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2011-03-20 God is Here

Time: 2011-03-29 Click:
By Stephen
20 Mar 2011 Sunday

 

 

 
Scripture Reading:  John 1:1
 
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.   
2 He was with God in the beginning.
3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men.
5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
 
 
   Luke 1:9-13
 
9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.
11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.
13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husbands will, but born of God.
 
 
 
 
Let’s pray: God Father, You are the true living God, there is no other before You or besides You, here we are to worship You, to bow down before You, to serve You, please speak to us dear Lord God, for we are Your servants, ready to hear Your Word and obey.  As we walk from earth into eternity, we surrender all that we are, all that we have for Your kingdom’s glory, we pray these in the mighty and matchless name of Jesus, Amen!
 
 
It is a great joy to see you here today, as we listen to the radio reports, as we read the news and see the photos, there are things that going on in this world, when you see the devastations in Japan, the death toll of people is raising, we see people without food, without water, without electricity. And one would ask: where is God? That reminds me a story of a young girl, seven years old, who lost her mother prematurely, her father and her moved to a different town, so that they could grieve silently. The daughter kept on asking: “I need to know, where is God?” but no one would answer her. “You are too young to ask that question, we don’t know, I am sorry, why don’t we talk this another time? ” She kept on asking:” Where is God? Where is God?” Finally she told someone in whom she could find it, “I need to know where God is, because I need to know where my mom is. I need to know my mom is OK. I need to speak to God to find out if He is looking after my mom. If He doesn’t exist, then I need to know where my mother is. ”
 
 
Where is God?  An eternal question, a deep heart ranging question. the question that God Himself answers through the Gospel of John. Where is God? God is here. The evangelist and Gospel writer told us: God is here. Who is the author? - John, the brother of James, one of the sons of Zebedee, a successful business man in the fishing and seafood industry, working busily on the ship with their father, then suddenly they heard the voice of God, “Come, follow me!” They left their fishing, they lefte their father to follow the One they call God - Christ Jesus, our Lord. That is who the Gospel writer is, he’s become known as the disciple whom Jesus loved - the beloved disciple John, the one who laid his head close to Jesus on the night when Jesus needed a comforter, friend so dearly, preciously.
 
We are in the Ephesus, and we are probably over 30 years after Jesus was born, died, resurrected and ascended. James, the brother of John, has been killed by Herod Agrippa in 44 A.D; Peter was crucified upside down, and Paul, once prosecutor, later promoter of churches, was beheaded in Rome. We were three generations remote from the first generation believers. Faith which once was conviction started to simmer and become a belief and by the third generation opinion, false teachings abounded. The Holy Spirit stirred the man of history, the man named John, the Holy Spirit stirred his heart and hand, and said :”write these things what I would share with you. ” And here we have the greatest story ever told about the greatest Person Who has ever lived - the Lord Jesus Christ beautiful painted in the Gospel of John.
 

Disciples
 How did they die for the Faith
Matthew
Died by the sword in Ethiopia
Mark
Dragged by horses in Egypt
Luke
Hung in Greece
Peter
Crucified upside down in Rome
James
Executed in Jerusalem
Andrew
Crucified in Greece
Philip
Crucified in Turkey
Nathanael
Whipped to death in Armenia
Paul
Beheaded in Rome

 
 
The purpose of the writing of the Gospel of John is found in John 20:31, “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.” And that is our prayer for every single one of you, you will believe that Jesus is God’ Son, He died for you and He is your personal redeemer and Lord. Amen! The book of John can be divided into four divisions as summarized below :
 
Four divisions
Summaries
John 1:1-18
Prologue
John 1:19-17:26
7 Signs & 7 Secrets of the Son
John 18-20
The Sorrows of the Son
John  21
Epilogue
 
 
 
 
 
"Seven” is a very prominent number, you see we have Seven keywords:

 
Key words in John
Times used
1
 Father
121 times
2
 To Know in its various forms
117 times
3
 Believe
99 times
4
 Truth
66 times
5
 Love
57 times
6
 Life
36 times
7
 Light
23 times

 
That’s what this Gospel of John about, the Father and Son relationship, it’s about knowing someone and knowing something, believing in someone and believing in something, the Truth, Love, Life and Light… The Seven secrets of Jesus are:
 
 
Verses
Seven secrets about    Jesus
1
John 3:1-21
New Birth
2
John 4:1-41
Water of Life
3
John 5:19-47
Jesus’ Divine Sonship
4
John 6:22-65
Bread of Life
5
John 7:1-52
Life Giving Spirit
6
John 8:12-59
Light of the World
7
John 10:1-42
Good Shepherd
 
These secrets that God has reserved for His precious children to learn more about Him and His kingdom, then we have seven I Am declarations from God:
 
 
Seven   I Am Declarations
1
I AM the Bread of Life
2
I AM the Light of the world
3
I AM the Gate of the sheepfold
4
I AM the Good Shepherd
5
I AM the Resurrection and the Life
6
I AM the Way, the Truth, the Life
7
I AM the True Vine
 
 
 
 
 
You will discover who Jesus is, that God says: "I am who I am."  Our section today are divided into three divisions:  Easy to remember: Power, Passion and Promise.
 
Verses 1-4
Jesus’ Power
Verses 5, 9-11
Jesus’ Passion
Verses 12-13
Jesus’ Promise
 
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:2 He was with God in the beginning.
 
In the beginning” -- We can see that it is repeated at the beginning and the end. We are talking about beginnings. God, the Son, of Whom this Gospel is the object and center, is before the beginnings, He is before all beginnings, He is eternal, He existed in eternally past, present and future, He says in the revelation, “ I’m the Alpha and the Omega, I am the first and the last, I am who I am. Who is, who was, and who is to come.” He is the eternal God, for Him, a 1000- year is like a day.  For Him, time is something so little, because he is grander and greater than time.
 
What’s really wonderful is that because He is eternal, what He says stands forever, His Word stands forever. Everything we see around us is temporary, everything that we think is very stable, very safe and very sure will shake. But here alone is eternal Rock upon Whom we can stand safely and securely.  He alone can build our life,”heaven and earth will pass away, but my Word will remain forever.” Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His love endures forever, His compassions never fail, He satisfied us with his unfailing love.  Do you see what ” I “ see? Do you hear what ” I “ hear?  God says He will be with us forever and ever. Where is God? He is forever with us.
 
 
The other thing we read in these first two verses is the “Word”, in Greek, which means the thought that proceeded the creation of the reality, like a watch maker thought about what the watch will look like and then proceeded to make the watch. When we look at the creation, we can join in Psalmist in singing the heavens declare the glory of God, when we look at the sunsets, the mountains, the blue sky, when we see the seasons, all of God’s creations say: “I am beautiful because of my creator’s fingers have formed me.” You should join me and praise our God Who made us, the beautiful creation all that we see He is the designer behind,
 
If Jews read this part of the Gospel of John 1, immediately their minds go back to Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” “In the Beginning” was the Word. John deliberately connects the two and tells us that the same God of The Old Testament and The New Testament. God is the same yesterday, today, and He is the same forever more.  We do need this changeless God because too much changes in our lives, too many to record, Oh, it’s too much for us, but we can hold on to God, our Rock, enjoy the life of peace, love, joy.  So the Jews know that when John says “In the beginning was the Word.” God spoke the creation into being, so the Word brought forth creation, God and Son were together together. 
 
 
Another point in “the Word was with God”, God was not alone, God is God of love, we have here God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit together in creation out of love, God is triune God, but they have different roles.  John 1:3, “Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.” This reminds me of a passage in Colossians 1, “All things were created by Him and through Him and for Him. He is before all things, He is above all things, and in Him all things hold together.” I don’t know about you, but I need holding on together. When my life is breaking apart, I need that type of God to hold me together, I need Him really desperately moment by moment. He is the creator before the foundation of the world, “I knew you, you were on my mind, you were on my heart. Not only that, I formed you in your mother’s womb, I formed you .” says the Lord Jesus. John 1:4 ” In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.”  Talk aboutLife, for most people, they are thinking many days, - I want to live till 120 years old; - I want to have the world record to be the longest living human being;  
 
What else is there? “I want to give you purpose, meanings, direction, abundance of life,blessings... I want you to have a right relationship with Me forever - And that is Life.”  - Yes, I want that life, I want to have that righteous right life with You, Lord!   So what type of power are we talking about? The book of Ephesians tells us that God exerted incomparably great power to raise Jesus our Lord from the dead and exalted Him to the highest, that is the type of power, we can see the seven signs that display His power:
 

 
Seven signs
Display Jesus' power
1
Water into Wine
Power over Quality
2
Healing the dying son
Power over Distance
3
Healing the lame
Power over Time
4
Feeding the 5,000
Power over Quantity
5
Walking on Water
Power over Creation
6
Healing the blind
Power over Darkness
7
Raising Lazarus
Power over Death

 
 
God has lots of power. The first principle we learn here is that Jesus is the Beginning and the End of all creation. This principle means He is the source of creation, and He is the goal of all creation. My question for you now for application purposes is How will Jesus be the beginning of your life? and the end of your life?
 
I want to tell you a clue - it starts with a priority change, we have to change our priorities. When we look at Paul, who once persecuted the churches, says about changing priorities in Philippians 3:8, “ What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ and be found in him.” That’s the cry of our hearts, “I want to know Christ, I want to know Him more, I want to know Him fully, all my life here on earth and into eternity. I want to know Christ and everything else is nothing compared to knowing Him and loving Him.”
 
2.        The second division, John 1:5,9-11, the Passion of Jesus
John 1:5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
John 1:9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
John 1:10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.
John 1:11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
 
 
How is it that this amazing, wonderful, beautiful, glorious, loving God comes to His own world but is not recognized and not received?  It is because we live in a sin manifestedworld, the world is not only talking about the physical world, but also means all the system that has rebelled against God. The system said: “No! I am God, No.1, and you are my servant and I am your master. You do what I say and let me live my life my own way. ” Jesus came to His own creation, He came to His own people - the Jews, He came to His own family and they called Him crazy, and He came to His 12 disciples, Jesus washed Peter and Judas’s feet, and they all rejected Him, they all refused to recognize him, they all turned away from God and said: “No, I don’t know this man.” They built a wall of hostility towards Jesus. God says: “No, No, I can’t let this happen, I love them too much, I love you too much, you can’t stay in darkness, you can’t stay in your sin, you can’t... I am going to send you to a redeemer to rescue you. ”  
 
 
So God sends the Light. Say there is a big struggle between light and darkness, sometimes light is winning, sometimes darkness is winning. But when you turn on the light in a darkened room, how much struggle is it for light to win? No, as soon as the light is switched on, the darkness flees away, victory has been accomplished, the darkness has been overcome, light is the winner all the time.  So don’t think it is a struggle, God has everything under control.  The principle for this second section is God’s discipline decreases our complacency, but increases our capacity for God. This struggle that we go through, this pain and hurt that we experience, there is a purpose behind it.
 
Some may ask where is God because you’ve lost a family member; Some may ask where is God because you are going through really difficult time and it’s so dark and you don’t know where everything is going. I just want to let you know that no one has ever suffered as much as God through His Son Jesus Christ. No one on earth has ever suffered what the holy pure sinless blameless Lamb of God suffered. He knows your pain, it breaks His heart, and He loves you and it only disciplines you in a measured manner, He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. God will carry you, bring you close to His heart, He will rescue you because He is the God of promise.  
 
The application question for you is How will you respond to your difficulties differently? My suggestion to you is to change prospective, hold on to God, just fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of your faith.
 
3.      The third division, John 1:12-13, is the Promise of Jesus
John 1:12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.
John 1:13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husbands will, but born of God.
 
Peter 1 tells us, that God is not slow in His promises, He is patient waiting for everyone to coming to a saving relationship with Himself. God is faithful to make promises, He is faithful to keep promises and fulfill promises, non of His promises will ever fail.  The principle for this last part is that the deeper the darkness, the brighter God’s Promises shine. And the application question I have for you is in below summary:
 
 
God is love
Require us to change
Verses 1-4
Creator’s Power
Priority
Verses 5, 9-11
Redeemer’s Passion
Perspective
Verses 12-13
Christ’s Promise
Position
 
1)      God is our creator, He is all powerful, it requires us from changing our priority;
2)      We learned that God through His suffering, He is our redeemer, It requires us a change from our Perspective;
3)      Because He is God of promise, it requires a change of position. What is that mean? We need to answer the question: Where is God?
 
Where is God? Is our God out there? Or is God in here? Is He just in your mind or in your heart? “Where is God?”  This is a very, very important question. I pray that as you read this chapter, you will invite Jesus to be in your heart, take Jesus as your savior, the One Who takes away all your sins, the One Who forgives your debts, so you don’t have to pay the penalty of eternal separation from Him. I would like you to invite Him as your absolute Lord, - Lord of your work, Lord of your home life, Lord of your student life, Lord of your every single area of your life!
 
Many people have come and gone, and have asked God: “where are you, God?”  We will have trails, we will have difficulties… as we live for God, It is infinitely better to die trusting only in God than to live trusting in man, God can save us eternally, but man is powerless to save.  Will you today receive and believe in the precious Lamb of God? Will you make that decision today that I’m not saved person yet that I want to believe today, speak to someone here today, don’t leave this room before you commit yourself to Christ, we don’t know how much time on earth you have, this is the hour of salvation; For those who have known Him, rededicate your life to Jesus to follow Him every moment of everyday!  God bless you! We love you very much! Amen!
 
 
Summary by Katherine
Edited by Claire

 

 

 

Worship Song: What a Friend We Have in Jesus

 

 

What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and grief to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer .  
 
 
Have we trials and temptations?  Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness, take it to the Lord in prayer.
 
 
何等恩友慈仁救主,负我罪孽担我忧;
He deng en you ren ci jiu zhu, fu wo zui nie dan wo you;

何等权利能将万事,来到耶稣座前求!
He deng quan li neng jiang wan shi, lai dao ye su zuo qian qiu

多少平安我们坐失,多少痛苦冤枉受,
duo shao ping an wo men zuo shi, duo shao tong ku yuan wang shou

都是因为未将万事,带到耶稣座前求。
Dou shi yin wei wei jiang wan shi, dai dao ye su zuo qian qiu
 
 
 
我们有无试探引诱?有无难过苦关头?
Wo men you wu shi tan yin you, you wu nan guo ku guan to
 
决不应当因此灰心;仍当到主座前求!
Jue bu ying dang yin ci hui xin, reng dang dao zhu zuo qian qiu
 
何处能寻这般良友,同尝一切苦与愁?
He chu neng xun zhe ban liang you, tong chang yi qie ku yu cho
 
我们弱点主都知道,放心到主座前求!
Wo men ruo dian zhu dou zhi dao, fang xin dao zhu zuo qian qiu
 

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