Memphis Belle

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Luke 1:1-38
Luke 1:39-80 Luke 2:1-38 Luke 2:39 - 3:17 Luke 3:19-4:23 Luke 4:14-5:11
Luke 5:12-26 Luke 5:27 6:11 Luke 6:12-49 Luke 7:1-23 Luke 7:24-50 Luke 8:1-18
Luke 8:19-40
Luke 8:40-56 Luke 9:1-27 Luke 9:26-50 Luke 9:51 to 10:24 Luke 10:25-42
Luke 11:1-13 Luke 11:14-44 Luke 12:1-21 Luke 12:22-48 Luke 12:49 - 13:17 Luke 13:18-35
Luke 14:7-35 Luke 15:1-10 Luke 15:11-32 Luke 15:24-32 Luke 16:13-31 Luke 17:1-26
Luke 17:26-37 Luke 18:9-27 Luke 18:31-43 Luke 19:1-27 Luke 19:28-48 Luke 20:1-26
Luke 20: 27-47 Luke 21: 5-36 Luke 22: 1-20 Luke 22:21-34 Luke 22: 35-53 Luke 22: 54-71
Luke 23: 13-43 Luke 23: 43-56 Luke 24: 1-35 Luke 24: 36-53    
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Luke 9:26-50

 

“For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.  But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.  And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.  And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering.  And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias [Elijah]:  who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.  But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep:  and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him.  And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here:  and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias:  not knowing what he said.  While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them:  and they feared as they entered into the cloud.  And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son:  hear him.  And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone.  And they kept it close and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen.  And it came to pass, that on the next day, when they were come down from the hill, much people met him.  And, behold, a man of the company cried out, saying, Master, I beseech thee, look upon my son:  for he is mine only child.  And, lo, a spirit taketh him, and he suddenly crieth out:  and it teareth him that he foameth again, and bruising him hardly departeth from him.  And I besought thy disciples to cast him out; and they could not. And Jesus answering said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you, and suffer you?  Bring thy son hither.  And as he was yet a coming, the devil threw him down, and tare him.  And Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the child, and delivered him again to his father.  And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God.  But while they wondered every one at all things which Jesus did, he said unto his disciples, Let these things sink down into your ears:  for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men.  But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not:  and they feared to ask him of that saying.  Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest.  And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him, and said unto them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me:  and whosever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me:  for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.  And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbid him, because he followeth not with us.  And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not:  for he that is not against us is for us.” 

 

“And we’ll pray as we continue this evening.  ‘Father, we settle our hearts, we thank you for your Word.  Lord, we thank you that in our generation, Lord, in these last days, and in this nation, there are so many things to distract our hearts, Lord, and so many illusions that surround us, [yet, but] you broke through to our lives.  And Lord, we can hardly explain it, Lord, to other people.  We can give our testimony, Lord, of how you loved us, forgave us, removed our sin and our guilt and set our hearts and our affections on things above instead of things of the earth.  But Father we pray that you would find your way, Lord, through us to this lost generation that surrounds us, Father, we think of us, friends and relatives, people that we work with, Lord, people that surround us that are important to us, that we want to see in heaven [which btw, will end up on earth, cf. Revelation 21] Father.  Too often, because we’re familiar, Lord, as you say A prophet is not without honor except within his own village and his own home, Lord, so often it seems too difficult to share with those we love the most.  You’re able Lord, you can get through whenever you want.  You’re sovereign.  Lord we look to you, we thank you as we look at the news and the world changing, and Lord we lift our hearts up, Lord, we believe our redemption is drawing nigh, and that you could come at any time.  Lord, we pray that you’d work in our lives and continue the good work you’ve begun, and that Lord we could live in such a way that we could live with expectancy, Lord, not wanting your return to be pushed off to some distant future time when we feel our lives are more organized or sanctified, Lord.  But let us yield ourselves to you today, Lord, trusting in the power of the blood of Christ, and looking Lord to you, for your return, catching us away, Lord, to be with you forever.  And Lord, as we remain, as we occupy until you come, Lord, let us be infectious, Lord, we know that we can’t give anyone an infection unless we have it first, so Lord infect our hearts with your love and with your grace.  Draw us to our first love, continue to change us, Lord.  And as every time we have the privilege to gather publicly to study your Word, to sing your praises, Lord, to fellowship, Lord, use that Father, to draw our hearts to you that we might love you with all of our hearts, our minds and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves, Lord.  That the love of Christ would be shed abroad in our hearts, to a lost and starving world.  Father, we believe that we’re praying according to your will.  We lift our own lives to you, Lord, living sacrifices, but according to your abundant mercy, not because we are worthy in and of ourselves, because we rejoice in the completed work of your Son.  Father we love you, ask that you’d be with us this evening, we pray in Jesus name, amen.’

 

“There be some standing here which shall not taste of death till they see the kingdom of God”

 

We ended last week in verse 26 where Jesus was saying “For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.  But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here which shall not taste of death till they see the kingdom of God.”  Now no doubt when he said that, they had no idea what he was speaking of.  We find out as we go through this last period of time that Jesus spends alone with the disciples, he’s trying to impress many things on their minds, because he knows the time of his departure is at hand, and not a lot is getting through.  We’re trusting that a lot is getting stored that will be illuminated by the Spirit when they’re filled and their lives are transformed.  But at this point, not much is coming up on the screen, you know, as they’re working here.  The Lord says “I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.”  And they’re thinking, ‘Well that may be, he’s coming, going to set up his Kingdom right now.’  He just said, you know, ‘I’m the Christ, the Son of God.’  ‘That’s right, he confused us a little when he said this crucify stuff, going up to Jerusalem to be delivered into the hands of the rulers, but now we’re back on track again, we’re going to see the Kingdom.’   I’m sure that’s the file they’re putting it under.  The answer to that, some of them not tasting of death till they see the Kingdom, comes here.  “And it came to pass about an eight days after those sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.  And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering.  And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias [Elijah]:  who appeared in glory, and spake of the decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.  But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep:  and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him”  (verses 27-32).  So, this scene of the transfiguration, Jesus now telling them, ‘There’s some of you that won’t die, taste of death, till you see the Kingdom of heaven,’ and certainly this is what he was referring to, taking them up on a mountain apart, most probably Mount Herman, for those of you who have been to Israel.  There is some kind of a shrine built on Mount Tabor, which is a nice round hill.  Josephus tells us there was a Roman garrison there in the days of Christ, so I doubt whether Jesus was up there with the Romans, being transfigured.  Mount Herman has snow on it most of the year, no doubt this spring era it was cold, it was cool, it’s 11,000 foot at the summit.  The eight days after he says these things there’s a long walk, they’re up there, the guys are tired [my guess for Jesus choosing an 11,000 foot mountain is that he didn’t want anyone else to see this].  They may have been wrapped with extra robes  and a little bit cold.  And as they come up onto the mountain, they do what they do in other places, when Jesus prays they sleep.  I know it’s hard for you to relate to that, isn’t it?  My problem is I pray when I sleep, and I sleep when I pray.  You know how it is getting up early in the morning to seek the Lord, and you get on the sofa and you get on your knees, and you start to talk to the Lord about all of the life-changing and earth-shattering things you’re going through, and next thing you know, your head’s going ‘Wump’, and there’s drooling out of your mouth, your coffee cup falls out of your hand, boom, on the floor.  Or you’re thinking about tires or inspection, and think ‘How did I get here from heaven, what is this?’  Prayer is a spiritual exercise, your flesh is not cooperative.  Jesus is praying, they’re tired, they begin to fall asleep.  As he’s praying it says the fashion of his countenance, his appearance, is altered, becomes different, literally, and his raiment was white and glistening.  Luke uses the word that means like lightning flashing, “And, behold, there talked with him two men, Moses and Elias.”  So, Matthew and Mark use the word metamorphosis, to be changed like a caterpillar being changed into a butterfly.  And the significance of it is, he was changed, but it wasn’t with some outward force.  Sometimes when we think of Jesus in his transfiguration, we imagine the guys sleeping, and all of a sudden this heavenly spotlight comes on him, this shaft of light, and he’s lit up.  No, what it says is, the glory that had always been part of his nature began to burst forth from the vial of his flesh.  What he really was began to shine through the vial of flesh he had taken on in his incarnation.  And this light like lightning, Matthew says like the sun, brighter than any fuller can ever get anything white, begins to shine forth, burst forth from within him, just kind of shattering his outward human appearance.  And as the guys wake up, maybe they’re light-sensitive, I know I can get up earlier in the summer than I can in the winter.  Wintertime the alarm clock goes off, it’s five to six in the morning, I need blanket-victory again.  You know, I’ve gotta get out from under that blanket, because it’s cold, it’s dark, I want to roll over, I have to put my alarm clock far enough away so that I’ve got to jump out of bed and at least run over and turn it off to get back in.  If it was right next to my bed, you know, I’d just keep hitting that five-minute thing for three or four days.  [laughter]  Maybe they’re light sensitive, in the summertime the sun’s out I open my eyes, I can get up.  And maybe they woke up, maybe it was the light, we don’t know.  Was it the conversation?  We’re not sure.  But Jesus has been metamorphosized, the glory of who he was, was bursting forth from within him like lightning flashing, brighter than the sun.  And they look up and see, and it says there’s Moses and Elijah talking with him.  Now, it doesn’t tell us how they knew.  I get a feeling that we just know, when we’re in heaven, when we’re in glory it says ‘then we shall know fully, even as we’ve been fully known.’  I don’t think we’ll be dumber there.  I think that we’ll know, when we sit down at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, I think we’ll know who they are when we see them   We’ll recognize them.  Obediah, Zechariah, Noah. [or else each of us will have our own submarine ball-cap with our name on it J at the Wedding Feast of the Bridegroom on the Sea of Glass.  When and where will this occur?  For an interesting scenario, log onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/Pentecost-Revetion1.htm]. 

 

Speculation About Moses and Elijah

 

They see Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus.  Imagine this, I’m wondering if when they woke up they thought they were having trouble telling whether they were still asleep or not?  I wonder if they wondered if they were dreaming?  This is recorded in Matthew, Mark and Luke, so we know it’s significant, the same scene.  Moses and Elijah were talking with him, “who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.”  Now, as we see the two people that show up, Moses and Elijah, I think it’s significant that neither one of them experienced kind of a run-of-the-mill death experience.  Moses was taken on Mount Pisgah by the Lord, in the end of Deuteronomy it says that ‘he was 120 years old, his eye was not dim, and his natural forces were not abated’, and he didn’t know anything about health food stores.  His eye was not dim and his natural forces were not abated.  And you know what, I think the secret is fasting and moderation.  I mean he was walking around eating manna and a little bit of lamb here and there, wandering around, a little bit of exercise.  But he spent a good deal of time in the presence of the LORD.  ‘120 years old, his eye was not dim, his natural forces were not abated, and the LORD took Moses and buried him.’  And we’re told in Jude, a very strange thing, that Michael the archangel disputed with Lucifer over the body of Moses, and without much explanation.  God had a specific purpose for this man’s body.  And part of it is, here we see Moses, who was broken-hearted because he couldn’t enter into the Promised Land, we see him in the land at this point in time, far north, and we hear the man who said ‘LORD, let me see your glory,’ and God says ‘I’ll make it pass before you, but no man has seen my face and lived,’ now we see him standing in the land beholding the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  And Elijah, he’s the other guy who didn’t experience a natural death.  God said to Elijah, ‘Elijah, today, you go to a certain place, I’m going to meet you there.’  Elijah wasn’t quite sure what was going to happen, but he knew it was a day.  What would you do if the Lord told you, ‘Friday, two days from now, Friday at high noon’ that ought to give you a little shiver right there, like a gunslinger, ‘Friday at high noon, we’re gonna meet, you and me.’  What would you do between now and Friday?  Would you have to make up with somebody?  Clean your bedroom?  It’s Friday morning now, you have three hours, you’re going to meet the Lord.  Put on makeup, brush your hair, take a shower?  What do you do?  What needs to change in your life between now and Friday?  Are you going to throw a bunch of pornography out from your cabinet under your TV between now and Friday?  Get rid of the beer in your refrigerator?  Get the cocaine out of your house?  Pray that your wife’s black-eye heals before Friday?  Or are you going to be saying ‘Lord, far out!  Friday, high noon.’  And you know, Elijah crossed over, and it says the Lord came down and picked him up in a fiery chariot.  Man, what a way to go.  Now, we are told in Malachi that Elijah shall come before the great and terrible Day of the LORD comes.  So Elijah will show up on the scene again, we have two prophets in the Book of Revelation chapter 11, who prophecy for the first three and a half years, 1260 days.  [Some believe it’s the second three and a half years of the 7 year tribulation period.]  One of them is Elijah, the Bible says he’s coming.  Is he here now?  How’s he getting back?  Fiery chariot going to drop him off again?  UFO?  No way.  When we go to Israel, I always look for him.  [laughter]  Just kind of looking at anybody whose kind of bearded, long hair, staff, leather girdle, I look for that guy.  Is he there now?  I don’t know. [Comment:  Some dispute this, as Jesus said that Elijah had already shown up, and that this Elijah was really John the Baptist.  Different interpretations within the Body of Christ, no big deal.]  And I think the other one is Moses.  I think the fact that they’re both here with Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration indicates that they have a continued ministry.  And when we look at the miracles in the Book of Revelation, turning water to blood, stopping up the heavens from rain, that’s Moses, that’s Elijah, we see their miracles and their ministries reproduced, preparing the world for the 2nd coming of Christ, to take up his throne.  But here they show up, speaking with the Lord.  [Comment:  Some parts of the Body of Christ believe everyone else in this scene was in “vision” form, like this was a symbolic vision Christ was projecting to the three disciples, other than his own appearance—like a holographic projection of Moses and Elijah before him.  There is really no way for us to know either way, which makes this or any other interpretation of these verses secondary, and not primary doctrine.  In other words, we just don’t know, and won’t until we’re at that Wedding Feast and can ask the Lord in person.] 

 

Jesus’ Exodus He Would Accomplish At Jerusalem

 

Peter, James and John wake up and see this scene before them.  And it says they’re speaking, verse 31, with Jesus about “his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.”  Now becoming deceased doesn’t seem like a lot of accomplishment.  The word is “exodus,” literally.  They’re speaking with Jesus about the “exodus” he’s about to accomplish at Jerusalem, because Moses had his exodus, and brought the children of Israel out of Egypt, but he didn’t bring them out of bondage, and it tells us in Hebrews he never really brought them into rest either. There was a greater exodus that was necessary, from sin and death and the grave.  Elijah, brought about a great revival in Israel, fire came down from heaven and consumed the altar and the water in front of tens of thousands of Israelites, and slaughtered the prophets of Baal.  But it was not long-lasting.  [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/kings1.html.]  It hadn’t really brought the people out of idolatry and an exodus back to the true and living God with any staying power.  But Jesus was about to accomplish an exodus to deliver us from sin and from death, and give his power indwelling us to work there and to set us free, something that would happen internally [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/agape/Agape%20I.htm].  And they’re speaking with Jesus about what he’s going to accomplish at Jerusalem.  And they longed for that.  You see, paradise was not complete at this time.  We hear of Abraham’s bosom.  Throughout the Old Testament the righteous go up, the wicked go down, to give us parameters, a sense of what takes place, at thy right hand are pleasures evermore. But those that were in paradise were there in hope, and their hope would not be complete until someone brought Adam’s genes and chromosomes back into fellowship with the Living God.  Heaven was not a complete place yet because though they were there, there was no guarantee of resurrection and of the Kingdom being set up one day until Jesus ascended, and Jesus accomplished something in putting away sin and death and the devil, giving us life, and then taken this carcase, Adam’s genes and chromosomes, that had come down the family line that we all are part of, back to heaven into fellowship with God [the Father].  That hadn’t happened since Eden.  And then [by all this] guaranteeing resurrection, guaranteeing the future that the Prophets had spoken of, guaranteeing the Kingdom that would come. [Comment:  Actually, as it says in Ecclesiastes, the “spirit-of-man” or “spirit-in-man,” the human spirit which gives us intellect (cf. 1st Corinthians 2:9-13), goes up to God when a person dies.  There is absolutely no differentiation made in Ecclesiastes about the “spirit-in-man” of evil people going down and that of the righteous going up, it clearly says they all go up.  It also states there that the spirit-in-man when one dies goes unconscious until that person is resurrected back to life.  There are differing beliefs within the Body of Christ about life after death, heaven and hell.  To read about some of these, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm.  So by another interpretation, with the human spirit component of all mankind remaining unconscious upon death, although the theology of what he showed is basically accurate, there would be no conscious spirits of people wandering around “Paradise/Heaven,” God’s just safely locked away the spirit components of those who died, until the resurrection.  Then after their resurrection to Immortality, cf. 1st Corinthians 15:49-54, everyone is in agreement again.]  All of that, and for you and I, guaranteeing that, as it says in Romans, that if the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in us, he will quicken our mortal bodies also (cf. Romans 8:11).  So that in the resurrection [to Immortality], it’s not an ethereal place, it’s not just some spiritual realm, in the resurrection, when you see someone here at church or a loved one whose gone on ahead of you, you’ll be able to grab them and embrace them, and you’ll feel this [slaps himself soundly].  Jesus [after his resurrection] said to Mary “Let go of me!”.  He said to Thomas “Feel my hands and my side, doth the spirit have flesh and bone?”  His resurrection guaranteed for all of us that there is a day coming when we stand around his throne in glory, and we behold his face, and the multitudes are there.  You’ll be able to turn to the person next to you, and say, ‘Moses?’ and when you hug him, you’ll feel this [solid slapping sound], it will be real.  Mom, Dad, Honey, it will be real.  Jesus was about to accomplish something, just a decease at Jerusalem, an exodus, that would be complete. 

 

‘The Word of God is better than spiritual experience’

 

“But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep:  and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him.  And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here:  and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias:  not knowing what he said.”  Now we’re not told what that means, “as they departed from him”, were they floating away, or were they fading away, or were they climbing on a chariot and leaving together?  Man, I wouldn’t have the guts to say that.  We’re told here, “and let us make three tabernacles, one for thee, one for Moses, one for Elijah:  not knowing what he said.”  Mark said that he said that because he didn’t know what to say.  The best bet is, when you don’t know what to say when you’re in a circumstance like that, don’t say nothing.  Imagine that, he wakes up, he’s going to cut somebody’s ear off a little bit later when he wakes up.  He wakes up and he’s not sure of what he’s doing when he wakes up.  I get a feeling Peter’s a guy who needs a couple cups of coffee before he gets rolling, because in that scene that’s coming, he wakes up, looks around and hacks somebody’s ear off.  [He more like needs a pot of coffee before he gets going.]  In this scene he wakes up and he sees the glory of God, Jesus transfigured, Moses and Elijah, I don’t know if they’re fading or starting to float up a little.  He says, ‘Well, it’s a good thing that we’re here.’  I wonder of Moses and Elijah went ‘Whew! Glad we’re outa here!’  “it’s a good thing we’re here, let’s make three tabernacles, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah, not knowing what he said” (verse 33).  Now of course he was putting Moses and Elijah on the same par with Jesus, not realizing, no doubt at that time, what God was doing in their hearts.  “While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them:  and they feared as they entered into the cloud.”  It’s a cloud of light now doubt, not a dark cloud.  So this comes over them, and they actually enter into it.  “And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son:  hear him” (verse 34).  And the tenses in the Greek are “be ye continually hearing him.”  Those are the tenses.  Not just hear him now, but for the rest of your life, this is the One you should be hearing.  Now that puts Peter in a unique position of being the only human being on earth that was ever interrupted by God Almighty, or shall we say, Peter being the only human being on earth that ever interrupted God Almighty.  Peter remembers this experience.  He says, in his 2nd Epistle, “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.  For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory [the cloud], This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.  And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.  We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts” (2nd Peter 1:16-19) Peter says, ‘Look, we were there on the mount, we saw the glory cloud, we saw Moses and Elijah, we were eye-witnesses of his glory, and we heard the voice speak from heaven.  But you have a more sure word of prophecy…’  Peter’s saying that the Scripture should have more weight in our lives than spiritual experience.  And it’s a very important verse to understand, because we know a lot of Christians, and they’re so easily swayed by some of the televangelists that do crazy stuff and some of the side-show kind of mentality that we see in the name of Christ, and they’re so impressed and taken back by it, that they’re swayed by it.  Peter says, ‘Look, we were eye-witnesses of his glory, we didn’t use cunningly devised fables when we made known the coming of the power of the Lord, we heard his voice, the voice of God Almighty speaking to on the mount---but you have a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto you do well to take heed.’ And he says it’s the Scripture, verses 20-21, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy [prophecy, used here to mean teaching, doctrinal teaching ] of the scripture is of any private interpretation, for the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man:  but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”  And he gives that to the Church, and here we are this evening, and what we have to understand is, this [Word of God, the Bible] needs to have more weight in our lives than spiritual experience.   

 

“You have kept my Word, and you have not denied my name.”

 

And again, importantly, you know, as we see people here with cancer and our hearts are broken by it, remember to pray for Kurk here who played the keyboard this evening, got a bad report this week, and may have cancer in his sinuses and in his head, just needs prayer, and we’re hoping that it comes back differently than that.  But there’s so many here now, and believe me, at staff meeting, and we talk about ‘Lord, why don’t we see, Lord, we long to see you healing and touching people like in the Book of Acts.   And we see some things, we see some wonderful things, and they happen from time to time, but Lord, why?  Yet, again, I’m reminded as I read the Book of Revelation, to the Letter to the Church of Philadelphia, the Lord says “You have a little strength, but you have kept my word, and you have not denied my name.” And let’s have that until he comes. Let’s keep his Word, and not deny his name.  Because he gives a great commendation to that Church [era] that will do that, and says that he’s going to strengthen them and establish them and make them like pillars in the temple of God. [by some interpretations, we are in the timespan of both the Philadelphia and Laodician era’s of the Church as spelled out by Jesus in Revelation chapter 3.  This is one of the Church era’s that comes right up to the time of the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ.  To learn about this Church era, See http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/revelation3-1-22.html.]  “And he set before that Church an open door that no man can shut.”  We long for it Lord, why don’t we see that kind of thing, why don’t we see that kind of strength, why don’t we see that kind of power?  I don’t know.  But I do know this, that the world we live in is scheduled to be deceived by signs and wonders, the antichrist.  And before his specific personality comes to the fore, it says there will be many false prophets showing signs and wonders.  The world we live in is scheduled to be deceived by the very thing that many Christians are just taken with.  Like being blown about with various winds of doctrine that they shouldn’t be effected by.  And Peter says, ‘Look, remember this, that you have a more sure word of prophecy than spiritual experience, you have something that will stand, the Word of God, though heaven and earth passes away.’  And he recounts this experience, and just imagine how incredible, imagine, Peter’s waking up, he’s groggy, he says, ‘Man, it’s a good thing we’re here, we’ll build three booths for you,’ and as he’s saying it, all of a sudden he starts getting swallowed up in this cloud, he’s probably going ‘aaah, aaah, aaah!’  And he hears God speak from heaven ‘Peter, shut up!  This is my Son, listen to him.’   My heart would have been going ‘Baboom! Baboom! Baboom! Baboom! Baboom!  And it says they fell down, Matthew says, on their faces. 

 

“Who Do Men Say That I Am?”---They knew now, partially

 

And when they looked up, it says, “When the voice was past,” verse 36, “Jesus was found alone.”  Now what they understood from this is this, Jesus said “Who do men say that I am?”  Some say, Well, you’re John the Baptist, risen from the dead, you’re Elijah, one of the prophets of old.’  “Who do you say that I am?” “You’re the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”  And Jesus would say, “Blessed art thou, Simon bar Jonah, flesh and blood hath not revealed this unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”  Well that is answered now, ‘Who do men say that I am?’  For these three, imagine what impression was made upon them, as they saw Jesus in his glory.  Now, there’s another difficulty.  Because he said to them, ‘Don’t tell anyone.’  Because they didn’t have it all straight yet.  See, because the Son of man is going to go to Jerusalem, he’s going to be handed over to the elders and to the scribes, and they’re going to beat him, they’re going to mock him and spit on him, and then they’re going to crucify him.  And Peter would say “Far be it from you Lord” and he would turn to Peter and say “Get thee behind me Satan, for thou savourest not the things of God, but the things of men,” because they thought ‘How can this be?  This is the Messiah?  We knew it, you’re the Christ, the Son of God, blessed art thou,’ Peter’s going ‘I knew it!’  And Jesus said ‘God spoke to you Peter,’ and Peter’s thinking ‘Wow, God speaks to me’…and Jesus said ‘Don’t tell anybody’ and that kind of confused them, and then he said ‘I’m going to go and be crucified,’ now that confused them even more, because they’re expecting a Messiah to overthrow Rome and tyranny and let every man sit beneath his vine and his fig tree, and to restore Israel as a political center of the world, they’re expecting something vastly different.  And now Jesus is saying ‘I’m going to go and to be crucified.’  But what they understand now is, that the Law and the Prophets are in keeping with the very thing the Jesus is trying to communicate to them, Moses is the Law, Elijah represents the Prophets. They just saw Moses and Elijah speaking with Jesus in regards to the exodus that he would accomplish in Jerusalem.  And in their hearts now, that is something that is being settled there. 

 

Sometimes We Need A Transfiguration Experience

 

And you see what happens is this, sometimes if we face great disappointment or great hardship, or all of a sudden we’re facing something, ‘This isn’t in keeping with the Jesus I know, ‘If Jesus really loves me, why would he let this happen?’ or ‘If Jesus is really sovereign, he’s in control, why is this then going on?’  Or ‘What’s he talking about, crucifixion and suffering, you know, if he is who he says he is, why am I so disillusioned now?  Why am I having such a hard time dealing with this suffering, dealing with this difficulty?’  And you know, I think in those times, instead of sleeping, we need to come before him in prayer, because I think we need a transfiguration.  You know, we need to see something of Christ that we had never seen before beginning to shine forth from within, because there’s so much more there to him that we have never yet seen.  In fact it says in the ages to come we’re still going to be learning of his grace and of his glory.  And whatever has been sufficient to this point, you know, Peter talks about walking in the present light, I think sometimes when all of a sudden we’re seeing a child in the hospital near death, at that point in time, what we’ve known of Jesus is not sufficient, it’s carried us to that point, but now all of a sudden ‘Lord, we need a transfiguration, we need to see some of your glory, we need a revelation of who you are that we haven’t had that will strengthen us and keep us and lead us onward.  And I think, for their great difficulty and for their great struggle, I think as they came down from that mountain, Jesus was the same, but he was never the same again.  You know, they had looked at the back of his head for two years.  They had followed him around, Galilee, Judea, Galilee, Judea.  They knew what the back of his robe looked like.  They knew if there was a dirt spot there.  They knew where they spilt something on him while they were eating dinner.  They knew the color of his hair, they knew if it was black with a red streak in it.  But as they came down from that mountain that day, Jesus was completely familiar, but he was completely different.  The back of his head never looked the same again as they followed him. 

 

‘Do me a favor guys, don’t tell anybody about this.’

 

And they must have thought, you know, at different times in his ministry, like maybe on Palm Sunday [which didn’t happen on a Sunday, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/lamb/lastsix.htm] on his triumphal entry, they probably were thinking ‘He’s gonna do it now, wait till they see this, he’s going to turn the light on, it’s going to blow their minds.’   Now no doubt they were waiting for that.  At this point, now they’re thinking, ‘Yea!’ And Jesus, it says here, look at what it says here in the second half of verse 36, it says, “And they kept it close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen” because Jesus would say to them, we have it in Mark and Matthew, ‘Do me a favor, don’t tell anybody about this,’ and they must have been saying ‘Don’t tell anybody!?’  ‘Don’t tell anybody until the Son of man is risen from among the dead.’  And it’s ek-necron ‘Don’t tell anybody until the Son of man is risen out from among the dead.’  And they begin to question among themselves ‘What is this resurrection out from among the dead?’  Because they were Jews, and they believed in one resurrection.  And they believed that those in the resurrection of the just and the unjust would be raised together, that’s what it says in Daniel chapter 12, the resurrection of the just and the unjust, some to eternal life, some to eternal shame and suffering. They believed in a resurrection, but they thought everybody was raised at one time.  [Comment:  They also had an awesome description of that resurrection, which was back to physical life, a major resurrection of all mankind in reality. It is found in Ezekiel 37:1-14, the Valley of Dry Bones prophecy.  Jesus also gave a similar prophecy as the one found in Daniel 12:1-3, in John 5:28-29.  But in both of those prophecies, it is really describing and teaching that there would be two major resurrections back from the dead.  Paul gives us the other one in 1st Corinthians 15:49-56, the resurrection to Immortality.  For a good study on the major Bible resurrections, heaven and hell, log onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm.]  Now Jesus is saying, ‘Don’t tell anybody until the Son of man is raised out from among the dead’, and they’re saying ‘What is this resurrection out from among the dead?’  And all of a sudden there’s a new idea that breaks on the Church and is developed in New Testament theology.  And Jesus says ‘Don’t tell anybody about it…’  He didn’t want these three guys to come right down the mountain, ‘He is the Son of God, Peter is right!...Blessed art thou Simon bar Jonah, we’ve seen him glowing up there!  It’ll blow your mind, you know we’re just ready to follow him now, you know, because he’s gonna set up his Kingdom, wait till you see what he’s going to do with the Jews, he’s gonna turn the light on, blow everybody’s mind!’  Imagine what they would have said, or how they’d have interpreted about what went on.  And what they needed to know and what they would look back and see after his resurrection was that, ‘Yes, this was in keeping with the Old Testament, with the Law and the Prophets, that as Jesus would say on the Road to Emmaus, ‘It behooveth that Christ to suffer, and on the third day to rise again.’ [cf. Luke 24:13-31]  So they come down from the mountain, from this experience, and what a great experience.  And I don’t think, by the way, that Christ denies us anything that he would give to them, I think that he’s willing to reveal more of himself to us.  I think one of the difficult things is, as Paul says, that he learned that in his suffering, that the Lord said to him “my grace is sufficient for thee.”  And he says ‘So I’ve discovered that it’s in my weakness that his strength is made perfect.’  I think for us, the difficult thing is, it is often in great hardship that we see those new aspects and facets of the nature of God.  I don’t like to talk about it because I don’t like to go there, because I’m a wimp.  I want to learn the easy way.  You probably can’t relate to me [yea, right!].

 

From a spiritual high, to back down to the world

 

“And it came to pass, that on the next day, when they were come down from the hill,”---from the mountain---“much people met him.  And, behold [“consider this”  is what “And, behold” means], a man of the company cried out, saying, Master, I beseech thee, look upon my son:  for he is mine only child” (verses 37-38).  And by the way, Luke is the one who takes note of people who have only one child, an only child.  He says ‘of the widow of Nain that her son had died, which was her only son.’  Luke is the one who tells us that Jairus had a daughter who was twelve years old, his only daughter that died.’  Now he tells us of this man, that it was his only child.  I wonder if Luke was an only child?  He takes note of it all the way through.  “And, lo, a spirit taketh him, and he suddenly crieth out; and it teareth him that he foameth again, and bruising him hardly”---with great difficulty---“departeth from him.  And I besought they disciples”---the nine that were still down there---“to cast him out; and they could not.  And Jesus answering said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you, and suffer you?  Bring thy son hither” (verses 39-41).  Now it’s very interesting, and by the way, you can kind of count on this.  After a mountaintop experience, the devil’s gonna be waitin’ for you.  [A friend of mine, we’re both heavy-weather sailors, and he remarked to me (we always philosophized together) about life, that it was like being out in a high sea, one moment you’re on the crest of the wave, riding high, all excited, but rest assured, the next moment you’re in the trough looking up at this mountain of water above you.  It’s a fact of life.]  I mean, it just goes without saying.  I remember the first time I got home from Israel, I was flying high, get home from Israel, got home, the dog was puking all over the kitchen, the car, the transmission fell out of it that day, I mean, here I am, back to earth Lord.  You know what it’s like to come home from a men’s retreat or a women’s retreat, you’re all jazzed up, come home.  I remember two years ago Cathy was coming home from the women’s retreat, and I talked to her on the phone of course and got an update of the whole weekend, telling me how great things were going, spiritually moving, and she comes back, and she’s just feeling great.  And she walks in the door, and Hannah goes “Bluooa! and throws up all over, just right when she walks in the door, got a fever, ‘Here you are, welcome back to the real world.’  Well here, you can depend on it, you come down from the Mountain, there’s gonna be something cookin’.  And here comes Peter, James and John and the Lord, down from the mount of transfiguration, they’re just flying high, Jesus said, ‘Don’t tell anybody’, and they’re just thinking ‘Wait till the guys ask us what happened up there, we’ll just say ‘Nothin.’  And they come down, and here’s this father running out of the crowd, crying to Jesus for mercy, saying, ‘My son’s demon possessed, the demon throws him on the ground and tears at him, and he screams and he cries, imagine, my only son, I have to watch him in this pain continually, I brought him to your disciples and your disciples couldn’t do anything about it.’  Now, back in chapter 9, verse 1, same chapter, it says Jesus gave them authority and power over all demons and diseases to heal sicknesses and so forth, and yet here they are, and it says they can’t cast this spirit out.  Jesus says it’s hard, it’s a hard saying, ‘O faithless’ and I don’t think he was just talking to the nine, it’s to all the people that were there.  “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you” doesn’t sound like something Jesus would say.  Isn’t it interesting?  And suffer you, or bear up with you, “Bring thy son hither.  And as he was yet coming, the devil threw him down,”---which is a specific term from Greek wrestling, like the last pin-down before the match is over---“and tare him.  And Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the child, and delivered him again to his father” (verses 41-42).  Now, Peter, James and John are probably thinking ‘Now we know why this is happening, because we know whose inside, now we know, we’re the ones…’   

 

“This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting”

 

And yet the disciples will say to Jesus ‘Why could we not cast this spirit out?’  Matthew 17:19-20 gives us that part of the record.  “Then came the disciples to Jesus apart and said, Why could not we cast him out?  And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief, for verily I say unto you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say unto this mountain, remove hence to yonder place and it shall remove, nothing shall be impossible to you.”  Now a grain of a mustard seed’s got a lot of faith, you can bury it in the dirt, you can bury it in a dark place, and it knows which way is up, it just knows it goes to the light, and it responds to water.  He said if you have the impulse, the faith of a grain of a mustard seed, he said you could see impossible things happen.  But, verse 21, “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”  Jesus says your problem is unbelief, it’s my problem.  And when we pray for people here on Sunday, Wednesday nights, that are going to the hospital, they’re facing surgery, it’s easy for us to cop out and say ‘Lord, give the doctors wisdom, guide the surgeon’s hand.’  You know, because who knows whether that gets answered or not?  But I look, Lord, in the Gospels people came to you and they said ‘Have mercy,’ they said, ‘Heal my son,’ they said ‘Lord, you can touch me and heal my leprosy, Lord have mercy that I might see,’ Blind Bartemeus.  They didn’t come to Jesus and say ‘Lord, guide the surgeon’s hand, give the doctors wisdom.’  No, because they had observed him with their eyes, heard the tone of his voice, they looked at the look in his eyes, they saw the compassion, they came to him and they begged him for mercy.  And I think, Lord, we, what is it today, is it, and I think, well, there is unbelief in my life, and I’m not going to implicate any of you guys, I’ll just speak for myself.  And I look at this, and I think ‘Well what is the answer to that?’  Well he says, Prayer, number one, and fasting goes with prayer, and prayer goes with fasting, I think it’s hard to separate them, whether you’re just fasting for a day or a meal or for ten days or whatever the Lord may lay on your heart, or one day a week or whatever.  But I know that prayer attaches our heart to heaven, and fasting detaches our attachment to this world, one of them makes us let go here, one of the basic drives that we live to satisfy every day is eating.  It’s one of the things we have left.  We’re Christians.  We can eat.  Jesus liked to eat.  He ate.  ‘Zacchaeus come down from the tree, I’m coming to your house for dinner.’  Again, when we come into the Kingdom [at the Sea of Glass just after the first resurrection to Immortality], first thing he says, we’re going to sit down at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and eat.  Even in Revelation, ‘I stand at the door and knock, if anybody opens up, I’ll come in and I’ll eat with him.’  It is the place in the Bible, when you sit around the table with your children, you know, that there’s something spiritual, something wonderful that goes on there.  And I love to eat, when I go to the West Coast I already know the restaurant I’m looking forward to eating at, spiritual foresight I have there.  But shutting that down, fasting and prayer, giving ourselves to prayer is attaching our hearts to heaven, to his throne, fasting kind of severs the most basic connection with this world, even if it’s for a day, it’s a denying of self, and Jesus tells us that within the confines of that practice, there is I believe the stirring of belief.  Because of unbelief you need to fast and pray.  I’m taking that to heart.  ‘I’m asking God through his grace to move me, to stir me.  I don’t want the responsibility of doing it myself, I’m willing to admit, Lord, I love to eat, Lord it’s hard for me to pray.’  You know, did you ever wake up in the middle of the night and have insomnia and couldn’t go back to sleep, I’ll tell you the secret.  Slip off your bed, get on your knees, and pray.  Fifteen minutes you’ll be able to go back to sleep.  Just say, ‘OK Lord, you’re waking me up, what is it you want to say?  Talk to me now…’ you get a notepad, just get that straight.  Usually it’s a small conversation, you go right out again.  ‘This kind cometh only out by a lifestyle of prayer and fasting.’  Now let me tell you something, I’m not interested in a deliverance ministry, I’m a Bible teacher, I like to sing songs about Jesus, study the Scripture, and get Raptured, again that seems good to me.  People who want deliverance, we send them somewhere else, we don’t want to be involved in that stuff, because it’s spooky, if you’ve ever been around it, I don’t want to be around it, I don’t want to look at it, I’ve seen it.  Again, we had a woman show up, you know, a couple years ago, and she told Frank and Jeff that she was demon-possessed.  And we said, “Well, are you a Christian?”  And she said “Yes.”  And we said, “Well we don’t believe Christians can be demon-possessed.”  Well she said “But I am a Christian, and I am demon-possessed.”  We said, “Well we don’t believe you are.”  And she said, “Well I am!  Grrr.”  [laughter]  So we said, “Well we don’t believe Christians can be demon-possessed.”  So Frank goes and gets on the phone finds an Assembly of God church down the street, and he said, “Let me ask you a question.  You guys believe Christians can be demon-possessed?”  They said, “Yea.”  We said, “We’ll be right down.”  We said to her, “We have a church where you’ll fit in good.”  So we took her and dropped her off there.  You know, I think, when you see deliverance ministries and you hear about ancestral sin, “it’s because my grandma was a voodoo priestess that I have boogey men in my bedroom at night.”  Oh cut me a break, would you please!?  If you can read English, read Ezekiel chapter 18, because it destroys that whole premise.  Yes, there’s ‘iniquity visited to the third and fourth generation of those that hate me, and mercy to thousands of generations who love me and keep my commandments…And whom the Son sets free is free indeed.’  So it’s not that I’m looking to get involved in deliverance ministry.  Believe me, as a pastor, I would love to see more people healed.  I look at Satan heightening his activity in the world, I look at the insanity around us morally, socially, and I know that Jesus doesn’t need help from the media, from technology.  And Isaiah said that when wickedness comes in like a flood, that the Lord will lift up a Standard, and if we’re going to be here, I’d rather go, but if we’re going to be here, Lord, do that work in our midst.  And I need to fast and pray, Lord, then make me the man that you want me to be.  It says that his eyes go to and fro throughout the earth looking for any individual whose heart would be completely given to God.  That the eyes of the Lord go to and fro throughout the earth looking for any of us in the room whose heart would be given to him.  He’s not looking for people who are qualified, you don’t have to have a seminary degree, he’s not looking for people that are qualified, but for people that are available.  If you’re available, qualified, wonderful.  If you’re available, not qualified, just available, he will qualify you.  Because there is a seminary of the Holy Ghost that everybody has to graduate from no matter whatever diploma they have. 

 

The Apostles didn’t understand what Jesus was trying to tell them about his coming death

 

It says, in verse 43, “And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God.”---now it’s not dunamis, it’s not, it uses a completely different phrase here which should be translated “majesty”, “they were all amazed at the majesty of God.”  And I think just because of the authority he demonstrated when he just said to the demon, “Get out.”  And the boy fell down, and he took that boy, that “only son,” the one that that father’s no doubt, years had been taken off the father’s life watching that child, heartbroken.  And Jesus delivered that boy to his dad, it says “they were amazed at the majesty of God.”---“But while they wondered every one at all things which Jesus did, he said unto his disciples, Let these sayings sink down into your ears:  for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men.”  “Sink down into your ears”, now when it says that, it means down into your heart.  “But they  understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not:  and they feared to ask him of that saying.”  They didn’t want to ask him ‘What do you mean?’ because, just like you and I, they didn’t want to look dumb.  Did you ever talk to somebody, and they lay this thing on you, and they use some nineteen letter words and lay this thing out, and say ‘You know what I mean?’.  And you go “uhuh,” and you have no idea what they’re talking about.  “Oh yea, uhuh.”  You know, especially if it’s a field you’re supposed to be familiar with.  And they were supposed to be, they were the a-postles, not the b-postles, so they were supposed to know what he was talking about.  And he gives them this stuff, basic about his Passion.  It says they were afraid to ask him what he was talking about.  And verse 46 proves it.

 

‘Who Is The Greatest?’

 

“Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest” (verse 46).  Kings James is pleasant when it says “a reasoning”, the Greek says “and argument among them.”  You know, a few verse before this, none of them could cast a demon out of a little boy, now they’re arguing about whose the greatest.  Whose the greatest un-demon caster-outer that there is, you know.  They’re arguing about whose going to be the greatest.  Now Peter, James and John are saying, ‘You know, Christ has got a special purpose for us, because these guys, these cronies were down here, but he took us up, you know, the light, the glory, Moses, Elijah.  These guys never talked to Moses and Elijah.’  And James and John were probably saying, ‘You know Peter, I think we’re going to sit on the right and left hand, because God didn’t have to tell us to shut up.  You kind of blew your chance while you were up there.’  And they’re arguing now over whose going to be the greatest.  That’s why Jesus is telling them, ‘Please don’t tell anybody.  Yes I am the Son of God, flesh and blood has not revealed this to you Simon bar Jonah, but my Father in heaven, but please I don’t want you guys to be my PR men right now.  You have to get a few things straight, don’t tell anybody.’  Because here they are fighting over whose going to sit on his right hand and whose going to be the greatest, that’s what they’re fighting over.  In one of the Gospels it says, Jesus asked them ‘What are you guys talking about?’  they said, ‘Oh nothing.’  [laughter]  That’s how great they are.  They’re arguing over who would be the greatest.  “And Jesus perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him,”  There’s something for you to think about, because he perceives your thoughts.  I’m glad I’m under the blood, aren’t you?  “Jesus perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him,”  they’re arguing about whose going to be the greatest, Jesus takes a little kid and puts him next to him, “and said to them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me:  and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me:  for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.” (verses 47-48)  They’re arguing over who is great, Jesus takes a little child, and puts him next to him and says ‘You know, whichever one of you guys has the time to take care of a little kid like this, those are the ones who will be great, not greatest, but great.’  You want to see people that will be great in the Kingdom?  Go on back and look in the nursery, see those people back there with twenty-one babies going…those people are going to get rewards, man.  Those people are great.  People that are back there cleaning up the mess, guys’ standing in the parking lot, cold tonight, winter and summer, so that we can sit in here.  You can find the people that are great by going out there and seeing those guys shivering or with their raincoats on.  Or the security guys in the hallway.  Look at the guy handing out the bulletin at the door.  You want to see whose great?  Who can take their attention, and instead of worrying about thrones, take care of a little kid.  It says in Psalm 8:1-2a, “O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!  who hast set thy glory above the heavens.  Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou perfected praise [KJV, ordained strength].”  The psalmist says ‘Lord, the heavens themselves can’t contain you, you set your glory above the heavens, and yet, Lord, you can take a four-year-old child and have that child sing Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so, and minister in that heart.  Lord, how is it that the heavens can’t contain you, and yet you can minister to the heart of a little child?’  You see, that’s our example.  Jesus in another Gospel would say ‘The servant of all, he’s the one who is great in the Kingdom.’  [Military example of that, Carwood Lipton, Easy Company, Band of Brothers]  Jesus takes the little kid and says, there you go right there,  and said, ‘That’s one of the citizens of the Kingdom, if you’re taking care of him, you’re taking care of me.  And if you’re taking care of me, you are taking care of the one who sent me.  If you’re doing that you’re great.’  They had it all backwards, didn’t they?  Don’t we?  You know we have people constantly saying ‘How do I get on the musicians schedule?  I’m a drummer and I’m thinking about getting saved,  if I can get up there and play for awhile and I’ll make up my mind…how can I get up there and teach, I want to teach, why don’t you put in the bulletin I’m going to do a breakfast for this group of people and send them all to me.’  Yet we don’t have people coming and saying ‘How do I get in that nursery, let me back there.  I just want to change a poopie diaper, you know.  I just want to serve, and make life easier for some parents that are with babies all week so they can hear the Word of God, you know, I’ll get my reward in heaven.’  You know we’re not inclined that way, you know. are we?  But you know, Jesus is changing our hearts, isn’t he?  Isn’t he changing us?  How incredible that he’s changing us, and that he’s faithful to do that, he puts up with us.  And that when we argue about greatness, he’ll get some little kid to straighten us out, doesn’t he?  I have a wife, she does that for me.  You all think I’m Pastor Joe, no, she reminds me I’m just Mud.  [laughter] 

 

Exclusivity, Jesus hates it---Conclusion

 

“And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbid him, because he followeth not with us.”  Now they couldn’t cast one out, but they don’t like it when somebody else is doing it.  ‘We forbid him, because he wasn’t part of our denomination.’  “And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not:  for he that is not against us is for us” (verses 49-50).  i.e. there’s no neutrality in regards to the Kingdom.  ‘If they’re not against us, Jesus says, they’re for us.’  Where does that leave you?  For or against?  I’m not sure if that’s our signal the study’s over, take that beeper and hit it with a baseball bat, send it somewhere else.  I think that it’s remarkable that the Lord, that he would stoop down to our lives.  You know, I’ve been saved since 1972, and you know the thing that still amazes me the most is that God would send his Son to die, so that I could go to heaven [into the Kingdom of heaven, we’ll only be there for a short time for the Wedding Feast, and then we’ll be coming back with Christ to rule with him on earth].   I have two sons, I got a spare one, like Luke says, Jesus was God’s only son.  And I don’t even want to give up the spare.  And I think of how much I would have to love somebody, not someone who was my friend, because it says ‘maybe even for a friend somebody would lay their life down,’ but somebody who was at enmity with me, an enemy.  And isn’t it hard to love your enemies?  And I think, what kind of emotion would I have to have toward that person if I were to watch my son suffering in front of me and screaming and cry out to me ‘Dad, Dad, why have you forsaken me’, if I had to turn my back on one of my sons and listen to them screaming in pain, and forsake them, for someone who really didn’t even care about me?  How remarkable.  And here’s this One, left his place in glory, we see him transfigured like the sun, like lightning, the brilliance of his person bursting forth from within.  And yet, yet it says his majesty was in the hearts of the people when he healed a little demon-possessed boy.  When he told his disciples ‘If you want to be great, the way this works in the Kingdom is you stoop down to help a little child.  You see, that’s what he did for us, as he stooped down to help us.  Because all of you here, including me, we’re somebody’s little kid.  Every abusive husband in this room is somebody’s little boy, and many are just replaying the abuse they got when they were small.  Every bitter woman here is somebody’s little girl that wasn’t born that way, but was made bitter, just by circumstances, was given an opportunity for sin in her life to manifest.  Every one of you here that doesn’t know Jesus Christ personally, you have to understand how different it is from the way we think, because we think “religion”, I grew up in the Church, and I thought, you know, God is up there and he made these rules, and he’s going to make me walk by them, and he’s like the guy with the sheriff with a gun in his hand that shoots at my feet and says ‘Dance! Dance! Dance! Don’t smoke!  Don’t chew, don’t go out with the girls!’ you know, he’d give me all these rules and regulations, you know.  And I thought God was like that.  I didn’t know that he stooped down to me.  That I was his little boy, I was his child.  And that he considered greatness stooping down to my life.  And I was on drugs, I was in the world, I was wasted, and at enmity with him, didn’t really care about him.  But he cared about me in my lostness.  Because I was trying to fill the emptiness inside with everything that the world set out in front of me.  And I could fool everybody, but I wasn’t fooling myself.  I was empty.  And when I discovered God or when he opened my eyes, he wasn’t some far away, distant, unconcerned Deity, sitting on the throne shooting lightning bolts at my feet.  When I discovered God, I discovered him on a cross with nails through his hands, beaten, dying for me so that I could have life.  If you don’t know Jesus Christ this evening, that’s who he is.  And we are not talking about religion, because you can be religious and go to hell.  We’re not talking about Calvary Chapel.  If you trust Calvary Chapel, you will go to hell.  Calvary Chapel did not hang on a cross for you.  And if you grew up in a religious system, you don’t want anything phony anyway.  You’ve had enough of that.  You want something real.  But the challenge to you is, will you respond to that?  The first verse we looked at this evening, Jesus said if you are ashamed of me, you see, I was kind of ashamed of the church I went to.  I  didn’t  want to go there.  And I would never take anybody else there.  But I’ve never been ashamed of Jesus.  I’ll bring everybody to Jesus that I can.  Big difference.  But Jesus says ‘If you are ashamed of me, and of my words, my sayings, so will the Son of man be ashamed of you when he comes in his power in his Kingdom.’  I want the musicians to come…[connective expository sermon of Luke 9:26-50 given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19116]

 

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