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John Chapter 20:21-24

Cross the Bridge / David McGee
The Truth Network Radio
March 15, 2021 1:00 am

John Chapter 20:21-24

Cross the Bridge / David McGee

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March 15, 2021 1:00 am

Cross the Bridge 41097-1

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We tell people, you know, whenever you quit doing this and quit doing that and then you get in church and then, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.

If you're struggling, it's the place to be. If you've got families, if you've got friends who are having a hard time, bring them. Don't wait till they get it sorted out, till they get cleaned up or get their act together or any of those things.

Bring them right in the midst of their pain and their darkness so that Jesus can give them some hope and he can begin to change their lives. You come to God, God begins to clean you up. Let me ask you a question and I've used this analogy before, but do you get cleaned up to take a shower? Please say no. It worries me when people don't respond to that question. Okay, call the office, we'll sit down with you. No, you don't get cleaned up to take a shower. Why is that?

Shower cleans you up. Welcome to Cross the Bridge with David McGee. David is a senior pastor of the Bridge in Kernersville, North Carolina. While each of us struggle in life through various things, the good news is that Jesus will come to us right where we are and just as we are. Today, Pastor David explains this important truth as he continues in the Gospel of John, chapter 20.

Now, here's David McGee with his teaching, That You Might Believe. So we finished up with verse 21, but for context's sake, we're going to start with verse 21 in John, chapter 20. So Jesus said to them again, peace to you as the Father has sent me, I also send you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, receive the Holy Spirit. Now, verse 22 and verse 23 present some theological questions, if you will, that we need to ask ourselves.

And theological is just a big word, meaning the things having to do with God, if you will. He says, receive the Holy Spirit. This is John, chapter 20, verse 22. I point that out because there's another verse later, Acts chapter 1, verse 8, that comes after this time in the chronology.

If you were looking at a timeline, we have this event, and later we have this other event. And here's what Acts, chapter 1, verse 8 says. But you shall or will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. And you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth. Now, this verse is the last recorded public words of Jesus.

We have just a couple of phrases that he spoke privately with Paul. So this verse has a lot of weight. But it presents us with a problem because if they receive the Holy Spirit here, then what was Acts, chapter 1, verse 8 about? Well, let's talk about the Holy Spirit for a moment. And I understand that the doctrine or our thoughts towards the Holy Spirit present some unique challenges in the body of Christ. See, because if you're new here, here's what is going on in some of you. The Holy Spirit, oh, no.

This is great. Now, the service is going to get all weird. There's going to be people running around hollering and screaming and falling over and all this stuff. No, they're not. See, you've probably seen things that have been presented in the name of the Holy Spirit that had nothing to do with the Holy Spirit.

If you've watched Christian television at all, you've probably seen these things. But for the moment, separate yourself from that. See, because if you say, okay, well, that's what the Holy Spirit looks like.

I don't want him. Notice I said him, not it. The Holy Spirit's a him.

It's not an it. Don't refer the Holy Spirit as it. Then you could have used the same argument not to come to Jesus.

See, because you can look at people that say that they're Christians that are following Jesus and you go, man, if that's following Jesus, I don't want it. Well, you can do the same thing with the Holy Spirit. You can do the same thing with the Holy Spirit. If that's the Holy Spirit, I don't want him. I don't want him.

So we need to understand that you may have been exposed to things and the converse is true. You may have been exposed to teachings that have said the Holy Spirit is done. He's finished. He no longer has a present-day ministry. That ended with the age of the apostles.

I'm sorry. That is not in the Bible. I understand. People take one verse and really twist it out of context to say that the present day of the Holy Spirit is not valid. I reject that.

It's important you understand that. But this promises to us as well that we can receive the Holy Spirit. Now, it's interesting that Jesus in this portion of Scripture breathes on them and says receive the Holy Spirit. I believe they received the Holy Spirit. I believe they received a portion of the Holy Spirit because later on Jesus says you guys are going to be filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit is the language there. And then we have the symbolism of Jesus just breathing on them. And then in Acts 1a or Acts chapter 2, chapter 3, it is a mighty rushing wind is what it says.

And I think again we have a picture of that. You see, let me explain the Holy Spirit and His relationship to us because this is important. Before you were a believer and presently if you're in here and you've not asked the Lord to forgive you of your sins, the Holy Spirit is alongside of you. And your relationship with the Holy Spirit is Him attempting to convict or convince you of wrongdoing. In other words, to convince or convict you to come to Him and ask the Lord to forgive you of your sins. That's the relationship you have with the Holy Spirit. You don't actually have the Holy Spirit because God can't dwell where sin is. And we see that in the Hebrew Scriptures and God doesn't just decide. It's just His nature and His holiness.

He can't do that. It's like putting a dry leaf into a fire. The fire doesn't decide to consume the leaf.

It's the nature of the fire and the nature of the leaf that if the leaf is in there, it's going to be consumed. That's why in the Hebrew Scriptures, in the Old Testament, we see the Spirit coming upon people for a season, for a particular task. And that's why you see Samson when we were studying the book of Judges. It said he knew not that the Spirit had departed from him. And David in the Psalm says, take not your Holy Spirit from me.

Now, there's a song that has those lyrics that we don't sing here. And the reason is we're under grace now. In other words, the Holy Spirit doesn't just dwell alongside of us. He dwells in us from the moment you ask Him to forgive you of your sins. But the question is, does He dwell in fullness? The question is, do any of us need more of the Lord, more of the Holy Spirit in our lives?

And should we ask for it? It's a question. Again, for the moment, separate yourself from the baggage and the luggage you might have concerning the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Obviously, there's some people who say, absolutely not. God no longer heals anybody.

He no longer does any of that. And it's just all a bunch of nonsense. And we totally reject that.

On the other extreme, you have people that say, oh, you know, it's all great, and let's swing from the chandeliers and run around the room screaming like chicken with his head cut off, and it's all okay. And they don't look at the Bible to do things decently in order. 1 Corinthians 14 tells us, let these things be done decently in order. You know what that tells us?

Let them be done, but let them be done decently in order. Now, we're going to be talking about this a lot in the coming weeks when we get in the book of Acts, but this presents the question of, what do you believe about the Holy Spirit? Is there more to receive of the Holy Spirit? There obviously is, in part, Paul said, be ye filled with the Spirit. When he wrote that, understand what that means is be continually filled with the Spirit.

So that puts both extremes in there. If you say, well, you can't, you shouldn't ask to be filled with the Spirit, Paul said, be filled with the Spirit. If you say over here, well, there is a subsequent experience after salvation, which I believe the Bible teaches, you know, then there's that one-time thing. No, wait a minute, the Bible talks about continually being filled with the Spirit. I want to do what the Bible says, and I want to have this. Can we agree that we're going to look to the Bible for our doctrine?

I mean, doesn't that seem logical? And some people say, well, no, you can't ask to be filled with the Spirit, and that's not a doctrine that is embraced, that God's finished with that. But wait a minute, you got a couple verses that beg to differ. Acts 2 38 and 39, then Peter said to them, repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children and to all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call.

Promise wasn't just for the first-generation church. Pastor, are you saying there's a subsequent experience after salvation with the Holy Spirit? I absolutely am. Now, I know this is new for some of you, and some of you, again, don't be anxious. We're not going to get into weirdness.

We just want to see what the Bible has to say about this. I think every one of us, if we were honest, would say, Lord, we need more of you. We need more of your Spirit. We need more of your power.

How do we get that? Jesus tells us. Jesus in Luke chapter 11 verse 13 says, If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?

There's the key, guys. Now, maybe you're looking at this verse going, what? I never heard that. I never heard that you had to ask for the Holy Spirit. Well, at this point, you know, you have to choose whether you believe what people have told you or you believe what Jesus said. Jesus said you need to ask for it. You need to ask for the Holy Spirit. Now, what's awesome is Jesus always knows what we're going to be thinking before we think it.

It's an amazing thing. And the preceding verses in here, you know what it talks about? You may remember the passage, if you're familiar with the Bible. He talks about, look, if you ask me for bread, I'm not going to give you a stone. I'm not going to give you a snake.

I'm not going to give you a scorpion. If an earthly father gives good gifts, how much more will I give you good gifts, give you the Holy Spirit if you ask? So I know some of you are afraid to ask for the Holy Spirit. Jesus speaks to this fear in this passage and says, don't be afraid.

Don't be afraid. And understand, you receive because you ask. You receive because, it's a faith thing. It's like salvation.

Many of you, when you ask the Lord to forgive you of your sins, it was an incredible emotional experience. That's awesome. That's great. For some of you, it wasn't. That's great.

That's awesome. See, because we don't go on feelings. That's why I tell you over and over, you know, if you ever are honored or privileged to lead somebody to the Lord, to lead them in the prayer, asking for them to be forgiven of their sins, when you get finished, never ask them, so how do you feel? Because they may not feel anything. And then they're gonna go, oh, I don't feel anything. Maybe it didn't work. Because I don't feel anything. You know, and then, well, let's pray it again. You know, I mean, you can pray. Don't do that.

Why? Because we don't go on feelings. Same thing with the Holy Spirit. You ask the Holy Spirit to fill you, and you may feel something. You may not.

We don't go on our feelings. I, by faith, ask. I, by faith, receive. And it's important that we understand. Is this whole Holy Spirit thing that important?

You bet you. It was important that Jesus, listen to his words in John 16, 7. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away. For if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I depart, I will send him to you. If I depart, I will send him to you. So again, you have, it looks like the fullness is coming after his ascension. Now, so the question is, have you asked for the Holy Spirit?

And when you ask that, don't sit there and think you're gonna get a scorpion or a snake. God said, Jesus said, no, it's not gonna happen. It's not gonna happen.

It's not gonna happen. Do we need the Holy Spirit? Oh, yes, we do. See, that verse, chapter one of Acts, verse eight, and he says, you shall receive power.

It's interesting. The word power there is dunamis. It's where we get our word for dynamite. We need that power.

Wow, so we can do those things that we swing from the chandeliers and do all the, no, no, no, no, that's not what it says. So that we can be witnesses. So we can live the faith out. How many of us need that power to live our faith out? I think everybody in here that would be honest would go, yeah, I need that. I need that. I need that dunamis power that God offers. We'll be right back with more from David McGee on Cross the Bridge. Right now, here's a word from associate pastor D.A.

Brown. We want to take just a minute to pray for a few cities in our listening audience, specifically Gallup, New Mexico, and Las Cruces, Portales, Roswell, Tularosa, and Binghamton, New York and Oswego. God, we thank you for these listening in these cities right now. We pray that you would pour your spirit out on them, Lord, that they would have faith to trust you and what you're wanting to do in their life. We pray if there's people, Father, who have yet to put their trust in you, that today would be the day, that they would say yes to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for them. Lord, we pray for those in leadership positions, that you would anoint them, that you would give them wisdom and discernment.

Lord, that they would look to your Bible for answers and form their conclusions accordingly. Lord, we pray that you would pour your spirit out on these cities. In Jesus' name, amen. Amen.

Thank you, brother. And now, let's get back to David McGee as he continues teaching verse by verse. Verse 23, if you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them. If you retain the sins of any, they are retained. And see, these are a couple of tough verses. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them. If you retain the sins of any, they are retained. What's being said here?

Well, let me tell you what's not being said. Jesus is not saying to these disciples, you have the power to forgive sins. That's a real stretch. What he's saying, you have the power to declare people's sins are forgiven.

There's a big difference. You see, at the end of the Sunday morning service, I invite people to pray a prayer to ask the Lord to forgive them of their sins. And I could go to that person after that and go, man, your sins have been forgiven. I have the power to declare that.

Why? Because the Word says if anybody calls on the name of the Lord, they'll be saved. So I know when they call on the name of the Lord that the Lord has forgiven them of their sins. I can declare that to them. But if they come to me and go, pastor, I need you to forgive me of my sins, I'm sorry, I don't have that power.

So you can do it here or you can do it in a field or you can do it at home at night. You don't need a priest. What you need is the one and only high priest, which is Jesus. See, this verse has been used to introduce the fact that you need to go to a priest to confess your sins.

I'm sorry, I reject that. Or a different version, you need to go to the high priest to confess your sins, I would agree with that. But this has led to all sorts of twistedness and really embarrassments in the history of the church.

Why? Because what did we do with the fact that we thought we had the power to forgive sins? Some of it still goes on now.

Man, it got really twisted, still is. We introduced what? The fact that you could pay me to have your sins forgiven. It was called indulgence.

This didn't really happen. There was a whole menu of sins that as you committed, you could pay a certain price and be forgiven of their sins. Now, God in His wisdom did not set that up.

He didn't give us that power to do that. He does give us the power to proclaim to people that their sins are forgiven. If they pray that prayer, you can say, man, you are forgiven. I can proclaim that to you this morning who've asked the Lord to forgive you of your sins. You have been forgiven. And I can also say that if you've never asked the Lord to forgive you of your sins, your sins are not yet forgiven.

So we need to be clear on this because this is a difficult issue that some people really wrestle with. Now, Colossians chapter 2, Paul proclaims this forgiveness. In 13, he says, you were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away.

Then God made you alive with Christ. He forgave all your sins. So Paul is proclaiming the forgiveness of sins, not having the power to do it. 1 John 2, 12, John says to us, I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for His name's sake. Again, that declaration of the forgiveness of sins. Ephesians, Paul again writes, chapter 1, verse 7, He is so rich in kindness that He purchased our freedom through the blood of His Son and our sins are forgiven. So there's a difference in you having personally the power or any man or any priest or any pope for that reason, the power to forgive sins. God alone has that power.

And we need to be understanding of that. But we have the power to proclaim that forgiveness or the lack of it, says this verse. And verse 24, now Thomas called a twin, one of the 12, was not with them when Jesus came. At this point, Jesus has already shown up. He showed up to the upper room. Well, we think it was the upper room. And Thomas wasn't there.

Don't read quickly past this. He wasn't with them. Why was that? Because the disciples at this point were a fractured group. They were afraid. They were, we would say, freaked out in today's terms. They were worried. Some of them weren't there anymore. The sacred college of the 12, if you will, as it's been called, had disbanded. They thought it was done. So Thomas wasn't there. And notice too that what was their condition when Jesus showed up the first time?

Don't miss this. They're scared. They're huddled. They're worried. And Jesus comes right in the midst of them.

Ah. Loved one, let that bring you comfort. You know, so often we tell, well, you gotta fly right. You gotta straighten up. You gotta do this. You gotta do that. When you get it all sorted out, you can come to God.

Or when you get it all together, or when you clean up your act. We use all these things. Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. When did that become part of our relationship with the Lord? Oh, oh, God begins to change us after we come to him. But see, we've introduced this concept into the church that this is what good people do on Sunday morning. We all get together. We talk about the people who are bad.

That's not, that's not Bible. And we tell people, you know, whenever you quit doing this and quit doing that, and then you get in church and then that, and then whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. If you're struggling, it's the place to be. If you've got families, if you've got friends who are having a hard time, bring them. Don't wait till they get it sorted out, till they get cleaned up or get their act together, any of those things.

Bring them right in the midst of their pain and their darkness so that Jesus can give them some hope and he can begin to change their lives. You come to God, God begins to clean you up. Let me ask you a question, and I've used this analogy before, but do you get cleaned up to take a shower? Please say no. It worries me when people don't respond to that question. Okay, call the office, we'll sit down with you. No, you don't get cleaned up to take a shower.

Why is that? Shower cleans you up. And what happens is you move towards God and you take those steps towards God, God begins to change you from the inside out. Sometimes it happens all at once, usually it takes a little more time. It's a process, and Jesus invites us on that process. He doesn't wait till we get it all together, just like he appeared to these guys when they were shaken up. The life lesson here, Jesus will come to us right where we are as we are, and I am so glad. He'll come to us right where we are and just as we are.

And just as we are. You can be in the middle of the silliest, stupidest thing you've ever done, and say, Jesus, help me, please. And he'll help you.

He'll be there. What a comfort that is, and how different that is than our thinking, because so many of us have tried to change ourselves. It didn't work, did it? I never forget, I was a backslidden Christian, I came back to the Lord, and when I came back to the Lord, a couple of things fell away real quickly. I'd been involved in rock and roll music and stuff, and so I immediately quit a lot of those things, the drinking and the doing cocaine and various other and the sundry drugs. I still struggled with smoking marijuana, to be honest. I don't struggle with it anymore.

Some people are, oh no. But I had just got back in the church, and I asked a guy, and I just knew when I shared this with him, that he was just gonna hammer me and yell at me and stuff. And so I shared, I said, dude, look, I got a problem. And he said, what's going on? I said, you know on the weekends and stuff, I still smoke dope sometimes. And he said, nope, just keep coming to church.

Keep fellowshiping, and God will change you. I did not expect that answer. I thought the guy was, you know, well, you sinner, you need to fall on your knees and repent, because you're gonna go to hell, and you're gonna smell like it, because you've been smoking that dope. You know? I'm sorry if I just frightened some of you, I never do, I don't raise my voice, so some of you just totally freaked out. But see, I didn't have it together, I needed help.

And guess what? He was right. Just a few weeks after that, man, I said, you know what, I don't need to do this anymore. I've already found what I was looking for, and God did a work in my heart and in my life. He came to me right where I was, and in that dark time, and when you have those dark times and those uncertain moments, and in that darkest hour, hope will walk into your life, into your life, and His name is Jesus. Friend, do you know for sure that your sins have been forgiven?

You can know right now. I want to lead you in a short, simple prayer, simply telling God you're sorry and asking Him to help you to live for Him. Now, God wants you to pray this prayer so much that He died to give you the opportunity and the ability to ask Him to forgive you.

Please pray this prayer with me out loud right now. Dear Jesus, I believe you died for me that I could be forgiven, and I believe you were raised from the dead that I could have a new life, and I've done wrong things. I have sinned, and I'm sorry. Please forgive me of all those things. Please give me the power to live for you all of my days. In Jesus' name.

Amen. Friend, if you prayed that prayer, according to the Bible, you've been forgiven. You've been born again.

Jesus said He would not turn anybody away who comes to Him, and He came for those people who knew they needed forgiveness, those who were sick, not the righteous. So congratulations, friend. You just made the greatest decision that you will ever make. God bless you. If you prayed that prayer with David for the first time, we'd love to hear from you. You can visit crossthebridge.com to receive our First Steps package with helpful resources to help you begin your walk with Christ.

Or you can write to Cross the Bridge at P.O. Box 12515, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, 27117, and share how God is working in your life. You know, the Bible tells us that the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord. But it does cost for us to come and bring that message to you and to others in your neighborhood, through radio, through the internet, and through the mobile technologies that God has gifted us to be able to use. So if you'd like to support this ministry, please go to crossthebridge.com, click on the donate button, and ask God how much He would have you give, either on a one-time basis or a continuing basis each month to help ensure that the teaching of God's Word continues to go out through Cross the Bridge.

Thank you so much. Well, D.A., before we go, what are some ways that we can bless our listeners? Each day you can wake up with encouragement from Pastor David through the Word of God with his email devotional, life lessons to consider, a daily reading plan, and a thought to meditate on throughout your day from the heart of David McGee. Those are terrific, and it's easy and it's free. So folks, sign up today at crossthebridge.com. Thanks again for listening, and join us next time as David McGee continues teaching verse by verse in the Gospel of John.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-15 23:06:38 / 2023-12-15 23:17:54 / 11

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