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Summary: Message delivered for the 128th Church Anniversary at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church, Gene Autry, Oklahoma

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TITLE: CHRIST’S PEACE IN TROUBLESOME TIMES

SCRIPTURE: ST. JOHN 16:33

To the Angel of this House, Deacons, Officers and Members of the Mt. Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church, I am honored to stand behind this sacred desk as you celebrate another milestone in the History of this great Church. We have enjoyed the celebration as we have been taxiing down the runway. I am humbled to be at the controls as the co-pilot as we have been cleared for ecclesiastical take-off.

I received notice about two weeks ago informing me this Church has prayed and by Unction of the Holy Spirit have been led to this particular Scriptural Text and subsequent theme – Christ’s Peace in Troublesome Times. I want to honor this text and theme in an effort to understand what the Lord is speaking to us through this Text and Theme to help us become more useful to the Kingdom. I pray and trust I have spent ample time with the Lord that we can digest this message together and hear what thus sayeth the Lord to the church.

In our text for examination we find Jesus in an Upper Room Discourse with His disciples. Jesus has moved between comforting the disciples in their sorrow and encouraging them in the hope of his soon-to-be finished work and the coming of the Holy Spirit.

• In the 14th Chapter - Jesus both promises that He is going away from them to prepare a place for them in His Father’s house

• In the 14th Chapter – Jesus also addresses their concerns about being left as orphans with troubled hearts

• In the 15th Chapter - Jesus beautifully described how the disciples would be His branches so that He, the vine, would produce abiding fruit in them

• In the 15th Chapter - Jesus abruptly transitioned to warning them that they would face the full brunt of the hatred of the world

• In the 15th Chapter - Jesus encouraged them with the hope of the coming Holy Spirit

• In this 16th Chapter – Jesus once again addresses the subject of how they would be hated of the world

These are the last words Jesus spoke to his disciples before his Arrest -- Trial -- Crucifixion. It’s not simply a teaching tool because there’s a lot of interaction between He and them, and Jesus winds up praying aloud in front of them for a period of time. But it’s not simply a conversation because Jesus is very purposeful and intent on getting specific content across to them. THIS LIFE IS A PARADOX—A LIFE OF SUPERNATURAL PROVISIONS IN THE MIDST OF EXTRAORDINARY DIFFICULTIES.

As Jesus announced His departure to His disciples, He was deeply concerned they clearly comprehend where things stood. Although departure looked like a terrible loss to them, Jesus was letting them know it was really an advance on God’s plan for His people. The critical reality which was meant to encourage the disciples is that with the departure of Jesus, all His followers would enter into a new relationship with the Father.

I can only imagine how the disciples must have felt on this dreadful evening in which Jesus would be arrested as He tells them of His impending cruel departure. This is part of Christianity we no longer Preach.

• We make Gospel Preaching too Happy

• We make it a Point to Preach Congregation into a Frenzy every week

• We like to Preach that Everything is going to be Wonderful

• We don’t separate the Cruelty and Pain with that Great Getting Up Morning

• We like to Gloss over it real quick so we can get the Congregation Shouting about Early Sunday Morning

• We like to get to the “He Died, Didn’t He Die” without the Pain and Suffering associated

It’s the problem I have with how we focus on how God wants to bless you and how if you have the faith and live for God, He will provide you material wealth and bring you through health trials unscathed.

• That can attract a crowd, but that’s not truth

• That will attract a crowd, but no strength in a storm

• That will attract a crowd, but no strength to stand in Troublesome Times

--TIMOTHY KELLER said that kind of thinking and preaching can actually make things worse:

“The fact is, a lot of Christians are cast down all the time because they don’t expect the attacks on their peace and joy that are inevitable. At least a half of being upset is the frustration that says “It is not supposed to be like this,” because we don’t have proper expectations.”

I do not know where we get this “happily ever after” - “this fairy tale idea” that now that we are Christians – Saved – Sanctified – everything is going to be Roses in our lives.

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