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What To Do With Jesus? - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
January 7, 2024 5:00 am

What To Do With Jesus? - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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January 7, 2024 5:00 am

Any lawyer can tell you that whenever the star witness is a resurrected corpse, you have a pretty good case! But Lazarus being alive from the dead doesn’t seem to persuade everyone. And so the big issue becomes what shall we do with Jesus? The decisions made here set the clock in motion for an impending hate crime—the crucifixion of Christ. But from heaven’s vantage point, this is all part of God’s plan for redemption. Let’s see the responses and how we can make a difference.

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Salt stops corruption, salt adds flavor, and salt quenches thirst. Question, does that describe you?

Light dispels darkness, and light shows the way out of darkness. Does that describe you? I think you know where I'm going with this. Welcome to Connect with Skip Weekend Edition. Every day, polls are taken to see what's going on in the global community.

It seems like they measure just about everything. No matter what's up in the polls, there's one topic that always gets a lot of attention. That topic, spiritual beliefs, because we all believe in something and desire to share that belief with others. And belief is the subject of today's message, what to do with Jesus. We'll look at part two of this teaching from Pastor Skip and see the belief has been trending in conversation for quite a while. But first, let's see what's going on in the Connect with Skip Resource Center this month. Is the end near?

That's a question on many minds. And that's why Pastor Skip Heitzig spent many months in 2023 presenting 26 full length messages in his The End is Near series. The second coming of Jesus Christ dominates the Bible next to the subject of faith. The coming of Christ in the future is the most discussed topic in the book. To complement this excellent series, a study guide from Skip is now available. This study guide is over 100 pages in length and covers all 26 messages in the series. The End is Near study guide includes notes, summaries and questions for group or personal study.

We need to understand the times and this study guide will aid in this effort. With your gift of $50 or more to connect with Skip Heitzig, you will receive a copy of the End is Near study guide from Skip's in depth 26 part series. Your gift will support the production and expansion of the Connect with Skip broadcast. Call 1-800-922-1888 or go online to connectwithskip.com.

That's 1-800-922-1888 or connectwithskip.com. Let's join Skip Heitzig for more from John chapter 11. Now the Sadducees really weren't spiritual people. Honestly, they were very liberal in their thinking. They did not believe in the Bible, the Old Testament, except for the first five books of Moses. They didn't believe in angels. They didn't believe in spirits.

And here's the clincher. They did not believe in resurrection. They didn't believe in it. They were political figures more than religious figures. They were rich. They were the aristocracy of Jerusalem.

They closely bowed to whatever Rome wanted to keep the position, their position, and their money intact. Those were the Sadducees. Next you'll notice Pharisees. These were not political. They were very strictly religious. They believed all of the Bible and even the oral writings about the Old Testament. They were very strict.

But here's what's important. You've got Sadducees and Pharisees together. Why is that odd? Because they hated each other. They hated each other. They didn't get along at all. But they hated Jesus more than they hated each other. And they were willing to settle their differences and get together in counsel against Jesus because they hated Him so much that their hatred for Him was more than their hatred for each other.

Here's their bottom line. Their bottom line is we can't let Jesus get in the way of our interests. We can't let Jesus ruin our cause. Their politics and their status was at stake. And to them that was more important than spiritual truth or eternal life.

This is not so different than today. Some people use Jesus as a pawn, a puppet, to further their cause. I'm always interested when a movie star or a rock star receives an award and goes, I want to thank God.

And that could be a good thing. Maybe they really thank God. But I'm always curious, what is your definition of God?

What is your relationship with God like? Because sometimes God is thrown out because other people who really are followers of God now become fans of anybody who says that. They just garner more support. I'm always interested that during election time politicians bring out the God card, the Jesus card, the church card, the spiritual card because they know that it will get more votes.

They should be aware of what A.W. Tozer wrote. He said, whoever seeks God as a means toward a desired end will not find God. God will not be used. So that's that first discussion.

What do we do with Jesus? What's cool is in the middle of the discussion comes a few words by Caiaphas, who is a sad, you see, a high priest, a few words that articulate a clear biblical truth of the atoning sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Now, what Caiaphas said was blasphemous.

It was sinister. He's saying, look, you guys, you don't know anything at all. Don't you get it? It's simple. Either Jesus has to die or this nation is going to die. Either we kill him or we're all gone. This place, the temple, our nation, our position. It's expedient that one man died for the nation. John writes a footnote.

What he did know is that God turned the blasphemy into a prophecy that articulated the substitutionary death of Jesus for the nation, but not only the nation, but for the world, that all the sons of God who are scattered abroad would be gathered together. So he writes that footnote. Here's the big point I want to get across. All around us, all around us, are discussions going on every day, all the time, in coffee shops every morning, in the gym that you work out in, in the bank line that you do your business at, in cafes and restaurants, discussions are going on. And there are discussions about everything, politics, economics, aging parents, technology, and spirituality. People are discussing spirituality. They're discussing it in all those places. They're discussing it online. And I've discovered that most people, because sometimes I'll overhear conversations before I butt into them, I'll hear people talk about spirituality, talk about Jesus, or talk about God, and I notice that they're vocal and they're not afraid to express their opinion. They're not afraid. So why should we be afraid? To weigh in on the ongoing discussion. And that's my plea. Weigh in on the discussion. I found out that the average human being in an average lifetime will speak an average of 370,110,001 words in a lifetime.

That translates out to be, according to this research, for males, they will speak a little over 6,000 words a day for females around almost 9,000. I'm not going to go there. That's the research. The point I want to make is how about allocating some of those words to weigh in on this discussion? How about saying some of the words that come out of my mouth will be words telling others about the Savior, looking for opportunities. In a little book that I got from Lee Strobel, he wrote it called The Unexpected Adventure, he writes, anyone who has ever read the Bible knows that God wants to be involved with spreading good news far and wide. There's nothing more fulfilling than seeing ordinary people turned into extraordinary followers of God, atheists who become missionaries, once wayward kids who are now inspired worship leaders, hardened inmates who become compassionate pastors, former drug abusers who rescue the lives and souls of addicts.

Is there anything better? That somehow, in some way, God might take this seemingly routine day and surprise me with an opportunity to tell someone about the good news that has the power to turn their life inside and out. Weigh in on the discussion. So those are the first two words that sum up the sequel. Division, people are divided over Christ. Discussion, people are discussing Christ.

Here's the third, determination. Verse 53 and 54 are the verses I want to use to bring this to a close. Verse 53, then from that day on, they plotted to put Him, Jesus, to death.

Therefore, Jesus could no longer walk openly among the Jews, but went from there into the country near the wilderness to a city called Ephraim, and there He remained with His disciples. Now, this official edict, if you want to call it that, this decision begins the time clock toward the cross. It is this decision that begins the countdown, sets the gears in motion for a hate crime, kill Jesus, get rid of Jesus. It's interesting, this proves that they had already decided on the case before it went to trial. The trial won't be for several chapters. They've already decided on the case.

Kill Him. It was a hung jury. Why did they agree to this? Why did they want to get rid of Jesus?

Why this determination? Because they said, we want to save this place, our nation and this place. We want to save our nation.

We want to be patriotic, get rid of Jesus so we can save our country. Question, did it work? Did they save their country? No, they didn't.

Boy, did it backfire. Because what happened, though they eliminated Christ, they thought, see, three days later, He came back. He came back from the dead. And that started a firestorm they were unprepared to deal with. As people all over Jerusalem, by the thousands, converted to follow Christ after even He ascended into heaven. And they started telling everybody else so much so that the Jews expelled them from their lands, but this independent spirit, this rebellious spirit, started fomenting around the people and among the people so that Rome in 70 A.D. came in to quell that, destroying their city and destroying their temple. Josephus said the destruction was so bad you couldn't even tell a temple once stood there.

You could pull a plow on the temple mount. They destroyed it. William Barclay puts it this way, the very steps they took to save their nation were the steps that destroyed their nation.

We've got to save our nation. Let's kill Jesus. They eliminated Jesus. He comes back from the dead, make things worse. Now the temple is destroyed and the city is destroyed.

Didn't work. Okay, here's a piece of information I don't want you to miss. John wrote this book, we believe, around 90 A.D. The temple was destroyed about 70 A.D. It means 20 years passed from the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple to the first readers of this Gospel of John. And you know they could see the irony in that as they read, huh, those guys wanted to kill Jesus to save their temple and save their nation and it's been destroyed for 20 years. Meanwhile, Christianity has spread everywhere. Some folks are determined to get rid of Jesus.

History is filled with those decisions and filled with their schemes and filled with their vitriol. Rome blamed the atrocities of their nation on the Christians, fed them to the lions, burned them at the stake. Caesar Nero would take believers and tie them to poles and pour tar on them while they're alive and set them aflame so they would be torches for his garden at night till they died. He took the carcasses of animals, gutted the animals, put believers inside, sewed it up and let dogs, wild dogs, hack them to pieces.

Molten lead were poured on them on and on and on. Years later, the emperor Diocletian came in and another wave of hatred and persecution erupted. Ministers were imprisoned, killed, churches destroyed.

But the more they were attacked the more they grew and they couldn't get rid of them and let's kill them and they grew and let's get them and they grew. So much so that eventually the world view of Christianity became the dominant view in the Roman Empire. Some people are determined against Christ and it continued through history. The 16th century saw men like Friedrich Nietzsche who wrote a book called Antichrist, he wrote a lot of books, but one called Antichrist in which he called Christians sick animals, despicable animals.

He said a lot of things that I don't have time to tell you about. In the 18th century the French outspoken atheist Voltaire said and I quote, Christianity is the most ridiculous, absurd, bloody religion that has ever infected the world. He said, he predicted that his writings would so change Europe, his Voltaire's writings would so change Europe and eliminate Christianity from the European continent. What is ironic, I am told one of the stories is that within 20 years of his death the Geneva Bible Society bought his home and used it as a center to distribute Bibles through Europe. So ironic.

And he said that he predicted that it would change Europe. I love what Psalm 76 says, surely even the wrath of man will praise thee, O Lord. Even the wrath of man will praise thee. Now today we're faced with what we could call a new atheism. It's new, it's new and improved, it's repackaged, but it's on the move. In fact, it's changing the way America thinks. Up until now it's been very fractional, but and you can tell they're changing by how many weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, let me rephrase that, how many months some of these atheistic books are at the top of the charts. It means a lot of people are buying them and reading them. Outspoken against Christianity, wanting to eliminate it altogether, books by Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and on. They're coming, they're here. If you oppose Christ, you stand in the ignominious company of people like Pontius Pilate, Caiaphas, Caesar Nero and Diocletian. You just got to know something. Whatever you're trying won't work.

It's been tried, didn't work. In fact, the more you push, God just has ways to make it grow bigger. In Psalm 2, listen to this, it just sums it up so neatly. Psalm 2, I'll read it to you. The kings of the earth prepare for battle. The rulers plot together against the Lord and against his anointed one.

Let us break their chains, they cry, and free ourselves from this slavery. But the one who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them.

Get the picture? Here's a man shaking his fist at God and God goes, whatever, bring it on. I want you to look at one last text as we close and we'll close with this. Turn to Matthew 5. I want you to look at a few verses because with all that we just said, we now come to what this means to us.

What do we as believers do? Matthew 5, Sermon on the Mount. Jesus says in verse 13, you are the salt of the earth, but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned?

It is then good for nothing, but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden, nor did they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but put it on a lampstand and it gives light to all who are in the house.

Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. There's two metaphors that Jesus used that not only describe his followers, but imply something about the world. If you are salt, it's because the world is corrupt. The chief use of salt 2,000 years ago was to be rubbed into meats to prevent decay. Him using that metaphor, you're the salt of the earth implies without you, this world is going to decay faster than it would if you were present. And then the second one, you are light implies that the world is what? Dark. So salt stops corruption.

Salt adds flavor and salt quenches thirst. Question, does that describe you? Light dispels darkness and light shows the way out of darkness. Does that describe you? I think you know where I'm going with this. I'd sum it all up by saying this, be engaged. Be engaged in this. You all know probably that famous statement by Edmund Burke who said, the only thing necessary for evil to occur or for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. I would rephrase that a little bit for our purpose.

The only thing needed for evil to abound and Satan to triumph is for God's men and women to say and do nothing. Be engaged. I heard about a company that makes blank bumper stickers. It's for people who don't want to be involved. You can't do that. You can't do that.

You know why you can't do that? You can't do that because even among the most ardent unbelieving group, there may be a defector or two. Did you know that in that council, sitting in that council that made the decision, let's kill him? He's had a couple members that were defectors.

Joseph of Arimathea was on the Sanhedrin. He will defect. Nicodemus who came to Jesus by night will defect. Defectors among unbelievers. So I'll sum it up by saying this. People are divided over Christ. So make sure you're very, very for him. Number two, people often discuss Christ. So weigh in on the discussion. It'll be a great adventure.

And number three, people are often determined against Christ. Don't let that scare you. Live to see defectors. Are there any letters you need to write or emails you need to send or friends you need to invite over to your house for a backyard barbecue to discuss spiritual things?

Seeds that could be sown? Maybe so. Be engaged. And could it be also that you just sort of had enough of that unbelieving world because all the philosophies and world views that they position and posture and poise don't really do anything for you. They run their course so quickly. They add such a depressing element to them. There's no fulfillment. There's no future. There's no hope in them. And maybe you're thinking, yeah, I want to defect from the kingdom of darkness and come to the light.

I hope so. Well, people are divided over Christ, but they are often willing to discuss him. And maybe today you want to talk with someone about who Jesus is and share how to have a relationship with him.

You can do that right now when you call us at 1-800-922-1888. And to close our time today, here's Skip and Lendia to share some thoughts with us. You know, sometimes it is really hard to be a Christian and be going to school. You know, whether it's high school or college, I mean, there just are so many infringements. You know, I saw that thing in Florida. A professor at one of the universities there said, right, Jesus, and then they wanted him to step on it.

Step on it, yeah, degrade his name. It's a hostile environment. And college is the worst. Most Christian kids will fall away from the faith once they get into college. So that being said, do you have some practical tips for students to be salt and light on their campuses?

I have a few ideas, actually. I'd say, number one, get equipped. I mean, here's my story. That's exactly what happened to me. When I was going to college and I had just become a believer, I was immediately assaulted by my integrated zoology professor, by my anatomy professor, and it was very difficult for me. But I boned up, I read books, I got equipped, and I was then looking for people who were non-believers, because I knew that I could answer their questions and the Lord could open up their heart. So I'd say, number one, get equipped.

Number two, get together. Get together with other believers. You're in college and you isolate yourself, you're dead meat. The Bible says, he who isolates himself seeks his own desire. He rages against all wise judgment. All that two or more stuff that God is in the midst. Yeah, you need other believers to be strengthened with.

Number three, I'd say, get busy. You're there for a purpose. You're not in college just to get a degree. You're also in college, or wherever you're at, to be a light and to be salt and to influence people around you for the gospel.

So you're speaking to, in college especially, future influencers of our nation, and if they're foreign exchange students, usually they're our nation, and if they're foreign exchange students, usually you have the best of that country who have come to this country, and you could be influencing the next president or prime minister of a country. So they should live out loud. Hey, good way to put it. So many other people are, you know, voicing whatever, you know, the opposite side is. Why shouldn't they feel bold in the faith? Paul said he was not ashamed of the gospel. Yeah, you know, everybody's talking about coming out if you're gay, if you're this. Come out, come out and be proud.

Why can't Christians come out of the closet and start being as bold? Amen. Well, thanks guys for that great insight, and join us next time for a new message from Believe 879, A Meal to Reveal the Heart, right here in Connect with Skip Weekend Edition, a presentation of Connection Communications. Connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-07 04:25:10 / 2024-01-07 04:33:58 / 9

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