John 7:1-53

“After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him.  Now the Jews’ feast of tabernacles was at hand.  His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest.  For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly.  If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world.  For neither did his brethren [his physical brothers and sisters] believe in him.  Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready.  The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.  Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come.  When he had said these words unto them, he abode still in Galilee.  But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.  Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he?  And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people.  Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews.  Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught.  And the Jews marveled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?  Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.  If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.  He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.  Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law?  Why go ye about to kill me?  The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee?  Jesus answered and said unto them, I have done one work, and ye all marvel.  Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man.  If a  man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day?  Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.  Then said some of them of Jerusalem, Is not this he, whom they seek to kill?  But, lo, he speaketh boldly, and they do nothing unto him.  Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ?  Howbeit we know this man whence he is: but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is.  Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not.  But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me.  Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.  And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done?  The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things concerning him; and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take him.  Then said Jesus unto them, Yet a little while am I with you, and then I go unto him that sent me.  Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me:  and where I am, thither ye cannot come.  Then said the Jews among themselves, Wither will he go, that we shall not find him?  will he go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles?  What manner of saying is this that he said, Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me:  and where I am, thither ye cannot come?  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.  (But he spake 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.)  Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet.  Others said, This is the Christ.  But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee?  Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?  So there was a division among the people because of him.  And some of them would have taken him; but no man laid hands on him.  Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him?  The officers answered, Never man spake like this 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.  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?  They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee?  Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.  And every man went unto his own house.”  (John 7:1-53)


“John chapter 7.  As we turn in our Bibles, it was just mentioned to me that there is an individual that none of us may know, some of us may know, somebody was just listening on the scanner, there was an ATV accident in the Leominster Forest, somebody was injured and they’re being Life-Flighted, they’re unconscious and being Life-Flighted I guess as we are here, to the hospital, and they asked if we could pray for them, so let’s do that.  Let’s pray for this individual.  ‘Lord we pray for this person, who, well you know who they are Lord.  We just lift him to you, you know what their injuries are, and you would have us be aware of that this very moment so we could pray for them.  So we do, Lord.  We lift this individual to you, we ask Lord in your grace that you would heal their body.  Maybe even now at this very moment their life is on the line, and we ask that you’d spare the life and heal him.  And we pray that you would do this to your glory, even those that were with him, that are now so burdened for him, even those in the hospital would see that there is a God that heals and touches lives.  So Lord, heal him, we pray, and then, if they don’t know Christ, we pray you’d save him Lord, you’d heal him spiritually, that they would find true healing in your Son Jesus Christ.  So we ask you this Lord, in Jesus name, Amen.’ 


Jesus goes to the Feast of Tabernacles


John chapter 7, let’s begin with verses 1-2, “After these things, Jesus walked in Galilee, for he did not want to walk in Judea because the Jews sought to kill him.  Now the Feast of Tabernacles was at hand.”  Well John tells us here, and this ties in with where we were in chapter 6 last week, he tells us because of what Jesus has said and done, we even can note in John chapter 5 certain things he had done then that was explicitly said that the Jews wanted to kill him.  So here it’s noted as we begin in John chapter 7 that there’s people that want to kill him, Jesus is aware of that.  So because of that he chooses to stay away from the area of Jerusalem and the area of Judea, and to stay north of that in the area of Galilee.  He spends a lot of time there in his ministry, and it’s away from the religious leaders.  But in verse 2 we see that the Feast of Tabernacles is at hand, which is interesting.  I thought that was interesting as I was studying this especially yesterday knowing we would be looking at this, this morning.  But the Feast of Tabernacles, recently the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hoshashona took place, it was just a couple weeks ago on September 7th, and that is for this calendar year [2003].  The Jewish calendar and our calendar don’t necessarily go exactly together, there is a change, especially every few years they add another month into their calendar [actually, every 13th year].  But Roshashona is their Jewish New Year [it is also the Biblical Feast of Trumpets, the first fall Holy Day listed in Leviticus 23, that marks the beginning of the fall Holy Days], and is actually the first day of the seventh month of their calendar, the month Tishri.  So depending on the year, our year, the month Tishri usually floats a little bit, between mid-September to mid-October. Well according to Leviticus 23, verses 24-25, on this first day of the month trumpets were to be blown, bringing in the new year, then on the tenth day of the month, so ten days later, would be the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, which occurred about a week ago, September 16th for this specific year.  It doesn’t always occur on that date [in our calendar].  And then in Leviticus 23, verse 34 the Feast of Tabernacles would take place on the fifteenth day of the month, it’s also called the Feast of Booths, or Succoth, and that occurred yesterday [the start of the Feast of Tabernacles, it goes for 8 days].  So the Feast of Tabernacles which we’re looking at here, and as we go on we’re going to talk about this, because it’s significant for this chapter, started yesterday according to the Jewish calendar.  So we would begin the Feast of Tabernacles, this would be occurring, essentially what we’re reading would be occurring now, if it was occurring this year.  So that brings just a little bit of context as far as the time of the year, and what you would appreciate for that time of the year, as we study this text.


What exactly is the Feast of Tabernacles?


So, Feast of Tabernacles, what exactly is the Feast of Tabernacles?  It is one of the three great feasts in which the Jewish men were to go to Jerusalem to partake in.  According to Josephus in the time of Christ, these were great feasts, and according to Josephus there would be large crowds, as many as two and a half million people would come to these feasts.  It is described, the Feast of Tabernacles, in Leviticus chapter 23, it was a festive time, occurring about this time of year, the autumn, so the entire harvest would be brought in at this time, the harvest of corn and the wine and the oil, that would be brought in.  But it was a feast of great joy.  First of all, celebrating Israel’s wonderful deliverance out of Egypt, but also it looked forward to the kingdom of the Messiah [which in reality would begin shortly after the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ].  But is was also a reminder, especially looking back to the 40 years in the wilderness, that God, even though they had sinned and they lacked faith, God in his grace was merciful to them, he provided for them in many different ways as they were in the wilderness.  So because of that, their forefathers there, forty years in the wilderness were in tents.  So to be reminded of that, they would build these booths out of branches and out of leaves.  In the time of the Omya even palm branches and palm leaves, they would make these booths, and would dwell in them, sort of like a big family camp, campers together basically, in tents, for this week.  So, as it reflected back to those days in the wilderness, they also illuminated large candlesticks, to remind them of how the people were guided by the pillar of fire there in the wilderness.  God provided that. [See to see the prophetic significance of these fall Holy Days, and to see the whole future prophetic meaning of the Feast of Tabernacles.]  But there was this interesting ceremony too, reminding them of that time, and that’s why I want to talk about this as we get into the text.  It was this pouring out of the water ceremony by the temple priests.  And it would be done each day, and then on the seventh day [I think he means on the 8th day, the Last Great Day of the Feast, which is the same day Jesus got up and made this statement about living waters flowing out of one’s belly (or “heart” as the R.S.V. has it].  And it would remind them that God miraculously provided water from the rock, of course the rock pointing to Jesus Christ.  Well in this ceremony the priest would fill up a golden vessel of water from the fountain of Siloam, and then he would carry it through the Water Gate to the temple.  And there, while the trumpets and horns were sounding, and while the people were singing from Isaiah chapter 12, the first couple verses, “With joy shall ye draw water from the wells of salvation”, the priest would then pour it out before the people.  This will be more interesting if you can remember that, and take note of some of the history here as we go on.  So the Feast of Tabernacles, with these ceremonies, especially that of the pouring out of the water there.  It was a worshipful time, it was a festive time.  Then after the Babylonian exile, it appears an eighth day was added.  [No, if you carefully study Leviticus 23:34-44, it says there was a Holy Day on the first day of the feast, and from that day you observed the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days, and then the second Holy Day was to be observed, which was the eighth day.  It was eight days long from the very beginning.  But this is a Gentile Christian church, so their understanding, though pretty good, doesn’t understand that the Feast of Tabernacles was always 8 days long, From the first Holy Day you would count 7 days, and then the next day was another Holy Day, making 8 days total.]


Jesus’ brothers don’t believe in  him


Verses 3-9, so the Feast of Tabernacles, “His brothers therefore said to him, ‘Depart from here and go into Judea that your disciples also may see the works that you are doing, for no one does any thing in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly.  If you do these things, show yourself to the world,’ for even his brothers did not believe in him.  Then Jesus said to them, ‘My time is not yet come, but your time is always ready.  The world can not hate you, but it hates me because that I testify that its works are evil.  You go up to this feast.  I am not yet going up to this feast, for my time is not yet fully come.’  When he had said these things to them he remained in Galilee.”  Well, the Feast of Tabernacles is approaching, so Jesus’ brothers come to him, and they say ‘Hey, why don’t you go up to the feast?  You know, if you go up to the feast, there’s large crowds.  And if indeed you are who you profess to be, the Messiah, this great deliverer, this great victor, as you say you are the Christ, if indeed you are, you should go to this feast because there’s going to be millions of people, and you can do your miracles, you can do your signs and wonders in front of them.  And of course you can get a lot more converts.  Man, if you are the Messiah now is the time, go to this great feast and show yourself and show what you can do.’  Now it’s possible they say this, you remember in chapter 6, at the end of chapter 6, Jesus gives one sermon, and by giving one sermon, he had a bunch of followers around him, and by giving this one sermon most of them leave.  And it was about what it means to really follow Jesus.  So he’s left with just a small group.  Maybe they’re saying that realizing that his little followers there, I mean he’s down to just a small group, ‘Go down to the Feast of Tabernacles and show your stuff, and kind of recruit some more followers.’  But the real reason, and there’s a real heart here, is that they don’t believe in  him, as it says there.  They don’t believe that he is the Messiah, the things that he professes, at this point in time they do not accept it.  So, with this reason he says, “My time is not yet come.”  He responds to that.  “But your time is always ready”, meaning, when he says “time” the word in the Greek there refers to the time when he would manifest himself publicly there before the religious leaders and the authorities, referring ultimately to the cross.  So they say to him, ‘Why would anyone who wants to be a great public figure do things in secret, appearing in Galilee where no one can see.  Go and do them before the masses.’  And he says ‘Well my time hasn’t yet come yet.’  And then he goes on and explains what he means, and he says ‘he can’t do this because the world hates him.’  He says “The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify of it, and that it’s works are evil.”  I mean, he knows that if he goes and does what they want him to do, I mean, the people hate him [the religious leaders and authorities].  And it’s not his time yet, it’s not time yet to go to the cross.  He understands there’s people that want to kill him.  So he responds.  But he says, ‘Hey, your time, the world doesn’t hate you, you’re at a different place right now.  Go.  You can go anytime.  If you want to go to the Feast, just go.  It really doesn’t apply, this truth really doesn’t apply to you.’  Anyway, as you see there, Jesus, he knows what rejection is all about.  In fact, his brothers, they’re really his half-brothers, they reject him at this point.  And they’ll do that throughout his entire walk here on earth.  It’s not till later that things change there.  But they reject him, and then he says the world hates him too, the world, hates his message and hates who he is.  So, you think of David maybe, in Psalm 69 verse 8 referring to his brothers rejecting him, David looking forward.  I mean, he’s speaking to his own experience, but also prophetically speaking of the Messiah, he says “I have become a stranger to my brothers, and am an alien to my mothers children.”  Interesting, “my mothers children”, he doesn’t say “father’s children” because they’re from Mary, his half-brothers.  But he knows what it is to be a stranger to his brothers, to be an alien to his own family.  [Many, most believers also know what this feels like, especially when God has called them to salvation and not the rest of their family, which remains in the world.]  But the world hated him, and of course that’s consistent with what Isaiah prophecied in Isaiah 53 verse 3.  “He is despised and rejected by men.  A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.  And we hid as it were our faces from him.  He was despised and we did not esteem him.”  So, rejected by those he loved.  Even rejected by those in the world, hated by those in the world because of the message that he had, because of the truths that he stood for.  He knows what is was to be despised.  So, you and I, maybe you’ve had a week like that, maybe you’ve had a year like that.  You’ve got people rejecting you, you’ve got people you love, you’ve got people in your family, you’re a Christian and speak the words of the Bible and the truth of the Bible, and they don’t like to hear it and they reject you, look down upon you, despise you.  Maybe you have that experience in other places, at work and in the neighborhood, and maybe you’re a little discouraged.  You can be encouraged because Jesus had the same experience.  And God is the God of all comfort, able to comfort you in all your trials and all your tribulations.  So God knows what you’re going through, Jesus certainly understood.  Man, he came to this earth, and was tempted in every way we were and tested in every way we are.  So when you go through those times of being rejected, maybe you feel lonely, feel alone, man, you’re not because Jesus is there rooting for you, he knows what you’re going through.  His heart goes out to you.  So the encouragement to you is to stand strong.  And certainly Peter’s word comes to my mind too.  I mean, why not stand strong.  Peter said ‘Where else shall I go?  It isn’t necessarily easy, but Jesus you’ve got the words of life.  You are the Christ.  Where else am I going to go to find life?  There’s only one place.’  But it is important too to remind ourselves Jesus’ half brothers, they’re not with him now, they’re against and rejecting him now, but it will change later.  And that is in Acts chapter 1, verse 14, on the other side of the cross. We’re told in the upper room there, Acts chapter 1, verse 14, “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers”, referring to his physical brothers.  There is a change in heart later, not while he’s walking on the planet, but after he goes to the cross and then raises from the dead.  There’s a work that happens in their lives, and they completely have a different perspective of things, and they are then in the upper room.  In fact, his half brother Jude, Jude really gets touched because he even writes one of the epistles that we have, writes all about Jesus in a tremendous way.  And of course we’ve studied James not too long ago, anther half-brother of Jesus, and he was radically transformed after the cross, and he really speaks boldly about his half-brother Jesus.  So, I can take heart in that too.  There might be people now rejecting my message, there might be people against me, you may be discouraged at times, but you know, Jesus, I mean God can work later.  It may appear that way now, but it may not be that way a year from now, couple years from now, even a week from now.  It’s amazing how things can change.  So you need to just take heart and stand strong.  Don’t be discouraged, don’t let the enemy deceive you.  Don’t give in to the thoughts maybe that come into your mind to just give it up or to be less bold.  Stand strong, because Jesus is there with you, and you never know.  Some of those dogs barking now might be the very ones being convicted that are going to be saved in the future.  But Jesus, man, he wasn’t in the popularity contest, that is so clear.  It’s amazing, I really love this passage that we’re going through, because he’s not dictated by men in any way, as you see as we go through.  He’s completely filled with the Spirit, he knows boldness, he knows the peace of God.  But he’s not interested in the popularity contest, that’s for sure.  He knew people hated him, he knows people of the world were against him.  But he understood maybe some day, in some cases, some of these people will accept him and accept the message and will be saved.  [It is estimated that the first century Church of God in Jerusalem swelled to 50,000 or 100,000 people, between Jerusalem and Galilee.  So from the original 12 to 120 at the beginning of Acts 2, it grew to an estimated 50,000 to 100,000!]  But I think of that contrast there in that verse, and I think of even our experience, I think of New York City at the Festival of Life, and of course I’ve used that as an illustration and will continue to.  It was a time full of illustrations.  But being there in the New York City Hilton with people from our church there in the center of Manhattan, and we found out that just a couple of blocks from us they were going to have the MTV music awards.  So as we went out and handed out flyers and we would walk the boulevards there, you would see famous people at times, and you would see them right there in front of the Radio City Music Hall, they were putting up these fancy lights, pretty neat watching these robotic cameras go back and forth they were setting up.  In fact we were told they were expecting a crowd of 100,000.  So I was thinking, ‘Cool, I really want to get out there and be in the crowd, give out some flyers, maybe minister to some people as they looked for their famous rock star, whoever, come out of the Radio City Music Hall.  They even built a balcony there, put up lights, they were really preparing for quite a time.  But it turns out, the Thursday night that was taking place, was the Centennial Hall outreach.  So I quickly learned that I can’t be there, I’ve got to be at Centennial Hall, as a part of that outreach.  But what a different crowd, a 100,000 looking for Rock Stars, but at Centennial Hall there’s less than 2,000 wanting to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I think of just the contrast, the world, the hearts of the people of the world.  But a different experience the next morning, and I thought of that as I saw the front page of the paper.  You know, people came out of Centennial Hall, though there weren’t many, maybe some were non-Christians.  There were non-Christians that came and got saved, they left with the peace of God in their life.  But then next morning reading the newspaper there, and seeing just the debates about who had the best clothes at the MTV Music Awards, there were outlandish outfits, and people being looked down upon because of what they wore or didn’t wear, whatever, and just the vanity the silliness of it all.  So I thanked God I wasn’t part of that crowd, anyway, looking for that, how vain, but rather seeking Jesus.  Well, Jesus knew the hearts of people, man.  So he wasn’t so interested in a popularity contest.  He just wanted to give out the Word, knowing that there would be people that would also hear that Word and would receive him and would want to know him. 


Jesus goes up to the Feast, in secret


Verses 10-24, “But when his brothers had gone up, then he also went up to the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.  Then the Jews sought him at the feast and said, ‘Where is he?’  And there was much complaining among the people concerning him.  Some said ‘He is good’, others said ‘No, on the contrary, he deceives the people.’  However no one spoke openly of him, for fear of the Jews.  Now about the middle of the feast, Jesus went up to the temple and taught.  And the Jews marveled saying, ‘How does this man know letters, having never studied?’  Jesus answered them and said, ‘My doctrine is not mine, but his who sent me.  If anyone wills to do his will, he shall know concerning the doctrine whether it is from God or whether I speak on my own authority.  He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory.  But he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.  Did not Moses give you the law, yet none of you keeps the law.  Why do you seek to kill me?’  The people answered and said, ‘You have a demon, who is seeking to kill you?’  Jesus answered and said to them, ‘I did a work and you all marvel.  Moses therefore gave you circumcision, not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers [Abraham, Isaac and Jacob], and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath.  If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses should not be broken, are you angry with me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath?  Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.’”  Well we read, Jesus tells his brothers “It’s not yet my time, you go”, but then we read right after that, his brothers then went up, but then also Jesus goes up to the feast, and he goes secretly.  So I guess you could pose the question, ‘Did Jesus lie to his brothers?’.  No he didn’t lie to his brothers, his brothers wanted him to go and present himself as the Messiah in a certain way, and he knew it wasn’t his time to do that, so he didn’t do that.  In fact, we read that he goes secretly, rather than going in a public way, you know, as the Messiah would come into the city [like he did on what Christianity calls Palm Sunday, although it did not occur on a Sunday].  Well, he was right, there were people that wanted to kill him, we read that in verse 11.  They are even seeking him, they don’t even know if he’s there, but they’re looking for him.  He’s a Jewish male, of course they would expect him to be there, as it was according to the Law that he should be there, and of course Jesus does go up.  But they’re looking for him, the Jewish leaders.  And then we read that these masses of people, people who have come from other places, there’s people from the city of Jerusalem, but there’s people from other places, and they begin to have little debates, arguing among themselves about Jesus.  I mean, he’s really created just a lot of influence, there’s a lot of people considering him and talking about him.  Some are saying, ‘Well, Jesus, he’s a good man, his character is good, there’s nothing evil about this man, that’s for sure.’  But others say ‘No way man, this guy’s a deceiver, what he says isn’t true, he’s not good, he’s a deceiver.’  And really you only have one or the other options with Christ, either he is good, he’s the Son of God, or he’s a deceiver because of what he said.  They realized that, that if what he said as far as being God, that either he’s a deceiver or he really is good, and there’s no one good but God. [And around the time of Jesus, before and after his time, but within that time frame, there were many people that proclaimed they were the Messiah.  So the Jews are sort of used to this happening.]   They had these debates, they didn’t speak openly, because they feared the religious leaders.  Man they really had a strong-hold on the people that’s for sure.  But then verse 14, I think it’s so interesting.  This is the dynamic in this city.  Jesus goes secretly, but then in the middle of the feast, so a couple days from now, maybe tomorrow or the day after, a couple days of the feast have passed, Jesus goes into the temple and he begins to teach, he goes right to the focus, right to the middle of the temple.  Of course this would be the complete center of this whole feast, he goes right to the middle, basically like coming in here, you know, and comes up on stage and begins to teach.  Really wild, as I think about Jesus.  He realizes the people want to kill him, he realizes the debates, but you know, he’s so separate from that.  He’s not influenced by that at all.  So he goes right up, with the power of God in his heart, and the peace of God in his heart, and he begins to instruct the people.  Just the power and the boldness, there’s never been any man like him, I mean he’s not affected at all by the crowds, he just speaks the truth, he begins to instruct the people, and he does in a very bold way.  Well as he’s teaching, the people marvel, I mean they’re like ‘How does he know the stuff that he knows?’.  And the religious leaders are baffled, ‘This guy has got some nuggets, he’s got a handle, man, on the Scriptures.  How does he know these things?  He’s not been to our schools [yeshiva’s] (thank God, right?), he’s not been to seminary, doesn’t have the Ph.D.  Where does he get this stuff?  And he’s never studied.’


How can one know Jesus was, is teaching the truth?---that the Bible is true?---It starts with the heart


Well Jesus then, understanding that, answers them and he says, “What I teach isn’t from myself, it isn’t mine, what I teach is from heaven, the things that I teach are from God the Father.”  Then he goes further, he says “If anyone wills to do his will, if anybody desires to do the will of God, they will know that what I teach, they will know the doctrine, they will discern that it is of God, and it’s not from me.”  (verses 15-16)  Now that’s real interesting that he would answer in that way, and that tells us some things, that is for sure.  How can someone know that Jesus is teaching the truth?  Does it take you going to seminary [or yeshiva]?  Does it take you going to Israel and doing all kinds of studies in archeological sites?  Does it take you listening to all the different religions and discerning all these different things, and working through it and reasoning it and going to M.I.T. and doing their work?  Is that how you discern if Jesus is teaching the truth?  Jesus responds, if you want to know he’s teaching the truth, have a heart, a desire to do the will of God.  And those that desire to do the will of God will know this is the truth.  I want to do what’s right, I want to obey God.  And if there’s that heart, that will, that desire, he says then you’ll know what he says is true.  Somebody put it this way, “By obeying what Jesus tells us, by obeying what God tells us to do, that’s how I know that he teaches the truth.  And so there’s an experience to it.  As I walk with the Lord, more and more I know that this is true.  As I desire to obey God, as I desire to draw close to him, as I desire to give him glory, more and more I know this is true, because of the way God works in and through my life, and the way he works in my heart.  Well that explains then why the Jewish leaders did not understand Jesus’ teaching, they had stubborn wills, man.  [Except for Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea].  And it always comes to that.  ‘We don’t believe, and the reason we don’t believe is because of our will, not because of our logic, not because of our intellect, not because of any reason.  The reason we don’t believe is because of our will.’  We’ve seen that multiple times, and this is another statement, it’s because you don’t want to.  If you don’t believe, it’s because you don’t want to, that’s the only reason.  So then it says ‘If you want to know God, if you really want to walk with him, then you’re going to believe.’  The Jewish leaders were so prideful, they had these stubborn wills, they wouldn’t submit to him, so in John chapter 5, verse 40, he says “You’re not willing to come to me, that you may have life.”  Not willing, that’s why, that’s why these people come up with all these goofy arguments about why the Bible isn’t true, just some real silly logic.  It’s because they don’t want to believe, that’s the real reason.  It’s the heart of a man who determines whether or not he believes in the Word of God, it’s the heart of a woman that determines whether or not she believes in the Word of God.  You know, here’s just a contrast, two different people, referring to the Word of God.  Abraham Lincoln, here’s a great man, I think he’s the greatest President we’ve ever had.  This is what he says about the Bible.  “I believe the Bible is the best gift that God has ever given to man.  All the good from the Savior of the world is communicated to us through this book.”  [And for all you die-hard Southerners, Stonewall Jackson would heartily agree with Lincoln on this point, as he himself held the Word of God, the Bible in highest esteem.]  Tremendous mind, a man able to come in, and take our nation.  Just imagine if we had a civil war today, fighting against each other.  Armies in the South, armies in the North.  Abe Lincoln, through wisdom, was able to bring peace, great leader, great man.  He says, ‘I believe the Bible is the best.’  It wasn’t because of his lack of intelligence or whatever, it was because of his heart.  And man, you see the wisdom in that man.  Then you contrast it with so many others.  I could go on with a million examples, you could think of a million examples on the other side.  But this is the state of the Church today, this is the problem with the Church today.  This was passed to me, this article in the Sentinel and Enterprise not too long ago, August 10th, and I’ll read it to you.  The Simpson’s are making their way into Sunday School, the Simpson’s, the cartoon.  “Sunday school teachers with restless teenagers or distracted adults might consider something a little different this fall.  The Simpson’s.  After all, in one episode of television, television’s outrageous animated sitcom, God himself tells hapless Homer that even he is bored by the sermon’s of the local parson, Lovejoy.  Now the preposterous cartoon family is heading for a church near you, thanks to a ten lesson study guide to the gospel.  The original book was written by Mark Pinsky, the Religion reporter for the Orlando, Florida Sentinel.  He co-wrote the study guide with the Rev. Samuel Skip Harvon, a United Methodist pastor in the Orlando area.  Both are published by the Presbyterian’s Westminster John Knox Press.  Since Pinsky is a committed Jew, the prayers and themes are not explicitly Christian, so the coarse could be adapted to synagogue use.  The pious may feel the show had too many brushes with blasphemy to be suitable for church treatment.  A church signboard on the show, ‘God welcomes his victims.’  Description of God after a dream, perfect teeth, nice smell, a class act all the way.  But the newly appointed leader of the 77 million Anglican and Episcopal Christians Archbishop Rowan Williams calls the program one of the most subtle pieces of propaganda around the cause of sense, humility and virtue.  So anyway, there’s ten sessions.  You sit down and watch a cartoon from the Simpson’s, and then you go on and you listen to Homer, and from his life you gain wisdom and logic, and you have a study.”  Now, OK, I know some of you think that’s absolutely absurd.  You can know, you come to this church, we won’t have the Simpson’s, as a mode for study, man.  That is just futility.  Now why are some churches bringing in the Simpson’s cartoon into their church Sunday school?  It’s because of their heart.  They don’t want the truth.  They’ve got the Bible.  All they need to do is read and study it.  It’s not good enough.  ‘Let’s make it cute and funny, bizarre and weird.  Let’s watch cartoons.’  You know, Christian cartoons are fine, but the Simpson’s, man, that cartoon at times is blasphemous.  And if you watch it, that’s OK, I’m not gonna judge you on that.  But it isn’t going to be in our Sunday schools, that’s for sure.  So, Abe Lincoln, Simpson, you know, different heart.  It’s the will, it’s the will.  So if you’re hear today, and God is speaking to your heart, and you’re not a Christian, and you don’t want to receive his Word, or you don’t think you can, it’s because you don’t want to.  [Comment: It’s not a question of lacking physical or historic evidence.  The Bible is filled with fulfilled prophecies as evidence of it’s veracity and that of Jesus Christ, that he’s the real deal.  But when this evidence is clearly and plainly read or presented to a non-believer who wishes to remain so, it is always “not enough.”  So it truly is a “heart issue”, where one’s heart is.  For some clear and challenging evidence that Jesus is the Messiah, see, and also] So if you don’t want Jesus, you have that option.  But please consider what that means, not to have Christ in your life.  Consider all of the ramifications, there’s a lot, and we’ll see as we go on. 

          Well, verse 25.  Well before we go to verse 25, Jesus then reveals the hypocrisy to these religious leaders around him.  And he says ‘You guys want to kill me, but you guys have the Law, you guys want to kill me because you think I broke the Law, but you break your own Law, you’re hypocrites.’  And the [ordinary] people, not really discerning or understanding all that, said, ‘You have a demon, who is seeking to kill  you?  That is bizarre.’  But there are, there’s people wanting to kill him, we’ll see as we go on.  He said to them, ‘I did a work on the Sabbath, and because I did this one work, you want to kill me.  But every Sabbath you circumcise a baby, a baby boy on the eighth day, to uphold the Law, but you do that on the Sabbath, I mean, you actually cut away flesh, you actually shed blood on the Sabbath, and you break the Law, but me, I heal a man completely.  I didn’t cut away flesh and draw blood, I took a man who was hurting and completely healed his body on the Sabbath, and you want to kill me, you hypocrites.’  That’s what he’s saying to these people.  And it’s true, religion, man, it just blinds the eye and blinds the heart. 


The debate about who Jesus is---is he the Christ, Messiah, or is he a deceiver?


Verses 25-27, “Then said some of them of Jerusalem, ‘Is not this he, whom they seek to kill?  But, lo, he speaketh boldly, and they say nothing unto him.  Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ?  We know where this man is from, but when the Christ comes, no one knows where he is from….referring to Isaiah 53, there was a belief at that time from Isaiah 53 the Messiah when he came, they wouldn’t know where he came from.  And they believe he’s come from Nazareth, so this doesn’t work.  It doesn’t make sense.  So Jesus cries out, he understands that, so he cries out with a loud voice as he teaches in the temple.  He says “You both know me, and you know where I’m from, and I have not come of myself, but he who sent me is true, whom you do not know.  But I know him, for I am from him, and he sent me.” (verses 28-29)  Basically what he said is this, ‘You think you know me but you don’t know me.  I’m from the Father, I’m not from here.  If you knew him you’d know me.  So you think you know, it appears a certain way on the exterior, but you don’t know.  If you do a little studying and open your heart to God you’d know.’  “Therefore they sought to take him, (that is, the religious leaders) but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come.  And many of the people believed on him and said, ‘When the Christ comes, will he do more signs than these which this man has done?’” (verses 30-31)  They watch him, they see the miracles, they see that he can stand up with such authority, some are going ‘Man, will the Messiah do any more than this?  This guy’s gotta be the Messiah.’  Verses 32-36, “Then the Pharisees heard the crowd murmuring these things concerning him, and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take him.  Then Jesus said to them, ‘I shall be with you a little while longer, and then I go to him who sent me.  You will seek me and not find me, and where I am you cannot come.’”  Well that’s a sad statement.  “Then the Jews said among themselves, ‘Where does he intend to go that we shall not find him?  Does he intend to go to the dispersion among the Greeks [King James version, Gentiles], and teach the Greeks?  What is this thing that he said, ‘You will seek me, and not find me, and where I am you cannot come?’”   As if God hides.  But he’s referring to the issue at heart.  I had a pastor when I was up in New Hampshire, he said “I’m going to be teaching from Isaiah, and he showed me this verse, and it was a verse in Isaiah, it says that “God hides”, and he was going to teach on that.  I should get the tape on that.  I said you should call your sermon “Hide and Seek”.  He hides, but seek him out, seek and ye shall find.  I said if I was doing that study I’d use the example of the beginning when I was in college, and we used to play hide and seek on the Harvard campus, we’d go over there and when everything else was shut down at 2 o’clock in the morning in Boston, I don’t know why, but we had fun doing it.  We would do it in teams and play hide and seek to who knows when, in teams on the Harvard campus.  I said I’d start with that and go and talk about hide and seek and how God hides, but seek him and you shall find him.  If you seek him, Jeremiah says, if you seek him with all your heart and all your mind, and all your soul, you will find him.  If you seek him haphazardly and you don’t really mean it with your heart, well, you’re going to miss the boat.  Well, the religious leaders, verse 32, they’re really ruffled because of this, so they sent officers to arrest him.  But Jesus says to them, ‘I’m going in a short while, I’m going to leave.  I’m going to be with you just a little longer, and then I’m going to go to him who sent me.’  He referring to the cross.  It’s believed that it’s about six months now from the cross.  John just mentions a few things, and then as we go on he really starts to focus on that last period of time with Christ, especially the last week.  [Over half the book of John deals with the last six days of Jesus Christ leading up to and through the crucifixion.  See]  So it’s about six months, he says ‘I’m going to be here about six more months, and yet you want to take me.  I’m going to go and be with him who sent me soon.  But you will seek me and not find me, and where I am you cannot come.’  That is a sad Scripture.  Man, I wouldn’t want to hear that.  Of course they’re going to look for him physically, they’re not going to look for him in the right way, so they’re not going to find him.  And if you’re looking with the wrong attitude, in the wrong way, looking for God, you can really miss out.  But if there’s humility, and a real desire to know God and to walk with God, and to know whatever he has for you, man, you’re not going to miss that, that’s for sure.  A broken and contrite heart God will not despise.  Well I love that Jeremiah text, it’s been around my life recently, “You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart.”  Man, he’s looking for the real deal.  The disciples, there are of course people that want to know him.  He says “You’re not going to find me when you look for me, and I’m going to go where you cannot be”, but then later he’s says to the disciples “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself, that where I am there you may be also.”  “And where I go you know, and the way you know.”  So it’s based on the crowd he’s talking to.  These religious leaders, man, they’re just going about it the wrong way, they’re not going to get there, because of the pride in their hearts, their own religious tradition that they’re so stuck in.  But he says to his disciples, ‘Man, you seek me, and as you have, you’ve found me, and I’m going away, and I’m going to prepare a place for you, and you’re going to be with me someday, and you know just how to get there, for I am the way and the truth and the life.’ 


Living Waters


I love the next couple of verses, God’s really ministered to me.  “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out saying ‘If anyone thirst let him come to me and drink.  He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, out of his belly [R.S.V. “heart] will flow rivers of living water.’  (But this he spoke (John adds this note, just to clarify it for us) concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in him would receive, for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.)”  (verses 37-39)  If you remember what I had mentioned earlier, as I started talking about the Feast of Tabernacles, real interesting what happens if you get all the picture and what’s happening with this feast.  But you remember, every day the priests would come out and they would take this water in this golden vessel from the fountain of Siloam and they would then go through the Water Gate and they would go up to the altar and pour the water upon the altar and possibly upon the floor of the temple.  And they would do that, and there would be music, and there would be trumpets, and there would be singing of the Scriptures from Isaiah 12.  But on the seventh day of the Feast [it’s really the 8th Day of the Feast, the Last Great Day is the 8th day when Jesus said this.  Leviticus 23:34-36, “Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the Lord.  On the first day shall be an holy convocation [Holy Day]: ye shall do no servile work therein.  Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein.  So you see the Feast of Tabernacles as originally commended in the Law of Moses had a Holy Day at the beginning.  Starting on that Holy Day you would count seven days, and then on the next or eighth day was another Holy Day, often called The Last Great Day.  Technically, the Jews considered the Feast as being seven days long with a Holy Day at the beginning, and the Last Great Day was considered by them as being a Holy Day added onto the end of the Feast.  But this 8th day was always part of the command in the Law on how to observe the Feast.  The pastor obviously doesn’t understand this, but I spent 37 years in a Sabbatarian Church of God that observed the Feast of Tabernacles and understood these commands.]  On that day the priest would march around seven times, around the altar, and they would chant Psalm 118, verse 25, “Save now, I pray O Lord.  O Lord I pray you, send now prosperity.”  You know, Hosanna, Hosanna.  And it would be the last time they would draw the water out, and at this time they would actually do a double portion, twice as much water.   But then there seems to be this history, that after the Babylonian exile, there was this 8th day added after the feast.  [That would be because after the
Babylonian exile they were getting “back to the Bible”, under the Holy Spirit inspired leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah.]  And there is debate, is the 7th day the Last Great Day, or is this the 8th day,  I lean towards the 8th day [which is correct.  As I have just shown, this pastor, as awesome and knowledgeable as he is, does not understand the original commandment that specified the details for keeping the Feast of Tabernacles in Leviticus 23:34-44.  So I don’t know where he’s getting his information from, but it does not square with the Word of God in Leviticus 23:34-44.  But this is a Gentile Christian Church that has never observed a single Old Testament Holy Day, so this is understandable.]  On the 8th day, after the Babylonian exile, this day was added.  The priests would go with their golden vessel and they would return from the pool of Siloam, but this time it would be empty, signifying that when the Israelites entered the Promised Land the water from the Rock was no longer needed, so they would come in with an empty vessel.  And then the priests would symbolically pour out this empty vessel before the people, and the high priest would read Isaiah 44, verse 3, which is interesting if you consider the verses I read to you last week from Jeremiah:   God says “For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground.  I will pour my Spirit on your descendants and my blessing on your offspring.”  Interesting picture we have  here, because Siloam, this pool they would draw their water from means “Sent One”, literally.  So the Messiah was the sent one, and he of course would come and pour out his Spirit upon the people.  Beautiful picture.  They were doing these things, not necessarily understanding all that God would do.  Jesus, probably at the very time these priests come in with these golden vessels, they poured out the water, poured out the water, 8th day they come with an empty vessel, they pour it out symbolically, referring to the Spirit that God would someday give.  At that time, I’m sure it’s that time, there’s this singing, there’s the praises and worship, Jesus stands out and cries out with a loud voice, a tremendous voice, and he says “If anyone thirsts, if anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.  He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living waters.”  He says “If anyone thirsts.”  Of course, we have this thirst in our hearts, this thirst to be fulfilled, this thirst in our spirit to be satisfied.  So he says “If anyone thirsts let him come to me and drink.”  And of course, if you drink from the cisterns of the world, man, you will not be fulfilled.  I think of again my time in New York City and one late night coming back from Centennial Hall, I was sitting there having some good food from one of those corner vendors, some chicken and rice, and I was eating it, and this one lady, really nicely dressed, is walking down the boulevard, and as she was walking, she was clearly intoxicated.  It was late, attractive lady, but she was trying to walk a straight line, but this lady could not walk a straight line no matter how hard she tried.  I hope she wasn’t going to get into a car.  But she went from one side of the sidewalk to the other, and I was just thinking, Oh the vanity of the world.  This lady’s probably been out having a great time in the bars, you know, and trying to be satisfied, and she goes home as empty as you can possibly be, staggering down the sidewalk.  And I prayed for her and I certainly hope the Lord protected her and got her home safely.  She was certainly vulnerable, man, in that state.  The cisterns of the world are so empty, but Jesus says ‘If you want to be richly satisfied, if anyone thirsts, if anybody really wants to know and be satisfied, wants to hear the voice of God, and wants to know God and walk with him, if anyone thirsts, then come to me and drink.  And those that come I am the Messiah and I’ll give them the Holy Spirit.’  And when the Holy Spirit moves into your heart, man, you will be so satisfied, you’ll be so filled, you’ll have such peace in your life. 


The Baptism of the Holy Spirit


I had an interesting time studying yesterday, and I’m going to just relay this to you.  And you can make of it what you want, but the Lord ministered to me, and I believe the Lord has communicated just a truth to me and I’m going to share it with you.  I mentioned last week I was at one time looking out the hotel window there in Manhattan,  33rd floor.  You know in New York City on the 33rd floor, but you got sky scrapers still above you and you feel like you’re in a little compartment, looking out the window of the hotel there and looking down at the little teeny-weeny taxicabs.  But thinking about life and about all the millions of people in New York City, but thinking about the Spirit, and I told you I’d written in my journal ‘Lord, my heart is dry, my soul is dry, I need you to work in my soul.’  And then I read Jeremiah 31, that he will satiate the soul of the priest, he’ll satiate the soul of the weary-hearted.’  Well I didn’t tell you last week, but at the same time as I stood there I thought about D.L. Moody.  And D.L. Moody when he was in New York City, if you ever have known his biography, great story to read.  He was a man that walked with the Lord, he was a Christian man, he was serving the Lord.  And as he was preaching there would be people who would come and listen, he was ministering to kids and such.  But one particular season as he was preaching, these two ladies came to one of his meetings, and they started to bow their heads and pray for him, and in the following sessions when he taught they would come back, and they would sit in the front row and they would pray for him.  Well initially it frustrated D.L. Moody, he was thinking ‘What are these ladies doing, praying for me?  I mean, why aren’t they listening?’  But anyway he spoke to them, and talked to them and said ‘Why are you sitting there praying?  What’s up with that?’  I mean, good thing to do, but he was frustrated by it.  God was getting his attention.  And they said to him, ‘You know D.L., we’re praying for you that you would have more of the Spirit.’  Well, that didn’t really go over very well.  He was a little bothered by that, little offended.  But as time went on, he tells the story that he started to join those ladies in prayer, he says ‘Yes, I want more of the Spirit in my life.’  Well one day, as the story goes, he was walking in New York City, I mean he was ministering in Chicago, but he was in New York City for certain reasons and he was walking down the street, and he describes it this way, ‘As he was walking, suddenly the Spirit of God came on him’, and he says ‘I was just overwhelmed with the love of God.’  He says ‘So much so that I didn’t know what to do’, so he looked for a friend’s house, he had a friend in New York, went to his house, knocked on the door, and he says to his friend, ‘Listen, can I just have one of your rooms?’  So this friend took him to a back room, he didn’t have any discussion with his friend, his friend probably wondered what was going on, he gave him the room, and he stayed in the room for the day.  And he says ‘I was just overwhelmed with the love of God.  It was like liquid love, just all over  me.’  Well, people might debate, an emotional guy, an emotional experience, but here’s the deal.  His ministry changed.  That’s why we know D.L. Moody.  When he got up to preach, people suddenly started to get saved in masses.  The crowds started getting bigger and bigger and bigger.  He eventually led a million people to the Lord.  Something happened to D.L. Moody’s life as he walked the streets of New York City.  I was raised in a theology that was conservative, where there wasn’t this belief in the baptism of the Holy Spirit, meaning this experience you can have as a Christian, I was raised in that, and had to struggle through that as I got involved in Calvary Chapel.  But I was attracted to certain people of the past, D.L. Moody, Dr. Lloyd Jones, Hudson Taylor, great men, some real conservative theology, every one of them.  I noticed they had the same type of experience.  Maybe they would describe it differently.  But every one of them had a time in their life, Hudson Taylor, you can read his biography, Lloyd Jones, he preached on it over and over, people would say ‘But that’s not part of your theology’, but he would preach on it over and over, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, that you need the unction, you need the Holy Spirit to come upon you [for ministry, not just the mere indwelling of the Holy Spirit that makes you a believer].  Amy Carmichael, John Bunyon, I could go on with all  the great names.  They are great names because they had this experience, the Holy Spirit came upon them.  And I wrestled with the Scripture, then I had my pastor, he referred to his time, and his pastor to his time, and I said there’s something up here.  I’m lacking this in my life.  I began to seek the Lord and God began to work in my life.  I’ve been thinking about that lately, God telling me things through Jeremiah, dryness in my soul.  I had an interesting time, because the last three and a  half weeks, I went to New York City, left New York City 4 o’clock Sunday morning a couple weeks ago, came here, taught, went to the airport Sunday afternoon, went to San Diego to a conference, came back at 1 to 2 o’clock in the morning last week from San Diego, taught Sunday morning, and then left a day or two later for New Hampshire to another conference.  So it was right together.  But God knows the cry of my heart.  And, I’ve been needing more of the Spirit.  So, in New York City God begins to minister to me, and I say ‘Lord, I still need more.’  So then I go to the huddle in San Diego, God’s ministering to my heart, and there’s one night they have an afterglow, and as they have this afterglow, man, the Holy Spirit is really working on my heart.  I’m thinking, ‘This is what I need, man, God pour it on.  Right?  Worshipping, praising, the Lord’s cleansing, I needed it in my heart.  But you know, my pastor said we’re going to have this extended time of afterglow, I don’t know what happened, he must have left, because somebody else got up a few minutes later and said ‘OK we’re done.’  I said, ‘We’re done!?’ and then they said, ‘Let’s go have chocolate Sundaes’, they were waiting for us outside, I said “Chocolate Sundaes?”….So, I got something in here, man, I need.  So I went to another room, and we got blessed because the conference center got filled up and they put us in a resort, the overflow was the Lake Arrowhead resort so the people from our church were blessed, man, same price we stayed in a resort.  But anyway we had a fifteen passenger van, the thing was over and people wanted to go, and now I got this thing going on in my heart.  I’m in a room alone, lights are off, my wife is coming back to me, my wife knows what to do, she’s saying “Listen, people waiting for you”  I said “I don’t want to go, I’m dealing with the Lord right now, and he’s dealing with me.”  But then these people are waiting from our church, I got to go, and they were waiting a half hour, you know the time went by quick, I thought it was just a few minutes, and we headed back to the hotel.  So anyway we’re getting ready to leave San Diego, and I go “Lord, I’m not quite done yet.”  So I’m thinking, maybe that’s why the Lord has me go to the New Hampshire huddle right after that.  So, come back, head up to New Hampshire, and then this one night Randy is teaching on revival, and about this work that God does, where the Spirit of God just comes down upon the church.  So we had an extended time again, of just prayer and opening our hearts.  And it was going great, and then somebody came up there and ended it and said, “Hey, we have Sundaes.”  Same thing, I don’t know what’s up with that, “Let’s go have Sundaes” and I go “Aggh!”  Don’t do that to me again.  So I went out to the lake, I just stood there with my hands to the Lord, beautiful lake there, and I went “Lord, I just want more of the Spirit, I want more of the Spirit in my life.”  Well, I’m studying these verses yesterday, and one of the commentaries I use now and then is Jon Courson, and I’ll confess, I’ve fallen behind on my Bible reading, but whenever I do, if you do the same, it’s like it’s ordained, we’re in Jonah, and I’m back in Ezekiel still.  Well anyway yesterday my Bible reading, because I’ve fallen behind, is Ezekiel chapters 47 and 48, and I’m reading them, because I’m going to be teaching from John 7, and I’m going ‘This is interesting, the temple there, Ezekiel, that river of life coming out of the temple, I’m thinking back to my time in Israel where this river of life we were talking about is going to come and heal the land [and all the oceans it flows into], coming out of the new temple, Ezekiel’s temple.  And then God takes Ezekiel out a way into this stream and he has a measure, and it’s only ankle deep, and then he takes him another thousand cubits, and it’s knee deep, and a thousand cubits further it’s then waist deep, and then eventually takes him out to a place where it’s over the head, it’s a flowing river (Ezekiel 47:1-12).   And I’m thinking about living water, because it says those waters go out and heal.  I’m thinking about the Spirit.  And then this last Wednesday I taught from Numbers chapter 21, and I mention this beautiful picture, the people repent, they look to the cross there, the brazen serpent, they get saved basically, I mean, God forgives them and there’s salvation.  And then right after that they find this well, and there’s this singing and praising over this well.  It’s a picture of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  So I’m thinking about these things.  And then I’m thinking it’s like the Feast of Tabernacles right now, and I’m thinking about this text.  I pick up Jon Courson’s commentary, and don’t you know, I pick it up and he’s talking about the baptism of the Holy Spirit, has a section.  He refers to this, and then he goes right to Ezekiel 47, and he talks about “Hey, man, you can be in ankle deep, you can be in knee deep, you can be in waist deep.  Why not be in where you’re in over your head with the Spirit?”  I’m thinking, ‘Yeah, that’s what I was thinking.’  And then he goes to Numbers 21!  I’m like, this is the text I was just in, these things are going around in my mind.  And in Numbers 21 he says “Hey, man, they left that time, and they went from just asking to opening their hearts, and the Holy Spirit was upon them, and they were just worshipping and singing, and that’s praise, a revival of praise is part of this revival and work of the Spirit of God in our hearts.  You know what I did, I couldn’t study any longer.  I got up.  I said “God, I want it now, man.”  So, all that’s been said.  My question is ‘How about you?’  I came back to this church praying, ‘God, baptize the leaders in this church with the Holy Spirit, baptize this people in the church in the power of the Holy Spirit.  We’ll never see revival without the baptism of the Holy Spirit, we’ll never really impact this community in great ways until you are overflowing in the Spirit of God, and that is what Jesus is talking about, it says “out of  his heart”, he’s not just talking about being filled with the Spirit, he’s saying “out of his heart will flow”, like the temple, “rivers of living waters,” healing waters, powerful waters from you to others.  Is it happening in your life?  Do you want it, do you need it?  I need it all the more in my life.  I’ve been in ankle deep, I’ve been in knee deep, I think at times I’ve been in waist deep, maybe for short times I’ve been in over my head, but I want it all the more, man.  And it’s what we need.  I hope it’s a thirst in your heart too.  Listen, interesting, at the end of John, we’ll get there, Jesus breathes on the disciples and says “receive the Holy Spirit”, the Holy Spirit [from that time on] was in them.  But then in Acts chapter 2, this is later after that event, the Holy Spirit came down upon them, and it said it gave them power.  Is there power in your life?  This isn’t supposed to be a mundane Christian experience, this isn’t supposed to be we just go along, we enjoy the church, we enjoy the Lord, you should be so passionate for Jesus, you should be so passionate for the lost, if you’re not it’s the baptism of the Holy Spirit you need.  So, this is what I’d like to do. And I realize, you can give a message and sometimes people can get emotional, whatever, maybe not.  But tonight we have a prayer-time, what I’d like to do, is, we’ve done it before, is come together for our prayer-time tonight for those that can be there, and let’s have a time of worship, a time of praise, a time of seeking the Lord, asking the Holy Spirit to work in our hearts as a corporate body.  So, tonight at six o’clock, we’ll have some guitar pickers, we’ll worship, we’ll exercise the spiritual gifts.  We are a charismatic church, we’re not Pentecostal, we believe there’s a balance, and God is a God of order, but I tell you man, D.L. Moody, Hudson Taylor, Dr. Lloyd Jones, come on Lord, bring it on in our hearts, the power of the Holy Spirit.  Let’s go to the end. 


The debate continues


“Therefore many from the crowd when they heard this saying said, ‘Truly this is the Prophet.’  Others said, ‘This is the Christ.’  But some said, ‘Will the Christ come out of Galilee?  Has not the Scripture said the Christ comes from the seed of David, and from the town of Bethlehem where David was?’  So there was a division among the people because of him.  Now some of them wanted to take him, but no one laid hands on him.”  (verses 40-44)  They’re like, ‘You’re supposed to be from Bethlehem.’  They didn’t realize he was actually born in Bethlehem.  But they forget the Scripture, you know, Isaiah 9, remember it says that “the people of Galilee have seen a great light”, and there was a work God was doing with the Messiah around the Sea of Galilee, and Isaiah goes right on, he says “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”, right there in Isaiah 9, they forgot.  “Then the officers came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them [i.e. said to the officers] ‘Why have you not brought him?’  The officers answer, ‘No man ever spoke like this man.’”  (verses 45-46)  So these officers come back, empty handcuffs, and the priests said ‘We want him, why don’t you have him?’  The officers say “No man ever spoke like this man.”  I mean, it’s kind of like Saul on the way to Damascus, he’s going to arrest, and he encounters the Living God, I mean, the power, like in the garden when they fall back when he speaks.  “Then the Pharisees answered them, ‘Are you also deceived?’”  Man, the hardness, the pride of religion.  “Have any of the rulers of the Pharisees believed in him?  But this crowd that does not know the laws are accursed.’   Nicodemus said to them, ‘Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?’”  God is working in his heart, clearly, we’ve seen that.  He’s says, ‘Listen, let’s be fair here, we can’t just judge him.  “They answered and said to him, ‘Are you also from Galilee?  Search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee.’”  They just even despised Nicodemus, one of their own, they turn on him like bloodthirsty whatever.  “And every man went unto his own house.”  (verses 47-53)  Let’s bow our heads together in prayer… [transcript of a sermon on John 7:1-53, given somewhere in New England.]