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Summary: We need to look at ourselves - inward instead of outward.

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Facing the Inside

Matthew 26:20-22

Jeremy Farmer

Pomona Assembly of God

May 5, 2002 PM Service Matthew 26:20-22

“WHEN THE EVENING HAD COME, HE SAT DOWN WITH THE TWELVE. NOW AS THEY WERE EATING, HE SAID, ‘ASSUREDLY, I SAY TO YOU, ONE OF YOU WILL BETRAY ME.’ AND THEY WERE EXCEEDINGLY SORROWFUL, AND EACH OF THEM BEGAN TO SAY TO HIM, ‘LORD, IS IT I?’”

THE IDEA THAT ONE OF THEIR OWN WOULD BETRAY JESUS WAS A NEW CONCEPT TO THE DISCIPLES. THEY HAD ALREADY HEARD JESUS PREDICT HIS DEATH…BUT THAT ONE OF THEM COULD BETRAY HIM? THIS WAS NEW, STARTLING AND DISTURBING NEWS! THEIR IMMEDIATE RESPONSE WAS EXCEEDING SORROW. AS THE ENORMITY OF THE CHARGE SINKS IN, ONE BY ONE EACH MAN ASKS, “LORD, IS IT I?”

HERE WE FIND A CRISIS. EACH DISCIPLE IS CONFRONTED WITH THE FAITHFULNESS OF THEIR OWN HEART. THERE ARE THREE ASPECTS OF THE DISCIPLES RESPONSE THAT CAN HELP US UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF TAKING A LOOK INSIDE OUR OWN HEARTS.

1. BE WILLING TO LOOK AT OURSELVES, RATHER THAN POINT AT SOMEONE ELSE.

I FIND IT UNUSUAL THAT EACH DISCIPLE “ONE BY ONE” AS MARK 14 HIGHLIGHTS…ASKS JESUS WHETHER THEY ARE THE ONE. THE WAY THE QUESTION IS PHRASED ANTICIPATES A NEGATIVE RESPONSE FROM JESUS, “SURELY NOT I, LORD?”

EVEN SO, I’D HALF EXPECT A RESPONSE OF, “IS IT HIM? OR HIM?” WITH A LOT OF FINGER-POINTING GOING ON… NOT THE INTROSPECTIVE QUESTION, “IS IT I?”

OR A RESPONSE OF, “WELL, I KNOW IT ISN’T ME.”

SELF-INTROSPECTION IS SOMETIMES THE LAST THING WE WANT TO DO. YET, IF WE ARE TO TRULY UNDERSTAND OUR HEARTS, WE MUST BE WILLING TO EXAMINE OUR OWN HEARTS.

NUMBERS, CHAPTER 15, TELLS THE STORY OF A MAN WHO WAS GATHERING STICKS ON THE SABBATH DAY. THE PREVIOUS VERSES MAKES IT CLEAR THAT THIS WAS A SIN OF PRESUMPTION, NOT OF IGNORANCE. WE KNOW THAT AS A RESULT THE MAN WAS STONED TO DEATH.

WHAT HAPPENED AFTER THIS INCIDENT IS FASCINATING TO ME!

LET’S PICK UP THE STORY IN VERSE 37 OF NUMBER 15.

READ: NUM.15.37-40

THE PURPOSE OF THE TASSELS WITH THE BLUE THREAD ON THE ROBE WAS TO REMIND GOD’S PEOPLE WHO THEY WERE! IT WAS TO REMIND THEM TO EXAMINE THEIR HEARTS. IT WAS TO HELP THEM NOT TO SEEK AFTER THE DESIRES OF THEIR OWN HEART AND OWN EYES.

SOMEHOW, WE HAVE GOTTEN AWAY FROM EXAMINING OUR OWN ACTIONS AND ATTITUDES. WE DON’T HAVE A SPECIAL TASSEL OR THREAD TO REMIND US TO LOOK INSIDE OUR OWN HEARTS FIRST…TO SEE IN WHAT WAY WE SHOULD GROW.

INSTEAD, WE HAVE BECOME ACCUSTOMED TO CASTING BLAME. WE TEND TO POINT OUR FINGER EVERYWHERE BUT AT OURSELVES. IT’S MY UPBRINGING THAT CAUSES THIS REACTION, THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT, IF THAT OTHER PERSON HADN’T ACTED IN THAT WAY—THEY TRIGGERED THAT REACTION. AND IT MAY BE THAT THERE IS SOME TRUTH TO WHERE WE PLACE BLAME. IN ALL LIKELIHOOD, WE ARE NOT ENTIRELY AT FAULT. WE LIVE IN A SINFUL WORLD, WITH SINFUL INFLUENCES AND AMONG SINFUL PEOPLE. IN A PERFECT WORLD, WITH PERFECT INFLUENCES AND PERFECT PEOPLE…WE CERTAINLY WOULD BE A LOT LESS LIKELY TO ACT IMPERFECTLY!

HOWEVER, THE PROBLEM IN POINTING FINGERS IS SERIOUS.

IT MISSES THE ONLY PART OF THE PROBLEM WE CAN FIX… OUR OWN. WE CAN’T FIX THE OTHER PERSON, THE DEVIL OR THE WORLD. BUT, WITH GOD’S HELP, WE CAN BEGIN TO ADDRESS AND CONFRONT OUR ISSUES. WHEN WE FAIL TO FACE THE ISSUES IN OUR OWN HEART AND LIFE, WE ROB OURSELVES OF THE OPPORTUNITY TO GROW. GOD CHALLENGES US TO “GROW IN GRACE”. REGARDLESS OF OUR AGE OR SPIRITUAL MATURITY, GOD HAS MORE GROWTH FOR US TO DO IF WE ARE WILLING.

OVER THIS PAST YEAR, GOD HAS INVITED ME TO TAKE A LOOK INSIDE MY OWN HEART AND LIFE. HE HAS POINTED OUT MANY GROWTH AREAS. WHENEVER HE DOES THAT, I REJOICE. WHY? BECAUSE GOD HAS GIVEN ME AN OPPORTUNITY TO GROW. GOD HAS BEGUN TO LEAD ME ON A JOURNEY TO BECOME MORE COMFORTING, COMPASSIONATE AND NURTURING. SOMETIMES, HE USES MY OWN CHILDREN TO SHOW ME LESSONS HE WANTS ME TO LEARN. MORE RECENTLY, HE USED THE INSIGHTFUL WORDS OF A FELLOW BROTHER IN CHRIST.

THIS MORNING, WHAT ISSUE DOES GOD WANT YOU TO TAKE A LOOK AT INSIDE AND SAY, “IS IT I?” WHAT ISSUE IS IT HE WANTS YOU TO STOP POINTING FINGERS OVER AND START FACING?

GOD IS ASKING FOR YOUR HONESTY AND OPENNESS AS TOGETHER YOU TAKE A LOOK INSIDE.

THIS BRINGS US TO THE SECOND POINT GLEANED FROM THE DISTURBING INTERACTION AT THE TABLE WITH JESUS. Will you be the prodigal? Will you swallow your pride and come to your loving father who is watching for your return? You see, the only thing that can keep you from experiencing the love of God is you!

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