We know nothing until we have a mind, a heart, and a community in Christ. Some stood against Jesus, others greeted Him with shouts and waving palms. We find fullness as being Salt and Light. John 12:12-25
Speaker(s): Thomas Schaller, Pete Westera
11:00 AM on 2/6/2022
P. Pete Westera –
Good morning. Just a quick word before the message. You know what’s a miracle? Many things
maybe, but Body life is a miracle. I think that deserves an applause. If we really grasp that fact,
that’s an amazing thing. The world tries to have unity and a team spirit. I have attended
seminars and classes for my business to create a team spirit and it’s very clear the goal. Have a
similar goal. Have similar likes and dislikes. Throw in some money as the end result and you
have a team. Or win a championship and you have a team.
The world creates unity or community through excluding others. Politically, we all think the
same. We all do the same. We all kind of are the same so we can be friends. That community is
shrinking over a lifespan because less and less people fit into my little circle.
But how does God do Body life? Philippians 2 gives us four points about Body life. Paul is just in a
way using doctrinal truths to explain Body life. Philippian 2:1, the word “consolation” is grounds of
appeal. Edifying thoughts and ideas and principles that are appealing to us, that are
foundationally appealing to us. Are there grounds of appeal to be in Christ? This is point #1
about Body life. Yes. Absolutely. A key. We are in this room and we are a Body. The reason we
are one is not because we all like the same thing or think the same way. The reason we are one
is because we are in Christ. A foundational principle to our lives, to church life, to Body life is
that we are one.
As we meditate in our lives and we learn what it means to be one, we become more unified.
You can have polar opposite thoughts about all kinds of things: vaccines and political things or
whatever you want to throw in the mix, but it’s okay. We are one. We are in Christ. As I learn to
be one in Christ, it grows. It’s a growing thing that happens. The closer I get to Christ, the more I
realize is that I am in him, the more one I am with somebody else who is in Christ. And that’s our
ground. That’s our foundation.
The enemy of relationships is insecurity, right? If I look inside myself and I’m insecure, then that becomes a problem in the Body. If I try to establish my existence in the Body through self-
promotion or selfish reasons, then it’s an insecure foundation. Insecurity is an enemy in the church. It’s an enemy in Body life. It’s an enemy in relationships, in friendships, in marriages. It
will not work. You can’t be in the Body based on yourself. It will not work. You’ll be in trouble
very quickly. Self is so insecure it won’t find roots to justify being in the Body or comforted or
I just always think about Adam who was able to look within and find God before the Fall. God
created him in his image and he was designed to be able to look within and find God. What
happened with the Fall was insecurity. The minute he fell and sinned, he was insecure. He
could no longer look within to find God.
When Christ died for us, when we become saved and we are in Christ, we can once again look
within and what do we see? We don’t see ourselves. We see Christ. There’s a light there.
There’s all kinds of problems and sins and issues and scary stuff but there is also Jesus. I am in
Christ and Christ is in me, and there’s grounds there. That gives me security. I can identify with
Christ. I know who I am in Christ. That security allows me to be a great Body member. I find that
truth and I find Body life. I can take hold of God with the fact that I am in Christ. Me, the sinner
that I am, takes hold of God, takes hold of divinity just like God takes hold of me at the cross.
With that security, I am a Body member.
Is there consolation in Christ. Oh, yes. Yes. We could take about it for hours probably. There’s
so many beautiful things we could say, but that’s one of the keys. Not money. Not a
championship. Not similar likes. I am in Christ so we are one.
Then the second thing is if any comfort in love. And yes, we have found as Body members that there’s lots of love in the Body beyond our own ability. Something outside of ourselves. We have
found our hearts to be softened. God comes in and softens our heart and we have love for
others. And it comes from God and there’s lots of love in the Body. It doesn’t really matter if
someone fails or does something wrong. We can get passed it. We have love. There’s lots of
comfort in love.
Then the third thing. If any fellowship of the Spirit – this is so key. The Holy Spirit is the
originator, the creator of Body life. The Holy Spirit is what helps us to be Body members and
reminds us and guides us, not just an indwelling Holy Spirit. We all have that when we are
saved, but a guiding, governing Holy Spirit that tells us how to act, tells us what to say, and tells
us what to do.
I was reading something the other day. Did Jesus ever learn? I know he learned through
suffering. We know that, Hebrews 5. But did he learn in words and other educational components
and things about the universe? Did he sit in the classroom and learn words? He was the living
Word. I don’t know if he learned. Learning is a necessity because of the Fall. Adam didn’t learn.
He received. He received wisdom. Jesus didn’t learn the way we learned. He received, I think.
He just received from the Holy Spirit. He grew in stature and grew in wisdom and that was a
direct result of the Holy Spirit teaching him what to do, what to say, how to act. We need
universities, and high schools, and day schools, and of course we are not against that. I’m just
saying we underestimate the Holy Spirit. In order for us to operate in the Body, we need the
Holy Spirit. We need to find him. We need to ask him what to do.
When stuff happens, when there is a problem between us, Holy Spirit, what should I say? What
should I do? Holy Spirit, please guide me. Is there fellowship with the Holy Spirit in the Body?
Yes, there is. That’s what creates it. We need that. I said in the 9:00 service, Peter just made
many mistakes throughout the Bible. Five times he just really blew it. Jesus says I’m going to
the cross and Peter says, no way. It’s not happening. Christ rebukes him. Then at the Mount of
ascension, he goes up the mountain. He sees Elijah, Moses, and Jesus. He says, let’s build a
tabernacle. Makes sense to me. Let’s make this moment known. Let’s establish this spot right
here where this amazing thing happened. At Gethsemane, he grabs a sword and cuts off an
ear. That seems appropriate behavior. Someone is trying to crucify the person that I love,
Jesus. Let me do something about it, right?
There’s two other times. In the temple, he has to pay the temple tax. He’s asked, does your
teacher pay the temple tax? He says, yes. And Jesus later on said, really? Should I? Should I
be paying the temple tax? And then of course Galatians 2 where he gets it wrong.
He gets it wrong but he really doesn’t get it wrong. He kind of acts appropriately in the
situations. He doesn’t get it that wrong in my opinion. I can see myself saying the same things
that Peter says. What is it about Peter? He’s not being guided by the Holy Spirit. He’s doing the
right things, maybe even saying the right things, using the right words, acting appropriately but
actually it’s not appropriate because he’s not being guided by the Holy Spirit. So in the Body,
isn’t that a scary thought? That we could be doing the right things but they’re not right. It’s a little
bit scary. It makes us humble and less self-confident, and makes us seek the Holy Spirit.
Whenever you’re responsible for anything, like Camp Life, you start saying, okay Lord. We need
the Holy Spirit. I need the Holy Spirit. I need the Holy Spirit. And you start seeking because you
realize you could be like Peter and grabbing a sword at the wrong time and get it really wrong.
So Body life in the church is about the Holy Spirit.
And then the last one “bowels of mercy.” Yes, we care. We care for each other. We have
compassion for each other and there’s sympathy. We lay down our lives and we want to help
each other. That’s a result of the Holy Spirit leading us and God putting love in our hearts and
understanding the security of what it means to be in Christ. The result is we have a deep
compassion and care for each other.
We don’t use the normal, worldly mechanisms to become one. We have biblical truth. We
establish a church through biblical truth. And it’s personal. It’s individual. We individually
recognize the fact that we are in Christ, and then corporately we become a Body. That’s how a
church is built and that’s what we have here. We’re so thankful for it.
So, just in closing here, we’re going to go right into the communion. I said at 9:00 and I think I’m
going to say the same thing to you. My favorite part about communion is that I always forget that
Jesus died for me. It’s very likely that many of you woke up this morning and didn’t think about
the fact that Jesus died on the cross for me. It happens all the time. There are periods of time in
my life where I am painfully unaware that Christ is risen and Christ died for my sins and Christ
suffered for me on the cross. What’s amazing about that is that it appears that Jesus knew
2,000 years ago that this morning when I woke up, I wouldn’t remember that he died for me. It
didn’t stop him. He went all the way into Jerusalem, all the way to Gethsemane, all the way to
Calvary and suffered on the cross knowing very well that everyone standing in front of him and
everyone that would ever live, every Christian, you and me would forget all the time.
So he instituted something, communion, to help us. What a gracious beautiful God to die and
suffer for me knowing that I would forget and then say I’m going to help you. We’re going to
have communion in church together so that we will know and remember. We’ll ask the ushers to
come up and hand out communion. Amen.
P. Schaller –
If he said it, I believe it. Sedrick is the one that sang. He and his wife are going to
do the marriage getaway on Friday night. They’re raising four sons and he’s a police officer and
the coach of the middle school basketball team. He’s doing a great job. I’d love to be his son. If
you could father me, I’d turn out okay! I would be alright. Thank you, Lord. Aren’t they are
blessing? Families. Isn’t that amazing.
So, you may be seated. Turn to John. 11. We have an amazing miracle happening in this chapter
and it’s the raising of Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus was dead four days and his sisters were
heart broken. The community came together. They were only two miles from Jerusalem in
Bethany, the other side of the Kidron Valley. The Pharisees went, and it was a big deal. Not only
because of the nature of the miracle, but what it meant regarding Christ and his following. Many
people believed in him as a result of that miracle.
The rabbis did have the teaching that if the Messiah comes, he will do three incredible miracles:
heal the blind, heal the leper, and raise the dead. That happened with Christ and the Jewish
Pharisees or the people in charge are now in some trouble. We read this at the end of chapter
11. We have here, vs. 47-48. this explains or shows us how wrong we can be. They had a line
of reasoning because of his miracles, the Romans will come and take away our place and our
nation. vs. 49. That verse “you know nothing at all” resonated with me. Today, I just knew the
words. I wasn’t reading my Bible, but the words “you know nothing at all” and I remembered,
where was that written? This will happen to you in your Bible study.
As you learn the Bible, God will speak to you even like by the Holy Spirit bring it to your mind. “You know nothing at all.”
Caiaphas said that. It’s a statement of arrogance and blindness and narrow-mindedness.
You got to follow me in the message. It’s going to make sense, but you got to build with me little
by little. We have the secular world today that is excluding the Bible. Secular. It excludes the
Bible from our public discussions, our politics, our values. There is a secular world that has left
morality. They have a morality that is convenient. Like social justice is a moral issue, but then
you can sleep around with anybody you want to. You can sleep with anybody you want to,
wherever, whenever, with as many people as you want to, but social justice is so important.
That sounds to me like a contradiction. If I really care about the people out there, I would also
care about the person I was sleeping with. And I wouldn’t do that. I wouldn’t violate her or hurt
her or demeans her or discredit her. That’s like not Christian. It’s pagan.
We have a secular world with values that contradict what we call traditional Christianity. By
traditional, you can say many of the main line denominations that assemble out of their habit and their practice. There are Protestants, and Catholics and the Orthodox Christians which we
have all been part of perhaps. But there is a third way. In the story, I want you to see that the
Pharisees were actually against Christ. Caiaphas said, “you know nothing at all.” Let’s read the
next part. I want to use that to say there are people in power that are getting things wrong and
not understanding the deeper things in life which is where we are going in our message today.
You have this camp we could say atheistic. You can call it any number of – scientific.
Modern maybe is a good word. Modern or post-modern. It’s a world that we are exposed to every day.
There are people that are empowered in their various places of position and so on. Then you
have this group the traditional Christians. Fortunately or unfortunately, they are losing members.
Church attendance is dropping off. There are the traditional churches where you have – you go
through the activities and you go through the motion and you have some learning but there is
also an emptiness.
Is it enough? For me, it wasn’t. I was brought up in a traditional church, but I had so many
questions and so many struggles in my heart. I needed something more. This is what we’ll call
the third way or the third camp.
I want you to see in this story, chapter 12, Mary has a box of ointment and is worshipping Jesus
and breaking the box of ointment. We can put her here in the third camp. Mary and the box of
ointment. She knows him, loves him. Her brother has been raised from the dead. Her brother
whom she loved has been raised from the dead. Jesus did it. She knows Jesus. Jesus is
important. Jesus is the answer. There’s depth in Jesus. Depth.
I think there are people that are deep in these camps. In the secular world, unfortunately I think
we should provoke the atheist to question his atheism. Doubt it. Are you an atheist. Yes, I think I
am. Would you doubt it? Question it? Are you sure? You can’t be sure. You should question that
position. You should bring it before – in your own heart, ask yourself the question. Can I be sure
there is no God? If I’m objective, I cannot be sure about that. It can be argued. It can be
And then for the traditional Christian, are you sure what you are believing? Can you doubt it?
Can you question it? I’m a theist. Is there God or not? Maybe there is no God. Isn’t asking the
question or doubting a good thing. Aren’t we made to raise the question? Aren’t we to question
what it is that we believe? This was why for me when I met believers like you folks who have
found on your journey – there were three things at the 9:00 service that I want to go over with
you, but I want to bring it out in this story. Because there were people that were very excited
about Jesus. And when he got on the donkey and came into the city, they said, Hosanna!
Hosanna to God. They put their…down and the palm branches and they had a time of a Holy
Spirit revival fulfilling the Scripture and the Spirit was moving.
But Jesus did not come down from the donkey and say I am the King. What did he do? He went
to the third way that we are bringing up today. He went to the third way. He went to the cross.
There are people like us who get excited about Jesus and our faith. And then we end up being
empty. After the experience, after that blessing, I have struggles. You and I are called by Jesus.
In this chapter 12, look at verse 20. Greeks. What’s the meaning of a Greek? They were
educated in the philosophies of Plato, Socrates, Aristotle. They were like pagans but they were
educated. They were somehow prepared. They wanted to find out. They wanted to meet Jesus.
They had heard about Jesus. Were they Jews? We don’t know that. They were at least Greeks.
You could come to Jesus and say, Jesus, there are Greeks here that are looking for you. Maybe
they came from Greece. It seems as though that would have been the case. He answers them
the way he wants to answer you and I today when he says to us I want you to really know me. I
want you to really know me.
This group, the secular world, doesn’t know me and unfortunately oftentimes the traditional
Christian does not know me. And by the way, these fight with each other. The secular world and the Christian world, the moral world of the Ten Commandments. The moral world of traditional
family can fight with the secularist. That’s the culture wars we are in in our country. We
recognize it and see it.
But maybe God is saying to us something deeper. And it is this: if you know me, if you know me,
then that’s what this world is about. It’s not about being right. It’s more deep. It’s about knowing
him who is right. Loving him who is love. Being Spirit filled, kind, gracious, understanding, wise.
There is a new thing going on in life and it’s him. He is not far from us. He is near us. And he
has a message for us.
Let’s look at vs. 20-21. They came to Phillip. We would see Jesus. vs. 22-24. What is he
saying? Let’s put here in our paper here Galatians 6:15. The cross. I have a piece here. “The phrase
‘a cross to bear’ is a popular derivation of the words of Jesus ‘take up your cross and follow me.’
While the phrase is commonly meant an acceptance of some burdensome task, the command
to take up the cross is much more than a symbol of the difficulties experienced by humanity.
Any person whether a follower of Jesus or not will suffer frustration and pain in this life. Taking
up one’s cross and following Jesus is something totally different from suffering in this life. The
cross was an instrument of death. What Jesus is referring to his commitment to him even unto
death. Obedience to the extreme measure and willingness to die in pursuit of obedience.”
I would like to be obedient to God. Well, it won’t be comfortable.
Yes, but I want to be obedient to God. Well, do you know what you will gain from it? No, not exactly. I don’t see that but I want to be obedient to the cross. “By taking up your cross, Jesus was giving a word picture of death
to self which originates in another saying, ‘for whoever will save his life will lose it but whoever
loses his life for my sake will save it. What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but
loses or forfeits his self.?’
The idea is nothing in this world is worth keeping if it means losing eternal life. Not a job is that
important, a family, a group of friends, not even our very identity. The call is tough but the
eternal reward is well worth the temporary pain. The multitudes that followed Christ were
convinced that he was going to bring a glorious kingdom to the earth bringing them from the
oppressive Roman rule. Even his own disciples were thinking like this. Misunderstanding the
prophecies, they were shocked when he began to talk about death to self and carrying the
cross. They left him in droves because of these teachings. Similarly, sometimes believers today
misunderstand the call of Jesus is a call to wealth, health, prosperity.”
I think we know that. Become a Christian and you’ll have a good family. Become a Christian
and God will bless your business. Be a Christian and you’ll be a healthy person. Yes, but Jesus
is here saying something else. Lose your life. Lose your life at the cross. Surrender. Give it up.
He will fill you with the Holy Spirit.
Notice something. I want to make a point here. The Greco-Roman world was pagan at the time
of the Apostle Paul and Jesus, right? What do pagans do? There was a huge difference
between the rich and the poor in Roman world. Huge difference between the elite and common
people. Men had many women in their lives. They would get married. They would have a wife,
but they would have many other women. Women were discredited. They were not honored.
Children were often ignored and not raised and nurtured.
Three things that Christians did that changed that. Christians loved their wives. How many
women do you have in your life? One. I have my wife. A Christian has one woman, his wife.
Does he love his children? Yes, he loves and nurtures his children. How about the poor? He
cares about the poor. He cares about the disadvantaged. The Roman world did not. How did
this happen? The Holy Spirit. How do you get the filling of the Holy Spirit? Lose your life. Lose
your life. Surrender your life to God. Obey God. Whether you like it or not, obey God. Follow
God. Trust God.
There are three things and I’ll finish here. This is from Timothy Keller who talked about his journey in the faith cause he grew up with a Christian background, but he went to a secular
university. So he learned both of these views, both worldviews like a secular view of life and
then the Christian view of life. But it wasn’t enough for him. He didn’t have what he needed. He
talks about three barriers that were preventing him to go on his journey, and I want to bring
them up in this context.
#1. Intellectual questions about the faith. In our day school, we teach apologetics. In our Bible
college, we teach apologetics. We bring into question all of these amazing questions about our
faith. Is God real? Why is there suffering? Why is there a hell? How could a merciful God have a
hell for people forever? These are very good questions. This book is the Word of God. Am I
sure? Am I convinced? Do I know it? I must. This is the third way. This is something spiritual.
This is something that touches your heart, enlightens your mind. This isn’t that party or this
party. This is a fellowship where I have my intellectual questions answered by the wisdom that
comes from the Word of God. It’s incredible when you are with wise people, when you have a
book that is open and you are able to answer questions and be satisfied. It’s critically important.
#2. My personal and private life has issues. Personal and private life. I have issues deep inside
in my heart. Struggles with insecurity. Struggles with loneliness. Struggles with guilt, my
inadequacy, my identity. I have struggles with my self-life where nobody goes, only me. I am the
only one that lives there. On a Friday night when I put my head on the pillow, I’m alone and it’s
me. Does anybody hear me? Does anyone know me? Anybody can address my personal life?
Here’s a very good answer for you. God does. I know my sheep he said. I know my sheep. Let’s
put in there a couple words. I know where they live. I know what they fear. I know their guilt. I
know how they feel. I know my sheep. I know the hairs on their head. I know their hurts, their
wounds, their problems. I know my sheep and I call them by name. Woe! Are you kidding me!
Are you kidding me! That’s amazing!
If God who made you knows you and cares about you, then like what is this other world out
there on the street – we could call it which one is it? This one. What does the secular world –
can they do anything for me and my heart? They don’t believe in God. They don’t believe in the
Bible. They don’t believe in – they just are an elite group of people running things. Do they really
By the way, when Jesus raised the dead, the Pharisees, do you know what they said? We will
kill two people. They didn’t say it in these words. We will kill Lazarus and we will kill Jesus.
Wow, great. You really touched my heart. What a great ministry you have. You really care about
people, don’t you? They care about power. They care about their program and they protect
themselves. They will take you out. That world does not help me.
How about the traditional Christianity? I have sat there. I have heard. I’ve gone through the
exercises. I’m not blaming them. I’m thankful for many good things about them, but it’s not
enough. It’s not enough. I need something more. I need to investigate is this true. I need to
listen to somebody who is persuaded by it. I don’t need somebody who is questioning the faith.
I’m talking about Christianity as though it’s up for grabs. I need the authority of the Holy Spirit in
the voice, in the heart, in the Body, in the fellowship. I need a living Christ in my life and it needs
to be manifested these three ways.
Here we go. I need my intellectual needs met. I need my personal, private life addressed and I
need a community of people that have the real thing. I need more than me. It was not good for
Adam to be alone. God put him to sleep and he woke up and there she was. He needed her.
The same thing with us. We need a fellowship. I need a sounding board. I need a mirror. I need
to throw something out there and get the echo back. I need to love and be loved. I need to be
quiet and I need the silence in the presence of God and his people and the worship of the Holy
Spirit and the hearts of people. Not just the words, but I need it in the hearts of people. We are
ordained of God. P. Pete said it. We are ordained of God to be one Body, and there God has
commanded a blessing even life forevermore. I need to show up and just show up.
I want to say in closing, I do think we sometimes get isolated. We get kind of nasty. We get kind
of picky, isolated. We get self-centered and self-absorbed. Ever been with somebody they talk a
whole hour about themselves, about their kids, about their education, about their money, about
their house. They talk the whole time. And it’s like, you know, could I say something? Are you,
are we? Yeah, sure they may have a need but I don’t mean that.
I don’t want to overdo this example, but I want to say there is something about people when
they are so self-absorbed and they are somehow blind to the big issues. It’s not about you. It’s
about Jesus wants you to be free. Free from yourself. Free to see things in a bigger way. Free
to be loved. Free to love. He wants you to have joy. He wants you to glorify him. He wants you
to sing and shout with him and sing with all your heart and be in the assembly of the fellowship
where we are not relating to ourselves because the cross means we have lost ourselves
through death. Nobody wants to die but we decide to die. And in dying, we find new life and in
that life we have a satisfying new life that we actually are hungry for.
In this third way here, we can say to the secularist, relax. Let’s have a talk. How is life going? I
understand you. It’s lonely. I understand you are afraid. I understand you are an atheist. I
understand your life is short. You are going to the grave. I understand you and I want you to
know that I care about you. God cares about you. God loves you.
We can say to the Christian that is sitting somewhere meaning that he is a Christian; you can
say to him, are you okay? Are you satisfied? Could ANY religion work for you? If you say to a
person, if you were born in Saudi Arabia, you’d be a Muslim. If you were born in India, you’d be
a Hindu. If you were born in Michigan, probably you’d be a Lutheran. What do you believe
based on where you are born or do you believe because you have been seeking and you’ve
Whether you are Indian or Arabian or from Michigan, it doesn’t matter to us cause this way, the
third way, this is meaning that you have sought him and found him. He has sought you and filled
you and satisfied you. That’s our fellowship.
Please enjoy these sermon notes from the messages preached at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. These notes are provided to aid in your study and understanding of the Word. Note that these notes do not represent complete, word-for-word transcriptions. Also, they may contain omissions as well as some errors in spelling and structure, etc., as we attempt to provide them as soon as possible. Our hope is that these notes serve as a way to help you search and connect with messages on related subjects and passages. Thank you for your interest in the ministry of Greater Grace.