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Uncommitted! - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
July 24, 2022 6:00 am

Uncommitted! - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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July 24, 2022 6:00 am

These three verses are some of the most unusual in the New Testament. They describe a scene in the life of Jesus that explains His popularity and fame. The response of people to the miracles of Jesus is understandable. What is not readily understandable is Jesus' response to the interested and excited crowd. Though they believed in Him, He was not too energized over their kind of faith. Understanding this will help us to understand Jesus and His mission.

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Skip Heitzig

Now it's been estimated that our knowledge today is increasing at such a rate. In fact, it's increasing at the rate of 2,000 pages a minute.

And this is what it means. If you were to read 24 hours a day from age 21 to age 70, and you could retain everything you read, you would be one and a half million years behind when you were done. You could not keep up with the rate of knowledge that is growing. But what John wants us to know is that Jesus didn't just know stuff, didn't just know data, facts and figures, but He knew the soul of men and women.

Welcome to Connect with Skip Weekend Edition. Back in 2004, Ken Jennings became a fixture on the trivia show Jeopardy. In fact, he went on to win 74 times in a row and eventually won a total of $3 million, all because he knew the answer to random trivia questions, or in this case, the question to random trivia answers. Ken Jennings knows a lot of stuff, but even he isn't a true know-it-all.

In fact, there's only one person who could really be called a know-it-all, and he used his knowledge not to win game shows, but to win souls. And we'll take a look at that today here in Connect with Skip Weekend Edition. But first, this update from the Connect with Skip Resource Center. Is your personal Bible study time frustrating? Do you need direction? You can study the Bible with a plan and see progress.

Listen to this from Skip Heitzig. All of us, we have trouble with certain parts of the Bible. Sometimes it's tough. But exposure to the Bible, a consistent exposure to the Bible, and I would add on a daily basis, with the consistent desire to obey it, will do more for you than any other thing that I can think of in your Christian life. Get the mystery out of studying scripture with Pastor Skip's book, How to Study the Bible and Enjoy It. Our thanks to you when you give $25 or more to help connect more people with this Bible teaching ministry. Get the tips and tools you need to open your eyes, mind, and heart to God's truth. You don't have to be afraid of the Bible. Get your copy of How to Study the Bible and Enjoy It by Skip Heitzig today when you give online securely at slash offer or call 800-922-1888.

Turn once again to the Gospel of John chapter two. And let's join Skip Heitzig as he shares a few obscure facts. For most of us, knowledge is supreme, absolutely supreme. There are certain things we need to know to do our jobs and to do them well. But there's another type of knowledge that isn't all that important to know. It's called trivia.

It's out there, but nobody really cares, except to go, huh, that's about all. For example, I bet you didn't know that no piece of paper can be folded over seven times. I know some of you are going to say, I'll challenge that. You'll go home and try it.

I did. I bet you didn't know that donkeys kill more people annually than plane crashes. I bet you didn't know that mosquito repellents don't repel. They hide you.

The spray blocks mosquito sensors so they don't know you're there. I bet you didn't know that doctors or dentists recommend that your toothbrush be kept six feet away from the toilet to avoid airborne particles that result from the flush. I know that's TMI.

Too much information, right? Like I said, I bet you didn't know that. I bet you didn't know the liquid inside young coconuts can be used as a substitute for blood plasma.

So you go, huh? I bet you didn't know you burn more calories sleeping than watching television. And at least when you sleep, you snore or you talk or you turn over.

You don't do much when you watch television. I bet you didn't know that a Boeing 747's wingspan is longer than the Wright brothers first flight. I bet you didn't know that American Airlines saved forty thousand dollars in 1987 by just eliminating one olive from each salad served in first class. I bet you didn't know that Venus is the only planet that rotates clockwise. I bet you didn't know that apples, not caffeine, are more efficient at waking you up in the morning.

I know you're going to eat apples tomorrow. I bet you didn't know that most dust particles in your house are made from dead skin. I bet you didn't know Michael Jordan makes more money from Nike annually than all the Nike factory workers in Malaysia combined. I bet you didn't know that it takes three thousand cows to supply the NFL with enough leather for a year's supply of footballs.

And I bet you didn't know that thirty five percent of the people who use personal ads for dating are already married. Shocking, but true. Almost everyone doesn't know those things, but can you imagine being around somebody who knew everything, everything, even what you think, even what you think? Well, that brings us to this section. We discover that Jesus knew everything and knew all about people and all about their motives. You know, there's that great story in the gospels where they bring to Jesus a paralytic and he looks down at him and Jesus says, son, be of good cheer. Your sins are forgiven. The leaders in the room, the religious leaders hear this and they're just thinking these thoughts. They're thinking this guy is blaspheming.

Nobody can forgive sins but God. The Bible says Jesus turns to them knowing their thoughts and says, why do you think evil in your hearts? And can you imagine being around a guy like that? You go up to Jesus, you know, Lord, I was thinking, he says, no, you weren't thinking that.

I know what you were thinking and I know why you're telling me this. It could be unnerving. Well, I have saved the verses that we're about to read, verses twenty three, twenty four and twenty five.

Just those three this morning. I've saved them because they are so unusual. When we read them, they give us pause. They make us evaluate our own faith. So let's look at verse twenty three through twenty five. Now, when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover during the feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself to them.

Because he knew all men and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for he knew what was in man. There's three stories in Chapter two. We've covered two.

This is the last one. The first is the marriage of Cana. The second is the cleansing of the temple in Jerusalem. And the third is the short little paragraph that is an editorial statement, a summation of what happened during that one week at Passover when Jesus went to Jerusalem. In all three of these stories, there's a statement of faith that is given. For example, the marriage supper at Cana in verse eleven of Chapter two. It says the disciples believed in him. That was the result in the cleansing of the temple. The next story in Chapter two, it says that the disciples believed the scripture and what Jesus said.

Now we have in verse twenty three, a statement of faith by the crowds. They believed in him. What is unusual is Jesus response to their belief. It was not favorable, and it's because of what he knew. He knew everything and he knew everyone. That's one of John's point.

One of his points is that Jesus was omniscient. Now, it's been estimated that our knowledge today is increasing at such a rate. In fact, it's increasing at the rate of two thousand pages a minute.

And this is what it means. If you were to read twenty four hours a day from age twenty one to age seventy. And you could retain everything you read, you would be one and a half million years behind when you were done.

You could not keep up with the rate of knowledge that is growing. But what John wants us to know is that Jesus didn't just know stuff, didn't just know data, facts and figures. But he knew the soul of men and women and he knew their motivations. So in these three verses this morning, here's how we're going to approach it. We're going to notice three elements that John brings up. We want to look at the clues, the unmistakable clues, his signs.

We want to look at the under committed crowd. They believed in him and then the un committed Christ in verse twenty four and twenty five. If you look in verse twenty three at one word, it is the word signs. Get used to that word.

John likes it. Seventeen times in this book, he will use the term signs. Same on in Greek. It means miraculous sign, a miraculous sign.

So here's the deal. There were at least eight days that Jesus was in Jerusalem. The Feast of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread combined one large national party.

It was the biggest spiritual party of the nation that brought people from everywhere crowded into Jerusalem. Evidently, Jesus during that time was performing signs, miracles. And they were probably a lot because it says that many of them believe, many people believe.

Now, here's the frustrating part. There's no details given about these signs. Doesn't say how many he did, where he did them, what he did or the people that received them. And it's frustrating for the Bible student because we want to know more information. But not one gospel writer gives us any more details. Whatever they were, it brought a lot of PR on Jesus. A lot of publicity.

How do I know that? I know that because chapter three, verse one says, there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him. They were the kind of miraculous signs that got people's attention and gave him publicity.

And now the limelight, the spotlight is on him. Altogether, 37 miracles are recorded by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John that Jesus performed. Amazing signs. However, the whole Bible is filled with miracles, right? From the beginning to the end, the Bible opens with a miracle, the creation of the world.

The Bible closes with a miracle, the creation of the new heaven and a new earth. Here's a problem, however, when it comes to signs, it seems that we have one of three tendencies with the miraculous. Number one, there is a tendency to over naturalize miracles. You know, we say things like, well, every baby that is born is a miracle and every sunrise is a miracle. Every sunset is a miracle and to find a parking space in the mall at Christmas time is a miracle and to find the exact amount of change that you needed is a miracle.

We over naturalize them. We call everything that happens every day miracles. It's true, you and I can't cause a sunrise or a sunset. But these are naturally, daily occurring things. They're not the miraculous. There's a second tendency and that is to explain them away. And typically this is what the unbelieving world does. They look at our definition of a miracle and say these are just primitive interpretations of natural occurrences by people who are ignorant and steeped in their traditions and all sorts of beliefs that really aren't concrete. And that has been the posture of the unbelieving world by philosophers all the way back from Celsus to Porphyry, to Apollonius in more modern terms, Spinoza, Hume.

If you have philosophy courses, you know those names. And on one hand we go, okay, that's typical. We would expect the world to say that. But what you wouldn't expect and what we find is Bible commentators and even preachers wanting to do that with miracles, explain them away. For example, did you know that I've read a couple different books, several actually, where the miracle of the children of Israel crossing the Red Sea and then the Egyptians being killed by the same sea.

They've explained it this way. It really wasn't called the Red Sea. It was called the Sea of Reeds or the Reed Sea. And the Reed Sea was simply a bulrushes and water that was about 18 inches deep. And so the children of Israel crossed the Sea of Reeds simply by wading through the water, walking through 18 inches of water.

Not a miracle at all. Of course, they failed to explain how the entire Egyptian army was drowned in 18 inches of water. They just kind of Skip over that part. Or Jonah and the whale. They go, come on, that's just a myth. That doesn't happen. It's like any fish story. You know, fish tend to grow every time you tell the story. It didn't happen. I have a set of commentaries in my library by a great scholar, but a great scholar who had problems with miracles.

His name was William Barclay. And he likes to explain them away. Example, the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 by Jesus.

He says, that wasn't a miracle. What really happened is everybody brought their lunch that day. But they were selfish. They didn't want to bring it out. They were hiding it like wrapped up. Until one little boy steps forward and takes his lunch out to share it with people. And everybody felt moved by the compassion and love of this child.

And they all shared their lunch with each other. That's what he says. Or Jesus walking on the water in the New Testament where the disciples are in the boat.

You know what Barclay says about that? He goes, well, it was late at night. In fact, there was a full moon out and you couldn't see things very well. And the winds often drive the boats in the Sea of Galilee toward the northern shore. And so it's close to the northern shore. And Jesus simply comes walking to them in the surf. Like six inches of water walking on the beach and then into the surf. But it looked like he was actually walking on the water.

So here you have a Bible commentator having a huge problem with miracles. Now that puzzles me. Because here we are, we human beings. In the 1950s we can make a nuclear submarine, 33 tons of metal, that can go down and up 3,500 feet in the water.

We send in the 1960s people to land on the moon. That's us. And so here we are willing to attribute much greater power and efficiency to humans than to God.

There's a third tendency. And the tendency here is toward hype, hyping up your miracles. In other words, your miracle can happen today.

Just send in that money and you'll have your miracle. Have you experienced your daily miracle? And all this does is cheapen the whole idea of what the miraculous really is. Jesus performed signs.

Nicodemus saw that and so did everybody else. According to Webster, the dictionary, a miraculous sign is this. An extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs.

Here's my definition. A miracle is a divine work wrought with divine power for a divine purpose. And Jesus did a lot of them and only 37 are recorded. And all the ones he did during this week are summed up in just a little statement like this.

Let me just kind of press this a little bit further. We look at things and go, wow, that was a miracle. But think of it from God's perspective. You see, God is not a prisoner to his own laws. Yes, there are natural laws that are in place in our universe. But God can supersede those laws and enact another set of laws. That shouldn't surprise us.

We even do that. If you were to stand on a runway and look at a 747 and think how heavy that thing is and think that that thing can put 500 people in it carrying 45,000 pounds of overpacked luggage in it, and you're going to tell me that thing's going to get off the ground and go halfway across the world, the law of gravity would say there's no way that's going to happen. That thing is earthbound because of the law of nature, gravity.

So what do we do? We simply enact higher laws to supersede the law of gravity. One is aerodynamics, the other is thrust or propulsion. You get air rapidly flowing over the surface of a foil and it creates lift.

You get jets that propel it forward, and all of that together will lift up that huge aircraft. So we read that dead people come back to life, and lame people can walk, and blind people can see, and deaf people can hear. What we have is God simply enacting another set of higher laws over the laws that he put in place, and we call it a miracle.

I'll tell you something that really helped me in this. It was an example that I saw. I had a friend years ago who, in the basement of his house in Huntington Beach, California, had a train set. When I say a train set, the basement, the entire basement, was his playroom for his trains. He was an adult. He was the homeowner. He had a village constructed with homes and trees and buildings and little people.

It was massive, and it was all controlled from afar with the remote control. But every now and then, he would step into that world himself and reach into that little city and move something around or put the train car back on the track and get it in the direction, and that just served to give me a little example of what a miracle is. There's natural laws. Every now and then, God will intervene into natural law and enact a higher set. As with everything else, Jesus' ability to know it all and his miraculous displays all had the same key purpose, to help us believe. It wasn't about winning game shows or being popular or causing the Twitterverse to explode. It was all simply about getting people to believe in him and how he could change lives. And that's just as true today as when Jesus walked this earth. And we'll continue with the series Believe 879 next time. But before we go today, here's Skip and Lenya with a closing thought.

Lenya? You know, I think when we start out as Christians, we are just so wide-eyed, and everything's brand new, and we're fully in it, heart, soul, mind, the whole deal. And it can have a tendency that as we get older in the Lord and more mature as Christians, that we get a bunch of head knowledge.

And maybe sometimes it's not getting to the heart as much or being expressed in such a way. So how can we make sure that doesn't happen and that we don't just become puffed up in our knowledge? I think of the crowd in Jesus' day, which this study talks about, who believed in him when they saw the signs that he performed, but Jesus did not commit himself to them because he knew what was in man. So it's almost as if to say, they believed in him, he didn't believe in them. So he could tell the difference between saving faith and just faith in the benefits. They weren't believing in his person, they didn't believe his claims, but they wanted the benefits that he promised to give them.

And how do we avoid that? Well, to get from head to heart, as you say, which is sort of an American way of putting it, is to obey. When we find a principle to say, I'm going to do that, I'm going to put that into practice, some people look at obedience as just sort of emotionless. It's like, well, I don't feel like it, and it's hypocrisy if I don't feel like it.

No, it's not. Obedience is obedience. And I find, we've all found, I think, when you obey, eventually you'll feel like it. The feelings follow. The feelings are the caboose, and it's the obedience that drives the train. And if you just say, I'm going to do that, God gives you such grace, to where it becomes something you want to do because you enter into such a pleasing relationship with Him.

And the payoff far outweighs any of the pain. And I just think of that passage that I kind of tipped my hat to earlier, knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. And it's in that obedience that we do express love.

Jesus said, if you love Me, you'll keep My commandments. And so that 18-inch move from the head to the heart really is the shift of, yes, Lord, I'll do what you ask Me to do, that we'd be doers, not heroes only. Let's do it. Do it. And don't forget to contact us for a copy of today's teaching.

It's available on CD for just $4 plus shipping when you contact us at 1-800-922-1888 or when you visit Thanks so much for joining us today, and we hope you'll join us again next time as we continue our verse-by-verse study in the Gospel of John, right here in Connect with Skip, Weekend Edition, a presentation of Connection Communications. Make a connection, make a connection at the foot of the cross. Cast your burdens on His Word, make a connection, a connection, a connection. Connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-20 06:31:22 / 2023-03-20 06:40:24 / 9

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