Jesus refused to seek popularly. He went on offense vs. the world. He asks this of us. He calls to self denial and the Cross life. He calls us to be disciples who make disciples. (Luke 2:47-52; Luke 4:20-28; Luke 14:26-38; Matthew 16:16-25)

Speaker: Peter Westera, Jesse Feyers. Thomas Schaller
Sermon 12551
7:00 PM on 07/26/2023

Jesse Feyers –

All right. Turn with me to John 6. Good evening. Good evening! Good evening. Oh, man. (Prayer). John 6 just
for an intro, chapter 38. There’s four times Jesus talks about how he should be raised up again
on the last day. Four times. I’m going to go through them, okay. vs. 38 gives us context. vs. 38.
First, this is like our attitude in life. I came down from heaven. We are to replicate Jesus Christ
and we must come down. Have you come down? Have you made yourself lower? It’s a beautiful
thing for us to learn in and grow in. It takes time. Humility. It takes hurt too as well and pain, you
know. To come down. Like Jesus, God, he became God and he came down. And we could
replicate that in our lives. We must come down. It’s not our will but who’s? It is his will. So, that’s
the first point. Not my will but his.

So, in vs. 39, we see the first raised up in the last day, so let’s read it. I just want to, this is just
an encouraging word for you guys. He should lose nothing. I just lost this microphone two
seconds ago. How many things do we lose throughout our day? My keys, my wallet. We’re
always losing things. He should lose nothing that is given to him. That’s such an amazing
promise that he has us, and he’s never going to let us go. And he can’t lose us. Praise God! He
shall lose nothing in the last day, right? That’s the first thing.

vs. 40 is the next one. This is you and I. First, we saw the Son. We see the Son. And this is a
revelation of Christ in our lives. The second part is we believed, right? We received him. We
have faith. And the third part is we have everlasting life, and that’s rest. That’s eternal rest
promise for us. Three amazing things we can hold onto. And he will raise us up in the last day.
vs. 44. Another amazing point. When we tell people about Christ, and maybe family members
maybe stubborn and don’t want to receive, it’s okay. I can be comforted with it because the
Father hasn’t drawn him yet. Do you have people like this in our family or our friends that we’re
just praying for and praying for? It’s like don’t worry.

The Father will draw him. I just have to keep loving him and showing him. I just have to come down. I just have to keep coming down. The fourth part and it’s in vs. 54. Have you seen the dying body of our Lord Jesus Christ? Do
you know that you are sealed with him? Did you know that you went in the grave with him? Did
you know that you are resurrected with him too as well? And he’ll raise us up in the last day.
Let’s humble ourselves. The world is getting darker. We’re just going to keep going lower and
lower. You know like when there’s a fire, and you want to get low, right? There’s a big, burning
fire out there. We just keep getting lower, and stay away from the smoke and the fog. And we’ll
be okay, because he’s going to raise us up in the last day. That’s an amazing promise, amen!

P. Schaller –

Wow. Good word, isn’t that? Content. Beautiful. This is the offering, so we just want
to praise the Lord for what Jesse just shared with us. Very good word. Very good. Did you
memorize it? Huh? Did you get it? Let’s see. vs. 38. He came down. He became a servant. He
quickens us, makes us alive. He keeps us. He won’t lose us. Of all the Father has given me, I
have lost nothing. But he’s talking about people. Of all that God has given him – the Father gave
us to him – he has lost nobody. Not one soul. Not one person lost. He said I will never leave you
or forsake you. What a good word.

And he sent his Spirit into us so that we could have the witness of God in our life. That the Holy
Spirit would bear witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.
Another thing: the Holy Spirit opens this book to us. Now, our speaker tonight is P. Peter
Westera, cause he just did Camp Life Europe. And he’s going to share with us what God did
there. And it’s amazing to hear what God did in Europe this summer. I was thinking about the
Greater Grace family worldwide as we grow and multiply. How important it is to be rooted and
grounded in what Jesse said. That we would know that we are rooted and grounded in Christ.
That our family worldwide would have good roots. It would grow and multiply and in trials and difficulties and challenges that we have as people, we would always be relating to God’s great
grace for us in our relationship with him. So, I’m very encouraged.
Let’s repeat it. I’ll give you a test.

Turn to your neighbor and tell the four things that Jesse said
from John 6:38-44. Go ahead. If you can’t do it, I want you to stand up! Turn to one text with me
before we do the offering. Matthew 16:24, P. Love knows Pete Westera, P. Pete Westera pretty well.
You do, P. Love? You know the good, the bad, and the ugly. Yes. Amen. P. Pete grew up in the
ministry. His mom is here perhaps. Usually. Coby. Yeah. And he has a great testimony, but I
don’t want to make this about him. But I’d like to make it about you and me. And that’s chapter

Now, we just had an amazing year. Some of us were in other countries through the year. We
were in Krygystan, Finland, Hungary. We had a conference in India, Nepal. We have seen – this
team went to Serbia. Argentina. P. Gary Groenewold is in Korea. And everywhere I hear, I hear
something God is doing. God is doing something. He’s speaking. And this verse says if you
come after me, you got to leave yourself at the cross. You have to deny yourself. What do we
deny about ourselves? I want this or I want that. Or I have a lust or a passion or an appetite for
this or that. But can you deny yourself? Isn’t that a good question. Can you deny yourself? We
never hear about that in our culture. Sacrifice. Suffer. Deny yourself. Deprive yourself of a
privilege. Lose something. Give it away. Become a servant.

No, it’s not the message. But from Christ it is. Cause we have the equipment. We have the
ability. We have Christ in our hearts. We have the Spirit of God in our lives. We can deny
ourselves, and put our eyes on something else. One man said to me, I’m not a good Christian. I
said, why? He said, cause I smoke marijuana. So, I said that must be hard, because you believe
in Christ, right? Yes, I believe in Jesus. So, you kind of have two gods in your life, right? You’ve
got Christ and marijuana. I wasn’t condemning him. I’m just talking as a – I didn’t even know
him. I think you’ve heard me tell it before.

Christ says you can’t have it both ways. You can’t sleep around and follow me. You can’t be
selfish and be a follower of me. You cannot be smoking marijuana and be following me at the
same time. It messes up your head. It messes up your life. You can’t find me in a practical way
unless you deny yourself.

So, turn to your neighbor and ask them. Can you deny yourself that chocolate cake tonight? Oh,
no! It’s a lot bigger than chocolate cake. Oh, no! Oh, no! Can you lose your life? Go ahead. Talk
to your neighbor. Can you lose your life? Okay. I’m going to just finish here. The story of your life
and my life if it means anything, it’s because this happened. We denied ourselves, and we found
him. We found Jesus. We found Jesus in a personal way. We found Jesus.

That’s the story of your life. If you have any story that’s going to last forever and ever, it’s that one. That God gave
you the grace. That God gave you the Spirit. That God taught you. That you grew up learning
and you gain Christ. That’s the story of our lives. We all have different elements, coloring, and
shades and there’s different details in the life, but behind it is that one. And for Pete Westera we
saw it happen. That the death to self later in his life. Sometimes it happens when you’re a
teenager. Sometimes it happens later in life.

You decide. Maybe you’re 50 years old like Wilson
Lippy, remember? He told me he was a Christian, but when he was 50 years old he said I’m
done. He owned like ten farms. He had a business, and he sold out to his brothers. He said I’m
done. I’m not a business man. I’m following Jesus. You can do the same. I don’t want to confuse
you. You can. You can be an athletic swimmer, a business man, a CEO, a pastor, a mom, a dad.
Whatever it is that you are. But if you are able to deny yourself and take up the cross, then look
at what happens.

He says if you save your life you lose it. Whoever will lose his life for my sake, you will find it.
You found life. Have you found life? Greek word, ZOE. What does it mean? Zoology is a Greek
word. Zoology means life. There’s another word for life. It’s BIOS. That also means life. Biology
and so on. But the way C. S. Lewis brings it out in his book, “Mere Christianity,” when you have
Christ, you have ZOE life. Before Christ, you have only BIOS life. I’m alive. Yeah, you’re alive, but you’re actually dead while you’re alive. You’re a dead man walking around, and you’re trying
to have fun and trying to find your home. And trying to find your place and your meaning, and
trying to know what’s going on in this world. You can’t find it. When you are born again and you
have ZOE life, and you deny yourself and you find life, Christ’s life, then you’re at home. Amen.
Give in the offering tonight, please. Thank you for your love and your money and your faith and
your service and your walk with God. God bless you in it in every way. Would you pray with me.

P. Pete Westera –

Stand up, please if you would. Let’s see. I’m not sure what we’re supposed to
do while we’re standing. No! Praise the Lord! That sounds like a good one. This is how I show
teenagers to praise the Lord. It’s very simple. Put both your hands up. Tilt your head ever so
slightly up, and say thank you, Jesus. It’s very simple. It feels good. Hallelujah! Thank God. Ah,
you may be seated.

I don’t know. Sebastian, if you are able to get any of those pictures up, that would be great. We
went to Camp Life. A true Camp Life tradition, I lost my voice. P. Love, just like you do every
year. I felt a kindred spirit there with you! By the way, thank you for your selective memory about
me. Much appreciated. And there I am. We had an amazing time, honestly, at Camp Life
Europe. I’m just amazed how it all happened.

We set up the entire things overseas at a place we’ve never been. And we organized it all via
text messaging all across the planet. We had people from Kazakhstan. Kids from Kazakhstan.
We had four boys from Bishkek. We had people there from Baku, Azerbaijan. We had six people
from Baku. Romania, Hungary, Austria, Czech, Siberia, Sweden, Finland. Thirty from France.
Ukraine, Germany, and 32 from America. A hundred teenagers and then maybe another 14 or
so adults. It’s just a miracle. We had just a beautiful time. It was crazy.

On Tuesday, we arrived at 4:40 in the morning, and taxis can handle us to pick up 54 people at
the airport all day long with two vans, two minivans. So, we just went back and forth all day long
to the airport. In the evening, we dropped kids off downtown to have dinner. And then me and P.
Tomas went back to the airport for the last time. We were exhausted. We’re sitting on the floor at
the arrivals with a little Camp Life sign. And we’re not really talking much cause we’re tired. All of
a sudden, we’re getting text messages from the 80 kids I left downtown. There’s no bus back to
the hotel. They are just as exhausted, because they flew all night. And I’m just texting, and he’s
looking on his phone and there’s nothing. We have no way to get them to the hotel. Just realized
how easily this can be such a disaster just from one minute to the next. The whole thing can be

And then P. Tomas said in his beautiful Czech accent, We must pray! And he starts praying for a
double bus. A double bus. An empty double bus, so all 80 kids could fit on it. Wouldn’t you know
it. I had no faith. I was just sitting there looking at him like this is a disaster. And sure enough,
the bus showed up at 12:01 and brought our kids home. And I thought they were going to stone
me the next morning, but they didn’t even care. They were like it’s great. What a great war story.
We love it.

It was just amazing. Camp was awesome. Honestly, I’ve never been at a youth event where
there were so many kids hungry for the Word of God. So many kids showing up for prayer. So
many kids attentively listening and taking notes, and loving Jesus. We had a baptism, and five
showed up. Five were signed up to be baptized which is about the normal amount. And next
thing you know another one comes in. Another one comes in. It get going and going. I thin we
had a two-hour baptism. Every kid said something in the microphone. That’s very unusual.
Usually they don’t want to say something. They’re shy. Every kid was crying.

Every kid. Every moment with every kid was the most real moment. So real. Totally exposed. No fakeness.
No pretending. No humor. No I’m cool. Just weeping, crying, quivering lips. And saying I love Jesus. I want to follow Jesus. It was shocking actually. It was shocking. We sang a beautiful
song. I just couldn’t believe it was happening. It was just an awesome event.
So, praise the Lord! We preached at the church Wednesday night, and I’m going to preach that
message again, because I just loved it. I had in my mind that I wanted to challenge our kids. I
just want to challenge our kids. We want to not give them simple messages but challenge them.
I wanted to challenge them to be a disciple.

Just what P. Schaller just mentioned. Ironically, when we got there I just thought, oh no. This is never going to work. Their church is tiny. It’s just a tiny room for 15 people. There’s like 15 chairs. And I am coming with by then it
was probably 100 teenagers. And also, there’s no air conditioning, and it’s very hot there. It must
have been 90 degrees in that room. So, here we are. I’m thinking to myself, a teenager in air
conditioning has limited capacity. Now, they have to sit on the floor. It’s boiling hot. They’re
exhausted. How’s this going to work? But we just said let’s just do it. They’re all sitting on the
floor, and there’s one little fan rotating. And we started preaching.

As soon as we started preaching, it started storming outside. I mean storming. I mean hurricane
winds out there. I see branches flying behind the heads of the people I’m preaching to. Of
course, the power goes off smack dab in the middle of our message. And I just said, as soon as
the power went off I said I’m not going to stop preaching. The whole crowd just said, Yeah! Keep
going! I was like what’s going on right now? The teenagers were so into the message. They
wanted to hear it.

The one little fan that was rotating stopped working. It didn’t matter. We continued the message.
They received it. I couldn’t believe it happened but as soon as the message was done, the wind
stopped. We walked outside, and it was just raining a little bit. There were trees everywhere. It
was like this is crazy! And I don’t know, maybe Satan if he hates a message, he probably hates
the message that is geared towards making men disciples. But even more, making teenagers
into disciples. Maybe that would be the worst thing for his kingdom.

So, turn with me. (Prayer). Luke – I got a couple verses to read. Jesus Christ in the beginning of
his ministry is so popular. He is over and over again we hear in chapter 2 of Luke, vs 47. They
just loved him. They were drawn to him. They knew what he was talking about. There were
miracles happening left and right. No one had ever heard anything like this. They walked for
miles to be with him.

vs. 52. So, there’s something happening. He is leading people, and they’re coming to him. But
as Jesus always does, he is not trying to please people. He has a different business. He has a
different goal. In chapter 4 of Luke, we have the same kind of scenario where he is preaching,
and everything is going well. In vs. 20, we see that everyone in the synagogue, all of their eyes
were fastened on him. And in vs. 22. He is popular. He is loved. He’s a superstar. He’s the best
thing going on in Israel right now. And nobody wants to miss it.

But then, as he always did throughout all of the gospels and there are so many examples of
this, he’s not trying to win a popularity contest. And he immediately dives into some extremely
strong words. And it doesn’t really matter what he’s saying, but in the following verses he is
talking about the days of Elijah; and how not everybody was blessed by God. Not everybody
responded to the prophet. Very few did. I’m sure the Pharisees there took offense to that.
And then these words spoke to me in vs. 28. You know, this is Jesus. I can just picture Jesus in
the back saying, stop Jesus. It’s going so well. Please, stop talking. Don’t get them angry. He
doesn’t understand. Why would you say this? Why would you offend these people? Why are
you bringing this up?

vs. 29. That, I don’t know why, but that sentence kind of stuck in my heart for a couple weeks
now. Here’s Jesus, the all-powerful Creator, taking on not only humanity but weakness, and
allowing himself to be thrown around and pushed around and dragged up a hill willingly. Never

for one minute stopping anyone though he could of. He was very much prepared to speak the
truth. He was very much prepared to say whatever had to be said. He was very much prepared
to lay down his life. He would let them drag him to the brow of the hill. And of course we know
the story. He turns around, and supernaturally we think he just – maybe it was just his calmness.
Who knows? But supernaturally, he turns around and just walks away. Just that brow of the hill
moment. The top of the hill, Jesus being brought to the top of the hill is such a beautiful picture
of a disciple, of some one who is submitted to the will of God.

In Luke 14:26, we have another one of those controversial statements by Jesus. If you read the
previous passages, it’s all pretty simple and good stuff. Every one is kind of playing along. Every
one kind of likes it. And then vs. 26. Again, he is saying these kinds of words. He is saying these
kinds of words. He doesn’t care about winning numbers. He doesn’t care about filling his church.
He doesn’t care about having people love him and follow him. He has a plan. He has a plan. He
has a purpose.

We read that if we continue, vs. 27. And I’m thinking, you know, who does Jesus need disciples?
Why can’t he just, why can’t we just fill up the church on Sunday morning, hear a nice message,
be built up, be edified, say we love Jesus, say we’re Christians, and get back in the car. Drive
home and live our lives. Isn’t it enough to just be here Sunday mornings even if we give a little
bit of money. Even do a good deed once in a while. Why can’t we just live that good Christian
life. Why is that not acceptable?

I think maybe the most major thing for a young teenager is to think that they can live this kind of
Christian life. But Jesus wasn’t having it. Jesus wasn’t having it. He constantly was bringing
people in his words to this moment. To this moment of death. To this moment of the cross. To
this moment of discipleship. And in the next couple of verses, vs. 28-32, I’ve always read these
as reasons why we should be a disciple. The first one is about who builds a house without
counting the cost. And the second one is about who goes to war. What king goes to war.
But recently I was reading something by somebody who said that the word likewise in vs. 33
should maybe really be “therefore” in the Greek. And if it is “therefore,” then vs. 28-32 are
actually the reason why Jesus needs disciples. Jesus is saying you cannot follow me unless you
are a disciple.

You got to pick up your cross. You got to follow me and be a disciple. I need
Why do I need disciples? Well, because I’m building a house. I’m a builder. I’m in the process of
building something. I’m building a church. I’m building a kingdom. And I’m waging war. I’m
waging war against another kingdom. I can’t have anything else but disciples to get this done.
Jesus Christ is saying be my disciple, because I am building a church. I am building a kingdom,
and we’re going to war. And you got to get ready. And in order for me to build this, in order for
me to go to war, I need disciples. I need people that have my mind and my thoughts and are
willing to lay down their lives and deny themselves as P. Schaller was saying.

vs. 33. Christ is really pushing us, always pushing us, always convicting us, always telling us,
give it up. Give it up. Give it up. I got to be honest. I don’t like it. I don’t like that message. I just
want to live my comfortable Christianity. I just want to play Christian. I just want to be good, love
Jesus, and hug some people and call it a day. And Jesus is saying, no, no, no. You got to be my
disciple. And you know what it’s going to take to be my disciple.

And P. Schaller just read from the same passage, but turn with me to Mt. 16. This beautiful
passage is just so loaded. I cannot believe how many times I’ve heard messages about this.
These verses in here, and yet it still speaks to us so much. You know, Peter has correctly
clarified who Jesus is. Jesus is happy with his answers, vs. 17. And then these famous, famous
words that we’ve heard so often. vs. 18. And this verse, you know, it has misconceptions. Some
of them we know. The first one is that, you know, it’s used to say that Peter is the first pope. We
know, we’ve been taught here very well, that Jesus is the Rock. That’s the first misconception.

The second misconception I think is that the gates of hell won’t come against us. But actually,
that’s incorrect. They will come against us. It’s just that they won’t prevail. And that’s a big
difference. But what I saw in the verse here is that Christ is building, and Christ is waging war.
The third misconception is once you become a Christian, once you give your life to Christ, once
you start building a church, hunker down. Huddle together. Ride out the storm, cause Satan is
coming. Satan is offensively attacking us and coming against us. And we are to ride out the
storm and survive. And Jesus promised us we’ll survive. But actually, this is maybe also wrong.
Cause it’s Christ that’s on the offense. Christ is the one attacking. Christ is not playing defense.
Christ is not backing up. Christ is not saying okay, guys. Stick it out. You’ll make it. Don’t worry.
In the end, the gates of hell will not prevail.

But actually, in the context of what we are talking about, Christ is building. And Christ is waging
war, and he is on the offense. You cannot be any more on the offense than to predict that you
are going to win. You can’t be more offensively minded than to say that his head will be crushed
a thousand years prior to this. Christ is building a church, and Christ is waging war, and he is on
offense, and he is saying I need disciples. I need people to build this church with us. I need
people to wage war against the other kingdom with us.

In this context, you really see why Jesus needs disciples. He needs us to be all in. we can’t fake
our way through Christianity. We can’t pretend our way through Christianity. It works for all other
religions. All other religions. You can be a cultural Muslim, a cultural Hindu. You can be playing
the game in whatever religion you want to name. But with Christ, he’s not interested. He is
saying, we are serious. I need disciples.

And a few verses later, you know, Jesus says I’m going to die. And better says, no. No way. He
rejects the idea of the cross, and 2,000 years later we are still rejecting the idea of the cross in
our life. We are still saying the same thing that Peter said. No, no, no! No cross. No cross. Just
give me a convenient Christian life. Anything but that.

That’s ridiculous. I don’t want to go down that road. And Jesus rebukes him like no one has every been rebuked in their whole life on this planet ever. No one has ever been rebuked like that. Jesus says, get behind me, Satan. Why?
Cause Jesus is not fooling around. He needs disciples. The cross is part of his life, and it’s part
of our life. And we always have to come back to the cross. It always circles around it. It always
gets placed before us. It’s always something we need to have in our life.

And then the verse we just read, vs. 24. I always break it down in three parts, this verse. The
first sentence is a blue print. “If any man come after me.” That’s how you do it. Just keep
following Jesus. No one has ever in their own strength or intellectually figured out how to die
and have a life of a disciple. You cannot with your own energy and will power become a disciple.
Follow Jesus with all your heart. Keep looking for him more and more and more, and he reveals
himself to you.

And then, the second sentence, “let him deny himself.” And deny himself is like our
Gethsemane. It’s the interior, interior war that Jesus had at Gethsemane. The cross was the
outward, the manifestation of the decision that he made inwardly at Gethsemane. It’s the same
for us. It’s no different. The cross is very much part of our life, and in a way we have to fight this
battle. And we can’t. We can’t. I cannot fight the way that Jesus fought in Gethsemane. But he is
helping us. He is helping us. We have the blueprint. We have the interior Gethsemane, deny
yourself. And then we have the exterior manifestation. The cross. Pick up your cross. That’s
what we see. That’s the outward thing we see in the Body of Christ.

This is our destiny in Christianity. This is what we need more than anything else. This is how we
make it through anything. This is what we turn to. Just in closing, I was reading on the way back
just this beautiful portion from Eugene Peterson about subversive activity. That we are involved
in subversive activity. I didn’t know what subversive means. I had to look it up. It’s seeking to
subvert an established system. And Eugene Peterson is saying that’s what we do as Christians
quietly under the radar. We are fighting. What are we fighting? We are fighting kingdoms.

Any time, any time we pick up our cross, any time we deny ourselves, we are causing havoc on
our flesh which is a kingdom and on Satan which is a kingdom. Any time we step out in faith,
any time we do hard things and say Jesus help me, it’s subversive action. We’re playing offense
with Jesus. We are saying let’s go to the brow of the hill. Lord, take me to the brow of the hill.
You lead me. I will follow. I’ll be there. You lead me. I will follow. Some how mystically,
amazingly, we find ourselves at the brow of the hill like Jesus. And we have these amazing
moments where some how strength came from us, from him. Sorry. Not from us. And we are
capable of even denying ourselves. And we are undermining the kingdom of the flesh, and
establishing the kingdom of God.

When we pray, we are involved in subversive activity. When we win souls or when we pastor or
minister or love teenagers or when we go to a camp and just barely sleep for seven days, we
are playing offense. God is with us. We are disrupting natural order of things. Naturally, it’s going
this way. But disciples quietly are playing offense under the radar. And changing things and
overturning the establishments of the old sin nature, and undermining all the worldly ideology
and discrediting any current, worldly narratives.

We spoke to these teenagers over and over again about reading the Word of God, and
becoming a disciple. And surrendering yourself to Christ, and giving up your life and going forth.
Go all the way and keep following him, and you’ll get there. And reclaim the lost territory.
Reclaim the lost territory. When we play offense with Christ, we are reclaiming lost territory. I
think that at the end that’s one of the reasons why so many kids got baptized. I don’t know. I
wish I knew. If I knew, I’d be the greatest youth leader ever. But I think that it was mostly
because you guys were praying.

The whole world was praying for us. I want to give the credit to
the teenagers. They heard these messages. And some of them were weeping during the
messages. That doesn’t happen very often. Teenagers are not weeping during messages.
And God was moving. Some of them said okay. I’m going to stop fooling around.

I’ll never forget P. Love preached a message when I was 16 years old, and he said you can’t have your foot in
the world and your foot in Christianity. It was on a Saturday night, and it was painful. I knew that
was for me. I think that we had those kind of moments, those kind of convicting moments. And
they are brow of the hill moments. We need them in our life. Christ is there with us. He’s been
there. He knows all about it. He will help us. And by the grace of God, by the grace of God, by
some mystical, beautiful love and grace we become disciples. Amen.


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