Covenant Christian Reformed Church Welcome to the weekly podcast of Covenant Christian Reformed Church in Cutlerville, Michigan. For more information, check out our website at http://www.covenant-crc.org

February 17, 2020  

The Only Way Home
(A Study of the Gospel of John; Message #58)
(Jesus on Discipleship #7)
John 14:4-6

A. Jesus is conversing with his disciples the night before his crucifixion

A MISUNDERSTANDING (14:4,5)

A. Thomas doesn't get it

B. Jesus tries to clarify things for Thomas: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”

1. About three years before, Thomas heard Jesus say, “Follow me”

2. When a disciple follows a rabbi, the destination is far less important

C. Jesus “way-knowing” is simply “Stick with me!”

A METAPHOR (14:6A)

A. Jesus is the master of metaphor

1. Listen carefully: “A metaphor is not literally true”

a. A metaphor both is and is not what it says

b. A metaphor is designed to stimulate our imagination; we can connect

the visible to the invisible and open up to transcendence

2. There is more to everything than what we can see or hear or touch

B. When we realize Jesus talks in metaphors, we can be more confused or

our understanding can expand exponentially

THE MESSAGE (4:6A)

A. Scripture talks about the Way throughout the Old Testament

“Walk in the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, so you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land...” (Deuteronomy 5:33)

“Whether you turn to the right or the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21)

“Teach me your way, O Lord.” (Psalm 27:11)

1. “I am the Way” suggests giving good counsel, being a personal guide,

leading us to the Father (and Home)

2. And...Jesus is life’s path and your ultimate destination

B. Scripture speaks about the Truth throughout the Old Testament

“Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth.” (Psalm 86:11)

“Your love is ever before me, I walk continually in your truth.” (Psalm 26:3)

“I have chosen the way of truth...” (Psalm 119:30)

1. “I am the Truth” suggests telling the truth, being a truthful person,

and claiming to know the Truth

2. And...in a world of pluralism, Jesus is a Truth you can live your life by

C. Scripture speaks about the Life throughout the Old Testament

“The corrections of discipline are the way to life.” (Proverbs 6:23)

“He who heeds discipline shows the way to life...” (Proverbs 10:17)

“You have made known to me the path of life...” (Psalm 16:11)

1. “I am the Life” suggests he is alive, enjoying life, and winsome

2. And...Jesus reminds us, you can't have real Life without me

D. “The Way, the Truth, and the Life” is a metaphor for a single person: Jesus

THE MEANING (14:6B)

A. This is the scandal of the Gospel: there’s only one way of salvation; one

way to prepare for your home-going; one way to an untroubled heart

“Christ is not one of many ways to approach God, nor is he the best of several ways; he is the only way.” (A.W. Tozer)

B. We should be thankful there is One Way home to the Father

1. To know the Way is available as a gift of God’s love is amazing grace!

“There is no other name (way) under heaven by which we can be saved - quench our eternal thirst” (Acts 4:12)

2. Do you long for home? Come to Jesus... There is no other way

February 10, 2020  

Going Home
(A Study of the Gospel of John; Jesus on Discipleship #6)
John 14:1-3

A. How many people live as if the Christian Life is a retirement cruise?

1. If we sail unprepared, it’s in spite of God - not because of him

2. He has gone before us and offers to go with us

B. In these verses, Jesus promises to prepare us a place in his Father’s house

JESUS PROVIDES A PERSPECTIVE (14:1)

A. One of Jesus’ hardest commands is “Let not your hearts be troubled”

1. There seem to be incredibly good reasons for Jesus’ disciples to be troubled

2. It is okay to have and learn from our troubles, but then we need to move on

B. The antidote to a troubled “heart” is a trusting communion with the Father

and his Son

1. Trust develops over time in community through relationships

2. Jesus invites his disciples to deepen their communion with the Father...

C. John continues and notes reasons to foster and fortify our trust

1. Jesus “Dear little children” provided a note of divine affection (13:33)

2. Jesus’ “for now” keeps the door open for a “but later...” (13:36b)

3. “God” has a definite article. John : “Trust THE (Great) God” (14:1)

4. Jesus promises to return (after a physical absence): “I’ll come back” (14:3)

“I know that all of these hard realities are understandably very discouraging to you; but please, don’t let you hearts be too troubled; you can't trust your colleagues completely and, you know you can't even trust yourself completely; but please remember the living God in whom you can trust completely; and please remember me too, and my trustworthiness. Don’t give up on us. Don’t be too discouraged.” [Jesus]

JESUS PROVIDES A PLACE (14:2)

A. 14:2 - “There are many rooms in my Father’s house”

1. A house implies rest, safety, warmth, a place to belong

2. Your “Father’s House” is where your Father is...

B. The next sentence is a curious one: “I would tell you this if it were not true”

1. Why did Jesus say that? Jesus sees complacency, contentment, apathy

2. His statement confronts our complacency; gives this teaching urgency

C. Your Father is planning on you coming

D. This passage parallels the wedding customs of Jesus day...

1. First, there is a coming together of the bride and groom’s families

a. Promises are made; commitments are given; the dowry is paid

b. Then the groom returns home to prepare a place for his bride

c. When the place is prepared, the groom returns for his bride

2. First, they come together to make covenant (a cup of wine is exchanged);

the second time he comes to bring his bride home (with feasting)

3. The Bride’s home fades into the background; the Groom’s home comes

into view

JESUS PROVIDES A PREDECESSOR (14:2)

A. The New Testament has a great name for Jesus: “prodromos”

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul...it enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus who went before us, has entered on our behalf” (Heb. 6:19-20)

“For those God foreknew...that [Jesus] might be the firstborn among many” (Rom. 8:29)

“He is the firstborn over all creation...the firstborn from among the dead” (Col. 1:15, 18)

B. We can go to heaven with a sense of confidence; Jesus is already there

JESUS PROVIDES A PROMISE (14:3)

A. Jesus describes his “leaving” as making preparations for “his own” (13:1)

1. He promises to go and prepare a place for us, to be the “transportation”

we need (cf. 14:6), and to personally accompany us

2. Jesus promises he is coming back. You can stake your life and eternity on it!

B. Fear strikes when one realizes death is near and they are unprepared

1. What matters to the Father is if he knows you...

2. It’s not what you have! It is who you know! Be prepared!

February 3, 2020  

The Glory and Misery of Discipleship
(A Study of the Gospel of John)
John 13:31-38

A. This is the beginning of Jesus’ Closing Discourse - John 14-16

1. Jesus explains the significance and implications of his greatest deeds - i.e., his

death and his resurrection

“[This] is one of the greatest compositions in literature...because the one who speaks here speaks as no human being has ever spoken” (Raymond Brown)

2. What happens before, during and immediately after “this weekend” will

determine human time as no other event since creation

B. Jesus gives his disciples a heads up on the glory and misery of following him

THE GLORY OF JESUS’ DEATH AND RESURRECTION (13:31-32)

A. When Judas left, Jesus knew his Father had commenced his final work

1. Jesus says, “Now...” as if his work is already done (“the prophetic perfect”)

2. Jesus gives himself the title, “Son of Man” (cf. Daniel 7:13-14)

3. “Glorified”, from the root “doxa” (doxology), means praise and honor

B. John (always) speaks of Jesus’ cross as glorification (cf. 7:39; 11:4, 53; 12:16, 23-24; 28; 13:31-32; 14:13; 17:1, 4-5)

1. In his death and rising we see the depth and height of God’s love for His world

2. Love always costs something! God’s love cost Jesus his life

“There is not greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13b)

C. Amazing glorification will occur the coming weekend -

1. The glorification of the Father by his Son on the cross

2. The glorification of the Son by his Father in the resurrection

3. The glorification of his disciples by the Father and Son’s love them for them

THE MISERY OF THE DISCIPLES (SPIRITUAL) IMMATURITY (13:33)

A. This is a “sad” verse following Jesus’ teaching of his glorification

1. Is Jesus saying even disciples don’t “automatically” get into heaven?

2. Is Jesus saying there’s no cheap “God is love and we all get in” universalism?

3. Is Jesus reminding us that any and all access to the Father is by grace alone?

B. Thankfully this verse has an affectionate greeting: “Dear little children...”

1. Wasn’t the whole purpose of our discipleship to follow you?

2. Jesus concludes this teaching with “for now”- changing hopeless into hopeful

a. Without the cross (19:30), his resurrection (20:22), the gift of his Spirit,

and the gift of faith - we are all hopeless (including Jesus’ disciples)

b. Even “now”, we are deeply needy human beings who need to “listen up”

THE GLORY OF THE DISCIPLES’ LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER (13:34-35)

A. The lived-out love of Christians for one another has the single greatest

missionary impact on the world

1. This love doesn't come from the disciples; it comes from Christ’s love

“Have a heart for one another out of the well of my heart for you” (13:34; Bruner)

2. Jesus’ disciples, by definition, have this “resource” - Jesus’ continual love

B. This love is, first, for fellow disciples, for His Church

1. When Christians live affectionately with other Christians, they make

a deep impact on each other and on the world

2. We think the world doesn't notice; they do

3. Jesus is inviting (commanding!) His Church to love one another...

4. Church loyalty is almost as important as loyalty to Christ himself

C. Our love for each other is an essential part of world mission

THE MISERY OF THE DISCIPLE’S VAIN SELF-CONFIDENCE (13:36-38)

A. Peter doesn't understand why he has to wait when he is ready “now!”

1. Peter says he’s ready to “lay down his [whole] life” for Jesus

2. This error has had a long and disastrous history for people and the Church

3. Jesus: “You’re going to lay down you’re life for me?”

B. Jesus’ prediction of Peter’s denials reminds us not to take glory in our position

1. It is not about us. Who lays down whose life for whom in the Christian faith?

2. Our vanity, ego, and self-centeredness can lead us to think we’re fully devoted to Jesus, ready to lay our life down for him and earn our “forever”

C. Jesus gives us a great model of great loving...

1. He challenges us to emulate him; he challenges us to be His Church

2. And when we build it..., they will come

November 18, 2019  

The Ministry of Foot Washing
(The Gospel of John: Jesus’ Discipleship Course; #3)
John 13:12-20

A. In our text, Jesus offers his disciples three words of encouragement:

1. First, Jesus gives his disciples a whole new way of living (13:12-17)

2. Second, Jesus protects his disciples from the discouragement that

might overwhelm them when they learn that one of their own would

betray Him (13:18-19)

3. Third, Jesus encourages them with the honor that they will be his

officially authorized representatives in the world (13:20)

A NEW WAY OF LIVING (13:12-17)

A. Most people don’t want to wash other people’s feet (i.e., forgive them)

1. But Christ-followers are not most people. Our feet are wet; grace washed

2. All He asks is we share his grace with others like he shared his grace with us

“See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many” (Hebrews 12:15)

B. Jesus foot washing is the perfect depiction of what God has done for us

1. It is the perfect pattern for how we’re to live the most “blessed” way

2. It is the paradigm of both our relationship to God (theology) and our

relationship to others (ethics)

C. Jesus is quintessential model. You want to know how to love, look at Jesus

A NEW ENCOURAGEMENT FOR LIVING (13:18-19)

A. Jesus knows Judas’ deed is part of the Scriptural plan for his Messianic work

“Even my bosom friend in whom I trusted, who ate of my bread, has lifted the heel against me.” (Psalm 41:9)

B. Jesus doesn't want his disciples to think His whole Gospel enterprise has

failed when they learn what Judas has done

1. Jesus wants build their faith so they understand that “I AM who I AM!”

2. When the disciples see Jesus for who he is they will have everything they

need to remain confident and vigil

 

A NEW CALL TO REPRESENT JESUS (13:20)

A. This (third) encouragement is Jesus’ commitment to the “remaining

eleven” that they will be His personal ambassadors to the world

1. Jesus says that whoever receives them (his disciples) will be receiving Him

2. One of the greatest needs in the church today is for Jesus’ followers to step

up and appropriate the power and authority He has given us...to serve

“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” (Luke 10:19)

“I will do whatever you ask in my name, so the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name and I will do it!” (John 14:13-14)

“I will give you the keys to the kingdom; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19)

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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.” (Matthew 28:18-19)

3. Scripture clearly teaches that believers have far more power and authority

then we would believe just by looking at today’s church

a. We become a part of this “Apostolic Succession” when we welcome

and pass on the apostolic witness by proclaiming Jesus Name

b. When we go in his name, we have His power and authority to serve

4. This promise and process give the church her pedigree, her lifelines, her

privilege, and her mission

B. This is how Christ calls his Church to be - a place where love and sacrifice

are hard-wired into the DNA of his disciples who are practicing Gospel

1. Jesus isn't interesting in building a Church; he’s interested in his people

being the Church

2. A place where we’re willing to live bare footed - because we know even

our feet have been washed by Jesus

 

November 17, 2019

November 11, 2019  
October 14, 2019  

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