Summary: I wonder how we would score if there were a test available that could reveal just how faithful & devout a Christian we really are - that really measured the level of our spirituality? (Powerpoint Available - #228)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(Powerpoint slides are available at no charge. Just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your request - #228.)
A. Not long ago I preached a sermon entitled “The Love Test” in which we mentioned that passage of scripture where Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Do you love me? Do you really love me?” And we talked about that subject.
Now today, let’s go a step further in examining ourselves. I wonder how we would score if there were a test available that could reveal just how faithful & devout a Christian we are - that really measured the level of our spirituality?
You see, on the surface it appears that most of the time we feel that things are going well & we’re doing a pretty good job of being a Christian. In fact, I’m convinced that most people if asked, "How are you doing?" would answer, "I’m doing fine."
ILL. I’m afraid that we tend to be like the fellow in the old story who showed up for a court hearing concerning an accident in which he had been involved. His arm was in a cast, there were bandages all over him, & the exposed parts of his body were clearly bruised, scratched & cut. He was a real mess.
Looking rather surprised, the judge asked about his injuries. He replied, "Judge, I’m in a terrible condition. I have cuts & stitches all over me, & I’m feeling awful."
The judge said, "I don’t understand this. The accident report filed by the Officer says that at the time of the accident you told him you were just fine."
"Well Judge," the man replied, "let me explain. I was driving my pickup & pulling a trailer. In the back of the pickup was my old dog Shep, & my mule was in the trailer. All of a sudden an 18 wheeler sideswiped me, knocking me off the road."
"My pickup & trailer rolled over & over, & we ended up at the bottom of a big embankment. The next thing I remember, a police officer was picking his way through the wreckage. I saw him stop & examine my mule, then he pulled out his pistol & shot the mule between the eyes."
"Next, he got to where Shep was lying, & after examining him, he shot old Shep, too. Then he walked over to me & asked, "How are you?" And I said, "I’m doing fine."
B. But even though we generally say, "I’m doing fine," in reality, when it comes to our spiritual lives, things may not be going very well. We may not be growing spiritually. And yet, we consider ourselves "Just fine."
But what if we had a test that could really measure the level of our commitment to Christ, & of our discipleship? Well, maybe we do.
PROP. It seems that in John 13:31-38 Jesus provides us with the marks of true discipleship, & a measuring stick to show us how well we are doing spiritually.
Here is the scene. It is His last evening with His apostles before His arrest & crucifixion the next day. And they are all together in the upper room eating the Passover meal.
The evening began with Jesus washing their feet, teaching them humility. Then they began to eat, & while they were eating, Jesus says that one of them that night will betray Him. Well, this immediately causes questioning & turmoil, & in the midst of all that Judas quietly leaves.
So when we begin vs. 31 of John 13, Judas is gone, leaving only Jesus & the other 11 apostles. It is almost as if there is a breath of fresh air in that upper room now with the servant of evil gone. Then Jesus begins to talk about what it means to be His disciple. And he shares with them 3 marks of what it takes to follow Him.
I. DESIRE TO GLORIFY GOD
A. First of all, Jesus tells them that a mark of discipleship is a desire to glorify God. Listen to vs. 31: "After Judas had left, Jesus said, ‘Now is the Son of Man glorified & God is glorified in Him.’"
Jesus is saying, "I’m going to be glorified," & it is evident that He is talking about His own crucifixion. But how can any glory come out of that? How can glory come out of the Son of God hanging on an old rugged, bloody cross? How can glory come out of suffering & pain & death?
There is just one way. On the cross Jesus defeated Satan. On the cross He became the sacrifice to redeem us from all the sins that separate us from God. On the cross He built a bridge between man & God so that we could be together again.