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The Ministry of Amazing Love

John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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The ministry of Amazing Love begins with discipleship and continues with spiritfilled obedience to God.

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Introduction

Timing is everything! Last week we were at a conference. For the first service of the conference we wanted to be close to the front, so we could see everything and to more engaged in the service. Our traveling companions arrived at the doors incredible early. As we got to the front of the line, we found our friends. There were a bunch of people in line, but when our time to go in happened, the guy manning our doors, had a hard time getting the doors open. I thought the people in line would trample him. His timing was horrible. It was a bad time to have a hard time. We rush in and get a seat in a just the right spot, I know this because that’s where we sat.

Training Time

John 7:1–2 AV 1873
1 After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him. 2 Now the Jews’ feast of tabernacles was at hand.
A. After these things: About 6 months after . In the previous chapter it was about the passover time, April, now it is Feast of Tabernacles which is in October.
B. Christ spent all that time preaching and teaching in Galilee where His persecutors were less plentiful.
C. We do not put our ministry in danger, when the right time and place would serve it and the program of God better.
John 2:4 AV 1873
4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.
John 2:

If any person think it strange that Christ sought a place of concealment, who, by the mere act of his will, could break and render powerless all the efforts of his enemies, it is easy to reply, that he remembered the commission which he had received from the Father, and determined to confine himself within the limits which belonged to him as man; for, having taken upon him the form of a servant, he emptied himself, till the Father exalted him, (Philip. 2:6–8.)

while Christ avoided dangers, he did not turn aside a hairsbreadth from the course of duty; for to what purpose would life be maintained and defended, but that we may serve the Lord? We ought always to take care, therefore, that we do not, for the sake of life, lose the reasons for living.

D. Discipleship is everything

Most of the six months, however, was spent discipling the Twelve. The Lord taught them extensively (Matt. 16:13–27; 17:19–23; 18:1–35), including telling them for the first time of His impending rejection, crucifixion, and resurrection (Matt. 16:21; cf. 17:22–23). He also revealed to the inner circle (Peter, James, and John) a glimpse of His divine glory (Matt. 17:1–8).

A priority on discipleship is the key to our future. Growing together is how we take a completely immature Christian and help them become a discplemaker themselves.

That Jesus spent only two days with the large crowd (perhaps 20,000 people) mentioned in chapter 6 but six months predominantly involved with the Twelve is highly significant. It shows that the primary focus of the Lord’s ministry was not on mass meetings, but on discipleship. He devoted His time and effort to the small core group of men who would carry on His ministry after He was gone. The Christian church is in large measure the legacy of those eleven men (plus Matthias [Acts 1:26] and Paul [1 Cor. 9:1]), who faithfully discipled their followers who discipled others and so on, down through the centuries to our own day.

Discipleship must also be a priority for the church. The Lord did not commission the church to attract large crowds, but to go and make disciples (Matt. 28:19). Likewise, Paul charged the young pastor Timothy, “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2). The measure of any church’s success is not the size of its congregation, but the depth of its discipleship.

I heard a quote last week from preacher. He said that, “Our worship will only go as high as our theology is deep.”—John MacArthur

Temptation Time

John 7:3-
John 7:3–5 AV 1873
3 His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. 4 For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world. 5 For neither did his brethren believe in him.
A. Perform on a more public stage. His brothers wanted Christ to do his special tricks for all to see.

Jesus’ brothers challenged Him to perform His miracles openly, on the grand stage that Jerusalem would provide during the Feast of Tabernacles. Then, they reasoned, His disciples from both Galilee and Judea would see the works which He was doing—works which demonstrated that He was in fact the Messiah. Further, some of the disciples who had recently abandoned Him (6:66) might be won back. The Lord’s brothers were not, as some mistakenly think, zealous for Him to show His glory.

B. Show publically who you are, perhaps others will believe and the rest will come back.

Their comments appear to have had a dual motivation. First, they may have wanted to see Jesus perform miracles, so they could decide for themselves whether or not His works were genuine. Second, they were probably expecting a political Messiah, like the crowd Jesus fed (6:14–15). Thus, in their minds, the acid test of Jesus’ messiahship would be at Jerusalem (the political center of Israel), and not in Galilee. If the ruling authorities at Jerusalem signed off on Jesus, His brothers would also accept Him as the Messiah.

Philippians 2:21 AV 1873
21 For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.
Philippians 2:20–22 AV 1873
20 For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. 21 For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s. 22 But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel.
Proverbs 20:6 AV 1873
6 Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: But a faithful man who can find?
C. Here the brothers demonstrated their doubt but requesting Jesus to show the world, but John adds that His brothers did not believe.
John 7:4 AV 1873
4 For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world.
John 7:4–5 AV 1873
4 For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world. 5 For neither did his brethren believe in him.

“If You do these things, show Yourself to the world,” reveals their doubt and unbelief. The word if foreshadows the mocking unbelief that Jesus faced on the cross (Matt. 27:40), and is reminiscent of Satan’s challenge (4:3, 6) during Christ’s temptation.

“If You do these things, show Yourself to the world,” reveals their doubt and unbelief. The word if foreshadows the mocking unbelief that Jesus faced on the cross (Matt. 27:40), and is reminiscent of Satan’s challenge (4:3, 6) during Christ’s temptation.

The apostle John’s footnote, For not even His brothers were believing in Him, explains why they spoke to Him the way they did. Earlier in His ministry, their unbelief had led them to think He had lost His mind (cf. Mark 3:21, 31–34). Nothing the Lord had done since then had penetrated their hard hearts. It would take His resurrection from the dead to finally persuade them that He was the Son of God (Acts 1:14).

D. His brothers believe He is crazy
Mark 3:21 AV 1873
21 And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.
Mark 3:31–34 AV 1873
31 There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him. 32 And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. 33 And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? 34 And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren.
This is what people will think of us, that we are crazy, but when they see Christ for who He is they will believe also:
Acts 1:14 AV 1873
14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.

Two World Views

John 7:
John 7:6 AV 1873
6 Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready.
John 7:6-9
John 7:6–9 AV 1873
6 Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready. 7 The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. 8 Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come. 9 When he had said these words unto them, he abode still in Galilee.
A. My Time

He would not allow His brothers’ skepticism to dictate His actions. His course of action was determined by the sovereign Father who orchestrated everything in His time.

Christ also rejected pressure from His family to reveal Himself prematurely. But He would not manifest Himself before the right time, the moment chosen by the Father.

Rejecting pressure to have the right timing is everything. Everyone is okay with using your political capital to push their agenda. Jesus brothers wanted Him to either be a liar or the political messiah. So they urged Him forward in that. Jesus wisely waited on the Father’s timing and plan. We as a ministry must wait on the Father’s timing and plan. We cannot allow agendas, drama or the world at large to dictate ministry course. We are spiritually distinct. We have all the time in the world to wait on the creator of the world.
Psalm 27:14 AV 1873
14 Wait on the Lord: Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: Wait, I say, on the Lord.
Psalm 27:13–14 AV 1873
13 I had fainted, unless I had believed To see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 14 Wait on the Lord: Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: Wait, I say, on the Lord.
John 7:6 AV 1873
6 Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready.
B. Your Time
Jesus here makes a clear distinction between His time and their time.
1 Corinthians 2:14 AV 1873
14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Since His brothers were of the world and really did not confront the wrong thinking of the day, they could go anywhere at anytime. As part of the unbelieving world, they had no concern about operating on God’s timeline. They were on their own timeline with their own set of priorities. The sad truth is that there are a large number of so called Christians who fall into this category. They aren’t concerned with operating on God’s timeline, why should they care.
Proverbs 5:21 AV 1873
21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, And he pondereth all his goings.
Isaiah 55:8–9 AV 1873
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are my ways higher than your ways, And my thoughts than your thoughts.
C. The Word and the world.
John 7:8 AV 1873
8 Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come.
John 7:7 AV 1873
7 The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.

Unlike Jesus, they would face no hostility at Jerusalem from the Jewish authorities. The world could not hate them, since they were part of it, and it loves its own (15:19). But the world, as Jesus reminded His brothers, “hates Me because I testify of (or against) it, that its deeds are evil”

Since it is controlled by Satan (1 John 5:19), the activities and priorities of the world are inherently sinful. When believers testify against the world and confront its wickedness, like Jesus did, they arouse its antagonism and hatred (cf. 15:18–19; 17:14; Matt. 10:22; 24:9; Luke 6:22; 1 John 3:13; 2 Tim. 3:12; James 4:4).

John 7:8–9 AV 1873
8 Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come. 9 When he had said these words unto them, he abode still in Galilee.
Since it was not Jesus time, and He knew this from the Father, He would wait for the Father.
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