Welcome to Church on the Hill, Glenavon, Sask, Canada

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Why We Follow Jesus

Scriptures: Joshua 24:15, John 6:68, 1 John 5:11-15, John 16:12-13,
John 14:6

Pastor Lorne started the service by welcoming everyone. He said it was a great day because people were going to be baptized. They were going to follow the Lord right after the service. He said we thought we had 4 but we’re ending up with 6, possibly 7. (cheering and clapping)

He said first though, we’d take some time to praise and worship the Lord but somewhere in the service there would be an opportunity to share a word of testimony whether it’s something on your heart or a memory of when you were baptized. Pastor Lorne said he hasn’t been there (at COTH) all summer and maybe something’s happened that you want to share with the rest. And, he stressed the opportunity was open to anybody who wanted to share.

Lori then led the praise and worship.

Pastor Lorne’s message:

Have you ever heard of writer’s block? When you’ve got something to write and you have to have it done by a certain deadline and nothing comes. You just can’t get anyway. I have to confess that that’s where I am today. (light laughter) So bear with me, okay? I’ve tried all week: I’ve prayed, I read Scripture, I listened to music, and listened to other people and just couldn’t. You know? And that happens to me not very often, but it did and, I think it’s God’s way of bringing me down to where I need to be. So, I stayed awake all last night and just couldn’t seem to get anything. It’s kind of scary when you know you’ve got to face a bunch of people in the morning but you just can’t seem to find anything that really...

Member of the congregation: Oh, the Lord will give you words.

Pastor Lorne: Well, He did. I just trust that this will help you and is what the Lord wanted for you.

The 1st Scripture I want to share with you is Joshua 24:15. And Joshua asked this question: He said, ‘But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.’ And I wonder, why would he make that statement? What caused Joshua to make the statement that he would serve the Lord? We can bring it to our families, but also let’s bring it personally.

He said, for me, I will serve the Lord. What were some of his reasons? Why did he want to serve the Lord? Why do you serve the Lord? Have you ever asked yourself that question? Why come all this way? Howard and Jill came all the way from Wolseley, Hofferts from Odessa, some drove from Fillmore and Montmartre - to come to church. Why do we do all of that? And I wondered, why would Joshua say this. Then as I started to read back in Scripture, I found out and I think I know why he said he would serve the Lord.

Joshua was with the children of Israel when they came out of Egypt. He saw the Lord’s hand. He saw what miracles God worked in Egypt. He saw the Red Sea coming and destroying all the armies of Pharaoh and making it a chance of deliverance for the children of Israel. He saw the manna come down from heaven to provide food for them. He saw good, clean, sparkling, fresh water coming out of a rock. He saw these things. He saw God’s hand on it and it kind of just stood out for me.

As they were being pursued by an army – you know what God did to protect them and help them? This was so simple and yet so very effective: He sent hornets. Can you imagine? Little hornets. And it won the battle for them. You know back then, wars were fought in hand-to-hand combat, there was no such thing as missiles and all of that and they were just face-to-face. And God sent the hornets and sent the whole army just fleeing because of the hornets stinging and causing them all sorts of trouble. And so, Joshua had seen all this. He’d seen how God delivered them. And that caused him to say, ‘As for me I will serve the Lord.’ He’d seen in his life what God had done.

Now, we’ll go into the New Testament and some of the people there. The next Scripture’s found in John 6:68. Now this was the time where Jesus had spoke some really tough words. And some of the people who were following Him, didn’t follow Him anymore and turned their back on Him. So Jesus asked Peter and He said, ‘Will you also leave me? V68 says, ‘And Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.’

Today, one of the reasons we follow Jesus, and one of the reasons the people who are being baptized are doing this and following God is the fact that Jesus has the words of eternal life. Where else can you go to get the words of eternal life? Do you remember last Sat night when Lance Link was talking about talking to the Muslims and how their prophet Mohammed is dead? But that Jesus is alive today. He was resurrected and so He has the words of eternal life.

And one of the reasons I believe we follow Jesus is because He can give us – has the ability and the power and paid the price for us so we can have - eternal life.

You know, down through the ages and down through time, man has always had this idea that after the grave, there was something more. And they always thought of eternal life. I read and saw documentaries where Pharaohs built these great pyramids and they would have a weapon and food and all kinds of things so when they died and passed into the new life, they would have preparations. And you will find in many cultures that people make preparations for the after-life.
But do you know right now, we can make preparations for the after-life and we can know for sure what it’s gonna be because Jesus has promised you and me, eternal life. And that is something that all of us long to know and you have that knowledge that when we die, the grave isn’t the end. Rather, it’s the ushering in place for something so much better...heaven...and it’s truly our eternal home. And when we use the world eternal, that means forever. And so when you commit your life to Christ, and you surrender your life to Him...one of the reasons we do this is because he guarantees it by His Word that we will have eternal life.

1 John 5:11-13 says, ‘And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.’

And so we know believing in Jesus, committing our life to Him, accepting Him personally, that we have eternal life. And as the people take that other step of baptism, they are signifying or making it a public thing that they are going to serve and live for God the rest of their life and bring honour and glory to His name.

V13 says, ‘I write these things I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.’ Isn’t that a great thing? People do all kinds of things and would like to know if they have eternal life. But the Bible says right in John here, and I know John and Peter and some of these, their writing was nice and concise and almost abrupt. They just went from subject to subject. And I wondered why and then I thought, Paul’s in prison – he had lots of time to write – and he could get all of his thoughts down. But these men, they didn’t know if they’d be living the next day or the next hour sometimes so they would write these thoughts very concisely. And so this is what he says, ‘‘I write these things I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God.’

So this is for you who believe in, Jesus Christ, that you may know that you have eternal life. So, if you believe in Jesus, John wrote these things so you know you have eternal life, and this is just a great and wonderful thing.

And then one of the reasons I think we come to Christ is the fact that we know we can call upon Him and He does hear. We’ve heard testimonies of how God’s been there for people in their time of need and their time of trouble. And I’ve experienced that myself. It’s not just some crutch that we have or something to give us some peace for awhile, it’s something real.

And here’s what is says about that: v14&15 ‘This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.’ It’s confidence knowing the Lord. Trusting in Him. It brings you, and will give you, confidence. John, right in here, says I’ve written these things that you might know that you have eternal life. And you can approach God with confidence.

It’s a lot better to know that when you come to someone and you have something you want them to do and as a pastor, I’m always doing this and I have a saying I was brought up on...'I hate to put you on the spot’...I do that all the time...but it’s great when I don’t ask and I know I need help and I need someone to do this...and it’s great when I can go with confidence knowing they won’t say, ‘Well, I’ll see or I’ll pray about it or something like that.’ To know they’ll say, ‘Yes, I’ll do it.’

When we come to God, we can have that same confidence and know that He will answer your prayer.

And then there’s one more thing and then I’ll close, and it’s talking about the fact we’ve covered in our Christian life: Am I doing what is right? Or am I off on some weird thing that isn’t going to be right and I’m going to get into all kinds of weird things because there’s so many things floating around the world today that you can be a part of and that can lead you down some weird and winding troublesome paths and some have a very bad end.

And so, Jesus promised us in John 16:12,13 that when He was going to leave this world, that He would send His spirit into the world so that he could take us and lead us into all truth. ‘I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.’

And so, one of the reasons I believe we trust God is we know His spirit can guide us and lead us into all truth. And there’s something inside of you – when His spirit comes into your heart and your life, that when you see or hear something, as the saying goes a 'red flag' will go up, or you’ll think, ‘Hmm that’s not quite right...I don’t feel right about that.’ And yet, you’ll hear something else and it’ll just come into your spirit and you’ll feel so good about it. It is the truth of God.

So, He hasn’t left you floundering around wondering what's true, what’s right, what’s wrong...the Bible says He’ll send His spirit of truth so you can discern things and He will lead you and guide you in all truth. And so it’s just great to have that confidence.

I like the words that some of the writers use. They’re words that display God’s character when they use the word confidence. We have confidence in Him. And that’s a great word. And then, I’m going to close with this last Scripture: John 14:6 says, 'And Jesus answered, I am the way, the truth and the life.' And so in all things in your life, I encourage you to know that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life.

Commit yourself totally to Him. Give your life to Him and He will lead you on because He is the way. He is the truth. And He is the Life. And it’s just a great thing to know Him and have that confidence and assurance that He is our way. He is our truth. And He is our life as we commit ourselves to Him.

And I am so happy that it is so easy to become a child of God. I probably wouldn’t have the patience to do a lot of things if I had to go through a bunch of steps and things. I probably wouldn’t have the money if I had to buy my way into His kingdom. I’m so glad that all I have to do is come before Jesus and say, ‘Lord Jesus, come into my heart, and into my life, and be my Lord and Saviour.’ And that’s all it takes. That’s all it’s necessary. To know Him.

So that’s just a great knowledge to know that by simply putting our faith and our trust in Jesus Christ that we can start this life of confidence and assurance. ‘These thing have I written down for you that you might know that you have eternal life’. It’s written in the Scriptures so you can know for sure you have eternal life.

Note: Following the service, everyone went out to the Ennis’ farm for the baptismal service in their swimming pool. More info and photos in the next blog post.

If you would like to speak to Pastor Lorne about this, please email him.

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