Faithlife Sermons

Changes: Obstacles to God's Mission

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It seemed like the right thing to do at the time...

Jesus is on a mission.

He was then…and he is now… working through you and I as we make disciples.
John 7:1 NIV
1 After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him.
After this… 6 months from chapter 6 to chapter 7. We know this because the other gospels tell us that the events of Ch 6 occured around Passover - spring - and Booths - Fall.
It’s probably been a year after the healing of the man at the pool and after all this time the Jewish leaders are still looking to kill Jesus for breaking the Sabbath.
We see a shift in the ministry of Jesus here… things are getting more intense. The Jewish leaders are
In this passage, we see Jesus confronts opposition to his mission that comes at him in two ways.
The first one comes at Jesus in the form of distraction.
John 7:2 NIV
2 But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near,
Feast of Tabernacles - 1 of 3 feasts that Jewish Males were expected to attend.
Instituted by Moses as a time to remember their wandering in the desert. The feast of tents - It was a great family event - camping out
John 7:3–4 NIV
3 Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. 4 No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.”
Jesus’ brothers - Mary and Joseph’s sons - his family - grew up with Jesus
Galilee - backwater area - Judea - City center, place of power.
Disciples - those who “know” you - those who left the minstry before. go give them the miracles they need to return to being you follower.
If you expect to be king, you need followers. you won’t get them here, everyone knows what you can do, but who are we?

Distractions take us off Mission

Their logic made sense, but it was not the way of Jesus. They wanted Jesus to go and become king by building a crowd. But Jesus didn’t come to build a following, but to be the redemption for all people.
They were trying to apply politics, the schemes of man, to the work of God and it just doesn’t work that way.
We in the church fall into that as well… we plan and strategize trying to figure out ways to “do church” without spending much time in prayer to get our hearts in alignment with God’s heart.
Then we wander why efforts don’t produce the results that we expect and that’s because God wasn’t really involved in the process to begin with, so we don’t really know if the plan used or the goal we set out were worthy of God’s purpose for us.
John 7:5 NIV
5 For even his own brothers did not believe in him.
They didn’t believe… or understand Jesus’s plan. They didn’t understand him as God in the flesh. They knew his miracles - but they couldn’t see that he was much more. They were just like the crowd of thousands from Bethesaida… who followed him around because of his miracles, but couldn’t accept that he was anything more than a miracle worker.
They didn’t believe, so they thought of a human way to accomplish the mission. But that’s not what Jesus was here for.
It’s the same for us, how can I be faithful to God’s mission if I don’t first have faith? I can’t. Instead what I do… Because I believe it’s good to do the right thing…
That’s why the church gets stuck in social ministries - doing good - because it’s good to do good… but faith is better.
Hopefully our doing good gives us a platform to tell people about Jesus, invite them to church or small group. But if it doesn’t do that, then don’t pretend I’m doing it for Jesus when i’m actually doing it for me.
John 7:6–8 NIV
6 Therefore Jesus told them, “My time is not yet here; for you any time will do. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil. 8 You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.”
My time - this is John’s way of reminding us of the cross. Jesus knew it wasn’t time for him to die, so he couldn’t just walk right in. They were out to get Jesus, not his brothers.
I’m not going to “this festival”
John 7:9–11 NIV
9 After he had said this, he stayed in Galilee. 10 However, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went also, not publicly, but in secret. 11 Now at the festival the Jewish leaders were watching for Jesus and asking, “Where is he?”
Did Jesus lie? Was he seeking to deceive? Well no. Brothers wanted fanfare… Jesus went in secret… he didn’t lie, he had to go quietly.
John 7:12–13 NIV
12 Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, “He is a good man.” Others replied, “No, he deceives the people.” 13 But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the leaders.
Second form of opposition to the mission.

Doubts get us off mission.

murmuring - questioning - doubting - parking lot conversations -
Fearing Jews more than God
James 1:6–8 NIV
6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
That’s what Jesus reveals to them in vs 18
John 7:14–15 NIV
14 Not until halfway through the festival did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach. 15 The Jews there were amazed and asked, “How did this man get such learning without having been taught?”
They just don’t believe. They heard, They were amazed… but not convinced. His sounded like someone … but… something was missing… belief was missing.
They doubted Jesus so they had no way of understanding the mission God was calling them to be a part of.
My reason for studying John as a charge - “that you would believe”. - that together we would be so convinced of Jesus’s authority and lordship that we would fully commit ourselves to His mission in our community. I don’t want us to “believe” like the crowds. I don’t want us to be amazed like the Jews
I want us to be convinced like the disciples were in Ch 6… that Jesus is the son of God who saved me and saved you and has a community of people around us who need to know who Jesus is, neighbors who need love, church members who need out gifts.
The mission of God is right here. What does it look like? LOVE
This love drives us — to gather in the presence of God together - to grow in relationship with Jesus and one another - and to go into ministry in our community empowered by the Holy Spirit. This is how we live out God’s mission here in Rock Hall.
First we must believe. Jesus said it this way.
John 7:16–18 NIV
16 Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. 17 Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. 18 Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.
chooses to do the will of god (Believe) … If you believed you would know my words are from God… He said, my words are powerful because they are the words of God… hear them and believe.
Taught with authority… words spoke to our heart - “He’s talking to me”
Jesus calls out those seeking to kill him
John 7:19–20 NIV
19 Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?” 20 “You are demon-possessed,” the crowd answered. “Who is trying to kill you?”
John 7:21–22 NIV
21 Jesus said to them, “I did one miracle, and you are all amazed. 22 Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a boy on the Sabbath.
John 7:23 NIV
23 Now if a boy can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing a man’s whole body on the Sabbath?
John 7:24 NIV
24 Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”
The issue isn’t that we judge… it is that we don’t judge correctly.
Their problem is that they have misconstrued Jesus by a flawed understanding of the OT based on superficial “appearances”. Instead.... Jesus asks them to approach God’s will based on faith… if they did, they would see that Jesus isn’t a sabbath breaker, but one who fulfills the law.
You see… the problem of the crowd here and the problem of Jesus’s brothers may have revealed itself in very different ways…his brothers trying to do the right thing and help Jesus along … while the crowd openly questioned Jesus...
They had the same source… they were making judgments not from faith but from outward appearances
Proverbs 14:12 ESV
12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
Jesus concludes by challenging us to judge based on faith… not on appearances.
First do you have faith?
It’s impossible to be faithful to God’s mission if I don’t have faith in Jesus.

Faith keeps us in step with God’s mission.

People are changing… their problems, their abilities, situations,
Our ministry is going to be changing… because ministry is the way we serve people. We know things have changed from the past till now… we should expect them to change into the future… actually we should seek to change our ministries in order to keep in step with the mission of God in our community today, not 1 - 5 - 10 - or 50 years ago.
People - ministry - Our church is going to be changing… I don’t know how or when… but I know this… change is happening…it’s always happening. What we need to make sure of is that we are in step with the mission fo God all along the way. We don’t make changes… or refuse changes because of a lack of faith.
These are exciting times… God is up to something and not just in our church… but in your life today.
William Borden - heir to fortune - million dollar trip to Europe and China for graduation - needs of people in different parts of the world - wrote home - missionary to China - . In the back of his Bible he wrote these words:
No Reservations!
No Retreats!
No Regrets!
Those are words of faith.
What is it that you sense God is calling you to prepare for? What is God calling you to do?
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