Farewell discourse

SERMON LEFTOVERS 9.26.16

Hope always comes down to Jesus

 

John 16:25-33

 

The disciples finally think they understand Jesus’ Farewell Discourse

Jesus had been talking about his leaving, which left them perplexed

But in v28 when Jesus talks about the Father sending him into world, they think “Now we get it”!

“We know” and “We believe” that you came from God

 

Jesus questions the strength of their belief

He asks the rhetorical question: “Do you now believe”

Context of entire passage “Do you fully believe I am of God?”

Your actions will show a deficiency, when you scatter in fear and abandon me alone

Notice the connection between Jesus’ plain speaking and their scattering

They will both take place in the ‘hour’ that is ‘coming’

Jesus uses this expression, “the hour is coming” several times in John

It is always in connection with the events and aftermath of the cross

The events of Jesus’ death would bring about his plain speaking (vs 25)

The events of Jesus’ death would see the disciples abandon him

Why is this connection made concerning what happens at that “hour”?

Scripture is making a point of enormous importance!

What takes place in “the coming hour” falls on Jesus alone

The weight of all the events of the cross, and so the gospel, are carried fully by Jesus

The gospel was not strengthened or helped by the efforts of the disciples or any other earthly power

The entirety of the gospel’s work and our hope is in Jesus “alone”!

 

Jesus didn’t end the Farewell Discourse with v32

1.  Jesus’ being abandoned and alone was not the whole story (v32b-33)

Jesus would not be abandoned by the Father

God continued to be and always is, the main character in all our circumstances

What Jesus says in v32 is as fully true for us as it was for him!

Jesus would not be overcome by the world

Everything that defeats us, Jesus fully conquered – this includes sin, death, the world and Satan

Every good thing we desire, he made possible – this includes peace, hope, life, joy

 Everything Jesus accomplished is shared by everyone who is “in Christ”

2.  The Disciples’ misunderstanding and failure was not whole story about them

They did know who Jesus is

They did believe – their actions didn’t always show it, but their hearts were his

They did overcome the world – their salvation arose and came out of the tomb with Jesus

They did become men of faithfulness and fruitfulness

 

How do we apply the Farewell Discourse?

1.  Jesus is “the Way, the Truth and the Life”; he is our only hope: If you believe it, then live that way!

Take your highest hope and replace it with Christ. If you only have him, is that enough?

What are activities you treat as “must be done” or goals that “you must fulfill”? Make them about Jesus

 2.  Jesus has overcome the world: If you believe it, then live that way!

Answer temptation with accusation! Declare its lies, emptiness and ugliness

Stop being discouraged by weakness, Christ is our strength

Stop trying to be the great fixer, that’s what Jesus does

We are wealthy in grace, so exchange our whining for thankfulness and kingdom action

3.  We are not aloneIf you believe it, then live that way!

Don’t just call for help during difficulty, talk with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit who are always here!

Develop the habit of calling on the Holy Spirit throughout the day

Engage in biblical community, so you are regularly encouraged toward God

4.  We will have tribulation, but still can have peaceIf you believe it, then live that way!

Preach the gospel truths about our future in Christ to yourself every day; and then give praise for those truths

Actively give your concerns into Jesus hands, treat them as primarily his concerns

SERMON LEFTOVERS 9.19.16

‘In Jesus Name’

John 16:23-28

 

Jesus’ Farewell Discourse is preparing his followers for when he will leave them. Part of Jesus’ encouragement is the way his leaving will bring to them greater access to God

 

Jesus transformed how we pray

In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mt, he taught his followers to pray

He gave them an example prayer, which we know as the Lord’s Prayer

In it he taught us to pray “our Father”; this was the first time we were invited to address God as ‘Father’

It is a revolutionary new perspective that emphasizes the depth of the relationship we now have with God through Christ

In the Farewell Discourse, Jesus adds another revolutionary ‘first’ in how we pray (v23)

Six times in Jesus’ Farewell Discourse, he tells his disciples to now pray “in my name”

Praying “in Jesus name” is not a magic formula to get answers

1.Praying in Jesus’ name is a declaration of Position (vs 26-27)

Those who trust in Jesus are fully accepted by the Father and we can speak to the Father just as Jesus did on earth!

Praying to our Father, in Jesus name, says we belong in this relationship with God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit

Verse 27 brings up an issue that is widely misunderstood in world

As John 3:16 says, ‘God loves the world’. However, this doesn’t mean he is in loving relationship with everyone in world – as the following verses make clear (John 3:16-18)

Unless we have trusted in Christ for the forgiveness of our sin, we are condemned

Trusting in Jesus’ name brings us into a relationship of covenant love with God

2.Praying in Jesus’ name is a declaration of Purpose 

This point has been made throughout the Farewell Discourse

John 14:13 – what we ask and how God answers is meant for his glory

John 15:7 – asking in Jesus’ name requires abiding in him and his word

John 15:16-17 – God answers our prayers to bring kingdom fruitfulness

We are never given privileges or promises from God that diminish his sovereignty

In the middle of this section, Jesus tells disciples that he will soon speak ‘plainly’ (v25)

He contrasts this to his speaking in “figures of speech”

The word used here often means “perplexing” speech and that meaning fits the context best

Jesus will soon be able to speak plainly, because after his death and resurrection, Jesus’ teaching will become clearer to them

The events of the gospel will make all Scripture clearer to them (Luke 24:27)

Immediately after saying this, Jesus repeats about “praying in my name”

Clarity about the purpose of Christ in the gospel helps how we pray

We now know what values should drive our prayers

 

There are questions about prayer we cannot fully answer

This is because God answers our prayers from his sovereignty, not ours

However, we know God’s sovereignty is complete, wise and good

So “Ask” – often and with faith!  This is a clear application of Jesus’ Farewell Discourse

There is a parallel invitation from Jesus in John 7:37-39

Jesus invites us to “come and drink” for he is sending the Holy Spirit

Yet, we tend to come and ‘sip’; we half-heartedly seek Jesus!

What is the state of your “asking”?

v24 instructs us to “ask that your joy may be full”

Most of us are good about praying for rescue in times of great distress

But there is much more to pray about!   

Let us be filled with ‘asking’ – for the glory of Christ!

SERMON LEFTOVERS 8.08.16

Jesus’ friends love  

    

John 15:12-17

In Jesus’ Farewell Discourse, he now returns to emphasize and dig into truths he has already told them. This repetition lets us know these are foundational truths for Christ followers

 

Once again, Jesus connects love and obedience

Love among believers is required (vs 12, 17)

Morality and church involvement are necessary – but love is our beacon to the world (John 13:35)

Love best reveals (1) God’s transforming power and (2) the gospel’s agenda

But what does love for one another look like?  1 Corinthians 13:7-8

     “Bears all things” – love shows grace and absorbs people’s shortcomings

     “Believes all things” – love does not draw negative conclusions and assign bad motives to others

     “Hopes all things” – love obligates us to think the best we can of others

     “Endures all things” – love’s agenda for people doesn’t change with how they treat us

Jesus’ redemptive work is our example for how to obey and love (v13)

In the cross we see Jesus’ greatest example of love – sacrifice – humility – commitment

Other believers can be examples, but Jesus is our standard

In chapter 1 Jesus is the ‘Word made flesh’

     Jesus is God’s ultimate expression of himself,

     Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s grand purpose

     Jesus is the manifestation of godliness

     ~ For all these reasons we are to be obsessed with knowing and imitating Jesus

An implied theme of this discourse is that Jesus’ followers will obey him (v14)

Christ has not just set a path before us, he has walked it

God knows our weakness, so don’t beat yourself up with failures, repent if needed and go forward (Psalm 103:13-14)

But God rejects an unwilling heart, so make sure you do repent of sin in every form (Revelation 3:14-16

 

Our obedience is not as slaves (vs 14-15)

Slaves are just given tasks, while God has opened his plans to us, so we can we share in them

1.  We don’t want to abuse the role of “friend” and so neglect having a servant’s heart

         We need to take the phrase ‘I no longer call you servants’ in context

         We are still to view ourselves as servants, for that is how Jesus viewed himself on earth

2.  We don’t want to minimize our relationship with God as “friend”, and fail to embrace it

Being Jesus’ friend is clearly a relational title, but it’s much more; we have been invited into the work that is dearest to his heart

We gain insight by looking at Abraham and Moses, who are the only people previously called “friends” of God

     Both of them experienced unusual interaction with God

     Both of them were given unusual access to God

These two themes are imbedded is what Jesus communicates in v15

We are servants, because we serve Jesus’ kingdom, instead of our own

But we are also beloved friends and heirs of that kingdom

 

Jesus takes our participation further (v16)

We are “chosen” and “appointed” to fruitfully participate in gospel work

1.  This is meant to encourage us, because Christ has initiated our calling (knowing all our junk)

We tend to fall into the false mindset that we initiate plans and then convince God to help

2.  This is meant to make us serious, because we have been given responsibilities

We need to ask ourselves, what we think life is for!

     Is it to build a happy life and if we are open to it, God can have some space

    Or, that life is from and for God!  True joy comes through fulfilling his roles for us

Jesus continues the theme of our being fruitful that he began vs 1-11

God wants you to be fruitful!  Our weaknesses have no impact on this intention

A fruitful life is his purpose, any voice that says otherwise is lying

This doesn’t rest on our smarts or strength. Remember the “Helper” was sent to dwell in us

Our role in the process is to love God – obey him – abide in him – love one another

For the fourth time in the Farewell Discourse, in v16 Jesus tells them to “ask in my name”

“Friends” of God, let’s take him at his word

SERMON LEFTOVERS 8.02.16

The True Vine

by Dan McManus

John 15:1-11

Authentic disciples abide in Jesus by drawing upon his word, which bears fruit in their lives for their joy and God’s glory

The Vine

Throughout the gospel Jesus giving several “I am” statements

These statements present the ideas of replacing and fulfilling. What once was is now fully seen in Jesus.

Here he gives the last of the “I am” statements:  I am the True Vine.

We need to see what is being replaced and fulfilled

In the OT Israel is referred to as the vine. But Israel is often rebuked for not bearing fruit and warned of being cut off

Jesus here surpasses Israel and becomes the very locus of the people of God. No longer is God’s vineyard with the nation of Israel but in the vine of Jesus himself.

The Vinedresser

The Father cares for his vineyard in two ways: Pruning and Removing

v2 tells us the fruit-bearing branches are pruned and the fruitless branches are removed.

The Branches

Those who bear fruit are pruned, v3 you are already clean because of the word.

There is a play on words that we don’t pick up on in the English but is clear in the Greek that the word for prune means to cleanse, purify, prune

The word for clean has the same root which means clean, pure, unstained.

Those who are already clean will be further cleansed.

How is it that they are already clean? Because of the word that I have spoken to you

What is the word? All of what he has said and all of who He is.

Christ is the Word incarnate

Pruning

Pruning is not always pleasant, but it is always good. Hebrews 12:10-11

False disciples are those who do not bear fruit, he removes and throws away.

There are many who pass for branches in Christ but they do not bear fruit and are only connected by profession and not true faith.  

The vinedresser must remove the unfruitful branches for the health of the vineyard.

Abiding and Fruit-Bearing

The imagery of the vine becomes more clear as we see the necessary connection between abiding and bearing fruit.

Authentic disciples (those connected to the vine by faith) abide in Jesus and so bear fruit  v4-5 

Bearing fruit is a necessary result of abiding

Once a branch is apart from the vine it has no hope of bearing fruit. It must remain connected.

Jesus is saying that in him is the life giving source from which fruit can be born.

So how is it we remain connected to Jesus, how do we abide in him?

He points to the way we abide in him by having his words abide in is

v7 “abide in me and my words abide in you”

Notice the flow from vs 4, 5 & 7 “I in you” . . . “my words in you”

There is such a connection between who Jesus is and what he has said he can speak of them interchangeably.

In the vine picture Jesus is telling us he will remain with, abide with us in his words which he sees as his very presence.

This is a profound truth that Jesus sees his word in us as our being with Him

Because Jesus is the Word made flesh, he is God with us, and all of scripture is the testimony of who God is. All Scripture is the testimony of who Christ is

Branches that “abide” in the vine bear fruit because they draw up from the vine’s life giving nutrients to bear fruit.

Authentic disciples abide in Jesus by drawing from his word in order to bear fruit.

This is not about just reading it, it is more than that. It is about drawing up the life giving truths necessary for bearing fruit.

How to we draw upon the words of Jesus?

Psalm 119 gives us many ways in which we abide in the Word

Keep it (v5) apply the Word to our lives

Store it up (v11) memorize scripture

Declare it (v13) speak the Word to yourself and to others  

Meditate on it (v15) think through the intention of the Word and how it matters in our lives            

Delight in it (v16) come to the scriptures with delight because you are coming to Jesus

Behold it (v18) gaze upon the wonder of the Word

Desire it (v20) have a passion for it

Learn it (v26-27) engaging our minds to understand so our hearts might be affected. If we want to feel deeply we have to be willing to think deeply.

Incline your heart to it (v36)

Trust it (v42) does knowing biblical truth lead us to trust it?

Sing it (v54) this is a wonderful way to draw up from the vine

Believe it (v66) a confident conviction that every word is true and good.

Hope in it (v74) when everything around us seems to be in chaos we can be steady, because our hope is in the Word

Love it (v97) to cherish it through meditation and obedience

Rejoice in it (v162) we can take great joy in this great treasure.

Pray it:  the whole Psalm is a poetic prayer that all these things about the Word would be a reality in his life

This connects us back to John 15

v7 Abiding in Jesus and his words abiding in us lead us to pray

When the authentic disciple is abiding in Jesus and drawing up from the vine his prayers will be inhabited with the will of Jesus.

We will pray according to his desire for us—that we would bear much fruit and he says it will be done for us.

Obedience, love, Joy, and glory are all tied together vs 8-11

Abiding in Jesus and bearing fruit happens in the soil of love.

Jesus tells us, we are loved with a perfect love, and so remain in it through obedience.

Jesus is our example!

He has never questioned the Father’s love

He has always remained in the Father’s love through obedience.

Obedience and love are wrapped up together 1 John 5:3

God’s Word is not merely commands to us; it is an expression of love.

v11 Jesus explains his desire through this teaching that they we have true joy.

Last week we saw that Jesus gives HIS peace, and now we learn he also gives HIS joy!

SERMON LEFTOVERS 6.13.16

“Towel and Basin Christianity”

 

John 13:1-17

We begin a sermon series on Jesus’ Farewell Discourse (John chapters 13-16). This is Jesus’ last time with disciples before his crucifixion and the content reflects it

The context of Jesus’ Farewell Discourse is what he knew (vs 1-3)

v1 He knew the events of his crucifixion were at hand

v3 Jesus knew this was to fulfill the eternal plan of the Father

v1 Adds Jesus “loved” his own “to the end” (this was also what Jesus knew)

 

Jesus’ begins his farewell by washing the disciple’s feet

Notice the pacing of John’s description (vs 4-5)

He deliberately draws out his description so we can imagine it

Extraordinary humility dominates this scene

Culturally this was a demeaning job

Jesus’ entire life and ministry were drenched in the theme of humility

Jesus wants his humility to be an unforgettable lesson to those who follow him

Extraordinary love is abounding in this scene

Jesus’ motivation in what he does is his “love to the end”

We abuse Jesus, if we don’t see love in his commands to us

We abuse Jesus, if we don’t see love in his sovereignty over our circumstances

 

The disciple’s discomfort is finally voiced by Peter (vs 6-11)

Peter is sure in his perspective, yet he was not only wrong, he was opposing Jesus

Jesus tells Peter in v7 that he will “understand later”; yet Peter persists in his opinion

Jesus’ correction deepens our understanding of what is taking place

v8  If I don’t wash you – you have “no share” (i.e. no inheritance, or salvation)

The foot washing points to the cross; it is a lesson about Jesus as much as one from him

v10  Jesus tells Peter, once his feet are bathed, that’s enough, he doesn’t need to be “washed”

Once cleansed by Christ, we don’t need a full washing again, we are justified forever

 

Our takeaway is Jesus’ example (vs 12-17)

Jesus asked if they understood (we need to follow thoughtfully) 

He points out in v13 they know he is their teacher and Lord

They believed he was the Christ – the Son of God

The thought of the Almighty Lord from heaven washing feet is staggering

Then Jesus reminds us v16 ‘a servant not greater than his master’

Jesus is clear and our obligation is unnegotiable

To be followers of Christ, we must live as Towel and Basin Christians

This is not an action for certain circumstances; it is how we are to live

Washing the disciple’s feet was a display of how Jesus conducted his earthly ministry

His example is meant to be our life perspective

 

How do we live with a Towel and Basin perspective?

1.  We start by laying aside our rights and our offenses

Jesus laid aside his privilege as he “laid aside” his outer garment

We will not serve like Jesus if we are on the lookout for our rights

We need to stay watchful that how we serve doesn’t fill up with our expectations

Jesus was even willing to wash the feet of Judas who was about to betray him

When we take offense, we may keep the actions of serving, but we  have lost the heart of it

2.  Willingness to serve comes from what we “know”  (vs 1-3)

(1) We know about the cross:  gospel-centered people are servant-hearted people

(2) We know all things come from God and return to him

Towel and Basin Living doesn’t mean we no long desire good things for ourselves, it means we know that we already have them!  

(3) We know that we are loved perfectly to the end

So we don’t need to assert or prove ourselves, and we can be content with what the world thinks are “lesser” roles

3.  Towel and Basin Living is an expression of Great Commandment Living

We abandon our “me first” perspective, because we are overwhelmed and in awe of God

We then see people with fresh eyes:  they are who Jesus came for – and died for

Slow down for people, listen, and show care instead of trying to “fix them” so we can move on

4.  To live consistent Towel and Basin Christianity, we have to take it home

Husbands have a role, and parents have a role; but it is not to be lords in our home

A Christian home has the atmosphere and expectation that we serve one another

 

Towel and Basin Living may not be natural, but it is good and Christ-like

As in all that we seek to do and be for Christ – it grows prayerfully