Are You Thirsty For God?—John 7:37-39

INTRODUCTION

 

37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) (John 7:37–39)

 

The story is told of a man crawling through the Sahara desert, thirsty and desperate for water. Another man, riding a camel, appears out of nowhere and approaches him. The thirsty man, his lips parched, whispers, “Water…please…can you give me water?”

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Fighting Our Jealousy By Focusing On Jesus—John 3:22-30

20150823FBCPM & 20150903FBCTH

Levi Durfey

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Jealousy. Itʼs been around since Adam and Eve. In fact, when Adam came home each night, Eve used to count his ribs. 

 

Why should we be concerned about jealousy? Because jealousy (and it’s twin, envy) are dangerous, as an ancient Greek legend illustrates:

 

It seems a young Greek athlete ran in a race and placed second. In honor of the winner his village erected a large statue in the town square. 

 

Envy and jealousy attacked the runner who came in second to the degree that he made plans to destroy the statue. Each night, under cover of darkness, he went out and chipped away at the foundation of the statue, expecting it to fall on its own some day. 

 

One night, however, he chipped too much. The statue’s weakened base began to crack until it popped. The huge marble statue came down upon the disgruntled athlete. He died under the crushing weight of the one he had come to hate.

 

The truth is he died long before the statue fell on him. In giving up his heart to envy and jealousy he had ceased to live for himself. He became a slave to the giant of jealousy. His heart had become a picture of the Greek word “envy,” which means “to boil within.” (Jeremiah, 118)

 

What do we get jealous about as Christians?

 

  • We might get jealous when another church has more attendance or more kids at their youth program. 
  • We might get jealous when someone else is elected deaconess or deacon and weʼre not. 
  • We might get jealous when someone else is more liked than we are.
  • We might get jealous when someone else intrudes into our ministry. 

 

I could say more, but you see the point: every church is a fertile field where the weed of jealousy can grow. 

 

Weʼll see it happen in our passage and weʼll see the way to kill jealousy in our church and in our lives.

 

Before we do, it might be helpful to distinguish between jealousy and envy—they are very much related, in fact, they’re twins, but they are also different. How are they different? One explanation I found said:

 

To envy is to want something which belongs to another person. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, his wife or his servant, his ox or donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” 

 

In contrast, jealousy is the fear that something which we possess will be taken away by another person. (Collins)

 

But another person said:

 

(1) Jealousy is what makes us act in a certain way.

(2) Envy is what we may passively feel. (Kendall, 360)

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Freedom—John 8:31-36

20150705FBCAM [Independence Day]

Levi Durfey

 

INTRODUCTION

 

A More Important Kind Of Freedom

 

We are living in a time and place where it seems like a Christian’s freedoms are systematically being threatened and taken away. We are being forced, in violation of our conscience, to accept immoral behavior as normal behavior. 

 

One example of this is the plight of county clerks who are Christians being forced to write out marriage certificates for same-sex couples. I guess it’s a case of one more job that Bible-believing Christians will not be free to have.

 

We are greatly concerned about this loss of religious freedom of conscience in America, and certainly we should be praying hard about it. 

 

There is, however, another freedom that is far more important—one that deserves our attention every moment of every day. It is a freedom that no mortal man can take away, even if we are tortured and killed.

 

The freedom I’m talking about is the freedom from sin. In John 8, we find Jesus speaking to a group of believing Jews:

 

31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. 

 

33 They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? 

 

34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. 36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. (John 8:31–36)

 

If you believe in Jesus, what you should want to be is to be like Jesus. I am certain most Christians would agree with me. We want to love like Jesus; we want to be wise like Jesus; we want to glorify the Father like Jesus. 

 

But what keeps us from doing so? Why donʼt we seem to be free to be like Jesus? Continue reading

Who Is Your Father?—John 8:37-50

20150621FBCAM [Father’s Day]

Levi Durfey

  

INTRODUCTION

 

I have been a father for almost fifteen years now. One of the thoughts that crosses my mind frequently is: in what ways will my children emulate me? You can tell that they already have my good looks. 

 

Actually, my concerns run deeper than my looks. When I sin, and they see it, will they imitate that sin? On the other hand, will they imitate the good that I do, the love that I show, the trust that I have in Christ? 

 

Human fathers have that struggle because weʼre not perfect. We sin, and we do good. Our children will, more than likely, copy some of both from us.

 

In this passage, there are two fathers mentioned (well, three, if you count Abraham, but two fathers of importance). One father, the Devil, is completely evil, a liar, a murderer. The other Father, God himself, is holy, loving, and good.

 

Which father do you most often copy? Which father does the saying, “Like Father, Like Son [or Daughter],” most apply for you? Continue reading

Believing The Resurrection Of Jesus Christ–John 20:1-31

20150405FBCAM [Resurrection Sunday]

Levi Durfey

 

INTRODUCTION

 

I read a newspaper article by a liberal “Christian” pastor, who claimed that all religions, every single one of them, are valid. He said that there was much to learn from all of them, and it didn’t matter which one you chose, as long as you had a faith in something.

 

Now, that’s all very well and good, but let me tell you something. In order to think that all other religions are valid, you will have to knock down Jesus in the process. For instance, you will have to say that he was wrong when he said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life…”

 

You will also have to say that his death on the cross didn’t pay for our sins, because if his death did atone for our sin, then you wouldn’t even consider any other religion, because none of them has a Savior who dies for your sin.

 

And you will have to say that the resurrection of Jesus Christ wasn’t a real, physical resurrection. You have to say that because no other religion accepts the truth of Jesus rising from the grave. They might say that he was a great prophet, but not a risen Savior.

 

To accept all religions as valid means that you will have to walk up to the Bible and yank out any pages that those other religions disagree with. You will have to tell Jesus to back off, and stay in the grave, like all the other founders of those other religions.

 

I hope you won’t do that. I hope that you’ll believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

The four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, carefully laid out the historical record of Jesus Christ, so, as John states at the end of chapter 20, that we who read might believe that Jesus is the one and only Savior.

 

Will you believe the fact of the real, physical resurrection of Jesus Christ? You say, “Well, that’s a little far out, it’s hard to believe.” Well then, maybe hearing about the trouble the first disciples had believing will help you. Continue reading

Abortion, Disabilities, and a Sovereign God—John 9:1-7

INTRODUCTION

 

Most parents-to-be have said it, or thought it, “I don’t care if it’s a boy or girl, so long as it’s healthy.” Now, it’s a great relief and blessing to have a healthy baby. But, “…so long as it’s healthy”? 

 

That has always bugged me a little—what if the baby is not healthy? I hope that most parents would still love their baby anyway. But then you read the statistics—

 

Between 60% to 90% of women who receive a prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis end the pregnancy, according to a 2012 analysis of 24 studies in Prenatal Diagnosis. (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/05/01/prenatal-tests-down-syndrome/2051237/)

 

Tami and I have six children, and with most of the pregnancies, a doctor would ask if we wanted to have this test that would indicate if the baby had Down syndrome. 

 

We knew what the doctor might say if the test came back positive—“Do you want to terminate the pregnancy?” We would have never done that.

 

Does the Bible speak to this current moral issue today? What does the Bible say about people with disabilities? 

 

I want to take us to one main passage that, while it won’t answer every question, and may even raise a few more in your minds, it will give us a foundation to build a theology of disabilities.

 

1 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? 

 

3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. 4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. 

 

6 When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, 7 And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing. (John 9:1–7)

 

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Sermon: The Witness

 

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. (John 1:6–8)

 

INTRODUCTION

 

A. Witnesses In Court

 

In a court trial, there are several important people. One, of course, is the judge, sort of a referee to the whole thing. He or she, at least in the movies, spends a lot of time banging a gavel and saying “sustained” or “overruled.” 

 

The prosecutor is trying to show that the plaintiff, person being charged, is guilty. The defense counsel does the opposite, trying to show their innocence or at least their justification in doing what they did. 

 

Then thereʼs the jury, twelve people picked to determine the fate of the accused. They are supposed to make their decision based on the law, not on their feelings. They may feel sympathy or hatred toward the plaintiff, depending on what he did, but itʼs what the law says that is what counts.

 

Finally, there are the witnesses. The witnesses are the people who were at the scene of the crime, or who are people who can vouch for the plaintiff’s character. 

 

In some cases an “expert witness” comes in—he wasnʼt at the scene and doesnʼt know the plaintiff, but he might say something like that it was physically impossible to do whatever the plaintiff did. The witnesses are very important, without them to testify, there isnʼt much of a case.

 

B. Jesus Has Witnesses

 

Are there witnesses who can vouch for Jesus? Yes, one of those witnesses is John the Baptist, Jesusʼ own cousin. Jesus always has witnesses. Who are the witnesses who testify for him today? Weʼll answer that question before weʼre done.

 

There are three statements in John 1:6-8 that I want to share with you: 

I. John was Sent by God;

II. John was Sent by God to be a Witness; 

III. John was Sent by God to be a Witness so that People would Believe.


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