1 1-5 What You Must Believe Before You Can Believe
liberty bible church 9/23/07 a.M.
By Tom Zobrist
“what you must believe before you can believe”
Illus. of No losing team has every had the following of loyal fans like the Chicago Cubs. Here are some interesting and amusing facts. Twenty major events that have occurred since the Chicago Cubs last laid claim to a World Series championship: 1. Radio was invented; Cubs fans got to hear their team lose. 2. TV was invented; Cubs fans got to see their team lose. 3. Baseball added 14 teams; Cubs fans get to see and hear their team lose to more clubs. 4. George Burns celebrated his 10th, 20th, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th, 70th, 80th, 90th and 100th birthdays. 5. Haley's comet passed Earth twice. 6. Harry Caray was born....and died. Incredible, but true. 7. The NBA, NHL and NFL were formed, and Chicago teams won championships in each league. 8. Man landed on the moon, as have several home runs given up by Cubs pitchers. 9. Sixteen U.S. presidents were elected. 10. There were 11 amendments added to the Constitution. 11. Prohibition was created and repealed. 12. The Titanic was built, set sail, sank, was discovered and became the subject of major motion pictures, the latest giving Cubs fans hope that something that finishes on the bottom can come out on top. 13. Wrigley Field was built and becomes the oldest park in the National League. 14. Flag poles were erected on Wrigley Field roof to hold all of the team's future World Series pennants. Those flag poles have since rusted and been taken down. 15. A combination of 40 Summer and Winter Olympics have been held. 16. Thirteen baseball players have won the Triple Crown; several thanked Cubs pitchers. 17. Bell-bottoms came in style, went out of style and came back in. 18. The Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox and the Florida Marlins have all won the World Series. 19. The Cubs played 14,153 regular-season games; they lost the majority of them. 20. Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Oklahoma and New Mexico were added to the Union.
For this year, there is still that chance. Perhaps this is the year. What is it that makes a fan of any team so loyal? They believe. They believe that at the beginning of any season in any sport, they have chance. Their belief motivates them to action. They buy apparel and tickets and they watch games on TV and listen to them on the radio. They check standings and statistics. But as the year wears on, the realization sets in that this year will not be the year.
Many people say they believe in God. Many also say that they believe in Jesus. But, unlike the avid sports fan, their belief does not spur them on to action. Their belief is head knowledge, but not heart knowledge. They know who Jesus is, but they don’t know Him personally. Before one can believe in Jesus, there are some prerequisites. There is something that you must believe before you can believe. What must we believe before we can believe in Jesus?
OPEN to passage.
Prop. In this passage, we see one truth we must believe about Jesus before we can truly believe in Him with our hearts.
Open in PRAYER.
PREVIEW the passage. Some background on this great Gospel: Unlike the synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke which tell the account of Jesus with a similar structure and share many of the same incidents, the Gospel of John is different. Matthew begins with a genealogy connecting Jesus to David and Abraham, Mark starts with the preaching of John the Baptist, Luke begins with a dedication to Theophilus and follows with a prediction of the birth of John the Baptist. John begins with theology; a theological prologue that sets the stage for the entire Gospel. He wants the reader to consider Jesus’ teaching and work, but realizes that they cannot understand properly until they know this one fact that we are emphasizing today. These first 18 verses contain some of the major themes of this work that will be explained fully later. This book is not arranged chronologically, but revolves around seven miracles and seven “I Am” statements of Christ. The main purpose of the writing was stated by John in John 20:31. Most Bible scholars agree that the author was the disciple John, that he wrote this between A.D. 85-95 and that he may have been at Ephesus. The key word here is pisteuo or “believe” which occurs in various forms 98 times. What is it that we must believe? One aspect is…
i. jesus is the source of temporal life vs. 1-3
Illus. of “In the big inning…” The Bible begins in Genesis 1:1 by taking us to the beginning of time as we know it and John begins his prologue with the same statement. If we are going to understand who Jesus is and what He does, we have to see where He fits in at the very beginning. Where did He come from? What was His beginning?
A. Jesus has no beginning
V 1a 1. As far back as man can remember, the Word existed. Word is the common Greek word logos, which referred to the spoken word. It was widely used in Greek literature, as well as, Jewish literature. It was a word that would have been familiar to John’s readers. However, John gave it his own meaning. V 14 In the beginning, at creation, Jesus was. He existed.
V 1b 2. He was with God. The Greek word here indicates he was “in company with” God. He was in special eternal fellowship with God.
V 1c 3. The Word, Jesus, was God. The JW’s erroneously translate this as “was a god.” There is only one living God, and Jesus is part of this Godhead. This is an important part of the Trinity. Jesus is eternal, He is in fellowship with God the Father, and is in fact God. If one cannot believe this, they can never believe that Jesus is Savior.
V 2 4. John again emphasizes this important point. The Word, Jesus, was not at some point created. He has always been with God, in fellowship with God, because He is God. Yet there are not two Gods. Since He has always been, the logical conclusion is…
b. As God, jesus is the source of everything
Illus. of putting Serena’s kitchen faucet in. I had never done that before and felt some pride after doing it. Jesus can make that claim for everything.
V 3 1. Some of the great theological questions can be answered right here. Where did everything come from? What is matter’s source? The answer is God. He is the sovereign, eternal, creator of everything we can see and not see. The physical and spiritual realm is all by Him.
2. Jesus is the agent of that creation. Cf. Col. 1:16 The entire Godhead was involved and John emphasizes the work of the Son. John stresses this aspect because He came to reveal the Father. Cf. v 18 The Revelation of God began at creation. Cf. Rom. 1:18-20
Trans. Before we can believe in Jesus for salvation, we must believe that Jesus is God. And as God, HE IS THE SOURCE OF TEMPORAL LIFE. Second, as God…
ii. jesus is the source of eternal life vs. 4-5
Illus. of all the legends concerning the Fountain of Youth. Ponce De Leon supposedly discovered the Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine, Florida. In August 2006, popular American magician David Copperfield claimed he had discovered a true "Fountain of Youth" amid a cluster of four small islands in the Exuma chain of the Bahamas which he recently purchased for roughly $50 million. "I've discovered a true phenomenon," he told Reuters in a telephone interview. "You can take dead leaves, they come in contact with the water, they become full of life again. … Bugs or insects that are near death, come in contact with the water, they'll fly away. It's an amazing thing, very, very exciting." Copperfield, who turned 50 in September 2006, says that he hired scientists to conduct an examination of the "legendary" water, but as of now, the fountain remains off limits to outside visitors. All these legends contradict the Bible because there is only one source of eternal life and that is the Word, Jesus Christ.
a. all life is in christ
V 4a 1. Everyone loves life. We are born with an instinct to survive. Even as those with hope of eternal life in Heaven, we treasure life on this earth. This is a God-given instinct because God is the source and giver of life. We are its caretakers. To lose it is a tragedy. Ultimately, all life is in Christ. Cf. John 11:25
V 4b 2. Light is used in the Bible as an emblem of God. Cf. Jn. 8:12 Darkness refers to death, sin, ignorance, and eternal separation from God. Isaiah described salvation as people coming to the light. Cf. Is. 9:2 This is quoted in Matthew 4:16 The life that Jesus possesses is the life that gives light to men. How do we know this refers to eternal life?
b. The light of Christ overcomes the darkness
V 5a 1. This is what light does. The darker it is, the brighter the light appears. There is no need for light if we are in the light. In John’s description here, darkness is personified. Darkness is not as strong as light. Light always overcomes darkness. This is a summary of the Gospel.
V 5b 2. “did not comprehend It” should be “did not overcome It.” Light comes into the kingdom of darkness and the darkness could not overcome the light. Satan and his minions will battle Jesus and life, but they will not be victorious. The Word will overcome. Jesus came to bring light to people in darkness. We must believe in Him for eternal life. But, part of believing in Him is…
We must believe that Jesus is God. And as God, HE IS THE SOURCE OF TEMPORAL LIFE. Second, as God JESUS IS THE SOURCE OF ETERNAL LIFE. John will go on to explain throughout this Gospel the details of how that life can be attained. For today, here are some keys principles to remember about this theology lesson:
1. Jesus is God. This is a non-negotiable. He is not a god, He is the one and only true and living God.
2. Jesus is the source of light for eternal life. Trusting in that fact is crucial. GOSPEL If you can trust Him for eternity, can you trust Him for this life?
3. Jesus is the source of light for everyday life. He can be trusted for everyday decisions. The Bible and Godly counsel is available for this.
Illus. of the Cubs may or may not win this year. From a merely human perspective, there’s always next year.
But, with our lives, there may not be next year. We are not guaranteed tomorrow. Today is the day to trust in Jesus for salvation. Today is the day to mend that broken relationship with a friend or family member. Today is the day to trust God for every decision. In order to trust God, you must trust Jesus. You must believe He is God, that He died on the cross for your sins, and that He rose again. To believe anything else or to ignore this is to live in darkness with no hope. Jesus is the light and the life. All who trust in Him are winners.. guaranteed…today!
“what you must believe
before you can believe”
In this passage, we see one truth we must believe about Jesus before we can truly believe in Him with our hearts.
i. jesus is the source of life vs. 1-3
A. Jesus has ____________ _____________________
b. As God, jesus is the…
Cf. Col. 1:16; Rom. 1:18-20
ii. jesus is the source of life vs. 4-5
a. ______________ __________________ is in christ
Cf. John 11:25; 8:12; Is. 9:2; Mt. 4:16
b. The light of Christ ____________ the darkness
For today, here are some keys principles to remember about this theology lesson: