Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Finding life changing experiences at the top of the mountain with jesus


MATTHEW 17:1-8

Mat 17:1 And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart,

Mat 17:2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.

Mat 17:3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elijah talking with him.

Mat 17:4 Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.

Mat 17:5 While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.

Mat 17:6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.

Mat 17:7 And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.

Mat 17:8 And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.

It’s super bowl Sunday evening so I know I am preaching to the choir.

If you love football, then you are probably thinking ok brother Henry bring us the message quickly.

As most of you know foot ball is not my sport so I am not in a hurry.

Just kidding I will lay out the message as God has given it if we are here 20 minutes or 45 minutes it will be because the Holy Spirit has something special for us that no sport could match.

Just a few weeks ago, some of you may remember, at 5:00 in the afternoon we had a light snow. It didn’t stick so what you saw were the flakes and the mess that it made. Everyone that was getting off of work was driving around on the wet streets getting slush all over their cars and content just to get home. Doing the same thing everyday, the same way, and getting the same results. If you goal was to get home then I’m sure, since you, are here you achieved your goal. I was doing the same thing but instead of dealing with the four lane traffic in the medical district I took the road up the north side of Monte Sano Mountain. I had the same situation as everyone else but after carefully maneuvering through the tight curves and finally reaching the top I had a totally different experience. You see, the temperature had dropped about 15 degrees from the bottom to the top of the mountain. When I turned that final turn my eyes was filled with the beauty of one of Gods masterpieces. I mean it was splendid. Even Thomas Kincade could not paint a prettier picture. Snow was everywhere. It was laying on the ground, hanging on the trees,on the roof tops, everywhere it was beautiful. What I am saying is if I had chosen the fastest, easiest way that day I would have missed this beautiful experience.

Peter, James, and John had put themselves in a position that they could be chosen by Jesus to make this incredible journey and experience something that would change their lives. Where were the other 9 disciples? As my friend Aaron McCollough says they were at the bottom of the mountain playing church. Unfortunately many of us today are like those disciples. We are content to go to church occasionally; drop a couple of bucks in the offering plate, maybe amen the preacher a time or two

That is pretty much our experience. I think that these three disciples had demonstrated a sincere desire to be closer to Jesus and that is why He chose them. Do you have a sincere desire to be close to Jesus? Do you want to experience the thrill of being on the mountaintop with Jesus? (Did I hear an Amen, only one?) I said do you want to go to the mountain top with Jesus? Good then lets take a look at the scriptures

There are three main points that I want to make concerning this passage. They are:

1. The Journey is difficult.

2. Not everyone was chosen.

3. The Results of Making the Journey were out of this world!

Let’s begin in verse one, it tells us that Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain away from everyone else. Some of you may be mountain climbers but for me I’ve climbed a few hills and had a pretty difficult time doing that. I look at some of the ranges around here and it looks like a pretty big undertaking to get from the bottom to the top. Remember, they didn’t have four lane highways; they had to make every step. I remember when Patsy and I moved here we looked at apiece of property that was on the side of one of the mountains. Being an old country boy I thought that I would “walk it out” what I mean is find the boundaries of the property and walk from one to the other. Anyway, I found the first pin on the bottom and with the description all I had to do to get to the next corner was to go a certain number of feet in a westerly direction so I took off but after about 30 ft I came to a six foot ledge. Not being a climber I had to find a way around the ledge that took a lot of walking and time but finally achieved that, only to find there was another right above that one. Needless to say we only saw a part of that lot. The point I am trying to make is that the path up the mountain is a treacherous one but it can be made if we prepare ourselves. In that same scenario an experienced climber who would have been prepared would have made that climb in a matter of minutes. I was up there a couple of hours and never made the top. If I had prepared myself I could have seen the whole lot and maybe something wonderful that I missed because I was not prepared. In our spiritual life if we want to have those life changing experiences then we have to be prepared. We have to have a fervent prayer life. I don’t think that I would grab a stranger off the street and tell him come on this journey with me. No I would do exactly what Jesus did, choose someone I know and that wanted to spend time with me. How do you get that close to God? Spend some quality time with Him! Another thing about climbing the mountain, if you’ve never been there before, you need a guide. Notice here it says “Jesus taketh”, it doesn’t say that he was anything but the leader. He was not the follower, the companion, or the friend, he was the leader. Do you like bumper stickers? I do, I mean I like to read them I don’t want them on my truck. One bumper sticker that just rubs me the wrong way is “Jesus is my copilot”. Folks let me tell you today Jesus should be the PILOT not the Copilot. We need to let Him lead we just need to follow. Where we make the mistake and get ourselves in some pretty bad jams is when we say “OK Jesus I can handle it now” Wrong! Mountain climbing is hard work and so is life. To get to the top we must not grow weary, we must have the stamina to go the distance. Just as an athlete gets his strength from the foods they eat we get our spiritual strength from what we put in our minds and hearts. If we fill our minds up with the things of this world then we are going to be spiritually weak and not fit enough to make the climb, therefore missing the rewards. God has provided us with His words so that we could read and study. Life can be difficult but if you will look to Christ for guidance, spend time in prayer allowing Him to speak to you, and strengthen your walk by studying God’s word then you will not only have life but “abundant life” Jesus said, “John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly”. The word translated abundantly means “spilling over”. I’ve heard it explained as taking a cup and saucer and filling the cup but when the cup gets full continue filling and when the saucer is full and spilling over still you continue filling. That is what god wants for you and in your life.

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