On Miscellaneous Subjects
By Pastor Ron Thomas
Rodgers Baptist Church
801 West Buckingham Rd. - Garland, TX 75040
Preached 2/8/2009 a.m.
Text: John 16:25-33.“These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father.
26 At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you:
27 For the Father Himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.
28 I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.
29 His disciples said unto Him, Lo, now speakest Thou plainly, and speakest no proverb.
30 Now are we sure that Thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask Thee: by this we believe that Thou camest forth from God.
31 Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?
32 Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.
33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
Introduction: Often we express our love with flowers. Groucho Marx once instructed a hotel clerk, "Send two dozen roses to Room 424, and put 'Emily, I love you' on the back of the bill." On the morning after Jack Benny's death, his widow, Mary, received a single long-stemmed rose from the local florist. When another rose was delivered the next day, Mary called the florist and was told her of an order her husband had placed before he died. Jack had made provision in his will for the florist to supply one perfect red rose every day, for the rest of Mary's life.
Flowers can express the sincerity and security of our love and devotion for someone. Sometimes people use flowers to determine if someone actually loves them! Has life ever found you pulling daisy petals? You know the game. You start with one petal, pull it and say, “He loves me.” Then you move to the next petal, pull it and say. “He loves me not.” You continue this process until you run out of petals. If that last petal finds you saying, “He loves me,” then you have your answer. You are loved! If the last petal has you saying, “He loves me not,” then perhaps it is time to “move on” in your relationships! Or, if you are not satisfied with your answer, you simply find another daisy and keep plucking, until it gives you the answer you desire!
Sometimes you do this with your relationship with God, only instead of using daisy petals, you use circumstances. You reason: “If I get the raise, then God must love me! If I fail to get the promotion, then God must not love me. If I get the job, God must love me. If get laid off, or lose my job altogether, God doesn’t love me. If my child wins an award, God loves me. If my child is seriously sick, God doesn’t love me. If something I prayed for comes to pass, God loves me. If my prayers seem to go unanswered, God doesn’t love me. If I am kind to someone and meet someone’s need, God is proud of me and loves me. If I loose my patience and temper with someone, God is ashamed of me, and no longer loves me. If I successfully resist temptation, God must love me. If I yield to temptation and sin, surely God doesn’t love me.”
You can often use your feelings as petals in your relationship with God. If you are feeling low, feeling rejected or unlovable, you can project that on to your relationship with God. If you are feeling lonely, you reason that God must be far away. He doesn’t care or has abandoned you. If you loathe yourself because of what you done or failed to do, you somehow believe that God loathes you as well!
When you’re playing the “he loves me, he loves me not” game, the evidence against God can appear overwhelming. Life is full of trouble, tests, and trials, as well as injustice and human failure. All of this can make God appear at best insensitive if not uncaring, but perception is not necessarily reality. If you define God only in your limited interpretation of your own circumstances and feelings, you will never discover who He really is.
Our text passage is about relationships. Jesus speaks of His relationship with His Father. Jesus tells His disciples that He came from His Father, and He was soon to return to His Father. Jesus knew that soon they would forsake Him, but that His Father would never forsake Him, never abandon Him. Jesus was secure in His Father’s love! God the Father loved His only begotten Son, coming and going, and everything in-between! There was never a time when Jesus did not experience the love of His Father.
In this passage, Jesus also speaks about His relationship to His disciples, and their relationship with God the Father. Jesus assures His disciples that no matter what happens in the near or distant future, God the Father loved them, because they had embraced His Son. Jesus wanted His disciples to be secure in their relationship with Him, and His Heavenly Father!
Why is Jesus so concerned about these relationships? Why is He so preoccupied with being secured by His Father’s love? Jesus is soon to face the cross. In verse 32, Jesus tells His disciples, “Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.” The hour of the cross would be one that put relationships to the test! Shallow, superficial relationships would dry up and go away in the heat of coming events. It would be a time when true love would be proven!
The amazing thing we discover in this passage, is that Jesus seems more preoccupied with preparing His disciples for the turbulent times ahead, rather than being concerned about Himself. How could He be this way? The answer? Jesus was secure in the love of His Heavenly Father.
I chose this passage from the life of Christ, to illustrate His relationship with His Father, because it finds Him in the worst of circumstances. Jesus is facing the hour of His crucifixion. If there ever was a time that tested His relationship with His Father, it is this one! Yet, with the weight of the world pressing upon Him, as He faces the bitter experience of being offered as a sinless sacrifice by the very One who loved Him the most, Jesus remains secure in His Father’s love. There are no daises in this passage. In this passage we are made to see:
Four Secrets To Be Secure In God’s Love
Jesus was secure in His Fathers love for Him. Why?
Secret one: Jesus and His Heavenly Father were in constant communication. Verse25-26. “These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father. 26 At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you.” Jesus was in constant communication with His Father. Jesus was a man of prayer. Jesus was praying as He was being baptized by John the Baptist, and the Holy Spirit descended on Him like a dove. Jesus began His ministry with a forty day fast in the wilderness. There were times when He withdrew into the wilderness to pray. Other times, Jesus retreated to a mountain to get alone with His Father and pray. Sometimes Jesus prayed all night. He did so before choosing the twelve. He was praying alone just before He asked Peter, "Who do you say that I am?" Jesus had taken Peter, James and John up on the mountain to pray, when He was suddenly transfigured before them. In the next chapter, John 17, we find the great intercessory prayer offered by Jesus for His disciples. Jesus will be in the garden of Gethsemane praying to His Father in agony, as Judas moves toward his betrayal. Even on the cross, we find Jesus in constant communication with His Father! Whenever Jesus prayed to His Father, He would speak and act in accordance with the will of His Father.
In this passage, Jesus was preparing His disciples for His departure. He was about to leave them and return to His Father by way of the cross, but it shouldn’t make a difference in their communication with the Father. Why? They were as secure in the Father’s love as He was! You are as secure in God’s love, as Jesus was! Because His disciples had believed on Jesus and loved Him, they were loved by the Father! He says in verse 27, “For the Father Himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.”
Jesus teaches them to pray with a sense of security in the Father's love. They didn’t need Jesus to personally take their petitions to the Father. Jesus had opened the way of direct access to the throne room of Heaven. Because they believed in Him, they could pray, “Our Father which art in Heaven!”
Jesus doesn't want us to feel precarious and insecure in our prayers. Jesus desires for you to feel secure in the Father's love when you come to Him in prayer. This sense of security is utterly crucial in the life of prayer and the life of worship. You cannot sustain a life of prayer, if you believe God is distant, indifferent, uncaring or angry with you. Prayer is sustained by the confidence that God the Father is concerned and cares!
Secret two: Jesus and His Father were connected in their purpose. Verses 27-28 says, “For the Father Himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. 28 I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.” Here Jesus speaks of the eternal plan of redemption. In eternity past, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, made a choice to redeem the fallen human race. God allowed sin, because love must make a choice. Mankind would sin in the garden, but we would be given a choice as to stay in our sin, or claim the redemption available in Jesus Christ. Peter said that Jesus came to “...bring us to God.”
Yes, Jesus was facing His cross, but that was all part of the plan! The hour of His suffering, would not deter Jesus or discourage Him. It would not cause Him to doubt His Father’s love! Why? They were connected by the same plan, the same redemptive purpose! You might say, “They were always on the same page.” The moment of His death on the cross, Jesus would return to His Father. On the cross, Jesus cried out to His Father, “Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit.”
A disciple of Jesus Christ must be committed to a life of self denial, suffering and cross bearing. You must consider all the trials you face as part of God’s plan and purpose for your life, therefore you must never let it cause you to doubt or question His love for you. Paul tells us that if we love God and know that we are called according to His purpose, then all things are for our good! You should never measure God’s love by the things you experience. Whatever comes our way, we can say, “God has a plan and purpose for this in my life, because He loves me. God means this for good because He loves me!” Richard C. Halverson once said, “There is nothing you can do, to make God love you more! There is nothing you can do, to make God love you less!” The truth is, God is more concerned about our character than our comfort.
Secret three: Jesus and His Father were committed to the relationship. Verse 32 says, “Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.” What a statement! Jesus foresaw the time when Peter would deny Him, and the others would flee in fear in His hour of need, but not His Heavenly Father. Ahead was a trying time for relationships. In that hour, Jesus’ disciples would prove to be “fair weather friends,” but not His Father. The Heavenly Father was committed to the relationship, as was Jesus. The test and trial of Calvary would only make their relationship stronger and more secure! Jesus could face anything knowing He was secure in His Father’s love, and that He would never leave Him alone!
I am made to reflect upon David’s words in Psalm 23:4 he says, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.” We know and serve a God who goes with us into the valley of trials, hardships and death! Again in Psalm 27:10, David said, “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.” We know and serve a God who will stand by us when earthly, human relationships disappoint us and even fail! Others may walk away, but God will never abandon you.
You cannot let yourself become emotionally attached to material things over the love and fellowship of God. Material things cannot love you back! Material things come and go, but God has promised never to leave you or forsake you! Hebrews 13:5 says, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” When Job lost everything he possessed, even his health, his response was “Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”
God loves you all the more, when the love of others is in short supply; when others reject and abandon you, or maybe just neglect and ignore you. When human love falters, God’s love flourishes.
Secret four: Jesus and His Father had the proper attitude about the future. Verse 33 reads, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” What a spirit of victory! What an attitude! Jesus is real! He faces life realistically. There were tough times ahead. Jesus didn’t come into this world because everything was right and rosy, but because everything was wrong and lousy! Jesus tells His disciples that in this world, there would always be tribulation, there would always be a struggle of some sort, there would always be pain and sorrow, but He didn’t stop there! Jesus went on to encourage them by reminding them that He had already overcome! They would take Him, falsely accuse Him, beat Him, mock Him, spit on Him, crucify Him, bury Him, and then have a party thinking they were rid of Him! For His disciples, there would follow a dark night of doubt, but joy would return in the morning! On the third day, He would rise again! He would overcome, and because He overcame the world with all of it heartache, so could they! They could be of good cheer! They could experience peace in the midst of the storms of life, knowing that God would get them safely to the other side!
As believers, we must walk, talk, and live by faith. We are to be known by our faith in God! The apostle Paul said, “If God be for us, who can be against us!” A positive attitude is vital! Consider these important realities! Taken from John C. Maxwell’s Leadership Bible.
“Your attitude determines your approach to life.
Your attitude determines your relationship with people.
Your attitude is often the difference between success and failure.
Your attitude at the beginning of a task, will affect its outcome more than anything else.
Your attitude can give you an uncommonly positive perspective.
Your attitude is not automatically good just because you belong to God.” -- Taken from John C. Maxwell’s Leadership Bible.
A plaque on the wall of golfer Arnold Palmer’s office reads:
If you think you are beaten, you are.
If you think you dare not, you don't.
If you'd like to win but think you can't,
It's almost certain you won't.
Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But sooner or later, the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can.
The secret to securing relationships is first being secure in God’s love for you. Once you do this, Jesus teaches you how to secure the other relationships in your life. How?
Communicate. You make your love for others secure, when you communicate. Communication is life blood to any relationship.
Consider God. You make our love for others secure, when you understand God’s plan and purpose in life’s setbacks. Problems and trials are opportunities to prove and strengthen your love for others!
Commitment. You make your love for others secure, when you refuse to bail out of the relationship. Anyone can walk away! True love is all about commitment! Ruth expressed her commitment to Naomi saying, “Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: 17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.”
Attitude. You make your love for others secure, when you refuse to go negative, but instead remain positive. Always speak and act in faith! Say, “With God, we can overcome this! God will get us through this.”
He loves me, He loves me not? Jesus makes it clear, God loves you! Jesus proved it once and for all when He gave His life on the cross. God loves you! If you believe it, then you will live it!