John Chapter 4. I wanted to explain again, in case some of you are just joining this study, of why I chose this title for the study of John’s Gospel when this question appears nowhere in it. This is the question that Jesus asked His disciples, “But who do you say that I am?” after He asks the disciples about who are people around saying that He is and this conversation appears in the other three Gospels but not in John. The reason why I chose this title is because people today, much like people back then, have really no clue to who Jesus Christ really is. This goes for believers and unbelievers alike. We think that He was a good teacher, or a prophet, or a good man, and someone we should mold our lives around but Jesus Christ was and is much more than that. Jesus Christ is God who came to earth in the form of a sinless man and John makes that abundantly clear in his Gospel. Also this is the question that we all will have to answer when we stand before Him one of these days. One of my favorite verses in The Bible, and I have several of them, comes from Philippians where Paul says…

(9) Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, (10) that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, (11) and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. … Philippians 2:9-11 NKJV

The way that I view this is that you will be bowing one of two ways…either in fear because you don’t have a relationship with Christ or in respect and admiration because you do! So John’s Gospel gives the answer to the question who Jesus really is and that is why I chose this particular title for this study. So we’re in John Chapter 4 but before I get into this study, let’s pray…

Father,

Thank You for Your Word and bless this time we are spending in it. Father, as we look into this story of a woman thirsty for something more than water, let its lessons stick with us and help us to understand more who Your Son Jesus Christ really is. Lord, we also pray that this will show some that no matter how low that they may have sunk in life, no matter what they may have done, that there is forgiveness and room for them in Your Kingdom as well.  And now Lord, our hearts and minds are open to hear what You have to say. Speak Lord, for your servants are listening in Jesus’s name we pray…Amen!

Are you satisfied? Before you answer, chances are you’re not. During this past Super Bowl, advertisers spent roughly 5.4 billion dollars on ads betting on that you aren’t. We live in a very materialistic, money hungry, and power hungry culture. Materialism begins at an incredibly earlier age now. I work in an airport and I see this every day! I saw a mother goofing around on her i-phone. She had her baby, maybe one or two months old, strapped onto her in front in one of those “papooses” that are so popular with mothers now. Anyway, as she was doing whatever she was doing on the i-phone, the baby’s eyes were fixed on the phone screen absolutely mesmerized! His (or her) eyes were glued to that phone screen! I also see babies in strollers looking at other babies being pushed in perhaps better strollers than the one they are in and you can tell by the look on their face that they would rather be in the other stroller! Some of these things are Cadillacs now! LOL! The point is, we start to feel unsatisfied at an early age, feeling we need more, and that feeling basically continues throughout life. We say to ourselves, “Gee if I could only have that car, then I’ll be truly happy and satisfied!” or “Gee if I could only buy that house, then I’ll be truly happy and satisfied!” or “Gee if I could only get a raise, then I’ll be truly happy and satisfied!” or “Gee if I could only marry that girl (or guy), then I’ll be truly happy and satisfied!” and so on and so on. The thing is that nothing in this world brings us to that point of true contentment. We are always looking for more! It’s really only when we truly accept Jesus Christ into our hearts and lives that we feel that satisfaction and happiness because we all need spiritual satisfaction.

In John Chapter 4, we are introduced to two such people, first, a woman looking for so much more than water, although our Lord needs to make her aware of that fact and then an official looking for a miraculous healing. The women at the well is a long story and it can’t be covered in one post but for this one, I’m going through the first 14 verses which basically introduces us to this woman and her encounter with Jesus and then in the next post, I’ll backtrack and cover portions of this passage to make other points so let’s get started and as always, the text link for the chapter and the audio are included for you to follow along or you can do it the “old fashioned way” and actually open a Bible! LOL!

John 4

Let’s look at the passage I’ll be covering in this post…

Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John (2) (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples), (3) He left Judea and departed again to Galilee. (4) But He needed to go through Samaria. (5) So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. (6) Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. (7) A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” (8) For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. (9) Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. (10) Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” (11) The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? (12) Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?” (13) Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, (14) but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” … John 4:1-14 NKJV

In these verses, we are basically being introduced to this woman. She is nameless and the only things that we know about her is that she was from Samaria and she was an extremely troubled woman. She was a woman in the wrong place with a bad past. She came looking for a well of water and instead, found a fountain of grace. This is the longest conversation that Jesus has with anyone that is recorded in the Gospels. The first two verses have been covered in a previous post so no need to cover them here so let’s start in verse 3. …

vv 3-6 – (3) He left Judea and departed again to Galilee. (4) But He needed to go through Samaria. (5) So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. (6) Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

Jesus had been in the south, that was Judea, where He had met Nicodemus and now He goes north heading to Galilee but the text says that He needed to go through Samaria. Why? Because Jesus knew that people in Samaria needed to hear the Gospel too! To get to Samaria after leaving Jerusalem though, you have to head northwest and uphill to get to Galilee that way, not an easy trip especially on foot. Not to mention, that Jews avoided Samaria completely which I will cover why in just a bit. Very simply put, Jesus did this for the same reason that Jesus needed to go to Galilee in Chapter 1…for a divine reason to accomplish a divine purpose. In Chapter 1, Jesus needed to go to Galilee to meet Philip and Nathanael and here in Chapter 4, Jesus needed to go to Samaria to meet this unnamed woman at this well. Sychar is only mentioned here so it’s exact location is not really known but some believe it to be actually be Shechem because this is where the parcel of land that Jacob bought described in Genesis 33:18-19. Verse 6, shows the humanity of our Lord saying that He was wearied from His journey. Like I said, it was a long journey and all on foot and Jesus was tired and more than likely hungry and thirsty when He got there. John says that this was the sixth hour. Most commentators believe that John tells time in his Gospel by Roman time unlike all the other Gospel writers so this makes it probably around 6:00 in the evening or it could possibly be noon if you go by Hebrew time but really, the time doesn’t matter. It’s what happens next is what should be the focus and not the exact time.

vv 7-9 –  (7) A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” (8) For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. (9) Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.

So about 6:00 pm (or noon whichever time you prefer), this Samaritan woman comes to the well where Jesus is sitting tired from the journey from Jerusalem. She is alone probably to avoid the other woman in the village because we will find out that this is a sinful woman. No doubt that this was probably a daily ritual for this woman but this time, she’s about to get much more than water! Jesus asks the woman for a drink. Was Jesus setting the woman up, looking for a response from her? Most definitely although He probably was thirsty as well since He was human. In verse 8, John mentions, For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. I did a post a year or so ago (could have been longer) where I stated my belief that the disciples were very young, probably teenagers, and used one of the reasons why because they were always preoccupied with food! Where to get it, how to get it, and how much to get! Grown men don’t generally have this preoccupation with food. Of course, in their defense, they were all probably hungry from the trip.

Back to this Samaritan woman though. When Jesus encounters this woman, she has been basically been beaten up by life. She has lost any hope of things in her life to get any better. I know the feeling myself because this is the way I felt when I had my “encounter” with Jesus. She also has some “skeletons in her closet” as well which we’ll see in a future post. The reason why I say this, that she’s a beaten woman, is because how the woman responds to Jesus’s request. You can hear the sarcasm in her voice, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?”. Can you imagine talking to Jesus, our Lord, that way? Of course she doesn’t know who she is talking to, the Lord of the universe and her Creator, but she soon will!

John gives a brief editorial at the end of verse 9 saying, For the Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. There is a reason for this but to understand why, you have to know their history. They had a history for 700 or 800 years of doing worship the wrong way. It all started with Solomon. After his reign, we all know the kingdom split… two tribes, Judah and Benjamin formed Judah to the south controlled by Rehoboam and the other eleven tribes formed Israel to the north controlled by Jeroboam. Jeroboam had this idea that Jerusalem was too far for the people to worship at the temple so he set up two golden calves…one up in Dan the northern part of Israel and the other one right in the middle of Samaria. Because of this, God punishes the nation of Israel, which includes Samaria, by having the Assyrians invade the nation and take the people captive and take them to Assyria. This happens about 722 BC. What happens after the captivity, is that Samaria is repopulated with a mixture of people so now you have Jews and Gentiles (non-Jewish) people living in the country with their own gods and goddesses and their own worship system. You also have intermarriages happening as well. Does any of this sound familiar? Kind of describes America today doesn’t it? Anyway, these people become outcasts more or less. In fact after the Babylonian captivity when Nehemiah comes back to rebuild the temple and the wall in Jerusalem, the Samaritans wanted to help in the rebuilding process but are denied because they are not “true” Hebrews. This rivalry gets so bad, that the Samaritans set up their own temple in 330 BC on Mount Gerazim in Samaria. This is right in Sychar, where Jesus is talking to this woman. Like I said though that Jesus knew that people needed to hear the Gospel in Samaria so He chose the more direct route, albeit the hardest, instead of going the long way around and totally avoiding the area like most Jews did and John wants us to know that the people needed the Gospel in Samaria as well as the people in Judea. Moving on now. …

vv 10-14 – Jesus answered and said to her, (10) “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” (11) The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? (12) Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?” (13) Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, (14) but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

Jesus now takes the conversation in a different direction. He goes from asking a simple request to a more spiritual level and meaning. Living water is not like water from a well. It’s not stagnant. It keeps flowing. There are many references to flowing or moving water in The Bible. In Psalm 42, David says…

As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. (2) My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? … Psalms 42:1-2 NKJV

And also in Isaiah, the prophet says…

Therefore with joy you will draw water From the wells of salvation. … Isaiah 12:3 NKJV

In the study of Jeremiah that I did here, it says…

“For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water. … Jeremiah 2:13 NKJV

None of these passages are remembered by this woman and what Jesus says to her goes, phew!, right over her head very much like the conversation that Jesus had with Nicodemus. To paraphrase what Jesus is telling this woman is, “If you knew who this is that is talking to you, you would ask Him to save you!”. She doesn’t get it though and thinks that Jesus is literally talking about water and wells. The sarcasm in the woman’s voice is still evident in verse 12 where she asks, “Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?”. My first thought after reading this was, “Uh yeah! He’s God and Jacob is not!”. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus authority was always being challenged, putting mortal men above Him. The Pharisees and the Sadducees would always confront Jesus with things like, “Well Moses said blah blah blah now what do you say?”, as though Moses was above Jesus. Abraham was another one as well as in this example from John 8…

Are You greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? And the prophets are dead. Who do You make Yourself out to be?” … John 8:53 NKJV

Actually, little has changed today. Mortal men, and women, are being put above our Lord in today’s world. People fall all over themselves to get a glimpse at the pope and care more about what he says than what Jesus says in The Bible. Mary, Jesus’s mother, is another mortal who is held in very high regard second to Jesus. She is prayed to and worshiped by millions all over the world. The Book of Revelation says it best. There are several times when John falls at the feet of angels and the angels tell him, “See that you do not do that! Worship God!” The only one worthy of listening to and worshiping is God! No one else! However in America today, we’ve taken all of this to a new level and have taken God completely out of the picture. America, for the most part, now believes and practices secular humanism where man is supreme and has no want or need for God. The result is that our country is steeped in immorality, idolatry, and violence. When we as human beings think that we know what’s best for us and take God completely out of the picture, it’s a recipe for disaster! In Jeremiah, in another favorite passage of mine, it says…

(9) “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? (10) I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings. … Jeremiah 17:9-10 NKJV

Bottom line, America is reaping what we are sowing! We like violence so much? We support paganism and idolatry? We triumph immorality? We don’t want God in our lives? God is just giving us what we want!

Back to the passage though. Jesus tells the woman, If only you knew. He is implying that she didn’t know. The woman is like Nicodemus. Remember when He told Nicodemus, “You must be born again!”. Remember his response? “How can a man be born again? Can he enter his mother’s womb a second time?” Phew! Right over his head! Same here with this woman. When it comes to spiritual matters, most people are the same way…phew! over their heads. Why? Because it’s foolishness to them! Paul says in 1 Corinthians…

(14) But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. … 1 Corinthians 2:14 NKJV

Believe in Jesus and have faith and trust in Him? That’s just pure stupidity! Science has all the answers! That’s what the majority of people think and believe. 

You can use verse 13 as a rebuttal for any earthly pursuit that you may have. “If only I had money!”. Drink of this water and you will thirst again! “If only I could marry that girl (or guy)!” Drink of this water and you will thirst again! “If only I could live in a nice house!” Drink of this water and you will thirst again! And so on and so on. No earthly pursuit will provide satisfaction, comfort, and true peace until you give your life to Jesus Christ! We live in a “if only” syndrome and we keep looking for things over and over again that we think will provide true satisfaction for us but we keep missing the mark until, we have a true, meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ. Having Jesus Christ in your life though doesn’t mean you will then have a rosy, trouble free life, far from it actually, but you will be able to see things more clearly, make better decisions, and be able to handle life’s troubles a lot better than those who believe that man has all the answers to life. This has been my experience since coming to true faith in Jesus Christ. It hasn’t been an easy road but when obstacles come along, I don’t panic and get all depressed like I used to do. Hard to explain but true Christians feel a sense of inner peace and nothing that happens around them takes that away. I heard a great saying a month back. 2018 had just begun and I was listening to a message from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Albuquerque. He said, “Pessimists stay awake and watch the new year come in to make sure the old year goes away. Optimists stay awake and welcome the new year in. Christians go to bed knowing that God is sovereign and has everything under control!” That’s the kind of peace that I am describing here. So pursue earthly pursuits and you’ll thirst again but drink in Jesus and you’ll never thirst again!

In closing, there are a lot of differences between Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman. He’s a man; she was a woman. He was a Jew; she was a Samaritan. He was a Pharisee; she had a rival religion. He was a politician; she had no status. He was a scholar; she was uneducated. He was highly moral; she was immoral, as we will find out next post. He was named; she was nameless. He came at night; she came at noon. He sought Jesus; Jesus sought her. Nicodemus proved that no one is too righteous to need Jesus and the Samaritan woman proved no one is too low to not be loved by Him. I work as a shoe shiner in an airport. My job is to lure customers in by playing on their vanity. That’s how I make my money. I watch passengers walking back and forth when it’s slow, eyes on the floor, looking at their footwear and seeing whether or not they need a shine if they are wearing shoes or boots. “Shoe shine! Shine ’em up!”, I yell out. A lot of guys will tell me, “I’m good!”, meaning, not interested. I tell them, “If you think that’s good, than you’re good but you know what, they could be so much better!” That’s the way it is with Jesus Christ in your life! Most people are going through life following one pursuit after another and saying to themselves, “I’m good!”, like those guys at the airport do, but you know what, you could be so much better! “Shine up” your life with Christ today! Let’s pray…

Father,

As I close out this post, that is my prayer that if anyone who is reading this and doesn’t have Your Son Jesus Christ in their lives, walking around thinking, “I’m good”, when they’re really not, that they would drink of that spiritual rock which is Jesus Christ and never thirst again! Father, bless our homes and our families. Thank You for all Your blessings and also the trials that we may go through. Strengthen us and guide us in the saving name of Jesus Christ we pray…Amen!

   

Skip’s Bible Study wrap up….

Posted February 3, 2018 By admin

So how did you do? Were you able to do the whole 30 day study? I have to admit that I started it with the greatest of intentions to stick with it but things came up what with my work schedule, catching up on my own Bible study here and other things, that I wasn’t able to complete it! LOL! I saved the emails so I have every intention to go through it again and actually do it! I hope that Skip was able to open the New Testament up to you in ways that you haven’t seen it before. Check out his other full teachings on the books of the Bible at his website!

admin

First of all, congratulations on completing the 30K 30-Day Challenge.

I hope and pray you have a greater grasp of Scripture and a deeper relationship with God because of it. Not only that, but I hope this challenge has ignited in you a love of the Bible that you’ll take into your everyday life.

So what’s the next step? Here are a few ideas of what you can do now:

1. Start a small group in your home and continue studying the Word with other believers.

2. Get your copy of my book The Bible from 30,000 Feet and the accompanying workbook, and go through them with a friend.

3. Go through the 30K 30-Day Challenge again with family or friends.

Investing yourself in the Word of God is the best thing you can do for your personal walk with the Lord. As God Himself said, “[My word] shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).

Happy studying.

In His strong love,

Skip Heitzig


A final word from Skip…

If you want to stay connected to God’s Word and continue to learn His truths, I encourage you to:

You can also find much more at connectwithskip.com. I’d love for you to keep in touch.

May God bless you as you continue to study the rich truths of His Word.

In His strong love,


   

Revelation: Your Future Home

When the tribulation is finished, God’s wrath and judgment will be over, and Jesus Christ will return to the earth.

Revelation 19 describes this second coming of Jesus, the culmination of the gospel. After that will come the binding of Satan and the millennium, where Jesus will set up His kingdom on earth, ruling and reigning for 1,000 years. Then there will be one final uprising that will be quelled, the great white throne judgment of unbelievers, and, finally, the eternal state.

The eternal state is the end of the end, the ultimate phase. Heaven and earth will be destroyed, and new ones will take their place, with the capital city of New Jerusalem. Revelation 21-22 describes it: That which is ruined will be restored. The curse of sin will be removed, and there will be no more sorrow, tears, pain, or death. Most importantly, you’ll be with God forever.

I hope that surveying the New Testament, especially this last book, has not only whetted your appetite to the riches of God’s Word but also awakened you to the reality of your future home—eternity with the Lord.


Think It Through

Read Revelation 19:11-16. What will Jesus’ second coming be like?

Read Revelation 21-22. What about your eternal home most inspires and motivates you here on earth?

Reflect on the past thirty days. What have you learned about God’s Word? About the New Testament? What are the biggest lessons you’ll take with you into the future?


Listen and Learn

When the Antichrist is revealed during the Great Tribulation, at first, he will be seen as a peacemaker. But later he will set himself up to be worshiped. Find out more as Skip continues his short flight over Revelation.
Listen Now

Land and Explore

Forever is a long time, so it makes sense that you understand and prepare for it. To learn more about heaven and eternity, check out Pastor Skip’s series From the Edge of Eternity.
Listen Now

A Word of Encouragement

Revelation has a special blessing for its readers: “Blessed [or happy] is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book” (Revelation 22:7). How do you keep the book of Revelation? By choosing to live in the light of eternity, rather than the temporal world. And what’s the blessing? In seeing Jesus clearly, and in reading the end of the story and knowing He wins.

Prayer

Lord, thank You for the last thirty days I’ve spent in the New Testament, and thank You that I know how the story ends. I pray by Your grace that I would continue to immerse myself in Your Word, and that by so doing I would continually choose to live not for this world, but for eternity.

Share It

If you enjoyed today’s lesson, don’t keep it all to yourself—tell your friends and followers. Share the images below on social media, and make sure to use the hashtag #30k30daychallenge.

Today’s Resource

Stay connected to Pastor Skip and God’s Word through teaching series, books, devotionals, and more at connectwithskip.com.
Visit Skip’s Website

   

Revelation: What’s in Store

Written by the apostle John, Revelation is a book of prophecy that describes what will happen in the end times. But Revelation isn’t just meant to be a bunch of revelations about the future; it’s mainly the revelation of one particular person: Jesus Christ.

Revelation 1:19 gives us the outline of the book: “Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.” The vision of Jesus that John had in chapter 1 is “the things which you have seen.” “The things which are” refers to John writing to seven real-life churches in chapters 2-3. And then “the things which will take place after this” is chapters 4-22.

More specifically, Revelation 6-18 and part of 19 describes the tribulation period on the earth, when, after the rapture, God will judge a Christ-rejecting world through three sets of intense judgments: seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven bowls. At the end of the tribulation, which will be the worst period of history mankind has ever seen, Jesus will return.


Think It Through

Read Isaiah 2:12; 13:6-9; Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 12:1; Joel 1:15; 2:1-11; Zephaniah 1:15; Matthew 24:21-22; and 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3. What are some of the characteristics of the tribulation, also called the day of the Lord?

To what does Revelation 12:1-5 refer? Compare and contrast it to the prophecy concerning Jesus in Genesis 3:15.

Jesus Christ is not just the main subject of Revelation, but of the whole Bible. How does Revelation 13:8 reveal this truth?


Listen and Learn

In Revelation, Jesus addressed seven churches about their works, both good and bad. In a quick flight over this book, Skip shows us there are historical and timeless applications for Jesus’ statements.
Listen Now

Land and Explore

If you’re interested in learning more about the book of Revelation, download Pastor Skip’s free fourteen-message series about the end times called What’s Next?
Listen Now

A Word of Encouragement

The word revelation means to take the veil off or to make something clear, and this is the idea I want you to get in your mind about this book. A lot of people think Revelation is shrouded in mystery and hard to understand. But it’s not—it’s meant to clearly reveal Jesus as the glorified Judge of all the earth and the coming King.

Prayer

Father, thank You for the revelation of Jesus Christ as revealed in this book. Thank You that even though this world is only going to get worse, eventually it will all lead to Jesus returning to this earth. Help me to keep my eyes on You in the meantime.

Share It

If you enjoyed today’s lesson, don’t keep it all to yourself—tell your friends and followers. Share the images below on social media, and make sure to use the hashtag #30k30daychallenge.

Today’s Resource

Check out Israel: Learning from the Land, a documentary about Israel’s history and role in the end times that also features on-site teachings from Pastor Skip.
Get Your Copy

   

If you go into just anybody’s home, you will likely see pictures in frames hanging on the walls. The pictures you see are likely members of the family or landscapes or maybe even religious pictures. Most people still rely on a trusty nail to hold their pictures on the wall. Why? Because a nail won’t break and will hold up the picture frames securely in place. If you use something else like a thumbtack or tape, chances are it won’t hold and the picture frame will fall. Jesus Christ is the nail that holds everything in place and without that nail, everything falls apart as evidence to what is happening in America today.

In this last passage that closes out Chapter 3 of John’s Gospel, John, the disciple (or John The Baptist depending on whose viewpoint you want to take), makes this point abundantly clear and that is that Jesus Christ is the nail that holds everything in place and that He is the nail that we need to rely on. Turn in your Bibles to John Chapter 3 and verses 31 to 36. As always, I’ve included the text link and audio for the chapter so you can follow along but before we get started, let’s pray…

Father,

Thank You for Your Word that brings truth and light into our lives for those of us willing to receive it. As we look at these last six verses in Chapter 3 of John, Father let this truth sink in that Jesus Christ is the nail that holds everything in place and that He is the only one that we need to rely on and nobody or nothing else but Him. And now Lord, our hearts and minds are open to hear what You have to say. Speak Lord, for your servants are listening in Jesus’s name we pray…Amen!

John 3

Let’s look at the passage that will be covered in this post…

(31) He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. (32) And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony. (33) He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true. (34) For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure. (35) The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. (36) He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” … John 3:31-36 NKJV

There is a difference of opinion on who is speaking here. Most believe that John The Baptist is continuing his thoughts from verses 27 to 30. However, some people believe that John The Baptist words end after verse 30 and this is now John the disciple and the writer of this Gospel’s words and he is sort of giving an editorial here in verses 31 thru 36. I believe this is the case as well and here’s why. The reason why many people, including most Bible commentators, believe this is still John The Baptist speaking is because of where the quotation marks begin and end. They begin in verse 27 and end in verse 36 leading one to believe that these are still John The Baptist’s words. However, the original text found in the King James Version has no punctuation so that leads some to believe that after verse 30, John The Baptist is done speaking. Also if you take a closer look at this passage, it looks and sounds very similar to John the disciple’s other writings. Compare the above passage to this passage from 1 John…

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— (2) the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— (3) that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. (4) And these things we write to you that your joy may be full. … 1 John 1:1-4 NKJV

The styles are very similar. One last point to make about this before moving on. When you make a profound statement like John The Baptist does in verse 30, “He must increase but I must decrease”, you don’t need to add anything further to it. You’re pretty much done saying else. Therefore, this is why I believe that this is John the disciple’s comments here and not John The Baptist’s. This is John the disciple explaining why John The Baptist is saying that Jesus must increase and he must decrease and why we need to trust and rely on Jesus and Him only. Let’s take a closer look at this passage now. …

v 31 – (31) He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all.

John speaks of why Jesus Christ is supreme and why He is so unique in verses 31 thru 36. First here, John speaks of Christ’s origin…heaven. No one in The Bible, not Moses or any of the prophets, or anyone else on earth can claim that they came from heaven. The only one that can make that claim is Jesus Christ because He is from heaven. Jesus is God in a human body. Going back to John 1:1, it says…

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. … John 1:1 NKJV

And then way down in verse 14 in the same chapter…

(14) And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. … John 1:14 NKJV

Can’t make it any more clearer than that! One thing you will find out in John’s Gospel is that John doesn’t give a bunch of cool stories about Jesus and then makes his point. Nope, he gets to the point right away! He says, “Look Jesus is God and here’s why!”.

Jesus Himself says that His origin is from heaven. In John 6:32, Jesus says…

(32) Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. … John 6:32 NKJV

And continuing further down in John 6, we have these words from Jesus…

For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. … John 6:38 NKJV

Let’s stop for a moment. Another reason about the uniqueness of Jesus Christ was that He was the only one born with the distinct purpose to die. Jesus Christ didn’t come to tell a bunch of cool stories or to make people feel good about themselves. He came to save people from their sins and the way He would do that is to suffer a brutal death by being nailed to a cross. When John The Baptist points Jesus out. he says, “Look! The lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!”. A lamb was a sacrificial animal sacrificed in the temple for the forgiveness of sins. Basically, Jesus’s mother Mary “had a little lamb”! He who comes from above is above all , this statement that John makes points out the supremacy of Jesus. In other words, John is saying, “The buck stops here!”. There is no one higher than Him! Not Moses nor the prophets…no one! This is evidenced by the next comment that he makes…he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. Let’s move on. …

vv 32-33 – (32) And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony. (33) He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true.

The next thing that John points out about why Jesus is unique is what He proclaimed to our world. Look at the first part of verse 32…And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies. His testimony came from heaven, in other words, John is telling us that He was there! He saw it all! Everything you read in The Bible, Jesus knows firsthand because He was there from the very beginning! Remember how the Pharisees and the Sadducees would try to trip up Jesus with things from the Scriptures? Take divorce for example. They told Jesus that Moses had permitted it but take a look at what Jesus told them…

He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. … Matthew 19:8 NKJV

Perhaps the statement that best illustrates the point that Jesus was there from the beginning and therefore, spoke with authority, can be found in John 8. Again in this chapter, the Pharisees are arguing with Jesus about who He really is and check out what Jesus tells them…

Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” … John 8:58 NKJV

This statement right here points out to us that Jesus IS God! People say, “Well Jesus never said He was God!”. Oh really? What about this verse? The statement, I AM, was what God told Moses to tell the people if they asked who sent him. I will delve into this verse further when we get to Chapter 8 in this study but I have to tell you after mulling this verse over for some time after truly reading it, I came to the conclusion, as you should as well, that Jesus is God in human flesh!

The next part of verse 32, and no one receives His testimony, is (what I believe to be) a statement of possible sarcasm or frustration from John. It’s a statement that shows what I believe is unbelief and bewilderment from John about why people were so unreceptive to Jesus. It was like John was saying, “What is it going to take for you to realize that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God!”. The statement that no one received Jesus’s testimony is not exactly correct though because verse 33 says…He who has received His testimony. This must mean that some people did. This is true because in Chapter 4, we will be looking at one who did…the woman at the well. Others did as well but for the most part, most people did not. A lot of people are like the Christians today in our country. They hung around Jesus because He did a lot of cool stuff and said a lot of cool things but when He probed deeper into the hearts of the people or when the going got tough, they bailed! 

Verses 32 and 33 were true back then and they still are today. Some people will accept Jesus but for the most part, people don’t want anything to do with Him! The main reason why is explained in verse 33…He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true. God is truth and the world can’t stand it! Their excuse is and you hear this all the time…”I just can’t believe in The Bible because it has so many contradictions!”. Here’s a fact for those people though…THE BIBLE HAS NO CONTRADICTIONS! What it does though is contradict people’s way of life and they can’t handle that! The Bible exposes the truth on how people lead their lives. It exposes the sinful nature that is in all of us and we can’t stand it! There’s a story in the Book of Acts of Stephen, a disciple of Jesus, addressing the Sanhedrin, the Jewish council, and he is going through the history of the Jewish people up to that point and how they were responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus. He ends his speech with this statement…”You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit as did your fathers, so do you!”. What happens? Did they walked up to him, slap him on the back, shake his hand and say, “Right on brother!”? No, the text says that they were cut to the heart and they gnashed their teeth at him and then they stoned him! The Scriptures produce conviction in people and that is what they can’t handle! Let’s move on. …

vv 34-35 – (34) For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure. (35) The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand.

Jesus was not a man which the Holy Spirit was given to. He had a full, unrestricted flow of the Holy Spirit. Jesus wasn’t a vessel of the wisdom of God…He was a fountain! The prophets were given the Holy Spirit by measure. They had certain degrees of Him but Jesus had the Spirit without measure. The prophets were messengers who brought “letters from heaven” so to speak but Jesus was an ambassador. He spoke as no other prophet did although He was mistaken to be a prophet by some of the people. All fullness of the Godhead was in Jesus. He spoke as no one on earth had or ever will!

In verse 35, is the first of seven times that John will use the phrase, The Father loves the Son, in his Gospel. Jesus shared a unique relationship with God that no one else could. Whereas the prophets were just merely servants of God, Jesus is God’s Son and God took delight in Him as we see in these two examples in the Scriptures…

Then I was beside Him as a master craftsman; And I was daily His delight, Rejoicing always before Him, … Proverbs 8:30 NKJV

And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” … Matthew 3:17 NKJV

Even through the humiliation of the torture and the crucifixion which Jesus suffered because of the sins of mankind, The Father still loved the Son.

The rest of verse 35 speaks of Jesus’s dominion. The Father not only loves the Son but The Father has also given everything into His hand.  This also ties into verse 31…He who comes from heaven is above all. What this means is that Jesus is Lord of all…Lord over everyone and everything! He owns it all! He owns it all because He made it all. He sustains and maintains the universe. In Hebrews 1, the writer says…

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, (2) has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; … Hebrews 1:1-2 NKJV

And in Colossians 1:17, Paul says…

And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. … Colossians 1:17 NKJV

Because The Father has given everything into His hands which makes Jesus Lord of all, that means you belong to Him as well! You belong to Him whether you are believer in Christ or not. He owns you and controls you. Everything we have belongs to Him…our possessions, our families, our finances etc. We are just stewards of what the Lord blesses us with in life. You’ve heard of this saying, I’m sure, “God is my co-pilot”. You will see this on bumper stickers on people’s cars. Really? Do you really think that you are in control and God is just “along for the ride” giving you guidance here and there? BZZZ! Wrong! He is not your co-pilot…He is the pilot! As a matter of a fact, you aren’t even in the cockpit! LOL! One last thing about Jesus’s dominion. Because He made it all, He has the right and the authority to end it all! We see this in Revelation 5 which in part says…

And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, … Revelation 5:9 NKJV

Because Jesus has the right and the authority to end it all, John makes a point and gives a warning to close out the chapter in verse 36…

v 36 – (36) He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

This last point that John makes is that Jesus determines our destiny. His reception by us will determine what happens to us. This verse, more or less, is John emphasizing what Jesus said back up in verse 18. There are many types of people in this world…black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Indian, Arabic etc. There are many types of religions in the world…Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam etc. There are those who don’t believe in any religion as well. However, with all the different types of people, religions, and cultures that are in the world, John makes this point…there are only two types. There are those who believe in Jesus and those who do not. Those who do will have everlasting life. Those who do not will not have everlasting life and John says the wrath of God abides on him. You see, we live in a culture that says that all you have to do is do good and you’ll be a good person. That’s not what The Bible says though. The Bible says that we were born dead in sin. In Ephesians, Paul says that we were dead in trespasses and sin.

Notice that John uses present terms in this verse. He who believes in The Son has everlasting life. John doesn’t say “will have everlasting life”. No, he says has everlasting life. That means once you truly accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you have everlasting life! It’s a done deal! However if you don’t, John says that the wrath of God abides on him. That word abides is also present term. Translated it means that the wrath of God remains on those who do not believe and accept Jesus Christ unless they change that decision. 

As we read this verse, we should realize that this is really God and not John speaking. So if God is speaking through His Son, why aren’t people listening? From this verse we learn that our eternal destiny depends on what we do with the Son of God. If we receive Him, God gives us eternal life as a free gift. If we reject Him, we will never enjoy everlasting life, and not only so, but God’s wrath already hangs over us, ready to fall at any moment. Notice that there is nothing in this verse about keeping the law, obeying the Golden Rule, going to church, doing the best we can, or working our way to heaven.

In closing, John is saying in this passage that we have been looking at that there is no use putting your energy and effort into anything or anyone else other than this one “nail” which is Jesus Christ. The fact is that this world, and America in particular, is populated by a whole lot of “dead” people…”dead man walking” so to speak. This not only applies to unbelievers but also to supposed believers in Christ as well! These are the “believers” that the Lord will say to them…”I never knew you! Depart from Me you who practice lawlessness!”. Doesn’t have to be this way though. This is what the rescue of Jesus Christ is all about! It is God’s grace in forgiving us if we put our trust and rely on His Son. After all, God put all His eggs in a basket by allowing and relying on His Son to hang on a cross to save us all. Now, shouldn’t we accept that free gift of forgiveness by accepting and trusting in and relying on Jesus? Let’s pray…

Father,

Thank You for allowing Your Son Jesus Christ to die on a cross to forgive us all, those who are willing to accept Him. Thank You for showing us through John why Jesus Christ is so unique and so supreme and why He is the “nail” that will never break. So unique because He came from heaven; so unique because He spoke like no else ever had or ever will and so supreme because He made and controls everything. Lord, we pray that You would help us to rely and trust on You more and more each day, our reception of You, and that if there are those who haven’t done that, haven’t put their trust in that “nail” that will never break, that they will do so today…right now! Thank You Lord for all the blessings and yes all the tribulations as well that help us to become stronger believers in relying on You in the saving name of Jesus Christ we pray…Amen!

   

2 and 3 John and Jude: The Believer’s Expression of Love

The book of 2 John is one of the most neglected books in the Bible. In it, John warned of the danger of compromising truth in the name of love, which the church had done by being hospitable to itinerant false teachers. He instead instructed that love and hospitality must be regulated by the truth.

While 2 John says don’t show hospitality to false teachers, the tiny book of 3 John says do show hospitality to true, faithful teachers. In other words, if you really love the truth, then you’ll love and accept anyone who stands up for it.

The book of Jude is essentially a warning to the church to fight the right war: against false teachers but for the truth, building up the faith.

To sum it up, these three little letters tell you how to express your love: 2 John warns you to be careful showing love and hospitality to false teachers, 3 John instructs you to show love and hospitality to faithful teachers, and Jude says you should lovingly warn everyone when it comes to the truths of the gospel.


Think It Through

How can you tell a false teacher from a faithful one, according to 2 John 1:7, 9-11?

What example of love, truth, and hospitality did the believer Gaius set in 3 John 1:3-8?

Read Jude 1:3. How can you contend for the faith without being contentious (see Ephesians 4:15; 1 Peter 3:15)?

List the characteristics of true love from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Which one(s) have to do with truth? How can you balance love and truth in your life?


Listen and Learn

The little book of 2 John is one of the most neglected in the New Testament. In this message, Skip shows us how John warned believers to guard against false teachers, specifically those who say that Jesus didn’t come in the flesh.
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Land and Explore

Want to learn what it means to contend for the faith and confront false teaching? Download this free teaching series from Pastor Skip called Jude: Acts of the Apostates.
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A Word of Encouragement

Christian love has been greatly misunderstood. Unbelievers tend to think it means tolerating anyone and anything. But if your love has no boundaries based in truth, then it isn’t really love. True love requires that you love the truth.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for 2 John, 3 John, and Jude. Since You said that Your Word will not return void but will accomplish the purpose that You’ve sent it for, I pray that having been exposed to it I indeed would be changed by it. Help me to balance love and truth in my interactions with other people, whether believers or unbelievers.

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Today’s Resource

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As we near the end of our flight through the New Testament, take this final catch-up day to begin reflecting on what you’ve learned by praying and/or journaling. You can also:

  • Memorize a verse from this week’s lessons that stuck out to you.
  • Figure out how to apply something God showed you this week.
  • Start to plan what you’ll do once this challenge is over. Have you figured out a good time and place to have daily devotions with the Lord? What in the Bible do you plan on reading?

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Today’s Resource

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Your Amazing Bible: Continuing in the Word

In John 15, Jesus said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me” (v. 4).

When Christians have problems in life, the root problem is usually that they’re failing to genuinely seek the Lord through daily devotional time in the Word and in prayer. But when you abide in Christ, everything in life will naturally fall into place.

To abide in Christ means to maintain a constant, living communion with the Lord, with His words at home in you. This sort of consistent exposure to the Bible with a consistent desire to obey it will do more for your Christian walk than any other thing I can think of.

So my exhortation to you is to continue in the truth. Whatever you have to do, make it a daily habit to be alone with the Father and feed on the Word. Make His Word your priority in times of delight as well as times of distress. It’s the primary way you’ll hear from Him.


Think It Through

Read John 15:1-10. What can you do without Jesus? What happens when you abide in Him, according to this passage?

How does Psalm 1:1-3 describe the person who continually meditates on the Bible?

What’s the biggest challenge you face when it comes to abiding in Christ? What have you learned from the 30K 30-Day Challenge that you can apply?


Land and Explore

Next to Bible study, prayer is one of the most vital disciplines of the Christian life. Download Drawing Near, Pastor Skip’s teaching series on prayer, for free today.
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A Word of Encouragement

When you persevere in reading, understanding, and applying the Word, you’ll find that you’re able to persevere in life. So when you lose your job, the doctor says it’s cancer, or somebody leaves you in a relationship, you won’t be crushed—you’ll resort to a promise of Scripture that holds you firm.

Prayer

Father, I pray that You would create in me a hunger and a thirst to know more of Your Word. Please help me abide in You through personal devotional time in prayer and studying the Bible—and help me persevere in making the time to do so. I pray that Your Word would become more alive to me than ever before.

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Today’s Resource

Listen to and download over 3,000 of Pastor Skip’s Bible teachings from the past thirty-plus years on his website, connectwithskip.com.
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1 John: Simple Truths Make for a Revolutionary Life

The apostle John was part of Jesus’ inner circle, and it’s believed he wrote 1 John toward the end of his life, when he was very old.

The letter has a tender, familial tone to it, like that of a father to his children, but it doesn’t follow a typical structure or outline. The best way to view 1 John is by looking at it as a series of five spirals or revolutions: John covered the same truths over and over again, each time going wider and deeper.

In covering these basic truths, John offered a revolutionary way of thinking and living life. More specifically, the truths he shared can revolutionize five things in your Christian walk: your fellowship with other believers, your joy, your holiness, your discernment against false teaching, and your assuredness in salvation. In short, these truths can revolutionize your relationship with the Lord and with people.


Think It Through

Read 1 John 2:22-23; 3:7-9; 4:1-3, 8. How can you develop discernment and tell if someone is truly a Christian?

A huge theme of 1 John is love. How do we know love (see 1 John 3:16)? How are we to love others (see vv. 16-18)?

The word know appears close to forty times in 1 John. Why is knowing so important to the Christian faith (see 1 John 5:13)? What are some ways you can know you’re really saved? (Hint: see 1 John 2:3; 3:18-19, 24.)


Listen and Learn

First John has a very tender tone, as John called the believers “little children” and “beloved.” In this short study, we learn that John boiled all of life down to two levels: horizontal (between people) and vertical (between us and God).
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Land and Explore

If you want to explore the truths of 1 John more in-depth, check out this free series from Pastor Skip titled Together We Stand.
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A Word of Encouragement

The fact that John wrote in revolutions and went back over the same truths indicates that no matter how old or mature you are in the faith, you’ll always need to be reminded of the basic truths that set you free in the first place. So get back to the simplicity, the irreducible minimum of the gospel.

Prayer

Lord, thank You for the truths of 1 John. I am so thankful that Christianity offers a revolutionary way of thinking and living life. Help me get back to the simplicity of the gospel.

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Today’s Resource

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1 and 2 Peter: The Promise of Persecution

Perhaps more than anything, the apostle Peter is known for being strong-willed and impulsive. We know his failure, denying Jesus three times. But we can’t forget his recovery and how he became the chief preacher of the gospel in the early church. And I think 1 and 2 Peter show this transformation: Peter wrote these letters to strengthen the faith of suffering, struggling believers.

In 1 Peter, his theme is simple: believers can expect danger from the outside world in the form of persecution. In light of that, God’s plan for all Christians includes five things: being secure in their salvation, surrendering to God’s will, submitting to authority and each other, suffering for Jesus Christ, and serving others.

On the flip side, Peter’s theme in 2 Peter is that Christians can expect danger from inside the church via deception and false teachers. As he explained, you need to constantly be adding to and moving forward in your faith, because the church is ground zero in the battle for truth. His words continue to ring true for us today.


Think It Through

How is the genuineness of your faith tested (see 1 Peter 1:6-7)? How precious is it?

Read 1 Peter 2:13-17. How are you to live as a citizen of heaven on earth (see also Philippians 3:20; Romans 13:1-7)?

Read 2 Peter 2. What are some of the characteristics of false teachers? How can you determine a person’s legitimacy in the Lord (see Matthew 7:15-20)?

Answer the question Peter posed in 2 Peter 3:10-12.


Listen and Learn

First Peter was written to a group of Christians who were suffering for their faith. In this message, we see how Peter taught that believers are secure in Christ and that we must be submissive both to men and to God’s will.
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Land and Explore

Pastor Skip’s series Rock Solidtakes a verse-by-verse look at 1 and 2 Peter, and we’re excited to offer it as a free download to you today.
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A Word of Encouragement

Peter’s writings have a simple premise: If Jesus Christ Himself was not exempt from suffering, then why do you think you ought to be? When you’re persecuted for being a Christian, you become a partner with Christ, entering into one of the deepest possible types of fellowship with God: the fellowship of His sufferings (see Philippians 3:10; 1 Peter 4:13).

Prayer

Heavenly Father, help me understand the gravity of Peter’s writings—that there is danger from the world but perhaps even worse danger from those inside the church who spread false teaching. I pray that You would help me stand up for the truth and stand fast in trials, knowing that my suffering isn’t in vain.

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Today’s Resource

Need a quick boost of solid truth? Check out Pastor Skip’s booklets on hard-hitting topics like prayer, divorce, and lust.
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