The words of Jesus were always simple and direct. He spoke so people would come to salvation. Our theology is only as deep as this: Jesus loves us, this we know. (Luke 19:1-10; John 3:10-17)
Speaker(s): Pastor Kim Shibley, Donald Valerio
Sermon # 11298
6:30 PM on 7/16/2017
I’m a student here at MBC&S. Been here three years now, going on four.
A few words I’ve been meditating on. After Convention, I’m still meditating on AGAPE love.
Rom 4:19 (NKJV). vs. 20-21. Fully convinced, persuaded. He did not waver at the promise. What he had promised he was also able to perform. The word “persuaded” Paul uses a few times in his letters. To win over, bring about a change of mind. P. Scibelli’s favorite source Google – just kidding – “find a sound reason for doing something.” He saw Stephen and it made an impact in his life. He mentioned it several times in Acts to the counsel. It wasn’t just about theology. He saw Christ face to face. What makes us keep going? We had a traumatic experience and have seen God face to face. That’s why many of you continue on for decades later in the faith. That’s the motivation of AGAPE love. Even if we don’t see his hand, we know the heart of God. We know what we are doing is not in vain.
Ge 11 the story of the tower of Babel was a picture of a man trying to get to God.
It’s funny because Ge 11 and 12 Abraham didn’t do nothing but receive. God was calling I think on many men but Abraham responded. True love is the one that responds to AGAPE love. With these few verses and the patriarchs, you see no record of wrong. I love that this is how God views us. We waiver and it gets harder and harder but the fact that God views us is different. Just like the N.T. writings you see no record. Being doubtful or questioning God, and God doesn’t view you like that. The way I have you in my plan is the way I want you. It says Abraham didn’t waiver and then you look at his life. When the angel told him he would have Isaac and he laughs and then Sarai laughs. In the old Southwest commercials, they do something dumb and then the voice says you want to get a way. Just like Sarai. I wasn’t laughing. That was the moment, want to get away? At times when we want to get away or we are wavering with God, he’s right here waiting for you to respond or come back. We didn’t do no works or build no tower. We just received like Abraham received. When I am doubting and have a dry season, I will just be receptive to who God tells me who I am. At Convention, when I went to the Greyhound station and picked up my nephew and brother, both five, and I was in the crowd and my brother had a little glance and ran into my arms. It’s a picture of what God does.
He’s waiting to be gracious to you, Is 30:18. He waited for me with open arms. Through God’s eyes, I never waiver and I’m persuaded by his love.
vs. 19b. Calls those things that do not exist as though they did. This is why Paul was persuaded. He calls you out to a mission field, and for me I’m going to be leaving soon and I’m not seeing this happening. God is saying don’t waiver. I got you.
Luke 19:1-10, when we see the words of Jesus here, I find his words are amazingly inspiring and refreshing. Aren’t they? Not only his words but the stories about him, the accounts he has done. A small group of people believe the only words inspired in N.T. are the words of Jesus. It’s funny. However, it’s not true. By the same token, the words of Jesus are inspired. They are amazing. I think about it often in terms of apologetics. It’s not that people are apologizing for the faith but defending the faith. It is a field of theology that aims to give an historical and reasonable argument based on the Scriptures. We see the God is Dead movie, and creative ways where apologetics can be seen and shown to people. Other times you might see John Lennox from Cambridge debating with another person. It tends to be an intellectual battle. I don’t know how many come to Christ through those things but it is good because the name of Jesus is lifted up and the truth is told. Words of Jesus are inarguable. He had one goal alone and that was to go to the cross and be a living sacrifice, the propitiation for our sins. So he could die in our place. All the words he would speak would be speaking about that one thing, that one goal which was to seek and save the lost. How quickly and easily we forget what Jesus came for and did. He died on the cross for us.
Jn 3 Jesus comes and speaks to Nicodemus in the night. Niocedemus was told by Jesus you must born again and he didn’t understand what Jesus was saying. Jesus said to him, are you the teacher of Israel and you don’t know these things? Jesus was rebuking him. He was one of the leaders of Israel, one of the 70 in the Sanhedrin and he should have had understanding of the purpose of Israel. Jesus said how you can teach people things when you don’t understand the basic things of the faith? That’s troubling in our day and age. So many get into intellectual arguments and banter back and forth about Christianity but they never find themselves in the place Jesus did, in the place of sinners. What church is worth its salt if they are not finding themselves in the place of sinners? What theology is worth its salt if it doesn’t find people visiting the poor, the sick, feeding people food and the Gospel? You’re a teacher of Israel and didn’t know these things? You didn’t know you need to be born from above? The purpose of the Gospel is to bring the name of God to people who don’t know him. Jesus came to do one thing and one thing only, to win souls. If our theology is deeper than Jesus loves me this I know, then your theology is too deep. Where does it all end? Where should it all bring us? My K, my theology, my years of degrees, different things we might do for the Lord, if those things are not purposed to bring the Gospel and bring people to Christ, to love one another and lay down our lives, then our C. is way too complicated. Jesus had simple words. We quote these verses and in context he is speaking to an individual. We speak what we know…you do not receive our witness? If I had told you earthly things, and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
He jumps us to vs. 14-17. These simple words of Jesus are the apologetics of our day. The words of Jesus transform. I’m not saying the words of Romans do not. They are indeed the words of Jesus. The simplicity of the Gospel is where it is at. It is what transforms people. We can argue with people all day long and win the argument every time but it doesn’t mean the person with whom we are arguing will believe and understand. P. Stevens said the only time he was able to win a JW is to love them the way Jesus loved them. We have our understanding of the S and they have theirs. You can lay out your arguments and they lay out theirs but nobody wins. What is missing is the love of Jesus, the laid down life. The understanding of Christ loving us in such a way he would give his life. This is not just a N.T. truth. He definitely overturned a few things from the O. T.
Prov. 11:30, the winning of souls is very important to God.
This is why in Acts 2 when you see the people are in the upper room and the H.S.comes in tongues of fire they run out into the street and begin to proclaim the love of Christ, the death of Jesus. We can believe in him to receive eternal life. It is apologetics. It’s defending the faith through the words of the man who is the faith. His words are challenging but amazing at the same time. Every time you hear Jesus speaking, it’s always something that inspires and changes people. Whoever drinks of the water I give him will never thirst.
Jn 4:14 It’s amazing what happened in this situation. The disciples weren’t there but he was there with the Samaritan woman. He offered her something she could not get herself, eternal life. She ran to the village and while she was gone the disciples came back and said are you hungry. How can you not be hungry? I have food you know not of. They were not understanding the purpose of Jesus in this life. The disciples would change. Let’s always consider the simplicity of what Jesus was saying. I have food you know not of. The food would be souls streaming in from the Samaritan village. She would say I met a man knew everything about me. They came to hear Jesus speak and many believed in his name.
This is what is happening in our church. I love that. Why would someone degrade that? How can you call yourself a Christian when you attack a church going out to preach the Gospel every day, not only here in Baltimore but all over the world? This is what is happening not just in our church but other churches as well. People are hearing the Gospel every day. They are being convinced someone loves them and that someone is a representative of God. That someone is a bundle of energy, a bundle of something amazing.
I have a piece of coal in my hand that is black and shiny. See it? Coal is made of carbon. Those are the same molecules in diamonds but its coal. You can put a match to the coal and it burns. It’s instant energy. It gives off the heat. We are these people.
The disciples began to understand they were the ones to carry the message. If our Christianity is in a box, I guess we never get out of the box. If it’s just us edifying each other but never see souls saved or people on the street or souls baptized. You never know what the words of God will do.
We were in Silver Spring years ago, 2007, and handing out tracts and she [David Wright’s wife] was on her way to the gym. She grabbed the tract thinking it was an ad. She folded it and put in her gym bag. She pulled it out to read it sometime later and said oh, it’s a church! And David Wright got a wife! It can be that simple. What value there is in handing out a tract, handing out the message of the love of God? The same tract we were giving out in 1979 we are still giving out today. People are hungry for the love of God. They are not hungry for arguments. I love reading and looking at the historical things. I really enjoy that kind of stuff but Jesus’ concern is for souls, to serve, to give his life as a ransom for many. This is what his disciples were about and what we are all about as we see the things he said and did.
Jn 14:1-2. These are the comforting words that Jesus speaks. Soul winning is phenomenal. Have you heard of the Roman’s road? Those are amazing techniques but you also are the road for many people. You carry the presence of God.
In 2 Sam they were so happy they recovered the ark from the Philistines. They sent it back on a cart. The Israelites were all happy. Here comes the cart with the ark. Uzzah reached out to touch the ark, and he was struck down. Later David would figure it out. We do it the way the Word says to do it, carried on the shoulders of men. This was the true way to represent God. Not in a religious sense or structured or mechanical way but in the way of life. The Gospel in the same way is carried on our shoulders. We are the church. We are the presence of God. Where we go Christ goes. We go and we go and preach and preach and when we do, people fall in love with the Gospel. It is not complicated. It is not a program where we have to clean ourselves up first.
The work of God in Jn 6:29 is simply to believe. Just what he said to Nicodemus. The work of God is to believe. It is amazing he has such a personal concern for people. The greatest words of apologetics are the simple words of love. I love apologetics, don’t get me wrong that we shouldn’t study the S and present the Gospel and defend the faith. But what about visiting the sick, witnessing to the lost? What about going out to find his one lost sheep, leaving the 99? What kind of childish story is that, Jesus? Can’t you be a little more sophisticated? You are God. You are the Creator of the world and here you are talking about sheep and the shepherd going out but he is the shepherd. We are his people, his disciples, and his mouthpiece. We are the ones in the place of Jesus going out to seek and save that which is lost. Going out to find the one who has not heard about Jesus. It might take us to the Block or to Harford County or Indianapolis or Miami, Florida, or Haiti or Toronto or Mexico or Costa Rica or Nicaragua or China or Nepal or many other places in Africa, Asia, Australia or Japan. It is the simplicity of knowing we have been loved. The fact we have seen God do this in other people’s lives.
I got a text message today. I knew she was believing already (a new woman in his church). She wrote I would like to tell you I have accepted Jesus as my Savior about the third Sunday I attended church. It was amazing as I felt heaviness lifted off of me. I have wanted to tell you for a while, signed the new born baby. This is the Gospel. This is why we are here. To take the heaviness away from people. To free people from their burden of sin.
Come unto me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. My yoke is easy and my burden is light. Those are the words of Jesus.
This is what this woman did. She came to Jesus. She lives in joy and is learning the truth of the Scriptures. She is learning to tell others now. She has concern about her son’s salvation now. The thing that made her understand it was true are the words of Jesus. Let us stick with these words, read these words, and fall in love with them and memorize them. Let’s repeat them over and over again to every taxi driver, to every person at the bus stop. Let’s always preach and give the words of Jesus. They are words that transform. They are word that give life as he gave life. The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life.
Maybe there is someone here tonight who never understood Jesus’ words in that way. Maybe you feel you have done something wrong and God will never accept you and he won’t forgive you or you will never forgive yourself. He says come unto me. If you have any doubts about your salvation or where you will spend eternity there is one who gives life.
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