We leave this life, the same way we lived it. Pain uncovers in us the content of our character, values, and morals. Endurance until the end is the result of strength of purpose that won’t give up until we reach our goal.
Endurance is sticking through the pain in order to finish what you started. Otherwise it is not endurance. In fact, the word endurance, according to the dictionary, is the capacity of something to last or to withstand wear and tear..
Endurance in our faith is an investment into our purpose.
We begin things enthusiastically (when we come to Jesus we are enthusiastic, when we start serving the church we are enthusiastic, when we get baptized we are focused and enthusiastic)... without necessarily counting the cost, only to hit snags after snags, disappointment after disappointment and trials after trials, and we end up asking ourselves when the enthusiasm is done... IS IT ALL WORTH IT?!
There is pleasure in finishing what we start. We endure the frustration in order to get the adulation.
The will of God is usually at the end of that which you endure for Jesus’ sake.
The will of God is done, when we finish the work of God that flows in and through us.
Jesus submitted to the father, committed to enduring the harsh reality of his sacrifice for us, and brought us all a way out from eternal condemnation through salvation. That’s a job well done. And sadly, most of us won’t dare to endure embarrassment, or shame for stepping out and inviting people, going public with our faith or even pursuing and finishing opportunities for discipleship such as Life Groups, I love my city projects and serving others.
How can you know how your life will be if you won’t finish what you started? When we accepted Jesus as our savior, that is NOT the end, that’s the beginning... Now you have to foster a relationship with Jesus.
Let his finished work be your starting point.
Palm Sunday is about welcoming the savior into your town, and your life. Jesus rode on the lowest of animals into Jerusalem and the people celebrated him and welcomed him and his salvation. Good Friday soon followed where they got a deeper understanding of his purpose when he willingly died in one of most painful ways so that we could be saved. He endured through unimaginable pain. But that is not the end...Easter is coming where we celebrate his resurrection! He is alive! Hallelujah!
Gather some friends and your family and don’t miss it! We have two services - one at 9am and 10:45am!
Last Sunday, Pastor hit on some key points on thirst and quenching it with God’s word.
Have you ever been dehydrated from lack of water? How many of you know that when you are dehydrated, you would do anything to get some liquid inside of you.
There are all these survival shows on TV that show you that people will go through any lengths to not die of dehydration.
People are thirsty! And in many ways!
When you look at Jesus, his sacrifice for us, and the 7 words that he speaks on the cross, while he was in pain… “I thirst” seem so insignificant.
Let’s read them:
Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty." 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips. 30When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:28-30
Think about it… Why would Jesus be thirsty?
This is obviously towards the end of the crucifixion. Jesus had been on the cross for quite some time, his body had been purged of so much at this time. He was beaten and flogged 39 times, so more than likely his organs and muscles were exposed. He had a crown of thorns in his head and huge metal nails in his hand and in his feet. And he was probably exerting a lot of energy trying to breath at this moment. That is not counting the fact that right after he was flogged and beaten, he had to carry an 80-110 lbs wooden cross beam on his back for about the equivalent of 6 and a half football fields.
Jesus was going through a lot physically, so he was thirsty!
However, though we cannot discount the physical aspect of what Jesus was going through, and his physical needs, there’s was also many things going on in the spiritual here.
Jesus alluded a lot to the cup that he was going to drink from.
At the Last Supper, Jesus took the cup and said, “This is my blood of the new covenant” (Matthew 26:28 NKJV).
There’s a dichotomy here that Jesus is giving us through the image of the cup. **Jesus will drink the cup of pain to quench your deepest needs. He drank the cup that we could not drink, in order for us to receive the salvation that we need.
Elsewhere, when James and John asked Jesus if they could sit at his right hand and his left hand when he came into his kingdom, Jesus replied, “Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” (Matthew 20:22).
Likewise, in John 18:11, as Jesus was being arrested, Peter drew his sword; but Jesus told him, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?”
In each of these instances, Jesus used the metaphor of drinking as a way of describing the suffering he would endure on the cross.
Many of us want the salvation, resurrection, and redemption, without the suffering. And by suffering, I mean PROCESS.
This shown in the Kenosis of Christ.
Kenosis is Self-Emptying.
Jesus, though he was God, set aside his independent authority, during his earthly ministry and submitted himself to the will of the father!
Because of that, he sometimes operated with limitations of humanity. For example, God does not get tired, and certainly doesn’t get thirsty. But Jesus did…
While Jesus was on earth, he surrendered the use of some of His divine attributes.
On of the movies that best explains this concept is in the movie the SHACK. Mack (or Mackenzie) ends up meeting the trinity. God, Son & Holy Spirit in form of human beings or in ways he would understand. And he has a deep discussion with God because Mack was heart broken and feels abandoned. He carries a desperate void in his heart and has no closure. So God begins to talk to him about who He is, and how Jesus plays a role in all of this.
"“Mackenzie, I can fly, but humans can’t. Jesus is fully human. Although he is also fully God, he has never drawn upon his nature as God to do anything. He has only lived out of his relationship with me, living in the very same manner that I desire to be in relationship with every human being. He is just the first to do it to the uttermost—the first to absolutely trust my life within him, the first to believe in my love and my goodness without regard for appearance or consequence.”
“So when he healed the blind?” “He did so as a dependent, limited human being trusting in my life and power to be at work within him and through him. Jesus, as a human being, had no power within himself to heal anyone.”". Book, THE SHACK
The verse that explains this is in Phil. 2:5-7:
5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:5-7
Emptying himself. (Self sacrifice and putting it all on the line.)
Taking a form of a servant. (Generous)
Being Born to the likeness of men. (Relatable/accessible)
Being found in human form. (Relevant)
Humbling himself (Submission)
Becoming obedient to the point of death on a cross! (Purposeful)
We need to ask ourselves some tough questions. How much do you put on your relationship with Jesus & others?
Are you generous to God with your time, treasures, and talents?
Are you accessible and relatable to the world around you? (Or are we too buys asserting how holy we are vs. how unholy they are?)
Are you finding ways to go down to their level and explain things to them in a relevant manner?
How is your submission game? (Jesus submitted to his disciples… washed their feet)
Are you living your life with a purpose? (What’s my purpose? To bring God glory).
**Obedience is the result of us emptying ourselves of ourselves, so that God may fill us of himself in order that we may carry out his purpose.
** You will never be satisfied if it’s entirely about you.
The void will get deeper, darker, and harder, and all we will do is put inside of us fillers that keep us thirsty for more.
Just like water can only truly quench your physical thirst (not soda, not juice, not coffee), Jesus is the only one that can satisfy your thirst (not lust, not sex, not fame, not money, notpossessions).
37 … Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ John 7:37-28
In John 4, Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well. She’s been married and divorced five times and was then living with a man who was not her husband. She’s likely an outcast among her own people. Jesus asks her to draw water from the well for him, and then he says, “If you knew who you were talking to, you would ask of me and I would give you living water and you will never thirst again.”
It is precisely that in the backdrop of John chapter 4 & 7 that Jesus is speaking at the cross. He is emptying himself! He is saying… I have something you need.
I thirst… literally means, I have poured myself out to this humanity.
I have given every once of my grace… So I thirst.
I have given humanity every once of my mercy… So I thirst.
I have emptied myself. (Jesus)
He who was the source of living water is now thirsty as he dies on the cross. The source of life, of grace, of hope, of love, of living water is drying up! Emptying himself. The spring is nearly rendered void of all that Jesus came to this earth to give.
The words, “I am THIRSTY” were powerful.
God came to this earth to say, you are not thirsty enough until you drink of this living water.
A little of Jesus will not do it.
Some of Jesus will not do it.
All of Jesus is what God wants.
Christianity in America has been compromised because it has been made into an event and not an experience. This is not about works, but about how much we really, and truly, love God.
Do we love him enough to make him the center of our lives?
He emptied himself, became thirsty to quench our thirst!
Isn’t that what we would do for our own?
Today the word, Thirsty has different meanings. In the urban dictionary, being thirsty means to quench the sexual or lustful satisfaction our flesh. It’s being too eager to get something from someone… Whether it’s fame or admiration… especially through Social Media.
Our flesh entices us to quench our thirst with the wrong things!! **The world captivates our flesh, but it can never satisfy our soul.
What can you do to be filled?
• Self sacrifice… Put it all on the line
• Generous (Service)
• Relatable (accessible)
• Relevant (Meeting people where they are at)
• Submission (Humility)
• Purposeful (Glorify God)
God wants to give you living water to quench your thirsty soul...receive it! Once you taste it, you will see there is nothing this world can offer that will fulfill you.
Join us tomorrow for next chapter in What He Said While in Pain. Bring a friend!
Last week, we spoke about the power of Jesus’ last words and forgiveness. His last words reveal his heart, his passion, and his commitment to the world around him.
What will your last words say about you? Will your Christianity shine through by the way your living your last days?
Pastor shared about a special friend that had an aura about him that was never fully grasped, until one day he was holding on to his life.
When he entered his room to pray for him, he felt the presence of God. The man couldn’t say words, but his eyes said it all. He wanted to pray. Not surprisingly, he didn’t want to want to pray for himself, He wanted prayer for the sake of his family and friends that were in that room.
Grabbing his frail hand, he began to pray for God to bring peace into the room, thanking God for his life and for the love that he had for people, and for the graces that he had displayed in his life. And right when he said amen, his grip loosened and he went to be with the Lord.
He left the same way he lived, because, usually, we leave the same way we lived.
Some people think that they will have an opportunity to make things right before they leave this world. But a heart that is unforgiving and bitter does not transform in moments of pain. In fact, in moments of pain, our hearts display the truth of what is inside of us. Jesus was in pain on the cross, and he was able to give what he had in life even while experiencing a cruel death on the cross.
The number one reason why Jesus came to this earth was to display a reckless love for humanity.
Look at all Jesus went through. He was beaten to a pulp, unrecognizable, naked, malign and mistreated. People were hurling insults to add insult to injury. They crucified him next to two criminals! They deserved to be there, not Jesus.
The Bible says:
“...Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with (Jesus) to be executed.”
This is significant because the criminals were paying physically for what Jesus went to do spiritually - pay for our sins. They deserved it, Jesus didn’t and that is what qualified Jesus to die for theirs and ours.
In verse 33, “When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left.” Luke 23:32-33
At a moment he could have asked His father to send angles to destroy them he instead said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34
These words fulfilled prophecy, “For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Isaiah 53:12 [740 Year earlier]
Let’s look at forgiveness in the perspective of Jesus. We have spoken on this subject a lot, however, it is so important to learn all we can on this subject.
**Lack of forgiveness is a bondage that destroys our faith and communion with God and others.
Jesus is on a cross, and next to him there are two condemned, and guilty criminals. They deserved to hang on a cross, Jesus didn’t. And it seems, by the accounts that were given, that the only criminal on the cross was Jesus, because all the insults and mistreatment from the crowd only directed towards Jesus!
In the midst of that, Jesus said…
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing…” Lk.23:34
Jesus was bearing sin and interceding for those that were his transgressors. That doesn’t seem fair.
Before Jesus, this is what the law taught:
“You have heard that it was said. ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.” Matt. 5:38
The law gave you what you deserved. If you did wrong, you got the same thing right back!
Here’s a newsflash: Grace is not fair!
Before Jesus, everyone was like, “grace, what’s grace?”
Jesus on the cross was teaching a different lesson. Jesus came so he could get what we deserve, so we may get what He deserves.
That’s called grace. Grace is an unmerited favor… Unmerited is undeserving. By definition, we don’t deserve grace and that is why it’s called grace.
However, we are all in the same boat as far as wanting retribution for anything that anyone has ever done wrong. We may not try to get back at those that did wrong, but we sure like to sit around with popcorn waiting for wrong to come back at someone.
Why is forgiveness so important to a Christian?
One reason: Self-righteousness
An unforgiving person becomes a self-righteous person.
The results of a self-righteous person is just that: the fact that self always thinks it is right.
When self always thinks is right, then others don’t seem to matter and we can become self absorbed and selfish. And in order to love God right, self has to take a backseat to Jesus. Self has to take a back seat to God’s will. For when we do, then the Love of God and the love of people become a powerful tool that God uses for the salvation of those who struggle with their sin and understanding grace.
What does Self-Righteousness & Forgiveness do for us?
1. Self-righteousness repels people, forgiving people draw people in.
Have you seen self-righteous people? They put people down in such a way that people just don’t want to be around them. That’s the reason why self-righteousness is also a sign of religiosity.
People are constantly putting people down who are sinful and have no concept of relationship. Self-righteous people don’t care or want a relationship because they are always right and all they want to do is point at what’s bad about others.
Forgiveness in the other hand is the opposite. It draws people in. The cross is the most disgusting way to die. It’s gory, it’s excessive, it’s repugnant. However, it draws people in, not because of the sin, but because in the midst of the sin, Jesus said: “Forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing!”
2. Self-righteous people list their good works, forgiving people serve sacrificially.
When a self-righteous person does something good, there’s this little notepad in the brain where they list all of their good deeds. Afterward, they are added all up to show themselves and others how righteous they are!
“We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags…” Isaiah
Forgiving people in the other hand, understand that every measure of righteousness we may conjure, will never be good enough. So we work tirelessly, and sacrificially, to serve God and others, understanding that the only one that needs to notice, and that will validate our effort is God. The opinions of others just don’t matter here.
“For God is not unjust (unrighteous). He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do.” Hebrews
Jesus, worked tirelessly for the very same people that would crucify him, and instead listing all his work to save himself, he just sacrificed his life for others… “father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”
3. Self-righteous people have a high view of themselves, forgiving people have a high view of God.
Sometimes, in our zeal and passion in doing God’s work, we fall into the trap of thinking that it’s all about US.
We look at the results of our work and say, “Wow! Look how many people came into the church through me!” “Did you just see that? I just inspired the whole congregation with MY SERMON!” “Look at how much I am doing for the work of the church. I’m sure the church won’t grow without me.” “I pay a lot of tithes. The pastor will surely miss ME if I leave this church.”
This type of thinking is focused on the SELF.
**Are we seeking to be Self-Right, or Christ-Right?
Forgiving people take the attention off of them to give it to God. They don’t care who gets the credit as long as God gets the glory. Jesus is interceding for people who have a high view of themselves and a low view of God and standing in the gap for them.
They don’t see their time, treasures, and talents as things they lost, but as things they invested for the kingdom of God.
4. Self Righteous people reject correction, forgiving people have a teachable spirit.
The pitfall of being so self-righteous that we reject correction is that we become callous. No matter what anyone says, even if it hits hard, and it penetrates the mind, it won’t the soul because we have become so hard and collaous to the truth. So the next thing that happens is that pride sets in and we become unteachable.
“People who accept discipline are on the pathway to life, but those who ignore correction will go astray.” Proverbs
Pride comes before destruction. (Proverbs 16:18)
Jesus’ humility is the cross is that he took the correction that we deserved. He wasn’t even wrong and he asked for forgiveness to those that were doing wrong. Grace is not fair!
“...correct the wise, and they will love you.” Proverbs
5. Self-righteous people hate and condemn sinners, forgiving people hate their sin and love other sinners.
The whole purpose of the cross is because Jesus loved everyone. He died for all because all sinned. Jesus loves sinners. He was called a friend of sinners because he hung out with all kinds of reputable people. He spent more time with the perceived sinful people in His day than the Pharisees who are thought to be “righteous.”
Self-righteous people condemn people and pass permanent judgment. Their grace has a cap or a limit and they’d rather condemn people than feeling thankful for salvation.
Some of us hate someone else’s sin WAY more than we hate our own. Some of us can’t wait for retribution on someone else’s sin…
The cross is a full-on assault on self-righteousness because everyone who sins deserves what Jesus got, and it was Jesus who said, FATHER FORGIVE THEM FOR THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING.
However, the cross is also an assault on all those that believe that grace is an excuse to live your life as you see fit. People who are self-righteous are also those who presume on the grace of God to keep living a life that is contrary to anything that looks Christ-like.
**Forgiving people hate the sin that put an innocent savior on the cross.
**Self-righteousness is a dark prison and the only key to open its gates is understanding that we must forgive as we are forgiven.
Grace is unfair. We leave this world the same way we lived. Jesus lived to forgive, and left this earth forgiving.
Who do you need to forgive? Let’s take this important step and extend the same grace to others, Jesus did for us.
Join us tomorrow at 10:15 AM and bring a friend!
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