Sounder SIGN UP FOR FREE
Grace Bible Church - Gatesville, Tx
Grace Bible Church - Gatesville, Tx

Episode 106 · 4 months ago

The Die is Cast

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

The Die is Cast

John 12:12-26

Dax Bryant - Preaching

Following the sudden death of his father at the age of sixteen, he became the head of his family. He was caught in the cross hairs of a political purge, and so he fled his hometown and joined the army. He served abroad with distinction and rapidly rose through the ranks. Over time, his power and his popularity grew to such an extent that his government demanded he laid down his arms and returned to the capital. And so, in January oft BC, Julius Caesar had a decision to make. Either give in to the demands of the Roman Senate or returned to Rome with his legions and start what would most certainly be a civil war. The Romans had a long standing law and practice no general should ever cross the Rubicon River and enter into Italy with his armies. It was said that when Julius Caesar approached the Rubicon River, he wavered for some time and then suddenly he drew his sword and marched into the river crying Aliyah Iata Est the die is cast. This was the point of no return. Now Caesar would either have to conquer or die. Something similar takes place in this passage here in John Twelve, as Jesus enters Jerusalem. The die is cast. There is no turning back after this, there is no retreat. The inevitable battle is about to be again. This is a pivotal moment in Jesus's life, which is reflected that this is one of the few events recorded in all four gospels. We know it as the triumphal entry, and that title fits especially well with, for example, Luke's account of this story, where he records that Jesus tells the Pharisees that if his followers were to remain silent, even the very stones would cry out. John's telling of this story is a little less triumphant at first blush. It has a different emphasis. Notice even just how this story is framed by what we saw last week, with Jesus's symbolic anointing for burial in verse seven, remember Mary Pours out that perfume on him, and then, on the other end, the recognition in verse twenty three, that his word has now come. That's what frames the Triumphal Entry in John's Gospel, and that that framing, that structure, is no accident. So why does John Present it this way? What does he want us to see? I'm not going to tell you yet, but I think that his point can be discovered by observing the reactions of the various people who appear in this passage. So that is going to be our approach this morning, to look at the reactions of the people in this passage and land on what John has for us here. So let's get right into it. The very first reaction appears in versus twelve through fifteen, and we'll call this reaction misplaced expectations. Misplaced expectations. Let's begin there, in verse twelve. The next day, the large crowd that had come to the feet east heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem the next day. Reminds...

...us of what had happened on the previous day, this dinner that was held in Jesus honor in Martha or in the nearby village of Bethany, where Martha was serving and Mary anointed his feet. Uh, word got out that Jesus was back in the area. After sundown that night, remember, a large crowd made the short walk out to Bethany to see both Jesus and his resurrected friend Lazarus, and we're told there that many people went away believing in Jesus. So the next day, then, is the Sunday of Passover Week. We call it palm Sunday, but with the approaching Passover, this explains why the large crowd was in the city. They'd come for the feast for the Passover that was mentioned at the very beginning of the chapter. Now, how large was this crowd? Well, it depends on who you ask. Josephus records one Passover where he says two point seven million people participated in the feast. Let's just say that Josephus was exaggerating by a factor of of ten. If it's only ten percent of what he said, that's still hundreds of thousands of people. This is an immense crowd in Jerusalem for the Passover. And at the end of verse twelve it indicates that somehow they've heard that Jesus is on his way to the city. Verse Thirteen. So they took the branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel. Now, if you go back in your old testament and you researched the Passover you won't find anything about palm branches being used to celebrate this festival. So so what's going on here? Well, there are some things that took place between the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament that helped explain this. Uh by this time in Israel's history, the palm branch had become sort of a national symbol. Two Hundred Years earlier, when Simon the maccabee drew drove the Syrians out of Jerusalem, the people honored him by waving palm branches when he returned to Jerusalem later on. Shortly after this, inscriptions of of palm trees and palm branches started to appear on coins that the Jewish rebels used during the Roman wars. It's it's almost a symbol of UH rebellion insurrection. That should give you a clue of what's going on here. When the crowd goes out to meet Jesus with palm branches, it's with that same kind of patriotic expectation that the political liberator that they've been waiting for has finally arrived on the scene, and as they make their way out towards him, as he approaches the city. They cry out from a familiar tune, psalm one eighteen, which was uh the song, one of the Psalms that was regularly sung as pilgrims approached Jerusalem for the feasts. In fact, psalm one eighteen verse says Hosanna, literally translated save us. And in that context of that psalm save us, it's not so much a cry for help, it's more of a shout of praise. The sense is something like...

...give salvation now, or salvation has come. Of course, the crowd's idea of salvation and what that would look like is going to be very different than what Jesus has in mind. But they continue still singing, crying out from Psalm one. Psalm Verse Twenty Six says blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Now, originally in that Psalm those words are a blessing spoken to the pilgrims who are coming into Jerusalem. But in what's known as the Midrash, which is a later commentary by the rabbis looking at these psalms, kind of explaining these, this verse here was understood to be referring to the Messiah. So when we put that together by Jesus's Day. The crowds aren't simply pronouncing a blessing in the name of the Lord on the one who comes, but they are blessing the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Even there, at the end of that verse, they referred to him as the King of Israel, which they're no longer quoting psalm one eighteen at that point, but I think that shows how they understand psalm one eighteen. This is the King of Israel, this is the Messiah. They see Jesus entering the city as a triumphant savior, the deliverer of Jerusalem, and any moment now they're expecting to see Jesus perhaps use his miraculous power to throw off the yoke of Roman oppression, to establish the throne of David too, fulfill all of the promises that God had made to their forefathers. Maybe this is what Jesus has been after all along, maybe he's just been waiting for the right time. Finally, here is this moment of triumph and achievement and recognition. This is it, this is the realization of everything he'd always wanted him been working towards, isn't it so? Will Jesus embrace the calls of the crowd to be their liberator, or will he walk away from it again, like we've seen him do so many times? I think the sense here is as Jesus approaches, Jerusalem is collectively holding its breath to see what is he going to do next. All eyes are on him. So what does he do? and Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it. That seems a little rather anti climactic, doesn't it? It seems even Duller when you realize from the other gospels that Jesus had made previous arrangements for this donkey, sending two of his disciples into the city earlier to secure this animal. This whole moment is planned, it's orchestrated. But what is it all about? Why a donkey? Why not a war horse or a chariot? Well, because, five centuries earlier, God spoke through the Prophet Zachariah. This is the end of verse fourteen, just as it is written. Fear Not, Daughter of Zion, behold your king is coming, sitting on a donkey's cult. But actually, on a little closer inspection, that's not exactly what Zachariah nine, verse nine says. In fact, I think this is worth turning there in your Bible with me so you can see this for yourself. So we're in John. If you go backwards, Luke, Mark, Matthew, you get to Malachi, is the very last book of the Old...

Testament, and then there's Zachariah, right near the end of the Old Testament, Zachariah, chapter nine, verse nine. Keep your finger in John Twelve. Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion. John Twelve says, Fear Not, Daughter of Zion, rejoice greatly, fear not. So so where does that come from? Well, this is not uncommon when the New Testament authors quote the Old Testament, that they might pull from a couple of different sources and and put that together. Fear not is most likely pulled from Isaiah, chapter forty, verse nine, where Fear Not is said to the Herald who brings good news to Zion. But understand what John is saying here. We need to see a bit more of the context from Zachariah. So stay there in chapter nine of Zachariah, verse nine. Again, rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion. Shout Aloud, oh daughter of Jerusalem, behold, your key is coming to you righteous and having salvation. Is He? So there's nothing to fear there. Yet is there? Then? Zachariah continues, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a cult the fall of a donkey. The Jews read Zachariah Nine, Verse Nine and saw triumph, and there is precedent for that. Remember when, when Solomon is presented as David's successor, he enters the city of Jerusalem riding on a donkey. But when Jesus wrote a donkey into the city, he was displaying an attribute from Zachariah nine, verse nine that this crowd would not be as enthusiastic about as they would be about a triumphant, conquering hero. He is exemplifying here humility. He does not enter Jerusalem on a war horse, whipping the crowds up into a frenzy, but he chooses to prevent to present himself as the king who comes in peace, humbly, gently, riding on a donkey, bringing salvation in an unexpected way, through what men would look at and typically regard as weak or despised even. In fact, if you're still in Zachariah Nine, look at the next couple of verses, versus ten, and eleven. Look what God says. I will cut off the chariot from Fraim and the war horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off, meaning Israel will have no need of weapons of war. and He, this king, riding on a donkey, he shall speak peace to the nations. His rule shall be from sea to sea and from the river to the ends of the Earth. As for you, also because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. The context here makes it clear that when this humble king arrives, he will bring about the end of warfare, he will proclaim peace to the nations, he will set captives free by the blood of God's covenant. And the way that Jesus will fulfill these promises, these promises that were originally made to these newly returned exiles in the Old Testament, the way Jesus is going to Fuf all these is quite...

...different than what this crowd has in mind. They didn't understand the full nature or the full intent of the coming king from Zachariah nine, and they didn't understand the full meaning of hosanna salvation. Jesus knew that the path to Hosanna, the path to salvation, would be a traumatic experience, something that would require great humility. And so his face, then was not just set like flint to enter Jerusalem, but also to continue all the way to go gatha. What was required of Jesus would defy beliefs. It was certainly not the outcome that the excited crowd was wanting to see, and so I think in hindsight we can look at this and read fear not. Fear not this. This appears to be a hopeful and triumphant occasion, and it is, but not for the reason that the crowd thinks it is. The pilgrims have misplaced expectations. The king's arrival into the city was not for a coronation, it was for a crucifixion, and when they realize that he is not the kind of king they were expecting, the people will cast him aside and reject him. By the end of this same week, the shouts of Hosanna from this crowd will will be replaced by the shouts of crucify him from another crowd. So we need to pause and ask ourselves then, what what about you? What do you do when Jesus doesn't meet your expectations. You thought that following Jesus would make your life better. You'd have a perfect marriage, no more trouble at work, your kids would behave just as they ought to, no financial worries. What do you do when you realize that Jesus promises none of those things, that that maybe he isn't the kind of King you were expecting? Will you cast him aside? John tells us to fear, not behold your king. Believer, who is coming? He is the Greater Solomon, he is the Promised Messiah. He is coming again soon, and this time he will be riding a white horse and wearing a crown. Revelation tells us to conquer sin and death once and for all, and the picture in heaven that we're given in revelation chapter seven is this. Behold a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands and crying out with a loud voice. Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the lamb that future reality is what should cause you to cling to Jesus now, not to cast him aside because his ways are not your ways. His thoughts are higher than your thoughts. When Jesus doesn't meet your expectations, the problem isn't with Jesus, the problem is with your expectations. When you find yourself...

...in that situation, you need to run to Jesus, not away from him. You need to know him more, love him more, trust him more, don't reject Jesus like these pilgrims end up doing, with misplaced expectations. That's the first reaction we see. There's a second reaction, briefly appearing in Verse Sixteen, that we can describe as momentary confusion. Momentary confusion. His disciples did not understand these things at first. Now, this is not at all unusual for these guys. Very often we read about the disciples being confused about the nature of the Kingdom and especially the necessity of Jesus's death. For example, back in Chapter Two of John's Gospel, remember, they didn't understand what Jesus meant when he talked about destroying the temple and then raising it back up after three days. They didn't understand it in the in the moment, but the confusion was temporary. We're told there in in chapter two that after the resurrection then they remembered that Jesus had said this and they believed the scripture and they believed the word that Jesus had spoken. It's the very same thing right here. His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified after the Resurrection, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him. So not only did the crowds misunderstand what was happening, the disciples failed to grasp the full significance of what Jesus was doing in this moment. He was fulfilling promises in ways that they did not expect nor under stand, and I think we can give the disciples a little bit of grace here. We can, we can forgive their momentary confusion about all of these things taking place before the cross, before they saw that. But at the same time we have to recognize this, that that, looking back on those things from this side of the cross now, the disciples could not misunderstand such truths about the nature of God's kingdom, about the nature of what Jesus Did in light of the cross, and we can't misunderstand that either. As believers living on this side of the cross, these these truths about Jesus, especially his finished work on the cross, are fundamental to our faith. They are spelled out for us in scripture and no uncertain terms, and that while we're reading our bibles we might encounter things from time to time that are difficult to understand, difficult to comprehend. We have to seek understanding. We cannot linger in a state of confusion about who Jesus is and what he has done. Rather, we are to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is in him are hidden all wisdom, all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. So momentary confusion, if it's momentary, that's fine, but don't linger there. Seek knowledge, seek wisdom that is found in Jesus. There's a third reaction. It starts in verse seventeen. The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead can tinue to...

...bear witness. Now this is a different crowd than the crowd that's mentioned in verse twelve. Okay, so this is the crowd in verse seventeen that witnessed Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead some days earlier, and the point here is that they are telling everyone about it. In fact, noticed this that it's their continued testimony about that event. That's what's drawn the pilgrim crowd out of Jerusalem to meet them on the road. It's playing his day. In verse eighteen. The reason why the crowd went out to meet him, the crowd from Jerusalem, was that they had heard he had done this sign. They had heard it from the other crowd who had seen the sign. So don't don't miss that. People were coming out and seeking after Jesus because of the continued testimony from others. This crowd will not be silenced. It's a little bit like acts. Chapter Four reminds me of Peter and John Standing before the religious leaders and saying we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard. It's a good question to ask yourself, believer, can you not help but speak of Jesus? Is your witness of Jesus something that is continual in word and indeed? But the truth is, if he is near to your heart, he will also be near to your lips. So there's a model for us here in that little reaction. That's not even the reaction. I want to point out, though. These these two crowds coming together create the context for the for the third reaction that we're identifying here. And this time this third reaction is from the Pharisees Verse Nineteen. So the Pharisees said to one another, you see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him. Now, remember it's pass over. There are hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of people in the city. Jewish patriotism is at a fever pitch. The pilgrim crowd is already calling Jesus the King of Israel publicly. The Lazarus crowd is is bearing witness to the miracle that they've seen, which has drawn the pilgrim crowd out to come and meet Jesus. For the Pharisees, this is their worst nightmare. It's exactly what they feared was going to happen. And so they they observed the scene and they say to each other, you see that we are gaining nothing, we're we're getting nowhere. This is an extremely ball toll situation, because Jesus is now dangerously popular in this moment. If he called for an armed revolution right now, the crowd would happily oblige right then and there. And then what would happen? Rome would have to intervene and these religious leaders would lose their political clout, their political position. Jesus has picked the worst possible time to try and force their hand. So we can call this reaction from the Pharisees Maddening Exasperation. Maddening exasperation, and you can hear that that furious irritation boil over. And what they say next? Look, the world has gone after him. They can't seem to stop this guy and they're angry about it now. Of course, they're speaking hyperbolically here. Right the the entire world isn't going after...

Jesus in this moment. They simply mean look at the crowds. It looks like everyone the world is following after him. The reality is just like Caiaphas a couple of chapters earlier, did, they're speaking more truth here than they can possibly fathom, because look who shows up to the party verse. Twenty now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks, not necessarily people from Greece, of course right. This word refers to God fearing gentiles who had either converted to Judaism or were well on their way to converting. That's why they're in the city for the feast. Look, the world has gone after him. Yes, indeed, even the gentiles are seeking after Jesus, verse one. So these came to Philip, who was from Beth side in Galilee. Now, why did they come to Philip? What? We don't know. The text doesn't say. Maybe they knew Philip because they came from a region near Galilee where he was from. Maybe they came to Philip because that name is Greek. He probably spoke Greek. We don't know. What we do know is how they react, these gentiles. They asked him. They say to Philip, sir, we wish to see Jesus. We can call this fourth reaction here a meaningful petition, a meaningful petition, a a simple and sincere, heartfelt request. We want to meet Jesus, we want to talk with him, we want to spend time with him. We wish to see Jesus. Now, this is a reaction we can start to get behind. This is a little more like it. This should be the cry of your heart, Christian, especially when we come together like we are now to to worship on the Lord's Day. We don't come to marvel at the good music or or hear a so so speaker or seek an experience that will give you goose bumps. When we gather. We wish to see Jesus. Down here, it says. Bring the book where you all can see, on many pulpits. Up here, where only the preacher can see, these words are inscribed. Sir, we wish to see Jesus. It's a reminder to the preacher of what the congregation should expect. That should be your desire, that should be your expectation when you come to this place. Now, these gentiles, why did they want to see Jesus? Were they just curys? was something else going on here? Why Approach Philip instead of going directly to Jesus? Again, we could speculate about those things, but we're not told in the text. Whatever the circumstances, it seems like Philip apparently had some uncertainty about this request, because he uses a phone. A friend on this notice that in verse two, Philip went and told Andrew. Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. So, after consulting his lifeline, Philip and Andrew decided to go together to relay this request to Jesus. Now, did Jesus actually speak to this group of gentiles? Again? We're not told here that he does. What John Wants us to see in this verse is that that Jesus really is the king, not only of Israel but of the whole world. And this particular event the seemingly insignificant, isn't it?...

The gentiles come and say we wish to see Jesus, and Philip Andrew Go tell Jesus that they said that. It doesn't seem like a big deal, but it is very significant. This is recorded here because this is a definite turning point in Jesus's life. This, this meaningful petition of the gentiles, sir, we wish to see Jesus. It has met with one last reaction in this passage, and this time the reaction comes from Jesus himself. It is a momentous declaration, a momentous declaration verse twenty three, and Jesus answered them. The Hour has come for the son of man to be glorified this is new. Up until now we've been hearing something different, a different drumbeat, throughout John's Gospel. Chapter two, verse four, my hour has not yet come. Chapter Four, Verse Twenty One. The hour is coming. Chapter Four, Verse Twenty Three, the hour is coming. Chapter Seven, verse thirty. His hour had not yet come. Chapter Eight, Verse Twenty, his hour had not yet come. And then, all of a sudden, the hour has come. What is this hour? As you know, this is referring to the appointed time for Jesus's death, resurrection and Exaltation. In short, this is the hour of Jesus's glorification and from now on, from this point forward, in John's Gospel, the hour is imminent. Right here, in verse twenty three, the hour has come. Verse I have come to this hour. Chapter Thirt, verse one. Jesus knew that his hour had come. Chapter Seventeen, verse one. Jesus praise father. The Hour has come. He's crossed the Rubicon River, so to speak. The die is cast. This is the point of no return. But what I want us to see here is in Jesus's reaction, we are given a divine perspective. His his view of these events is not triumphant in the usual sense of the word, because for Jesus victory lies beyond the grave. Unlike Julius Caesar, who entered in to Rome and had to either win or die, Jesus wins by dying. And here, in this momentous declaration, he not only announces his approaching death but, very importantly for you, he also calls his followers to a glorious imitation of his death. The Hour has come for the son of man to be glorified. When Jesus calls himself the son of man, which he does a lot, it's usually in connection either with his suffering or it's in connection with his coming glory. This is an instance here, in verse twenty three, where his suffering and his glory are fused together, not only because Jesus's death is the first step on his way to rea seaving glory as he returns to the father, but also because in his...

...death itself the glory of God is manifested. D A Carson says it this way. It is not just that the shame of the cross is inevitably followed by the glory of the Exaltation, but that the glory is already fully displayed in the shame of the cross, and that's exactly right. The Hour has come for the son of man to be glorified. Now, based on the crowds misplaced expectations, when they heard that the hour has come for the son of man to be glorified, they would have a very different idea of what that meant. They see a Political Messiah and cry Hosanna Save Us, and he says the hour has come for the son of man to be glorified. That's exciting. That's what they wanted to he yere, and if he stopped right there, that would have fit very neatly with their expectations. But he didn't stop right there, and what he said next defied their expectations. Verse Twenty Four. Truly truly, I say to you, remember that is an indicator that Jesus is about to impart some new and startling truth. Truly truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone, but if it dies it bears much fruit. Putting this together, the hour has come for the son of man to be glorified. How will that happen? Jesus effectively says I must die my road to glory is not as a conquering king, but as a suffering servant. Just like a seed must be buried in the ground in order to bear fruit, so I must die and be buried in order to bring forth a rich harvest. This is how Jesus will be glorified, not by seeking his own glory but, as we've seen all throughout John's Gospel, by obediently carrying out the father's will, even to the point of death. And it is only through his sacrificial and substitutionary death that life giving power for sinful human beings it's possible. Just like a seed dies and then germinates life for a great crop, so Jesus is glorified in his death that brings life and and you, if you are a believer, you are part of that vast spiritual harvest that the death of the one man, Jesus Christ, has yielded and is yielding. But notice here this analogy that Jesus uses to speak of his death, this analogy of the grain of wheat, and he's using that to say that that his death is the necessary precondition for the generation of life. He is applying that not just to himself, but watch what he does next in a slightly different way. He applies this also to his followers, and this includes you, verse. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be. Also, if anyone serves me, the father will honor him. I want you to notice, first of all, who this call is to acted to. You see it repeated there twice in verse. Anyone,...

...anyone. This is the free and universal general call of salvation that goes out to anyone and everyone. But what is in this call? Please notice this. What what this call is at its core? Here, this is a call to die. The momentous declaration Jesus made about himself now becomes a truth applied to anyone who would follow him. And this is the big point, I think, that John wants us to see here, is that Jesus calls you, Believer, to a glorious imitation of his death in dying to yourself. Jesus calls you to a glorious imitation of his death in dying to yourself. Look at it. If you love your life, meaning here, if you have a high and lofty, even idolatrous, view of yourself, you will lose your life. In contrast, if you hate your life in this world, meaning here that that you want to abandon your sin and flee from your selfishness, that you want to die to yourself, then you will gain eternal life. But notice here, also fitting the pattern of so much of what we see in the Gospel, it's not just, it's not enough just to renounce yourself, because that that's in full focus on yourself, that you turn from. That must be replaced with the holy focus on Jesus. To serve Jesus means to follow Jesus. See it there in verse. If anyone serves me, he must follow me. I think that's more in this context than a generic call to follow him here. I think this means follow him where, follow him to calvary, follow him to death itself. This is the path to glory, this is the path to be with Jesus at the right hand of the father, to be honored, as it says at the end of verse, by God himself. The gentiles said, sir, we wish to see Jesus. Jesus says, if you want to see me, here's what's required. I will be glorified and bear fruit by hating my life in this world and suffering and dying for you, and you need to do the same thing. Hate your life in this world, serve Me, follow me, die to yourself, come with me. John Piper points out that this call Jesus makes two imitate his death and you're dying to self, is something that is simultaneously difficult and glorious. Jesus says you must die. That's difficult. Jesus calls you to hate your life in this world. That's difficult. Jesus calls you to follow him, to deny yourself and take up your cross. That is difficult. Jesus calls you to serve him, to humbly...

...obey his commands. That is difficult. To call to be a Christian is difficult. Jesus said the gate is narrow and the way is hard. That leads to eternal life, and those who find it are few. It's difficult to die to yourself. It's difficult to hate your life in this world. It's difficult to follow Jesus in dying to yourself. It's difficult to give up power and prestige for a life of humility and service. It's difficult, but it's also glorious. In fact, the glory far surpasses the difficulty. Yes, the seed must die, but if the seed dies, it bears much fruit. That is glorious. The death is not in vain. Yes, you must hate your life in this world, but you will gain eternal life. That is glorious. Yes, you must follow Jesus and take up your cross, but you will also be where he is. That is glorious. Yes, you must become his servant, but you will be honored by God. The text says. That is glorious. Is the call to be a Christian difficult? Absolutely. There is a way that is easy. It leads to destruction. Many find it. My friends, despite what you may think, you do not want an easy life. You want an obedient life, you want a sacrificial life, you want what ultimately leads to eternal life. So how do you do that? How do you get that? Many of you, I'm sure, are familiar with the name George Mueller, a Christian famously well known for his prayerful trust and dependence upon God to provide. Someone asked George Mueller once what has been the secret of your life? And here is his reply. There was a day when I died. died to George Mueller, to his opinions, to his preferences, to his taste, to his will. died to the world, to its approval or censure. died to the approval or blame even of brethren or friends. That is exactly what all believers must learn to do. Of all the reactions that we've seen in this passage, this is the one that absolutely must be emulated. If you are a follower of Christ, that Jesus calls you to a glorious imitation of his death in dying to yourself, the die is cast. Do you wish to see Jesus, then you must see him, first of all through his death for your sin. Do you wish for others to see Jesus, then you must follow him, you must join him, you must die to yourself and live for Christ. You must bear continual witness to him in word and deed, and the promise is that God will lead you in a life of...

...sacrifice that bears much fruit for his glory. Let's pray, Lord. We know that unless we are born again, we cannot enter heaven. We know that being born again also means dying to our old self. We are to consider ourselves, scripture says, dead to sin and alive to God, in Christ Jesus, and now to see ourselves as those who belong to him who was raised from the dead in order that we might bear fruit for God. Father, may these things be so, may your spirit be at work in us, putting our old, sinful ways to death and raising us to walk in newness of life. Help us, named the name of Christ, to heed the call of Christ, to imitate him and his death in our dying to self, for if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. This is our sure and steady hope, and we pray it in the strong and mighty name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (120)