Category Archives: John

The Greatest Consequence: Death

Every one of us is where we are today because of choices made yesterday. We are successful in business because of decisions made previously. We are, likewise impoverished because of choices made in the past. No one stands where he is solely because of another. We have made choices which produce amazing blessings or profound consequences. It is the law of sowing and reaping as found in Galatians 6:7:

“Don’t be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.”

Every action carries with it a set of consequences or blessings. There are no neutral actions. Sometimes the consequence is slight. For example, a man caught speeding might receive only a warning. No penalty, just good advice to slow down. Other times the result might be catastrophic, like when the same man, failing to heed the warning, speeds headlong into stalled traffic killing himself and others. We do not choose our consequences; only the path toward those results.

There is a consequence more catastrophic than death; worse than causing the death of others. That is the consequence of sin.

Like billions today, Adam and Eve probably saw little harm in tasting the delicious looking fruit hanging from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They had been warned. Still, the fruit looked so good. Maybe they thought, “could it really be that bad? It’s just a piece of fruit!” It was that bad. The first couple stood at the precipice of the greatest consequence of all: The consequence of sin.

Mankind suffered immeasurably for their “no big deal” decision. Genesis 3:16-19 announces the following consequences of their sin.

  1. Women would now suffer in childbirth,
  2. Women would be subjected to the authority of their husbands,
  3. Man would struggle to bring forth his crops from the good soil of the earth,
  4. Man would no longer keep the garden; he would labor in it all the days of his life.
  5. Man and woman, the entirety of humanity, would be banished from God’s garden and from before his presence.
  6. An innocent man, Christ Jesus, would have to suffer and die in consequence of their actions.

The greatest consequence was death which entered the world on that dark day. God banished mankind from the Tree of Life (Genesis 3:22-24). That is why you stand before the open grave of loved ones. It is why we keep watch over loved ones as they breathe their last. It is why we all fear that 2:00 AM telephone call or knock on the door. Death is now among us.

Actions have consequences. The consequence of sin was and is, death.

Jesus came to bring us out of the dread of sin. “For the bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world” (John 6:33). And again, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).

There is not that much you can do about a speeding ticket. But you can set aside the greatest consequence which is sin. You can know the lifegiving love of the Savior. He who suffered death himself, brings life to his people.

Comments are open and always welcomed!


John 3:16

John 3:16 is the best known Bible verse. Even most atheists know the verse. It’s posted on signs at sporting events, it appears on bumper stickers, is emblazoned on t-shirts and is often quoted from the pulpit. This Golden Text of the Bible is known and quoted by people even if they do not know any other Bible passage. It is special.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

The verse comes as part of Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus. Jesus has just said that he must be lifted up before men (John 3:14, 15) signifying his coming death (John 12:32, 33). The verse (3:16) explains why he is to die; he dies because, or for the reason, that he loves us. Break the verse into pieces and a greater lesson is taught.


God is the source of love and he alone reached out to man in his sins. 1 John 4:8, 16 declare that God is love. It is not simply that God gives love but God is love. It is a necessary part of his component. He cannot be God apart from love. All that we know about true love comes from God. As the source of love he is also the source of salvation. It was while we were sinners that God sought us (Romans 5:8), not while we were good and loving people ourselves.


The love that God shows is active. It is a decision of goodness and commitment that the Father directs toward his creation. Today, we think of love as a warm feeling of affection toward someone. But true Biblical love is so much more than a feeling. It is a decision to care for another. God’s love is active in that he gave us what we did not have, but needed, at great cost to himself (Romans 5:6, 10).


Building on the thought of Romans 5:8, it was a love directed toward all men, the world. His love was not directed at people who were lovable, but toward rebellious, anger-driven people (Colossians 1:21). Some believe that Jesus only came and died for certain ones, but the text says otherwise. He died for the world and that includes all men, everywhere and from all times.


Jesus was a gift, He was an unearned gift that none of us deserved or could even pay for. Apart from Jesus there is no salvation of any kind. The death of Jesus justified God’s actions through history in restraining condemnation until Jesus’ blood was shed. His death also justified sinners who desired and sought salvation but could not find it on their own (Romans 3:21-26). Jesus was a gift.

Only Son

Translators have struggled with the Greek word, ????????. It is usually translated “only begotten” or simply, “only son.” For our purposes here, we understand that the gift given was unique. There was none, nor will there ever be, like Jesus. He is one-of-a-kind. We begin to understand the uniqueness of the gift in Genesis 22:2 ff when God told Abraham to offer his only son as a sacrifice. Still the true nature of Jesus is almost beyond understanding.

Believes in Him

Apart from belief in Jesus there is no hope. Belief, the mental assent of his existence and unique nature, is the starting point. One would never obey if they did not believe. Since obedience is required (John 3:36, Acts 5:29, 32; 2 Corinthians 10:5; 2 Thessalonians 1:8) belief must come first.

Everlasting Life

Eternal life in the presence of God is the end gift of Jesus. It is Jesus who, at this moment, is preparing our home (John 14:1-4). We can live forever in his presence and apart from anything that is destructive or hurtful (Revelation 21:1-4; 22-27).

There is good reason John 3:16 is so beloved. In it we see the majesty of God and his goodness directed toward us. The only question is this: What will you do with this wonderful message?


Vine, Branches and Denominations

Grape_vinesDuring his final days on earth, Jesus declared, “I am the vine, you are the branches” (John 15:5). What does he mean? Some take this verse as an endorsement of denominationalism. They say that Jesus was describing himself as the vine and the various religious denominations as branches from him. If that is true then there must be nothing wrong with dozens of such denominations in every city in the world. But the wise Bible student will inquire deeper and try better to understand what Jesus is saying.

The Immediate Context

We have said often that Scripture must be understood in the context in which it is spoken. One must never pluck a verse from its surroundings and make it say something the Holy Spirit never intended. I fear such has happened with John 15:1-11.

The immediate context shows Jesus was talking about individuals, not churches. The language he uses is specific. In verse 5, the word translated “you” is originally in the second person, plural. Such words refer to people, individuals, to whom the speaker was addressing at the moment. He is addressing a group of people and telling that group that they are the branches. “You” is a pronoun which refers back to the apostles gathered with him for the Last Meal in the Upper Room (John 13:1 ff). Branches are individuals. Branches are people who must remain in Christ for their strength and sustenance. There is no survival outside of Christ for it is his body that is saved (Ephesians 5:23).

We should also note what is missing from the immediate context. There is no mention of a church, no mention of a denomination and no mention at all of any assembly or grouping. To find support for the idea of denominations here one must craft the idea out of a fertile imagination. The immediate context does not support denominationalism.

The Remote Context

Every Bible verse must harmonize with every other verse in Scripture. God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:43). But the Bible argues against division and, thus, against denominationalism. If that is true we have even more evidence against the interpretation of John 15:1 ff as supporting denominations.

Two chapters later Jesus prays for unity among his believers. Jesus prayed, “that they may all be one, just as you father are in me, and I in you…” (John 15:21). His apostle, Paul urged Christians to “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). He reminded them that there was only “one body” (Ephesians 4:4). He rebuked the Corinthians for incipient denominationalism that was forming in their congregation (1 Corinthians 1:10-17). He reminded them that the many members of the church are in a single body, Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12). This passages harmonizes perfectly with Jesus’ own vine and branches analogy of a single vine (Christ) with many branches (members).  To the Colossians Paul called for “perfect harmony” in “one body” (Colossians 3:13-15).

Given that we Christians are all part of “one body” (Ephesians 5:30), and given that the body is composed of many individuals members, and further given that “perfect harmony” is to exist within that body, can we truly claim that denominationalism is a good thing? Or is it truer to say that denominationalism is wrong, even sinful? Isn’t it true that denominationalism shatters unity and is a horrid expression of the will of Satan and not of God?

Denominational teachings are all over the map. There is no unity within broader Christendom.  Individual denominations teach doctrines that are so opposed to one another that both cannot be correct. Denominationalism is a scourge to be fought and destroyed.

The only answer is a return to God’s Word alone. Let us throw away creeds, statements of faith, confessions, books of discipline, church councils, synods and any device which separates us. We all claim to love and trust the Bible. Let us prove it.

Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans.

True Miracles

To hear some people tell it, miracles are everywhere today. Any strange event, any unexpected healing and even an odd shaped cloud or spectacular sunset is called a miracle.

I beg to differ.

God works in our lives in amazing ways. But let us understand that any modern day miracle must be judged against the standard of the Bible. Does a supposed miracle today compare equally with a miracle in New Testament times? I doubt it. Let’s consider what the Bible reveals about miracles and then apply that knowledge to our present world.

True Miracles Require Pre-Miraculous Confirmation


Witnesses must confirm a need for a miracle. It seems obvious but often we simply accept the reality of some private miracle without question. Miracles are not secretive. They are obvious.

Jesus probably gives the best example of a pre-miracle confirmation when he travels to Bethany to raise Lazarus from the dead. The report is in John 11:1-44. For our discussion, there are two important verses in the story.

So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. (vs. 6)


Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days” (vs. 39).

Jesus confirms the death of Lazarus by delaying his departure for Bethany. Martha further confirms the death of Lazarus by telling us that he had been dead four days and warning that the stench of decay would already have been present. Together, these two passages, plus the public nature of his death and burial (vs. 19), confirms that Lazarus was, in fact dead.

Luke gives another example in Acts 3:1-10

And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. (vs.2)

Here, Luke tells us two important facts about the man before Peter heals him. He has been lame since birth and he was seen at the gate of the Temple daily. There was no question that this man was lame and in need of a miracle.

Anyone who claims a miracle today must provide unquestioned proof a miracle is needed. Making such a claim after the fact and without confirmation is not acceptable.

True Miracles Require Post-Miracle Confirmation


Witnesses must confirm that an actual miracle has occurred. The two cases above confirm that an actual miracle occurred.

Jesus raised Lazarus in public and people present witnessed the resurrected Lazarus.

So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.  I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.”  When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.”  The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go” Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him” (John 11:41-45).

The claim is buttressed by the chief priests and Pharisees who said,

What are we to do? For this man performs many signs.  If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation” (vs. 47-48).

There was no question that Lazarus was raised from the dead.

Confirmation of Peter’s miracle is just as strong.

And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.  And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.  And all the people saw him walking and praising God, and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. (Acts 3:7-10)

Like Jesus before, the confirmation of the miracle is supported by the words of the Sanhedrin Council,

But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition (Acts 4:14),


What shall we do with these men? For that a notable sign has been performed through them is evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. (vs. 16)

The great miracle of Jesus’ own resurrection is confirmed by Paul in a similar way in 1 Corinthians 15:

and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me (1 Corinthians 15:5-8).

One who claims a miracle must be able to confirm that miracle.

True Miracles Cannot Be Explained


Many astonishing things happen in our world every day. Cherubic little babies are born hourly. Lofty clouds form themselves into clearly defined shapes. People walk away from horrid automobile crashes with barely a scratch. Terribly ill patients recover from frightful illnesses. All of these things happen constantly. I and most Christians see God in these things. But it is also true that the secular man, the skeptic, the atheist, sees science at work and quickly explains the events as the normal, predictable outcome of biology, meteorology, physics and medicine.

What sets the true, Biblical miracle apart from these daily happenings is its unexplainable nature.

In John 11:44 there was no reasonable explanation for Lazarus resurrection. It could not be explained (John 11:47-48). Skeptics today cannot assault the miracle. They are only left with futile attacks on the text itself.

In Acts 3:7, that miracle was also unexplainable (Acts 4:16). Today, some medical doctors specialize in helping people walk again. But no surgeon, no therapist, has ever been able to suddenly heal a lifelong disabled man by words only. No one can explain the miracle.

Like so many words, “miracle” is thrown around so easily. When we use the word, let us speak like the Bible. To do otherwise cheapens the true miracles of the Bible.

God works in our world today. He is alive and cares for his people. But there is no evidence that he sets aside his natural laws. Instead he works through them to bring good to those who love him.

Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans.

John 3:16 – Massive Love

We have previously spoken about John 3:16 in an effort to remind our readers of some overlooked aspects of the verse. But to better complete the study I will consider the great love evident in this short verse:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

God’s love is enormous. His capacity to love, in spite of our failings, is nothing short of incredible. In the Golden Text we see God’s love directed toward all of humanity. Every person who has ever lived, is living and will live is deeply and personally loved by God. That includes great men of faith like Enoch, Abraham and Elijah. It also includes the sinner with the most horrible record of offenses. Remember that as Jesus was being crucified, he looked down and said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”  (Luke 23:34). This is an example of love directed toward the executioners.

We should not be surprised. After all, the Bible tells us that “God is love” (1 John 4:16). He is the source from which all love flows. therefore, we would expect him to be great in his love toward us. God’s love has been evident from the very beginning. In an act of tenderness, God provided Adam with Eve to meet needs that Adam had but could not be fulfilled otherwise. He loved men enough to provide for their salvation immediately following the rebellion in Eden. God’s love has flowed throughout history but finds its greatest display in the giving of Jesus.

I think the question for us, is what we should learn from this example.

God’s Love Withholds Nothing. Paul says it so well in Romans 8:32, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” If God withholds nothing, what should we learn? We should learn that true love gives freely to others.

God’s Love is for All People. God’s love is unrestricted. The love was given to the entire world so that all men could be saved. Often we may feel unworthy of God’s love. We may feel our sins are too extreme to allow us to be loved by the Almighty. Some think God only seeks to save a few when in reality God loves all and that salvation is possible for all people.

God’s Love Saves. Salvation is the end result of God’s love. It saves us from horrible wrath and allows us to live personally with God forever. Just a we want to be near those whom we love, God desires us to be near him and has thus provided a way for that to happen.

Let us love as God loves and let us learn from his example in this great text. God loves you immensely and wants to free you from sin and its bondage. Will you love him?


John 3:16 – More Than Simple Agreement

Belief that Jesus is the Son of God is essential for salvation. Would anyone question that? How can you be saved by something or someone that you do not believe in? Unquestionably we must believe in Jesus (1 John 3:23). But as we have said before on John 3:16, belief is more than a simple acknowledgement of some fact. Biblically, belief in Jesus was always accompanied by some action on the part of the believer.

What I wish to show in this article, is that saving belief includes certain actions on the part of the believer. Several examples will help including some from the Old Testament.

John 3:16, Adam & Eve

Adam and Eve both believed in Jehovah God. They enjoyed a relationship with him which was, at first, uncluttered by sin. They had been instructed by God as to how they should live; they could not even touch, let alone eat, of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The first couple clearly understood (Genesis 3:2-3). Nevertheless, they were disobedient and were thus punished with expulsion from the Garden, immediate spiritual death and the immediate beginning of physical death.

Clearly, for these two, more than simple belief in God was necessary. They must be obedient to God to avoid his wrath. They were not. Likewise, the present day reader must also be obedient to God. He must surely believe, but he must also obey.

John 3:16 and Noah

Noah was a preacher of righteousness as well as a boat builder.  He was the recipient of grace from God (Genesis 6:8). Noah was obviously a believer in God. He was also obedient to the Lord. repeatedly, the text notes that Noah was obedient (c.f. Genesis 6:22; Genesis 7:5; Genesis 7:9; Genesis 7:16).

Noah was blessed by God for his faithfulness (Genesis 9:1). Does anyone really think that Noah would have been saved from the Flood and blessed by God apart from his careful obedience? Would Noah, or anyone else, be saved in rank disobedience? It was necessary for him to both believe and to be obedient.

John 3:16 and Pentecost

Peter preached the first Gospel sermon in Acts 2. It was a great day as the church began with power. The people who listened to his message already believed in God. They were devout Jews (Acts 2:5) who had come to Jerusalem for  to celebrate Pentecost. What did they now lack? They lacked a belief in Jesus. It is likely that some of the people in the crowd had witnessed the crucifixion. Perhaps some had even been among those hurling insults at the Lord. Peter delivered a masterful sermon which reached back into the Old Testament. His message convinced his hearers that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God.

When they heard Peter, they cried, “What shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). At this point, they believed that Jesus was the Son of God and that he was both Lord and Christ. But their belief was not sufficient. There was more. Thus Peter responded to their simple question with a simple answer. Peter told them to “repent and be baptized” (Acts 2:38). The purpose was included. Repentance and baptism brought remission or forgiveness of sins.

The people of Acts 2 believed but they also obeyed. Acts 2:41 is clear that those who were baptized were added to the church. Again, belief must be coupled with obedience.

John 3:16 and Paul

Like the people on Pentecost, Paul was already a believer in God when he met Jesus on the Damascus road. Also like the people of Pentecost, he sought to be obedient upon his belief in Jesus. Paul asked the Lord, “What shall I do, Lord?”  (Acts 22:10). Jesus only told him to go into Damascus where he would be told what to do (Acts 9:6, Acts 22:10). At this point, Paul has yet to be told what to do. The text is in the future tense. What he must do is still coming.

Clearly believing in Jesus now Paul makes his way into Damascus. Ananias comes to him and delivers what Jesus told him to expect; Ananias tells Paul was to do.

“And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name” (Acts 22:16).

While Paul’s actual baptism is not recorded, it is not questioned by any student of the Bible that I am aware of. Indeed Paul would argue forcefully that one must show deeds worthy of his repentance (Acts 26:20) and that baptism is the way in which we are united with Christ (Romans 6:3-8). Paul was a believer. But just like Adam & Eve, Noah, and the people of Pentecost, he was also obedient.

John 3:16 and Today

John 3:16 is just as true today as it was when Jesus spoke those beautiful words. God has always expected obedience of his people and today is no different. It is a comfortable doctrine indeed to assert that we need do absolutely nothing towards our own salvation. Such removes the tiniest speck of responsibility from me for the conduct of my life. But such is an incomplete Gospel. Obedience is essential. To be sure, we will stumble and our obedience will sometimes fail but God still delivers those who walk in the light (1 John 1:5-10).

Why would we not do all that the Lord has commanded? Baptism alone does not save but it is a piece of the obedience God requires.

John 3:16 and the Depth of Believing

Following a recent sermon I was questioned about John 3:16 by a very kind lady. She held that baptism was not necessary for salvation. Her reasoning was that John 3:16 said all who believed would be saved. Our discussion seemed to turn on the meaning of “believes” in the Golden Text.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

There are really only two options. “Believe” can mean nothing more than a simple mental assent or agreement; it can also speak to something broader and more inclusive. I hold to the latter. Biblical belief is far deeper. It is a faith which drives one to obey his Lord.

For example, in the very same chapter Jesus says this:

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”  (John 3:36).

Notice in verse 36 a contrast between the one who believes and has eternal life and the one who does not obey and is lost. We do no damage to the text when we say that obedience is necessary to avoid eternal condemnation. Indeed, obedience is a necessary outcome of the one who loves Jesus:

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)

And again,

“Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” (John 14:21).

Then, in response to a question from Judas, Jesus answered:

“If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words…” (John 14:23-24)

I think we agree that the belief of John 3:16 involves more than simple mental agreement. If there remains any question we would ask for some clear, Biblical example of a person saved by simple assent or agreement. The kind of belief that saves in John 3:16 is an obedient belief or faith. As James wrote:

“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:14-17)

Indeed, the saving belief or faith of the Christian involves action. The only real question that remains is how much action. We will answer that question next.


Compassion is so needed today. It is one of the important characteristics of the Christian life. Compassion has the power to change lives by altering the relationship between people and even whole communities. Our Lord is a fine example of compassion that we should emulate as his followers.

Jesus’ encounter with the sinful woman in John 8 is a fine starting point for understanding compassion. The text (John 8:3-11) (( The text  is enclosed within double brackets indicating that its origin is questioned by most scholars. Many of those same scholars however note that the passage is obviously very old and that there is nothing here which opposes or contradicts other Biblical teachings. There is also no new teaching or doctrine set forth.)) presents an unidentified woman who has been caught in the actual act of adultery. While there is some question of the motives of the Pharisees, it does appear that she is guilty. It is also true that their statement of the Law of Moses was correct. If guilty, she should be stoned (Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22).

Note carefully what Jesus does. First, he does not rush to a decision. He pauses. He waits. Second,  Jesus gave her mercy just as he does us today. Mercy was the one thing she needed most at the moment and Jesus gave it to her. Her accusers slinked away when confronted with their own weaknesses and sin (c.f. Matthew 7:1-5). Third, Jesus does not condone or make light of her sin. Adultery was, and still is, sinful. At the end, Jesus told the woman to go and “sin no more” (John 8:11). Third. These three things together demonstrate true compassion for another and give us an example for life.

To Be compassionate, do not rush to condemn another

It is so easy to be horrified at someone else’s sin that we rush to attack and condemn them while sins of other names flourish in our own lives. Before the mouth runs ahead the godly mind must first discover the best path to confront the sin. A time of reflection will often produce a better route of action and lessen the repercussions of rash statements. You show compassion when you pause to think.

To Be compassionate, give mercy in an amount equal to your own need

Compassion and mercy are common needs. It is not within our duties to grant eternal forgiveness and mercy from eternal punishment. But in terms of this life we should be willing to be merciful and compassionate to others. Let us not be so fast to exclude those who have sin that seems so foreign to us. Jesus told the church in Thyatira that he had given a woman “time to repent” (Revelation 2:21). If Jesus, in his perfect knowledge, gave someone time to repent, shouldn’t we, with our imperfect and sometimes unbalanced knowledge, give a sinner time too?

To Be compassionate remember that sin is still sin. Do not approve of any sin.

Sin separates from God (Isaiah 59:2). Sin brings death (Genesis 2:17; Genesis 3:22-24; Romans 6:26). Jesus was clear. This woman’s life was not right. Adultery was wrong. He did not leave her to think that his compassion and mercy was an approval of her present lifestyle.  Refusing to approve of sin is perhaps the hardest part of the John 8 example. It is so easy to condone instead of confront sin. We say we do not like confrontation and conflict. But we must stand where the Lord stands and speak where he speaks.

I would like to know what happened to this woman. Did her life change? Did she become a follower of Jesus? Was she among the 120 on the day of Pentecost when the church began? We cannot know but her encounter with Jesus teaches us volumes about compassion.



One Way – Only One Way to God

druid practitiionersSometimes people say, “There are many paths to God.” Sometimes people worship without regard to Jesus the Son of God. Jews honor Jehovah God and Muslims honor Allah through the teachings of Mohammad. Some pay homage to Buddha, some practice Hindu while others look to Shinto for their faith. Still more practice a form of witchcraft called Wicca. The common thread among all of these faiths, and more, is the rejection of the divinity of Jesus of Nazareth.

While some like Judaism and even Islam give a nod to Jesus as a teacher or rabbi, they do not acknowledge him as the Messiah.

Let me be very clear: There is no path to God and no hope of salvation to those who reject Jesus Christ. Continue reading One Way – Only One Way to God

John 4:24 – “in spirit and in truth”

A recent comment made here asked some important questions about worship. He mentioned John 4:24 and Jesus’ comment that true worshipers must worship God “in spirit and in truth.” I think it would be helpful for us to spend some time thinking about what it means to worship in spirit and to worship in truth. Let’s set the passage before us first:

The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Jesus is the source for Christian Worship

The unnamed woman in John 4 asks a worship question of Jesus. Although she might not have fully understood who Jesus was she did call him a prophet. The woman was wise in seeking the answer to a worship question by turning to the proper source of worship information. She noted that people were divided on the proper place for worship. Her people, the Samaritans, believed one thing while their Jewish cousins taught something else. For the actual answer she turned to Jesus.

Like this ancient woman, it is vitally important that we seek our answers from the correct source.The correct source – indeed the only source available today – is the Bible. It is the Bible that offers a single foundation upon which all can stand. It is the one place where God-believing, Christ-honoring men and women can find common ground. While the Bible did not exist as it does today,  the words from Jesus were truth for Jesus spoke of God (John 7:17; 8:28; 12:49; 14:10) and God’s words are truth (John 17:17).

Truth has been delivered “once for all” (Jude 3) and is available to all men. Let us always turn to God for truth and reject every form of doctrine not found in Scripture.

The Issue of Christian Worship

Having come to the proper source for truth, the woman now proceeds to discuss one of the many divisions between the Jews and the Samaritans. Her question is in the form of a statement to which she hopes Jesus will reply. The issue centered upon the proper place for worship. Now we could just as easily ask a question about the worship itself or what we do in that worship.

Is there a standard for worship. Does anything go? Are our motives all that matter?

There is a standard. Reaching back to Judaism we find that God always expected certain things of those who worship him. Cain’s offering to God was rejected while his brother’s was accepted (Genesis 4:1-16). Nadab and Abihu, brothers and sons of the High Priest Aaron, worshiped wrongly by offering strange fire at the Tabernacle (Leviticus 10:1-2). In the New Testament Paul rebukes the Christians in Corinth for many things including their chaotic self-centered worship (1 Corinthians 14:26-35). I think we all agree that God desires worship which is true to his teachings.

Let’s take a moment and examine our worship practices. What actually happens in the worship service? Can we offer some authority for them or are we left with personal, emotional answers? While something in a worship service may make me feel warm and fuzzy inside, does it appeal to God? Is it what God wants or what I want?

God is the both the purpose of our worship and author of it. Let us please him and as servants, we will also be pleased.