Category Archives: John

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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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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John 17.20-26

Title: The Real Lord’s Prayer: Christ Prays for His Church

Text: John 17.20-26

CIT: The Lord prays for his future church, that they will be unified in their calling, bringing glory to Him.

CIS: A call to unity in all that we do.

Introduction: I’d like to take a moment to tell you about my upcoming sermon series:

The upcoming series:

  • The Lord’s Prayer has been our focus
  • The Lord’s Passion: Characters on the Way to the Cross
  • The Lord’s Purpose: the Great Commission

Review: w/ that said, today’s message is a conclusion sermon to the series: The Lord’s Prayer: in this conclusion/Christ prays for his church;

  • A Proper Perspective – glory
  • A Solid Foundation: God’s Faithfulness
  • Petition: Protection/Distinction (holiness)/Sanctification – these all deal with who we are as a body and as individuals.

Today’s focus will deal with what we do as a body. Specifically, we’ll focus on Christ’s prayer for us – those who would believe on Christ because of the disciples’ message. I’ve divided this message into three parts: I call it: three markers of unity:

  • The Nature of this Unity
  • The Notion of this Unity
  • The Necessity of this Unit

Transition: Let’s begin with the first marker mentioned her by Christ:

I.          The Nature of this Unity:  (17.20-23)

exp.: rd 20-23; Jesus places an emphasis in three separate areas concerning this unity:

  1. Jesus is emphatic about how the nature of this unity is based on God’s Word.
  •         Rd v 20; their word; the apostle’s teaching; This was an attribute of the early church;
  •         Acts 2.42: And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

ill.: John Stott says: It is first and foremost a prayer that there may be a historical continuity between the church of the first century and the church of subsequent centuries; that the church’s faith may not change but remain recognizably the same; that the church of every age may merit the title “apostolic” because it is loyal to the teaching of the apostles. Their word; written as moved by the Holy Spirit; Mt, Jn: Mk & Luke; Acts; epistles;

2.  Jesus is emphatic about the nature of this unity when he refers three times to their ‘one-ness’:

  • Rd 21a: that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you,
  • Rd 22b: that they may be one even as we are one,

Rd 23a: I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one,

    3.  Thirdly, notice the supernatural example set for us:

  • as you, Father, are in me, and I in you,
  • even as we are one
  • I in them and you in me

ill.: have you ever met someone and had an instant bond with them, just because they were a believer? We saw that in China.

ill.: Think of a triangle – I think of our relationships like that of a triangle. The closer we get to God, the closer we get to each other. Which brings me to answering the first marker: The Nature of this Unity is Fellowship.

Warning #1: Never assume conformity is unity. You can actually have one without the other. There are churches that advocate women not cutting their hair and only wearing skirts and dresses. And, the men cannot have beards or long hair and must wear a hat in public. You can gain conformity on certain matters without ever attaining the unity of the spirit Jesus is advocating here.

Warning #2: Never assume diversity is disunity. The body must be diverse. You’re quite familiar with Paul’s many examples of the body. Each person within the body plays a different part, fulfills a different role. Romans 12.3-8

Warning #3: Never assume relationships are easy. They take work.

ill.: look at the disciples: you have Simon, the Zealot and Matthew the Tax Collector. Can any two parts of life in 1st Century Judaism be further apart? And yet, they had a common bond in Christ.

app.: So, let’s answer the first marker again: The Nature of this Unity is Fellowship.

Transition: Let’s look at the 2nd marker found her in this passage and it is…

II.      The Notion of this Unity:  (21-23)

exp.: there are two particular verses here that inform our Unity, v 21 & v 23:

  • Rd v 21c: so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
  • Rd v 23c: so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.

So what is the notion? The Notion of this Unity is Evangelism

ill.: I heard an interesting testimony on the radio this past week. The man’s name is Dick Couch; Their family was a mess and so he told his family they were going to church. But, it didn’t take. Church was a messed up place. So, they didn’t return. Some time later, a man whose son was on a team that Dick coached, invited him to lunch, at lunch, he invited him and his family to church. From there, he invited him to a conference. It was at the conference for men that the coach got saved.

app.: That’s our job! We’re supposed to be inviting people to church. May ask: Do we love people, I mean like Christ loves people? What will we sacrifice that they might know Christ? Did you know that over the past three years, we’ve not baptized a single person from outside our church? There is one exception you might make. However, for the most part – every baptism we’ve had has been from within the body. Maybe even going back further than the last three years! Look, I’m grateful for our baptisms. I’m grateful for families evangelizing our youth and children. However, with that said: Jesus said: 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.”

Challenge: I want to challenge you now to invite one family to join your family. That’s it. Add them to the prayer time your family is having together. I think if we invited families, we’d have some who come who have just been out of church and recommit themselves to fellowship. There would be others who would come to the conclusion that they’ve never made that commitment and we’d have some salvation experiences.

Transition: That’s what Evangelism is – sharing the love of Christ in your hearts with others. The Nature of this Unity is Fellowship; The Notion of this Unity is Evangelism. And, finally,

III.    The Necessity of this Unity: Discipleship (24-26)

exp.: rd v 24-26: I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known,; Here is the goal: to make God known; That’s what we do here at Calvary: developing passionate followers of Christ. We’re working here to make God known and that only happens through learning more and more about him.

Exodus 3.15: God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.

Isaiah 26.8: In the path of your judgments, O Lord, we wait for you; your name and remembrance are the desire of our soul.

Question: is that the desire of your soul? Your name and remembrance?

Question: have you figured out what the Necessity of this Unity is? Discipleship.

Conclusion: Anne Ortland – Up with Worship; churches her husband has pastored and preached in: We’ve loved them all and wished they loved each other.

app.: let that wash over you for a moment: We’ve loved them all and wished they loved each other. I wonder how many churches never attain unity because they don’t love each other? I wonder how many churches never experience true fellowship because they didn’t love each other. I wonder how many never Evangelize or Disciple because they didn’t love each other.

Transition: And what about our church? May I be honest with you? Calvary is the healthiest church I’ve ever been associated with; however, it’s not perfect. Hebrews 12.2 says Jesus is the perfecter of our faith. And Paul prayed for the Ephesians in 4.11ff: 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

Application: So, what have we learned about prayer?

  1. Gain a proper perspective of Christ in all of his glory, power and beauty. When Christ is where he belongs in our prayers, the rest will take their proper place below him.
  2. Base your prayers on the foundation of God’s faithfulness. He will always do what is perfect for Him!
  3. Based upon God’s faithfulness, Pray for the church:
    1. Pray for God’s glory through her existence in the world:

i.     For her protection

ii.     For her distinction

iii.     For her sanctification

Look at how these all work together!

  1. Pray for God to accomplish his work through her unity and love: Remember, this is what she does – love is a verb, love is an action verb.

i.     As she fellowship

ii.     As she evangelizes

iii.     As she disciples those He gives her

Look at how these all build upon one another.

Observations & Implications:

  1. Relationships, Relationships, Relationships.
  2. Is there someone within the church you are not in a good relationship with? Someone you’re angry with or bitter toward. Maybe it’s time to forgive. Maybe it’s time to ask for forgiveness. If you can’t settle your disagreement, consult the elders. Allow an elder to sit with you and help you be reconciled.
  3. Matthew 5.23-24: So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.


Filed under John, Scripture, Sermons

John 17.6-19

Title: The Real Lord’s Prayer: A Solid Foundation for Petition

Text: John 17.6-19

CIT: As Jesus begins praying for his disciples, he lays down a foundation of God’s faithfulness.

CIS: Our prayers can be strengthened with a foundation of God’s faithfulness.

Introduction: We’re in Jn 17.6; A couple of days ago I was at the hospital at the front desk. I wanted to confirm that Carol was still in the SICU before I headed back there. The lady before me said she was looking for someone whose last name is Killough. That caught my attention because of the Killough massacre. You know the monument just south of here near Mt. Selman. 18 people were killed. Well, there are many descendants of the Killough family still in this area. I heard the name and wanted to talk to the lady. I didn’t. That would be rude. But, here’s my point. There is a lot to be said about a name. You hear it and you think. I say Adolf and you say? If I said Tiger 5 years ago, you’d think one thing. I say Tiger today and you think another. But, nonetheless, I say a name and you think something.

Read the 1st sentence; Your Name; The Name of the LORD; manifested means lit.: to carry; DA Carson says: God’s name embodies his character; to reveal God’s name is to make God’s character known. The Name of the LORD takes on great significance in identifying the people of God. Time and time again we read about this solid foundation for God’s people in Scripture.

ill.: Gen 4.26: people begin to call upon the name of the LORD; Abraham called upon the name of the LORD many times (Gen 12.8; 13.4; 21.33; ) so did Hagar (16); Isaac did in Gen. 26.25; It’s in the 10 commandments: you shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain…; Yahweh himself proclaims the name of the LORD in Ex 34.5; Lev 24.16 reiterates the commandment: Whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall stone him. The sojourner as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death; Deut. 5: repeats the 10 commandments; in Deut. 18 God chose the Levites to minister in the name of the LORD. In Deut 28.10 Moses preaches to the people: And all the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of you. Etc. etc. etc.

In the NT: Acts 2:21: And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.Acts 9:28: So he went in and out among them at Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. Acts 19:5: On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  Acts 21:13: Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” Rom 10:13: For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 1 Cor 5:4: When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus… 1 Cor 6:11: And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. Col 3:17: And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. 2 Tim 2:19: But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.” James 5:14: Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. The list goes on 106 times in Scripture.

app.: Names were so important to the Jewish people. That’s why they said: rd Ps 20.7: Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. Because there is power in the name! There is safety in the name. Proverbs 18.10: The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe. The Name of the LORD takes on great significance in identifying the people of God: they bear his name. Christian: We bear his name.

Focus: Our prayers can be strengthened with a solid foundation.

Transition: As we look at the prayer of Jesus this morning, I’ve outlined it in the following manner after the way Jesus prayed:

  1. His prayer comes from solid foundation.
  2. His prayer is for their protection.
  3. His prayer is for their distinction.
  4. His prayer is for their sanctification.

I.          His Prayer comes from a Solid Foundation (6-10)

exp.: Jesus builds a strong foundation for his prayer requests – that foundation is God’s faithfulness; rd v 6a; Look at all that the Father has ‘given’;

  1. He has given the task: I have manifested; Jesus was sent to accomplish this and Now it has been accomplished
  2. He has given the disciples: rd v 6a-b; you gave them to me; Now they know your Name – it’s been manifested to them.
  3. He has given the words: rd v 8a; not just ideas being taught, but Jesus actually says what the Father says.
  • Now they know all things are given from God
  • Now they know that Jesus was sent from the Father
  • They believe!

app.: Christ lays a foundation for the requests he about to present. Here’s the foundation – God’s faithfulness. Don’t miss this! God’s Name represents His Character and He is faithful. When you hear God, our Father, you should think: Faithfulness. Boom! There is your foundation. He has accomplished and fulfilled what He has set out to do. And because of that: He can be trusted! When you hear His name – you think of his faithfulness. He has never failed you. Look at v 9-10;

Transition: With that in mind, let’s look at the petitions presented by our Lord. First,

II.      His Prayer is for their Protection (11-13)

exp.: rd v 11; Note the two comments he’s making. 1st, he gives the reason.

  1. Reason: he’s leaving! This is nothing they haven’t already heard; John 14.1-6; He will no longer be with them, thus he’s promised to send the Holy Spirit; but this is why he’s praying for their protection; 2nd, he offers his petition to the Lord…
  2. Request: Holy Father, Keep them in your name, which you have given me; Exodus 23.21: “Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. 21 Pay careful attention to him and obey his voice; do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgression, for my name is in him. He’s leaving to return to his rightful throne. He will no longer be with them in the flesh to intercede in their affairs (think: let one of them sit on your right and one on your left.) So, how will they be kept? Rd 11c: that they may be one, even as we are one. He’s praying for their unity

i.     Unity: have you ever thought that God’s protection means your unity? That or in order that they may be one.

ill.: In Hughes’ commentary he quotes the Puritan Thomas Brookes who wrote: For wolves to worry the lambs is no wonder, but for one lamb to worry another, this is unnatural and monstrous. Phil 1.27: Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. Rd v 12-13;

ill.: R Kent Hughes says in commentary on John: Jesus built the disciples’ oneness and a sense of security and unity by showing both in his own life and in his teaching the personality and character of the Father. The more the disciples understood the attributes and character of God, the more they experienced unity. He then quotes A. W. Tozer who wrote:

Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshipers met together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be were they to become “unity” conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship. Social religion is perfected when private religion is purified. His prayer is that God would keep them and that they would be in unity, which by the way, results in Joy.

ii.     Joy: my joy, Jesus says, not happiness, like you find temporarily in the world. But Joy – His Joy! Being Happy is a fleeting thing – joy abides in all things. You can be sick and have joy. You can be poor and have joy. When a body of believers is in Unity – there is real Joy.

Transition: Christ prayed for unity and joy for his disciples. He’ll pray the same prayer over you and me in v 21; Built on a strong foundation of God’s faithfulness, Christ prays for their protection. 2ndly, he prays for their distinction.

III.    His Prayer is for their Distinction (14-16)

exp.: rd v 14; given them your word; (6, 8, 14, 17); v 6 says they have kept it; v 8 says they believed it; v 14 says the world hated them because of it; v 17 says it is what sets them apart from the world. Verse 15 clarifies for us what this separation means: rd v 15; Hear me now: He’s not praying that we’ll be monks!

ill.: The point here isn’t withdrawal from the world. Here is where Christians fail. The Christians of the last couple of decades have created Christian marketing to take us away from the world. Christian megachurches have restaurants, diners and even McDonald’s so you can go there and not have to worry about anything secular. You can exercise in the gym, too.

We’ve taken our kids out of the world and homeschooled them so that they don’t have any secular influence. I read a fictional story in relation to this sometime this past week. I looked, but couldn’t find it again. Basically, the story begins with a Christian college student who wakes up and makes it through their day without having to encounter a single unbeliever. He eats with believers at all meals, he exercises at his church, he sits with believers in his classes and his intramural teams are made up of fellow believers. He hurries back that evening to his dorm room where his roommate is a believer, too. He crawls into bed, safe, never having to have encountered the world.

app.: we’ve failed because we’ve misunderstood what it means to be in the world but not of the world. Jesus continues; rd v 16;

We need Christian teachers in the public school system. We need Christians who’ll step up and be leaders in the world: Doctors, Lawyers, Professors and even, swallow hard now, in public service! Wouldn’t it be nice to have a president who held to our Christian principles! Wouldn’t be even more wonderful if we had a legislative branch of Govt that was filled with believers! Maybe, just maybe, we’re in the mess we’re in because we’ve removed our influence.

It almost seems to negate Christ’s first request: protection. Why would we need protection if we’re never in harm’s way? Christ doesn’t say that we’re not supposed to be a part of this world. He says we’re supposed to be different and not just different – we’re supposed to be distinct! That’s always been the call of God’s people. Exodus 33.16: For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?” There is to be a distinction between the clean and the unclean, the holy and the common, the righteous and the wicked, God’s people and those who blatantly reject and rebel against him. Jesus clarifies this in the very next couple of verses.

Transition: So Christ lays a solid foundation of God’s faithfulness to pray for their distinction and their protection and finally,

IV.    His Prayer is for their Sanctification (17-19)

exp.: rd v 17-19; this word means to make them holy or set apart; that’s what makes them distinct – to be holy as He is holy; Holiness comes through the truth of God’s Word. Then, as holy, set apart, consecrated believers, we’re sent into the world with the Great Commission.

app.: Note: we’re made holy by God, not by what we do. But, we’ve been called to live in holiness. 1 Peter 3.14-16 says: As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” Consecrate yourselves appears 23x’s in the OT.

Transition: So as we view Christ’s prayer for his disciples, we learn more of how we should pray and what we should pray for:

Observations & Implications:

  1. Gain a proper perspective of Christ. – From last week.
  2. Our prayers should be based on God’s faithfulness. To say like David: I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. It’s good to keep a journal of God’s faithfulness – then you can recall his wonderful deeds.
  3. We need God’s protection. What we fail to realize is that our enemy the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion. He wants to divide us and conquer us.
  4. Our lives should communicate our distinctiveness. We should live holy lives, as he is holy. We should live in unity. Relationships, Relationships, Relationships.
  5. Continue work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
  6. Do you bear the Name of Jesus?

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Filed under John, Scripture, Sermons

John 17.1-5

Title: The Lord’s Prayer: Gaining a Proper Perspective

Text: John 17.1-5

CIT: Jesus offers his disciples final instructions before his prayer and his passion.

CIS: Jesus offers his disciples final instructions before his prayer and his passion.

Introduction: F.F. Bruce: John Knox, on his death-bed in 1572, asked his wife to read to him John 17, ‘where’, he said, ‘I cast my first anchor.’ And almost his last words show how much his mind dwelt on this chapter, with its implications for ‘the troubled church of God, the spouse of Jesus Christ, despised of the world but precious in his sight’.

In the coming weeks, I hope to paint a picture of the Master’s love for you. How, in this prayer, Christ pours out his heart for you before the suffering he must endure. Think about that: He’s getting ready to be crucified – and more. He’s going to suffer tremendously on the way to the cross and then upon the cross. And in these final hours of his life – you are on his mind! It is you he will pray for. It is for you his petitions to the Father are presented. You! You, who are the spouse of Jesus Christ; you, who are despised of the world but precious in his sight. He begins in 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…

As we look deeply at the real Lord’s Prayer today, we begin to see some principles that might just help us in our prayers. Maybe, like John Knox, you’ll be able to set some anchors for your prayer life. Specifically today, we’re going to focus on His glory. Pause for a moment and let that sink in. I don’t think you’re grasping with your mind what I’m saying from my heart. His Glory! We want to see his glory. Like the glory John describes back in 1.14: we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

That’s what we want, and so we pray today like Moses in Ex. 33.17: Please, show me your glory.

Pray: Father I need your help today. My words fall so short of comparing to the glory of Christ – risen in splendor, seated at your right hand. Give us a glimpse, like with Stephen who saw and proclaimed: “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” We pray today like Moses: Lord, Please, please show me your glory.

            Some here today are in need of that glimpse. Their hearts are ready, their souls famished and hungry. We want to see you. We want to see you, Jesus. If we can, then we know that this earthly fodder will dissipate in comparison. Like Paul we’ll proclaim that the sufferings of this present time cannot compare to the glory which shall be revealed in us.

            If we can see you – even just a glimpse, we’ll be like Isaiah and John and Peter and fall at your feet crying: Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come.

            Bless the preaching of your Word today. You have told us that your word, which comes from your mouth, does not return to you empty, but rather accomplishes the purposes you have set forth. Let your word change us. Let your word fulfill its purpose in us, today.

            In Christ’s glorious, powerful name I ask this. Amen.

Premise: In our prayers, the very first step is gaining a proper perspective of who Christ is – in all of his glory. Everything else within our prayers will fall naturally into place if this one thing is accomplished.

Transition: This morning I would like to present to you three facets to Christ’s glory, which I think can aid us in our prayers. Jesus sees them clearly in this passage and he shares them with us. First, I want you to see:

I.          The Power He Holds (17.2-3)

exp.: picking up in v 1 when Jesus begins to pray: rd v 1b-2a; that’s the power he holds! Authority over all flesh! Jesus has ultimate authority, ladies and gentlemen. When you bow your hearts before him and you bring your request to him, you’re petitioning the one authority over all men. No one has more power than him. No One! He’s been…

     a.     Given Authority: you might ask me: but what about … huh-huh.

ill.: Most of you know I have a Korean mom. Most of you know I have a biological mom that I don’t really know. But how many of you know I have a black momma? Her name is Delzie Madkins. She took me in when I was kicked out as an older teenager. I’ll never forget trying to argue with her and she would stop me by saying: What I say? I’d repeat what she said – like I really heard her. And then she’d say: alright then, because it was settled.

app.: I hear her voice when I read this verse and say that Jesus has all authority over all flesh. But then someone, maybe me in my head says: but what about… and before I can finish, I hear her voice: What I say?

Matthew 28.18 Jesus says: All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me… In Ephesians 1: 16 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

Transition: Do you see the power he holds? Authority over all flesh! Look what else he’s been given; rd v 2b; He’s been..

b. Given the right to grant eternal life; this is amazing! Only God’s has this right! You and I can’t do this. That is power!

ill.: Hey You (Name): I’m giving you eternal life. How valid is that? Only Christ can do this! So, what is this “Eternal Life”? Look at v 3; And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

exp.: Knowledge; not some intellectual apprehension of some religious philosophy; No! Intimate knowledge – like the Father has of the Son and the Son has of the Father; like Jesus prays over us – that unity that comes through intimate knowledge of each other – Our relationships. That intimate knowledge of the Father and of the son is eternal life.

ill.: we say things like: I came to know Christ when I was…; or, How did you come to know Christ as Lord and Savior?

Transition: It’s through this intimate knowledge of Christ and the Father that we come to have eternal life. And really, that’s the purpose for which he came. And that’s the 2nd aspect of Christ’s Glory that I want you to see this morning. I want you to see the power he has and 2ndly,

II.      The Purpose He Accomplished (4)

exp.: rd v 4; What was this work? It was the eternal plan of redemption; everything we read about in Old Testament history was pointing toward this moment. Everything: That Jesus would live a perfect and blameless life; die on the cross of Calvary; be buried; raised from the dead; and ascend to be with the Father. Jesus knew he was sent by his Father for this work. He said back in 4.24: My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. In 5.36f he says: the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. He says quite simply in Lk 19.10: 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

When searching for the work of the Son, I came across this passage in Titus 3, which explains the work: But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

The work of God culminated in this moment. Jesus knew the hour had now come for this work to be accomplished – and that this work was now done. And he makes this declaration when he takes his last breath: It is finished. Peter articulates the Plan of God when he preaches his great sermon at Pentecost: “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.

God’s Plan was seen by Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah and the list goes on. Peter mentions this in the first chapter of his 1st epistle: Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

Yes, this was God’s plan: The plan of salvation. Set in place through centuries of work:

  • God Chose a man: Abram
  • Building a nation: Israel
  • Leading those people.
  • Giving them the Law, so that they might know their sin and their deep need for forgiveness. That they might know the perfection of God and that they could never be that way without his help.
  • Setting up specific requirements to meet the demand: death as punishment, blood being shed for the forgiveness of sins.
  • Year after year, this very illustration demonstrated in sacrifices – rinse, repeat. Until now, when time had run it’s course: But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. (Gal 4.4-5);
  • This very thought caused Paul to say to the Ephesians (1.4-14):

In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Transition: Today I want you to see The Power He Has, and The Purpose He Accomplised, but I also want you to the…

III.    The Position he Deserves (5)

exp.: rd v 5; It’s time to go home. Jesus asks the Father to glorify Him, together with the Father, with the glory he had shared with the Father before the world began. We see this glory in so many places:

  • Jn 1.1-3 : In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
  • Col 1.15f; He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
  • Heb 1.3: He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
  • Phil 2.5-11 – Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

app.: Jesus looked beyond the pain and suffering awaiting him in the coming hours to the hope of glory. The glory he would receive was rightfully his from the beginning. He faced the shame of the cross (i.e.: bearing all of our sin) and agony of his Father forsaking him (i.e.: turning his back to that sin) for the glory that was already his.

We’re blessed to stand on this side of history, looking back at the cross and seeing the work of Christ. Indeed, for all those who believe, we stand and sing together each Sunday and proclaim the glory of the risen Son of God. We Praise for His mighty Power and We Praise Him for His Wonderful Work which He Accomplished and We Sing Glory to His Holy Name as He take his rightful place next to the Father.

Transition: And everyday, we can begin our prayers in worship by gaining a proper perspective of who Christ is: in all of His Power, in what He has Accomplished, in who He is as God.

Calvary Cornerstone has set aside these next 120 Days of Intentionality for prayer. We want you to be intentional about prayer in everyway. So, we’re challenging you to the 7-5-2 Challenge:

  1. To pray 7 days a week by yourself. We want you to get alone for a few minutes and pray by yourself.
  2. To pray 5 days a week with your family. Yes, this can include meal times and bedtime. The goal would be involving your family in prayer.
  3. To pray 2 days a week with your spouse. Husbands and wives together. Cuddle at night and hold hands as you pray. Sneak into the pantry and lift up a couple of prayer requests. Men, this is on you.

We have notebooks for you to help in this process. There are calendars we’d like to give you to put on your refrigerator and starts you can put on the dates every time you pray as a family.

For the next few minutes, I’m going to ask the Kenny to play some music and give families a chance to respond. Elders will be here to pray with you. Come to the front and pick up a notebook and materials and accept the challenge. Spend some time at the altar praying as a family. Pray that God would use this in the life of your family.

Observations & Implications:

  1. Prayer begins with a proper perspective of the Master! Begin your prayer time with an intense, vigilant time of focus on Christ and who he is.
    1. Use Scripture if you need help. Psalm 90.1-2; Psalm 63.1-4;
    2. Use a Song of Praise or two to take you there.
  2. Don’t move forward from there until you get that perspective. Genesis 17; I am Almighty God (El-Shaddai)

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John 17.1

Title: The Lord’s Prayer: An Introduction

Text: John 13.1-17.1

CIT: Jesus offers his disciples final instructions before his prayer and his passion.

CIS: Jesus offers his disciples final instructions before his prayer and his passion.


Let me spend a moment updating you on where we are and where we will be in the coming months. My current plan is to preach on Prayer this month: specifically, The Lord’s High Priestly Prayer. Here then, is a sneak peak at the next few months sermons series I have planned.

–       January – The Lord’s Prayer

–       February & March – The Lord’s Passion

–       April & May – The Lord’s Purpose

Now, with this being said, I want to talk to you today about prayer. Not just today, but for the next few weeks. This is a subject in which I’m not qualified to speak as an expert. I should be, no doubt. It is my job description – Ministry of the Word and Prayer. It is something I know about and have experienced. However, the more I learn about it, the more I realize what a novice I truly am. It seems unfair or unjust for me, a mere student of this topic, to wax eloquent upon Prayer. Let me give you two reasons for why I can and plan on doing this very thing this month:

  • 1st, my job will be to look at Christ and his high priestly prayer – not my poor example of prayer. My personal experience will be a limited illustration. My task will be to focus on Christ and his prayer.
  • 2nd, it’s in the text. I can’t skip it – no matter how hard the topic.
  • I began preaching through John some years ago. I believe it was in ’09. I left it, came back to it, left it again. The plan is now to finish it up this Spring. For January – our focus on prayer:

I’ve divided this passage up into 4 parts to be looked at over four weeks.

–       John 17.1 is the introduction and a chance to recapitulate what has happened in Chapters 13-16.

–       John 17.1-6 will be a look at Jesus praying for himself and a glimpse at the Eternal Purpose and Plan of God.

–       John 17.7-19 will focus on His prayer for his disciples.

–       Finally, 17.20-25 will focus on us, those believers who follow Christ today.

Our concern for prayer is pretty straight forward.

–       The Bible Commands Prayer and assumes it is a part of the believers life.

–       The Bible also records examples of prayer for us to learn by.

–       The Old Testament is filled with examples

  • Abram prayed
    • For Ishmael
    • For Abimelech
    • For God to spare Sodom
    • His servant prayed for guidance when he was sent by Abram to find a wife for Isaac.
    • Isaac prayed for Rebecca, that her womb would be opened.
    • Jacob prayed for protection against Esau
    • Moses prayed quite a bit
      • My favorite is when he interceded for Israel.
      • For Aaron
      • For Miriam
    • Joshua prayed
    • Gideon prayed
    • Samson prayed
    • Hannah prayed for a son and Eli prayed for Hannah
    • Samuel prayed
    • David prayed
    • Solomon prayed

And the list goes on and on of:

–       Kings prayed for themselves and for their people. Hezekiah comes to mind in his prayer for deliverance.

–       Prophets prayed and interceded for their people. Elijah at Mt. Carmel, Elisha over a dead child and for his servants eyes to be opened to the spiritual realm. Jonah, from the belly of a giant fish! Daniel prayed regularly.

–       Ezra and Nehemiah prayed as the people returned from captivity and established their homeland again.

–       Book after book we find pray-ers and prayers. None more popular than Psalms where we learn to pray the ACTS model – Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication.

Likewise, the NT is filled with prayers.

–       In the book of Acts we find the church devoted to prayer.

–       The Apostles establish their work through prayer.

–       Paul pleads for churches to remember him in their prayers and he promises to remember them, too. Indeed, his whole ministry was characterized by prayer from his conversion, on!

–       You remember when Peter was kept in prison, the church was kept in prayer!

Still, of all the examples we have, none is matched by the prayers of our Savior.

–       It was He who taught us to pray: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

–       His prayers are so perfect, the disciples ask him, “Lord, teach us to pray.”

–       His life was marked with prayer: Early in the morning; in front of people or alone; Event after event; setting after setting; time and again; Jesus prayed.

–       It was because of his example that we pray like we do;

  • He taught us to call God “Father”
  • To pray in his name
  • To pray in numbers
  • To fast, humble ourselves

Listen to John MacArthur: But of all the prayers of Jesus, the one recorded here in the seventeenth chapter of John’s gospel is the most profound and magnificent. Its words are plane, yet majestic; simple, yet mysterious. They plunge the reader into the unfathomable depths of the inter-Trinitarian communication between the Father and the Son, and the scope encompasses the entire sweep of redemptive history from election to glorification, including the themes of regeneration, revelation, illumination, sanctification, and preservation. The veil is drawn back and the reader is escorted by Jesus Christ into the Holy of Holies, to the very throne of God.

What an invitation! What an opportunity! Today, we’ll look at this introduction to the Lord’s Prayer – The Real Lord’s Prayer, verse 1 of Ch. 17. I’ve divided this verse into three parts:

The Setting of the Prayer: When Jesus had spoken these things

His Posture in Prayer: He lifted up his eyes to heaven

His Request in Prayer: Glorify yourself through your son

Transition: Let’s begin with the Setting.

I.          The Setting (17.1a)

exp.: rd v 1.a; When Jesus had spoken these words; What words? DA Carson says: In some respects the prayer is a summary of the entire Fourth Gospel to this point. Its principal themes include Jesus’ obedience to his Father, the glorification of his Father through his death/exaltation, the revelation of God in Christ Jesus, the choosing of the disciples out of the world, their mission to the world, their unity modeled on the unity of the Father and the Son, and their final destiny in the presence of the Father and the Son.

The Setting: Well, the context goes back to 13.1 up to here in 17.1; For our purposes today, we’ll look at the immediate context of Chapters 13-17; 11.1ff – Lazarus is raised; in 12.1ff we have the triumphal entry; in 13.1ff, we have the Last Supper; as a reference of timeline

Jesus moves toward Jerusalem

Jesus enters Jerusalem (Triumphal entry)

The Last Supper (Judas is revealed, Peter is warned; other instructions are given, especially concerning the Holy Spirit; 14-16)

The High Priestly Prayer

Jesus & the disciples move out across the Kidron Valley to the Mt of Olives and the Garden of Gethsemane. Chapter 18;

ill.: There is a lot of talk and a lot of instruction. Things are very serious, Jesus is telling his disciples that he’s leaving and he is sending another “parakletos” to help them, to guide them. But there comes a moment when he stops talking and starts praying.

app.: that’s an important moment to learn; that’s is something for the wise and discerning heart to determine – when to stop talking with each other and when to start praying.

Transition: That’s the setting: ministry ends; The Last Supper with great, important instruction; now prayer. …let’s look at His Posture in prayer. Rd v 1.b;

II.      His Posture (17.1b)

exp.: he lifted up his eyes to heaven; lit.: lifting up his eyes to heaven; I think this posture speaks of his confidence; compare w/ the tax collector who standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ (Lk 18.13); we’re more like the tax collector, huh? Lacking confidence and acknowledging our sinfulness, unworthy to stand and gaze into heaven and make our plea, we beat our chest and lower our heads. That’s not how it should be! We should be confident.

ill.: I’m reminded of the Son who wanted to preach. He asks his dad and insists on preaching Sunday night. If you’d come up like you went down, then you’d have gone down like you came up.

app.: Humility comes before confidence. When living our lives in faithful, humble obedience, we’re taught that we, too, can enter the throne room with Confidence and ask anything according to God’s Will. That is what Christ is doing here. He is confident and with good reason. He’s been faithful and obedient to the task the Father has given him. He’s now going to lay his request before His Father, knowing that this is His Father’s Will.

Transition: We see his posture and the setting in which this all takes place. Now, let’s look at his purpose.

III.    His Request (17.1c)

exp.: rd 17c; and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you; So what is his purpose? The Glory of His Father through his own glorification. It’s time. It’s now here. We’ll look at this more deeply next week, but the moment of redemption has come. Christ knows it. Everything in all human history has been moving in a linear fashion to this moment. The hour has come! In Jn 2.4 Jesus said his hour has not yet come, in Ch. 4 he tells the Samaritan woman that the hour is coming. In 5.25, 28 Jesus says an hour is coming. In 7.30 it says they couldn’t arrest him because his hour had not yet come. It says the same thing in 8.20. Something happens in Ch 12. Some Greeks come seeking the Savior. Do you remember? 12.20ff; BOOM. Something has happened. We never hear if these guys get in to see Jesus or not. But this moment marks that something different has happened. BTW: that’s the end of his ministry. We move into Ch. 13 and Jesus enters the upper room where he’ll partake of the Last Supper with his disciples. There he instructs them as we’ve already talked about.

Transition: Isn’t it interesting, ironic, that this, the longest recorded prayer of Jesus, is not called the Lord’s Prayer? This really is the Lord’s Prayer, but that title has been used elsewhere. Here, we’re given a front row seat to the prayer of Jesus – praying for himself, his disciples and us – those who would believe their message.

Observations & Implications:

  1. We cannot over emphasis the importance of this prayer. It teaches us, it instructs us.
  2. We can never learn enough about prayer. And yet, experience is our greatest teacher.
  3. Salvation begins with a prayer!

Andrew Murray: The knowledge of God’s Father-love is the first and simplest, but also the last and highest lesson in the school of prayer. It is in the personal relation to the living God, and the personal conscious fellowship of love with Himself, that prayer begins. It is in the knowledge of God’s Fatherliness, revealed by the Holy Spirit, that the power of prayer will be found to root and grow.

If you’ve never prayed that prayer, I want to give you the chance right now.

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The Little Drummer Boy

Title: The Little Drummer Boy

Text: John 10.10

Introduction: the Little Drummer Boy is a story about a boy named Aaron who is orphaned when he’s little. It was at the hand of bandits that his parents lost their lives. His hatred for men only grows as he meets those who would use him. The only physical item left from his life with his family is a drum his parents gave him. Aaron plays his drum and the animals join in on his play. Aaron then puts his friendship and trust in these animals. Along his journey he makes three friends: Joshua the camel, Samson the mule, and Allie Baba the lamb. One day a man named Ben Hamin recognizes Aaron’s gift and enslaves him to play in his traveling caravan. During the course of this part of his life, the three kings from the orient need a camel and so Ben Hamin sells Aaron’s friend, Joshua the Camel to them. In order to save Joshua, Aaron must follow the same star the three kings were following. The star leads them to Bethlehem to the place the Savior is Born. There in Bethlehem, Allie Baba is hit by a chariot and injured. One of the three kings from the orient says he can’t help him, but this babe can.

Your gift, given out of desperation of a pure heart is the one favored above all.

There is a gift that’s been given for you. Life. As a Christian, you have a wonderful gift. In this passage today, there are 4 aspects to this life that John points out:

  • Physical Life
  • Purposeful Life
  • Protected Life
  • Promised Eternal Life

Transition: Let’s look at this 1st aspect:

I.         Physical Life. 

exp.: rd v 10; “may have life”; this isn’t spiritual alone; physical because the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy; Oh, how often do people miss that? How often do we think only of heaven as the gift of life and forget that we can journey through this life with God.

app.: I think so many miss out on life and never live it as God designed because they let Satan creep in and steal, kill and destroy the beauty that God intended life to be.

Ill.: they live life like Aaron in the movie – filled with hatred and bitterness at all they didn’t get. They let a few mean, evil people destroy their life, steal away the joy they could have. Some people get so down about it, that they take their own life. That is when the thief gets his ultimate victory.

Transition: No, Christ came to give us life filled with joy and peace. But look at that 2nd aspect, it really builds on the 1st

II.       Purposeful Life. 

exp.: rd 10c; “Have it abundantly”; lit.: more; abundantly more, exceedingly more; Satan wants you to just exist, to live and die by eking out an existence! He wants your focus on things! Turn to Lk 16.10

  1. Physical Dimension.  Luke 16:11
  2. Spiritual Dimension. Look at 1 John 3:8-10 – Purpose statement;

app.: we see his purpose is to destroy the work of Satan and set us free from sin. Rd v 10 again;

ill.: using things and loving people, that’s the way it should be. Not using people and loving things. He who loves his brother.

Transition: Physical Life, Purposeful Life and 3rd,

III.     Protected Life.

exp.: rd v 11-13; “I Am the Good Shepherd.” Not like the hired hand; these sheep are mine! Rd v 14-18; this includes us – Gentiles; we are His sheep; Ps 95.6-7; John 10:27-29; we are His and no one is able to snatch us out of the Father’s hand; Here is the principle: He who is able to save you, is able to keep you!

Transition: Physical Life, Purposeful Life, Protected Life and finally,

IV.     Promised Eternal Life.

exp.: rd v 19-30; Did you see that in v 28? “I give them eternal life” and they will never perish! John 3:16

Conclusion: Jesus came to this earth to restore life to all who are spiritually dead.  The cross over-shadows the manger.  Jesus provides the ultimate Christmas gift.  Did you tell Him thank you?  Let the Lord’s Supper enable you to say thanks this morning.

Observance of the Lord’s Supper

–       A reminder of his purpose in coming

–       A reminder to not enter in lightly

Observations & Implications:

  1. Live life to the fullest possible extent. Enjoy a sunrise, a sunset. Visit a state this year you’ve never been to before. Live life to the full.
  2. If you’ve never accepted this free gift, I offer it to you today.

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Miracle on 34th Street

Title: Miracle on 34th St.

Text: John 20.24-31

CIT: You can find faith.

CIS: You can find faith.

Introduction: Note: There’s no mention of Christmas in the title.  What about: Christmas Miracle on 34th St. It was released in May 1947, because the powers that be thought movies goers would come out in droves through the summer. In this movie, we meet four principle characters:

  • Brian, a successful lawyer in NY
  • Ms. Doris Walker who works for Macy’s Dept. Store; in charge of Macy’s T-Day Parade
  • Her daughter Susan (played by an adorable Natalie Wood)
  • An elderly man named Kris Kringle who plays the part of Santa Claus in the Christmas parade and ultimately as Macy’s main Santa, who thinks he really is Santa Claus.

The Plot: Kris Kringle finds a drunk Santa at the parade and Ms. Walker is forced to replace him quickly. Kringle agrees to help, but with some reluctance. Doris has a little girl who she has raised to not believe in Fairy tales. She is a somewhat discouraged and cynical, single mother, who through much heartache, has misplaced or even lost her ability to believe.  She will only accept what she can see and know for sure. There is a wonderful exchange during the movie with Kris Kringle who explains that faith isn’t something you can see or hear. It’s what you believe in spite of the absence.

Here is a question for consideration: What is the miracle on 34th Street?

During the movie, Kringle keeps asking Susan to give him a chance to prove he’s the real Santa. So, she asks for a home. She has a magazine cut out. Of course, at the end of the movie, She gets that house! But is this the miracle on 34th St.? No. There is a moment when Brian and Doris are hugging in their soon to be Living Room and Susan has run out back to look at her swing. There in the corner is Kris Kringle’s walking cane. The miracle is found in the fact that former unbelievers become believers and we see an incredible change in their attitude and actions. In fact, this may be the greatest miracle of all, belief!

Transition: For me, the transformation of a person who did not, could not, and would not believe into a person of belief was AND is the miracle. Today, Let’s look at another person who had a hard time believing: Thomas. John 20.19-31; What we find in John is Jesus at work.

I’ve outline this message into 3 parts:

  • Jesus Commissions the Disciples in v 19-25
  • Jesus Cautions Thomas against Unbelief in v 26-28
  • Jesus Challenges us to Believe in v 29-31

Transition: Let’s begin with some background information to Thomas’ unbelief by looking at where

1.     Jesus Commissions the Disciples (20.19-25)

exp.: Why did Thomas not believe? Rd v 25b; He misses out on so much the week before, 1st, he missed

  • Gathering with the brothers and sisters; rd 19; specifically, Sunday night church! 2ndly,
  • Witnessing the Lord, the Resurrected Jesus; rd 19b-20; he showed them; 3rd, he missed
  • Instruction from the Word of the Lord; rd v 21-23; Look at the nature of the new life in Christ
    • They’re to be commissioned – sent with a mission
    • They’re not to be sent out alone, but are promised the Holy Spirit
    • They’re reminded of their relationships and the importance of forgiveness.

But, there is a 4th item he misses and this is most important: He misses

  • The Witness of the Disciples; rd v 24-25a; It’s understandable that he would miss out on the above three, but to not believe the very men he’s spent the last few years with… that’s a big thing to miss out on.

app.: so naturally, his response was (rd v 25b) Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe. He probably feels this way because he has missed out on so much.

But, let me ask you, is he really so different from all of them?

  • They don’t believe Mary when she tells them (Luke 24.11)
  • They don’t believe the disciples who encounter Christ on the road to Emmaus.

Transition: Thomas’ unbelief was really not much different from theirs, except he said, Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe. So, now we see Jesus…

2.     Jesus Cautions Thomas Against Unbelief (20.26-28)

exp.: rd v 26-27; do not disbelieve, but believe; we live in a world of skepticism and disbelief; many reject God’s Word without even knowing that’s what it is;

ill.: I’ve watched with interest the continuing saga of Duck Dynasty. It appears to me that what Phil Robertson did that upset so many was to paraphrase a passage of Scripture. What is it about God’s Word that is so offensive? Really? Well, I think it is simply that God’s Word shines its bright light on our sin. And that’s what hurts. If we’re not confronted in our sin, we’re able to keep moving forward in our sin. However, when confronted with our sin, we have but two options – believe or disbelieve. If we disbelieve, then we can continue moving forward, happy in our sin, until someone, once again shines God’s light on our grossness.

ill.: Some years back, we were traveling at night in South TX. It was summer time and through the day we had accumulated more than our fair share of dead bugs on the windshield. I could actually drive just fine out in the darkness with just my headlights. That it, until we came to a 4-way stop sign out in the middle of no where. There were these streetlights that revealed just how bad the windshield was. I think Christopher was the one who spoke up about it. He noted how well he could see until the light shone in, revealing all of the filth, dirt and dead bugs.

app.: that’s what God’s Word does to our hearts, it reveals our sin. And when that happens, only one of two ways to respond: Believe it or don’t believe it.

Transition: And how does Thomas respond?

exp.: rd v 28; My Lord and my God! For me, this is simply beautiful. Great Confessions:

  • The Birth Narrative: the shepherds, the wise men, Simeon –
  • Martha in John 11: I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.
  • Peter in Mt 16: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.
  • Romans 10.9-10: if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

app.: That’s still our confession today. I asked this of Sarah and Amy and Zoe when I baptized them recently.

Transition: I ask this of all our members. And for those who are not? I challenge them to believe, to call upon the one who can save sins and confess Him as Lord. That’s what Jesus does here…

3.     Jesus Challenges us to believe (20.29-31)

  • Hear the blessing: Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.
  • Heed the call: these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

exp.: these signs; John has 7 signs; signs were what the people kept asking for throughout the book of John; Jesus did many other signs, but these signs of life and death and resurrection are written that you might find faith, without seeing with your eyes.

Transition: That’s the miracle for today… moving from unbelief to belief.

Observations & Implications:

  1. Resist the cynicism and skepticism of doubt and despair that characterize our world.
  2. Replace it with a deep, abiding faith in Christ.
  3. Connect belief and behavior. There is a correspondence between the internal and the external.

Invitation: Won’t you come to Christ today?

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Filed under John, Scripture, W.E.B.S.