Digging The Word
"I rejoice in your word like one who discovers a great treasure." - PSALM 119:162

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

My Sin And My Savior

Recognizing my need and the one who fixes my need.

John 4:15-26  "Please, sir," the woman said, "give me this water! Then I'll never be thirsty again, and I won't have to come here to get water."

16  "Go and get your husband," Jesus told her.

17  "I don't have a husband," the woman replied.

Jesus said, "You're right! You don't have a husband  18  for you have had five husbands, and you aren't even married to the man you're living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!"

19  "Sir," the woman said, "You must be a prophet.  20  So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?"

21  Jesus replied, "Believe Me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem.  22  You Samaritans know very little about the One you worship, while we Jews know all about Him, for salvation comes through the Jews.

23  But the time is coming, indeed it's here now, when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship Him that way.  24  For God is Spirit, so those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth."

25  The woman said, "I know the Messiah is coming, the One who is called Christ. When He comes, He will explain everything to us."

26  Then Jesus told her, "I AM the Messiah!"

Jesus has been talking to the Samaritan woman at the well, he has told her about a source of water that is way better than what she is going to get out of the well that her ancestors dug. She is anxious to receive the living water that Jesus is talking about but he doesn't just give it to her right away.

Who wouldn't want the benefits that Jesus has told her about? This water sounds awesome! So far the woman has seen that she has a need but she hasn't realized what it is and who can fix it. It's like when we witness to somebody and have them say a magic prayer. If they are saying the prayer as a way to avoid hell then they haven't really understood.

You know, so many people think of conversion like that. You know, they think: I want, I want, I want. That's not it. You know what it is?

It's "I repent...I sorrow...I am undone...I hate my sin...I sacrifice...I give myself to Christ, it's I give, I yield, I trust, I repent. It's a different thing.

All of a sudden the conversation turns into a new direction, out of the blue Jesus asks to see her husband, he had a purpose in moving the conversation forward, Jesus takes her to the point where her sin is crystal clear to her. Jesus wants her to realize that she needs him, he doesn't save us without full knowledge of what we are being saved from. We need to come face to face with our sin and come to the point of hating it.

Now it's the woman's turn to redirect the conversation, she is thinking "enough about me and my sin, let's change the subject and talk about what religious teachers always want to talk about, religion." Or maybe she realizes that she needs to get right with God but she doesn't know where to go to get right. Maybe she wants to know what rituals she needs to perform in order to get right with God.

The history of the religious establishment was very messy, the Jews taught one thing and the Samaritans taught another and then there are all of the pagan countries all around them with their own ideas about God, who can really know what is right? Worship is the important thing, a right attitude and a right relation with God, it doesn't matter to God where it happens. In fact it should happen everywhere on any day at all times.

When you read this portion of scripture it is just a simple dialog, we don't have any definite idea of what the woman was feeling and what she was thinking. I imagine that at this point in their conversation this outcast was even more down on herself than ever. Jesus didn't leave her hopeless, he finally reveals himself to the Samaritan woman, after she has seen her sin and her need for a savior he shows her the solution.

Regret is that activity of the mind (intellect) that causes us to say, “Why did I do that?” Remorse touches us a little deeper causing us to feel disgust and pain (involving both the intellect and the heart), but not causing us to change our ways.

True repentance brings in the third aspect of our minds – our will. To truly repent one must have a change of will. “Godly sorrow” is the catalyst that brings us to true repentance.
Warren Wiersbe, Be Reverent, p. 149

Wiersbe says that a distinction must be made between regret, remorse and repentance. The woman at the well probably felt the pain of regret everyday, she may have even felt remorse but she didn't have the Godly sorrow that prompts a change of will. Remorse should not be confused with repentance.

2 Corinthians 7:10 For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There's no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.

That is the process that we all need to go through. We need to see our sin with the same disgust that God has. We need to agree with God instead of seeing sin as fun and desirable. Our carnal nature is opposed to seeing sin the way that God does.

Most of us come to Jesus with selfish motivations, we want to avoid hell or we want Jesus to fix the disasters we have created in our life, that's a good place to start but God wants you to grow in him and realize that true repentance requires us to have a change of heart which changes our will to sin.
What Is Sin (gty.org)
Jesus Changed My Destiny (diggingtheword.blogspot.com)
Perfect Gifts: Salvation (diggingtheword.blogspot.com)

Friday, January 16, 2015

Living Water

Jesus will refresh better than anything else you may try.

John 4:7-14  Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, "Please give Me a drink."  8  He was alone at the time because His disciples had gone into the village to buy some food.

9  The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, "You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are You asking me for a drink?"

10  Jesus replied, "If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask Me, and I would give you living water."

11  "But sir, You don't have a rope or a bucket," she said, "and this well is very deep. Where would You get this living water?  12  And besides, do You think You're greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can You offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?"

13  Jesus replied, "Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again.  14  But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life."

What is Jesus doing in Samaria? The good news of the Messiah wasn't accepted in Jerusalem, the religious leaders were already upset because Jesus cleaned house at the Passover, Jesus ministry is just beginning and he is already being rejected by the Jews.

There was a man in our previous study of the gospel of John, a seeker named Nicodemus came to Jesus, he was a religious man, moral, rich and powerful man, he came to Jesus to learn more. Jesus taught Nicodemus and explained the concept of spiritual birth. The next person to have an encounter with Jesus is a woman that is quite a contrast to Nicodemus.

Psalms 63:1-3  A psalm of David, regarding a time when David was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, You are my God; I earnestly search for You. My soul thirsts for You; my whole body longs for You in this parched and weary land where there is no water.

How could he talk to a woman? How could Jesus talk to a Samaritan woman? And to make it worse a woman that is an outcast among her own people! It was bad enough to be rejected by the Jews but she was rejected by her own people as well. She had a divine appointment with Jesus, he is there at the right time and he is alone because he sent his disciples away to shop for food.

I have to wonder about these guys. How uncomfortable were they with traveling through Samaria? Did they leave Samaria to get food from a better neighborhood? It seems odd to me that none of them stayed behind with Jesus but Jesus was very intentional about being alone for this encounter.

Unlike Nicodemus, she didn't seek out an opportunity to talk to Jesus, she didn't have any idea who he was and he was so hot and tired that he didn't look like he could have anything to offer to the Samaritan woman. The only thing she had in common with Nicodemus was that they both took Jesus teaching literally. He couldn't understand how to be born again and she couldn't understand how she could have water that would satisfy her thirst forever.

We are all like the Samaritan woman... don't be offended, we are all thirsty and we are looking for a way to get relief. Having a dry mouth is the least of your worries, as our physical thirst gets worse it can cause weakness, dizziness, confusion and fainting. Imagine your spiritual thirst causing all of those same symptoms.

Finally she has met a man that could meet her ultimate need, a man that could satisfy, Jesus saw beyond her sin to the root of the problem. Her ultimate need wasn't found in short term physical pleasure, the ultimate need wasn't to clean up her life, Jesus saw that she had a longing that wasn't being met by the men in her life.

Never Thirst Again

Revelation 21:6  And He also said, "It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega--the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life.
The offer is an eternal one, this refreshing gift from God will never run dry. Jesus told the woman at the well "It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life." All of our solutions to stop our thirst are just a cheap temporary substitute that will leave you feeling like an addict that needs another hit.

Satan wants us to miss the living water, he wants us to look through our box of idols and try a different one, he wants us to talk back at God and doubt his goodness. We look at our circumstances and put our trust in ourselves to bring short term satisfaction when God has a much better solution that will last for eternity. (Exodus 17:1-7, Numbers 20:1-11).

Rick Warren said "The only one who can quench that thirst is the one who said, “I thirst.” Jesus thirsted on the cross so you don’t have to thirst. He paid for what you don’t have to pay for. He became thirsty so you never have to be thirsty again."

Monday, January 5, 2015

Who Is The Greatest?

Jesus is more than an ordinary man.

John 3:30-36  He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.  31  "He has come from above and is greater than anyone else. We are of the earth, and we speak of earthly things, but He has come from heaven and is greater than anyone else.  32  He testifies about what He has seen and heard, but how few believe what He tells them!

33  Anyone who accepts His testimony can affirm that God is true.  34  For He is sent by God. He speaks God's words, for God gives Him the Spirit without limit.  35  The Father loves His Son and has put everything into His hands.  36  And anyone who believes in God's Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn't obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God's angry judgment."

If you go through the Bible or the world history books you will find some pretty amazing men have walked on this planet. Great men have come and gone but the baby born in a manger changes everything. All of a sudden the legacy of greatness that so many men have had all looks like nothing in comparison.

There have been pharaohs and kings that have built huge empires, there have been civil right leaders that have shown great compassion, and there have been great writers, theologians and philosophers that have given us some deep thinking.

The Time magazine "100 Most Significant Figures in History" include these men in the top ten:
  1. Jesus
  2. Napoleon
  3. Muhammad
  4. William Shakespeare
  5. Abraham Lincoln
  6. George Washington
  7. Adolf Hitler
  8. Aristotle
  9. Alexander the Great
  10. Thomas Jefferson
These days we glorify great athlete's and pay huge sums of money for the privilege of being in the same building with them. I think that we don't realize that we are implying that they are great by our willingness to give them our money.

Do you remember the one athlete that told us over and over again that he is the greatest?

Muhammad Ali isn't even on the Time magazine list of 100 Most Significant Figures in History. That should seem ridiculous to anyone that really believed the things that he said about himself.

It seems that his words did not convince us. If you look up Muhammad Ali quotes you will find that he said:

"At home I am a nice guy: but I don't want the world to know. Humble people, I've found, don't get very far."

"My only fault is that I don't realize how great I really am."

Where is he today? I had to look him up on the internet to see if he is still alive. They say he is.

In this study of the book of John I have seen that John has been giving a great amount of evidence to prove that Jesus is the Son of God. After John spent three years with Jesus we should be interested in his opinion of Jesus and why he came to believe in who Jesus is. It is only the end of chapter three and the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of proving John's thesis.

Why is Jesus so great?

Jesus has a heavenly origin
Jesus is from heaven he's the greatest, superior to everything else. He is the only man that has experienced having a home in heaven. That should make us consider what he says it takes to live there with him. (John 1:18, 17:5)

Jesus has a heavenly message
Jesus has talked to God and he has come with God's message, he has told us about what he has seen and heard but we think that we know better than this heavenly eyewitness. (John 8:26-28, 15:15)

Jesus has the Holy Spirit
I recently wondered if Jesus had the Holy Spirit in him in pretty much the same way that we do. After studying these scriptures it seems clear to me that God the Son had God the Holy Spirit within him. The Holy Spirit within Jesus gave him wisdom that an ordinary man wouldn't have, Jesus being fully human relied on the Holy Spirit and he demonstrated for us how to live with the Holy Spirit in control. (Isaiah 11:2-5, 42:1, Luke 4:18, John 1:32)

Jesus has heavenly authority
The creator of the universe didn't look like he had authority when he was beaten and crucified but three days later we learn the truth. Jesus told his disciples in the great commission that he had all authority and since he just came back to life I think that all of them were sure that he did. Jesus came to redeem, defend and to save us and he proved that he has the power and authority to do it. (Matthew 28:18, John 5:22-27, 13:3, 17:2, Ephesians 1:20-22)

Jesus is not just a good teacher, good teachers don't claim to be God.

Jesus is not just a good example, good examples don't run around with sinners, drunks and tax collectors.

Jesus is not a religious paranoid, a fanatic. Mad men don't speak those words, mad men don't have those clear thoughts and mad men don't show that kind of love.

Jesus is not a religious phony, phonies don't rise from the dead.

Jesus is not a phantom, you don't nail a phantom to a cross and it doesn't have blood to shed.

Jesus is not a myth, myths don't set the calendars for history.

Jesus is God in a body come to this world to show us what God was like and then to redeem us. He's God.

Who is the greatest? The book of John makes it obvious. Jesus is the "God-man." Jesus came with a great purpose. Jesus showed us a better way to live and he gave us the only way to live forever with him.

Who is your Savior? Is it you? You don't make a very good savior, you don't have the credentials that Jesus has. Based on the testimony of the men that were with Jesus everyday for three years I can accept the fact that Jesus is God, he spoke the words of God, and he was sent to be my Savior.

Thank you Lord for revealing yourself to man and making our relationship a peaceful one. I could never have peace with you without the work of your son on the cross.
The Man That Amazed Jesus (diggingtheword.blogspot.com)
Growing Big Faith (diggingtheword.blogspot.com)
Prophecy Confirms Who Jesus Is (diggingtheword.blogspot.com)
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