Manchester Community Church
Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Where people count and Christ is honored.

July 29, 2012

Sermon preached at Manchester Community Church on July 29 2012, Rev. Dr. Jack L. Daniel

Title:“HOW FAITH BEGINS”

Text: John 5: 31-40

Introduction: We love to hear the stories of people’s faith journeys, how it is that someone became
a follower of Christ. What it was that convinced them to believe. In this passage Jesus points out
that there are 4 main factors that convince us to believe in Jesus Christ, and when some or all of
these “witnesses” as the Revised Standard Version states it, come together they convince us of the
reality and truth of the gospel and we believe. The 4 witnesses are as follows:

1. HUMAN TESTIMONY v. 31-36. Jesus uses John the Baptist as his example. John was the first
human being to declare that Jesus is indeed the Messiah and Lord, and John the Baptist was
a credible witness that helped convince the first disciples that Jesus was indeed the Lord and
savior. On our faith journey there were no doubt people who first told us about God’s love and
about Jesus Christ. It may have been a parent, or a sibling, a friend, a pastor, or Sunday school
teacher who told us about Jesus and because they were credible we took a step of faith. But
Jesus says there is a second witness.


2. MIRACLES v. 36b. Jesus speaks of the “work” that God gave him to do, which of course are the
miracles that he performed in his earthly ministry. The scriptures called them “works”. Jesus
says that these “testify” that God sent Him. The purpose of the miracles that Jesus did in his
earthly ministry had a two-fold purpose. First they were to alleviate human suffering in the
person who experienced the miracle. But second they were to convince onlookers that Jesus
was indeed the supernatural Son of God. God still uses miracles to convince us that Christ is true
and really alive today. They are usually small, private miracles that are meant just for us to help
convince us. Perhaps at first we think they are coincidences, but then we realize that it is indeed
God himself acting in some way to answer a prayer or to intervene to protect us or guide us.
And when they occur they help further convince us. But Jesus says there is a third witness.
3. GOD SPEAKING THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT V. 37. Jesus says that God the Father has
also “testified” about him. Perhaps he has in mind that moment at his baptism in the Jordan
River when after John baptized him, as he came up out of the water the Holy Spirit descended
upon him and God’s voice was heard to say “This is my son whom I love and with whom I
am well pleased, listen to him”. The Holy Spirit is the third witness that God gives us to help
convince us that Jesus is real, and that we can trust him. The Holy Spirit’s job is to speak to our
spirits to assure us that we are indeed children of God (Romans 8: 16). He gently reassures us
that when we ask him God forgives our sins and gives us eternal life. We don’t have to convince
ourselves the Holy Spirit does the assuring and convincing.


4. THE BIBLE v. 39. The context of this passage is Jesus speaking to a group of Pharisees. The
Pharisees were laymen, not clergy, they were ardent students of the bible. They studied the
Old Testament scriptures because they believed that the bible would give them eternal life.
But Jesus corrects their thinking and says that it is not the scriptures that give eternal life, they

instead point to Jesus and he is the one who gives eternal life. Jesus says that it the Written
Word, the Bible, derives its power from the Living Word, Jesus. Over and over again we see
the power of the word of God to point people to Christ. When people gather in small groups
to study the bible it has incredible power to witness to Christ, to convince people that Jesus is
indeed the Lord God and our Savior whom we can trust fully.

Conclusion: In the “visual flight rules” of flying there are a series of red and white lights on the runways
at airports that are called the VASI lights. VASI stands for “visual approach slope indicator”. As a pilot
makes his approach to land he looks for these lights. If they align in one way they indicate that his
approach is too steep and he will land too short of the runway, if they line up in another way, they
indicate his approach is too gradual and he will over shoot the runway, but if they line up correctly they
indicate that his approach is right and it is time to land.

Where in your life have you seen credible witnesses who told you about Christ, or where have you seen
small or big miracles, or how has the Holy Spirit guided you, or how has the bible spoken? When these
FOUR WITNESSES line up in our experience then it is time for us to “land” to believe and to trust our
lives fully to Christ.