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New Life (John 5:16-47)
(from "John: A Story to Believe" by Pastor Jeff MacLurg; Our Savior's Baptist Church, Federal Way, Wash.; April 24, 2011. My notes are from the 9 and 10:45 am services, I pray that my notes capture the right stuff and are helpful to you)
--- When Religion Attacks Jesus (v. 16-18) ---
How many religious "acts" are simply "performances"? Keeping rules and regulations, always about your actions and not about God's love.
1. "He breaks our RELIGIOUS RULES."
He healed on a day when you're not supposed to do miracles. (Of course, how many of them could do miracles on any day?)
2. "He claims to be EQUAL WITH GOD."
If he were here today, he'd plead guilty. He did break their rules. He did claim to be equal to God. He never intended for us to be wrapped up in religion. It's not about doing stuff, it's about believing. Faith in Jesus is about a change inside, not about following some man-made rules.
--- Jesus' Response to Religion ---
1. A Healing: People MATTER MORE TO GOD than PEOPLE'S RELIGIOUS RULES. (v. 1-15)
So that's why He intentionally riled them up. They were getting in the way of a relationship with God.
2. A Teaching (v. 16-47)
Jesus' longest sermon to this point in the book of John. If we were accused of claiming to be God (and threatened with death), we would say "You must have misheard me." He's doesn't dispute them. Whatever the Father can do, Jesus can do,
* "Everything GOD CAN DO I can do EQUAL." (v. 21)
This just lit their fire. It's a travesty, it's heresy, it's criminal. He deserves to die for this. He's crazy!
Unless it's true...
Pilate offers to flog him and let him go, but the religious leaders say "No, he must be crucified."
So we make the same choice - will we accept His claim or was he crazy?
Pastor Jeff once had a talk with someone who thinks that when we arrive in heaven, we're going to meet Jesus and be embarrassed when Jesus asks why we made such a big deal of Him, that Jesus never meant to start a religion. Except that Jesus himself makes that claim (John 5:21) - so either He's God or he's crazy.
* Resurrection isn't just about COMING BACK TO LIFE again; it's about having a BRAND NEW LIFE AGAIN. (v. 21)
There's no hoops, no requirements or pledges, no rules to keep or acts to perform - Jesus wants to just give it to us.
v. 24 - "...crossed over from death to life..."
Jesus describes us as living on the "death side" - we're stuck - failed relationships, trapped in our sins, we're aware that this life is temporary, but everything we try to do draw closer to God or extend our life feels empty and we remain unforgiven.
But there is an escape -- bridge - to a "life side" of life.
But... a bridge is only useful if you use it. It does not good if you just look at it. So you must "cross over" - people who have crossed over have crossed over to new life. On Easter Sunday, Jesus cut the ribbon and opened the bridge and invited everyone across.
Everything "stuck" in this life will be "unstuck" in the new life. That's the future to look forward to. But what does it take to cross over?
* New life is about living IN A BRAND NEW PLACE. (v. 24) You get there by HEARING and BELIEVING.
v. 25 - "...the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live."
The proclamation - that this is not all there is.
v. 25 - "a time is coming and has now come" - not just a wondrous heaven, but something that can be experienced now. Not just the promise of the future, but the transformation of today. We begin a process of being changed today - being made new - transformation - not just to get us to heaven someday, but to let us start our new lives now, even while we're still here on earth.
* New life STARTS NOW. (v. 25)
Transformation - today. Being made new. Not just so we can enjoy heaven, but so we can enjoy life to the full.
Resurrection - future.
v. 28-29 - Tense change: "A time is coming..." - no longer a present-tense thing... Some teachers are saying that love will win in the end and no one will end up in hell. If that's true, Jesus is a liar. Jesus says there is an eternity in your future that's yours to choose.
Angel Food Cake - you have to cut off the crust during preparation. You eat that and you realize, that cake is going to be really good - and you've just gotten a small taste of what's to come.
* New life gives you an ETERNITY TO LOVE, NOT DREAD. (v. 26-29)
--- Attack or Accept? ---
Jesus said there's a line. You are in one camp or the other. It is the truth or it is not the truth. Where do you stand?
You've HEARD IT; you can BELIEVE IT.
Don't let your pride keep you from this new life.
He wants you to GIVE YOU NEW LIFE -- NOW.
Not just in the future, but now as well.
--- Cardboard Confessionals. (during "You Alone Can Rescue") ---
Christ the Lord is Risen Today
My Redeemer Lives
God is Alive with Let God Arise
Hallelujah What A Savior
I Will Rise
Mighty To Save
You Alone Can Rescue
In Christ Alone