Tag Archives: John 3:16

Jesus – Living Water

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Jesus – Living Water

John 7:37 NKJV
“On the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.’ ”

 

Shemini Atzert, is the eighth day that was added to the Feast of Tabernacles during the time of Ezar. This day became known as “The Great Day of the Feast.” On this day the High Priest would pour water from the pool of Siloam into a basin at the foot of the altar. The water was a symbol of God’s Spirit. During the temple times the custom was to draw from the Siloam springs a “libation” to accompany the offerings. This was done with great rejoicing and expressions of thanksgiving.
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It was on the eighth day that Jesus told the people if they were thirsty to come to Him and drink.
Jesus declared Himself to be the source of the spring, that He was the source of living water.

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John 7:37-38 NKJV
“On the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scriptures has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ”

Jesus told the people that were gathered, as the High Priest poured water from the pool of Siloam into the basin, that if they believed in Him, rivers of living water would flow out of them. By this Jesus was referring to the Holy Spirit. The water the High Priest would pour out was just a symbol of God’s Spirit but Jesus offered them the real thing, the Holy Spirit (rivers of living water).
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In the natural realm when a person is thirsty they have a desire or need for a drink. They have a strong desire to quench their thirst. The same is true in the spiritual realm. When we are spiritually thirsty we have a need for living water. Jesus invites every person that is thirsty to go to Him, the only One that can truly satisfy their thirst.
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Nothing tastes as good as a big drink of cold water when a person is thirsty. The water will only satisfy you for a while. Soon you will need another drink of water. The Bible tells us that Jesus can give us a drink of water that will last forever. Not water that comes out of a faucet or a bottle, but a special kind of water. Jesus can give us the water of everlasting life. The life that Jesus offers constantly satisfies. We can have this “living water” by believing that Jesus is the Son of God, the Savior of the world.

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Romans 3:23 NKJV
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
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Everyone has sinned and is separated from God because of it. This separation causes us to have a spiritual thirst that only God can satisfy. We cannot change ourselves or satisfy our own thirst. We must be willing to admit that we are a sinner and that we need Jesus to give us “living water” (eternal life).

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Romans 6:23 NKJV
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
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John 3:16 NKJV
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
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Review
1. When was Shemini Atzert, added to the Feast of Tabernacles?
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2. During Shemini Atzert the High Priest would pour water from the pool of ___________into a basin at the foot of the altar.
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3. What was the water a symbol of?
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4. Jesus told the people if they were ______________ to come to Him and drink.
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5. Jesus declared Himself to be the source of the spring, that He was the source of _______________ _______________.
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6. How can we have the living water that Jesus offers?
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7. People are separated from God because of ___________.
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8. How can we have eternal life?
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My House Shall be Called A House Of Prayer

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My House Shall be Called A House Of Prayer

 

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Isaiah 56:7 NKJV
“Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices Will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.”

Luke 19:41-46 NKJV
“Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” Then He went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in it, saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house is a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ “

What did Jesus mean when He said, “It is written, ‘My house is a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ” ? The phrase “den of thieves” could also mean den of robbers, robber’s den, robbers’ cave, or cave of bandits. Had what should have been a sanctuary ( a place of refuge or safety) for the righteous, the hurting, the needy and the sick became a hideout (a hiding place, a place of concealment) for the sinful or the wicked?

When Jesus made that comment, the high priest knew what Jesus was referring to because it had been spoken to them before, in years past. Jesus was reprimanding the leaders for defiling (desecrating) the temple.

Jeremiah 7:1-11 NKJV
“The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, “Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, all you of Judah who enter in at these gates to worship the Lord!’ ” Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Do not trust in these lying words, saying, ‘The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are these.’ For if you thoroughly amend your ways and your doings, if you thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor, if you do not oppress the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, or walk after other gods to your hurt, then I will cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever. “Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot profit. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom you do not know, and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say, ‘We are delivered to do all these abominations’? Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of thieves in your eyes? Behold, I, even I, have seen it,” says the Lord. “But go now to My place which was in Shiloh, where I set My name at the first, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of My people Israel. And now, because you have done all these works,” says the Lord, “and I spoke to you, rising up early and speaking, but you did not hear, and I called you, but you did not answer, therefore I will do to the house which is called by My name, in which you trust, and to this place which I gave to you and your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh. And I will cast you out of My sight, as I have cast out all your brethren–the whole posterity of Ephraim.”

God’s desire for the temple was that it be a house of prayer. However, instead of being a gathering place for worshipers from all nations, the temple leaders had perverted God’s true purpose. When Jesus entered the temple He did not find prayers rising like incense from the faithful. God’s true purpose, a gathering place for worshipers, had been replaced with a gathering place for extortion and oppression.

Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’“

In the above passage the word knew refers to an intimate relationship. In the end, only those who have an intimate relationship with God will be allowed to stay in His presence. It never was, and never will be, about works.

Revelation 2:4-5 NKJV
“ Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place–unless you repent.”

Today, churches can, and some do, deviate from God’s true purpose. Much like the church at Ephesus they have left their first love. Church should be a place where leaders and people alike can join together to meet with God and worship Him. Church should not be a hide out, big business, status symbol, cliquish, or worldly. Nor should it become an idol. From the very beginning it has always been about a relationship with God, not religion.

1. CHURCH SHOULD NOT BE AN IDOL

Jeremiah 7:1-11 NKJV
“The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, “Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, all you of Judah who enter in at these gates to worship the Lord!’ ” Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Do not trust in these lying words, saying, ‘The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are these.’ For if you thoroughly amend your ways and your doings, if you thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor, if you do not oppress the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, or walk after other gods to your hurt, then I will cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever. “Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot profit. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom you do not know, and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say, ‘We are delivered to do all these abominations’? Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of thieves in your eyes? Behold, I, even I, have seen it,” says the Lord.”

The people had placed their trust in the temple instead of God.

Trust can be described as:
* a sense of security
* an assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something
* one in which confidence is placed
* dependence on something future or hope

During the time of Jeremiah the temple had became the people’s security instead of God – it was a false hope (lie). They thought that God would not allow anything to happen to the temple therefore they felt safe and secure from attacks there. The reliance / trust on the temple instead of God could be described as a form of idol worship.

Some people today do the same thing – they worship church (and going to church) instead of God. For these people church is an idol. They think that just because they are attending church that they are right with God.

Isaiah 29:13 NIV
“The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.”

Isaiah 29:13 NKJV
“Therefore the Lord said:
“Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths
And honor Me with their lips,
But have removed their hearts far from Me,
And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men”

Matthew 15:8-9 NIV
“These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.”

Matthew 15:8-9 NKJV
“These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And honor Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”

2. CHURCH SHOULD NOT BE A HIDEOUT

Matthew 21:12-13 NKJV
“Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ”

A robber’s den is a hiding place ( refuge), a place of concealment for the sinful, lawbreaker, or the wicked to hide out. It is also a storage place of their wealth which they acquired by stealing and deceiving. A robber’s den could be described as the place of sanctuary for those who rob elsewhere.

Over time the temple had become a hide out (refuge) for temple authorities, and a place of storage for their wealth, which they gained from the Jewish people by stealing and deceiving. Often times the temple leaders would violate the commandments, and commit crimes, then seek refuge (safety) in the temple. To them the temple was much like a robber’s den (cave). What should have been a sanctuary and a place of prayer and encouragement for the righteous had become a refuge for the wicked and sinful temple leaders.

Not only did the priest view the temple as a hideout, so did many of the people. After committing all types of sin and abominations, they would go to the temple and plead for deliverance from the consequence of those sins. They weren’t sorry they had committed the sin, they just didn’t want to face the consequences of their actions. Just because they went to the temple they thought they would be okay.

Just as the temple had became a hiding place for the wicked, churches today can become a hideout. There are many people that think just because they attend church that things are right between them and God. When we ask for forgiveness of our sins we must have a repentive heart – one that is truly sorry that we have sinned against a holy God. Being sorry that you sinned and being sorry that you were caught in your sin (or had your sin exposed) are two different things. The only way to be restored into a right relationship with God is through true repentance.

John 3:16 NKJV
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

3. CHURCH SHOULD NOT BE A BIG BUSINESS.
Church can become a big business at the expense of people.

Mark 11:15-17 NKJV
“So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple. Then He taught, saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ “

Jesus knew the leaders were corrupt, and that justice no longer prevailed. The fatherless, the poor, and the widowed were abused by the leaders, instead of being helped as the Law required. People were convicted of crimes on false chargers and were killed, many times just for profit. The temple leaders legitimized oppression by their man made rules and regulations. They used these rules and regulations ( which amounted to robbery) to take everything from the poor that they could. Many times leaving the poor with nothing.

One example of how the leaders gained financially at the expense of the people was by placing moneychangers in the temple. The moneychangers (who worked for the high priest) were taking advantage of the people who came to sacrifice at the temple. The people were being charged an inflated exchange rate. Sometimes the people were falsely told that their animals were unworthy, just so they would have to buy one from them. The temple had become a big business instead of the house of God. The priests and temple leaders were more concerned with making money for themselves than they were in the spiritual well being of the people. Their focus had shifted from God to themselves. It was no longer on God (or a relationship with Him), but on how much money they could extract from the people by their man made rules and regulations. The poor got poorer (and many times starved to death) and the leaders got richer.

All across America, the church has become less a community and more of a corporation. Today the news is filled with stories of churches that are more like a business corporation than they are the house of God. Many of these churches, and their leaders, main concern is maintaining itself and its employees. Their lavish lifestyles are seen as essential to having a relationship with God. Just like the leaders during Jeremiah’s day, the leaders are focused on themselves, not on God or the people. Church has become a big money maker for them. The people’s spiritual and physical needs go unmet while the leaders makes millions.

4. CHURCH IS NOT A STATUS SYMBOL
During Biblical times people went to the temple for many things and reasons. For some it was to receive atonement / forgiveness of sins. And for some, it was to hear God’s Word taught, to present an offering to God, or to pray to God. However, there were many that viewed going to the temple as a status symbol. They went to be seen or heard.

Matthew 15:8 NKJV
“These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And honor Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.”

These people wanted others to think that they were worshipping God, and they wanted everyone to see the amount of money they gave and they wanted everyone to hear their prayers.

Luke 18:10-14 NKJV
“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

There are those today that see the church as a status symbol, just like in Biblical times. They view it as a place for political gain, a place to voice their opinions, a place to show off their wealth or knowledge, and a place to make the right contacts for personal gain (political or social).

Sometimes church membership, attendance, and church positions (pastor, staff, leaders…) are also seen as a status symbol.

5. CHURCH CLIQUES – GOOD OR BAD
It doesn’t matter where you go there will always be cliques – even in church. The dictionary describes a clique as a small group of people, with shared interests or other features in common, who spend time together and do not readily allow others to join them. So what is the difference between a friendship group and a clique?

Friendship groups form around the things that people have in common. They are naturally drawn together because they share similar interests and experiences. Friendship groups are a part of normal life and they are healthy. In friendship groups everyone is made to feel that they fit in and are valued. In friendship groups you can receive support, share ideas and dreams, feel accepted, have fun and develop relationship skills and grow socially. The length of time that a friendship group lasts varies greatly – some friendship groups last a lifetime and some are short lived. People come and people go as the members develop new interests, make different friends, or loose commonality. Within a group, people often have a few friends they feel closest to and enjoy the most. The disciples could be considered a friendship group.

True friendship groups welcome people to join in. When a group is restricted and does not want others to join it is a clique.
Some cliques (but not all) develop along generational lines, some by race, some by economics, and some are made up of family members.

Sadly, within the church some cliques develop out of conflict. And some out of the length they have been members (new members and old members). Cliques are likely to happen when churches turn inward or inwardly focused.

Romans 2:11 NKJV
“For there is no partiality with God.”

God shows no partiality. Many of the Jews thought that God loved them more than the gentiles, but Peter knew that God did not show favoritism. He loves everyone. And He has included everyone in the body of Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:12-31 NKJV
“For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.”

Cliques in a church are not pleasing to God. A few of the things that cliques cause or lead to are: Cliques…
…are self serving.
…cause individuals to work against other.
…drive people away.
…lead to division and disunity.
…lead to jealousy.
…limit members from interacting with the entire body.
…limit where you receive support from.
…retard the growth of a church.
…will divide generations.
…will limit your church.
…will stunt your growth as an individual.

Some ways to guard against cliques in a church are:
Build small groups that include more than one generation.
Connect young families with grandparent age people in the church.
Encourage members to sit in different places each Sunday.
Encourage people to get out of their comfort zone and meet new people.
Include some faithful longer-term members in a new members class.
Join the young people and the older people together in doing projects, activities or ministry activities.
Match up young people with older people, and have them to pray regularly for each other.

Some ways to guard against cliques in your personal life are:
Be open to new friendships.
Be sensitive to the needs of others.
Distance yourself from people who have a negative influence on you.
Don’t allow others to pressure you into spending time and money on things that aren’t important to you.
Don’t be intimated into going along with what you don’t believe is right
Don’t spend time with people that talk in a negative manner about others – Don’t hang out with gossipers.
Interact with people of all ages.
Know who you are in Christ.
Know yourself (what you believe and why) and be true to yourself.
Sit in different places at church so you can meet new people.

6. CHURCHES SHOULD NOT BE WORLDLY
When the authority of God’s Word is lost, then man-made doctrines and worldly views creep in.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Church can become secular instead of sacred. Throughout the world we see more and more churches that are driven more by man than by the Holy Spirit. Instead of turning to the Word of God for council they are guided by worldly motives or philosophies. They allow the world’s views, practices, and beliefs to override God’s Word. The truth has been watered down and diluted so much that it doesn’t even resemble the truth of God anymore. The Bible tells us that there are moral absolutes. It also tells us that in the last days some people, and churches, will turn away from the truth and absolutes of God.

2 Timothy 3:1-9 NKJV
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.”

True believers, and churches, are encouraged to stand firm on God’s Word

2 Timothy 3:10-17 NKJV
“But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

CONCLUSION
There is danger in perverting God’s true purpose for the church. When the church stops being what God has called it to be it is no longer useful or profitable.

Matthew 5:13 NKJV
“You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.”

As believers, and as the church, we are to be the salt of the earth. Like salt, purity (not being mixed with anything) helps us to maintain our flavor and our usefulness. When mixed with the things of the world we loose our flavor and are no longer good for what we were intended for. According to Matthew 5:13, when we loose our flavor we are good for nothing. God is serious about our purity and commitment. We never want to get to the place where we are unfit for the kingdom of God.

Luke 9:62 NKJV
“But Jesus said to him, ‘No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

During the Bible times, God allowed the temple to be destroyed because of the unfaithfulness of the people.

Mark 13:1-2
Then as He went out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!” And Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone shall be left upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”

Matthew 24:1-2
Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”

Luke 21:5-6
Then, as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and donations, He said, “These things which you see—the days will come in which not one stone shall be left upon another that shall not be thrown down.”

The people had defiled the temple with manmade religion and practices. They had made the temple what they wanted it to be and not what God intended. God wanted a house of prayer – a place of an intimate relationship and woship with Him, not manmade religious practices. They deviate from God’s true purpose.

It would do all of us good to spend some time in true examination and soul searching. Is our church truly a house of prayer? Or have we made it what we want it to be. Have we left our first love? Have we been so busy with ministry or the things of the world that we have forgot about our relationship with God?

To the church at Ephesus the Lord said, “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.”

To the church at Smyrna the Lord said, “Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

To the church at Pergamos the Lord said, “Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.”

To the church at Thyatira the Lord said, “ … hold fast what you have till I come. And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations.”

To the church at Sardis the Lord said, “Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent.”

To the church at Philadelphia the Lord said, “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.”

To the church of the Laodiceans the Lord said, “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth…..Therefore be zealous and repent.”

Basically, as a whole, the Lord told the seven churches to repent and be faithful. Faithfulness is being worthy of trust, doing one’s duty, keeping one’s promise and being true. Faithfulness emphasizes being true to a person or thing. When you are true, you will be loyal and constant. When you are loyal to a person or thing, you will stand by and fight for the person or thing, and you will have steadfast devotion. Faithfulness is very important to God. God desires for us to be faithful both to Him and to what He has called us to do. A crown of righteousness will be given to those who have remained faithful to the Lord. God desires for us to be faithful in every aspect of our life and in our church. Things will turn out well for a faithful person and church. Faithfulness to God brings true success.

Luke 19:45-46 NKJV
“Then He went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in it, 46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house is a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ”

What would the Lord say to your church? When Jesus returns will He find your church faithful to Him and to what He has called His church to be? Is your church a house of prayer? If Jesus was to physically walk into your church would He say, “Well done” or would He drive out the unfaithful with a whip or with the Word of God?

Intimacy Restored

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Intimacy Restored

bible-study-on-watching-servant

Bible Text:

1 Thessalonians 4:7

Psalm 24:3-4

Romans 3:23

John 3:16

Matthew 27:50-51

John 14:6

Hebrews 10:12

Hebrews 10:19-22

James 4:8

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When sin entered the garden, it stood between man and God. Man could no longer enjoy the intimacy that he once had with God. God still loved man, and desired for the intimacy He once had with man to be restored. He was desperate for intimacy with us. He longed to fellowship and commune with man, but sin stood in the way. God is a holy God and sin cannot come into His holy presence. Those who approach God in worship must do so in righteousness.

1. When sin entered the garden what did it cause?

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2. What stands in the way of man from having intimacy with God?

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3. God desires for what to be restored with us?

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4. What can not come into the presence of God?

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5. Those who desire to approach God in worship must do so in what?

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1 Thessalonians 4:7 NKJV

“For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.”

6. According to 1 Thessalonians 4:7 what did God call us to?

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What does that mean to you personally?

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Psalm 24:3-4 NKJV

‘Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?

Or who may stand in His holy place?

He who has clean hands and a pure heart,

Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,

Nor sworn deceitfully.”

7. Psalm 24:3-4 states, “Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, Nor sworn deceitfully.”

These verses speak of a special intimacy with God, both now and in the future. Does God really mean that if we want to enter into His presence that we must have clean hands and a pure heart?

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8. How does your life, both publicly and privately line up with Psalm 24:3-4?

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Adam and Eve could no longer experience the glory of the Lord, manifest presence of God, because of sin. The same is true today.

9. Why couldn’t Adam and Eve experience the glory of the Lord, manifest presence of God, anymore?

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Romans 3:23 NKJV

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

10. According to Romans 3:23 all have sinned and fall short of what?

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Jesus Christ, God’s own Son, left His place in glory to come to a sin filled world because of God’s great love for man.

John 3:16 NKJV

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

11. Jesus Christ left His place in glory to come to earth because of God’s great what for man?

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12. Prior to the crucifixion man did not have direct access to what?

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Jesus came to this world, led a sinless life, was rejected by men, beaten, crucified and died for man. Prior to the crucifixion, man did not have direct access to the manifest presence of God. Man was separated from the glory of the Lord by a thick veil.

Matthew 27:50-51 NKJV

“ And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split”

At the moment of Jesus’ death, the veil between the holy place and the holy of holies was torn into. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we now have direct access to the very presence of God. The blood of Jesus Christ is our access to God. It’s up to each individual to use the access or to reject the access.

13. What was torn into at the moment of Jesus’ death?

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14. What gave us direct access to God?

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John 14:6 NKJV

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

15. According to John 14:6 Jesus is what?

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What does that mean?

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The blood that Jesus shed was for man’s sin. His precious blood provides atonement for our sins. Through His blood we can be restored into right fellowship with God. Because of His sacrifice we can once again experience the intimacy with God that He desires to have with us.

16. Jesus’ blood provides atonement for our sins. What does atonement mean?

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17. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice we can once again experience what with God?

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Jesus Christ did not stay dead. He rose from the grave, is alive today, and is sitting at the right hand of the Father making intercession for us.

Hebrews 10:12 NKJV

“But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.”

One day the true believers will be in glory experiencing a special intimacy with and worshiping our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. But for now, God has provided a way that we can still enjoy a portion of the intimacy and fellowship that we were created to have with Him.

18. When the true believers go to heaven they will be doing what?

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God sent His Holy Spirit to teach us, strengthen us, comfort us, guide us, direct us, to pray through us and to help us draw closer to Him. God sent His Holy Spirit to help us worship Him. When we allow the Holy Spirit, He will worship God through us. We can experience the glory of the Lord, the manifest presence of God, right here on earth, if we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us and worship through us.

19. God has provided a way that we can enjoy a portion of the intimacy and fellowship that we were created to have with Him. What is that way?

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20. When we allow the Holy Spirit He will do what through us?

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Wherever desperate people are, there God will be in the mist of them. If you are desperate for a greater intimacy with God, reach out to God and begin to worship Him. God will draw close to you, if you draw close to Him.

21. God is in the midst of what kind of people?

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Hebrews 10:19-22 NKJV

“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”

James 4:8a NKJV

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…”

22. If you are desperate for a greater intimacy with God what should you do?

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23. What does holiness mean to you?

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Direct Access To God

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Hebrews 10:19-22 NKJV

“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”

Jesus Christ, God’s own Son, left His place in glory to come to a sin filled world because of God’s great love for man.

John 3:16 NKJV

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Jesus came to this world, led a sinless life, was rejected by men, beaten, crucified and died for man. Prior to the crucifixion, man did not have direct access to the manifest presence of God. Man was separated from the glory of the Lord by a thick veil.

Matthew 27:50-51 NKJV

“ And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split”

At the moment of Jesus’ death, the veil between the holy place and the holy of holies was torn into. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we now have direct access to the very presence of God. The blood of Jesus Christ is our access to God. It’s up to each individual to use the access or to reject the access.

One day the true believers will be in glory experiencing a special intimacy with and worshiping our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. But for now, God has provided a way that we can still enjoy a portion of the intimacy and fellowship that we were created to have with Him.

God sent His Holy Spirit to teach us, strengthen us, comfort us, guide us, direct us, to pray through us and to help us draw closer to Him. God sent His Holy Spirit to help us worship Him. When we allow the Holy Spirit, He will worship God through us. We can experience the glory of the Lord (the manifest presence of God) right here on earth, if we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us and worship through us.

Wherever desperate people are, there God will be in the mist of them. If you are desperate for a greater intimacy with God, reach out to God and begin to worship Him. God will draw close to you, if you draw close to Him.

James 4:8 NKJV

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…”

Dear Father,

Thank-you for Your Son, who left His place in glory to come to a sin filled world because of Your great love for me. He is my direct access to You. By the power of the Holy Spirit, may I experience a special intimacy with You. May the Holy Spirit teach me, strengthen me, comfort me, guide me, direct me, pray through me and help me draw closer to You.

In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

 

The Baby Grew Up

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The Baby Grew Up

m1Thousands and thousands will gather and sing about Jesus’ birth, but will reject His authority. They adore Him as an infant, but ignore that He came to take their punishment for their sin. They reject the true meaning of the cross. The majority of the people in this world are happy to let Jesus be a baby in a manger, but not willing to acknowledge that He is the Son of God, the second person in the trinity.

John 3:16 NKJV

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Matthew 3:17 NKJV

“And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ ”

John 1:18 NKJV

“No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bossom of the Father, He has declared Him.”

1 John 4:9-10 NKJV

“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

Matthew 17:5 NKJV

“While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

 

Dear Father,

As we gather and sing about Jesus’ birth, may we truly accept His authority. As we adore Him as an infant, may the reality that He came to take our punishment for our sin burn deep within us. May we embrace the true meaning of the cross. By the power of the Holy Spirit, may we never be happy to let Jesus just be a baby in a manger – may we acknowledge that He is the Son of God, the second person in the trinity.

In Jesus’ name, Amen

 

 

Who Do You Say I Am?

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Who Do You Say I Am?

Matthew 16:13-15 NKJV

“When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, ‘Whodo men say that I, the Son of Man, am?’ So they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, someElijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?”

To truly worship Jesus, we must acknowledge Jesus’ relationship with the Father, the sacrifice He paid and who He is.

One definition of worship is to ascribe value to someone or something. You only value what you acknowledge as valuable. How can a person worship, ascribe value to, Jesus if you do not know who He is? Or what agony He suffered for them?

We must acknowledge Jesus’ relationship with the Father:

Jesus is the Son of God and He is the only way to the Father.

John 3:16 NKJV

““For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

John 14:6 NKJV

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

John 14:9-11 NKJV

“Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not know Me, Phillip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the work. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.”

John 17:21 NKJV

“That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; That they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.”

We must acknowledge Jesus’ sacrifice:

Jesus’ entire life centers around sacrifice and pleasing the Father. Jesus’ attention was not on the pain and agonies of the Cross, but on the joy that it would bring the Father. Jesus focused on the reward instead of the suffering.

Hebrews 12:2 NKJV

“looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

We must acknowledge Jesus for who He is:

To truly reverence Jesus you must know who He is. Reverence is a feeling of deep respect mixed with wonder, awe, and love. When you reverence someone you will have great respect for them. We must worship Jesus for who He is.

Matthew 16:13-19 NKJV

“When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Dear Father,

By the power of the Holy Spirit, cause me to always remember, and be thankful for, the sacrifice that Jesus, Your Son, paid for me. All the agony He suffered was for me personally. Through Jesus’ sacrifice I have access to You and my relationship with You has been restored. I have been given a new and everlasting life. May I follow Jesus’ example and focus on the reward instead of the suffering in all situations and circumstances. May I grow in reverence for You, O Lord.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Satisfy Your Thirst

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Satisfy Your Thirst

 

DRAWING WATER FROM THE WELL

Jesus Declares That He Will Give Living Water

John 7:37 NKJV

“On the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.’ ”

Shemini Atzert, is the eighth day that was added to the Feast of Tabernacles during the time of Ezar. This day became known as “The Great Day of the Feast.” On this day the High Priest would pour water from the pool of Siloam into a basin at the foot of the alter. The water was a symbol of God’s Spirit. During the temple times the custom was to draw from the Siloam springs a “libation” to accompany the offerings. This was done with great rejoicing and expressions of thanksgiving.

It was on the eighth day that Jesus told the people if they were thirsty to come to Him and drink. Jesus declared Himself to be the source of the spring, that He was the source of living water.

John 7:37-38 NKJV

“On the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scriptures has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ”

Jesus told the people that were gathered, as the High Priest poured water from the pool of Siloam into the basin, that if they believed in Him, rivers of living water would flow out of them. By this Jesus was referring to the Holy Spirit. The water the High Priest would pour out was just a symbol of God’s Spirit but Jesus offered them the real thing, the Holy Spirit (rivers of living water). In the natural realm when a person is thirsty they have a desire or need for a drink. They have a strong desire to quench their thirst. The same is true in the spiritual realm. When we are spiritually thirsty we have a need for living water. Jesus invites every person that is thirsty to go to Him, the only One that can truly satisfy their thirst.

Water Satisfies

Nothing tastes as good as a big drink of cold water when a person is thirsty. The water will only satisfy you for a while. Soon you will need another drink of water. The Bible tells us that Jesus can give us a drink of water that will last forever. Not water that comes out of a faucet or a bottle, but a special kind of water. Jesus can give us the water of everlasting life. The life that Jesus offers constantly satisfies. We can have this “living water” by believing that Jesus is the Son of God, the Savior of the world.

The Woman At The Well

Jesus and His disciples visited a city in Samaria. Jesus was a Jew and usually Jews and Samaritans did not like each other. Many Jews would travel far out of their way to avoid going through Samaria. But Jesus loved the Samaritans, so He took His disciples to visit them. Just outside the city, Jesus sat down to rest near a well while His disciples went into the town to get something to eat. While resting, Jesus met a woman who needed “living water.” This woman, a Samaritan woman, came to the well and Jesus asked her to give Him a drink.

John 4:1-9 NKJV

“Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John
(though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples), He left Judea and departed again to Galilee.
But He needed to go through Samaria. So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.”
For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.”

The woman was surprised that Jesus had spoken to her. The customs of the area prohibited public conversations between men and women who were strangers. The woman asked Him why He asked her, a Samaritan to give Him a drink. Jesus responded to her question by telling her that if she knew who He was she would have asked Him for a drink. Jesus continued to talk to the woman about living water.

 

John 4:10-15 NKJV

“Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?” Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”

After a period of time the woman asked Jesus to give her the water that He was talking about. At this point Jesus began to tell her about her life. Jesus challenged the woman to consider her own sinful condition by telling her to bring her husband to Him. Before the woman could believe in Jesus as the One who could give her living water she had to recognize that she was a sinner.

John 4:16-17 NKJV

“Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.”

Thinking that Jesus was just a prophet she began to discuss worship to God with Him. As Jesus talked to her about God the woman realized who Jesus really was and she believed Him.

John 4:19-26 NKJV

“The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”

She ran back to the city and began to tell everyone about Jesus. She asked them to come with her and she would show them the “man who knew everything I did.” Because the woman told people about Jesus, many of the people of the city went out to meet Jesus for themselves. When the people had listened to Jesus, they also believed Jesus as the Messiah, the Savior of the world.

John 4: 28-30 NKJV

“The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” Then they went out of the city and came to Him.”

John 4: 39-41 NKJV

“And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.” So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. And many more believed because of His own word.”

Jesus Gives Living Water

When we receive salvation through Jesus it opens up the well of satisfaction to us.

 

Romans 3:23 NKJV

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

Everyone has sinned and is separated from God because of it. This separation causes us to have a “spiritual thirst” that only God can satisfy. We cannot change ourselves or satisfy our own thirst. We must be willing to admit that we are a sinner and that we need Jesus to give us “living water” (eternal life). Just like the Samaritan woman had to admit her sin in order to receive “living water”, so must we.

 

Romans 6:23 NKJV

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

John 3:16 NKJV

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

 

Dear Father,

Thank-you for Your Son, Jesus Christ. He is the source of living water.  Only You can quench my spiritual thirst. Only You can truly satisfy. Holy Spirit, search me and convict me of sin and bad habits, and help me to be quick to repent. Cause me to worship You, O Lord, in spirit and in truth. May my entire life ascribe worth to You.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.