Sermons on John
Even though, based on our appearances, we might seem different from one another, we all experience very similar internal lives. For example, we all struggle with feelings of inadequacy, fear, and shame. We all experience frustration, anger, and uncertainty. We might do a good job hiding those feelings from one another, but we all encounter them. Our shared experiences with those emotions prompt our consideration of Peter in this lesson. The New Testament’s account of Peter draws attention to his struggles to highlight Jesus’ response. Therefore, we will consider some of Peter’s struggles to see what insights they may offer us into our relationship with Jesus.
I recently read a short news story about “body-positive models,” about plus-sized fashion models trying to change perceptions of beauty. Those models sit within our culture’s growing emphasis upon positivity that advocates love for self regardless of one’s shape, color, sexuality, or any other identifying features or qualities they may possess. Loving oneself also holds an important place in the Bible. Consider, for example, Jesus’ second greatest command – “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 7:39, emp. added). While positivity culture and the Bible may overlap, a key difference separates them – the love our culture advocates is individualized to each person, while the love the Bible discusses focuses on God. We will use this lesson to consider God’s love for us and some of the applications it has within our lives.
One might be forgiven for thinking that Easter means new clothes, candy, and other marketed goods. Even though it might seem that Easter is becoming another consumer holiday, millions of people worldwide continue to use the Easter holiday to reflect on the meaning of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Generally, a celebratory mood marks the day because of the ‘good news’ (the literal meaning of the word “gospel”) Jesus’ resurrection brings to peoples’ lives. Therefore, we will use this Easter service to consider one of the reasons why Jesus’ resurrection is good news and what that message means for our lives.
English poet John Donne included that phrase in a publication of prose he released in 1624. His statement remains well-known even though nearly four hundred years have passed since its appearance because it simply and memorably expresses humanity’s social nature. While we might acknowledge the phrase’s truth, a tendency nevertheless exists to try and do things on our own. And who can fault us – we live in a culture constantly promoting DIY individualism and rags-to-riches stories of hardworking individuals who succeed against all odds. That tendency to individualism, however, grates against God’s expectation of single-minded devotion to Him. We are taking time this year to focus on discipleship, on committing ourselves to follow Jesus and learn from him so that we can be more like him. Over the last few weeks, we have considered how we can act like Jesus in our relationships. In this lesson, we will consider Jesus’ relationship with God and how his complete devotion to God offers a model to follow in our relationships with God.
This year, we are focusing on discipleship – our commitment to follow Jesus and learn from him so that we can be like him and lead others to him. Four areas of focus come out of our definition of discipleship: 1. Learning to act like Jesus – “our commitment to follow Jesus.” 2. Learning to think like Jesus – “to learn from him.” 3. Transforming into a Christlike person – “be like him.” 4. Teaching other people about Jesus – “lead others to him.” Those four areas – acting, thinking, transforming, and teaching – will form the foci for our preaching in 2022. This month, we begin focusing on acting like Jesus and will give attention to learning to act like him in our relationships with other people. This lesson will consider Jesus’ interaction with Lazarus’ family in John chapter eleven to help us think about our interactions with suffering and hurting people.
Another Advocate John 14:15-18 Jesus promised the disciples that He would send…another advocate? He’s talking about the Holy Spirit. If the Spirit is another advocate, what does He advocate for? In what ways does the Spirit work in the life of a disciple? Seeing how the Spirit and the Son work together for our good imparts great humility & courage!
President Biden’s recent inauguration elicited numerous comments. The absence of the crowds that usually attend a presidential inauguration and the debates swirling about the legitimacy of the election combined to make his inauguration the most unusual one in recent memory. People connected to Biden’s administration consequently tried to give context to the abnormal event, working to give the ceremony legitimacy and a sense of normalcy. We expect important events to follow specific, prescribed patterns and we feel the need to offer explanations when they fail to meet those expectations. Jesus, however, commonly turned those anticipations upside down and often challenged expectations rather than explaining his actions. Consider, for example, his inauguration – the gospels record Jesus’ inauguration taking place through his betrayal and death and the challenges his path to ‘power’ created for his followers. Even though people Jesus’ time struggled to understand and accept the means of his rise to power, Christendom today celebrates that event through its observance of Easter Sunday. We will take advantage of that focus in this lesson by giving attention to how Jesus’ death and resurrection became the unexpected means of his exaltation and what it means for our lives.
John 7: 37-38 The four gospels record many memorable things said by Jesus, words that have been providing hope, comfort, and encouragement to people for the past two-thousand years. Sometimes, however, the time separating us from Jesus’ sayings and our familiarity with them conspire to cause us to miss the import of his teachings. This lesson will consider Jesus’ promise in John 7:37-38, exploring how Genesis offers a backdrop for understanding his claim about God’s plan for those who believe in Jesus. In particular, the lesson will give attention to what it looks like to be a ‘river of life’ person.
The 1970 Academy-Award winning movie Love Story traces the relationship of wealthy heir Oliver Barrett and working-class Jennifer Calleveri. Oliver, against his father’s wishes, married Jennifer, a decision that motivated his father to disown him and withhold the family’s wealth and privilege from him. Happy but struggling, the movie follows the young couple as they begin their life together until a tragic illness takes Jennifer’s life early in their marriage. The movie ends with Jennifer’s death bringing reconciliation between Oliver and his father, marked by Oliver telling his sorrowful father, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” We respond to stories like the one told in Love Story not merely because they narrate universal human experiences of love and loss, but because we sense a certain nobility them. I suspect we respond to those stories because they reflect aspects of God who “is love” (1 John 4:8). God’s identity as love shapes the Bible’s narrative, which tells a great love story. We will therefore consider the Bible’s love story in this lesson and what it means for our lives.
John 17: 20-23 The 151st church family has the following mission: we exist to live, and help others live, a purposeful life by being more like Jesus. Our mission expresses itself in through: = Growing – developing our understanding of God’s Bible and developing ways of helping us faithfully live out those understandings. = Bonding – developing a deeper relationship with God that reveals itself through our deepening relationships with one another. = Sending – identifying ways to both serve and teach the people and communities around us with the goal of one day planting another church. Last year focused on “growing”, the first of the three expressions of our mission. This year we will focus on the second of the three purposes – “bonding” – and explore the Bible’s teachings about relationships and the place they hold within our effort to be more a Christlike church family. Bonding’s goal focuses on helping us cultivate united, Jesus-centered relationships with one another through which we evidence, and develop, our relationship with God. This lesson introduces our focus for 2021 by offering a brief overview of bonding’s place within the Bible.
Alan Nalley, a missionary in Brazil whose work we help support, gives a report on his ministry. Alan and his wife, Ree, live in Guarapuava, Brazil, in Parana State. They began working full time in Guarapuava in January 2014, after 27 years of working with Christians in the city of Curitiba. Visit https://www.151cofc.com/ministries/missions/alan-and-ree-nalley/ for more about the Nalley’s work.
The coronavirus pandemic, its economic fallout, and nationwide protests against police brutality and racial equality have disrupted our country. This lesson considers some of Jesus’ teachings that outline his expectations for the thinking and behavior of his followers, expectations that should shape our response to the issues disrupting our nation.
John 14:28-31 Jesus says that the devil held no power over him. And yet the devil repeatedly used temptation in an attempt to trap Jesus. What temptation is most challenging for you? Does it help to know God gives us desires along with a good way to fulfill those desires? We are encouraged that Jesus understands our temptations; that he left us an example to follow; and most of all that we have His blood to fall back upon.
John 17:20-23 — Just before his death, Jesus prayed that his followers would be united. This lesson will look at how the New Testament develops Jesus’ desire for unity and consider what that unity means for our lives.
John chapter six records a lengthy conversation Jesus had with a crowd that ended with many of them abandoning him. When Jesus asked his apostles if they also wanted to leave, Peter replied, “To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life
John 14:15 – Few things make Christians more uncomfortable than the topic of evangelism, yet the Bible emphasizes its essential place in the church’s identity and mission in the world. This lesson will consider the place that Jesus gave to love in evangelism and what it means for our practice of evangelism today.
John 14:25-26 Even the Holy Spirit is depicted in Scripture as “He”. Why is God, an eternal Spirit, careful to depict Himself in this way? There’s something necessary about a male authority figure who is both firm and kind.
John 11:1-5: Jesus is the resurrection and the life. Life is precious, death is costly & God takes both seriously enough to send Jesus.
Psalms 23, John 10, Ezekiel 34
John 15:5-11 When Jesus says He is the True Vine & His Father is the Gardener, we realize that faith demands a growth mindset. Living daily in Jesus’ Words produces spiritual fruit. However, it’s not always at the pace or in the way we anticipate. It’s a great challenge! There is also a great assurance. Jesus’ words in John 15 are so that His joy may be in His followers. Even the smallest step of growth can bear fruit and…