Title:  The danger of making God in our image

Summary:  The Jews did not accept Christ, and therefore did not accept God
because Jesus did not fit into their theology even though they thought their
theology was correct.  We need to be careful that we are not guilty in the same
way by accepting an impotent, generic lord of our own making.  We need to
accept Christ as he is.  He is the Son of God with all authority to give life and to

Function:  To help the hearers to examine their commitment to the true God

Text:  John 5:17-30

Scripture Reading:  Phillipians 2:9-11

1.  Ranger came upon a man roasting a bird over a fire
	a.  What kind of bird?  A seagull.  Will have to fine you, can’t eat seagulls
	b.  Man pleads, he got lost, trying to survive.  Ranger let him off
	c.  As Ranger walking away, he asked - What does seagull taste like?
	d.  Man answered - Somewhere between Spotted Owl and Bald Eagle
2.  Some people just don’t get it
	a.  They ignore the rules or make up their own rules
	b.  Many blind to the fact that this is not okay
	c.  That is the situation we find in our text
3.  Text:  John 5:17-30
4.  Why did the Jews oppose Jesus?
	- They didn’t like who Jesus was

I.  Who is Jesus?
	A.  (v.25) - He is the Son of God (refers to himself as the son)
		1.  This a typical title for a king 
			a. Rameses means, “Son of Ra”
			b.  example in Ps. 2, King is called son of God
			c.  Not unusual for Kings to be referred to as son of god
		2.  But Jesus gives the title a greater meaning - Relationship
			a.  (v.17) Jesus said “MY” father, not “OUR” father
			b.  (v.20) - The Father “loves” the son
				- Not the word we might expect for love
				- Not “agape” the virtuous charity sort of love
				- It is “Philia” which is an affectionate love
			c.  (v.19-22) - Background of son apprentice in a trade
				- Family trades had trade secrets
				- Even trusted servants not learn them
				- Get’s passed on to son as he watches father
				- Eventually, son indistinguishable from father as he 
				  carries on the father’s business (v.23)
			d.  This is what John 3:16 means
				- Gave his “monogenes” - unique
				- Jesus is uniquely God’s son
		3.  Jesus was claiming partnership with God
			a.  This was blasphemy to the Jews
			b.  To say “Son of God” was making him equal to God
	B.  (v. 26-27) - He is the Son of Man
		1.  Hewas human, but there is more to it than this
		2.  (Dan 7:13-14) -  background for phrase
			a.  Son of Man was given dominion
			b.  In Daniel, Son of Man has to do with authority
		3.  Context of John 5 - Also has to do with authority
			a.  Not just authority to rule as a king
			b.  v.21 - He has the authority to give life
			c.  v.22 - He has the authority to judge
			d.  v.26-27 - Repeats that he has this kind of authority
	C.  ILL:  In frontier town, horse ran away with wagon carrying a boy
		1.  Young man risked life to catch horse and stop wagon
		2.  Boy grew up an outlaw, stood before judge one day
		3.  Prisoner recognized judge, was man who saved him
			a.  Pleaded with judge for mercy based on that
			b.  Judge silenced him
		4.  Judge then said this
			a.  Many years ago I was your savior
			b.  Today I am your judge
			c.  In name of justice, I sentence you to be hanged
	D.  Many years ago, Jesus your savior at the cross
		1.  In this passage, it says he will be our judge
		2.  It stands to reason that we need to listen to him
		b.  But the Jews couldn’t or wouldn’t.  Why?

II.  Reason why the Jews wouldn’t accept Jesus
	A.  They didn’t recognize the testimony/ witness
		1.  In a trial, you accept testimony if it is credible
			a.  Sometimes need more than just defendants word
			b.  v.31 - Jesus affirms this
		2.  Testimony concerning Jesus
			a.  (v. 32-35) - Testimony of John the Baptist
			b.  (v. 36) - Testimony of the works of Christ
			c.  (v.37-38) - Testimony of God
			d.  (v.39-40) - Testimony of scripture
		3.  There was plenty of evidence, but they didn’t accept it
	B.  Unsettling conclusion 
		1.  v.37-38 - They didn’t know God
			a.  If they did, they would have recognized Christ
			b.  v.23 - They didn’t honor God
				- Ironic, because they seemed obsessed with this
		2.  v.39 - They didn’t know scripture
			a. Yet they had devoted their life to scripture
				- They built synagogues to teach scripture
				- They had a whole body of interpretive tradition to 
				   make sure they didn’t violate scripture
			b.  They knew how many words, letters, middle verse, etc.
			c.  Yet they missed it
			d.  Did they pick and choose what to study and believe?
		3.  What is unsettling about it is their devotion to God and scipture
			a.  How could they be so studied and so wrong?
			b.  They thought they were right
	C.  ILL:  Harding - Baptist Preacher converted
		1.  He felt he was right, and found out he wasn’t
		2.  Example of Apostle Paul - He felt he was right
		3.  Can’t go on just feelings - They can be wrong
			a.  Don’t want to discount feelings
			b.  Some say responding emotionally is bad
			c.  Acts 2 - They were pricked in their heart
				- 3000 were baptized in an emotional response
				- But it wasn’t an empty emotional response
			d.  Feeling must be informed by the word of God
		4.  Must go to the Standard - Word of God
			a.  Feelings can lead you toward God
			b.  They can just as quickly lead you away from God
			c.  Parable of soils - Feelings caused failure
				- Worries choked the seed out
			d.  Only those grounded stayed
	D.  v.24 - Need to listen to the word of the Lord - That is the standard

III.  Lesson for Us
	A.  Be careful not to be guilty of same thing they were
		1.  They had made God into their own image
		2.  They comortable with what they could manipulate and manage
			a.  That’s why God was nothing more than rules
			b.  Can you manipulate rules?
			c.  When they are empty rules - YES
			d.  The loophole
				- Can’t tie knot on Sabbath
				- Therefore, can’t draw water on Sabbath
				- But okay to tie knot in brazier
				- So can draw water out with a brazier
		3.  So their god was something they could manipulate and manage
		4.  Do people do anything like that to God today?
	B.  ILL:  Look at some T.V. shows with a “spiritual” flavor
		1.  Touched by an Angel, Seventh Heaven, Joan of Arcadia
		2.  What is their version of god like?
			a.  Hopelessly generic God
			b.  Most God is is a divine advice-giver
				- Helps you to be a better person
				- Helps to get along with others better
				- But that is it
		3.  This a reflection of the god of pop-culture
			a.  Vague higher power
			b.  Helps live better life, be more kind, open minded
			c.  Helps you not to be racist, and to be more loving
		4.  But don’t bring up sin, or Jesus Christ, or judgement, rules
			a.  This is extreme fundmentalist radical right wing stuff
			b.  Some want to ban this kind of religion
	C.  Many have accepted this pop-culture god
		1.  Some who claim to be Christian have bought into it
		2.  Be careful not to make God in our image - Idolatry
			a.  When try to make God into what we can manipulate
			b.  When make God in our image, that is idolatry
		3.  Here is how some have made God in their image
			a.  - Redefine good, bad, Gods expecations, that redefines god
		4.  Need to accept the exact representation of his nature - Christ
			a.  When we honor Christ, we honor God
	D.  Who is Christ?
		1.  He is the Son of God - He is God in the flesh
		2.  He is the Son of Man
			a.  He is judge
			b.  He is the giver of life

1.  (v.28-29) - When you die, that is not the end
	a.  Whether good or bad
	b.  Whether followed Christ or not
	c.  ALL will be raised from the dead
	d.  How can you make sure you will have the resurrection of life?
2.  (v.24) - Believe in Christ today
3.  Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God and Son of Man?  (Invitation)
4.  If you have obeyd Gospel, don’t make our Christ into your own image
	a.  He is not
		- Merely a divine helper
		- An advice giver to help you get along better in life
		- Merely a savior
		- Just a good man
	b.  He is the Son of God - He is LORD
		- He wants - demands a full commitment on the altar
		- Sacrifice your job, your family, your house, your self on altar
		- It all belongs to him and exists to serve him
5.  When you accept Christ as Son of God and SOn of Man - Lord
	a. That honors God
	b.  Let’s remember to always honor our Lord
	c.  He will come back and honor us by taking us to Heaven
6.  ILL:  Lady had 3 months to live, called minister to discuss funeral
	a.  Want to be buried with fork in hand.  Why?  Asked preacher
		-   At socials, main course being cleared, “keep your fork”
		-  Something better coming - Apple pie, ice cream etc.
	b.  Want people to ask - “What’s with the fork?”
	c.  Want you to tell them - Keep your fork, something better is coming
7.  He is coming back, and the best is yet to come
	a.  Do you want to go
	b.  Many of you ready
	c.  Some of you not sure, or are not.  Please respond to invitation