- Pastor Jacob Marchitell
Water into wine
The first message from our new Sermon Series about the miracles of Christ. From June 28th 2020
Sunday June 28th
I hope everyone’s lives are starting to get back to normal
A few quick announcements:
I will be in the Adirondacks this week, so make sure that none of you have any emergencies, or if you do, make sure that it’s the kind of emergency that can wait till friday evening.
Next week is the first Sunday of the month, so we’ll be taking Communion together, but because of all this nonsense floating around…...i’ll be asking each of you to bring in your own Communion Elements again.
Cracker and juice
Bread and wine
So: Next Sunday, bring your own personal Communion Elements so that we can all partake together
In about another month or two we’ll be taking down the dividers between the pews, restarting Sunday School ------ And starting to get things back to normal
Last week was the last Sermon of our Series on the attributes of God, so if your happy that thats over, your welcome, if you're sad it over, lets get together and we can talk into the we hours of the morning about God.
That kind of material, is a lot like vegetables.
Some people hate them, some people love them-----but if you want to be healthy, they need to be a consistent part of your diet.
With that being said------- we’ll be starting a new Sermon Series today about the Miracles of Jesus.
Each week we’ll be taking a look at a different one----
What it means
And how it applies to us
Today, we’ll be talking about His very first miracle.
The wedding in Cana, where He turned water into wine.
If you have your Bibles with you this morning, you can turn to
-------------------The Gospel of John chapter 2, verses 1-11
2 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” 4 “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. 8 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” 11 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.”
( → → Opening Prayer ← ← )
Now every week of this Series, we’ll be talking about a different miracle, but a lot of the times, theyre going to bleed together.
We’ll mention multiple different miracles, how theyre related, and why it matters that they are related.
Towards the end of this Series, were also going to take a look at if these kinds of miracles are something we can expect to see nowadays in the 21st Century.
Today, however, we're going to ease into the subject.
We’ll talk about miracles, what they are, and our response to them.
Whenever people talk about miracles------- we all have different ideas and opinions and events that we tell other people. Even saying the word ---- “Miracle”----- can bring a lot of different things to mind.
Some people think about situations in their life that seemed to have the odds stacked against them, but they pulled through
An accident that almost resulted in death---
A sick child, that the Dr.’s said wouldnt make it, but now they are alive---
A financial gift that came at just the right time
We hear these stories, and some of us even tell these stories, and we say things like:
“Its a miracle that I survived”
“Its a miracle that my loved one who was sick, pulled through”
“Someone up there was watching out for me”
When its instances like these...that we claim are miracles…..
Its because we are using human limitations as our frame of reference
“Its a miracle that I survived that car crash, because someone else was in a crash like it….and didnt survive….thusly it is a miracle.”
“Its a miracle that things worked out the way that they did….because other people experienced the same things….and it didnt work out…..thusly, its a miracle.”
“The doctors and scientists said one thing----but something else happened---- it’s a miracle.”
When we say things like this---- it is because
We are assuming that human knowledge and ability is perfect, so when a Doctor makes a claim that someone is going to die, we take it as an undeniable, stone cold, unchanging fact------------then, if that person doesnt die, we have the ground to stand on to claim that it is in fact a miracle.
But if doctors and professionals and scientists and everyone else can be wrong ----- then when they are, we can’t claim divine intervention as an indisputable fact.
When these are the cases that we experience or that we hear other people talking about, it all comes down to one common thought:
Someone up there, is watching out for me
I should have died…..my loved one was sick and should have died…..the things that should have happened to me, didnt happen and
its because someone upstairs was watching out for me,
--But then what does that mean for those people who it did happen to? Does that mean that they dont have someone watching out for…….them?
I am so special, that God does miracles for me that He doesnt do for other people----
I dont know, I cant explain it, but what other possible explanation could there be, apart from God paying extra attention to me and my loved ones--------
When other people and their loved ones go through the same thing but have a sad ending instead of a happy one?
Are your gears turning yet?
Hold that thought, firmly in your hand, and we’ll get back to it.
Other times when we think of miracles, we think of the things that Jesus did:
Healing the blind
Healing the deaf
Raising the dead
Walking on water, thats a popular one
For some people, when we hear the word miracle, we think about all the things Jesus did, the first of which, we read about in our verses for today ------- turning water into wine.
Jesus supernaturally altered the molecular makeup of water, turning it from H2o, into alcohol
He bypassed grape seeds being planted----
He bypassed the need for soil and sunshine
He bypassed the years it takes for a vine grow into maturity and actually bear fruit---
He bypassed the vitamins and nutrients that watering the plant gives to it
He bypassed the picking and crushing of the grapes---
He bypassed the fermentation process of yeast interacting with sugars, to actually create alcohol
He bypassed the years it takes for wine to age, to be considered good quality---
We read that Jesus acted in ways that defy human ability and logic ------ superseding all natural processes, and literally altered the chemical molecular structure of something He created to begin with, and turned it into something else.
It defied all human understanding and ability
Apart from Jesus being God-----there is no explanation for HOW it happened, but Scripture does give us an explanation for WHY it happened.
In fact, it tells us WHY all of these miracles are included in Scripture, at all ------ and its found later on in the Gospel of John
30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name
Jesus performed these miracles, so that the people who were there to witness them, and the people who read about them later on, would have the evidence necessary to believe.
Jesus proved He was God, by doing things that only God could do.
Not things that Doctors could try and study really hard to do----
Not things that scientists and engineers could try and study really hard to do---
Jesus wasnt just some guy who was really smart and knowledgeable about the way the world worked and trained studied in all these different fields and invented ways to save lives and just so happened to be in the right place at the right time
Jesus did things that were entirely and completely outside of the realm of human ability, and He did it, to prove that He was God.
That is what Scripture teaches is the reason why Jesus performed these miracles
So ---------- when we talk about the things that happen nowadays----
When we say:
“It was a miracle that I survived that car crash” ------- or
“It was a miracle that my loved one stayed alive, when all the Doctors said they wouldnt”
When we make claims that God is watching out for us and He is moving and acting in our life in such a way that can’t ever at all be explained by human logic and ability, in any instance--- then we must confess that it is for the reason of giving us the evidence we need to confess that He is God, and thusly drawing us closer to Him.
If Scriptures teaches us that miracles happen to prove the divinity of Christ----
And we are adamant that a miracle has happened in our life---
Then it must cause us to repent of our sins and believe that He is God---
Then it must cause us to grow in our relationship with Him---
It would cause us to dive headlong into Scripture
It would cause us to defend the faith against false teachings
It would cause us to talk to our friends and neighbors about repentance and forgiveness
It would cause us to carry the message of Salvation through Jesus Christ alone, into all areas of our life.
If we say a miracle happened to us, but none of those things happen, then we are wrong.
If we say these things happened that couldnt have happened if it were not for God’s intervention ------ but our personal walk with Jesus Christ, isnt reinforced and given a breath of new life ----- then we are wrong.
If Scripture says that miracles happen to prove Jesus is God, and we experience a miracle, then our faith has to grow, right?
Well --------- what else does Scripture say?
John 12:37 says:
“Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him”
There were teachers and pharisees, who knew the Old Testament, who saw Jesus do these things, and didnt believe.
In fact, there were people who saw Him prove His divinity, and instead of believing, they got angry and wanted to kill Him.
In Scripture we read of a string of miracles that were so numerous that all the books in the world coudnt contain them….
Peter saw these miracles----- and still denied Jesus...
Judas saw the miracles-----still betrayed Him...
The pharisees saw someone dead for days, walk out of a grave still wrapped in his death shroud------- but didnt believe and instead plotted against Him...
All through Scripture, there are people, who witnessed miracles, and still didnt believe.
In the Old Testament, when the Israelites walked across dry ground while the waves of the Red Sea stood up like walls around them….some would go on to doubt and waver and sway.
This happened…..and continues to happen------- because a faith that is nothing but signs and wonders, is a shallow faith.
Yes it may be the spark of a flame...
Yes it may be the initial cause and proof that we need to make that first choice of belief…
But if that is all that our faith is---- then we will surely fall away
Its like that, because if the substance of our faith, is nothing but miracles, then we are nothing but an audience.
If we read of His miracles and think “hey I want that too!” and then expect miraculous signs and wonders to carry us through our day to day life-----
then we are nothing but ticket holders in His theater, and our hearts are never truly changed.
If we require miracles and clouds of gold dust and angel feathers to fall from the ceilings of our Churches, to continually remind us that we have been forgiven and made new, then we will quickly fall away because our faith will be in the gifts and not the giver.
We will worship the signs themselves, and not the author of the signs
You see, the miracles of Christ may be the spark that ignites your faith----
There may be a spark, a flash, a bright moment where the reality of a supernatural being actually existing ------- enters our mind and our heart
But anyone who has started a campfire knows ---- if there is nothing for that spark to ignite and feed off of ---- then the fire will shine brightly, for a few moments, then sputter and fail.
So when we go out into the world, with that spark in our soul that screams out Jesus is God---------- but we dont experience miracles ------ and instead ------ we experience suffering and loss and trauma, what are we to think?
Im just going to state this plainly because there is no way to dress it up----
It is the suffering of this fallen world, that can be consumed by the spark of our faith, and then fans those flames into life.
The suffering in our life, can be the fuel that feeds the fire of our faith.
You see, God knows that we have to live with day by day, week by week, in a world that wants to hurt and hold us down.
He knows the trials that will face us this afternoon, and the trials that we will face next year
He knows that the supernatural acts He has carried out-------may attract us to begin with-------but then when life happens, He knows that miracles cant sustain us, because life isnt a movie to entertain us
That is why---
Romans 5:3-4 says:
“...we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
When we suffer, and continue to rely on Him, regardless of the outcome------ our faith strengthens----
But if all we do is beg for miracles, and wont accept anything less, then our faith is in the works of God, and not God Himself.
Knowing that, it is no wonder that the first miracle of Jesus’ ministry, was carried out by servants.
His first miracle wasnt storming into a castle and declaring His domineering divine presence
His first miracle wasnt some militaristic choir of warrior angels ripping the sky open and pouring into our world
His first miracle wasnt some showboating magic trick with lights and music and fanfare---
It was a homeless carpenter, telling a group of servants to fill a ceremonial water jug.
You see, these stone water jugs wernt just some ordinary jugs that the family probably had lying around.
I know that I myself, have a cupboard full of random containers and mismatching lids
Thats not what these water jugs were.
They were “Ceremonial” water jugs
You see, the religious leaders of the day, held tightly to the belief that they themselves could work and earn the favor of God.
They relied on their own strength, and held people down to make themselves higher
And one of the things they did, to earn their salvation, was to ceremonially wash their hands from their ceremonial water jugs
Inside their hearts they held on to self righteousness and pride, but externally they went through the motions and thought they were better than everyone else.
Inside their hearts they held onto their own way, ignoring what the Old Testament taught them.
The religious leaders and teachers, who were supposed to tell everyone about the freedom that comes from a relationship with God, were too busy making themselves feel holy to realize that God came down and walked among them.
So when Jesus had the servants of the house, fill these ceremonial water jugs with water, and then commanded the molecular structure of the water to do His bidding, He was saying so much more than what was evident on the surface.
He was telling people more than just “I am God, and am in control of the elemental fabric of reality”
He was telling people more than just “I created water, which means I can rearrange its molecules as I see fit.”
He was telling people, that these ceremonial water jugs may have water that can clean you on the outside, but unless the Holy Spirit cleans your heart and soul, then it doesnt matter.
He was telling people that our:
actions and good deeds
Our being nice to people and being polite
Our being respectful and holding the door open for people in the store and standing up for injustice and being a good person-------is a dead end road.
By Him using the ceremonial water jugs, the same exact items that people relied upon thinking it made them right before God------ He was showing people the truth of what was said in:
All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
By changing ceremonial water, into wine, Jesus is telling us that the external things we do with our body and with our words-----no matter how good or nice or inline with Scripture they may be-------
If God does not live within our hearts, then our good deeds are nothing but filthy rags.
This may be good ---or--- bad news to you today.
If you hear these things, and understand that though we make mistakes, if we repent of our sins and believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that He will save us from what we have earned------
If you have reached the dead end that lies at the end of the road of human effort, then you know that you must drink of the wine of the Spirit, and be made new from the inside.
This may be good news to you this morning, because you have turned away from what Scripture teaches is sinful, and you dont rely on your human strength to fight your sin------- but you pray that God gives you the strength to fight your temptations.
If you read of Jesus’ Miracles in Scripture, and realize that He is real and true, and then take the sufferings of this daily life and give them to Him because you realize your ceremonial water jugs can’t make you clean----- then this is good news for you
However-------------------------------------------------This may be bad news to some people
Some people may hear that the best of our human efforts are filthy rags that cant save us--- and loudly proclaim:
“I am a good person! I do good things all the time!”
“I dont hate anyone, I dont steal, I dont do drugs, I dont lie, I dont have premarital sex.”
“In fact, I do things that the Bible tells me to do!”
“I go to Church, I pray, I believe in God”
I do all the good things, so why are my human efforts filthy rags?
(A little side note)
These good things that we can do, the being nice and helping, yes they are good things, but they cant save us.
God doesnt look down from heaven and see someone making good choices or bad choices, and then saves or doesnt save them.
Because we cant earn our salvation.
We must repent of our sins, and believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and then and only then does God save us.
So our human efforts to make us in right standing before God, are nothing but filthy rags, because:
They are stained with the sin that has flowed through our life since we were born.
Every hurtful comment or action, stains us
Every angry thought and action
Every lustful thought and action
All the times weve lost our temper, or acted in ways that we shouldnt, have stained us to the point that we ourselves----- can not make ourselves clean again.
We need God, to take the water of our life, and change it into the wine that is acceptable to Him.
Even this, though-----may be hard to hear and even harder to accept.
We hear that all we have sin in our life, staining us and controlling us----
We have daily experiences that seem to push us in whatever direction the wind blows
Some of us were raised by parents that hurt or betrayed us---
We have relationships with others that make us think and do bad things---
We have people who are supposed to lead and protect us, doing the opposite---
We ourselves have done things that make us ashamed---
We have anxiety and fear flowing through our lives, clouding our judgement
We hear from religious leaders who teach us things that dont align with Scripture
We have all these things in our life, that have stacked the odds against us----
And then we hear that our human efforts are filthy rags
What hope is there?
I have 2 answers for you
If you have repented of your sins, and the Holy Spirit lives within your heart-------if there is divine wine flowing through your soul, instead of dirty human water-----
And you're thinking:
How can I be of use to God?
How can I tell people about Him?
What good things can I do?
Yes I believe in these miracles I read in Scripture, but there is so much in this world that distracts me
How can I do good things for God, when I can barely do good things for myself?
My answer for you, lies in what Jesus told the servants of the house to do.
He didnt tell them to go on some long journey of self discovery
He didnt tell them to perform some huge life long task, or climb a thousand mountains
He told them to fill water jugs to the brim, and as a result of their obedience, they experienced a miracle.
God was going to change that water into wine one way or another, but because of their obedience to His instructions, they got to participate in the supernatural works of God.
So for those of you who have the Holy Spirit living within you-----Ill ask you this morning ------ what fills your water jugs?
What is there in your life, that you are good at?
Or what is there that you can do?
What is there about you, that separates you from everyone else?
What do you bring to the table?
You may be thinking ------ nothing, and there is nothing about you that is important or special, but thats garbage, so throw it out.
Whatever it is in your life, that you are good at,
whatever you do well,
whatever you CAN do,
no matter how seemingly small or insignificant it may seem to you----
whatever you like to do or
you love to do,
what makes you YOU?
Bring it to God, just like those servants brought Him the water, and He will work miracles in you.
He may not use you to defy the natural laws of reality,
but He will draw you into the destiny that He created specifically for you
He will show you the reason why you exist, the path that He has for you, the work that you can do that no one else can, and you will be a lightbringer in the lives of those around you.
Bring Him your good works, bring Him your water, and He will turn it to wine, and place you within the flow of your destiny.
If you hear these words, and the Holy Spirit does not live within you, and you're wondering how you can have hope when all of your life the odds have been stacked against you, and your good deeds cant save you?
My answer is to you is Matthew 7:7
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
knock upon the doors of heaven, and He will answer you.
Seek Him, and you will find Him.
Read of the miracles of Jesus, repent of your sins, believe in the God who can turn water to wine------and He will save you.
If the world has been pushing you down for years, and you don’t know which way to turn, Jesus Christ will be there.
If your parents have hurt or abandoned you, Jesus Christ never will.
If you are lost, confused, angry, hurt, depressed, and your life is falling to pieces------ Jesus Christ will be there.
If every time youve tried to put the pieces of your life back together, you miss one, and its happened so many times that youve feel like you’ve lost who you really are---- Jesus Christ will be there.
In every situation your life could possibly exist in, Jesus Christ will be there, telling you to fill your pots with water, so that He can turn your works into wine.
Jesus Christ is God in the flesh---
He has proven Himself to be divine, and calls out to you to join in Him in the work He is doing in this world.
( → → Closing prayer ← ← )