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What a Wonderful Change Has Been Wrought in Your Life

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There are two books that have been present in Christ’s church since those earliest days. We hear Paul mentioning this when he said “speak to yourselves in Psalms and hymns….”  Psalms are of course the Scriptures, God’s Word. Hymns have been traditionally defined as the testimonies of God’s saints in song.

This morning we have both books here with us. In our hands this moment most of us have God’s Word the Bible. But in the chairs around you there is another book, a book that contains centuries of testimonies from God’s saints about their lives since coming to believe in Jesus. Have you asked yourself lately: “Has what God’s Word describes as salvation happened in my life?” and also “Has a wonderful change come about in my life like that of the others whom God has saved who were just like I was before Christ?”

Why don’t we start with some testimonies this morning, they are recorded for us in the hymn book. Start with me at hymn number 490. Listen to the testimony of George W. Robinson (1838-1877) who only lived to be 39 years old, and testifies “I am His, and He is mine”! 2/3/4

 

2           Heav’n above is softer blue,

Earth around is sweeter green!

Something lives in ev’ry hue

Christless eyes have never seen:

Birds with gladder songs o’erflow,

Doubt, and care, and self resign,

While He whispers in my ear—

I am His, and He is mine.

3           Things that once were wild alarms

Cannot now disturb my rest;

Closed in everlasting arms,

Pillowed on the loving breast.

Oh, to lie forever here,

Doubt, and care, and self resign,

While He whispers in my ear—

I am His and He is mine.

4           His forever, only His;

Who the Lord and me shall part?

Ah, with what a rest of bliss,

Christ can fill the loving heart!

Heav’n and earth may fade and flee,

First born light in gloom decline;

But while God and I shall be,

I am His, and He is mine.

 

Now turn to number 493 and listen to Horatio Spafford (1828-1888) who endured the loss of four of his daughters in the icy waters of the Atlantic and testifies “It is well with my soul.” 3

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,

when sorrows like sea billows roll—

Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,

It is well with my soul. Chorus: It is well with my soul, it is well, it is well with my soul.

 

Hymn 505 “Love lifted me” by James Rowe (1865-1933) 1

 

I was sinking deep in sin,

Far from the peaceful shore,

Very deeply stained within,

Sinking to rise no more;

But the Master of the sea

Heard my despairing cry,

From the waters lifted me

Now safe am I.

Chorus    Love lifted me!

Love lifted me!

When nothing else could help,

Love lifted me!

Love lifted me!

Love lifted me!

When nothing else could help,

Love lifted me!

Hymn 511 “Now I belong to Jesus” by Norman Clayton (1903- ) 1-3

Jesus my Lord will love me forever, from Him no pow’r of evil can sever;

He gave His life to ransom my soul—Now I belong to Him!

Once I was lost in sin’s degradation;

Jesus came down to bring me salvation, lifted me up from sorrow and shame—Now I belong to Him!

Joy floods my soul, for Jesus has saved me, freed me from sin that long had enslaved me;

His precious blood He gave to redeem—Now I belong to Him! 

Chorus: Now I belong to Jesus; Jesus belongs to me—Not for the years of time alone, but for eternity.

Hymn 512 “My Savior’s Love” by Charles Gabriel (1856-1932) 1

 

I stand amazed in the presence

Of Jesus the Nazarene,

And wonder how He could love me,

A sinner, condemned, unclean.

Chorus    How marvelous! how wonderful!

And my song shall ever be:

How marvelous! how wonderful!

Is my Savior’s love for me!

 

Hymn 515 “Since Jesus came into my heart” by Rufus McDaniel (1850-1940) 1-3

 

What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought

Since Jesus came into my heart!

I have light in my soul for which long I had sought,

Since Jesus came into my heart!

Chorus    Since Jesus came into my heart,

Since Jesus came into my heart,

Floods of joy o’er my soul like the sea billows roll,

Since Jesus came into my heart.

2           I have ceased from my wand’ring and going astray,

Since Jesus came into my heart!

And my sins, which were many, are all washed away,

Since Jesus came into my heart!

3           I’m possessed of a hope that is steadfast and sure,

Since Jesus came into my heart!

And no dark clouds of doubt now my pathway obscure,

Since Jesus came into my heart!

Ever felt you are too bad to be a Christian; that you will never be good enough? One truth Jesus reminds us of is that He was a “fisher of men” and all fishermen know that fish aren’t cleaned until after they are caught. Never forget that. Come to Christ and He will clean you and make you good enough to go to Heaven.

First look at God’s Word. Our text this morning is John 1:12-13.

We have come to John. The Master’s Message In John  is watching Jesus, the One who sent us to go and preach the gospel, through the eyes and ears of the Apostle John. Jesus is the best One to summarize the message He wants us to share in His name. What is the Gospel? Christ Jesus answers through the eyes and ears of the Apostle that He loved – John.  

Now as we approach the Master’s Message, or the way Jesus presented the Gospel we note a dramatic shift in the vocabulary of the Gospel by John. Most noticeable is the shift from the words repent and repentance to belief and believe.

REPENT occurs 9 times in the Synoptics (3 times in Matt; 2 times in Mark; 5 times in Luke) but never in the Gospel by John. Again REPENTANCE occurs 10 times in the Synoptics (3/2/5) but never in John.

However the words BELIEVE and BELIEVED are often in John. Note this chart[1]:

Book Repent Repentance Total Believe Believed Total
Matthew 3 3 6 8 3 11
Mark 2 2 4 11 3 14
Luke 4 5 9 5 5 10
John 0 0 0 52 27 79

John has 26 powerful scenes where our Lord Jesus Christ explains the truth about salvation, and identifies those who are saved. John calls saved people “believers”, and describes them in 26 beautiful ways. He says that believers: possess Jesus Christ; understand salvation is only by substitution; have been overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit; hang on to Christ alone; get to start life over again –only this time brand new and in the right way; has no wrath of God to ever fear; drinks water of life; is convinced that Christ is their only hope; takes God at His Word; hears, comes, and obeys; partakes and stays in Jesus…and on for 15 more scenes!

 

1. Believers possess Christ; Believers become God’s Children; Salvation is only by a Supernatural eventJohn 1:12-13 Yet to all whoreceived Him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right tobecome children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
Believers understand that salvation is only by substitution  John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look,the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! “Behold the lamb of God”. There before[2] John stood the One whom all the sacrifices of Old Testament times had foreshadowed. It is exceedingly striking to observe the progressive order followed by God in the teaching of Scripture concerning “the lamb”.  The Gospel as explained by Paul in I Cor 15:3-4 explains this so clearly Christ died for sin
A believer is overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit   John 1:33 I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’
Salvation is only by hanging on to Christ alone  John 2:11 This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in Him.
A believer gets to start life over again (brand new and the right way!); a believer lives the truth; a believer loves the light  John 3:3, 5,7  In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”  5 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ John 3:15-16, 18, 20-21 that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. 16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth , comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
A believer has God’s wrath pulled off of their life; a believer accepts the Son  John 3:36  Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”  Like a target painted by a laser with a laser guided bomb headed its way, heat seeking missles, radar honing missiles, blood to sharks
A believer drinks Christ’s water of life; a believer has a supernatural source of living water; drinkers are worshipers   John 4:10, 14, 23-24  Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” 14 but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, andhis worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”  Fountain of youth
A believer is convinced Christ is their only hope  John 4:39, 41-42 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 41 And because of his words many more became believers. 42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”
A believer takes Christ at His word   John 4:50,53  Jesus replied, “You may go. Your son will live.” The man took Jesus at His word and departed. 53 Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and all his household believed.
A believer hears, believes, crosses over, and does good  John 5:21,24, 28-29  For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. 24 “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. 28 “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to becondemned.
A believer is one who securely comes to Jesus, looking to Jesus, believing Jesus, drawn to Jesus, PARTAKES (eats) Jesus, drinks Jesus, stays in Jesus (Salvation equals abiding in Christ) John 6:27,29,35,37,39-40,44,47,51,54,56  Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” 29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” 35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son andbelieves in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”  44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. 47 I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.
A believer has spiritual life; a believer comes to Christ  John 6:63,65–66 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.” 66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
A believer chooses to do the will of God  John 7:17  If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.
A believer has a life that is overflowing with God’s spirit in their life  John 7:30,37-39  At this they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his time had not yet come. 37 On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
In John 8:11,24,30-32,44,47 a believer:

  • Leaves their life of sin, v. 11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
  • Believes in Jesus, v. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the One I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins.”
  • Dies sinless, v. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeeddie in your sins.”
  • Puts their faith in Jesus,  v. 30 Even as he spoke, many put their faith in Him.
  • Hold His teaching, v. 31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.
  • Really are Christ’s disciples, v. 31 To the Jews who hadbelieved Him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.
  • Know the truth, v. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
  • Have been set free, v. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
  • Belong to God, and hears God   v. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 47 He who belongs to God,  hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”  Submarines and ships in harm’s way when out over the deep and vulnerable to sinking into the deep blackness of the sea’s depths.
A believer worships jesus because he knows he was blind and Christ gave him sight  John 9:35,38-39,41 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 38 Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. 39 Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” 41 Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.
A believer enters through Jesus; a believer hears Christ’s voice; a believer has been saved by Jesus; a believer finds pasture; a believer has an abundnat life; a believer trusts in Christ’s life laid down for their sins; a believer is known by Jesus and personally knows jesus   John 10:1,3,9-11,14  “I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 3 The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name andleads them out. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. 11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherdlays down his life for the sheep. 14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me
A believer believes in Jesus  John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do youbelieve this?” John 11:45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him.
a believer hates the world; a believer serves God and trusts the light; a believer is a son of light  John 12:25-26,36 The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. 36 Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.  Ephesisans 5; I John 5
A believer believes in God the Father and God the Son     John 12:41,43-44 Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him. 43 for they loved praise from men more than praise from God. 44 Then Jesus cried out, “When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me.
A believer has been bathed by God because he lets Christ wash himJohn 13:8,10 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” 10 Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.”
A believer has supernatural love for others    John 13:35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
A believer comes to Christ, are drawn by Christ, obey Christ, Love Christ, and be indwelt by God the Father and Son   John 14:1-2,6,10,12,20,23 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 23 Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
A believer bears fruit; A believer gets pruned; A believer is chosen, appointed, fruitful, and asking  John 15:2-4,6,8,16 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruithe prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruitshowing yourselves to be my disciples.16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.  If the vine speaks of all of life as one growing season, then we should get more fruit filled the older we get (ala Psalm 92), if it is many seasons then life is a succession of growing/pruning/bearing/resting and then growing/pruning…
A believer knows God intimately     John 17:2-3,6,9,20,26 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 6 “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
A believer responds to God’s Word    John18:37 Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered,  “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truthEveryone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

 

 
 
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