Sermon:  The True Template

Summary:  In order to be a true disciple of Christ and to live faithfully as his followers 
in a world that is contrary to Christ, we have to not only be devoted to him with loyal love, 
but we need to know him truly as he is, and not some contrived version of him.  If we 
know him as he is, we will be able to properly deny ourselves and allow him to guide us 
through life.

Know:  In order to follow Christ, we need to know who he truly is.

Feel:  Excitement at the prospect of growing deeper with Christ

Do:  Discuss and reflect on how knowing Christ as he is connected to a proper response 
to him as well as the danger of trying to follow him without knowing him.  Identify the specific 
identifications of Christ and discuss what each means.  Reflect on how these shape and 
form your attitudes, decisions, affections, and direction in life.

Text:  John 1:19-51

Scripture Reading:  Col 2:6-10

1.  Templates - Have you ever used them?
	a.  Examples:  Craft templates, engineering, web, origami
	b.  Template is a framework, pattern, stencil, guide
	c.  This morning's text is part of a template
2.  Jn 1:19f - This continues the introduction, dealing with identity of Christ
	a.  First 18 verses deal with more of the preexistence of Christ
	b.  V.19-51 Still dealing with identity of Christ, but also see some 
	     responses to Christ. 
3.  This is part of the template for discipleship
	a.  Could talk about a lot of things in this passage
		- Don't want to get lost in the details that we miss the big picture 
	b.  Chapter 1 main focus is on identity of Christ
		- This passage begins to answer question - "Who is this Jesus?"
		- More titles for Christ in this chapter than any other in Bible
		- These titles will play out in the following chapters
4.  The responses of people in the chapter provide a template for discipleship
	a.  Will see that the truth identity of Christ provides the template
	b.  But there is also a false template:

I.  Piety by itself
	A.  By piety, I mean religious devotion, religious acts, devotion to God
		- Piety by itself is a false or incomplete template for discipleship
	B.  Example (v.Jn 1:19) The "Jews"
		1.  They were religiously pious
			a. Pray 3 times a day
			b. Give alms, offer up offerings, attend the festivals
			c. Go to Synagogue, study to Torah
			d.  Went above and beyond Torah observance
		2.  Yet the Jews, particularly the Pharisees portrayed negatively 
		     here.  What was the problem?
			a. They didn't believe in Christ
			b. To them he was a heretic, a trouble maker, worked 
			     miracles by the power of the Devil, etc.
			c. They refused to accept Christ as God
		3.  Even though they were pious, they were unacceptable to God.
	C.  ILL:  All kinds of pious people today
		1.  One god as good as another
			a.  Buddism more popular - Many roads to Nirvana
				- Old oriental bearded guy seem wise and right
				- But he's not
			b.  My bro in law - "You have your belief, and I have mine"
				-  What he is saying is that truth is relative
				-  Saying that was is true for me is not true for him
			c.  Sadly, many claim to be Christian think this way. Why?
		2.  Conservative Christian college did a study of incoming students
			a.  Lacking in Biblical knowledge
				- Most not know who came first, Abraham or Moses, 
				  Barnabas in OT or NT? Not put major books of the 
				  Bible in order, believed Jesus was baptized in the 
				   Dead Sea.
				- Did not have grasp of the BASIC themes of the 
				   Bible, such as God, Jesus, Sin, Salvation, 
			b.  Lacking in knowing how to live as a Christian
				- Confused on certain matters of ethics, the place of 
				  Christian faith in their public lives
			c.  These students could not formulate a coherent 
			     theological basis for their identity as Christians
			d.  However, they loved God, were deeply committed to him
				- Went to church regularly
				- Participated in Christian activities
				-  Problem, they didn't really know HIM
		3.  What have been the results from this sort of problem?
			a.  Some religious groups accept homosexual practice
				- Notice I didn't say homosexuals, we should accept 
				  people with any sexual orientation but insist on godly 
				- Some religious groups ordain practicing 
			b.  Times get exasperated with supposed Christian ministers 
			      who support it
				- Some try to make the case Jesus accepted it
				- Most of their justification comes from culture
				- Conclusion did not come from God
			c.  This is just one example
		4.  Problem - Claim to love God, but didn't know God
			- It was all heart and no mind
	D.  Love Lord God with all your heart, soul, and all your MIND
		1.  Piety by itself is an incorrect template, wind up with wrong thing
		2.  Template is more than piety…

II.  The True Knowledge of Christ
	A.  Can you love someone you don't know?
		1.  To love someone, want to know them, must know them
		2.  This chapter is the first step in knowing Christ
		3.  When you grow in knowledge of him, can follow him
		4.  The TRUE knowledge of Christ is the template for discipleship
	B.  Examples/Templates of discipleship
		1.  John the Baptist (v.19-34) - Self Denial
			a.  Questioned about his identity, knew exactly what to say
				- Not Elijah, not the prophet
				- He was the "voice" - It is not about himself
				- Pointed away from himself
			b.  Correctly identified Christ
				- v.29 - The Lamb of God
				- v.30 - Existed before me
				- v.33 - Baptizes in the Holy Spirit
					- In O.T., Spirit only came on someone until the 
					   task was done and then left
					- Spirit REMAINS in Jesus
					- Jesus is the one who gives the Spirit
				- v.34 - Son of God
			c.  Thus, he knew nature of his relationship to Christ
				- v.27 - Not worthy to untie his sandal
				- v.30 - Higher Rank than I
			d.  Understanding who Christ is led to self-denial
		2.  First disciples (v.35-42) - Following Christ
			a.  Didn't just see Jesus as just some good man
			b.  Correctly identifies who he was
				- v.36 - Lamb of God
				- v.41 - We have found the Messiah
			c.  v.39 - Followed him, stayed with him
			d.  Understanding led to them following and staying
		3.  More disciples (v.43-50) - Following and bringing others
			a.  Recognized that Jesus was from God
			b.  Correctly identifies Jesus
				- v.45 - The fulfillment of prophesy
				- v.49 - The Son of God
				- v.49 - The King of Isreal
		4.  (v.51) - Son of Man, Jacob's Ladder - Coming to the Right One
			a.  "You" will see is plural, Jesus is addressing everyone
			b.  Jesus refers to himself as the son of man
			c.  Ascending and descending from Gen 28:12-17
				- Jacob had a dream of a ladder, angels up and down
				- Called the place Bethel, "house of God" and the 
				  "Gate of Heaven"
				- Jesus himself is THE gate, THE door, THE way
			d.  This should move us to follow only Christ
	C.  To respond properly, must know what you are responding to
		1.  ILL:  Chemical warfare training in the Air Force
		2.  Antidote, do not take unless you have been nerve gassed
			-  If use as antidote for the wrong thing, can kill you
		3.  Have to know what it is you are treating, or may get the wrong 
			a.  That mistake can be deadly
			b.  It is important to know what it is that needs antidote
	D.  In order to respond properly to Christ, need to know who he is
		1.  This is why so much time is spent on his identity
			a.  John begins with his identity
			b.  For 12 chapters in John, the focus is his identity
		2.  Notice how these proper responses to Christ are connected with 
		     his identity
			a.  John's Self Denial - Pre-existed, higher rank, baptize in 
			      Holy Spirit
			b.  Disciples Following - Rabbi, Lamb of God, the Messiah
			c.  Bringing others to Christ - Son of God, King, Jacob's 
		3.  Heart AND mind are equally important in Christian faith
			a.  Not that Jesus was a good man
				- There have been many good men in the world
				- Ghandi was a humanitarian, but a Hindu
				- Didn't accept Christ as THE way, truth, life
			b.  Not that Jesus could do miraculous deeds
				- Other people have performed miraculous deeds
				- Pharaoh's men performed magical deeds
			c.  Has to do with WHO Christ is.  Summary:
		4  If you do not understand who Christ is, you cannot follow him
			a.  The Jews didn't.  Why?
				- They chose not to believe who he was
				- If they accepted that he was God, Messiah, Giver of 
				   the Spirit, etc. would have been able to follow him
			b.  Mt 19:16 - Rich Young Ruler didn't follow him.  Why?
				- Text says he was rich
				- I don't know he understood or accepted who Christ 
				   is - In Him is LIFE
				- Ruler thought life was his riches? - Walked away
			c.  Following Christ begins with a knowing who he truly is
				- Cannot be a disciple if you think he is just a good 
				   person, just a prophet, a philosopher
				- Cannot be his disciple if you do not truly accept who 
				   he truly is.

1.  Jesus is the template for discipleship
	a.  Scripture reading said not to be taken captive by worldly philosophy
	b.  In HIM - Christ dwells the fullness of God - In him you are complete
	c.  (Invitation)
2.  In order to respond to him, need to know who he is.  Summary:
	a.  In this passage:
		1.  v.27 - The most worthy
		2.  v.30 - Pre-existent
		3.  v.29, 36 - Lamb of God
		4.  v.33 - Immerses in the Spirit
		5.  v.38 - Rabbi
		6.  v.41 - Messiah
		7.  v.45 - One of whom Moses wrote v.21 - The prophet
		8.  v.34, 49 - The Son of God
		9.  v.49 - King of Israel
		10.  v.51 - Son of Man
		11.  v.51 - Jacob's Ladder
	b.  In previous passage:
		1.  v.1 - The Word
		2.  v.2 - God
		3.  v.4. - Life
		4.  v.4 - Light
		5.  v.12 - Giver of the power to become children of God
		6.  v.14 - Word become flesh
		7.  v.17 - Grace and Truth
		8.  v.18 - Explainer of God
3.  Try this - Over the next several days, meditate on each of these.
	a.  Meditate on what they mean
	b.  Meditate on how this affects how you see yourself
	c.  Meditate on how this affects how you see life around you.
	d.  Meditate on how this transforms the way you life and interact with life
4.  Where are you at in your journey?  How will you grow closer to him and follow him?  (invitation)

Small Group Questions:  The True Template

Summary:  In order to be a true disciple of Christ and to live faithfully as his followers in a world 
that is contrary to Christ, we have to not only be devoted to him with loyal love, but we need to 
know him truly as he is, and not some contrived version of him.  If we know him as he is, we will 
be able to properly deny ourselves and allow him to guide us through life.

Open (pick one)
- What is your earliest memory of Jesus?

Explore (John 1:19-51)

1.  How did John identify Jesus in his ministry?  How did his understanding shape his life and 

2.  How did Jesus' disciples identify Jesus in this chapter?  What did they do as a result?

3.  How did Jesus identify himself in this chapter?  What implication does this have for all 

4.  Make a list of all of the ways chapter 1 identifies Christ.  Discuss the meaning of any that jump 
out at you.


5.  So much of the Gospel of John is devoted to the identity of Christ, especially the first twelve 
chapters.  Why is knowing Christ correctly important for discipleship?

6.  Brainstorm:  What possible dangers might exist in loving Jesus without knowing much about him, 
or having incorrect notions about him?

7.  Look over all the ways chapter 1 identifies Christ (keep in mind these will be developed throughout 
the rest of the Gospel of John).  Pick a description or two and describe how this does, can, or should 
shape your attitudes, relationships

8.  What can you do to grow in the knowledge of Christ?


1.  Over the next several days, meditate on one or two of the descriptions of Christ and what 
it means.   (If you don't already, start a journal)
2.  After meditating ask yourself the following questions:
	b.  Meditate on how this affects how you see yourself
	c.  Meditate on how this affects how you see life around you.
	d.  Meditate on how this transforms how you live and interact with daily life
3.  Spend time in prayer
4.  Share your insights with others.