"NO BACKING AWAY NOW"
(A Series on Jesus)
C.R.11/8/87p.m. John 18&19
PROPOSITION:Jesus refused to back away from the cup
that the Father gave Him to drink, no matter how bitter it was, because He knew that only eternity would tell the consequence of obedience to the will of the Father.
- WHAT is God's perfect plan for your life?
- THERE isn't a person here tonight that would not like to know the answer to that question.....especially as it relates to the tough times....those times when it seems that everything is set against you.
- IT is easy to understand and accept God's direction when things are going well....you are healthy, happy and successful.
- BUT what happens when it is your marriage that is falling apart at the seams and no amount of super glue seems to be able to hold it together.
* What happens when it is your teenage daughter that is pregnant?
* What are you able to discern about God's will for your life when it is your health that is deteriorating.....and the doctors cannot seem to help?
* When you are the one laid off........where is God's plan then?
* When both of your cars die...at the same time.
* When relationships or friendships that you have hung on to for years......turn sour and let you down?
* When someone very close to you dies....and a huge aching void is left. What is God's plan for you in those times of life?
- THERE are times of life that are so happy....that if you could you would wish them on yourself forever. And who would'nt.
- THERE were times of my life that I would like to live in perpetually;
* Some snatches include;
* Surf fishing off Splash Rock.....about an hour south of Durban...in the Indian Ocean....with my Dad. Catching 2-3 pound shad as the sun comes up over the waves.
*The family was happy....healthy.
* The church was experiencing revival.
* I had just received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
* We had cousins that would come down from Johannesburg on vacation and we would have a blast together.
* Going to college was another time of my life that I could have gone on living forever.....except for the exams that is.
* Every day.......learning something that you didn't know before.
* Rita and I were married our last three years of school.....one undergraduate and two graduate.
* Dialogueing with other students and professors.....having your thinking challenged and stretched.
* Studying theory is much more fun than dealing with reality.
* Having children......is something else that I could have gone on doing....and never stopped.
* They are like little sponges that never get enough love.
* And there is all that potential for God that you and I can shape and channel and guide.
- BUT, for some reason, you cannot stay in those idyllic places your whole life.
- IT is not intended that we stay in the sunshine all the time. God has other plans.
- GOD delivered Israel out of slavery in Egypt...and they left singing and dancing....and carrying the spoils of Egypt. That was something that I bet they would have liked to experience all the time.
* But it wasn't very long before the Red Sea was in front of them and Pharoah behind them.
* And then after the Red Sea opened up for them to cross....they would have liked to stay in that glorious experience......but next was the wilderness with no food or water.
- AFTER they finally got into the Promised Land, they would liked to have stayed in Gilgal....where there was worship and repentance and celebration.
* But there was the battle of Jericho....and Ai....and much blood sweat and tears before they could settle into the land that God had said they could have.
* He had promised the land to them, but just didn't say that it would be a rose garden getting in.
- SO what do you do when it gets tough?
- WHAT happens when all hell literally breaks lose in your life? What is God's plan in those times when the dregs of the cup seem bitter to your taste?
II.JESUS LIVED TO THE FULLEST
- I BELIEVE that that is the time you take a chapter out of the life of Jesus and let that be your guide.
- LOOK at the times in His life that I just bet He would have liked to have lived forever.
* How about the times that ten thousand or more followed Him out to the country...and He sat down with them and taught them the thing closest to His heart....the kingdom of His Father? He was in His element.
* Or the time He ran into ten lepers who had no chance at life at all.....cut off from the world....their family and friends. Cast out to die....and He reversed the death sentence and healed them and restored them to life. He loved it.
* How about when He took those rough fishermen and tax collectors.....and invested three years of love and care and teaching......and discipled them to carry the treasure of the good news when He left?
* What about the times He raised people from the dead....when He called, "Lazarus, come forth!"......and he came out of the tomb, triumphant over death and the grave. Since death was the enemy, I bet Jesus could have done that all day.
* And those parables....What powerful tools to communicate the truths of the kingdom of God! Can't you see the glint in His eye as He sat down a crowd and said, "The kingdom of heaven is like a pearl merchant...who found the pearl of great price."
- THREE years of ministry came and went, like that, jammed pack full of adventure, miracles, love, glory, teaching......and His heart of love being what it was for mankind......I just know that He would have loved to have gone on revealing the Father to us forever.
- BUT it was not meant to go on quite like that.
- THE Father had a bigger plan...a higher goal.
- AND the path to our salvation.....was by way of a bitter cup for Jesus.
- THE five loaves and two fish had to be left behind......the miracles left behind.....the teaching had to cease......and what loomed ahead was the cross.
- THE bitter story is found in John 18&19.
- IT stands in such sharp contrast with the previous three years....that even Peter could not understand it and said "Never Jesus...not this kind of cup for you." And Jesus had to rebuke Him.
III.JESUS PRESSES ON TO THE GOAL
- AS I read John 18&19 I ask myself.....Where is the man who made a scourge and drove the money changers out of the temple?
- WHERE is the man who spoke....and the temple guards, come to arrest Him, were frozen in their tracks?
- WHERE is the man who could command demons...and sway masses of people with His words?
- HERE, now, in contrast to the Jesus that we have been following in the gospel, we see a man who is silenced in the face of His accusers.
- THE people who were just days before laying their coats on the ground for His entrance to Jerusalem are now calling for His crucifixion.
- LOOK at the incredible reversals in just days;
* 18:2......One of the disciples closest to Him, sitting at His left hand at the last supper, betrays Him and sells Him to the authorities for 30 pieces of silver....the price of a slave.
* 18:3 Judas shows up with armed soldiers and officials from the Sanhedrin.
* 18:4 He anticipates the worst of what is coming on Him......it says that He knew what was going to happen to Him.
* 18:12 He is bound and dragged before the religious leaders of the day.
* He is abandoned by all of His friends and followers.
* 18:17 He is denied by one of His closest and most loyal disciples.
* 18:19 He is cross-examined by the High Priest....the man supposedly representing His heavenly Father to the nation.
* 18:22 He is struck in the face by one of the temple officials.
* 18:25 Peter denies Him another two times.
* 18:28 They drag Him in fron of the political authorities for more cross-examination.
* 19:1 He is flogged....and the flesh and muscle tissue torn from His back.
* 19:2 A crown of thorns is platted and jammed down mockingly on His forehead.
* 19:3 He is repeatedly struck in the face...and spit apon.
* 19:4 The whole city rises up against Him and calls for His execution.
* 19:17 He carries His own cross up to Calvary.
* 19:18 They crucified Him.
* 19:30 He died.
* 19:42 They buried Him. It was over.
- WHAT an incredible reversal of fortune!
- WHAT a turn-about of life!
- HE went from palm branches......to the cross in a few short days.
- HOW did He make it through?
- TWO things;
1.He had an unwavering trust in the sovereignty and control of the Father in all things.
- AND for the second reason.....you have to turn back to 18:11.
* The soldiers had come to the garden to arrest Him.
* They came with swords, spears and reinforcements.
* And Peter met them with force...and drew His sword.
* And Jesus said; "Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given Me?"
- AND in that verse, I find the key to Jesus' victory.
- YOU can pass it off by saying that HE was God...and He was. But He was also man...and tempted in all points like we are.
- WHAT kept Him going in this incredible reversal?
- HE was absolutely committed to drink the cup the Father gave Him.....down to the last bitter drop.
- THERE are no guarantees that the cup of life you drink will always be sweet.
- AS a believer, nothing will ever be in your cup that the Father has not permitted. (Satan had to ask God's permission on two occassions....with Job in the O.T. and with Peter in the N.T......to send a bitter cup.)
- IT is best that you decide now, what you will do when your cup is bitter.
* Will you rebel in anger against God?
* Will you strike out at Him for allowing this to happen?
* Will you withdraw...from His presence and His people?
* Will you quit reading the Word?
* Will you quit praying?
* Will you receive condemnation and guilt?
- OR will you decide that He has your best in view at all times......and drink the cup the Father has given you for the goal He has for you?
- THIS is no time for backing away.....from the cup of the Lord!
- REMEMBER, now that Jesus has blazed the trail....you know that ultimate victory and resurrection is always the final chapter and always will be.
- AND it is because Jesus decided to drink the cup He Father had prepared for Him.
- ARE you willing to drink THE CUP HE HAS FOR YOU?
I HAVE DECIDED