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From Now On

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From Now On

Intro
John 14:1–4 NIV
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
John 14:1–14 ESV
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves. “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
John 14:1–7 ESV
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
john 14:1------
john 14:1------
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Pray
firstslidepic - meno word thingy
Now many of us know this scripture as one of the many scriptures most pastors will use for funerals. And it has a very good message for those moments. Those times when we wonder about the future, about those things we can’t see, and will never see on this side of life.
We find comfort in the idea that Jesus has prepared for us a place, a home, some translations even say mansions! It is always good to hear that there is a place set aside for us when this life has finally past us by.
But is it just the place? That is the real question. You see, the word that Jesus uses, and that John relays to us here, is mone (mon-ay), a word that happens only twice in the New Testament, both times from Jesus’ lips.
But that word is a derivative, really. It is a word that comes from a word with a similar but different meaning just a few moments later. And while our understanding of the word as mansions, or houses, is technically correct, it doesn’t really hit at the true heart of what the word is hinting at.
You see it comes from the root word meno, a word that appears 102 times in the New Testament. But church, 54 of those times it is used it is used by John. Over half of the occurences!
Now that doesn’t mean that everyone else just didn’t get it, but it does call us to pay attention and figure out why. And to me, this tells us that John, the disciple that Jesus loved, a member of Christ’s most trusted inner circle, felt like he needed to convey to us all some important truth by using that word so much.
And to know the truth, you simply must know the meaning.
And meno means to remain. To abide. To continue to stay present. To endure. To be kept continually.
Abide in me, Jesus says. Remain in my presence. Continue to stay with me. Endure. Never leave my side. This is a relationship, church, that is much like a marriage. This word calls us to become one with God. To continue to remain present with Him and endure all that life has for us, keeping Him in view continually.
Abide in me.
[pic of houses]
So what about these houses?
Well translators felt like the word here was referring both to abiding, but also to a place. So the word is probably best translated as “abiding place.”
In my father’s house there are many abiding places. There are plenty of places to stay close. There are lots of places where you can continue to stay in His presence.
That is what John is getting at. We are all being called by Christ to come stay with Him, as closely as possible.
Tie in the “abide” idea. Use chapter 15 just before close to bring home with celebration ending keying on “from now on...”
“But we don’t know how,” you might say. That’s ok. Thomas has us covered right?
John 14:5 ESV
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”
We just don’t know how to stay that close do we?
Lord, how do I get there? How do I get to where you are going? And there in that question lies part of the problem.
We think Jesus is only talking about a physical destination - a place to be found.
Don’t get me wrong, Jesus is, in part, talking about a destination - heaven - but He is also talking about the journey! A life to be lived!
You know how to get where Jesus is going, right church? I mean, if I knew the way to the greatest milkshake in the world, and you all wanted one, and I said I am going to get one, you know the way, right?
John 14:6 ESV
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 14
Just follow me! That is all you need to do!
So when Thomas, and all of us, say to God “I don’t know what to do, or how to get there,” God says to us, “just follow me!” Abide in me! I am the way. I am the truth. I am the life!
Don’t just follow me to the cross, follow me to the tomb, and to the resurrection, and through every moment of this life, just follow - abide in me - Jesus says!
Spend some time on “meno” in “abiding places.” This idea that we were made to live with Jesus. We are to be a part of Him and at home with Him. Contrast against our desire to live in relationship with this world and others, when in reality we were made to have a relationship with God through Christ that would then bear fruit in our worldly lives. God first always.
But abiding in Him is pretty hard. It isn’t hard because we aren’t capable, or because He asks too much either. No, it’s hard because we forget just how amazing He really is. We are lured away from Him by greed, or envy, or any other of our more base desires.
So we walk through this journey of life acting as if we only are called to abide with Him, or live with Him, in Heaven. Like we weren’t called to take up our own cross, and follow Him.
John 14:7 ESV
If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
But if we just knew Him. If only there were some way we could know God.
From Now On...
Of course you see where I am going. We do know Him. At the very least, we claim to know Him!
Jesus says as much right there in verse 7! From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him. Such a definitive statement from God. You DO know Him! You HAVE seen Him!
I feel like the dad in me is crying out when I read that text. I am sure anyone who has ever even been around kids can relate to that. They all do weird stuff, and they process information differently than we do, obviously. And when they process it differently, and we don’t see that, we have those moments don’t we?
“Now I told you to do your homework, why are you watching TV?”
“I don’t have any homework!” You DO have homework, I HAVE SEEN IT!
I saw you take that toy. You do have to brush your teeth.
And then it comes to this eventually, doesn’t it? Alright - from now on, the first person to cry over a toy gets to lose it! Or something similar.
From now on.
That phrase, at least from our mouths, is so temporal, but from God’s, is so absolute. It changes things church. It makes clear that whatever happened before this moment is no longer going to happen!
John 14:7 NIV
If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
From now on...
You know God. You know what is right. You know what’s expected, because church, you know the one who expects it!
But our unwillingness to follow begs the question, do we really know Him? Do we really commit our lives to knowing God and what He is all about and what He wants? Or do we know His face, and what He is about, and fail to commit enough of ourselves to know Him fully?
Don’t get me wrong, I am not at all insinuating that some have a false faith, what I am asking is do we - once we are born again into our faith - keep that same drive that same passion pointed at God or do we go back into our old habits and tendencies as if God never entered our lives?
Are we blinded by the allure of this life, especially a life covered by Grace, that we, as Paul puts it, “continue in sin so that Grace may abound?”
Do our physical wants, our material needs, our social desires blind us to what we are supposed to know about God? Does the life we think we all deserve and want keep us from abiding in the very one we were made to live life with!
Are we blinded by ourselves from seeing what is really most valuable?
[the greatest showman]
There was a movie released this past year that works it’s way through those same ideas. It does so in such a way that it makes the ideas very identifiable. The movie is “The Greatest Showman,” and it is about P.T. Barnum’s rise to fame. In it, P.T. Barnum, a dreamer who finds himself unable to provide for the family he loves so much, gets this idea to start a show. So he assembles a crew of people with gifts, and some who look different, in order to become rich and famous.
And he does. And like most of us, whether we ever can become rich or not, as he achieves a higher level of success in life, he begins to look past those things that matter the most. His possessions, his desires, his social standing - they all begin to take precedence over his family, over his cause, and even over the business that he created.
He becomes blinded by all of it, and begins to lose everything he once had, and loved.
Eventually, because of his lack of attention and devotion, his wife leaves him. Even his show that he loved so much actually burns to the ground. And there, broken by life, and blinded by his own now failed ambition, he sits alone at a bar, not knowing which way to go.
I am sure that most of you have felt that feeling. We have all felt so distraught that we didn’t know which way to go? Which way to turn? What to do next?
But his friends
Where do I even go from here? Those times when we feel like we have lost everything.
Well our text tells us. I think that is why this text is so helpful for those who have experienced loss. But at the same time, it is just as useful for us! It reminds us of our direction and cause just as Barnum’s friends did in that movie.
Come home...
Jesus went to prepare a place for you to come. The one who is the way, the truth, and the life, has prepared a path, and an abiding place just for you! One that isn’t reserved for the after life alone, but for now!
That one you look past. That one you put on the shelf. That one that you didn’t feel ready to give time and attention to, He is right there waiting for you, and in fact hopes that you will abide in Him.
And you know Him. You have seen Him. You have been a part of all that He is! But we need to stop being blinded by our desires long enough to see the Way to be where He is.
P.T. Barnum, when faced with that same moment, figures it out. It is a beautiful moment, and a beautiful song. He sings this:
I saw the sun begin to dim And felt that winter wind Blow cold A man learns who is there for him When the glitter fades and the walls won't hold
'Cause from then, rubble One remains Can only be what's true If all was lost Is more I gain 'Cause it led me back To you.
From now on These eyes will not be blinded by the lights From now on What's waited till tomorrow starts tonight Tonight Let this promise in me start Like an anthem in my heart From now on
[pic of baptism]
Church I want to be very clear about what Jesus is reminding us of in this moment. When you rise out of those waters, you rise to a NEW life! This isn’t the old life with the benefit of eternity on your side! This is a new thing! Do you not perceive it! This is a life that you were created to live by abiding in the very essence - in the presence of the Savior of the world!
This isn’t a cultural qualifier. This isn’t a social gambit we are running through. This is in indwelling of the Holy Spirit! This is the life that we are called to when we are called out of the grave of our lives of sin!
And church we know that! We know it, but we are blinded by our desires. We are blinded by fame, or prestige, or keeping up with the Jones’, or worst by our own selfish need for material wealth and social power! And when we rely on those things, those fleeting, unhelpful, temporal things, we loose sight of the one who remains! We lose sight of the one who saves us from the pain of this life! The one who is there for us when the world around us crumbles, and no stone we have managed to stack on another is left standing!
[fromnowonpic??]
You know that person! You know because you have seen! You have seen the days when your heart was so full that you felt it would burst from the utter joy found in the Lord! You have felt His peace. You have known that feeling that can only come from the Creator Himself - that feeling of total and complete surrender and victory! That absolute and overwhelming love that falls on those who choose to love our Savior!
You know Him. You know the way to Him. You know He is truth. You know that life can really only be lived to the full by abiding in Him. We all know that, because we have seen it! We know that Jesus is the Son. And if we know the Son then we know the Father!
SO FROM NOW ON WE WON’T IDENTIFY SUCCESS BY BALANCING WHO WE ARE BY WHAT WE THINK OTHERS WANT US TO BE! FROM NOW ON, THERE IS NO TIME TO ACCEPT OUR LIVES AS THEY ARE! FROM NOW ON, WE CHOOSE TO LIVE INTO THE CALLING OF CHRIST IN EACH OF OUR LIVES! THE CALL TO SERVICE, THE CALL TO LOVE, THE CALL TO BE REMADE - THE CALL FROM THE GRAVE THAT REMINDS US THAT DEATH ISN’T SOMETHING TO BE FEARED! WHAT MUST BE FEARED IS THE EMPTY LIVES OF THOSE WHO CLAIM TO FOLLOW CHRIST, BUT ARE BLINDED BY THE LIGHTS OF THIS LIFE! BLINDED BY THE WAY OF MEN! BLINDED BY THE TRUTH OF THIS WORLD THAT IS IN FACT A LIE! BLINDED BY A LIFE THEY FEEL THEY DESERVE!
NO, FROM NOW ONE WE KNOW THE TRUTH! FROM NOW OWN WE KNOW THE WAY! FROM NOW ON, WE KNOW THE LIFE TO WHICH WE ARE CALLED!
FROM NOW ON WE ABIDE WITH OUR SAVIOR AND CREATOR! FROM NOW ON WE WILL NO LONGER ABIDE IN OUR OWN CREATION, AND OUR OWN WAYS, AND OUR OWN TRUTH, BUT IN THE VERY PRESENCE OF OUR GOD! FROM NOW ON, OUR LIVES HAVE BEEN REMADE AND WE ARE NOW THE PROPERTY OF THE KING OF KINGS - AND OUR PURPOSE AND PLACE IS BY HIS SIDE DOING HIS WORK FOR HIS CREATION!
WE ARE NOT OUR OWN, AND CHURCH, FROM NOW OE, WE MUST LIVE THAT REALITY OUT IN OUR WORLD!
[pichere]
And we must do that, church, because if we would just slow down for a second, and abide in Christ, we would see that truth. We would see that when all the walls come crumbling around us, there in the rubble stands Jesus. And when we stop and see Him there, we remember who all this was for in the first place.
From now on, we must live with, and for, Jesus. That is the only way, that is our only truth.
That is our life.
[invitation]
But when I stop And see you here I remember who all this was for
Spend some time on “meno” in “abiding places.” This idea that we were made to live with Jesus. We are to be a part of Him and at home with Him. Contrast against our desire to live in relationship with this world and others, when in reality we were made to have a relationship with God through Christ that would then bear fruit in our worldly lives. God first always.
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