To Believe or Not To Believe

As we are being challenged to read and study the book of John, I wanted to share some of my personal sermon notes with you to help you understand the book. I preached through the entire book over the course of 1 year when I pastored First Baptist Church Del Rio. Enjoy!

Introduction—Do you believe a person when they say I promise it’s true? I am a little leery to actually believe them if they must promise me that what they are saying is the truth. Or how about this one: This is the honest truth. 

I believe that those statements place more of a doubt than just speaking the truth with the add-ons. 

In Matthew 5:37, Jesus States: All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. 

So what we to do is speak the truth in love according to Ephesians 4:15-16: Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Paul, who wrote Ephesians, is teaching on unity in the body of Christ, and it starts with speaking the Truth in love. That is how we become believable when we speak. 

As we finish up chapter 5 of the Book of John, Jesus reiterates one more time to us if we are going to believe what He says or not believe what He says.  To Believe or Not To Believe That Is The Question

Read: John 5:31-47

31 “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. 32 There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is true. 33 “You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. 34 Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. 35 John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light. 36 “I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, 38 nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. 39 You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life. 41 “I do not accept glory from human beings, 42 but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. 44 How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? 45 “But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. 46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. 47 But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”

  1. To Believe or Not To Believe:
  2. Testimonies—in order to believe something is true, we need testimonies. A testimony can be vital in a court case. If you have ever testified in court, you are seated in what I call the hot seat, because everyone is looking and especially listening to you as you give your testimony.
  3. It works the same way when we testify about our Lord Jesus and what He has done for us and how He has changed our life.
  4. Jesus says that He was sent here by way of God’s testimony of who He is. 
  5. If God testifies to the fact that Jesus is in fact the Messiah and the Savior of the world, then lets choose to believe God. How much more a weightier testimony can you get, Jesus says in verse 36 of our text.
  6. You have a testimony as well. 
  7. Your testimony is a changed life.

Application—Do you believe the testimony of Jesus?  

  • John the Baptist
  • John’s testimonies are also some of the most pointed evidences we have claiming that Jesus is the Christ. If you can recall, John said, “look there is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” He also said, “I am the voice of one calling in the desert, Make straight the way for the Lord.”  
  • John the Baptist also said, “He is the One who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.
  • And lastly, the most compelling testimony by John the Baptist, John 1:32-3432 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”
  • When you choose to believe, you believe eyewitness testimony about Jesus the Messiah. 
  • Testimonies of changed lives, testimonies of first hand knowledge of the Christ, and testimonies from God Himself.

Illustration—Like John the Baptist, we too have to be witnesses to testify about the One True Christ. 

According to the book “Life of Francis d’Assisi”, who was a preacher from the 1200’s. Francis once invited a young monk to join him on a trip to town to preach. Honored to be given the invitation, the monk readily accepted. All day long he and Francis walked through the streets, byways, and alleys, and even into the suburbs. They rubbed shoulders with hundreds of people. At day’s end, the two headed back home. Not even once had Francis addressed a crowd, nor had he talked to anyone about the gospel. Greatly disappointed, his young companion said, “I thought we were going into town to preach.”

Francis responded, “My son, we have preached. We were preaching while we were walking. We were seen by many and our behavior was closely watched. It is of no use to walk anywhere to preach unless we preach everywhere as we walk! 

Application—How does your life testify to the fact that Jesus is the Lord of your life.

  • God’s Work
  • God has sent Jesus to complete the work. 
  • Jesus primary reason to come to earth was so that he could finalize God’s plan. He made a way for us to be united to Him through the sacrificial death of His Son.
  • God is always at work
  • The Signs and Wonders are there.
  • The Turning of Water into Wine (John 2:1-11) at the wedding
  • The Healing of the Official’s Son (John 4:43-54) only by His word
  • The Healing of the paralytic (John 5:1-15) He said get up and walk!
  • The Feeding of the multitude (John 6:1-14) only 5 loaves of bread and 2 small fish
  • The Walking on the Water (John 6:16-21) Jesus showed the disciples His power and His deity. 
  • The Cure of the Blind man (John 9:1-41) with his spit and some dirt and creates a salve (now that is what I call holy water) Jesus Spit
  • The Raising of Lazarus (John 11:1-44) Jesus takes His sweet time to make sure the crowd would know that in their eyes Lazarus was dead. Jesus raises him so He could demonstrate the power he had even over death!
  • The Scriptures
  • The Scriptures we have are what we rely on to interpret themselves.  
  • 2 Timothy 3:16-16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
  • 1 John 5:13—I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
  • John 1:1—In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
  • John 1:14—The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
  • 1 Corinthians 15:1-11—Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an Apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11 Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.

IllustrationGod’s revelation of Himself comes through His Word. In Hebrews 1:1-3, the Word says this: In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

If you give your heart and life to Jesus today, it won’t be because of anything I said, it will be because of God’s powerful Word. It is His Word that sets the captives free. It is His Word that gives hope to the hopeless. It is His Word that mends the brokenhearted. It is His Word that forgives sinners of their sins in order to give them the abundant life! 

Application—Do you Believe or Do You Not Believe? That is the Question this morning. You can choose to believe the testimonies, John the Baptist, God’s Work, and the Holy Scriptures; or you can choose not to believe the testimonies, John the Baptist, God’s work, and the Holy Scriptures. What will your answer be to Him? What more could He do?

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

Published by Larry Floyd

Follower of Jesus the Messiah. Husband, father, grandfather, son, uncle, friend, and pastor

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