Sermons

I'm Doing Fine

Sun, Mar 29, 2020
Teacher: Mark Hull
Passage: Luke 22:31-34
Duration:21 mins 50 secs

Message text

I’m Doing Fine
Luke 22: 31 – 34

In light of how we are living daily as our “current reality” due to the world wide statistics related to the Coronavirus and how those statistics have affected our daily routines.
I am sure there a number of people who ask, “How are you feeling?” And most of the time we answer, “I’m feeling fine.” In fact, I sometimes say, “I’m feeling great!”
Forgetting our aches & pains, we as Christians try rejoicing with the happy poet who looked at the beautiful flowers & listened to the singing birds, & then ended his poem with the words, “All is right with the world.”
But wait a minute, all is not right with the world. With all the confusion about the coronavirus, & the political turmoil going on in our nation, how can any of us say, “All is right with the world”?


ILL. I may have told you this story a few years ago, but it fits so well with this message that I’m going to tell it again. You see, I’m afraid that too many of us tend to be like the fellow who showed up for a court hearing about an accident in which he had been involved.
His arm was in a cast, there were bandages all over him, & the exposed parts of his body were clearly bruised & scratched.
Looking rather surprised, the judge asked about his injuries. He replied, "Judge, I'm not doing very well. I have cuts & stitches all over me, & I'm feeling awful."
The judge said, "I don't understand. The accident report filed by the Officer says that at the time of the accident you told him you were just fine."
"Well Judge, I know that is what I said, but let me explain. I was driving my pickup & pulling a trailer.
In the back of the pickup was my old dog Shep,
& my mule was in the trailer.
All of a sudden an 18 wheeler sideswiped me, knocking me off the road."
"My pickup & trailer rolled over & over, & we ended up at the bottom of a big embankment. The next thing I remember, a police officer was picking his way through the wreckage. I saw him stop & examine my mule, then he pulled out his pistol & shot my mule between the eyes."
"Next, he got to where Shep was lying, & after examining him, he shot old Shep, too. Then he walked over to me & asked, "How are you?" And I said, "I'm doing just fine."
We may think that is a ridiculous story, & it is, & we may understand why someone says, “I’m doing fine” even while experiencing physical aches & pains.

But when it comes to our spiritual life, most of us would probably assume we’re “doing fine,” when in reality we’re not doing so well. We’re finding it difficult to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.
Our text for this morning is found in Luke 22: 31 – 34
31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
33 And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.
34 And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.

What if we had a test that could measure the level of our commitment to Christ, & of our discipleship?
Well, John 13: 31 – 38 gives us some characteristics to live by.
when we begin in vs. 31 of John 13, Jesus begins to talk about what it means to be His disciple. And he mentions 3 characteristics of what it takes to follow Him.


I. A DESIRE TO GLORIFY GOD
A. First of all, Jesus tells them that a mark of discipleship is a desire to glorify God. Listen to vs. 31: "After Judas had left, Jesus said, ‘Now is the Son of Man glorified & God is glorified in Him.’"
Jesus is saying, "I’m going to be glorified," & it is evident that He is talking about His own crucifixion. But how can any glory come out of that? How can glory come out of the Son of God hanging on an old rugged, bloody cross? How can glory come out of suffering & death?
There is just one way. On the cross Jesus defeated Satan. On the cross He became the sacrifice to redeem us from all the sins that separate us from God. On the cross He built a bridge between man & God so that we could be together again.

B. "I am going to be glorified," He said. "But there is more. God will also be glorified through Me." What a strange statement! How could God be glorified through Jesus Christ? Well again, the answer is found in the cross.
On the cross Jesus reveals once again what God is really like. On the cross we see the love & mercy of God, the grace & justice of God. On the cross we see the righteousness, the holiness, & the power of God. It is all displayed there, & Jesus willingly gave Himself upon the cross so that we may see all that.
Jesus is telling us, "Whenever we show the world the love & mercy & grace of God in our lives, then God is being glorified through us."
We need to Live in a Way That Glorifies God
For us older ones of the congregation you may remember that Dan Blocker played the character, Hoss, on the TV series Bonanza. When he died unexpectedly in real life, the character Hoss died also. The producers knew they could not replace him. The story was that woman was caught in a flood. Hoss held her above the water with one hand and held a branch with the other to keep them from being washed away. He drowned in the flood, but he never let go. He died, but she lived.
Fans mourned for the fictional character, and many they agreed it was a fitting way for Hoss to die.
What is the soil of your heart like? Is it growing and producing fruit for the Kingdom of Heaven – are you using your life for eternity?

1. Quote: “I will not waste my life! I will finish my course and finish it well. I will display the Gospel of the grace of God in all I do. I will run my race to the end.” - Paul”
2. “God created me—and you—to live with a single, all-embracing, all-transforming passion—namely, a passion to glorify God by enjoying and displaying his supreme excellence in all the spheres of life.”
3. “You get one pass at life. That’s all. Only one. And the lasting measure of that life is Jesus Christ.”
APPL. So how are we doing? Are we busy trying to glorify ourselves, or are we trying to glorify God? That is the first test.

II. AN UNFAILING LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER
The 2nd mark of discipleship is found in vs. 34. Jesus said, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
God's Word says that the world will know we are Christians by our love, not by the amount of money we have given, or by our knowledge of God’s Word. Christ wants His followers to be known for their love, by how they minister to one another.
Maybe it's helping people in your life know about God & His Son... and the importance of reading and following the Bible.
Or, maybe it's in comforting someone who is hurting from the loss of a loved one,
or helping those who are struggling with our current situation!
Let's get back to the place where people can truly say about us, "Behold those Christians, how they care for and love one another!"


III. AN UNSWERVING LOYALTY TO JESUS
So the 1st mark of discipleship is a desire to glorify God, & the 2nd mark is an unfailing love for one another. The 3rd one is an unswerving loyalty to Jesus.
Look with me at vs's 36-38: "Simon Peter asked Him, ‘Lord, where are you going?’ Jesus replied, ‘Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.’ Peter asked, ‘Why can't I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.’
"Then Jesus answered, ‘Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!’"

A. How loyal are we? Do we have an steadfast loyalty to Jesus?
You see, there is a difference between proclaiming your loyalty & practicing it. Peter was always proclaiming his loyalty, but not always willing to practice it. And I think we’re very much like he was.
"You're going to die, Lord?" he asks.
"Well, if you die, I'll die with you."
It is easy to say, "I would die for the Lord."
But when they are getting out the nails to drive through your hands & feet, it's a whole different situation.
"Are you really willing to die for Me, Peter? Let me show you how loyal you are. Before morning comes, you will deny Me not once, but 3 different times."
"Going to be loyal to Me?" the Lord asks. "Okay, Peter, watch & pray with Me,” as they’re entering the Garden of Gethsemane. “I'm going to go a little further into the Garden to pray. Watch & pray." But Peter, along with the rest of the apostles, quickly fell fast asleep.
"Going to be loyal to Me, Peter? Then how close will you follow Me?" Luke tells us that when the soldiers arrested Jesus & took Him out of the Garden of Gethsemane that Peter followed at a distance.
Well, I’m not surprised. I have a feeling that if I had been there I would have been exactly like Peter. And maybe you, too.
He followed at a distance. And when you follow Jesus at a distance you usually end up in the wrong crowd. That is exactly what happened to Peter. He ended up that night in the High Priest's courtyard just outside where Jesus was being put on trial.

Now, the Apostle John was in the courtroom with Jesus, but Peter was out in the courtyard with all those who had a part in arresting Jesus. One of them asked him, "You're one of the Nazarene's followers, aren't you?" "Not me," Peter said.
SUM. Three times he was asked. And three times he denied even knowing Jesus. Peter found out that it was a lot easier to proclaim his loyalty than to practice it!

ILL. A mother wrote, “My 3-yr-old was on my heels everywhere I went. And whenever I stopped to do something & then turned back around, I’d almost trip over him. Time & again I patiently suggested fun activities to keep him occupied.
"But he simply smiled an innocent smile & said, ‘Oh that's all right, Mommy. I'd rather be in here with you.’ Then he continued to bounce happily along behind me. After stepping on his toes for the fifth time, I began to lose patience.
"When I asked him why he was acting this way, he looked up with sweet green eyes & said, ‘Well, Mommy, my Sunday school teacher told me to walk in Jesus' footsteps. But I can't see Him, so I'm walking in yours.’"
CONCL. This morning, are you walking in the footsteps of Jesus? Is your life - is my life, one that brings glory to God? Is your life one that is filled with love for the family of God, for His people? Is your life one of unswerving loyalty to Jesus?
It doesn't make any difference how many crosses we may wear, how many bumper stickers we have on our car. What really matters is our commitment to follow Jesus. Yet, like Peter, all too often we fall short in this.
Do you remember what happened that night? After the third time that Peter denied Jesus the rooster crowed, just as Jesus said it would. I suppose when that rooster crowed, suddenly Peter realized exactly what he had done.
He had so boldly proclaimed, “I’ll die with you.” But when he was confronted with danger he denied Jesus again & again. Then he ran out of the courtyard & wept.
Sometimes I’m afraid that’s the way we react, too. We have fallen short. We’ve not always been what we ought to be - & we realize it. We’ve been so bold & so open in some ways. Then suddenly we see ourselves as we really are.
In fact, the Bible says, “All have sinned & fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) There are none perfect, no, not one – with the exception of Jesus.
But you see, we know a lot more about Peter than just that. We know that he became a leader of the church as it began in Jerusalem & spread throughout the world. We hear a great deal more about Peter & his life - & about Paul, too.
Paul? Yes, the great persecutor of Christians who became one of the greatest Christians of all time. Why? Well, because Jesus gave Paul a second chance, too.
And how Jesus treated Peter & Paul He now offers to treat us. Just because you fell short doesn't mean that He has stopped loving you. That's the whole idea behind the cross. We can start all over & begin anew.
Are you willing to start again? That is what Jesus is asking. And it’s my decision to make - & it's your decision, too.


INVITATION - So He invites & He waits. "Do you want to be My disciple? Here are the marks. Are you willing to display them so that the world can know that you are My disciple?" I pray this morning that you will decide for Jesus. If you have a desire to be baptized or for the prayers of the congregation you can contact us at (440)667-8626 or (440)729-3039.

Sermon Contributor
Melvin Newland

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