Counseling One Another - Founders Ministries
“I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness,
complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another” (Romans 15:14).
. . . Counseling one another involves not only dealing with sin, but also encouraging those who are suffering from depression, discouragement, loss, or grief. Paul demonstrates this aspect of counseling in 1 Thessalonians where he encourages those who have had family members and friends who have died. (See 4:13–5:11; see also 1 Corinthians 15 where he talks about the resurrection and the fact that death no longer has a sting for the believer.) Peter closes his letter with wonderful words of comfort to those who, as a result of their faith, have been scattered, with these wonderful words of comfort: “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast” (1 Peter 5:10). Paul gives words of comfort about the suffering we must undergo as believers. He tells us that we should rejoice in our suffering, because “suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Romans 5:3–5).
Our roles, therefore, as counselors to one another are not only to deal with sin, but also to offer comfort and cheer. Further, we are to train and instruct others in righteousness (see 1 Timothy 3:16 quoted above). Our counsel has both a corrective purpose and a training process. Admonition by itself can create serious relational problems. It is when we take the time to gently train others in the way of righteousness that we complete the God-ordained cycle.
Here are some practical suggestions as to how we should counsel one another (though this is not to be construed as a complete list):
• Make sure that our own lives are exemplary. Not perfect! No one is! But our overall lives should be such that the people whom we are counseling have respect for us. Christ is clear (Matthew 7) that we should first clean up our own lives before we correct someone else.
• Always pray before approaching another person and when possible, pray with that person. Remember that God is the one who changes people.
• If there is a sin involved, we need to know clearly what the Bible has to say about it. We must make certain that it is a sin, not something that we must learn to forbear.
• If a fellow member is discouraged we need to find out the basis of that discouragement and talk with that person about the provisions and promises which our Lord has given to us in His Word.
• Often we will deal with people who have lost hope. Those people must be helped to see that through the power of the Spirit of God their lives and their outlook can be changed.
• We must encourage those whom we counsel to be in the Scriptures frequently. Leave with them directions to those specific portions of the Word of God which address their situations.
• We need to encourage those whom we counsel to regularly spend time in fellowship with and in service to a caring, local church.
• Enlist the help of others who will also come alongside them and who will befriend, counsel and encourage them.
• When there are matters to which they need to attend, check up on them to make sure that they are doing their part. If they have sinned against someone, direct them to seek that person out and ask for forgiveness. If they are spiritually lazy, remind them of their obligations as believers. Get involved with them, showing not only by words, but also by example how one serves the Lord. If they are depressed or discouraged, spend time with them; do not allow them to sit alone at home enumerating their problems. Talk to them about their responsibilities, but also help them to see their unnoticed blessings.
• Always be truthful with them and urge them to be the same with you. Unless you know the real problems with which you are dealing, you are stumbling in the darkness as you try to help them.
• Encourage them to take steps toward progress—not perfection. Notice their progress and encourage them that they are making progress. It is sometimes difficult for people with problems to take giant strides. Remember and remind them, that many small steps ultimately measure up to real changes.
What We Learned Together This Sunday September 3, 2023
Today is the third message of this short series in this season for New Life Fellowship. We have seen Being Members of the Body of Christ in First Corinthians 12. We have seen Christian Call of Unity for the Church Body in Ephesians 4. The message today in Philippians chapter one “Only Conduct Yourselves In A Manner Worthy of the Gospel of Christ.” All that the message of the Gospel proclaims and means, calls us to be as His people and His church. The message of the Gospel is salvation, reconciliation, and transformation. The emphasis on sacrificial love and humble service, including repentance and obedience, seeing abundant grace and abounding mercy. There is the perfect righteousness of Christ and the holiness of God. Both forgiveness of all our sins and kindness of God toward sinners. A message of substitutionary death, the Lamb of God who dies for our sins, the Son of God who lived and died for our rescue and salvation, and the Spirit of God regenerates, renews, and restores.
First, Choose To Live Your Life in A Manner Worthy of the Gospel [1:27a]. Here is both PERSONAL DIRECTION and PERSONAL DECISION. The first word only places importance and significance in this matter for the church. And also consider all of the things which the Apostle Paul had going on in his life [1:12-14, 21-23]. The gospel emphasized here in this verse twice and in this first chapter in the book of Philippians [cf. 1:5, 7, 12, 16]. Here Paul begins “Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ . . .” Different translations: only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ [NASB] . . . only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ [ESV] . . . only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ [NKJV] . . . But whatever happens, make sure that your everyday life is worthy of the Gospel of Christ [Phillips]. This first command in this epistle [verses 27-30 one sentence]. The Gospel of Christ meaning Gospel truths, Gospel blessings, and Gospel promises. Believe the truth of the Gospel, and also behave in a manner worthy of the Gospel. Believe God the Father and Provider! Believe Jesus is Savior and Leader! Believe the Spirit is our Comforter and Teacher! Such a threefold teaching with the will of God, the work of God, and Word of God! Choice made by you because of the change within you by His grace, so that the Gospel is lived in my life as a testimony of the salvation by God. Paul emphasizing living together with a people with responsibilities of belonging there and being here in this body. One commentator wrote, “but the word Paul uses in Philippians speaks of one’s manner of life seen as a duty to a body or group of which one is a member, and to the head of that group to whom he is responsible. It is a more inclusive word.”
“But in the form in which Paul gives the exhortation, the person exhorted is to recognize his position as a citizen of a heavenly kingdom, and while obeying the exhortation as a matter of obligation to God, yet at the same time realize his responsibility to obey it because of the privileged position he occupies, and literally exhort or charge himself to do the same. One could translate therefore: “Only see to it that you recognize your responsibility as a citizen and put yourself to the absolute necessity of performing the duties devolving upon you in that position.” [Wuest Word Pictures]
And there is this point by Paul in the middle of the verse, “so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear about you . . .” What are people hearing about us here at New Life Fellowship? What will they be talking about in regard to us here? We want them to say there they only conduct themselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel.
Here is the first of two measurements of conducting ourselves in the manner worthy of the Gospel. The Standing In Unity with Others in the Gospel. Here is the PRESENT ACTION for the church body. Paul writes “that you are standing firm in one spirit . . .” The same wording used in chapter four [cf. 4:1]. Standing Firm for the Gospel which means “unyielding in battle” giving imagery of soldiers. Who we stand with and why we stand here. Where I stand my ground including convictions and commitments with military imagery. Stephen Davey states, The verb here for standing firm, is a military metaphor that pictures the Philippian believers serving in the same army, battling the same foe – which in this word picture would represent disunity. He says, stand firm in one spirit. And he knew they knew – and we might not – that the Roman ground troops fought their enemy not as single soldiers, but in densely packed rows, eight soldiers deep. They moved forward in step – they even moved sideways and backward together – by trumpet or voice commands.” Its that season again, and you know what I mean. Its Fall so its football season! Defense and Offense and Special teams for good football. Here is the defense of the Christian unity when we gather with other soldiers with our shields protecting others from the enemies and warfare against us. Here at New Life Fellowship joining with other soldiers in discipleship meetings, Bible Studies, and Community Groups bringing our shields with other brothers and sisters in Christ. Sad that sometimes we need shields because of other Christians in the church body turning against their fellow soldiers. In words of criticism and bitterness, or attitudes of self-righteousness and pride, so that the one spirit of not evident and present in the body.
Here is the second measurement of conducting ourselves in the manner worthy of the Gospel. The Striving for Partnership with Others with the Gospel. Here is the PRESENT PARTICIPATION. Paul writes, “with one mind striving together for the faith of the Gospel.” Striving Together for the Gospel which means “undivided in strategy” giving imagery of athletics. This is a present active participle meaning present participation as our character describing the present activity in our lives. What we are striving for and why we are working together. In this context Paul would expand teaching on the humility as he adds more teaching and the example of Christ as support [cf. Philippians 2:1-5; 3:12-14]. Here is the offense of the Christian unity when we work with other athletes with our efforts and ministries with others for the mission for us as a church body. Serving in unity in ministry together for the faith of the Gospel. Here at New Life Fellowship joining with other athletes serving, helping, ministering, working in different ministry plans bringing our efforts with other brothers and sisters in Christ. Here at New Life Fellowship praying for the 27 fellow workers in the AWANA ministry “with one mind striving together for the faith of the Gospel.”
Here is a summer of this verse by one commentator. “Only (since my only reason for remaining on earth is for your progress in the Christian life), see to it that you recognize your responsibility as citizens (of heaven), and put yourselves to the absolute necessity of performing the duties devolving upon you in that position, doing this in a manner which is befitting to the gospel of Christ, in order that whether having come and having seen you, or whether being absent I am hearing the things concerning you, namely, that you are standing firm in one spirit, holding your ground, with one soul contending (as a team of athletes would) in perfect co-operation with one another for the faith of the gospel.” [Wuest Translation]
We Choose To Live our Life in A Manner Worthy of the Gospel with both PERSONAL DIRECTION and PERSONAL DECISION, so that PRESENT ACTION and PRESENT PARTICIPATION be the character of our ministry and the quality of our testimony. First,The power of the Gospel should be demonstrated in our conduct together. Let our church body not merely be what men can do but how God does work through the Gospel! Second, Confess sins in our lives hindering the Gospel ministry and testimony. Communion Sunday the time for us all to take inventory and seek inspection of our lives as Christians. Strengthen our partnership & fellowship we have in the Gospel together. What will people be hearing about New Life Fellowship? How will we be obeying this command and fulfilling these responsibilities as a church body? May we each commit to standing firm for the Gospel and Striving Together for the Gospel. May they say of us in this community . . . “Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ . . . I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” [Philippians 1:27].
Wednesday Men's Bible Study August 9, 2023 Chapter Six Getting In Touch with Reality
Join us at Lowey's House for food and fellowship, singing and studying
What We Learned Together This Sunday July 30, 2023
Our message this morning in John chapter sixteen “A Promise of Answered Prayer for The Disciples of Jesus” verses 23-24. We continue to study these chapters being disciples making disciples as we learn together what discipleship means for each of here at New Life Fellowship. Throughout these chapters the many themes for us as disciples of Jesus: humbly serving, sacrificially loving, faithfully abiding, and personally believing. In this Upper Room discourse given to us here in the Gospel of John the words of the Lord Jesus for His own disciples are filled with promises for faithful believing, blessings for fruitful abiding, and prophecies for hopeful living. Here again we see the humble service, sacrificial love, and personal obedience by the Savior as He comforts His disciples at the time when He is going to the cross & die for them.
Last week we saw A Word By Jesus About Present Misunderstandings [16:16-18]. There was An Announcement by Jesus of His Resurrection. Today Some Promises By Jesus About Blessed Understandings [16:19-24]. Both Having Joy & Praying to The Father. Here are Some Encouragement by Jesus Because His Resurrection. In verse 19-22 For His Disciples His Promise Grief Will Become Joy. Last week we defined Joy as a deep, abiding inner thankfulness and gratitude to God which is not interrupted when undesirable life circumstances intrude. We have emphasized the three parts for joy: confidence in the promise of God, assurance of the power of God, and reliance on the plan of God. One unknown author represented joy as the royal banner flying from the flagstaff of the heart, signaling that the King is in residence. Jesus repeats the word joy through these verses [vv. 20,21,22, 24]. C. S. Lewis “The Weight of Glory”: If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
Next Jesus speaks about answered prayer and joy for His disciples. For His Disciples His Promise of Answered Prayer [16:23-24]. First, His Promise Declared For His Disciples Who Do Ask and Will Receive [16:23a]. This is confidence for His disciples in His words. “In that day you will not question Me about anything. Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you . . .” His words emphasize certainty, reliability, and truth to His disciples. Second His Promise Described for His Disciples Who Believe Jesus & Know the Father [16:23b] This is assurance for His disciples in His words. Jesus says, “if you ask the Father for anything in My name,He will give it to you.” Most translations written “whatever you ask the Father in My name . . .” This means what is consistent with the character of Jesus What a promise by Jesus! See John 16:19. The relationship with the Father through asking in prayer with Jesus as the ground and access. Reality of a relationship with the Father through the Son taught by the Spirit. Asking in His name is that Which Is Done for & Because of Jesus [cf. 14:13] Remember in the Gospel of John Jesus is revealed as the Son of God, the Savior of the World, and the Resurrected Lord. As in the Old Testament the Name of God because of Who He Is and What He does is displayed in His guidance, His deliverance, and His existence. This phrase by Jesus “in My Name” used in several places already used in this Upper Room Discourse [John 14:13-14; 15:16; 16:24, 26 cf. Matthew 7:7-9]. Think about the first time praying out loud with others as you are called upon and look around and see, “you mean me?” This promise by Jesus so important for us as His disciples. “Our Lord here sums up the prerogatives and privileges of His servants in the day that was about to dawn and to last till He came again. There is nothing absolutely new in the words; substantially the promises contained in them have appeared in former parts of these discourses under somewhat different aspects and connections. But our Lord brings them together here, in this condensed repetition, in order that the scattered rays, being thus focused, may have more power to illuminate with certitude, and to warm into hope. These are the jewels which He sets in a cluster, the juxtaposition making each brighter, and gives to us for a parting keepsake.” [Alexander McClaren]
And finally third, His Promise Detailed For His Disciples Who Pray and Have Joy [16:24]. Th is obedience for His disciples in His words. Jesus says, “Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.” Remember what Jesus said in John 15:11 and 16:26. This a command by Jesus using the present active imperative form of this verb with continuing and repeating action. So as His disciples we are commanded to ask in prayer in His name! “Of all the list of Christian duties there is none to which there is such abounding encouragement, as prayer . . . It is worth noticing here how very frequent and full are the encouragements to prayer which our Lord holds out to His disciples.” [ J. C. Ryle] This means Seeing the Work of God, Having the Supply of God, and Knowing the Grace of God. Consider also Paul’s prayer in Colossians 1:9-12. Charles Spurgeon on Joy “There is a marvelous medicinal power in joy. Most medicines are distasteful; but this, which is the best of all medicines, is sweet to the taste, and comforting to the heart. This blessed joy is very contagious. One dolorous spirit brings a kind of plague into the house; one person who is wretched seems to stop all the birds from singing wherever he goes . . . [But] the grace of joy is contagious. Holy joy will oil the wheels of your life’s machinery. Holy joy will strengthen you for your daily labor. Jesus concludes, “so that your joy may be made full.” [16:24]
One commentator wrote about this joy. “It is His joy that we are to pursue (see John 15:11). This is not the “joy” that the world seeks. The world seeks for a “joy” that is rooted in the absence of trials and suffering, that delights in the promotion of self-interest, and often in the downfall of one’s rivals. First and foremost, our joy is knowing for certain that Jesus is alive, risen from the dead (see Matthew 28:8; Luke 24:41, 52). Our joy is in the abasement of self, in the exaltation of Jesus Christ (see John 3:29), and in sacrificial service (Philippians 2:17). Our joy is in the Lord, in His salvation, and His working in the lives of others (Acts 15:3; Romans 15:13; 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20; 1 John 1:4; 3 John 4).” Whatever failures, challenges, fears, disappointments, struggles, losses, bad reports, bad news that each of us would testify in the face of these with the testimony of joy in the presence of others. So are you missing joy in your life? Do you have half cup joy because not asking and not praying? Our message today from the words of Jesus in John chapter sixteen. "A Promise of Answered Prayer for the Disciples of Jesus" John 16:23-24. As we give some application from these words of Jesus let us read these words again and again. There would the great expression of confidence, assurance, and reliance in our joy as disciples of Jesus. That we would see the blessed understandings giving to us in the words of Jesus. Being a disciple of Jesus who acts upon these promises of Jesus in devoting yourself to prayer because of His words. Make this My Christian Ministry. Being a disciple of Jesus who is asking in prayer and receiving from the Father so that your joy may be made full. Make this My Christian Testimony. “And there is this marvelous new promise of answered prayer. Those answered prayers will bring a note, and an experience, and a disposition of joy that will make a Christian life worth living, and vital and marvelous. May we all have this joy.” [S. Lewis Johnson] Make this My Christian Joy.
Wednesday Men's Bible Study July 19, 2023 Chapter Three Identifying Your Own Way
Also Burgers with Bruce Dinner at the Leonard's 6:30 PM
1) Let us review again the teaching on communication in the Exemplary Husband book as the instructions for communication moving forward . . . “but speaking the truth in love” [Ephesians 4:15]. We ought to maintain a high level of biblical communication in our interaction as brothers.
2) Let us remind ourselves again of how we ought to relate and interact as brothers with the instructions by the Apostle Paul, “[I] urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, being diligent to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” [Ephesians 4:1-3] We ought to walk with one another in such ways in which we live our calling and behave with such diligence.
3) Let us remind ourselves of remaining devoted to prayer to God, especially praying for another as the writer of Hebrews says, “Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things.” [Hebrews 13:19] We ought to pray for one another as brothers because of each of our responsibilities, concerns, problems, burdens, struggles, battles, failures, and sins. We need to pray for one another both privately and publicly, personally and presently, fervently and humbly.
4) Let us remind ourselves of what the Lord has done and what we believe He does do . . . “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” [Ephesians 3:20-21] We ought to speak forth this belief in the matters we are responsible as brothers giving thanks to Him when He does show Himself in our midst as Him who is able to do.
5) Let us remind ourselves of the importance of the work of the Spirit of God in our lives as brothers and the life of the ministry of New Life Fellowship. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the desire of the flesh is against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, in order to keep you from doing whatever you want.” [Galatians 5:16-17] We ought to walk in dependence upon the Spirit of God desiring the fruit of the Spirit brought forth in our discussions so that any conflict, disagreement, complaint, and sin do not manifest any of the deeds of the flesh.
6) Let us remind ourselves of the need in each of our lives for the confession of sin, repentance of sin, and faith in the Lord as we were given as a church body during our time at the Communion table on Sunday. We ought to live the Christian life as one examined by the Spirit of God bowing at the foot of the cross being those who are asking forgiveness from the Lord and from one another as sinners saved by grace.
What We Learned Together Sunday June 25, 2023
Lord Jesus may you indeed stamp your words Upon Our Hearts and our lives
that we who are your disciples would indeed live according to your word. We ask that your Word would help us to keep us from stumbling that we would not be wayward, rebellious or sinful that we would be a bold and strong testimony for your Name’ sake. We ask that we would confess you as the Son of God and the savior of the world and our resurrected Lord. You are the one who died for our sins according to the scriptures and was buried and was raised on the third day according to the scriptures. May you be exalted and glorified in us as we hear your words believe your words and obey your words. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
INTRODUCTION The Death of Thomas Cranmer what a testimony in life and at deathDear friend we come to some very important words of the Lord Jesus here. The Upper Room discourse reveals words that Jesus would give to us because of the hours that we face. The history of the life of Jesus can be summarized very briefly that the Gospel of John presents him as the Son of God and it presents Him as the Savior of the world, and as the Resurrected Lord. Yet all this Revelation that is given by the Son of God there was rejection and rebellion and refusal to listen to him and to believe in him to obey him but there were some who received it. And yet in this Upper Room discourse here Jesus gives to us words His words and here in the Gospel of John the Apostle John would write these words down to us for his own disciples and and these words are filled with promises and blessings and prophecies. He is the savior for all who receive and believe His words. He is the Savior for all who have and believe His testimony He is the only Savior. He has shown Himself to be the God of His people, the Lord of His servants, the Teacher of His disciples, the Shepherd of His sheep, the Leader of His followers and the Very One For Whom The Believers believe. There are great privileges that are given to us to know the words of Jesus and really in these first six verses in John chapter 16 we see the privilege here.
Dear friend I'm here to tell you that no matter what you face no matter what you're going through
the words of Jesus and Jesus himself can minister to you. This is a great reminder and reality in John chapter 16. He knew everything that was going to happen. He knew that He was going to be betrayed turned over to the religious leaders be hung on a cross and die for the sins of
mankind according to the will of the father as the Son of God. And yet all these things He is ministering to His disciples that very night. Dear friend never forget that no matter what you're going through Jesus wants to minister to you because of who He is the very savior of the world.
It's wonderful when you think of this and indeed the Privileges and advantages that we have being a disciple of Jesus and the very words that he gives to us. At the end of this section in John chapter 16 verse 33 notice the words of Jesus here verse 33, “These things I've spoken to you that in me you may have peace and in the world you have tribulation but take courage I have overcome the world.” Jesus doesn't say oh it's all going to get better in some ways it gets harder it gets more serious and yet the very words of Jesus are here to teach us and help us and understand. The prophecy of Jesus Himself the Lord would speak to us and these words are fulfilled in the lives of each of these men that listened to Him. They indeed were killed and martyred. It is very fascinating in a historical note that John the Apostle John probably in Exile on the island of Patmos. There because of his testimony for Jesus that he is the only man of all those that were there that night that was still alive when he wrote this Gospel. We don't often read it like that the words of Jesus here were fulfilled in the lives of those men. Even as John would write these words he knows that the intensity of the persecution and suffering of the Disciples of Jesus is going to continue and it has continued. And it continues to
this very day and yet even in the words of Jesus did you notice the way that he says these things verse two “an hour is coming,” verse four “but when their hour comes.” Understanding the testimony Jesus says I'm going to him who sent me in verse five and “I will send.”
THESE THINGS I HAVE SPOKEN TO YOU
I want you to see dear friend the testimony that Jesus gives to us here and the privilege for what is next. Really in this message is there so much that has been given to us here. We are trying to take these very important ideas and divide them up. We're going to try to get to verse six but there's a whole flow of thought here that Jesus is giving to us. And understanding notice how he begins this such privilege having the words of Jesus at this time. Here Jesus emphasizes the coming personal persecution for the Disciples of Jesus is according to the words of Jesus. Dear friend are you in the regular habit of examining interpreting and understanding what's going on in your life based on what Jesus said to you, what he said was going to happen, and what it means to be his disciple. This is what Jesus is saying such privilege Jesus has spoken while with them. Look at verse one “These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling.” Dear friend do you hear what Jesus is saying” here Jesus proclaiming His words, “I'm saying these things to you so that you wouldn't fall away.” I was talking to someone before the service this morning and they said just look around and I see this person walking away and this person walking away. All of us can give testimony of somebody that we've known that just seems to have walked away from the faith. Well that happens because they're not holding true to the words of Jesus!
Jesus very clearly says they would stumble if they didn't hear his words and if he hadn't spoken to them. So I don't know what you have done exactly with all the teaching that we have been giving in the upper room discourse but it will be very needed in your life. I guarantee you in the days ahead if Jesus understood they would be kept from stumbling because of what he had spoken. Oh Lord help me hold onto to your words that much more for I surely would
stumble without your word. These men remember when Jesus was arrested where did they go? They took off and Jesus came back and showed himself to be that gracious loving Savior that his friendship with him was based on him choosing them not them doing everything right all the time. Aren't you glad for that Jesus can be mine and I can be His not because I did everything perfect, but because of His loving heart His salvation the kind of Savior that He is now for all who would believe in Him. Jesus gives us words so that we wouldn't stumble! Such privilege Jesus has spoken while with Him. Such privilege, dear friend, that you and I have this morning to hear the words of Jesus that we wouldn't stumble. I wonder if I'm just going to step off the stage one of these times and that might be embarrassing for all of us but it's a very spiritual reality for some because they are walking on the edge in their life. Warning for those not paying heed to the words of Jesus. Dear friend does your life reflect the reality that apart from the words of Jesus in your life you would stumble? It's such a poignant moment that Jesus is reminding them that He has spoken to them. He wants to speak to them. He wants to tell them exactly what they need to know so that they wouldn't fall away. They wouldn't be discouraged and might be kept from stumbling that they would continue to believe and they wouldn't give
Listen to the way Matthew Henry says this as he wrote several hundred years ago in his commentary. He says, “the Disciples of Jesus are apt to be offended at the cross and the offense of the Cross is a dangerous temptation even to good men to turn back from the ways of God.” It sounds a lot like what we read earlier about Thomas Cramner. Can you relate with such a man? Have there been times where maybe we haven't spoken the way we ought to speak? And yet God's grace and we realize now my testimony is sure. Jesus is the only savior. I declare Him and profess Him to be the Son of God, the Savior of the world, and the Resurrected Lord. The one who I've believed in and asked him to forgive me for my sins! And dear friend He is the only one who can save you! He is the only one who can make you right and give you a right relationship with God because of His shed blood. Matthew Henry says, “it this way or have to turn back from the ways of God or turn aside out of them or drive on heavily on them to quit either their integrity or their comfort it is not for nothing that a suffering time is called an hour of Temptation our lord Jesus by giving us notice of trouble designed to take off the tear of it that it might not be a surprise to us and of all the adversaries of our peace in this world of troubles none insults us more violently nor puts our troops more into disorder than disappointment does but we can easily welcome a guest we expect being forewarned and forearmed.”
Such privilege in having the words of Jesus at this time in the coming personal persecution for the Disciples of Jesus. Such privilege Jesus has spoken while with them as He continues in verse two saying, “and they will make you outcasts from the synagogue but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he's offering a service to God these things they will do because they have not known me or the Father.” Such privilege Jesus has spoken while with him in verse one, but also such privilege Jesus tells them what will happen in verse two. I find such great comfort when I realize that Jesus understood everything that was about to transpire. Dear friend you ever had those moments of doubt. Lord did you know this was going to happen? Did you know it was going to be like this? Did you know I was going to feel like this and I was going to face these circumstances that they were going to treat me the way they did? Did you know that I was going to suffer the way I'm suffering? Yes and His words prepare us for those moments.
For those of you that have been reading through John chapters 13, 14, 15 and 16 you probably could stand up here and give testimony about how the words of Jesus minister to you in recent days. In that moment when I began to realize Jesus spoke about these things and He is here to help me and He wants to keep me from stumbling. He knows that my heart is troubled the disciples were going to be persecuted and hated by the Jewish authorities. This is primarily what Jesus was talking about here in these verses. We come to the 21st century interpretation and there are currently people on the face of the Earth because of their religion that they're emboldened to kill such ones that believe differently than they do. I mean there are places on this earth right now that Christians are dying by the hands of religious men and they're fulfilling exactly what Jesus said in His words here in John chapter sixteen. We just don't hear about it on the news. Every once in a while, you hear some stories but recognizing the prophecy that Jesus gave not only was fulfilled and the lives of those men on that very night but it continues to be filled in in this very day. There are some many disciples suffering and dying according to the hands of religious men who would kill them in their service to their god.
Dear friend I would even say it even further for you because not only did they suffer this done by the Jewish authorities were the very religious people in that day and they persecuted the disciples and persecuted the church. Also the Apostle Paul was number one enemy of the Disciples of Jesus when he is shown to arrive on the scene standing there as they're laying they're throwing stones at Stephen who becomes the first martyr of the church and then the church is persecuted in chapter 8 and then James one of the Apostles is martyred in Acts chapter 12. you don't think this was a serious situation in the very chapter the Apostle Peter is in jail and they're praying for him knowing full well that he's the next one to lose his head. In the Roman culture
the persecution rose up against the Christians as they hated the Christian church because they believed in a one true God and they believed in one Lord and His name was Jesus and Caesar wasn't Lord and so they were persecuted not only by the Jewish authorities but they were also persecuted by the idolaters in the Roman culture.
BUT AN HOUR IS COMING
Dear friend I'm here to tell you it is no different for us today. We will be persecuted when we don't bow down to the idols of our culture. Have you noticed the things that are going on in our culture this very weekend as our culture just flaunts its sin in front of the face of God and thinks there's not going to be any judgment for it? Dear friend when you don't bow down to their idols they're like who do you serve and they want to punish you because you don't bow down. This is one of these great understandings that Jesus gives to us and the very words that He speaks to them. Again in verse two, “they will make you outcasts from the synagogue but an hour is coming for everyone it kills you to think that he's offering service to God these things they will do because they have not known me for the Father.” I want you to notice here Jesus is saying persecution is guaranteed with the truth of God in the person of Jesus and the testimony of God in the person of Jesus. The revelation that He came to give is rejected and they don't know God because God came and walked Among Us in human flesh. Jesus revealed himself as the Son of God sent by the Father, and so they don't believe God if you don't believe the testimony and the revelation of God in the person of Jesus. God the Father sent His Son you don't believe in God and that's why He is saying to them they these things they will do “because they have not known me or the Father.” Again Jesus using the word because He is saying the reason all this is happening because they really don't know me or know the father since they haven't responded to the revelation I've given of God in my very person as the Son of God. So one of the great questions you can ask somebody in evangelism is saying, “Dear friend have you responded to the testimony that Jesus gives of himself being God and that He was sent by God the Father as the Son of God to be the Savior? Have you believed and understanding the testimony that is given by Jesus of Himself and the Father?
Now notice at the end of your notes this morning. I want you to see that we are privileged and we have advantage. John will write later in verse seven, “but I tell you the truth it is your advantage I go away . . . and if I go I will send Him to you.” It's so wonderful because what Jesus is saying here is that not only persecution is guaranteed but the Helper is on the way. Jesus knows full well that the persecution is going to come but He also knows that you need the ministry of the spirit of God. The amazing thing is the Spirit cannot come and would not come unless He would go to the Father. And going to the Father means that Jesus would fulfill the mission that the Father sent Him on as the Savior. As He also goes to a cross and He suffers and He dies bearing the weight of the sin of mankind on that cross as the Father would unleash His wrath upon Him as a perfect sinless sacrifice for sin that every single one of us in this room need. First, the importance and the place of the words of Jesus in the lives of His disciples. Again the number of times that Jesus repeats “these things I have said to you . . . these things I have spoken to you.” What importance and place do the words of Jesus have in your life as His disciple? Could it be that we go back to verse one, “These things I've spoken so you might be kept from stumbling.” So don't be afraid am I going to endure or am I going to persevere! Don't be afraid of that because you won't be able to do it without Jesus’ words. Hang on to Him! Cling to Him! Tell others about Him! Find in your life that great faith and hope and trust and belief that rises up in your heart that you're willing to be whatever testimony you can be for Jesus! Whatever you've been to this point that your testimony would shine gloriously for the glory of Christ and that many people would hear and many sinners would be saved because you tell them about Jesus being the Savior. Second, thank you Lord Jesus for teaching me and telling me what I need to know by the words for me in this time of my life. Third, Jesus knows all about what's going to happen and what's going to be so listen to Him, believe Him, trust Him, and obey Him. Fourth, trust in His plans and His purposes for what He has planned for you as His disciple in the presence of those persecuting you. Obviously I have much more than I want to say to you this morning but time does not allow. I trust will be together next time to continue our study in these very important words of the Lord Jesus.
Let's pray together. Oh Lord would you magnify yourself! Would you be lifted up! Would you show yourself to be the resurrected Lord that you are now! We pray that our testimony would be that you are the Savior of the world and You are the son of God. Oh Lord Jesus I pray that every single one of us here today will be kept from stumbling because we have heard the words that you have spoken. I pray for the lives of our our children and our grandchildren that they would believe you and cling to you so they wouldn't stumble. I feel like this world is filled with stumbling blocks as you said in Matthew 18 and there are those that have walked away. I pray that we here at New Life Fellowship would be faithful to you, that none of us would stumble and fall away from you because we know you have spoken and you have spoken to us and we believe your word. May the importance and place of your words Lord Jesus have a greater priority in our lives and a greater place in our ministry here. Indeed the ministry of the Holy Spirit would be on display as the Holy Spirit would bring to remembrance the words of Jesus and that Lord Jesus we would abide in you and your words would abide in us. We pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Pastor Timothy J. Atkins
Husband, Father, Grandfather, Pastor, Teacher, Discipler, and Follower of Jesus.