Sermon:  True Faith

Summary:  When Jesus performed his "signs," the helped his disciples to believe in him and 
also demonstrated what kind of Messiah he is.  However, Jesus knew that many of those who 
believed in him would let outside forces affect their faith.  Our faith in the Messiah needs to be 
pure from outside forces.  

Know:  In order to keep a pure and undivided faith, we need to regularly reflect on how we, as 
God's sanctuary, full his purposes and mission.

Feel:  A desire to be holy

Do:  Reflect on the nature of true faith, obedience, and mission, and what in daily life challenges 
those things.  Identify ways to successfully overcome these challenges.

Text:  John 2:1-25

Scripture Reading:  Mt 5:3-8

1.  Story of Sergei who invited Jesus into his life
	a.  Didn't want Jesus just to be someone he met at church
	b.  Made up a special room for him in his house
	c.  Then he invited Jesus in, told him that this was his special place
	d.  When he left the room, he was so happy Jesus was in his house
2.  Here was a man who believed in Jesus
	a.  Wanted Jesus close to him, so brought him into his house
	b.  Even gave him his special room
	c.  Do you believe in Jesus?  Is he in your life?  In your home even?
3.  This morning, we will be looking at the nature of faith in Christ
	- True faith is undivided, pure, devoted, sold out devotion to Christ…
4. Jn 2 - Three scenes dealing with undivided belief in Christ

I.  (2:1-12) First Scene - Wedding
	A.  ILL:  I was at wedding in Arkansas for my brother
		1.  Hired wedding planners, they ran short of food
		2.  Sent someone to the story in a hurry
		3.  Was an inconvenience and embarrassment
		4.  Amplify that ten fold, and that is what you have here
	B.  Closer look at what is happening here
		1.  Jewish weddings
			a.  They were a huge deal
				- They particularly enjoyed weddings
				- Wedding banquet a symbol and reminder of the 
				   coming Messianic banquet
			b.  Began with groom going to bride's house in a procession 
			     at night, and taking her back to his place where the 
			     celebration started
			c.  Would typically last for days
			d.  Had to feed all of those guests
		2.  Wine crises - Ran short.  
			a.  This is a shame/honor culture (not like ours)
				- This was more than mere embarrassment
				- Host would have been shunned
				- May never recover from shame of dishonoring 
			b.  Mary asks Jesus to do something about it
		3.  His "hour" or "time" had not yet come
			a.  His "hour" refers to his crucifixion and resurrection
			b.  Would not do something so great that it would cause 
			    negative attention that brings him prematurely to the cross
		4.  But he does do something -- Water to wine in purification jars
			a.  Not imply drunkenness, simply that your palate is more 
			     sensitive at the beginning of the meal
			b.  Not only did Jesus "rescue" the host, but he made him 
			     look good
			c.  Note:  This does not mean he was a glutton and a 
			     drunkard like the Jews accused him of.
	C.  ILL:  v.11 - The beginning of his "signs" (not just a "miracle")
		1.  What is the purpose of a "sign?"
			a.  Do you make use of signs?
			b.  Have them in the halls, on food, road signs
			c.  Driving down the road, sign points beyond itself
		2.  Look past the miracle to what it is saying about Jesus
	D.  So what does this "sign" say about Jesus?
		1.  Gospel of John needs to be read slowly, subtle details included 
		      in order to call things to mind
		2.  Something subtle here concerning the jars:
			a.  Questions:
				- Why not use the original wine containers?
				- How will they ceremonially wash now?
			b.  Answer
				- A: Uncleanliness is not about ceremony
				- A: Even if they wash, still can be unclean
				- A: Only blood of Jesus cleanse you, inside & out
				- A: We remember this weekly when you drink the cup
		3.  Remember, purpose of his signs was so that they might believe
			a.  The disciples "believed" in Christ
			b.  Jesus was interested in authentic faith
				- Not about doing "rituals"
				- Not about ceremonial purification, outward cleaning
				- About inward cleansing, a pure heart
			c.  The disciples "believed"
		4.  **Jesus wants real faith, pure, undivided heart…

II.  (2:13-22) Second Scene - Temple
	A.  He goes from a Wedding to the Passover
		1.  What is the Passover?
			a.  Annual celebration and reminder of the Exodus
			b.  Involves going to the temple for worship and offering
			c.  One of three pilgrimage festivals
		2.  What is the temple?
			a.  Where Lord symbolically is enthroned above Cherubim
			b.  Place to go and meet God in worship
	B.  Jesus goes to the temple
		1.  Sees the merchants
			a.  Why are they there?
				- Provide a "service" (for a fee)
				- Had to use correct money for the temple
				- Had to use approved items for sacrifice
				- Merchants came and set up shop in the courts
			b.  Atmosphere in the courts as a result
				- Was a bustling, busy, noisy place
				- Like an open air market or bazaar
				- People are bartering, dealing, selling, etc.
			c.  Temple seemed to be money driven - Mt 25:16
				- Swear by the temple, that is nothing
				- Swear by the gold of the temple, you're obligated
				- Swear by altar, that is nothing
				- Swear by the offering on it, you are obligated
					- Part of offering went to priest, major source of 
			d.  This is what Jesus sees when he comes to the temple
		2.  He drives them out with a whip, overturns tables
			a.  Was he attacking the institution?  No.
			b.  Ps 69:9 - "Zeal for your house will consume me"
			c.  Something wrong at the temple
			d.  They were not fulfilling purpose of temple
				- To be holy place, where you go worship & meet God
				- It looked and felt like a common market, made it 
				   hard to "meet God" there.
		3.  Probably why Jews not question his actions, only his authority
			a.  Couldn't argue merchants inappropriate in temple courts
			b.  "Who do you think you are?" not "Why you doing this?"
				- He was not a member of the Sanhedrin
				- He was not a Levite High Priest
			c.  They asked for a "sign" of his authority
		4.  His "sign" - Destruction and rebuilding this temple
			a.  No one knew yet that he was talking about his body
			b.  His death and resurrection - Demonstrates he is Lord
			c.  He has the authority, he was the "architect" of the temple
	C.  ILL:  To try and truly appreciate this:
		1.  Going to the Mall.  What is it like there?
			a.  Are malls inherently sinful?  No
			b.  Is there anything wrong with going to the Mall?  No.
		2.  Imagine, for convenience, moving the mall into our worship 
		     space. -- Just isn't right is it?
		3.  There are some things that are not compatible
	D.  What does this say about Jesus
		1.  He is the way - 
			a.  People not able to meet God in that temple
	.		b.  So, Jesus is going to raise up a new temple
			c.  Jesus is the NEW temple 
		2.  People meet God through Jesus, not through a building
			a.  Goal of Christianity is Jesus, not a building
			b.  It is about people coming to God
		3.  Jesus is PASSIONATE about this. 
			a.  He will later say that his "food" or "passion" is to 
			     accomplish God's redemptive work - Jn 4:34
			b.  **Lessons for us…

III.  (2:23-25) Lesson for us about faith
	A.  This stands a warning to those who "believe"
		1.  "Faith" ties these stories together
		2.  Jesus knew what was in their heart.  
		3.  What was in their hearts?
	B.  They let outside forces affect their "belief" in Christ
		1.  Many did not have pure heart and undivided faith
			a.  Many would prove themselves to be fickle
			b.  We need to have a pure undivided heart
			c.  We need to remember who we are…
		2.  (1 Pet 2:4-6, 9, 12) Jesus, the new temple re-defines who you 
		     are - living stones in his temple - 1 Cor 3:16 - We are the temple	
			a.  We offer up spiritual sacrifices
			b.  We proclaim the excellencies of our Lord
			c.  As aliens, we are to have excellent behavior
		3.  Through us as the temple, people can meet God through Christ.
		4.  Jesus wants God's sanctuary (us) to meet its purpose
			a.  Jesus is passionate about that
			b.  What would he do if something made it difficult to meet 
			     these purposes?
	D.  What outside forces affect our belief in Christ?  
		1.  What would Jesus "drive out" if he came today?
			a.  You may be thinking of what goes on inside this building
				- If we had a performance oriented worship with a 
				   band and such- Jesus might drive out a band
				- If we bowed down to and prayed to statues
				- If our focus was to try and "attract" people through 
				   our worship, might drive those things out
				- Fortunately, those things not a problem here
			b.  Maybe you are thinking of the building itself
				- If the building replaces "church" 
				- If think of church as a "place" we go to in order to 
				   evangelize, practice our religion, read the Bible, etc.
				- If building prevents us from "being" the church daily
			c.  Maybe you are thinking of a meaningless or empty 
			     religious tradition
				- We really don't have a "lot" of traditions, we not a 
			  	   "liturgical church" we don't dedicate babies, burn 
				   incense, have high days, do lent, etc.
				- We have had a few, such as invitation songs, order 
				   of worship, set up of our buildings, 
				- Not all traditions bad, tradition can be a good thing 
				   that grounds you (eg: family tradition, camp trd, etc)
				- But some traditions lose their meaning and may 
				  even hinder rather than ground your faith.
			d.  Or maybe there is something else you are thinking of
		2.  But this is not just about what is in this building
			a.  We (the people) are his sanctuary
				- We are the temple of God (it is not a "place")
				- We are a royal priesthood, temple (it is a "people")
			b.  So this has to do with much more that what goes on here
			c.  Are you aware of outside forces that affect your faith?
		3.  In what ways do you as a temple reflect the presence of God?
			a.  Reflect on daily life - outside forces do what?:
				- Chameleon faith?
				- Is your work ethic godly?
				- Attitudes, humility, revenge, get even, lash out?
				- Political positions
				- "Ethics" at your job or organization
				- How you solve problems?  Strictly pragmatic or is it 
				  grounded in good biblical principles?
			b.  In devotional life.  
				-  Does anything get in the way?
				- Anything get in way of prayer life?
				- Anything get in way of spending time in the word?
				- Anything get in the way of service to others? 
			c.  This is about HOLINESS in both DEED and THOUGHT
				- You no longer are your own
		4.  It is time to reflect especially on these last 3 verses

1.  Jesus said "blessed are the pure in heart, they shall see God."
	a.  Only through Christ can you be purified inside and out (invitation)
	b.  When initially purified, you become his sanctuary
		- He redefines your life, you are holy, sanctified
		- Let nothing get in the way, STAY pure in HIM
2.  This means that we are wholly his temple, not partially his temple
3.  Conclusion:  Sergei believed since Jesus was in his home, life would be blessed
	a.  That night, Satan broke into his house and wreaked havoc on it
	b.  Was confused.  Went upstairs to Jesus' room, opened the door
		- Jesus was laying on the bed reading a book
		- Jesus looked up at him a smiled, and waved
		- Sergei waved back and closed the door.  What happened?
	c.  The same scenario happened several times
		- Sergei couldn't understand it, what was happening?
	d.  Finally, bursted into Jesus' room and asked why
		- "You are here, and Satan keeps breaking in.  You are supposed 
		   to protect me, guide me.  
		- Jesus replied - "Right here in my room.  This room is safe."
		- Sergei said, "What about the rest of the house?"  Jesus replied, 
		   "You didn't give me the rest of the house, only this room."
4.  Jesus wants totally undivided faith and devotion to him
	a.  Not just a "room" in your life
	b.  Read v.23-25 again - He knows what is in your heart.  Do you need to 


Small Group Notes:  True Faith

Summary:  When Jesus performed his "signs," the helped his disciples to believe in him and 
also demonstrated what kind of Messiah he is.  However, Jesus knew that many of those who 
believed in him would let outside forces affect their faith.  Our faith in the Messiah needs to be 
pure from outside forces.  

- What is the funniest or most interesting thing you have witnessed at a wedding?
- What room or area of yours is cleanest?  Dirtiest?

Explore - John 2:1-25

1.  Why did Jesus turn the water to wine?  What effect did this have on the people at the wedding 

2.  There may perhaps be a very subtle signal in choose the large stone water pots used for 
purification to be the container for the new wine.  Discuss what, if anything, this brings to mind.

3.  In the second scene (Jesus "cleansing" the temple, as we usually call it), why does Jesus react 
the way he does at the temple?

4.  Which scriptures do the disciples remember in association with what happens here at the temple?  
What does it say about Jesus?  What effect does it have on the disciples?


5.  The theme of belief/faith seems to be a central theme of this chapter.  What do these scenes tell 
you about the type of Messiah Jesus is?  In what way does this inform or strengthen your faith?

6.  In both scenes, the text tells us that people believed.  Yet the end of the chapter indicates that there 
was something deficient in their belief.  Discuss the idea of deficient faith.  What is it?  What does it 
look like?  What are its causes?

7.  What are some ways your faith has been or is inconsistent or weak?

8.  What can you do to strengthen your faith?