Questions

SERMON LEFTOVERS 9.12.16

‘Joyful Bewilderment’

John 16:16-22

God, I don’t understand!  Lord, what are you doing? What does this mean?

You have probably had these thoughts, and in Jesus’ Farewell Address, we find his disciples asking those questions

 

Jesus’ disciples are bewildered

They are bewildered about statements we easily understand

It’s easy for us to understand now, because we know what happened

The disciples understood the words Jesus used, but not the ‘How’ and ‘Why’ of his leaving and return

It would not be until Jesus works were complete, that their understanding would be full

According to v19, Jesus knew exactly how they were struggling

Yet, he doesn’t give them a specific answer about what he meant by “a little while”

Instead, Jesus gives them a big picture answer about how it all ends

       Jesus knows his actions will eventually answer their questions

       Knowing the big picture will serve them in all life’s confusing and painful moments 

We want the immediate details about our circumstances and we complain to God when we don’t have them

 God does far better than give us the immediate details; he fills his Word with big picture clarity

 

Let’s look at Jesus’ ‘big picture’ answer (vs 20-22)

We will face what is painful and doesn’t seem to make sense – it’s unavoidable

(1)  We will find ourselves bewildered at times by life events

          Our world rejects the rule and truth of God, so we are surrounded by senselessness

          To think we won’t struggle is unbiblical; but so is struggle without hope (compare vs 20 and 22)

(2)  We will find ourselves struggling at times over God’s Word

          Much of God’s word runs against the common human perspectives of self

          Living with a biblical perspective only makes sense in light of the big picture of eternity

Jesus saw the disciple’s struggle to make sense of life

He cares about our struggle, but like small children, we simply cannot grasp it all now 

He has clear and excellent answers, and we will see them ‘in a little while’

        Until then, God has given us sufficient answers for now in the gospel and its promises

        Until then, God is giving us abundant grace now for the active presence of the Holy Spirit

All our sorrows will be transformed to joy

Jesus gives hope in his leaving by assuring them of his returning

       The return of his resurrection – when sin and death are defeated

       The return of his second coming – when our faith and his kingdom are made perfect

All our questions will be answered when we see Jesus

       Because the answers are all fulfilled by Jesus

       If we truly know Jesus, that should hold us for now!

Jesus uses child birth as an illustration of our big picture realty (v21)

       The real pain we have in life now, is producing an overwhelmingly greater joy forever

       This should encourage us in how we walk through what is now painful

Jesus gives 3 big picture reasons why we can take joy now (v22)

1.  We will see Jesus

The impact of this is multifaceted

       The glory and wonder of his presence will be pure joy

       His coming brings the perfections of life in his kingdom

       When we see him we shall be like him (1 John 3:2)

2.  Our hearts will rejoice

This is because every gospel fulfillment will completely satisfy us

       In Jesus’ kingdom we will all be Great Commandment people

       We will enjoy the fullest possible fellowship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit

3.  No one will take our joy

No one who opposes Christ and our life in him, will be left standing

Christ’s kingdom will be perfect, eternal and undisturbed

 

Believer, joy is how all things end for you – including every pain, struggle and question

QUESTIONS THE BIBLE ASKS YOU #5

This is our final installment of questions God asks us

Sometimes our big problem is not that we don’t know the right answer, but that we don’t keep our eyes on that answer. We are as easily distracted as a hound dog in a yard full of squirrels.

A running joke with many Sunday School teachers is that small children regardless of the question, will give “Jesus” as the answer. If only we could be as simple and naïve as children. For when push comes to shove Jesus really is the answer to our burdens and big questions. He is our Savior, Lord, Advocate, Judge, Life, Light, Peace and Hope. He is all we need.

This week we have looked at questions meant to lead us in thinking clearly about our daily lives. Today we have a question from Jesus that is the biggest of them all:

Who do you say that I am?

In Matthew 16:13-16 we see Jesus disciples got this answer right!

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”  And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”  He said to them, But who do you say that I am?”  Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Are you as clear as Peter in your answer?

QUESTIONS THE BIBLE ASKS YOU

We are correct when we think of the Bible as a book of answers. What we may not notice is that when giving us those answers the Bible sometimes asks us questions as a way of helping us look into our own lives.

In an age of science, technology and self-proclaimed enlightenment. It’s easier than ever for pride prone humanity to think we know what to do in order to make life work. God’s word provides “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3), yet we so often still want to run life our way. More amazingly is when we actually think we have the capacity to run life our own way.

Of all the people who have walked this earth, we would think no one had more of a right to complain to God than Job. He lost his health, wealth and family in one quick sweep of disasters.

Yet, when Job’s felt capable of assessing God’s actions with his own understanding, the Lord asked this question of Job:

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?

The full question God asked, is two chapters long beginning in Job 38. I will share the beginning of God’s question from 38:1-7

Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:

“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
Dress for action like a man;
    I will question you, and you make it known to me.

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
    Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
    Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
    or who laid its cornerstone,
when the morning stars sang together
    and all the sons of God shouted for joy?  

In case you wanted to know how Job responded, that is in 42:1-6

Then Job answered the Lord and said:

“I know that you can do all things,
    and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
    things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
‘Hear, and I will speak;
    I will question you, and you make it known to me.’
I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
    but now my eye sees you;
therefore I despise myself,
    and repent in dust and ashes.”