Archive for the ‘Gospel of John’ Category

John 13:34, 35

“What the world needs now is love, sweet love / It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of / What the world needs now is love, sweet love, / Not not just for some but for everyone.” Jackie DeShannon. Perhaps some of you “Flower Children” remember this song.

Type. But we need to ask the question, What kind of love does this world really need? The Greeks had basically four words for love. “Eros” dealt with sensual, erotic love. There is plenty of this in the world but it’s not producing “peace on earth.” (Lasting “peace on earth” won’t come until the “Prince of Peace” returns to this earth (Isaiah 2:4; 9:6, 7; Revelation 19:16. It may come a lot sooner than most people think.) The word “eros” was not used in the Scriptures.  The verb “phileo” has to do with tender affection for mankind in general (John 16:27; 21:15). “Storge” deals with the natural affection that one has for his/her family members. In the last days it would be lacking among many people (Romans 1:31; 2 Timothy 3:3).

New. When Jesus addressed His disciples on the night before He was to be betrayed by one of His own disciples and then hung on a cross to die for our sins, He gave them a new commandment. Having just washed their feet to demonstrate to them their need to have a servant’s heart, He told them to “love one another as He had loved them. By this all would know that they were His disciples” (John 13:34, 35).

Quote. “Love is the badge of Christian discipleship. It is not knowledge, nor orthodoxy, nor fleshly activities, but (supremely) love which identifies a follower of the Lord Jesus. As the disciples of the Pharisees were known by their phylacteries, as the disciples of John were known by their baptism… so the mark of a true Christian is love; and that, a genuine, active love, not in words but in deeds.” – Arthur Pink

Contrast. The Old Commandment was to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18). This was the best that an Old Testament believer could do. It was very subjective. Everyone loves himself/herself differently. Some people claim to hate themselves. It’s more likely that they hate their face, place, or race. The Scriptures instruct Christian husbands to love their wives as they naturally love themselves (Ephesians 5:28).

Qualities. God’s kind of love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. This kind of love is produced by God the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers who are not grieving or quenching Him (Ephesians 4:30;1 Thessalonians 5:19). It is one part of the “Fruit of the Spirit” Galatians 5:22). Do you know what the other eight parts are and how you are supposed to direct them? What should a Christian not love (1 John 2:15-17)?

Rebels. “Like us, the [Lord’s] disciples lived in a society that had rebelled against God. Like us, they learned more quickly from modeling and demonstration than by being told what was right. So on that final night before His death, Jesus exemplified love, explained it, and then exhorted His disciples to follow His example…When a new love enters our hearts, it drives out old and stagnant feelings, even attraction for things that would do us harm. One writer called this kind of love ‘the expulsive power of a new affection.”” – Ken Gangel

New Birth. If you’ve never been “born again from above” (John 3:3-7) you can become a true Christian by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ who died for your sins…and rose again bodily from the dead on the third day (Acts 16:31; 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4).

Help. We can be reached at 805-238-3549 or through our website: www.kelseypeach.com.

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Portions adapted from Ken Gangel, John, and from Chuck Swindoll, Following Christ.

John 14:1-24

“There’s no place like home.”  This is what Dorothy said in the movie, The Wizard of Oz, after going through illusory dreams, frightening experiences, and disappointing realities.*  In like manner, before long the Christian realizes that this sin filled world is not his home; heaven is.  And yet we, as believers, have moments of anxiety and fear as long as we are in these bodies.

Thoughts.  Do your thoughts about death trouble you?  They should if you are not a true Christian (See Matthew 7:21-23).  Do you know what happens to unbelievers at the time of death (Luke 16:19-31; See Matthew 25:41, 46; Revelation 21:8).  What happens to Christians when they die (Philippians 1:21; 2 Corinthians 5:1-9)?  Into which section of heaven do they go today (2 Corinthians 12:4).  When do they get to go to the place that Jesus went to prepare for them (John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)?  How is it described for us (Revelation 21:9-27)?  What about the trials and troubles of life?  Will they be too great for us to endure (1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 12:9)?  What should a Christian do when he sins (1 John 1:9; James 5:16; Luke 22:32)?  What if he denies His Lord as Peter did (John 13:38; Luke 22:31, 32, 47-62; See 2 Timothy 2:12)?  Will he be condemned and lose his salvation (Romans 8:1; 35-39; John 10:28, 29)?

Truth.  To quiet our noisy hearts, we need to know the truth that can set us free (John 8:32).  The believer’s strength comes from God (John 15:5; Philippians 4:13; Psalm 121:2).  Christians are being purified for their wedding to Christ (Ephesians 5:26; Isaiah 1:25).  He is preparing a special place for His Bride, the true Church (John 14:3; Revelation 21:9-27).  Currently, in heaven, He is interceding for those who belong to Him (Romans 8:26, 34; Hebrews 7:25).  He answers our prayers according to His will (John 14:13).  He has promised never to leave or forsake true believers (Hebrews 13:5).  We also have a Comforter (John 14:16-20).

Techniques.  There are some things that can strengthen the believer’s heart.  Knowledge of the truth from God’s Word can remove fear (John 8:3; 14:20; 1 John 4:18).  But the believer also needs to apply the truth and keep the Lord’s commands to Christians if anxiety is to be removed from his/her heart (John 14:21; Philippians 4:6, 7).  Love for the Lord can release guilt (John 14:23, 24; 2 Corinthians 5:9).

Question.  Is your life filled with fear and anxiety?  It should be if you are not a true Christian. You are under the condemnation of God (John 3:18, 36) and in danger of spending eternity in the lake of fire with the devil and his angels/demons (Matthew 25:41, 46; Revelation 21:8).  But you can become a Christian by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, who died for your sins… and rose again bodily on the third day.  He said, “I AM the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).  Once you’ve been saved, you can/should cast all your cares on Him because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).  The “peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, [can] guard your heart and mind through Christ Jesus” as you encounter the hardships of life (Philippians 4:6, 7).  You have a choice to make.  Will you “trust and obey” or “stew and fret” about your problems?

Salvation.  We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in the Christ of the Scriptures alone.  We are not saved by our good works, or by faith plus our good works lest we should boast (Ephesians 2:8, 9).

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*Portions adapted from Chuck Swindoll, Following Christ, pp. 93ff

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John 13:1-33

If you think “Big Brother” (the government) knows a lot about you, think about someone who knows everything about you. You might say, “That’s impossible.” This would be true of another human or spirit being, but not for God because one of His attributes is omniscience (Isaiah 46:10; John 2:24, 25). Jesus, being the God/man knew who would betray him, who would deny Him, and who would flee from Him when He was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. He also knows everything about us and will not only judge our words and deeds but will also judge our motives to determine our degree of pleasure in heaven or our degree of suffering in the lake of fire (1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 4:5; Matthew 25:41, 46; Revelation 20:11-15).

God/Man. Jesus was/is God manifested in human flesh (John 1:1-18; Colossians 1:15-17; 2:9). He is also sovereign. This means that He is in control of everything. In other words, “There is absolutely nothing that happens in the universe that is outside of God’s influence and authority.” – Chip Ingram. Let’s consider this One who is omniscient and sovereign.

Servant. He became a lowly servant and washed His disciples feet (John 13:2-17). Not only did Jesus display His lowly spirit (Matthew 11:29), He also wanted to teach His disciples about their need for spiritual cleansing. An unbeliever needs to have an overall bath only once for him to be cleansed (John 13:10; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Titus 3:5). But a Christian also needs ongoing cleansing when he/she sins periodically. This occurs when he/she confesses his sins to God the Father (1 John 1:9; 3:9-10).

Model. Jesus set an example for believers to follow. He wants us to have a servant’s humble heart (Philippians 2:5-11; John 13:15). It’s easy for us to say we love God but it’s hard to love some of His children who may rub us the wrong way. “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him. My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue [only], but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:16-18).

Savior. Jesus came to glorify God (John 17:3) by dying for our sins, once and for all (Hebrews 10:10), and then rising again bodily from the dead on the third day. He appeared to different people on many occasions to validate His resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:3-8; Luke 24:33-43). The payment that Jesus made to God the Father was sufficient to satisfy God’s outraged holiness against our sin (1 John 2:2; 4:10). He can and does offer salvation and eternal life to all who will accept by faith His substitutionary death on their behalf (John 3:16). Those who reject Him and His offer are under condemnation (John 3:18, 36).

Shepherd. Is the Lord Jesus Christ your personal Shepherd (Psalm 23:1)? As the “Good Shepherd” He laid down His life for His sheep and knows all of us by name (John 10:3-14). He is the “Chief Shepherd” to whom all “Under Shepherds” (Pastors) are accountable (1 Peter 5:1-4). He is the “Great Shepherd” who will bring believers to spiritual maturity and finish the work of salvation at the time of the “Rapture” (Hebrews 13:20; Philippians 1:6; 1 John 3:2).

Purpose. Jesus came to glorify God the Father and to carry out the work that He had been given to do on earth (John 17:3, 4; Ephesians 1:11). He provided deliverance from the lake of fire for all mankind including the false teachers (2 Peter 2:1). But for any of us to be saved, we must not only know and believe the facts of the Gospel, we must transfer our faith from ourselves and our good works over to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself (Ephesians 2:8, 9). Have you done this yet? It not, why not believe on Him right now?

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John 12:23-50

In spite of performing over 35 recorded miracles while He was here on earth, most of the Jewish leaders and people rejected Him as their promised Messiah (Christ) and the Son of God (John 5:18; 10:31; 20:31). Isaiah the prophet had predicted that all this would happen (Isaiah 53:1). So Jesus told His disciples that He would be going to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the Jewish elders, chief priests, and the scribes and be killed. But He would also be raised bodily from the dead on the third day as He had predicted (Matthew 16:21; John 10:17, 18).

Imminent. When Jesus spoke on this occasion to His disciples, He was just four days away from the Passover Feast. It was observed every year by the Jews in remembrance of their deliverance from bondage in Egypt (Exodus 12; John 12:23-28, 32). Although the Jewish leaders wanted to kill Him, they didn’t want to do so during the Passover time lest a riot break out (Matthew 26:5). But, whether they wanted it to happen at some other time or not, it was God’s plan for Jesus to be crucified during the Passover since He was the Lamb of God who had come to take away the sin of the world (John 1:29). There were a few more prophecies that needed to be fulfilled literally before He died and rose again bodily from the dead (Matthew 26:54, 56). By the way, all the prophecies made concerning His second coming will be fulfilled literally, not allegorically. Don’t confuse Israel with the Church. They are two separate groups with whom God is dealing (1 Corinthians 10:32).

Pain. The horrific pain that Jesus endured at the hands of the Roman soldiers and on the cross was physical and emotional (John 19:1; Luke 22:42). But the most intense suffering was spiritual when God the Father turned His back on Jesus as He bore your sins and mine on the cross (Psalm 22:1; Matthew 27:46). He died as the Just One for us, the unjust ones (1 Peter 3:18).

Need. In spite of how they had mistreated Him, Jesus knew that they had a serious, spiritual problem. All unbelievers were/are headed for the eternal lake of fire with the devil and his angels/demons (Matthew 25:41, 46) unless they believe on Him alone as their personal Savior (John 3:18, 36). We know that many of the religious, Jewish priests did believe on Him after His bodily resurrection from the dead (Acts 6:7). So did His half brother James (1 Corinthians 15:7). Has the devil blinded your spiritual eyes so you don’t see the urgency of believing in Christ alone for your salvation (2 Corinthians 4:4; 1 John 5:19)? Do you love darkness and the pleasures of sin so much that you refuse to come to the Light (Jesus) for deliverance (John 3:19; 8:12; 14:30)?

Response. The response of the Jewish people to Jesus was varied (John 12:27, 42, 43). Some believed on Him as their promised Messiah and the Son of God (John 1:12; Matthew 16:16). But most of them rejected Him because He didn’t come up to their expectations of Him (Isaiah 53:1). They wanted a political deliverer who would save them from Roman oppression. They cried out to the Roman governor, Pilate who wanted to release Jesus (Matthew 27:24; John 18:38; 19:4, 6) by saying, “His blood be on us and our children” (Matthew 27:25). This is why the Jews have been the objects of persecution for the last 2,000 years. God won’t begin to deal with the Jews again as a nation until the true Church has been removed from the earth in the Rapture (Romans 11:25; 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52). Then “The time of Jacob’s (Israel’s) trouble” will come during the second half the the Tribulation (Jeremiah 30:7; Matthew 24:15ff). Do you know the purpose of “The Tribulation?” It seems to be near at hand as we see the one world government, and the one world church forming.

Time. Christ’s time on earth was very limited. So is our time on earth (James 4:14). The only time a person has to be saved is in this life. There are no opportunities to be saved after one dies physically (Hebrews 9:27; 2 Corinthians 6:2). There are five crowns, praise, and rewards from God that a Christian can earn during his/her life on earth. Salvation is offered freely to all men, but rewards must be earned after one is saved (Ephesians 2:10; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15). What are you doing with God’s gift of time to you? You have 24 hours, 1,440 minutes, 86,400 seconds in one day. Are you using them wisely for the glory of God and the good of others? “Only one life will soon be passed, and only what’s done [properly – 2 Timothy 2:5] for Christ will last.”

Help. If you need spiritual help, we can be reached at 805-238-3549. Kelsey Pietsch pastors the Grace Baptist Church, 535 Creston Road in Paso Robles.

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John 12:23-26

It’s not hard for us to imagine that a loving father would risk his own life to protect his little child. But how willing do you think he’d be to forgive someone who brutally raped and murdered his six year old daughter? What would you do if something like this happened to you? Maybe some of you have had some tragic things happen in your lives too. Does God care? Yes, He does (1 Peter 5:7; Hebrews 4:14-16)!

What did God the Father do and provide for those who brutally murdered His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:16)? Why did Jesus willingly go to the cross (John 10:17, 28) and allow wicked men to mistreat Him as they did (Hebrews 10:7; 12:2, 3)? We’re told that Jesus endured the shame and agony of the cross for six hours so that He could carry out the Divine Plan for man’s salvation (deliverance from hell) for all those who would believe on Him (Romans 5:6-10; 6:23). He died once and for all in our place for our sins…and then rose again bodily on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4). We don’t re-crucify Christ when we observe the Lord’s supper (Hebrews 10:10). It is a memorial in remembrance of Him until He comes back for us (1 Corinthians 11:24, 25). His return is imminent (John 14:1-3). Do you, as a Christian, love His appearing? If you do, you will receive the “Crown of Righteousness” (2 Timothy 4:8).

Analogy From Nature. To illustrate how His death would result in God’s being glorified, Jesus spoke about a grain of wheat (John 12:24). It could be eaten for one’s nourishment (Leviticus 26:5; Isaiah 62:9), or it could be planted in the ground so that more grain could be produced. But first the seed has to die before it can come back to life and grow to produce more grain. This is what farmers do when they plant their crops. They prepare the ground, plant the seed at the appropriate time, water it, and try to keep the weeds from choking out the crop. They depend on the right amount of sunshine too. But it is God who gives life to the seed that dies in the ground.

Application. In like manner, unless we are willing to lay down our lives for the benefit of others, and die to our selfish desires, not much good will result from our lives on earth. The Apostle Paul told us that he endured all things so that other people could be saved and go to heaven someday (2 Timothy 2:10; 2 Corinthians 11:23-33). Many other Christians have given up their lives so we could hear the Good News about Christ and be saved.

Suffering. If you’re a Christian, how much have you suffered for the cause of Christ? Do you consider your life as your own to regulate (James 4:13, 14; 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20), or have you dedicated your body to Him as a living sacrifice (Romans 12, 1, 2)? Is He free to use you for His glory and for the good of others, especially for Christians (1 Corinthians 10:31; John 13:34, 35; 1 John 3:16, 17)? Have you given thanks to Him for the life you have? What kind of seeds are you sowing? We will reap what we sow (Galatians 6:6-10; 1 Corinthians 15:58).

A Paradigm Shift. Our natural inclination is to please ourselves and use other people to get what we want out of life. This is especially true in our day and the “Me, Myself, and I” generation (2 Timothy 3:1-5). Washing other people’s feet and serving others doesn’t go well with us (John 13:1-17). But maturing, Spirit filled Christians through love should serve one another with the spiritual gift that we have been given (Galatians 5:13; 1 Peter 4:10; 1 Corinthians 13:1-8).

An Invitation. During His days on earth Jesus invited others to follow Him if they wanted to be His disciples – learners (Matthew 4:19;10:37-39). Many people followed Him for the physical blessings He had for them, but when it came time for them to trust in Him for spiritual deliverance, they stopped following Him (John 6:66). Judas was one of Jesus’ disciples but not a true believer (John 13:18, 21). Technically speaking, one cannot follow Jesus around today because He is in heaven at God the Father’s right hand (Ephesians 1:20). But, having trusted in Him as our personal Savior, we can/should go on to spiritual maturity when we learn and apply Bible doctrines for Christians to our lives (2 Peter 3:18; Titus 1:9; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17). All of the Scriptures are for us but not all of it is to us. Don’t be misled by those who teach “Lordship for Salvation.”  The only condition for our salvation is, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). Don’t put the cart before the horse.

Choice. We have a choice to make as believers. We can live our lives to please ourselves or to please God (Romans 15:1; 2 Corinthians 5:9). The Apostle Paul wrote, “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:6). Have you placed your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ who died for your sins…and rose again bodily on the third day? If not, why not do so now? If you’re a true Christian, have you presented your body to God as a living sacrifice? Is He free to live His life through your life (Galatians 2:20; 4:19)? Will you walk by means of the Holy Spirit so you don’t fulfill the “lusts of the flesh” (Galatians 5:15-25)? Are you loving the present world system or using it properly (1 John 2:15-17; 1 Corinthians 7:31). Are you resisting successfully the fiery darts of the devil (Ephesians 6:16)? Are you willing and ready to lay down your life for other believers (1 John 3:16, 17; John 13:34, 35), and so that the lost can be saved (2 Timothy 2:10)?  What is/should be the purpose of your life on earth (1 Corinthians 10:31)?

Help. If you need spiritual help, we can be reached at 805-238-3549. If this article has helped you, we’d like to hear from you. To receive future articles as they come out, click on “Follow.”

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John 12:20-24

Crisis situations. We all encounter them from time to time. Sometimes they creep up on us and take us by surprise. How we respond to people and/or the circumstances of life will display a lot about us to others. This information will become a part of our “Book of Life.” Aren’t you glad that God isn’t still causing the Scriptures to be written and having the story of your life recorded for all to read.

Man – A Moon. When we write autobiographies or have biographies of us written, we tend to leave out those parts which we want to stay hidden from others. Mark Twain said it well. Every man is a moon and has a side which he turns toward nobody: you have to slip around behind it if you want to see it.”

Hall Of Faith. Those men and women in “The Hall of Faith” (Hebrews 11) had some character flaws that they probably didn’t want others to know about. What about you? Did you know that God extends forgiveness to mankind (Ephesians 1:7)? Do you know how you can be forgiven and cleansed (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Ephesians 4:32)?

The Pressure. When Jesus entered Jerusalem five days before He was to be crucified, He was under intense pressure from the common Jewish people. They wanted to make Him their King on their terms (John 6:15; 12:13). Furthermore, the religious leaders wanted Him dead because He referred to Himself as being equal to God (John 5:18; 8:58; 10:31). Rather than being forced by God the Father to die for our sins, God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ voluntarily chose to go to the cross and pay the debt/penalty that we owed to God so that we could be saved from eternal condemnation with the devil and his angels in the lake of fire (Romans 6:23; Hebrews 9:22; 10:7, 9; Matthew 25:41, 46).

The Greeks. We’re not sure if these Greeks were Jewish proselytes or not and what their motives were for wanting to see Jesus. Generally speaking, the Greeks were interested in worldly wisdom and the Jews wanted to see sign miracles (1 Corinthians 1:22-24; Acts 17:19-21; James 3:13-18). Being the God-man, and omniscient, Jesus knew what was in the heart of men (John 2:24, 25). It appears that Nicodemus came to Jesus by night wanting to learn more about Him (John 3:1-15; 19:39).

The Hour. It had finally come for Jesus to glorify God by dying for the sins of all mankind so we could spend eternity with God by believing on Him as our personal Savior (John 12:23, 24). He likened His death to a grain of wheat being put into the ground. It would die and then come to life and bear much fruit. That is the way it was with Christ’s death and bodily resurrection (Luke 24:39).

Virtual Reality. If a camera crew could follow you around 24 hours a day and record your conversations, examine your day planner, your checkbook, and your credit card bills, what would they learn about you? What if somehow they were able to read your mind and know the motives behind your actions? Would you be embarrassed or happy to let others in on your life? If anyone’s life was under such scrutiny, it was Jesus’ life by His disciples with lived with Him for three years. Yet none of them, including Judas who betrayed Him, found any faults in Him (John 8:46; 1 John 1:1, 2; Hebrews 4:14-16). He knows all about us and cares for you and me (1 Peter 5:7). You can/should trust Him with your life. He cannot lie (Titus 1:2). His promises are sure and need to be mixed with faith so we can live the “Faith/Rest Life” (Hebrews 4:2; Philippians 4:6, 7).

Omniscience. While men can’t know everything about us, God can and does. Is He pleased with your actions and reactions? Are your motives pure or suspect? If you’re a Christian, what kind of rewards, crowns, and praise will you receive or fail to receive from Him someday (1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10)? Are you a part of God’s family? Have you been “born again from above” (John 3:3-6)? Do you know that you will go to heaven the moment you die (1 John 5:13)? Why should God let you into heaven (Ephesians 2:8, 9)? If you think you’re saved, is there anything you could do or fail to do that would cause you to lose your salvation? If so, what?

Gospel. My friend, we’re all sinners (Romans 3:10-23). But Christ died for our sins…and rose again bodily on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4. Any and all who put their trust in Him alone will be saved and spend eternity with God (Acts 16:31). We’re not saved by our good works lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:8, 9; Titus 3:5).  If you’re a true Christian, are you sharing the Gospel with others?  They can’t be saved unless they hear it and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Help. If you’re not sure you’ll spend eternity with God in heaven, we’re here to help you. We can be reached at 805-238-3549 or through our website: www.kelseypeach.com. If this has helped you, we’d like to hear from you and ask you to share this with others. To receive future articles as they come out, click on “Follow.”  Join us on Facebook for audio messages and Bible studies.

John 12:12-19

Like clockwork, everything that Jesus did on earth was on God’s time schedule including His going to Jerusalem for the Passover feast (Galatians 4:4; John 1:29; 10:17, 18). This was the time each year when the Jews celebrated their deliverance from 400 years of slavery in Egypt prior to their going to the land that God had promised to give to them and their descendants forever (Genesis 15:13-21; Acts 7:6). Even though His disciples weren’t fully aware of what was about to take place there, Jesus set His focus toward the cross on which He would provide salvation for the Jews and all mankind (1 John 2:2; Romans 1:16, 17).

Gospel. My friend, you are a sinner like all the rest of us (Romans 3:10-23). But Christ died for our sins…and rose again bodily on the third day and became our Substitute so we wouldn’t have to be eternally separated from God in the lake of fire (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4; Romans 6:23). By one act of faith in Him, you can be transferred out of the devil’s family into God’s family (John 3:16; 8:44; Colossians 1:13; 1 John 3:9, 10). Today may be your last day on earth (James 4:14). Now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2).

Count Down. Five days before He would be hung on a cruel cross, Jesus made His way to the city of Jerusalem to officially present Himself as the rightful King of the Jews and their promised Messiah (Matthew 2:2-12; 16:16; 27:11; John 4:26). Josephus, the historian, estimated that about 2,700,000 Jews came to Jerusalem for this feast to offer up 250,000 lambs. The forerunner of Christ (Malachi 3:1), John the baptizer had said of Jesus, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29)! The Prophet Isaiah referred to the vicarious sacrifice of the Christ as a lamb who would be slaughtered without opening His mouth (Isaiah 52, 53).

Multitude. Some of those who made up this crowd of Jews had seen Jesus perform many miracles during His earthly ministry. Thirty five of them are recorded for us in the Scriptures. Recently Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead who had been dead for four days (John 11:43, 44). When they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, they cried out “Hosanna! Blessed is He whom comes in the name of the Lord! The King of Israel” (John 12:13; Psalm 118:26). “Hosanna” means “Save now!” The Jews were anxious to be delivered out from under the heel of Rome who oppressed them. To welcome Him, they took palm branches and their clothes and put them on the road to usher Him into the city (Matthew 21:8; John 12:13).

Irony. But sadly, some of these same people would turn on Jesus in a few days and join the religious leaders and cry out for Him to be crucified (Luke 23:21). As He was being led to His crucifixion, He wept for the Jewish people (Luke 23:28-31) because He knew what would take place in A.D. 70 when Titus would come to destroy Jerusalem and its inhabitants. According to one historian, there weren’t enough buyers in Egypt for all the Jewish slaves. They remained scattered as a nation until A.D. 1948 when they were allowed to return to the land that God had promised to give to them. Most of those in Israel today are agnostics or claim to be atheists (Psalm 14:1).  They have a judicial blindness that only God can remove so they can be saved (Romans 11:25; 1:16, 17; See 1 Corinthians 2:14; 2 Corinthians 4:4).

Donkey. Even though the prophet had predicted that the Jewish Messiah would be coming to them the first time riding on a donkey’s colt (Isaiah 40:9; Zechariah 9:9; John 12:14, 15), they were hoping that He would come as a conquering King on a white horse. But this won’t happen until His second coming to earth after “the time of Jacob’s (Israel’s) trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7; Revelation 19:11) known also as “the great tribulation” (Matthew 24:21; Daniel 9:27). This period of time seems to be imminent as antisemitism (hatred for the Jews) grows around the world and the Jews are made the “scapegoat” for the problems in the world. Those who hate the Jews need to read Genesis 12:1-3.

Disciples. The Lord’s twelve disciples had mixed emotions at this time and weren’t quite sure what to expect (John 14:1-3). They had initially followed Him as He taught them about the “kingdom of the heavens” in which they hoped to be leaders (Matthew 20:21-23; See Daniel 2:44, 45). But after being rejected by the majority of the Jews, Jesus had also told them that He was going to Jerusalem to die. Peter opposed His plan and had to be rebuked by Jesus (Matthew 16:20-23). It wasn’t until after Jesus had died, been raised from the dead, and ascended back to heaven, and been glorified, that they came to realize what the prophets had written about Him (John 12:16; See Luke 24:25, 26).

Perplexed Pharisees. These religious leaders obstinately opposed Jesus at every turn because He made Himself out to be equal with Jehovah God (John 5:18; 10:30; 11:57). Yes, Jesus did claim to be Jehovah by His “I AM…” statements (Exodus 3:14; John 6:35, 48; 8:12; 10:9, 11; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1). Furthermore, Jesus threatened their power and authority over other Jews whom they oppressed (John 11:48; See Matthew 11:28, 29; 23:4). Jesus denounced them as hypocrites and told them of their eternal destiny in the lake of fire with the devil and his angels (Matthew 6:5, 16; 7:21-23; 23:13-36; 25:41, 46). The wicked dead aren’t annihilated as some cults teach nor are dead people reincarnated.

Decree. Jesus, the God-man carried out the plan that He and the other two members of the Godhead had agreed upon prior to creation (Ephesians 1:11; Galatians 4:4). He was in complete control of the timing of His death and bodily resurrection (Matthew 12:40; John 10:18). Have you placed your faith in Him alone to save you? If not, why not do so right now? Whether you are Jewish or not, by one act of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who died for your sins…and rose again bodily, you can be saved from eternal condemnation and enter God’s family (Ephesians 2:8, 9; Acts 16:31; Romans 8:1).

Good Works. God prepared beforehand some works for every Christian to do (Ephesians 2:10; 1 Peter 4:10; John 15:16). We are to do them with the power that God provides for us (Philippians 3:10; 4:13) for the glory of God and the good of others with and attitude of love (Galatians 5:13; 6:10; 1 Corinthians 13).

Help. If you need spiritual help, we can be reached at 805-238-3549 or through our website: www.kelseypeach.com. If this has helped you, we’d like to hear from you. If you’d like to receive future articles as they come out, click on “Follow.”

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John 12:1-11

Motives Matter. “…the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). On judgment day Jesus, the righteous Judge (John 5:22; 2 Timothy 4:8), will unveil all the motives behind our words and actions (Matthew 12:36; 1 Corinthians 3:12-15; 4:5). If the Christian’s good works have the quality of gold, silver, or precious stones, they will be rewarded. Otherwise, their worthless works will be burned up and the believer will suffer the loss of rewards, but not the loss of his salvation (2 Corinthians 5:10).

The Countdown. It was on. By the time of this event, Jesus had been rejected by most of the Jews and His time had come to glorify God the Father by providing salvation for all mankind (John 1:29; 3:16; 10:15-18). Within a week He would be crucified. He would die as a Substitute for our sins…and then rise again bodily on the third day and thereby pay the debt that we all owed to God for our sins (Romans 5:8; 6:23; 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4).  He offers deliverance from the lake of fire to all who will believe on Him (John 3:16, 18, 36; Acts 16:31; Matthew 25:41, 46).  Our salvation is not based on our good works lest any of us should boast (Ephesians 2:8, 9).

Mary’s Magnanimous Gift. This event took place at a supper for Jesus and Lazarus who had been restored to life after being dead for four days (John 12:2; Matthew 26:6-13). His life was a testimony to the power of Jesus who claimed to be “the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25). Jesus was well aware of His impending death and had even told His disciples about it (John 12:7; 14:1-3; Matthew 16:21). While they still seemed to be in a daze, it appears that Mary believed Him and came to anoint Him before His burial (John 12:7). The value of the fragrant oil was estimated to be the equivalent of a year’s wages (John 12:5). Rather than using it on herself, she poured it on His head and His feet and wiped them with her hair (Matthew 26:7; John 12:3). When she was done wiping His feet, the aroma of the perfume lingered in her hair to remind her and the others of her service to Christ. As Christians share the Gospel with others, we carry with us the aroma of death or life. It all depends on the response of the hearer (2 Corinthians 2:14-16). If you are a Christian, does your life smell like “the Fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22, 23)? Are others impressed with the life you live and are you ready to give an answer to those who may ask you about it (1 Peter 3:15)?

Judas’ True Identity. While pretending to be concerned for the poor people, he complained about the wasteful thing Mary had done in anointing Jesus’ feet with such expensive oil (John 12:4-6). But the reality was, while he seemed to be compassionate for the poor people, he was really a selfish thief, a hypocrite, and was called the son of perdition (John 6:70, 71; 12:5, 6, 18, 17:2). He saw little value in Jesus and demonstrated this by selling Him out for 30 pieces of silver as it had been predicted of him (Zechariah 11:12, 13; Matthew 26:15). Mary valued Jesus highly, whereas Judas didn’t and ended up committing suicide after returning the money to the temple (Matthew 27:5). How highly do you value Jesus?  How often do you tell others about Him and the offer of salvation He has provided for everyone?

Exam. Let’s evaluate ourselves as Christians (1 Corinthians 11:28). Do I do what I do (1) to gain favor with others? (2) to derive personal pleasure for doing it? (3) to fulfill an obligation? Or do I serve God to demonstrate my love for Him and to glorify Him by making Him known to others around me (Romans 5:5)? Have I dedicated my body to Him to use as He sees fit (Romans 12:1, 2; 1 Corinthians 13:1-7)?

Death. If you knew that you only had one week to live, how would you spend your time, talents, and treasures? What is really important to you? Will you pray with the Psalmist – “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23, 24).

Help. We’re here to assist those who may not be sure about their eternal destiny. We can be reached at 805-238-3549 or through our website: www.kelseypeach.com. If this article has helped you, we’d like to hear from you. To receive future articles as they come out, click on “Follow.”

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John 11:45

Wouldn’t you think that if someone came along and claimed to be the promised Messiah and the God-man (Deuteronomy 18:15; John 5:18; 10:30; 18:37), and then backed up his claims with signs, wonders, and mighty deeds, the Jewish people would believe on him (Acts 2:22). This is what Jesus did while He was here on earth. The Apostle John recorded in his Gospel seven sign miracles to prove to his readers that Jesus was indeed the Christ/Messiah and the Son of God who came to take away the sin of the world (John 1:29; 20:31).

Followers. Many people who decided to become Christ’s disciples followed Him around because He healed their sicknesses, fed them, and raised some of their dead loved ones (John 2:1-11; 4:46-54; 5:1-9; 6:26 et al). They even wanted to make Him their King but He refused their offer (John 6:15). Do you know why?  When He began to deal with them on a spiritual level, many of them forsook Him (John 6:66). If you claim to be a “follower of Jesus,” what is it that you want from Him in return? Is it health, wealth, and happiness or some other temporal thing?

Faith Healers. “Modern so-called faith healers and miracle workers do a real disservice to the Body of Christ as a whole and to individual believers in particular with their constant quick fix, televised ‘signs and wonders.’ God is not represented in the Bible as being ordered around as glibly as some TV preachers would have us think.” – Dr. Paul N. Tassell, “That Ye Might Believe” p. 86

Problem. Even after seeing Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead, most of the religious leaders refused to acknowledge Him as the promised Messiah and the Son of God (John 20:31). Why? They loved the fleeting power they held over other Jews and they chose not to place their faith in the “Miracle Worker” among them. No wonder Jesus said, “…it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city [in Israel who rejects you and the message of the kingdom]” (Matthew 10:15). But thankfully, there were some who did place their faith in Jesus and were saved (John 1:11, 12; 11:45; See Acts 2:41; 4:4).

Man’s True Condition. “The heart [of man] is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). “There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God” (Romans 3:10, 11). “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Without God’s initiating the work of salvation (Jonah 2:9; Philippians 1:29), and our believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, as the One who died for our sins…and who rose again bodily from the dead on the third day, none of us would be saved (John 6:37, 44; Acts 13:48; 16:31).

Prediction. Without his being aware of what he was doing (1 Corinthians 2:8), Caiaphas, the High Priest made a prediction concerning Jesus. It was part of God’s plan to provide salvation for all mankind (Acts 4:25-28), not just for the Jews. Caiaphas determined that Jesus needed to die for the nation of Israel (John 11:50). By the shedding of Christ’s blood, God provided deliverance from the eternal lake of fire for all of us (Romans 1:16, 17). Jesus was the “Lamb of God” who came to offer Himself as the Passover Lamb (John 1:29). He died as the Just One for the unjust ones (1 Peter 1:18; 3:18; Hebrews 10:10, 18). He made it possible for us to spend eternity with God in heaven rather than in the lake of fire with the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41, 46). My friend, we don’t want you to go to that awful place. We’re here to help you have assurance of your salvation.

Rejection. Because most of the Jews cried out, “His [Jesus’] blood be on us and our children,” they have been temporarily set aside as a nation until the “fullness of the Gentiles has come in [and been saved]” (Romans 11:25). In A.D. 70 Titus came and destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem and killed multitudes of Jews as God had predicted they would be if they forsook His law and rejected His Messiah (Matthew 23:37-39; Deuteronomy 28:63-68). Even though many of the Jews have returned to Israel since 1948, most of them are living there in unbelief. They will begin to realize that God is dealing with them again as a nation during the Seven Years of the Tribulation (Daniel 9:27; Revelation 6-19).

Future. God isn’t done with the nation of Israel (Romans 11:1). The Jews who place their faith in the promised Messiah during the last 3 ½ years of the Seven year Tribulation, known as the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 9:27), have a bright future awaiting them. They will inherit all the land that God promised to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their descendants. It extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the River Euphrates (Genesis 15:18-21). The Jews will become the predominant nation on earth during Christ’s 1,000 year reign over the earth (Deuteronomy 28:13). This is when the promised rule of the heavens over the earth (“Kingdom of the Heavens”) will finally be realized (Daniel 2:44, 45).

King David. He will be raised from the dead and be the regent on earth under Christ and His Bride, the true Church (Jeremiah 30:9; Daniel 12:12; Revelation 19:16). God didn’t replace the Jews with the Church as some people are being taught. The unconditional promises that God gave to them will be fulfilled (Genesis 15, 17, 22; Jeremiah 31:31). God has different promises and a different plan for the true Church.

Suffering. Those who have heard the clear Gospel message concerning Christ’s death for our sins…and bodily resurrection from the dead, and who reject the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and who die in that condition will suffer more in the lake of fire forever than those who never heard the Gospel message. This Good News is the power of God unto salvation, whether you are a Jew or non-Jew (Romans 1:16). You can be saved today and know that you are headed for heaven (1 John 5:13; Romans 8:16).

Questions. Have you placed your faith in Christ alone to save you? If so, have you displayed your faith to others by being baptized/immersed (Matthew 28:19, 20)? Do the good works you do as a Christian (Ephesians 2:10) give evidence to the fact that you have eternal life (i. e. God’s quality of life)?

Help. We’re here to assist those who would like answers from the Scriptures. We can be reached at 805-238-3549 or through our website: www.kelseypeach.com. If you’d like to receive future articles as they come out, click on “Follow.” If this has helped you, will you pass it on to someone else who could use this information?

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John 11:1-44

Our lives on earth are like a vapor that appears for a moment and then it is gone (James 4:14). We never know when our last day on earth will come to us. Making every day count for eternity is crucial. “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul” (Mark 8:36)?

Problem. The two sisters of Lazarus had a real problem. Their brother, perhaps the breadwinner, was very near to death when they sent word to Jesus concerning his condition. They made no demands of Him hoping that He would do what was necessary to insure that their brother wouldn’t die. But strangely, Jesus waited for two more days after hearing about the condition of His friend. In the meantime, Lazarus died and the sisters were devastated.

If Only. When Jesus finally arrived at Bethany, Martha hurried to Him only to say, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21). She wasn’t aware of what Jesus planned to do for her brother that would bring much greater glory to God than merely keeping Lazarus from dying.

Clarity. Jesus wanted Martha and Mary to trust Him and get a clearer picture of Him. Martha believed that God the Father would answer Jesus’ request concerning her brother. When Jesus referred to Himself as “the resurrection and the life,” she didn’t grasp the true significance of that statement as it related to the immediate situation and the condition of her brother. Jesus wanted her to know that whatever God the Father could do, He could do also. They both shared the same essence and attributes and were equal in their Deity (John 10:30; See Colossians 1:15-17; 2:9; John 1:3; Genesis 1:1).

Emotions. When God the Son added to His deity a true human nature and body, it came with emotions too (Philippians 2:5-11). Unlike us, He had no sin nature (Hebrews 4:15). His human body became hungry, tired, and weary (John 4:6). He exhibited righteous anger without sinning (John 2:15; See Ephesians 4:26). Jesus wept and seems to have been deeply grieved when He saw their unbelief and unwillingness to believe that He could and would do something for their brother, Lazarus (John 11:35). Could it be that the Holy Spirit is grieved by our lack of faith or our sinful conduct (Ephesians 4:30)?

Communication. Before doing what He intended to do, which was part of God’s plan for Him (John 5:17), Jesus lifted His eyes toward heaven and thanked His Father for hearing Him and answering His request to allow Him to raise Lazarus from the dead (John 11:41, 42). When He called Lazarus by name, he came forth to the surprise of all who were there (John 11:43).Then many believed in Him, but there were some religious leaders who feared losing their authority over the people and wanted to kill Jesus and Lazarus (John 11:45-53). How sad to think that some of these people were unwilling to admit that He was the Promised Messiah and the Son of God just so they could retain power. “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world [or has temporary power over other people], and loses his own soul” (Mark 8:36)?

Power. Ultimate power rests with God alone (Revelation 1:8). The work of creation is likened to God’s finger work (Psalm 8:3), but His resurrection power is the greatest power of all. With it Jesus will raise everyone who has died, each one in his own order (1 Corinthians 15:20-26). The Apostle Paul wanted this kind of power to do the work of God for His glory (Philippians 3:10). Jesus said, “Without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5; See Philippians 4:13).

Death. Physical death is separation of the spirit and soul from the body, not the annihilation of the wicked dead (2 Corinthians 5:8; See Revelation 20:10). Spiritual death is the separation of the person from fellowship with God (Genesis 2:17; Ephesians 2:1; 4:18). Physical and spiritual death can be reversed, but the second death is irreversible (Revelation 20:14; 21:8). Dying physically in unbelief is the unforgivable sin today (John 16:8-11). The lake of fire was prepared for the devil and his angels but all unbelievers end up there with him forever where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 25:30, 41, 46). We don’t want you to end up there. You don’t have to go there.

Gospel. The Good News is that Christ died for us sinners…and rose again bodily on the third day and can save any and all who will place their faith in Him alone to save (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4; Acts 16:31). We aren’t saved by our good works or by our faith plus our good works (Ephesians 2:8, 9). The right formula: Grace + Faith = Salvation + Good Works.

No Death. Two people living in the Old Testament times didn’t die: Enoch (Genesis 5:24), and Elijah (2 Kings 2:1, 11). These two men illustrate for us what will happen one of these days when Jesus comes back for the true believers and takes them to the “Bridal Suite” that He has been preparing for them (John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Will you be in that number? We hope so.

Sorrow. When a loved one is taken from us in death it’s not easy to bear. Jesus never told believers not to cry at such times. “We sorrow, but not as those who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). “When you grieve, when you’re confused, yes, and even when you’re angry, don’t hide your feelings from God and pretend everything’s alright. He knows you better than that. And since He is the Truth, He can handle the truth.” C. R. Swindoll. Remember, Jesus, our High Priest sympathizes with us (Hebrews 4:14-16).

Help. If you aren’t sure of your eternal destiny, we can be reached at 805-238-3549 or through our website: www.kelseypeach.com. If this article has helped you, we’d like to hear from you. Would you share it with someone else who might benefit from it too? Click on “Follow” to receive future articles as they come out.

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