(Go right to Title Slide: Do you hear it?” )
Good morning / afternoon. My name is David Sorn, and I’m the Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.
I want you to imagine that you’re at home
And you’re hanging out in your living room with a friend on a leisurely Saturday afternoon...
You were feeling fine, but you start to notice a headache coming on
And as the afternoon goes on, you start to feel even a bit dizzy…and your stomach doesn’t feel too good.
And then all of a sudden, your friend says, “Do you hear that?”
And amidst the fog in your head, and the pain in your body, you find you notice that you’re having a hard time responding.
And again, they say, “Do you HEAR that?”
You say: “Hear what?”
“It sounds like someone is pounding on the door!” they say.
You say: “I don’t think so”
But they get up, and they hurry over to the door, stumbling as they go.
They manage to barely get the door open, and it’s your neighbor, Joshua!
And he looks in and says, “There’s a gas leak! I’ve come to save you! Grab my hand, let’s go!”
Now, I want to come back to that image in a little bit because it’s going to tie into what Jesus is going to teach us in our Bible passage today.
So let’s go there now.
I’d like everybody to grab a Bible to look at.
They are under the chair in front of you (or if you’re in the front row , they are under your chair)
We don’t put the verses on the screen because we want everyone to grab a Bible.
You are at, what is called a “Bible-teaching church,” where we teach right through passages of Scripture.
You’re going to look for a big number 5, and a little number 16.
Let’s read it.
(John 5:16-18) – NIV
16 So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. 17 In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” 18 For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
(Slide: Do you hear it? )
Okay, keep that open, but we’re going to pause here for a second
One of the reasons we are teaching through John chapter 5 in the Bible this month is because Jesus explains much of his true identity in this chapter
And I think that’s something that many modern-day Americans don’t know quite as much about anymore.
In fact, one of the most common misconceptions about Jesus in modern-day America is that Americans tend to think that Jesus was merely a great teacher.
Like Confucius, or Immanuel Kant, or some other great philosopher, Jesus is thought of as someone who taught us to love our neighbor, turn the other cheek, show mercy, do justice and …do the right thing.
And certainly, Jesus did teach those things. Absolutely.
But we must also study how He spoke about himself.
And Jesus doesn’t describe Himself as “just a teacher,” but here in John chapter 5, and in many other places, He describes Himself as the Son of God, equal to God.
The great philosopher C.S. Lewis had much to say about this in his philosophical writings, but his best explanation probably came from his Chronicles of Narnia.
Maybe you read the book The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe as a kid…or you just saw the movie.
But you might know that Lucy goes through the wardrobe and enters into a magical land called Narnia.
And when she comes back she tells her brothers and sister about it, but they, not shockingly, don’t believe her.
Her siblings then talk to a wise professor, and the professor says, “Well, there are really only 3 options here.”
1) Perhaps she’s mentally unstable and thinks she’s gone to a magical land, 2) She just lied about it, or 3) she’s telling the truth
Those are your 3 options.
And philosophers and good thinkers will tell you that those are the same 3 options you have in interpreting Jesus’ claim that He was God.
1) Jesus could have been mentally unstable.
That sounds weird to say, but how would you describe someone today who walked around claiming to be god?
And yet, rarely does anyone describe Jesus Christ that way…so that’s probably not the best option.
Okay, so the second option is that both Jesus and the His biographers were lying about Him being the Son of God.
But that actually isn’t super logical either
Here’s why: Ethical Scholars generally agree that the moral teachings of Jesus are the greatest moral teachings of all time.
And so it would be more than a bit ironic to say that the greatest moral teachings of all time came from a pathological liar who also lied about being God
So if Jesus wasn’t crazy, and he wasn’t a liar, the only other option available to us is that He was telling the truth…and He was the Son of God…
And by the way, if you’ve never really studied Jesus for yourself, I encourage you to take that Bible you’re holding with you today.
We’d love for you to do that.
There’s an even a guide we taped in the front that will show you where to start with the teachings of Jesus.
I want you to read it for yourself…and Jesus teaches that his #1 mission was not to be a teacher, but to be your Savior.
Think back now to my opening story about the gas leak and your neighbor, Joshua.
Imagine that your neighbor Joshua comes to the door, but in that moment, maybe due to the confusion of the gas, you misread Joshua’s intentions.
…and you say, “Joshua! So glad you’re here…I always love your insights on life! Come in! Sit down! I’d love to hear some more of your teachings!
If you do that, are you doing what Joshua wants?
No, he’s just trying to save your life at the moment!
And yet millions of Americans do that very thing with Jesus
They see him first as teacher instead of Savior.
Okay, let’s keep reading in our passage
We are now in verse 19, so look for that little 19.
(John 5:19-23) - NIV
19 Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed. 21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. 22 Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.
(Slide: Do you hear it? )
Okay. Let’s unpack this. This is what we do at a Bible teaching church.
Look at the end of verse 23.
Jesus says, “Whoever does not Honor the Son, does not honor the Father, who sent Him.”
He’s saying “God the Father has sent me to rescue you. And so if you don’t honor me, and see me as Savior, then you don’t honor God. You don’t see Him for who He truly is”
Again, imagine neighbor Joshua is at your door…
Which, by the way, Joshua is just another name for Jesus in a different language 😊
But let’s say that your neighbor Joshua says, “Grab my hand!”
And you say, “Nah, someone else will come save me! It’s fine.”
Or in MN, we say, “I got this.”
But the only one who can save you is Jesus.
But many people miss that offer of salvation, in part because they don’t hear it
Jesus is at the door knocking…
But in the fog of our normal American life…
Some of us are distracted in our busyness
Our others of us bogged down by the pains of life
Still others of us are just not tuned in to spiritual things…so we just don’t hear it.
I know for me, before I became a Christian, every once in a while I’d go to church, but all I heard was, “Blah, blah, blah”
I wasn’t fully alive. It was like sitting in the fog of the gas leak
And maybe your life even feels like it’s in a fog right now.
Look at verse 21 again.
It says, The Father (God) raises the dead and gives them life (new Spiritual life), and Jesus too.
Jesus wants to give YOU new life.
When you believe Jesus died for you and you accept Jesus as your Savior, and your Leader, the Bible says it’s like getting new life breathed into you.
In John chapter 3, Jesus calls this being “born again”
It’s like if you were to be rescued out of the fog of the gas leak, and walked outside, “All of a sudden you’re experiencing life in a way you weren’t previously”
I want to show you a practical example of how Jesus can do that in your life
In fact, I want to step aside for just a few minutes, and I’m going to invite Alex Becker up here.
Alex is from our church, and he, like many of you has a young family.
And Alex made a decision to accept Jesus as His Savior & Leader last year, and I want you to hear his story, so you can hear what this change sounds like
Thank you Alex.
That is what Jesus is talking about when he talks about giving new life.
Jesus explains this even further in the next section.
Let’s keep reading
(John 5:24-27) - NIV
24 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. 25 Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come 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 also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.
(Slide: Do you hear it? )
Do you hear it?
Do you hear the warning, AND the offer of life from Jesus?
He has come to the door, and He has offered to save you.
Look at verse 24.
He says: “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life
This is the most critical, central belief of Christianity right here.
Jesus doesn’t say, “Those who go to church get eternal life”
He doesn’t say, “Those who were baptized get eternal life”
He doesn’t say, “Those who are generally good people get eternal life”
What does the Bible actually say?
Jesus says, “Whoever HEARS my Word and believes Him who sent me…has eternal life.”
Do you hear it??
Can you hear him knocking?
Can you hear him calling out to your heart right now, saying, “Let me help you come alive! Let me save you!”
Will you do me a favor?
Will you, turn backwards 2 pages in your Bibles…to page 725, John chapter 3?
I want to show you something
Some of you may recognize this first verse, but you may not know what comes after it.
So look for the big 3, and little 16
(John 3:16-18) – NIV
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(Slide: Do you hear it? )
Here’s what that is saying:
It’s saying that you and I deserve justice because God is a just God.
But God is also SO loving, that He sent His Son Jesus to earth to die on the cross
And what Jesus did on the cross is die in your place.
He died for your sins.
Think about that.
He’s seen everything you’ve ever done. Everything.
And yet He loved you so much that He said He’d die in your place.
And the Word of God is teaching that if you believe in THAT…you won’t suffer God’s judgment for your sins.
God will have taken your sin off of you, and put it on to Jesus…and you will be not guilty.
But the warning was in verse 18:
It says: “Whoever does not believe stands condemned” (as guilty)
If you don’t believe it (and you just continue on leading your own life), then you’ll pay for your sins…not Jesus.
They’ll still be on you.
And thus you won’t have eternal life here, or in HEAVEN, but will go to hell.
Those are words we rarely say in America anymore, but that’s exactly what it says.
Jesus is not crazy, he’s not a liar.
He came from heaven to tell us the truth of what will happen if we refuse his rescue (and we just read it).
And so know that Jesus, like Joshua, is standing at your door, knocking.
And my friend, He wants to save you.
He wants you to run out, to leave your old life behind.
And if you trust Him, you believe that He loves you (I mean really loves you!), and you grab his hand, and start walking with Him.
I am telling you, just like Alex talked about, and just like hundreds of other people at this church have experienced in the last few years, Jesus will make you come alive.
That Eternal Life he offers you starts right now with the changing of your life, and it lasts forever with joy in heaven.
And so now you have a choice.
Jesus is at the door, his hand is out to you, and He is telling you He can save you and give you eternal life.
Do you hear it?
He says, whoever HEARS and BELIEVES will have eternal life.
Do you hear it?
In fact, let’s do this.
Let’s just have everyone, just for a minute, close your eyes and bow your head.
If you are hearing clearly for the first time today about what’s at stake in your life.
And that Jesus loves you so much and wants to change your life.
And that He is HERE right NOW offering you this.
And you’re ready to say, “I hear it! I believe it!
And you’re ready to make Him your Savior, and your Leader
Because this isn’t just a decision to believe and go on with your life as before.
This is a decision to grab his hand, and walk out of your old life…and into a new life where He lovingly leads you.
If you need to make this decision for the first time today…to tell Jesus that you need His forgiveness for your sins…to make Him the leader of your life…to accept His gift of Eternal life…
In just a minute, I’m going to ask you to stand up
No one’s going to be looking at you, that’s why we had everyone close their eyes.
But sometimes in life, we just need that moment…that line in the sand moment.
To say, “God I hear! I believe!
And if you need to do that today, and I bet you already know it on your heart and you can feel it inside right now…
If you need to tell God for the first time today that you do believe, and you want to follow Him and be forgiven.
Then I invite you to stand where you are right now (and keep standing).
The Bible tells us that in this moment we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths.
Repeat after me
I confess to you, that I have sinned against you.
But God I believe, that you sent your Son Jesus, to take my place
And God I thank you, for forgiving my sins.
And now I commit, to following you, with my life.
NEXT STEPS ON NEXT PAGE
As everyone still has their eyes closed, for those of you standing up, you just made the most important decision of your life, and I believe that requires some more information…
So here’s what we’re going to do to get you that…as everyone has their eyes closed, in just a second, I’m going to pray, but I you to walk back out to the lobby where it will be quiet.
You won’t walk out there alone.
There are many others standing with you, and our follow-up team is going to walk out at the same time with you
And then I, and our follow-up team, for just a couple of minutes, are going to get you some extremely important resources & next steps to get you started on the most important journey of your life (and then you can come back in the service).
If you’re part of this church, and your friend or family member is standing up right now, PLEASE come out there with them.
All right, I’m going to pray, and you can go as I pray.
Go ahead. Let’s pray
CLOSING THE SERVICE
(keep up worship background)
Thanks for coming today…
We love doing events like this for the community, but more than anything, we love telling people about the love of Jesus.
If God is doing something in your heart today, I do want to encourage you to keep pressing into that
Take a Bible with you to investigate it
Keep coming back here.
Next week, we’re going to keep teaching right through the Bible, and we’ll join in right where we left off in John chapter 5 and see what Jesus teaches next.
This is a great place for you and your whole family to grow spiritually together.
Thank you for being here.
Have an amazing time at Family Fun Day!
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
You may use this material all you like! We only ask that you do not charge a fee and that you quote the source and not say it is your own.