do with it?
What are the advantages of being one of Jesus’ sheep?
What are the requirements for being one of Jesus’ sheep?
When Jesus heard that his friend Lazarus was ill, he stayed where he was for two whole days.
Why did he not go to Lazarus straight away?
Why did Jesus delay?
To understand this, we need to understand:
The Glory of God Factor
The Faith Factor
The I am Factor
When was the last time that someone said to you: You know nothing?
Who said this in the Bible?
What did he mean?
What did he think he meant?
What did he, in fact, prophesy?
How did Mary worship Jesus?
What did she pour out?
What two things happened as a result?
What can we pour out for Jesus?
What will happen if we do?
What are you afraid of?
What is the worst thing that could happen?
God says repeatedly in scripture: Do not be afraid
How many times do these words appear in the Bible?
How do they apply to us?
How does it work?
And what about joy? Where does joy fit in?
We continue in John's Gospel, and compare something that Jesus said, with the experience of Joseph and Esther - in the Old Testament
Joseph had a key role to play in his generation
Esther had a key role to play - in her generation
God was in control - and he was using them
But it was not always easy
They were in God's right place - at God's right time
These Old Testament characters, whisper to us about Jesus who was still to come:
Jesus who said: For this very reason I came to this hour
When was the last time you praised someone?
When was the last time you received praise?
Many of us enjoy receiving a bit of praise, but from whom should we seek praise?
And what about fear?
What is the link between praise and fear?
The Bible talks about fear of people and fear of God.
How should we live?
This is perhaps one of the most challenging passages in scripture.
We focused on five aspects of that challenge:
1. Love - and love to the end
2. Where have we come from and where are we going to?
3. One extreme to the other
4. Born Again - but we still need to be cleansed
5. Serve - as we have been served
In our passage today, Jesus predicts that Judas will betray him.
He also predicts that Peter will deny him three times.
And sandwiched between the two predictions, Jesus issues us a New Commandment.
What is the New Commandment?
How does it apply to us?
What will result, if we obey this New Commandment?
What makes you anxious when you look around today?
What troubles your heart?
In the context of betrayal and denial, Jesus says: Do not let your hearts be troubled?
How can he say that?
What did he mean?
What about the Father's House?
And what about the BMW verse?
What does it mean to be an orphan?
How does it feel to be an orphan?
What did Jesus mean, when he said: I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you?
What did he mean, when he said: I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.
We continue our journey through John's Gospel:
This week we have started chapter 15.
Jesus says: Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.
This fits so well with the theme of Remembrance Sunday.
How does it relate to us?
Where does war start?
What about sacrifice?
What about love?
Why is it important for us to be united?
Some people hated Jesus before they even met him.
They may hate us too.
Jesus said to his disciples, just before his arrest and crucifixion:
If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.
And today, on the 1st of December, we see hatred, following Jesus, even from birth.
They may hate us too - but we are not alone:
Jesus has sent us an advocate: The Spirit of Truth.
We look today at the many "comings" of God.
Many people think of God coming to earth, to Bethlehem, just over 2000 years ago.
But, in fact, throughout the Bible, God has been "coming" to our world.
What do people often try and do, when God is coming?
Human nature is to try and hide, but hiding never works.
Let's not try and hide - let's welcome him instead.
What will this new decade hold for us?
When was the easy decade?
Jesus makes it very clear that we will have trouble in this world, but he also assures us: Take heart! I have overcome the world.
Jesus is sending us into the world with the message of salvation.
Today we see:
4 reasons for being sent
4 requirements of being sent
4 signs of Jesus' blessing
4 signs of good health
Which are all valid for disciples, groups and churches
Are there things that God has been telling you for years - and you still have have not really got it?
We look at three things that Peter was asked, or told, three times over.
We touch on failure, humbleness, repentance, love, and restoration.
And, in that context, we end by asking: can we really continue thinking in terms of "them and us"?
In this message, we look at the account of Jesus before Pilate, when the Jewish leaders demand that Jesus be put to death - and we ask 5 questions:
What had Jesus actually done?
What is truth?
Who do we want to be released?
Who is your King?
Who is our King?
Do we want to be ruled by a King?
Do we want to have someone ruling over us?
We look at 2 occasions when people rejected God as their King, both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament.
Do we want the Living God to be our King?
Pilate declared that Jesus is King.
He declared it in 3 languages - so that everyone could understand.
We are called to declare that Jesus is King.
What language are we going to use?
Isolation is a very relevant word at the moment.
We are all keeping our distance in view of Coronavirus.
Many people are in isolation today.
And Jesus was isolated too: because he loves us.
Every generation of believers has faced unprecedented times.
We learn from some famous names in the Bible - including Nicodemus.
Let's invite God to be Lord of our lives:
Lord of our thinking, Lord of our speaking and Lord of everything we do - at such a time as this.
What is the easiest thing, that we are called to do, as believers in Jesus?
What is the hardest thing, that we are called to do, as believers in Jesus?
Everything changes, when God calls our name.
Throughout history, God has been calling people by name and sending them out on a mission.
Is God calling us by name?
How will we respond?
Jesus' disciples were in lock-down.
What were they thinking?
How were they feeling?
Why were they afraid?
How did Jesus minister to them during lock-down?
What does Jesus offer to us during lock-down?
How did Thomas react, when he had been proved wrong?
How do we react?
What can we learn from Thomas?
What can we learn about devotion?
Why did God the Father send his Son Jesus into the world?
Why did Jesus come into the world?
Why did John write the Gospel of John?
Some of Jesus' disciples had been fishing all night long and had caught nothing.
Jesus spoke to them early in the morning.
What did he tell them to do?
How would you have responded if you had been in their situation?
We come to the end of the Gospel of John in this message.
The book comes to an end - but the call of Jesus continues.
Jesus asks a key question: Do you love me?
Peter asks a question too: What about him?
And there is a clear message for all of us: You must follow me.