Monthly Archives: February 2014

Genesis 22.1-24

Title: The Test of Faith

Text: Genesis 22.1-24

Introduction: Review to this point –

  • 12.1-3 – Called from Ur – launched a life of faith
  • 12.7 – worshipped the Lord in the midst of the land of promise
  • 13.1ff – Abraham and Lot part ways; Lot chooses the more fertile property
  • 15 – God’s promise restated with dramatic flare; see the stars; rd v 1-6;
  • 15 – God’s promise demonstrated with dramatic flare; sacrifice; rd 7-17
  • 17 – God changes Abram’s name to Abraham to reflect God’s promise to him; Sarah’s name is changed, too; A son is promised: Laughter will be his name; rd v 15-19; Circumcision was given as an external visual of the covenant promise and Abraham obeyed; rc v 23-27
  • 18 – Sarah will laugh, too; rd 10-15;
  • There were highs and lows on this faith’s journey;

The statement of God Promise and the multiple restatements came:

  1. When Abraham first set foot in Canaan
  2. When under the stars he believed the Lord
  3. When he saw the fiery presence of God glide between the flayed parts
  4. When he, Sarah and Isaac were given their names
  5. When the external sign of circumcision was given and he and his men were circumcised
  6. When he and Sarah held baby Laughter in their arms and he called the Lord The Everlasting God. rd  21.34; These restatements of the promise initiated Abraham’s long, secure stay in the land of the Philistines (the promised land). What a beautiful story it would be if it ended there. But it doesn’t!

Note how 22.1 begins; rd v 1a; it’s a good thing he tells us he’s being tested. If we didn’t already know that, we’d have a tough time with these verses! Let me ask: Can you grow in your faith without testing? Ok, then, when do you grow the most, the strongest? rd 1b; A call; an answer; it’s here in v 2 that we read the command of God: rd v 2;

  1. The Command of God (1-2)
    1. Take (2a) – your son, your only son, whom you love (3x’s);
    2. Go – to the land of Moriah (some distance away); to a mountain I’ll show you;
    3. Offer (2b) – him to me; as a burnt offering;

app.: Does God call us to offer him our children? All that we have?

  1. The Obedience of Abraham
    1. Abraham’s Obedience (3-8)

i.     He rose

ii.     He took

  1. Two young servants
  2. His young son (same word); they’re probably about the same age. Young man, probably a teen.

iii.     He cut, enough wood to build and burn; ill.: to destroy a cow, rancher used a worn out tire;

iv.     He went

  1. A three day journey
  2. His head lowered; lifted up his eyes;
  3. Belief in the resurrection: 22.5;

v.     He offered (9-10)

  1. Abraham’s Offering (9-10)

i.     He built the altar

ii.     He bound his son

iii.     He took the knife

  1. The Intervention of God (11-14)
    1. Called twice, instead of once
    2. I see
    3. God provides
    4. The Blessing of Abraham (15-24)
      1. As seen through the promise restated
      2. As seen through the descendants mentioned where God’s promises may find fulfillment.

Observation & Implications

  1. God is the ‘Enduring God’. He endures with us through thick and thin, always working his promises in our lives.
  2. Our faith is expressed through our obedience. Disobedience displays rebellion or a lack of faith.
  3. God provided a sacrifice for us, to take our place.
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Filed under Genesis, Scripture, W.E.B.S.

John 18.12-27

Title: Losing your awe: when Jesus threatens your religious traditions.

Text: John 18.12-27

Introduction: I’m in the midst of a sermon series on the characters we meet while on a journey to the Cross with Christ. As I was reviewing the previous two characters, Peter and Judas, I was overcome with emotion. I want to present these next two characters without the emotion that overcomes me. I can’t promise I won’t struggle, but I do promise to do my best to avoid being emotional. I just want to give you a heads up if I you sense me struggling.

I guess I’ve been emotional about it because it’s pretty overwhelming. The context of this passage is set in the final hours of our messiah’s life. Over the next several hours, Jesus will be betrayed into the hands of evil men, judged unfairly, he will be severely beaten, and then crucified. The time is in the late hours of the night. So late, that it’s probably after midnight. It’s probably the earliest of hours on the day of his death.

What will happen in the next several hours is that Jesus will stand in 6 mock trials. It will go like this: Jesus is arrested, he is bound and then carted off to stand before

  1. Annas, the High Priest
  2. Caiaphas, the High Priest – it is while he is with Caiaphas that the charges against him will be manufactured. Once that happens, they wait for the sun to come up and convene a formal gathering of the
  3. The Sanhedrin. They’ll be unable to kill Jesus, because the Roman govt. will forbid it by their laws. So, to get rid of him, they’ll need to take him before
  4. Pilate, will not find any fault in him and will send him off to
  5. Herod, who had jurisdiction over Galilee, the area of Nazareth. Herod will be entertained by meeting this popular man, Jesus. However, in the end, he will decide not to deal with Jesus and send him back to Pilate, where the Jews will pour on the pressure.
  6. Pilate will have to bend to the pressure he’s facing from the Jewish leaders. He will come up with a solution to have Jesus released, but it back fires on him. Extra biblical literature gives us some great insight into the many problems he had with the Jewish Leaders and he just couldn’t have them going over his head to complain again. We’ll look at that when we get to Pilate.

Transition: In week 1, I preached on Judas, Iscariot. He lost his awe. Then Peter, who, in some sense, lost his awe, too, when he denied Christ. He was in the courtyard near Jesus watching all of this transpire. Today, we’ll focus on Annas, Caiaphas and the men of the Sanhedrin. These are the religious leaders. How does one become a High Priest or any other important leader in the affairs of God and lose their awe of God? How can someone be so wrapped up in God’s Kingdom work and miss the very King in their midst? How does one become an expert in the Law, the Word of God and miss the living Word of God in their presence? Ladies and Gentlemen, may I propose to you this morning, that you and I are in the very same danger? You and I can become so focused on our religious traditions, on our power and prestige, on our position and popularity that we’ll lose our awe of God – that you and I can become so worried about facilities and programs that those things will actually become more important to us than Christ himself.

Today, We’ll look at the 1st three trials: Annas, Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin. Now, to get all of this information, we have to go to all 4 gospels. Bookmark John 18.12; Matt 26.57; Luke 22.63; Mark 15.1. Each writer recorded what he thought was pertinent to his telling of the story. We pick up in verse 12, this morning, as a way of introduction. I’ve entitled this intro: Jesus is Arrested and Bound.

exp.: rd v 12; arrested, or seized; and bound; aorist active; aorist tense shows simple past.

app.: What does this have to do with the high priest? I think it shows us the kind of men they are. We begin to see a bit of their character. Let’s meet Annas first….

t.s.: rd v 13a

1.     Jesus is Questioned by Annas, the High Priest (13-14; 19-23)

exp.: So Jesus is arrested and then, he’s carted off to visit with Hannas. Who is Annas? Rd 13b; he is the father-in-law of Caiaphas. All cleared up? Verse 19 continues; rd v 19; Sounds like Caiaphas is there asking questions, but no. Read v 24; 2 High priests? Answer, simply is yes. Here’s what we know about Annas from the Bible and extra biblical literature.

Annas became the High Priest around 6/7 AD. He served until 14/15 AD. Afterward, his son took over. As a matter of fact, 5 of his sons eventually became high priest, and as you’ve just read here, so does his Son-in-law; How is this possible to have two High Priests?

  • Most likely, it was because the Romans appointed and deposed High Priests; Jews, however, felt the high priest position was served for life as a part of the Mosaic Covenant. Even though he was deposed by Rome, the Jews would continue to look to him as their official high priest. Luke 3.2: during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, that word, one word, high priesthood, is singular, with two names, Annas and Caiaphas.
  • There was a tradition of what we might call: High Priestly families. Once a man was high priest, his sons and their families would keep that title and that position within the family. Ill.: Aaron was high priest and his son, Eleazar to his place in Deut. 6.10; Josh 24.23, Eleazar died and his son Phineas became the High Priest. There is actually a place where a bunch of these men are mentioned: Acts 4.5-6; γένος – the generation, descendants of the high priest.
  • It might just be that his sons respected him, as did his son-in-law, and so out of courtesy, they asked his opinion before moving forward. Ill.: Pastor Lyle Skeels; His name isn’t listed in the records of the SBA or the SBTC, but I still refer to him as pastor.

So, what does Annas want to know? Rd v 19; which High Priest? Rd v 24; so, it’s still Annas; rd v 19 again;

  • His disciples
  • His teaching

This would be easy to overlook, but my understanding is that Annas is hinting that Jesus is planning a rebellion, a revolution. He’s got Judas, Simon, the Zealot, Matthew, the Tax Collector; maybe, just maybe he’s gathering around himself some men who are going to start a revolution. I don’t know if that’s true, but in order to carry out their plan to kill Jesus, they’ve got to have some strong evidence with witnesses. Or, Jesus could be convicted by his own testimony. So, Jesus answers him very simply; rd v 20-21; Look at the response; rd v 22; Wow! What was so offensive about the Messiah’s response? I wonder:

–  Jews; 5.1; 10*, 15, 16, 18;

–  Were there some present in this mock trial who had been present in the synagogues and in the Temple when Jesus had been teaching? Did he recognize any of them? Many times during the course of Christ’s ministry, we see the Pharisees, Sadducees, Scribes, elders and members of the Sanhedrin coming to see him, and hear him and test his knowledge and theology. Maybe some of those very guys were standing there at that moment. Is v 21 a reference to them?

–  That just might be clarified in v 23; rd v 23; as if to say, if I’m lying or wrong, there are those here who can speak up now and prove me wrong! Obviously, someone could ‘bear witness’, testify to this fact if Jesus was indeed lying. This is interesting, because in the coming hours, these Jewish leaders will find some folks to ‘testify’ against Jesus

app.: Annas, doesn’t seem to get anywhere. Maybe he was just buying time until Caiaphas could get set up and have the other men, probably asleep, get to Caiaphas’ courtyard.

t.s.: So, Jesus is arrested, bound and spends some time before Annas, probably the most powerful religious man in Judaism. However, with the Roman appointed High Priest probably being the one with the power over religious matters, Caiaphas would need to weigh in. So, rd v 24;

2.     Jesus is Questioned by Caiaphas, the High Priest (24; Mt 26.57-68)

exp.: a couple of notes about the verbs in these passages; the word bound in v 24 is a pft passive; pft is a present state based on a past action. He was bound in the past and is still bound. Now, v 25-27 is about Peter, whom we look at last week, so we won’t rehash that. Just one note though: Luke tells us that roughly an hour passed between the 2nd denial and 3rd denial of Peter, when the rooster crowed (Lk 22.59). So, we get the idea from the Gk text that Jesus is already being physically mistreated. Rd v 28; What we’re not seeing here is two other mock trials not recorded by John. For some reason, John didn’t record the other events. Obviously, Jesus is escorted to the court of Caiaphas, but the particulars are not mentioned. He must have felt those details were covered by Matthew, Mark and Luke, and possibly other writers who had written about those events. So, let’s look at the synoptics for these other mock trials – turn to Matthew 26; rd v 57

  1. Caiaphas confronts Jesus; we read about this encounter in Matthew 26.57-68; rd 57-59;
  2. The ‘whole’ Sanhedrin “Council” (to sit with) has gathered for this encounter, many scribes and elders have gathered to observe this mock trial; well, it’s more than just observation; vs 59a tells us they’re looking for evidence. A 2nd note on these verbs: were seeking false testimony is an imperfect verb; the imperfect tense demonstrates continuous action in the past. In other words, this isn’t something they started doing when they were awakened in the past hour. They’ve been at this for weeks, months or even longer!
  3. Others have gathered, too, like Peter and John; the purpose of this gathering is to gather evidence; rd 59b-61; With Jesus not incriminating himself, they get false witnesses to testify against him. Mark tells us in 14.59: Yet even about this their testimony did not agree. And, with the testimonies against him not being in agreement, they’re forced to try to get Jesus to incriminate himself again; rd 62-66; he deserves to die!

At this stage, they’re ready to convene and convict him. While he is being held, awaiting this 3rd mock trial, he is harshly mistreated. The synopitcs record the same account: Rd vs 67-68 shows how they mocked our Lord. He’s the Messiah? This one bound before us? How could someone so weak be the Messiah? So they spit upon him and mocked him. “Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?

Rd Lk 22.63-65

app.: The real irony in it all, is that he knows who is hitting him. He not only knows the man’s name. He knows that man even better than that man knows himself. He knows his deepest thoughts and secrets – just like he knows our deepest thoughts and secrets.

t.s.: Now, you’d think that would be enough, but what they’ve been doing is trying to establish some evidence to present to themselves officially. You see, what they’ve been doing is against their own law. So, to make it legal, they’ve got to wait until the sun comes up. So, now they have the third trial; He’s been presented to Annas and Caiaphas, but now, they Sanhedrin gathers for an official judgment.

  • 3.     Jesus is given a mock trial before the Sanhedrin (Matthew 27.1)

exp.: You’re in Luke 22? Rd v 66; when day came; 66-71; Skip over to Matthew 27.1; So, the Sanhedrin, as individuals have already been there, but as the sun rises, they need to officially convene to pass judgment on Christ. Rd Mt 27.1a; note they first convene when morning has officially come. Rd 27b; all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death. This word “took counsel” is different than the word Sanhedrin. The difference in English is Council and Counsel; Counsel here means they met officially to press formal charges and render a judgment.

ill.: Listen to Craig Blomberg: (These) verses can stand alone as a short passage reflecting a brief daytime reenactment by the Sanhedrin of the nighttime proceedings. This hearing may have functioned like a ‘rubber stamp,” but at least it would have brought the proceedings more into conformity with the letter of the law.

Myron Augsberger agrees: The Sanhedrin held a second very brief meeting early in the morning. They had charged Jesus with blasphemy (26:65–66), but they needed a charge by which they could secure the death penalty by Pilate. Matthew doesn’t tell us what the additional charge was, but Luke gives us three elements of their charge before Pilate: (1) national subversive activity, (2) teaching against paying taxes to Rome, and (3) claiming to be a King, the Christ (Luke 23:2). This charge, according to Luke, followed their bringing Jesus out of the dungeon to Caiaphas’ court, and then bringing Him a second time before their council for questioning and mocking. They fabricated the charges, giving them political meaning to influence Pilate’s judgment, passed their own sentence on Him, and led Him away to Pilate.

app.: isn’t it funny, not funny, but ironic that they have this meeting, when they’ve already had two others? Isn’t it ironic because they want to be obedient to the law? In just a moment, they’ll take Jesus to Pilate; Go back to John 18.28; they are so legalistic, that they won’t enter into a Gentile’s quarters so as to not become unclean; and yet, they can justify their actions in murdering a man.

Transition: How does someone get there? How does someone get to a place where they’re legalistic about worship, but can murder someone?

The Preacher’s Commentary records: Studies have shown that the trial of Jesus was illegally conducted according to Jewish law. The Talmud says, “The Sanhedrin is to save, not to destroy life.” The illegalities in the trial of Jesus were:

(1) Capital crimes were to be tried during the daytime only.

(2) They were not to be tried during festival times.

(3) They were not to be dealt with at a single sitting of one day.

(4) They were not to be tried with immediate appearances of witnesses for the prosecution, for this was a breach of law.

(5) There was no precedent or a single evidence for a person claiming to be the Messiah being accused of blasphemy and being sentenced to death.

(6) If a man stood accused of blasphemy in relation to the name of God, Jewish authorities could have him stoned, but they must hand him over to the governor.

(7) The priests were to have judgment in the charge, but they presented Jesus to Pilate, making Him a political suspect in a strategy to rid themselves of the prophet of Nazareth. Yet they asked for the release of the political criminal Barabbas, who was guilty of the very thing they were attributing to Jesus.

(8) The temple guard could not act for the high priest in an arrest charging blasphemy unless they themselves were witnesses to the blasphemy. Finally,

(9) when witness breaks down, the accused could not be cross-examined by the judges.

app.: These guys didn’t just bend a law, they broke multiple laws to commit murder! Which by the way, is also against the law!

Conclusion: how does someone get here?

Observations & Implications:

  1. Religion had become their God. This is hard to observe because when religion becomes your God, you do many of the same things you do when you God is your God.
  2. They thought that doing was more important than being. Jesus called them white-washed tombs because on the outside (doing) they looked great. But, on the inside (being) they were dead spiritually. They didn’t understand when Jesus said clean out the inside of the cup. They looked like the crystal classes up on top of the china cabinet. Somewhere back in my life, I think it was in Cotulla, Lisa had some nice glasses up above a cabinet. I pulled one down once, I don’t remember why, I guess I was gonna use it. It had dust, dirt, spiderwebs and a couple of June bugs in it! It’s not the beauty or value of the outside that matters, but the cleanliness of the inside!
  3. Jesus threatened their way of practicing their religion. What do you do when your religious practices don’t jive with the word of God. I once was confronted by a deacon about a decision I had made. His goal was to get me to change my mind. I outlined for him what Scripture said. His response was: I don’t care what Scripture says, you’ve got to do the right thing. They had power; he threatened that. They had position; Jesus threatened that. They had prestige; Jesus threatened that, too. They didn’t want to give up anything they had. They didn’t want to give up all that they knew about their religion.

What’s truly scary, these men thought they were doing the right thing – all in the name of God.

What about us, today? Are we ever in danger of religion becoming our God? Are we in danger of worshiping our traditions over our God? Are we in danger of judging our people and ourselves by what we do and don’t do? Do we have ministries and projects that are more important to us than Jesus is to us?

And what about politics? Are we in danger of politicizing our religion? Do we sometimes confuse the two? Do we use politics when it’s in our favor and makes us comfortable with our religion, but moan and grumble and complain when it doesn’t? Litmus: How do you feel when you hear the term Gay Republicans? Or, a  democrat who is Southern Baptist? Be careful… you might be confusing the two!

And what about the inside of a person? What do we think about? What do we dream about? Power? Position? Prestige? Are we white-washed tombs? Beautiful on the outside; grass cut and trimmed, no weeds, all green; no bird poop on our polished, shinny, granite; and yet, filled with death, stench and decay? Inside are there are worms and maggots feasting on our spiritual carcass?

Today, only you plumb the depths of your soul. You know the darkness. You know the stench. You know your thoughts and secrets. No one else here does.

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Genesis 21.1-34

Title: Laughter that comes from seeing God’s promises fulfilled!

Text: Genesis 21.1-34

Introduction:

Have you ever known the joy of having a baby? The 1st one is always exciting. I’ll never forget being in the delivery room for the birth of my little girl. I had wanted a little girl. Total cost to our hospital bill: $69.00. I was in the army and they paid for most everything! I’ll never forget how I watched Lisa with Jennifer. She has always been the perfect mother. I can see photos in my mind, taken those 1st couple of days after she was born. Lisa and I smiling away.

I remember Stephen’s birth, too. The doctor sent me out with the vital information of length and weight and gender. I made some phone calls, grabbed a bite to eat and headed back to see my son in the nursery. I got there and my son wasn’t in the nursery. I knocked on the window and a nurse popped out. “Yes” she said. I gave her my information and she told me to hang on, she needed to get the doctor. That scared me. And rightfully so! So pre-mature was Stephen, that his lungs hadn’t fully developed. He had turned blue. He was all the right size for a healthy baby, but he was just bigger than usual. They had him in the NICU.

Application: That smile you get when your little one is born feels like it’s gonna be permanent. But, nothing can wipe that smile off of your face quicker than something going wrong with your little one. Or, worse yet, someone messing with your little one!

Transition: That’s what we see today… I’ve divided this passage up into three parts. All three would stand alone, but I’ve combined them, really so that I’m not in Genesis for 5 years!

  •  Isaac is Born (1-8)
  • Ishmael is Banished (9-21)
  • Abraham and Abimelech strike a treaty (22-34)

Let’s look at this 1st section, the birth of Isaac…

I.             God’s Grace is seen in the Birth of Isaac (1-8)

exp.: rd v 1: Lesson # 1:

  • God is faithful – as he had said; as he promised; emphasis: The LORD; So, what happened? rd v 2;
  • Sarah conceives and bears a son! When? At the time the LORD had spoken to him! rd v 3;
  • Abraham
  1. Calls his son, Isaac; what does your footnote say? Rd v 4;
  2. Circumcises him, as God had commanded; rd 17.10-12; rd v 5;
  3. Is 100 years old! I think it’s more impressive that Sarah is 90! Rd v 6
  • Sarah expresses her great joy! Isn’t God good? What seemed bad in 18.12-15, has really turned out to be a joyful occasion. Has that ever happen to you, where you doubted God then he blessed you beyond what you deserved? And then, you laughed, really at your self and with joy at God’s goodness? Rd v 7;
  • Not only did she not believe it, but she wonders who could? (Try Abraham!) rd v 8; I’m guessing that Isaac was about 3 years old, but he could have been younger.
  • Isaac grows, is weaned and a great celebration is to be had!

app.: Pause right there. Life is good, isn’t it? Isn’t that when your “cup runneth over with joy”?

t.s.: But you know the story of life. The sun might be shinning down on you right now, but there’s a storm brewing out over the horizon, just out of sight! Which brings us to part 2:

II.          God’s Grace is seen in Banishment of Ishmael (9-21)

exp.: rd v 9; what is Ishmael doing, that she hadn’t already said would happen in v 6? How old is Ishmael? what does your footnote say? Do you notice his name here? How does the author identify Ishmael? What might that tell us about him?

So, what does Sarah do? rd v 10; rd v 11; Why do you think Abraham and Sarah feel so differently toward Ishmael? Gen 17.18; How many of you here were step children, had a step-mom or a step-dad?

ill.: I can identify: My step-mom hated me after the birth of my little sister. She made life miserable for me. Until one day, she changed.

exp.: rd v 12; wow… powerful; rd v 13; Ishmael will be blessed because of Abraham; rd v 14; Abraham does as his wife has ‘commanded’/’demanded’

app.: Wife, have you ever realized the power you possess in your family’s life? Your words, your demands, you have such a huge impact on a person’s life.

ill.: Brad Paisley: The Dad he didn’t have to be!

Question: How is the Grace of God seen here? Well, this should be a reminder, once again, of God’s faithfulness; remember v 13; Check out God’s grace: rd v 15-19; There is something about the cry of the abused; Gen 4.10; here; Exodus 3.7; Judges 3.9; Psalm 3.4; Ps 34.6; 34.17; rd Gen 21.20-21;

t.s.: We see God’s grace and goodness in Isaac’s birth, but also in Ishmael’s banishment. Now, we’ll see it in a treaty with an old ally. Rd v 22-24;

III.       God’s Grace in a Treaty (22-34)

exp.: a good thing the treaty was struck; rd v 25-26; now is the time to see if Abimelech will keep his word; Now, things could have gotten heated and all out of sorts; however, Abraham was too smart for that. rd v 27-28; why’d he do that? rd v 29-32; rd v 33; I like that; That’s what the grace of God in your life should lead you to do – call on the name of the LORD; Abraham has returned to what we saw him doing when he first came to this land: 12.8; 13.4; So, what is this tree? My understanding is that it is native to the Negev and is an evergreen tree; no leaves; can grow upwards of 55 ft tall. The pics I saw show a tree that provides wonderful shade and isn’t anywhere 55 ft. tall! It signifies prosperity, life, fruitfulness; Rd v 34;

ill.: wouldn’t it be nice if we could confront all of our conflicts in peace like this? I mean to work things out? I wonder what would have happened if Sarah had treated Hagar and Ishmael differently? Given a small flock, more than a day’s bladder of water, a couple of servants, left them at a city or place where she would have been taken care of? God took care of them, but still…

Question: What causes church splits? Why is it, do you think, we just can’t get along sometimes? Matthew 5.9; for they shall be called, ‘sons of God’; I’d like that title. What about you?

Observations and Implications:

  1. God is good. His grace is amazing!
  2. God is faithful. His promises are sure. (Prov. 3.5-12)
  3. Relationships are important. This should be evident in how we handle conflict. God’s grace should lace our dealings.

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John 18-10-27

Title: Misunderstanding the Will of God

Text: John 18.10-27

Introduction: we’re in our new sermon series: The Lord’s Passion: Characters on the way to the Cross.

Today we look at Simon Peter; Actually, the High Priest and Simon Peter share stories. Cf.: 18.10, 12, 15, 19, 25. Let’s look 1st this morning at his name – so, where does the Name Simon come from? Honestly, I don’t know. But, what I do know is that there were some very popular names in that day and I think they come from the Maccabean Revolt.

  • Assyria (Northern Kingdom Exile)
  • Babylon (Southern Kingdom Exile)
  • Persia (Medes & Persians: Return from Exile)
  • Greeks (Alexander the Great)
  • Alexander’s Generals: Ptolemy & Selucids until 31 AD, when Judea falls under Roman Rule. Herod is made king.
  • Mattathias Maccabeus led a revolt against the Selucids in 167 BC. He died the next year and his son Judas took over as leader. Judas Maccabeus was probably the most successful and popular leader of the Maccabean Revolt. He was killed by the Selucids in 160 BC and his brother Jonathan became the new leader. Indeed, the Selucids made him a minor king to be leader of the Jews. In 152 BC he is also made High Priest. In 142 BC, Jonathan is killed and his brother Simon becomes High Priest – a strong leader among the people. The very next year, the Selucids surrender Jerusalem to Simon and Simon becomes ruler of all Judea. Because of these great revolutionaries, people would name their sons after these great leaders. Judas was popular, as we saw last week. Simon was pretty popular, too. I found 8 different Simon’s in the NT. I don’t think there are anymore, but I could be wrong. If you know of anymore, please share them with me. For now, lets go with these 8:
  1. Simon the Magician Acts 8
  2. Simon the Tanner: Acts 9 & 10
  3. Simon the Leper: Matt 26.6
  4. Simon, the Zealot: Matt 10.4
  5. Simon Iscariot, Judas’ Dad
  6. Simon, the brother of Jesus: Matt 13.55
  7. Simon of Cyrene: the man who carried Jesus’ Cross: Matt 27.23 – the father of Rufus
  8. Simon Peter: the most famous of all the Simons

Simon Peter is popular for so many reasons. His responsibilities:

1st, he is the leader. When the list of names of disciples is given, Simon Peter is always mentioned first. Jesus puts this on him – we’ll see it later

2nd, He is one of Jesus’ closest disciples. Three are pretty much mentioned together as doing more than the others: Peter, James and John.

3rd, Some say he had a foot shaped mouth because he was found often engaging his mouth while his mind was still in neutral. Can anyone here identify?

4th, At other times, he acted without thinking it fully through. Not just speaking without thinking, but sometimes acting without thinking. It appears that way. Maybe, he thought he was doing the right thing. We’ll look at one of those moments this morning.

John MacArthur describes Simon as: impetuous, impulsive, and overeager.

In our particular story this morning, Peter shows us these characteristics of being impetuous, impulsive, and overeager. Read 18.10-11; The questions we want to ask ourselves are: Why would he do this? Why would he act in such a manner? They’re obviously out matched and out numbered. Review – Q.: How many swords did the disciples have? A.: 2 (Lk 22.38); And do you remember who had them? A.: Peter had one and we think Judas had the other. Judas is now on the other side – he’s turned state’s evidence for those who want Jesus dead. There is this band of men, a mob of soldiers and leaders of men with clubs and swords, of whom Matthew describes as a great crowd following the chief priests and elders. When Lisa and I were in Hawaii in a young couples’ Bible Study, our teacher said there were 600 men in this great crowd. I have no idea where he got his information, but I suppose there were a lot of men in that great crowd.

Most of the disciples are totally unprepared. Mark describes one of these guys as being wrapped in a towel, a linen cloth. He’d probably been taking a sponge bath, as it were, while Jesus and his garden buddies, Peter, James and John had been up in the Garden of Gethsemane praying. Or shall I say while Jesus was praying and the other three were sleeping. This one young man, wrapped in this linen cloth is grabbed by some of the men in this mob. What is he going to do? Pop them with his towel? There is only one sword against so many, with swords and clubs (v 3, see weapons)! All of the Gospels tell us that Peter, in an attempt to defend his master, pulled his sword and swung at Malchus, the servant of the High Priest. I picture he’s trying to take his head off, but in the scuffle, Malchus ducks and only has his ear cut off. The mob of men grab the disciples. Jesus screams to stop. He heals Malchus, by putting his hand over his mangled, mostly hanging off ear. Jesus voluntarily goes with the mob and the disciples break free and flee. So, desperate to get away are these disciples, that Mark notes the disciple in his towel flees with nothing on, but leaves the soldier standing there holding the towel that was his garment.

Now, I ask again: Why would Peter do this? Why would he act in such a manner? Here is my best guess. Read John 13.36-38; Matthew records it like this: Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” 34 Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” 35 Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!”

Move forward to later in the evening, out across the valley; Enter Judas and his mob of soldiers and men with clubs from the Temple. They reach out to grab Jesus and maybe, just maybe, Peter is now going prove that he would indeed lay down his life for Jesus. He’ll go to prison with him and for him. He’ll willing die defending his Lord and Master. Oh yeah, you want to take my Jesus! I’ll show you by cutting off your head! Some believe as many as 600 men may have been in this mob. Now you have 11 disciples, most in their pajamas and bathrobes and flip-flops. It’s like these men have clubs and swords and the disciples are holding their toothbrushes!

Have you ever been so inspired to take on Satan? So inspired, that you’d storm the gates of hell with squirt guns and water pistols? We may die tonight, but you’re not taking my Jesus!

App.: Here’s my 1st take-a-way for the day: Sometimes we forget – Jesus doesn’t need us to defend him! That’s why we don’t act like Muslim extremists and kill people who don’t follow him. We trust that God is in control of even a bad situation.

Application: I can’t promise you that you won’t die for Christ. But look at what Jesus is asking of Peter; Luke tells the story like this: rd Lk 22.31: “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” 33 Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” In our text today (Jn 13), Jesus asks Peter: “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times. Not only is Jesus showing us his sovereignty, but he’s telling Peter that his job isn’t to die for Christ, but rather to live for him.

I think Peter draws his sword because he wants to demonstrate to Jesus that he will live up to or should I say die for Jesus. I wonder if Jesus is really calling Peter to do something harder than die for Jesus – rather, it’s harder to live for Jesus.

From the beginning, Jesus saw something in Peter – a diamond in the rough, as it were. One time, they were together and Jesus asked the men: Who do people say that the Son of man is? Matthew 16.13-18; then Jesus said, Simon you were, but from now on, I see someone else in you, I see a Rock – and so that’s what I’m going to call you.

Ill.: John MacArthur tells the story of a pitcher who had all the signs of becoming one of the greatest pitchers to ever play the game. The problem was, that he would get up there on the mound and just melt under the pressure. He was just too nice and kind all of the time. His manager, Tommy Lasorda, thought the best idea would be to give him a nickname that he could live up to: Bulldog. This young pitcher began to embrace his nickname and began living up to it. He remained kind and good and gentle off of the mound, but when he stepped up onto the pitcher’s mound, he would be transformed into a ruthless Bulldog. The young pitcher’s name: Orel Hershiser.

Most baseball fans know who Orel Hershiser is. Even most sports fans know who he is because he did become one of the greatest pitchers the game has ever seen.

Application: I think that’s what Jesus did here. Sometimes he still acted like Simon, the old man. But, more and more he takes on the characteristic of Rocky. Luke tells us in 22.31 that Jesus said: “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times. Satan wants to eat you for lunch, but, you’re going to be ok. More than that, when you’ve returned – you’ll lead your brothers. You’ll be a rock for them!

I think he wants to be that leader. I think he wants to live up to the name Jesus is calling him: Rocky! Indeed, he shows us great signs of being a leader in his statements.

–    His statements

  • Lord, bid me to come out to you (on the water) – faith; this isn’t something kings do!
  • Explain the parable to us – teachable – wanting to learn.
  • Is this parable for us or for everyone? Application for his own life.
  • You are the Christ, the son of the living God! That’s incredible!
  • When all the people deserted him, the disciples stayed. Jesus asked if they were going to leave also and Peter responded: Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.
  • Don’t talk like that Jesus – it’s so negative. You’re letting the men down. Jn 16.22 – This takes some gall! Who would ever dare to tell Jesus what to do? Oh, I guess I have a few times. L
  • He speaks up even when he’s supposed to be quiet (i.e.: on the Mt of Transfiguration; That is, until The Father shows up). Mt 17.4-6 – I picture this incredible scene – Peter speaks and they all turn and look at him. The angels stop singing, the music stops playing, silence. Then they turn and begin talking to each other again and the music stars back up.
  • He asks: How many times should I forgive my brother? Seven? He wants to be complete – perfect in his actions. I don’t think he’s giving lip service to the Lord.
  • Though they all fall away, I never will. I’m ready to die for you. commitment
  • Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.  This shows us his heart, his passion
  • And when Jesus insisted that he wash Simon Peter’s feet: Lord, not my feet only, but my head and my hands as well.
  • Jesus said: who touched me? Peter answered: “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” He’s so practical;
  • In Jn 21: I’m going fishing!
  • His statements here – his denial; rd v 15ff; 25ff
    • (Woman), I am not
    • (Man), I am not
    • Again, a 3rd time he denied it. ; Mark records a little more detail: But he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know this man of whom you speak.” Luke adds this one more bit of information: And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.

app.: I’ve been in a place where I was ashamed of my actions before the Lord, denying him with my words and lifestyle. But, I’ve always wondered what it was like for Peter as he invoked a curse upon himself, swearing aloud that he didn’t know Jesus and before he finishes his statement, the rooster crows. He looks at Jesus and his Master raises his head and their eyes meet.

Conclusion: he broke the glass, opened the door and jumped in. He took his screw driver and jimmied the lock, breaking the steering column and starting the car, just as his older brother had taught him. That’s when he heard the sirens and saw the flashing blue lights. I’ve got to get out of here. He stepped on the gas and did his best to speed away. His problem was that because he was 12 years old, his feet barely touched the pedals.

He knew if he got caught, he would be headed to Juvie – not only that, his momma would kill him. He turned down a lonely street, thinking he’d be able to dodge the police. Jus then, a car backed out into the street, blocking his path. He hit the breaks, but was going to fast. He hit her car and glass sprayed everywhere. He could see she was an old lady. He jumped out of the car and took off running, but he couldn’t help but wonder if she was hurt. He paused and then he decided it was worth checking on her. He knew right from wrong and though all that he had been doing was wrong – leaving an injured, old woman was too much to take. So, he returned to her car. He asked if she was all right. She told him to go sit on her porch. The police pulled up and asked her about the stolen car. She said a man had run into her and fled on foot. They inquired of the young boy sitting on her porch and she told them that he was her grandson.

The little boy probably could have outrun the police on foot. He was fast. His nickname was Quickie. He got that name because he was the fastest kid around. He thought of running from her as she approached, but listened to her as she told him to go into the kitchen and sit at the table. She came in and told him: Son, you’re better than this. She didn’t really even know him. He responded: It’s the only way to survive in this neighborhood. She retorted: It’s no way to get out of this neighborhood. Quickie knew he’d done wrong and promised to return to her home and work around the house, paying off the damage he’d done. He kept his word.

Her name was Mrs. Johnson and she would have a tremendous impact on changing the direction of this boy’s life. Indeed, she played a huge part in him committing his life to Christ. He listened to his conscience when it told him to return and check on her. She became a grandmother to him and watched him grow into a fine young man. You probably know who I’m talking about. Quickie would grow up to become a fine athlete. A 4-sport star in the state of Texas. He went to college on a football scholarship and ran track, too. The Long Jump, the high jump: he jumped 7’6” in college. In fact, he probably could have made the U.S. Olympic team if he hadn’t been so successful at football. His name is Donald Driver and he’s probably the best receiver the Green Bay packers have ever had. At least his team records declare him to be so. Donald Driver was Bret Favre and Aaron Rodger’s target for 14 seasons.

Mrs. Johnson saw a diamond in the rough in a 12 year old boy. Then, she invested her life in taking this piece of coal to becoming a diamond. Diamonds are formed from carbon when the temperature is just right, and the tremendous pressure they’re under is just right. The environment has to be perfect. That’s what her life was to Quickie: perfect timing and the right environment. You might say she applied the right heat and the right pressure!

Application: Here’s what I want you to take home with you today – as you look at Donald Driver (aka: Quickie), as you look at Simon Peter, as you look at yourself.

  1. Your past doesn’t have to determine your future. In Jn 21, Peter is restored and forgiven. He would become a pillar and the main leader of the early church at it’s inception. He would eventually die for Jesus, but not like he had thought – not with a sword in his hand.
  2. I think sometimes we still feel like we have to defend Jesus – that we need to storm Washington with our guns and a militia. But I don’t think Christ is calling most of us to die for him, I think he’s calling most of us to die to ourselves and live for him. That’s probably harder to do anyway.
  3. I want you to see that the pressures of life and the heat we endure are making us into men and women of God. These trials and storms of life are being used by God to conform us more and more to the image of His Son.

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Genesis 20.1-18

Title: Old Habits Die Hard

Text: Gen 20.1-18

Introduction:

             Does it still amaze you that Abraham is failing to learn from his past mistakes? Does it amaze you that humans in general fail to learn from their past mistakes? Do you amaze yourself sometimes, that you fail to learn from your past mistakes? It does me!

            What is more Amazing to me, is that Abraham had been so bold as to chase after the 5 kings to save Lot. He didn’t appear to be afraid there! And what about when he stood before God and kept challenging God to spare the righteous in Sodom? That’s pretty bold, too!

Transition: And yet, that is what we find here: Abraham appears to be afraid for his life (11); So, what does Abraham do with the promises of God? He sets them aside and focuses upon his fear of death. Furthermore, he reverts back to some bad practices:

I’ve divided this passage into 4 parts that cause us to revert back to our old habits:

  • Old habits die hard when you find yourself in familiar situations
  • Old habits die hard when you rely on your plan and not on God’s plan
  • Old habits die hard when you assume others don’t fear God and are not willing to follow his direction.
  • Old habits die hard when you forget that God is still in control!

Let’s begin w/

Old Habits Die Hard

I.          When you find yourself in familiar situations (20.1-2)

exp.: rd v 1; he’s traveling in familiar territory; 12.9, 13.1; rd v 2; Sound familiar? 12.13-20; in 26, Isaac will do the same thing as his father!

Transition:  God is going to intervene. Old habits die hard when you find yourself in familiar territory and…

II.      When you rely on your plan and not God’s plan (20.3-7)

exp.: read v 3; God has to intervene, because Abraham has hatched a plan that is outside of God’s plan!

  1. His actions have effected; rd v 3

         i.     Abimelech

        ii.     Sarah

       iii.      

  1. Abimelech appeals to God’s mercy: rd v 4-5

       i.     Integrity of my heart  

      ii.     Innocence of my hands

     iii.     Psalm 24.4; 58.2; 78.72; James 4.8

     iv.     What a great way to live when you’re not sure of God’s will for your life: Integrity & Innocence; internal and external;

    2.  God’s Intervention (v. 6-7)

       i.     He knows the thoughts and intents of the heart; Hebrews 4.12

      ii.     He gives specific instructions to make things right;

  1. Return his wife
  2. He will pray for you and you shall live
  3. Consequences for disobedience:
    1. Death for you
    2. Death for your family

III.    When you assume others are not following or listening to God (20.8-13)

exp.: rd v 8;

  1. He and his men do fear God
  2. It leads to a confrontation w/ Abraham! Rd v 9-10;
  3. Abraham’s excuse!
  • I thought…rd v 11; He assumed there was no fear of God here;
  • Besides…rd v 12; it’s half true! What is a half-truth? A whole lie.
  • So I devised a plan; rd v 13;

IV.    When you forget that God is still in control (20.14-18)

exp.: God shows his sovereignty over this situation throughout; however, it appears that God is at work especially in protecting Abraham; rd v 14;

  1. He is given sheep, oxen, servants, and his wife back.
  2. He is given freedom to roam the land (15)
  3. He is given monetary compensation as proof that his wife was not violated (16);
  4. Abraham prays for Abimelech and his family and they are healed (17-18)

Observations & Implications:

  1. As we journey through familiar territory in life, we must be careful not to fall back on old habits!
  2. As we encounter others, we should never assume their spiritual status.
  3. It’s always good to realize that God is in control! 

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Genesis 19.30-38

Title: The Last Word on Lot

Text: Genesis 19.30-38

CIT: God tells us the last chapter in Lot’s life so that’ll we’ll understand his heritage.

CIS: We must be careful to live godly lives.

Introduction: Where are we? Abraham has headed back up the heights from his camp. I wonder how he slept that night.

  • He sees Sodom has been destroyed. A line of smoke rising in the sky.
  • I wonder if he knows about Lot’s survival?
  • He knows better about God’s righteousness and just ways.

I’ve divided last week’s passage into 4 actions:

  1. The actions of a righteous man
  2. The actions of wicked men
  3. The actions of mighty angels
  4. The actions of a Righteous God

Transition: We didn’t finish, so let’s conclude with action #4: The actions of a righteous God. As an introduction, let’s begin with a very quick review of last week…the 1st action…

I.          The Actions of a Righteous Man (1-3)

exp.:

  • He’s humble; rd 2a
  • He’s hospitable; rd 2b-c
  • He’s cares; he’s concerned for their safety and welfare, not just their weariness. Rd 3;
  • He’s persistent! He wrestled with them, as it were;
  • He’s a gracious host; lavishing on them a feast. Funny, they ate earlier with the LORD at Abraham’s place.

app.:  Here we see the actions of a righteous man persist in doing good deeds…

Transition: next, we see the

II.        The Actions of Wicked Men (4-9)

  1. They’ve been plotting – They saw them and lusted after them, so they plotted on how to get them; obviously, they decided force is the best way to go about this. Which tells another things about wicked me…
  2. They’re controlled by their feelings
  3. Angry over the absence of approval. They accuse Lot of being judgmental.  Who are you to judge us! Remember what he said: do not act so wickedly! Oh yeah? Who are you to judge us!

Transition: 3rd,

II.    The Actions of Mighty Angels (10-16)

exp.: rd v 10;

  1. They grab Lot; rd v 11
  2. They blind the wicked; rd v 12-13
  3. They offer an escape to Lot and others; rd 14; rd v 15-16; maybe they were in a hurry because Lot wasn’t in a hurry?
  4. They hurry Lot along, even as he lingers, they take them by the hands.

Transition: The Actions of the righteous, the wicked, the angels, and lastly, which is where we pick up tonight –

IV.    The Actions of a Righteous God (17-29)

exp.: rd v 17-20; Can you believe this man? God has worked miraculously in all of this. Now, he seems to be pushing the envelope! Look at God’s actions:

–  Deliverance:

  • Mercy: v 21
  • Patience: v 22a; Then, the sun comes up; rd v 22b-24;

–  Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah

  • A rain of sulfur and fire on the city (24)
  • Total elimination of life. (25); Von RAD (p. 221) mentions in his commentary the natural possibilities of this happening since the area of the Dead Sea is on a tectonic plate and the area is filled with asphalt and petroleum and gases. A lit fire or torch would easily have ignited it all. However, remember – the LORD rained sulphur and fire from heaven.

–  Disobedience by Lot’s Wife brings her destruction; rd v 26 Lot’s wife lingered longer and suffered the same fate for it. Listen to Kurt Strassner: Finally, walk back with me to Lot’s house and observe his wife, packing her belongings. She looks around longingly at her beautiful living room, a symbol of the status she has gained as a high-society woman in Sodom. She wishes she could take it all. Tears fill her eyes. She wonders whether or not she really wants to leave it all and follow God. And when it’s time to go, the angels literally have to drag her, aching over the loss of everything that she holds dear, out of her home (19:16). That is why she “looked back” in 19:26. Because she, like the rich young ruler after her, loved her material possessions and her societal position more than she loved the Lord. Evidently, there was a pillar of salt in the area that people believed was Lot’s wife and stood as a monument to her disobedience. Josephus says he actually saw it. Read Josephus; How is this possible? Evidently, the key is in the word ‘behind’ in v 26; she lingered and lagged behind. Jesus gives us some insight here: Luke 17.29-33

Conclusion: So, how can we conclude this? Moses tells us: Rd v 27-28; Abraham stood in the place where he had interceded with God and got his teaching lesson. Can you hear the silence of the moment and see in your minds eye the plumes of smoke rising from the scorched earth in the distance? Here’s what Abraham learned: He was taught that a righteous judge is just and merciful. Just, because he destroyed the cities of wickedness (rd v 29a); Merciful, because he saved Lot and his daughters.

Transition: So, who then should we live our lives in view of God’s justice and mercy?

Tonight we conclude this passage in v 30-38: This passage is a sad commentary on Lot’s life. I’ve divided this passage into 4 parts:

  1. Preface: Historical update (30)
  2. Problems: No lineage; fiancés are dead (31)
  3. Plans: (32-35)
    1. Older Daughter presents her plan (32)
    2. They get Lot drunk and Older Daughter follows through with her plan and lies with him (33)
    3. Older Daughter encourages Younger Daughter with the same plan (34)
    4. They get Lot drunk and Younger Daughter follows through with the plan and lies with Lot (35)
    5. Preservation: Sons who would become nations (36-38)
      1. They got pregnant
      2. The Moabites
      3. The Ammonites

Transition: Let’s continue now with this Introduction

I.               Preface: An Historical Update (30)

exp.: rd v 30a; he was afraid – no wonder! But really, what had God told him? rd v 21-22; What does this say about his faith? Do you understand his decision, though? This place is like Sodom! Out of his fear, he now goes where he was told to go in the 1st place; Furthermore, look where he settles: rd v 30b; A Cave! This is a sad picture of where his life has ended up. It must be depressing to lose all of your earthly possessions. Then, add to that the loss of his wife. His fear overwhelms him and he ends up going to the place God directed him in the 1st place.

ill.: Finishing Strong: p. 4-5; Billy Graham; Chuck Templeton, Bron Clifford;

app.: His daughters must feel this is the end, too. As it is, their family tree will end with them.

t.s.: And that, they notice is their problem;

II.             Problems (31)

exp.: rd v 31; two that they mention;

  • Their Father is old; a widower, possibly to old to marry again – at least in their eyes;
  • Their husbands (fiancés) are dead, no other men in the land (earth, as opposed to world) to marry;

app.: Were these really problems? Question: Why didn’t Lot take his two girls and head toward Abraham’s camp? Pride? Embarrassment?

t.s.:

III.           Plans (32-35)

exp.: rd v 32;

  • Get Dad drunk with wine
  • Lie with him
  • Get pregnant with the next generation
  • Their intentions are to not let their family line end with them.

exp.: this is wrong on so many levels; could other plans have been made? Rd v 33; there is a pattern here with a repeat of the same words;

  • let us make our father drink wine (32) vs. let us make our father drink wine (34)
  • lie with him, that we may preserve offspring from our father (32) vs. lie with him, that we may preserve offspring from our father (34)
  • So they made their father drink wine that night (33) vs. So they made their father drink wine that night (35)
  • the firstborn went in and lay with her father. He did not know when she lay down or when she arose (33) vs. the younger arose and lay with him, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose (35)

app.: good intentions don’t make an act right. The road of good intentions doesn’t lead to anywhere. If God desires something, he’ll provide a way. Cf. Abraham;

IV.           Preservation (36-38)

exp.: rd v 36; the result – the preservation of a heritage; rd v 37-38; Moab – Heb.: from or of my father; Ben-Ammi – Heb.: son of my people (kinsman); another word for word copy; to this day; John Hamilton: The narrative is now lifted out of its own historical context and projected into the time frame of the narrator. The Moabites and Ammonites exist by no effort of Lot. It seems that is a theme for his life – by no effort of his own. He was successful because of Abraham; he was rescued because of Abraham; he was prominent in Sodom, because of his success, because of Abraham;

Observations & Implications:

  1. Isn’t there a stark contrast between Abraham, the man who believed God and Lot, the man who descended into the darkest of life?
  2. Do we realize the depths to which sin will take us: Sin will: (Farrar)
    1. Take you farther than you wanted to go.
    2. Keep you longer than you wanted to stay.
    3. Cost you more than you wanted to pay. (Nueces River story)
    4. Lot was Ambushed because his life was informed by the following areas:
      1. Finances – used his wealth
      2. Fidelity – incest with his girls
      3. Family – wife lingered and longed for what she was leaving behind; his girls plotted against him to preserve a lineage.
      4. Abraham was not Ambushed because his life was informed by his focus on his Faith.
      5. Concerning Sodom & Gomorrah: Does the world around us not get anxious about the return of Jesus because we don’t get anxious about it either? Do we really act like He’s coming soon? Let us remember the Lord’s pronouncement of the Great Day of the Lord. Here is Strassner again: As it was “in the days of Lot,” so it will be “on the day that the Son of Man is revealed” (Luke 17:28–30). Hellfire and brimstone will come again. Only, on that day, there will be no mountains and no town “near enough to flee to” (Gen. 19:20). Our only refuge will be in the shadow of the Lord Jesus, who alone can forgive the sins that bring God’s judgment on the world.Our hearts should be broken over our nation and the deplorable, ungodly behavior we’re observing as it descends deeper and deeper into darkness.
      6. It is important to live righteous and godly lives. Isaiah 1.9: If the Lord of hosts had not left us a few survivors, we should have been like Sodom, and become like Gomorrah.

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John 18.1-9

Title: Judas

Text: John 18.1-9

CIT: Judas probably went down a path that led to his destruction, causing him to lose his awe of God.

CIS: We want to be careful to not lose our awe.

Introduction: We begin a new series, The Lord’s Passion: Characters on the way to the Cross. My goal is to take you on a journey with me to the Cross. Mostly, to be honest, my prayer is that you will see Jesus like you’ve never seen him before: That your awe of him would be rekindled. The purpose for looking at the characters isn’t to glorify them in any way, but rather to give you another glimpse of God’s grace. Maybe you’ll see yourself or a part of yourself in that character and be able to turn that over to Him through repentance and commitment to obedience. Maybe, you’ll see something you despise about yourself and you’ll fall on his mercy for protection and change. Maybe, you’ll see something you like – not to make you arrogant and cocky, but rather to humble you and pray that strength in you will be something God can glorify himself through.

Today, we begin with Judas. I’ve chosen Judas because his name is mentioned twice in the next passage. rd Jn 18.1-9;

The only joke I know about Judas Iscariot goes like this: A minister riding a streetcar in N.Y. and passing a very nice church, sat next to a rider who said, “If these Christians would stop building fine churches and give their money to the poor, it would be much more to their credit.”

“I’ve heard of similar remark before,” was the minister’s quiet reply.

“By whom?” Asked the man.

 “Judas Iscariot.”

It isn’t really a joke, is it? Most of us cringed and let out an ‘ooo’ instead. That’s because to be referred to as Judas or a Judas isn’t flattering is it? Judas is a bad name, because Judas was a bad character. But was he always that way?

His name comes from two possible areas:

a. the town in which he probably lived and was raised. Joshua 15.25: 25 Hazor-hadattah, Kerioth-hezron (that is, Hazor),; so he was from the tribe of Judah; his dad’s name was Simon, a fairly popular name (John 6.71: 71 He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelve, was going to betray him).

b. it could be taken from the Latin word sicarius which means assassin. If so, then both Judas and his dad were patriots or zealots. I think it is his town of origin.

So, what was his responsibility? A couple of things come to mind.

1st, Judas was the treasurer. He kept the money bag. How he got that job isn’t made known, but that he had that job is evident. Jn 13.29 – 29 Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. We see the same thing in Jn 12.6;

2nd, Judas carried a sword. Lk 22.38 informs us that their were two swords in the group. Also, we’ll read in a few verses that Peter had one of those swords (v 10). I couldn’t find it this week, but I read somewhere in my studies that Judas had the other sword.

So, where did he go wrong? Somewhere along the way, Judas took his eyes off of people and put them on things. Read John 12.1; this is the week before the Passover. So, we’d have to go back even before this to find out what happened. Let’s continue on; rd v 2-7; wow, that’s a lot of money! 10 months wages! Look at Mary and her perspective of Jesus. Then compare Judas’ perspective. She is in awe of the Master. He is in awe of what he sees as waste. For him, money is more important than ministry. He even uses ministry as a reason for why the money should have been collected. Sold and given to the poor

Here’s the application: I think if Judas was looking at Jesus and not the Jar he would have done better. Mary is in a state of awe. She is in Awe of the Master. She has something that Judas used to have, but lost somewhere along the way. He lost his awe. What made him want to follow Jesus? What made him stand in total amazement with the master? He had become so familiar with Jesus, that Jesus no longer kept his awe. Just hours before this story, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead! Now, that should have moved Judas to a state of awe! Why didn’t it? How did Judas lose his awe?

I’d like to share with you a message I shared with the New Member’s Class – only to demonstrate what has happened to Judas. The following is taken from Dr. Paul Tripp. He has a series of blogs on The Gospel Coalition website and has authored many books. Hebrews 3.1-13: rd v 1-6: that’s awe! Look at the call: hold fast our confidence and our hope. Then, he exhorts them to not harden their hearts; rd 7-11; Now, here is the Warning: Βλέπετε; Watch out! A four step warning that you don’t find a heart (lit. Gk):

  • Evil – step 1; this is the thought that enters your heart; I’ll keep the money bag so that I’ll be able to tap into it and get something for myself. A candy bar? At first, it’s small. Then, maybe it get’s bigger.
  • Without faith – Step 2; this is where you lie to yourself about what God says. God’s word says: don’t steal and you think, this is how we survive, it’s a community bag, I’m not really stealing. It’s only a candy bar. Really, it’s only a candy bar! But it’s your heart that we’re talking about. Next it’s a book and then it’s a car, and then it’s a mansion on Malibu Beach! All of this rejection and disbelief of God at His Word just takes you farther and farther away from him. That’s the 3rd step in the progression.
  •  Falling away (departing) from God – Step 3; you’ve drifted from God. Your rope of faith, anchored securely to the pier of the Word of God, has been severed. Maybe you willingly cut it. You thought you’d drift out into the bay where you can still see port, but now you can’t even see the island!
  • Hardened – Step 4 and you’re heart is hardened! You’re drifting alone – not even sure how to get back home. The odd thing about Judas, is that it isn’t even about the money anymore. He’s willing to betray the Savior for 30 lousy pieces of silver.

Now, before we go any further, let me ask you a question: Who does v. 12 say AH is writing to: Christians! He’s talking to you and me. He’s not talking about Apostasy. He’s talking about believers! Now, what does he say you need to do to ensure that none of this takes place? But exhort one another – so that none of you may be hardened like Judas.

app.: Where are you in the progression?

  • Maybe you’re battling Satan right now. He’s doing his best to fill your thoughts with sinful actions. And you’re fending him off.
  • Or maybe he’s trying to tell you that what you’ve done is really ok – it’s not that bad. Your anger and fits of rage are all justified because you’re the Dad or because you’re right, or you’re the boss.
  • Or, maybe, just maybe you’re struggle is that you’ve been drifting. You’ve convinced yourself that you can survive out here on your own. You come here to church and live an isolated existence because you don’t want anyone to know you’ve fallen away. Listen, your wife knows. Your kids know. Your husband knows. Your parents know. Your friends know.

Isn’t it funny that we can spot sin in someone’s life at the drop of a hat, but we’re oblivious to our own? At least we try to be. Listen, we need one another. But exhort one another. I need you to look into my life and protect me from… what does it say… the deceitfulness of sin – so that I won’t get a hard heart. I need you to speak truth in love into my life. And, you need each other.

Now, how often do we need to exhort one another? But exhort one another every Sunday! No, every day, as long as it is called ‘today’… Is this day yesterday? Is it tomorrow? No, it’s today!

Let’s go back to the question: how does someone lose his or her awe? How does someone see Jesus raise the dead, feed thousands with scraps, turn water to wine, heal lepers, the blind, the lame, the sick, the dying and then walk away from him? How does someone sit and dine with the Master, and sit at his feet and listen to him explain the Scriptures in the simplest of terms, And, then, lose that sense of Awe? Well, lets review a couple of possible explanations:

  1. Money over ministry, even with the excuse of using money for ministry.
  2. Possessions over people; especially when these things will be available to us.
  3. Expectations over experience; it’s possible that Judas thought he’d be a grand leader in the new regime. His experience put him sleeping with a rock for a pillow and the ground for a mattress. He thought he’d be in a palace by now and the Romans would be gone. Seeing that Christ’s Kingdom would not be all that Judas had expected, he now turns state’s evidence to hand Jesus over, thus saving his own skin. Or, maybe he thought the kingdom was coming, but this revolution needed a kick-start. I wonder if there was some excitement at Peter’s drawing the sword and swinging it at Malcus? Whatever happened, Judas was now disappointed because his expectations were never met.

So, what are some steps that we can take to get our sense of awe back?

  1. Humility: Listen to Tripp: There is nothing like standing without defense before the awesome glory of God to put you in your place, correct a distorted view of yourself, yank you out of functional arrogance, and take the winds out of the sails of your self-righteousness. In the face of his glory I am left naked with no glory whatsoever left to hold before myself or anyone else. As long as I am comparing myself to others I can always find someone whose existence seems to make me look righteous by comparison. But if I compare my filthy rags to the pure and forever unstained linen of God’s righteousness, I want to run and hide in heart-breaking shame. Luke 5.1-8; His comment shows that he see Jesus in awe and himself in ruin. The Call: Humble yourselves in the sight of the LORD.
  2. Obedience: Phil 2.5-11 tells us that Jesus humbled himself (Humility) and became obedient unto death. For us, to be like Jesus means, in the deepest of humility, to obey God’s commands. It’s time to stop making excuses for our disobedience.
    1. Is there a sin in your life that God is strongly convicting you about, but you’ve refused to obey? You’re drifting out to sea and you probably don’t even know it. Are you justifying yourself and your actions so as to not have to deal with obedience?
    2. Is there a command you’ve not been faithful to obey? Disobedience still requires repentance.

Of all the words recorded coming from the mouth of Judas, never once does he call Jesus Lord. The closest he comes is at the moment of his betrayal – Judas calls Jesus rabbi.

    3. God’s Word: One way to get a sense of awe back is to immerse yourself in God’s Word.

I have no 3 step program to conjure of the awe of God in your life. I wish I did. I’d use it myself. What I do know is that these three steps above help me get into a place where I can sense the awe of God. Humble myself before him, confess my sins and be obedient to him in every way. And, His Word takes me there; Psalm 145:1-9

  •  (Adam & Eve) When I had done exactly what he told me not to do. When I ate of that fruit and disobeyed. I stood there naked and ashamed and hiding. But you searched for me and you called out to me. He still loved me and covered my shame.
  •  (David & Goliath) When I stood on a hill too ashamed to take on my enemy, who loomed like a giant and mocked my God. Jesus, you showed up and picked some stones from the river bed and used your slingshot to slay my enemy. You, ran and took the battle to him.
  • (Elijah) When I was depressed and lonely in the wilderness, you provided water and food for me.
  • (Ai) When I had rejected your word and was defeated, I confessed my sin to you and you forgave me and you then went before me and defeated my enemy.
  • (Red Sea) When my enemy was racing toward me and I had no escape; water behind me and mountains on ever other side, you parted the waters and made a way for me to escape.
  • (Peace be still) When the storms raged upon the sea and the water was overtaking my boat, you came to me and spoke peace to my storm and the wind and the waves obeyed.
  • (Woman caught in adultery) When I stood before you, condemned of adultery and deserving death, my enemies stood there with stones in their hands, the very instruments that would end my life, but you stepped in between them and me and you saved me and forgave me.
  • (Prodigal Son) When I had rejected your plan for me, and pestered you to give me my inheritance, so that I might enjoy my life the way I wanted – you waited for me patiently. And when I came to my senses, I thought I could come to you and beg for your forgiveness, to beg for you to let me be one of your servants. But you were waiting for me, watching so patiently. And when you saw me coming from a far way off, you ran to me. Before I could even present my prepared speech, you told me you loved me and you put a robe on my back and a ring on my hand and prepared the most glorious celebration and welcomed me home as a son.
  • me: When I was dead in my sin, your promise to me was life – and I trusted you, I believed you and surrendered my life to you and you gave me life everlasting!
  • Me: when I was distressed and depressed from suffering, I laid myself at his feet in resignation. You picked me up and held me close, You quieted me with his love, and You exulted over me with his singing.

Transition: Read Psalm 145.10-21

Transition: Yes, the Lord is good and merciful. My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,

and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.

I wonder if Judas started out on the right track. Sure, he struggled with bad thoughts about money and power, but for the most part, did he want to do the right thing? Or, was his zealousness for the freedom of Israel? Did he see in Jesus possibilities, but wanted his own and not what Jesus wanted?

Observations & Implications: What happens when we lose our awe of God?

  1. We try to make things happen ourselves instead of waiting on God.
  2. We put our focus on temporary things: money over ministry, possessions over people, expectations over experience.
  3. We refuse humility and obedience. We’re just aren’t like Jesus.
  4. We neglect the Word of God. We go days and days without a word from Him.
  5. We forget all that God has done.

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