John – The Writers Series – Josh Petersen (6-23-19)

John - The Writers Series - Josh Petersen (6-23-19)

if you could have one statement and only one be true of you for the rest of your life what would it be it needs to be the kind of statement that would allow you to be the best you every single day it needs to be the kind of statement that would allow you to navigate trouble and difficulty it would need to be the kind of statement that allowed you to feel like you mattered what would it be for me it's really simple I am loved if I could live every day wake up every day and believe that until I went to sleep every day I believed that my life would be dramatically different and the trouble is a lot of us would say well I do know that but we don't know know that we agree with it up here but it doesn't really permeate all parts of our life because I know for me if I believed believed that I was loved then my confidence would be different I'd have an ability to enter into uncertainty or difficulty differently my sense of belonging and and mattering and being seen in the world would be different my sense of significance or purpose the reason that I exist would be different if I just knew knew knew that I was loved because whether you consciously thought of it today or not you have been pursuing this phrase just like I have all of your life like from your very first breath you have been wanting to know that you are loved you've been wanting to be able to say I loved and as adults we we pursue it in a variety of ways we think certain things are going to allow us to be loved or become more lovable and so as adults we will pursue things like sex the more of it we have the more we're loved or if we have that then we are loved for others of us it's success we pursue success if I achieve a certain title or rank well I'll be loved by at least everybody that reports to me or if I start making a certain amount of money and I can buy a certain kind of car in a certain kind of house for my family and I can give to people generously will then they'll love me we're so needy for it that human beings actually invented a way by which we can sense that we are loved we call it social media isn't it interesting that on things like Instagram and Twitter the way that you like something is in the shape of a heart and we will post something and regularly go back to see how many people have liked it or okayed it or commented on it and when it does we literally chemically get a shot of dopamine in our brain and we feel really good and we tell ourselves I am loved and in the moments where we struggle to feel it in the moments where we're not as certain that we are and we we say that to somebody what do they do automatically they will sit down they will put their arm around you ankle while you're loved I love you your mama loves you right like we will just go down a list of all the ways that we're loved and oh and the people that love us and and my only question is this why do we need to be reminded if if every single one of us would have somebody sit down next to us today and go you are loved I know you're loved look it I love you why then do we need to be reminded why don't we just know wit and live in it and believe it and have you noticed that when you if it well you maybe haven't noticed this if you've never shopped at Helzberg Diamonds and believe me I only shop there one time they give you a button that looks just like that it says I am loved and I'm like I just spent like my my at that point 21 year life savings on a ring she doesn't know she's loves she needs a button too but we do this right like there this isn't the only one there's all kinds of woman we wear them to remind ourselves and to remind everybody else we are loved we need it it just allows us to function differently in life if we have that what's interesting is when we don't believe that or we don't know that it cripples our ability to love other people you have all kinds of friendships and family members some of which came from a home where they heard all the time that they were loved others of which never heard it and you can see a difference in the way that they navigate this world and that's not a statement of who's better or worse it's just a statement of when we're loved it changes how we do life I would go so far as to say this when you know you're loved love is all you know it permeates every part of your being every part of your identity who you are and how you conduct business as you is affected by knowing that you are loved and there's no better example of this principle and how this works than a guy named John now we're not going to talk this morning about John the Baptist we're talking about John the disciple the follower the guy that literally followed Jesus all over the place John wrote a ton of the New Testament in fact five books of it revelation but that after he wrote first second third John which was after he wrote the Gospel of John there's just a ton from John he knew Jesus really really well but before he met Jesus he was in line to inherit his dad's business as dad was a successful fishermen and he had brought John and John's brother on and they were working for him and you got to assume that the idea was one day dad will retire and then we are going to be bosses and we're gonna make a lot of money and we're gonna be great fishermen we're gonna go global and all that kind of stuff I'm sure that was the plan and then one day this kind of wild-eyed rabbi from Nazareth shows up on the shore and he says hey John I know you got a lot of plans I know you got a lot of dreams I know you've got a path kind of set for you but follow me you're not gonna be a Fisher of a fish you're gonna be a Fisher of men I got a whole new bag for you and what's amazing is that John went with him he literally stands up in the boat looks at his dad who's like built an empire for him and goes sorry pops going with this guy and walks off with Jesus spends the next three and a half years eating sleeping walking watching listening I mean is just incredible to think about getting to be John but John saw amazing over and over and over again this is amazing things happen to all of the time and and I want to look at a few of those ideas just so that you understand where he's coming from when we look at what I think is the most profound thing he ever said John got to see amazing healing think about this John was there when jesus healed the royal officers son he was there John was there when the guy who had never walked before walked all because Jesus said to walk John was there when the blind man could see again John was there are you ready for this John was there when Jesus hollers into a tomb and his old friend Lazarus and Lazarus who'd been dead walks out John was there I'm if I was there I think I would have ran the other way I mean that would have been like terrifying right but John was there he got to see that happen he saw amazing healing over and over again John saw amazing water in two particular ways one he saw Jesus take normal everyday water that was just in some jars and turned it into wine and not just any old wine the wine that made the guy jump up and down this is the best wine ever John was there he tasted it John was in the boat when Jesus walked on the water seriously think about that for a minute getting to see that with your own eyes I mean that's amazing but it wasn't just water John also saw amazing food John was there when Jesus had gathered all of these people now we counted as 5,000 but that was 5,000 men and so just for fun I always assumed that every man was married and they had two kids from American dream in the middle of Israel right and so do the math that's more like 20,000 people out in this field and John was one of the disciples that comes up to Jesus and go hey man you need to send them home they're getting hungry and hangry and so we need to send them home so that they can get some food and Jesus says well what do you got well this kid's got two fish and five loaves but that's not even gonna feed Peter and Jesus just starts breaking bread and passing it out John was one of the guys carrying a basket that was full of leftovers at the end of that meal he watched Jesus feed a stadium of people with nothing and he amay he experienced amazing sacrifice John was there when they beat Jesus mercilessly he was there when they pounded the spikes through his body and hung him on the cross in fact John was there at the foot of the cross when Jesus himself drowning in his own bodily fluids looks down and says will you take care of my mom can you imagine that and then John was there when there was no one there at the tomb and he watched Jesus live again what's amazing though is John spends most of his writing not talking about those things John unlike his friend Matthew who wrote all about Jesus teaching I mean John Matthew loved the red letters he loved to put the words of Jesus in what he wrote John takes a very different approach john spends more time talking about Jesus having individual conversations with people like the woman at the well I just find that focus to be interesting it says something about how John understood Jesus who he knew Jesus to be but that pales in comparison to the title that John gives himself and this is the thing that I think's the most profound thing he ever said it's the title he gives himself a title that only he uses for himself Matthew doesn't refer to him this way mark doesn't Luke doesn't Paul doesn't James doesn't none of the writers refer to John with this title only John and when you first hear it you're gonna be like it's kind of arrogant but I think it says something amazing about Jesus and you this is what John writes about himself Peter turned around and saw behind them the disciple Jesus loved the one who had leaned over to Jesus during supper and there's all kinds of interesting things about the fact that John could lean over and talk to Jesus because in the old days where you were seated at the table in accordance with who was at the head of the table that was a big deal and John was right next to Jesus but that let's just talk about what he called himself he called himself the disciple Jesus loved and Bartholomew who goes what about me man why are you the disciple that Jesus loved didn't he love all of us doesn't he love the whole world I mean you wrote that in the first in the third chapter of your little letter here you said God so loved the whole world but now you're saying you're the disciple that he loved his is john insinuating that jesus had a favorite that's what a lot of people think right that's what they assumed that Jesus had like a besties and his name was John because he was the one he loved is John insinuating that Jesus did all that he did really ultimately just for one or are we cutting short the infiniteness of Jesus I think we are I think we misunderstand what John is saying he's not saying he's the one he's saying he's just one that Jesus loved and he needs to be reminded of that he needs to tell himself that on a regular basis just like we do I was the one Jesus loved and because Jesus is infinite his love is a lot like falling in a bottomless pit now I know you've never done that because as far as I know we haven't found a bottomless pit yet but imagine how long would you fall in a bottomless pit it's not a trick question you would fall forever forever and ever and ever and ever and ever you'd always be falling you'd never hit the bottom because it's a bottomless pit you would just keep falling and at some point what science has found is you would reach terminal velocity and then you would maintain that speed of falling for all of eternity some of us are like that sounds absolutely terrifying it's a metaphor because here's what's interesting if you add a second person to the bottomless pit does it affect your falling in the least No and how long will they fall forever and how fast will they be falling terminal velocity just like you and you could put hundreds of thousands you could put seven billion people in the bottomless pit and they would all be falling for ever and we'd look at each other as we were sailing down and go are you falling yes I'm falling as fast as I can and you'd go are you – yeah I'm falling as fast as I can and we would not have arguments about who was falling faster or who was falling further we were just all falling this is the love of Jesus it is a bottomless pit you can't hit the bottom or the top however you want to think of this and you can add all kinds of people and we are all maximally loved by Jesus because he's God and so when John says I am the one that Jesus loved I'm the disciple that Jesus loved Jesus goes yes you are and if Peter came along because you know he would he goes but I'm the one that Jesus hey remember you saw as the rock you're gonna build the church on me Jesus go you're the one I love – cuz we're all gonna do this so so John is not making a statement about his position as if he's better than anybody else he's making a statement about his identification its identification over position John saying this is who I am I am one that Jesus loved fully that's so much how I define myself and understand myself that I forgot my name in my own book he never refers to himself in the Gospel of John as John Matthew referred to himself as Matthew Mark is Mark Luke is Luke but John he's the disciple Jesus loved it was his everything and everything else was shaped by colored by seasoned by that reality and from there John goes on to teach a lot he records a lot of what Jesus did a lot of what Jesus said he writes a couple few more letters he gets to Revelation which is very interesting but not where we're gonna go today but John says a couple of interesting things in his gospel to kind of say and now what if this is who you are now what this is what he writes towards the end of the gospel it says this disciple the one Jesus loved is the one who testifies to these events and has recorded them here it's so important to John that you understand the one giving testimony here is the one Jesus loved not some random person the one Jesus loved and what's interesting about the word he uses testify if you look up what it means to testify or give testimony in a court of law this is the dictionary definition to give evidence as a witness and here's what's amazing he's being a witness John is being a witness to Jesus life in the words that he's giving us he's making a convincing argument and a lot of us believe that that's the way to do it . let's make a convincing argument and convince other people that they're wrong were right jesus was exactly who he said he was but what's what's interesting is we forget the first part of what it means to testify and that to provide evidence what evidence did John have think about this Jesus was not in the tomb Jesus was not any longer walking around on earth he had ascended right you get to the end of the Gospels he goes up to be with the Father and we are still waiting for him to come back so it's not like John can go and let me introduce you to Jesus here he is what evidence does he have himself and what we see is John starts to more than anyone else in all of the New Testament attach God's love for us to our love for others and I believe he starts to make the argument that you watch how I interact with you I'm just doing what Jesus did because there's this point where Jesus sat us all down and John records this in the sixth chapter of his gospel there's this point where Jesus set us down and he said listen I want you to love other people not how you want to be loved I want you to love other people how I have loved you if you understand that you are loved by me then you go and love other people you've got to live this out and so what John starts pointing to over and over again is a description over a prescription he doesn't just talk about it he doesn't just write the notes down and hand it over to people he lives it out John had a very robust ministry career if we could put it that way helpfully to church in Ephesus eventually he's exiled to Patmos which is an island because of what he was saying and believing and teaching and then at some point he comes off island and spends the rest of his days probably in Ephesus again and you know what's interesting legend says that his last words we don't have it recorded in Scripture but his last words were constant he'd say him over and over again little children love one another that just became the drum he beat all the time why because when you know you're loved love is all you know when you fully grasp the depth of God's love for you it changes you it changes how you move and breathe and talk and interact with people that are just like you and people that are nothing like you because it's your definition it's your identification I am the one loved by Jesus this is what John shows us over and over and over again it's so profound he says it's so clearly in first John which is one of his letters he this is how he puts it he says this is real love real love is not that we loved God it's not that we did anything for him to like us we didn't earn it because we are not good that's so real love is not that you were generous or sacrificial or you know humble or meek or whatever they like that's not that's not love love is that God loved you and sent his son as a sacrifice to take away your sin or our sins that's love that while you were still a wretch while you were still messed up well you still had all the wrong answers to all the wrong questions then your life was a hot dumpster fire God loves you so much so that he says he sent his son for you the great God summoned you into a relationship looked at you and said I want you I want you I want you I gotta have you what are we gonna do to get together I'll send my son to pay for your sins so you don't have to pay for it so that you could know the full character of who I am and then he sacrificed himself to make it all happen God loves you more than you can possibly possibly imagine because here's the deal I love you but I'm not giving up one of my four boys for you God gave up his one this is pretty profound and what's amazing to me is then John doesn't say God loves you this much so you better love him you know he says he says dear friends since God loves us that much we surely ought to love each other if God loves us enough to make that kind of sacrifice to want that much of a relationship with us that he would send Jesus to die brutally on a cross for you the healed better live that out in your life you better love each other love each other that's that's what we begin to know it's just who we are it becomes our definition not because we're loving but because we're loved do you see the difference there John was loving not because he was loving in and of himself he was loving because he was loved he understood he was loved and that changed everything and it became less about a list of good things to do as a Christian and more the very DNA of his person and so what John talks about over and over again is being over doing it's about who you are not this because we can all do it right whether you go to church every week or not you're a Christian or not we all got a list of like this is what a good person would do but John says it's supposed to be who you are because that's who Jesus was and is love should be all you know because when you know you're loved love is all you know and so I've been wrestling with this a lot lately about the reputation of the church in America you googled that lately it's not good this isn't an overly thing to fun thing to be associated with these days we're hypocrites we're judgmental we're all kinds of like ugly things and what's amazing to me is when we hear things like that our response is usually well that's them that's them putting something on us but maybe it's not them at all maybe it's us maybe it's us not being as loving as we should be and why would we not be as loving as we should be because maybe we don't know that we're loved if you thought about that like we all show up to church and we agree with a bunch of stuff right and we sing the songs and like I literally have lived in a church my whole life like for 38 years I every Sunday unless we're not in the state or I am vomiting actively I'm at church that was the rule and it's the rule today I've heard a hundred thousand times that Jesus loves me in fact when I was a kid they taught me a song jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so but I don't know that I know know it I don't know that I operate from that place because if I did it would change how I operate a hundred percent so how do we get to the place where we know no this like it's in our bones it's in our soul it's it's just the natural way of doing life for us versus having to try to to get to a certain level of being loving and we just accept that we are loved I was driving home from vacation late a very long drive and at one point everybody was either asleep or pretending to be asleep and so I thought I had it just like a moment me in Jesus and it it hit me like like a ton of bricks and I had to literally admit to God that I was afraid of him yes I get paid to be a church no I'm like a pastor guy and I should know better but I'm afraid of God I'm afraid I'm gonna make him mad I've been serving in my whole life but I'm afraid he's gonna get mad and he just can't wait to get me that he be grudgingly kind of loves me because that's like in his job description as god I I don't know that I've ever really known that I'm loved by him like John did like where my identity is not Josh my identity becomes the one Jesus loves so this is what I've been doing since and I'm gonna encourage you to try it for a week and if at the end of the week you're like this didn't help me at all you can move on to the next thing but I believe that this might help reshape some of your understanding not just of God but of who you are in relationship to God through Jesus start every day with this question not where's the coffee start every day with Who am I Who am I what is my identity and it'll be really natural for you to go my name is Josh well you won't say my name is Josh you know what I mean like you're gonna give your name and then you might fill it in further with and this is my job and these are my kids and the like this is the definition of me I'm gonna encourage you to simplify it so much and never use your name again when you answer this question instead use this phrase I'm the one Jesus loves and you know what's amazing John will not be bothered that you stole his title he'll go you get it you get why I use that title for me so you start every day with I'm the one Jesus loves and here's what's amazing some of you are sitting here today and you're going but I'm not a Christian good news jesus loves you some of you are gonna go well I don't go to church like regularly I kind of forgot that it wasn't Easter at Christmas today jesus loves you and you've maybe been a Christian your entire life and you've done it really really well jesus loves you for those of us that have taken a few missteps along the way jesus loves you we're all falling in this pit some of us just need to accept it that's the key and so the next natural question is yeah but how do I know that how do I know Jesus loves me start here John who was the one that Jesus loves tells you that Jesus came and died on a cross for your sin not because he had to but because he loved you the guy who saw all the amazing the guy who walked with Jesus all the time he's telling you I was there the tomb is empty y'all so when I tell you that Jesus loves you you can take it to the bank because he loved me just a fisherman start there and then just start counting your likes most of us call them blessings but we live so unaware of the countless ways that God shows us that He loves us that he likes us simple little things like this morning I woke up it was raining outside but it wasn't raining on me I had a roof over my head and I woke up next to my very best friend in all of the universe and I get to be a part of this community and right like you just start going God likes me because these things are in my life and if you're here today going yeah but I don't got a whole lot of that right now right like good for you man that you can count blessings for me I'm counting the ways that it seems like God has let me down don't take God doing things according to his plan as not loving you because his plan is him loving you I promise it may not seem like it right now it might be really hard and really dark and really lonely but you have this to hold on to you're loved by the one who matters so even if every other adult or every other student or every other person in your life seems to have failed you and letting you know that you belong that you matter that you are loved know that the one who made them all loves you most and it might allow you to take just one more step through the hard times and then we ask okay if that's who I am and that's how I know Jesus died for me and then he's given me these things in my life and he's not left me alone then the third question is well what do I do really simple make sure they know to whoever they are that was John's drum be remember if you know that God loves you then you love others you love each other but that's just what it means if you really know that then this is gonna come out of you everyday all day and for me this is how I've been knowing that lately when when God looked at all of the people in all of the world he looked at me and he said I gotta have him he looked at all of us and he said I gotta have them you I have a friend that says every once in a while God loves us all but I'm his favorite and I think Jesus says yeah you are and so are they so are they so are they because I'm I'm God but think about that for a minute God sent for you God sacrificed for you it wasn't I like them it was bigger than I love them it's I gotta have them I gotta do this thing that's so incredible and difficult to get our head around as humans but God said I love them that much I gotta send my one and only Son for them and so I don't know what your story is right now some of you came in here with a heavy heavy heart some of you came in here completely alone some of you have forgotten what love even feels like but do you understand that the one who made something out of nothing looks at you and says I gotta have you and I'll pay the ultimate price to get you we all get the button we all get the button and we get to say I am loved no matter what that story is no matter what chapter were in the middle of and the more we get that the more we understand that the more we operate from that place we actually start to live the way that John hoped we would what he wanted for us because this is what he says at the very end of his biography on Jesus these are written all the signs all the conversations all the teaching these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah the son of God and then he goes on to say this and that by believing in him you will have life and not just life but life by the power of his name the way Jesus put this was life to the fullest John recorded Jesus saying that by the way that Jesus came to love on you so that you could love others and you would experience life to the fullest free from the guilt and the shame and the pain and the ugly that is the result of our sin and us trying to be king or queen John's life John's writings everything about him comes with this message God loves you so you love them let's pray Lord we will forget this I'll forget this so please remind us often we will forget that we are loved by you that you paid an incredible price to express that love to us we'll forget it in the sense that we won't live from that place and we'll maybe try to be more loving but we want to be people who love because we're loved and we really know it and we really believe it and we really get it so will you help us with that we help us with that lord please and still on our hearts this week that we are in fact loved by you amen as I've said a few times I mean the ultimate expression of God's love for you was in the sacrifice that Jesus made and we just cannot underestimate that in fact it was so paramount to the whole thing that just before Jesus died on the cross he gathered John and the rest of the disciples together and what we call the Last Supper and he said I'm about to make the ultimate sacrifice for you and it's it's my way it's the way of saying you are loved but you will forget it you'll not only forget that reality but you'll forget the way that I expressed it and so what he did was he gave some reminders and then the first reminder was bread he said from now on this bread represents my body that is about to be broken for you and every time you eat it I want you to remember I want you to pause and sit in it for a minute that you're that loved and then he took a glass of wine and he said this represents the blood that I'm about to shed for you because I love you but you'll forget so every time you drink this I want you to remember this truth remember the sacrifice remember the sending remember what I've told you and done for you so there's really the no perfect more perfect Sunday than today for us to celebrate communion together if you're here and you're like I'm not a Christian yet I are ever gonna be I don't know it's okay for you to not participate you can just pass it by nobody's gonna be bothered by that but if you are here's what I'm gonna ask you to do don't just eat it don't just drink it sit in the message that they convey remember the promise that Jesus has made Jackie's gonna sing a song for us that you've maybe heard before but I think so rightly summarizes the amazing truth that when God looks at us he says you are loved beyond what you can imagine to be the case and so lord as we listen to this song and we remember your sacrifice pray that you'd be present and Lord we're gonna we're gonna do this in a way where we get both elements at the same time so that we can do it at our own pace and so I just ask you to be speaking to the hearts and minds of everybody in this room and when we personally take the bread and take the cup we would be flooded with the reality that we are loved by the God of all things thank you Jesus amen you

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