Posts in Lessons
We endure because Jesus has made the way and prepares us - 09/08/19

The Big Idea

We endure because Jesus has made the way for us and prepares us.

One of the values we work to grow in is endurance. We will have both ups and downs in our lives. We are not promised comfort and happiness as followers of Christ, but we are guaranteed that Jesus is truth and He is life. He prepares us with this truth so we can endure.

What does scripture tell us?

John 14:1–7
[1] “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. [2] 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? [3] 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. [4] And you know the way to where I am going.” [5] Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” [6] Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. [7] If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” (ESV)

What should we know?

We prepare for things in life we enjoy or want to be better at. Let’s use sports as an example. No matter what sport you play, to be the best you can be you have to practice and prepare. An MLB baseball pitcher can throw around 100 pitches in a baseball game. To be conditioned to throw that many pitches, they have to both practice pitching and train their bodies. What if you play a musical instrument? The same principle applies.

Jesus is preparing the disciples to be His witness. You know what else Jesus is doing here? He is preparing us to endure!

Jesus has spent the last 3 years teaching the disciples, declaring Himself and the Kingdom of God. This is the last night they will have together before Jesus goes to the cross. At this point, Jesus and the remaining disciples are in the upper room. The disciples have had their feet washed by Jesus. They celebrated the Passover together. Judas has already left to betray Jesus to the Pharisees. The disciples have argued about which of them was the greatest (Luke 22). Can you imagine that? Jesus has washed your feet, celebrated a new covenant that He has given (Lord’s Supper), and you argue about who sits shotgun! I chuckle at this cause it is a reminder how gracious of a Lord we have and how silly we can be.

But let’s move on.

Jesus is bringing together core things the disciples must hear before he is taken away. Who all has been part of either a team or group where the coach or leader has given a pep talk before go time? What’s usually given in those talks is a message with final instructions, how hard you or the team has worked, what you are going to face, how you devote yourself to the moment, how the effort you give is bigger than the sum of your preparation, how much the coach believes in you.

So what is Jesus saying to the disciples here in the verses in John 14? How is Jesus preparing the disciples to endure what is to come?

Jesus is telling them to not be afraid. In all of the Bible, we are told to not be afraid around 365 times. We could read 1 passage every day and be reminded not to be afraid for the whole year. Jesus is giving the disciples comfort right now. Judas has left to go to betray Jesus and Jesus is about to literally go through excruciating agony. How about that! He’s not telling them to go run and hide. He’s not saying protect yourself. He is reminding them they don’t need to worry because all things have been taken care of. He’s got this! Trust Him!

Jesus is also telling them to believe in who He is. Does this seem a little hard to believe, that He would have to tell them this? Jesus has been with these guys for 3 years. Not messaging back and forth for 3 years, or checking out each others Instagram feeds, but actually walking around, sharing meals and such. They have witnessed literal miracles He did while standing by His side.

So why tell them this? We have to be reminded of the obvious, even the clearest things we have seen and heard. This isn’t because we are stupid but because the message is that important. He is telling them this so that they can be confident in what He is doing.

Whose parents have told you something like “I know you can do it! It’s not going to be easy but you can do it!”? Mine did. Why do they do this? They tell us this because they have confidence in us and want us to have confidence. We have a Savior that is so incredible that not only does He take on the death that we deserve but he prepares us to endure by giving us confidence in Him and what He promises to do.

Now what?

We can trust in Jesus because He said we can!

We can have confidence in Him because of who He is!

We can endure because His promise was delivered!

Our endurance is tied directly to our trust in Jesus. What has he told us? Do we know all that he has instructed? Do we believe Him? Paul reassures us in Philippians 1:6 saying “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” For those of us that believe Him, He has given us the gift of eternal life. The gospel is not a message of “you stand no chance” but Jesus already did it for you. We endure for all He has promised.

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Wisdom is knowing there are consequences for wrong things. - 09/01/19

The Big Idea

Wisdom is knowing and understanding right things, the good things of God, but it’s also understanding there are consequences to wrong things.

When we are purposely told not to do something but do it anyway, should we be surprised if we have to face the consequences of our wrong actions?

What does scripture tell us?

1 Kings 11:9–13

[9] And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice [10] and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods. But he did not keep what the LORD commanded. [11] Therefore the LORD said to Solomon, “Since this has been your practice and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes that I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and will give it to your servant. [12] Yet for the sake of David your father I will not do it in your days, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son. [13] However, I will not tear away all the kingdom, but I will give one tribe to your son, for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem that I have chosen.” (ESV)

What should we know?

We started this series on wisdom reading in 1 Kings 3:5-15. There, Solomon asked God for wisdom and God gave it to him. Not only did Solomon get wisdom but also riches and honor. Solomon became the richest, wisest man to ever live because God made it so. What happened over time, though, is Solomon ultimately rejected what God gave him and then consequences followed.

So what is happening here in 1 Kings 11:9–13? Why has God declared these things? What did Solomon do, or not do, that has caused God to be this upset?

Well, Solomon has made a number of very unwise decisions and actions over time. One of these decisions was to marry wives (yes I said wives plural) that were not of Israel. Your first thought might be that God was mad because Solomon had more than one wife. This is part of it, as God gave instructions in Deut. 17:14-20 for Israel’s Kings and part of the instruction was to not acquire many wives. The greater infraction in Solomon’s decision is that by marrying these women, he turned his heart away from God.

Think of it this way. I have a father. He is a wise dad and has given me instructions to follow so I grow into a good man. But what if I don’t listen to my dad and think that I know better than him, so I play video games all day and skip doing school work. This may be fun and last for a period of time but I have avoided the wisdom my father gave to me. My dad has responsibility for me and I am accountable to him. Do you think my dad would be happy with me if I did not do what he purposely said for me to do? No. Solomon’s disregarded the great wisdom given to him in favor of decisions he wanted to make. Simply put, he rebelled against God. He sinned.

Now what?

We talked before about the wisdom Jesus gave us in Matthew 7:24-27, either hearing and doing or hearing and not doing. Jesus told us the consequences. When we do what He has instructed, we are wisely following Him. When we trust Jesus and fully believe in Him, we see the instructions He gave us to be helpful for us.

We have scripture to show us wisdom. Like God gave directly to Solomon, He has given us His Word in order to know Him and obey him. Our choices, wise or foolish, impact us and impact those around us. Let’s be wise.

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