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The Nail Everything Hangs On - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
October 2, 2022 6:00 am

The Nail Everything Hangs On - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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October 2, 2022 6:00 am

Imagine if everything you valued was in a sack, hanging on the wall from one nail. It surely must be a strong nail, or you're lost! If life could all be boiled down to one thing or one word or one most important principle, what would it be? What is the irreducible minimum for everything and everyone? John answers that here, saying that Jesus Christ is the nail that everything hangs on. He determined what has been and what will be. Thus our knowledge of Him and relationship to Him is paramount above everything else.

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There's something you've noticed about the Gospel of John so far. When John writes his Gospel, he doesn't pull any punches.

He doesn't like wait and give all the good stuff at the end. It's like, I'll just kind of, here's a few stories about Jesus. And then at the end, I'll tell you who he really is. He comes right out of the sheet and basically says, okay, just so you know, Jesus Christ is God in a human body. There's something that is a vital, basic, decisive, or pivotal point. So keeping that in mind, it's easy to see why in the book of John, Jesus Christ really is the crux of the matter. In fact, he's the crux of everything. And today in The Connection, Skip Heitzig examines why that's the case. What is it about Jesus that makes him so pivotal to, well, everything? We'll find out in just a moment.

But first, let's see what's going on in the Connect with Skip Resource Center this month. In this, you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials. Do you think Peter is actually saying that there are times when God knows you need a trial? Is that what he's saying? Uh-huh.

That's exactly what he's saying. Prepare for inevitable upcoming pivot points in your life. Receive your copy of Skip's Pivot Points collection of six messages. The Pivot Point package speaks to marriage, death, depression, recovery, fear of the future, and moving to a new location or job.

This package includes a personal message of direction on each topic from Skip. The Pivot Points package is our thank you when you give $50 or more to this teaching ministry by calling 800-922-1888 or give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer. We hope you'll help us take our messages into the top 20 population centers in our country. That's our vision for the coming year. Will you help us make it happen? Please call 800-922-1888 or give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer.

Thank you for partnering with us. Open your Bibles to John chapter 3 where we'll examine verses 31 through 36. And as you find that spot, Skip Heitzig begins our study with a little family history. If you were to walk inside my mother-in-law's home, I won't tell you where she lives because you'll understand why in a moment. If you were to walk inside, right in her living room is an interesting picture. It's part of the family. It's a family heirloom.

It was passed down. But it is an original charcoal drawing of Madonna and Son by Pablo Picasso, an original Picasso. And it is hanging on the wall by a single nail. All of that history, all of that value by a single nail, so valuable but so vulnerable. Likewise, I had a friend who was at the New York Metropolitan Museum a few years back and he was taken to the level below the street level to a showing of artistry from Max Beckmann, who was a German expressionist. And there was one particular picture that was very, very costly. The curator threw out the price of $28 million because it was the picture that Adolf Hitler had taken and hung in his own home.

My friend looked closer and once again, this particular painting, unlike the rest of the museum pieces that are on wires or attached some other way, was hanging on the wall by a single nail. Now what those situations have done, we Christians likewise do because we hang everything, all of our present beliefs, all of our future hopes on one single nail, the person of Jesus Christ. We put all our eggs in that basket. We say our family, our fortune, our future, all of that is going to be tied and hung on the one person of the Lord Jesus Christ. And there's probably no better paragraph that illustrates that than the one we're about to read, John chapter three, beginning in verse 31.

What John does is show us why Jesus is so unique, why he is so singular, why he is the bottom line, the irreducible minimum, the ultimate reality, the nail by which everything hangs on. There's four reasons he gives for that. Number one is his origin.

He came from heaven. Number two is his proclamation, what he proclaimed to our world or disclose or preached or declared to our world. Number three is his dominion. He dominates the whole universe.

And number four, his reception. He determines our destiny. Verse 31 begins, he who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all.

For what he has seen and heard that he testifies and no one receives his testimony. He who has received his testimony has certified that God is true. For he whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the spirit by measure. The father loves the son and has given all things into his hand.

He who believes in the son has everlasting life. And he who does not believe the son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. Now, there is some disagreement about these verses. There's those who think John the Baptist is speaking, that he has been speaking previously in the previous paragraph.

In verse 30, he says, he must increase, I must decrease. And then John the Baptist keeps talking till verse 36. There are others who believe that this is not John the Baptist speaking, but this is John the Apostle, the author of the book, who is writing his own editorial comments. And that's what I believe.

And here's the problem we have and here's why there's an argument. In the original, there's no punctuation marks. So translators have made their own call as to which is which. Some translations like mine put quotation marks around it as if to say, I believe John the Baptist spoke these words. But because of the style and the grammar that does not sound like John the Baptist, but reads just like John's other writings, like 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and some of the own comments that he writes in the Gospel of John, and that style is exactly like this style. So what I think is this, verse 30 ends what John the Baptist has to say in the Gospel of John.

That's his final word. He must increase, I must decrease. Now John the Apostle, the author, writes his own editorial comments as to why John and everyone else must decrease and Christ must increase. Here is why, John says, Jesus is so unique. Here is why so many in these three chapters have believed in him.

Here is why Jesus Christ is the ultimate nail by which we hang everything on. And furthermore, in a practical note, verse 16, here's why you should believe in him. It's just very practical.

He is this, he is that, he is this, he is that, therefore believe in him. He's very, very practical. I was reading how that when NASA was first sending American astronauts into space, they quickly discovered that the ballpoint pen does not work at zero gravity. And so, America spent the next 10 years and millions of dollars to make a pen that will work at zero gravity, upside down, underwater, at extreme temperatures up to 300 degrees Celsius, on any surface including glass, 10 years and millions and millions of dollars.

You know what the Russians did? They used a pencil. Now that's practical.

Why spend all of the money and effort and time making a pen when you can just use a pencil? That makes sense. Well, that's sort of what John is concluding chapter three with. No use putting all of your energy and effort in hanging your life and trusting anything else than this one nail, and that is Christ. And he gives us the reasons for that. Number one, he descended from heaven.

That's his origin. Verse 31, he who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. So unlike John the Baptist and unlike all of the other human prophets who have come before, Jesus' hometown was heaven, not Bethlehem, heaven.

Jesus Christ was the only person who lived before he was born. If you were to talk to somebody and say, hey, tell me a little bit about you. Where are you from?

They might say, well, I'm from Florida or Wisconsin or North Dakota or Colorado. So how did you get to New Mexico? Tell me a little bit about your family history. Well, my mom met my dad. They got married in Colorado.

They moved to Santa Fe. And then a story like that. You might have a story like that. Now, imagine that conversation with Jesus. So where are you from? Nazareth. Before that, Bethlehem. But before that, I lived in heaven. And I was there for eons and eons and heard angels every day and every night. And by the way, I, along with my father and the Holy Spirit, we created everything.

He who is from above is above all. There's something you've noticed about the gospel of John so far. When John writes his gospel, he doesn't pull any punches.

He doesn't like wait and give all the good stuff at the end. It's like, I'll just kind of here's a few stories about Jesus. And then at the end, I'll tell you who he really is. He comes right out of the chute and basically says, OK, just so you know, Jesus Christ is God in a human body.

Right. That's how he begins. In the beginning was the word. The word was with God. And the word was God. And you go down a few verses. This is verse 14 and the word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld his glory. Verse 31 is essentially saying the same thing. He who is from above is above all.

And then at the end of that same verse, he who comes from heaven is above all. He wants you to know his origin is not an earthly origin. It's a heavenly origin. That's where he came from. That's where he came from.

Now, I discovered something interesting in my study. Not only does John emphasize this, but Jesus himself very often wants to underscore that his origin is from heaven. He says it a lot.

So many places we can't chase them all down this morning. But I want to give you a sampling. Turn with me to John Chapter six. John Chapter six is a long chapter. Jesus is speaking in most of it. But just follow a few of these verse 32. Then Jesus said to them, most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but my father gives the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. Verse 38. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me.

Verse 50. This is the bread which comes down from heaven that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I shall give is my flesh, which I give for the life of the world.

Verse 58. This is the bread which came down from heaven. So why is Jesus Christ the nail by which you can hang everything and everyone on? Because unlike anyone else, his origin is heavenly.

This is the nail that won't break. It's eternal. Its origin is not earthly, but heavenly. It's an important truth. So important that our church fathers, whenever they would get together and write creeds about what's important to believe in, they brought this out. Most famous, perhaps, is the Nicene Creed, written in 325 A.D. at the Council of Nicaea.

Here's a portion. We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, the maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten, not made of one being or one substance with the Father. Through him, all things were made for us and for our salvation. He came down from heaven. Question, why did he come down from heaven? Did he come down from heaven to give us a cool winter holiday and we get a few days off of work every year? No. Did he come down from heaven to give us a nice, wonderful example and some teaching so that people, as they read, can better their own lives?

No. The angel told Mary exactly why he came. You will call his name Jesus because he will save his people from their sin.

That's why he came. That's why John the Baptist says, look, the lamb of God. The lamb was a sacrificial animal to atone for sins. Mary had a little lamb.

The lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world. Have you ever thought that Jesus Christ was the only person who was ever born in this world with a distinct purpose to die? Every parent that holds a baby doesn't think that way. Every parent thinks my child is going to live.

And who will he marry or where will she go to school or or what will this child become? All of those plans, God's plan for his son was the death of a cross because it would save his people from their sins. There's a little poem that simple, short, but sums it up.

A baby's hands in Bethlehem were small and softly curled, but held within their dimpled grasp. The hopes of all the world, all the world could hang upon that one nail because of his origin from heaven. Second reason is because of his proclamation. He declared truth to our world.

Now watch this. Verse 32 and what he has seen and heard that he testifies or speaks and no one has received his testimony. He who has received his testimony has certified that God is true. So just like Jesus was from heaven, so to his testimony was from heaven. That's why his testimony, his words are superior to everyone else's words. And if you're wondering, that's the whole concept behind red letter Bibles. These are the words of Christ. His words are more important than anybody's words.

Even more than Moses, even more than Jeremiah, more than Isaiah, more than Abraham. It's not that they weren't inspired by God, by the Holy Spirit, but what they wrote, what they said was secondhand testimony. What Jesus speaks is firsthand. He was there. He was in heaven and from heaven had the full knowledge and full grasp of everything. And so when he testifies, he was there. He'd seen it and heard it. And you get that sense when you read the New Testament, right?

Classic case. Jesus is having a conversation. Well, actually an argument they started at the Pharisees come to him and this is what they said. Moses commanded us to give a certificate of divorce to our wives if we wanted to bail out.

Jesus said, because of the hardness of your heart, Moses permitted you to divorce under certain circumstances. Then he said this, but from the beginning it was not so. And in the beginning, he points out that God said for this man, a reason a man will leave his father and mother, join his wife and become one flesh.

So here is Jesus appealing to them, but he goes, now from the beginning, that's not how it was. And you know how he knows that? He was at the beginning. He was there. And later on, when he says, as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be at the coming of the Son of Man, in the days of Noah, they were eating and drinking and marrying and giving in marriage till Noah went into the ark. He is speaking from firsthand knowledge.

He was there. When he speaks of Abraham, he says as much. They bring up Abraham and he says, well, I want you to know something. Before Abraham was, I am. And then he said, Abraham rejoiced to see my day and he saw it and he was glad. First hand testimony, first hand knowledge. When he speaks of the Old Testament or creation or heaven, it's not because he read it in a book. He was there. And so he is from above and his testimony is also from above and therefore superior. And what he proclaims, it's based on what he has seen and what he has heard, not theoretical, not secondhand, but firsthand experiential. So here's an obvious question. If God is speaking to the world through his son, how come nobody's listening?

It must be frustrating. I heard the story of the man who went to his doctor to get his hearing checked. He's having problems with it. Doctor examined him, pulled out his hearing aid. Immediately his hearing got better.

He'd been wearing it in the wrong ear for 20 years. Frustrating, liberating, I suppose. But you know what it's like when you talk to somebody and they're looking at you and they're nodding with you, but they're not even close to that conversation. There are a million miles away and you go, huh? And it's like, whatever.

It's frustrating, isn't it? So imagine how God must feel because of situations like verse 32, and no one receives his testimony. No one receives his testimony. Now that is, that's a hyperbole. It's a literary hyperbole. The general rule is most of the people of the world do not listen to Christ's testimony. It doesn't mean that nobody does because verse 33 says they do. He who has received his testimony has certified that God is true.

Oh, I love that little phrase. God is true. You can believe the testimony of Jesus and anybody who receives that testifies God is true. Say it.

God is true. But every now and then, somebody will come along and say, well, it just doesn't work for me. I can't turn from that sin. I can't. I've tried.

It didn't work for me. I can't do it. I'm codependent. I can't rejoice ever more. I can't be happy. Don't you know I've been scarred as a child. I can't be holy.

I know what the Bible says. That didn't work for me. I can't.

I'm married to a creepy husband. I can't do really anything in a spiritual sense. I can't. I can't.

I can't. Here it says God is true. In Romans 3, verse 4, it's even more emphatic.

Let God be true and every man a liar. Well, God says, rejoice evermore. God says, be holy, for I am holy. God says, let this mind be in you, which is in Christ Jesus. God says, be thankful for everything. So when a person says, I can't, I can't, I can't. I say, you're a liar. Let God be true.

Because here's the deal. God doesn't give us a commandment without the power to do the commandment. His commandments are his enablements. If he says, rejoice evermore. It's because he knows he'll give you the power to rejoice evermore.

It can be done. God is true. There are so many reasons Jesus truly is the crux of the matter. And yet it's so common for people today to spend a lot of time discussing who Jesus really is.

That's such a shame because the Bible and John in particular tells us exactly who he is. So the real question is, how do we respond to him? Well, we're all out of time for today. But before we go, if you want a copy of today's study, it's available on CD for just four dollars plus shipping when you contact us at 1-800-922-1888 or when you visit connectwithskip.com or write to us at P.O.

Box 95707 Albuquerque, New Mexico 87199. We'll continue to examine why Jesus truly is the crux of the matter in our next study. So I hope you'll have some time to join us right here in Connect with Skip weekend division, 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, connection, connection. Connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-28 22:40:29 / 2022-12-28 22:49:06 / 9

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