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**NEW** — SPIRITUAL RECOVERY SUPPORT GROUP
Welcome to Miller Avenue Baptist Church, an Evangelical* and Reformed Congregationdually aligned with American and Southern Baptists. We are a small congregation, always have been, and always will be. Our focus is on bold proclamation of the word of grace, the Gospel, and the discipling of followers of Jesus. Pastor Philpott thinks of himself as an old time Gospel preacher and Bible teacher. We have a Reformed theology—not rigid or legalistic—but grace oriented. *We claim the original, non-political, Biblical meaning of “Gospel Proclamation”
Our sermons are mostly verse by verse preaching from the Scripture. We are fairly liturgical in our worship, including the reciting of the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4), the Apostles’ Creed, and the Collect of the Day (a prayer said by Christians around the world every Sunday), with one or two sermons and receiving “Jesus in the Bread and the Cup” each Sunday morning. We like the old hymns and have no concern to be contemporary, but we do have guitars, singing, and piano playing of two Jesus People type choruses at each morning service, as well as a choir piece, usually in the Black Gospel genre.
With the demonic presence gone, what then? Does the delivered person automatically become a follower of Jesus? What kind of counseling is needed? What kind of community support? Plus, here is the admonition for discretion, confidentiality, and anonymity. Grace and mercy must abound!
This is NOT the how-to you want to follow! Rather, it is a beginning primer on what practices in our world provide doorways for the demonic to enter. Since this book was originally published in 2014, we have witnessed an increased uptick in “contemporary occultism.” Neo-pagan practices (such as Wicca and shamanism and versions of Santeria) are especially ripe for “opening the door.” The quest for power and knowledge is always dangerous on many levels, and subtle or not-so-subtle invitations for supernatural help are often culprits.
In chapter 8, "Hearing Voices," are answered the following: Are all those who hear voices possessed by demons? Are all those who hear voices psychotic? The answer in both cases is NO, but how to distinguish between the two is the trick and may never be completely clear. When demons “manifest,” how do they sound? What do they say? Must the minister avoid talking back to a demon’s statements? What is the Faustian trade-off in a deliverance setting?
Chapter 7 is “How to Cast Out Demons” so now we get down to the nitty-gritty of this ministry. While it is tempting to ignore the whole issue of deliverance, the need is great, and many are looking for healing and relief. Pastor Kent advises against looking for those people but to be available when they inquire and request help. Many other aspects are discussed.
"Can Christians Have Demons?" explores the pros and cons of this issue. The bottom line in Kent's experience is that only Christians want the demons gone and gone forever, no matter what lies and promises the demons may have made!
"How People Are Indwelt by Demons" points to occult practices, magic, spiritualism, mindlessness, idolatry, traumatic experiences, and a rejection of God.
In "A Theology of the Demonic" Pastor Kent discusses The Serpent in the Garden, Old Testament prophesies, and who or what are Satan and demons in the New Testament.
"Casting Out Demons after the New Testament Era" looks at Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and others in the early centuries of Christianity who wrote about and supposedly participated in this ministry.
Peace in the Bible means both the absence of conflict between nations, tribes, and individuals AND the reconciled relationship between individuals and God made possible by the work of Christ Jesus on the cross.
What is joy, actually? See 1 Peter 1:8–9 “Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” Joy is not always what we think it is.
Throughout John’s gospel, chapters 14–16, Jesus speaks to his disciples about who he is and what he came to do. He says, “Let not your hearts be troubled,” “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” “No one comes to the Father except by me,” etc. Jesus is the way to the Father. He is our reconciler and mediator.
Christ was prophesied by OT prophets of Israel. We discuss 20 of the prophesies fulfilled by Jesus, including the virgin birth, the seed of Abraham and Judah and David, born in Bethlehem, the suffering servant of Isaiah 53, the year predicted in Daniel 9, the flight to Egypt from Hosea 11, the slaughter of the innocents from Jeremiah 31, John the Baptist as forerunner from Malachi 3, the Son of God from Psalm 2, his Galilean ministry from Isaiah 9, the triumphal entry from Zechariah 9, etc.
Very important to Jesus' ministry was casting out demons from people suffering with the torment of possession or oppression by these evil spirits. This was not the first century's mistaken notion about mental illness but was real, then and today. Therefore, we as disciples of Jesus can also follow His example. Chapter 2 relates the biblical accounts of followers of Jesus also engaged in the ministry of deliverance.
In chapter 1 Pastor Kent brings Jesus and His ministry of casting out demons in view. Jesus did this regularly and gave his disciples the authority and power to do so also, which is the subject of the next episode.
Pastor Kent Philpott introduces the subject of Deliverance Ministry—casting out of demons. In this episode he relates several stories that began his exploration of this amazing subject back in 1969. It was not fun, but it was and is necessary.
Isaiah issues a stern warning of coming final judgment. Here we see the great concern and love the prophet has for his own people but also for the “nations,” those on the “coastlands far away.” He warns those who think they are safe with Yahweh by doing good deeds and performing rituals. He declares that all of those who belong to Him will have the security of eternal life. A final warning about a coming and horrible judgment shows Isaiah loves his people enough to avoid giving false comfort.
In verse one we find mention of the Trinity, though Isaiah did not intend to, yet we find it clearly there. “The Spirit (Ruach in Hebrew) of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.” We have the Spirit, Yahweh God, and the “anointed one” which means Messiah or Christ. And the anointed one brings good news, and in Greek would boil down to “gospel.” The year of the LORD’S favor is the year of Jubilee when all bound by sin would be freed.
The prophet issues an invitation to the people, for those who thirst, who have no money, to come “to the waters.” He asks them why they will spend their money on that which does not satisfy. Isaiah announces that the LORD has made an everlasting covenant or agreement or testament with them by means of a leader and commander of the peoples. Isaiah calls upon the people to seek the LORD and turn away from their sin, and if so, God will “abundantly pardon.”
The despised one is oppressed and afflicted yet is silent. He is like a lamb led to be slaughtered and thus cut off out of the land of the living, and all because of the transgressions of the people. He is even buried in both a criminal’s grave yet at the same time with a rich man, thus such is spoken of in Matthew 27:57–60. Surprisingly, all that happened is “the will of the LORD.” The one pierced “bore the sin of many.”
Kent Philpott opens a series of lecture/classes with this introduction to the history and biblical basis for followers of Jesus to cast out demons. He includes some of his own background in this ministry.
The prophet asks who will believe what has been told them. This one who grew up among the people is one of low estate, with no reason anyone should desire him. Even this one who “was” despised and rejected, and the past tense shows that Isaiah is seeing the entire ministry of the Messiah as being completed. This one takes on our grief, carries our sorrows, and is even pierced and crushed because of the people’s iniquities.
The history of Israel is central to God’s plan of salvation, which we see as early as Genesis 3:15, then moving on to the time of Abraham, the story of Joseph, Moses, Joshua, the giving of the Law and the great kings especially David. The returnees from Babylon hav the focus and the prophet says to them to rejoice and be at peace despite all that has happened. Then the tone changes to speak of a time when God arrives in person and thus the people will sing for joy. The “servant” of God arrives and is “lifted up” and also is terribly disfigured beyond recognition. Yet this one will bring in the nations, meaning Gentiles, who will “see” and “understand.”
This timeless message is presented in beautiful prose poetry. More than a century following the chapter 39 we have Babylonian exiles returning to the land of Judah, about 50,000 of these though the majority remained in Babylon. Isaiah now shows that the promises the LORD gave to Judah are being fulfilled. Indeed, the grass withers and the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.
This passage is also known as “The Thanksgiving Hymn or The Enjoyment of God’s Grace. Chapter 11 concludes with a remnant of Israel being saved. Despite the trouble and tribulation coming upon the nation and the unfaithfulness of the people, the prophet looks ahead to the age of the Messiah, that One who will bring peace and joy. Then a brief presentation of what is often referred to as “The Normal Christian Life.’
More now is revealed about who the Immanuel of Isaiah 7:14 is. Chapters 8 and 9 depict great darkness coming upon the land. Israel, indeed the northern kingdom is lost and pressure is mounting against Judah. However, in the midst of this is the great announcement that a child is to born, picking up the revelation of Isaiah 7:14, and the child born, the son given, will carry the “government upon his shoulder,” and his name will be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Despite the enemies coming against Israel, both northern and southern kingdoms, and the time is about 735 BCE, Ahaz is the king of Judah and he fears attack from a league of Syria and Israel. In the midst of this, the LORD says there will be a sign given. That sign will be that a woman, an “alma” in Hebrew meaning a young virgin woman, will conceive and bear a son. This son will be called “Immanuel” meaning, God come to be present with us.
In addition, Isaiah tells Ahaz that the king of Assyria will be coming down upon them.
The first five chapters of Isaiah depict the moral decay of both Judah and Israel. In 740 BCE, the year that King Uzziah of Judah died, Isaiah had a vision of the LORD. Isaiah experienced a powerful sense of forgiveness, with his sin being atoned for. Then comes the call to be sent by the LORD to the people, a message that Isaiah is told will be ignored, and that Judah will be removed from the land. Yet, a promise is added, that a holy seed will remain.
Isaiah means “Yahweh is Salvation.” He prophesied to the southern kingdom Judah during the 8th Century BCE. There are two principle parts to the book, chapters 1 to 39 and 40 to 66, covering a period from 740 BCE to 538 BCE. It is speculated that there are two Isaiah’s, one the prophet and then his work continued by those members of his “school of prophets.” But then as a prophet of God, he could have foreseen what was to happen to ages far past his own life time. Isaiah’s descriptions of the Messiah perfectly fit the life and times of Jesus, and so very perfectly that the book is often described as the proto-Gospel.
The evening of the resurrection, Jesus suddenly appears to the disciples; Thomas is not there, but Luke tells us others are also present. He announces: “Peace be with you.” He then displayed His wounds, hands and side, to His followers so that they know it is really Him and that He is right there present. Thomas is not there but upon being told of the events announcing he will not believe until he sees for himself. One week later he gets that chance and expresses that indeed Jesus is his Lord and God. Then the writer, John, gives us a summary of his Gospel and makes it clear he wrote it that others might also believe in the risen Christ.
John mentions only Mary Magdalen coming to the tomb where Jesus is buried, early on Sunday morning, but the other Gospel writers mention other women are also present. Mary, upon finding that the large stone covering the tomb was not in place, runs to tell Peter and John what had happened and supposes that thieves had taken the body. Later, after Peter and John leave, Mary remains at the tomb and turns to see who she thinks is a gardener caring for the the tombs. But it is Jesus, the risen Lord, and He says, “Mary,” and instantly Mary knows this person is Jesus.
Try as we may to wiggle out of culpability, we have to acknowledge that Jesus was actually raising the bar for his disciples. Not just murder, but anger; not just adultery, but lust; not just avoidance, but taking away anything that causes anger or lust.
All of us, whether believers or not, go astray—sin—and often ignore it or even justify it. But since the LORD has laid on Jesus the iniquity of us all, Jesus can indeed take away all our hope for meeting the criteria for righteousness that He puts forth, leaving us in complete reliance on him.
John, our Gospel writer, an apostle, describes the death of Jesus. He is present at the crucifixion and is with a small group of women that includes Jesus’ mother, Mary. Due to the coming of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the bodies of the two criminals, and Jesus’ cannot be left out with sunset coming, which marks the beginning of a new day, Jewish time. A soldier, in order to make sure Jesus is actually dead, pierces Jesus’ side with a spear and blood and water flow out proving He is dead. Then Joseph of Arimathea is allowed by Pilate to take the body. Nicodemus, also a member of the ruling council of Israel assists with the burial.
Jesus is now being lead to the site of execution, a place called Golgotha. Though not stated by John, it is just before this is when Jesus is scourged, such a harsh beating that many died on the spot. Jesus was crucified with a criminal on each side of Him. Pilate had prepared an inscription reading in three languages, Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” This angered the religious authorities but Pilate refused to take the sign down. Toward the end of the ordeal we find His mother Mary, Mary’s sister, another Mary the wife of one Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. Some commentators say there were only three women, and the disciple whom Jesus loved, clearly John the author of this Gospel, there in front of the cross. Jesus instructs John to care for Mary and for Mary to look to John as her care giver, which corresponds with Jewish life at that time.
First off Pilate has Jesus flogged. This is thought to be a light punishment and not the dreaded scourging. Putting the Gospel accounts together is seems that Jesus was flogged and taunted and humiliated, but later on, just before being sent to the site of the execution was scourged then. Now comes the crown of thorns and the purple robe. It appears that Pilate his vile treatment of Jesus would be enough to satisfy His enemies, but it is not. After some back and forth, where it is apparent that Pilate finds no reason to execute Jesus, he encounters backlash. Pilate finally gives in and allows Jesus to be crucified.
Annas, the father-in-law of the official high priest, Caiaphas, is the first to question Jesus. This is taking place early in the morning of Friday, Passover Day, and also known as Good Friday. Annas asks first about Jesus’ disciples then about His teaching. Jesus stands His ground, answers politely, and then Annas sends Jesus “bound” to Caiaphas. Peter, still present now inside the gate of the high priest’s compound, is asked again if he is not one of Jesus’ disciples. Peter denies it again, and yet again. Jesus is now brought before Pilate. Pilate asks the crowd what accusation they have against Jesus. Pilate tries to get the crowd to do with Jesus what they will, but they refuse. Pilate moves back into his compound, calls Jesus to himself and asks if He is the King of the Jews. Jesus replies that His kingdom is not of this world.
Following the prayer, Jesus enters the garden to a place where Jesus and His disciples often went. Judas knew of the location and arrived there with soldiers and officers, some Roman, some Jewish. Jesus approaches the group and asks who they are looking for. Jesus identifies Himself, and for reasons unknown, the armed bank falls back. Jesus does not hide but wants the disciples not to be harmed. Peter draws his sword and cuts off the ear of a servant of the high priest, named Malchus. No further trouble emerges. Jesus is brought before the high priest, Annas, first, then later Caiaphas.
Simon Peter had followed the group, and at the entrance proceeds to deny he knew Jesus two times.
The entire chapter is Jesus’ prayer, said somewhere along the road to the Garden of Gethsemane or while yet in the Upper Room, which is overheard by His disciples. To begin, Jesus lifts up His eyes to heaven, and doing so while standing most think. The focus of His prayer is that the Father would glorify Him, that is, bring Him once again into His presence as He had been prior to the incarnation. Part of the prayer is that His followers would be in US, would be one. Jesus prays that the disciples will be with Him, and to se His glory that was His before the foundation of the world.
Jesus continues to tell His disciples that He will be leaving them, leaving the world and going to the Father. His desire is they have peace, that is, an inner peace since being in the world they will experience tribulation. Now, hearing this, Jesus’ followers are quick to speak to Him of their loyalty and know for sure that Jesus is sent by God. The Twelve profess faith in Jesus who then tells them that a time is coming when they will all be scattered and go back to their homes. However, He lets them know that He has overcome the world.
Jesus’ comforting words are spoken either in the Upper Room, or while on the way to the garden of Gesthsemane. These will be Jesus’ last words to His disciples prior to His crucifixion. Despite appearances, there will be joy—that settled, peaceful, and hopeful mindset that cannot be perverted by external circumstances. In this passage, Jesus repeatedly uses the phrase in a “little while,” or mikron in the Greek. Jesus would leave, then appear, then leave, and then come again. (There are a number of ways of explaining Jesus’ intent here.) When Jesus leaves and His disciples see Him no more, yes, the disciples will grieve and the world, those who reject His Lordship, will rejoice. But His followers will have joy, which they will never lose. Again He invites His followers to pray to the Father, in His name, or because of His finished work, His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension.
Jesus’ comforting words are spoken either in the Upper Room, or while on the way to the garden of Gesthsemane. These will be Jesus’ last words to His disciples prior to His crucifixion. Despite appearances, there will be joy—that settled, peaceful, and hopeful mindset that cannot be perverted by external circumstances. When Jesus leaves and His disciples see Him no more, the disciples will grieve, and the world, those who reject His Lordship, will rejoice. But His followers will have joy, which they will never lose. He invites His followers to pray to the Father, in His name (because of His finished work, His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension).
This passage presents the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in perfect harmony. Jesus, knowing that He is going to the Father, in empathy for His followers, tells them it is to their advantage that He is going away, because the Holy Spirit will be sent to them. And the working of the Spirit is one of convicting or conviction, proving the truth about what is reality. Jesus defines three ways in which Holy Spirit conviction is directed: regarding sin, righteousness, and judgment. The Holy Spirit convicts people of sin who do not believe in Him. Then righteousness because He goes to the Father, and judgment because the ruler of the world, that is Satan, is judged and condemned. This things are not easily grasped nor understood. Also the Holy Spirit will teach them all things, bringing to their remembrance those things He has spoken to them.
The world, that is, those people who are not chosen or born again by the power of the Holy Spirit, these will and must hate both Jesus and those who follow Him. And at the same time, followers of Jesus are to bear witness to and about Jesus. The world will love its own, but since Christians are not of this world, they will be hated by the world. Whoever hates Jesus hates His Father also. And because Jesus has done signs, works that no one else did, they are guilty of sin. This hate then is without cause. And the promised Holy Spirit will, when He comes, will bear witness about Jesus. And Jesus says these things so that they will not be troubled, even be offended and scandalized, by the hatred that is coming.
A “vine” has long been a symbol of the Messiah for the nation of Israel, both in the Hebrew Bible and for Judaism to this day. Vine images have appeared on Jewish coinage and also by the door of the Holy Place was a golden vine. Here now is the 7th “I Am” saying of Jesus. Jesus is the “true” vine, and the Father is the vinedresser, thus the one who planted and tends the vine to make it fruitful. By abiding in the vine, a branch brings forth fruit, and Jesus’ disciples are the fruit. And, then by being in Jesus, the disciples, followers of Jesus, also bring forth fruit by abiding in Him. Again, Jesus restates His great commandment, that is to love one another as He has loved them.
The passage begins by Jesus saying that if His disciples love Him they will keep His commandments. And in response, the Father will give them a Helper, a Counselor, an Advocate, the Paraclete. Only those in Christ can receive this Holy Spirit. Jesus also states that loving Him means keeping His commandments, chief of which He had previously spoken, that is, to love on another as Jesus has loved them. And this means that “we” will come to them, indwelling them. And this Helps will teach them all things. He also states that He leaves them with His peace so that their hearts will not be troubled. Then He warns then that the “ruler of this world” is coming.
Here now is the 6th of Jesus’ “I Am” sayings. Here also Jesus summarizes His core teaching. He begins by stating that in His Father’s house is a place for them and He goes to prepare that place. He announces that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and that no one comes to the Father except through or by means of, Him. The disciples press Jesus for more information. He wants them to believe in Him which is the same as believing in the Father. Here again we come upon the mystery of the Trinity. He ends this segment by saying that the disciples will do great works, even greater than He Himself, because He goes to the Father and that they can therefore pray to Him.
The Scripture has already called us to love God and our neighbor–this in the Law of Moses. Now something entirely new: We are to love each other, in the family of God, as Jesus loved us. Jesus loved us by going to the cross for us, this glorification, that we might be forgiven of our sin. This loving is how others will know they are Jesus’ followers. Peter now speaks up and asks where Jesus is going. Peter says that he will even die for Jesus, whereupon Jesus states that before the night is over, Peter will deny Him three times.
At the meal where Jesus washes the disciples feet He announces that one among them would betray Him. His followers did not know of whom He spoke. Upon request, Jesus says the betrayer would be the one to whom He gave a “morsel” to. He gave this morsel to Judas Iscariot, whereupon Satan entered into Judas. Jesus, speaking to Judas tells him to go about his business. The other disciples, hearing the words spoken to Judas, yet did not understand. Judas does leave and, then it was night.
This passage introduces Jesus’ “Farewell Discourse” and begins the second half of John’s Gospel. Jesus, rejected by the religious authorities, now turns to the new Messianic community. During a meal, some say the Lord’s Supper, Jesus assumes the role of a servant and washes the disciples’ feet. Here the disciples see their Master and Lord humbling Himself and doing the dirty work, as a message to them for their future roles. Peter objects at first, but once he understands, wants to be washed head to toe. Thus, this is how the disciples are to treat one another.
Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment." Harbored anger is destructive. We are not innocent just because we refrain from doing what is in our hearts: murder.
Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. . . . And, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus came to both keep the law's intent and to accuse the Pharisees of skirting responsibility to do so themselves.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." This is another way to see that we, as followers of Jesus, are sent into the world to shine his light that is in us.
Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.” Salt was so valuable in 1st c. Palestine that to be called salt was a compliment and a responsibility that Jesus did not want his followers to take lightly.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Being a follower of Jesus is a double-edged sword!
“If the angels said at Jesus’ birth, ‘Peace on earth and goodwill toward men,’ why isn’t there peace on earth?” Does the Bible have it wrong? Or, is the word, Peace, misunderstood? Jesus is talking about changed character and disposition rather than actions and behavior. But actions come out of character; actions follow or emanate from character. Also, Jesus said to His disciples, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace."
Exposition on 3/8/2020
Bereket Jebessa brings Matthew 5:8 "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." Concentrate on three words: blessed, pure, see. In Greek, blessed is "makarios" meaning rich, happy. In Greek, pure is "katharoi" meaning unmixed with another substance. See is "hopsontai", but we have both physical and spiritual eyes, and we must live the Christian life with spiritual eyes.
Exposition on 2/7/2020
Vernon Philpott brings Matthew 5:7 "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy." Now the focus is outward after the first four beatitudes focused inwardly. What we do now will come back to us later, as in loving those who do not love us in return. All of the descriptions of those who seek God — poor in spirit, mourners, meek, craving righteousness, merciful, etc. describe the life of a Christian but go against the common culture.
Exposition on 2/16/2020
Daniel Dover brings Matthew 5:6 "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." Craving righteousness, meaning being saved and in a right relationship with God is a high calling, again like King David, who craved God like "a deer panting." Daniel talks about the great miracles God has performed in his life, including taking him out of homelessness. Seeking righteousness is seeking God. He will be found!
Exposition on 2/9/2020
Katie Philpott brings Matthew 5:5 "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." The beatitudes are a prelude and/or summary of the rest of the Sermon on the Mount. Explaining the Aramaic and Greek grammar and vocabulary. "Meek" does not mean weak or retiring or even "nice." It means humble and teachable and accepting the necessity of salvation and relying on Jesus for rest for their souls.
Exposition on 1/26/2020
Vern Philpott brings Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." Matthew 5-6-7 has some of the most difficult teachings of Jesus. Since those who are poor in spirit recognize they are spiritually bankrupt, they grieve and come close to Jesus for His comfort, as did King David when he recognized his sin and came before God in confession.
Exposition on 1/19/2020
Daniel Dover brings the first beatitude of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Since the Kingdom of Heaven is for the saved believers, and since the presence of God in the Holy Spirit indwells the believer, the poor in spirit are seekers. They are blessed for knowing this and looking upward for salvation. It has nothing to do with poverty of material possessions.
Pastor Kent introduces the Sermon on the Mount in preparation for the next several months of Bible expositions to be presented by lay preachers and teachers at Miller Avenue Baptist Church. Jesus has started His ministry, and "great crowds followed Him." He uses this "sermon" to prepare his disciples for their own Christian walk and as representatives of Him. Their lives will daily be a reflection of Him and these teachings.
In front of the Passover pilgrims Jesus cried out that whoever believed in Him actually believed in the Father who sent Him. Not only that, but whoever saw Jesus, saw the Father. Here we find the core doctrine of the Trinity, though impossible for us to fully grasp, is nevertheless the reality of who God is. Indeed, those who reject Jesus reject the Father as well. Those who reject His words have a judge, and that judge is His own word. And this word, Jesus’ message, is what the Father had told Him.
Jesus, in ear shoot of others, said that he was troubled, knowing His death was imminent, yet yields to the design and plan of His Father. He then announces that what is to follow is judgment, and even that the ruler of this world, meaning Satan, will be judged and cast out. In the same breath He says that He will be lifted up, meaning crucified. The crowd does not understand, but Jesus urges them to believe what He is saying. At this point Jesus departed and hid Himself, since despite the many signs He had done, still there was massive unbelief, just as Isaiah had prophesied centuries before. Still many of even the religious authorities believed in Him.
Palm Sunday, this is the day of Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem for the great Passover Feast. He did so along with perhaps as many as 2.5 million others of this pilgrimage feast. Along the road from Bethany to Jerusalem, a two mile stretch, grew palm trees and these were used to celebrate the arrival of Jesus, about whom much was said and upon whom were great expectations. He rode, not on a full grown animal, but upon a young donkey whose small stature meant Jesus would have had to hold His legs up off the ground. The event prompted the Pharisees to worry since it seemed the whole world held Him in a high place. Then among the throng that came for Passover were some Greeks who approached Philip hoping to gain an audience with Jesus.
Some six days after Lazarus is raised from the dead by Jesus, at a dinner given for Jesus, Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, anoints Jesus’ feet. Judas complains that the perfume should have been sold and the money given to the poor. Then, after a large crowd at gathered hoping to see Jesus, the chief priests determined that Lazarus must also be murdered.
Rather than be grateful for a great friend, Lazarus, being raised to life, the religious authorities are fearful that many might look to Jesus as Messiah, and so determine to kill Him. At an informal hearing of the Council of Israel, the high priest, Caiaphas, states that it is better for one man to die than the whole nation be lost. He meant that it is best for Jesus to be murdered.
For reasons unexplained by the Apostle John, the author of this Gospel, there is no reason given for Jesus’ weeping. It is thought the tears demonstrated Jesus’ love for Lazarus and the family. Jesus then proceeds to Bethany and the grave site and calls Lazarus out of death unto life.
Jesus is informed that his friend Lazarus, brother of Mary and Martha of Bethany, is dying. Jesus remains where He and does not rush to the grave site. At this point He announces the fifth “I Am” saying, I Am the resurrection and the Life.
This is the beginning of the Farewell Discourse, the second half of John’s gospel. Jesus turns his attention to the “new Messianic community” that started with the disciples. Kent discusses whether foot-washing is an ordinance or a symbol of cleansing or a call to Christians to be humble servants to fellow believers, Jesus’ own. Does this occur on Maundy Thursday? Kent also discusses how Judas Iscariot becomes the devil’s tool and how Peter must be convinced that Jesus must wash his feet.
Major themes here are (1) the inner-connectedness of the Trinity, (2) Light versus darkness expressed as judgment, and (3) hearing and keeping Jesus’ words. A conclusion one must draw is that no one can believe in the Son and reject the Father, and conversely, no one can believe in the Father and reject the Son. Perhaps this passage should have followed v. 36a. Hear why this might.
Two truths are presented here: War amongst the nations, but the larger war is conflict between man and God. The book of Genesis shows this starting in the third chapter and continues all the way through to Revelation. Jesus here is troubled, because He knows he will soon die a horrible death, but it will also mean that, “Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out.” The good will be, “I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
The next day large crowds gather in Jerusalem as Jesus enters the city, crying, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel, showing they think He is the Messiah after raising Lazarus. He rides in on a donkey, fulfilling Zechariah 9:9. Then Gentiles come to the disciples seeking Jesus, but Jesus only talks about his coming hour of glorification and how “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in the world will keep it for eternal life.”
At the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah) in late December, Jesus is walking in the temple when a crowd surrounds Him and demands that he tell them if He is in fact the Christ. Jesus counters by pointing to the signs/miracles He has done, which they witnessed and lets that be His answer. The angry reaction leads Jesus to go further and announce that He and the Father are one. This they consider to be blasphemy and pick up stones to kill Him. They try to arrest Him, but Jesus slips away.
The theme of shepherd and sheep is a familiar one in the Hebrew Bible. “Shepherd” is a Messianic title. Jesus states that He is the Good Shepherd who gathers His sheep and safeguards them, and they in turn will hear His voice and follow Him. All others are thieves and robbers and do not care for the sheep. Thieves come only to kill, steal and destroy. Jesus knows His sheep, and the sheep know Him.
The religious authorities confront the now seeing man and attempt to get him to renounce Jesus. They insist that Jesus is a sinner since He worked on the Sabbath, but the healed man reacts to this and refuses to speak ill of Jesus. He reasons, how could a sinner do such a miracle? The parents of the man are also grilled. Jesus later seeks out the now seeing man and speaks of the blindness of the religious authorities. Opposition to Jesus escalates.
Here is the ancient idea that past sin of a person or the parents, etc. results in misfortune down the line. Jesus heals a man born blind, makes clay, puts on the man’s eyes, tells him to go to the Pool of Siloam to wash the mud off. The blind man sees. Trouble arises for both the healed man and the Healer, since the event takes place on a Sabbath day, and making mud is work. A confrontation arises between the religious authorities, the healed man, his parents, and of course, Jesus.
Being a descendant of Abraham was a claim to special position and authority for the religious leaders. Jesus now, and using the term, “I Am” to refer to Himself, is thus making a direct claim to deity. He even says that before Abraham was “I Am,” meaning He is and always has been. This so infuriated His hearers they picked up stones with which to stone Him to death, but Jesus hid Himself.
In the continuing confrontation with the religious authorities who are attempting to cast Jesus into a false light, He tells them that the truth, and He is the truth, alone can set them free. These leaders look to their heritage, descendants of Abraham, for their righteousness. Abraham is their father, they boast, but Jesus says, no, you are actually of your father the devil.
Following the attempt to compromise Jesus in the situation with the woman caught in adultery, Jesus states that He is the light of the world. This is the second “I Am” statement, and it is a direct claim to be God. It is set against the blindness of those who are envious and jealous of Jesus, as crowds of people attending the Feast of Booths are gathering around Him. He also speaks of His crucifixion, saying that when this occurs they will understand who He is.
Enemies of Jesus, the religious authorities, hope to compromise Jesus, endanger Him by bringing a woman caught in the act of adultery. These people want Jesus to agree that she ought to be stoned to death, per the Law of Moses. If Jesus says yes, the Roman authorities would have a claim against Jesus, since Rome alone held the power to do this. If Jesus declines, then it would appear that He is in violation of Moses’ laws. Jesus does not answer but writes on the ground, stands, and states, “He among you without sin cast the first stone.”
On the last day of Feast, when water drawn from the Pool of Siloam is collected, poured into a funnel, and emptied at the foot of the altar of burnt offering, Jesus declares that out of person who believes in Him will flow rivers of living water. Now the people are further confused about Jesus. Meanwhile, the officers sent to arrest Jesus return empty handed. Nicodemus then sides with Jesus saying that Jesus at least should be given a chance to defend Himself.
At the middle of the Feast, Jesus goes alone to the Temple and begins to teach. The religious authorities say He must have two witnesses when Jesus declares that God is His Father. Jesus accuses the leaders of breaking the Law of Moses by seeking to kill Him. They say Jesus has a demon. Jesus points out that the leaders break Moses’ Law by working or circumcising on a Sabbath day. Some of the hearers begin to wonder whether the religious authorities actually think Jesus might be the Christ.
The last of the Fall Feasts is Booths or Tabernacles, celebrating God’s providing for Israel while in the wilderness following the exodus from Egypt. Jesus’ brothers—James, Jude, Joseph, and Simon—not cousins, but children of Joseph and Mary, urged Jesus to go to Jerusalem for Booths and declare Himself. Jesus declines but goes alone later. In Jerusalem there was much debate as to who Jesus was. Some said one thing, others another. Here we see the typical confusion as to who Jesus really is.
Jesus said that unless one eats the flesh of the Son of Man and drinks His blood no life will be in him or her. The hearers complained it was a “hard saying,” but Jesus urges them not to take offense, that they will believe when they witness His ascension, thus proving His resurrection. And if they walk away from Him now, they will miss out. Jesus makes it clear that no one will believe in Him unless it is granted by the Father, a clear reference to the great truth of election.
Jesus uses physical objects as metaphor to teach spiritual realities. Here His body is likened to bread and His blood to wine. The crowds misunderstand that He is pointing ahead to the cross where He will die and His blood be shed. As that which is physical gives life, bios, so does the death of Jesus: His broken body and shed blood bring life that is eternal in nature. To trust in Jesus as Savior is to “ingest” Him, and then it can be said that Christ is in us and that we are in Christ.
Now we encounter the first of seven “I Am” sayings. The construction of the Greek phrase “I Am” matches the name God spoke to Moses when Moses asked who it was who was sending him to the Egyptian Pharaoh (see Exodus 3:13–15). There is bios, or physical life, but then there is zoe, or spiritual life. To “eat” of Jesus gives eternal life. And in this passage we find the statement that only those whom the Father gives to Him will come to Him, and these will never be cast out.
Miracles stir up the crowds, and they set out to find Him. They find Him in Capernaum. It is noted that Jesus never alludes, in any way, to either the feeding of the 5,000 or the walking on water. They are seeking Jesus to feed their stomachs. But Jesus tells the people to do the “work” of God: to believe Him on whom He has put His seal. He warns then not to work for that which perishes. Miracles do not yield saving faith. Salvation in Jesus produces something far deeper and more significant.
Two miracles of nature, defying the laws of science. 5,000 men plus women and children are fed from one boy’s basket of food. Then 12 leftover baskets of food are collected. When the crowd sees the miracle, they want to make Jesus king, but He slips away. Then Jesus walks on water across the tip of the Sea of Galilee. These are signs as to who Jesus is. The miracles are stated in a simple manner and not trumpeted.
Jesus continues defending Himself by showing that He has witnesses to His claim to be equal with God the Father, witnesses that are needed according to the law that requires two or more. First the Father witnessed to Him, then John the Baptist, then are the works Jesus performs, the signs and wonders, and also the Scriptures, the words of Moses. Jesus concludes the presentation of His witnesses by stating if they do not believe Moses, they will not believe Him.
When the religious leaders hear Jesus say, “My Father,” they accuse Him of blasphemy, since He claims equality with God. Jesus proceeds to identify Himself as equal with God to the point that He says the Father has committed all judgment to Him. He goes on to say that to dishonor Him is to dishonor God the Father. If Jesus’ claims are not true, then He is guilty of blasphemy. Now again Jesus and the religious authorities are in conflict, which will continue.
In Jerusalem was a pool where the ill came hoping to be healed. Jesus finds an invalid man there and asks him if he wants to be healed. The man says he cannot get into the pool quickly enough, and Jesus tells him to get up, take up his bed, and walk. He does, but religious authorities accost him for carrying a bed on the sabbath—a sin. Jesus later finds the healed man and tells him to sin no more. When the religious leaders question Jesus He tells them “My Father is working, and I am as well.”
An official, probably attached to Herod Antipas at Capernaum, had a son who was near death. He travelled to Cana hoping to bring Jesus back so Jesus could heal his son. Jesus responds that unless someone sees “signs” they will not believe. Jesus tells the man that his son will live. The man believes Jesus’ word, starts for home, and on the way his servants tell him his son is recovering, which began at the very time Jesus told him his son would live.
Jesus heals the son of an "official" from a distance, and the man and his household "believe" in Jesus. What does this mean for the process of coming to faith? Must we see miracles in order to believe? Is it our faith itself that is the key, or is it Jesus, the object of our faith?
At Jacob’s well near the Samarian town of Sychar, Jesus engages in conversation with a Samaritan woman. The disciples return from town to find Jesus speaking with the woman, who then rushes back to her town to tell others that she has found someone who may be the Christ. The disciples want Jesus to eat, and He tells them He has food to eat they know nothing about. The food is doing the work the Father has sent Him to do. Citizens of Sychar come to the well, and after seeing and hearing Jesus, they become convinced Jesus is the Savior of the world.
After learning that the party of the Pharisees knew of His growing numbers of followers, Jesus leaves Judea and begins a journey to Galilee and in doing so travels through Samaria. The disciples, leaving a “weary” Jesus beside Jacob’s well, go onto Sychar for provisions. A woman of Samaria had come to get water, about noon, and he initiates a conversation with her. Jesus tells her that she could receive “living water” from Him. Jesus proceeds to tell her that she has had five husbands and the man she is now with is not a husband. Shocked, the woman grasps that she is talking with a prophet.
John the Apostle now writes of the ministry of John the Baptist. John continued to baptize, and Jesus began baptizing as well. (Jesus did not baptize, only His disciples. See John 4:2) Over time those following Jesus outnumbered those following John. Envy thus arose among John’s followers, and the Baptist responded by saying Jesus must increase while he himself must decrease.
The most memorized verse in the Bible is John 3:16. These words of Jesus express the why God sent His Son into the world. Jesus is the light that shines in the darkness, yet we loved darkness rather than the light, because our deeds are evil, and we fear exposure.