“The Eagle’s Eye”, Class 3, John’s Gospel chapters 5 & 6

1. “Believe!”

  • ‘pisteuo’ – 100
  • God: 14:1; God as the one who sent Jesus: 12:44; What the Old Testament says: 2:22; 5:46-47; Jesus as the one sent by God: 6:29; Jesus’ name: 2:23; Jesus himself: 3:18; 4:39; 10:42; 12:42, etc.; Jesus as the son of man: 9:35-38; Jesus’s miracles: 10:38; Jesus as the Messiah:11:27; 20:3; What Jesus says: 8.45-46; 14:11; The fact that Jesus is in the Father and that the Father is in Jesus: 14:10; 7:21
  • Faith as ‘allegiance’
  • John 3.36; 8.31-32
    1. Mental affirmation
    2. Professed fealty
    3. Enacted loyalty

2. Digging Deeper: John 5.1-15

  • Bethesda’s pool and 5 Colonnades up
  • Luke’s geography
    • 32 _________________
    • __ cities 
    • 9 __________________
    • __  mistakes

3. “It is I”: John 6.16-21

  • From mountaintop experiences to storms of doubt
  • Power or presence?

Summary

  • “What has stood out to you from tonight?”
  1. Read John 7-8 between now and Sunday
  2. Discuss what you’re learning and your questions with your spouse/friends.
  3. Ask God to reveal what aspect of Jesus he would like you to focus on through this series.

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

God bless, Malcolm

PS: If you would like some coaching in spiritual disciplines, look me up here

PPS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

The Sunday Sample, Episode 66 – “Come and see”, Worship Team Devotional on John Chapter 1

   ““Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip.”

(John 1:46 NIV11)
  • Scepticism is a natural perspective 
    • Why should this year be any different from any other?
    • Why should this church have anything to offer me?
    • Why should this service matter?
  • People need leading into faith
  • People need help to ’see’ things clearly
  • To see Jesus clearly
  • Who he really is
  • We are the people who say, “Come and see”

    “When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.””

(John 1:47–49 NIV11)

This is our hope this morning, that people will recognise Jesus as “Son of God…king of Israel”

“Come and see….”

Let’s pray……

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.”

(Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: If you would like some coaching in spiritual disciplines, look me up here.

PPS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

“How to Ask”, John 4.43-54

Jesus wants us to ask him for things. But, what should we ask for, and how should we ask? In this lesson we do not cover everything to do with the topic, but we learn a valuable lesson from a royal official who asked Jesus for something.


Our key point today: “Requests are heard when we take Jesus at his word”

  1. Go
  2. Asking
  3. Trusting

When we go to the right source, ask and do not give up, and trust in the answers we receive, leading to faithful actions, we can expect to see God move powerfully.

What do you sense God bringing to your attention?  Are you going to him for your help, support and answers? Are you continuing to ask him for his help, comfort, wisdom? And are you acting on what you are discovering?

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

“The Eagle’s Eye”, Class 2. John’s Gospel series

1. Two ‘Books’

Prologue

01. Book of ___________

02. Book of ____________

Epilogue

2. Seven Signs (semeia)

Miraculous signs (semeia)ScriptureNotable featureArea of power
Changing water into wine 2:1-11
Healing official’s son4:46-54
Healing the lame man5:1-15
Feeding the multitude6:1-15
Walking on water6:16-21
Healing the blind man9:1-41
Raising Lazarus11:1-44

3. Jesus’ Humanity

  1. Grief: 11:33-35
  2. Tiredness: 4:6
  3. Anguish: 12:27; 13:21
  4. Irritation: 2:4; 6:26; 7:6-8; 8:25
  5. Suspicion: 2:24-25

4. New Life: 3.1-21

  1. “The new birth and new life require new family, and only the church can provide that.” DaSilva, Introduction to the New Testament, 447
  2. “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19–22 NIV11)

5. Jesus is the Hero: 3.22-36

  1. Celebrate _________________________ .
  2. Refuse to entertain __________________.
  3. ____________________ the best of others.
  4. Pray to discern the___________________.
  5. Soberly___________________ and concern yourself fully with that.

Summary

  • “What has stood out to you from tonight?”
  1. Read John 4 between now and Sunday
  2. Discuss what you’re learning and your questions with your spouse/friends.
  3. Ask God to reveal what aspect of Jesus he would like you to focus on through this series.

“He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30 NIV11)

 Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about the Bible or the Christian faith? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send us your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: tvcochrist@gmail.com. 

Thanks again for listening. Have a super day. 

God bless, Malcolm

“The Blend of Grace and Truth”: Quiet time coaching: Episode 70

Let’s reflect today on the perfect blend of the fullness of grace and truth which came in Jesus the Christ.  

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

(John 1:14 NIV11)

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.”

(Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: If you would like some coaching in spiritual disciplines, look me up here

PPS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

“The Eagle’s Eye”: Class 1

Background to John’s Gospel

Introduction

“John, oh John,
Thou honourable bird,
Sun-peering eagle.
Taking a bird’s-eye view,
Even of Calvary and Resurrection.”

D H Laurance – “St John”

“In the other gospels, Jesus’ story takes place in the horizontal dimensions of the geography and history of Israel; John brings in the vertical – Jesus is above and beyond all that……John’s Jesus is nothing less than God himself, coming down like an eagle from the heights of the world above to save the reader from darkness and evil, if only we allow ourselves in faith to be found by him.”

“Four Gospels, One Jesus? A symbolic reading”, Richard Burridge

1. John’s gospel is biographic

“In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out. By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets…” 

 C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

2. John’s gospel is “Spiritual”

“…John, last of all, conscious that the outward facts had been set forth in the Gospels, was urged on by his disciples, and, divinely moved by the Spirit, composed a spiritual Gospel.”

Clement of Alexandria (ca. 155-220 CE)

3. John’s gospel has different areas of focus

The Synoptics (Matthew, Mark, Luke)John’s Gospel
Story parables (prodigal son, man building bigger barns etc.)
Stories using symbolism (such as the vine and branches in chapter 15 etc.) 
Teaching on the Kingdom of God
Teaching on eternal life
Short, catchy sayings (e.g. ‘For the Son of Man came to seek and save what was lost’ – Lk 13).
Long teaching sections (e.g Jn 5, 6, 13-18)
Teaching on the last days still to come (eschatology).
Teaching on the last days that are already here.
Sermon on the Mount and the Lord’s Prayer.
Farewell address (chapters 13-17)
Jesus’ own baptism by John.
Jesus’ interactions with John the Baptist.
Jesus’ temptation by Satan and demon exorcisms.
Satan as Jesus’ main enemy working through Judas.

4. Jesus (John 1.1-14)

  1.  His Identity
    1. “What can you see in the first 14 verses that tells us about the identity of Jesus the Christ?”
  2. His Capacity
    1. “What can you see in the first 14 verses that tells us about the capacities of Jesus the Christ? What he can do?”

Summary

  • “What has stood out to you from tonight?”
  1. Read/skim the whole gospel between now and next Friday.
  2. Discuss what you’re learning and your questions with your spouse/friends.
  3. Ask God to reveal what aspect of Jesus he would like you to focus on through this series.

“New Year, Newer You!” Ephesians 2.19-22, Thames Valley churches of Christ

“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19–22 NIV11)

Audio

1. New Identity, v19 – this is what has been done for us by Christ: vv4-22
2. New Foundation, v20 – Revelation 2:1–7
3. New Purpose, v21-22 – We have a new purpose – Ephesians 2.10

Therefore we…

a. Pay attention to our personal relationship with God: Matthew 4:4; Luke 6:46–49; John 15:42.

b. Pay attention to our relationships with one-another in church: 1 Peter 2:5; Ephesians 4:15–16.

Questions for reflection

1. How “joined together” do you feel with God, and with the rest of the church?

2. What is it about Jesus (see the rest of Ephesians 2) which will provide the inspiration for you to grow, serve and sacrifice for others in the year ahead?

3. How do you anticipate us experiencing the presence of God by His Spirit dwelling in us as a congregation in 2019?

Thank you for listening to this recording. You can find more teaching tips here and on the on the YouTube teaching tips playlist

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org

Thanks again for listening. Have a terrific Tuesday, and a wonderful week.

God bless,

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Malcolm 

“The antidote to chaos”: Psalm 62

A sermon for the Thames Valley churches of Christ

“For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall never be shaken.” (Psalms 62:1–2 NRSV)

I spoke on what Psalm 62 has to teach us about what to do with the chaos in our lives. We looked at how Jesus has the rest, salvation and hope we need because of the power of his resurrection and the evidence of his love shown us on the cross.

 

If you have any questions about quiet times in general or about the class material in particular, please drop me a line.

I hope you find this a blessing.

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Thanks again for watching and listening. Have a super day.

God bless, Malcolm

“What to do when you are stuck with God”

Quiet Time Coaching: Episode 47

In last week’s episode (number 46) we looked at more reasons why we need a specific place for study. Please let me know how you’ve been getting on with your own study.
 
This week, let’s talk about what to do when you are stuck in your relationship with God. We’ve all been there. I have many times. I will be again, and so will you. What is it that will get us out of our rut?
 

Neither shallow, nor introspective.

We cannot stay shallow. Equally, we dare not become introspective. Perhaps a change of perspective will help. We’re not really trying to go deeper into ourselves, right? We’re attempting to go deeper into God. As Richard Foster puts it,
 
“I do not mean to turn inward by becoming ever more introspective, nor do I mean to turn inward in hopes of finding within ourselves some special inner strength or an inner saviour who will deliver us. Vain search! No, it is not a journey into ourselves that we are undertaking but a journey through ourselves so that we can emerge from the deepest level of the self into God.”*
 
Yes, that’s right. We emerge into God. In other words, we take action and discover that the faith involved in that action brings the reward of a renewed connection with God. It’s so important to remember that a relationship with God is not, in its essence, a concept or a feeling. It is something built by our faithful actions.
 

Confidence comes from action

Confidence with God grows as we take action. It has always been thus in the Christian life.
  • Jesus said, “Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.” (John 7:17 NIV11)
  • The faithful of Hebrews 11 are commended for taking action, “By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family.” (Hebrews 11:7 NIV11)
  • Abraham is held up as the example of faithful action, “You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.” (James 2:22 NIV11)
If you want to grow in depth and intimacy with God – take action. Pray. Often. Read. Often.

Experiment with the ‘examen’

One action you could take is what’s called the ‘examen’. Psalm 139 sums it up:
 
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23–24)
 
The prayer of ‘examen’ consciously invites God to reveal truth in us. The revelation of truth is a startling stimulus to growth. We do not know what we will discover. As a result, we need to deal with the fear of what is turned up. Foster inserts this prayer at the end of his chapter on the topic:
 
“Precious Saviour, why do I fear your scrutiny? Yours is an examen of love. Still, I am afraid… Afraid of what may surface. Even so, I invite you to search me to the depths so that I may know myself – and you – in full measure. Amen”*
 
Why not pray this prayer, and then practice one of these four suggested methods for going deeper with God?
  1. Meditate on scripture – such as Psalm 62
  2. Pray the ‘Lord’s prayer’, Luke 11.2-4
  3. Pray through the ‘Ten Commandments’, Exodus 20.1-17
  4. Pray through and/or meditate on one or more of the ‘Beatitudes’, Matthew 5.3-12

If you want to grow in depth and intimacy with God - take action. Pray. Often. Read. Often. Click To Tweet

Conclusion

Try one of these suggestions for a period of time and note what you learn. What does God reveal? Let me know how it goes.

Question

What happened when you took action on one of these ideas? Were some easier than others? Why might that be?
Please leave a comment here so that we can all learn from one another. We learn best when we learn in community.
 
Would you like some coaching in the spiritual disciplines? You can find me by clicking the button below.
 
I hope you have a wonderful week of fulfilling quiet times.
 
God bless, Malcolm
 
Get coached on Coach.me
 

“The best blend for balanced prayer”

Quiet time coaching: Episode 36

A lack of balance is a problem. Just ask any would-be cyclist. But it can be learned – as my children discovered after falling off their bike for the umpteenth time. Balance was eventually achieved.
 
What makes for blessed balance? Not different components working independently – but blending. Eyes, hands, feet, muscles, nerves and the rest of what makes up a human being. All working together to bring a blended power to achieve balance.
 
Our spiritual life is rather like that. Prayer especially so.
 
I listened to an interview with Richard Foster on prayer (Renovare podcast).¹ He referenced three aspects of prayer from his book, “PRAYER: Finding the Heart’s True Home”. I bought the book and will share the basic thrust of the blend.

1. Moving Inward

“The movement inward comes first because without interior transformation the movement up into God’s glory would overwhelm us and the movement out into ministry would destroy us.” Foster, Richard. Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home (p. 5). Hodder & Stoughton. Kindle Edition.
 
Prayer without an intention for that prayer to change us is shallow. Part of the purpose of prayer is to help us along the path of growing Christ-likeness.
 
Do you spend time in prayer examining your heart and actions in the light of the character of Jesus?

2. Moving Upward

“We are exiles and aliens until we can come into God, the heart’s true home. Pride and fear have kept us at a safe distance. But as the resistance within us is overcome by the operations of faith, hope and love, we begin moving upward into the divine intimacy. This, in turn, empowers us for ministry to others.” Foster, Richard. Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home (p. 83). Hodder & Stoughton. Kindle Edition.
 
Prayer connects us with God. It is one of the channels which bring us into contact with God’s joy and parent-love.
 
Is there anything preventing you from drawing close to God in your times of prayer?
 

3. Moving Outward

“Transformation and intimacy both cry out for ministry. We are led through the furnace of God’s purity not just for our own sake but for the sake of others. We are drawn up into the bosom of God’s love not merely to experience acceptance, but also so we can give his love to others.” Foster, Richard. Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home (p. 177). Hodder & Stoughton. Kindle Edition.
 
Prayer which ends with the inward and the upward dimensions is incomplete. If we are connected with God’s heart, and if we are growing in Christ-likeness, we will also be growing in concern and compassion for the world.
 
Are the needs of people around you featuring in your times of prayer?

Conclusion

In John chapter 17 Jesus prayed to the Father, for his disciples, and for the world which his disciples would transform. We see there a balanced blend of personal transformation/strengthening, intimacy with God and concern for the world.
 
Whatever your habitual balance, why not make this next few days of prayer a blend of the upward, inward and outward?
 

Question

What helps you to pray for inner transformation? What helps you to connect in loving intimacy with God? What helps you when praying for the world?
 
Please leave a comment here so that we can all learn from one another. We learn best when we learn in community.
 
I hope you have a wonderful week of fulfilling quiet times.
 
God bless, Malcolm
¹ Famous for his book, “Celebration of discipline
 
Get coached on Coach.me