Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth

December 3, 2019 at 4:45 pm | Posted in John | 1 Comment
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Jesus continued teaching at the Feast of Tabernacles.

In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.

John 7:37

This may have been the eighth day of the feast, but most likely it was the seventh day when the lampstand was lit and the water offering was poured out.

He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

John 7:38-39

He continued using water to illustrate the eternal life that He grants, and now He associated the Living Water that only needs to be drunk once and then becomes an everlasting well in the drinker with the Holy Spirit Who would indwell believers after Jesus’s Ascension.

The response to this teaching was great speculation, conjecture, controversy, and confusion about Who exactly this Jesus was. Was He the Prophet from Deuteronomy 18:15, or was He the Messiah, the heir of David?

So there was a division among the people because of him.

John 7:43

This was very common throughout Jesus’s earthly ministry, not only in John’s Gospel, but in the synoptic Gospels, too. Jesus came to divide between the true and the false, the real and the fake, light and darkness, the devil’s kingdom and His Father’s Kingdom. Here, it provoked a decision to arrest Jesus.

Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him?

John 7:45

These Levitical police officers were not Roman centurions. They were unaccustomed to using force in public, especially when the alleged perpertator could actually be the Messiah, or at least a bona fide prophet from God.

The officers answered, Never man spake like this man.

John 7:46

Of course, Jesus was no “mere man.”

Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived? Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him? But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed.

John 7:47-49

The common people were looked down upon by the Pharisees for their lack of religious training or knowledge.

Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,) Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?

John 7:50-51

Nicodemus was at least in favor of searching the Scriptures to gauge the truth of what Jesus was teaching. As Christians today, we have access to a fuller revelation of God in our Scriptures than Nicodemus did in his, and we must be even more scrupulous in applying them.

From Feeding to Fearing to Following to Failing

July 11, 2019 at 10:19 am | Posted in John | 2 Comments
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Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.

John 6:13

The miracle of Jesus feeding the multitude with fish and bread was just that: a miracle. It was not the result of some ethical guilt-trip whereby Jesus shamed the crowd with the little boy’s example into graciously sharing their own lunches so that everybody got a little bit to eat, nor was it some type of David Copperfield-style illusion where the Disciples formed a hidden bucket brigade from a nearby cave to Jesus, hands behind His back, while He made the illusion of multiplying loaves and fish. No, this was a true SUPERNATURAL miracle, and was understood as such by all who were present.

Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.

John 6:14

The reference to “that prophet” was from the Torah – the one who would replace Moses. They believed the teaching of some rabbis who said that this prophet would be known by his ability to duplicate the miracle of the manna (bread) from Heaven.

When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.

John 6:15

The Sea of Galilee, also known as Lake Tiberias, was in a concave place, surrounded by higher ground and “mountains.” The Disciples, leaving Jesus, entered a ship and started across the sea, which, because of the geography, was notorious for sudden and violent storms. Few things were more terrifying to a First Century Jewish person than a raging sea, which to them represented chaos and turmoil and loss of control and judgment. And, sure enough, their fears began to be realized:

And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew. So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid.

John 6:18-19

This was a distance a little less than three and a half miles, and they weren’t making good progress because they were rowing against storm. Often overlooked in Bible studies about Jesus and His Disciples is the terror that came upon even the people who knew Jesus best when He let His Deity show. It is tough to convey the real sense of fear you or I would feel upon seeing a human being actually step out onto a lake and walk on top of the water. Jesus encouraged them not to be scared, and they probably changed from fear to welcoming him aboard.

It’s hard to miss the symbolism here:

Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went.

John 6:21

When we recognize our sin against God, we might be afraid – certainly afraid to face Him – but then He makes it so that we “willingly” receive Him, and “immediately” we are home (in the sense of our status of becoming part of His family, though not actually in Heaven yet). This is the “already/not yet” nature of salvation – the Ebenezer/Jehovah Jireh – “The Lord has brought us this far, so He will always provide.”

The day following, when the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one whereinto his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples were gone away alone; (Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks:) When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus.

John 6:22-24

The people were exerting a great deal of effort to seek Jesus, but they were seeking Him at the lower level of “rabbi,” rather than the true level of “Lord.”

And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither? Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.

John 6:25-26

Those who are truly seeking a destination are not satisfied with a sign that points to the destination.

Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

John 6:27-28

Just as Jesus had told the Samaritan woman at the well about living water/eternal life, now He mentioned meat which would provide everlasting life. God had “sealed” Jesus – had placed upon Him an indelible and ineradicable anointing and ordination as the only One who could dispense eternal life. The people listening to Jesus wanted to know, “What shall we DO?” There has always been resistance to the idea that salvation is all of God and is found in what Christ has DONE, not what human beings can or should “do.”

Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.

John 6:29-32

They had faith in Moses, but they missed the “sign”ificance of Moses, and settled for life-sustaining bread, rather than eternal-life-giving Bread.

Or in Which a Christian May S.W.I.M.

January 25, 2019 at 11:04 am | Posted in Quotes | Leave a comment
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Scripture is a brook from which a lamb may drink and an ocean in which an elephant can drown.

Wilhelmus á Brakel

But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

John 4:14

Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?

Jeremiah 23:29

Charles H. Spurgeon Needed Grace to S.W.I.M.

September 29, 2015 at 12:46 pm | Posted in Quotes | 1 Comment
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Grace proceeds sovereignly according to the will of God, even as a river in all its windings follows its own sweet will; and wherever it comes it does not wait for life to come to it, but it creates life by its own quickening flow. Oh, that it would pour along our streets and flood our slums! Oh, that it would now come into my house and rise till every chamber were made to swim with it! Lord, let the living water flow to my family and my friends, and let it not pass me by. I hope I have drunk of it already; but I desire to bathe in it, yea, to swim in it. O my Savior, I need life more abundantly. Come to me, I pray Thee, till every part of my nature is vividly energetic and intensely active. Living God, I pray Thee, fill me with Thine own life.

Charles H. Spurgeon, “The Life-Giving Stream,” Faith’s Check Book, Daily Entry on Ezekiel 47:9

Won’t Hold Water

March 6, 2015 at 3:46 pm | Posted in Common Expressions, Jeremiah | 5 Comments
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When we say that something “won’t hold water,” we mean that someone has expressed an idea or opinion, or proposed a plan of action, that, upon closer scrutiny, is faulty, and lacks the consistency or integrity to be relied upon.

For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

Jeremiah 2:13

In the prophet Jeremiah’s day, the Lord’s people committed two evils. First, they ignored the God Who had chosen them. They had forsaken Him Who was the Fountain of living waters. How it must grieve God to see us deliberately disobey Him! However, it’s just as bad to act like He’s not even there, as though we are participating in a sort of practical atheism.

The second evil was that they tried to try to hew out cisterns (troughs or little pools) as places to hold their blessings by their own machinations, without regard to God’s plan or purposes. These were broken cisterns. They were not going to be able to hold the living water. Our self-made or self-righteous attempts to replace our reliance on God will not hold anything worth having. They will become sad little puddles – stagnant and muddy, full of parasites – and they will make us sick.

What did Jesus say to the woman at the well? “Drink this water and you’ll just get thirsty again. But I AM the Living Water – drink of the Lord and you’ll never be thirsty again.”

More often than not, our own ideas, plans, and desires “won’t hold water.” Living water doesn’t have to be “held,” because it transforms the drinker.

Water, Water, Everywhere…

January 26, 2011 at 9:31 am | Posted in Mark, Selected Psalms, Uncategorized | 8 Comments
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We are blessed to live in a society where some of the very basic necessities of life are relatively easy to obtain. Water is a good example. Although bottled water can be expensive at the store, and finding a water bill in the mailbox is probably not anyone’s idea of a treat, there are very few places where you will be turned down for a cup of water if you are truly thirsty.

In fact, the Lord Jesus reminded His disciples of the blessing that comes with giving water – in His name – to those who are thirsty.

For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.

Mark 9:41

Imagine, for a moment, that water was not so easy to obtain. Imagine that the number-one ingredient for sustaining biological life was removed from your reach. In Psalm 42, David compares a desperate desire for drinking water to a longing for God.

[To the chief Musician, Maschil, for the sons of Korah.] As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.

Psalm 42:1

The “hart” in this verse is a deer which has been hunted and chased. His panting, or longing, is for a cool drink of water, to keep him alive.
https://swimthedeepend.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/john-dominis-lone-white-tailed-deer-drinking-water-from-banks-of-cheat-river.jpg?w=300
David experienced this feeling when he was banned from Jordan, hunted and chased by his enemies. Rather than water, however, David longed for the presence of God. Notice the play on words: The “hart” (deer) pants for water, just as David’s “heart” is dry and thirsty.

Wonderfully, though, David found that he could experience God’s presence in the wilderness, as well as in the courts of public worship. If that which we take for granted, and depend upon for life, is suddenly taken away, we appreciate it all the more when we realize that there is One Who can provide it anytime, anywhere. The panting heart is a heart that is truly blessed.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Matthew 5:6

In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, if any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

John 7:37-38


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