When you read in verse 23 the word believed, that does not necessarily mean committed faith. It does not necessarily mean committed faith. There is a faith that the Bible speaks about that falls short of being genuine saving faith, right? Doesn't James chapter 2 say, you say you believe in God, but even the demons believe and they tremble. You see, it's one thing to have a recognition of who Jesus is, and they all recognize Jesus as Christ, as Messiah, as the Son of God. It's a whole other thing to have an appropriation of that truth.
And welcome to Connect with Skip Weekend Edition. One of the definitions for commitment is an obligation, pledge, or promise that restricts one's freedom of action. Now with that definition in mind, it's no wonder there's a stereotype of many guys being afraid of commitment.
After all, who wants their freedom of action restricted? However, when it comes to our relationship with God, commitment is something that's not restrictive, but that which will truly set us free. And we'll learn why that's the case today here in Connect with Skip Weekend Edition.
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Call 800-922-1888 or give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer. We'll resume today's study in John chapter two. So if you turn to that spot in your Bible, let's join Skip Heitzig. 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.
Okay, here's what's interesting to me as I put the whole chapter together. Remember when he was in the temple and he overturned the tables and the leader said, we want a sign. Show us a sign after doing what you just did. Give us some miraculous sign. Did Jesus give him a sign in the temple?
Nope. In fact, he spoke cryptically about his own resurrection. Destroy this temple and in three days, I'll rise it up. And then he leaves the temple without giving him a sign and goes all around Jerusalem doing signs to a whole other group of people, so many that it says many believed. What happened is it got their attention. And for many people, listen carefully, not all, but many people, the signs and wonders was the beginning of their faith. The beginning of their faith journey.
Nicodemus was one of them in chapter three. He'll be drawn in by the signs and he'll have a private interview with Jesus and his life will change. But when you read in verse 23, the word believed that does not necessarily mean committed faith. It does not necessarily mean committed faith. There is a faith that the Bible speaks about that falls short of being genuine, saving faith, right? Doesn't James chapter two say, you say you believe in God, but even the demons believe and they tremble. You see, it's one thing to have a recognition of who Jesus is, and they all recognize Jesus as Christ, as Messiah, as the son of God.
It's a whole other thing to have an appropriation of that truth. In fact, I think James helps us out by telling us there's three kinds of faith that are possible. One is a demonic faith. Even the devil believe and tremble. Number two is a dead faith. Faith without works is dead. You can talk about what you believe all day long, but if there's no correspondent life change, it's dead faith.
And the third kind is dynamic faith. It's real, it's authentic, and it lives on. Now notice what it says in verse 23, that they believed in his name. They believed in his name.
The amplified version translates it. Many identified themselves with his party. So they're willing to accept him as long as it's on their own terms. They'll accept him as a miracle worker. They'll accept him as a healer. He's our kind of guy. Look what he does. Look how powerful he is.
He's like a genie in a bottle. So they're willing to accept him as the healer of their bodies, but not as the savior from their sin. This will be evident later on. Warren Wiersbe calls this group unsaved believers.
Isn't that an interesting term? Unsaved believers drawn to Jesus by his miracles, but they will not commit himself or themselves to him. Now I want you to see the difference.
Here's one instance. Turn with me to John chapter 8. Turn in your Bibles to John chapter 8 and look at two verses.
This is going to help. John chapter 8. Verse 30 and 31. As he, Jesus, spoke these words, many believed in him. Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed in him, if you abide, continue, keep going, in my word that is obey what I say, you are my disciples indeed, and you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. See the difference?
It's readily apparent. One more passage. Turn to Acts chapter 8.
Just go to the right one book. Acts the 8th chapter. This time the story takes place in Samaria. They're up there preaching the gospel. That's where Philip is.
Look what happens. Acts chapter 8 verse 13. Then Simon, that's not Simon Peter, a different guy in Samaria, then Simon himself also believed. And when he was baptized, he continued with Philip and was amazed seeing the miracles and signs which were done. Okay, it says he believed, but watch. When the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.
For as yet he had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And then they laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. And when Simon saw that through the laying out of the apostles hands, the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money. Saying, give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.
But Peter said to him, your money perish with you. Now watch this, because you thought the gift of God could be purchased with money. You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Huge difference. Repent therefore of this your wickedness and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.
Huge difference. I want you to be aware of a movement that is happening in the Gospel of John. You see it beginning here. But you're going to see a movement in the life of Jesus happen in the Gospel of John. Where Jesus moves out of the bright light of popularity into the dark shadows of rejection. More and more and more.
First, like here at the beginning, it's a bandwagon approach. Everybody's amazed and the crowds rush to him because of the miracles that he performs. But, pretty soon he's going to talk. He's going to speak. And when he speaks things like, if you're going to follow me, you have to die daily to yourself.
Take up your cross and follow me. The words that Jesus will share with him bring deep conviction to the heart. And that conviction will eventuate in one of two possibilities.
Conversion or contention. They will be divided over him. And he's going to move from being very, very popular to being rejected ultimately by the nation. A good example of that, and you don't have to turn there, is in John chapter six. He feeds the five thousand.
We're told this. When they had seen the sign Jesus did, they were about to come and take him by force and make him their king. So Jesus escapes out of that and then he talks to the crowd and says some very, very difficult, hard things. And so some of the disciples said, this is a hard saying.
Who can hear it? From that time, many of his disciples went back and walked with him no more. Oh, they're there for a free lunch and they'll come back later on hopefully for a free dinner. But when he starts telling them truth, many of them will walk away from him. They want the signs, not the savior. So there's a problem with signs. If you base your faith on signs, they're never enough. They're never enough. You'll be upset by the one that didn't happen. You'll be upset by the prayer that wasn't answered, by the person who wasn't healed, by the payment that didn't arrive.
They're never enough. That's the reason faith needs to be based not on what Jesus does, but on who Jesus is. So you see the difference. You can say you believe in him. There's a big difference between recognizing him and appropriating him. A difference between knowing who he is and knowing him personally.
I guess it would be sort of like when I was living in California, I remember the mailman that delivered my mail. I recognized him. In fact, I had never met him, but I could tell you a lot about him.
I could tell you how tall he was roughly, what color hair he had, how he walked, what he typically dressed like, certain mannerisms. I knew a lot of facts about him. But one day I decided to put my hand out and actually meet the guy. And we struck up a conversation and eventually a relationship. And I came to know him personally.
Big difference between knowing about him and knowing him personally. That's the difference here. Now it takes us to the last and final thought. The uncommitted Christ. Verse 24 and 25.
These are words that stop us in our tracks. But Jesus did not commit himself to them because he knew all. The word men is italicized. It's implied, but it's not there. He knew all. He knew everything and had no need that anyone should testify of man for he knew what was in man. What we have here in these two verses is how Jesus responds to nominal Christianity.
Sobering, isn't it? Now you'll notice in verse 23 the word believe and in verse 24 the word commit. Two different words in English. In Greek it's the same exact word. In fact in the Greek language it's a play on words.
It would sound to our ears more like this. They believed in him but he did not believe in them. Or many trusted him but he would not entrust himself to them.
The Tyndale New Testament says he would not put himself into their hands. So they believed but what kind of faith did they have? Stony ground faith. Stony ground faith. This is what Jesus said in Matthew 13. The seed fell on stony places where it did not have much earth and immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth.
The seed fell on stony places where it did not have because they had no depth of earth. This is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy but he has no root in himself but endures only for a while but when tribulation and persecution arises because of the word he stumbles. Boy this puts a whole new light on. Have you committed yourself to Christ? I guess the big question is has Christ committed himself to you? And the reason Jesus didn't commit himself to them it says because he knew all men. He had spiritual x-ray vision. He could look at a person and know every motive that they were dealing with.
Wow. So verse 23, 24, and 25 is an editorial comment by John sort of summing up what happened in Jerusalem and this is what he wants us to know. This Jesus had an attribute of God called omniscience. He knew everything. He could look at you with penetrating eyes and know past, present, what you're thinking, why, why you're there, where you're going to go, what's going to happen.
He knew it all. I tell you dealing with that kind of a person as I mentioned can be very unsettling. You know we don't like it in a restaurant if we see somebody staring at us from across the restaurant.
We get really nervous. We really want our privacy but imagine somebody like Jesus who when he looks at you sees everything that you think is hidden. That's an attribute of God. Hebrews 4 13 tells us no creature is hidden from his sight. All things are naked and open to the eyes of him to whom we must give an account. So sort of the large point here in chapter two is that no one with artificial faith in Jesus presence could get away with it.
They could see, he could see right through it. So to put it bluntly, you can't pull the wool over his eyes. So don't try.
Here's the bottom line point. Be real. Be honest. If you don't feel like this, don't do that. As Spurgeon said, your ordinary face will do.
Be genuinely who you are because living before God with any kind of a facade is stupid. He knows everything. So now let me close today by just giving you three quick things to go home with.
Three important summary principles. Number one, since he knows everything, it means that he knows the worst about you. You know how good that feels? Because in human relationships, you come into a relationship with a person, especially a dating relationship, and you get awfully afraid that if that person finds out about the skeleton in your closet that they're going to reject you, it's all going to end. God knows all about the skeletons in your closet already. He's not shocked. Psalm 103 says, God knows our frame and he remembers that we're dust.
I got to tell you something, God doesn't have a high expectation of dust. He knows all about you. He knows the worst about you already. Number two, because he knows everything, he also knows the best about you. He knows what other people don't know.
They might know about one little thing you did wrong, one problem you had, but they don't know about all the other good stuff that you've done and they certainly don't know the motivation of your heart. God does. God does. In 1 John, it says, if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our hearts and he knows all things. He knows the worst about you, he knows the best about you, and here's the third and final principle to walk away with, since he knows everything, he knows what he's going to make out of you in the future.
He knows that. When he looks at you, he doesn't just see imperfections in you, he also sees the finished product. The Bible says we are his workmanship.
He sees the finished work of art. There's a bumper sticker that says Christians aren't perfect, just what? Forgiven. Forgiven.
Some people put that on their car so they can speed and get away with it, I guess. But there's much more than that. Christians are God's project.
He's working on you and he knows what you're going to become with his hands in your life. The best example of that is Nicodemus in chapter 3, verse 1. By the way, chapter 3 shouldn't be there. What I mean by that is the chapter breaks were added much later after the Bible was written and people thought that it was sort of a new thought.
It's not a new thought. What John wants you to know is the difference here. Jesus knew all men. He didn't need that anybody need to testify to him of man because he knows what is in man.
Chapter 3, verse 1, there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. He's a different man. He has a different reason for coming to Jesus. He's going to be changed.
Jesus is going to work on this guy and change him. I remember when I heard the gospel very plainly and simply, first by watching it on television with Dr. Graham, second was some time before that when a friend of mine named Gino, after being saved one Saturday night, came to me on a Sunday and told me that I was a sinner, I needed to be saved, and he had accepted Christ. My response was to pick him up by the shirt and throw him against the wall and say, never tell me that ever again. And then I said, don't you know, I've been raised in a church all my life. And I went on to talk about how I believed.
I was like this crowd. I believed in that I recognized who Jesus was. But it wasn't genuine from the heart belief. I had not received Christ.
Huge difference. When I did, when I decided to put my faith in Jesus, it was so weak and it was so frail and it was so faltering, but it was real. I really wanted to be forgiven. I really wanted to have hope in my life. And Jesus took me on as his project and began working on me. And what followed were signs, not all my diseases being healed, but the greatest sign of all, my life being changed. You could ask my friends, you could ask my family, they'd say, yep, he's a different dude today.
They couldn't explain why they just knew things had changed. And what I thought was impossible happened. My life changed.
Jesus changed it. He not only saw the worst of me and the best of me, he saw what I would become and I'm still becoming by his grace. I pray that if you haven't genuinely believed, committed, wholeheartedly, that today would be the day that you do.
Let's pray together. Heavenly Father, you know all men, all women, all thoughts, all motives. You know the genuine from the false. As Paul said to Timothy, the Lord knows those who are his. You know that far better than we do. You know that far better than we do. We don't know if the person sitting next to us is really a believer or not. We might think we do, but we don't know the human heart, you do.
But Lord, forget about them for a minute. At least we should. We're thinking about ourselves right now. Because there may be some of us who have been religious, who have been well-meaning, who come to church, who sing the songs, who say we believe, but that's a faith that is short of saving faith. And maybe we just know that because our whole life and faith and experience seems so cold and we want it warmed up.
We want the richness of what it is to have a relationship with you personally, authentically, through your son, the Lord Jesus Christ. I pray for anybody here who has never yielded their life to Christ. They've never surrendered. They've never said I give up and I want to live for you and I turn and repent of my sins and I turn to you completely. They've never done that yet. Or others are confused because they went to a camp or they went to a meeting and they did something. They just don't exactly know what that was.
They certainly don't see that in their experience today. And I pray, Father, for anyone who is in any of those camps or a third camp, somebody knows that they walked with you but has been backsliding, I pray that today they would come back home to Jesus. Well, if you'd like to do that, if you'd like to make that commitment and see how Jesus can change your life, please give us a call. We have people here who can help you understand what it means to live a committed life to Jesus and how to start doing that today.
Here's the number, 1-800-922-1888. And as you do that, we're just about out of time for today. But before we go, here's a unique opportunity to grow in your knowledge of the Lord. Think taking classes and biblical studies can't fit your life? Here's Calvary College student, Cresta. After years of wanting training in ministry, I found Calvary College. Now I can deepen my walk with the Lord and I can go as little or as often as my schedule allows. The classes are great and the schedule definitely works around my work and family life. Learn more about God and the Bible on your schedule with Calvary College.
Apply today at calvarychurchcollege.com. We'll continue through our series Believe 879 with more from the Gospel of John next time. So I hope you can join us 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 and cast all burdens on His word. Make a connection, a connection, a connection. Connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
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