The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.

JULY  2005

                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.






A Matter Of Faith

The Message

by Pastor Joel Lawler

John 8:12-19 [The Message]

12 Jesus once again addressed them: "I am the world's Light. No one who  follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to  live in."

13 The Pharisees objected, "All we have is your word on this. We need more  than this to go on."

14 Jesus replied, "You're right that you only have my word. But you can depend on it being true. I know where I've come from and where I go next.  You don't know where I'm from or where I'm headed.

15 You decide according to what you can see and touch. I don't make judgments like that.

16 But even if I did, my judgment would be true because I wouldn't make it out of the narrowness of my experience but in the largeness of the One who sent me, the Father.

17 That fulfills the conditions set down in God's Law: that you can count on the

Pastor Joel Lawler

testimony of two witnesses.

18 And that is what you have: You have my word and you have the word of the Father who sent me."

19 They said, "Where is this so-called Father of yours?" Jesus said, "You're looking right at me and you don't see me. How do you  expect to see the Father? If you knew me, you would at the same time know the Father."

The Pharisees are brilliant men. They have achieved great status through  tremendous self discipline, long and tedious hours of study and adherence to  strict laws. Yet they are blind.

The God they had so meticulously studied is in human form and is standing  right in front of them and they cannot see him.

Jesus knew who he was because he knew where he came from and he also

knew his purpose for being there. He had the answer to "who am I and why am I here".

The Pharisees were placing all their faith in their lineage and their religion. At one point in this debate with Jesus, they scream at him "Our father is Abraham!"

Jesus tells them that he is the son of God and they respond with that they are sons of Abraham.

Abraham was a mortal man. At this point he had been dead for a very long time. The very reason that they invoked Abraham's name was because he was known for his faith in God.

The God that had spoke to Abram and promised that he would be a father of a nation (God changed his name from Abram, which means father, to Abraham, father of many) was standing right in front of these intelligent religious leaders and they chose not to believe in Him.

Their ignorance was a choice. They thought they were following the one true God but in reality they had turned from pursuing him to assembling their own god. They had taken characteristics of God and used them to craft their own faith system. What they were worshipping was not God at all but an idol they had made who was a cheap imitation of the true God.

The Pharisees had formed their beliefs through the narrowness of their own experiences. When anyone bases their view of God on their own perceptions what they are worshipping is not God but themselves.