Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Jesus makes some contrasts and comparisons in order to declare his path to God.

1. Led Zepplin

A rock band that came on the scene in the early 1970's by the name of Led Zeppelin. They became one of the most popular rock bands in history. One song in particular grabbed the heart and soul of world, it was called "Stairway to Heaven." This song talks about a woman who thinks her happiness lies in money, and she's convinced that money and material possessions are a path to true happiness. She thinks money will buy her a stairway to heaven.

The desire she had to escape into a fantasy world up above all the problems is a universal desire. We all share this desire to be rid of problems, to be free from heartache and sadness, to live in eternal happiness. What the lady did not understand is that money buys a phony happiness, a fake heaven.

There really is a pathway to eternal happiness/life. There really is a stairway to heaven.

2. Stairway to Heaven -- John 1.43-51

3. God has provided a special means to his presence

I. A Genuine Contrast of Nathanael and Jacob

A. Jesus Affirms Nathanael as the "Genuine Article"

1. A True Israelite

a. No Guile, subtlety, deceit, craftiness

b. As the Adversary -- Genesis 3.1

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made.

2. A Torah-Observant Israelite -- 1.48

a. Place of study and teaching -- Vine, fig tree, olive tree

b. Knew scriptures -- nothing about Nazareth

B. There is an Implied Contrast to the Deceptive Supplanter, Usurper, Jacob -- Genesis 25.26

Afterward his brother came out with his hand holding Esau's heel, so his name was called Jacob.

1. Deception in stealing Isaac's blessing from Esau -- Genesis 27.35

2. Dealings with Laban (also a deceiver)

3. There is always hope -- God changes his name to Israel -- Prince of God

a. The wrestling match -- Genesis 32.24-30

b. A Changed status and an new challenge in the new name to live up to

II. A Godly Creation -- "Jacob's Ladder"

A. A Place to Bethel (House of God) -- Genesis 28.10-22 (M)

1. Jesus makes a subtle allusion

2. Jacob's dream and "House of God"

3. Jesus is the incarnation of the "House of God" -- John 1.14

B. A Provision of God

1. Ladder = "Sulam" -- only use; could be steps; from a root that means to cast up or lift up

2. Unsure of its appearance

3. It was a way to and from God

4. Exactly like Jesus for us -- He came from the Father and returned to the Father -- John 16.28

I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father."

5. He provides the way to the Father for us -- John 14.6

C. The Directions of God

1. He comes down to us -- we go up to him

2. Examples:

a. Down to Moses at Sinai

b. Jesus down to us through Mary

c. Jesus' return to the Father in the ascension

d. He will descend at his return

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4.16-17

e. The new heaven, earth, Jerusalem will descend to us -- Revelation 21

3. It is HIS Initiative -- Compare to the Tower of Babel and Man's initiative -- Genesis 11.1ff

Conclusion -- Some Application

Bat House -- The most interesting thing about Tifton, GA is an abandoned Victorian house filled with thousands of bats. Tift County declared the once-elegant house in the town's historic district off limits after a bat specialist said that maybe 20,000 bats had moved in, apparently for good.

Now, teenagers call it the bat house. People talk about the smell, which is an unholy mix of animal urine and decaying wood. "In the summer, ooh, does that place reek," said Linda Turner, 69, a retired nurse and neighbor. "You ain't smelled nothing until you come back here on a hot day."

WHAT A SIGHT AND WHAT A STINK IT MUST BE! Vacant houses get infiltrated with all kinds of creatures and probably not just bats. And many of these creatures make a mess, create a big stink, and eventually ruin that dwelling.

But it doesn't just happen with vacant houses, it also happens with vacant lives! If a person doesn't fill their life with good stuff, the bad stuff and sometimes, the evil stuff will move in and take over.

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