Jesus keeps talking about leaving them, where is He going, and why can't they go with Him? They were supposed to be rulers in His kingdom! If He is going to die then how will we see Him again in a little...
A lot of people can quote the twenty-third Psalm or at least get a good start on it but have you really thought about the words? David's words reveal that he is extremely close with God, I don't think that anybody else has ever spoken of their relationship with almighty God in such a warm affectionate manner.
Psalms 23:1-6 The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His name.
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me. Your rod and Your staff protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely Your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.
God cares for and protects His sheep
I found a Bible study that points out that many of the compound names for Jehovah in the Old Testament focus on the type of relationship that David talks about in Psalm 23:
"I shall not want” Jehovah-jireh, “the Lord will provide” (Genesis 22:14)
"He leads me beside still waters” Jehovah-shalom, “the Lord our peace” (Judges 6:24)
"He restoreth my soul” Jehovah-Rophe, “the Lord who heals” (Exodus 15:26)
"He leads me in the paths of righteousness” Jehovah-Tsidkenu, “the Lord our righteousness” (Jeremiah 33:16)
"thou art with me” Jehovah-shammah, “the Lord is there” (Ezekiel 48:35)
"presence of mine enemies” Jehovah-nissi, “the Lord our banner” (Exodus 17:15)
"anointest my head” Jehovah-M’Kaddesh, “the Lord who sanctifies” (Leviticus 20:8)
Jesus is the Shepherd that gave His life.
The Good Shepherd loves his sheep and He makes His love known by the great lengths that He will go to in order to take care of them. Under the old covenant in the Old Testament, the sheep died for the shepherd, but under the new covenant, the Shepherd died for the sheep!
John 10:27-28 Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.”
Jesus left the riches of heaven to join us in our world and experience our heartache but He went way beyond our experience and suffered much more than most of us will ever endure. Jesus is the Shepherd that we need, the only source of salvation, safety, and sustenance for the sheep, His personal care for the sheep makes it possible to have a full and rewarding life if we follow the Shepherd.
There has been nothing but darkness in the land, the Bible and world history tell us that when Jesus came to our world it was a very dark time. The world was in turmoil as various conquering empires came and then they fell as they became the conquered.
After the Babylonian captivity the Jews had to deal with the Persians and the Greeks and finally the Romans came along. Each of these groups brought wars to Israel, changes in their government and attempts to change their religious beliefs.
The Bible tells us that at just the right time Jesus came into our world, I have to wonder if maybe part of it being the right time meant that the world was so dark that surely the people would take notice of the Light and come running to it.
John 12:46 I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in Me will no longer remain in the dark.
But man has an appetite for darkness and his passions will push him further and further into the dark as he continues to look for what he is missing. We keep looking for the good life where it cannot be found. Even if we say that we hate the dark we still have a carnal desire to plunge deeper and deeper into the blackness to find our own answers.
Light is a characteristic of God that the Messiah was predicted to have. (Isaiah 9:2, 49:6, 60:1) Everybody in the temple knew that Jesus was telling them that he is the Messiah, they know that the light of the Messiah is what their hopes have been longing for, but this guy doesn't look like a Messiah to them.
Suddenly, in this dark world where immorality, injustice, and sin is glorified, the Great Light appears and it cannot be hidden, Jesus gave light to everyone, too bad that everyone didn't welcome the light.
John 3:19-21 And the judgment is based on this fact: God's light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.
God sent light into our world because we needed the light. He gave us the sun for physical life on this planet and he gave us the Son so that we could have spiritual life.There wasn't any way that we could get out of the dark on our own, out of God's love and mercy he gave us light so that we wouldn't have to live without hope in darkness, misery and death.
I need to love the Light and allow it to expose the things that God wants to change in me. I need to allow the Light to shine through me so that the world can see the truth of the gospel and have the opportunity to see their sin, choose to repent and live in the light.
John 1:1-5 In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through Him, and nothing was created except through Him.
The Word gave life to everything that was created, and His life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.
This is a different genealogy from what you see at the beginning of Matthew and Luke's gospels, they both show us the human genealogy of Jesus, but John goes way back beyond the humanness of Jesus and he points out the fact that Jesus is God and since He is then He always existed with God.
The four books of the Bible that tell us about Jesus time on earth are written to different audiences and therefore they give us a different perspective on who Jesus is. Matthew shows us Jesus as the Messiah and King of Israel, in Mark there isn't a genealogy because Christ is presented as a Lowly Servant which wouldn't have His lineage tracked, in Luke He is the Son of Man rejected by Israel. John the apostle and author of this book wants us to know that Jesus is the Son of God.
Jesus Christ is nothing less that God in a body, He isn't some mystic, divine being up in heaven somewhere and He isn't an angel that got a promotion. Jesus was there with God in the beginning when God decided to create, Jesus was there when God gave physical life to this world and now he has come to earth to give us spiritual life.
It is amazing that the world is still talking about this man. Every other great man in history combined doesn't get the amount of attention that Jesus gets. In his book "Jesus: Why The World Is Still fascinated With Him" Tim LaHaye states:
"The philosophers Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, who together are said to have formed the philosophical foundation of Western culture. And yet, despite being in the public eye for only three and a half years, Jesus and His teachings have arguably impacted the world far more than the collective erudition of these three great philosophers whose combined careers totaled more than 150 years."
There are people who love Him and swear that He is who He claimed to be and there are others that will bend over backwards to distort the truth. There are plenty of religions in the world today that blaspheme against Jesus saying He was not God, some religions even go as far as to claim that Jesus didn't even claim to be God.
1 John 1:1-2 We proclaim to you the One who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw Him with our own eyes and touched Him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. This One who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen Him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that He is the One who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then He was revealed to us.
John, who was probably Jesus closest friend, gave us his testimony about Jesus, John wants you to know what he saw and heard and why his life was so radically changed. His experiences with Jesus are very important to him and he wants us to know Jesus the way that he did after spending three years with him. John heard the claims by Jesus, he saw the proof in how He lived, and the things that He did, it all made sense to him that Jesus really was God and our Savior.
Jesus referred to himself as:
✔ the Bread of Life, (John 6:35-51) ✔ the Light of the World, (John 8:12) ✔ the Door, (John 10:7-9) ✔ the Good Shepherd, (John 10:11-14) ✔ the Resurrection and the Life, (John 11:25) ✔ the Way the Truth and the Life, (John 14:6) ✔ the True Vine (John 15:1-5)
JESUS QUESTION IS FOR ALL OF US
Luke 9:20 Then He asked them, "But who do you say I am?" Peter replied, "You are the Messiah sent from God!"
Is He a radical thirty year old carpenter that left the family business and got Himself killed for no reason? Did He fake the fulfillment of prophecy? Could a man possibly be born in the right circumstances in order to fulfill hundreds of prophecies in order to trick us? How could His miracles have tricked so many? If He is just a liar then why is the world still so obsessed over one liar?
If Jesus is really the only son of God, fully God revealed to us in a body, then the question that Jesus asked Peter is the most important one that we need to answer as well. "But who do you say I am?"
What if He really is who he claimed to be? If He told us the truth about being God then everything else that He said should be extremely important to us as well. We should be digging into God's to find out what He wants us to know and what He wants us to do.
But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
1 Peter 2:9
The majority to Christ followers talk about the gospel among other believers instead of sharing it to apathetic, even skeptical, unbelievers. We need to share the good news with those that haven't heard the good news and don't know anything about it.
For many people, evangelism does not come naturally, we sense the social awkwardness of talking about spiritual things. It is okay to be an introvert, Pastor Buff can share the gospel in ways that your personality may not allow but at the same time we cannot allow Satan to use our fear to silence us.
A believer is accountable only to say yes to God’s call. It is the Lord’s responsibility to equip the chosen for the work He’s assigned. A personal plan has been mapped for each believer’s life, and God provides the personality and temperament that suits. Then He adds skills that can be developed and the spiritual gifts necessary to fulfill His mission.
God makes His call with wisdom and discernment. He knows why He created you and what you’re capable of accomplishing in His strength.
You can easily begin by building a relationship with the people that you share with. Show them love, show them that you care, then they will be interested in hearing your story. God will give you opportunity and he will give you the words.
We must evaluate whether we spend most of our time talking about the Gospel with believers or telling the Gospel to unbelievers.
For everything comes from Him and exists by His power and is intended for His glory. All glory to Him forever! Amen.
The reason for doing evangelism is the very same reason for our existence. It is all for bringing glory to God.
What is glory? Perhaps the best way to think of glory is our word “fame.” We live to declare the wonders of God, or to make Him famous. When we love others with God’s love, or give Him thanks in all things, we are singing His praises– making Him famous. When we choose not to sin, we declare to the world that God is more satisfying than sin.
People Are Lost
Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.
2 Corinthians 4:4
This is the tragic, but accurate, depiction of the state of people apart from Christ. Satan is holding them hostage, keeping them in prison, and blinding them to the Gospel.
We Are Ambassadors
So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”
2 Corinthians 5:18-20
God has entrusted us with the responsibility of being His ambassadors. We are his representatives in this foreign land.
When we proclaim the good news, we grow as Christ’s disciples. Evangelism opens us up to the adventure of obeying God and collaborating with him in ways that strengthen our faith and transform our thinking.
The Holy Spirit changes us and gives us power to live for God.
Matthew 28:20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
John 14:16-18 And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive Him, because it isn't looking for Him and doesn't recognize Him. But you know Him, because He lives with you now and later will be in you. No, I will not abandon you as orphans, I will come to you.
Yes we live in a gospel community doing life together and helping each other but I want to talk about a much better helper that we cannot be without if we are going to grow as a disciple or if we are going to make new disciples.
The work of the Holy Spirit is a part of the process of becoming more like Jesus, his work starts with giving us life when we were spiritually dead and he helps us to move through all of the stages of spiritual growth from infants all the way to a spiritual adult.
Of all the gifts given to man by God, there is none greater than the presence of the Holy Spirit, He has many functions, roles, and activities so we will only take a look at a few of them:
The Holy Spirit guarantees my salvation.
Ephesians 1:13-14 And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.
God grants to us His Holy Spirit as the certain pledge that we are His forever and shall be saved in the last day. He has saved us and given us His Spirit to renew us and cleanse us from the desires of the flesh. He produces in our hearts the evidence that we are accepted by God, that we are regarded as His adopted children, that our hope is genuine and that our salvation is sure.
The Holy Spirit gives me power to live for God.
Ezekiel 36:26-27 And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.
The proof of the Spirit’s presence is the work that He is doing in my heart. The cold indifferent and unloving heart will become tender and compassionate and we will respond to God's commands and conform to His will for our lives.
My character will look a lot more like God's character. (Ephesians 4:21-24, John 16:7-11) The power that He provides will help me to live with the fruit of the Spirit. My life will have "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." (Galatians 5:22-23)
The Holy Spirit helps me tell my story to people that don't know the gospel.
Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be My witnesses, telling people about Me everywhere--in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
Jesus disciples were appointed to tell what they had seen and what they had heard. They saw his life, his character, his suffering and his teaching. They saw His life, death and resurrection and they were about to see him ascend to heaven. Jesus had changed their lives dramatically and he wanted them to tell their story. (Acts 4:33)
Jesus also wants us to tell our story and he has given us the Holy Spirit to help us have the words, the timing for our words and the power to go and share the good news. The more we tell our story and talk about how God has intervened in our life, the more people will begin to realize that God is for real, miracles do happen, and they will see that He can change their life too.
I am not able to live the life that God wants me to live without the Holy Spirit's power, I need to remember that I don't have to be more like Jesus in my own strength, the power to be who he wants me to be can only come from Him.
Help me Lord to be serious about my mission here on earth and help me to rely on the Holy Spirit to change me and then help me spread the good news about what you have done.