Sermon – The deadly danger of Bible Study (John 5:31 – 5:47) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
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The Book of John was authored by one of Jesus’ twelve disciples, John, who features in the gospel. John makes his mission for writing the book plain in 20:31; “that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” He details the many words and claims of Jesus, as well as the various responses from those listening; in either faith, amazement, caution or rejection. Listen as Cornerstone preachers unpack the narrative and invite us to reflect on our own response to Jesus.

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Sermon 17 of 58

The deadly danger of Bible Study

Tom Sweatman, John 5:31 - 5:47, 10 April 2022

Tom continues our series in John’s gospel by preaching from John 5:31-47. In this passage Jesus continues his defence to the Jewish Leaders who are persecuting him - we see the different responses to hearing God’s word, and what it means for us today.

John 5:31 - 5:47

31 If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true. 32 There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he bears about me is true. 33 You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. 34 Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. 35 He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. 36 But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, 38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. 39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. 41 I do not receive glory from people. 42 But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. 44 How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? 45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who testifies in my favor and I know that his testimony about me is true. You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth, not that I accept human testimony, but I mention it that you may be saved. John was a lamp that burned and gave light and you chose for a time to enjoy his light.

I have testimony way here than that of John. For the works that the father has given me to finish, the very works that I am doing testify that the father has sent me and the father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form. Nor does his word dwell in you. For you do not believe the 1 who said the 1 he sent.

You study the scriptures diligently because you think that in them, you have eternal life. These are the very scriptures that testify about me. Yet you refuse to come to me to have life. I do not accept glory from human beings, but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts.

I have come in my father's name and you do not accept me. But if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe since you accept glory from 1 another, but do not seek the glory that comes from the only god. But do not think, I will accuse you before the father. Your accuser is Moses on whom your hopes are set.

If you believed Moses, you would believe me. For he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say? Lovely. Thank you.

Oh, please have a seat. And if you'd like to turn back to John 5, This is the the conclusion of 3 well, 3 sermons that we've been looking at in this amazing chapter. It began. You might remember a couple of weeks ago with this amazing healing at the pool. And then after that event, the Jewish leaders came to Jesus and began to persecute him.

They didn't like what he was doing on the Sabbath saying about the Sabbath, and we are still in that discussion between Jesus and the and the Jewish leaders. Just to say 1 1 quick thing about the the Easter sunrise service, you can turn up Kinggate at 5 45, and you may well see the sunrise, but you will be doing so alone because everyone else will be actually meeting there at 6 30 So sorry for the confusion there. There is a there is a oh, yes. Go on. You were you were saying something?

Oh, okay. Yeah. So sorry. Yeah. So it will actually be 6 30 there.

Sorry about that. If you go on to our website and you'll see the Easter Service Times, it'll be 6 30 in Richmond Park at Kingstongate, and then back here afterwards for sausage. And then onto the service. So that's the that's that's the plan for the the the sunrise service. So John 5, here we go.

Let's let's bow our heads and pray together. Father, we do thank you so much for the words that we've just sung together, and we thank you that Jesus Christ finished his great work upon the cross in dealing with our sin. And in winning for us, eternal life and salvation, and a righteousness of God. A righteousness, not of our own, but 1 from you gifted to us in the gospel. And at Lord Jesus, we thank you that all of the scriptures are about you, that they testify to you.

They reveal you to us. They point us to your your deeds, your nature, your work. And we pray that you would help us not to fall into the same trap that the leaders fell into in that we would be very good at studying the Scriptures, but very bad at hearing the voice of Jesus in the Scriptures. Help us to hear you to have our lives changed and redirect it by your powerful word this evening in Jesus' name. Amen.

Well, I want you to imagine that you're in the first century, you're you're a young you're a young lad. You're growing up in a very orthodox Jewish home, and everything is as you would expect in a house like that. It's orthodox. Absolutely orthodox. So you're a young boy, you are circumcised on the eighth day.

You are greatly privileged in that you are of the tribe of Benjamin. You are a Hebrew of Hebrews. You grow up and your whole calendar and your whole life is built around the rhythms. Of scripture and festival and offering and prayer, you live your life under the rhythms of all that your fathers would have lived under You grow up in the traditions of your fathers. You are bathed in the traditions of your fathers, and your whole life is your whole life is Jewish.

Through and through. And then when you get a bit older, you begin training as a rabbi, and you give yourself to studying, scriptures, to mastering the scriptures, to knowing the stories, knowing the Torah, and the oral traditions that went with that, knowing the words of the prophets, and you become very familiar with all of that, and you give yourself to Abraham and to Moses, and these topics become your life They become your specialty. They become what you want to give yourself to. They become the thing you want to teach to other people. You then, on top of that, gain some business skill along the way.

You become financially well off you are a middle to upper class person within your society until eventually you are invited to become a leader of your people. And you realize that if righteousness could be attained by the law, then you are blameless. If you could be righteous just through observance of the traditions, then you would be the 1 that everyone would look up do. And then 1 day you meet this builder who you've heard about a little bit and has been causing a bit of a stir, who only seems to be able to gather prostitutes and fishermen. And he says to you, in front of all of your friends, you have never heard God's voice, and you don't believe in Moses.

I mean, if you thought Will Smith's slap in the face was insulting, I I don't know how more offensive, you could be. They Jesus could be. I mean, it's absolutely shocking, isn't it? The only thing that would be worse than this is if he claimed the things that you love for himself. And then look what he does in verse 46.

The things that you have given yourself to and trained for, if you believed Moses, you would believe me for he wrote about me. See, maybe you've heard of the phrase turf wars. Now, a turf war is a struggle between gangs over who controls a particular area. Now, if they both stick to their own postcode. If they both stick to their own area, there's going to be no conflict.

The reason that there is tension is because they both lay claim to the same turf. That's what gives rise to the conflict. And that plays out even between world powers. So you think about the Gaza strip, you think about the West Bank, you know, you've got these 2 world powers, Israel and Palestine, laying claim to the same grounds, and that leads to tension. And the same kind of thing is true when it comes to thought and religion and world views.

It's what's going on here. There are certain things Moses, the prophets, the Sabbath, which kicked off this whole debate, certain things which belong to the leaders, or so they think, this is their turf. This is their patch. They own this stuff. Moses's Sabbath, prophets, Scriptures, they own this turf.

And therefore, if Jesus just traveled around doing carpentry, there would be no conflict. Do you see that? Or if he went around doing a few miracle and gathering a crowd, there would be no conflict, even if he came in his own name, claiming to be a Messiah that would fit neatly within their system, there would be no conflict. The problem is not only does he say they know nothing about the areas in which they profess to be experts, he lays claim to that turf for himself. Moses belongs to him.

The prophets are about him. Yahweh spends his days testifying to him. The sabbath is about him. And so there is conflict, big conflict. And so this is where we are in John's gospel.

Last week, you could say that when the leaders came to Jesus, was on the defensive. If you look back at 5 verse 16, he says, so because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him in his defense. Jesus said to them. And so, if he begins on the back foot, by the end of that section, he's anything but on the back foot. In fact, last week we saw He was not just laying claim to their turf.

He was walking all over their turf, making some enormous claims to pick just 1 verse 24. Very truly, I tell you whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged, but has crossed over from death to life. It is through the living word of Christ that people crossover from life to death. That's a big claim. And this week, what he's doing in this passage is 2 things.

He's now going to justify all of those claims that he made, and he's going to explain the main reason why they don't believe. Those are the 2 things going on in this passage. He's going to justify the claims he's made. What gives him the right to lay claim to that turf, and he's going to explain why they, in the end, have nothing to do with it. And so let's begin before we get into this passage, just by looking at verse 31, It's quite an interesting verse, isn't it?

Verse 31, if I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. That sounds a bit strange, doesn't it? Are we to think from now on that whenever Jesus makes a claim about himself or his mission, that it can't be trusted, because he's testifying about himself. And therefore, it's not true.

It can't be trusted. Well, no. What he's doing here, it's quite important for understanding this passage, is he's entering into their legal world. He's going to frame this discussion in a way which they're going to understand. So you might know in the old testament that every matter particularly legal matters had to be established by the testimony of 2 or 3 witnesses.

You know, it was very important to have multiple witnesses if you were going to say something particularly in court, and that's what Jesus is doing now. He's entering into that legal world. So to give you an illustration, it's a bit like if you've ever signed a, you know, signed a form for a mortgage or a will or, you know, a very important form, you often have to have not only your signature, but the signature of a witness. There's a space for a witness signature. And we know when we read those that we can't we can't sign both of those ourselves.

You know, I can't sign off the document and then witness myself signing a legal document. I've got to get somebody else to prove that this is what I did. I understood what I read and to sign it off. Jesus is doing that kind of thing here. Of course, every word he speaks is true.

But he's going to bring multiple witnesses into the courtroom to leave them these leaders without excuse. And so what we need to do this evening is to get inside this courtroom drama. John, who wrote this gospel, is inviting us into the public gallery this evening. We're going in there, we're gonna sit in the public gallery and we're gonna listen as Jesus calls his witnesses and then brings down brings down the verdict. That's how this passage is structured and so we're going to look at 5 witnesses.

The first 1 is John The Baptist. The first witness to be called into the court is John the Baptist. Have a look at verse 33 to 35. You have sent to John, and he has testified to the truth Not that, I accept human testimony, but I mention it that you may be saved. John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light.

Now as we know, from John 1, verse 6 and 7, when John the Baptist is first introduced to us, his whole life is 1 of witnessing. I am not the light. I have come to testify to the light. We are introduced to him as a witness. And that is how Jesus is using him here.

John's whole life was a life of testimony. It was only a human testimony, Jesus says. In other words, it's not the weightiest. This isn't the witness with the most clout, It's only a human testimony. But nonetheless, it is a ministry of salvation.

I mentioned that ministry so that you might be saved. The ministry of John The Baptist was a salvation ministry. And notice he says that these leaders enjoyed that ministry for a time. You see the end of verse 35. It's quite interesting, isn't it?

He was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light. It's as if Jesus is saying, look between the close of the Old Testament, and the arrival of John The Baptist, there was something like 400 years of prophetic darkness. You know, the word of God hadn't been heard of fresh. By a fresh prophet. And then John, the Baptist comes on the scene, wearing what the traditional prophets would have worn coming from the place where they would have come, speaking about the coming of the Messiah.

And he's saying, look, you sent to him, and there was a sense in which you bathed in the warmth of his light. You enjoyed something of fresh revelation from God for a time. And so what went wrong? Well, what went wrong is that they quickly discovered that John The Baptist was going to go for their religious system. Do you remember when he said to them, do not begin to say to yourselves, we have Abraham as our father.

For I tell you that out of these stones, God can raise up children for Abraham. Doesn't need you. He can raise up children from from from these days. The ax lies ready at the root of the trees. And every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

Doesn't matter who you are. Doesn't matter what religious privilege you think you have. Jude, gentile, Slay free, unless you repent, unless you produce fruit, you will not be saved. And so you can see why his initial shine began to wear off because John the Baptist went for their system. And yet Jesus is saying here, witness number 1, just remember that initial warmth.

You were prepared to listen for a while. You were ready to respond for a season. Go back and think about that. Think about that. And know that John was pointing to me.

Just as a by the way, it's sad how this sort of thing can happen, isn't it? You know, when people first hear the word of God, there can be a sense which they come to life, they enjoy its warmth, they bathe in its light. They're ready to respond, looking to respond. But as she's time goes on, the word of God can begin to lose its warmth. We can grow cold to it, as Jesus keeps wanting to address things in our lives and speak to us, we can grow we can grow hard to it.

Jesus is saying recover something of that initial enthusiasm you had before you went cold. Second number witness. Second witness. The works. So we've had John the Baptist.

Here are the works. And and here does come a witness with even more clout. Have a look at verse 36. I have a testimony. Wait here.

Than that of John. For the works that the father has given me to finish, the very works that I am doing testify that the father has sent me. And this this word works is not the normal word for mirror call. You know, when we first read it, we might think, oh, he's talking about the miracles. And it does include that, but this is the more general word for, you know, actions for deeds, for for stuff that is done, things done.

In other words, Jesus is saying, look at the miracles, They testify about me, but look beyond that. I'm saying everything that I do and everything that I say and all that I think and everyone that I interact with, and wherever I go, all of that testifies about me. And not just the stuff I'm doing now, the stuff that I will go on to do, the works that are going to be finished, And so there, he has in view that great work of dying a sinner's death on the cross for us, saying it is finished. Which is recorded in John's gospel, finishing the great work of the cross, and then on to the resurrect That's what is included here. The works, in other words, my whole life and speech testify about me.

1 writer says, in principle, the works, embrace the whole unending and world transforming work of the risen lord, as he moves on through the ages and among the nation saving, renewing, healing, liberating, inspiring, lifting, come efforting and directing all who come to God by him. That's what these works are. It's the risen lord Jesus moving through all of time and across the world, all that he does. Test to guys that he is from the father. That's a pretty weighty witness, isn't it?

John the Baptist has come. He's left. The works have come in. They've testified. They're about to leave the courtroom.

Thirdly, witness number 3 the scriptures. Have a look at verse 39 to 40. You study the scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. And you might see at the bottom of your bibles an alternative translation there of verse 39, is not you study the scriptures.

In other words, this is what you do. There's it can take on a command. Study the scriptures. Studies the scriptures, do what you do. Search them diligently.

Look at them. You think that in them you have life. But you don't because you don't come to me. You see what Jesus is saying to them? You study the scriptures and on 1 level, you have mastered them.

But you have never heard God speak. And you don't have life because you won't come to me. In other words, Jesus is saying here, It's not the scriptures, and it's not studying the scriptures that gives eternal life. As if just handing them out an encouraging study would give eternal life. It's the son, the scriptures reveal, which gives life.

He is the 1. It's the Christ of the Scriptures. Who gives eternal life. You study the scriptures diligently thinking that in them you have life, you don't because you don't come to me. I'm the life giver I'm the 1 who springs forth from the Scriptures as the great revelation of God.

You've gotta come to me to have life. But then equally, we can't divide the scriptures from the sun. Right? And this is where we could go wrong the other way. And this is where we could break the second commandment.

Because we could recreate a Jesus in our own image and so stress our own personal relationship with Jesus that we find that he's actually got nothing to do with the scriptures at all. It's just a stressing of my relationship with Christ, but it is no Christ because it's not the Christ of the script And so Jesus is saying the father's revelation to this world is me, but you meet me in the word. And so Jewish leaders, it's not that God hasn't spoken. That you haven't heard him because you won't come to me, the 1 whom all the scriptures are about. That's witness number 3.

John the Baptist, the works, the scriptures. Number 4, There's Moses. Verse 45, but do not think I will accuse you before the father. Your accuser is Moses. Imagine that.

I mean, your accuser is Moses on whom your hopes are set. If you believed Moses, you would believe me. For he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say? I think that may be the most devastating of all.

They had given their lives to Moses. I mean, they were children of Abraham, and they were students of Moses. That's who they were. And Jesus says, you don't believe Moses. You don't believe him.

Because you don't come to me. It's interesting according to 1 writer, there's some evidence that many Jews believed. That in heaven, Moses actually interceded for them. But that's what Moses was doing in heaven. He was interceding for people like this.

And if these people believe that, it's double devastating, isn't it? Because Jesus is saying to them, The 1 you think is interceding for you now is in fact your chief accuser. He is not praying for you. He's accusing you before the father. Because you don't believe me.

Moses looked forward to the day when a prophet like him, but so much greater than him, a an an inflect a a prophet with a word of God with skin on. Would come, but they won't come. And so he has become their chief accuser. It's interesting in the Easter experience. Now we've done a couple of updates about it.

We have hundreds of children coming coming through. And after they'd been through the the the Easter drama, we had them all here and they asked questions, and we could give give answers to them. And 1 of the questions that came up a couple of times was why did people want to kill Jesus? And this is it this is the answer isn't it? Because of this sort of language that he used before the leaders.

That's witness number 4. Lastly, Here's the chief witness. If the jury were unpersuaded at this point, here's the chief witness, and it's the father. Verse 32. There is another who testifies in my favor.

And I know that his testimony about me is true. And then 5 times throughout the rest of these verses, He talks about the father. See, there's a sense in verse 32 that that the father is not just 1 of the witnesses, but he is the great witness who is always pointing all the time in every way through every other means to his son Jesus, that the father is the 1 who testified to Jesus through John the Baptist. That it was the father testifying to Christ through the works that Christ was giving, that it was the father who testified to Jesus through the scriptures, through Moses. He is the chief witness because in a million ways, the father is always saying This is my son.

This is what I'm all about. This is why every scripture was penned. It's why every prophet was sent because I want you to see cry he testifies to Christ. In all of his revelation, he wants us to see Christ. He is the chief witness.

And so it goes without saying, but it's worth underlining that any any religion or any version of Christianity without Christ as the climax of God's revelation has nothing to do with God. Because God spends his whole life testifying to his glorious son. He's the chief witness. And so the evidence here is overwhelming. They came to Jesus in verse 16 to put him on trial for stepping on their turf.

Jesus has flipped the script on them. He's put them on trial. He's called his witnesses. He's proved without doubt that all the turf belongs to him, and he can walk all over it as much as he likes. And now after serving as the prosecution, he's now going to serve as the judge.

And so here is the verdict. We've had the 5 witnesses. This is the verdict. And what we're gonna see now is that although unbelief can sound rational, The reason I don't believe in God is because there isn't enough evidence. The reason that I don't believe in God is because of science.

It can unbelief can sound rational. What we're going to see now is that the deepest reason for unbelief is not evidence based it's moral. It's a it's a moral commitment to not coming to him that keeps people out of the kingdom. Jesus has said to these leaders, you have the evidence, and he appeals to sources that they all know. John, the Baptist, you heard, the works you saw, the scriptures you read.

Moses, you love. The problem is not a lack of evidence. It's moral. It's a moral problem that keeps you from coming. Essentially, I'm reading this this book at the moment called atheist Overreach, about the way in which atheism as a world view tries tries claim things that just don't don't belong to it.

And in the book, the author quotes a Nobel Prize winner for Physics who died last year called Stephen Weinberg. And he he engages with some of his arguments, but then he quotes this he quotes this interview that Stephen gave in 2003, I think. And he says he says, maybe at the very bottom of it, I just don't like God. You know, it's silly to say I don't like God because I don't believe in God. But the God of traditional Judaism and Christianity and Islam, so he's lumping all those together seems to me to be a terrible character.

I just don't like him. He said in another he said in another interview, the steady state theory, which I know nothing about, but apparently it's an alternative to the big bang. The steady state theory is philosophically the most attractive theory. Why? Because it least resembles the account given in Genesis.

It's an amazing thing for a Nobel Prize winning physicist to say, isn't it? It seems to be the most attractive because it's the truest Because it's got most evidence. No. Because it least resembles the account given in Genesis. Now I know not every scientist would talk that way, But it's hinting at something, isn't it?

That the deepest reason for unbelief is not rational, it's moral. Look what Jesus says in verse 39 to 40. You study the scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life These are the very scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me. To have life. And why won't they come?

That's the question below, isn't it? What what what is powering this moral opposition to Christ, it's idolatry. You see verse 42, I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. I have come in my father's name, and you do not accept me. But if someone comes in his own name, you will accept him.

How can you believe, here it is? Since you accept glory from 1 another, but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God, namely Christ. Me. Jesus said in the sermon on the mount, Matthew 6, to the disciples, when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets. To be honored by others.

And that is what it was all about. It was about the glory that comes from other men, separating themselves from the crowds, confident in their own works, in love with their own power, this cycle of praising and being praised. And in that, there was no space for the living god. Would they make space for someone? Who came in their own name, who fitted into that system, who played that game easily, easily.

But the 1 who comes in the father's name, to attack that religion, and show up that hypocrisy and demand that it be left for a new way of the cross. Well, that was never gonna fit. Unbelief is a worship issue. That's what Jesus is saying. It's like when Paul says in Romans 1, that we suppress the knowledge of God.

It's not that we can't see any. We know that God is speaking loud and clear to us, through creation, through the scriptures, through our conscience, through the gospel, we are surrounded by god knowledge all the time, but we suppress it. We sit on it. We push it down. Someone described it like trying to hold a beach ball underwater.

You know, we're holding it down all the time. And why do we do that? Because we want to worship images that look like us. We want to explain how we got here. And define who we are and live our lives without reference to God.

And that is so active to us because it glorifies us. We can explain everything. We can define who we are. We can live our own way. We can look to our own experts.

It it's a cycle of praising and praising other men. And in that, there is no space for Jesus. And so if you look at it, from a purely rational perspective, this should be an open and shut case. But it's not, and verse 44 tells us why. You accept glory from 1 another.

But do not seek the glory that comes from the only God. Mountains of evidence will make no difference until that is repented of. And so if that's the verdict of Jesus, Let me finish with this last and seventh point. What is your verdict? What's your verdict on all of Because for us here, the reality is we have all the evidence that the Jewish leaders had and more.

Verse 39, Jesus says the scriptures testify to me, and if that true of the old testament and Moses, what if you happen to have the whole thing? What if you got a hold of the new testament? See if there are any non christians here or any non christians listening online, it might be that you've got big questions about science and the bible and how it all fits together, and that's fine. No 1 wants to dismiss questions like that. But we have to recognize this bigger issue that in our hearts, there is a resistance to God.

And a desire to solve our own issues, and that needs repenting of. We might think that our lives are the turf that belongs to us. That's our turf. But Jesus Christ is our God and our maker. It's his turf.

And he demands that we repent and trust in him. And the good news is that Christ is actually holding out his hands this evening. All of these witnesses, he's saying, believe them. Believe them. Come to me and live.

And if we're Christians here, how does this apply how does this apply to Well, I think it's it's it's possible for us, isn't it? Maybe even easy for us to fall into the same trap as these leaders. You see, none of us here who are well taught in Christian things would ever deny that God has spoken. We all believe that. But the different question is, do we hear his voice?

See, did the pharisees believe the bible? Well, yes and no, isn't it? I mean, yes. Yes. They they studied it.

They gave their lives to studying it. But no, because they didn't they didn't hear it. They didn't hear it. And so I guess the question for us would be, do we do we hear God's voice Does it act as the Word of Christ in the Scriptures make a real difference to our lives, really? Do we hear him Or are we just into bible study and sermon sampling and diligent scripture study?

You know, what are we into? That or hearing God's voice in a real way that Jesus is making the difference as we hear him. And then who do we look to when it comes to defining us and explaining us and helping us Where do we go? Do we mainly look to the gurus of the day? The the secular counselors, if you like.

The YouTubers, the perfect politicians, the scientists, the life coaches. You know, the influences are those the voice that make the most difference to our lives. Are they who we subscribe to, listen to, build our lives around those voices? Or are we listening to the words of the Lord Jesus Christ? Is he making the real is he the 1 we look to to shape and guide our lives?

Or if we fallen into a religion with no space for Jesus. You see, those really are the 2 ways to live. There's a system which glorifies man where we explain everything. We just look to our own advice our own counsel, our own ways of relating to God. Or there's this way which glorifies God, which is to listen and leave and live and trust and hear the Word of Christ in the scriptures.

Let's pray together that we would have open ears to hearing our savior. Just give you a minute to think through all of those witnesses. John the Baptist and the works of Jesus and the scriptures that point to him and Moses that testifies to him and the father above all testifying to him. And to think of we of we just become diligent studies. But people who don't really hear Christ.

Heavenly father, we are we are sorry and pray that you would forgive us. And we confess our sin to you that that we are that we can be like these leaders sometimes, that we we are into systems which which just give glory to ourselves. We think that we can solve our own problems We think that we see things clearly. We think that we can get right with you without Christ. We look to other men to shape us and influence us and tell us what's worth living for.

And we don't come to you The word of the living god, the word made flesh. We thank you Holy Spirit for inviting us into this courtroom today. Thank you for showing us all of these different witnesses, which with 1 voice point to Jesus, our Lord and Savior. And we pray that we would not be that we would not be like these leaders who who who looked at the scriptures, even studied them, even studied them diligently, but wouldn't come to Jesus. We pray that you'd help us not to be sermon samplers who who listen out just for whatever we wanna hear or don't hear.

But those who are not thinking, how do I hear my savior through this word? How how how's the voice of God coming to me and shaping me changing me. Lord was sorry that in the name of religion, we can so easily shut the door in Jesus' face. And we pray that you would help us to be real listeners, believers, who love the evidence, and come with all of our hearts and follow the evidence to its conclusion to Christ our savior. We pray for our our world as well, and we as Garrett was saying about these Easter services, we pray that there would be there would be those who don't know Christ amongst us.

And that as as the word of God is opened, the voice of Christ would be heard, and that people would lay aside their moral objections to him, turn from them. And come to find life in the sun. This Easter we pray. And we thank you for all of these things this evening in Jesus' name, amen.

Preached by Tom Sweatman
Tom Sweatman photo

Tom is an Assistant Pastor at Cornerstone and lives in Kingston with his wife Laura and their two children.

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