The Secret of Triumphant Living
A couple of years ago their was a young man from Blair, Wisconsin with an objective. He wanted to break the Guiness Book of records for fishing the most consecutive days. He got up and fished every day of the week for a year. He either really wanted to break a record or he really liked to fish. I suspect that it was a little of both. He was consecrated to the task of breaking the record.
Yesterday, Dale Morden and I fished at Trempeleau. It was near freezing. We joked about needing his ice shack but we were consecrated to catching fish. We had the lake virtually to ourselves. We dressed for the occasion; long-johns and raincoats. Two other deranged people drifted by in there boat and one said " It's not a very good day for fishing is it?" To which I replied, " Everyday is a good day for fishing, isn't it? " Dale and I like to fish, we like to be with each other and we are dedicated to the task of either enjoying ourselves or catching fish. Even when it began to rain hard and lightening was striking up in the bluffs but obviously skirting around us, we fished. Even when we could see our breath, we remained until we were out of minnows. You might say we are dedicated fisherman.
What would you do if you knew how you would die, who would do it , and where it would occur ????
I reckon that unless you are some fatalist who believes that if its your day to go and would be struck by a meteorite or run down by a truck even in your living room; you would avoid the place, stay away from those people, and generally make yourself scarce.
Jesus knew" Behold we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to the chief priests and the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and will deliver Him to the Gentiles. And they will mock Him and spit upon Him, and scourge Him, and kill Him, and three days later He will rise again. " Mark 10:33,34 but He was so consecrated to the task before Him of rescuing us from sin that He " set his face " resolutely toward Jerusalem. Not because He loved pain but because He loved us. " While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8
This event in the life of Jesus reveals actions that will enable us to overcome the world and arrive at our heavenly destination.
" Thomas therefore, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, ' Let us also go, that we may die with Him. " John 11:16
I. We Will Overcome The World When We Have The Courage of Conviction - 12:1-11
Jesus went in the direction of His commitment to become our sacrifice for sin. He was in Bethany with His friends, Mary and Martha and Lazarus whom He had raised from the grave.
Mary discerning His destination with death broke social and cultural mores and anointed Jesus with precious ointment in the presence of the men. Even though Thomas had said he would go to Jerusalem to face death with Jesus that fear had been allayed with the popularity of their coming and the folk that flocked to see the miracle worker.
Jesus recognized Mary for her conviction concerning who He was and her courage to give her very best as a pre-burial sweet aroma that this kind of trust brings to those who are near.
He rebuked those who criticized her and told them " Let her alone, in order that she may keep it for the day of my burial " John 12:7 " For when she poured this perfume upon My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial " - Matthew 26:12 " She has done what she could; she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial " Mark 14:8
Jesus had the courage of His conviction and He respected those who did as well.
II. We Will Overcome The World When We Confess Him To Be Christ - 12:12-19
When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the colt, He declared that His kingdom was different than what they expected. The Roman conquerors rode into the streets of the conquered on steeds worthy of the victor, but Jesus rode in fulfillment of prophecy on the symbol of one who came with peace, a lowly donkey, the foal of one at that.
While the crowds shouted Hosanna ( Deliver us now) Jesus delivered a wordless message of a kingdom of a different sort - " riding on foal of an ass " Their view of the Christ was one who would deliver them from the rule of Gentiles but He had refused several times already to be their war chief ( king) and had declared peace to even the despised nations who would believe.
John declared that He wrote his book with the events and sermons in it " so you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that believing you might have life in His name. " John 20:30,31
Our confession of our trust in Him as God's Saviour is our pledge of allegiance to a Messiah who brings life to all and death to only those who are to blind to see or those who refuse to believe.
III. We Will Overcome The World When We Have A Commitment To God's Cause - 12:20-36
We must be committed to be light midst a world of darkness. " Believe in the Light and become sons of light."
We must be committed to not only share in the benefits of His consecrated sacrifice for us but in following Him and taking up our cross ( crosses are for dying on ) and sharing in His sufferings as well.
When He in His struggle in the flesh called out " My soul is troubled; and what shall I say, Father save me from this hour? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father glorify Thy name. " His consecration to task was focussed on the Father's will not His hesitation caused by the flesh and so must our commitment be in task not convenience.
When the Father answered, I have glorified it and will again some thought that it had thundered and headed for cover. Some a little more perceptive thought perhaps an angel had spoken but those like John who were dedicated to the Christ heard the voice of God.
Are you focussed on thunder and angels when you should be focussed on the task of Christ for you to be Light and Salt in a world of darkness and in need of flavor?
IV. We Will Overcome The World When We Have The Boldness To Confront The Contrarians - 12:37-50
In your task to be salt and light you will meet the contrarians that Jesus did and sometimes they will do it in the name of religion just like they did in Jesus day. When He worked His great miracle of raising Lazarus from the grave the power mongers were not impressed with anything but losing power. They decided that not only would Jesus have to go but the proof of His power, Lazarus, would also have to die..
Some " Loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God "
Some were afraid of being " kicked out of the synagogue".
Some were just around because they believed in signs but not Him.
The contrarians are everywhere. They claim to be in the know but they really are in the no. They would rather believe a lie than hear the truth.
They would rather hobnob with the power structure than stand for truth.
They would rather have the approval of men than of God. Those are the alternatives Jesus gave. I don't seek to please anybody but God. I want you to love me but if you don't because I follow God that's okay with me. Your approval ends at the grave. His is a matter of eternity.
Contradictory ideologies from the Scripture which is God-breathed must be changed and rejected..
The Pharisees and the Sadducees were orthodox according to their man altered religion and Jesus taught us that orthodox is not always straight.
Don't fear those who have power over life but of Him who has power over eternity. Reject the contrarians and embrace the teachings of the saviour.
V. We Will Overcome The World When We Learn To Cry For The Casualties - Luke 19:41-44
" He saw the city and wept " Wept is to weak. The word used here suggests a great emotional surge of a broken heart for the lost people of Jerusalem.
When Jesus viewed the city which was going to reject their only chance for survival a great deep emotion welled up within Him and He sobbed for what He knew would be their end.
The people who don't know Jesus as their Saviour are not just unfortunate, they are lost.
When is the last time that you wept for the sins of our nation?
When will you see the darkness as the enemy of all people and start being the children of light and bringing people the salt of forgiveness?
When our hearts are broken because we see people destined for a christless grave and we cry out to God to help us make a difference in people's lives, than we will.
The time of visitation comes in one form or another to each of us; a time when God is very near. Such a time demands our immediate action, for it may never return.
What Jesus did for us; we must do for Him on behalf of others.
" Key verses :
He resolutely set his face to go to Jerusalem." Luke 9:51
" Let us also go, that we may die with Him." John 11:16 -Didymus
Who is He?
" Say to the daughter of Zion, Behold your King is coming to you, Gentle and mounted upon a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden. " 5
He is King over the never ending kingdom - Is He your King?
His business is building the Kingdom of God within people - Are you about His business?
Who is He ?
"Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest ! " 9
He is God's Deliverer, Chosen Messiah, He is Lord - Have you made Him your Lord?
He is God's Messiah, Chosen Deliverer, He is Savior - Is He your Savior?
He Who came in the Name of the Lord has heaven's stamp of approval - Have you submitted yourself to Him and received the Guarantor of the Purchased possession ?
Who is He?
" This is the Prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee " 11
This is the Prophet greater than Moses of Whom Moses said all must heed His teachings - Is He your Prophet?
This is Jesus who is sympathetic to our weaknesses because He was one of us yet without sin Have you confessed your sins to Him?
This is the Nazarene, The Righteous Branch, who is the deliverer of all people everywhere -Is His righteousness your righteousness?
This is our King, our Lord, our Savior, Our Prophet, our Sympathizer
Some of you need to become a loyal subject today - Hosanna is your cry
Some of you need to renew your allegiance to Him today - Hosanna is your cry.
Who is this that we see in our midst today? I believe that He is the Christ, the Son of God and that believing I have life in His name. Hosanna is my cry!
On this day of Holy assembly let us consecrate ourselves to Him and His service anew!
Consecration is not wrapping one's self in a holy web in the sanctuary and then coming forth after prayer and twilight meditation and saying, " There I am consecrated." Consecration is going out into the world where God Almighty ( El Shaddai ) is and using every power for His glory. It is taking all advantages as trust funds ... as confidential debts owed to God. It is simply dedicating one's life, and its whole flow to God's service. Henry Ward Beecher
" Consecration is handing God a blank sheet to fill in with your name signed on the bottom. " M.H. Miller
" The consecrated, one-talent man or woman has promise of a larger influence than any intellectual genius who has not met the Master. " Samuel M. Zwemer
PROJECT FROM TODAY'S LESSON
Read Psalm 2 and Psalm 72. Both are Messianic Psalms. Here we see the tension between the resultant peace that comes from a voluntary acceptance of the Lord and the contrast with what those who openly reject Him can expect from God. Find time this week to just praise God for who He is; His gracious gift of salvation to us; and His commandments and statutes that give us the abundant life as we observe them. Be creative, He will appreciate your effort.His Priceless Timing
There are often barriers in freedom's way,
Ramparts that only our God can tear down,
Intense feelings accompany our feet of clay,
Until in our own tears we seem to drown,
Measureless grace He gives for each day,
Perseverance making smiles from each frown,
He is our strength, our God, our life's mainstay,
Awarding us one day with the victor's crown,
New life is restored as in His arms we lay,
Take heart my friends, He knows the way. G. Arthur Kins - 4/2/93
Procession in Jerusalem city,
Astride a foal, He entered,
Leaders angry with no pity,
Multitudes' praise upon Him centered,
Save Now ! the cry of long ago,
Unto the Lord Jesus it was told,
New life for all believers doth bestow,
Drawing the lost into His fold,
Allelujah is a song quite apropos,
Yesterday, today, and into tomorrow !
G. Arthur Kins - 4/3/93