In JOHN 7:14-18 Jesus answers some objections and offers some practical teaching about Who He is, and what He’d come to do.
JOHN 7:14 (NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE)
14 But when it was now the midst of
the feast Jesus went up into the temple,
and began to teach.
v. 14 … the midst of the feast … The first time Jesus went to the temple as an adult (JOHN 2:13-16) He cleansed the temple and ran out all the people who turned it from a house of prayer into a den of thieves. And now, when Jesus returns to the temple, He comes to teach. And I see an important FAITH LESSON for us here …
FAITH LESSON …
Before you and I can hear and
receive Jesus’ TEACHING, and
begin to internalize and live
out Jesus’ teaching, we need
to invite Him to do some CLEANING
in our minds and in our hearts.
When our lives are cluttered with
unconfessed sin … when we’re
holding things back from God … and
when we live before Him as impostors,
we won’t be receptive to the teaching,
instruction, correction and training
Jesus has for us from His WORD.
And so every time we open up God’s WORD and ask God to teach us, it would be good for us to acknowledge the truth of what King David said in PSALM 66:18 and what he prayed in PSALM 139:23-24 …
PSALM 66:28; 139:23-24
18 If I had not confessed the sin in
my heart, my Lord would not have
listened. (NEW AMERICAN STANDARD
23-24 GOD, look deep into my heart,
and see everything I am thinking.
Help me walk away from evil thoughts
and deeds, and lead me in the way
that time has proven true; Your path,
Your will. (PARAPHRASED)
When you and I choose to deny and ignore the sin in our lives, our fellowship with God is broken. Not because God gives up on us, but because God is serious about us living honest, confessional, holy lives before Him and one another. God knows that when we hide our sin, there are always painful consequences, both in our own lives, and in the lives of the people we’re closest to.
The pathway to the cleaning that needs to take place in our lives is walked on when we stop trying to hide our sins from God, and we confess them. And then, from that place of having been made clean by forgiveness and the receiving of God’s grace, we’re able to receive the teaching, the instruction, and the training God has for us.
If you’ve been part of 2nd Street for a while, then you know I love reading the sermons of the great 19th century American pastor-teacher-evangelist-author-missionary Dwight L. Moody … and you’ve heard me tell some of his stories. Well here’s another one …
ILLUSTRATION … A lady in the north
of England told Moody that every time
she tried to pray, she immediately
pictured five bottles of wine she’d
stolen several years before when she
was a housekeeper. And once the
picture of the five bottles of wine
was in her mind, she felt like her
prayers weren’t making it out of the
room. Moody told her, “You need to
go and make restitution, make amends.”
“But the person is dead,” she replied.
“Are there any heirs?” Moody asked.
“Yes … there’s a son.”
“Then go to the son and pay him back,”
And then the lady said, “I want to get things
right between me and God, but I can’t
confess my thievery. My reputation is at
stake.” And with that she left.
But she came back the next day and asked
Moody if it would be okay if she figured out
the price of the five bottles of wine and then
put that amount into the church offering.
“No,” Moody said, “God doesn’t want any
stolen money. The only way to repair the
break between you and God is to make
The lady wrestled with Moody’s counsel
for several days, but then finally traveled
out into the country, found the son, confessed,
and offered him a five-pound note for the
wine she’d stolen. He forgave her … and
said that she didn’t need to give him the
money. But after she’d finally persuaded
him to take it, she traveled back to town
with a joy and peace she hadn’t known for
Gang, the unconfessed sins in our lives are the stumbling stones that keep tripping us up in our desire to move ahead in our faith. Let’s invite confession do the work of cleaning God wants to take place in our lives. God doesn’t want you and me to come to church and shout “Hallelujah” and sing intimate worship songs to Him while at the same time we’re trying to hide sin in our hearts.
Sin builds a wall between us and God. And we might be really well known, we might stand tall in the community, we might be actively involved in the church … our friends might think that everything is okay between us and God … but the real question is, HOW DO WE STAND IN THE SIGHT OF GOD? If there’s anything wrong in you life, make it right. Again, I love how King David talked about this in PSALM 32:2-3 …
PSALM 32:2-3 (NEW LIVING TRANSLATION)
2 Yes, what joy for those whose record
the LORD has cleared of sin, whose lives
are lived in complete honesty!
3 When I refused to confess my sin, I was
weak and miserable, and I groaned all
So before Jesus taught in the temple, He had to cleanse the temple. And now we see Him teaching. What areas of cleansing do you need to ask God to do in your life so you can become more receptive to His teaching? Godspeed.