Morning Bible Study
This is the last week of Jesus’ life.
A few days
earlier, Lazarus was raised from the dead and there were a lot of people who in
awe of Jesus and at His power.
We are at
Sunday, the day of the “triumphal” entry into Jerusalem, people shouting
We are just
days away from when Jesus is going to die for our sins.
Believe it or not
Last week we talked about the amazing phenomena of unbelief. Even though
Jesus has done many amazing miracles, there are many people who do not believe.
This morning we’re going to look a little more at belief and how it works.
:42 Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of
the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the
– archon – commander, chief, leader
Who were these “rulers”?
that these were members of the Sanhedrin, the governing body over Israel.
Early on in
Jesus’ ministry, a man named Nicodemus came to Him:
(Jn 3:1 NKJV) There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.
We believe Nicodemus was one of these members of the
And now we’re told that “many” of these rulers believe in Jesus as the
It’s my opinion that these “rulers” were kind of at the beginning stages of
faith, but not to the point of really being saved yet (we’ll see in a minute)
:42 put out of the
synagogue – aposunagogos –
excluded from sacred assemblies of Israelites, excommunicated
The word “synagogue” itself simply means “a gathering together”, and came
to mean the groups
of Jews that would gather together in a particular city to worship God.
Even though it carries the idea of Jewish excommunication, it could more
broadly carry the
idea of being put out of your group. You
are cut off from all your friends.
– homologeo – to say the same thing
as another, i.e. to agree with, assent; to profess; to declare openly, speak
Can’t a person just avoid a lot of hassles and keep their relationship with
After all, isn’t “religion” a “personal” kind of thing?
Salvation in what you say
Paul wrote a letter to the little church that had sprung up in Rome.
Paul wrote to the Romans in A.D.57, three years after a new emperor in Rome took over,
a man named “Nero”.
This was at the beginnings of emperor worship in the Roman Empire.
were put on trial for not worshipping the Emperor and not saying “Caesar is
lord”. Guilty people were burned in
All the suspected Christian had to do was sprinkle a few sacrificial
grains of incense into the eternal flame burning in front of the statue of the
emperor. Since the punishments were so horrible and the means of escape so
easy, many Christians gave in. Many did not and were burned alive, killed by
lions in the arena, or crucified.
To this group in Rome, Paul wrote:
(Ro 10:9–10 NKJV) —9 that if
you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God
has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto
righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Paul says that two things are important for a person to be saved:
1. Believe in your heart.
It’s not just a thing of your mind, what you agree in your
It’s also a matter of your will, your soul, your feelings.
You must believe that:
You are a sinner in need of Jesus.
Jesus died to pay for your sins.
Jesus rose from the dead, proving that He had paid for
Jesus is your Lord.
2. Confess with your mouth.
Confession, or speaking with your mouth is one of the
things that shows that your belief it real
One way of telling what’s going on in a person’s heart is
to listen to what’s coming out of their mouth.
(Lk 6:45 NKJV) A good man out of the good
treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil
treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart
his mouth speaks.
If your mouth is never telling people about your relationship
with Jesus Christ, perhaps it’s because it’s not really in your heart.
Jesus said that it was pretty dangerous to be denying Him in front of
(Mt 10:32–33 NKJV) —32
“Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess
before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I
will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
only two choices:
You’re either confessing Jesus or denying Him.
Belief in Jesus starts the process.
Confession with your lips shows it’s real.
:43 for they
loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
– agapao – to love, to feel and
exhibit esteem and goodwill to a person, to prize and delight in a thing; love
based on esteem.
In their lives, they placed a value on the “praise” of men.
:43 the praise
– doxa – opinion, judgment, view, in
the NT always a good opinion concerning one, resulting in praise, honor, and
(Jn 12:43 NAS) for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of
They were concerned about the opinions of others.
Which opinion counts?
Are we looking for what people will think of us, or what God thinks of us?
Daniel was a man who learned to care about God’s opinion.
Daniel 6 – Daniel was an old man who had been
promoted to a high position in the court of king Darius. His fellow rulers were
jealous of him and hatched a plan to get Daniel fired. Their plan involved
tricking King Darius into signing a decree that no one was allowed to pray to
any god or man except Darius for thirty days. Anyone caught breaking the law
would be thrown into the lion’s den.
6:10–27 NKJV) —10 Now when Daniel knew that the
writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open
toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed
and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.
Does Daniel seemed more concern about what God thought of him or what these
other guys at work thought of him?
11 Then these men assembled and found Daniel praying and making
supplication before his God. 12 And they went before the king, and spoke
concerning the king’s decree: “Have you not signed a decree that every man who
petitions any god or man within thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast
into the den of lions?” The king answered and said, “The thing is true,
according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not alter.” 13 So
they answered and said before the king, “That Daniel, who is one of the
captives from Judah, does not show due regard for you, O king, or for the
decree that you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day.” 14 And
the king, when he heard these words, was greatly displeased with himself, and
set his heart on Daniel to deliver him; and he labored till the going down of
the sun to deliver him.
The king realized he had been tricked. He liked Daniel. He tried to rescue
15 Then these men approached the king, and said to the king, “Know,
O king, that it is the law of the Medes and Persians that no decree or statute
which the king establishes may be changed.” 16 So the king gave the command,
and they brought Daniel and cast
him into the den of lions. But the king spoke, saying to Daniel, “Your God,
whom you serve continually, He will deliver you.” 17 Then a stone was brought
and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet
ring and with the signets of his lords, that the purpose concerning Daniel
might not be changed. 18 Now the king went to his palace and spent the night
fasting; and no musicians were brought before him. Also his sleep went from
him. 19 Then the king arose very early in the morning and went in haste to the
den of lions. 20 And when he came to the den, he cried out with a lamenting
voice to Daniel. The king spoke, saying to Daniel, “Daniel, servant of the
living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you
from the lions?” 21 Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent His angel and
shut the lions’ mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found
innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you.” 23 Now
the king was exceedingly glad for him, and commanded that they should take
Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel
was taken up out of the den, and no injury whatever was found on him, because
he believed in his God. 24 And the king gave the command, and they brought
those men who had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of
lions—them, their children, and their wives; and the lions overpowered them,
and broke all their bones in pieces before they ever came to the bottom of the
Just in case you might be thinking that the lions weren’t hungry when
Daniel was put into their den, you’re wrong.
25 Then King Darius wrote: To all peoples, nations, and languages that
dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you. 26 I make a decree that in
every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of
Daniel. For He is the living God, And steadfast forever; His kingdom is the one
which shall not be destroyed, And His dominion shall endure to the end. 27 He
delivers and rescues, And He works signs and wonders In heaven and on earth,
Who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.
Results from loving God’s opinion
Look at what happened to Daniel as a result of being more concerned about
what God thought of him than what people thought of him.
Daniel was threatened with the lion’s den. And it actually happened.
It may be that there will be a negative consequence for putting the
Lord more important in your heart than people.
It would be a lie for me to tell you there won’t be any negative
consequences for doing the right thing.
Even though Daniel was in a lion’s den, he wasn’t alone.
(Ps 34:7 NKJV) The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear
Him, And delivers them.
(Ps 91:14 NKJV) “Because he has set his
love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he
has known My name.
We have a message to share with people about who God is and what God does. Instead
of the message being muffled or distorted through our fear of people, it comes
through loud and clear.
Darius got the message. He even passed it along:
(Da 6:26 NKJV) …For He is the living God,
And steadfast forever; His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed, And
His dominion shall endure to the end.
At times there may be a cost for caring about God’s opinion. There may be lions. But there will also be clarity. People will understand the message better
when they hear from someone who cares about God.
One of the issues we’ve been looking at is “belief”.
Jesus is going to talk about how important it is for a person to believe in
:44 Then Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, believes not in
Me but in Him who sent Me.
All along, Jesus has been claiming that He was sent from God the Father.
God had a plan to bring lost mankind back to Himself, and it involved
sending His Son.
If a person rejects this idea, they’re not just rejecting Jesus, they are
rejecting God's one plan for salvation, God’s plan for man to be made right
:45 And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me.
:25 see Him
On Thursday night we were looking at God’s command in Deuteronomy:
(Dt 4:15–16 NKJV) —15 “Take careful heed to yourselves, for you saw no form
when the Lord spoke to you at
Horeb out of the midst of the fire, 16 lest you act corruptly and make for
yourselves a carved image in the form of any figure…
The problem that comes when man starts making an “image”
of God, or tries to capture a picture of what he thinks God is like, it always
looks nothing like a fish. He isn’t made of stone.
On the other hand, Jesus is the image of God we need to
(Col 1:15 NKJV) He is the image of the
invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
Are you curious what God is like? You need to look at Jesus. He’s the only
image of God that you need.
think that God is rough, harsh, demanding, and always forcing people do things
Was Jesus like that?
(Mk 10:42–45 NKJV) —42 But Jesus called
them to Himself and said to them, “You know that those who are considered
rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise
authority over them. 43
Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great
among you shall be your servant. 44 And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all.
45 For even the Son
of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom
Some people focus
on the difficulties of life so much they start thinking that God doesn’t care
Was Jesus like that?
(Mt 14:14 NKJV) And when Jesus went out He
saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed
(Mk 6:34 NKJV) And Jesus, when He came
out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they
were like sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them many things.
We may not understand a lot about why God does things, but when you get
confused, look at Jesus. Look at who Jesus is.
:46 I have come
as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in
Jesus came to bring light into our lives. He came to help blind people to
:47 And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him;
for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.
:47 I did not come
to judge … but to save …
Jesus said much the same thing in:
(Jn 3:17 NKJV) For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the
world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
Jesus’ purpose was not to come and send people to hell. His purpose was to
come and rescue people, to save them from hell.
That’s not to say that judgment or condemnation isn’t going to happen.
Condemnation will happen based on what you do with God’s rescue plan.
:48 He who
rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him— the word
that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.
:48 the word I
have spoken will judge him
In other words, Jesus isn’t going to sit there on the final judgement day
and say, “Well, you really hurt my feelings, and that’s why I’m sending you to
The judgment will come because you have not received the words of the
gospel and rejected God’s rescue plan, Jesus Christ.
You will not be able to stand before God and say, “But I didn’t hear that
there was a way out! I never had the chance to be saved!”
If you try to pull that one on God, I think God will say something to you
like, “Gabriel, roll the tape”, or probably, “Gabriel, play the DVD”.
there you are in Sunday School, listening to George Shade telling you about how
Jesus died for your sins.
there you are dodging water balloons from Daniel Grant as he’s telling
you about Jesus.
there you are sitting in the high school hearing Dan Looney carefully explain
the gospel message.
here’s the file playing of today as I’m standing before you telling you
that you must believe in Jesus to be saved.
I don’t know how it might play out with other people, but if you are here
in church today, you are without excuse.
The Bible says that our sins have separated us from God.
(Ro 6:23 NKJV) For the wages of sin is
death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The Bible says that God loved you so much, He sent His Son
to take your place and die on a cross in order to pay for your sins.
(2 Co 5:21 NKJV) For He made Him who knew no
sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
The Bible says that you must believe in Jesus in order to
(Jn 3:16 NKJV) For God so loved the world
that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not
perish but have everlasting life.
When you’ve heard the message, you’re responsible to
respond to it - with no excuses. And you now have no excuses.
:49 For I have
not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command,
what I should say and what I should speak.
:50 And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I
speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.”
It’s time to believe
The Chilean miners
Have you heard
about the miners that have been trapped in Chile? On August 5, there was a
collapse in their mine and 33 men have been trapped a half mile below the
The goal of
those at the top of the mine is to save them. Their goal is to drill a shaft
big enough to bring the men out. They
think they might finish the rescue tunnel by November, possibly December.
unveiled the rescue capsule they’ll use to bring the men back to the surface,
one man at a time. The
capsule is only 21 inches wide. The trip up the shaft will take each man an hour, and it will take
several days to get all the men out.
If a miner refuses to ride the rescue capsule up to the top, he will not be
If the drilling
goes well, then the fate of each miner will depend on what he chooses to do. Will he trust the
rescuers, or will he stay in the mine?
Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world. That would be like someone standing
at the top of the mine yelling at the trapped miners for being trapped.
Jesus came to save us. He drilled the rescue tunnel when He died on the
cross to pay for our sins.
The issue is will I trust Him? Will I step into His “rescue capsule”?