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From Distraction to Hope [Part 1]

Alan Wright Ministries / Alan Wright
The Truth Network Radio
May 16, 2022 6:00 am

From Distraction to Hope [Part 1]

Alan Wright Ministries / Alan Wright

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Pastor, author, and Bible teacher, Alan Wright. Mary, did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation? Mary, did you know that your baby boy would one day rule the nation? Did you know your baby boy is heaven's perfect lamb?

The sleeping child you're holding is the Great I Am. That's Pastor Alan Wright. Welcome to another message of good news that will help you see your life in a whole new light. I'm Daniel Britt, excited for you to hear the teaching today in the series, Life of Peter, as presented at Reynolda Church in North Carolina. If you're not able to stay with us throughout the entire broadcast, I want to make sure you know how to get our special resource right now. It can be yours for your donation this month to Alan Wright Ministries. So as you listen to today's message, go deeper as we send you this special offer available today. Contact us at PastorAlan.org. That's PastorAlan.org.

Or call 877-544-4860. More on this later in the program. But now, let's get started with today's teaching. Here is Alan Wright. Are you ready for some good news? Jesus is on the throne. He is resplendent in glory. There is no one who is his equal. He has been raised from the dead.

He lives and reigns in power forevermore. He lived a life of humility and servanthood and became obedient even unto death on the cross. He was mocked. He was persecuted. He was crowned in mockery, piercing his brow with thorns. But all the while, he was the glorious light of the world.

It never changed and it never will. Jesus is full of glory. We are today in the life of Peter upon a story that is one of these interjections in the midst of the narrative where maybe Peter especially needed to just have a vision where he was aware that Jesus is fully glorious even though he is headed to Jerusalem to suffer. This is the famous story of the Transfiguration and you will find it in Matthew chapter 17. This follows after Peter has confessed Christ as Lord and Jesus has blessed him and said that he is a rock and that he is going to build his church on him and give him the keys of the kingdom. And then Jesus tells Peter and the disciples that he must go.

It is necessary to go to Jerusalem where he will suffer many things and be persecuted and killed. And Peter said may it never be and tried to stop him and Jesus rebuked him strongly for this. And this is the next scene that we learn about in Matthew 17 verse 1. And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John his brother and led them up a high mountain by themselves and he was transfigured before them and his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. And behold there appeared to them Moses and Elijah talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah. He was still speaking when behold a bright cloud overshadowed them and a voice from the cloud said, This is my beloved son with whom I am well pleased.

Listen to him. When the disciples heard this they fell on their faces and were terrified. But Jesus came and touched them saying, Rise and have no fear.

And when they lifted up their eyes they saw no one but Jesus only. A burglar came in the still and darkness of the night, broken to someone's home and as he began rummaging through the valuables in that home thinking of what all to take he heard a strange voice into the darkness say, Beware, Jesus is watching you. He stopped for a moment and thought, Who or what is in this room? He heard it again, Beware, Jesus is watching you.

He began slowly to walk around the room to see if he could figure out who it was. He shined the flashlight here and there and he heard the voice one more time, Beware, Jesus is watching you. And he looked up and there was a parrot, a parrot. And he looked up and he said, Oh, it's only you parrot.

What's your name? And the parrot said, Moses. And the burglar said, What kind of stupid people name a parrot Moses?

He said, The same kind that named their rottweiler Jesus. If you're just walking the dusty path with Jesus as Peter was, you would see many different miracles. But this moment where Jesus comes and says to them, The Son of Man is going to have to suffer and die. It must go to Jerusalem.

It's necessary. You could understand why Peter is saying, No, it must never be. Because as we've learned, his anticipation was of a king who would come and set up a political throne in Jerusalem, much like David had, but in a much grander scale. And they would eliminate all of these enemies of Israel and restore the kind of peace that has come.

And when you have expanded borders and victorious armies and that kind of peace. And Jesus had come to bring a different kind of peace. And so Jesus is aware that obviously Peter, who tried to stop Jesus, but other disciples, and in this case James and John, perhaps need a moment to be able to see him in his glory. And so he allows Peter and James and John to come up on the mountain and see something that absolutely shocks them, terrifies them.

They don't know what to do with it. They're seeing Jesus, who is the glorious, glorious Jesus. And perhaps it is in this moment that Jesus is also communicating something to all of us that is absolutely important in understanding the gospel because he is accompanied by Moses and Elijah. But then when the disciples lift up their heads, Moses and Elijah are gone and it's Jesus only.

And so we have a lot to learn from oft-neglected texts. This transfiguration narrative is an absolutely marvelous story. Let's begin with this, that the word for transfigure that's used here, this verb is one of those that comes over into English and you know what it means because the Greek pretty much transliterates right over into English. It's metamorphose, it's metamorphosis. That's what this word transfiguration means.

It has the sense of a caterpillar is the butterfly but when you see it as a butterfly you see it entirely differently than you saw it as a caterpillar. But it is the same creature, it is the same entity, it is the same being, right? And so what Peter and James and John are getting to see in the transfiguration is not a different Jesus, they're seeing the real Jesus. But for this moment they're getting to see Jesus in his glory rather than simply in his humanity. What we don't know, is this a one-time occurrence for Jesus or is this something that happened regularly with Jesus?

I tend to think that maybe it did. That oftentimes he would go to the quiet countryside or mountainside to find a time just to be with his father and for all we know this is the way he experienced the father. That as he was just in the fellowship with the father it would just be like this resplendent glory and only the angels were seeing it. But in this instance he has allowed and brought Peter and James and John to come and see it. Part of the mystery and the wonder of who Jesus is is that he is at every point fully God and every point fully human. And so this is our theology of the incarnation. And it's very important to understand this because what you see in the narrative of the gospel is what R.C. Sproul has called a move from humility to exaltation but in the move from humility to his ultimate exaltation in the midst of it there are many interjections of moments of his splendor and glory that we can see.

So it's always paradoxical. For example at his nativity he is born as a little baby and you can't be more humble or vulnerable than this to be a baby dependent upon a mother's milk and laid in a manger in no place of regal splendor and the most humble of circumstances in a feeding trough. And yet while he was in that feeding trough, so humble, so vulnerable, nearby in the fields there were shepherds that were quaking for the sight of angels and a heavenly host. It's like if you're reading the story and you go, oh well he's just a weak little baby, then you read over here and you go, no he's not. And you keep reading the story and you realize then magi come and they're king makers and they're wealthy and they have come to see the newborn king. So just a moment you think he's just a humble little baby.

He's a nothing. And then magi come in and bring gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh and declare that they're going to worship him as the new king. And so it is throughout Jesus' life until the point that he's on the cross and when he's on the cross it is weakest and he's bleeding, he's suffocating and he's dying and he's forgiving people and they're making fun of him and they're mocking him and taunting him.

When he breathes his last, darkness envelops the land, the earth shakes, the veil of the temple is rent asunder and tombs open up. So even when it is his weakest moment you see the splendor of God. So the transfiguration is one of those moments where we see it and we're fascinated by this because what stirs something within our soul is the paradox itself of how could one so weak and so seemingly small and so vulnerable be so powerful is probably the reason of such popularity of the famous Christmas song Mary Did You Know. Mary, did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation? Mary, did you know that your baby boy would one day rule the nation? Did you know your baby boy is heaven's perfect lamb? This sleeping child you're holding is the great I Am.

That's Alan Wright and we'll have more teaching in a moment from today's important series. Ever feel like the pressure's always on? Do you find it hard to say no, worried that you'll disappoint someone? The Bible tells us only one thing about Adam and Eve's relationship in paradise. They were naked and felt no shame. But as soon as sin entered the world, they became anxious, plagued with a gnawing question, what must I do to be accepted? There is only one solution, the grace of God that lifts our shame. In a new six-week video masterclass, Pastor Alan exposes the dynamics of shame and shows the path to freedom. Whether as an individual or in a small group, the video series is sure to bring healing and hope. When you make your gift to Alan Wright Ministries this month, we'll send you the digital masterclass videos and study guides as our way of saying thanks for your partnership.

In a world so quick to say shame on you, it's time to let God's grace take the shame off you. We are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Alan Wright Ministries. Call us at 877-544-4860.

That's 877-544-4860. Or come to our website, PastorAlan.org. Today's teaching now continues.

Here once again is Alan Wright. Not only is this an interjection of the glory of God, but this is one of those moments in which Jesus is wanting to release the power of hope to Peter and James and John. For there's hope in seeing Jesus in his glorious resurrected form. To see him now before he is crucified in his glory is to put hope in the heart that this Jesus who we will see mocked and persecuted and crucified is the glorious Lord of all.

And it puts hope into the heart of the victory. But it also puts hope in the heart because when you see and meditate upon the transfigured Jesus and you see Jesus in a glorified body, what you are reminded of is that as he is, so shall we be. That as Jesus dies, we die. As Jesus is raised, all who are in Christ are resurrected. And as Jesus is glorified, so also we are glorified. So we are promised, beloved, not only that we're forgiven of our sins so that when we die, our death will not be final, but we will be resurrected. But we are also promised that we receive a glorified body.

And that's what's absolute. If you want to get a little bit of an idea of the kind of glorified body that you're going to have, who knows what that will be like. But probably it will be resplendent light.

Probably whatever it is, it's going to be still you. Your self-same body, but glorified. Glorified, much like when we were seeing Jesus. And what it does when you think on this is it puts hope into your heart. Years ago, I was preaching a series on heaven. And it was a great delight just to think for weeks about heaven. And one Sunday morning, I was preaching about the glorified body for the Christian.

I liked my title. It was called The Body You've Always Wanted. But anyway, after church that day, I was talking to a dear lady, a parishioner, who she said, you know, I'm really being blessed by this series on heaven. And I said, oh, it's so wonderful. And she said, I want to tell you something interesting.

For years now, I've been struggling and wanting to lose some weight and I've been really struggling with it. She said, but for some reason, during this series on heaven, I've really been able to lose weight. And I said, well, that's wonderful. And I just blessed her and I went on weight. And I was thinking about this and I thought, that's a little odd because you might think just the opposite, that thinking about heaven a lot and how you're going to get a new body anyway might make you want to go, well, just eat whatever you want to now.

Because one day I'm going to get the body I've always wanted. But what I thought about it more and more, the reason that that's not the case is that that's not the way hope works. This is very important to understanding the gospel and why the gospel of grace doesn't give license to sin but victory over sin.

And it's much rested in the fact that the gospel gives us hope. The assurance and the greater your assurance that you win, the greater your assurance that Jesus wins, the greater your assurance of victory, the more energized you are. If you're running a race and you turn around the last leg of that race and you're just a step ahead of everybody else or right beside everybody else, but you see the finish line and all of a sudden a thought goes through your mind, I think I can win this race. As soon as that thought hits you, I can win this race, you get a boost. There's an actual boost that comes to a runner. You hit that last leg with a full-on sprint. If you say, I think I can win this race, you don't go, well, therefore I'm going to sit down now.

That's not what happens. I love to write. And writing a book is one of the great joys of my life and it also is one of the greatest labors. It is enormous amount of work to write a book. It's not just the putting the ideas down into an organized form and spending the time in prayer meditation to have those ideas and then outlining them. It's not just the writing and the rewriting and the writing and the rewriting, but then there's all the interaction with editors and rewrites and sometimes throwing out whole chapters and sometimes starting whole sections over again and carrying the process all the way to the end through copy editors. It is a big, big deal. You finish a book, you feel like you have given birth to something and labored through it, but I love it.

I love it because I want to be a blessing to people. I'm energized if I have a contract with a publisher to write a book, which means that this book's going to get published and this book is going to be in the hands of people and they're going to be blessed. When that happens, I'll stay up late. I'll write on my days off. I'll get up early. I'll do whatever I can because I love it because what?

I'm seeing the fruit on the finish line, right? That's hope. But when I am not under a contract yet for a book, I don't have that same discipline. I struggle. I'm trying to get at a proposal together. How long have you been working on it?

Five years. I mean, it's different. What am I talking about? The more certain you are of being glorified eternally, the more it actually energizes you here now. So it's a story of hope. It's a picture of hope, the hope of Jesus' victory, and it's the hope of your own victory as well.

But then let's go a little deeper with this because this is where this really gets amazing. It's odd in one sense that Jesus is here and there's Moses and Elijah. In order to let the disciples see the resplendent glory of Jesus, He didn't have to have Moses and Elijah there, but in their, what their vision is, they see that Moses and Elijah there, they're talking to Jesus. And what you have, therefore, is something deeply symbolic and something that is by way of similarity and contrast between these three, Moses, Elijah, and Jesus.

I want to talk about that for a few moments. I want to understand why it's appropriate and there are similarities. Let me begin first in Exodus chapter 19. In Exodus chapter 19, verse 17, this is the picture of Moses going up on the mountain, Mount Sinai, where he's going to receive the word of God, receive the law. Exodus 19, 17, Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. Now, Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the Lord had descended on it and fire.

And the smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln and the whole mountain trembled greatly. And as the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him in thunder. The Lord came down on Mount Sinai to the top of the mountain and the Lord called to Moses to the top of the mountain and Moses went up. So there's a mountain and there is like this cloud and there's a thunderous voice of God, just like on the transfiguration. We also see that in Exodus chapter 34, the other time that Moses is up on Mount Sinai, we see another amazing similarity and that is when Moses came down from Mount Sinai.

This is Exodus 34, 29. When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. And just a few verses later, whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he would have moved the veil until he came out. And when he came out and told the people of Israel what was commanded, the people would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses face was shining and Moses put the veil over his face. So Moses has this temporary glowing, this resplendent type of glow on him after being in the glory of God.

You notice all those similarities. Elijah also is an Old Testament figure who was known for the time he went up on the mountain. If you want to look, this is in 1 Kings, it's chapter 18. And this is the famous story of Elijah going to defeat 450 prophets of the pagan deity Baal.

Now this primary Baal deity of the pagans had been a real source of competition for the attention of the Israelites. And Elijah challenges them essentially to a showdown on the mountain. And he says, we'll each erect an altar and put a sacrifice on it and we'll call upon our God to come down and consume the altar and fire. And whosoever God comes and consumes the sacrifice and fire, we'll say is the true God.

And they say, yes, that's a great contest. And so they go up top of the mountain. And what we read about in 1 Kings chapter 18 is that the prophets of Baal call upon him, call upon him, Baal, Baal, Baal. And nothing happens, nothing happens. And at noon, verse 27, Elijah mocked them.

I don't recommend this necessarily, but he did. And he said, cry aloud for he is a God. Either he's musing or he's relieving himself or he's on a journey or perhaps he's asleep and must be awakened. Call upon him, call upon him. Maybe he's going to the bathroom or maybe he's just asleep.

But if you call louder, I'm sure you'll wake him up. And what's interesting is that the prophets of Baal did just that. Alan Wright and today's teaching from distraction to hope.

And of course, this is one of the most interesting and dirt under your fingernail kind of passages in scripture. It's part of today's teaching, the life of Peter from distraction to hope. Alan is back here in a moment in the studio with us for additional insight on your life and a final word.

Stay with us. and shows the path to freedom. Whether as an individual or in a small group, the video series is sure to bring healing and hope. When you make your gift to Alan Wright Ministries this month, we'll send you the digital masterclass videos and study guides as our way of saying thanks for your partnership.

In a world so quick to say shame on you, it's time to let God's grace take the shame off you. We are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Alan Wright Ministries. Call us at 877-544-4860.

That's 877-544-4860. Or come to our website, PastorAlan.org. Alan, as we think of this from distraction to hope, as we think of the life of Peter, as we're looking and listening and learning throughout this, wow, we see this as a raw image, I think, of an individual who bounces back and forth from being on fire for God one minute and self-doubting in the next. And for the person listening right now, how can they take this whole teaching and find themselves in it and then move forward from that with faith? Well, we keep seeing, and today in the whole picture of the transfiguration and how Peter responds to this incredible event in such a really small way. We're just so prone, as we'll see, to be like Peter where he sees this extraordinary sight and then his big response to it is to do something just kind of a little religious ritual or something instead of really getting it. And it's so encouraging to me, Daniel, to realize that so many times we see Peter not getting it and yet Jesus included him right there.

Why? Because he is growing Peter up in the knowledge of Christ. And that's what he's doing with us. And it's so encouraging, therefore, to watch the transformation that's taking place and the hope that's coming into Peter's life. And God wants to bring that same hope into our hearts as well. Today's good news message is a listener-supported production of Allen Wright Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-13 10:02:40 / 2023-04-13 10:12:38 / 10

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