What About Him? (John 21:15-23)
• Today let’s focus in on two questions in this passage. Jesus’s questions to Peter, and Peter’s question to Jesus.
• Jesus asks the first question, “Do you truly love me?” (NIV)
o Many translations render it “Do you love me more than these?”
In the Greek the word is “these” and there is some ambiguity.
• That ambiguity may be intentional on Jesus’ part.
o Jesus is probably referring to the other disciples, or do you love me more than they do?
o Jesus may also be referring to other things, perhaps Jesus was referring to the fish.
This would have been meant to symbolize Peter’s livelihood of fishing.
• Jesus gets to ask this question because he has already proven His love by dying on the cross.
• Jesus is beginning the process of restoring Peter, and this whole scene is about grace, love, and restoration.
• First, people and relationships.
o Jesus is asking do you love me more than these other disciples, or more than they do?
• Are there human relationships that interfere and take away from our love and relationship with Jesus?
• Second, work, occupation, money
o Jesus may also have been referring to the fish and therefore Peter’s job as a fisherman.
o We all know that work certainly has a way of interfering with our relationship with Jesus.
• Let’s look at John 21:1-5. The answer to scarcity is always Jesus.
• Third, persecution/difficulty
o It was after all persecution that caused Peter to disown Jesus three times.
o And just like Peter, we often allow persecution or difficulty to interfere with our love for Jesus. Continuing: Jesus restores Peter three times because Peter disowned Jesus three times.
• The third time Peter is hurt by the question because he doesn’t see or understand the powerful thing that Jesus is doing through this restoration process. Verses 18-19 In these two verses Jesus tells Peter what kind of persecution and death he will suffer.
• But then Jesus says follow me. The only path through this is to follow Jesus closely. Verse 20 Now we see Peter’s question. It is a question of comparison.
• Jesus’s question was one of love. Rooted in grace and pushing toward restoration.
• Peter’s question is one of comparison. Rooted in fear, scarcity, and lack of trust. Verses 22 When Jesus says, “If I want him to remain alive until I return” He is saying I have the power to do that.
• When Jesus says, “what is that to you,” He is basically saying, it’s not for you to know about this other guy.
• Jesus ends with, “You must follow me,” Jesus is getting Peter to focus not on his own relationship with God.
o This is a word to all of us. We each must follow Jesus, for ourselves.
o We should also not and cannot compare ourselves with others.
The Color of the Kingdom (Rev 5:8)
• At the beginning of chap 4 John is taken up into heaven in the spirit.
o He then begins to describe what he sees, what heaven looks like.
• At first John weeps because no one was found worthy to open the scroll.
o The scroll contains the destiny of the world.
• Then in chap 5 Jesus is found to be the only one worthy to take the scroll from the Father and open it.
o One of the Elders says that the Lion of Judah can open it.
o But when John sees Jesus, He appears as a Lamb that has been slain. Verse 8 The four living creatures and the 24 Elders fell down in worship.
• Whatever you fall down in worship with, becomes sacrifice. Verse 9 It says that they sang a “new” song. This means it was a song that had never been song before.
• Why is this a new song? Jesus taking the scroll to open it represents a new era in God’s redemptive history. What’s new about this era? The Lamb’s death on the cross has never happened before, nor will it happen again.
o Jesus’s death on the cross is what is new, and what is worthy of this worship.
• But there is more that is new here. Jesus purchased men for God.
o The word here should be “people” or “us”
• The imagery behind “ransomed” or “purchased” is that of slaves being freed.
• But what is equally important to see here is that it is all mankind that is set free.
o In the past only the Jewish nation Israel was included in God’s redemptive work.
• First it says every tribe. This would have been reminiscent of the 12 tribes of Israel.
o But now includes people of every tribe throughout the world.
• Then it says language. There are approximately 6909 living languages in the world.
o And all of them will be in heaven.
• Then it says people. This is redundant to drive home the point.
• Then it ends with nation. This world could also mean race or people Verse 10 All of those people just mentioned are to be a kingdom.
o A kingdom united under one king, …King Jesus.
• But think about all those categories… they usually separate. No longer!
o And, that kingdom is the church on earth – now!!
• Because it says that they will be priests. We won’t need persist in heaven.
• This begins in Acts 2 and finds its fulfillment in Rev 7 Takeaway: 1. We must evangelize every people group.
2. We must learn and appreciate worshipping together.
3. We must learn to appreciate the richness diversity brings to the church.
4. We must fight for it
Given to What? 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 Paul starts this chapter by talking about salvation.
• He talks about the resurrection of Christ from the dead, how Jesus fulfilled the OT scriptures.
• Paul also says that you must hold to these truths otherwise you have believed in vein. Verses 12-19 Paul makes the case that the dead are on fact raised.
• His evidence, his method of proof, is the fact that Jesus has been raised from the dead.
• This of course is a refutation of the Sadducees who believed and taught that there was no resurrection. Verses 20-32 Death came through the man Adam. So, resurrection comes through the man Christ.
• But in this section Paul also talks about the authority and dominion Christ has over the enemy. Verses 24-27 The “He” that Paul keeps mentioning here is of course Jesus.
o Paul is making all of these comments in the context of building his case for the resurrection of the dead. Verses 30-32 If this whole thing isn’t real, the why am I putting my life on the line every day? Verse 33-34 Paul is using the whole section to refute false teachings in the Corinthian church. Verses 35-53 Paul also begins talking about the perishable and the imperishable.
• The temporal nature of this world and this body verses the eternal nature of the world to come and our resurrection bodies. Flesh and blood, perishable, cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, which is eternal. Verses 54-57 Paul continues stating that Jesus has overcome death and sin using the word victory repeatedly.
• First it was the victory death had over us; but it ends with the victory that Christ gave us. The Command 1 Cor 15:58 The NIV begins with “therefore.” This is tied back to the promises we just looked at.
• The Living Bible translates it this way. “So, my dear brothers, since future victory is sure,”
o Since future victory is sure we can be strong and steady giving ourselves fully to the work of the Lord.
• Then he says, “be firm.” Could also be translated as, “be steadfast.” It’s also an imperative, a command.
• Then to add emphasis he rewords it. “Let nothing move you.” The word in Greek is, “immovable.”
• So why is he saying this about being firm and steadfast?
o Verses 33-34 There were people who were being swayed by the other teachings.
• Paul continues with, “Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord.”
o The word means: be more than enough, ample, increase, abound, exceed.
o The word speaks both of abundance and increase.
• The word is in the active form in the Greek. When means we are the ones to do the action.
• The word is also a participle, which means it is ongoing. We are to continually be doing this.
o To add further emphasis he also adds the word “always.” A very strong statement.
• Continuing in the verse Paul ends with because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
• Listen to it in TLB for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever wasted as it would be if there were no resurrection.
Serving As Evangelism (1 Thes 2:1-13) Verse 2 Paul reminds His readers that they had suffered and been insulted in the city of Philippi.
• Yet despite the insults and strong opposition they still preached the Gospel.
• Today we seem to have lost sight of the idea that preaching the Gospel is going to come with strong opposition. Verse 3-5 In these three verses Paul is establishing their pure motives. Verse 7 This is the mighty Apostle Paul, and yet he says that he has been as gentle as a mother.
• He was not harsh or overbearing with them.
• And what do mother’s do? They care for and meet needs. Remember the context here is sharing the Gospel. Verse 8 Because of their love for the people, they were delighted to share the Gospel.
• And not just the Gospel, but their lives, because they had become so dear to them.
• He is also talking about loving people before they were followers of Jesus.
• Paul also says they shared not just the gospel but their lives.
o This wasn’t awkward in the moment evangelism. This is deep relational evangelism. Verse 9 The most affective missionaries are the ones who labor among the people they are trying to reach.
• Not only are you not a burden to the people, but it helps you bond with them. Verse 10 A lack of character and integrity will shipwreck our best attempts at evangelism. Verse 11-12 Now after Paul tell us he has been a mother to them, he also says that he was a father to them.
• There are qualities in both mothering and fathering that are critical to evangelism and serving.
• Paul says he encouraged them, as a father would. This is what good fathering is.
o Being discouraging or judging will not endear someone to Jesus.
• In the context of fathering Paul says he was comforting to them.
o Now put that in the context of serving and evangelism. A father’s comfort will draw people to Jesus.
• This wasn’t just fathering for fathering sake, he says that he urged them to live Godly lives, from the place of a father. This is discipleship, the is evangelism.
• Then Paul mentions that God is calling us into His kingdom
o Again, it’s that fathering role, to call sons and daughters into their kingdom calling and destiny. Verse 13 Finally, Paul gives thanks for them accepting the word of God, not as from men but from God. 7 key principles or concepts here for serving as a form of evangelism.
1. Pure motives
2. Overcome insults and opposition (secure identity)
3. Labored among them. (Also serving)
4. Gentle as a mother (meeting needs and serving)
5. Shared the Gospel and their lives from a place of love. They delighted to do this.
6. Encouraged and comforted like a father. Urged to live Godly lives.
7. Gave thanks for those that received the Lord.
The Heart of Serving
• John 13:1-17 We normally only look at this passage on Good Friday. Verse 3 This verse is so important because it shows Jesus knew His identity.
• What He was about to do was a very menial task, something the lowest of the slaves or servants would do.
o But Jesus had no trouble doing this because He knew His identity.
• So the first step into really serving in getting our identity with Jesus right. Verses 4-5 In taking off His outer garment He is truly taking on the position of a servant.
• This task was usually reserved for the lowest person in the household. Verse 12 Jesus says no one is above this.
• If He can do this as Lord of Lord, then anyone who would follow in His name can do this.
• Then He says that we will be blessed if we do this.
• In Mozambique, they still do something similar.
o What they practice is hand washing.
They have no running water and there are no bathrooms.
• Diseases related to hygiene are real issues there.
So washing hands is their need.
• But here is the thing It’s not just the lowest servant or slave who do this, they all serve each other. Now I am left to ask the question why? Why do they get servanthood so well?
• Luke 16:13“No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”
• Here in the US we serve a standard of living.
• They can’t serve a standard of living because there is no standard of living.
o This frees them in a lot of ways to serve the kingdom with undivided hearts.
• But there is still a disconnect here.
o Our standard of living should not prevent us from being servants.
• So, we do have to figure out how to not let the blessings of our standard of living, prevent us from receiving the blessings of the Lord that come through heart level serving.
1. I think it’s our desire to be comfortable and have an easy life.
2. I think we love our rights, I have a right to this or that.
3. We love talking about it more than doing it.
4. We would rather be entertained than serve
• Now I also want to talk about Noticing Part of being a servant is noticing what needs to be done.
o Jesus was good at noticing
• But in order to notice, our eyes, and hearts have to be off of our standard of living.
Clothed with Power (Pentecost Sunday) Luke 24:37 & Acts 2:1 The Promise Throughout Jesus’ ministry He promised the Holy Spirit. Luke 24:37 This is the scene after Jesus’ death and resurrection when He appears to His disciples.
• He appears to them when they are all in disbelief, trying to figure out what just happened and what to do next. Verses 37-44 He is trying to convince them it really is Him. Verse 45 He is of course refereeing just to the OT scriptures here.
• This verse implies that up to this point they didn’t fully understand the scriptures.
o Yet the disciple had Hebrew backgrounds and would have studied the scriptures a great deal. Verse 47 Jesus alludes to what we call the Great Commission here.
• The basics of the Gospel message, repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached.
o This message will also go to all the nations of the world. Verse 49 To emphasize the importance of the HS he tells His disciple stay in the city until they get the HS.
• He starts out by saying “stay here.” In Greek, it’s actually the verb “to sit.”
o The verb is also in the active form. Which means the subject of the verb does the action.
• Then Jesus says clothed. The word has as a definition, “the sense of sinking into a garment.”
o This verb is in the passive form.
o Which means the actions happens to the subject with no volition on the part of the subject.
• Then we are clothed with power. This is the word dunamis
o The word is a bit of supernatural word, meaning more than just simple power, but miraculous power. The Promised fulfilled: Acts 2:1-4
• Jesus promised the HS but they didn’t know what that would look like. They probably didn’t expect this.
o Notice it says the sound of a violent wind, but not actual wind.
o Then they saw what appeared to be fire, but not actual fire.
• The verb “to rest” here is the same verb “to sit” we saw back in Luke 24:49 Verse 4 The verb here “filled” is in the passive form.
• So the disciples have no part in the filling, it is just happening to them.
• Then there is the tangible proof and lasting sign of the Holy Spirit’s presence in tongues. We see two responses to this Verse 12 Responding with amazement and yet some perplexity is completely appropriate. Verse 13 Some reject and mock what is happening This is still the response of much of the world today.
• Paul confirms this in 1 Cor 2:14 Acts 2:37 In the first passage we looked at in Luke 24 Jesus said it would be a simple message of repentance and forgiveness, here we see that.
• Then, after you repent and receive forgiveness you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Verse 39 Then Peter say this promise is for all ages, and for all people.
Following More Than Words
• 1Thessalonians 1:2-10 Verse 2 In these first few verses we see Paul remembering and praying for the people of Thessalonica. Verse 4 For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you,
• NLT We know, dear brothers and sisters, that God loves you and has chosen you to be his own people.
• Paul is simply confirming their call to be a part of the Christian faith. Verse 5 One of the ways that Paul can know so confidently they are called is because of the powerful way God confirmed Himself to the people.
• Paul says that the Gospel didn’t come to them with just words, but also with power.
o This is a recurring theme for Paul. 1 Cor 2:4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.
• Here he gives us a little more detail as to why this is so important.
o So that the faith of the people will not rest on the wisdom of men.
• There is nothing wrong with theology and apologetics, but even though Paul was great at both, he puts his emphasis on the Holy Spirit. Continuing in the verse When the Holy Spirit comes there is also deep conviction.
• Our best and wisest words may or may not bring conviction. Continuing in the verse… You know how we lived among you for your sake.
• This statement is in the same context of Paul saying that he came to them with power and the Holy Spirit. Verse 6 Paul now commends them for becoming imitators of him, and Christ.
• Paul goes on to say that they imitated him despite great sufferings.
o Another great example for us to endure the sufferings of our day, as mild as they are.
• Paul then says they despite the sufferings they received joy from the Holy Spirit.
o Joy is a missing component in so much of the Christian faith.
• Is that because we have neglected the Holy Spirit to focus on the wise words and programs of men? Verse 7 Because they imitated Paul and they became a model to the whole region, affecting thousands of people.
• Proof that following in the ways of Paul will pay great dividends. Verse 8 The Lord’s message rang out because of their witness and imitation of Paul.
• They followed or imitated Paul and as a result their witness, and the Lord’s message, was known not just in their area, but everywhere.
• This all comes back to power and the Holy Spirit.
o So that it’s the Lord message that is known everywhere. Not the message or wisdom of man.
A Life Worth Following 1 Cor 11:1 NIV Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ MEV Follow me as I follow Christ. Three key issues here: First, the quality of Paul’s life, the worthiness to be followed. Second, there is an invitation. “Follow me” Third, it is Christ we are following and inviting others to follow. Jesus first The first one, Follow Me: Your life must be worth following, Paul’s life certainly was.
• 1 Thes 2:6-12 He was not looking for praise of glory, there was a humility.
o It says He treated them as gentle as a mother and encouraging life a Father
• 2 Cor 11:23 Here we see all the hardships Paul had faced.
o Any one of these hardships and most people are done.
• He did not become focused on his own struggles and hardship.
• Eph 6:19-20 He is in prison, bound by chains, and yet his prayer requests is that he will still fearlessly preach the Gospel. What got him in prison? Preaching the Gospel!!
• It would have been easy enough to become more concerned with his own situation and need for freedom.
• 2 Cor 12:7-10 He delights in in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties
o Paul delights in them because in them he sees the power of Christ. Second, there is an invitation
• Now the “imitate me” or “follow me” in the English sounds like a verb.
o But in the Greek, it’s a noun. “an imitation.” “Become an imitation of me”
o The verb “to become” is a command.
• Today we have such an eversion to this kind of thinking. Seems selfish or self-centered. Third, it is Christ we are following and inviting others to follow.
• In order to have a life worth following, we must first be following Christ.
o In fact, don’t follow any one if they are not following Christ.
• This is also the antidote to the notion that this is self-serving. So what do we need to do? Reverse the order First, follow Christ with everything we have. It must start here. This is contagious.
• Jesus first, and not religious stuff. But real first love stuff. Second, life a life with following
• No one is going to hand you followers. You must earn the privilege to be followed. Third, invite someone to follow you.
• Be deliberate about this.
• Be selective with you follow. Keep expectations real and open.
Fasting (Matt 6:16-18) Old Testament: In the Old Testament, it was a regular part of their religious life.
o The Day of Atonement was the only required fast.
• The Prophet Joel called the people to a fast of repentance. Joel 2:12-13
• In 2 Chronicles King Jehoshaphat calls the whole nation to a fast in the face of an invading army.
• Fasting is often associated with acts of repentance in the OT. Neh 8:18-9:2
• Fasting was associated with desperately seeking the Lord’s face and presence. Psalm 109:21-26; Daniel 9: 3
• Fasting is also associated with mourning in the OT. Esther 4:3
New Testament Era: Matt 6:16-18 Verse 16 Do you notice how matter of fact Jesus is with this? Not if you fast, but when you fast.
• Jesus clearly sees this as a practice that will continue
o We definitely don’t talk about this nearly as much as the other issues in the sermon on the Mount.
So, I just wonder why fasting doesn’t get as much attention as the other issues?
Does the enemy know the power in fasting and wants to keep us from it?
• As the sermon on the mount continues Jesus talks about storing treasures in heaven and not worrying.
o I think the order of these passages is not by accident.
o Fasting can be a key to these two areas. Remember: Jesus begins His public ministry with a fast Different kinds of fasts: We see a few different types of fasts in the bible.
• All of which involved going without food.
• First, the normal fast. This is fasting from all food, not eating at all. But still drinking water, or juice.
• Second, the partial fast. This is abstaining from certain kinds of food.
o We see Daniel do this. Daniel 1:12; Daniel 10:3
• Third, the absolute fast This is giving up both food and water for a period of three days.
o We see a few biblical examples of this. Ezera 10:6; Esther 4:16; Acts 9: 7-9
• Fourth, The Miraculous fast, A number of different biblical examples. Time periods: There of course can be different time periods for a fast.
• You can skip one meal a day; a one day fast; a three day fast; All the way up to a forty day fast. Now let’s ask the big question: Why fast, what do I get out of it?
• Often there is a misconception that we fast to get something from God. Of course, it doesn’t work that way. There are many benefits of fasting:
• Facilitating and enabling prayer; Overcoming the forces of evil; Turning down the volume of our flesh.
• Humbling ourselves before the Lord, putting the Lord first
• High level, perhaps even desperate seeking of the Lord.
Being People of His Presence Exodus 33:11 Moses already has an incredible relationship with God.
• But for Moses even this wasn’t enough, he knew that he wanted and needed more. Verse 12 Moses recognizes that he can’t lead the people by himself, on his own.
• So, he’s asking God who’s going to help me with this.
• But he isn’t just seeking God’s advice, He is seeking the very presence of God. Verse 13 Now there may be that little voice that comes to you, Is God really pleased with me? Do I have favor?
• That voice is the enemy, and the answer of course is yes, God is pleased with you. Stewarding that favor:
• Moses asked to know His ways, so that he might continue to find favor with God.
o He had favor with God, which allowed him to ask God to know His ways, so that He might find more favor with God. He used the favor he had to ask for more favor.
• Psalm 103:7 7 He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the people of Israel.
• Do you see the difference?
• The people of Israel were looking for provision, they were looking for the hand or acts of God, whereas Moses was looking to know God, his ways, to be in His presence. Verse 14 God responds to Moses request by saying that His presence will go with Moses and Israel.
• This is also an answer to the question who will you send to help me lead these people.
• In this verse, God also promised rest.
o If we are walking with the presence of God we will have rest. We’re not striving
• Which may not mean inactivity, it’s possible to have rest while still doing stuff, with His presence. Verse 15 If your presence does not go with us do not send us up from here. Wow what a great response!
• The people of Israel have already seen incredible miracles of God.
o And yet here Moses says do not send us up from here if your presence does not go with us.
• Moses is asking to know God, to really know Him, so that he might continue to find favor with God.
• The people just expected God to provide for them, but they never bothered to figure out what that provision meant about God. Verse 16 Moses understands that the distinguishing mark must be the presence of the Lord.
• Not just the miracles, the Egyptian magicians did “miracles,”
• This verse is the cry of the heart of this church. Verse 17 Moses asked boldly and got what he asked for.
• But what he asked for was more of God’s presence. He stewarded his favor well. Verse 18 Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”
• Now Moses goes for broke, he immediately stewards that favor and asks for more.
Prayer: Don’t Pray Safe, Pray Big
John 14:12-14; John 15:7-8 John 15:16 16; John 16:23-24 John14:12 12 The context here is Jesus has been telling Phillip that He and the Father are one.
o Then Jesus goes on to basically say that we will be one in Him and the Father through faith.
• Jesus makes an incredible statement, that if we have faith in Him, then we will do what He has been doing.
o What are the things that Jesus has been doing?
o He says we will be able to do the same things, through faith in Him and prayer.
• Then as verse 12 continues Jesus goes on to say that we will do even greater things.
• Jesus says that this is because He is going to the Father.
o Of course, going to the Father is a reference to His coming death and resurrection.
o In the context that follows starting in verse 15 Jesus says that when He goes to the Father He will send the Holy Spirit. Being able to do the same and greater things is empowered by the Holy Spirit. Verse 13 The asking here is of course prayer and praying in Jesus name, asking through Jesus.
• Then we see the reason for us being able to do greater things?
o So that the Son, Jesus, might bring glory to the Father. Verse 14 The, “ask me anything” here has to be within the context of all of Jesus’s teachings.
• This isn’t ask me anything the world wants; asking according to your selfish desires.
• This is asking according to the Kingdom principles Jesus has been teaching.
1. Pray Big and bold. Praying big bold prayers assumes a few things.
• That God is good, that bold prayers honor God, that God is for you, that God will answer big prayers.
2. Pray the Kingdom “Lord let your kingdom come, let your will be done.”
• Jesus is looking to give the Father glory, but that comes through His Kingdom.
o Make a list of the things that Jesus did.
Pray and ask that you and we the church get to do those things.
o Make a list of things that might be greater but in line with what Jesus did.
Pray and ask that you and we the church would get to do those things.
• Pray Kingdom, not safety. There is a difference between praying for protection and praying safe.
3. Pray specifically Pray specifically enough that we can know for sure God answered the prayer.
• Luke 18:35 Notice how bold he was? Then the man asks very specifically and boldly. “I want to see.”
4. Pray with faith I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing.
5. Pray through to praise Praying through is praying until the end. Praising is the amen of prayer.
6. Pray in relationship Within the context of these passages on asking boldly Jesus teaches the passage of the vine. John 15:7-8
• This is quite honestly how we ensure we get our prayers answered.
Prayer: What Gets in the Way Daniel 10:10 Presumably the angel that touches Daniel here is Gabriel as mentioned earlier in Dan 9:21 Verse 12 But then he says that from the moment you began to pray your prayers were heard.
• This should be very comforting for us, even when it doesn’t feel like it, God hears our prayers right from the beginning. Knowing this should fuel the faith in our prayers Verse 13 Then angel tells Daniel that his coming has been delayed for 21 days.
• We see that not only can answer to prayers be delayed, they can be delayed by other spirits.
o Most bible scholars believe this is the “governing evil spirit for the Persian nation”
• This also reminds us of the spiritual battle that rages around us that we may not always be aware of.
o We also see different levels of power and authority in the spirit realm, that work against prayer.
• This relates to us more in terms praying for our city and our community. Now Just some practical things:
1. Feelings of inadequacies: Feeling inadequate to pray in general, at a prayer meeting for example.
a. I don’t know how to pray or what to pray for. I don’t have the words to pray.
2. Feeling inadequate to pray out loud
a. Remember praying is talking to our friend Jesus. Just talk like you would to a friend.
3. Feeling inadequate to pray like others.
a. Remember this is not a competition. No one, not even God is judging your prayers.
4. Asking for things is selfish
a. Jesus says we can ask for whatever we want in His names. 6 times in the book of John
5. Prayer is not tangible Prayer might feel this way if we don’t know what to pray.
i. If we don’t know the One we pray to, or if we are always praying for our own desires
6. Praying passively
a. Jesus teaches more than once about praying with great boldness and persistence. Luke 10:8
7. Distractions We have already talked about this a lot lately.
8. Attitude or thinking that prayer doesn’t work
a. I prayed once and nothing happened so what’s the point of praying?
9. Lack of consistency Don’t pray from your circumstances that leads to inconsistency, pray from relationship
10. Praying for problems and troubles We must pray “Let your Kingdom Come”
11. Too Busy Quite honestly this one is probably related to number 8 (praying doesn’t work)
a. If we think there isn’t much point in praying then we aren’t going to make time for prayer.
b. Of course, the enemy likes to distract us with busyness.
12. Feeling like God will judge me if I pray wrong or if I fail to pray
a. This is a lie from the enemy related to legalism.
b. But what God judges is show offs. Matt 6:5
Prayer: Why is it So Hard? (Matt 26:36-45)
• What was Jesus asking them to do?
o Verse 40 says He was asking them to pray for one hour. Is this realistic?
• What was he asking them to pray?
o Verse 41 He was asking them to pray against temptation. “What temptation”?
• What gets in the way?
o Flesh, He says the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
• What are some of the problems here?
• First, I think the disciples missed what an epic moment this was.
o Maybe they didn’t understand fully what was about to happen, but they missed it.
o So how do we overcome this?
We have to ask. Slow down enough to ask Jesus.
Repent, Jesus sorry we are slow and dense but show us what is going on right now.
Jesus, “Open our eyes to spiritual realities so that we can catch an urgency for prayer.”
• Second, is the flesh, in this case sleepiness.
o I think there is also a greater issue of spiritual sleepiness
Not processing what they do know.
• Jesus was fulfilling all of the OT prophecies of what the Messiah would do.
o So how do we overcome this?
First, give up our right to comfort
Second, process what we do know.
• Third, they succumbed to the very thing Jesus told them to pray against.
o I think they underestimated the level of spiritual attack.
o How do we over come?
Do like Jesus said and pray against temptation and attack. Don’t pray passively here.
Fight with the right weapons 2 Cor 10:3-6
Do whatever is in your power to set aside distractions and get away from distractions.
• Fourth, they didn’t know what to say, in prayer and to Jesus
o Mark 14:40 …They did not know what to say to him. Probably in prayer as well.
o So how do we respond?
Repent for not knowing. Ask Him, “teach me to prayer”
Spend time listening for what to pray for.
Remember prayer isn’t always about asking. It’s also listening, it’s also loving.
• Fifth, they were caught off guard Jesus comes back for the third time and this time He doesn’t do anything.
• But then when he comes back the fourth time, Judas and a crowd armed with swords are right on top of them.
• So how do we respond? Stay in prayer and listen well. Let Him prepare us!
House of Prayer (Mark 11:11-17) Mark 11:11 This scene comes during the Palm Sunday entry into Jerusalem.
• After Jesus comes riding into the city with everyone cheering and singing praises there is this little verse where Jesus goes into the Temple and looks around. Verses:12-14 He curses the fig tree and a few verses later we see that the tree has died.
• First, I believe that there is a metaphor between the fig tree not having any fruit and what Jesus saw in the Temple the day before.
• Second, Jesus is teaching the disciples a lesson about faith filled prayer. Verses 15-16 Jesus now enters the Temple again. But this time He has a plan,
• He begins driving out the merchants.
• What is the problem with the merchants?
o Briefly: They were preventing people from worshipping.
o They were charging exorbitant prices.
o The Temple had become more about the business than worship and prayer. Verse 17 Then He says that, “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.”
• The house of prayer for all nations is a quote from Isa 56:7
o This passage in Isa has a heading and a topic of “Salvation for Others.”
First, that the Lord’s house will be a house of Prayer.
Second, The Lord is making a way for other nations to come to Him.
o Back in Mark And the den of robbers is a quote from Jer 7:11
The prophet Jeremiah was warning against what he called false religion.
• When God says house of prayer, he means the essence of the Lord’s house is to be prayer.
o And the subsequent fruit. Prayer always bears fruit.
Then the next part of the quote is “For all nations”
• Because God is a God of all nations, His house is to be a house for all nations.
o The church is to be a church for all nations. Verse 17 continues “But you have made it a den of robbers”
• Jesus’ teaching or admonition then turns to that quote from Jer.7:11
• The topic or heading in that passage in Jer is “False Religion is Worthless”
• The people in the Temple of Jesus’ day had made it about religious practice.
o But it certainly wasn’t about prayer and true worship.
• It could be really easy today for any church or leader to fall into that same trap. Mark 11:20-24 I will continue in the passage later
The alternative to a house of prayer???
Be Deliberate: Worship
• John 4:23 Jesus gives the command to worship in spirit and truth.
• First, we have to start with getting somewhat of a working definition of what worship is.
• Matt 2:10 This is in the birth narrative of Jesus.
• It says they were overjoyed. Then offered gifts, and expensive gifts. They also traveled a great distance
o There is costliness to their worship. There is preparation, preparing for the travel, preparing the gifts
o They also bowed down, a physical posture of honor.
• Matt 14:30 Jesus calms a storm after Peter tried to walk on water.
• Then it says that those who were in the boat worshipped Hm.
o Awe and wonder at what they just saw, thanksgiving for being safe, possibly a physical posturing of bowing down, praise.
• John 9: 35 Jesus heals a man born blind.
• When the man realizes who Jesus is, it says that he worshiped him.
o What do think this worship looked like?
Thanksgiving and praise, probably awe and wonder, he probably bowed down.
• In each of these passages we have looked at it is the Greek word proskuneo.
o This word means, fall down, kneel, bow down, fall at another’s feet, to kiss the hand. Gen 22:1 Abram finally gets his long-awaited son; but then the Lord asks him to sacrifice that son.
• Look at verse 5: We will worship, then we will come back. He sees both going, and both coming back.
o But most astonishing is that he says we will worship.
• So what do we see in this passages as it relates to worship?
o Obedience, Trust, Sacrifice, Faith, Preparation, and costliness. 2 Sam 24:18 This scene starts with David sinning against the Lord by taking a census of his army.
• The Lord speaks through the prophet Gad and sends three options for judgement.
• What do we see in this passage? Repentance, Costliness, Sacrifice, Preparation, Honor, Prayer Let’s recap what we have seen so far: Worship is about…
o Awe and wonder
o Physical posture
Go Back to John 4:23 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
• But now we take that list we just looked at and add the reequipment of worshipping in Spirit and truth.
• Worshipping in Spirit means being filled with the spirit and worshiping as enabled by the spirit.
• Worship in truth means we must worship God based on the truth of who He is, not our own invention.
Be Deliberate: Community (Hebrews 10:19-25)
• Community: a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.
• In the NIV the word Community is used 83 times. All but one of them are in the OT
• The whole Jewish nation was known as and functioned as a community. Now Let’s ask the questions why is community needed and where does community originate?
• Community is a reflection of God: God is always in community within Himself
• God is a Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
o So community originates with God Himself because He is always in Community within Himself. Community is the fullness of God in expression
• When we are in Community we are closer to reflecting the nature of God. Community is for encouragement in the context of worship: we have Christ in Common
• Hebrews 10:19 He starts with what is worship, praise, and thanksgiving. Verse 21 The Great Priest is no longer the high Priest but Jesus. Verse 22 The writer is encouraging us to draw near to God because we have assurance of our salvation in Christ.
• Community starts with the work of Jesus on the cross and then owning that and walking in that.
o If we don’t get this right, then community is hard because our sins and our guilt get in the way. Verse 23 Community is hard when we have no hope.
• But that’s the point of community, when one is low on hope, they can take from another. Verse 24 Now the writer moves into the tangible and practical ways of community.
• This is the essence of community, to spur one another on. Verse 25 You can see that already in this early stage of the church people were already struggling with meeting together. He is calling his audience to be in community to encourage one another and spur each other on.
o All in the context of worship, discipleship and having Jesus in common. Community is for strengthening and learning, discipleship (Jesus modeled this)
• Proverbs 27:17 In order for iron to sharpen iron they have to rub against each other.
• Discipleship happens in community, not in isolation. Community for meeting needs and serving Acts 2:44; Acts 4:34
• Being in community is also to meet the emotional needs of each other.
• Community also provides us the opportunity to serve. In order for needs to be met, someone has to serve. Community is for Fellowship
• Fellowship, definition: friendly association, especially with people who share one’s interests.
• Community can be the larger collection of people of the church.
• Then, fellowship is what happens in the smaller deliberate gatherings of the church.
• Acts 2:42 Devoted, that speaks of being really deliberate.
• Acts2:46 Then here we see them deliberately gathering at both the Temple and in homes. Community Across the ages In the Jewish culture of Israel community was always across the ages.
• The Book of Titus also talks about the older teaching the younger. Our Mantra for Community: Phil 2:3-6
Be Deliberate: Holy Spirit Luke 11 The chapter starts with the Disciples asking Jesus, “teach us to pray.”
• After teaching the Lord’s Prayer, He tells them a parable.
o Jesus ends the parable in verse 8 with a powerful and even shocking statement.
o The word translated here in the NIV as “boldness” means “shameless persistence”
• Two points here.
o First, the stress is not on persistent or repetition of the request, as much as it is on the boldness or nerve of the request. We get to come boldly before the throne of God with our requests.
o Second, God is not stingy or lazy, God is the not the neighbor.
• Now the question, what is the basis for these bold requests?
o Luke 11:11-13 Jesus is inviting us to make bold requests for the Holy Spirit.
o Notice it says, to those who ask Him. We have to be deliberate to ask for the Holy Spirit.
• Why don’t we all get blasted and filled all at once?
o We have to learn to steward this well. But wait? Common Argument
• Didn’t I get the Holy Spirit when I accepted Jesus?
• Acts 8:14 So here is a group of believers that have accepted Jesus and have been baptized.
o But they had not received the Holy Spirit.
• Acts 19:1 Here Apollos and Paul find some believers. Notice the first question they ask them?
o Did you receive the Holy Spirit?
• This group had only been baptized with John’s baptisms. So they water baptize them into Jesus name.
o Then subsequent to that, they pray and ask for the Holy Spirit.
• In both passages being filled with the Holy Spirit came after receiving Jesus.
o The Apostles put an extraordinarily high value on receiving the Holy Spirit. So should we!
• Acts 10:45 Here they get filled with the Holy Spirit first.
o Then they get water baptized into the name of Jesus. Being refilled We leak, we are leaky vessels, so we constantly need to be refilled.
• We see glimpses of this in different bible stories.
• Also, as we mature we can be filled to great measure. God can trust us with more. Grieving Holy Spirit It is possible for us to grieve the Holy Spirit.
• Eph 4:29 Do you see how both our actions and our words can grieve the Holy Spirit?
The book of James adds that the spirit living in us envies intensely. Don’t Resist Holy Spirit Acts 7:51 Stephen accuses the people of resisting the Holy Spirit.
• The Holy Spirit will not force Himself on us. Spiritual Gifts: And of course, we must be deliberate with using our spiritual gifts.
Be Deliberate: Prayer (Mark 1:21-39) We are Friends of God: John 15:13-17 Prayer is essentially talking to our friend Jesus.
• Notice Jesus says He calls us friends because He has told us told us His father’s business.
o Prayer is listening to our friend give us the wisdom we need for life. Mark 1:21-39 Three Observations:
• First, Jesus is doing a lot of traveling and working long hours.
• Second, He is doing a lot of ministry. Dealing with a lot of people and demons.
o He is also dealing with a bit of a celebrity status so to speak.
• Third, His prayer life.
o Jesus was the Son of God, Deity Himself. Yet while on earth He had to pray.
• So right in the middle of all this chaos, travel and ministry we see Jesus’ very deliberate prayer life. Verse 35 It starts with very early in the morning.
• This is contrasted by verse 33 that says “after sunset”
• Then it says while it was still dark. This emphasizes just how early this was.
o Going out in the dark gives Him privacy and hiddenness.
• The passage continues with Jesus got up and left the house.
o As anyone else tried to just stay in bed and pray? Getting up honors the prayer.
o Then He left the house
If He stays in the house, then someone else might get up early and distract Him.
• Now the passage ends with went off to a solitary place where he prayed.
o He had to find a solitary place where there were no other people.
• In this story in Mark Jesus is very deliberate in His prayer time.
o The model of deliberateness he sets here is certainly an example for us.
• Yet despite all of His efforts, His disciples still find Him.
o This speaks to the opposition and difficulty we will face even when we try to be deliberate.
o So press in and be deliberate, but expect push back.
o Pray against the push back. Verse 38 I have to think that in His prayer time that morning the Father gave Him His marching orders.
• Was it in this prayer time the Father directed Him to go to Galilee? Corporate prayer: So far I have talked about personal prayer.
• But corporate prayer is also essential to our spiritual life. There is something powerful about praying in unity with other people.
• Thurs at noon: Every other Wed (None Kingdom Life weeks): Sunday before the service: 1st Friday of the month: Prayer covenants, Be deliberate about praying for specific ministries in the church.
Be Deliberate: One God and His Word (Deuteronomy 6) Verse 2 Moses reminds the people that if they follow God’s ways and fear Him, things will go well for them. Verse 3 Here Moses introduces another concept, a land flowing with milk and honey.
o This is both a blessing and a temptation. Verse 4 This makes for bad English but he is reminding them that there is only one God. Verse 5 This is the most basic and boiled down commandment. Verse 6 The word “heart” is a good way to translate this, but the Hebrew concept is inner man.
• But this is where we start to see this idea of being deliberate.
• Notice it says upon your heart and not in your head. Verse 7 NASB “You shall teach them diligently to your sons” That really speak of being deliberate.
• Talk about what? The commands of God, the word of God. When? pretty much all the time.
• Now during this time period there were no written copies of the law.
o It was an oral tradition, repeated over and over again. Verse 8 Now it moves to a more tangible act of being deliberate.
• It was common during this time period among the other religions of that area for them to wear amulets.
o Even arm bands and wrist bands were also common in Syro-Palestine.
• Moses is telling the people redeem those kinds of thing as you seek to be deliberate with God’s word. Verse 9 This is certainly reminiscent of the Passover when they put blood on their door posts.
• This is to remind us, the ones who live in the house of God’s word.
o And serves to welcome the presence of God in the house. Verses 10-11 They have just come through the exodus and have been wandering in the wilderness for years.
• As they prepare for the promised land, flowing with milk and honey, Moses warns them to be deliberate. Verse 12 These deliberate acts that Moses has suggested are all for this purpose. Do not forget the Lord. Verse 13 This fear is a reverent holy fear for the Lord.
• The result of that holy fear is that we serve Him only. Verse 14 Those small g gods look different today; but they are still just as prevalent. Verse 15 God is always among us, that’s really good news. But he is also a jealous God.
o His jealousy will protect me when I am following Him.
o But his jealously can work against me when I go my own way. For Us today: The same temptations still hold true for us today. So we also need a plan to be deliberate.
• 1. The Word: Be deliberate with the Word of God.
o Make a plan to read the Word. And also make a plan to understand the Word.
• 2. Don’t forget the Lord Your God, He is One
o Don’t focus on the blessings.
o Let’s be deliberate about rooting out our small g gods.
The Nature of God: Creator and Super Natural
• Gen 1:1-25 The Bible starts in verse one by telling us God is creator
• It’s the first thing scripture tells us about God. It tells us He is creator and He is super natural.
o Notice also it keeps saying that “God said” God does not create like a sculptor. God creates from nothing God as our creator Gen 1:26 Unlike all the other creatures that God created we bear the image of God.
• Because we share the image of God we also get to share two other aspects of God’s nature.
• Gen 2:7 God can create from simply speaking something into existence and he can create something from what He already created. He created us from the earth, something He already created.
• Psalm 139:13-16 This passage tells us that he can see us before we are even created and born.
• As supernatural creator, God can see what He is going to create before He creates it.
• As Creator, God also does not make mistakes. Exodus 4:11
• God creates exactly as He sees fit and according to His sovereignty. He never makes a mistake. Then because He is creator He can act super naturally over any part of creation
• Think of the Flood of Noah’s day in Gen 6
• Joshua 10:11-14 God brings about a hail storm that kills more people than the Israelites killed with the sword.
o Then Joshua a man of God stands up and asks the Lord to stop the sun, and God does. God is super natural over the animal world. Numbers 22:26-31
• The Lord super naturally opened the mouth of a donkey to talk to its master. Let’s move into the NT and look at everyday examples.
Healing Mark 5:24-29 Jesus doesn’t even pray for her.
• He is so super natural and so desires to heal, it happened just by her touching his cloak. Weather: Luke 8:24-25 The whole earth and its weather are still subject to its creator. Circumstantial need food: Matt 14:15-21 Jesus supernaturally created or multiplied more food
• So much of the time we are looking for natural answer for super natural problems. Money: Matt 17:27 Jesus can act super naturally over money and governments.
• God’s ability to act, create, and provide are not license for us to act irresponsibly or just being stupid.
o God always acts this way in response to our faithfulness and obedience. Salvation: The very idea of salvation is super natural.
• Jesus left His throne in heaven and came to earth to be born to a virgin and then die on a cross, be raised from the dead and return to His throne in heaven. All of that is super natural. Evangelism: In Acts 2:41 Peter Preaches a message and the Lord super naturally breathes on it and 3000 people get saved. The Word of God: Hebrews 4:12 The Word of God is super natural because it is written by a supernatural God. We will do greater things: John14:12-14
• It is through the Holy Spirit that we get to partner with God and His super natural nature.