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Introduction: Give Forth Glimpses of Godliness

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Introductory Lesson

How many of you have been to the Grand Canyon? Several years ago my husband Gary and I took a road trip to Arizona because I had always wanted to see it. We planned to watch some baseball spring practice and follow it up with an overnight stay at the Grand Canyon.

Now, the only reason that I was in favor of driving so far was because of this side trip; I’m not really much of a road trip person—all those hours in the car seem so wasted! But to go to the Grand Canyon was worth it! So we planned the trip and reserved a room at the hotel right on the rim. I was very excited!

After driving and driving and driving for what seemed like weeks through New Mexico, we spent several days in Phoenix; then, we headed north and arrived at our destination. The Grand Canyon at last! Here is a picture of me at the rim. As you can see, fog totally enveloped it. We could barely see ten feet in front of us or down the side, much less the other side of the canyon! And the twenty-four hour forecast was more fog, and that was all the time we had! To say that I was disappointed is a huge understatement!

Since we had nothing else to do, we decided to take a walk until lunch and then leave for home. However, as we walked along the rim of the canyon feeling very dejected and staring out into the nothingness, there was a small break in the fog. I could see the light shining on a piece of the canyon wall on the other side. It was beautiful! I was amazed at the colors. Of course, I had seen pictures, but they were nothing compared to this small glimpse of the real thing! I thought, if only I could see the entire canyon! What a sight it must be!

Just as the Grand Canyon is a beautiful and amazing sight to behold, so vast that it is impossible to take in, we have a God who is beyond our comprehension! He is lovely; he is wonderful; he is loving and kind. He has complete power and yet he cares for the least of his creation. His qualities would blow us away if we truly grasped them. But we can only see him through a fog produced by our broken world and lives. At best we catch infrequent glimpses of his true beauty and greatness. Sometimes we are able to peer at his wonder, and other times we see only the fog. But when we do see him, we yearn to see more!

But originally God shaped his creation to reflect his own character. People were purposed and designed to look like him. Even now he calls each of us to give forth glimpses of godliness--

Related Topics: Curriculum, Spiritual Life, Women

Lesson 41: Jesus: True, Yet Rejected (John 7:14-24)

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January 26, 2014

Cary Grant once told how he was walking along a street and met a man whose eyes locked onto him with excitement. The man said, “Wait a minute, you’re … you’re—I know who you are; don’t tell me—uh, Rock Hud—no, you’re….”

Grant thought he’d help him, so he finished the man’s sentence: “Cary Grant.”

And the fellow said, “No, that’s not it! You’re….”

There was Cary Grant, identifying himself with his own name, but the fellow had someone else in mind! (Leadership Journal [Fall, 1990], pp. 48-49)

The apostle John wrote of Jesus (1:10-11), “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.” So throughout his Gospel John sets forth both the tragedy of unbelief along with the triumphs of belief. He wrote his Gospel to show who Jesus is so that (20:31) “you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” To have saving faith, it’s crucial that you understand correctly who Jesus is.

In our text, Jesus is at the Feast of Booths in Jerusalem, six months before He would be arrested and crucified. Before He showed Himself publicly at this feast, the crowds were debating, with some saying (7:12), “He is a good man”; [but] others were saying, “No, on the contrary, He leads people astray.”

John wants us to see that neither of those are viable options. Jesus could not have been merely a good man and said the things that He said. If a mere man claimed that he could give living water so that the one who drank it would never thirst again; or if he claimed to be the bread of life, so that whoever ate of him would never hunger and would have eternal life; or if he claimed to be the way, the truth, and the life and said that he was the only way that people could come to God; you would not say, “He’s a good man.” You would say, “He’s a crazy megalomaniac!” And, at the same time, Jesus was obviously too good of a man to be a deliberate deceiver. So John wants us to see that Jesus is the eternal Son of God in human flesh. He wants us to see Jesus’ glory so that we might believe in Him as our Lord and God (20:28).

But John knows full well that believing in Jesus isn’t the automatic response to Him. There is always division: some believe, some are indifferent, and others reject Him vehemently. So here John shows us the reaction of the Jewish leaders and the crowds to Jesus when He went into the temple in the midst of the feast and began to teach. Although Jesus was sent from God, taught God’s truth, sought God’s glory, and did God’s miraculous works, people rejected Him because they valued the wrong things; they were not willing to obey God; they were legalistic hypocrites; they were under satanic influence; and, they were judging by outward appearances. Or, more briefly,

Although Jesus is the true and righteous one, people reject Him because of their many sins.

The Holy Spirit did not see fit to tell us the content of Jesus’ teaching on this occasion, but rather had John record the reaction of the people to Jesus’ teaching. But in the narrative, he gives us four solid reasons that Jesus is, as He claims (7:18), “true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”

1. Jesus is the true and righteous one.

When Jesus claims to be “true” (7:18), He means that He embodies all that is true. He adds, “and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” Jesus is claiming to be absolutely true, with no hint of deception (7:12) or sin in Him. Also, as Leon Morris points out (The Gospel of John [Eerdmans], p. 406, n. 39), in the only other places in John where a person is said to be “true,” it is used of God (3:33; 8:26). Thus John wants us to see that Jesus alone shares this quality with God. Four facts support Jesus’ claim to be true and righteous:

A. Jesus is true and righteous because He was sent here by God (7:16, 18).

Jesus emphasizes this twice here. In 7:16, He says, “My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me.” And, in 7:18, He says, “He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true….” He will mention it again in 7:28-29, “I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know. I know Him, because I am from Him and He sent Me.” It is a major theme in John that Jesus is the one sent to earth by God the Father.

Why did Jesus emphasize this so often? It’s a matter of His preexistence and authority. If He was a religious upstart, who came up with His own ideas and promoted Himself alone, then why believe in Him? But if the one true God sent Him and He is also true, then we had better believe in Him and obey Him. To reject Jesus is to reject the God who sent Him.

B. Jesus is true and righteous because He taught God’s truth (7:14-17).

Jesus did not go up to the feast with His brothers to make a grand entrance, because the people wanted to make Him a political king. But sometime in the midst of the feast, He went into the temple and began to teach. A crowd quickly gathered around Him. Probably, the charge in 7:15 is coming from the Jewish leaders and addressed to the people listening to Jesus (R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of John’s Gospel [Augsburg Publishing House], p. 541). Their “astonishment” did not mean that they were favorably impressed by Jesus’ teaching. Rather, they were amazed at His audacity to take on the role of a religious teacher in the temple when He lacked the proper credentials from the Jewish authorities. They were trying to discredit Jesus in front of the crowd by alleging that “this man” (a derogatory term) purports to be learned, but He has never been educated in our schools. John is again using irony: Here are these proud Jewish leaders calling the eternal Word who created the world (1:1-3) an uneducated fellow (Morris, p. 405)!

Jesus responds to their challenge by asserting (7:16), “My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me.” Jesus is saying, “I don’t need your education and humanly-conferred degrees because I am speaking truth directly from the living and true God who sent Me here to teach.” In spiritual matters, the ideas of philosophers and religious teachers are mere speculation. Such thinkers have not come from God and they can only guess at what He is like. But since Jesus came from God, He could authoritatively teach us about God, man, sin, and how we can have eternal life.

I’ll say more on 7:17 in a moment, but for now note what Jesus says about how a person can know whether His teaching originated with Him or with God: “If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself.” When you’re witnessing to an unbeliever about Christ, you should challenge him to read the gospels, paying attention to the teaching of Jesus. But many have read and even studied the gospels and come away as unbelievers. The key is to tell the unbeliever, “As you read, tell God that if He will show you that Jesus is true, you will be willing to obey Him.” If the person comes to the gospels as a scoffer, he will read them and go away a scoffer. If he comes with a willing heart to obey God’s will, then God will show him the truth about Jesus.

C. Jesus is true and righteous because He sought God’s glory (7:18).

Jesus continues (7:18): “He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” When Jesus came to this earth, He voluntarily laid aside the glory that He had shared with the Father from all eternity and took on the form of a slave, becoming obedient even to death on the cross (Phil. 2:6-8). He is now risen, ascended, and restored to His rightful full glory at the Father’s right hand (John 17:5). He will come again in power and glory to judge the living and the dead.

But when He was on earth, Jesus’ aim was to glorify the Father. He states that this, not rabbinic credentials from the accredited schools, is the test of a true teacher. That is true of all who purport to teach God’s truth: If a man glories in his academic degrees and seeks to exalt himself, he is not a true teacher of God’s truth. When you have any idea of the righteousness and majesty of God, you’ll be painfully aware of your own inadequacy and unworthiness. You’ll cry out (Ps. 115:1), “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your name give glory because of your lovingkindness, because of Your truth.”

Thus Jesus is true and righteous because He was sent here by God, He taught God’s truth, and He sought God’s glory. Finally,

D. Jesus is true and righteous because He did God’s miraculous works (7:19-23).

John 7:19-23: “‘Did not Moses give you the Law, and yet none of you carries out the Law? Why do you seek to kill Me?’ The crowd answered, ‘You have a demon! Who seeks to kill You?’ Jesus answered them, ‘I did one deed, and you all marvel. For this reason Moses has given you circumcision (not because it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and on the Sabbath you circumcise a man. If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath so that the Law of Moses will not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made an entire man well on the Sabbath?’”

Jesus draws a contrast between Himself and the hypocritical Pharisees. There was no unrighteousness in Jesus (7:18), but the Jews, who boasted in the Law, didn’t actually keep the Law, as seen by the fact that they were trying to kill Jesus. The crowd, which consisted of Jews from all over Israel as well as from other countries, may not have been aware of the evil intent of their leaders. So they accuse Jesus of demon-induced paranoia.

Jesus responds (7:21) by referring back to the incident in John 5:1-15, where He healed the man by the Pool of Bethesda and told him to carry his mat on the Sabbath. As a result of this one deed, the Jews were persecuting Him and seeking to kill Him (5:16, 18). It’s not easy to understand what “for this reason” (7:22, which the ESV and NIV omit) refers to, but the thought seems to be (loosely paraphrasing F. Godet, Commentary on the Gospel of John [Zondervan], 2:66), “The reason Moses gave you the law that requires circumcising a baby on the eighth day even if that day is the Sabbath is that he was pleading My cause in advance. Moses was requiring you to commit the same Sabbath transgression that you are seeking to kill Me for. If it’s lawful to purify one part of the body by circumcision on the Sabbath, then why was it wrong for Me to heal an entire man on the Sabbath?”

But the point is, as Nicodemus told Jesus (3:2), “No one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Or, as the man born blind whom Jesus healed told the hostile Jewish leaders (9:33), “If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.” Or, as Jesus tells the same religious leaders (10:37-38), “If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.”

So there is solid evidence for believing that Jesus is the true and righteous one: He was sent here by God; He taught God’s truth; He sought God’s glory; and He did God’s miraculous works. So, with all this evidence, why do people still reject Jesus as Savior and Lord?

2. People reject Jesus in spite of who He is because of their many sins.

The text reveals five sins that caused these religious Jews to reject Jesus:

A. People reject Jesus in spite of who He is because they value the wrong things (7:15).

As we’ve seen, these Jewish leaders valued their rabbinic training. They had a “good ol’ boy club” of those who had graduated from their schools. When they taught in the synagogues and in the temple, the rabbis would cite the proper rabbinic authorities. But here was this young upstart from the insignificant town of Nazareth teaching the people without citing the esteemed rabbis. He would say, “You have heard it said, … but I say unto you” (see Matt. 5:21-22, 27-28, 31-32, 38-39, 43-44). Matthew (7:28-29) concludes the Sermon on the Mount by noting, “When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.”

While there is nothing wrong per se with academic degrees, if we put such a premium on degrees that we disregard or belittle a godly man who lacks such degrees, we will miss some deep spiritual blessings. John Bunyan, the author of Pilgrim’s Progress, did not have any formal training, but he had deep insight into the Bible and he could preach it with power. The king of England once asked John Owen, the learned Puritan theologian who was the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University, how he could go and listen to a tinker prate (Bunyan’s trade was to fix pots and pans). Owen replied (John Owen: Prince of the Puritans, by Andrew Thomson [Christian Focus], p. 125), “May it please your majesty, could I possess the tinker’s ability for preaching, I would willingly relinquish all my learning.” If we value the wrong things, we will miss Jesus.

B. People reject Jesus in spite of who He is because they are not willing to obey God (7:17).

We’ve already looked at 7:17, “If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself.” But note further what Jesus is saying here: The reason that people do not recognize Jesus for who He is does not hinge on having enough evidence, but rather on having enough obedience. If a person is willing to obey God, he will know that Jesus was sent by God and speaks God’s truth. As Augustine put it (cited by Morris, 406, n. 37): “Do not seek to understand in order to believe, but believe that you may understand.”

In other words, if you come to the Bible as a scoffer, you’ll go away a scoffer. Jesus never committed Himself to unbelief (2:24). That’s a basic principle of human relationships. If someone comes to you with a critical, hostile attitude, you’re not going to commit yourself to him. But if he comes wanting to be of help to you, you’re more likely to open yourself up to him. Similarly, Jesus said (John 14:21), “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.” The opposite is also true: If you don’t obey Christ, He won’t disclose Himself to you.

C. People reject Jesus in spite of who He is because they are legalistic hypocrites (7:19).

The Jewish leaders prided themselves on obeying the Mosaic Law, but Jesus unmasks them by stating (7:19), “Did not Moses give you the Law, and yet none of you carries out the Law? Why do you seek to kill Me?” The scribes and Pharisees meticulously tithed their table spices, but they neglected the weightier provisions of the law (Matt. 23:23). Here, they want to break the sixth commandment by killing Jesus. Legalism is when a person keeps certain manmade rules or parts of God’s Word that he can do externally, so that everyone will notice how “righteous” he is. But he doesn’t deal with the sin in his heart.

Since the Lord knows every private thought that you have, it’s foolish to try to put on an outward show of “righteousness,” while at the same time you neglect judging sinful thoughts, such as pride, greed, lust, selfishness, and jealousy. You may impress others, but God isn’t impressed at all! Legalistic hypocrisy will cause you to reject Jesus, the righteous one, who sees right through you.

D. People reject Jesus in spite of who He is because they are under satanic influence (7:20).

The crowd may have been ignorant of the leaders’ intent to kill Jesus, but their response of accusing Jesus of having a demon was evidence that they themselves were under demonic influence. Since they thought that mental illnesses, such as paranoia, stemmed from demonic activity, they may have only been accusing Jesus of being crazy. But, still, to charge the true and righteous one of having a demon can only come from satanic influence.

It’s interesting that in John, there are no stories of Jesus casting out demons, as in the Synoptic Gospels, but there are several occasions where Jesus is accused of being demon-possessed (here; 8:48-52; 10:20-21; Morris, p. 407). The apostle tells us (1 John 5:19), “We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” Or, as Paul states with reference to those who are perishing (2 Cor. 4:4), “In whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” For people to receive Christ, the Holy Spirit must open their eyes to see something of His glory.

Thus, people reject Jesus in spite of who He is because they value the wrong things, they are not willing to obey God, they are legalistic hypocrites, and they are under satanic influence. Finally,

E. People reject Jesus in spite of who He is because they judge according to outward appearances (7:24).

Jesus exhorts these scoffers (7:24), “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” The Greek here may be translated, “Stop judging according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” They were judging Jesus because He healed a man and told him to carry his mat on the Sabbath, which was a violation of their legalistic additions to the Sabbath commandment. But at the same time, they were rejecting the true and righteous one and seeking to kill Him!

Perhaps one of the most misunderstood and misapplied verses in the New Testament is Jesus’ command (Matt. 7:1), “Do not judge so that you will not be judged.” If people would bother to read just a few verses further, Jesus commands not to throw your pearls before swine (He was talking about people who are swine, not pigs!). He goes on to warn about wolves in sheep’s clothing. Obviously, to obey those commands you have to make some judgments! The Bible commands us to be discerning with regard to false teaching and demonic activity (Pastoral Epistles; 1 John 4:1).

The point here is that if you judge who Jesus is superficially, you’ll end up rejecting Him as He really is. There are many who think that Jesus was always gentle, kind, and nice. I’m not sure how that myth ever got started! Read the Gospels and you’ll see Jesus strongly confront sin, as He is doing here. You can’t trust in Him and walk with Him without Him confronting your sin. He always does it in love, because sin destroys us. But He does confront it. If you truly believe in Jesus, you will let His Word confront your sin regularly.


That brings me back to 7:17 again. If you want to know who Jesus is and whether He is the true and righteous one, sent by God, you have to be willing to obey God’s will as revealed in His word. The Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard wrote, “It is difficult for us to believe because it is difficult for us to obey.” If you’re willing to obey, God will show you that Jesus is God’s true and righteous one. He is worthy of all your trust!

Application Questions

  1. How much does a person need to know about Jesus to be able to trust in Him for eternal life?
  2. Why is willingness to obey God foundational for faith in Christ? How can an unbeliever become willing to obey God?
  3. What are some lessons that we can learn from Jesus here on how to witness to skeptics?
  4. Discuss some ways that legalism keeps people from trusting in Christ.

Copyright, Steven J. Cole, 2014, All Rights Reserved.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture Quotations are from the New American Standard Bible, Updated Edition © The Lockman Foundation

Related Topics: Character of God, Christology, Hamartiology (Sin), Soteriology (Salvation)

Lesson 42: Don’t Be Confused About Jesus! (John 7:25-36)

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February 2, 2014

A story is told of two old ladies who lived together. One summer evening they were sitting on their porch, enjoying the peaceful scene. One woman was listening to the sound of a church choir a few doors away as they practiced. The other woman was listening to the sound of the crickets chirping. The woman listening to the choir said, “Isn’t that a lovely sound?” The woman listening to the crickets replied, “Yes, and I understand that they do it by rubbing their legs together.”

Sometimes confusion can be humorous, but at other times it can be disastrous. That’s especially true when it comes to spiritual matters. Contrary to the prevailing popular view, spiritual truth is not whatever each person prefers it to be. There are not many ways to God, so that you can just pick whatever suits your fancy. Jesus was very exclusive when He said (John 14:6), “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” Either He was right or He was wrong. You must decide. Spiritual truth is quite narrow. Spiritual confusion is eternally fatal!

In our text, we see different groups of religious Jews who are confused about Jesus. There is the group that John calls “the Jews” (7:1, 11, 13, 15, 35). This refers to the Jewish religious leaders, whom John also identifies as the Pharisees and chief priests, who were Sadducees (7:32). These groups were often rivals, but they viewed Jesus as a common enemy. So they joined together to try to seize Him (7:30, 44, 45). But they knew that many in the crowd liked Jesus. They also remembered Jesus’ disrupting their business by cleansing the temple. So they had to proceed cautiously.

Also, there is a larger group whom John calls “the crowd” (7:12, 20, 31, 32). This would include Jewish pilgrims who had come up to Jerusalem for the feast from all over Israel and from other countries. Many of them were not aware that the Jewish leaders were seeking to kill Jesus, so when He mentioned this, they accused Him of having a demon (7:20).

Then there is a narrower group that John calls “the people of Jerusalem” (7:25-27). They were confused both about who Jesus was and about why their religious leaders were not arresting Him. Because of misunderstanding both about the origins of the Messiah and Jesus’ origins, they concluded that He could not be the expected Messiah.

So the overall feeling of our text is that a lot of people were confused about who Jesus is. But John (20:31) wants us to know the truth about who He is so that we “believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing [we] may have life in His name.” So John is showing us that …

While there are many confused opinions about who Jesus is, your eternal destiny depends on believing the truth about Him.

1. There are many confused opinions about who Jesus is.

Some of the people of Jerusalem wondered out loud whether Jesus might really be the Christ and whether the Jewish leaders were not arresting Him because they thought that He was the Christ (7:25-26). But they quickly dismissed this idea because, as they said (7:27), “However, we know where this man is from; but whenever the Christ may come, no one knows where He is from.”

These people mistakenly thought that the Christ would suddenly come on the scene unannounced, with a dramatic flash. They may have based this on Malachi 3:1, where the Lord says, “Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming.” Jesus actually fulfilled that prophecy when He went into the temple and cleansed it at the beginning of His public ministry (John 2:13-16). But all these Jerusalem residents knew was that Jesus was from Nazareth and He had been around for some time, which didn’t fit their ideas of how the Christ would come and from where He would come. Others, however, knew more accurately that the Christ would come from Bethlehem (7:42; Matt. 2:4-5), but since they didn’t know that Jesus was born there, they also rejected Him as the Christ.

As we’ve seen, the crowd was confused about who Jesus was. Some said that He was a good man; others said that He led the people astray (7:12). Some in the multitude thought that He had a demon because of His comments about the Jews seeking to kill Him (7:20). In response, Jesus had told them (7:24) not to judge according to appearance, but to judge with righteous judgment. But John is showing us the general confusion that resulted from people judging Jesus superficially by appearance. Such superficial judgment resulted in misinformation, open hostility, and mocking unbelief, although many did believe (7:31).

Of course, at the heart of all confusion about Jesus Christ is the great deceiver, Satan, the enemy of all souls. One of the early deceptions that he foisted on the church was that of Arius, who taught that Jesus was the greatest of all created beings, but He is not eternal God. Although Athanasius stood firmly against Arius and the church finally adopted the Nicene Creed, affirming that Jesus is “eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father,” we still have Arianism with us today under the name of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. As if that were not bad enough, the Mormons have still a different view of Jesus, but one that denies the New Testament witness to His deity.

Other false cults talk about “the Christ within us all,” or “the Christ principle.” Liberal theologians deny the possibility of the miraculous, so they have to attribute all of Jesus’ miracles to the gullible imaginations of the apostles. They try to figure out which words attributed to Jesus in the Bible are His true words, and which were invented by the disciples or later followers. Of course, such speculations are just that—speculations based on the liberal theologians’ subjective assumptions. And then there is the confusion of the population at large, which thinks of Jesus as a great moral teacher or a religious reformer, but not as God in human flesh. But they have never carefully examined the Gospels to think about who Jesus claimed to be and who the apostles affirmed Him to be. So there is no end to the confusion about who Jesus is.

Jesus Himself warned with reference to the end times (Matt. 24:23-24, “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe him. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.” So it’s very important that we not be confused about who Jesus is. Rather,

2. We must believe the truth about who Jesus is.

We don’t know whether Jesus overheard the confusion of the people in the temple or whether He knew supernaturally what they were thinking. But He “cried out in the temple” (7:28, 29; the word refers to a loud shout, so that all would hear), “You both know Me and know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know. I know Him, because I am from Him, and He sent Me.” Jesus’ stating that the Jews did not know God must have shocked them. The Jews prided themselves on knowing God, in contrast to the Gentiles, who worshiped many false gods.

But what does Jesus mean when He tells them, “You both know Me and know where I am from”? If they didn’t know God, how could they know Jesus and His origin? In 8:19, He tells them, “You know neither Me nor My Father; if you knew Me, you would know My Father also.” So what does Jesus mean when He tells them that they both know Him and where He is from?

It seems that Jesus was speaking with irony, so as to say, “You think that you know Me and where I’m from. I’ll grant, in a superficial sense, this is true. You know that I’m from Nazareth. You know My relatives according to the flesh. But you really don’t know Me at all, as evidenced by the fact that you don’t know God. You don’t know anything about My divine nature and My unity with the Father.” (I am combining the second and third views as explained by J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels [Baker], 3:33.) Jesus here is testifying to the truth of who He is. To know Him rightly, we must understand and believe His testimony.

A. Jesus testified that He had not come of Himself, but had been sent to earth by God.

John 7:28b-29, “I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know. I know Him, because I am from Him, and He sent Me.” Jesus again affirms the repeatedly stated truth that He had been sent here by the Father. As I mentioned last time, this points both to Jesus’ eternality and to His authority. There is here the additional thought that since Jesus was sent by God, He was under His providential protection.

1) To be sent by God means that Jesus is eternal.

He did not begin His existence when He was born to the virgin Mary. Jesus existed forever with the Father in glory before He came to this earth. In John 8:58, He tells the hostile Jews, “Before Abraham was, I am” (not, “I was”). They picked up on His identifying Himself with Yahweh who told Moses that His name is, “I AM” (Exod. 3:14). In John 17:5, He prays, “Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” Or, as John begins his Gospel (1:1), “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Jesus is the eternal God in human flesh.

Contrary to the Arians (and Jehovah’s Witnesses), there never was a time when Jesus did not exist. When He took on human flesh, His deity was not diminished or mixed together into a hybrid form that was less than God. Witness Lee, who was the main leader of “The Local Church” sect, wrongly used the analogy of a tea bag and water to explain Jesus.* Before they come together, you have two substances, but once they come together you have a new substance, “tea-water.” Even so, he taught, Jesus is now the God-man, a hybrid of both. But that is heresy, because it confuses both Jesus’ full deity and His perfect humanity. Through the virgin birth, Jesus’ deity was not diminished or changed in any way. Rather, to His full deity, He added sinless humanity.

2) To be sent by God means that Jesus operated under the full authority of God.

He didn’t come on His own initiative or make up His own stuff. As He says in 7:16, “My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me.” Back in 5:19, Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.” In 5:30, He stated, “I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” He relayed to us exactly what the Father told Him to say. Thus to reject Jesus or His teaching is to reject the Father who sent Him. Also…

3) To be sent by God means that Jesus was under the Father’s providential protection.

In 7:30, we read, “So they were seeking to seize Him; and no man laid his hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come.” We’ve already encountered in John the concept of “Jesus’ hour” (2:4) and we will see it again (8:20; 12:23, 27; 13:1; 17:1). It refers to the cross, which was the ultimate reason that Jesus came to this earth. But the point John makes by using the phrase here is that no one could touch Jesus until the hour that the Father had providentially determined before the foundation of the earth.

We can apply the concept of being sent by God to ourselves. In John 20:21, Jesus told the disciples, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” That applies to all of us who have believed in Christ. He sends us into this world as His ambassadors to appeal to unbelievers to be reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:20). As we represent our Divine King, He assures us that He will be with us, even unto the end of the age (Matt. 28:20). As His ambassadors, we can know that He has an appointed hour for each of us and no one can touch us until that hour. For John the Baptist and for Jesus, that hour came when they were in their early thirties. For the apostle John, the hour was when he was about 90. He has a different purpose for each of us. But we can know that we will not die until the hour appointed by our sovereign King (Ps. 139:16).

B. Jesus testified that He knew God.

Although Jesus’ hearers for the most part did not know God (7:28), Jesus plainly stated (7:29), “I know Him, because I am from Him, and He sent Me.” Jesus had a unique and thorough knowledge of the Father because He is one with the Father (10:30) and He alone existed with the Father from all eternity. Thus Jesus can uniquely reveal the Father to us. As John said (1:18), “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.”

In John 17:3, Jesus describes the essence of eternal life as knowing God: “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” In Luke 10:22, Jesus makes this profound statement: “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” The only way that we can know the Father is through the Son when the Son wills to reveal Him to us. Are you asking the Lord Jesus to reveal the Father to you so that you might know Him more deeply?

Jeremiah 9:23-24 declares: “Thus says the Lord, ‘Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,’ declares the Lord.” Regarding unbelievers, Paul said (Eph. 4:18) that they are “darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart.” But the goal of the Christian life is that (Eph. 4:13) “we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.” Or, as Paul stated his goal in life (Phil. 3:10), “that I may know Him.”

Is that your aim in life? If so, you are reading and meditating on God’s Word daily with the prayer, “Lord, reveal Yourself to me so that I may know You.” If you’ve never done so, I encourage you to read some books where godly teachers expound on the attributes of God. J. I. Packer’s Knowing God [IVP] is a classic. A. W. Tozer’s Knowledge of the Holy [Harper & Row] is short, but deep. So is A. W. Pink’s The Attributes of God [Baker]. Deeper yet (and much longer at two-volumes) is the Puritan Stephen Charnock’s The Existence and Attributes of God [Baker]. Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology [Zondervan] has an easy-to-read treatment of God’s attributes (as do other systematic theologies). But you will only be able to digest these books if you come to them through faith in Christ as your Savior and with the prayer that the Holy Spirit will teach you.

But I remind you that this knowledge of God is not just so that you can have a cozy “personal relationship” with Him. Knowing God will change you so that you become more like Him. This affects your relationships with others, so that the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control—become more evident in your relationships with others (Gal. 5:22-23). Also, the better you know God, the more effectively you can represent Him as His ambassador to lost people. The more you have personally “tasted the kindness of the Lord” (1 Pet. 2:3), the more readily you will be able to “proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2 9).

So while there are many confused opinions out there about who Jesus is, we need to believe the truth about Him, which we have in His own testimony about Himself. He was sent here by God and He knew God in a unique way. We can only know God through faith in Jesus. But the final verses of our text give us a solemn warning:

3. Your eternal destiny depends on believing in Jesus while you still have the opportunity.

In John 7:31 we read, “But many of the crowd believed in Him; and they were saying, ‘When the Christ comes, He will not perform more signs than those which this man has, will He?’” Some connect the belief of these people with those that we encountered in John 2:23-25, who believed in Jesus because of the signs that He was doing. But Jesus for His part did not entrust Himself to them. But John here does not say anything negative about their faith, although it seems to have been based on somewhat shallow reasoning: “This guy seems to be doing enough signs to qualify as the Messiah, so we’d better believe in Him.”

But it seems to me that the Lord takes most of us at a pretty shallow level and then graciously deepens our faith as we come to understand more of who He is. I committed myself to Christ as a teenager because I saw a godly couple who had a happy marriage and I thought, “If Christ can give me that kind of marriage, I need to follow Him.” That was totally self-centered and immature! But, He took me in at that point and helped me to grow. The important thing is truly to believe in Christ as Savior and Lord while you have the opportunity.

But some miss the window of opportunity and end up facing God’s awful judgment for rejecting His Son. In 7:33-34, Jesus tells the crowd that He will be with them for a little while longer, but then He would go to the one who sent Him. He knew that His hour was rapidly approaching. But then, after He was gone, they would seek Him, but not find Him. And they could not come where He had gone. They would not be able to go to heaven because they missed the day of salvation.

In typical fashion, the Jewish leaders misunderstand Jesus’ statement. In 7:35-36, they seem to be mocking when they speculate that “this man” (a demeaning way of referring to Jesus) may leave Jerusalem and go among the Greeks. Jesus does not respond to their confusion, but leaves them wondering about what He means. It’s a terrible thing to walk away from the day of salvation and then be left in your confusion about Jesus!


It’s kind of funny when someone is confused about a church choir making music by rubbing their legs together! But it’s really tragic when someone is confused about Jesus and rejects His testimony of who He is. God has given you a measure of light, even through this message. He says (2 Cor. 6:2), “Behold, now is ‘the acceptable time,’ behold, now is ‘the day of salvation.’” Don’t miss the opportunity to trust in Christ as your Savior and Lord today!

*I could not find the tea water illustration’s source in Lee’s writings, although in The Economy of God [Living Stream], p. 12, he mentions the mingling of Christ’s two natures. I got it from a Local Church elder who tried to defend the analogy. The Local Church now has an orthodox statement of the person of Christ, although I cannot recommend many other aspects of their teaching.

Application Questions

  1. When you try to share Christ with someone and he says, “That’s just your opinion,” what should you say?
  2. Is every Christian “sent” by God or just some (John 20:21)? What are the implications if you are sent by God?
  3. What change can you make in your current schedule so that you will grow to know Christ better in the coming year?
  4. If someone tells you that he is worried that he has missed the opportunity to trust in Christ, how would you respond?

Copyright, Steven J. Cole, 2014, All Rights Reserved.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture Quotations are from the New American Standard Bible, Updated Edition © The Lockman Foundation

Related Topics: Christology, Soteriology (Salvation)

Lesson 43: Rivers of Living Water—for You and from You (John 7:37-39)

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February 9, 2014

When you read Jesus’ words here, where He promises that from the innermost being of the one who believes in Him will flow rivers of living water, you have to stop and ask, “To what extent is that true of me? Since I trusted in Christ as my Savior, has it been my experience that ever-flowing, abundant rivers of living water have gushed up inside of me and flowed out of me?”

Those questions are both convicting and hope-producing. They are convicting because none of us, if we’re honest, can say, “Yes, those words nail it! That’s exactly how to describe my life since becoming a Christian!” Honesty forces me to say, “Well, there has usually been a trickle of living water, although there have been some droughts where even it has dried up. Occasionally, there has been a creek of living water. But ever-flowing, abundant rivers (plural)? It would be a stretch to describe my Christian life like that!” So Jesus’ words convict me with the barrenness of my walk with Him.

But Jesus’ words also give me hope. If my life doesn’t match His description here, it can! So can yours! This is a promise from the Son of God to all who will come to Him and drink: Out of your innermost being will flow rivers of living water. It describes, as Calvin points out (Calvin’s Commentaries [Baker], pp. 308-309), an ideal that none of us can possess perfectly in the present life because of indwelling sin and because of differing measures of faith. But it’s an ideal in which we can make progress as we walk with the Lord. We really can experience consistent fullness of joy in Him that flows from us to others. And so we should have hope because He who began the good work of salvation in us will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus (Phil. 1:6). But we need to press on toward the goal (Phil. 3:12-16). Here is Jesus’ promise to all:

Jesus Christ blesses all who believe in Him with rivers of the living water of His Spirit so that we will bless others.

There is the promise, an implicit requirement, and the result:

1. Jesus Christ blesses all who believe in Him with rivers of the living water of His Spirit.

Note five things about this wonderful promise:

A. The person of the promise: Jesus’ claim shows Him to be God in human flesh.

To appreciate Jesus’ claim here, we need to note the setting. It is the Feast of Tabernacles (or Booths), the third important feast in the Jewish calendar (after Passover and Pentecost (or Weeks). Tabernacles was a harvest feast of thanksgiving to God. The Israelites lived in booths to remind them of God’s care for them in the wilderness, when He provided manna and water from the rock. The feast also looked forward to the final harvest and ingathering of the nations during Messiah’s kingdom.

During Jesus’ time, the feast was also characterized by a daily procession led by a priest carrying a golden pitcher of water drawn from the Pool of Siloam. The water was poured out at the base of the altar at the same time that another priest would pour out a pitcher of wine on the other side of the altar, which pointed to the future outpouring of the Holy Spirit as predicted by Isaiah (Alfred Edersheim, The Temple: Its Ministry and Services [Eerdmans], pp. 280-282). Isaiah 12:3 says, “Therefore you will joyously draw water from the springs of salvation.” And Isaiah 44:3 states, “For I will pour out water on the thirsty land and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring and My blessing on your descendants.”

John wants us to see that Jesus Himself is the fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles. In 1:14 he told us that (literally), “the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us.” Paul tells us that Jesus is the rock that supplied Israel with water in the barren desert (1 Cor. 10:4). He is also the bread of life, the fulfillment of the manna that sustained Israel in the wilderness (John 6). So now, on the last day of this feast, Jesus claims to be the source of living water to all who will come to Him and drink. In other words, He fulfills all that the feast symbolized.

The water pouring ceremony took place every day for seven days, followed by an eighth day when a holy convocation was held. Scholars disagree on whether Jesus made His offer on the seventh day, when the final pitcher was poured out, or, more likely, on the eighth day, when His offer of living water showed that He was the fulfillment of the pouring ceremony of the previous seven days. John says (7:37-38) that Jesus stood and cried out, or shouted in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’”

That’s an astonishing claim! No mere human could make such a promise: “Come to me and drink and I’ll fulfill the Scriptures by causing rivers of living water to flow out of your innermost being!” Who, except God in human flesh, God “tabernacling” among us, could legitimately make such a claim? Note, also …

B. The breadth of the promise: Jesus’ offer is open to all.

“Anyone” is as broad as you can get! It extended to Jesus’ enemies, who were trying to kill Him. They could come and drink. It later extended to a man who described himself as the chief of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15), the apostle Paul. By giving the offer in the temple, it extended to the religious Jews, who had come to Jerusalem from all over to celebrate this feast. Even though they were going through all of the prescribed Jewish rituals, those rituals could not save them. Religious observances cannot save anyone, then or now. Everyone needs to come to Jesus and drink.

Because the Spirit inspired John to record Jesus’ words here, the offer extends to each of us. Whether you grew up in a Christian home and have always gone to church or whether you are a complete pagan or a convicted criminal, the offer is for you: Come to Jesus and drink. No one is excluded. To underscore this truth, the Bible virtually ends by repeating Jesus’ offer (Rev. 22:17): “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.” Note, also:

C. The condition of the promise: you must be thirsty.

Jesus cries, “If anyone is thirsty….” You have to be thirsty for God. The Bible often uses that kind of language (as we just saw in Rev. 22:17). Isaiah 55:1 proclaims, “Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.” The psalmist cries out (Ps. 42:1), “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God.” David cries (Ps. 63:1), “O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; my soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” And in Revelation 21:6b, Jesus says, “I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.”

At first glance, being thirsty for God seems easy enough. But the problem is, because of sin people either don’t recognize their thirst or they seek to satisfy it in wrong ways. John Piper’s dad, who was an evangelist, told him that the most difficult thing was not getting people saved, but getting them lost. In other words, people don’t sense their desperate need for Christ. They don’t feel thirsty for Him. Instead, they try to quench their thirst with many wrong things. They think that success, money, fame, sexual pleasure, or other things will satisfy the inner thirst. But thirsting for things other than God and His glory is the root of all sin. J. C. Ryle observed (Expository Thoughts on the Gospels [Baker], 3:40):

The beginning of all true Christianity is to discover that we are guilty, empty, needy sinners. Till we know that we are lost, we are not in the way to be saved. The very first step toward heaven is to be thoroughly convinced that we deserve hell.

But once you recognize your thirst for God, the good news is that the offer is a free gift. You don’t have to work all your life to earn it. You don’t have to clean up your life first to qualify for it. This points to…

D. The simplicity of the promise: To receive the living water, come to Jesus and drink.

Isn’t that great! Jesus didn’t say, “If anyone is thirsty, keep digging and eventually you’ll hit water!” He didn’t say, “If anyone is thirsty, let him join the church, get baptized, take communion, do penance, give money to the church, clean up your life, and attend church every Sunday!” Jesus simply said, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.” “Me” implies that it is a personal relationship with Jesus, not a bunch of religious rules or rituals.

What could be more simple? You’re outside working in the yard on a hot day and your wife comes out with a pitcher of ice cold lemonade and says, “Come and drink!” It doesn’t take a lot of effort or will power or a college degree to come to her and drink.

To come to Jesus is to come to the One who loved you so much that He came to this wicked earth and suffered the horrors of the cross to pay for your sins, if you will believe in Him. That’s what drinking of Jesus means, as the parallel comment in verse 38 makes clear: “He who believes in Me ….” (John repeats “believe” in the clarifying statement of verse 39). To receive the living water that Jesus offers, come to Him and drink, or believe in Him. Make Him your own by faith. Appropriate what He did on the cross for your sins. A river running through the desert does you no good if you don’t drink from it. If you feel thirsty, ask Jesus to satisfy your thirst with His abundant, free salvation.

So the person of the promise is Jesus, the eternal God in human flesh, who gave Himself on the cross for our sins. The breadth of the promise is as wide as humanity. The condition of the promise is that you must be spiritually thirsty. The simplicity of the promise is that all you have to do is come to Jesus and drink.

E. The supplier of the promise: The Holy Spirit dwelling in each believer supplies us with every spiritual need.

John 7:39 explains, “But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” The Greek text is literally, “the Spirit was not yet,” but clearly John does not mean that the Holy Spirit did not yet exist! As early as Genesis 1:2 we meet the Holy Spirit, moving over the waters in creation. There are repeated references to the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament (e.g., Ps. 51:11; Isa. 11:2; 42:1; 61:1; 63:10, 11).

Rather, John means that the Spirit was not yet manifested on earth as He would be on and after the Day of Pentecost, after Jesus was crucified, raised from the dead, and ascended into heaven (“glorified”). In the Upper Room on the night He was betrayed, Jesus said to the eleven (John 14:16-17), “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” (See, also, John 15:26; 16:7.)

Then, after Jesus was raised from the dead and just before He ascended, Acts 1:4-5 reports, “Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, ‘Which,’ He said, ‘you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’” On the Day of Pentecost, they all were baptized with the Spirit who came on them with power, they spoke in tongues, and they became powerful witnesses for Christ.

Some say that we, too, need to experience what the disciples experienced at Pentecost: Subsequent to salvation we need a dramatic experience of the baptism of the Spirit, where we receive the Spirit and speak in tongues. But that is to misunderstand that Pentecost was a one-time historical event where the risen and ascended Lord Jesus sent His Spirit to dwell with His church. If anyone would seem to lack the Holy Spirit, it would be the immature Corinthians. But Paul told them (1 Cor. 12:13), “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” (See, also, Gal. 3:3.)

So all believers in Jesus Christ in the church age are indwelled by the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote (Rom. 8:9), “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” The Holy Spirit is the seal of our redemption (Eph. 1:13-14; 4:30). He gives spiritual gifts to all believers (1 Cor. 12:7-11). The Spirit reveals to us the riches that God has prepared for us who love Him (1 Cor. 2:9-10), which include every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Eph. 1:3) and all that we need for life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3-4).

But maybe you’re wondering, “If the Holy Spirit is living in me, then why don’t I experience the rivers of living water inside of me and flowing from me? Why is my life more accurately described as a trickle of water, not rivers?” Other Scriptures teach that …

2. We must learn to walk in the Holy Spirit to experience His fullness.

He does not control us automatically. In Galatians 5:16, Paul writes, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” He goes on to list some of the deeds of the flesh and the contrasting fruit of the Spirit. Then he repeats (5:25), “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” That is, if the Holy Spirit gave us new life, then we need to rely on the Spirit step by step, day by day.

Walking is something we have to learn how to do as children. At first, we fall a lot. But after a while, we hardly think about it, unless we’re on a slippery surface. Walking is not spectacular. Paul doesn’t say, “Leap by the Spirit or fly by the Spirit.” It’s a slow, step by step process that will gradually get you where you’re going if you keep at it. To walk by the Spirit means that each day in every situation you yield yourself to Him, relying on Him to work in and through you. If during the day the flesh rears its ugly head with impure thoughts, selfishness, anger, or whatever, you immediately confess it to the Lord, turn from it, and ask the Holy Spirit to control your thoughts, words, and actions again. As you learn to walk this way consistently, slowly the fruit of the Spirit will grow in your life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23).

But, why does the Lord give us the Holy Spirit, portrayed here as “rivers of living water” flowing from our innermost being?

3. Jesus Christ blesses all who believe in Him with rivers of living water so that we will be satisfied in Him and so that we become a source of blessing to others.

A. Christ blesses us with rivers of living water so that we will be satisfied in Him.

“Innermost being” is literally, “belly.” The belly is the inner part of us that is always craving something (Phil. 3:19; this insight from A. W. Pink, Exposition of John, on But here, rather than craving earthly things, the implication is that our inner cravings are abundantly satisfied through the indwelling Spirit.

There are many Old Testament Scriptures that link water to God’s abundant blessing on believers (e.g. Ps. 78:15-16; Prov. 4:23; Isa. 44:3; Ezek. 36:26-27; 47:1-9; Joel 3:18; Zech. 13:1; 14:8). But D. A. Carson (The Gospel According to John [Eerdmans/Apollos], pp. 325-328) argues that when Jesus here says, “as the Scripture says,” He was referring primarily to Nehemiah 8 & 9. In Nehemiah 8, the returned remnant listens as Ezra expounded the Law and encouraged them that “the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Neh. 8:10). Then they discovered the command about the Feast of Booths and they celebrated it with great joy (8:17). Then (chap. 9), Nehemiah prays and recounts Israel’s deliverance from Egypt and their time in the wilderness, mentioning God’s provision of manna and water (9:15). He repeats (9:20), “You gave them Your good Spirit to instruct them, Your manna You did not withhold from their mouth, and You gave them water for their thirst.”

The picture is that God sustained and satisfied the needs of His people through His Spirit, even when they were in a barren land. That’s the picture Jesus uses here: Jesus supplies us with the abundant, soul-satisfying rivers of living water of His Spirit, who reveals to us the riches of Christ for our every need. We should follow George Muller’s example and begin every day by seeking to be truly at rest and happy in God (A. T. Pierson, George Muller of Bristol [Revell], p. 257; see also, p. 315). But it doesn’t end there:

B. Christ blesses us with abundant rivers of living water so that we will be a source of blessing to others.

The rivers flow out of us to others who are thirsty. The world is a barren desert, and people are dying of thirst. You and I are to be the rivers of living water that these dying people need. As they see Christ in us (the fruit of the Spirit) and want what we have, we can tell them how they can come to Jesus and drink. Lost people desperately need what only we who have believed can give them.

But the rivers should also flow from us to other believers, especially to those who may be going through a dry spell. Even Paul and Titus were refreshed by other believers (1 Cor. 16:18; 2 Cor. 7:13). As you’re filled with the Spirit and satisfied in Christ, you can overflow to those around you, beginning in your home. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control should be flowing daily from husbands to wives and from wives to husbands, from parents to children and from children to parents. These qualities should be flowing between us in the church, even if you find a fellow believer difficult to be around.

If you only come to church to get something for yourself, you’ll be like the Dead Sea. It’s so salty that nothing can live in it because it has rivers flowing into it, but nothing flows out of it. When you come to church, come with the prayer, “Lord, fill me with your Spirit and flow out of me toward those who may be thirsty.” As you allow the rivers to flow out of you to others, you’ll discover that you’re actually more filled than before you gave out! That’s the key to preventing burnout: Be satisfied in Christ and let His fullness flow through you to others.


What should you do in response to Jesus’ promise here? First, honestly assess the degree to which “rivers of living water flowing from your innermost being” describes you. If it doesn’t describe you at all, then come to Jesus and drink! If you have to admit that it’s more like a trickle, then make it your priority to be satisfied daily with the riches of Christ. Walk in the Spirit and ask Him to fill you. Then get your focus off yourself and onto those you can bless. Pray that your normal experience would be that from your innermost being rivers of living water would flow to a thirsty world.

Application Questions

  1. Assess your normal experience: To what extent does “rivers of living water flowing from your innermost being” describe you?
  2. To the extent that it does not describe you, try to determine why not. Is your trust in Christ as Savior? Are there sins that keep you from this blessing? Do you feed on Him in the Word daily?
  3. Note that most of the fruit of the Spirit have a relational dimension. How can you see these qualities grow in your relationships?
  4. Walking in the Spirit seems harder and slower than a sudden, dramatic “baptism” in the Spirit. Why does the Bible command us to walk in the Spirit, but never to be baptized in the Spirit?

Copyright, Steven J. Cole, 2014, All Rights Reserved.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture Quotations are from the New American Standard Bible, Updated Edition © The Lockman Foundation

Related Topics: Christian Life, Pneumatology (The Holy Spirit), Spiritual Life

Rhythm of Prayer

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Introduction to the Rhythm of Prayer

Rhythms define our lives. The habits we adopt and the patterns we repeat form our daily existence, direct our decisions and feed our motivations. The rhythms of life bring normalcy to unforeseen disasters and our highest celebrations. This is true of our physical and emotional lives and also true of our spirituality. We were created for a loving relationship with our Creator that is renewed and strengthened by the rhythm of prayer.

By rhythm of prayer we mean regular, fixed times of the day. The morning and the night are often cited in the Psalms as a call to prayer:

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
In the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly (Ps. 5:3)

On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night (Ps. 63:6)

The rhythm of prayer has a rich spiritual history. “Fixed-hour prayer…actually had its origins in the Judaism out of which Christianity came. Centuries before the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, the Hebrew psalmist wrote the ‘Seven times a day do I praise you’ (Ps.119: 164).” By the time of Christ, the people of God responded to ringing of forum bells that called them to prayer, including both Jews and then Christians. 1 Scriptures teach us that Jesus followed a rhythm of prayer while on earth. Often he rose early in the morning to pray.

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed (Mark 1:35)

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed (Luke 5:16)

With the crowd dispersed, he climbed the mountain so he could be by himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night (Matthew 14:23 The Message)

As the early church saw in the lives of Old Testament saints and the Lord Jesus Christ a rhythm of daily prayer, they incorporated into their lives this same practice. “…by the second and third centuries the great Fathers of the Church- Clement (c 150-215 A.D.), Origen (c. 185-254 A.D.), Tertullian (c.160-225 A.D.), etc- assumed as normative the observance of prayers in the morning and at night as well as for the so-called ‘little hours’.” 2 Although the Catholic (west) and Orthodox (east) Churches broke fellowship around 1000 AD both continued to practice a form of the “Daily Office” or “Daily Hours” (names given to fixed rhythms of prayer). Likewise, as the Reformation swept Europe, Anglicans produced The Book of Common Prayer (a daily/monthly/yearly rhythm of prayer guide).

Throughout church history, though the wording of the prayers has changed, the rhythm of prayer has remained a spiritual constant necessity for growing believers.

Knowing the biblical and historical call to a rhythm of prayer we might ask how to we join this on-going practice? The writer includes several choices below.

The Psalms

“The Psalms were written as Prayers. God’s people have prayed these prayers for thousands of years as they have sought guidance and help in everyday experiences.”3 Praying through the Psalms, monthly or yearly, morning and evening reveal the common challenges of life, its joys and sorrows and the faithfulness of our loving, caring God.

The Lord’s Prayer

When the disciples asked how they should pray, Jesus answered:

“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one

(Matthew 6:13 Or from evil; some late manuscripts one, / for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.) (Matthew 6:9-13)

“The Didache, a collection of practical instructions for the early church, instructs believers to say the Lord’s Prayer three times a day.”4

The Jesus Prayer:

“The Jesus prayer is recognized in the Church as a very important form of prayer to help us progress in our spiritual maturity by coming closer to a unity with God. Some say it is the only prayer we need to learn. The prayer is very simple. It is said like this: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner. This prayer can be said by anyone at anytime. One does not even have to be literate to be able to invoke this prayer. Metropolitan Anthony Bloom says, ‘More than any other prayer, the Jesus Prayer aims at bringing us to stand in Gods presence with no other thought but the miracle of our standing there and God with us, because in the use of the Jesus Prayer there is nothing and no one except God and us.’ ”5

Although we may have a plan to join the rhythm of prayer, there will be times when we just don’t “feel” like praying. There are times for all of us when the routine of the rhythm gets tiresome. We don’t “feel” like shaving before going to work, we don’t “feel” like planning another meal. Yet, despite your feelings, you choose to get up, get dressed and go to work, to drive the children to school, to do those scheduled errands. Your life rhythm goes on regardless of how you “feel” that day. Sometimes you will not “feel” like praying. An invaluable help can be a prayer book that lists your prayers for the day (see endnotes and resources). As you read you can honestly confess to God a lack of desire to pray. Perhaps you will discover that keeping the rhythm of prayer changes the heart. “Sometimes all you have to do is show up.”6

Can You hear, O God, what I have to say?
Do you feel something of what I feel this morning?
I know, O God, that You are grieved
by the selfishness of Your children.
The world you created seems to be falling apart.
Your creatures are living for themselves alone.
They are proud and self-sufficient.
They think they don’t need You any longer.
I also know, O Lord, that I cannot exist
without the assurance of Your eternal love.
Thus I commit myself once more to You and Your purposes.
Help me to walk in Your path for my life.
Give me the grace to overcome the many obstacles in the way
(Psalm 5:1-8)7

Additional Resources:

Bounds, E. M., E.M. Bounds on Prayer .

Barton, Ruth Haley. Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation. [use with discretion]

1 Phyllis Tickle, The Divine Hours (New York: Doubleday, 2000),  x.

2 Tickle, xi.

3 Rueben P. Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for All Gods People (Nashville: Upper Room Books), 13.

4 Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove and Enuma Okoro, Common Prayer (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), 16.


6 Claiborne, 20.

7 Leslie F. Brandt, Psalms/Now (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House), 11.

Related Topics: Devotionals, Sanctification, Women's Articles

క్రైస్తవ విశ్వాసపు ప్రాథమిక సత్యాలు

This a translation into the Telugu language of the original study by Vickie Kraft. This study examines the core beliefs essential to the Christian faith—why we believe what we do about God, the Bible, the creation of mankind and subsequent Fall, Jesus Christ the Lord, our need for salvation, the Holy Spirit and the church.  

Related Topics: Basics for Christians, Curriculum, Discipleship, Faith

[క్రైస్తవ విశ్వాసపు ప్రాథమిక సత్యాలు -1] బైబిల్ - దేవుని వాక్యం

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“లేఖనములు : బైబిల్ దైవావేశము తో దేవుని నుండి పలుకబడిన వాక్కు అనియు దాని మూల రచనలు దోషరహితమైనవనియు సిద్ధాంతము మరియు అనుచరణకు అంతిమ ఆధికారము కలదనియు నమ్ముచున్నాము.

‘పెరేడ్’ అనే మ్యాగజైన్ లో కార్ల్ సాగన్ అనే వ్యక్తి క్యాన్సర్ తో తన అనుభవాన్ని తెలియజేసాడు. ఆయనకు పునర్జన్మ మీద నమ్మిక లేదు. క్రైస్తవులు , ముస్లిములు , యూదులు మరియు హిందువులు ఆయన గురించి ప్రార్ధించినట్లు

తెల్పినాడు. “ దేవుడు ఉన్నట్లయితే ,ప్రార్ధన ద్వారా ఆయన ప్రణాళిక మారగలిగినదైతే నేను ఆయనకెంతో కృతజ్ఞుడిని” . కార్ల్ సాగన్ ఖగోళ శాస్త్రాన్ని చదివాడు. ఈ దినాలలో విశ్వమంతటి మీద అధికారం ఆయనకు కలదు . కాని తన విద్య సృష్టికర్త ఐన దేవునిని ఆరాధించకుండా త్రుణీకరించేలా చేసింది. అంతే కదా ! రోమా 1:18 – 20 చెప్పుచున్నది కాదా?

రోమా 1:18 20 చదవండి.

సృష్టి ద్వారా దేవుడు వున్నాడనియు ఆయన అనంత శక్తిగలవాడనియు మనము తెలుసుకోగలము. కాని దేవుడు దానికంటే మరి ఎక్కువగా తనను తను ప్రత్యక్షపరుచుకున్నాడు.

హెబ్రీయులు 1:1-2 చదవండి.

ఆయన ప్రవక్తలద్వారా తన మాటలను పలికించాడు. కాని ఆయన చివరిగా మరియు సంపూర్తిగా తన ప్రత్యక్షతను తన కుమారుని ద్వారా వెల్లడిపరిచాడు. దేవుడు ఎలా ఉంటాడో యేసు ద్వారా తెలియబడుచున్నది. ఆయన ఎలా ఆలోచించే వాడో ,ఎలా స్పందించే వాడో మరియు ఆయన కార్యములు దేవుడు వీటినన్నిటిని బైబిల్ నందు భద్రపరిచాడు. దేవుని గురించి మనమేమి విశ్వసిస్తున్నామో దానికి మూలము బైబిల్. క్రీస్తు , మానవత్వం ,రక్షణ ,పరలోకం ? మనకు గల అధికారం?

మనము ఎందుకు బైబిల్ ను విశ్వసించాలి ? మన జీవితాన్ని నియంత్రిస్తూ మనలను అధికారపూర్వకంగా నడిపిస్తున్నదనటానికి ఋజువు ఏమిటి?

బైబిల్ గ్రీకు పదమైన బిబ్లోస్ (biblos) అనగా పుస్తకము , బిబ్లియా (biblia) అనగా పుస్తకములు నుండి వచ్చినది. బైబిల్ అన్న పదం బైబిల్ లో ఎక్కడా ఉపయోగించలేదు.

బైబిల్ విశిష్టమైన దేవునివాక్యం గల పుస్తకం

బైబిల్ దేవునివాక్యం గల విశిష్టమైన పుస్తకం అనుటకు 2 ఋజువులు కలవు. అవి బాహ్యమైన మరియు అంతర్గతమైన ఋజువులు.

బాహ్యమైన ఋజువులు External evidence

1. బైబిల్ యొక్క నిరంతరత (The continuity of the Bible)

దాదాపు 40 మంది రచయితలచే సుమారు 1600 సంవత్సరాల కాలంలో రచింపబడినను అది ఒకే పుస్తకమైయున్నది కాని అనేక పుస్తకముల కూర్పు కాదు. రచయితలలో రాజులు,సామాన్యులు,తత్వజ్ఞానం కలవారు, జాలరులు, వైద్యుడు, పన్నులు వసూలు చేసే అధికారి, రాజనీతిజ్ఞులు,కవులు మరియు రైతులు వున్నారు.

ఇటలీ, గ్రీసు,బబులోను, పర్షియా మరియు ఇశ్రాయేలు మొదలైన అనేక దేశాలలో

వ్రాయబడింది. ఈ రచయితలు వేర్వేరు సాంస్కృతిక నేపధ్యం గలవారు మరియు విభిన్నమైన అనుభవాలు కలిగి వుండిరి. వారందరూ తమ తమ స్వభావాల్లో మరియు వ్యక్తిత్వాల్లో విభిన్నమైనవారు.

వారు 3 భాషలలో వ్రాశారు. పాతనిభంధన : హీబ్రూ, అరామీ భాషలలో, క్రొత్తనిభంధన : గ్రీకు భాషలో

కాని బైబిల్ విభిన్న రచయితలతో వ్రాయబడిన సంకలనం (anthology) కాదు.ఆదికాండము నుండి ప్రకటన వరకు అద్భుతమైన కొనసాగింపు మరియు ఏకత్వము కలదు.

స్వర్గాన్ని కోల్పోవుటతో ఆరంభమయ్యే ఆదికాండము స్వర్గాన్ని తిరిగిపొందే ప్రకటన

గ్రంధంతో ముగుస్తుంది. జీవవ్రుక్షానికి ద్వారాన్ని మూసివేయుట ఆదికాండములో చెప్పబడితే ,దానిని ఎప్పటికీ తెరిసివుంచడాన్ని ప్రకటనలో చూడగలము. (Geisler & Nix . Evidence that demands verdict P19)

సిద్ధాంతము క్రమమైన రీతిలో తెలియజేయబడుతూ వచ్చింది.రక్షణ గూర్చి .కా 3 లో ప్రస్తావిన్చబడగా , అనేక వాగ్ధానాల చిత్రీకరణల ద్వారా పాతనిభంధనలో రూపొందింపబడగా , సువార్తలలో సాధ్యపడింది. పత్రికలలో వివరించబడింది.ప్రకటన గ్రంథంలో మహిమకరంగా ముగించబడింది.

2. బైబిల్ ప్రత్యక్షతల విస్తృతి (The extent of biblical revelation)

బైబిల్ లోని రచనలన్నీ మానవ జ్ఞానానికి సంబంధించిన తొలిదినాల్లో అనగా రచయితలకు నూతన పరిశోధనలు తెలియక ముందే వ్రాయబడ్డాయి.కాని వారు వ్రాసిన విషయాలు తరువాతి పరిశోధనలతో విభేదించలేదు.

యెషయా 40:22 – ఆయన భూమండలము మీద ఆసీనుడైయున్నాడు.

ఇది 2800 సంవత్సరాల క్రితం వ్రాయబడింది.

యోబు 26:7 - శూన్యమండలము పైని ఉత్తర దిక్కున వున్న ఆకాశవిశాలమును ఆయన పరిచెను. శూన్యముపైని భూమిని వ్రేలాడదీసెను.

ఇది 4000 సంవత్సరాల క్రిందట వ్రాయబడింది.

పురావస్తు శాస్త్రవేత్తలు (Archeology) బైబిల్ లో చెప్పబడిన అనేక విషయాలకు ఋజువులు కనుగొన్నారు.(Hittites,Sargon)

3. బైబిల్ యొక్క ప్రచురణ మరియు ప్రభావము (Influence and Publication of Bible)

బైబిల్ వలె ఏ పుస్తకము అనేక భాషలలో ప్రచురింపబడలేదు .ఇప్పటికీ ఎక్కువగా అమ్ముడవుతున్న పుస్తకం . ఫ్రాన్స్ కు చెందిన హేతువాది Voltaire ఒక వంద సంవత్సరాల లోపు బైబిల్ అనబడే పుస్తకము మరుగునపడిపోతుంది. మరియు క్రైస్తవుల ఉనికి తుడిచివేయబడి చరిత్రలో కనుమరుగు అవుతుందని పలికాడు . కాని Voltaire చరిత్రలో కనుమరుగయ్యాడు కాని బైబిల్ ఇప్పటికీ ప్రపంచమంతా వ్యాప్తి చేయబడుతూనే వున్నది. వాస్తవానికి విచిత్రంగా Voltaire మరణించిన 50 సంవత్సరాలకు Geneva Bible Society వారు ఆయన ఉపయోగించిన press మరియి గృహాన్ని అనేక బైబిల్లను ముద్రించే స్థలంగా ఉపయోగించారు. (Evidence P23)

4.రాతప్రతుల ఆధారాలు (Manuscript evidence)

పురాతన రచనల రాతప్రతులతో పోలిస్తే క్రొత్తనిబంధనకు సంభందించి 13,౦౦౦ రాతప్రతుల భాగాలు లభ్యమైనాయి. ప్రతులు కొన్ని 2 శతాబ్ధపు కాలపు నాటివి .

Sir. Frederic Kenyon, director అండ్ principal librarian of the British museum విధంగా అన్నారు: ఏ ఇతర పురాతన గ్రంధానికి కూడా దాని వాక్యభాగానికి సరిపడిన సాక్ష్యాధారాలు లేవు. పక్షపాతము లేని (రహిత) మేధావి కూడా వాక్యభాగం సరైనది కాదు అని తిరస్కరించలేదు.

5. పక్షపాతము లేని బైబిల్ (unprejudiced authority of Bible)

ఈ మానవ రచనలు (మూలముగా) మానవుల పక్షముగా వ్రాయబడలేదు. బైబిల్ నందు ఘనతవహించిన మానవులందరి (అబ్రహాము ,మోషే ,దావీదు ,పేతురు )

పాపములు మరియు బలహీనతలు కూడా వివరించబడియున్నవి.సాతాను మరియు మానవుని(యోబు ) మధ్య జరిగిన తప్పులు మరియు పొరపాట్లు పొందుపరచబడినవి. నేటి మానవుని యొక్క స్వాభావిక ప్రవృత్తి దాని యందు నిక్షిప్తం చేయబడింది.

6. బైబిల్ యొక్క విశిష్టత (The supreme haracter of the Bible)

దేవుని యొక్క వ్యక్తిత్వాన్ని మరియు మహిమను ఆయన కుమారునిలో ప్రత్యక్షపరిచే బైబిల్ ఎంతో అతీతమైనది. మర్త్యమైన మానవుడు యేసుక్రీస్తు వంటి వ్యక్తిని ఎన్నడూ కనుగొనలేడు. మనము ప్రయత్నించి ఆయనను రూపొందించలేము. గ్రీకు పురాణాలలో వారి దేవతలు వారి యొక్క (magnified images) ప్రతిబింబాలైయున్నవి.

బి .అంతరంగిక ఋజువులు (internal evidence)

2 తిమోతి 3:16 -13 చదవండి Theopnestos = God-breathed

క్రొత్తనిబంధనలో ఇక్కడ మాత్రమే ఈ విధంగా వ్రాయబడింది.

లేఖనము దైవావేశపూరితమైనది.

ఈ దైవావేశము రచయితలకు కాదు గాని దేవుని వాక్యానికే సూచిస్తుంది. రచయిలతల పొరపాటు వలన ఏదైనా తప్పు దొర్లివుండవొచ్చును గాని దేవుడు వారి మనస్సులో తన లోప రహితమైన వాక్యాన్ని వుంచాడు. అందుచే వారు రచించిన దేవుని వాక్యం లోపరహితమైనది. మానవులైన రచయితలకు ఎలా వ్రాయాలో దేవుడు ఏవిధంగా తెలిపాడు?యాంత్రికంగా ప్రభోదించుట వలన మాత్రమే కాదు.

చదవండి 2 పేతురు 1:20-21

మానవ మాత్రులైన రచయిత ఒక పడవ లోని ప్రయాణికులను గమ్యస్థానానికి చేర్చునట్లు మానవ మాత్రులైన రచయితలు దేవునిచే గమ్యం వరకూ నడిపించారు .

దేవుడు అనేక మార్గాల ద్వారా తన వాక్యాన్ని ప్రకటించాడు.

నిర్గమ 34:27 : ఈ వాక్యములను వ్రాసికొనుము అని చెప్పినాడు.

యెహోవా వాక్కు ప్రవక్తలకు ప్రత్యక్షమాయెను. : యిర్మియా 1:2 ;హోషేయ 1:1 దర్శనములు మరియు స్వప్నములు దానియేలు 2:1;7:1 ల ద్వారా తెలియజేయబడింది.

కనుక లేఖనములు దేవుని యొక్క సంపూర్ణ అధికారాన్ని మరియు పరిపూర్ణతను తెలియజేయుచున్నవి .

ఆయన ఏ దోషము లేని మరియు లోపరహితమైనవాడు.

ప్రేరణ యొక్క విస్తృతి సమస్త లేఖనము (Extent of Inspiration—ALL Scripture)

ప్రతి యొక్క పదము సమానముగా దేవునిచే ప్రేరితమైనది. నోటిమాట ద్వారా అందించిన పదాలు మరియు సమగ్రమైన భావముతో కూడిన పదాలు . బైబిల్ దేవుని వాక్యాన్ని మాత్రమే కలిగియుండవు కాని , ఆ వాక్యము నీతో మాట్లాడుతుంది.

1 తిమోతి 5:18 – పౌలు లూకా 10 :7 ను ద్వితియోపదేశకాండము 25:4 కి వున్న సమానమైన లేఖనముగా పేర్కొన్నాడు (Graphe)

2 పేతురు 3 :15-16 – పేతురు , పౌలు యొక్క రచనలను ఇతర లేఖనభాగాలతో సమానవైనవిగా పేర్కొన్నాడు.

శబ్ద సంబంధమైన సంపూర్ణ దైవావేశము (verbal plenary inspiration)

నిర్వచనము : పరిశుద్ధాత్ముడు మానవాతీతమైన పరిచర్య ద్వారా

మానవమాత్రులైన రచయితలు లేఖనాలను వ్రాయునపుడు తమ వ్యక్తిగత ఉద్దేశాన్ని ప్రచురపరచకుండా లోపరహితమైన దేవుని ప్రత్యక్షత మానవాళికి వెల్లడియగునట్లు మౌలికమైన రచనలను పర్యవేక్షించాడు.

ఆదిమ రచనలలో మానవ రచయితలు పదాలను ఎంపిక చేసే విషయంలో దేవుని ఆత్మ వారిని నడిపించింది. అనేక పుస్తకాలు రచయిత యొక్క వ్యక్తిగత శైలి భాషాకూర్పు మరియు వారి వ్యక్తిత్వాన్ని కనపరిచే ఆలోచనలు , భావాలు , అనుమానాలు ,ప్రార్ధనలు , భయాలు మున్నగు వాటిని వెల్లడిపరుస్తాయి.

లూకా వైద్యుడు కనుక వైద్యానికి సంభందించిన విషయాలను /పదాలను ఉపయోగించాడు.

పౌలు గ్రీకు భాషలో పండితుడు కనుక గ్రీకు పద్యాలను అక్కడక్కడా ఎత్తిచెప్పాడు. (.కా 17 )

దేవుడు మానవ రచయితలను ఏర్పాటు చేశాడు.

కాని మనుష్యులు వారు వ్రాసే విషయాలను అర్ధం చేసుకోలేకపోయారు. (దానియేలు12:8-9).అయినప్పటికీ ,దేవుని నడిపింపులో వారు 66 పుస్తకాలను రచించారు .ఒక ఏకత్వము మరియు పరిశుద్ధాత్మ యొక్క స్థిరమైన ప్రత్యక్షత వారి రచనలకు తోడ్పడింది.

ధృడమైన అంతర్గత సాక్ష్యము (consistent internal testimony)

బైబిల్ లోని పాత మరియు క్రొత్త నిబంధన భాగాలూ ధృడంగా దేవుని వాక్కును వెల్లడిపరుస్తున్నాయి.

నిర్గమ 20 :1 ; ద్వితియో .కా 6 :6-9; 2 సమూయేలు 22 :31,23 :2; కీర్తనలు 19:7-11 , 11:9,11,18, 89 – 91;97 ,100 ,104-5,13౦ ; సామెతలు 30 :5-6;

యెషయ 55:10-11;22:29; మార్కు 13:31; యోహాను 2:22;5:24;అ.కా 17:11;

2 తిమోతి 2:15 ;1 పేతురు 1: 23-25; ప్రకటన 1:1-3;22:18.

యేసు యొక్క సాక్ష్యము (Testimony of Jesus)

యేసు మరియు పాతనిబంధన (Jesus and the OT)

మత్తయి 5 :18 ; యోహాను 10:35 లేఖనము విడదీయరానిది

ఆయన పాతనిబంధన నెరవేర్పుగా వచ్చాడు మత్తయి 1:22-33; 4:14 ;8:17; 12:17;15:7 ,8 ;21:4-5

కీర్తన 110:1 మరియు మత్తయి 22:43-44 ప్రతిమాట ఎంతో ఖచ్చితమైనది .

పరిశుద్ధాత్ముడు మరియు దావీదు.

లూకా 24 :27 ఆయనకు సంభందించిన లేఖనాలన్నీ ఎంతో ఖచ్చితమైనవి. యోహాను 5:39-40

క్రొత్తనిభంధన లో ప్రాముఖ్యమైన అన్ని భాగాలలో ఆయన పాతనిభంధన వాక్యాలను ఎత్తి చెప్పాడు , ముఖ్యంగా మితవాదులు (liberals) వ్యతిరేకించే పుస్తకాలనుండి ఉదా: ద్వితియోపదేశ కాండము, యోనా,దానియేలు

ద్వి.కా 6: 16 –మత్తయి 4:7 ; యోనా – మత్తయి 12:40; దానియేలు 9:27 ;12:11-మత్తయి 24:15

యేసుక్రీస్తు యొక్క వ్యక్తిత్వము మరియు సత్యాన్ని ప్రశ్నించకుండా పాతనిబంధన ప్రేరణను ప్రశ్నించుట అసాధ్యము. క్రీస్తు యొక్క నమ్మకత్వము ప్రధానమైనది. ఆయన ,”నేనే సత్యాన్ని “ అని చెప్పాడు.మితవాదులు అభ్యంతరపడినట్లుగా తన వయస్సుకు సంభందించిన వివాదాన్ని ఆయన లేక్కబెట్టలేదు.

యేసు మరియు క్రొత్తనిభంధన (Jesus and the NT)

క్రొత్తనిభంధన రచనలను యేసు ముందుగానే వెల్లడించాడు. యోహాను 14 :25 – 26 ;15:26-27 ;16:12-13

పరిశుద్ధాత్ముడు మానవమత్రులైన రచయితలకు , పాతనిభంధన రచయితలకు తోడ్పడినట్లే క్రొత్తనిభంధన రచయితలకు తోడ్పడ్డాడు .

బైబిల్ నందు యేసు యొక్క సాక్ష్యము నిర్ణయాత్మకమైనది.ఆయన దేవుడు మరియు పాపరహితుడు అని మనము నమ్మినట్లయితే ఆయన సత్యవంతుడు అని మనము విస్వసించినట్లయితే మనము లేఖనములు ఏర్పరచబడిన విధానము కూడా నిర్దిష్టమైనవి అని అంగీకరిస్తాము. మనకు ప్రతీ విషయము సంపూర్ణంగా అర్థం అవ్వాలని లేదు. అది అంత ముఖ్యం కాదు. నాకు అణుశక్తి గురించి ఏమాత్రం అర్థం కాదు.కాని దాని యొక్క శక్తిని నేను నమ్ముతాను. దాని ప్రభావాన్ని చూచాను. లేఖనముల యొక్క శక్తిని నేను అనుభవించాను. వాటి గురించి పూర్తిగా అర్థం కాకపోయినప్పటికీ!

బైబిల్ సరిగా అర్థం చేసుకునే క్రమంలో మనము గుర్తించవలసినదేమనగా లేఖనములు వెల్లడిచేసే అన్ని విషయాలు మనకు అర్థం కావు కాని బైబిల్ నందు మనకు అర్థం కాగలిగిన విషయాలను చాల అందంగా ఒక క్రమంలో పొందుపరచబడి మరియు దేవుని గూర్చి ఆయన యందలి విశ్వాసాన్ని గూర్చి ఖచ్చితంగా వెల్లడించే ఒకే ఒక్క మూలాధార గ్రంథం. దానియేలు గ్రంథం వలె నేరవేర్చబడిన ప్రవచనం,యేసు యొక్క సాక్ష్యం మరియు సర్వశక్తి మంతుడు ,సర్వజ్ఞుడైన దేవుని ఊపిరి మూలముగా ఏర్పడిన లేఖనాలు ఆయన మనలను ప్రేమిస్తూ తన కుమారుడైన ప్రభువైన యేసుక్రీస్తు ద్వారా మనలను ఆయన స్వాస్త్యముగా చేసుకున్నాడని బలంగా నమ్మునట్లు పరిశుద్ధాత్మ ఆ లేఖనాలు ఉపయోగిస్తున్నది.కనుక మనము మన విశ్వాసము మరియు నడతపై బైబిల్ కు అధికారము కలదని నమ్మవచ్చును.

బైబిల్ యొక్క అధికారం (Biblical Authority)

నిర్వచనము : దేవుని గుణ లక్షణాలను ,దేవుని చిత్తాన్ని ఖచ్చితంగా మరియు నిశ్చయంగా తెలియపరుచుటలో దైవికమైన శక్తి కలిగినది (దేవుని వాక్యము) బైబిల్.

(లేఖనాలు)బైబిల్ అధికారము కలిగినది ఎందువలనంటే

1. అవి దైవావేశము వలన కలిగినవి (దైవప్రేరితము)

2.పరిశుద్ధాత్మ ప్రేరణ ఆధికారము క్రింద ఎన్నిక చేయబడిన వ్యక్తులచే వ్రాయబడినది.

3.ఈ లేఖనములను దైవత్వములోని రెండవ వ్యక్తియైన ప్రభువైన యేసుక్రీస్తు ద్వారా నిర్ధారించబడినవి.

4.లేఖనాలు పరిశుద్ధాత్మ ప్రేరితము.(ఎఫె 6:17 ,హెబ్రీ 4 :12, 1 తిమో 4 :1). ఆత్మ ఖడ్గము ,జీవము కలిగి శక్తి కలిగిన రెండంచుల వాడిగల ఎటువంటి ఖడ్గము కంటే పదునైనది.

5.లేఖనాల గుణలక్షణాలు నిరూపింపబదినవి.

II తిమో 3 :16-17 (ఫిలిప్స్ ) మరొకసారి చదవండి.

“ దైవజనుడు సన్నద్ధుడై ప్రతి సత్కర్యమునకు పూర్ణముగా సిద్ధపడి యుండునట్లు దైవావేశము వలన కలిగిన ప్రతి లేఖనము ఉపదేశించుటకును, ఖండించుటకును , తప్పు దిద్డుటకును, నీతి యందు శిక్ష చేయుటకును ప్రయోజనకరమైయున్నది “.

ప్రామాణికత-కొలబద్ద –కొలమానం

ప్రామాణికత అనగా లేఖన భాగములను(పుస్తకములను) కొలుచుటకు వాడిన ఖచ్చితమైన కొలబద్ద.

ప్రామాణిక పుస్తకంగా చేర్చుటకైన పరీక్షలు.

1.అది అధికారులతో చెప్పబడినదా (ప్రభువు సెలవిచ్చినదేమనగా ...)

2.అది ప్రవచానాత్మకమా (దైవజనులచే వ్రాయబాడినదా ....)

3.అనుమానాలకు తావులేనిదా(అనుమానస్పదముగా వుంటే తొలగించుట )

4.శక్తితో కూడినదా? (అది జీవితములను సమూలముగా మార్చగల దివ్యశక్తి తో కూడినదా )

5.అది దేవుని ప్రజలచే పొందబడి,కూర్చబడి,చదువబడి,ఉపయోగించబడినదా ?

నూతననిభంధన అధికారమునకైన పరీక్ష

అపోస్తులలచే గుర్తింప బడి /నిర్ధరించాబడుట ప్రామాణికత పరీక్ష

అన్వయము (Application)

పై వివరాలు వాస్తవమైతే , దేవుని వాక్యం విషయంలో మన స్పందన ఏంటి ? విశ్వసించుట /నమ్ముట

మనము వాక్యాన్ని నమ్మాలి ఎందుకంటే అది దోషరహితం , నమ్మతగినది మరియు అధికారము కలిగినది.మనము విశ్వసించి నట్లయితే , దానికి విధేయత చూపేట్లు కోరుకొనాలి . దేవుని ప్రీతిపరచుటకు ఇది ఒక్కటే మార్గము..కాబట్టి వాక్యమును చదవాలి. అర్థం చేసుకోవాలి. ధ్యానించాలి.మరియు కంటస్థం చేయాలి. మన మనస్సు లేఖనాలతో సంపూర్ణంగా నింపుకోవాలి. అప్పుడు మాత్రమే వాక్యం విన్నప్పుడు మనలోని లోపాలను గుర్తించగలం. ఈ లేఖనాలు మన తలంపులకు కావలిగా వుండి రక్షిస్తాయి. దీనికోసం మనం శ్రమించాలి. ఇటువంటి క్రియలు అంత తేలికగా జరగవు. దేవుని వాక్యంతో మనం క్రమంగా అర్థవంతంగా గడిపే సమయాన్ని దొంగిలించడానికి మనకొరకు ఒక శత్రువు వున్నాడు. అయితే వాక్యాన్ని పరిశుద్ధాత్ముడు మనకు తోడుగా నిలిచి లేఖనాలను అర్థం చేసుకోనేట్లు సహాయపడతాడు. పరిశుద్ధాత్ముడు ఈ శత్రువు కన్నా గొప్పవాడు. అత్యధిక శక్తి గలవాడు. పరిశుద్ధాత్ముడు నీకు సహాయం అందించులాగు ఆయనపై ఆధారపడవలెను.

లోకం ఏమి చెప్పినప్పటికీ , దేవుని వాక్యం వలన నీతి నియమాలను ప్రవర్తనను నియంత్రించేదిగా వుండాలి. జీవితంలో ఎదురయ్యే ప్రతి పరిస్థితిలో దేవునివాక్యం పై ఆధారపడటం లేక మన సొంత ఆలోచన లేక ఇతరుల ఆలోచన ప్రకారం నడవాలని నిర్ణయం తీసుకొనే అవకాశం మనకు వుంటుంది.

ఏదైనా విషయంలో లేఖనాలచే బోధింపబడి సరిచేసికొనిన సంఘటనలు నీ జీవితంలో ఉన్నాయా? నీ జీవిత గమనాన్ని తిరిగి సరిచేసుకోన్నావా ? లేఖనాలు నిన్ను ఆ దేవుని సేవించుటకు సన్నిద్ధపరుస్తూ ప్రోత్సాహకరంగా ఉన్నాయా ?

లేఖనాలకు విరుద్ధమైన సాజిక నమ్మకాల విషయంలో నీ ఎన్నిక ఎటువైపు ?

ఉదా : గర్భ విచ్చిన్నతి , స్వలింగ సంపర్కం మొదలుగునవి.

నీ లైంగిక కోరికలను తీర్చుకొనుట లేక పరాయి వారితో వివాహేతర సంబంధాల విషయంలో నీ ఎన్నిక ఏమిటి?

కష్టమైన కుటుంబ స్నేహితుల సంబంధాల విషయంలో సరియైన నిర్ణయాలు తీసుకొనుటకు దేవుని వాక్యం ఏవిధంగా సాయ పడుతుంది ?

నీ ఉద్యోగ భాద్యతలను లేఖనాలు ఏవిధంగా ప్రభావితంచేస్తున్నాయి?

ఇతరుల తప్పుల్ని క్షమించుటలో దేవుని వాక్యం నీకెట్లు సాయపడుతుంది?

క్రీస్తులో సంపూర్ణతను సాధించుటకు లేఖనాలు ఎట్లు ఉపయోగపడుతున్నాయి ?

మన జీవితాలకు ఒక దిశ నిర్దేశకుడు , 3400 సంవత్సరములకు పైగా నమ్మకమైన వాడిని కలిగి ఉండుట ద్వారా ప్రజలందరిలో మనమెంతో ధన్యులము. బైబిల్ కు సాటిరాగల పుస్తకము ప్రపంచంలో మరొకటి లేదు.

నిత్యమూ విశ్వసించదగినది దేవుని వాక్యము మాత్రమే . అది ఎన్నడు మనలను చులకనగా ఎంచదు.నిరుత్సాహపరచదు ఎందుకంటే దేవుడు నమ్మతగినవాడు, సత్యవంతుడు .అయితే మన అనుభవంలో వాస్తవము కావాలంటే మనము వాక్యమును నమ్మి విధేయత చూపాలి. ఇది జీవితంలో సంతోషానికి ,ఆత్మీయ ఎదుగుదలకు తాళపు చెవి వంటిది.

ధ్యానానికి ప్రశ్నలు (Study Questions)

రోమా 1:18-21 వరకు చదవండి.

1. మానవ జాతికి దేవుడు తన గురించి తాను ఏమని బయలుపరుచుకున్నాడు?

1 యోహాను 5:9-12 ,యోహాను 1 :18 , హెబ్రీ 1 :1-4 చదవండి

2. మరి ఏ రెండు విధాలుగా దేవుడు తన గురించి తాను ఏమని బయలుపరచుకున్నాడు?

IIతిమోతి 3 :16,17 చదవండి.

3. బైబిల్ లో ఎంత భాగము దైవప్రేరితాలు? ఎంత భాగము మనకు ప్రయోజనకరము ? నీకు ఏదైనా సంఘటనలో బైబిల్ వాక్యాలు ఉపయోగపడిన సందర్భము కలదా ?

II పేతురు 1: 20,21 చదవండి

4. మానవులైన బైబిల్ రచయితలు ఏమి రచించాలో ఎట్లు తెలుసుకొన్నారు? దేవుడు ఉపయోగించిన పద్ధతులు ఏవి?(నిర్గ 34:27 ,యిర్మియా 1 :2, హోషేయ 1:1, దాని 2:1;8:17)?

మత్తయి 5:17,19;యోహాను 10 :35;లూకా 24 :27 చదవండి

5 .పాతనిబంధన పట్ల యేసు ప్రభువు వైఖరి ఏమిటి?ఆయన గుణ గణాలను బట్టి లేఖనాల పట్ల తన వైఖరిని తెలిసుకోనుటలో గల ప్రాముఖ్యత ఏమి?

మత్తయి 1:22,23;4:14;8:17;12:17;15:7,8 ;21:4,5 చదవండి

6. ప్రవచనాల నెరవేర్పు పాతనిబందనను ఏమని ఋజువు చేస్తున్నవి? అవి తు.చ తప్పకుండ నెరవేరుట మన విశ్వాసాన్ని ఎట్లా బలపరుస్తుంది?

యోహాను 14:25,26;15: 26,27;16:12,13 చదవండి

7.కొత్త నిబంధన ఈవిషయంలో ఎలా వ్రాయబడిందని యేసు ప్రభువు ముందుగానే చెప్పియున్నాడు ? కొత్త నిబంధన గ్రంధ మూలకర్త ఎవరు ?

ఎఫె 6:17 ;హెబ్రీ 4:12 చదవండి

8.కొన్ని వందల సంవత్సరముల క్రితము వ్రాయబడిన గ్రంధములలో కెల్లా బైబిల్ ఎట్లు భిన్నమైనది? (ఉదా : షేక్స్పియర్ రచనలు) బైబిల్ గురించి బైబిల్ ఏమని తెలియజేస్తుంది ?

9.పై వివరణ వాస్తవమైతే దేవుని అధికారం పట్ల మన వైఖరి ఎట్లుండాలి ?అది సరైనదని నమ్మగలమా ? ఎంత భాగము అది సత్యము అని అధికారముతో కూడుకొనినదని మనము ఎంచగలము . ఆ వాక్యంతో నీవు ఏమి చేస్తావు? యేహోషువ 1:8; II తిమోతి 2 :1 ; కీర్తనలు 119, 105 ; యాకోబు 1 :22 చదవండి

Translated by Ruth Vinay , ruthvinay(at) for

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7. God Conquers a Defiant Will (Judges 8:33-9:57, Abimelech)

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What happens when people reject the one true God and place their allegiance elsewhere? What is the result when we exalt ourselves over everything else, and pursue our selfish ambition with abandon? Sometimes when we say, "Not Your will, but my will be done," God says, "So be it." Sometimes God grants us the desire of our hearts even when He knows it will lead to destruction. Bad things happen when we exchange God for a poor substitute. Even God's children defiantly do things our way from time to time. How did that work out for you the last time you tried it?

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Chinese--Lesson 5: What Love Looks Like (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

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但是当整碗的西兰花被递到她面前时,她确一点也没有插取到自己的盘子里。女主人说到:"我还以为你很爱这道菜呢?" 小女孩甜甜的回答道:"哦,是的,女士,我爱,不过还没有爱到吃的地步。"



保罗关于爱的著名章节,哥林多前书13章,告诉了我们。哥林多教会强调一件美好的事情 - 属灵的恩赐(才能),却忽视了最好的(爱)。他们用他们的恩赐确没有爱。保罗指出如果哥林多教会不以爱为先,那么他们在使用上帝所赐的才能时只会是无为的。



在1到3节中保罗显明了爱的卓越,那就是爱超越了任何属灵的恩赐(才能)。因为没有爱所有的恩赐(才能)都是空洞的。在4到7节中他显明了爱的行为以及因为它无私的品质,爱是如何超越所有的恩赐(才能)的。在8到13节中他显明了爱的恒久,爱之所以超越所有的恩赐(才能)是因为它的恒久存在超越了任何恩赐(才能)。这里我们将主要谈到4到7节 - 保罗对爱的行动的描述。英语里这些单词多是形容词,但在原文希腊文里这些其实是动词。爱不是话语,而是行为!



1. 无私的爱是有耐心


希腊语耐心来自于两个词,"长久的 - 温和"人若有耐心便不会轻易动怒, 对于自己或者他人所犯的错误不会立刻给与反击。你能够容忍他人的不完美,错误和分歧。你能给予他人足够的时间来改变,给予他人足够的犯错机会,而不是马上用严厉的语言或行为来惩罚他人。丈夫们,你们对你们的妻子和孩子有耐心吗?

我读到过一个将此品质培养得远胜于我自己的人的故事。在16世纪末,一位名叫托马斯.库博(Thomas Cooper)的博士编辑,改善和增添了3万3千多字的字典。当时他的妻子,一个难以相处的女人在他不在家时把他已经搜集了八年的资料全都给烧掉了。因为她害怕自己的丈夫会因为工作而自杀。八年的工作毁于一旦。


2. 无私的爱是恩慈



3. 无私的爱是不嫉妒


4. & 5. 无私的爱是不自夸,不张狂

自夸和张狂总是成双成对出现的。它们都来自于自私并且都是嫉妒的另一面。"嫉妒是想得到他人所拥有的东西。自夸则是试图让别人嫉妒你。而嫉妒会使他人失望;自夸能使自己提高形象。"(小约翰 麦克阿瑟,麦克阿瑟新约评论,格林多前书[慕迪出版社],341页 John MacArthur, Jr., The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, 1 Corinthians [Moody Press], p. 341)。 自夸也是骄傲的外在表现。


6. 无私的爱是不做不合宜的事



7. 无私的爱是不为己谋利

它是不自私,不要求权利。阿兰 .雷德帕斯(Alan Redpath)说过,"每个基督家庭,团体,教会的不和谐的秘密在于我们谋求自己的方案和为自己谋荣耀。"R.CH.Lenski则说:"只要治愈自私,你便植下了伊甸园"(The Interpretation of I and II Corinthians [Augsburg], p. 557)。自私是所有人类的根源性问题;它是反真爱的,真爱是自我牺牲的。

伊丽莎白.埃里欧特(Elisabeth Elliot)曾对她的观众们谈到过这个主题,当时也有一些小孩子们坐在她面前。在她演讲时,她想如何才能让演讲通俗易懂。连这些小孩子也能明白并取为己用呢?过了一些时候,她从这些孩子中的一个那里受到一封信,信上说:"我正在学习如果为我的妹妹而放下我的生活。她每天下午都需要打个盹。而我并不需要。可是如果我不躺在她身边她就不去睡觉。于是我(每天)都和我的妹妹躺在一起。(这里原文用的是lay down,是一个双关语,既有放下又有躺下的意思。)这个男孩而确实学会了爱。


8. 爱是不轻易发怒


9. 无私的爱是不计他人的恶



10. & 11. 无私的爱是不喜欢不義,只喜欢真理

这两样品质是相互对立的。 摩法特(Moffatt)这样说过:"爱是从来不幸灾乐祸。"指喜爱真理的含义是喜爱以在上帝的话语为准的行为。如果某个你不不喜爱的人落入罪中,你不沾沾自喜,而是为他而泣,因为上帝为罪而伤心。


12. 无私的爱是凡事包容

包容是翻译自英文bear,此词有两个含义:"忍受"或者"保护,覆盖"就上下文的意思来翻译成中文我们取"包容"的意思。爱不是传播别人的过错。爱不是用恶意笑话,讽刺或贬低他人。爱在真理下最大限度地维护他人的人格。爱既不会编造,也不会故意强调他人的缺点。 爱是保护性的。

13. 无私的爱是凡事相信

在英文新国际翻译本(NIV)中,这句话是"Love always trusts(爱总是信任)。"信任不是说盲目地相信一个人的所有的话语,而是指不多疑,在没有一个好的理由的情况下不猜忌他/她,即使此人得罪了你。如果你失去了人对你的信任,那么就应该一小步一小步的重新赢得信任。而爱一个人,就应该在这人被证明有错之前,无论是什么情况都相信他/她。如果这人存在问题,爱也不会马上去怪罪此人。


14. 无私的爱是充满希望

爱不是悲观的。它不是期望所爱的会失败,而是成功。爱拒绝以失败结尾。它散发出神的乐观,那就是:"我知道你能够做到,因为在你里面的上帝是有能力的!"它也不会忽略现实。它不会让你在困难时闭眼,而会依靠上帝的诺言 - 祂会为爱祂的以及按照祂的意愿被自愿被召唤的所有人做好的工。所以爱是充满希望。

15. 无私的爱是凡事忍耐





幽默作家萨姆.乐威森说:"一见钟情很容易理解。而两人能够在多年后仍然也同样的眼光看对方确实奇迹"(读者文摘83年第3期Reader's Digest [3/83])。但是这并非一个奇迹;这是服从上帝,重复的面对我们的自私已经每日在家练习圣经中的爱的结果。




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8. God Conquers Lost Causes (Judges 10:6-11:11, Jephthah)

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We're all lost causes in need of the grace of God. Our sin has offended a holy God, and our rejected souls desperately need His redemption. As Christians, we can also find ourselves facing hopeless circumstances. For some of us, we arrived at our hopeless condition due to our own stubborn rebellion. For others of us, our circumstances chose us rather than the other way around. The good news is that God is in the business of redeeming our hopeless situations whether we're responsible for creating them or not. Let us recognize our lost cause, and celebrate our God Who pursues us with his relentless love.

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