God wants you to believe. That's the theme of the book. That's the reason John wrote it.
That's why it's mentioned three times in this paragraph. Believe, believe, believe. God wants you to believe, but not just to believe in belief. To have faith in faith. A lot of people say, oh, but they have faith in whatever they're into. They just really are sincere. He wants you to have faith specifically in Jesus Christ personally.
Welcome to Connect with Skip Weekend Edition. Some people think the best way to gain a little extra confidence is to make sure they look their best as long as possible. And for some, that means getting a facelift. In fact, well over 100,000 facelifts are performed each year, and hopefully all those people are feeling better about themselves.
However, when it comes to our spirits, looking better on the outside won't really give us that boost we need in tough times. Well, today in Connect with Skip Weekend Edition, Skip Heitzig talks about how from time to time, what we really need is a faith lift. Turn to John chapter 4, and let's join Skip Heitzig for today's study. Well, we discover that whenever Jesus gives a command, even though it's impossible, he'll give the person the power to do what he commanded. We discover that later, but not at first. Or how about the man in John chapter 5?
He had a lingering 38-year disease. He's at the pool of Bethesda, along with a lot of other sick people who want to get well. That's why they're there. Jesus goes up to this man and says, hey, do you want to be made well? Duh!
Who doesn't in that place? It's a surprising thing. Or how about to Peter, when Peter said that you are the Christ, the son of the living God, and he got the answer right. And Peter's a friend of Jesus and a follower of Jesus. But then Peter says, we're not going to let you go to Jerusalem because we don't want you to get hurt.
And Jesus turns to his friend and says, get behind me, Satan. You are not thinking like God, but you are thinking like man. All very surprising things.
Here's what I want to point out. If you're a child of God, he will always answer your prayers. Always. But not like you would expect. He might just surprise you in his answer. It might not always be what you want to hear. For example, you might pray for something and he would say to you, yes, I'll give that to you or I'll do that for you. We like that answer. That's like the best answer. But what if God says to you when you ask him for something? No.
And then you go, he didn't answer my prayer. I think no is technically an answer, right? That's an answer.
God, can I? No. That's an answer.
The most frustrating answer, the one we hear a lot and we don't like is this one. Wait. Not now. Maybe later. But wait. But Lord, this is just wait. Father, would you wait?
Wait. Why would Jesus say those things that I mentioned that he said, or say this to this man who has broken hearted condition comes to Christ and asked that his son would be healed? You know why? Because he wants us to grow. Christ can be surprising.
He wants us to grow. When he said what he said in verse forty eight, one commentator calls it an arrow of tender rebuke. Notice that it says he said to the man and then he pluralizes it.
Unless you people and it's in the plural and here's why. When Jesus had the conversation with this guy, there was a crowd around him there from Cana of Galilee. What happened in Cana of Galilee? Water was turned to wine. That was the buzz in town.
The guy who did that is back. More than that, we heard that he did a lot of signs of healing in Jerusalem. Back to verse forty three.
You'll notice it. After two days, he departed, went to Galilee for Jesus himself, testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country. So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans received him.
Now, that doesn't seem to make sense. Here it's saying a prophet doesn't have any honor in his own country. So he goes to his own country, Galilee. And they receive him. But the way they received him wasn't with deep, heartfelt faith in him. They simply received him because they wanted a fireworks show. They wanted another miracle. He turned water into wine. He healed people.
What will they do next? There was a shallow faith. It was a sign based faith. It wasn't a commitment to Christ. They did not care about his message. They did not care about his mission.
They only cared about his miracles. And so he says to him about them all, unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe. I have a question for you. Do you believe God is in charge of your life, of your existence? Do you really believe he's in charge? Do you believe that father knows best? That your father knows best? He knows the best thing for you? So if you say yes to that, and I'm with you, I believe that too.
I'm right there with you. If we believe that, then the next time God says no to you when you want an answer to your prayer, or wait to you, are you okay with that? Are you okay with that if his answer to you is no? Oh, but God, no. But Lord, you don't understand. No.
Are you okay with that? You might say, well, why would God ever say wait to me? Or why would ever God say ever no to me? I'm his child. Can I just say I'm a child of God?
I claim right now by faith in Jesus' name that I'll be healed. Yes, you can. But he might say no. And you know why he'll say no? Write this down. He's more interested in your spiritual growth than he is in your physical comfort.
That's why he would say no or why he would say wait. Somebody put it this way. Adversity is the diamond dust by which heaven polishes its jewels.
That's beautiful. Do you need any polishing in your life? I'll put it another way. Do you have any rough edges in your personality?
Are you? Maybe not. Maybe you're perfect and you really don't need God to do anything deeper than that.
And if you think that, I'll ask that question about you to your wife or your husband or your children. They may have a different answer. Don't we understand that God allows and prescribes hardships because he wants to knock off rough edges? And Peter said the trials that you experience are so that your faith, which is of greater worth than gold, which perishes, even though it is refined by fire, may be proved genuine.
P.T. Forsythe said something that struck me. He said it's a far better and greater thing to pray for pain's conversion than to pray for pain's removal. We usually pray for pain's removal, right? God, please stop this. Don't allow this anymore. Get rid of this pain. But how about something like this?
Pray for its conversion. Lord, I hate this. I don't like this.
This really hurts. But I do trust you. I don't know why you're saying no or wait to me.
I don't know why you want to say yes to me. But now show me what it is you want me to learn. And may this be used for your glory. Here's the third statement of truth based on our text.
First is life can be hard. It drives you to Christ. Christ can be surprising.
He wants you to grow. Here's the third. Faith can be weak.
It must be developed. The man who came to Jesus had faith, very weak faith. It was faith in power. Faith in power. Jesus said, unless you people see signs and wonders, you won't believe. There's a certain kind of belief that is in the force, you might say, some generic power.
They wouldn't necessarily trust in Christ specifically, but they believe there's a power generically. The cosmic good. The cosmic force.
May the force be with you. Here's the problem. With so many people that believe in some generic spiritual force, they don't care about the source of the force. They don't care about the source.
This man didn't care about the source. I just want my son healed. I don't care who does it.
I don't care how it happens. I just want my son better. That's faith in power. That's why the man came to Jesus. He heard there's a miracle worker. There's a magician. He can do tricks.
He makes wine out of water. He didn't know Jesus any more than that. I heard about a man who was embattled in a foxhole. Bullets were flying around him.
He had his buddies in the foxhole with him. And this soldier had around his neck on the necklace a cross, a Star of David, a crescent moon, that's Islam, a Buddha, and a rabbit's foot all in the same necklace. One of the soldiers said, what exactly do you believe? And the guy said, I don't know, but in my position, I can't afford to make anybody mad. I just sort of believe in it all.
I hope I get it right somewhere along the line. That's where this nobleman started faith in a greater power that he hopes Jesus has. So Jesus gives him a faith lift. He lifts his faith from that level of trust and power to a higher level. And that's why he gives the man the answer he does in verse 48. Jesus said to him, unless you people see signs and wonders, you won't believe.
I'll tell you what it's like. Faith is like a muscle. If you don't exercise a muscle, it gets flabby. If you don't exercise faith, it gets flabby. If you want strong faith, you need pressure against it. So here is a man. He comes to Jesus. He has faith enough to say, my son's dying.
Help. So he can bench press that. So Jesus slaps more weight on it.
Unless you people see signs and wonders, you won't believe. More weight. Now the guy didn't say, you're right. Okay, I'll go away. He comes right back and he bench presses that. And he says, please, please come and heal him.
Come with me. And so Jesus adds more weight to it in developing his faith. Look at what he says again.
It's surprising. Verse 50, Jesus said to him, go your way. Your son lives. So the man believed.
Look at this. The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and he went his way. Did you notice that the man asked Jesus to come down with him to Capernaum? And Jesus says, go here. The man says, come. Jesus said, I'm not coming anywhere. You go away.
Go your way because your son lives. Why didn't Jesus just go with the guy? That's what he wanted. That's what a lot of us expect Jesus should do.
Just go with them. Do him a favor. Heal his son. No, he didn't go with him.
You know why? That would be too easy. This man's faith wouldn't grow at all. See, he was a nobleman. He's used to giving orders and people responding to his requests. Jesus says, I'm going to give you a command. I'm going to exercise my authority and see what you do with my command.
Go your way. And then a promise is attached to it. Your son is alive.
He lives. See what he does with that. How do you treat the word of God, the promise of God? When you come across in your Bible a very specific promise about God taking care of your life, you just go, okay, that's all I need. I can rest right there.
Take that to the bank. I had the Lord spank me pretty hard on this one a number of times, but one that really comes to mind. I was in college. My funds were really low and I just thought God wouldn't take care of me like he should. I was pouting all week long. I'd run out of food. This is what I had left, a jar of peanut butter and a spoon. That was my meal. And then my next meal and my Nutella was gone.
God, you don't take care of me. I've been reading the Bible. I read all about his promises, but I just didn't see it. End of the week, you know what I got in the mail? A check from the IRS. It was my tax refund. I shot out of my chair so excited that a check was coming my way. And it was like the Lord tapped my heart and said, you didn't get that excited Monday when you read my word and I gave you a promise that I would never leave you or forsake you.
You didn't jump up. You've been moping around all week long with your face in the peanut butter. Now you get a check from the IRS and you're so excited. Well, yeah, it's a government check, Lord. You can trust the government.
They said they're going to come through with this. You get the drift. I was ready to trust Uncle Sam's promise that I would get money rather than God's promise that he would take care of me. Faith in power or faith in the promise that he will never leave you or forsake you? Here's the third level, and we'll close with this. Faith in a person.
Now watch this. There's three times the word believe is mentioned in this section. Number one is believing in wonders and signs, power. The next is believing his word, but watch this. Verse 51, as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, Your son lives. And he inquired of them the hour when he got better. And they said to him, Yesterday, at the seventh hour, the fever left him. So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus had said to him, Your son lives. And he himself believed and his whole household. This, again, is the second sign Jesus did when he had come out of Judea into Galilee. Do you get this picture?
Here's this nobleman. He has traveled 20 miles to see Jesus. Didn't get what he wanted to hear. Jesus finally says, Go your way. Now the man goes back how many miles? 20 miles from Cana to Capernaum with nothing to hold on to except a promise that his son was alive. And he goes. And he goes and he hears what he hears. His son is alive. But there's a word that jumps out.
It arrested me and I just can't let it go. It's the word yesterday. When did this happen? And they said yesterday at the seventh hour. Now the Jewish reckoning of time begins early in the morning and it's a 12 hour account to the sunset of the day. So the seventh hour by the best scholars that I read was one o'clock in the afternoon.
You know what that means? That means when Jesus said to the father, Your son is alive at one in the afternoon, he stayed in Cana until the next day. He spent the night in Cana. He didn't go back home or go to Capernaum until the next day. Now it's 20 miles. A horse packed down with goods can travel at a good speed 20 miles a day. Take a couple hours to get there by horseback. Why didn't the guy get on the horse and book it to Capernaum as soon as he heard it?
I can't answer that, but I can say this. He really must have believed what Jesus said when he said, Your son is alive. It's like, OK, I believe that I'm going to get a good night's rest and I'll hit the trail in the morning. And when he got there the next day, they said it was at one o'clock yesterday, which is exactly the time Jesus said what he said. And notice he himself believed in his household. Now, the word believe means to believe personally in Jesus.
That's why some modern translations like the New Living translation say and he and his entire household believed in Jesus. That's a different kind of faith. First was faith in a generic power. Second was faith in the promise. This is faith in the person of Jesus Christ.
They believed in him. Here's the lessons I want you to go home with. God allows trials.
He allows trials. If you're a Christian, you're going to have trials. Please never say to anybody else or let people say to you, well, if you just become a Christian, all of the problems you have, like little birdies, just fly away because you're God's child.
That's just so not true. You have them. And when they come, they will drive you to Christ.
Second lesson. God will always answer your prayers, not just exactly how you want them answered. And if you wonder why and you're like me and you want to mope in the peanut butter. It's because your faith grows best in the dark. It doesn't grow in the light.
It doesn't grow and everything's perfect and everything works out just like you planned. It didn't require any faith. Your faith grows best in the dark when you can't see God.
But you cling to him. Here's the third lesson. God wants you to believe. That's the theme of the book. That's the reason John wrote it.
That's why it's mentioned three times in this paragraph. Believe, believe, believe. God wants you to believe, but not just to believe in belief. To have faith in faith. A lot of people say, oh, they have faith in whatever they're into.
They just really are sincere. He wants you to have faith specifically in Jesus Christ personally. That it would be that you would lean your life back completely into his care.
That's where he wants to take you. There was a woman who was dying. She was on her deathbed, very poor. She lived in the fifth story of a beat up tenement apartment building. She had a friend who would visit her frequently.
On one particular day, this friend decided to bring one of her friends who was very wealthy and never been to that part of town ever. So she took her into the apartment complex and this wealthy woman was stunned by what she smelled and what she saw. It was so run down. There was no elevator. They walked up the steps. On the first level, the wealthy woman said, this is horrible.
This place is filthy. And her friend who brought her said, don't worry, it's better higher up. So they climbed to the second floor. And the wealthy woman said, this looks worse than the first floor. Her friend said, it's okay, it's better higher up. They finally go all the way to the fifth floor.
It is not better physically. There's a woman dying in her bed. It's clean, the apartment is, but dimly lit and very poor and stark. The wealthy woman is just overcome with what she sees. And she rushes over to the woman in the death bed and says to her, I'm so sorry. You have to be in this kind of a place going through what you're going through. And the woman in the death bed smiled and said, but it's better higher up.
And then she understood what that other friend was saying all along. It's not about what level of the apartment building you are on or what is your view out the window. It is what is your view of life because you're so close to God that you rise above all of the things that happen to every person. And that is the trials and suffering of life. It's better higher up. That's faith.
That's leaning back instead of grabbing the pole because you can see it. That's where He wants to take us. That may be where He wants to take us, but the question is, are you ready to go there? The first step is putting your faith in Jesus Christ. And if that's something you haven't done yet, we'd be happy to talk with you about what that means and how you can go about doing that. Just call us here at Connect with Skip.
And that's 1-800-922-1888. And let us share with you a little faith lift right now. Well, we're all out of time for today. But before we go, here's information about our legacy resource from Pass to Skip this month. As we come to the end of the year at Connect with Skip, we have new plans for expansion that we want you to know about. In 2023, we hope to take these through the Bible teachings to more of the large population cities in our country.
When God deals with a nation, He often focuses on the cities. And we know our nation needs the Word of God. We'll tell you how you can join this project. But first, this from Skip. I want my legacy to be I made much of Jesus, that Jesus became greater in people's hearts and lives because of my life and ministry. That they walked away understanding the Bible, that what seemed to be complicated was actually very simple.
That I helped make it simple for them and understandable. When you help us expand into more metropolitan areas in 2023 with a year-end gift of $1,000 or more, we'll send you the Skip Heitzig Legacy Library so far containing 11 books, 17 booklets, and the Bible from 30,000 feet. Pastor Skip's incomparable teaching series of 64 full messages through the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation on a flash drive. That also includes Learning from the Land, Skip's video tour of Israel. G. Campbell Morgan was called in his biography a man of the Word or the man of the Word. That's what I want to be, a man of the Word.
The Skip Heitzig Legacy Library so far is a real treasure. And it's yours when you make a year-end gift of $1,000 or more and you will be helping us expand the reach of these teachings. Give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer or call 800-922-1888. Thank you for tuning in today. We're passionate about helping you strengthen your walk with God.
And you can be a part of connecting others to Jesus in the same way with a gift to help keep these teachings you love on the air. Just call 800-922-1888. That's 800-922-1888 or visit connectwithskip.com slash donate. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate. Thank you.
Join us next time for a study you won't want to miss called Healing Misery with Mercy. Right here in Connect with Skip weekend edition. A presentation of Connection Communications. Make a connection. Make a connection at the foot of the crossing.
Cast all burdens on His Word. Make a connection. Connection. Connection. Connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever changing times.
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