07 19 2020 Meet John
It is because of God's love that we can gather this morning in his presence in the name of the father and of the son and of the holy spirit. Amen. Let us pray. Give me Arrow Lord to the prayers of your people and listen to their cries for mercy.
You oh Lord are a merciful and gracious God slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. Bearing that in mind. Let's pause for a few moments of quiet for personal confession.
And now let's pray and confess together Lord of Mercy. I confess that with me there is an abundance of sin. But in you there is the fullness of righteousness and then abundance of Mercy. I am a poor Center whose thoughts words and deeds betray my weakness and death you. Oh Lord are gracious and merciful and through Jesus Christ Our Lord. You have saved me by his blood. Give to me true repentance that I know your forgiveness and the comfort of a clear conscience. Give me also a heart made new by your grace that I love you above all things and my neighbor as myself and by your Holy Spirit do what is pleasing in your sight through Jesus Christ my Lord Ahmed. Brothers and sisters upon this your confession. I have a good news to announce to you that almighty God in his Mercy has given his son to die for you. And for his safe for gives you all your sins through the mercy of God in Christ, Jesus our savior, you have been made the children of God in baptism. So now as a called and ordained servant of Christ and by his ass already, I therefore forgive you all of your sins in the name of the father and of the son and of the holy spirit's or man. Thanks be to God. Assured of God's forgiveness we can share his peace with each other as we say the Peace of the Lord be with you. Also with you amen. Let's. Let's pray.
Oh God, so Rule and govern our hearts and Minds by your holy spirit that ever mindful of your final judgment. We may be stirred up to Holiness of living here and dwell with you in perfect Joy here after we ask this through Jesus Christ your son our Lord who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit one God now and forever.
Will be seated for the reading of God's word.
The Old Testament reading is from Isaiah. chapter 44 thus says the Lord the king of Israel and his Redeemer the Lord of hosts. I am the first and I am the last there is no beside me. There is no God. Who is like me let him Proclaim it let him declare and said it before me since I appointed an ancient people let them declare. What is to come and what will happen? Fear not nor be afraid have I not told you from of old and declared it and you are my Witnesses. Is there a god beside me? There is no Rock. I know not any this is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God. The epistle is from Romans chapter 8.
R I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us For the creation Waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God for the creation was subjected to futility not willingly and because of him who subjected it in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its from its bondage to Decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. Will we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the Pains of childbirth until now and not only the creation but we ourselves who have the first fruits of the spirit groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as Sons the Redemption of our bodies. We're in this. Hope we are saved now. Hope that is seen is not. Hope for who hopes for what he sees. But if we hope for what we do not see we wait for it with patience. Likewise the spirit helps us in our weakness for we do not know what to pray for as we ought but the spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words, and he who searches Hearts knows what is in the mind of the spirit because the spirit intercedes for the Saints according to the will of God. This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God, please rise for the reading of the Holy gospel. The good news of Jesus for today is taken from the account of Saint Matthew in Chapter 13 beginning of verse 24 Glory To You O Lord. This is another one of those Parables that Jesus spoke to the crowd, but then explain to his disciples as he was training them for they are mission as apostles. Play put another power up with me before them and said the Kingdom of Heaven may be compared to a Man Who Sold good seed in his field but a lot of his men were sleeping. His enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and board grain, then the weeds appeared also. In the service of the Master of the House came and set the master. Did you not sow good seed in your field? How bad does it have weeds? He said to them an enemy has done this. So the servants said to him then do you want us to go and gather them? But he said no less than Gathering the weeds your route up the weeds along with them let both grow together until the Harvest in at Harvest time. I will tell the Reapers gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned but gather the wheat into my barn. Santa left the crowds and went into the house and disciples came to him and asked explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field. He answered the one who throws the good seed is the son of man. The field is the world and the good seed is the sons of the Kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one. And the enemy who sold them is the devil. The Harvest is the end of the age and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire. So it will be at the End of the Age. The son of man will send his angels and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all lawbreakers and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their father. He who has ears let him hear. This is the gospel of the Lord praise to you o Christ in response to this reading of God's word. We confess together the historic Christian faith as we find it in the Nicene Creed, please note. We will pause and Ponder at the pivot Points of the Creator's we consider the the mystery of God becoming human. Let's confess.
I believe in one God the Father Almighty maker of heaven and Earth and of all things visible and invisible and in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God begotten of his father before all worlds. God of God light of light very God of very God begotten not made being of one substance with the father by whom all things were made who for us then and for our Salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary and was made man.
Add was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was married and the third day he rose again according to the scriptures and ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the father and he will come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead whose kingdom will have no end and I believe in the Holy Spirit the Lord and Giver of Life who proceeds from the father and the son who with the father and the son together is worshipped and glorified who spoke by the prophets and now I believe in one holy Christian and Apostolic church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins and I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come on man. Please be seated As we sing Our next song?
Is Mercy peace be to each of you from God our Father through Jesus Christ his only son and I were only Lord and Savior My Man. So now that we are in the thick of summer, we are also can I getting into the thick of our journey to get better acquainted with the closest friends of Jesus whom we call and refer to as the 12 apostles last week. We briefly mentioned that there are four listings of these Apostles in the New Testament. There are usually listed in three groups of four names Peters always listed first. That's kind of the chief Apostle Judas is always miss the last as the betrayer in between some of the Apostle's have several different names. So they're sorta kinda is understandably hard to just what kind of remember I like that. These lists what they all have in common, they seem to be a ranking and the ranking seems to be in descending order of closeness or or intimacy with Jesus. The high are you you are on the list i r a name is on the list the more interaction intimacy closeness there was with Jesus in the lower on the list that you are that the name appears the intimacy and closeness and interaction. There was in Jesus one of the things that I've noticed over the years and I'm sure you probably have also is the way these Apostles are represented in art or especially in icons from the Eastern Church Eastern Orthodox Church there usually a picture with a ring with with a ring around their heads. Okay, this ring is that called a Halo the hell it was not like this. The hello is sort of kind of like this which is a circle on bright light is Halo is also called a nimbus which is basically a bright cloud. And so I believe the reason why these Apostles are pictured with that Halo or are Nimbus is this going to separate them from us a little bit of soda kind of make them a little different than we are and kind of portrays them as more spiritual than the rest of us might being maybe more exalted not in a way than the rest of us might be is just ordinary rank-and-file the Christians in the end. That's kind of appropriate. I understand the need for that or the reason for that. I mean after all day Had first-hand Direct face-to-face contact with Jesus. We do not we have contact with Jesus by faith through his word where the foundation of the church and the kingdom of God on Earth. We are basically living stones in that church and in that Kingdom and members of it as more things. I remember passed away quotes saying a number of times about this particular building is pick up pick a brick. You no answer look around the church pick up brick and just think of yourself as that brick in the large reality known as Church in the large kingdom of God on Earth. So we are living stones living bricks and members of the Kingdom members of the Church of the apostles were the foundation of it.
Which kind of brings me the into a little bit of a problem with halos? Turn on the one hand are appropriate and I understand but on the other hand a problem with Halos is that it makes the apostles seem different than us.
and they weren't they were just like us. They were not some kind of spiritual supernatural beings that they were not some kind of Quasi divinities watching on Earth among men. They had deficiency. They had obstacles they had weaknesses. They had problems. They even had sins just like us I want to share a couple of them with you this morning. First of all, they like spiritual understanding. They were very slow to hear. They are very slow to understand and and and comprehend and and perceived and It ultimately to believe the things that you say. We're showing them in teaching them the New Testament. In fact close them a number of derogatory words like thick though stupid blind or some equivalent of that. Okay, these these guys were not all that different than us. So then the question becomes how did Jesus overcome this? How did Jesus overcome these deficiencies in obstacles and problems in in in his disciples this particular case. He just kept on teaching them. He just kept on repeating and teaching and getting them new insights into helping them see new facets until the ascended into heaven even in those 40 days after the resurrection. He was still trying to open their understanding their minds and their hearts and that's what he's doing today. For example in the Gospel reading as he is on the one hand giving people the parable of the wheat and the weeds or maybe some of us learned it as the parable of the wheat and the tare And then they come to him privately and ask him tell us about tell us the meaning explain this to us. So he kind of walk them through this point by Point by point so that they hope we will perceive and remember and then both of them in the future. Second of all second weakness or problem that they had or obstacle was that they lacked humility. These guys were self-absorbed. They were self-centered. They were self-promoting. They were proud. They were not unlike the people who live in New Jersey today. maybe even us They argued I'm sure you know this they argued about who would be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Two of them argued about where they were going to sit close to Jesus in his glory. One of the Gospel says their mother which is James and John their mother made it a point to ask Jesus for special treatment for her boys. Another gospel actually just says James and John come up and do that. So maybe it happened twice this conversation may be the mother tried it first and then the whoresons try it again, or maybe vice a versa cuz obviously didn't work the first time. So, how did Jesus overcome this problem or this obstacle?
Bistro du Marche Melody looks like he modeled humility for them. He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.
Later that week when nobody else would do it. He got up from his place at the table. Took a basin and a towel. how to wash your stinky dirty feet
in the following day He died on the cross for them. He humbled himself. to the point of death even death on a cross
they had no better illustration of humility and non Pride.
Then Jesus. Third problem they lack Faith third obstacle. Third weakness was their faith was I don't own tiny miniscule and faith is like a big deal. This is like a basic requirement for the kingdom for the church many times. Jesus says to them. Oh you of little faith.
There was one time Jesus said to them. How is it that you still have no faith.
How can you guys still? Not believe it. So, how did Jesus overcome this obstacle and deficiency and weakness? Well, he just kept doing miracles. Even after the resurrection, he just kept doing miracles for them. The Miracles were not for the crown. The crowd benefited from the Miracles but the Miracles were for the disciples and the purpose of miracles in the Bible is not to show you what God can do for you. That's a misuse of the Miracles. The purpose of the Miracles in the Bible is to show you who Jesus is. The purpose of the Miracles that Jesus was doing before their eyes was to get them to see and understand and believe and comprehend that he is the Christ the son of the Living God. He is a messiah.
That's what he wanted the apostles to finally believe.
They were like us. We are like them. Anybody here or anybody that you know? Church or not that can say that they have complete spiritual understanding. Anybody was complete spiritual understanding in your circle of people. Can you look in the mirror? That's the reason why we keep pretending worship. That's the reason why we keep turning in. Baby. That's the reason why we have Bible class. We keep coming week after week time after time so that we would grow in our spiritual understanding because we lack it. By the grace of God, we are growing and it just like they did. Anyone, you know when submitting yourself is completely humble.
lots of promoting not self-absorbed
That's why I said that's why we confess our sins every week. We have to sometimes I get after Pastor. Why do we confess our sins every week him in his once a month enough? Because every week we really mess up. And when we mess up it has more to do with our pride and our arrogance usually than anything else. And that's why every week we always look to the cross.
Where will be fine the answer to our pride and the answer to our sins and the answer to our arrogance?
Anyone, you know when putting yourself in Scott complete face, that's got great. Faith. That's not just kind of small.
What do you mean?
What's the reason why we always review Jesus is life again week after week after week. That's why we review his message week after week year after year. We need to see it again. We need to hear it again so that our faith can increase so that we can also believe that Jesus is the Christ the son of the Living God so that we can trust him and put all of our hope and our confidence in him. Not only in that life has to come but in this life. No matter what. We're going through. So yes, the apostles did have a unique position in the church, but also yes, they were Ordinary People Like Us. And we should be able to relate to them in in in some way and this Halo thing this members that's around their heads in art and I cannot grefe. That's an indication of their position in the Kingdom. Not your character.
at their personality So today I want as we kind of figured this up. I kind of want I want introduce you was up to another one of the 12. This one is John. So we're back to group one now and John had a brother named James and John and James his brother were fishermen on the Sea of Galilee just like Andrew and his brother Peter where we talked about and will be plugging my computer. I pretty sure and more than likely they knew each other the two sets of brothers when they were in the same craft in the same trade on the same place. Jesus called James and John sons of thunder. There was one incident that maybe that's the reason why but there was one incident where Jesus was going to the with the disciples through Samaria and its Americans were not receiving Jesus and his message very well. So so so James and John came to Jesus and said Lord, do you want us to call if fire down from heaven on these people? And Jesus said no hold your horses is not the time. It's kind of like the parable of the wheat and the weeds today. It's not the time. Hold on. These were the two who made a fuss about wanting to sit at the left and the right hand of Jesus in his glory.
And he had to tell them and their mother to back off because you do not know what you are asking the girls to sit at my right and my left. Memes to be crucified with me.
And that's already been taken care of by my father.
He's already picked those guys, so hold off. on the plus side John was the Beloved disciple. John was the disciple whom Jesus loved that's how he is referred to in the Bible John was the apostle that was reclining next to Jesus at Passover in the upper room there during Holy Week and John was the one then who asked Jesus to identify the betrayer cuz Jesus had said one of you will betray me and the other one around the table and so John said, who is it? Angie's List and identify Judas by the dipping of bread in the bowl later that night John along with the other 10 abandoned Jesus in The Garden of Gethsemane when he was arrested, but unlike the other eight. With Peter, he's secretly followed Jesus to the high priest house for his trial. So they ran away but then they started kind of figured out where he was going and followed him there and John then was allowed to come into the house and I'll be on the courtyard because the sermon servants their new him. He was known to the high priest's house and household and servants and they let him in and he did the kindness of bringing Peter with him. That's how they both got in there to see what would happen. And that's not us beautiful. Talk about that. Later. the next day
when Jesus was crucified and humbled himself to the point of death even death on a cross. from the cross
Jesus said to John. behold your mother meaning Mary First you said to Mary behold your son. And then he said to John behold your mother meaning take care of Mom for me, please. And John did that. He took her into his own home took care of her. On the third day on Easter Sunday morning. He was the one who ran with Peter. To the tune to the empty tomb because Mary Magdalene had just been there Mary Magdalene came to the apostles rapped on the door. They let her in and she said I've seen the Lord he's not there. What what what's the Peter and John actually ran the check it out? He was the one that got there first.
And on Easter evening, then they came back to the apostles and they were kind of scratching their heads not doing what what to make of it all so the later on that evening he along with the other 10 was reinstated as an apostle by Jesus when he appeared to them in there locked room please on them and said receive the Holy Spirit.
The rest of John's life we don't know too much about is a lot of it is from tradition. We know that he was exiled. We know it and ended hard labor on the island of Patmos. We know that he was poisoned but he did not succumb to the boys and he survive the poison. We know that he lived into his late 90s. We know that he was the only Apostle who did not die a violent yet. He was the only apostle that was not martyred or killed in some way because of his faith his witness and his task as an apostle and this John then gave us reserved for us Road for us. The Gospel of John the three pistols are gone or letters of John and also then the Book of Revelation John has a day just like Andrews day was November 30th and Thomas's day was December 21 John's day is December 27th, which we always observe every year not g. I wonder why we don't do that. Well because people are tired of Christmas by then but folks this year is different because this year December 27th is a Sunday. So we are going to observe Saint John's day on December 27th and John like the others has a shield or an emblem. And this is what it looks like. Basically, it's the Chalice of the serpent corresponding to the tradition that says that he was given a poisoned chalice to drink and he did not succumb to the poison. So that's that is a symbol the emblem of John. What's the takeaway? So you learned a lot of stuff about the apostles today about John? What's the takeaway?
Well, John, who was the Beloved disciple is also the disciple of love. He is the Beloved disciple. He is also the disciple of love. He wrote about love and his gospel is more than the other three. What are Matthew Mark and Luke wrote about in his in his Epistles tradition says that when he was old and frail and had to be carried into church to worship. He just simply went around saying 5 words. little children love each other
little children love each other That's what he said. That's how we ended his life little children love each other. So the takeaway for today for us from John. Is that the question of how is your love life?
How is your love for God?
How is your love for your fellow Christians?
little children love each other If you would love your family, you have not done anything Christian yet.
Does the non-believers do that the pagans do that atheists do that?
How much you love your family is not a measure of your Christian loan. Sorry.
Because as Christians we love God above all else.
And right below that as Christians we love each other. second to God
I know there are family members that are hard to love. I did it. And they're not Christians are hard to love to I get it. And sometimes God is hard to love two.
That's why John went around in his last days. telling his congregation their little children love each other
Why is it that Christians love God and each other?
Well, John answered that question very simply in his first letter is first epistle. He said we love him because he first loved us. That's why we do it. That's how we're able to do it. We love him because he first loved us. How do we know that? He loves us. He said that Jesus. Vicente Jesus into the world and went to the cross for our sins to reconcile us that God. To forgive our sins to cleanse us to prepare a place for us. He sent this Jesus. God loves you. God loves me. We love him there for can return.
And then John says in his first letter since God so loved we are to love one another.
See our love for one. Another doesn't come from within our love for one another comes from above in response to his love. That's the mark of the Christian. That's what Jesus said actually on the 90 was betrayed. By this will all men know that you are my disciples if you love one another.
so How is your love life?
You know when the early church and non-christians would say or so the tradition has it and non-christians would say The Outsiders. What's a look at how they love each other?
What are The Outsiders saying about Good Shepherd?
What are The Outsiders saying about you? When they look at your life.
Maybe we can work on that this week a little.
For Jesus sake, maybe we can work on that this week a little loving each other, even though I know we can't feed close to each other yet.
Maybe we can work on the love that we have that God has given us for him. and for one another and for our family to
Amen, all right, as we are kind of transition into the offering portion of the service. Obviously, there's that there's a plate in the back has you as usual for those of you who are here. For those of you who are watching online. We have an opportunity for you to either mail it into the church office or to make an online donation, which is on our website there and as we sort of kind of do this transition, I'd like to you to watch this video, but let me read the The Opening screen for you.
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved and standing nearby. He said to his mother woman behold your son and then he said to the disciple behold your mother and from that time. I walked with him to the crowds. hundreds pressing In from from all sides Everybody wanted to be near Jesus.
If there was no way that he could see them all. but he he's out. He felt there. first hurts their needs
and so many times he would stop. A right there in the midst of the masses minister to the individual. We were always trying to rush him. But we we thought we were protecting him.
We just didn't understand.
on that day
Is he hung there?
He looked at me.
They just caught me off guard.
He suffered so much.
I can't describe.
Can you look down at me?
he had to take care of one more person.
take care of my mom.
Mary prayers are said too much.
A little later. He breathed his last.
Open the door.
So that everyone could be a part of the family.