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Church Blog

John 16, Matthew 28

Rev. Con January 6, 2013 Sermons No comments

By Whose power?

Introduction

  • It is great to be amongst you on this first Sunday for 2013.
  • I don’t know about you but sometime I struggle with the whole idea of being a Christian, how to act what to say.
  • For many years I use to suffer from a fear of being inadequate as far as the ministry is concerned, even to the point of not receiving positive comments appropriately, until someone who was much older and wiser advised me: ‘ Just say thank you and praise the Lord!’
  • I found it difficult to accept that people were responding to my feeble attempts to present the gospel, to pastor and to teach.
  • Mind you not all responded positively.
  • I was immature and my spelling and grammar were not good.
  • People came into faith and congregations grew.
  • Not one year goes by when someone from the past contacts me and thanks me for the part I played in their conversion and journey in the faith. The week of Christmas last year I spoke to a Pastor who goes back to his teenage years and sites the conversations we had as the beginning of a long road to discovery.
  • On the other hand, 42 years later it is very easy to take things for granted and to attribute what God does to one owns abilities.
  • The journey for some may go from false humility to personal pride and praise! I learnt a long time ago never to take the glory that belongs to God and give it to myself.
  • It has never been my ministry or my church! And the day that it becomes my ministry or my church is the day to resign!
  • On the other hand, I reckon that there are as many ‘so called failures’ as there are victories!

Information

One thing that I have learnt is that I should not get too serious with myself. I have observed over the years that some live as though the fate of the whole world rested upon their shoulders, and the fate of the church is a direct result of their lives and efforts.

There might be an element of truth in this.

Q. Whose job is it to grow a congregation and to convict of sin and lead people to Christ as Lord and Saviour?

The answer is found in the Scriptures: In John 16 the Lord Jesus prepares the church for the Cross and the aftermath of Crucifixion.

His disciples did not understand we are blessed with the gift of hind sight!

  • We can look back and see what God was doing and why the Lord Jesus said what He said. In John 16 we read the words of our Lord Jesus:- 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
  • It is the job of the Holy Spirit to convict and convert, and it is our job to encourage one another, to love one another and point people to God.
  • God knows that each one of us needs help!

It would be very cruel of God to have expectations of people if they were not able to achieve what He asks of them.
It would be unreasonable of God to ask if He was not prepared to equip those who He asks with the necessary abilities to achieve.
It would be unreasonable of God to blame or condemn us for not be able to achieve something that we cannot achieve!

Q. Where am I going with all this? I am not talking about salvation here; none of us can save ourselves for this is God’s wonder gift of GRACE!

  • I am talking about, living the Christian life, being the church, His people on earth.
  • We get great insight about this as we read through John 16. The Lord speaks of the one who will come, who is it that will come? 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
  • The followers of the Lord were about to experience perhaps the most horrific thing in their lives, they would see their Lord and friend, taken, tried, beaten crucified!
  • The ramifications for them would be many years of persecution- torture even death if they were lucky!
  • The Lord Jesus sets the scene; He prepares the church, saying that God will provide all that they need. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
  • We do not become infallible, nor should it set us apart from the church, in fact this will draw each of us into a deeper relation with God the Father.
  • It will not make us rude or arrogant always wanting our own way.
  • And there will be times when we will each have a struggle, a ‘tug of war’ that I call ‘MY WILL VERSES GOD’S WILL’.
  • This revelation that the Holy Spirit will bring and does bring in our lives, will always lead us on to the road of Holiness and righteousness! Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
  • This revelation will never contradict that which we know about God in the Scriptures.
  • The Lord’s parting challenge in Matthew 28:16 was to go and make disciples- to preach teach to baptise! “16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

We cannot run away from this challenge:
We should take it seriously. In doing so we should ask the question. HOW?
Does it rely wholly on me?

The answer is NO.

  • In Matthew 28 and John 16 we discover that that it is something that God will achieve through us in the power of His Spirit and His authority. This is why I said earlier that: It would be very cruel of God to have expectations of people if they were not able to achieve what He asks of them. It would be unreasonable of God to ask if He was not prepared to equip those who He asks with the necessary abilities to achieve. It would be unreasonable of God to blame or condemn us for not be able to achieve something that we cannot achieve!
  • God is not a cruel God, nor is He a tyrant or vindictive. He is righteous in the right sense, He is Just and He calls each one of us to ‘Be Holy’, being Holy is more than an emotional state, it goes beyond the mind; what do I mean? From the position where I say is ‘I accept a set of doctrines’ to an impact on my behaviour, TO ACTUALLY LIVE OUT THOSE PRINCIPLES IN MY LIFE.
  • To learn these principles we must first desire to get into the word of God. D. L. Moody that 19th Century great evangelist and preacher said: “The Scriptures were not given for our information, but for our transformation.”

Conclusion

Simply put John 16 and Matthew 28 share the following truths for our encouragement:-

  • John 1:1 “All this I have told you so that you will not fall away” The Lord Jesus wanted to encourage, for many will be tempted to fall away from the faith.
  • Times will get tough and persecution will become a reality.
  • This is part of God’s plan; 7 … Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
  • The Lord Jesus has made adequate provision for us!
  • It is the Holy Spirit who will convict of sin and bring about conversion.8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
  • It is the Holy Spirit who will Guide God’s people and give us revelation.
  • In Matthew 28 we discover the following:- 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. The Lord Jesus has given to us all authority in heaven and earth. What does this mean? It means that He has equipped us with all we need, we have what Luke in Acts calls ‘power from on high’ again this does not make us infallible, it does give us a power to love and serve HIM.
  • 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. We have a God given task to MAKE DISCIPLES and teach what the Lord Jesus has said!
  • And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” And finally YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

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