Sermons by Shawn Reese
John 5:19-30 After healing the lame man in John 5:1-18, the Jewish authorities begin to bring formal charges against Jesus because he is “making himself equal with God” (5:18). In our extraordinary text this week, Jesus begins his defense of his actions. This is Jesus’ longest exposition on his relationship to his Father, including the authority that his Father has given him to bestow life and render judgment. The culmination of these verses is the Gospel where Jesus invites all people to believe in him and move from death to life, a movement that can happen right now. In these breath-taking verses, Jesus makes himself the core decision for all people for all time. So, what will you do with him?
John 5:1-18 We begin a new section in the Gospel of John this week. In these middle chapters of John, by what Jesus says and does, he sets himself apart from any other person who has ever lived. To begin, he heals a man who was lame for 38 years. Before he heals him, though, he asks him a curious question: Do you want to get well? Instead of answering the question, the man seemingly responds with complaints and excuses. It’s a good question for us to consider. Do we want to get well? Jesus, God with us, stands at the door and knocks, and offers us living water. Do we really want to get well?
John 4:43-54 At the end of his Gospel, John tells us that he has written his masterpiece so that ““you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31). In these early chapters of John, we have seen several people come to genuinely believe in Jesus. His mother and disciples in chapter 2 and the Samaritan woman and the Samaritan townspeople in chapter 4. This week, we see Jesus, the Word, speak but a word (actually 5 words) to a desperate father, and the question is – will this man genuinely believe Jesus’ words or not? Join our livestream this week as we explore what genuine faith in Jesus, the Word, looks like. Communion At the end of Sunday’s service we will again take communion “together” while apart. I invite you to prepare elements ahead of time which represent the body and blood of Jesus (the elements do not need to be special). If you attend Mornings Together, we will serve pre-packaged elements to you.
John 4:27-45 “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news” (Is 52:7). Evangelism. Sometimes we hear that word and immediately we cringe. Unfortunately the word is heard negatively these days. But, we shouldn’t cringe with this word, for evangelizing is simply “good-news-izing,” telling people in word and deed the amazingly wonderful good news of Jesus. This is exactly what the woman at the well did. She met Jesus, was loved by him, then turned around and loved her neighbors by sharing the amazingly wonderful good news. What can we learn about this essential element of our faith from this woman at the well who became a well? Join our live-stream this Sunday to complete our studies in this profound scene.
John 4:19-26 This Sunday we will enter back into John, and enter back into the Samaritan woman at the well scene. Near the end of the conversation with Jesus, the woman asks about worship. Jesus has just told the woman her story, exposing the skeletons in her closet. He does this not to shame her but to show her that he loves her regardless of her skeletons. This causes the woman to want to worship. Jesus then explains what authentic worship in spirit and truth means. Since we are designed to worship, this text is fundamental to what it means to be human. Join the live-stream this Sunday to explore this important theme.
Philippians 2:5-11 We continue our studies this Sunday in the book of Philippians. And, we come to holy ground. In this text, known as a hymn to Christ, we find a different kind of God. Into a world where “gods” are expected to use absolute power, power to advance themselves and power to exploit others, we find these extraordinary words. Here, we find a God who seeks to not advantage himself, but to humble himself in obedient servanthood. This God becomes defined by a cradle, a cloth (John 13) and a cross, giving himself away in self-giving love. And what are we to do with this good news? Paul invites us to model this kind of love to a desperate and hurting world.
John 4:1-26 This week we come to one of John’s famous passages, where Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at a well. She is an outcast, Samaritan and woman. He is a rabbi (even God), Jew and man. Throughout their conversation, we find that she is empty, her water pot symbolizing her emptiness. In the same way she needs to continually fill her water pot with water, she is continually filling her life with relationships that ultimately do not satisfy. And, what does Jesus do? He jumps over every single dividing wall between him and her to love her, then offers her living water that will satisfy her deepest thirsts. “Come and see” this life-giving text via live-stream this Sunday.
John 3:22-36 After that deeply theological conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus heads back into the Judean wilderness where John is baptizing. And, we hear John’s last speech in this Gospel. He joyfully says he is not the bridegroom; he is the friend of the bridegroom. Jesus, the one from above, is the bridegroom (implying he is God), while those who receive him become his bride (implying a new people of God). For John, as the friend of the bridegroom, his job was to connect the bride to the bridegroom. When he does his job, he can joyfully fade out of the picture, an attitude captured in his final statement, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (3:30). What if we were to live by that same attitude as well?
John 3:1-21 In this section of John, we are seeing that Jesus is making all things new. So far, we’ve seen the gathering of a new people of God, the miraculous new wine at a wedding and the promise of a new temple. In our text this week, we hear of the necessity for a new birth. Jesus meets one-on-one with a man named Nicodemus who comes to him by night. Nicodemus is very smart, very good and very religious. Yet, Jesus shatters his pride by saying that all of his smarts and all of his goodness and all of his religiosity mean nothing when speaking of abundant life and eternal life. “Nicodemus, you must have the new birth.” The same goes for you and me. But, how does this happen? John 3:16, “the Gospel in miniature,” explains it. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” So, how does this happen? You must believe in the Son, who was given by a God who loves you.
John 2:1-12 Up until this point in John’s gospel, Jesus has been mostly moving around privately, gathering his team of followers. This week, in chapter two, the curtains get drawn back, and God enters the public stage. And, where does he make himself known first? At a wedding celebration. So, what happens when Jesus is invited to a wedding (or into anything in life)? Come and see!
John 1:35-51 Last week we heard the witness of John the Baptist. This week, Jesus takes center spot as people begin following him. Jesus’ first words of the Gospel are to these followers, “What are you seeking?” It’s an inviting and searching question. If he were to ask you that today, how would you answer it? The first followers then respond with a question, “Where are you abiding Jesus?” It’s a way of saying, “If we come to you Jesus, what will we find?” And, in this text, Jesus makes two great promises to these first followers. Come and see what they are this Sunday. Communion At the end of Sunday’s live-streamed service we will again take communion “together”. I invite you to prepare elements ahead of time which represent the body and blood of Jesus. The elements do not need to be “special.” Please use whatever you have at home (no need for a special trip to the grocery store). Who may partake? All who give their allegiance to our Lord Jesus Christ and follow him. At the end of the service, please be ready to eat and drink with your families, as we partake as a church family.
John 1:19-34 This Sunday we will continue our studies in the Gospel of John. After that magnificent prologue, we now enter into the story with the witness of John the Baptist. Throughout John’s Gospel, the concept of witness is very important. In fact one could read the entire Gospel through the “lens” of witness. Jesus is on trial, and many witnesses are called forward to testify to his nature, character, words and actions. By the end of the Gospel, we, the readers, will need to render our own verdict. Who is this Jesus? But, for now, let’s call the first witness. John the Baptist, please come forward and take the stand.