Emory Baptist Church
Impossible Isn’t in God’s Dictionary!

Impossible Isn’t in God’s Dictionary!

May 23, 2022

Have you ever faced a situation that seemed impossible?  Probably all of us have.


It may have been at work or at home or at school or with your family or with your children or with your finances or at your church?  However, when God steps in, the impossible becomes possible because “impossible” isn’t in God’s dictionary. 


In John 6, the disciples faced an impossible situation.  God gave them a test of their faithfulness, and when Jesus stepped in, the impossible became possible.




  1. A Serious Problem, John 6:1-6

1 After these things Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. 2 Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased. 3 And Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat with His disciples.  4 Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near. 5 Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” 6 But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.


In verse 1, “after these things” certainly applies to Jesus defeating a disease, declaring Himself to God, and defending His own authority.  However, we know from comparing the four Gospels that John doesn’t necessarily write according to exact chronology. 


His desire often was to fill in the gaps left by the other Gospels.  Today’s story may have been six months after the end of chapter five.


However, we know this story at the beginning of John 6 is of the utmost importance.  Why?  Besides the resurrection of Christ, it is the only miracle included in all four Gospels.


Jesus and His disciples had left Jerusalem again and headed north back to Galilee, and they went to eastern side of the Sea of Galilee.  Following them was a large crowd according to verse 2.  However, they are following Jesus because they saw Him do some amazing miracles including healing the sick, and they wanted to see more.  At the end of John 4, He healed the nobleman’s son.  At the beginning of chapter 5, He healed the paralytic that had been that way for 38 years. 


However, Jesus was trying to find some peace and quiet for Him and His disciples up on a mountainside.


Verse four tells us that it was close to spring time as the Passover was near.  Jesus then looked up and saw the large crowd drawing closer, and He had an idea of how to grow His disciples’ faith.


He asked Philip where they were to could buy bread to feed all these people.  It was very logical for Jesus to ask Philip as he was from Bethsaida and would have known the area. 


In verse six, we see explicitly that Jesus wanted to test him.  By the way, the testing of Phillip’s faith was never to harm him but to grow him.  The same is true for you and me this morning.  Regularly, God will test our faith.  His desire is that we pass the test and grow our faith. However, because we are sinners, failure is always possible. 



  1. A Human Solution, John 6:7-9

7 Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.”  8 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, 9 “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?”


However, Philip saw this as an impossible situation seeing the crowd of anywhere from 10,000-20,000 people.  He reported that it would cost two hundred denarii, which was approximately eight months’ wages, and thus, there was no way to logically feed these people.


By the way, I understand Philip.  He was bean counter.  I am a bean counter.  Perhaps you are a bean counter.  On paper, this was an impossible situation. 


In verse 8, it seems that Andrew was doing his best to help the situation.  He brought a little boy to who had some food. 


This boy was probably a teenager who had five loaves of bread and two fish.  Keep in mind that we aren’t talking about 2-pound crappie or 3-pound catfish.  We are talking about 5 biscuits and 2 sardines. 


Verse 9 seems to put Andrew in the same boat as Philip.  There just wasn’t any way this situation was going to work out.  



  • Divine Intervention, John 6:10-15

10 Then Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11 And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.” 13 Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. 14 Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.”  15 Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.


In verse 10, Jesus was about to teach His disciples how quickly things could change when He gets involved.  Again, the men numbered 5,000.  Therefore, the total could have been between 10,000 and 20,000.


After the crowd was seated and in verse 11, He took the boy’s food, and He thanked God for it and began to distribute it, and here is where the miracle occurred.  He passed out the bread and fish to all the people, and they got as much as they wanted.  No one was in need or went without. 


He then told His disciples to gather up the leftovers, and they gathered up twelve full baskets.  Twelve is significant in that there was one for each disciple.  Surely, Jesus wanted each of the twelve to understand what just happened.


In verse 14, when the people saw that a miracle had occurred, they recognized Jesus for who He truly was, a man of God.  However, this story ends in verse 15 with Jesus leaving the scene as the crowd wanted to force Him to be their leader, and yet, that was not according to His Father’s plan. 



Application and Conclusion

Allow me to recap, and then apply.  First, God tests our faith in Him.


Second, we often and sometimes only see life’s situation from a human perspective.  We don’t consider Jesus enough.


Third, when Jesus gets involved, the impossible becomes possible because impossible isn’t in His dictionary.  Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.


For our graduates, going to college or paying for college may seem impossible.  Jesus might be testing your faith.  If you will involve Him, your impossible can become possible.


For EBC, building a $5 million FLC is impossible for a church our size.  However, Jesus maybe testing your faith, my faith, our faith. 


Let me remind you.  If we make sure Jesus is involved, the impossible is possible because impossible isn’t in His dictionary.  See Psalm 37:5 and Proverbs 16:3.


Has Anyone Ever Questioned Your Authority?

Has Anyone Ever Questioned Your Authority?

May 15, 2022

Has anyone ever questioned your authority?  What about as a spouse?  What about as a parent?  What about as an employer?  What as a co-worker?  What about as a teacher or a coach?  Have I ever had someone question my authority as a pastor?


Of course, the answer to this question in all of the scenarios is yes.  The good news is that we are in good company.  At the end of John 5, we’re going to see that the Jews were questioning Jesus’ authority, and as we have defended ourselves and our position and our authority, Jesus is going to do the same.


In John 5:1-15, Jesus healed a man who had been crippled for 38 years.  Instead of celebrating, many questioned Jesus’ authority to do this. 


Jesus then began in verse 24 defending Himself by claiming that He was God.  He then continued by claiming that He was the giver of life.


In today’s text, Jesus is going to defend Himself by reminding the Jews and us of that testified to witnessed to His authority.  He is going to point to God the Father, John the Baptist, His own works or signs, the Holy Scriptures, and the prophet Moses.  All pointed to Him and His authority.


Keep in mind that He couldn’t just say, “I have authority” because being a good Jews, He knew what the Old Testament required.  See Deuteronomy 17:6 and 19:15.


6 Whoever is deserving of death shall be put to death on the testimony of two or three witnesses; he shall not be put to death on the testimony of one witness.


15 “One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.


Jesus acknowledged His understanding and submission to the Old Testament Law in 5:31.


  1. The Testimony of God the Father, John 5:32, 37-38

32 There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true…37 And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. 38 But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe.


In verse 32, He speaks of another who truthfully and accurately testifies of Him.  Jesus is actually talking about God the Father.  We know that by the use of the word “another.”  Jesus is speaking of “another” of the same kind meaning deity or divinity.  God the Father testifies about His Son and testifies truthfully. 


Verses 37-38 further expand the Father’s testimony, but these Jews had never heard His voice or seen His form like their ancestors.  As a result, they did not have His word abiding in them, and they didn’t believe Him even though He was telling the truth.


You may be wondering when the Father testified about Jesus.  Certainly, the entire Old Testament points to Christ, but we explicitly see the Father testifying about the Son at His baptism.  See Matthew 3:13-17.


13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?”  15 But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him.  16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”


We also see God the Father testifying about His Son at the Transfiguration.  See Matthew 17:1-5.


1 Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; 2 and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. 3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. 4 Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”  5 While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!”


God the Father testified about the authority of Jesus.



  1. The Testimony of John the Baptist, John 5:33-35

33 You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. 34 Yet I do not receive testimony from man, but I say these things that you may be saved. 35 He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light.


Second, Jesus presents the testimony of John the Baptist, the forerunner to Christ.  These Jews were so interested and curious about John the Baptist, they sent a delegation to question him back John 1:19, but they didn’t believe him as he testified about the truth of Jesus. 


19 Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”


Verse 34 says that Jesus didn’t need John’s testimony, but His critics would have been wise to heed John’s testimony as John said what he said concerning their salvation.  See John 1:29-34.


29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ 31 I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.”  32 And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. 33 I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.”


These Jews did receive and respect John’s witness for a while. However, they did not accept it ultimately.


By the way, notice the past tense in verse 35.  He was the burning and shining lamp.  John the Baptist was either in prison or could even have been dead already, but he testified about the authority of Jesus.



  • The Testimony of Miraculous Signs, John 5:36

36 But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me.


The third evidence that Jesus gives regarding Himself is the miraculous signs or works that He has performed.  Verse 36 says that these works testify to the authenticity of Christ. 


Up to this point, John has recorded Jesus turning water into wine: John 2:11. 


He healed royal official’s son: John 4:54. 



Most recently, in 5:1-15, He healed this crippled man who had been lame for 38 years.  These signs or works testified to the watching world that Jesus was the Christ, the promised Messiah, and they testify to His authority.



  1. The Testimony of the Scriptures, John 5:39-44

39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.  41 “I do not receive honor from men. 42 But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. 43 I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. 44 How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?


In our next six verses, beginning in verse 39, Jesus acknowledged that His critics were faithful students of the Scriptures.  However, they have the forest because of the trees.  They were so preoccupied with the details of Scripture that they have missed the big picture of Scripture, and that is the fulfillment of Jesus as the Promised Messiah. 


As a result, they were missing out on eternal life because they thought the Scriptures gave eternal life rather than Jesus.  This is remarkable.  The focus of divine revelation is God’s Son, Jesus Christ, and these folks missed it.


They had received others who were false prophets, but because they were unwilling according to verse 40 and prideful according to verse 44, they did not receive the one and only true God.  It simply escaped them even being right under their noses.



  1. The Testimony of Moses, John 5:45-47

45 Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”


Finally, in these final three verses, Jesus gave His fifth piece of evidence that testifies about Himself, and that is the testimony of Moses.  Moses is second only to the promised Messiah as far as rank and authority in Judaism. 


However, Moses testified about Jesus in His writings, and yet, these Jews didn’t believe Him and are now not believing Jesus.  See Deuteronomy 18:15-22.


15 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, 16 according to all you desired of the Lord your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, nor let me see this great fire anymore, lest I die.’  17 “And the Lord said to me: ‘What they have spoken is good. 18 I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. 19 And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him. 20 But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’ 21 And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’— 22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.



Applications and Conclusions

For the saved person, does Jesus have authority in your life?  Is He the authority in your marriage and with your children and with your money and at your Job and in your classroom?  If not, would you surrender to Him today?


So how does all of this apply to me this morning?  For the lost person, would you believe today after hearing these evidences?  Would you believe today while you still have a chance because there will come a day when your chances will be gone.  See Luke 16:19-31.


19 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. 20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.  24 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. 26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’  27 “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’ ”


Jesus is the Giver of Life!

Jesus is the Giver of Life!

May 9, 2022

We began John 5 two Sundays ago, and our focus has been the Lord Jesus.  In John 5:1-15, we saw the Jesus was Lord and Master over time.  He physically healed a man who had been crippled for 38 years.  He also can save a person regardless of how long he or she has been lost, and He can reconcile individuals regardless of how long they have been divided.  Jesus is Lord and Master over time.


Last week, we saw that Jesus was united with God.  In other words, Jesus declared that He was God, and that reality has consequences.  They share the same work and knowledge and power and authority and honor.  Consequently, the Jews wanted Jesus dead.


Today, our text tells us that Jesus is the giver of life.  He is the giver of spiritual life, and that life is everlasting and exclusive to faith in Christ and evidenced by good works. 


Before we look at our text in John 5, I need to remind you why this spiritual life that Jesus gives is important and necessary.  It is because apart from spiritual life with Christ, we are dead.


All humans start out spiritually dead.  See Psalm 51:5.


5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,

And in sin my mother conceived me.


All humans start out completely spiritually dead.  See Ephesians 2:1-3.


2 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.


All humans start out completely spiritually dead, and therefore are separated from God.  See Romans 3:23.


23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.


Therefore, we are in need of spiritual life.



  1. The spiritual life that Jesus gives is everlasting, 5:24.

24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.


Verse 24 begins with “most assuredly.”  Literally, Jesus said, “Amen, amen!”  We might say, “Listen up!” 


Jesus said that he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. 


Who sent Jesus?  It was God the Father, and the life God the Father and God the Son give is everlasting life, and if you believe, you miss judgment or death and pass into life.


It is interesting to know that this word “everlasting” is used often in John’s gospel in talking about the spiritual life that Jesus gives.  You can find it in John 3:16, 3:36, 4:14, 5:24, 6:27, 6:40, 6:47, and 12:50.


Additionally, it is found in Acts 13:46, Romans 6:22, Galatians 6:8, and 1 Timothy 1:16.  What will this eternal life be like?  See Revelation 21:4.


4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”


However, just like there is such a thing as everlasting life, there is also everlasting death.  See Matthew 18:8, 25:41, 25:46, 2 Thessalonians 1:9, and Jude 1:6.


Furthermore, Jesus speaks vividly of this everlasting death in Luke 16:22-31.


19 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. 20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, the dogs came and licked his sores.  22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.  24 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. 26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’  27 “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’”



  1. The spiritual life that Jesus gives is exclusive to Him, 5:25-27.

25 Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, 27 and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.


Notice in today’s text that Jesus the speaks of hearing His word in verse 24 and then again in verse 25.  Those that hear the voice of the Son of God will live.  In verse 26, the Father has granted the Son to have life in Himself.  Verse 28 speaks again of those that hear the Son’s voice, and the Son has been given authority to judge.


This word for judge means to divide or sift or separate, and Jesus’ judgement is right.  Why?  It is right because it comes from the Father. 


Some in our world today want to make us believe that spiritual life can come through morality or genealogy or generosity or ingenuity.  However, the Bible is clear.  See John 3:16, John 14:6, Acts 4:12, and Romans 5:1.


16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.


6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.


12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”


1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.



  • The spiritual life that Jesus gives is evidenced by good works, 5:28-30.

28 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. 30 I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.


In verse 28, Jesus begins looking to the future for a judgment to come, and that judgment will involve resurrections so now we are not only talking about spiritual life but also physical life.


When we think about the future resurrections, I believe the Bible is clear.  Without getting too complicated this morning and off in a rabbit hole, I believe that all Believers will be resurrected before Jesus’ 1000-year earthly reign, and the I believe that all non-Believers will be resurrected after Jesus’ 1000-year earthly reign.


Am I being very general this morning?  Yes, I am because the point of what Jesus is saying in verse 29 is that there will be two resurrections.  They will be distinguished by the lives of those resurrected. 


Those who have the spiritual life that Jesus gives to those that believe will live lives of good works, and they will part of the resurrection of life.  However, this resurrection is not because of their works but because of their faith in Christ.


On the other hand, those who have not believed in Jesus will have led lives doing evil, and they will experience the resurrection of condemnation. 


As to this idea of our works evidencing our faith, Jesus spoke about such in John 15.


1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.  5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.



I want to close this morning with an invitation for this spiritual life that is everlasting and exclusive with Jesus and evidenced by good works.  Look at 5:25.


25 Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.


The time is now for you to hear the Son of God and live.  Don’t put it off until later.  This text is full of the present tense, and don’t think that Jesus’ invitation can’t reach you.  See Romans 8:1.


1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.


Has It Been Too Long for God to Act?

Has It Been Too Long for God to Act?

April 24, 2022

The last time we were in John’s gospel was two weeks ago, and we were at the end of chapter 5.  Jesus demonstrated that He was Lord over distance by healing the nobleman’s son that He couldn’t see and couldn’t touch but physically healed. 


If you remember, the book of John is built around seven (7) signs that Jesus performed so that peopled would believe in Him as the Promised Messiah.  Healing the nobleman’s son was the second sign.  Again, it showed us that Jesus was Lord and Master over distance.


Do you remember the first sign?  Jesus’ first sign in John’s gospel was turning the water to wine at the wedding in Cana.  That is found in John 2.  What did that sign show us?  It showed us that Jesus can bring something from our nothing.


Today, we are back in Jerusalem for the third sign.  Keep this question in mind, “Has it been too long for God to act?”



  1. An Unusual Situation, John 5:1-4

1 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. 3 In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. 4 For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.


The very first words of chapter 5 serve as a time marker and seem to refer to the events of chapter 4.  However, in reality, they let us know that John’s gospel is not necessarily laid out chronologically as the other gospels are.


However, we know that Jesus was now on His way back to Jerusalem.  John also mentions that there was a feast going on at the time.  However, he doesn’t specifically identify it.  That lets us know that this story is not tied to the specific feast, but it certainly could have been the Passover.


Notice verse 2.  Jesus could have entered the actual city in a myriad of different ways but intentionally chose to go by this pool near the Sheep Gate.  What was a sheep gate?  It was the gate where the sheep came in before they were sacrificed. 


At this gate was a pool.  It was called Bethesda, which meant house of mercy.  That was an appropriate name as there were many sick who had gathered there hopefully to be healed. 


Verse 3 says the sick were there.  The blind were there.  The lame were there.  The paralyzed were there all waiting for the waters to be moved or stirred.


It seems that local superstition credited an angel of the Lord with stirring the waters, and whoever was in the water first after the stirring was healed from whatever disease.  We don’t know if this is true, but it appears to be local belief. 


In reality, this was probably and intermittent spring.  Every so often, the waters were stirred, and legend attributed it to angels that provided healing through the waters. 


By the way, if you claim that you want to a little Christ or that you want to be more like Jesus, take note of this story.  As I said previously, Jesus could have entered Jerusalem in any way He desired, and He desired to enter where the sick were, and I can assure you, they were not pleasant to see.


Secondly, you will see in just a minute that He spoke to a sick man personally and compassionately.  He didn’t preach to him.  He didn’t correct his wrong theology.  He asked him if he wanted to be made well.


Thirdly, He offered specific help for this specific man.  He met the most pressing need that this man had.


Jesus was compassionate and helped those in need.  This was an unusual situation.



  1. An Unceasing Sickness, John 5:5-9

5 Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”  7 The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”  8 Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” 9 And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.  And that day was the Sabbath.


Here at Bethesda was a certain man with an infirmity who had been sick for thirty-eight years.  I can’t even imagine that.  I have read that the average life-span for first century males in the Roman Empire was less than 40 years.  In other words, this man had probably been sick his entire life. 


We aren’t told about his sickness other than he couldn’t walk or at least couldn’t walk very fast.  Otherwise, we don’t know any more specifics.


In verse 6, Jesus saw this man and knew of his condition, and He inquired as to his desire for healing.  We don’t know if Jesus knew of him out of His omniscience or He overheard some people talking about him.  Regardless, He make sure that this man recognized his own need. 


In verse 7, this man expressed his dire situation.  Whenever the waters were stirred, he had no one to help him get in the water.  Therefore, his sickness and condition was unceasing for thirty-eight years.


Then out of no where, Jesus gave him three commands in verse 8: rise, take up your bed, and walk. 


Can you imagine what that man began to feel as immediately his body was healed?  He obeyed and did exactly what Jesus told him to do.  He had been completely healed. 


Verse 9 ends with a small fact that had massive ramifications.  Jesus healed this man on Saturday, the Sabbath.  As you are about to see, that was a problem.



  • An Unreasonable Standard, John 5:10-15

10 The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.”  11 He answered them, “He who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your bed and walk.’”  12 Then they asked him, “Who is the Man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” 13 But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place. 14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.”  15 The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.


Don’t you know that the news of this man being healed spread like wild fire?  After all, he had been sick for thirty-eight years.


I speculate that he was well-known simply because of how long he had been sick.  Consequently, I also speculate that his healing was well-known too.


In verse 10, the Jews began to question this man about carrying his bed or matt.  Isn’t it interesting that they didn’t question his healing? 


They wanted to know why he was breaking tradition.  That’s right.  He wasn’t breaking the OT Law.  He was breaking oral tradition.


By the way, this is what is known as legalism.  When you or I add elevate our personal preferences or personal applications of God’s Word to the same level and authority as God’s Word, we are guilty of legalism.  That is what was happening here. 


In verse 13, they wanted to know who this healer was.  However, the man didn’t know because Jesus didn’t tell him, and Jesus slipped away into the crowd. 


These Jews had unreasonable standards of behavior.  He wasn’t carrying his bed in an effort to work.   He was carrying his pallet out of necessity because he had been healed.


In 5:14-15, we find Jesus and the healed man in the temple.  Why was the healed man there?  We aren’t told. 


However, we do get a small glimpse into the possible reason for his sickness.  Jesus appears to tell him to stopping sinning so that nothing worse would happen to him. 


By the way, was Jesus linking this man’s sin to his sickness?  Is it possible that our sin causes sickness?  Well, it is possible.  See 1 Corinthians 11:29-30. 


29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.


However, it is not an absolute.  See John 9:1-4. 


1 Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. 2 And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”  3 Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. 4 I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.


Also, because this man’s physical healing is a picture of spiritual healing, the Saved shouldn’t be continuing to live in sin.  For those who are saved this morning, stop sinning. 


Then finally, if this man doesn’t stop sinning, hell is going to be a worse state than his inability to walk.  He wasn’t able to walk for 38 years.  He would be in hell for eternity. 


In 5:15, the man goes away and tells the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him.



Application and Conclusion

When we think about the main idea of this text and the meaning of this third sign, I want to be clear.  Jesus is Lord over time.  That is the main idea of this text.  There are certainly many truths this story teaches and addresses, but the main idea is singular.


First, and obviously, Jesus is Lord over time, and God can heal you physically today regardless of how long you have been sick.  My encouragement to you is ask or pray.


Second, this story symbolizes more than physical healing.  It points to spiritually healing as well.  Jesus is Lord over time, and God can heal you spiritually today regardless of how long you have been lost.  My encouragement to you is to believe.  Believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior after you recognize your need to be saved.


Finally, and perhaps more appropriately for many in the room, Jesus is Lord over time, and God can heal you emotionally today regardless of how long you have been hurt.  My encouragement to you is to forgive.


Regardless of whether you are sick, lost, or hurt, Jesus is Lord over time, and it hasn’t been too long for God to act.  Today, He can heal.  Today, He can save.  Today, He can restore.

Easter 101

Easter 101

April 19, 2022

If you have your Bibles or your smart device this morning, I invite you to turn to Luke 24.  Unlike Jesus’ birth, all four gospels give an account of His resurrection, and while I wouldn’t say one is better than the other, we are giving our attention this morning to Dr. Luke’s account.


In this last chapter of Luke’s gospel, it focuses exclusively on Resurrection Day.  However, it can be easily divided into three scenes that are noted by three different times during that day: the morning, the afternoon, and the evening. 



  1. The Miracle in the Morning, Luke 24:1-12

1 Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2 But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. 3 Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. 5 Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, 7 saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’”  8 And they remembered His words. 9 Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles. 11 And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.


Verse 1 clarifies that we are talking about Sunday morning.  Jesus was crucified on Friday and laid in Joseph’s tomb that same day.  He was there in the grave Friday night, Saturday, and until early Sunday morning.


A group of women made their way to the tomb early in Sunday morning to anoint His body with spices to combat the odor that they expected to find because they thought He was still dead.  According to verse 10, these women included Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary, the mother of James.  This would have been Jesus’ aunt.


They were also accompanied by other women.  However, they are left unnamed. 


When they arrived, the stone had been rolled away.    Matthew’s gospel tells us that there had been a localized earthquake that had dislodged the stone, and an angel rolled it away.  However, keep in mind that Jesus was already resurrected meaning that the stone was not rolled away to let Jesus out but to allow the witness to come inside and see. 


Verse 3 tells us what they found.  Jesus was not there even though they were fully expecting to find Him there. 


Verse 4 introduces two angels.  Of course they were majestic in appearance, and the women responded accordingly in verse 5.


The angels then asked the women why they were looking for the living among the dead.  They also reminded them of what Jesus had prophesied, and they made this historical declaration, “He is not here, but is risen!”


Jesus had told them this was going to happen.  However, they couldn’t wrap their minds around what they had a hard time believing. 


By the way, did Jesus tell them this in advance. Yes, He did on multiple occasions.


Luke 9:21-22, 21 And He strictly warned and commanded them to tell this to no one, 22 saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.”


Luke 9:43-44, 43 But while everyone marveled at all the things which Jesus did, He said to His disciples, 44 “Let these words sink down into your ears, for the Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men.”


Luke 11:29-30, 29 And while the crowds were thickly gathered together, He began to say, “This is an evil generation. It seeks a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. 30 For as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so also the Son of Man will be to this generation.


Luke 18:31-33, 31 Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished. 32 For He will be delivered to the Gentiles and will be mocked and insulted and spit upon. 33 They will scourge Him and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.”


The women then left the tomb and returned to tell the men what they found.  As you know, they didn’t believe them, and Peter had to see for himself as described in verse 12. 


All three of our scenes this morning offer an invitation for you.  You may be here, and you’re doubting the supernatural of the resurrection.  I invite you this morning to believe that Jesus was literally resurrected from the grave never to die again.


In these twelve verses alone, we have multiple proofs.  The first is obviously the empty tomb.  The second is Sunday worship.  The third is fulfilled prophecy.  The fourth is female testimony.  The fifth is changed lives.  This Peter, who had denied Christ previously, preached in Acts, and thousands were saved by repenting and believing in Jesus. 



  1. The Appearances in the Afternoon, Luke 24:13-29

13 Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened. 15 So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him.  17 And He said to them, “What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?”  18 Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, “Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?”  19 And He said to them, “What things?”  So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. 21 But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened. 22 Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. 23 When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. 24 And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see.”  25 Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.  28 Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther. 29 But they constrained Him, saying, “Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” And He went in to stay with them. 


Beginning in verse 13, we see what is often called the road to Emmaus and the first of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances on Sunday afternoon.  Verses 13-18 speak of these two eye-witnesses, and one of them was named Cleopas.  Perhaps it was he and his wife. 


However, initially, they didn’t recognize Jesus because God didn’t allow it.  That is what verse 16 says. 


Jesus asked them why they were sad.  Obviously, they were still under the impression that Jesus was dead.  They had heard the report of the women and even saw the empty tomb, but they hadn’t seen Jesus alive. 


While still not recognizing them, Cleopas asked how Jesus had not heard of His awful death.  Evidently, it was common knowledge in Jerusalem since it happened. 


Verse 21 tells us that these earliest disciples were hoping Jesus would empower an immediate and earthly kingdom.  Even after Jesus explains how the Old Testament had prophesied all that had happened, they still didn’t recognize Him.


However, they wanted to hear more and kept Jesus from moving on.  Verse 29 says that Jesus stayed with them for a while.


The afternoon appearances invite you to experience the resurrected Christ.  Don’t just believe that the tomb is empty and Jesus is alive.  Put your faith and trust in Him as Lord and Savior of your life. 


All of God’s word is true.  The resurrection confirms this truth, and I invite you to be saved this morning by admitting that you are sinner, believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, and call on Him to save you. 



  1. Encouragement in the Evening, Luke 24:30-53

30 Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight.  32 And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” 33 So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread.  36 Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” 37 But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. 38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”  40 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41 But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?” 42 So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. 43 And He took it and ate in their presence.  44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.  46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things. 49 Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”  50 And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. 51 Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen.


It is now evening, and Jesus sat down with this group of disciples and shared a meal with them.  Evidently, this triggered memories of Thursday night or even of Him feeding the thousands.  Verse 31 said they knew Him, but He then vanished. 


In a mysterious way, Jesus resurrected body could be seen and heard, and He could eat.  However, He could also defy time and space limitations and move at will. 


Because of what they had seen and heard, they had to tell others.  Therefore, they went back to Jerusalem from Emmaus and told the other disciples that they had witnessed the resurrected Christ. 


In verse 36, Jesus then joined them in Jerusalem.  In order to calm them and prove that it was really Him, because they were scared, Jesus offered for them to touch Him and feel Him.  He then asked them for some food, and He ate fish in their presence. 


Beginning in verse 44, Jesus encouraged them in the evening with these three truths.  First, the Bible is true, and you can trust it.  All of what is happening has been prophesied and is being fulfilled.


Second, the gospel is sufficient, and the gospel is clear.  Jesus died because we are sinners, but He was raised and offers eternal life to all who believe.  That is our message.


Third, the Church is Plan A to evangelize the world.  In verse 48, we are witness to these things, and this is the message to share with the world.  Furthermore, you will have the Promise of the Father, the Holy Spirit, to empower you for the task. 


This encouragement in the evening gives our last invitation to do our job, to fulfill our responsibility.  The isn’t a better way to evangelize the world.  There isn’t another way.  Brothers and sisters, we are God’s predestined way.  Now, let us be found faithful.




Sunday and chapter 24 and Luke’s gospel end with Jesus ascending and His followers worshipping and praising God.  May we be found faithful in doing the same. 

The Double Transfer
The Giver and Gift of Life

The Giver and Gift of Life

April 4, 2022

This morning, if you have your Bibles, please turn to the John 4:43 as we finish this chapter looking at Jesus moving from Sychar in Samaria north to Cana in Galilee.  You can locate these places on one of the maps in the back of your Bible.


Remember, the last time Jesus was in Cana, He helped a young, newly-wed couple avoid social catastrophe by turning water into wine when the wine had run out at their wedding reception.  He left this area and went to Jerusalem, and then while traveling back, He stopped in Sychar in Samaria before coming to Cana of Galilee.


I want to share a sermon with you this morning from John 4:43-54.  It is entitled, “The Giver and Gift of Life.”



Notice in verse 43 John’s editorial comments specifically about Jesus, the Samaritans, and the Galileans.  Jesus spent two days in Sychar.  That fact corresponds with 4:40. 


40 So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days.


He then left and was on His way to Galilee, which is north.


In verse 44, John repeated something that Jesus had said.  Jesus knew that a prophet was without honor in his own country.  Jesus’ home town was Nazareth of Galilee, and it was there that He had some of His greatest challenges, and John’s inclusion of this proverb foreshadows some experiences to come. 


BTW, I can testify to this reality as well.  Some of my greatest challenges in my ministry have come from my family members.  Sometimes, they are some of least receptive of me. 


At the same time, can I encourage not to take for granted your family of believers if that is true of you.  So many families are divided spiritually, and I am so thankful that my immediate family is not.  However, many are, and their lives are a living hell every day and every weekend and every holiday.  Don’t take your believing family for granted.


The oddity of this verse is its placement.  Why would this verse be placed between two verses that speak of Jesus returning to Cana?  Why would this proverb seem to be speaking of Cana?


That truth is that Jesus was well aware of how He would be treated, but He also knew that some in Galilee would receive Him and believe in Him.  Therefore, He went.


When Jesus arrived in Cana, He did receive a favorable welcome, but it was superficial.  The Galileans were hoping that He would perform some signs and miracles as He did in Jerusalem.  They were attracted to Him for the show not as their Savior.



  1. Desperation for a Son, John 4:46-49

46 So Jesus came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum. 47 When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and implored Him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48 Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe.”  49 The nobleman said to Him, “Sir, come down before my child dies!”


In 4:46, we see that when Jesus came back to Cana, He was met there by a nobleman, or your translation may say “royal official.”  This man was probably an official in King Herod’s court, and he had a son who was sick about 15-20 miles away to the east in Capernaum. 


Evidently, he had heard about Jesus and His miracles and was desperate for Jesus to heal his son.  You can be sure that because of this man’s position, he had significant financial resources.  However, those must have been exhausted, and his son was in dire straits as he came to Jesus.


The end of 4:47 says that he came to Jesus imploring Him to come down to Capernaum and heal his son.  He was close to dying. 


That word “implore” is translated in other versions as begged.  He begged and pleaded over and over again for Jesus to come and heal his son.  The wording of the original language also indicates that he followed Jesus around begging and pleading for help.  Otherwise, he would die.


BTW, as this boy was on the verge of death and doctor’s had done all they could do, Jesus turned to Jesus.  Medicine could do more.  Therefore, this man went to Jesus and implored Him, begged Him, pleaded with Him over and over again to make his son well. 


Is this how you pray?  Isn’t that how we should pray?  See Luke 18:1-8.


1 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, 2 saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. 3 Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ 4 And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, 5 yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’”  6 Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. 7 And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? 8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”


At first glance, Jesus’ response in 4:48 seems harsh, but understand that Jesus was making a point to all of the Galileans who had gathered.  Jesus wanted the people to believe without having to see a miracle. 


Then in 4:49, the royal official pleaded with Jesus again to come down to Capernaum and heal his son before he dies.  Down is a reference to elevation not direction.



  1. An Illustration of the Supernatural, John 4:50-51

50 Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your son lives.” So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way. 51 And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, “Your son lives!”


In verse 50, we find Jesus’ unusual response.  Rather than obliging the official and going to Capernaum, Jesus simply and calmly said to him, “Go your way; your son lives.” 


According to the text, that is the end of this conversation.  Jesus doesn’t say anymore.  The official doesn’t argue with Him or debate what Jesus said.  Verse 50 just says that he believed what Jesus said and started off on the journey home.


In verse 51, as this man was on his way back to Capernaum, he was met by one of his slaves saying that his son was living. 


BTW, Don’t miss the fact that this miracle was accomplished when Jesus spoke.  He didn’t have to touch or even physically see this boy.  Because He is God and all-powerful or omnipotent, Jesus spoke, and this boy lived even though he was some 15 miles away.



  • Confirmation of Salvation, John 4:52-54

52 Then he inquired of them the hour when he got better. And they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” 53 So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives.” And he himself believed, and his whole household.  54 This again is the second sign Jesus did when He had come out of Judea into Galilee.


In verse 52, after hearing from his servants that his son had been healed and was alive, the father asked his slave at what time did this take place.  The servant responded that his son’s fever left him at the seventh hour or 1 PM, and the father knew that it was the same time that Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your son lives.” 


When the father put two and two together, he believed in Jesus as Lord and Savior as well as his entire household.  Earlier, he had believed what Jesus said.  Here, he believed in Jesus for salvation. 


BTW, There are no coincidences in your life.  There is no such thing as chance or luck.  God is completely sovereign or in control of the smallest atom of the universe and every detail of your life. 


When Jesus spoke, this son was healed.  His fever left him, and he was no longer close to death. 


John concluded this chapter by telling the readers that this was the second sign that Jesus performed.  The first was turning the water into wine.




First, Jesus is the giver of life.  Jesus gave live to this son. 


Consequently, if Jesus is the giver of life, stuff is not the giver of life.  The story of the rich young ruler teaches us that.


Sex is not the giver of life.  The story of the woman at the well teaches us that.


Sports is not the giver of life.  Kids all over our country, all over our state and this county and even in this church are being sacrificed to the idol of youth sports. 


Parents, when your children leave your house, they are going to have lots of medals and rings and team pictures.  However, they are going to be spiritually dead because you allowed them to think and even supported the idea that youth sports is a greater priority that Jesus and His bride. 


Second, not only is Jesus the giver of life, He gives the gift of life.  Notice a statement that is found three times in this story.  It is “your son lives.”


Why did this son live?  He lived because Jesus gave him the gift of life.  Yes, Jesus healed in physically.  However, that truth serves to point us to a greater truth, and that is that Jesus heals spiritually. 


Jesus wants to give you the gift of abundant life.  See John 10:10.


10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.


Jesus wants to give you the gift of eternal life.  See John 11:25-26.


25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”


Finally, do you believe Jesus?  Like the royal official, we need to believe the words of Jesus without argument and even without evidence or proof. 


This man had two options when Jesus told him to go because his son lives.  He could either not believe Jesus and allow his son to die or he could trust Jesus and return without any proof that Jesus was telling the truth. 


When Jesus said He was the only way and the only truth and the only life, we need to believe Him call on Him to save us.  Will you do that this morning?

A Picture of Biblical Evangelism

A Picture of Biblical Evangelism

March 28, 2022

In John 4, Jesus was going to Galilee from Judea, and He had to go through Samaria.  Because of the Jews hatred for Samaria, we know that Jesus had to do this because He knew of the divine appointment that awaited Him.


Going against so many religious and social norms of the day, Jesus began a conversation with an immoral, Samaritan woman in public and in broad daylight.  Why?  Because she was lost and in need of personal and saving relationship with the Savior of the world.


On this day, this immoral Samaritan woman believed in Jesus and share her experience with the men in her city of Sychar.  Consequently, I want to share a message with you this morning entitled, “A Picture of Biblical Evangelism.” 


The word “evangelism” means sharing or communicating or verbally telling the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ with others.  Certainly, the integrity of the messenger is very important.  However, don’t misunderstand this point.  Evangelism is verbally sharing the gospel. 


What is the gospel?  The gospel starts with the fact that we, humanity, are sinners, and our sin separates us from a Holy God. 


Romans 3:23, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.


However, the good news is that Jesus loved us so much that He died on the cross in our place and for our sins.


Romans 5:8, 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.


2 Corinthians 5:21, 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.


Finally, from cover to cover, the Bible offers sinners an invitation to call on the risen Savior, Jesus Christ, to save us, and when we do, He does.


Romans 10:13, 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”


This is true for male and female, young and old, black and white, Jew and Gentile, religious and immoral, and every other person on the planet.


In today’s brief text, I want you to see this picture of biblical evangelism.  It is a picture that I pray is true EBC.



  1. Biblical Evangelism can be practiced with words from the Saved, 4:39.

39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.”


Verse 39 says that many of the Samaritans of Sychar believed in Jesus because of the words or the testimony of the Samaritan woman.  Go back to 4:28-30.


28 The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, 29 “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” 30 Then they went out of the city and came to Him.


Keep in mind that this woman hadn’t been to seminary.  She hadn’t taken any evangelism classes.  She hadn’t had time to clean up her life.  She simply went to the people she knew and told them of her personal encounter with Jesus.  In other words, she verbally shared her story or her testimony.


Do you remember our sermon series called, “Every Believer a Witness?”  What did we work on for several Sundays in this room and at this time?  We worked on our salvation testimony. 


Do you remember it had three parts?  It began with my life before Christ.  The second part was how I met Christ including the gospel.  The third part was my life after meeting Christ. 


Was that some cute trick that I brought to you from a pastor in North Carolina named Dennis Nunn?  No, that is what Paul did in Acts 26:1-23.


Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You are permitted to speak for yourself.”


1 So Paul stretched out his hand and answered for himself: 2 “I think myself happy, King Agrippa, because today I shall answer for myself before you concerning all the things of which I am accused by the Jews, 3 especially because you are expert in all customs and questions which have to do with the Jews. Therefore I beg you to hear me patiently.  4 “My manner of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation at Jerusalem, all the Jews know. 5 They knew me from the first, if they were willing to testify, that according to the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee. 6 And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers. 7 To this promise our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain. For this hope’s sake, King Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews. 8 Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?  9 “Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 This I also did in Jerusalem, and many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities.


12 “While thus occupied, as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, 13 at midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me. 14 And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15 So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 16 But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. 17 I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, 18 to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’


19 “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance. 21 For these reasons the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. 22 Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come— 23 that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”


Consider that model for your own salvation testimony: my life before Christ, how I met Christ, and my life since or after I met Christ.  Here is mine.


Who in your circle, where God put you, needs to hear your story, your salvation testimony?  This woman cared enough about the salvation of her neighbors that she left her water pot behind and went to tell them of her encounter with Jesus. 


Biblical evangelism can be practice with words from the saved!



  1. Biblical Evangelism can be practiced with words from the Savior, 4:40-41.

40 So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of His own word. 


These men that she shared her testimony with came to meet Jesus personally.  They then invited Jesus to spend some time with them over the course of two days. 


Consequently, they were even more Samaritans who were saved after hearing the words of the Savior.  I want to commend to you this morning not only the resource of your personal testimony but also the resource of gospel tracts because these gospel tracts contain God’s words or the Savior’s words.


These tracts that we provide for you all carry the same title, “Steps to Peace with God.”  They were all written by Billy Graham.  We have them English and Spanish and for adults and for children. 


Carry them in your purse and car.  Leave them at the restaurant and the doctor’s office.  Share them with friends and strangers. 



  • Biblical Evangelism CANNOT be practice with Jesus the Savior, 4:42.

42 Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”


The word “Savior” is only used one time in all of John’s gospel, and it used by the Samaritans.  That is interesting because we would think it would be the disciples who say this. 


However, it was the Samaritans who remind us that Jesus is the Savior and the only Savior of the entire world. There is no other Savior and no other way to be saved apart from believing in Jesus and Lord and Savior.




I conclude this morning with words of Jesus from John 4:35.


35 Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!


Now is the time to put aside man’s prejudice and misplaced priorities and consistent procrastination.  Now is the time to share your personal testimony and gospel tracts with God’s word with lost family and friends who need to know that God loves them.


Now is the time for Emory Baptist Church to make sure that we are a picture of biblical evangelism. 

Our Impartial God

Our Impartial God

March 6, 2022

If you have Bibles this morning, I want you to find John 4:1.  I want to share a message with you entitled, “Our Impartial God.”


Today, we make a transition.  We are transitioning from John 3 to John 4.  However, we are also transitioning from the old of John the Baptist to the new of Jesus the Christ. 


Today’s text has so much truth and application.  However, time will not permit me to cover it all.  Therefore, please join me on Wednesday, March 9, at 6:30 PM for us to dig deeper during our Wednesday Worship.  We will talk about the nature of Christ, personal evangelism, and the worship that God desires. 




In verses 1-3, John tells us that the Lord Jesus became aware of the Pharisees’ knowledge of His growing popularity.  As a result, Jesus left Jerusalem and Judea.  He didn’t want to involve Himself with any more conflict at this time.


By the way, notice verse 2.  John tells us that even though Jesus’ disciples baptized for Him, Jesus didn’t baptize anyone personally.  I don’t know why for certain.  However, what this tells me is that baptism can’t save.  Otherwise, what kind of Savior would Jesus be if He didn’t practice the act that saves? 


In verse 4, we see that Jesus needed to go through Samaria to get to Galilee.  The interesting point about this statement is that no respectable Jew took this route.  Almost all, if not all, Jews went around Samaria to avoid it.  The hatred that Jews had for Samaritans then perhaps could be compared to the hatred that some Americans have had for blacks through the years and even today. 


However, Jesus needed to go through Samaria.  Why?  He knew of a divine appointment waiting for Him.


Verse 5 says that He came a well in Sychar.  It was known as Jacob’s well that he had given to his son, Joseph, as referenced back in Genesis 48:21-22.


21 Then Israel said to Joseph, “Behold, I am dying, but God will be with you and bring you back to the land of your fathers. 22 Moreover I have given to you one portion above your brothers, which I took from the hand of the Amorite with my sword and my bow.”


In verse 6, we see that Jesus took a break there and sat down at the well.  He is a great example of Jesus’ humanity as John tells us that Jesus was tired from the trip. 


Perhaps one of the reasons for Jesus’ fatigue is what John tells us next.  It was about the sixth hour.  That meant the sixth hour from sun up or 6 AM.  In other words, it was high noon.  The sun was surely straight overhead and shining brightly. 


In verse 7, we meet a Samaritan woman.  She came to well to draw water.  Ironically, she was alone, and that seems to be because no one wanted to be around her.


Other women would have come first thing in the morning to beat the heat.  They also would have come in a group for protection. 


However, she is alone, and Jesus asked her for a drink because Jesus was also alone.  His disciples had gone into town to get some food for lunch.


Her response was one of disbelief and sarcasm.  In her experience, Jews only talked to Samaritans when they wanted something in return.  Furthermore, for a male to being speaking to a female in public who was not his wife was unheard of. 


In verse 10, Jesus begins a veiled and cryptic gospel conversation as He introduced living water.  The woman didn’t understand and asked Him to explain further. 


In verses 13-14, Jesus said that living water would quench thirst immediately and satisfy her eternally.  Of course, He was speaking of her spiritual thirst.  In verse 15, she asked Jesus for this water.


In verses 16-18, you might think that Jesus changed the subject.  In reality, He did not because her belief and our belief drive our behavior. 


Because this woman had never drunk living water and been satisfied by the one true and living God, she sought satisfaction in men.  Jesus told her to go and get her husband. 


She responded that she didn’t have a husband, and she was right.  She had been in at least five relationships and was now in a sixth, but she wasn’t married to the man she was living with. 


By the way, the act of divorce and the act of fornication immoral.  They were both immoral and sin here in John 4, and they are still immoral and sin today.  God’s plan for couples is one man married to one woman for one lifetime. 


Because Jesus knew the intimate details of this woman’s life, she realized He was different.  In fact, she began to understand that He was a man of God so she began to talk about worship.


However, her worship was misplaced in its object and practice.    Jesus told her that a time was coming when worshippers of the true and living God would recognize the true object and worship, and that worship cannot be confined to particular location. 


In verse 22, because Jesus was a Jew, salvation came from the Jews and would be realized by more and more after His resurrection and with the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. 


In verse 25, this Samaritan woman acknowledged at least some understanding of her need and promise of a coming Messiah.  Undoubtedly, Jesus blew her mind by revealing that He was the Christ!




As I said previously, this story touches so many topics and has so much truth and application related to the nature of Jesus and personal evangelism and worship.  However, what is its one main point?


Jesus, God’s Son, and therefore, God, is completely impartial.  In other words, He is never prejudice and never plays favorites. 


How do we know?  We have to remember John 3 as we think about John 4.




Samaritan Woman









By Chance










Public Perception

Religious Teacher

Immoral Outcast


The point is that Jesus is the Savior of the world because God is impartial.  He offers to save whomever will believe in His Son.


Deuteronomy 10:17


2 Chronicles 19:7


Acts 10:34


Romans 2:11


Romans 10:12


Galatians 2:6


Galatians 3:28


Ephesians 6:9




So if Jesus is Savior of the world, and saving the world and ministering to the world is the heartbeat of God, then we had better love and welcome anyone that God brings through those doors and into Rains County.  And if we won’t, if you won’t, you might want to find another church. 

Descending Into Greatness

Descending Into Greatness

February 28, 2022

If I were to ask you this morning who is the greatest person to ever live, who would you say and why? 


Do you know how Jesus would answer this question?  He wouldn’t say Abraham or Jacob or Joseph or Moses or David or Isaiah or Daniel or Peter or Paul.  He would say John the Baptist.  See Luke 7:28.


28 For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”


Ironically, John went down to be great.  Normally, we think of up as great, but again, John went down, and Jesus called him the greatest man to ever live.


In today’s text, John 3:22-36, we are going to see the last of John the Baptist as far as the gospel of John goes.  He is going to go down or descend and at the same time go up.


Today’s text is a transition from John the Baptist to Jesus the Christ, and it is also a transition from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant.  My message this morning is entitled, “Descending Into Greatness.”



  1. Jesus and John were Similar, John 3:22-24.

22 After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He remained with them and baptized. 23 Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there. And they came and were baptized. 24 For John had not yet been thrown into prison.


Verse 22 begins with Jesus and His disciples, and John enters the picture in verse 23.  In these three verses, we see three similarities between Jesus and John. 


First of all, both had disciples.  3:22 mentions Jesus and His disciples coming into the land of Judea, and 3:25 reminds us that John had his own disciples as well.


Second, Jesus and John also both went about preaching.  Turn to Matthew’s gospel to see this explicitly.  See Matthew 3:1-2 and 4:17.


1 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”


17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”


Matthew 3:1-2 says that John preached a message of repentance, and Matthew 4:17 says that Jesus preached a message of repentance.


Thirdly, Jesus and John both baptized.  Jesus and His disciples were baptizing in 3:22, and John was baptizing in Aenon where there was a lot of water.


By the way, some have argued that immersion could not have been the prescribed mode of baptism in the New Testament because there would not have been enough water to baptize all those people in a desert and extremely hot environment.  John 3:23 seems to say otherwise.


Again, Jesus and John were similar!



  1. However, John was Subordinate, John 3:25-31.

25 Then there arose a dispute between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purification. 26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified—behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!”  27 John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’ 29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore, this joy of mine is fulfilled. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.  31 He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all.


In verse 25, we are introduced to a discussion that probably arose due in part to the jealousy of John’s disciples.  We don’t know all of the details about this discussion or argument.  We simply know it was about purification, and this is probably about whose baptism was better, John’s or Jesus’?


Therefore, they came to John with their complaint.  Essentially they said that Jesus was gaining in popularity, and more people were going to Him to be baptized than John. 


Needless to say, John’s disciples didn’t like that.  However, John answered them with a great observation.  He said in verse 27 that no minister prospers without the blessing of God.  You can rest assure that all is well because the hand of God is on Jesus.


In 3:28, we see three reasons why John was subordinate to Jesus.  First of all, John was the forerunner.  He says plainly and clearly in this verse that he was not the Christ.  He was the one sent before Him.  He was the forerunner.


Secondly, John was the friend.  He uses a wedding analogy to explain the relationship between himself and Jesus.  Jesus is the bridegroom.  John is the friend or the best man.  All the best man wants to do is make the groom look good.  Doing that gave John a heart full of joy.


Thirdly, John was from earth.  In 3:31, John said that Jesus was from above, but he is of the earth and speaks earthly things.  On the other hand, Jesus is from heaven and is above all.


Again, John is subordinate because he is the forerunner, a friend, and from earth.



  • Jesus is Superior, John 3:31-36.

31 He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony. 33 He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true. 34 For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure. 35 The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. 36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”


Yes, Jesus and John were similar.  However, John was subordinate, and Jesus is superior. 


Even though there is some debate about whether verses 31-36 were the words of John the Baptist or John the Apostle, the content is still the same. Jesus is superior. 


Why? First, He is superior because He is from heaven in verse 31.  Second, He is greater because He is divine.  Being the second person of the Trinity, He has the experience of God and testifies to such in verse 32.  Third, He is greater because He speaks on behalf of God and has the fullest measure of the Holy Spirit in verse 34.  Finally, He is greater because God loves Him and has given Him all things in verse 35.




So Jesus and John are similar, but John is subordinate, and Jesus is superior.  So what?


First, if you claim to be a follower of Christ but haven’t been baptized, I would encourage you to do it.  John baptized.  Jesus was baptized and baptized, and it is their baptisms that point to Christian baptism by immersion that pictures the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.


Second, there is a call here for Christians to model humility.  Because we are naturally self-centered people, it is easy for us to get jealous and resentful and bitter when those around us are succeeding but we aren’t.  This happens at work and in the neighborhood with houses and cars.  It can even happen with hunting and who killed the biggest buck and golfing and who shot the lowest score.


However, John the Baptist sets for us an incredible example of humility.  When his disciples came to him and expressed their frustration with Jesus’ growing popularity, what did John say?  He ultimately responded with the utmost humility and said in 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”  John was grateful and thankful and overjoyed with the success of Jesus’ ministry. 


We also as followers of Christ are to model humility, and humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.  See Philippians 2:3-4.


3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.


Finally, there is a call here for the non-Christian to believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior.  Because Jesus is superior, He is also Savior and offers eternal life to all who believe in Him. 


If you believe in Him as a follower or disciple of Christ, you currently and will have eternal life in heaven and forgiveness of sins.  However, if you do not believe and do not obey and do not receive Him, the wrath of God abides on you now and will abide on you in a literal, Christless hell separated from God.

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