Summary: Jesus was out to prepare His disciples for their greatest trial, His crucifixion. But He was also giving us direction to prepare for the realities of life.
A Practical Faith for Real Life
1. Students at Bible College/seminaries…lose track of the real world…There used to be an old saying, "It takes 10 years to get over seminary…"
2. In our church, we try to encourage an "honest Christianity," one in which we do not pretend, one in which we grapple with the real issues of everyday life. We do not have all the answers, but, then again, we do not pretend that all problems have solutions. Life simply isn’t that way.
3. Jesus wanted to prepare the apostles for their greatest trauma: seeing Him arrested, beaten, and crucified. He knew they would fail Him, but He was concerned about their recovery. He was very realistic, not merely idealistic. He addressed what WOULD happen, not what SHOULD have happened.
4. Today’s message comes from all 4 Gospels harmonized, which means we are looking at events as they happened sequentially.
MAIN IDEA: How can WE face life’s realities as Christians? How can we bolster ourselves and make ourselves more likely to hold up in these chaotic lives we live?
TS-------- Our text does not give us a complete low down on this issue. It does not address the importance of being well grounded in the Word, for example. That is assumed. But it does provide us with 4 fortifications that can strengthen us as we face life.
I. LOVE (John 13:33-36)
1. Jesus’ loved His disciples in a way that He did not love His enemies. That love between serious Christians was to be learned and imitated by the apostles.
2. Most of us define love by our personalities:
(1) Sanguines (influencers)--- warmth, expressiveness, and intensity of feeling (the heart)
(2) Cholerics (doers) —good works, provision, and services given (help)
(3) Phlegmatics (relaters)—loyalty,listening, guiding, being there in need
(4) Melancholics (thinkers)—quiet support, empathy, and tokens of love
3. The truth is that love includes all of these qualities and a whole lot more
4. But notice this: the kind of love Jesus showed His disciples was based on friendship, "I call you friends…"
---not all on same level (Peter, James, and John were closest)
5. This kind of love is to be the hallmark of Christians: sometimes it is, sometimes it is not.
Application: We live in a day when people are crying out in despair because they cannot relate well to others! This is an opportunity for us to shine, simply by loving our brothers and sisters in Christ.
"By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
The kind of love Jesus is talking about here comes from relationship building, not the "blanket love" Christ has for all.
WE NEED THE SUPPORT OF ONE ANOTHER. IF WE ARE LONERS OR NOT ATTACHED, WE MAY NOT BE ABLE TO STAND…
The first fortification is LOVE. But if we are to nurture a faith that will help us through the valleys of life, we need another fortification,
II. Humility (Matt. 26:31-35)
1. Humility is a multifaceted virtue: I cannot say it grasp it completely. It’s presented to us in bits and pieces, and we may have pre-existing ideas in our minds that keep us from understanding its true nature.
2. Here we see it in the negative: Peter’s example of non-humility
3. Humble people are cognizant of their VULNERABILITY
4. Some people say to themselves, "I would never do that." But you don’t know for sure!
(1) Who would have thought Peter would deny Christ?
(2) Who would have thought trusted Judas would betray Christ?
(3) Who would have thought David would commit adultery and arrange a murder to cover it up?
(4) Who would have thought righteous Noah would be passed out from drunkenness, or Lot commit incest, or wise Solomon turn to idolatry?
5. We see it all the time: a surprise divorce, a secret addiction, a major compromise of belief….seemingly out of nowhere…
6. A humble person knows he is capable of great sin. It may seem remote to him or her, and some temptation lure some people more than others, but the humble person takes precautions.
Application: The word vulnerable is defined as, "open to attack or damage….exposed to capture…." The world and the flesh and the devil are out to damage us and capture us…and we must be alert and realistic about ourselves….we are descendants of Adam…
IF HUMILITY destroys our smug arrogance, then the next FORTIFICATION lends us assurance.
III. A Sense of God’s Backing (Luke 22:31-32)
1. Jesus told Peter what was going on behind the scenes…
(1) Satan wanted to "sift" Peter
(2) although ancient sifting of wheat is described for you in the bulletin insert, a common flour sifter will paint a nice picture for you….