John’s goal in his Gospel is to keep showing us Jesus, so that we would “believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing [we] might have life in his name.” (John 20:31) But in order for us to see and know him clearly, we also need to see and know ourselves. We need to better understand our own hearts — our needs, our desires, our sins — in order to truly grasp who Jesus is and why we need him.

Last week, the Gospel of John drove us to ask ourselves, “What is at the center of my life?” (John 3:22-36). This past Sunday, God’s word pushed us toward a similar question: “How am I trying to quench my thirst?”

In John 4 Jesus meets a woman and, as they talk, he shows her things she desperately needs to see about her own heart, and he finally tells her that he is able and willing to address all her needs, desires, and sins. In fact, he is able to give her much more than what her heart is chasing and much more than what all our hearts are chasing.

Here are some questions to help you process and apply the message from last Sunday.      Read the rest of this entry »

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Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. How can I tell if Christ is at the center of my life?
    There are no easy answers, but I hope these diagnostic questions help provide insight into what might be at the center for you:

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Questions for Reflection and Discussion

Please read John 3:16-21.

1. What does this passage reveal to you about Jesus Christ and about God the Father? What does it teach you about faith in Jesus?

2. Do you find it difficult to believe that God loves you or loves the world? Why do you think that is? What reasons do you have for confidence in God’s love?      Read the rest of this entry »

In John 3, Jesus teaches a teacher about the mysterious truth of regeneration — the new birth. In doing so, Jesus shows us that what God desires for sinners like us is so much more than mere behavioral change. He desires true, inward transformation. Perhaps more importantly, he shows us that God is able to make that kind of true transformation happen. He can give us a new identity, a new beginning, new life by the power of his Holy Spirit.

Here are some questions to help you process and respond to this passage and last Sunday’s message.    Read the rest of this entry »

The Gospel of John has a lot to say about believing. John uses the word “believe” 99 times! In fact, John’s purpose in writing this biography is that “you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:31)

In order to help us believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, in the early chapters of this Gospel, John does at least two things again and again in the scenes he records for us: 1) He shows us who Jesus is. 2) He shows us what belief in Jesus looks like, and doesn’t look like.

In John 2:23-25 a group of people are said to believe in Jesus’ name “when they saw the signs he was doing” (v.23). This seems at first like great news, but Jesus sees beyond the facade of their belief. We might say, the people “believed” in him, but he did not believe in them. They “trusted” in his name, but he did not trust them!

Here are some questions to help you process and respond to this passage and Sunday’s message.

Questions for Discussion and Reflection

  1. Did you find Jesus’ response in this scene surprising or troubling? If so, why do you think that is?

 

  1. What does this scene reveal to you about the Lord Jesus Christ? How does what you see about him here affect you personally?

 

  1. What does this scene reveal to you about what it means to believe in Jesus Christ?

 

  1. How would you describe the difference between weak faith and false faith?

 

  1. We looked at a few characteristics of the false belief that Jesus encountered in the Gospels: it was superficial, self-serving (opportunistic), and/or passing (temporary). (Read, for example, John 6:60-66.) Have you seen examples of such false belief, perhaps even in yourself?

 

  1. We listed just two characteristics of true belief in Christ: it sees Jesus as the Rescuer you desperately need; it sees Jesus as the Lord that you need to follow. How can we guard against superficial, self-serving belief and cultivate a view of Jesus as Rescuer and Lord?

 

In the opening chapter of his Gospel, John declares in no uncertain terms that Jesus Christ is God. He is the Word, the Light, the eternal Son, and the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. He is the Christ — the long-awaited Savior and Ruler promised throughout the Old Testament.

John also explains that whoever believes in Jesus Christ will be given the right to become children of God (John 1:12). If that’s true, then nothing could me more important than believing in Him.

This past Sunday we considered what believing in Jesus Christ looks like. The stories in John 1:35-51 reveal some vital elements (or steps) in belief — namely, hearing, seeing, and following. In order to believe in Jesus, a person must hear the testimony of who he is (Romans 10:14); they need to experience first hand for themselves who Jesus is (Job 42:5); and they need to follow him as Lord (Luke 9:57-62).

Here are some questions to help you respond to Sunday’s message.   Read the rest of this entry »

This past Sunday we met a remarkable man named John the Baptist. But as we tried to understand what made him tick, we couldn’t help but look at Jesus Christ. After all, John was all about helping others to see and know “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” In fact, John’s sense of identity, worth, and purpose were all shaped by who he knew Jesus Christ to be. And as John points to Him, he invites us to find our identity, worth, and purpose in Jesus too.

Recommended Reading: If you’d like help thinking more about all this, I’d highly recommend a little book called The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness (48 pages). On the surface, you might think it’s just about humility, but really it’s about much more than that. It’s about the freedom we experience when we see ourselves from the vantage point of Jesus Christ and what he has done for us. It’s about freedom from worrying about how others judge us, or even how we judge ourselves (1 Corinthians 4:3). It’s about beholding the Lamb of God and finding out who we are.

Here are some questions to help us respond to last week’s message: Read the rest of this entry »