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Healthy Conflict

03.21.21 Nathaniel Wall

  1. Dinner with Jesus
    07.18.21 42m 53s
  2. 5 Truths for Troubled Souls
    07.11.21 49m 47s
  3. The Triumphal Entry
    07.04.21 43m 23s
  4. Mary Anoints Jesus
    06.27.21 42m 28s
  5. Raising Lazarus
    06.20.21 39m 15s
  6. Jesus and the Father are One
    06.13.21 47m 12s
  7. How Good is the Good Shepard?
    06.06.21 40m 16s
  8. Was Blind But Now I See
    05.30.21 45m 25s
  9. Live Free
    05.23.21 38m 07s
  10. The Light of the World
    05.16.21 34m 45s
  11. Condemnation and the Gospel
    05.09.21 34m 31s
  12. Not The What But The Who
    05.02.21 40m 24s
  13. The Significance of Feasts
    04.25.21 38m 53s
  14. Eat Jesus
    04.18.21 39m 06s
  15. Faith Through The Storm
    04.11.21 37m 51s
  16. Worship When You Struggle
    03.28.21 35m 25s
  17. Healthy Conflict
    03.21.21 43m 50s
  18. Pick Up Your Mat and Walk
    03.14.21 33m 45s
  19. Cling To His Word
    02.28.21 33m 07s
  20. The Scandalous Grace Of God
    02.21.21 38m 55s
  21. The Strength of Humble Faith
    02.14.21 36m 11s
  22. Life Over Death
    02.07.21 46m 45s
  23. Do Not Waver
    01.31.21 43m 16s
  24. Jesus Makes Wine
    01.24.21 36m 36s
  25. The Story of Us
    01.17.21 40m 44s
  26. What Made John Great?
    12.27.20 34m 29s
  27. Why Jesus?
    12.20.20 31m 51s
  28. The Word of Light and Life
    12.13.20 34m 02s

Healthy Conflict

03.21.21 Nathaniel Wall Light the Dark Series

I want to invite you to John chapter five if you’ve got a Bible with you. John chapter five is where we’re going to be together and we’re going to have an interesting discussion in John five. I struggled with the best way to title this section because of what’s happening with Jesus in this story as it unfolds but I’m just going to call this, this is called A Healthy Conflict. We’re going to talk about healthy conflict today which is a little bit of a conundrum. It’s like a false dichotomy. You’re going to have conflict but you’re going to talk about being healthy. Please introduce me what type of conflict is a healthy conflict. Well, obviously we don’t want to just have conflict for the sake of conflict but there’s a way to engage conflict that can be more faith promoting and encouraging then others. We’re going to treat this like surgery. It’s like no one’s going to sign up for surgery but the reason you go into surgery is because you see the result is better having gone through it.

So, when you talk about conflict there’s certain types of conflict that Jesus engages in in scripture that the purpose of it is isn’t just to produce conflict. I mean Jesus came as the king of shalom, as the king of peace. He came to bring peace on earth or peace to this world but in order to get there there was a conflict that arose. Because Romans 5:10 tells us that we are enemies of God. We’re enemies of God and we live contrary to this king and his kingdom so we’ve got to get in line with Him.

That’s why Jesus’ message from the beginning was repent and believe because there is this need of turning in our heart to this king in order to walk in this faith and trust in Him. So, we’re at war with God. There’s this conflict even within us before we surrender and submit to Him. But having gone through that turning in our heart, having been confronted with the truth of Christ and then giving our lives over to it the Bible says within our souls we find peace in our relationship with God and there will be ultimate peace restored in this earth through this king who reconciles all things in Him.

And so, when you think about conflict, Jesus comes and he engages, He fights darkness. That’s what the whole point of John is light and darkness. He comes and wars against darkness and brings His light and light overcomes darkness. And in that conflict Jesus wins and we have a place to trust him. So, there’s a way of looking at conflict that is like a scalpel in the hands of a surgeon. It reminds me of a story where in this town there were these two men that were arguing and they decided to seek after the town’s wise men for advice to end this conflict between the two of them. And so, they go to the wise men and the first one presents his case and the wise man looks at him and says, “You’re absolutely right.” And the second guy comes in and he presents his case and the wise man looks at him and says, “You’re absolutely right.” And when the wise man gets home his wife just gives him an earful she says, “These two guys presented to you things that were completely opposed to one another. They can’t both be right. What were you thinking? How could you even say that?” He looks at his wife and he says, “You’re absolutely right.” There’s some wisdom in that isn’t there.

But you know what? When I think about conflict we’re not just talking about just trying to sweep things under the rug. When Jesus calls us into this world we’re people that bring reconciliation, we’re people that bring truth. The Bible calls us in Matthew 5 you’re peacemakers. Peacemaker is such an important word to think about because it’s not saying you’re just simply a peace keeper which a peace keeper is the kind of person that likes to sweep problems under the rug and ignore them, “Let’s just keep the peace. Let’s just keep the peace.” But that’s not what Jesus calls you, he calls you a peacemaker. And sometimes that puts us in position to engage conflict in this world and how you engage is important. It’s not always about what you say. What you say you certainly want it to be honest, truthful, but it’s also about the way you say it.

In John chapter five is one of those stories that Jesus is about to engage in conflict and He sets it up in a masterful way. In fact, last week we started this story already in the first 24 verses of Matthew chapter five. Remember this is where Jesus heals the man right next to the pools in the temple by the sheep’s gate. And when Jesus heals this man what we learn about the healing is that his entire purpose isn’t simply just to heal this guy.

This guy had been there for 38 years. And the belief during this man’s day was that they had this belief that the angels would come down and stir the waters and the first one that could touch the waters after the angel stirred it could be healed. And this man for 38 years had longed for this healing but he couldn’t get down to the water in time to beat the crowd to touch the water after the angel stirred it to find himself healed. And so, when Jesus comes to him, Jesus comes to this man and He says, “Do you want to be made well?” We saw this together. And Jesus heals this man and we find when this man’s healed Jesus does this on the sabbath. And the purpose of Jesus’ healing in this story isn’t the healing in and of itself.

I think it’s valuable for us to learn because sometimes we have a way to treat God that’s like He becomes our servant where our desire is for Jesus just to fix things for us so we can get back to doing what it is that we want to do. But Jesus is teaching something far more important than that because what’s interesting in this story is we find that when Jesus goes to the sheep gate in order to heal this man, Jesus’ intention is one of compassion. I mean why else would He go to the sheep gate? Now this sheep gate was a place that, it wasn’t the most attractive area of the temple. In fact, it was probably the least attractive area in the temple and this is where all the animals went. And where animals go there’s always a mess to clean up. And not only that, this was a place where people gathered who were suffering tremendously. And they gathered around this pool in hopes of finding healing. And when Jesus goes to the temple that’s where he chooses to go and he meets with these people that are struggling. And out of this story, it doesn’t tell us that Jesus heals everybody, it tells us that Jesus heals one person.

Now why does Jesus do that? Well, Jesus is driving this circumstance to a place of something more deeply connected to our human need than just simply physical healing. I think that’s important. If you’ve struggled in your life and the Lord decides to miraculously heal that, wonderful, praise God for that. But what’s more important to know is that’s not an end in itself. There’s something deeper. And if you just end there you’re robbing yourself of something greater. We simply look at the meal and we appreciate the meal rather than the provider of every meal.

That’s what Jesus is showing us here is look he can heal and that’s great, that is great. But it’s not the healing itself that’s the point, it’s from where the healing derived. That’s what we need confronted in and that’s where Jesus drives the story in John chapter five. He knows that in the heart of Israel they are rejecting Him and he wants to confront them in that position that’s opposed to Him as Lord and Savior in their lives. And so, in order to do that what Jesus does here is incredibly brilliant. I mean it’s genius, it’s masterful. He knows He needs to engage the souls of individuals that are contrary to His kingdom right now and in order to do that what He does is He goes to one of the most desperate places around the temple and He heals someone on the Sabbath and then he calls this person to pick up his mat and walk through the temple because He knows this individual is going to come across others that are living contrary to Jesus. And He’s going to use this miraculous circumstance to identify for people where they are opposed to Him.

But in doing this what we learn about Jesus is that His motivation behind addressing the conflict isn’t about proving He’s right and we’re wrong which He always is. If you’re in battle with Jesus just confess you’re wrong and He’s right. That’s the best way to do that. But His point is the pursuit of the heart and what He wants us to understand as He addresses where our souls war against Him is He is a king full of compassion. And that makes it hard to fight against someone when they approach you that way doesn’t it? When you know that you’ve got attention and relationship with someone else but man they are for you and they love you and they’ve done wonderful things before your eyes and you know that they really care about you. I mean why else would Jesus become flesh? The king of kings becoming the servant of servants it makes no sense apart a heart of compassion for the need in my own life. And that’s what Jesus does with this miracle, He knows what He has to approach in the hearts of the Israelites who are turned against Him. So he leads with a heart of compassion and he heals someone on the Sabbath.

And we already talked about this, we know the Sabbath laws are you can’t work on the Sabbath and the Jews according to the Mishna on the Sabbath their rules say that no one can work on the Sabbath except for God because if God ever stops working then everything falls apart. And Jesus when He’s confronted by these religious leaders and these religious leaders it tells us starting in verse 12 of chapter five, it tells us that they know that this individual had been by this portico for several years, that he was one that wasn’t able to find healing and he hasn’t been well. He had been suffering there. And then, when they’re confronted by him they’re questioning. They’re statement isn’t praise God for your healing, their question is, “Who made you well on the Sabbath? How dare they? How dare they, someone would work on that day?”

And Jesus tells us in verse 17 when He’s finally confronted with these religious leaders over this circumstance of compassion that He held toward this individual that needed healed Jesus says, “I was working no doubt. I was working.” And it tells us in verse 18 because of that the Jews wanted to kill him. These leaders wanted to kill Him because they knew what Jesus was saying by declaring He was working on the Sabbath He was making Himself equal with the father. Jesus was saying He was God.

Because there’s something beautiful about this story as Jesus is about to go on from here is that in our world we’ve got to understand that it walks contrary to the light. It walks contrary to that war with God. You were at war with God before you put your faith in Jesus. And it’s not just about what you say but the way you say it. A heart of compassion is hard to fight against. No doubt people will fight against it because we like to make ourselves rulers of this world. But a heart of compassion becomes important in the way that you engage conflict just like a surgeon. You’re heart is important. That’s what Jesus is saying without saying anything to the people, “Your heart is important and you need the Lord. And so, in order for you to understand just how much you need God I’m going to lead with this miracle to drive to a greater purpose. “Because it’s not about the miracle in and of itself, like when we read these stories in the gospel of John, the great things that Jesus did, the acts that Jesus did isn’t the point. The point is to help our hearts recognize that we need this God too and we can have Him for all of eternity to experience the goodness of who He is, to lead with a heart of compassion.

If your motivation is not love for others at best you will only ever treat people as a commodity in life. You will only ever see the purpose of people around you really to serve you. But Jesus’ heart of compassion was for them. That’s why Jesus says to this man, “Pick up your mat and walk. Pick up your mat and walk because I want to drive to a deeper issue that people need to face more than just this healing but what’s warring within their soul.”

But so, obviously there’s healthy conflict one the story lays out for us the first 24 verses is full of compassion. And number two, healthy conflict it’s truth telling, it’s truth telling not for the purpose of just wielding a weapon to hurt people but to point the people to what really heals. Healthy conflict is truth telling. And you see this with Jesus not because Jesus is wanting to pick a fight with people but He wants people to know what ultimately sets them free. And what’s interesting in verse 39 of John chapter five we just kicked off from that introduction there, John chapter five verse 39, Jesus comes to this very powerful statement. Out of all this section if I could just remember one verse, if I just told you one verse that really has just over the years has cut me to the heart it’s this verse, verse 39, “You examine the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life and it is those very scriptures that testify about me.”

In this moment Jesus is getting to the most religious of people. They could quote their Bible chapter and verse, or at least the Old Testament, you don’t have the New Testament at this point, but they can quote their Bible chapter and verse. And yet if you pointed to all of Israel and you said, “Who knows your Bible?” They’re going to go to these religious leaders, the ones of the law, the ones that are so adamant that what’s been broken with the healing of this man is the Sabbath law, how dare that happen. They know the law or do they? This is what Jesus says about the importance of truth for us is they see understanding scripture as just knowing the scripture as an end unto itself, “I am a spiritual person because I know Bible answers.” And Jesus is saying, “If your intentions of engaging the scriptures is just to show that you’re smart with the scriptures you’ve completely missed it. You’ve completely missed it because the point of scripture isn’t about you and your brilliance.” Jesus said, “The point of scripture is about me. It’s about knowing me.”

And so, Jesus wants to give them a particular lens through which to begin to view the word of God that they claim to cherish. Jesus said the same thing in Luke 24:27 after His resurrection. He met the strangers on the road to Emmaus and He says then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets He explained to them the things written about Himself in all of the scriptures. So we think about engaging conflict a couple of things that we need here is one a heart of compassion. It’s not about you winning the argument, it’s about recognizing the need of the soul of another individual and that care for that soul to drive them towards number two an understanding of truth. It’s hard to fight against somebody when you know they care for you, when you’re loved deeply by that individual that’s brought you to a place that you’re walking contrary to but at the same time being willing to tell the truth for the sake of the soul of another. And this is what Jesus does in verse 31, look at this He says, “If I alone testify about myself my testimony is not true. There is another who testifies about me and I know that the testimony which He gives about me is true.”

Here’s what Jesus is saying, He says, “You want to know the truth. You claim to know the truth but let me help you walk in the truth because right now you’re contrary to the truth and you don’t understand how this truth all points to me.” And the way that Jesus sets this platform He says, “In Jewish law something is established especially when there’s opposition or conflict by the witness of two or three people.” Deuteronomy 17 has that written, Deuteronomy 19 has that written, that when there were Jewish people in conflict and they went to court to present or went before a wise man to present this case that it was on the basis of truth or witnesses that someone can be held guilty.

So, two or three witnesses is important to Jewish society and so Jesus is saying, “Look, I want you to be able to walk in truth and I’m going to do it through your means, your law. I want to establish for you how you know I am how I say I am. How do you know that scripture really points to me?” And Jesus gives us here just a couple of three examples that we can look at, verse 33 to 35 example one, verse 36 example two. And then verse 37 till the end of the chapter example three or really it’s 3.5. I’m going to give you 3.5 examples here. But Jesus ties the last two together in a beautiful way.

And so, when you think about even in your own life, when we think about trusting in Jesus, following after Jesus, I think it’s important for our soul to recognize we aren’t always in a line with Him and it’s not because we’re right. I mean every culture in this world, every culture that’s ever existed has something that they feel is really important in that culture that walks contrary to God and we can always give into the compromise in that. Or even some of us here this morning maybe we’ve never even trusted in Christ at all. Maybe some of us are walking with Jesus but we understand there’s always this conflict going on and maybe there’s some of us that just we’re still looking for that reason to jump on board with Jesus but Jesus here is going to lay out those reasons of just validating the significance of who He is.

And so, in verse 43 He gives us that first place of importance built on His heart of compassion here He says, “You have sent messengers to John and he has testified to the truth but the testimony I receive is not from man but I say these things so that you may be saved. He was the lamp that was burning and shining and you were willing to rejoice for awhile in his light.” So, with John He just wants us to recognize it was this burning, shining light. The first evidence that Jesus gives of the significance of who He is is John. And this would have been important to Jews prophetically and then even practically I think important for all of us.

Prophetically if you read the Old Testament, the last chapter of the Old Testament, the book of Malachi chapter four the last couple of verses in the book of Malachi it promises before the Messiah comes, the anointed one, that there would be a forerunner like Elijah. And John the Baptist has become that for Jesus and so Jesus is identifying one that John is this fulfillment of scripture so that people could identify the Messiah. In John it talked about Jesus being that Messiah. So prophetically when you think about what it communicates maybe on a larger scale for us, when you think about all of the Old Testament there’s this prophetic demonstration of Jesus being proclaimed and Jesus coming and fulfilling Him validating that He is everything the Old Testament said He was and John being that pinnacle piece that introduced Jesus to the world, very important.

But when I also think about following Jesus pragmatically I just want to know does it work. That’s great it might be true but is it really life-changing? Is it really going to matter? I mean why can’t we all just pick something that we just like, why does it have to be Jesus? But here’s the thing he says about John is John’s contagious. You ever get around people that are just passionate about something that makes a difference in life and it’s like, “Man I want to be around this person more often. They’re a great human being. They’re always positive. They’ve got this vision, it’s transferring life, it’s making a difference, these guys are great.” It’s fun to be around people like that. It’s motivating to be around people like that. And I think this is a similar illustration with the life of John and the proclamation of truth and he aligns with what scripture says prophetically to identify the importance of Jesus in my life.

But just think about the passion of John. I wish sometimes as Christians we would focus on this just a little bit more, just the thoughts of John’s life, and try to mimic our lives in a similar way. Because sometimes man as believers are some of the most Debbie downer people in life. You think Jesus has come into this world to radically transform you and everyday you wake up you get to serve this king that makes a difference for all of eternity. But sometimes you meet Christians and you think the battle has been lost. But when you’re around John, full of compassion this light burning and he’s just serving for the Lord with this fire just wanting people to know the Lord, it’s incredible.

One of my favorite stories about John, Matthew chapter 11, it happens in Matthew and Luke this story. But Matthew chapter 11 John is in jail and he sends his disciples to Jesus to ask a question. For my first few years following Jesus I didn’t understand why John would ask this question because Jesus says in the same chapter verse 10, 11 and 12 that John was the greatest person to ever live, that’s how Jesus labels John. But John sends his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the Messiah or should we wait for another?” And that’s a pretty incredible question when you think about who John is that he came as this Elijah to introduce the Messiah and he already proclaimed Jesus that way and now he find himself sitting in jail and now he finds himself sitting in jail and now he’s asking Jesus that question, “Are you the Messiah or should we wait for another?” And Jesus responds to John in an interesting way. He tells the disciples, “Go and tell John,” and He quotes Isaiah chapter 61 and Isaiah chapter 35 He says, “Go and tell John that the lame walk and the blind see.”

And then you don’t really hear anything else about the discussion. That’s all that you’re told. It’s like how is that good for John? John’s in jail and then Jesus just quotes a couple of verses and that’s all you get and then Jesus is like, “John’s the greatest guy that ever lived guys.” What is this story? And the frustration of that, I finally dug a little deeper and just figured out what Jesus was saying there and this is what Jesus is saying. John has this picture in his mind that when Jesus comes he’s going to set up His kingdom and everyone’s going to rule and reign with Him.

And Jesus did, He set up a spiritual kingdom and He is going to come and set up His kingdom physically but He’s set up His kingdom spiritually for us. But John is expecting the kingdom to be set up physically and he’s looking around in jail and he’s thinking, “If that’s Jesus why am I here? If He’s the king He should just come break me out of this place and we’re just going to rule and reign together.” And it didn’t happen and when it started to not happen John got a little worried. He’s like, “I hear the sharpening the knife that’s going to touching my neck here soon. What’s going to happen with me?” And he asked that question and when Jesus gives him that response he realizes that the kingdom’s here, the kingdom’s here.

Yes John is in a difficult circumstance but his life is still being lived for the king and his glory. The kingdom’s here. It’s like Jesus was saying to John, “John, I’m not coming for you but everything’s under control. Everything’s under control, the king is here.” John lived his life full of passion for the Lord. And guys I would encourage you the same when you think about living and walking in the truth not to just be a person full of compassion and definitely be that and a person that’s telling the truth but to let that passion come through you in your life.

One cool movie, and I don’t know if I should promote movies but have you ever seen the movie Gladiator? If you know the story about Maximus, Maximus was a general for Marcus Aurelius. He was one of the greatest generals and Marcus Aurelius in the movie tells Maximus, “I’m going to make you the leader in Rome. You’re going to be the next Caesar to lead the emperor of the kingdom here, at least the earthly kingdom of Rome that dominates the world.” And Marcus Aurelius’ son finds out and he kills his father at his older age and Maximus ends up becoming a slave and it turns him into a gladiator and Commodus goes and kills Maximus’ family and Maximus is distraught. He has no identity anymore, you see him lose really himself. He doesn’t even want to live. But then he discovers that if he keeps going through these gladiator games and he wins that he gets to come before the emperor and he gets to declare his loyalty to who the true emperor was, Marcus Aurelius, and identify what’s happened to his family and really get his victory over the circumstance.

But you know what’s amazing about that movie? It’s just the passion to see someone go from leading down to nothing and then all of the sudden he finds this identity again and he with just a passion pursues it and fights for it and defends it and it just draws you into the moment and he gets the victory that he’s sought after in the end according to the movie anyway. But it’s the same thing for us that you had a king and for a moment maybe even His followers thought He was defeated but He returns in victory and resurrects and promises you that same victory. And it’s in this world of darkness that you get to be light and that passion of waking up everyday and living for that king and his glory in this world as you proclaim this truth with compassion towards people that need the same transformation that you’ve experienced. You have a platform to do that. And Jesus uses John in this story to illustrate it’s importance for us.

You think as you wage in this world and you fight the spiritual battle that God has called us to along the way what we learn, and people aren’t perfect, in fact people can be a bit of a booger sometimes. People aren’t perfect but the sweetness of Jesus never ends, it never ends. So, if we make Him our goal you’ll never be disappointed. To live with passion for the king number two verse 36, “But the testimony I have is greater than the testimony of John for the works which the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I do testify about me that the Father has sent me.” And Jesus’ second point He’s saying, “Look, Jewish leaders you need a basis for truth and I know this is confronting you in a way that you don’t want to bow to because you’re conflicted with the scriptures right now but let me just give you two reasons. One, John the Baptist was the forerunner. You know how your Old Testament ends. And number two me.” Is what Jesus is saying here, “Number two if you want something to look at look at me.”

And Jesus only says this in one verse so I’m not going to go real deep into this because Jesus doesn’t go real deep into this because all you have to do is just read the book of John and that’s what we’re doing together. We’re seeing the significance of who Christ is in our lives and getting to know this Christ. That’s why I said from the beginning, “Just pick up John and read it like a child. Pretend like you know nothing and get to know this Jesus.” And this is what Jesus is saying, “Do you want to know the reason why you should embrace what I’m saying to you? Because of who I am. Just look at what’s been done.”

And Jesus is showing these stories of compassion for us that we see this king and not only His identity but His care for our souls and we can give our lives to Him. And I just say this to us no matter where we’ve been in our lives, we don’t so much care about where you’ve been as to where you’re going. We love your story, we love what brought you here, that’s important, but what’s most important is where you’re going in life. And sometimes when you walk this road in this world with everything screaming at you you’re just trying to find a purpose and reason to live. That if you’ve even been lied to it’s hard to trust again so you will say from that position, “Well how do I know if I follow what you’re saying Nathaniel that everything’s going to work out?” And I just say look sometimes we stress out when we’ve been lied to in life, like trust has been hurt. You don’t want to trust anything else again. You want to know everything before you trust in anything. But when it comes to following Jesus or when it comes to being a Christian, let me say, the primary question you need to answer in your life, and let God take care of the rest, who is Jesus. Who is Jesus? Just answer that question. Who is Jesus?

Religions in this world all have some sort of answer to that but Biblically as Christians we see Him as God come in the flesh whose purpose is for your soul He gave His life that you could be set free by his sacrifice for your sins. Who is this Jesus? And this is what Jesus is saying to us in this passage is just understanding who He is really it’s what sets us free, the truth of who He is. And this, in verse 37 He gives us His final argument here. He says, “And the father who sent me, He has testified about me. You have neither heard His voice at any time nor seen His form. Also, you do not have His word remaining in you because you do not believe Him whom He sent. You examine the scriptures because you think that in them you’ll have eternal life. And it’s those very scriptures that testify about me and yet you’re unwilling to come to me so that you may have life.”

Here’s what’s interesting, Jesus really is making two arguments one argument here. He says, “The father has testified about me,” which He did at Jesus’ baptism. Remember Matthew chapter three verse 17? The Father speaks from heaven He says, “My beloved Son in whom I’m well pleased.” Definitely testifies over Jesus. But then He says this interesting thing, “You have neither heard His voice at anytime nor seen His form.” I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s probably true for all of us. We weren’t at Jesus’ baptism. Hearing God’s voice, Jesus is using this as an argument to believe who He is and how in the world am I going to do that? If Jesus I’m going to try to follow your three step argument here your third argument is hard because I don’t wake up everyday with God the Father talking to me. What is that like? And then He does something interesting here. In verse 38 He says, “You don’t have His word remaining in you.” And then look what He does in verse 39, he connects the Father’s word to scripture. And this is what He’s saying here is, “You don’t have God’s word in you and you examine the scriptures.” So, here’s what Jesus is saying He’s saying, “You want to know what God the father’s voice is? Read the word. Read the word.”

That’s such an important point for us especially in our culture. We devalue faith in our culture in a way. Let me explain why. We are so self-centered driven as people that we are arrogant enough to assume we’re the origin of truth. That’s our culture, the basis of reality is me and I define what truth is. Because we see ourselves as the center of the universe. But here’s the problem with that, you didn’t create truth, truth existed before you and when you die truth will continue to sustain when you’re off this Earth. You’re not the origin of truth and you’re not the continuation of truth. Truth existed long before you ever did. There is an ultimate foundation of truth. So, you can certainly experience it but you’re not the creator of it. And that’s what makes the word of God so important because often in life you’ll have people that argue for something from their own personal experience that can be in conflict with each other. So, how do you determine what’s right and what’s wrong? Well, you need a basis outside of yourself to define what reality is. Truth corresponds to reality, right?

And so, we’re talking about ultimate truth of God, God is the creator of all things then God would have given us a standard for ultimate truth and what Jesus is saying is, “If you want that standard look at the word. Look at the word.” There are plenty of people that believe things wholeheartedly in life and they believe it with passion but they are wrong because it conflicts with the reality of what truth is even though they may see themselves as the center of truth. And that’s true for you and that’s true for me. In life I can walk contrary to God and I need God to speak to me and I need God to show me, reveal in my heart where I stray from him.

And Jesus is saying, “You want to know where it is? It’s letting the Father’s voice reflect in your life. If you want to hear from the Father here’s what you do, read the word.” God wants to speak to you, God wants to speak to you and the way He chooses to do it is through His word and here’s the beauty of that, it’s because sometimes people claim that God speaks to them and when they say things you’re like, “That’s crazy. That’s crazy. And you need help knowing that’s not crazy or how to be not crazy.” And the way that we do that is pointing them back to the word. We all get a basis for understanding when something is crazy or not crazy because we have God’s word that directs you and that’s what Jesus is saying in this passage, “You want to hear from God read His word. You want God to talk to you out loud, read His word out loud.” That’s what Jesus is saying.

In Second Timothy 3:16 just reminds us, one of those famous passages of scripture it says this about God’s word, “All scripture is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God or woman of God may be fully capable and equipped for every good work.” This idea of inspired isn’t like a song writer who is inspired. Sometimes you’ll see people write poems and wonderful songs and you’re like, “What was your inspiration?” They’ll tell you this great story about their inspiration which is good. But when the Bible talks about inspiration it means more than that, it literally means God breathed. It’s saying when you picked up the pages of scripture this isn’t man’s word about God, this is God’s word to you. And God does it in a brilliant, beautiful way. He’s not taking people over like robots but He actually work through their personalities to communicate to us the very words He desires for us to have. God wants to speak to you. Why? Because our hearts are conflicted and we need Jesus.

Verse 46 and 47, “For if you believed Moses you would believe me for he wrote about me. But if you do not believe his writings how will you believe my words?” Jesus is saying, “Look, compassion in conflict, it’s important to have healthy conflict. You need compassion, you need truth, and really you need centered on me, my glory.”

Let me finish it thinking this way, as we think about being centered on Jesus. Suppose for a moment you lived in a world where everyone did what you wanted. You say, “Finally, if everyone would just do what I wanted the world would be perfect.” Let’s suppose you live in that world where everyone does what you wanted. For five minutes it would be cool but in order to do that what everyone’s really going to have to be is a robot. That’s the only way you’re going to get a world where everyone serves you the way that you want them to serve you is you live in a robot world and for five minutes maybe you’re more nerdy then me so maybe you’ll like it for 10 minutes but after 10 minutes robot world would get old. And the reason robot world would get old is that you wouldn’t really experience any depth in relationship. As people we’re motivated by others. You want to belong. You want to share. You’re even going to want to experience conflict.

The rub of everyday life, now I know you don’t want to seek after conflict, but the rub of everyday life, what it shows us is that the struggle of everyday life it shows us that relationships are real. And that’s the difference between robot world and human interaction, robot world there’s not really a return, a depth of intimacy. In the human world when we interact with each other we rub each other the wrong way sometimes but what it shows is the depth of relationship, real relationship is happening. If you’re not going through some sort of experience of rubbing against someone else metaphorically, or maybe physically I don’t know, but if you’re not going through that in life what it shows is you really don’t have any relationship. It’s that rub that reminds us really of life that relationship is.

And guys, the same is true with God. Some of us have a God that agrees with everything that we do. But I want you to know that’s not God. If you have a God that agrees with everything you do that’s not a real God, that’s robot God. That’s a God that you created to satisfy you as the center of the world. When you rub God in some way or you’re rubbing against God in some way that you’re recognizing that relationship is happening because they’re challenge there. And when you think about the way God confronts us what’s important is to see His attitude in this section of scripture that we need a God that challenges us, that broaches conflict with us and rubs us because it’s showing us that you’re walking through relationship with Him. Now truthfully, when there’s conflict there’s a problem and it’s not Him. So, there’s something about you and the tendency in our human nature is to want to run from that, stiff arm that, change who God is so we don’t have to change who we are then we create robot God.

Jesus is saying in this story, “I care about you too much to run from conflict. And I want you to see a God of compassion, a God who’s for you and being so much for you He’s willing to share truth with you so that in the end you can be centered on me.” We can look at it through John’s experience and see that Jesus is life and He is motivating and life giving and transforming. And John’s life testified about that. And you look through the lens of Jesus and you see in the following verse, in verse 36 that He’s good. All the scriptures say about Him, that’s who He is and He is good and He frees me from sin. And then, we can look at the word of God and know this God too.

Let me just give us a place in our lives, if you think about your spiritual journey right now you can’t think of a place where you’re in conflict with God, maybe it’s worth asking, “Do I have a relationship with Him? And am I engaging Him where the struggle is? Am I allowing His voice to speak to me? Am I seeing Him as a king that cares more about me then I even care about myself?” Is His blessing, His love that deep and are you turning to Him allowing His life to fill you with that motivation that He sees in John? If you’re here this morning and you’re not a believer or a follower in Him let me just encourage you to taste the goodness of this king, to stop making robot God and embrace this God who meets you in those challenges and transforms your life to take your heart before this king and say, “Lord I am a sinner. I war against you but you’re a savior and you rescue me. God I surrender my heart to you. Free me. God give me life in you forever. In Jesus name.”