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The Ministry

Gospel of John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction

Jesus routinely healed on the Sabbath. There were other events o this which John did not record. The healing of the man by the pool was the only one John chose to give us but he makes clear because of these “things” the Jews began to persecute Jesus…and so Jesus responds in verse 17.
“My Father is always at work” — There was a debate on whether or not God Himself observed the Sabbath each week. The consensus, affirmed by Jesus here, was that God must work in order for the universe to continue to exist. Just as “MY Father” works so do I. There are things which must necessarily be done and doing them does not violate the Sabbath
God still works on the Sabbath and men do what is necessary to live on the Sabbath as well. “The divine rest from creation did not take the form of idleness. God keeps the universe going even on the Sabbath…and this compassionate work on the Sabbath is reflected here in the life of Jesus.”
Let’s talk about the Sabbath for a moment...
The Sabbath was created for man, not man for the Sabbath. God knew we needed a day to rest, recharge and refocus. We needed a dedicated day to spend with Him in particular devotion.
One man challenged another to an all-day wood chopping contest. The challenger worked very hard, stopping only for a brief lunch break. The other man had a leisurely lunch and took several breaks during the day. At the end of the day, the challenger was surprised and annoyed to find that the other fellow had chopped substantially more wood than he had. "I don't get it," he said. "Every time I checked, you were taking a rest, yet you chopped more wood than I did." "But you didn't notice," said the winning woodsman, "that I was sharpening my ax when I sat down to rest."
One man challenged another to an all-day wood chopping contest. The challenger worked very hard, stopping only for a brief lunch break. The other man had a leisurely lunch and took several breaks during the day. At the end of the day, the challenger was surprised and annoyed to find that the other fellow had chopped substantially more wood than he had. "I don't get it," he said. "Every time I checked, you were taking a rest, yet you chopped more wood than I did." "But you didn't notice," said the winning woodsman, "that I was sharpening my ax when I sat down to rest."
The Sabbath was created for man, not man for the Sabbath. God knew we needed a day to rest, recharge and refocus. We needed a dedicated day to spend with Him in particular devotion.
But if you are just resting and not sharpening your axe spiritually then you are just being lazy. A Sabbath rest is an intentional thing…It is about your relationship with God not a day with a nap or a lazy afternoon on the couch.
God still works on the Sabbath and men do what is necessary to live on the Sabbath as well. “The divine rest from creation did not take the form of idleness. God keeps the universe going even on the Sabbath…and this compassionate work on the Sabbath is reflected here in the life of Jesus.”
Back to the story...
The Jews were even more upset now because Jesus was equating Himself with God. To call God His Father meant He was making Himself equal with God. Here Jesus is claiming to be God while explaining the ministry the Father had given the Son...

Ministry is a Matter of Doing What We See The Father Doing

Jesus is in constant communion with the Father. He sees and knows what the Father is doing. And His ministry is to be a part of what the Father is doing around Him...
This is an important point for us! If Jesus did only what He saw the Father doing how much more should we spend time with the Father so we might know where He is at work and join in what He Himself is doing?
If the ministry of Jesus was defined by the Father shouldn’t ours be as well? SHouldn’t our entire life be?
While crossing a bridge in London, John Wesley stumbled and sprained his ankle. Some friends carried him to the house of Mrs. Mary Vazielle on Threadneedle Street. She was a widow with several children. She cared for Wesley and his response to her concern was to ask her to marry him. If we were writing fiction we might say that the sprained ankle was God's providential way to bring those people together. But the marriage was a disaster, and Mary finally left John. Had Wesley consulted with his brother Charles, and asked for the prayers of the brethren, he might have avoided that unfortunate situation. Mary was accustomed to her quiet home, and it was difficult for her to travel with her husband and stay in uncomfortable inns. It is unfortunate that Mary was not content just to ignore John's ministry; she actually opposed it. She gave certain personal letters to his enemies and even made additions to them that made them worse! Once she even pulled her husband around on the floor by his hair! "I felt as though I could have knocked the soul out of her!" one of Wesley's friends said. Wesley concluded that his unhappy marriage encouraged him to work harder and not complain about missing the comforts of a home. Certainly it encouraged him to be away from home more!
While crossing a bridge in London, John Wesley stumbled and sprained his ankle. Some friends carried him to the house of Mrs. Mary Vazielle on Threadneedle Street. She was a widow with several children. She cared for Wesley and his response to her concern was to ask her to marry him. If we were writing fiction we might say that the sprained ankle was God's providential way to bring those people together. But the marriage was a disaster, and Mary finally left John. Had Wesley consulted with his brother Charles, and asked for the prayers of the brethren, he might have avoided that unfortunate situation. Mary was accustomed to her quiet home, and it was difficult for her to travel with her husband and stay in uncomfortable inns. It is unfortunate that Mary was not content just to ignore John's ministry; she actually opposed it. She gave certain personal letters to his enemies and even made additions to them that made them worse! Once she even pulled her husband around on the floor by his hair! "I felt as though I could have knocked the soul out of her!" one of Wesley's friends said. Wesley concluded that his unhappy marriage encouraged him to work harder and not complain about missing the comforts of a home. Certainly it encouraged him to be away from home more!
If you are not looking to the Father…then you can never know what He is doing…and you can become sidetracked with your own plans…or the plans of others…and end up in a bad situation of your own making…One which could have been avoided altogether had your eyes been on God.
We ask, “What is God’s will for my life?” The answer is found in the same place the Son found the will of the Father…look up to the Father. We must spend time with Him so we might know His heart and plans…THEN…we can join what He is doing.
If you are not looking to the Father…watching where He is at work then you can never know what He is doing…you can become sidetracked with your own plans…or the plans of others…and end up in a bad situation of your own making…One which could have been avoided altogether had your eyes been on God.
Our own understanding, ideas and ambitions can get us in a load of trouble.
God loves us and wants us to be a part of His plans! The Father showed Jesus what He was doing because He loved Him and HE will do the same for us...He does this so we might participate in His life just as Jesus did while on earth.
He does this so we might participate in His life just as Jesus did while on earth.
He does this so we might participate in His life just as Jesus did while on earth.
He raises the dead (v 21) and judges souls at the end of the age (22) and is God’s instrument through whom salvation comes to the world (24).

The Ministry of Jesus

But Jesus had a unique ministry on the earth…He is God the Son. His relationship with the Father is unique because the Father and Son, along with the Holy Spirit are God…the ministry the Father gives Jesus is one which brings honor to Him as God
The Father gave Jesus a ministry in order to reveal the character and nature of the Father…and in so doing reveal that He Himself is God…that He and the Father were One…and to bring salvation to lost mankind
Jesus defines some of His ministry in this passage and does so this way...
He has power over physical death (v 21) and judges souls at the end of the age (22) and is God’s instrument through whom salvation and eternal life come to the world (24).
Jesus has the ministry of life. He has the ministry of judge. He will bring salvation to the world and judge the world by whether or not they receive His gift of life.
We are not God but we can do the works of God. Jesus on the other hand is God and what He does is the work of God.
Jesus can raise whomever He wants from physical death
The Jews believed that the power of life and death were in the hands of the Father and that the Father would judge all on the last day…Jesus says that He has the power to not only raise the dead but the Father has committed judgement to the hands of the Son…All in order that the Son be honored
He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him…
But now the exclamation point of His Ministry...

“Can You Hear Me Now?”

“Whoever hears” — Jesus is calling the spiritually dead to life. He is revealing Himself to His own people and subsequently to the entire world. He has granted the capacity for the dead to hear…now is the question of whether they will listen and have faith.
John 1:12 NASB95
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,
There is a difference between hearing something and listening. There is a difference between simply encountering of something and receiving it.
God has taken the initiative to save us…He sent His Son…He died on the Cross for our sins. The message and revelation of salvation has come through Jesus. We see and hear it…
An intellectual assent to the truth of something isn’t the same as hearing, receiving and having faith. We must commit our life to this truth…this is real faith.
We must commit our life to this truth…this is real faith.
The moment we have faith we become children of God…we move from death to life…we are no longer condemned by our sin...we enter into a relationship with the Father. We have “crossed over.”
“The Dead Will Hear”— There is coming a day when all of the dead will rise from the grave for judgement…it will be too late to be saved then! Judgement is all that is left at that time…
President Clinton named Kristine Gebbie, a lesbian, as the new AIDS czar. Four months later she spelled out her perceptions on traditional morality. She said, [The United States] needs to view human sexuality as an essentially important and pleasurable thing. [Until it does so], we will continue to be a repressed, Victorian society that misrepresents information, denies homosexual sexuality, particularly in teens, and leaves people abandoned with no place to go. I can help just a little bit in my job, standing on the White House lawn talking about sex with no lightning bolts falling on my head."
President Clinton named Kristine Gebbie, a lesbian, as the new AIDS czar. Four months later she spelled out her perceptions on traditional morality. She said, [The United States] needs to view human sexuality as an essentially important and pleasurable thing. [Until it does so], we will continue to be a repressed, Victorian society that misrepresents information, denies homosexual sexuality, particularly in teens, and leaves people abandoned with no place to go. I can help just a little bit in my job, standing on the White House lawn talking about sex with no lightning bolts falling on my head."
President Clinton named Kristine Gebbie, a lesbian, as the new AIDS czar. Four months later she spelled out her perceptions on traditional morality. She said, [The United States] needs to view human sexuality as an essentially important and pleasurable thing. [Until it does so], we will continue to be a repressed, Victorian society that misrepresents information, denies homosexual sexuality, particularly in teens, and leaves people abandoned with no place to go. I can help just a little bit in my job, standing on the White House lawn talking about sex with no lightning bolts falling on my head."
The following incident is vouched for by a Church of England clergyman who knew all the circumstances.
A young woman, who had been brought up in a Christian home and who had often had very serious convictions in regard to the importance of coming to Christ, chose instead to take the way of the world. Much against the wishes of her godly mother, she insisted on keeping company with a wild, hilarious crowd, who lived only for the passing moment and tried to forget the things of eternity. Again and again she was pleaded with to turn to Christ, but she persistently refused to heed the admonitions addressed to her.
Ezekiel 7:8 NASB95
‘Now I will shortly pour out My wrath on you and spend My anger against you; judge you according to your ways and bring on you all your abominations.
Finally, she was taken with a very serious illness. All that medical science could do for her was done in order to bring about her recovery, but it soon became evident that the case was hopeless and death was staring her in the face. Still she was hard and obdurate when urged to turn to God in repentance and take the lost sinner's place and trust the lost sinner's Saviour.
One night she awoke suddenly out of a sound sleep, a frightened look in her eyes, and asked excitedly, "Mother, what is ,?"
Her mother said, "What do you mean, my dear?"
Ezekiel 7:9 HCSB
I will not look on you with pity or spare you. I will punish you for your ways and for your detestable practices within you. Then you will know that it is I, Yahweh, who strikes.
She replied that she had had a most vivid dream. She thought there was a Presence in the room, who very solemnly said to her, "Read ,." Not recalling the verses in question, the mother reached for a Bible. As she opened it, her heart sank as she saw the words, but she read them aloud to the dying girl:
"Now I will shortly pour out my fury upon thee, and accomplish mine anger upon thee: and I will judge thee according to thy ways, and will recompense thee for all thine abominations. And mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: I will recompense thee according to thy ways and thine abominations that are in the midst of thee; and ye shall know that I am the Lord that smiteth."
The poor sufferer, with a look of horror on her face, sank back on the pillow, utterly exhausted, and in a few moments she was in eternity. Once more it had been demonstrated that grace rejected brings judgment at last.
Now is the time for the dead to be saved not judged but that day is coming. Now is the opportunity for the crossing over from death to life. There may be no tomorrow for you…it is only now, while you have life on this earth and hear the voice of the Son that you may have eternal life.
There is coming a day when all of the dead will rise from the grave for judgement…it will be too late to be saved then! Judgement is all that is left at that time…
Judgement — The judgement to come will happen in one of two ways...Those who know Jesus as Savior will be judged for their life in Him…they will be rewarded for the good things they did in cooperation with His Spirit at work within them
1 Corinthians 3:10–15 NASB95
According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
But the judgement for those who do not have faith in Christ as their Savior is not a missing of reward and a life filled with futile pursuits…but condemnation for their sin and eternal separation from God.

Our Ministry...

Ministry — Work or vocation of a minister of religion
Remember…God has given all of us the ministry of reconciliation…we are all called to make disciples…we are all called to be a part of what He is doing to draw the lost of this world to salvation in Him...
God gives us a ministry as well…So that we might show the world the character, power and salvation of God…So that we might demonstrate to the world that we belong to Him.
2 Corinthians 5:18 HCSB
Everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:
We are here to give glory and honor to God…We are His instruments of salvation...
Look Up — Spend time with God so that you too may know Him. Everything starts with our relationship with God. Jesus was in constant communion with the Father in prayer.
Look Around — Ask God to show you where He is at work and He will do so because He loves you! So you may know where He is at work and be a part of His agenda around you.
Step up and step out — Faith without works is dead! When you see where God is at work and know what He is doing…Just do it!
Make God Your Ambition — Seek to please the One who sent you! Everything Jesus did was to honor the Father…Make sure your ambition is His glory…to make Him known…to lead people to salvation in Him
We are all unique…We all have a unique and special place in the Kingdom…Look up to God and have relationship with Him…then look around you to see where He is at work around you…and get busy so your life might count for Him!
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