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—When a person is honored for a life achievement or a job well done or a life that is making a difference, there is a respect and admiration for those that have done well. Respect is a lost art today. Respect for a person, or respect for property, and even respect for God; much of it has disappeared. When respect is shown, you honor God, even if you don’t like the person, or agree with what the situation is. Honoring God can lead others to do so as well. Honor can bring a good reputation to your name and to His name.
As we come back to the book of John, we will see Jesus participate in the Festival of the Tabernacles. After all Jesus was a Jew and he celebrated His rich heritage and He Honors God as He does.
Read: John 7:14-24
After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him. 2 But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, 3 Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. 4 No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 For even his own brothers did not believe in him. 6 Therefore Jesus told them, “My time is not yet here; for you any time will do. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil. 8 You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.” 9 After he had said this, he stayed in Galilee. 10 However, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went also, not publicly, but in secret. 11 Now at the festival the Jewish leaders were watching for Jesus and asking, “Where is he?” 12 Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, “He is a good man.” Others replied, “No, he deceives the people.” 13 But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the leaders. 14 Not until halfway through the festival did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach. 15 The Jews there were amazed and asked, “How did this man get such learning without having been taught?” 16 Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. 17 Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. 18 Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him. 19 Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?” 20 “You are demon-possessed,” the crowd answered. “Who is trying to kill you?” 21 Jesus said to them, “I did one miracle, and you are all amazed. 22 Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a boy on the Sabbath. 23 Now if a boy can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the Law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing a man’s whole body on the Sabbath? 24 Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”
- Jesus Honors God by Listening to God – verse 1-8
- The Festival of the Tabernacles was an 8-day celebration, a weeklong feast in September or early October. This feast was given in thanksgiving for God’s gracious provision for Israel, both in the past and in the present. God’s graciousness in the present is seen in the harvest that has just occurred at this time of year (Deut 16:13-15). His past blessing is his provision during the wilderness wanderings (Lev 23:39-43). By recalling the wilderness pilgrimage while thanking God for the blessings of the land, participants realized their profound dependence upon God for their provision. The feast’s emphasis on God’s provision fits perfectly with the teaching Jesus has just given, in which he revealed himself as the bread of life, and with the revelation in this chapter of Himself as one who gives living water. He is the one who provides nourishment for eternal life even during this present time of our own pilgrimage. God’s provision is celebrated as God provided the bread of life and the living water in Jesus His Son.
- So, as the preparations begin for the festival, Jesus is hearing His brothers or followers giving Him instructions.
- In verses 3 & 4, they tell Him, “show your self to the world, and not to be a secret public figure.”
- You and I know that Jesus has never been a secret public figure. His entire ministry has been out in the open ever since the angels announced His birth. For these “so called” brothers to call Him out like that is absurd.
- Whenever others try to tell Jesus what to do, Jesus is always faithful to His Father. He doesn’t listen to the naysayers; He listens to God.
- You know how I know? Jesus says in verse 6, “my time is not yet here.” Jesus always listened to His daddy. He always honored God
- We must do the same if we are to honor God.
- Others will try and tell us that it will be ok if we do something that is against God’s teachings.
- Others will try and see if we truly are a follower of Christ. If they are not following Christ, why would we listen to them?
- Jesus gives us the example about listening to our Heavenly Father so that His timing can be fulfilled in our lives.
- Funny thing about timing. God has never worn a watch. He operates outside of linear time. Linear time is what we operate in. There is a beginning and an end. God is outside of our concept of time.
- When we miss time God’s timing for our lives, we could apply verse 6. Jesus says I follow my Father’s timing, you however follow your timing. Jesus tells this group, “for you, any time will do.”
- Do you grasp that? Do you want God’s timing in your life, then listen to the Father! He knows when the best time will be for the events in your life.
- Jesus example for us today, is this: He did not live His life by chance or circumstance. He lived His life with purpose and meaning.
- We are to do as He did—live meaningful, purposeful lives.
- John revealed this life in John 10:10—The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
- If you listen to the world, they steal, they kill, and they destroy. The world will steal away your first love if you listen to them. Some of you here have lost your first love. What is your first love? Your love for God. The world want to take your love for God away. The world want to kill your passion for the Kingdom things. And the world wants to destroy your witness.
- Who will you listen to today?
- Jesus came to give you life so that you could experience it at its fullest capacity. What is more beautiful than a life that pursues the things of God?
- Jesus explains in verse 7, that the world hates Jesus. The world hasn’t stopped hating Jesus, has it? He knew what lied ahead. He knew He had to be on God’s timetable. He knew when He speaks the truth about evil, people become angry, mad, and unruly. We don’t want to be told that we are in sin. Jesus testifies that we are.
- In verse 8, Jesus reiterates His purpose. Jesus purpose was to listen to the Father in order for His timing to be revealed.
Illustration—Writer Charles Swindoll once found himself with too many commitments in too few days. He got nervous and tense about it. “I was snapping at my wife and our children, choking down my food at mealtimes, and feeling irritated at those unexpected interruptions through the day,” he recalled in his book Stress Fractures. “Before long, things around our home started reflecting the patter of my hurry-up style. It was becoming unbearable.
“I distinctly remember after supper one evening, the words of our younger daughter, Colleen. She wanted to tell me something important that had happened to her at school that day. She began hurriedly, ‘Daddy, I wanna tell you somethin’ and I’ll tell you really fast.’
“Suddenly realizing her frustration, I answered, ‘Honey, you can tell me — and you don’t have to tell me really fast. Say it slowly.” “I’ll never forget her answer: ‘Then listen slowly.'”
Application—Are you listening to God slowly? Listening to God will bring Him honor.
- Jesus Honors God by Teaching the Scriptures-verses 11-18
- One thing about Jesus was fact. He always honored his father by making sure He taught the Scriptures.
- Jesus was 100% human and 100% God at the same time. He knew about temptation. He knows how to relate to you.
- He could have been tempted to teach what ever He wanted to teach, but He chose to teach the Scriptures.
- I can stand up here Sunday after Sunday and teach whatever I want to teach, but my ministry would be short lived.
- I want to honor my heavenly Father and teach the Scriptures just like Jesus did.
- When I am tempted to stray, you as a congregation should tell me to listen to the Father so that He receives the honor.
- Jesus in verse 14 goes and teaches in the temple courts. What He was teaching amazed the crowd. The idea that Jesus could actually teach Scripture without having gone to seminary was unheard of back then.
- There’s only one explanation on how the Jesus could have received His seminary training. He was with God in the beginning, John 1. He is the living Word of God, only they did not believe it.
- Jesus explains Himself in verse 16. He says, “my teaching is not my own.”
- The “my” refers to the teaching itself, the “mine” to the ultimate authority on which it rests. I am not a self-taught Man, as though out of the depths of my own independent human consciousness I span it. I do not mean you to suppose that my mere human experience is the sole source of my instructions. If you have sat at the feet of those who taught you, I, too, am a Representative of another; It introduces here the absolute source of all his teaching) it is the teaching of him who sent me. I have not learned in your schools, but am uttering the thoughts that come from an infinitely deeper source. “He who sent me” gave them to me. I have been in intimate communion with HIM. All that I say is Divine thought. I have drawn it all from the Lord of all. I came from him, and represent to you the will of God. This is a lofty prophetic claim, more urgent, more complete, than that made by Moses or Isaiah. Special messages, oracles, and burdens were delivered by the prophets with a “Thus saith the Lord.” But Jesus says his thoughts are God’s thoughts, his ways God’s ways, his teachings not his own, but altogether those of him who sent him.
- When I speak to you as your pastor, I can only say, “thus saith the Lord.” My teaching comes from the Scriptures and I am 100% human saved by the grace of God. I teach what God wants me to teach, Jesus teach as God Himself. Yes I have been taught at Seminary, but God is the ultimate source for my teaching.
- So, how do we know if the teacher is telling us the truth of the Scriptures?
- Jesus answers that in verses 17-18. Jesus says that we can know if we are doing the will of the Father, we will know if the teacher is a man of truth.
- Powerful statement. So, if you are not doing the will of the father in your own personal life, you will not be able to know if the teacher is a man of truth. That explains so much.
- You can sit back and evaluate, or critique a teacher/preacher that is speaking to you about God. If you are in the will or center of His will, then you can give a fair assessment, but if you aren’t, your evaluation is based on personal opinion. What a huge difference.
- This crowd is not in God’s will, so their assessment is invalid. They can’t know if the teacher is speaking as a man of truth.
- Can a teacher be teaching for personal gain? Of course they can. How would you know? First you must be sure you are in God’s will, then you can discern by the power of the Holy Spirit if they are a man of truth.
- That what Jesus is teaching us today. We know He was in God’s will, but are we? Are you fulfilling God’s call in your life?
Illustration—LOOKING THROUGH CLEAN WINDOWS
A young couple moves into a new neighborhood. The next morning while they are eating breakfast, the young woman sees her neighbor hanging the wash outside. ’That laundry is not very clean’, she said. ‘She doesn’t know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap’ Her husband looked on, but remained silent. Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry, the young woman would make the same comments. About one month later, the woman was surprised to see nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband: ‘Look, she has learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this?’ The husband said, ‘I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.’ And so it is with life. What we see when watching others, depends on the purity of the window through which we look.
Application—Today you can be in God’s will for your life, all you have to do is clean your windows and so you can make a correct assessment.
- Jesus Honors God by Fulfilling God’s Law—verses 19-24
- When Jesus came to earth, He was fulfilling the law. He was the prophecy the Law pointed to.
- The Law is there for us to see our need for a Savior. We will never be able to keep the Law, because the Law requires perfection. It is a goal to strive to be.
- Jesus explains to His followers that Moses gave them the Law. Even though we know Moses was handed the Law by God and then He delivered it to the people. God gives us His Law and His Love in Jesus.
- One of the requirements of the Law is to circumcise Jewish boys on their 8th day after their birth. Some of those circumcisions will take place on the Sabbath, but according to the Law, there is to be no work on the Sabbath.
- Catch 22. So when Jesus heals on the Sabbath, the people get all bent out of shape, calling that work.
- In order to Honor God, we must make decisions that are according to what God would have us to do, not some restriction about working on the Sabbath. We should take a Sabbath since we do need the rest, but that could be on a Monday or any other day. As long as you are honoring God by resting.
- Jesus came fulfill, to complete, and to finish the Law. He did not do away with the Law. He honored God by fulfilling it.
Illustration—A parishioner called his Pastor up, very angry on a Monday morning. “Pastor,” He said “I tried to get you on Friday, but you weren’t in the office. Then, I tried calling your cell phone, and you didn’t answer, and then I even emailed you and you did not respond”
“It was my day off,” the pastor replied. ”Day off?” the parishioner stormed. “The Devil never has a day off.” ”Well, if I didn’t have a day off,” the pastor replied, “I’d be just like him!”
There is so much to do in the Church that we are in danger of burning out—If we try to do it in our own strength. God deserves to be honored.
Application—Jesus fulfilled the law, but we are to fulfill the call. Are you doing that in your life?
Conclusion—1 Sam 16:7—The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,