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Transforming Challenges into Victory

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THE TRANSFORMATION TEMPLE – CHRISTIAN HERITAGE CATHOLIC CHURCH  4-29-07 BALTIMORE, MD

“TRANSFORMING CHALLENGES INTO VICTORIES” JOHN 20:1-18

 

ILL: A PARABLE IS TOLD OF A FARMER WHO OWNED AN OLD MULE. THE MULE FELL INTO THE FARMER'S WELL. THE FARMER HEARD THE MULE "BRAYING," OR WHATEVER MULES DO WHEN THEY FALL INTO WELLS. AFTER CAREFULLY ASSESSING THE SITUATION, THE FARMER SYMPATHIZED WITH THE MULE, BUT DECIDED THAT NEITHER THE MULE NOR THE WELL WAS WORTH THE TROUBLE OF SAVING. INSTEAD, HE CALLED HIS NEIGHBORS TOGETHER AND TOLD THEM WHAT HAD HAPPENED...AND ENLISTED THEM TO HELP HAUL DIRT TO BURY THE OLD MULE IN THE WELL AND PUT HIM OUT OF HIS MISERY. INITIALLY, THE OLD MULE WAS HYSTERICAL! BUT AS THE FARMER AND HIS NEIGHBORS CONTINUED SHOVELING AND THE DIRT HIT HIS BACK...A THOUGHT STRUCK HIM. IT SUDDENLY DAWNED ON HIM THAT EVERY TIME A SHOVEL LOAD OF DIRT LANDED ON HIS BACK...HE SHOULD SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP! THIS HE DID, BLOW AFTER BLOW. "SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP...SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP...SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP!" HE REPEATED TO ENCOURAGE HIMSELF. NO MATTER HOW PAINFUL THE BLOWS, OR DISTRESSING THE SITUATION SEEMED THE OLD MULE FOUGHT "PANIC" AND JUST KEPT RIGHT ON SHAKING IT OFF AND STEPPING UP! YOU'RE RIGHT! IT WASN'T LONG BEFORE THE OLD MULE, BATTERED AND EXHAUSTED, STEPPED TRIUMPHANTLY OVER THE WALL OF THAT WELL! THAT SEEMED LIKE IT WOULD BURY HIM, ACTUALLY BLESSED HIM...ALL BECAUSE OF THE MANNER IN WHICH HE HANDLED HIS ADVERSITY. THAT'S LIFE! IF WE FACE OUR PROBLEMS AND RESPOND TO THEM POSITIVELY, AND REFUSE TO GIVE IN TO PANIC, BITTERNESS, OR SELF-PITY...THE ADVERSITIES THAT COME ALONG TO BURY US USUALLY HAVE WITHIN THEM THE POTENTIAL TO BENEFIT AND BLESS US! REMEMBER THAT FORGIVENESS--FAITH--PRAYER-- PRAISE AND HOPE...ALL ARE EXCELLENT WAYS TO "SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP" OUT OF THE WELLS IN WHICH WE FIND OURSELVES!

THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST HAS PRESENTED US WITH MANY CHALLENGES:

PROP: THE CATALYST FOR TRANSFORMING CHALLENGES INTO VICTORY IS FAITH, TRUST THAT IS BELIEF 

INTER: WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES THAT THEY FACED AND HOW DO WE GET THE VICTORY.

I. DEVOTED DISCIPLE, MARY AND THE WOMEN HAD TWO CHALLENGES: DARKNESS AND THE STONE HAD TO BE ROLLED AWAY.  BUT BURDEN LED TO BLESSING.

I.          BELIEVE IN NEW BEGINNINGS V. 1 THE BIBLE IS FULL OF NEW BEGINNINGS. THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK WAS THE EIGHT DAY, SYMBOLIZING A NEW CHAPTER ON THIS SIDE OF THE CROSS. ON ANY GIVEN DAY, SOMETHING NEW CAN TAKE PLACE. SINCE GOD IS THE SCHEDULER OF TIME AND LORD OF SPACE AND HISTORY THE EVENTS OF THE DAY CAN BRING ABOUT NEW AND EXCITING EVENTS. FROM JOSEPH’S PROMOTION FROM THE PIT TO THE PALACE TO PAUL’S DRAMATIC CONVERSION ON THE DAMASCUS ROAD EACH DAY IF FILLED WITH NEW POSSIBILITIES AND NEW BEGINNINGS.

            II.         BELIEVE IN NEW JOY V. 11 MARY’S HEART WAS HEAVY, HER LORD HAD BEEN TAKEN AWAY AND TEARS WATERED THE PLACE WHERE SHE STOOD. SHE WAS FOUND WEEPING DESPITE THE REALITY OF THE RISEN LORD. SHE DIDN’T UNDERSTAND THE REALITY OF THE STONE THAT HAD BEEN ROLLED AWAY OR THE EMPTY TOMB. MANY COME TO CHURCH THE SAME WAY, WEEPING UNTIL THEM COME TO SEE AND HEAR THE REALITY OF THE RISEN LORD. ONE WORD FROM THE LORD TURNS MARY’S SADNESS TO GLADNESS. WEEPING MAY ENDURE FOR A NIGHT BUT JOY COMES IN THE MORNING.

            III.        BELIEVE IN THE NEWNESS OF LIFE. V. 18 MARY SAID, “I HAVE SEEN THE LORD.” SHE HAS A NEW PERSPECTIVE ON LIFE BASE ON THE GROWING DEGREES OF SEEING AND UNDERSTANDING. IN V. 1 AND V. 5 SHE AND JOHN SEE AS A FUNCTION OF THE EYE. IN V. 6 PETER SEE BY GAZING INTENTLY AND WITH PURPOSE (WE GET THE ENGLISH WORD FOR THEORY HERE). IN V. 8 JOHN SAW AND THEY BELIEVED…THAT THE BODY WAS TAKEN AWAY.  BUT BASED ON MARY TRUTH, IT MOVES JOHN TO BE THE FIRST TO BELIEVE JESUS IS ALIVE.  IN V. 11 MARY STOOPED DOWN AND LOOKED, SHE OBSERVED, SHE HEARD THE MESSAGE OF THE ANGELS AND SHE ENCOUNTERED THE MASTER. WE CANNOT EXPERIENCE OF THE NEWNESS OF LIFE FROM THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN; WE MUST LOOK TO JESUS …AND …SAW HIM WITH DISCERNMENT; SAW AND EXPERIENCED THE LORD WITH THE EYES OF HER HEART AND WITH HER MIND KNOW THAT HIS HOUR HAS COME. AND SINCE HIS HOUR HAS COME, HE HAS COME INTO HIS GLORY WE CAN BELIEVE THAT HE IS AND IS A REWARDED OF THOSE WHO DILIGENTLY SEEK HIM. BELIEVE AND BE BLESSED.  SEE WITH YOUR HEART FIRST THEN BELIEVE IN YOUR MIND

 

            II. THE DEPRESSED DISCIPLES HAD THE CHALLENGE OF FEAR

ILL: FEAR OF THE DARK - 5-YEAR OLD JOHNNY WAS IN THE KITCHEN AS HIS MOTHER MADE SUPPER. SHE ASKED HIM TO GO INTO THE PANTRY AND GET HER A CAN OF TOMATO SOUP, BUT HE DIDN’T WANT TO GO IN ALONE. “IT’S DARK IN THERE AND I’M SCARED.” SHE ASKED AGAIN, AND HE PERSISTED. FINALLY SHE SAID, “IT’S OK—JESUS WILL BE IN THERE WITH YOU.” JOHNNY WALKED HESITANTLY TO THE DOOR AND SLOWLY OPENED IT. HE PEEKED INSIDE, SAW IT WAS DARK, AND STARTED TO LEAVE WHEN ALL AT ONCE AN IDEA CAME, AND HE SAID:  JESUS, IF YOU’RE IN THERE, WOULD YOU HAND ME THAT CAN OF TOMATO SOUP?”

I.   WE BELIEVE AND RECEIVE NEW PEACE. V.19

FEAR IS NOTHING NEW / FEAR, PHOBIA OF THE PEOPLE THAT LEADS THEM TO PANIC; FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN, FEAR OF.. SICKNESS, DISEASE, WAR, FAMINE, NATURAL DISASTER, FINANCIAL COLLAPSE, GLOBAL WARMING. AS THE LIGHT OF A NEW DAY WAS GONG DOWN, THE DISCIPLES WERE LOCKED IN THE UPPER ROOM FILLED WITH FEAR. IMP. JESUS CAN TAKE US FROM PANIC TO PEACE. BECAUSE HE HAS OVERCOME THE WORLD TXT: HE WILL KEEP US IN PERFECT PEACE WHOSE MIND IS STAYED ON THEE

HE IS THE PRINCE OF PEACE. HE SAID, IN THIS WORLD THERE WILL BE TRIALS BUT BE OF GOOD CHEER FOR I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD. APP: FEAR SHOULD BE A REVERENCE OF GOD.

            II.         WE BELIEVE AND RECEIVE NEW DIRECTION V. 21B AS THE FATHER HAS SENT ME, SO SEND I YOU.  PEACE FROM THE SAVIOR – PEACE OF MIND DUE TO NEW REVELATION OF THE RISEN LORD.

PEACE FOR SERVICE - THE DISCIPLES RECEIVED THE GIFT OF PEACE THAT WOULD BE NEEDED TO FULFILL THEIR COMMISSION. HE WAS SENDING THEM TO CONTINUE THE WORK HE STARTED.

MP. JESUS NEVER LOST SIGHT OF HIS MISSION AND HE DIDN’T WANT THE DISCIPLES TO LOSE SIGHT OF THEIR MISSION.  FOLLOW ME AND I WILL MAKE YOU FISHERS OF MEN - NLT MATTHEW 4:19 JESUS CALLED OUT TO THEM, "COME, BE MY DISCIPLES, AND I WILL SHOW YOU HOW TO FISH FOR PEOPLE!"

APP: GOD HAS SOMETHING FOR YOU TO DO; PASS IT ON

ILL: SAVING KNOWLEDGE IS DIFFUSED OVER THE EARTH, NOT LIKE SUNLIGHT BUT LIKE TORCHLIGHT, WHICH IS PASSED FROM HAND TO HAND.

            III.        WE BELIEVE AND RECEIVE NEW POWER V.22-23

HE BREATHED ON THEM, THIS RECALLS TO MIND CREATION AND THE CREATION ADAM WHERE THE LORD BREATHED AND HE BECAME A LIVING SOUL.  THIS INFUSION OF THE BREATH OF GOD WAS THE HOLY SPIRIT THAT WOULD ENCOURAGE AND KEEP THEM UNTIL THE DAY OF PENTECOST.  IMP. HE GAVE THEM AUTHORITY TO SERVE. TEXT: HE ROSE WITH ALL POWER

APP: WE HAVE POWER TO SERVE, WE HAVE THE SPIRIT IN WHICH TO SERVE

ILL:   ARCHBISHOP SECKER USED TO SAY, "GOD HAS THREE SORTS OF SERVANTS IN THE WORLD: SOME ARE SLAVES, AND SERVE HIM FROM FEAR; OTHERS ARE HIRELINGS, AND SERVE FOR WAGES; AND THE LAST ARE SONS, WHO SERVE BECAUSE THEY LOVE."WE RECEIVE GOD’S GUARANTEE TO SEE HIS GLORY

 

III. THE DOUBTING DISCIPLE WAS CHALLENGED BY DISBELIEF. THOMAS.

 ILL: YOU DOG CAN’T SWIM. DO YOU BELIEVE THAT THE RESURRECTED LORD IS RISEN TODAY! WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE?  IN THE TEXT, JESUS HAS RISEN AND APPEARED TO MARY MAGDALENE, PETER AND JOHN, THE DISCIPLES ON THE EMMAUS ROAD, THE WOMEN AND THE DISCIPLES AT LARGE WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THOMAS THE TWIN. THOMAS HEARS THE REPORTS, AND RETORTS, “UNLESS I SEE HIS HANDS WITH THE WOUNDS AND PUT MY FINGER INTO IT’S PRINT…AND MY HAND IN HIS SIDE I WILL NOT BELIEVE. WHAT MADE THOMAS DOUBT THE REPORT?  WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM DOUBTING THOMAS?

I THERE WAS ISOLATION IN PLACE OF ASSOCIATION V. 24.  THOMAS NOT WITH THE OTHERS WHEN JESUS APPEARED TO THE TWELVE. WE DON’T KNOW WHERE HE WAS BUT HIS ISOLATION FUELED THE ELEMENT OF DOUBT. DOUBT IS THE STATE OF BEING UNCERTAIN ABOUT THE TRUTH. IT SAYS THAT THERE IS AN ELEMENT OF SUSPICION. THE IMPLICATION IS THAT THE DEVIL ALWAYS SOWS SEEDS OF DOUBT WHEN WE REMOVE OURSELVES FROM THOSE OF THE FAITH. THOMAS WASN’T REALLY DOUBTING, HE WAS DISBELIEVING. ON HIS LIPS WERE THE WORDS, “I TOLD YOU SO.”  DOUBT IS ACTIVE FOR A DEGREE OF HOPE AND UNBELIEF IS THE NEGATIVE SIDE OF NO HOPE. THOMAS FELL SUBJECT TO THE TRAPS SET FOR EVE, SAUL, DAVID AND OTHER WHO FOUND THEMSELVES ALONE WITH THEMSELVES AUDIENCE TO THE DEVIL WHO WAS ACTIVELY CASTING DOUBT AGAINST THE EVIDENCE OF TRUTH.  DON’T HUG YOUR OWN ALONENESS.

II. THERE WERE FEELINGS IN PLACE OF FACTS. V. 25.  FEELINGS ARE TIED TO THE DISPOSITION OF OUR PERSONALITY. WE ARE INCLINED TO BE POSITIVE OR PESSIMISTIC; WE ARE INCLINED TO SEE THE GLASS AS HALF EMPTY OR HALF FULL. THOMAS HAD A NEGATIVE PESSIMISTIC DISPOSITION WITH A TOUCH A CYNICISM. WHEN JESUS SAID HE WAS GOING TO RAISE LAZARUS SO THAT THEY MIGHT BELIEVE, THOMAS SAID, LET US ALSO GO THAT WE MAY DIE WITH HIM.” HE WAS CYNIC OF THE PAST AS WELL AS THE FUTURE FOR IN JN 14, ABOUT MY FATHER’S HOUSE.. INTERRUPTS AND SAYS WE DON’T KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GOING OR THE WAY. THOSE FOUL FEELING WILL CAUSE YOU TO MISS THE BRIGHTNESS OF THE DAY. BAD FEELINGS ARE BAD FOR YOUR BEHAVIOR. PESSIMISTIC CHRISTIAN IS AN OXYMORON! WHEN IT’S ALL SAID AND DONE, THERE THE EXCLAMATION VERSUS THE QUESTION MARK. BUT THE FACTS…THEY KEPT ON TELLING HIS JESUS IS ALIVE. THEY REPEATED IT OVER AND OVER AGAIN, HE IS ALIVE; I SAW HIM; WE SAW HIM…WE HAVE SEEN THE LORD.

            III. THERE WAS REVELATION BEFORE INSPIRATION V. 26-29.   THOMAS MADE IT BACK TO THE UPPER ROOM, THEN JESUS SHOWS UP, APPEARS IN THE UPPER ROOM WITH THE BENEDICTION OF PEACE, SHALOM. JESUS REVEALS HIMSELF TO A RESISTANT THOMAS…REVELATION IS THE UNCOVERING OF SOMETHING, A BRINGING TO THE LIGHT THAT WHICH WAS HID.  HEB.1:1 GOD REVEALS HIMSELF THROUGH HIS SON; AN NOW WE HAVE SPECIAL REVELATION OF THE WORD OF GOD, THE BIBLE, THE HOLY SCRIPTURES. THE REVELATION OF JESUS LED TO INSPIRATION, MY LORD, MY GOD.

WHAT IS THE CATALYST FOR TRANSFORMING CHALLENGES TO VICTORY, IT’S FAITH,

AND HOW DO I KNOW WE HAVE THE VICTORY; WE LOOK AND LISTEN TO THE EVIDENCE.

 

 

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