Category Archives: Gospel of John

Abide and Know

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
[John 15:7 ESV]

This isn’t a magical formula. This isn’t prosperity gospel, name it and claimed crap. This isn’t a secret way to get what YOU want.

NO

This is about abiding in Jesus, so much so, that your desires are what God desires. When Jesus says, “ask whatever you wish” he means that when you abide in him, you will ask for whatever glorifies God. What you wish is what God wants.

Prosperity preachers like to twist and misuse this text to mislead you into thinking that life is all about you. If you pray rightly or think rightly or speak rightly or even give rightly then you can have what YOU want; your best life now. Can you see how that verse can be misused? All I can do is roll my eyes at those preachers and pray that they may see the TRUE light.

Abiding in Jesus is intimate fellowship with him; learning God’s will. No magical formula. Just Jesus.

Abide with HIM and know HIM. Then and only then will you have your heart’s desire.

The Pastor -|—

Understanding Repentance Rightly

I am working through a devotional series in my YouVersion Bible app called Acts of Repentance. The first two days were great, but day three really bothered me and thus I wrote a correction for them.

Day 1 focused on Psalm 51 where David is writing following his affair with Bathsheba and subsequently being called out on it. The devotion gave a list of four things we should do: (1) Acknowledge our sin, (2) Ask for forgiveness, (3) Ask for renewal, and finally, (4) Ask God for help to use your sin to teach those who are engaged in sin and are in need of repentance. I thought that list was helpful.

Day 2 focused on Luke 13:1-8…
There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure.

The take away from this devotion was: (1) What fruit are you bearing in your life currently? (2) What sins do you need to repent of in order to start bearing the kind of fruit God desires. Once again, helpful.

But now, day 3…

From 1 John 1:5-10
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Here’s the beginning of the devotion that followed this text:
Repentance results in forgiveness. We repent and God forgives. Repentance and forgiveness are not difficult concepts. Repentance is our action and forgiveness is God’s reaction to us out of His perfect love for us.

NO, NO, NO!!!

What this is saying is that forgiveness is dependent on our action. True, we need to make a confession of our sin but repentance is not something we do in order to curry favor with God so that we can be forgiven, but rather repentance is something we do BECAUSE we are forgiven. Repentance is something we do to honor God because God is worthy. When we make repentance a work, then God’s grace is taken out of the picture. Remember the woman caught in adultery? The Pharisees wanted to stone her for her offense but after Jesus silenced the crowd he turned to the woman and said, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” The forgiveness came first and the call to repent came next. True, there was no confession on the woman’s part (at least nothing that was recorded) but the point is that Jesus didn’t wait for her to clean up her life first.

God acts first. We respond.

Thus the devotional should have read:
Forgiveness results in repentance. We repent because God forgives. Repentance and forgiveness are not difficult concepts. Forgiveness is God’s action and repentance is our reaction to God because of His perfect love for us through Jesus Christ.

There, that works. I wonder of the author of this devotion will humbly accept my correction 🙂

The Pastor -|— 

Sermon teaser ~ No Peace but Peace

Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. [Matthew 10:34]

Of all of the head scratching things Jesus has said this is perhaps the head scratchiest of them all. I have not come to bring peace? That doesn’t sound like Jesus, right? I mean, he is the Prince of Peace, right? In John 14 he said, Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. In Luke 2, the angels sing, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased! Everything we know about Jesus is one of peace. I feel at peace when I am near him. I feel at peace when I am in the Word. I feel at peace when I am praying. I think many of you could say those things as well. So, what is Jesus saying here; Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. That is what we need to explore. After all, if we are going to go out and make disciples of all nations, we had better get the message right because there are many that do not. Jesus did not come to bring peace to earth…but…he did bring peace. The issue at hand is this: What kind of peace did Jesus bring?


I can hardly wait to dive into this text 🙂

All praise and glory be unto God the Father through Christ Jesus my Lord.

The Pastor -|—

Sermon teaser for Pentecost Sunday

“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” [John 4:13-14]

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'” [John 7:37-38]

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” [Matthew 5:6]

As the body desires relief and satisfaction on a hot summer day, so the soul of a person is longing for refreshment. It’s looking for something that will satisfy its deepest need; its deepest desire. As the body needs that cool glass of water so the soul needs Living Water, and more so; whether a person will admit it or not. They need something and Jesus has the very thing for which they are looking and needing.
We live in thirsty times but many will not drink.
We live in thirsty times but many would rather live with parched months than die to themselves.
We live in thirsty times but united to the Holy Spirit through faith we are satisfied.
May we, as the church turn on the sprinkler of Living Water and forever quench the thirst of the world to the glory of God…

The Pastor -|—

To Know You, oh God

I’m preaching on John 17:1-11 and this is the Prayer of the Day I wrote for worship:

Holy God,
through faith we know Jesus,
and because we know Jesus we know You,
and because we know You we have eternal life,
so therefore,
all praise be unto You,
oh God.
Now may our words and deeds
make You known
that others may come to eternal life
through faith in Jesus,
and together,
we praise Your holy name forever.
All praise and worship be unto You,
holy God,
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Shepherd – A Prayer

This coming Sunday we have Psalm 23 and John 10:1-10 (“I am the door of the sheep“). Along with those texts we are singing, Savior Like a Shepherd Lead Us (among other hymns). The following is the Prayer of the Day that I wrote for worship. Use as you feel so inclined. Praise be to God.

Holy God, through Jesus Christ you lead us as our shepherd, much we need your tender care. Through your blessed Son, Jesus Christ, you have bought us and thus we are Yours as You guide us, feed us and anoint us. Oh God, through your grace we will dwell in your holy courts forever and thus we give You our worship. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

The Pastor -|—

 

Sermon teaser for John 11:17-44

This week I get the privilege of preaching on John 11:17-44, twice; this Sunday and then again on Tuesday during our last midweek Lenten worship service. The following is the opening paragraph for Sunday. For more, keep an eye on my congregation’s website:
http://www.livingwordlutheranchurch.com

The raising of Lazarus gives us a sneak peek into the death-destroying, Satan-stomping, sin-eradicating power of God through Jesus Christ. The disciples knew Jesus as someone who could do amazing miracles, but really had no idea the length and depth of his power. Martha had an idea as she says to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” Martha dared to believe that if Jesus asked God for the life of Lazarus, that God would grant his request. That is a bold faith, but even Martha had no idea the lengths that Jesus would truly go to destroy death’s grip. In this story, Jesus overcame death’s hold on Lazarus, but through his own resurrection, Jesus would proclaim his victory over death and death’s hold over all those who believe in him.

The Pastor -|—