StoneBridge Community Church
Divine Appointments - "That They Might Have Eternal Life"
Senior Pastor Jon Saur
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  • StoneBridge Community Church
    4832 Cochran St, Simi Valley, CA 93063, USA
    Saturday 5:00 PM, Saturday 6:00 PM

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In this series, we will examine Jesus' interactions with different characters in the Gospel of John. Much of the theology in the Gospel of John is revealed in Jesus' dialogues with characters.

The Text In Context, Part 1

Why did Nicodemus come by night? Perhaps he was timid, or perhaps he wanted an uninterrupted interview with Jesus...

The Text In Context, Part 2

Although the road through Samaria was the shortest route to Galilee, pious Jews avoided it. They avoided it because there was a deep distrust and dislike between Jews and Samaritans...
Eternal Life vs Heaven

This may seem like splitting hairs, but it is important to distinguish between "Eternal Life" and "heaven." It is important to do so because the Gospel of John does so. The gospel of John has a heavy emphasis on the concept of "eternal life," moreso even than the other three gospels.

"Heaven" in the Bible typically points to the sky. We can see this in English, when we refer to "The heavens above." The Greek term that is translated as "heaven" is also translated in numerous places as just the basic "sky." In our culture, "heaven" has come to mean a beautiful and grand place we go to after we die that isn't necessarily "above" us.

"Eternal Life," at least in the Gospel of John, does not begin after we die and does not require that we go to a different geographic location. "Eternal life" begins right when someone interacts with Jesus and recognizes him for who he is - the Messiah and the Son of God.

If we focus too much on "heaven" or "life after death" in the Gospel of John, we miss one of the main points this gospel is trying to teach us - Jesus meets us now, in this life, and gives us a glimpse of what eternal life with God will look like, right here and now. It's not a perfect glimpse, but it's enough to spark our hope, so that we can spread the hope we have in Jesus with others.
Who is Nicodemus?

Nicodemus was a religious ruler in Jesus' day. He was a Pharisee. The Pharisees were a sect within Judaism who focused on a strict interpretation of Torah, resurrection of the dead and marking themselves as separate from the rest of society. Jesus regularly debates with the Pharisees in the Gospels. While some have portrayed the Pharisees in an exclusively negative light, Jesus does have some positive interactions with Pharisees, such as with Nicodemus. It has also been said that Jesus debated with the Pharisees because they were the best that Israel had to offer and were the most similar to Jesus in beliefs.
Who were the Samaritans?

The Samaritans were a religious group that lived just to the north of Jerusalem and the Jewish people. They were remarkably similar in beliefs to the Jews of Jesus' day. The Samaritan's even shared the Pentateuch with the Jews (the first five books of the Bible), until about 100 years before Jesus' birth. 100 years before Jesus' birth, a permanent rupture took place between the Samaritans and the Jews and the Samaritans changed their version of the Bible.

For more information on the Samaritans, check out Pastor Jon's StoneBridge Extras podcast, which will be posted this week on Tuesday. Pastor Jon will explain more about the Samaritans, how they developed and help put Jesus' encounter with the woman at the well in context.
Darkness in the Gospel of John

At first, it may seem like a stretch to believe that the narrator of John mentioning that Nicodemus came to Jesus in the night has any real significance. However, one has to take the entire Gospel of John into account.

Recall that at the very beginning of John we are told "In him (Jesus) was life and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it." (John 1:4-5) This is a clue that, throughout this gospel, the reader should look for scenes that involve light and scenes that involve darkness. It is setting the stage for the whole gospel.

If that isn't enough, look at John 13:30. Judas leaves to go and betray Jesus and prepare to hand him over to be killed. This is the moment that was foreshadowed as the main conflict in this gospel. This is the most evil moment in this gospel. And what does the narrator of John tell us right after Judas goes out to betray Jesus? "And it was night." It doesn't get more ominous than that, does it?

If you still aren't convinced that this is an intentional theme in John, turn to the garden scene in John 18, where Jesus is arrested. The narrator makes sure to point out that the soldiers came with "torches and lanterns," another sign that darkness is still reigning in this most evil of events.

When you see "night" or "darkness" in the gospel of John, most likely, someone is about to betray their ignorance of what God is doing in Jesus.

1. Do you usually conflate "heaven" with "eternal life"? What might be some possible differences between these two ideas?

2. Read Jesus' interaction with Nicodemus in John 3. What stands out to you about Nicodemus' questions and Jesus' response?

3. Read Jesus' interaction with the Samaritan woman in John 4. What is different about this interaction from Nicodemus' interaction with Jesus?

4. Are there any lessons we can learn about "eternal life" from the Samaritan woman that haven't been discussed already? What, from her example, can help you know how to follow Jesus in your life?

1. What do you think "eternal life" is?

2. What in your life now do you hope will carry over into eternal life with God?

3. What do you think John 3:16 teaches us?
Beneath the veil of darkness, Nicodemus explores Jesus' identity and the scripture implies that he departs back into the night. In contrast, the Samaritan woman encounters Jesus in the height of the day and, after departing Jesus, tells her village all about him and invites them to meet Jesus, themselves.

- Prayerfully consider where in your life you "hide" your faith and why.
- Prayerfully consider where in your life you can share about Jesus.

This weekend is the Souper Bowl of Caring offering. Help us tackle hunger right here in Simi Valley by dropping a dollar in the soup pot this Sunday at Outdoor Worship or by making a special offering online through our website (note Souper Bowl).

Souper Bowl of Caring

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Disconnected from Online Worship? We get it. Nearly a year into this pandemic and the novelty that online worship once held is gone. With each passing week, the pandemic tests our spiritual resilience and it feels like our faith is being tested. It’s been a challenge maintaining one’s own spiritual well-being. Although circumstances are less than ideal, StoneBridge is committed to helping you stay connected to God and staying connected to community. In an effort to do just that, we encourage you to take some time for yourself. Get outside. Take a walk. And when you do lace on your walking shoes, plug into StoneBridge’s NEW podcast designed for walking and worshipping. StoneBridge’s NEW podcast provides announcements, the current week’s message, and two worship songs, all in 30 minutes that will elevate your day! Look for the newly branded podcast with the graphic seen above. This week's podcast will be published by Saturday night @ 5:30pm!

We’re excited to announce an all-new message series called Divine Appointments. Join StoneBridge as we engage in exciting scriptures through our community of Growth Groups. Take a look at our website for the list of groups offered and fill out the form to sign-up. Growth groups will begin meeting February 7th.

Worship Tech Team Looking to Expand StoneBridge is currently recruiting and training new volunteers to help record worship music for weekly podcasts and online services. Audio/Video experience preferred but not necessary. If you’re interested, send Lee Krabbe an email

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