Sermon:  The River in You

Summary:  When confronted with Jesus, there is no such thing as neutrality, whether it is 
antagonism, fear, or open belief.  When our inner thirst drives us to Christ as the only one 
who can quench it, he will give us an endless supply.

Know:  We need to respond to Jesus appropriately by placing the focus of our hopes and
joys in him.

Feel:  The desire for Christ in our lives

Do:  Reflect on where you are in regards to actually listening to and following the examples 
and teachings of Christ, and what your reaction is to hid expectations of discipleship.  Identify 
a plan to grow in discipleship.

Text:  John 7

Scripture Reading:  Jer 2:11-13

1.  Have you ever really been thirsty before?
	a.  Walked from Biloxi to Ocean Springs to pick up my care
	b.  Along the Mississippi Gulf coast, hot, sunburned, even on feet
	c.  So thirsty, came to a shack on the beach, guy had a cooler selling ice 
	     cold drinks.  It was sooo good.
	d.  Sometimes you feel a strong need for something, where do you go?
		- Wouldn't you like to know where to do and what to do?
		- Turn to John 7
2.  (John 7:1-2) - Feast of Booths/Tabernacles  (Heb: Succoth)
	a.  Commemorate time in wilderness
		- Israel spent 40 years in the wilderness
		- God provided for them and protected them
		- Lived in temporary shelters, very mobile
	b.  During the feast, they did the same
		- They built temporary shelters, like a lean to
		- It would have been like everyone having a camp out
		- Was after the harvest, lots to eat
		- Was a joyful, festive time of celebration
	c.  Daily procession during the feast
		- Priest bring pitcher of water to Siloam to the Temple
		- People follow with a fruit in one hand (remember fruit in land of 
		- Tree branches in the other - (remember their journey in 
		- Priest walks up to altar and pour water on it
3.  Jesus is often found at these festivals, gatherings, institutions, etc. teaching
	a.  At a wedding in chapter 2, changes water to wine
	b.  At the temple in chapter 2, drives out the merchants & money changers
	c.  Chapter 3, teaches a Rabbi named Nicodemus
	d.  Chapter 4, teaches by Jacob's well in Samaria
	e.  At an unnamed feast in chapter 5, heals on the Sabbath
	f.  During Passover season in chapter 6, he is the bread of life
4.  People cannot remain neutral when confronted with Jesus
	a.  There are various reactions to him, some good, and some not good
	b.  What can we learn?

I.  (v.3-9)- Reaction of his Family - Antagonism & Disbelief 
	A.  Brothers were telling him to make himself known
	B.    They were not trying to be helpful
		1.  They were sarcastically challenging Jesus to go public
		2.  "IF you truly are from God, SHOW YOURSELF!"
		3.  But Jesus doesn't flex his muscle to satisfy a bruised ego
		4.  The time simply was not right yet, it will be, but not yet
	C.  ILL:  Extended family not close anymore
		1.  Ever since became Christian, not as close to biological family
		2.  Not participate in kegs of beer, crudeness, etc.
		3.  Didn't condemn, but they thought, "Oh, you are too good for it 
		4.  Has that ever happened to you?
	D.  This reaction is:  Antagonism
		1.  Sometimes people who were close, even family, antagonistic
		2.  This is not unusual, it happened to our Lord, can happen to you
		3.  **But that is not the only reaction…

II.  (v.10-14) - Reaction of the Crowd - Timidity
	A.  Jesus eventually goes secretly, but begins to teach
		1.  People were expecting him
		2.  Jesus teaches
			a.  v.15-18 - Astonished that he was unlearned
				- His teaching was from the Father, not self
				- If anyone does will of Father, will know the teaching 
				   whether it is from God (crowd evidently didn't)
			b.  v.19-24 - Sabbath
				- They obey circumcision even on the Sabbath, 
				   dealing with a small part of body
				- And they are bent out of shape when Jesus makes a 
				   person's entire body whole/well on Sabbath?
				- Don't just according to appearance, but use  
				  righteous judgment - Look deeper
			c.  v.25-29 - His origin
				- Crowd "knew" where he was from, no one would 
				   know where the Messiah is from
				- Jesus' true origin not Galilee, but from God himself
		3.  Jesus was causing a commotion 
	B.  (v.13) People did not speak openly of him out of fear of the Jews
		1.  Jews might excommunicate you from the Synagogue
			a.  This means being cut off from daily life
			b.  This means losing all your business
			c.  Can no longer get loans if you need them
			d.  This means isolation, not being able to live
		2.  Jews might even have you put to death
		3.  Some were believers, but in secret
			a.  Nicodemus was one
				- Came to Jesus at night in chapter 3
				- (v.50-52) Halfheartedly sticks up for Jesus
			b.  19:38 - Joseph of Arimathea was secret
			c.  And apparently there were those in the crowd too
	C.  ILL:  Remember going on a mission trip to Belarus
		1.  Talk to anyone and everyone about Jesus, in shops, on the 
		      street corner, complete strangers
		2.  Came back and felt great having done the Lord's work
		3.  Went to barbershop to get hair cut at the barber
			a.  Barbershop full of people having conversation
			b.  Barber asked how I spent the summer
				- Told him I went to Belarus
				- He wanted to know why, what we did, etc.
			c.  All of a sudden, felt a little uncomfortable
		4.  Why the difference, in Belarus, I would have done it 
		     enthusiastically, but here at home?????
			a.  What am I afraid of??? I will not be excommunicated or 
			     killed, so what is the problem?
			b.  Maybe it was because Belarussians were hungry and 
			     enthusiastic about God
			c.  Maybe it was because people back home typically are 
			     more antagonistic toward Christians
			d.  But that should not stop me any way
	D.  Bible says over and over, "do not fear…"
		1.  (Mt 10:26-30) - Jesus said not to fear
			a.  They can only kill the body, which is temporary anyway
			b.  They cannot touch your soul
			c.  Who you are belongs to God
			d.  Never does God ever say to fear the enemy!
		2.  Fear of the crowd is inappropriate
			a.  Fear of the crowd does not come from God
			b.  2 Tim 1:7- God has not given us a spirit of fear/timidity, 
			     but of power, love, and discipline
		3.  **But there's more…

III.  (v.37-43) - Best Reaction - Belief 
	A.  Jesus had said his time was not an opportune time, but…
		1.  It is now the last day of the feast
		2.  The water jar procession happens differently on this day
			a.  Priest circles altar seven times before pouring on altar
			b.  Priests read Isaiah 12:3
			c.  All eyes on the priest as he is about to pour the water
		3.  Then Jesus cries out - If you are thirsty, come to ME, and from 
		     within you will flow rivers of living water!  -- Imagine…
			a.  All heads turn to him
			b.  Priest stops and looks at him
			c.  Celebration stops, could hear a pin drop
			d.  What is was like:  Imagine a festive wedding
				- Preacher speaks of a life of fulfillment and 
				- A man stands up and shouts, if you want true life 
				  and fulfillment come to me and marry me!
				- That is what it must have been like
		4.  Jesus draws attention to true water.
			a.  Jer 2:13 - "They have forsaken me, the fountain of living 
			     waters, to hew for themselves broken cisterns that hold 
			     no water"
				- There is no substitute
				- Nothing else will quench you inner thirst
			b.  Jesus is the source of the waters of salvation
			c.  Jesus is the only one who can quench inner thirst
			d.  Only Jesus can fill you up to overflowing
	B.  No one stays neutral, it is not possible to do so…
		1.  Some believed in him
			a.  (v.44-49) The guards came to arrest him
				- They heard Jesus, and didn't arrest him
				- They listened to Jesus, never heard anything like it
			b.  What a contrast with the Pharisees
				- Pharisees with their sophistication, training, 
				  knowledge of scripture, skills at interpretation, etc.
				- Yet the simple minded guards and "accursed" 
				   crowds got it
			c  You do not have to be a Bible scholar to believe in Jesus
			d.  In fact, it is typically the common man that gets it before 
			     the Bible scholar
		2.  Some did not believe in him
			a.  Pharisees did not - they sent people to arrest him
			b.  Some believed Jesus was leading the people astray
			c.  They didn't even get close, sent someone else after him
		3.  There was DIVISION among the people
	C.  ILL:  Ever notice when having conversation with someone
		1.  Bring up Jesus, and what happens?
		2.  If I say, "Boy, I don't know what I would do without my Lord…"
			a.  They try to change the subject
			b.  They all of a sudden have some place to go
			c.  Their expression changes
			d.  They may have less and less to do with you
		3.  Some will want to know more
	D.  No one stays neutral
		1.  Some will not want to hear, may even be antagonistic
		2.  Some will want more because they recognize their inner thirst
		3.  Jesus is the right place, the only place to go

1.  If you are a Christian, you have rivers of living water
	a.  Not just a drink in a shack on the beach
		 It overflows and flows from within you and waters others
	b.  People are thirsty, and Christ in you is the solution
	c.  As you serve, love, have compassion, share Christ with your actions
	     and especially with your words, living water flows to others
	d.  Don't fear and keep it secret, let it flow to all around you
2.  If you never have responded, the waters are right in front of you today (inv)
	a.  Will you respond with
			antagonism, disbelief, timidity, or real faith?
	b.  Real faith is followed by action
	c.  Which is it?