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Jesus Among Friends (Luke 22) April 7, 2011

Posted by roberttalley in Atonement, Blood of Christ, Body of Christ, Christ, Communion, Covenant, Crucifixion, Death of Christ, Falling Away, Jesus, Lord's Table, Luke, Messiah, Millenial Kingdom, Passover, Suffering.
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JESUS AMONG FRIENDS
(Luke 22:1-62)

A couple of weeks ago I asked for questions from the congregation to be written out on a 3” by 5” card. I received a card with the following question, “Is it sinful to “befriend” persons outside the faith or should we see this “opportunity” as one to bring these people to Christ?”

Now I don’t know what provoked this question but it does address a real problem. As believers in Christ, what should our relationship be to those outside the faith? One of my biggest concerns as pastor is that most of us do not bring many unsaved friends to church. There are many possible reasons for this but one of them could be that we tend to isolate ourselves from sinners.

Jesus, however, was known by his enemies as a friend of sinners (Luke 7:33-34). Was this a just accusation? In this chapter we find Jesus with twelve of his closest friends; men who He chose to follow them. One of those men was a man named Judas.
How did Jesus show friendship to Judas (22:2, 21, 27)?
I. Jesus chose a sinner to be His friend, to be one of the twelve (22:2). Sometimes we forget that Jesus knew all along who would betray Him (John 6:64-71). He chose a friend who he could never help. It is interesting that Jesus knew also that Judas would never believe, Jesus befriended a liar, a traitor, a thief simply because it was God’s will.
This helps us to answer the first part of our question. It is obviously not sinful to befriend a sinner. It also helps us to answer the second part but not directly. We are not just to look at people as “opportunities” but rather we are to live in God’s will and be so full of a passion for Jesus Christ and His gospel that we become the “opportunity” for them to hear the gospel of Christ.
II. Jesus shared His table with a sinner (22:21, 27). It was such a high honor at that time to be invited to eat with someone that to refuse the invitation opened one up to the revenge of slander and defamation. Jesus gave Judas a place of honor.
Judas seemed to be singled out by Jesus for honor and intimacy at this feast (John 13:26). Based on this chapter, it appears that Judas has been given by Jesus, the host of this feast, the place of honor on his left. In addition, Jesus gave Judas the sop. The sop was a piece of bread that was dipped into some type of sauce or mixture. To give the sop to some one was not only a great honor but symbolic of a close friendship. Jesus treated Judas at this festival with the greatest of honor and signs of friendship.
III. Jesus served sinners (22:27). When Jesus washed feet, He washed Judas’ feet also. When Jesus instituted the Communion that we celebrate today, He did not withhold it from Judas but rather served him also. Jesus, the King of Kings, served Judas in whose heart the devil had accomplished an awful work (John 13:2).
What ended the friendship between Judas and Jesus (22:4-6)? There are a lot of theories about Judas’ motivation, money being the most obvious. I think money certainly played a part (John 12:6). There was something deeper though for all of the disciples were tainted by their desire to be important in the kingdom and they certainly could have assumed that great riches would come with the kingdom. What ended the friendship was Judas’ lack of faith in Christ (John 6:64-71). Oh, he certainly began believing but he did not have a faith that would last.

This tells a lot about true faith. True faith that lasts is not dependent on excellent surroundings. Judas heard the Creator of the universe teach truth and wisdom. His faith, however, did not continue to respond. There was an initial response but it was broken easily on the banks of a few coins. What will break your faith?
What was Jesus’ desire for His friends (22:14-30)? He desired that they be a part of His eternal kingdom.
What is the kingdom of which Jesus is speaking?
a. It is a coming kingdom (22:15-19) Last week we saw where Jesus said that the kingdom is in the heart of those who believe but it is also a future eternal kingdom. This coming kingdom must be prepared through suffering (compare v. 15 with 17:22-25). Hebrews 1:8a-10 describes this kingdom through suffering in this way, “But now we do not yet see all things [in submission to Jesus]. But we see Jesus…for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting for Him…in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”
b. It is also a new covenant kingdom (22:20). I do not have time to go back to Jeremiah and look at these Old Testament passages but the main characteristic of the new covenant kingdom is heart transformation. Jesus died so that I might be born from above, regenerated in heart, passing from the kingdom of darkness into His eternal light.
c. It is a caring kingdom (22:24-27). Service is more important than authority.
Leroy Eims of the Navigators tells about a man who came to Christ and desired to serve Eims. Because he was young and inexperienced in the faith, there were not a lot of opportunities at the Navigators office for this man to serve. Winter was coming though and the man greatly desired to serve in some way. Leroy Eims gave him the task of shoveling the walkway to the office building. The man was very zealous in this service. In fact he was so zealous, Eims quipped, that not a snowflake hit the walkway the whole winter long. Eims said that such valuable service could not go unrewarded and they brought him into the office to train for service within the Navigators organization. The young man cared enough to serve.
How do we show friendship to Christ (22:28)? We show friendship to Christ by continuing with Him even in His trials. Can we do that? Absolutely, Jesus said, take up My cross and follow Me.
“They tried my Lord and Master with no one to defend.
Within the halls of Pilate He stood without a friend.
I’ll be a friend to Jesus, my life for Him I’ll spend.
I’ll be a friend to Jesus, until my years shall end.

The world may turn against Him, I’ll love Him to the end,
And while on earth I’m living, My Lord shall have a friend.

I’ll do what He may bid me; I’ll go where He may send;
I’ll try each flying moment to prove that I’m His friend.

To all who need a Savior, my friend I recommend;
Because He brought salvation is why I am His friend.”
Sometimes, however, even the most loyal of us fail Jesus when He needs us most. Peter is a true example and Jesus knew Peter would fail. Yet He showed friendship to Peter anyway. How did Jesus show friendship to Peter (22:31-34)? He warned him, He prayed for Him to endure in the faith, He gave him a positive hope for the future, and He was honest in telling Peter what he did not want to hear.
Let us return to our question about befriending sinners. Here is a good plan to follow them. We must warn them. Only a friend will warn someone of the dangers of hell. We must pray for them to come to faith. We cannot argue them into the faith. We need God’s help to bring them to faith. We need to give them hope, let them know that there is a purpose for them in this life and the life to come. Finally, we need to be honest even if they do not want to hear the gospel. It is possible to antagonize people but if you are a real friend who lives out a real faith in Christ, you will figure out how to give them the gospel of Christ.
As we come to the close of our service, we come to the time when we celebrate the Lord’s Table. How does the Lord’s Table or communion show our friendship with Christ and with each other (22:19, 26)? It shows our friendship with Christ according to verse 19 by remembering what He did for us. It shows our friendship with each other in that each one of us comes together to the table. We are all equal in Christ’s kingdom. It is interesting that the only people unworthy of this bread and juice are those who considered themselves above others (1 Corinthians 11). Today, I want us to take a few moments and ask ourselves, not if we’ve sinned but if there is anyone here today who we consider ourselves superior to. Think through the rows of seats. If you find anyone who you feel you are above, would you not repent of that ungodliness now and humble yourself before God in silent prayer?

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A sermon on Passover from Exodus 12:12-37 September 7, 2008

Posted by roberttalley in Exodus, Passover, Religion, Sermons.
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WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THIS SERVICE?

Exodus 12:12-37

During the next couple of months, we are looking at the various feasts of the Jews that are mentioned in Leviticus 23. We are not going to look at them in chronological order but we are going to begin with the first of the feasts of the Jews, Passover.

Now the first question we need to ask ourselves is actually the title of this sermon. This is the question that God expected that children might ask when observing future Passovers.

A couple of years ago, Steve Rutledge, a missionary to the Jews in New York City was with us and explained the various parts of the Passover Seder. Integrated into the Seder were the questions that the children are supposed to ask.

 

(Excerpt from the Seder that we observed a couple of years ago.)

Child: Why is this night different than all other nights? Why on all other nights do we eat bread with leaven, but on this night we eat only unleavened bread? Why on all other nights do we eat of all kinds of herbs, but on this night we eat bitter herbs? Why on all other nights do we not dip herbs at all, but on this night we dip them twice? Why on all other nights do we eat in the normal way, but on this night we eat with special ceremony?

 

Later we are going to read the answers to these questions but I want us first of all to look at the Scriptures on which the answer is based. In doing this, I trust that you will better understand not only why the Jew celebrate Passover but also why we do many of the things which we do, including Communion.

It is a memorial, that is, it is intended to remind us of a great event, the 10th plague against the Egyptians and the resulting Exodus from Egypt of the Israelites (12:14; 13:9). There are two things that Exodus 12:27 tells us they are to remember.

God strikes those who oppose Him (12:27). Exodus records for us how that God smote Egypt. In Exodus 4:21-23 we find that when God called Moses, He made it plain that He was going to do more than just deliver His people from slavery. He had plans to humble the land of Egypt so that they might know that He is the true God. There are two things interesting about God’s dealings with Pharaoh.

First, it was never intended to bring them to faith but rather to realization of the greatness of God (14:4, 23-28).

Secondly, it was a complete judgment. When you read the Scriptures and see the occasions when God judges a people, they most often are significantly different from the natural disasters like hurricanes or diseases like AIDS. When God judges it is devastating. Not one blade of grass is left, not one stone is left standing on another, no one is able during the judgment of God to stand before Him.

God delivers with a mighty hand (12:17). God intended for Israel to remember that He delivered them, He snatched them from slavery and set them free. Look again at Exodus 13:9. God wanted them to learn His law, His direction, His instruction through the remembrance of the mighty work which He did in passing over them, separating them from the Egyptians, and delivering them from Egypt. We see this practiced in Psalm 78. Let us look at verses 1-8 and if you would please stay open to this psalm. In verses 4-5 we see again that the law is simply the expression of the mighty works of God. Now it is true that there are many more principles expressed in the law of Moses but those moral principles are worthless without the delivering power of God. Now what was this instruction in the power of God, this law, supposed to accomplish?

They were to develop a true knowledge of God (verse 6). Remembering the great and mighty power of God to deliver changes the way a person thinks.

They were to develop a true hope in God (verse 7a). Remembering the great and mighty power of God to deliver changes the way a person feels.

They were to develop a true obedience to God (verses 7b-8). Remembering the great and mighty power of God to deliver changes the way a person does.

How then does this apply to us as Christians, we who are not Jews? Turn to Galatians 1:2-3, “Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father…”

You see, when Christ died for our sins, He snatched us from this evil age that humankind finds itself in. Our sins enslave us, holding us captive to this evil world. Since the time of Adam and Eve, humankind has been captive, but Christ died to free us from our sins and to free us from this world. John Wesley described his own conversion this way, like a brand snatched from the burning. That is the deliverance that Christ has provided for all of us who have put our faith and trust in Him.

Have you trusted Christ? He came to deliver you and me from sin and this evil world but unless you are willing like the Israelites were to believe the message of God, you will be struck by God, smitten of God, rather than delivered by Him. What is the message of God. Galatians 1:6-7 calls it the gospel of Christ, the good news of Jesus Christ. Galatians 6:12-15 clarifies both what the message of Christ is and what the alternative is.

You can try to please God through your flesh and be smitten of God in eternity or you can trust Christ and be crucified to this world and become a new creature.

 

Conclusion: I would like for us to read responsively the answers to the questions that the child would ask.

Leader: We will now answer the four questions concerning Passover that you have asked.

People: Once we were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord in His goodness and mercy brought us out of that land with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.

Leader: Had God not rescued us from the hand of the destroyer, surely we and our children would still be enslaved, deprived of freedom and human dignity.

People: Once we worshipped idols and were enslaved by our sins, but God in His goodness and mercy forgave our transgressions and called us to be His people.

Leader: Therefore, tonight is different than other nights because we have gathered to remember who we are, what God has done for us, and to tell to our children the story of God’s grace and deliverance.

People: Praise be to God who is everywhere. Praise be to God who has brought us freedom and has delivered us from all that enslaves us!

 

 

New Terrible Parable: The Easter Recipe May 9, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Communion, Lord's Table, Passover, Terrible Parables.
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A good description of the Passover. Click the link below.

http://mysite.verizon.net/bizsopu4/2007.05.01_arch.html#1178712756304