A new story from Evangelism on SermonAudio
Morning. Ashley wasn't kidding. I am glad to be back. I really, really love this church. It's evident every time we go away, and I absolutely love preaching and teaching the Word of God. I get a little jealous when I'm away, to be honest with you, when I see someone else standing behind my pulpit. Just truthfully, I'm jealous over this. I love doing this. It's the greatest privilege in the world. Well, if you're just visiting us, we go through books of the Bible, and we're going through one of the, as if they can be ranked, right? But John has done some incredible work down through history. This book has been used to convert souls, the most unlikely of souls. And so whenever we have taken a little bit of a break, I've been gone for two weeks, and so some of you may have no idea. Some of you can't remember what you did last night, let alone two weeks ago, right? So whenever I'm away for a little while, I like to do a two-minute review of the purpose of the book so that you know why this book was written. In case some of you are here and are not familiar with the Bible and how it works, it's a library. As a matter of fact, biblio means library, and so there are 66 of these books, and each one of them has a different purpose. And the Gospel of John has its own unique, distinct purpose, and here's the job of every interpreter. Every interpreter's job is not to find clever ways to make it mean something that's relevant for their culture. That's not the job of an interpreter. The job of an interpreter is simple. Get in the head of the original author to the original audience. I have to try to find out what John meant. Who cares what we think it means, right? Give me an amen. We want to know what John says it means, and we want to know what John says it means to the first readers. We're not the first readers. This was written to a unique people group a long time ago in the Middle East. And so let's start up again by reframing our mind according to what the author says he wrote this for. At the very, very end of the book, it's 21 chapters long, and at the very, very end of the book, he tells us flat out why he wrote the book. Here's what he says. He says, Jesus performed many other signs, miraculous signs that is, in the presence of his disciples which are not written in this book. In other words, you're going to have to go somewhere else for those. These, the contents of this book, these have been written so that, here comes the author's purpose statement, so that you may, say the word, be. So that's purpose number one, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. And there's a second purpose, that believing you may have life in his name. This, what you're reading, is a true, historical, eye-witness account of the life and ministry of a man who lived in the Middle East, who rose from the dead. That means, if someone raises from the dead and defeats something that you can't defeat, you should probably listen to what he has to say, don't you think? John says, I'm recording every word that man who rose from the dead had to say, so that you can, two things. One, believe, and two, live. Here's the point of the book. The point of the book is to help people believe an eye-witness account to the life of a man who died, and then three days later, got up and walked around. But it's not just so that you can say, okay, I believe. No more John. No. It's so that as you experience seasons of doubt in your life, you come back to John and say, oh yeah, this is why I should keep on believing. And when I'm struggling to believe, John will help to reaffirm your feet on solid ground, so that you go through your whole life saying, I believe. Tomorrow, I'm going to believe again. The next day, I'm going to believe again. John is for the person sitting here who's not a believer. And they know they're not a believer, and someone drug you here. You're here on purpose, and John is written for you. But John is also for the person who's been a believer for the last 66 years. And you know John, but maybe you're in a season of doubt. Maybe you're struggling because you just lost your spouse. John is a book for you. So, before we go any further and dive back into John, we are in, I started in April. That's about five months ago. We're in the fourth chapter of 21 chapters, and we're about halfway through the fourth chapter. And so, I'm sure that all of you remember exactly where we left off, but just in case there's one person who can't remember, let's repurpose our hearts. Let's go before God, every individual. I'm not going to do this for you. You're here as a worship service. That means there's a part for you. You're going to go before God right now, and you're going to say, Lord, I'm here to hear from you. And you spoke through John, and so speak to me through your servant John. Let's do it together. Father, I'm just a tool to act on behalf of the people who are here to meet with their God. As Craig said, you are a living God. No one else can claim that, but we can because Christ is alive. And so, we put our faith in you. I pray that you would help every person here to commit their heart and mind to not just listening to the word of God, but doing what it says. Lord, speak to us, for we are listening. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen. Fourth chapter of John, it reads like a movie script. I read it again. It's like the 20th time that I've read it just this month. And this week as I was preparing, I read it, and I'm like, some chapters read like a movie script, and some are not like that. Fourth chapter of John, it literally is set up for a producer and director to just go and put this on film. And I couldn't help but this week as I was reading it, my mind went back to a show that I watched when I was growing up. It was the original Batman show with Burt Ward and Adam West from the 70s. How many of you know what show I'm talking about? Just curious. I had a feeling. I grew up on that show. My mom would put it on for me when I'd come home from school. And there was this thing that they did in the show where whenever they would transition to another part, the narrator would come on and say, meanwhile, back in Gotham City, or meanwhile in the Batcave, and then you'd see the transition. The screen would roll, and you'd hear the doodle-a-doodle-a-doo, remember? It's showing you what's happening at a different part at the same time. John 4 is written like that because the text we're going to start with opens up in a meanwhile in another part of town, and my mind just went back to the old Batman as I was raised on. Here's what you're going to learn. If you've been here for a while, then you know that we're in one of the most beautiful dialogues that really I've ever taken in history. It's between Jesus and a promiscuous Samaritan woman, and he is tender with her. Isn't he tender with her? We're going to get back to that dialogue next week, but the writer, the narrator of the story, interjects. He pauses the story, and he wants you to stop thinking about the woman and Jesus for just a moment because there's an absolutely important lesson that Jesus wants to teach his disciples, and it is a major, major pause. And so this morning, I invite you to turn in your Bibles to John 4. We're going to start in verse 31, and we're going to go down through 38. Not very much, but it's a meanwhile, so you can see the screen roll in your head, and here's what it says. John 4, 31 through 38.