“Will You Deny Him?” John 18: 25-27 ( Graduation Sunday 2017)

June 5, 2017

Once again I would like to say congratulations to class of 2017. I know it has been a long journey for those graduating from high school and College. I must confess, I was not the ideal student in school. My days in school was filled with moments of rebellion and trouble making. My brother quickly learned of the rebellious reputation of his older brother. He signed up for shop class, the teacher was calling out the roll, got to my brother's name, looks up and sees the family resemblance. Teacher asks him, “are you related to Larry Stephens? My brother said, “yes, he's my brother.” I want to tell you, that teacher looked right at him and said,” I have had one Stephens in my class and I’ll not have another.” He kicked him out. I can tell you a thing or two about the Grace of God. I can think of the apostle Paul when he said in 1Ti 1:12  I thank the Messiah Jesus, our Lord, who gives me strength, that he has considered me faithful and has appointed me to his service. 1Ti 1:13  In the past I was a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a violent man. But I received mercy because I acted ignorantly in my unbelief, 1Ti 1:14  and the grace of our Lord overflowed toward me, along with the faith and love that are in the Messiah Jesus. 1Ti 1:15  This is a trustworthy saying that deserves complete acceptance: To this world Messiah came, sinful people to reclaim. I am the worst of them. 1Ti 1:16  But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the worst sinner, the Messiah Jesus might demonstrate all of his patience as an example for those who would believe in him for eternal life.

I learned fast that graduating from high school, although it was difficult at times, was the easiest part of this thing called life.

I want to challenge the class of 2017 and I want you to bear with me as I do so. I do not think we as Christians need to walk out of any worship setting without being challenged by God’s word. If one leaves a worship setting and they have not been challenged, then one must wonder if they have been to worship. One must ask, has the Word been adequately and rightly divided if I walk away feeling adequate in myself? Today demands much more than some twinkle toe sermon that dances around sin and depravity, what we need is more meat and potatoes preaching and teaching. Do you think when you guys get in the dorms that a fruity little sermonette will do in feeding your soul? No, we need the truth. It cannot always be Prim and proper, sometimes our toes must be stepped on in some regard at every worship service.

I want to offer some advice to you guys today that I believe would be effective both in college and in a new-found workplace. We must think of everything in our life through the lens of scripture. And when we do not line ourselves up with God’s word, we often find that life becomes way more complex and more of a struggle than it needs to be. So, the end of the sermon today I want to offer a few words of guidance on the college level and then also for those entering a newfound workplace.

 If we would call the life of the Apostle Paul up to this moment, we know that his life was one of ups and downs much like all our lives. In chapter 18 of John’s gospel, we see on display, some of Peter’s actions. We saw how he was very fast to pull out a sword and to striking a soldier, we saw how he was in the presence of Jesus at his first hearing and how he denied the Lord Jesus and denied him comfortably. There is much that can be said about Peter’s denial and how everyone of us in some way can relate to Peter. In other words, Peter can teach us a lesson about our allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ or the lack thereof. How does this offers a word for us? How this offers a word for us today, is it allows us to answer the question “do we deny Jesus and if so how often?” Do we live a life that revolves around daily denying Jesus? And if this is the case, then does that in imply that we are not really Christ-followers at all?

College graduates high school graduates how you display Christ to the world is so vitally important. They’ll be moments in your college life when you will be pressed, or your beliefs will be pressed. They’ll be times when your professors will stretch your faith. They will doubt your faith, they might even be times when you will be called out in front of the class as being a Christian. And yes, that does happen more often than what we would like to admit to.

For those entering the work force, there will be times when your faith in Jesus will be challenged. There will be those moments when you are offered a shortcut and to take it would be sin.

  1. Do not get to comfortable in this world: It is very easy to fall into hanging with the wrong crowd. Sometimes, the occasions call for us to rub elbows and minister to the down and out, the sinner. In fact, evangelism is contingent on the gospel of Jesus rubbing elbows amoungst sinners. There is no getting around this fact. You are not good enough, no matter how noble you might think you are, to get around the fact that Jesus called us to go into the world. That being said, this does not mean we recline and get comfortable around sin. Let’s look at Peter, Joh 18:25 Meanwhile, Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. Some people asked him, "You aren't one of his disciples, too, are you?" He denied it by saying, "I am not!"  John summarizes the other gospel accounts by saying “some people,” inquired of Peter if indeed he was a disciple. Peter had denied Him once before Jesus was brought to the high priest Annas. Have you ever had someone cut you off in traffic, and they knew they were wrong, totally their fault, and they avoid eye contact? Likewise, Peter is symbolically putting his head in the sound, he doing like some of the liberal media and covering their ears and saying. There is an occasion in the gospel of Matthew, Mat_26:73  After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, "Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you." Your Galilean accent gives you away. They obviously recognized him as one of Jesus’ disciples.

I begin to think about the implications of Peter’s standing with Jesus over the whole scope of Peter’s ministry. Peter had some ups and downs, there is no doubt about that, but there Lord Jesus obviously restored Peter. Peter became a might preacher for Jesus. I begin to think about this accent thing, and about the actions of Peter and what gave him a way as a follower. I want people to associate me with Jesus by how they see me live my life, and how I proclaim Jesus, just like Peter’s accent gave him away. When you get out in the world as students of workers, will people see enough Jesus in you to say, “you are one of His aren’t you?” This works two ways though. For when you proclaim to be a follower and act otherwise, the world notices it as well. Church, the reason many don’t come against your faith and beliefs is because we haven’t put it on display enough. People, put Christ on display, put the gospel out and in front of your lives, and employ the Holy Spirit to enable you to live it out. The flip side of people seeing enough Jesus in you to identify you as a disciple, the same objective to works o shame you as well. The world is watching and waiting for you to shame Jesus. It is no secret, it is nothing to hide, if you live for Jesus long enough, you will shame Him in some way, but we have an advocate that we identify with that will cleanse us and bring us back into a vibrate relationship with Him if we will just cling and call to Him. Look at how identity in Jesus works in reverse, Joh 18:26  Then one of the high priest's servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, said, "I saw you in the garden with Jesus, didn't I?" Didn’t you walk with Jesus who was supposed to be a peace maker and yet back there you tried to cut off a man’s ear? Joh 18:27  Peter again denied it, and immediately a rooster crowed.

Here is Peter, denying the Lord Jesus, the very same Son of God that was part of creating universe. Apart for God almighty and His involvement in our lives, we would be like Peter, denial and all. When you are pressed because of your association with Jesus, will you deny Him or stand faith. If we were to fast forward a few days from this arrest scene. We see a vastly different Peter. We read about the apostle Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, preaching in power and boldness. Act 2:40  Using many different expressions, Peter continued to testify and to plead with them, saying, "Be saved from this corrupt generation!" Act 2:41  So those who welcomed his message were baptized. That day about 3,000 people were added to their number.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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John 18: 19-24 To Slap The Face of Christ- May 28th 2017

May 29, 2017

Message was recorded on May 28th, even though in the sermon it is mentioned as "May 29th"

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“Will You Deny Him”- John 18:12-18

May 15, 2017

 I remember reading about a little snippet of a little boy that was to recite some scriptures for Sunday Morning. His verse to remember was Joh_8:12  Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." He got up before the congregation to recite this verse and drew a blank, he could not remember it for anything. Looking down at his mother sitting on the front row, she mouthed out the verse. Still, he couldn’t make out what she was mouthing, so he leaned in to read her lips and he finally got it, he finally understood. He looked up and said, “My mom is the light of the world.” No, No, but thank the Lord for mom’s who teach their children God’s word.

As you might have figured, today’s message is not a traditional Mother’s Day sermon. Unless there are verses from the Gethsemane arrest scene that can be applied to mothers, today will be a travel through more verses from the garden scene. In reality, I do not have to spend 30 minutes trying to tie these verses into Mother’s Day when I can talk about Jesus and how He affects all of our lives.

Last week, I most of our time considering what transpired at the opening of the garden scene. We spoke about the thick irony that is through the narrative, how this episode reflects upon a time when man and women walked with God in the coolness of the day. I am of course speaking about what transpired in the Garden of Eden. How humankind sinned against God and if you fast forward a few thousand years, you see the same level of rebellion and deceit seen through those in the garden with Jesus. Here are people coming up the hill side to arrest Jesus, who is the light of the world. These people carrying torches and lights, and weaponry. Those light bearers were coming to arrest the Light that came into the world to lift the darkening and blinding effects of sin. Jesus asks the arresting party of people who they seek, they replied, “Jesus of Nazareth.” When Jesus answered the men here is what happened, Joh 18:6  When Jesus said to them, "I am he," they drew back and fell to the ground. Jesus’ response was very similar what they know about the “I AM.” Could it be that Jesus was using the language that can only be used when referring about the self-existing one?  

We spent much time talking about betray. If anyone in that garden had the right to pick up a sword it would have been Jesus. So, Peter slices off the ear of Malchus then Jesus heals Him. Instead of rightfully standing over Him and saying, “see, that’s what you get,” Jesus healed him. To compliment last week’s sermon, here is the verses that demonstrate Jesus healing the ear. Luk 22:50  And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear.

Luk 22:51  But Jesus said, "No more of this!" And he touched his ear and healed him.

Today we pick up in the narrative with a sermon I have entitled, “will you deny Him?”

Joh 18:12  So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound him.

  • Jesus basically turned Himself in to the captain who was a commander over a legion of soldiers. The Lord could have very easily could have upset the crowds and they could have followed Peter’s lead and started slicing away as well. Goes to show, the end result of retaliation leads to a vicious cycle of harm and ill intent. From this point on in the narrative, it is very easy to see ourselves in Jesus place. Jesus was bound because we were bound in sin.

Joh 18:13  First they led him to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. Joh 18:14  It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people.

  • We quickly see that both Annas and Caiaphas were involved with the sentencing of Jesus. Where did Caiaphas first unknowingly prophesy that Jesus should die for the people? Joh 11:48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation." Joh 11:49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, Joh 11:50  Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish." "You know nothing at all. I preached through these passages in a sermon entitled, “A View To a Kill.” Caiaphas had no idea the weight of the words that he said. Jesus would not only die for Israelite people, but people of every ethnicity, every tribe on earth, every dialect or language, every people group, Jesus died for the whoso ever will, He is no respecter of persons. Yes, one man had to die so that the whole world would not perish forever. Act_10:34  Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:

Joh 18:15  Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, Joh 18:16  but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in.

  • West of the temple mount, is the court yard of the high priest. We have one Simon Peter mentioned and another disciple that many believe to be the apostle John. Since only men were allowed in the inner temple, and since there was a servant girl watching the door, it would be safe to say that this was at the house of one of the arresting party, probably a religious ruler.

Joh 18:17  The servant girl at the door said to Peter, "You also are not one of this man's disciples, are you?" He said, "I am not."

  • The world, in the way of this girl, pressed in on Peter to test his allegiance. Was this a test for Peter to see if he would deny the Lord? Did the Lord use this chance to humble Peter. The lady sets Peter up with a lob pitch. She puts the ball on the “T” for peter and makes it easy for him to say “no.” She uses the phrase, “Art thou not,” and in the Greek, this would be a negative gesture towards Jesus. “Are you with HIM?” You know people in the world ask that of you all the time? People notice a different outlook of life according to you, and they notice. With a little digging, they come to find out you are a Jesus Christ follower and they ask, “Are you with Him,” or “you are one of them aren’t you?” The way we respond is pivotal in the rest of our walk, for each time we dismiss a gospel opportunity, it becomes easier the next. How many of us have said, even in our silence, “I am not with Him.” She speaks of Christ in the vulgar dialect of the Jews, calling him "this man"; not only esteeming him a mere man, but a worthless man.
  • We know of the scriptures that show Peter’s denial before the rooster crowed. Mar 14:72 And immediately the rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, "Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times." And he broke down and wept.

Joh 18:18  Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.

  • John shows us, that, up to a certain point, Peter was hard headed and rebellious, even in his denial. Sometimes the Lord has to knock us up side of the head to get us out of our funk we get in. To get us to think like Him and to acknowledge that His ways are always the better way. It took three times before Peter was broken.
  • F.B. Meyers said there are three lessons we can learn from Peter’s denial: (1) Let us not sleep through the precious moments which Heaven affords before each hour of trial, but use them for putting on the whole armor of God, that we may be able to stand in the evil day. (2) Let us not vaunt our own strength. We need more than resolution to sustain us in the hour of conflict. (3) Let us not cast ourselves down from the mountainside, unless absolutely sure that God bids us to do so. He will not otherwise give His angels charge to keep us.
  • Peter warms himself by the fire to escape suspicion, but the light reveals him yet again and he denies the Lord. This all was part of the Lord’s divine plan. Christ would be rejected so we may be accepted. In Act_4:11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.

How do we reject the Lord today? For the church, it is not living out your faith. For the person that doesn’t know Jesus yet, rejection and denial is already there. We reject the Lord today by living in willful disobedience and try to have things our way and catered to our preference. We reject the Lord by not reconciling with each other, by being stingy with the gospel, by not looking at adversity in the body of Christ and using it for the glory of God.

I would like to share a dream with you…

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“Betrayed”

May 9, 2017

Following Charles Spurgeon’s daily devotions for today, I noticed these words at the conclusion of the morning devotion, “Let me praise him, this morning, as I remember how he wrought his spiritual cures, which bring him most renown. It was by taking upon himself our sicknesses. “By his stripes we are healed.” The Church on earth is full of souls healed by our beloved Physician; and the inhabitants of heaven itself confess that “He healed them all.” Come, then, my soul, publish abroad the virtue of his grace, and let it be “to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign which shall not be cut off.” The Lord wants to heal you this morning. The healings I am speaking of are not so much in the physical realm as they are spiritual. Unforgiveness, doubts, fears, and the list goes on. First and foremost, the Lord is the ultimate healer in bringing the spiritually dead to new life in Him, maybe that is you this morning. Maybe your life is so spiritually dry and drought riddled, that you feel as if you are on the edge of depravity yourself.

You might feel as if you have been betrayed by a friend, church member, society, or you might even feel as if the Lord Himself has betrayed you. I want to tell you this morning, no one suffered like my Lord Jesus, no one has been hurt or betrayed like our Lord Jesus.

There are some theological lessons we learn from John 17.  We found that Jesus was teaching us some very importantly theological lessons. We learned that salvation is through Him alone, we learned that God’s people will love, cherish and obey God’s word. We found that we have a purpose in the world as Christ followers, to be dispensers and broadcasters of the truth of the gospel. Jesus gave us a purpose, in what I like to call a “proto or pre” gospel purpose. Joh 17:23  I am in them, and you are in me. May they be completely one, so that the world may know that you sent me and that you have loved them as you loved me.

With you Bibles in hand, let’s look at the betrayal and the arrest of our Lord Jesus, and what you and I can learn from God’s Word. Let us sit the stage for the arrest and death of Jesus. You will notice there are a few items that are not recorded in John’s account of the Gethsemane narrative. This doesn’t mean they didn’t happen, but John was simply lifting up the divinity of Jesus, and it seems He does this in every chapter. You will notice there is no kiss offered from Judas, Pilate does not wash his hands of the ordeal, Cyrene doesn’t carry the cross of Jesus, no temple veil ripping. John just takes a different angle and we can rest in the other authors of the gospel narrative to give complimentary accounts.

  1. Who Are You Looking For? Joh 18:1 After Jesus had said this, he went with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. Joh 18:2  Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place because Jesus often met there with his disciples. Joh 18:3  So Judas took a detachment of soldiers and some officers from the high priests and the Pharisees and went there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. Joh 18:4  Then Jesus, knowing everything that was going to happen, went forward and asked them, "Who are you looking for?"
  • You know that you have a good teacher when his or her habits of teaching make an impression on the students. Even bad students like Judas. Judas knew the prayer habits of Jesus and Judas would lead the high priests and Temple guard to a little garden that lies just on the east side of Jerusalem called the Kedron valley. There is much mention in the Old Testament concerning Kidron especially a well-known brook that runs there. This is a historical landmark concerning the casting down of the idols of Ahaz and casting the remains in this famous brook. This was a place where Jesus took His disciples on many occasions.
  • There is a sense of irony that also runs through the opening of this narrative. In all actually, it is a thread I think that runs from Genesis up until this garden scene. The first garden scene involved Adam and Eve, people that were created by God alone to be His worshippers and to have communion with His. Remember that relationship was broken when the both rebelled and betrayed the Lord God. Now in this occasion, this Gethsemane scene, you have yet again, rebellious humankind attempting to rebel and betray the Lord, but this time it is different. This time the prophetic visions and sacred writ of old will be realized. This time, God Himself will finish what was started since creation itself. Betrayed again, only to lay down His life so that we might be justified in the eyes of the Lord yet again.
  • So, here they come up to the Garden to “secure” Jesus. Unless we are sympathetic to Jesus in the garden, Jesus was in command. He was in control. Judas got together a few soldiers and some temple guardsmen, and went to Jesus carrying lanterns, torches, and weapons. The amazing thing about this episode was there were going after a peaceful person with torches or lights and a weapon. Where they afraid that His arrest would incite a riot, did they know they were wrong so they went under the cover of night? Regardless, the irony is yet thick once again. I can almost hear the words of the Lords Jesus when He said, Joh 8:12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." Here are people, that are in spiritual darkness, coming to arrest the one that is the light of the world, and laying seize to the only one that can bring them out of this depravity and darkness.
  • John, highlighting the deity of Jesus, records Him asking a question that has been echoed ever since, “whom do you seek?” The question was not one of ignorance, Jesus knew all that would happen. Jesus knew everything that would transpire, for that is why He said, “my hour is at hand.” He had spent the best part of three years preaching, performing the minacious, and now the most wonderful and tragic event in history is about to transpire, and He knew it all. This question He still asks everyone the world over, “who do you seek?” Can we answer Jesus and fill or lives in with His love and teachings?

Remember, even in this garden scene, Jesus is still teaching His disciples. People the world over are seeking significance, are seeking purpose, and without Jesus, purpose becomes wasted and empty. I want to introduce to a former Atheist by the name of Peter. Peter was searching for something as well. Ultimately, he didn’t realize the answer was in response to the question, “who do you seek?” This arrest episode teaches us something about ourselves and the Lord. He is in control of life and wants all to know Him. Peter found his purpose and it is Jesus. The million-dollar question, “who do you seek,” is for you as well.  

  1. An Encounter with the ‘I AM’ : Joh 18:5 They answered him, "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus said to them, "I am he." Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. Joh 18:6  When Jesus said to them, "I am he," they drew back and fell to the ground.
  • This narrative has many resemblances with the encounter between God and Moses. In, Exo 3:14 God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And he said, "Say this to the people of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'" This narrative has always been an amazing telling, for we see the soldiers and company fall to the ground. Much like Moses was taken aback and tries to hide his face from the Lord, the soldiers were afraid and taken aback in this one instance. But the hordes fear of man outweighed their fear of God. The response is one of Holy fear. Jesus’ response sends them to the ground because they did not understand. It would be like someone, “seeing a ghost” and being startled to the place where you didn’t know what do you. The only two responses are to fall prostrate before Him as Lord or to repel away as sinners.  Then …Joh 18:7  So he asked them again, "Whom do you seek?" And they said, "Jesus of Nazareth." Giving them a second chance to respond, they said, “Jesus of Nazareth. Joh 18:8  Jesus answered, "I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go. Joh 18:9  This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: "Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one."
  • They may have come as an arresting force, but it is clear who is in control. Jesus was ultimately giving Himself up to the horde. Even in those words, “let these men go,” there is grace. Thinking about that phrase, that is what Jesus came to do, to pled before the Father to “let them go.” Not to over look sin, but to look at the righteousness of Jesus on our behalf and “let us go.” Almost sounds like the case with Moses when he begged the Pharaoh to let God’s people go. Again, John pointing to Jesus as the ultimate prophetic realization of THE long-awaited deliverer. Were Moses was a shadow of deliverance, Jesus is the fulfillment.

Let me introduce you to another group of people. Different from Peter the Atheist but with the same need. When one is confronted with the “I AM,” they are never the same. These people have never heard the gospel, watch what happens when they realize what grace is.  Did you have a similar response? We might not have danced in the street for 2.5 hours, but there should be a noticeable difference. Can you see now why missions is so important? An encounter with the I Am will change you forever.

III.             I deserve death, but grace abounds: The Bible says, Rom_5:20  Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. Rom 5:21  so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

  • Every one of us can identify with the people in that garden. In fact, we probably would be one carrying torches and seeking to arrest Jesus. We most certainly would be like Peter: Joh 18:10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant's name was Malchus.)

Joh 18:11  So Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?" Peter’s reaction fits well within the narrative for it mirrors every person in that garden. For we are prone to be judgmental, act out in fear and anger, we are prone to try and hide in the darkness. So, there in the garden, on full display, is an open view to the human fallen condition. But where we would lash out and strike down, the Lord Jesus teaches us not to retaliate. Where we would be like Peter, prone to fight, Jesus teaches us to seek healing and restoration. Jesus once more reiterates His purpose, He must drink for the cup the Lord has given Him,” for He has come to die.

There is much application in these verses. We see the Lord that asks every one of us, “who do you seek?” We could even recast that question and ask, “what or who do you seek?” We see that when one encounters the living God they are never the same. When we see Jesus, it demands a response. We see Jesus teaching the importance of forgiveness and grace. When we think we have the rightful place to retaliate and seek instant justice, Jesus demonstrates we must be slow to anger, slow to retaliate and be quick to show grace and mercy.

No one has been betrayed like Jesus. If you have been betrayed by someone in this life get in line. “Line starts here.” But the line also starts right here right now for forgiveness an healing wounds. Who would be so bold as to get in line?

 

 

 

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The Priestly Prayer: “Theology and Practice” -John 17

May 1, 2017

As we have been in deep with the gospel of John, it is important to note once again, the moto or theme that has run throughout. I mentioned this theme very early on in our venture together and I will share once again. The theme, or framework to with we look at John is this, “The I AM has come to dwell among us and redeem.” Today, I want to share with you a prayer and some theological points. Much of Jesus’ ministry was teaching and making disciples. Even in the way Jesus prayed, He was demonstrating how we must pray as well. Within this priestly prayer, and the soon coming Gethsemane prayer, we see a demonstration of the nature of Jesus. And may I say, as I will say again, understand the nature and work of Jesus affects everything in our life. Between this and the one offered in Gethsemane there is a difference we cannot help but to observe. Both were offered on the same night, yet in the one Christ is filled with calmness and triumph, and in the other with agony and dejection. This demonstrates the many facets of Jesus as Priest, Prophet, and King, but also demonstrates the human struggle that Jesus endured as He always prayed fervently.

I challenge you to put on the spectacles of Theology. What does this prayer teach us about our Great God, ourselves, and the Lord Jesus Christ?  In every narrative recorded in the gospels about Jesus, He is always teaching something. He did not have to pray audibly to the Father, but done so in order to teach.

Here again is the importance of the prayer, there are theological tid-bits that will help you see the priority of knowing God. So I’m going to offer a few points using the prayer, to drive some important theological road signs, to help us navigate our lives.

  1. Theological Premise- Eternal Salvation is Offered By Jesus Alone: In all fairness, many of us here today get this premise. We understand that salvation is offered by Jesus alone, by faith alone and grace alone. But many do not act as if this premise is sound and reaches a firm conclusion. Let’s us look at the scriptures: Joh 17:1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you,
  • Notice what is not stated in the opening verses. Jesus does not say anything about people adding on top of what the Son will do. There is no adding any merit towards salvation. John tells us that “when Jesus spoke these things,” what things? Chapter 16 explains much of what Jesus said about the Holy Spirit, about persecution, and when it comes not to lose heart. He forecasted that they would be scattered but to have hope in the conquering King that overcome the world. After these words, Jesus models, in a didactic form, in teaching form, a prayer points us to glorify God. To lift up His eyes in prayer is a saying, it’s like saying, “let us now pray,” or “lets go to the Lord.” The hour has come, the hour when Jesus would suffer and die, the devil is at the door and knocking, ready to hang the Christ on the cross. Glorify the Son through His death and resurrection. Have you ever heard someone pray so beautifully or eloquently that you almost stopped to take notes for yourself? This is Jesus’ prayer, eloquent and pointed.

Joh 17:2  since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. Joh 17:3  And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. Joh 17:4  I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.

  • Notice, Jesus leaves no room for human intervention. Meaning, salvation is totally contingent on who He calls and leaves no room for any human works. Jesus says, “all authority” has been given, much like the great commission verses, “all authority has been given to me.” Before we get to fast and try and demonstrate how these verses are ore reformed, the point of the prayer is didactic. The main thrust of the prayer is to demonstrate that the Lord Jesus was in total submission to His mission. Theologically, we see that eternal life is to know personally the Lord Jesus Christ. The word that Jesus uses for “might know” is a term that to recognizing or perceiving that salvation is only through Jesus and nothing more. We as God’s people, will let this fact dictate every area of our life. Jesus glorified the Father while on earth, completing the mission ahead. Dying on the cross was the mission, but along the way, He taught very pointed lessons. Here is a theologically lesson we all need.

Have you ever put your money in a snack machine, and afterwards just stood there looking at the selections and couldn’t make up your mind. You couldn’t decide what snack you wanted to eat for that day. Sadly, many of our churches have turned the way of snack machine theology, which in fact has become a lack of sound theology all together. The one most important thing on display is the attractions of what the church has to offer the consumer. Yes, for the worshipper now days have turned more into a consumer that a worshipper. The most important items in the church are sadly the things that are missing for churches across America. If salvation is by Jesus alone and not of works, why would we settle with anything else. My challenge is this, if salvation is offered by Jesus and no works can add to it, live your life in light of His glory. Why do you think there are so many world religions today, works salvation? Why do you think, even in churches that call themselves Christian can add the element of human works to salvation? The Catholic church adds Baptismal Regeneration, the Christian Churches the same. You cannot offer of add one thing to your salvation.

  1. Theological Premise- Because Jesus Saves, We Keep His Word: As Jesus was totally true to His Words and Promises, we keep and treasure His Words as well. One must live their lives relishing and committing unapologetically to His Words and Commands. Joh 17:5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
  • These verses are packed with theological significance, and if we glance over them we will miss it. Jesus refers to the time, before humankind ever come into existence, eternity past, when the Son of God was in unity with the Father and Spirit. A time when the trinity of God was uninterrupted. If you think about it, this is the severity of sin, it even disrupted the unity of the triune God head. Before you think I speak heretically, the unity was never busted up or fractioned perpetually. Regardless, Jesus is pointing to the resurrection. Again, we are reminded of the prologue, “In the beginning was the Word.”

Joh 17:6  "I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.

  • Notice the three-theological truth in this statement. “The Lord’s name is known to His people, we are given to the Son from the way of the world, Christs’ people keep God’s Word.” When Jesus says the He manifested the name of the Lord, it is like claiming victory, a successful mission, mission accomplished. Of course, the immediate audience is these disciples surrounded Him, but the application is the same. In fact, if we know Jesus, aren’t we His disciples. Jesus lifted up the character and nature of God.

Joh 17:7  Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. Joh 17:8  For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.

  • Jesus teaches still, the disciples now know that Jesus is indeed the Christ and from God. They know the truth, He is the long awaited Messiah, but will they hold the same status when they crucify Him? Will they continue to see Jesus as Lord when they put Him in the tomb? They can believe that God sent the Son, but will their beliefs and faith…only if they cling to every Word issued from the Lord Jesus Christ, and so will we sustain robust faith, if we cling to His words.

Joh 17:9  I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. Joh 17:10  All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.

  • I believe Martin Luther said it well concerning Jesus praying for the world or “not praying for the world.” He said, “Luther justly says, “What must be asked for the world is that it may be converted, not that it may be sanctified or kept.”
  • Those last words that Jesus uttered in verse ten should be a frightful thing to a Child of God that has been saved, redeemed and set aside. You say preacher, “those words are beautiful,” and they are, but they are also frightful. If you were to evaluate your walk with the Lord right now, would you be able to say that you glorify the Lord? Does your life bring glory to God? Christ speaks of the things which were not, but which should be, as though they were. Jesus anticipates the glorifying of his name by the successful preaching of the apostles, and the disciples

Christ is glorified in His people that keep His Word

If you were to look at our lives, for those faithful to Christ, it isn’t hard to see how He is glorified. That being said, it is also just as easy when we are not walking upright in the Lord. A true disciple is one that has given up their own lives to follow Him, in this He is glorified.  We have seen the miraculous of a spiritual healing of many people, included we who know Him. We have seen His works, read His Words, and they have transformed our way of thinking and living. The early disciples, and many today had suffered the loss of earthly possessions and comforts for His name’s sake; we are transmitters for His truth both in words and in deeds; because we are in Christ we stand against the world when the world is against Christ; we are on a mission to take His word and gospel to the end of the earth with the truth that  the world is submissive to His power, and in His death, the way of the world is conquered. Because He lives you live, because He has power, you have power, not in yourself, but in the word of truth you bear and keep. Are you living as if the Word and commands of the Lord are true. Jesus continues to teach- Joh 17:11  And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. Joh 17:12  While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. Joh 17:13  But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. Joh 17:14  I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Joh 17:15  I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. Joh 17:16  They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

 

III.             Theological Premise- We Are Sanctified For a Purpose (Truth):  Joh 17:17  Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. Joh 17:18  As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. Joh 17:19  And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. Joh 17:20  "I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,

  • We are sanctified or set apart for a reason, but those reasons in fact are many. Now we can pinpoint them down to one, “to bring glory to God.” We are also called out to be distributers of truth. There are several petitions in this prayer. Within this prayer is a call to Holiness and unity. Just as the Father sent the Son into the world to be a light for truth, so are we to be a light for truth. In the world, we live in, truth has become a forgotten commodity. There are many other truths and application we can elevate from these passages, but to highlight the importance of truth in today’s time takes high priority.

Joh 17:21  that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (There is a call to unity)

Joh 17:22  The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, (There is a calling to be on the same page of truth. Again, for Jesus to mention that He and the Father are one is to say of the same essence, highlighting His divinity.

Joh 17:23  I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.

In this theological premise found in the prayer, you ask, “what is our purpose?” Even though this was addressed to the immediate disciples, the purpose is still clear: so that the world may know that you sent me and that you have loved them as you loved me.

Joh 17:24  Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

There is the theological reality of heaven, and to worship God forever. To be with Jesus forever, and to see the fullness of His glory.

Joh 17:25  O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. Joh 17:26  I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them."

These words of Jesus have all the truths of a relational God. We have a Lord that wants relationship. If you have a relationship with God, you spend time with Him. Our purpose is to spend time with the Lord, and to demonstrate to the world that you are now a new creature. If you know the Lord Jesus, you will live your life, every decision, to glorify Him.

 

 

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Easter Service- April 16th 2017- Acts 2:23-32 “An Unshakable Trust”

April 18, 2017

 

As the these survivors walked in this morning, I was reminded of a wonderful promise given by the Lord concerning a day of restoration. Rev 21:4  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Rev 21:5  And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. Without the resurrection, this promise lays flat and will remain unfulfilled. There will be no more disease, sorrows or tears of pain. The resurrections puts all of this things in their proper place as defeated. Until that day, we are reminded of the implications and promises due to the resurrection. “Preachers and believers therefore have a hard lot if in this life only they have hope in Christ. Better to be anything than a Christian under these terms! It is a gross absurdity in a Christian to admit the supposition of no resurrection or future state. It would leave no hope beyond this world, and would frequently make his condition the worst in the world.” Matthew Henry

You might be here today and you might have not been to church in a while. Your days of worshipping together with the church have been few and far between, but God wants to speak to you. There could have been a million things to go wrong that kept you from coming to the church today, but God saw fit to protect your days in order to bring you under the instruction and truth of His word, my friend, His words are not to be taken lightly.

Turn with me in your Bibles to the book of Acts, the history of the apostles, Acts chapter 2. All over the world today, people will be remembering that Jesus is alive. Even though this is a day which we have set aside to celebrate the resurrection, every single day of our lives should be filled with the reality that Jesus defeated the grave. A good rule of thumb for a believer, preach the gospel to yourself daily. Get up in the morning and reflect on this truth, “Christ is Risen, He is Risen Indeed.”

There will be churches and meetings this morning that will re-tale the history of what happened on the resurrection morning. The events leading up to that moment, when the empty tomb would be discovered, have been events that shook the very core of those that believed and trusted in Jesus as Messiah. Jesus three days before, they saw their Lord beaten to a place of unrecognition, they saw Him spit upon, bruised, crowned with thorns, punished like a common criminal. They saw their Lord pierced with a spear and it felt as if their hopes were pierced as well. They dropped the Lord placed Him in the tomb of a rich man, as according to prophecy. But on That early resurrection morning, the women made their way to the tomb that they would find empty. Luk_24:5  And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? Jesus overcome death, and revealed His risen nature to the disciples until He ascended to the father. Jesus had given the disciples a promise, that the Holy Spirit will come upon them, but He first must go to the Father. Joh 16:7  Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you

As we have been walking through the gospel of John on Sunday mornings, we have encountered some truths about the work of the Holy Spirit. He is our helper, our comforter, He will point to the work and person of Jesus and He will convict the world of sin. Jesus made these predictions about the Holy Spirit and later the disciples waited patiently in an upper room on the day of Pentecost. I could spent our time laying our valid arguments for the historical resurrection of Jesus. We can lay out valid points that place Jesus’ resurrection as the most pivotal point in human history, but unless the Holy Spirit is alive and working in your, there is no application to the history. Jesus rose from the dead so that you could live eternally with Him as a worshipper. The work of the Holy Sprit in ones life, takes us to the truth of the resurrection. Even though we couldn’t be there to witness it, the Holy Spirit grants us the certainty that He is alive. Death and darkness, get you packing,

“Nothing now to man is lacking,

All your triumphs now are ended,

And what Adam marred, is mended.”

- Henry Vaughan

  1. Miracles Point to the Risen Lord: Act 2:22  Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 

Act 2:23  Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: 

  • The disciples gathered together awaiting the promise of the Lord Jesus. Jesus had shown Himself to the disciples, proving that He was indeed alive and it totally changed their way of thinking. Jesus furthered the promise to them by saying, Act 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." And on this point, the resurrection provided the fuel and the energy to “go.” All of the miracles we see in the scriptures concerning Jesus, the walking on the water, the raising of Lazarus, the feeding of the multitudes, the healing of blinded eyes and deaf ears, all making an impact at the resurrection.
  • The disciples were gathered in one place on the day of Pentecost, awaiting the promises of their risen Lord. Expecting the Lord to bring about His work. After the promise of the Holy Spirit, those gathered in that room and began to speak in other tongues. These, other tongues acted as a sign to unbelievers and to those awaiting, that what they encountered was real. Peter began to preach: He reminded them that in the last days, God will pour out His spirit upon all flesh. There will be prophecy and visions given. Peter builds up the argument to say this, Act 2:21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.'
  • Peter continues His sermon, God showed you mighty works through Jesus, and sinful humankind killed Him. Remember, This death was not a surprise, it didn’t catch God looking away or by surprise, it was the Lord’s plan to crush the Son. Isa 53:9  And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

aAll the miracles point to the resurrection.

Act 2:24  Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. 

  • It was an impossibility for Jesus to stay in the grave. I want you to think with me. If the wages of sin is death and death, spiritually, and physically, is separation from God almighty, then what happened to Jesus when He was crucified with the stench of my sin on Him. He experienced eternal separation from God and yet overcome it. I cant get my little brain around such an intense concept. Kinh David forshadowed this event and Peter draws from the well of the Psalms: Psalm chapter 16 to be exact.

Act 2:25  For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: 

Act 2:26  Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: 

Act 2:27  Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 

Act 2:28  Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. 

Act 2:29  Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. 

  • Once Peter utilizes the words of David to point to the messiah, he reminds them that David is dead and gone. David cant do anything else in this life because he is in the grave. Pointing to the prophecies concerning the Christ…

Act 2:30  Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 

  • Because there would always be one from the line of David to rule, David believed this prophecy would come to a close once Messiah was on earth. Peter continues to preach…

Act 2:31  He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. 

Act 2:32  This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses

Act 2:33  Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“The Conquering Christ” John 16:25-33

April 16, 2017

We begin a week that will reflect upon an event that will propel human history into one of most important events in history. The week that proceeded the crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord Jesus. We know this week as “Holy Week,” and this day would be the day we call “Palm Sunday.” On this particular Sunday, it was calm as they waved the palms, Jesus came into Jerusalem riding on a donkey and the people surrounding Him shouted, Hosanna. Matthew narrates a beautiful picture of prophecy and foreshadowing as He writes, Mat_21:9  And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!" As Jesus Christ pressed closer to the cross, His true nature become more realized by those that were astute to the Torah, those that were true students to the things of God would begin to realize this truly is Messiah. This is the one that will overcome sin, this is the one sent from God to lay down His life for you, and me.

Over the next few days, you and I will have a very rich opportunity to share our faith with people who might not otherwise give an ear to the gospel. People you might know that only come to church twice a year and this coming Easter may be one of them. It isn’t that their salvation is dependent on you inviting them to church, but it may open a door for them to hear about the Lord that overcome the world when He overcame death. This Easter Sermon will be entitled, “An Unshakable Trust.” I want our trust in Christ to be unshakable, and I know He has given us the ability to harbor an unshakable faith. How do I know this, because He sent the Holy Spirit to make sure we don’t get to far down the road. In theological terms, we might call this the “perseverance of the saints,” but I call it “I got your back,” despite yourself, the child of God, through Christ, and with the power of the Spirit, will never disperse out and away from the arm of the Lord. See, If Christ has overcome the world, if Christ is victorious in the world, then we are victors as well.

Today I want to share a message with you entitled, “The Conquering Christ,” When I think of Jesus I think of His sacrifice for me, but I also think of Jesus as the overcomer. Remember, we have been speaking about how Jesus told His disciples they would be persecuted for His name sake? A truth that Paul later elaborates on when he pens these words, Rom 8:36  As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." Rom 8:37  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Jesus is the ultimate conqueror or overcomer, so we overcome through Him as well. If you were to look up the word overcome in the dictionary you would find a number of different definitions for this verb.

  1. succeed in dealing with (a problem or difficulty): "she worked hard to overcome her paralyzing shyness"
  2. defeat (an opponent); prevail: "without firing a shot they overcame the guards" · [more]
  3. (of an emotion) overpower or overwhelm: "she was obviously overcome with excitement"

There is another and better way to see the verb “Overcome.” In the spiritual sense. When the word is used in the N.T., it always refers to a Spiritual victory. John reminds us again, 1Jn 5:4  For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. As if to say, “we, through Christ, keep on conquering the way of the world.” The victory over the world was, potentially, won when we believed in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God. We overcome the world by being brought into union with Christ. Going into this holy week, I want to present to you, The Conquering Christ…

Extending from last weeks sermon, Jesus told them several things about himself and about sorrow. That like a mother that goes through the labor of having a child, it becomes joyful when that child arrives, so when you suffer and sorrow now, a day will come when you will have joy. Extending from last week… Jesus says, Joh 16:25  "I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father. Joh 16:26  In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; Joh 16:27  for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.

You might not understand everything, and that’s ok, but joy is coming. Why? Because serve…

  1. The Conquering Christ Who Tests Our True Beliefs: You say you truly believe and trust that Christ brings you revelation and joy? You say you are an overcomer? Oh yea? Where is the fruit to that answer, where is the proof in the pudding, where is your orthopraxy in light of your orthodoxy. If we trust in Christ, why do we act so contrary so many times? This question is a question that Jesus asks His disciples because their actions didn’t line up with their profession. Let’s look, Joh 16:28 I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father."
  • The Son was sent by the Father into the world for one purpose, to redeem mankind. Jesus explains to His disciples that He is leaving the world, but He isn’t leaving defeated, but He will ascend to the Father as victorious. As He reiterates a point He has made previously, He also is revealing the disciples motives to them. Notice what the disciples say, Joh 16:29 His disciples said, "Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech! Joh 16:30  Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God." Joh 16:31  Jesus answered them, "Do you now believe? That is the same question I would ask you, “do you believe?” Jesus is pushing their faith, for the same word is used to describe faith and believe. The disciples made mention that they “now know,” but in reality, they really didn’t get the fullness of Jesus’ words. Even though they said that Jesus “knew all things,” they didn’t literally mean it, it was like saying, “you speak of much knowledge and truth, you must be from God.” If they truly believed what Jesus said, they would have never of scattered when the guards came to arrest Jesus. They would have remembered that Jesus said they would be persecuted as well. Therefore, the words of Jesus reveals they really didn’t believe. A God that loves us will correct us, A good and loving God will strip away our walls we build up around our emotions and motives and expose them if indeed they are faulty. He will rip the roof of and expose our sinfulness and lack of belief. Why? Because he wants us to grow in our faith.

Orthopraxy (practice what you preach)

What we see in the disciples, when they were pressed with their true beliefs, is a failure to line up their beliefs and their practice. There is a simple formula or truth about right practice, ready? 1Jn_3:10  By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. For a Christian, growing in faith and knowledge of God, our actions and practice must be in line with our profession. I can go on and on about the meaning of hypocrisy and how many of us fall into being heavy or lightly seasoned hypocrites, but God will expose your unbelief and move you forward to a robust faith in Him.

  1. The Conquering Christ Who Demonstrates True Triumph: Joh 16:32 Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me.
  • Once Jesus pressed their true belief and faith, He dropped the bomb on them. “Behold, listen…in the future for you, you will run and abandon me.” Jesus uses the term coming that is in the Futuristic present middle indicative that just simply shows and demonstrates the absolute foreknowledge of Jesus. He says, you all will abandon me, you will go and hide in your homes, and leave me alone. A prophecy first given to Israel, now given about the true representation of Israel, Jesus Christ, Zec 13:7 "Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man who stands next to me," declares the LORD of hosts. "Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered; I will turn my hand against the little ones.
  • Once the reality of these verses sink into the hearts and minds of the disciples, there is a truth that Jesus will not truly be alone. All the way up to when Jesus says, “My Father, why have you forsaken me.” One of the most horrendous and yet beautiful sounds ever to be echoed across Golgotha’s hill. In one sense, it was horrendous because the Son of God had to suffer and die because of our sinfulness, and yet beautiful in the same exact sense, because the Son suffered and died. But we know how the story ends don’t we. Listen, every one of us would have been like the disciples, we would have scattered too, but God doesn’t abandon us. We might abandon Him, in the way we worship, in the way we “pray.” In the way we study about Him. I don’t know about you, but I am not satisfied with little Christonese sayings, “The man upstairs has it.” What, do you have an older gentleman staying in an upstairs room at your house? If you talking about God, He is not only “upstairs,” He should be part of our whole life, tell me about Him, not some watered-down version of God. See, you might be sitting here this morning and say to yourself, “I will never move away from God,” but your Bible study has been reduced to a verse or two maybe once a week, and most of the time it’s used out of context. Or, your prayer life has been reduced to a pithy saying like, “Let go and let God.” Do you realize, God’s “” even if we don’t “let go.” We abandon God in the way we worship, when we are more worried about presentation than we are substance. We have abandoned our Lord over and over again. So…These are ways we identify with the disciples but, there is hope. Joh 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world."
  • The “yet” is loaded with hope and victory. Jesus said, He reveals these truths to you so you may have peace. Repeatedly, in church history, disciples of the Lord Jesus have been pressured by the enemy to pack up camp and retreat, but we serve a risen and victorious Lord.

The kind of peace I want, is the kind of peace that understands, whatever happens, Christ has me, “for my savior loves me so, He will hold me fast,” He will hold me to truth. A few years after these words, many of the Jesus followers will be put to death for their faith. In ancient Rome, crowds by the tens of thousands would gather in the Coliseum to watch as Christians were torn apart by wild animals. One spectator, who was a Christ follower said, “I stood uncovered to the heavens above, where He sits for whom they gladly died, and asked myself, ‘Would I, could I, die for Him tonight to get this gospel to the ends of the earth?’” Rader continued, “I prayed most fervently in that Roman arena for the spirit of a martyr, and for the working of the Holy Spirit in my heart, as He worked in Paul’s heart when He brought him on his handcuffed way to Rome.” Those early Christians “lived on the threshold of heaven, within a heartbeat of home, no possessions to hold them back.” What is holding you back from selling out completely to Him. Is Jesus the true conquering Christ, if so, why do you live in defeat. Jesus said, take heart, I have overcome the world. One this day, where we begin Holy week, Jesus came riding in on a donkey in humility, but the next time, he will come as the realized ruler of all the cosmos. Jesus owns it all, the world just doesn’t realize it yet.

 

  1. Genghis Khan (1162-1227), 4,860,000
  2. Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.) 2,180,000
  3. Cyrus the Great (600-529 B.C.), 2,090,000
  4. Attila (406-453), 1,450,000
  5. Adolf Hitler (1889-1945), 1,370,000, all of which he lost in 3 years
  6. Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) 720,000
  7. Hernando Cortes (1485-1547), 315,000

 

“There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!” Abraham Kuyper

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“Joy Comes In The Morning” John 16:16-24

April 16, 2017

If you've knelt beside the rubble of an aching broken heart, When the things you gave your life to fell apart, You're not the first to be acquainted with sorrow, grief or pain

But the master promised sunshine after rain, To invest your seeds of trust in God in mountains you can't move, You have risked your life on things you cannot prove, But to give the things you cannot keep for what you cannot lose, Now, that's the way to find the joy God has for you

Hold on my child joy comes in the morning, Weeping only last for the night, Hold on my child Joy comes in the morning, The darkest hour means dawn is just in sight. The words of the song reminds us that this present suffering and distress in life is only momentary. The Psalmist and King David wrote, Psa 30:4  Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name. Psa 30:5  For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. I often find in my life, singing the praises to God often ministers to me in a mighty way. Just to remember, because God is a keeper of His promises, we do not have to face darkened days alone, joy indeed comes in the morning. H. W. Beecher once said, When people want to make things attractive in farming, they give exhibitions of their products. The women bring their very best butter; the men bring the noblest beets and vegetables of every kind; and from the orchard they bring the rarest fruits; and when you go into the room where all these things are displayed, they seem to you attractive and beautiful. It seems to me that this is the way a Christian Church ought to represent the Christian life. You ought to pile up your apples and pears and peaches and flowers and vegetables to show what is the positive fruit of religion. But many people in the Christian life do as farmers would do who would go to a show, and carry—one pigweed; another thistles; another dock; and another old, hard lumps of clay; and should arrange these worthless things along the sides of the room and mourn over them. Christians are too apt to represent the dark side of religion in their conversation and meetings. Disciples of the Lord shine brighter than they can ever shine for when they go through difficulty with joy.

I want to reflect on the words of the Lord Jesus as He addresses and challenges all of us to be encouraged, Joy Comes in the morning. “The grace of God has reached for me, and pulled me from the raging sea, He has put me on solid ground, the Lord is my salvation, my peace, my joy, my hope.”

Grab your Bible and turn to the 16th chapter of John, verses 16-24 will be the verses under examination and consideration. The disciples are a bit perplexed by the words of Jesus. The Lord frames a bed of security and shows them that the Holy Spirit will be with them to give them the words to say and to keep them from falling away. Think of it, without the Lord’s intervening where would we be. If it had not been for the Spirit of God, we all would disperse away from our Lord, but it is just like out God to pull us back into sweet fellowship when we begin to venture away. Jesus said, Joh 16:2  They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. Joh 16:3  And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. They will think they are doing God a favor by persecuting you. Why? Because they do not even know the Lord. Upon Jesus Christ lifting this veil, the disciples were discouraged and sorrow filled their heart. “Lord, what do you mean you are going away?” “Where are you going that we cannot follow?” Jesus replied, “If I don’t go away, the Helper will not come, but if I go, I will send Him to you.” These are legitimate concerns and worries that we all would have had, but the Helper is now here to guide, comfort, and teach you about Jesus. The Spirit of God will convict and judge the world of sin and we remember that Satan has been crushed in the eyes of the Lord. The ultimate work of the devil, as a destroyer, has been defeated. As God scans and surveys all human history He stamps it is as good as finished. But sorrow still filled the hearts of the disciples. They were still feeling as sheep soon to be without a shepherd. There is still no doubt that Satan, the deceiver, is still at work in the world, but we are also reminded, 1Jn 4:4  Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

How many here today are enduring tremendous sorrow, or going through a tough time? The Lord wants to be the bank where you rest, the rock where you stand, He wants to be your joy today. He also reminds us, the place for a Christian is not to bury our heads in the sand or even run from the enemy, just stand with Christ. *pray*

  1. Revelation Comes When We Seek Answers: Joh 16:16 "A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me."Joh 16:17  So some of his disciples said to one another, "What is this that he says to us, 'A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me'; and, 'because I am going to the Father'?" Joh
  • Jesus is once again reassuring them that a little while, specifically His death, he would no longer be with them. This can point to the intermediate place of the cross and the grave, and from the resurrection to the ascension until what we call the eschaton or Christ’s ultimate coming. The disciples once again recalled Jesus’ words that He will be gone away from them. They didn’t understand the implications of the resurrection, they did not understand what would happen on the cross or in the grave. 16:18 So they were saying, "What does he mean by 'a little while'? We do not know what he is talking about." Joh 16:19  Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, "Is this what you are asking yourselves, what I meant by saying, 'A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me'? Even though Jesus clearly told them He would die, they still couldn’t grasp the weight of it. He is their Messiah and Lord, but they didn’t understand the substitutionary lamb, they didn’t understand the sacrifice that must be made. It is after the resurrection that revelation would become clearer. It is just like our Lord, when we ask in sincerity and with the right motives, the Lord will answer. We can point to the deity of Jesus when John states that Jesus, “knew they wanted to ask.” As John Gill stated, “he is the omniscient God who knows all things, what is in man, even the secrets of the heart; for he not only knew the whisperings of the disciples, and their inquiries among themselves about the sense of his words, but also their secret desires to ask him concerning it.” When it comes to sorrow, when it comes to uncertainty, Christ wants us to seek and ask the Him. We must understand, we are like these disciples in many ways. We are easily upset, prone to complain, and just don’t have it all together when it comes to the things of the Lord. In a time when God’s revelation has been realized, it is amazing how easy we squander it away.

Illustration and Application: Charles Francis Adams, the 19th century political figure and diplomat, kept a diary. One day he entered: “Went fishing with my son today—a day wasted.” His son, Brook Adams, also kept a diary, which is still inexistence. On that same day, Brook Adams made this entry: “Went fishing with my father—the most wonderful day of my life!” The father thought he was wasting his time while fishing with his son, but his son saw it as an investment of time. I tell you any time you seek to grow in the Lord by studying His Word, it is never wasted time. When we meet on Sunday evenings as a small group to dive into the Word, it is not wasted time, when we meet on Wednesday night to learn the word of God through Awana or through Bible study, it is not wasted time. See, we are in a better position than Jesus disciples in the narrative before us. Even though we did not walk with Jesus and hear Him audibly or see His miracles, we have the gift of special revelation, and it amazes me how many of us squander this gift away…including myself. Just like with these disciples, if we seek the Lord, with proper motives, the Lord will reveal to us His purposes, and better yet, sometimes He reveals our motives to us. Do you fall guilty of not seeking the wisdom of the Lord? These disciples were perplexed and worried, concerned and full of sorrow, but…

  1. One day you sorrow will turn into joy: How many in here were overjoyed when you became a Child of God through Christ? How many rejoiced when Jesus saved you? How many has sustained that joy through your whole walk? Not many hands. Why? Because we all struggle and confront effects of a fallen world. Listen the words of Jesus, Joh 16:20 Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy.
  • When the master tells you that all is not lost, there is a moment of hope and they must hold on to this hope. This type of lament is like an intense state of grieving, but to have faith in Jesus is an unshakable hope, not like saying, I hope this happens or that, but hope is a form of confidence. As to say, “I have confidence that what the master says is truth.” In fact, Jesus uses the double take, “truly, truly” as to add emphasis. Many that followed Jesus saw Him arrested and sorrow will fill them, they saw Him beat up to the place of unrecognition and they were overwhelmed with hopelessness, they saw Him stretched out and nailed to an old rugged cross and they were burdened down with a tremendous sense of loss. They saw the world jump up and down with joy thinking they had done God a favor, and those that followed Jesus were in horror, but praise God the didn’t stay in their pain, when Jesus stepped out alive and forever more the enemy was defeated and like…

 Joh 16:21  When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world… it becomes worth it all. Victory in Jesus my savior forever, our current suffering has no lasting effect upon our eternal celebration that Jesus is alive. You mothers know, the moments of pain you have during child birth, and all you can think of is getting the child into the world healthy. All the pain is like a drop in the bucket when they lay the baby on your chest for the first time. So Jesus makes the connection, all of your suffering, all of your trials, all of these persecutions, will only make you appreciate the joy the Lord brings all the more. Considering the death of Jesus, the pains of His death will give way to joy when He rises again. I want us to think of this promise…Joh 16:22  So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.  When the Hebrew referred to the “heart,” like Jesus is doing here, they think of the place in a person being where his or her will is enthroned. Likewise, when a person, “gives their heart to Jesus,” it is to say “they are giving the will of their being to His Lordship.” When Jesus revels Himself to them after His resurrection, their whole being will be overjoyed, and no one will ever be able to diminish this joy. Do you know a person that seems to suck the joy out of any situation in life? I mean a person would complain if the won the lottery because it only gave them 20 dollars bills. Not that money brings ultimate joy, but Jesus says no one will be able to strip it from you.

Joh 16:23  In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Joh 16:24  Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

  • Again, the resurrection will bring clarity to all misconceptions. They will enter a new age of rejoicing and worship the Lord in a new light. They asked nothing of Jesus for He was walking with them, but when he dies and is risen, every prayer will be asked through the name of the Son, not that saying Jesus is some magical spell to be cast, but every prayer becomes a reminder of who Jesus is and what He has done for you.

Every single one of us has been through sorrows. Seeing a loved one on their death bed, losing a parent, or several many trials in life that brings sadness. Sadness in a way helps us to be mindful of the fallen world that we live in a why Jesus Christs’ work is so important. As a young boy, I watched my grandmother suffer the effects of a disease, but the moment she passed away she witnessed joy in the morning. I watched my dad stumbled around with arthritis in his knees, I watched him struggle just to get to the house to see his grandson, the moment he died he opened his eyes to his joy, over and over again I watched the people I love go through hardships and disease, and yet the stood with Jesus, I watched my granddad go through the effects of Emphysema and stood strong with Jesus to the very end, to open his eyes and behold the morning of his joy. Listen, to get a little joy down here sometimes we must go through a little hell as well. It was once said, Joy is the byproduct of obedience.

How is your walk with the Lord today? Are you struggling with finding answers? Does it feel like the enemy has stolen your joy? Maybe you never had this joy and you want to be saved today. To give Jesus your heart would be like saying, submit your total will to the will of Christ…would you be that person today.

 

 

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“Security Blanket” John 16:1-15- 03-26-2017

March 27, 2017

We are constantly reminded of the love of the Lord Jesus. We remember He loves us in that we are participates in His great salvation. To know we abide in Christ should fill everyone with the joy that we are safe and secure in Him. There are many ways the Lord has embellished His love upon us, He even shows us His love during times of persecution. Last week I read to you an article about the persecuted church in Egypt, how Christians who are being killed for their faith almost daily, millions of Muslims are coming to faith in Jesus. There is something powerful about that kind of testimony. When a suicide bomber goes into a building to blow it up, they are not doing it so others may know Allah, they are doing it for self, when a person dies for the cause of Christ, it is so that God would be glorified and others may know, there is something to this. In Tom Doyle’s book entitled “killing Christians,” he makes a note of how the church grows when she is pressed with persecution. “Oppressors over the centuries have never recognized that the persecution of Christians is always a failed initiative. It just doesn’t work. To the contrary, killing believers routinely accelerates the spread of the gospel and the growth of the church.” “Why,” you might ask, “because the Holy Spirit is in it, because God is in it, because God has given His church the message that can shake the gates of hell, disrupt sin, and march through history as victors. The spoils to the victors aren’t found in material goods, it isn’t found in the items we get here and now, but for people the world over to see the power of the gospel of the Lord Jesus and submit to Him as Lord…that’s the reward.

I want to show you something significant surrounding the structure of these particular passages before us.

I want to present to you a secretary blanket of sorts, more like a security bed. So let’s dig in and look at this nice package of passages before us.

It is important for us to back up a little, because part of this message and blanket will reach back into the end of chapter 15. We already know that Jesus was, and is, giving His disciples this promise because there is sure persecution coming their way. As the world hated Him and persecuted Him, so will they do to you, but Jesus said, “I will not leave you alone as comfortless orphans.” The first portion of this blanket is this… I am going to preach these verses a little differently, not in content but in form. I want to lay out what I see as a bed of security and look at the verses separately. The top of this the blanket is the enablement by the Holy Spirit. Vs. 26-27..”you will bear witness of me.

  1. The Holy Spirit will come and enable us to stand and speak out for Jesus. He will empower His people to bear witness of the Lord Jesus, and will protect them as well. Look at these verses: Joh 15:26 "But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. Joh 15:27  And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning. When the chapters and verse were inserted into the Bible by Archbishop Stephen Langton and Cardinal Hugo de Sancto Caro, we are thankful for chapters and verses, it helps us to remember portions of text, but sometimes can get in the way of a holistic/canonical reading of the Bible. This is such a case. Right in the middle of this is you and I as the believer. These verses demonstrate, even in the construction of the word of before us, how God has wrapped us in.

The second portion of this security bed is where you and I fit in and function in this world. The purpose of sending the Spirit is laid out for those that are called by Him. We are in the middle of a great work that God wants to do in the world through His son and aided with the power of the Holy Spirit. Here we are in the middle of this security bed. Joh 16:1  "I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. Joh 16:2  They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. Joh 16:3  And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. There will come a time when it feels like the world is against you, when it will dispel you from its ranks. For the disciples, it was those that were “religious” that thought they were doing God a favor by seeking to kill Him and His disciples. He says, I am telling you these things,  so that that when you get the urge to disperse to run away, when you feel like you have just had enough of the hostility of the way of the world, know that I am with you…hang in there, don’t lose hope, hold on to Jesus. There might be people in the church, that don’t want you to be around because you don’t wear the right close, religious people that feel as if they are more dignified than you, people that think they are doing the Lord a favor by disassociating with you. This type of “religious zealousness” is more reminiscent of a jihadist than a God follower. The Lord sends the Holy Spirit to keep us keeping on…maybe the words of the Lord Jesus, maybe some just don’t even know the Lord.

We are promised by the Lord Jesus, He will give us the words to say when we don’t know what to say. He will help us to speak about Jesus. If you are here today, and you know you know the Lord Jesus, He wants you to tell people, but you might feel inadequate to speak. Good! Just know this, none of us deserve to speak about Him, but He can and will give you boldness to speak more openly about His salvation. You know this security bed can be seen in two ways. There are other things in our lives that bring us comfort and tuck us in. See, the blanket we find in the Lord Jesus is not one that protects for persecution, there is no promise in God’s Word that He will keep us from persecution and trails, but the security He gives us is in the fact that we are not alone.

Before I got married, I don’t think I ever had a comforter on my bed. Most of my life, I had a fitted sheet, maybe a sheet and a blanket. When I got married, my bed was made with or course all of those items, but now with a mattress guard/ cover, a comforter, tons of pillows, and now…even one of those memory foam deals. Talk about a good sleep. Before this I slept well, but didn’t have all of the other items to enhance my rest. When you rest is in Christ Jesus, you rest well, I am not talking about sleep, I’m talking about confidence and security, when all of our hope rests in Christ, the rest will work out for His glory. Before Christ, I never knew what true hope was, I never knew what it meant to have confidence in God, I only saw God as some cosmic magician that once and a while I could call on Him if I wanted something, but now I know He is the only one who I can have true rest. Jesus talking to His disciples said, Mat_11:28  Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  There might be a time when you don’t understand everything, those days will come. Jesus’ words ring true, Joh 16:4  But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you. "I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. Joh 16:5  But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, 'Where are you going?' Joh 16:6  But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Jesus gets to the heart of the problem, and something we should all remember, “they do not know Him or the Father.” He reminds them to keep in mind these things when you are chased abroad and dispersed because of my name sake. It was a natural thing for the disciples to be filled with sorrow, for there were yet to understand the weight of the resurrection of their master and Lord. When the Holy Spirit comes, He will convict the world of sin: Joh 16:7  Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.  This promises is fulfilled in the second chapter of Acts. To recap on the work of the Holy Helper, I advise you to listen to the sermon “The Holy Helper.”

Joh 16:8  And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: Joh 16:9  concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; The Holy Spirit will convict sin, shows it is wrong and that we are sinful and I need of saving.

Joh 16:10  concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; Joh 16:11  concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

Joh 16:12  "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.

Here is the last portion of this bed of security, much more than a security blanket, and not meant to shield from persecution and hard times. This simply illustrates how we are wrapped in power of the Holy Spirit. The Lord will judge based upon the work of the Son. The ruler of this world has been destroyed, he is as good as crushed in the eyes of the Lord. In the eyes of the Lord, the head of the serpent has been crushed, when Jesus stepped out of the tomb He stomped the head of the devil when he broke over the threshold. Jesus said He has many more things to tell them and they were unable to bear it now. Enter the world of the Holy Spirit once again…

  1. The Holy Spirit will give you certainty of absolute truth, foreshadow the truth of things to come, and declare to you His will for you. Joh 16:13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. Joh 16:14  He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you .Joh 16:15  All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

Here is the bottom portion of this bed of security. This is how the Lord works in the lives of believers. He gives us assurance when all the rest of the world thinks we are out of our mind. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will give us certainty. In an age of uncertainty, the Spirit makes us unshakable. The Spirit will not say, look at me, but look at Jesus. He will affirm the Word of the Lord as absolutely true. This is our Lord’s last expansion of the great promise of the Comforter. First, He was spoken of simply as dwelling in Christ’s disciples and guiding them. Then, He will aid as He has promised, to remind the apostles of the facts of Christ’s life, especially of His words, His life and His resurrection.

I had the privilege of sitting down with a dear saint of the Lord this past week. We begin, in short, to discuss the sovereignty of the Lord, and why hardships, sickness and adversity come our way. He said to me, I think that our situations in life, sickness, disease and old age is God’s way of reminding us that there are better days coming. Trials and tribulations are used by God to show something is better for the believer. One cannot claim this attitude without the aid of God. Since we are prone to complain, one does not comes to grips with this life and its troubles easily without the comfort and aid of God almighty. There is security in knowing Jesus and the Helper gives us that peace and help. It is an amazing this to see this laid out in such a simple way, that even the sentence structure of these verses shows that God will never leave us, but has us wrapped up in him.

 

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