The Glory of God in the Lifted Up Christ (Part One)

Sunday’s message from John 12:27-33 is now on the web. You can listen to the audio here.

I summarized the first three points of the passage this way:

The glory of God went on stunning display in the lifted up Christ, in the passion of His suffering, the prayer of His heart, and the pleasure of His Father to glorify His name. The last two points – in the profit of His crowd and the purpose of His death – will have to wait until next time. Can you remain unmoved by the passion and prayer of Jesus crowned by the Father’s pleasure? Though agonized by the prospect and tempted to abort, yet He kept His appointment with the hour. Believe in the One whom the Father so relentlessly and continuously glorifies, the lifted up Son, Jesus the Christ.

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift that buoys us through temptation with His unlimited resources as our great High Priest and in and through whom we enjoy the Father’s delight and pleasure.

A Greek Guide to Getting Close to Jesus (Part Two)

Today’s message from John 20:20-26 is now on the web. You can listen to the audio here.

Here’s how I summed things up:

Following the Greeks’ lead will bring us closer to Jesus and faith in Him – similar focused intentions, personal connections, and altered perceptions – He came for the world, Jew and Gentile alike, and He saved us through His sacrificial death for its sins and that only. Satan didn’t win the battle with Christ’s death; God did by raising and glorifying His Son.

May the Lord give us grace to seek Jesus and draw close to Him with rightly framed perceptions about Himself as the Messiah!

How To Tell the True Shepherd from the False (6)

The last in the series of messages from the Good Shepherd discourse in John 10:11-18 is now on the web.

You can listen to the message here.

I summarized the sermon this way:

How then should we respond to such sovereign goodness that lays down its life for the sheep in a loving, substitutionary, particular, global, voluntary, and designed sacrifice? Don’t take your cue from Captain Miller in that scene on the bridge where, mortally wounded, he grabs hold of Private Ryan and gasps his final words. Do you remember what he said? Earn this. In other words, show yourself worthy of this by making something good out of the rest of your life. Don’t let these soldiers have died in vain. Indeed the movie ends with the aged Ryan along with his family visiting the Miller’s grave in the allied cemetery and France. It’s a gripping scene. The man is torn up with angst over whether or not he has indeed earned it. He pleads with his wife, Tell me I’m a good man.

Jesus never once said from the cross, Earn this. He did say, Father, forgive them. So what are we to do with so herculean a sacrifice by so very good a shepherd. Receive it for the priceless gift it is. You CAN’T earn it. You must believe it and trust in it as your only hope for deliverance from sin and death. Believe in Jesus as the Messiah, if you have yet to do so. Receive the gift of abundant life that only Jesus the good shepherd can give because of His death on the cross for you and His resurrection from the dead.

How to Tell the True Shepherd from the False (5)

Today’s sermon on John 10:11-21 is now on the web. You can listen to it here.

We only managed to cover aspect #4 of the death of Christ that makes Jesus supremely excellent as the good shepherd – a global sacrifice. Jesus died for the world, Jew and Gentile alike, people without distinction, from every tribe, tongue, nation, and people group.

Here is the quote from John Piper and the story from him about Peter Cameron Scott, founder of the Africa Inland Mission,  that I shared to illustrate the powerful motivation that v. 16 is to global and local evangelization:

He had tried twice to serve in Africa but had to come home both times with malaria. The third attempt was especially joyful because he was joined by his brother John. But the joy evaporated as John fell victim to the fever. Scott buried his brother all by himself, and at the grave rededicated himself to preach the gospel. But again his health broke and he had to return to England utterly discouraged.

But in London something wonderful happened. We read about it in Ruth Tucker’s From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya.

He needed a fresh source of inspiration and he found it at a tomb in Westminster Abbey that held the remains of a man who had inspired so many others in their missionary service to Africa. The spirit of David Livingstone seemed to be prodding Scott onward as he knelt reverently and read the inscription,


He would return to Africa and lay down his life, if need be, for the cause for which this great man had lived and died.

Lord willing, next Sunday we will finish the discourse with a look at the last two aspects of the death of Christ that make Him so very good a shepherd of His sheep!

How to Tell the True Shepherd from the False (Part 3)

The third sermon on the Good Shepherd discourse from John 10:11-21 is now on the web. You can listen to it here.

Continuing to expand on the figure of speech He used in vv. 1-5, Jesus tweaks the allegory a third time in v. 11ff by uttering another of his rousing declarationsI am the good shepherd.

John would persuade us to believe in Jesus as the Messiah and follow Him as opposed to false and self-serving impostors (see the “hired hands” in the context). The two main thoughts we unpacked from v. 11 this morning before Communion had to do with what the good shepherd designation implies regarding Christ deity – He is equal to Jehovah God who frequently compares Himself to a shepherd in the Old Testament – and His integrity – He is good, supremely good, particularly in the fact that He lay down His life for the sheep.

Someone asked me where I got the quote at the end of the sermon. It comes from sermon 2919 by Charles Spurgeon called Whose Goodness Never Fails.

Here is the copy:

Then one dark night did He give His life for His sheep in the sense, I doubt not, intended here. On that dread night—you know it—that night to be remembered, for it was the night of God’s Passover, the Shepherd went round His flock and the sheep were sleeping, but there came the wolf and the Shepherd knew his snarl. The sheep, all startled at the howls, were scattered—they forsook the Shepherd and fled. That night He had enough to do to meet the wolf. But He stood at the fold to watch the sheep and let them all go in safety. And then He confronted the grim monster who leaped into the fold thirsty for the blood of the sheep, but the Shepherd caught him and then came a desperate struggle between the two. The shepherd did bleed and sweat, did bleed and sweat and bleed again. Great drops of blood fell to the ground, but He held the monster fast and firm. Our Great Shepherd was wounded on His head, on His shoulders, on His hands and feet—and one awful fang tore open His side, but He held the wolf—held Him till He had slain him! Then, dashing down his body to the ground and putting His foot upon him, He shouted, “It is finished!” But in the same moment, the Great Shepherd fell. In slaying our foe He had, Himself, been slain! But scarcely had the Shepherd touched the earth than, as if reanimated, up He sprang again and said, “I lay down My life that I might take it again; therefore does My Father love Me because I lay down My life for the sheep.” You know that story and need not that I tell it again at any length. But, oh, love Him! Love Him! Kiss His wounds! Worship this blessed Shepherd who has conquered your foe and delivered you from the jaw of the lion and from the paw of the bear—and set you forever safely in His fold! “The Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep.”

For the next two sermons we will consider six ways Jesus is preeminently good as our shepherd in His sacrificial death as a loving, substitutionary, particular, global, voluntary, and designed sacrifice.

Amazing love how can it be that You my King should die for me!