4 Books: 4 Questions ~ The Gospel of John, Mystics, Mystery, and Connections

mystic-water-1410939On Sunday we opened up the beautiful poetic, mystical, and masterful book of John. John is a beautiful book about deeply connecting and communing with Jesus. John is about fully becoming one with Jesus experiencing his joy and his connection. And John uses all of these metaphors to speak of it: being born again (John 3), having springs of living water (John 4), partaking the bread of life (John 6), connecting to the vine (John 15), being one with the divine life (John 17), and breathing the breathe of the divine (John 20).

John wants to push us past our normal expectations and to remind us that we can fully connect with Jesus.

And one of the phrases John uses is “eternal life”.

When we hear this verse we most often think of the future. We think of something that happens after death. We think of something that will happen out there, not right here and right now.

But in reality that’s not what the word means. Eternal life surely does mean life after death, but it also means life right here right now. Its about expierenicng life that lasts into the future but start right here in the present. And John wants us to accept Jesus so we can experience this life now, that lasts and lingers into the future. John is all about us fully experiencing life abundant right here right now. In fact, Jesus says that in John 10:10.

But because we think eternal life is about the future we miss what we can have in the present. A real life deep and boundary breaking experience with the risen Christ.

Eugene Peterson gets at this point well when he translates John 3:16 as, “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life” Anyone can have a whole and lasting life, now that leads to lasting life in the future but it starts today.

So what was the main point? Well its was simple – you can experience Jesus fully if you submit to him. That was it. Pure and simple. You can connect with Jesus. You can be changed by Jesus. You can have and experience that goes beyond what you think. You can be filled with living water, the bread of life, connected to the vine, breathing the breath of the Spirit. This is a possibility for all of us who want to follow and submit to Jesus.

So we ended not with more theology, because at a point all words break down. And we ended with practice. We ended with a traditional Christian practice for fully experiencing Jesus. We ended with communion, inviting all who want to experience Jesus to come forward. To have the bread of heaven, and the cup of salvation. To experience God in their present that lasts into the future. Because that’s’ what John is about. And may you experience Jesus in your life now, experiencing the life that is whole and lasts into the future. May you know the Spirit within you, and encounter the risen Christ in such a way that you are left changed.

 

 

Sermon Notes:

Big Idea: You can experience Jesus fully, if you submit to him. 

Teaching Points:

  • John’s about connecting and communing with Jesus
  • Eternal life is popularly understood about the future
  • This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. John 3:16
  • “For the Son of God became man so that we might become God”. St. Irenaeus
  • We cannot shrink the gospel to what we are comfortable with
  • But he himself that justifies also deifies, for by justifying he makes sons of God. ‘For he has given them power to become the sons of God’ If then we have been made sons of god, we have also been made gods. St. Augustine
  • You can experience Jesus fully, if you submit to him.
  • if you submit to Jesus, if you accept him, you can experience him.

Adult Discussion Questions:

What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? What was new? Had you ever thought about the gospels being different before? Are you comfortable with mystical experiences? Why do you think John believes they are so important? How have you connected and experienced Jesus in the past? How might you continue to experience him in the future and stay connected to him?

Challenge for the Week: Experience and connect with Jesus.

Mystics, Wide-Eyed Dreamers, and the Book of John

mystic-1189958On Sunday we are going to be really diving deeply into the book of John. And in many ways I think that this is a book that is really needed for our day and age. In general we as a Christian culture I think are much more comfortable with tame, reasonable, and expected interactions with Jesus. We are less comfortable with things that seem…mystical…mysterious…or beyond us.

But John is all about connecting with Jesus in mystical ways. He is all about breaking the box we put the Spirit in, and saying you can fully connect with Jesus. John uses images of water, vines, new birth, bread, and resurrection to remind us of something that is amazing – you can connect fully with Jesus.

So this is the theme we are going to look at on Sunday. We are really going to explore this topic and maybe push us past our comfort zones a bit. Because John wants to move past what is comforting and normal into something that is life changing and transforming.

So we are going to explore the mystical and deeply personal book of John and how you might connect with Jesus through this book. I hope you can join us.

Jesus’ Promises to Us

941675_66474867So on Sunday we explored how God both hears our cries and responds to our difficulties. We then explored how God does this, and also most importantly what he promises to do. In Exodus 6:6-8 we read of three promises that God covenants with his people. That he will:

  • I will take you out
  • I will rescue you
  • I will redeem you
  • I will take you to me

Traditionally then at each Passover these promises would be remembered, and glass of wine accompanying each promise.

Jesus then in the last supper, while having a Passover meal, raises a glass saying “this is my blood, poured out for many, sealing the covenant between God and his people” (Mark 14:24). In this moment Jesus is reminding the disciples of the promises of God given to his people in Exodus 6. And Jesus is now saying that these are his promises to his followers as well that because of his death and resurrection: Jesus will take us out of our difficulties, Jesus will come and rescue us from our bondage, Jesus will redeem us from sin, Jesus will take us to his presence and Kingdom.

Jesus’ promise to those who follow him is that just as God in the Old Testament heard his people’s cries and responded, so too does the Son of God. He hears our cries and promises to come and take us out of difficult, rescue us from trouble, redeem our past, and take us into his future for us.

So we ended on Sunday by putting these things into practice: believing and trusting in the promises of Jesus. I think that’s a good way to end any Sunday, and start any day. To trust that Jesus is the one who comes to us, redeems us, rescues us, and takes us to his Father.

Sermon Notes:

Big Idea: Jesus Keeps His Promises

Take Aways…

  • God hears our cries
  • God listens and responds to us
  • God gives four promises:
    • I will take you out
    • I will rescue you
    • I will redeem you
    • I will take you to me
  • These promises aren’t just for back then but for today

Adult / Group Discussion Questions: What surprised you? What made you think? What did you take away? What was new? How does knowing that God hears and responds to our cries make you feel? Change you? Shape your Prayer life? Which promise did you need most today? What made that promise resonate with you? How might Jesus come through on his promise to you?

Discussion Questions for Young Families: Talk with your kids that just as how when they cry out, you come and respond to their needs – that God does the same thing. Share with them that they can cry out to God at any time. Ask them if there is anything they need from Jesus today?

Challenge for this Week: Trust in Jesus promises